Now the funny thing here is that I wrote the previous piece months ago. The farting dog was still alive. I was 29.
But the constant is how I feel.
Which makes me realize [and I’ve come to this realization before] that I can stress, worry, fear… Think about what is next. How will I get there? What am I doing? What is my purpose? What is he feeling? How can I take the next step? I can write about these things, think about these things, take an unspeakable amount of time from my life to figure it out, or better yet, think about figuring it out but then turn the TV on instead. Story of my life.
I read what I had written a few months back and had to laugh because I am in the same situation. Which I then had visions of journals past – from middle school – high school – college – post arrest – post break-ups. They all said the same thing. Sure, situations may be different. Circumstances change. But that common thread of me trying to take a risk, figure out who I am, what I want…and actually do something about it…has never never never never never never never changed. Ever.
In AA they have a saying, “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” I love that. I use it on other people. I give amazing fucking advice to people. But when it comes to applying it to my own life, well, the TV goes on. A distraction. Something to numb my mind from really trying to solve the problem.
It was playing pretend when I was a kid. I am an only child and I was alone so much of the time. I would stay in my room and escape to whatever fantasy world my little head could come up with. There was no reality. In my head [and i’m not sure this idea has ever really left me] I was meant for something great. I knew it then like I knew my own name. I just had to wait for it to happen. For those magical powers to be bestowed upon me by the Grand Master, wherever or whoever that was. It was a birth rite thing. I was the Chosen One. Gifted with telekinesis, teleportation, the ability to create anything and destroy everything if need be. I had no friends, but I did not need them because they would not understand that I was meant for greatness. I was better than them and I certainly did not have the desire or time to waste playing around with other kids.
I wrote stories. I watched TV and movies. I read books. I acted in plays. I acted alone in my room, creating characters with a full spectrum of emotion. I would go from proudly giving speeches of glory out my bedroom window to no one, to crying over the loss of a fictitious family member. So genuinely distraught over their passing that I longed for a real death so I could experience such emotion and passion over something.
As I got a little older, the fantasy never left me but I also found solace in drugs. The ultimate escape. As a fifteen year old kid with no real friends or self worth, it was a perfect match. It was instant friends, acceptance and an identity. The sense of entitlement, of superiority and fantasy that I was meant for more never abandoned. It remained a constant, but was fueled by drugs and alcohol. There were no goals, no true sense of self or purpose. I loved to hate living.
Everything got put on hold for the next 14 years of my life as I continued down a path of finding myself with the assistance of pills, alcohol, and anything that would make me feel just a little bit like I was reaching my destiny. Or at least falling so far into oblivion that it felt OK to be sitting on a couch with the curtain drawn, empty bottles of wine on the table amidst crushed up pills and cigarettes. It was OK because it just wasn’t my time yet, so I was able to do these things until that Grand Master from my childhood was ready for me to fulfill my prophecy. My great destiny.
Then life would somehow get better for awhile. And like clockwork shit would hit the fan once again. That other shoe always fell back down to earth. Damn gravity. Damn me for throwing that other shoe in the first place.
So fast-forward and I got sober, found a great mate, living a life that would make most envious.
But I found myself on a couch watching back to back marathon episodes of The Walking Dead. Mad Men. Breaking Bad. Orange is the New Black. The longer the series, the better. Because then I had a purpose again. I am lost in fantasy, avoiding actually doing something with myself. Still waiting for that momentous day when a beam of light shines from the sky and a surge of power coerces through my veins. I receive the call that I am part of a secret lineage of an underground mystical society who live in the fifth dimension.
It would go something like this: Ok Ryan, you can pause the show. We are finally ready for you. Thanks for waiting for the past 30 years! Just say Beetlejuice three times. Click your heels twice. Hail to the guardians of the 4 corners. Buffy will come give your instructions in a few hours.
It hasn’t happened yet.
I have always looked for the escape. The quickest way to achieve my definition of success. And if that success seemed like it would take a year rather than a week, it was shelved until a quicker way was figured out. But figuring out the quicker way was shelved as well because that took more than an hour and by that time I was already on episode 23 of Breaking Bad.
So I realize this whole consistent pattern since my early years as I bitch about life worries, fears and wanting to find a purpose yet again. It’s the same song. However the bar is clearing out and no one really wants to hear me sing it anymore. In fact, I’m getting pretty fucking tired of the same couple of verses over and over myself.
So what do I do?
I sit and I write and hope that something comes from actually doing it.