“There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me. Only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our life styles are probably comparable, I simply am not there.” – Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis.
I have spoken in the past of my poorly grafted frankenpersonality and my social mimicry, now it would seem that it is time to revisit this subject. Because I truly believe at my core that I am empty, a hollow shell of a human-being with nothing of substance inside to offer. I have been asked by my therapist, Lilith, to make an exercise of it. To determine who I am. When I was a teenager, around fifteen I think I wrote two poems and coined a term for what I believed myself to be. The term is the title of the first poem as follows:
I am the reflection of a paperback novel,
I am poet type casted as a murderer.
I am an act but not an actor,
I am blessing under cover.
I am a fact but not a factor,
I am a lesson as a lover.
I am a demon on vacation,
I am the product of experiments.
I am your roaming free spirit,
I am the bearer of an evil eye.
I am the season of winter,
I am a psychological sneeze.
I am an antisocial nocturn,
I am a black and white collage.
I am never going to happen,
I am Theodor Geisel’s biggest fan.
You know, I was probably more clever and switched on then than I am now. That kid has me figured out. He was utterly correct and still is. The second poem is a continuation in the negative, titled the same, part two! As follows:
Never Man II:
I am not an artificially intelligent ego,
I am not a self inflicted sacrifice.
I am not among the socially profound,
I am not a hedonistic daydream.
I am not the product of our society,
I am not the echo of an afterthought.
I am not without a sense of tragedy,
I am not going to wait for life to happen.
I am not a reality addict,
I am not interested in what others believe.
I am not going to allow myself to delegate,
I am not the conductor of routine ritual.
I am not a dissipating disappointment,
I am not your enemy.
Oddly enough I think I’m working against the grain on the second one. I mean, yeah I may not be those things but I am slowly drifting toward them. It looks like I need to shape up.
The Neverman is poorly defined and has been since. Nothing has changed. Dysphorian and Jack are one and the same and both are a middle shade of grey. Sure, my behaviours may land in the extreme but are they all that defines me? Almost. I have few hobbies. Few friends. Few relatives. No pets. No mate. No accomplishments, unless you count surviving depression but to what end?
There are always soft skills. I can undo a bra through a shirt with one hand. While mixing a martini with the other. Just kidding. About the martini, the first part was true. I’m fashionable. I’m fashion conscious, tapped in to changing trends and I advise others when the situation arises (sometimes when it isn’t even requested). I am a very fine cook when I have the required equipment at hand, owing to an endeavour that I never saw through to the end. I refer of course to my culinary experiences. I haven’t finished any schooling, I hold no tradesman papers and I have no certificates. I am not an angler nor a hunter. I am a novice archer. A promising novice archer at that. So am I defined by an antiquated skill with an obsolete weapon/tool? I am not Dysphorian the archer.
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Canto XXVII of In Memoriam by Lord Alfred Tennyson,
I have abundantly loved. If such love is lofty and I have ascended, my descent was equally thus and tragic all the more. My heart is an icebreaker. Carving through tundra ice shelves until run adrift on craggy sharp rocks and dashed. This is where my lust takes me. I have a passion for women that cannot be sated. I pursue them with the intention of no more than a sexual encounter. Instant carnal gratification. Alas, my foolish heart becomes mired in the ice, carving away at the austere exterior of a woman I only just met. A woman fascinated with Jack’s boisterous and charismatic nature. They are quite taken with me right away. I will be honest here, I usually go through the motions because I don’t have the heart to be mean, I lack a killer instinct as I’ve mentioned in the past. I cannot simply walk away on them and while I am physically attracted to them there is always the chance that we could carry on sleeping together… Then it happens, I begin to fall in love, my own lust and passion becomes legitimate emotions, feelings of attachment. As this is occurring, little by little she begins to lose interest in me. This is why my longest relationship has lasted 2 years. The rest of the time the plan mostly works, I meet a woman who is in it for the ultra short-term and she calls it quits before either of us becomes invested. Win-win. There are pros and cons to this. Pros: I understand female sexual anatomy better than about 99.99997% of the standard male population, I’m very pro-women out of an organic relationship with femininity and I usually put the seat down when I’m finished. Cons: I will grow old alone. Are we defined by our relationship with a spouse? I’m not even sure that monogamy is natural to humans. So no, we are definitely not defined by our partner, those come and go, die of cancer, cheat on you and leave, or just betray you because they don’t like the fact that you are depressed. If you rely on other people to define who you are, I think you need to do some soul searching.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
I’ve held many jobs. This and nothing more. I’ve never had a career nor a vocation. I’ve never been truly passionate about anything other than the feminine form and the destruction of dislogic. I cannot abide the spread of misinformation and falsehoods which grows alarmingly contrary to what you would believe given our increasing connectivity. You would imagine that with breakthroughs in science and technology we would have become more enlightened and have been able to disseminate this information more effectively to the masses. One would like to think that the population of Earth would be better informed and able to detect myths and fallacies. However things are going the opposite direction. The religions of the world are doing their best to confuse and obscure the truth from the masses. They are actively attempting to sabotage and even shut down educational and scientific research programs in favour of religious teaching. There are conspiracy based “concerned parents” clucking like Chicken Little over the sky falling about every little thing from drinking water, vaccines, what our food contains to GMO’s. None of which is remotely a concern to anyone. At all. In fact, the opposite is true in every case. They are rallying for a worse planet. People who are free of disease, with a virtual limitless supply of clean drinking water, plenty of food and places to live. These people are actively attempting to reverse all of these by combating science and replacing it with prayer because that’s working so well everywhere in the world that this is the case. So I am in the habit of trouncing this whenever and wherever it crops up. I am also in the habit of finding myself on/in/under any or all attractive women I can find who are willing to do so with me. I don’t know that this makes me excellent by definition but my fourteen year old self is giving me a high five. Good enough. Again, not sure if these are viable ways in which one gauges or qualifies themselves. They are traits, but defining? Distinctive, definitely.
“Self improvement is masturbation. Now self destruction is the answer.” – Tyler Durden
from Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk.
I put effort into appearance. For the sake of women. For the perception of responsibility and competency. The clothes often do make the man. I go out of my way to present myself well. I exercise as a matter of course for my current occupation. I am in good shape. I am no body builder but I am fit. I am naturally attractive and I take steps to preserve and highlight my features in order to accentuate my natural allure. I am man pretty. So much so that as I have mentioned in the past teenaged girls have remarked on my appearance. I don’t know why but I consider this a big deal, if young women still find you attractive then you must still have something. This being said however, and for as much as I love being appealing, I think that improving yourself is mostly a self-indulgent exercise. Not saying that you shouldn’t do it. As I wouldn’t tell you not to masturbate. However, this is all that it is and nothing more. Now, getting to the heart and fun of things is when you tear it all down. The act of ruin is what I excel at and infinitely more exciting. There is something that becomes giddy and effervescent inside at the thought of binge drinking (possibly doing drugs, I won’t lie) and sleeping with random women. Like the thrill of throwing yourself out of a perfectly good plane. Or perhaps more extreme such as Russian roulette. In any case the thought of going so wild I might never come back sometimes is all that gets me through. Life is so dreary, it requires chaos from time to time, otherwise what really is the point? I am not entirely certain how this defines me though I am certain that it does in a fairly big way.
I who am dead a thousand years,
And wrote this sweet archaic song,
Send you my words for messengers
The way I shall not pass along.
I care not if you bridge the seas,
Or ride secure the cruel sky,
Or build consummate palaces
Of metal or of masonry.
But have you wine and music still,
And statues and a bright-eyed love,
And foolish thoughts of good and ill,
And prayers to them who sit above?
How shall we conquer? Like a wind
That falls at eve our fancies blow,
And old Maeonides the blind
Said it three thousand years ago.
O friend unseen, unborn, unknown,
Student of our sweet English tongue,
Read out my words at night, alone:
I was a poet, I was young.
Since I can never see your face,
And never shake you by the hand,
I send my soul through time and space
To greet you. You will understand.
To A Poet A Thousand Years Hence, by James Elroy Flecker.
It saddens me that poetry is a dead artform. I blame slam poetry. I blame New York. I blame the same people who are watering down our education system. Don’t get me wrong I love a good rapper, KRS-1, Mos Def and Eminem are all extremely talented poets. There are also many others who are very good except to be fair a resounding majority of rap is murdering english and making people at large moronic. So is pop-country. Not country music, pop-country, there is a huge difference. Merle Haggard is alright, Johnny Cash knows what’s good. This modern bleating that is essentially pop music with a steel guitar and a twangy voice can fuck right off. Also to be fair to everyone else my poetry wasn’t the finest. I was a blend of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali in English free verse. I would sometimes blend words for evocative imagery and flow rather than logic or even cohesive ideas. I left meaning to the reader sometimes at other times I lead the reader and if they didn’t follow I didn’t care. Once a poem is written my concern with it’s perception and interpretation is over. So when I say that I was Picasso/Dali I am not boasting, I mean that I adapted these philosophies and techniques, their style and attitude and applied it to words in English and did so quite organically. Poetry used to be a very large part of who I was. For a time I was inspired to write and I am the very picture of the tortured, struggling writer. It isn’t that I don’t have the ideas, more really that I hate them and by extension myself for them. I don’t doubt that they are better than a majority of what is out there but I hate myself before I even write them down. I do not take even constructive criticism well. When I am actually proud of my writing if someone doesn’t like it I pretty much think that they should die instantly for being the stupidest person ever. I’m actually not kidding. Not even a little. I wouldn’t dare to believe that I am a poet. Or that it is even a badge that I wear. I’m not published, it is hardly a defining feature.
So who then, am I?
Like shadows christened in your kiss, a gesture only you could know, like sighs that follow laughter.
A winking eye captured in darkness, like squinting at intruding light which rapes the wholesome breath of day. Clouds are forming in your brow, the cigarettes that follow sex; in this we share a single truth.
Lie to me; I prefer your hasty words. I’d rather that I didn’t know what wrinkles lines into your lips. Drying saliva marks your neck with glossy memories of me, which last much longer than the moisture.
Christened shadows awoke your kiss to sighs I breathe into your flesh. Is this the truth we share? Only to hide it from ourselves with lies? You are the sighs that follow my laughter, the sex I smoke away.
Dysphorian, original. Age 16.
My pale, languid sixteen year old body made a canvas of several girls and spat forth this. Even then a lover and thinker. Perhaps I was pretentious or a little bit too ambitious. Maybe I was ahead of my years in so far as my experiences and reflections. Who can know? All that we can know is that it is obvious that I was gifted, troubled, alone and hypomanic. I keep hearing from people that I can’t let my disorder define me. This is horribly unhelpful advice. In many ways it’s at the very core of who and what I am. My compulsions, reactions and impulses fueled by it. And I own it. I’m not ashamed of who I am anymore than a leopard is ashamed of its predatory nature. I am what I was genetically predisposed to become. I am raw potential and capability. I am an alpha. An apex predator. So when I hear people complaining to me about my nature, about my behavior. When I hear people telling me that I need to fit in, I feel like a wolf being asked to fit in with sheep. I was born resplendent. So why relegate myself to mediocrity?
So who am I? How am I defined? By what significant feature am I marked? My journey. Upon reflection, what might be considered an identity crisis was only a perspective readjustment. You see, the definition of self isn’t a static picture. No person is ever complete as you are perpetually working toward a more complete you whilst discarding aspects of yourself no longer useful to you. Identity is a process. I am defined by my struggle, so in a way I actually am my disorder. Jack is as much me as Dysphorian. This is not to say that I’m good where I am or that I’m done. Far from it, I have lengths to go and many more trials yet to face. I am defined by the obstacles that I face and how I react to my challenges.
In short dear reader, I am a leopard. The spots won’t change that’s true and I will still be a stealthy and cunning predator. Though I may have to adapt to a new environment to learn to overcome. Accept that I might no longer be the apex predator in these parts and maybe even learn to work in a group in order to survive.