Sometimes I think too much. That is not to say they’re coherent or even interesting thoughts but they do run round and round in the spacious corridors of my post-concussive interior world. Incessantly.
Some people spend an enormous amount of energy, in a variety of ways, trying to silence these internal debates: Yoga, television, meditation, OCD apartment cleanliness, drugs, sex, drugs with sex, food and the ageless standby– drunken sottery. With the exception of Yoga I have indulged in all of these, to some degree. My current crutch is too many hours spent in front of fiendishly clever games. And it’s interesting how often people will cite these activities as an escape from their external existence when usually all they are is another set of activities to negotiate.
But like any procrastination strategy it always fails to do anything other than make the initial problem even worse. (Although sometimes the apartment is much cleaner). In this case the problem isn’t writing a paper or even the laundry piling higher than the cat can climb. It’s something both simple and seemingly unsolvable.
What is it that I fear about being honest with myself? I don’t mean that I fear discovering some awful perversion that I simply missed the last fifty years or that I will reveal some absurdly contradictory yet life altering truth to myself (really–I’m a staunch CATHOLIC?!?) What I do mean is: what am I yelling so loudly at myself and why is it so unsettling that I need to do the metaphorical equivalent of stopping up my ears with my fingers while I do the ‘Can’t Hear You’ mantra.
When I almost died (I love being able to type that sentence…because I can) something started to push up through all the walls and barbed wire that I had built around that place I had designated as the real me. Not the very small part of myself I share with the world or even the part I would spill on my close friends when I was drunk or high but the Diefenbunker of my ‘true self.’
Then we really started this project– and like the way almost all things of value present themselves I nearly missed the importance of what we were examining. However, I certainly convinced myself that the project itself was terribly important because there is only one person I fear disappointing more than Di. (That’s all you get on that subject, I will say no more). So if she cared I cared and let’s face it, doing this film with her was always going to be better than the alternative.
And something odd happened in the middle of my self-deception. That niggling worm of doubt and self… I was going to say loathing but that’s too strong a word…self-dislike was starting to fragment the way a sand castle disappears in a slow tide, sometimes only a grain or two at a time, but inevitable nonetheless. And that voice, that fucking incessant cadence of disjointed something, kept getting closer to coherence. I think a lot of that had to do with the process of writing these blogs as well as the necessary expansion of all sorts of skill sets required when you actually start to take what you are engaged in seriously.
Making a film is a complicated, difficult thing if you want it to be at all watchable. It requires a number of people to work very hard for little or no tangible reward, And, if you want to communicate something that isn’t completely banal, it also requires a kind of honesty and clear-eyed assessment of your own and everyone else’s skills and shortcomings that is difficult to manage– but absolutely necessary.
I must seem, to a lot of people, to be a much angrier person these days. Quick to temper and sometimes impatient as well as dour and melancholy. The sad truth is I’m much, much worse inside. I have lost the capacity to manage my reaction to other people and their foibles in a way that is almost socially crippling. I am angry almost all the time, mostly about my own failings, but about other things as well.
And it’s largely because I finally understood what I was trying to tell myself.
I have yet to live a day of my life up to my own standards. That is, for me, a remarkably hard truth. I have been a massive, ongoing hypocrite and really have no business saying a word to anyone about anything.
And so the wall fell. I even remember when it happened. I was getting ready for Snipe Club and desperately trying to figure out how to communicate to Luca what I wanted when I realized something. Why don’t I just DO THE FUCKING WORK NECESSARY to achieve the particular goal I was concerned with achieving. It wasn’t the revelation that if I do A. (in this case a shot list) I am much more likely to achieve B. (Some sense of coherence on the shoot) that made me staggeringly furious with myself.
It was that the whole internal conversation was necessary in the first place. Fifty years to figure out if you want to change something, anything, maybe you had better actually do some work to see it achieved. All that I was blocking out, all that voice was trying to tell me was to stop being such a lazy shit, you stupid man. Oh, and maybe have some intellectual and emotional courage once in a while.
So there it is. Nothing particularly esoteric or even insightful really, just that if you want things to be different and it’s within your power to change them, get off your ass and make the attempt– because if you do outcomes start to matter a lot less. And maybe you can sleep once in a while, even have a dream or two.
Here’s the hopeful part: the reason my self-disregard and doubt are waning is because I cannot stop that voice anymore. I’ve lost the will or capacity to drown it out. The odd thing about that is while I’m going to struggle mightily for a while I have at least reached a detente. Which means that whether I succeed or fail I am at least going to hoist myself on my own petard, and not someone else’s idea of what that petard might be.
Oh and I’m through being reasonable– which for me always meant mitigating what I say or write because I might upset or injure someone’s worldview. And it was holding my tongue for fear of being outed as a hypocrite that was the most fury-inducing part of all.
Because, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve got some opinions.