-"Ha Ha Freak" The Great Malarkey
So, my Uncle used to say that alcoholics would have a "Moment of Clarity". I realized they have an unfair monopolization of a useful term. You see, all too often people are too close to a problem to see it. They don't have the personal insight to find their own flaws, even with both hands and a flashlight. That was me.
I used to have a favorite Lovecraft short story called "The Outsider." It's about a person who was lost and chained in this empty world. It's a world he had thoroughly explored and waxed poetic on and wandered through in the hopes of some escape. He escapes eventually only to find himself at a dinner party, but when he tries to talk to the guests they all see him and scream. They run away, frightened for their lives and he cannot understand why. He tries to investigate when he is introduced to the concept of a mirror and sees himself for the first time. He is disheveled, unwashed and deformed by all his time spent alone. I never knew why I liked the story; I just did.
I've had a lot of time for self-reflection and introspection. I realized just last week. I saw a mirror for the first time. What I saw was...
You see, whoever is bored when they are alone, is in bad company, right? Because who are you, really, when you are by yourself? Are you yourself? Or are you the person others have raised you, one way or another, to be? We're all victims to environmental determinism. We're such a part of our environment, that when we go into outer space, we have to bottle it into a jar to take with us. Humans, in our own way, are super colonial creatures. Now that we have the internet, we're melting together even more. Admittedly we form into clumps, but we're far less me and far more "us".
Daniel Schrieber once talked about "Fleetingly-Improvised People." Growing up I was terrified of this mental image... These giant faces, made of melted tiny faces that formed into this giant Mycorrhizal cospeciation turgid mass of interlinked human brains. The smaller ones subsumed into this great all-powerful intelligence. It was indifferent to it's inherent parts, always spilling and tumbling to some vague goal that its attached egos mindlessly pursue in the interest of their shared master.
If you spoke to me, you can bet that was what my terrified brain was seeing, when I stuttered about for words, blurted out a meaningless sentence or asked you to repeat yourself multiple times. When I was shaking like a leaf, it's because I felt like I was in the presence of a real monster. Not necessarily a mean or evil-intending monster... But I had grown up speaking to that monster. I was bullied by it in Elementary school. I watched it perpetrate horrible crimes on the nightly news. I saw it all bend it's knees in church and sing praises to a God who was presumably even more powerful and just as judgmental.
So now, here I am... On top of this old hill in this aging house. No job or prospects. Tending to my garden and learning about the world, on my own. I am separate. I am not you. I am not like you. I know who I am when I am by myself. I just don't know who I am, when I am with you. And I'm not all that sure who you are anyway.
I don't hate people. What Yoda says isn't really true, is it? Fear doesn't turn to anger, always. Some people are just pacifists. And to be fair, in my dealings with others, when I've gotten comfortable around people they generally seem to like me. And I wish them well, I do from the bottom of my heart. I have nothing but love for those I meet. I will help them if I can and indeed, it's nice to be relied upon and found to be useful. I will always pity those, who find themselves being rejected by the great face of mankind, though. Only they truly know the terror of being alone.
And if all this sounds a little "Bertha-Better-Than-You", temper it with the knowledge that I am a humble, frightened and a somewhat broken person. And if you're reading this as an individual, not as a community, a religion, a political party, a sports team, a company, a charity, a country, a jury, a "normal" person... I love and respect you.
And I wish you nothing but the best, fellow Darklings.
And I will ever remain, faithfully, your one and only,