As mentioned at the end of our blog post from today (Doing Freedom Right, Our 9/11 Post), we have a new guest blogger. We're not sure if this is a one off, or not...but we hope he comes back and writes some more.
We liked his piece for a variety of reasons, we hope you like it too.
---so here you have it---a new guest blogger---take it away, Jake!
How To Tie A Noose With Words
OK, that was the cheap tactic to get to you to read further into the story. Hopefully it worked, and the hook is set. I need to preface this whole post with a disclaimer: I really am going to try and put this into ordered thoughts, and structured ideas, but sometimes when I get on a roll, I just don't stop, and sometimes don't make as much sense. I'm like the Tarantino of writing, except mine is mostly manusha. I know I've said that before, but I kinda feel like there's some truth, and a ring to it. On second thought, I'm a complete moron. Tarantino is the Tarantino of writing. I forgot he writes that shit too, not just directs it. So is my point that I'm just a 99 cent store version of the great storyteller himself? Yes it is.
I decided that since I had stopped writing my blog, although not consciously and on purpose, I would write a piece for Frankie, since they said i could. Most of my opinions these days are poured out through the ether via a microphone and streamed into your earbuds. I felt it might be good to knock the dust off the last couple months worth of buildup on my "skills" if you will. I did, however, take some parts of this post from a previous one on my blog. No one reads that anyway. Not like this crowd. So if, by the laws of probability, you happened to be of the small percentage that may have come across some of these words arranged in this order before, I apologize. Deal with it.
I had the pleasure, along with my co-horts on The Nothing But Show, of talking to Frankie at some length. almost thirty minutes of length if I remember correctly. It was an experience I have never had before, and look forward to having again. Almost like the first time I stole a candy bar, or a rodents virginity, it was a rush I hadn't felt before. I do realize that Frankie enjoys hearing of mental issues and the viewing of the world through other, perhaps fragmented-as-well personalities. Such as my own.
I suffer from Hyper-Vigilance. And by "I suffer", I mean that everyone that is in my life suffers from it way more than I do. I also must state that I don't think Hyper-Vigilance is a real disorder. I think I'm just tuned into a couple more different stations at once than most people are. This post is about feelings. I don't mean the mushy, sloppy stuff that no guy likes talking about unless he marches in that certain West Hollywood parade once a year. This is more about the lack of feelings that I tend to have and display, and the arrival at the void of those feelings.
First off, I have to say that I steal the description from the great Adam Carolla. He describes his attention to the details of life that most people miss as "Hyper-Vigilance." I genuinely feel that I have something very akin to that same "affliction". On a side note, I can barely type the word "affliction" without thinking of those really gay shiny t-shirts that Affliction clothing makes. but anyway, I believe it was Dr. Drew that coined the phrase Hyper-Vigilance, or it could be very real and I'm just an idiot that doesn't do research, but for all intents and purposes, I stole it. I say that Adam and I "suffer" from almost the same thing, but I don't have the pleasure of knowing the man, so I can only speak for myself. Here's how it relates to me: I've never taken the time to look up the definition of the word. In fact, I never knew it was even a real word until I googled it a moment ago as I write this post. Not that wikipedia is that reliable, but Dictionary.com had basically the same description, so this is the one from Wikipedia: (Maybe it is real after all)
Hypervigilance, is an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect threats. Hypervigilance is also accompanied by a state of increased anxiety which can cause exhaustion. Other symptoms include: abnormally increased arousal, a high responsiveness to stimuli and a constant scanning of the environment for threats. Hypervigilance can be a symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder and various types of anxiety disorder. It is distinguished from paranoia. Paranoid states, such as those in schizophrenia can seem superficially similar, but are characteristically different.
Now, after reading that, it seems that it is usually attributed to victims of PTSD. I can't speak for Adam Carolla, but the only shrapnel I took in 'Nam was playing Call Of Duty online. All joking aside, I do realize that there are many ways to endure traumatic stress other than war, but if Hypervigilance is truly what I have, I guess my childhood would be the place to start. I don't know if the condition is something that can be learned, instead of something directly attributed to personal experience, but I definitely think I have it. The source of me attaining such otherworldly powers would have to be my childhood. Now, I must state that overall, I don't think I endured much more of an abnormal childhood than most kids. Then again, what is a normal childhood? That my friends, is a question for another day. As for how I arrived at this superhuman enigma is kind of beyond me. But then again Superman didn't know much about his beginnings either, except some ice cave, and a green planet, but I digress. In my case, I don't think that my attention to things comes from any trauma. I honestly don't. I have really, truly, always been this way.
From as far back as I can really remember, I've always felt aware of almost everything. I mean I see things that I think 99% of people don't see at any given time. Don't get me wrong, I'm not psychic or clairvoyant, I just see what I consider to be "common sense" type things happening all around me, and I don't know why other people don't. Half of what I say here today is in jest, and half is serious. I guess it's up to you as the reader to determine where the line is, or if it blurs excessively right off the bat, but here goes:
I live day to day, and "in the moment" as much as the next person, but the difference is that I always have this antenna that picks up a certain frequency in my head. This frequency is nothing but a running commentary on everything my subconscious is taking in. For example, while waiting to to turn left at a signal, this is about how a typical 4-5 second action on my part yields so much more going on in my head. From the color of the shirt on the lady crossing the street, and how it looks like a shirt my mom used to own when I was a kid, to the dog shes walking, and the limp it has and where it could have gotten it. Then there's the car in front of me, and his license plate frame bearing a really shitty play on words, an inside joke, or the dealership where he bought his car. If it's somewhere out of town, I think about that town for a split second, and if I've been there before etc. A cop car enters the intersection next to me as I wait to turn and a flood of thoughts about police, laws, government, social injustice and attitude occupy a portion of my thoughts for another split second. There's a myriad of combinations of events that transpire in my head in any typical 4-5 second event like that. And, I can do all of that while texting, talking to my wife or passenger, and sometimes all of the above. And I have a perfect driving record. I'm not that guy doing 60 in the left lane because he's talking to his friend about the pictionary tournament they had the night before and how he almost guessed "dog" if the tail had been a little longer.
What I'm saying is I am fucked aren't I? This "condition" feels like a curse. It doesn't stem directly from narcissism, but I would be lying if I didn't say there wasn't an element of it to my plight. However, I am not Spencer Pratt. I don't think I'm better than everyone. I know I am. OK, little joke there sorry. to be serious though, I think it would be impossible to not feel slightly narcissistic when think about this stuff. I realize I'm not the only person who thinks of more than one thing at a time, but I am definitely the only person I have known in my life who has it this bad. Carolla is better at explaining his situation and making it funny, but I relate very closely to his description. It's not as cut and dry as me feeling like I'm "better" than other people, as the traditional definition of narcissism suggests. I do feel like that sometimes, I won't lie, but not that often. It just seems to me that the small daily decisions that a lot of people agonize and seem to labor over, almost make themselves automatically in my mind.
I'm sure than being an Atheist and having no real "belief" about our whole existence and future has something to do with it. In fact, I'm sure that my outlook on a lot of things has a direct correlation with me not "wasting time" dwelling on those things that seem to take up 75% of everyone else's day. The thoughts that are constantly floating around in my brain soup are pretty serious thoughts, and on a 24/7/365 basis. I CANT TURN IT OFF. I think about things like the Gashole documentary. I wrote a whole previous post on it so I won't go into it again, but I constantly think about that stuff, and the stuff that makes up 99% of our daily lives that just distracts us from what's really going on. I think about how all of our social arguments, and almost every second of news on CNN or your favorite fill-in-the-blank channel is completely pointless when our world operates on this kind of level behind the scenes. After watching and dwelling on that, I cannot help but just laugh out loud when someone complains about not wanting to buy something over the phone with their credit card. It just doesn't matter! I try not to be negative, but I almost feel like just being realistic these days is being negative. These are the things that are on my mind all day, every day. And people wonder why I smoke so much weed. I would probably feel like the unfunny version of Mel Gibson in What Women Want if I didn't.
To avoid rambling on about every thought that pops into my head on this subject, I'll wrap it up. The most important/scary/rewarding/important again part of this whole thing is how it effects emotion. Most all of my reactions to things are very visceral and raw, knee-jerk type reactions to things, and usually reflect my honest, unbiased opinion on the subject. Most of the time that scares people. But the strangest side-effect, if you will, of this whole thing is my ability to knowingly, and sometimes unknowingly have no emotion. Or, I will have so much disdain for people putting emotion into something my brain has deemed unimportant, that I will almost get angry at them. And sometimes, not almost, I do. It's easy to write it off as narcissism, and say that it's just because I want people to think the way I do, but it's not that simple. I don't even fully know where it comes from, but it's not nearly as much narcissism as you might expect it to be. My avoidance of so many topics that would fill a normal discussion table is just because almost all of those subjects, no matter what they are most of the time, are shit. My lack of interest, or that fact that I have already thought about it, weighed it out, and made a decision on the topic in my mind before you even finished your thought, is often received as apathy. And I guess for lack of a better explanation, it is. This "ability" to turn off emotion, or just to be void of it for most intents and purposes, is a skill/curse I have yet to master. I have to learn when to try and wield it for good, instead of letting it lead me down the path where I can end up hurting people that just don't truly understand where I'm coming from. I realize now re-reading this, that I have probably asked more questions of myself and my readers than I have answered. For that, I don't know what to say except this is the war that goes on inside my head. I can only feel sorry for my partners in crime on the podcast. You see, on top of this Hyper-Vigilance, I also was raised with a fair amount of stubbornness, and desire to do things my way. This has led to problems in the past with bands I have been in. I have always been the only one "doing the work" it seemed. I made the phone calls, booked the tours, bought the tour van, wrote the songs, bought the equipment, etc. I later realized that although I was the only one with the money to buy things at that time, part of the reason that people didn't do anything to help (it seemed) was because I was too vigilant on getting it done first, and without realizing that, I caused a lot of problems.
I have since come such a long way from those days in realizing the company I keep, and recognizing my own issues with just constantly having a part of my brain "turned on". I swear people, even my sleep patterns are fucked up by thought. I can only say now that I'm older. Although that really only means that I don't know nearly anything that I thought I did before. But I do know that I have a desire to get my thoughts out there somehow. If I don't I think I'll literally implode one day from the pressure. I have made a lot of new friends in my life over the past few years since the band days, and I feel that I'm a much better friend to them than I could have been in the past, and I'm much more aware of what makes me tick now. It's all part of growing up.
You should tune in sometime, and hear my friends and I talk about whatever we want. It's cathartic for me, and hopefully entertaining for you. There's even an episode with Frankie on there. Episode 6 I believe. Tune in and hear my ramblings and barely coherent thoughts, and those of my co-hosts. but for now, just know that I know how crazy I am. And welcome to the front lines. Please pull up a chair, and don't forget to tip your waitress. Enjoy the show.