Day 32. Granpa.

Hey Gramps. Long time so see. It has been almost exactly 19 years since you have transcended this physical existence; since you died.

Though by now I cannot even recall the sound of your voice, you are on mind quite often. Almost every day something reminds me that you are not around. I can only imagine how much fun you would be having with the phones, iPods, and digital cameras. Can you imagine: all the music that you could ever want right at your fingertips or taking a photo and looking at the result immediately? It is like having a personal music collection and photography studio with you at all times!

I wish do you could be around. I certainly would benefit from your guidance, and your wisdom, and your serenity these days. Although it is true you have always maintained that “like cures like” but it has not been working for me well.

You were an unusual man. Not in the weird of-the-wall way kind of way, not at all. You were, however, unequivocally different in the way of naturally relating to the world and the people around. You have never had any enemies. No one has ever wished you ill in any sort of personal way. But the strangest thing about you would have to be an earnest, perhaps even to the point of being naive, sense of empathy. I wonder if I could have been a better, happier person had I possessed these qualities. Would I have been better at dealing with the world? Would I have been happy? Would my girlfriend still have broken up with me?

I have had to make peace with a lot of things in my life. I just wish you not being here hadn’t been one of them.

Day 31. Postmortem Of The Less Than Triumphant Return To Improv.

Last night was, what may have been, my return to improv. I hosted an earlier show and that went extremely well. My own show, however, was not as successful.

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20 and so looking back on things I realise what I mostly did wrong. I have previously posted on the rules of improv. Well, I forgot one of them: play and have fun. I have been so wrapped up in my own misery that I simply did not remember to relax and enjoy being silly.

It is also clear that I have not been applying this rule to life as well. I have got to learn to play the game in life and not take things so goddamn serous.

I am doing another show in a few weeks and will, hopefully, remember to abandon the seriousness and just be in the moment.

Day 30. A Month Of Pain.

Oh, boy. 30 days in. If I had been trying to stay sober, I would be getting a chip. Instead I get to think about how depressed I still am. There is no achievement, no medal, no badge of honour. I just get to carry on being a miserable fuck.

There is a certain calm in knowing exactly the way things stand and I have done a somewhat decent job of admitting there is a problem and being open about my feelings. Except that tonight I am going to have to act the hell out of pretending that I am happy and riding high. First, I get to host a show and then I am supposed to improvise in one. To say that feelings of anxiousness, misery and fears of inadequacy are rather overwhelming at the moment would be an understatement of the century. The good thing is that I get to warm up and get in the mood by hosting an earlier show and also because this is theatre. I do not have to be funny but I do have to do a good job of building the story. I suppose it is the same in life.

Let us hope that I do not fuck up either.

Day 29. The Bar.

The Bar. It actually has a name but for this post it shall simply be known as The Bar. And the Bar has the most disparate clientele.

The Bar doesn’t have much in terms of decor. There are a couple of worn out pool tables, a couple of well used foosball tables, and lots of cheap bear and salty popcorn. The Bar is a dive bar. It is, however, located in a trendy and artsy neighbourhood. There are independent galleries and rooms where young artists show of their craft and young actors and comedians can do their shows and dream of making it big. This being a student town, the student population is everywhere. This is precisely the type of area where a homeless junkie will try to sell you a locally procured $1,000 fixie (the fixed gear bicycles being the current hipster affectation) for $10-$20. The area is awash in equal parts cheap beer, expensive wines, low-cost food and fancy restaurants, sluts, douchebags, idealistic pursuits, and broken dreams.

The bar has a certain ambiance though. The froshers and those new to the city won’t be found here. The clientele is usually devided between the students and the older regulars; the one trait that unites these folks is that they all have already learned to be dissapointed. Here, the doggedness of artistic, scholastic, and professional pursuits has been considerably dulled by the above-mentioned fare of cheap alcohol and salt from the popcorn.

As I sit at a corner table, the din of music and overlapping conversations drowning out my own anxieties, with the view of the passerby’s on their way to a fancy night out on the street and a mixed crowd of the young and the old, it is impossible not to wonder what brought them all to this place? This is not the only bar around and it is definitely not the nicest. There’s a football game on television but no one is paying attention. The old-timers are usually sitting solo and drinking quietly; the younger generation is always in groups. Tellingly, there are no couples on a date. All the folks here are either locals or those who got this city totally wired. They are not here for the gimmicky decor or sexy waitresses (although they definitely have the sexy “suicide girl” thing going). They are here for each other’s company. Even those sitting alone are here for the established status quo of the Bar. This is “Cheers” without the sycophancy.

In the end, we all want the same thing. We need to feel like we belong. The Bar is the type of place where everyone – regardless of their station in life – feels accepted. Even yours truly, who has been feeling so incredibly dejected and down this past month, can feel safe here.

Cheers. Sláinte. L’Chayim. Wàn shòu we jiãng. Nazdorov’ie. Santé.

May your life be plentiful and your enemies disappointed.
May your cup be full and your worries few.
And may you live the kind of life that will bring you peace of mind.

‘Til soon.

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Day 28. Me, Myself, and I.

The Self – that most elusive of notions. How do we define it? Is it the soul, the mind, the id, the ego? Is it set for all time or is it constantly in flux? Then there is the whole notion of fractured Self. It is also intrinsically linked with how we view ourselves: for example, whether do we feel young or old regardless of actual age;

In my case, I am starting to realise that my Self is not what I thought it was. In fact, the current state of feeling totally lost is because I spent a large portion of my life hiding my Self from the world and myself. I have written about myself here before but I am realising that I have not really touched on the subject of my Self. I have no clue what or who I am. Is it the Me the funny guy? Is it the Me the improviser? Is it the Me the climber?

Some people (ahem, me) tend pile up stuff in a closet during cleanup and just shut the door. Later, when that was thoroughly forgotten, the closet gets opened and everything that was piled up falls out. Since I have started doing improv, I feel that is the psychological equivalent of what has been happening in my mind. The recent Breakup just swung all the doors open and now I am drowning in all the emotional baggage that was suppressed there.

And yet, I am still having trouble confronting my issues. Is it because I am afraid to find out that I am a total loser? Granted, that is not the kind of validation I am interested in. I do know that feelings of low self-worth and fears of inadequacy are my constant companions, à la Dexter’s “dark passenger.” 

So I am considering the possibility that my Self is in a transitional period. I am changing from the Self I deluded myself into and moving towards discovering my true Self. Hopefully, this will not end in bitter disappointment.

Day 27. Hanging On (ish).

Some days are better, some are worse. Today is a bad one. There is a lot of anxiety, and stress, and sadness. This is one of those days when I feel Her absence stronger than most days. If only I could hear Her voice reassuring me that everything is going to be OK… Alas, as I am freaking out in my room, all there is is a ringing silence.
I also feel that I desperately need a drink. I’m hoping to be able to resist. Trying to kill this pain with booze is a road that leads to way worse shit than I already am in up to my neck.

As stupid and unhealthy as it is, I can not not think about Her and tell myself that She won’t be there when I come through. I need Her!

Fuck this shit!!!

The Power of the (Clear) Mind

Wonderfully said. Sometimes the mind is trying to tell us something that we may not want are are not ready to hear. We try to smother it with substances or healthy hobbies. Though the drugs and alcohol carry their own additional dangers and consequences, in terms of emotional health the results are largely the same: we ignore it at our own peril.

anniethinksabout

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The human mind is a powerful thing.  The mind blocked by the fog of drugs and alcohol lies dormant.  It sits alone, soaking in a brine like a pickle in a jar.  No amount of power can emenate from a pickled mind.  Substances pickle not just the brain – the supercomputer of the the human body – but the mind as well.  The mind is our soul.  The mind is our being.

I can use my mind to its full potential if I am sober.  My mind is clear and alert.  I see things and feel things that I would not if I let alcohol smother it.

I am not talking about being good at algebra and trigonometry.  I am not talking about memorizing vocabulary.  I am talking about using the power of the mind to create, communicate and perceive things that aren’t clear to the five human senses.  Mind…

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