Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I Will Burn that Fucker if I Have to.

Problems. Issues. Tribulations. Opportunities (for growth or what? who came up with that crap?). Whatever the label, they are what they are: the friction and flat tires along the road of life. Or something equally cheesy sounding.

We all have to push through it. Curve balls and all. And we all have our own little ways of overcoming our obstacles. Testicular cancer, allergies, that asshole bus driver who keeps skipping your stop, heroin addiction, misfiled IRS returns, mullets, and fears of being eaten alive by rabid bears. It’s all there, it’s always there, and we’re always finding ways to cope. Standard ways involve the location/construction of some sort of vent. That vent may be:

Finger Pointing: THEY are doing this to me!
Artistic Expression: I’ll paint this situation out of me.
Poorly Devised Action: Iraq has me all confused, so I’ll just bomb that bitch.
The Coping Bender: Emotional problems? Fuck it, get obliterated.
Get Litigious: Money problems? Sue the innocent to make things right.

This is a woefully incomplete list of coping methods, but you get the picture. None of them actually solve a damn thing. Vents are a stop-gap measure. They are designed, specifically, to skirt the real issue in favor of a diversion. We’re all well aware that the only honest way to solve an issue is to define it, entirely, and then bust your ass to work up a solution set (complete with alternate plans). One of my favorite professors from University once told me:

Craig, there is only one true cure for anxiety, and that’s action.

At the time, I ignored the HUGE gap within his advice. While very helpful, that little motto ignores the difficulty in defining what it is that is causing the anxiety to begin with. It assumes that an individual only has ONE source of potential stress.

One source? Who the fuck is that lucky bastard? Whose life is so goddamned simple that they can easily point to one single snag?

I mean, shit. Seriously, what a load.

Problems travel in packs. Not that they literally roll together, but the human mind can do some impressive ignoring of mounting issues, up until a trigger gets pulled. Then the queued problems form a thunderhead and shit-storm down on their victim like so many dark horsemen. That’s the nature of the things.

And that’s when anxiety busts into your psyche like a bull in a china shop, mixing up the issues and wiping a nasty petroleum jelly haze over everything, making it virtually impossible to separate yourself from it all. Once that happens, my professors advice just sounds like a worthless cliché. Sure, action would be nice. It would be greeeeeaaaat. But the confused queue of issues needs to be reorganized first. (Perhaps that is what he meant by ‘action’?) You have to be able to build a priority set before you can begin to tackle anything with ‘action’.

A re-set, if you will. Re-boot. Screw it, call it what it is: a throw-the-hands-up-and-say-what-the-fuck?-moment.

Then, you’ll need something to knock out that mental log-jam, cemented with rampant anxiety. You’ll need to prep for true problem solving with a good ‘pre-cope’, as I like to call it.

Well, sometimes the best way to pre-cope is raw anger. Break some shit. Go on a tear. Go ape-shit and set something important on fire. That’s when you know you’ve hit rock-bottom. That’s when you can honestly say to yourself:

Self, there is no lower point to which I can possibly sink. Here lies the bottom of us. The subterranean subconscious lives here, and we’re looking to settle a score. There is no where to go but up. Up and out of this shit hole.

Now I’m not recommending that anyone literally destroy anything. Believe you: me, that will just lead to an altogether new and (possibly worse) problem set. This destruction should occur neatly, and only within the confines of your mind. Your brain is already at DEFCON 5, so fuck it. Torch that motherfucker. Burn your petty little anxiety to the ground, rendering it incapable of skewing the issues which brought it to your doorstep in the first place. Don’t let the anxiety become a problem in itself, because it is certainly NOT a problem on its own. It is a byproduct, a symptom, an evil little monkey which chatters away while riding the shoulder of the 800 pound gorilla who is piggy-backing your confused ass. Punching that monkey in the face will be the most difficult part of this whole process. The punch is the flame. The flame is your intent.

So: Burn. It. Down.

Then sort through the ashes. The real issues will remain. What truly matters to you will still be there, even after the mental apocalypse. If you have any capabilities whatsoever to wrangle your own thoughts, then this will be the easy part. After you’ve managed to beat your own problems out of their state of complete chaos, then they can be properly prioritized and dealt with accordingly. Some will continue on in the background, as they may not be readily solvable. Others will get immediate attention to get them out of the way. And the ones in the pack which are truly causing the majority of the mental hold-up will be pulled apart. Lessons will be learned, documented, and implemented. Progress will be made as a result. And the tougher the burn: the stronger the lesson and the better the progress. I’ve lived this to be true, and I often times have to remind myself of that fact.

These words are what it looks like when I burn it down. When I have decided to re-queue the wild issues of my time here. The feral issues of my mind. Of my current life. To distill it down to what it is that I am actually after, and what about me stands between. I hope for clarity. I hope for re-construction. I hope for progress.


dungsta said...

Good luck, Craig. i wish i could help. I also wish i had some advice. But as we both know im not real mature about melting grey matter... either way hope the fire roars outta control (that way more gets done is less time) and ernest borgnine shows up to save the day!!!

Truecraig said...

Already pushed through this year's shit-storm.

This was more of a reminder to myself. Everyone is mashing through their own problem potatoes, all the time (hopefully). Nothing special about mine. But when times get particularly tough, I need to remind myself where my solutions always seem to come from. I thought it might be of help to anyone else who happened by here.

You never know.

Sara said...

You have no idea how good your timing is. I'm glad I read your post today.

Truecraig said...

Open comment to further readers of this post:

This post is not a cry for help. Seriously, I'm fine. In fact, it is turning into me "crying wolf", purely by accident. I wrote this post as a… simple exercise in expression. Feelings and mental gymnastics are difficult for me to write, so I am experimenting with it. I do appreciate the messages and emails of support, but seriously, this is just an exercise. Please don’t call me with condolences of any sort. I’m starting to feel really guilty about it.

I thought that perhaps I could help someone else out in the process of figuring out how to express one of my mental methods. Sara, I hope that it did, indeed, help in some way (even if it was ever-so remote). No worries.

Devil in a red dress named liz said...


Devil in a red dress named liz said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement. Exactly what i needed to hear today.

I've always found laughter is the best medicine. That and "going outside to blow the stink off". Amazing what a little stink-blowing will do for a person.

Hope you have pushed on through and done what you've had to do.

Remember: Life is not a spectacle or a feast. It is a predicament. (But we occassionally make spectacles of ourselves and eat well so it's not a total loss!)

dungsta said...

C, i didn't mean my post to be interperated as a response to a "C pitty party". You don't do that, and i wasn't trying to insinuate that was what your post was conveying to me. Actually, my response was intended to be more about future brain melting endeavors. (Im not saying you do this) but I often times get asked to help in situations like this. All i was trying to say is that im the last person anyone should ask about this particular topic and basically lamenting my own personal failures. im glad though that you've tried to offer help to those in need. Sounds Like it worked. nuff said.

Truecraig said...

Liz - I LOVE to blow off stink. But I'm sure you weren't referring to what I'm referring to. I guess I am making a spectacle of myself right here! Sweeeeet!

Dungmeister - Thanks for the words of encouragement. I do respect your opinions and views.


Devil in a red dress named liz said...

Now I'm sooo curious.

If you behave yourself I'll keep reading and keep my link to you.

Just do as I say and no one will get hurt.

wod said...

Good advice. I always get these feelings on Sunday night, and have yet to find out what that means.

Debbie said...

It is amazing, really, but 100% true that our problems get compounded with other problems in our heads and make us do rediculous shit.

I make rediculous choices and mistakes. When I look back, I can totally see why I did what I did.

Why are things so easy in hindsight?

Truecraig said...

Liz - you make me sound naughty. I was talking about passing gas. Ahhhhhhh... that's nasty.

Wod - I think it means that you're Sunday nights aren't as easy as the mornings. Lionel Ritchie was more of 'cup-half-full' kind of fellow, I suppose. He'd have to be with a face that big.

Deb - Can I type you 'Deb' (it goes with the other three letter names above). Hindsight is only good for me if I can glean a lesson from it. Otherwise, it only breads regret. And regret is a dirty word (useless feeling).

jon said...

I was looking at your posts about cancer and found a good article about the same cancer info too...

God luck with it : )