Longing and Pathos, the Truth Behind the Masks

sad tears

I don’t generally admit to emotional weakness…but-

There are days in which the melancholy threatens to take over and I’m afraid that if I start crying I might never stop.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing.  I think it’s really a sort of mental catharsis that happens when I’ve repressed too much stuff or there’s just a back log of unresolved emotional detritus that I need to try to address and resolve- or at least name.   Even though I navigate fairly well in the “world of normal,” I’ve got to love the Asperger’s/HFA/autistic disconnect between the feeling and thinking parts of my brain.  If I can’t name it, I can’t deal with it- but the rational side of my head doesn’t communicate well with the nameless, wordless emotional side.  Not at all.   Don’t ask me to be rational when emotional has control.  I lose whatever eloquence and reason I thought I had, as well as any words I thought I could use to express what I don’t think words can express.

In other words, I simply have to accept the disappointment and regret and that old favorite, guilt, that I live with, or somehow learn to get past all of that.  It’s easier said than done.

There’s always the fact that I have absolutely no courage.  It’s hard to say that but it’s absolutely true.  I loathe conflict.  That’s probably why I get taken advantage of so easily. Despite all the knowledge that feeding alligators only makes them bolder and hungrier, that’s exactly what I do.   I know I’m being exploited in many ways by just about every person I have dealings with, but I don’t speak out against it because I don’t know how to do it without the emotional side of my head butting in and making me forget the perfectly rational arguments I’ve prepared in self-defense.

I’m reduced to whatever it takes for you (meaning anyone who’s not me) to shut up and stop making demands of me…except that it’s never enough.

never_good_enough

I’ll talk for hours about things automotive, things I find funny, the weather, politics, whatever- but don’t ask me how I feel.  Most of the time I really don’t know how I feel, and I don’t usually take the time to analyze my emotional state.  I enjoy good intellectual, rational conversation, but, I try not to feel- much less talk about the whole vexing realm of feelings.  It’s less painful that way.  The really bad thing about that is that I really need to do exactly that- some old fashioned venting- but I don’t really have anyone available to me that I can trust with that kind of stuff.  I don’t want to admit to such a depth of vulnerability.

There is a saying that denial is not just an old river in Egypt, but for me I think repression is a better term than denial.  I know I have tons of emotional garbage that have accumulated for decades, but I have absolutely no clue how to deal with it.  I know binge drinking and chronic overwork aren’t healthy ways to deal with it (gave up binge drinking years ago, the chronic overwork…eh, I still have issues with that at times…)

garbage

It just keeps piling up…

There are a lot of things I wish I weren’t too afraid to do.  It’s not so much about seeking revenge or retribution.  I have no desire to inflict the same aggravation I’ve endured on anyone else.  As angry as I can get, (and my primary emotions are fear and anger) even if I have the rare opportunity to get retribution, it’s usually hollowly unsatisfying.

I know I can wish in one hand and shit in the other and we all know which one will fill up first.

I don’t want to disappoint anyone or reject anyone.  I really just want to fade into the wall and leave as little of an imprint as I can- not offending anyone or intruding on anyone’s space.

Mercy-1

Kyrie elaison – God have mercy. God knows I need it.

Maybe the reason for my recent fascination with the life and times of General George S. Patton is that he represents the exact opposite of someone like me.  I think he had the ability to work through the emotional discord that has to result from the love of battle versus the love of life (or in at least some consideration for the self preservation instinct.)  I don’t have that courage or that love of conflict, but in some ways I wish I did.  I almost wish I could be more ruthless and staid instead of just putting forth a bland and unfeeling façade.  I wish I had passion, but any passion I might have had withered away and blew off years ago.  I’m not kidding when I say that living in the garden of memory is not only safer for me, but sometimes it’s the only place where I can really feel alive.

god have mercy on my enemies Patton

I wish I could be that ruthless, but in honesty, I can’t.

Dark and Pensive, Infomercial Madness, and Outside of the Sphere

sunset trees

Winter can be beautiful as well as dark and lonely.

I can’t say that I’m sad or even melancholy.  I’m more in a sort of dark and pensive mode, which for me is a familiar, almost comfortable place to be.  My deep preference for solitude and quiet might be hard to explain to those with an extraverted personality, but for me it’s the mental equivalent of a warm fire and a relaxing easy chair.  The gardens of memory, like real gardens this time of year, are subdued and don’t appear to be as active on the surface.  Dormant, maybe, but not dead.

Of course it’s not as easy to turn off the world as it probably should be.  I am better at it than most, but I still have to deal with the practicalities of living and communicating with other people.  It would be nice to be able to tell a few people to go hang (or to just plain get bent) but I can’t shut down completely.  I’m afraid if I do that I won’t be able (nor will I want) to turn back on.

paper nighties

For me, every day is an act of the will to choose to interact with the world beyond my very restrictive sphere.  I don’t want to most of the time.   Today I would much rather prefer to take a trip to the Main Library in downtown Columbus and peruse and read and think in the quiet.  Unfortunately I don’t see a day coming where I can do that, unless I stop off there for a bit on my way to the Paper Nightie Appointment tomorrow.  I scheduled tomorrow and Friday off (I will pay for that one, but I need a little time away and I have the vacation time) so tomorrow I don’t have to scramble about and then have to endure the Paper Nightie Appointment.  I dread it enough as it is.  Friday I hope to finish getting Steve-o whatever Christmas gifts I want to get him- or better yet, meet him somewhere so he can pick out what he wants.

angry birds pants

Dad’s getting Angry Birds jammies.

Most of my relatives have way too much crap to begin with, so I have to be creative.  Dad is quite enamored of the Angry Birds game, and he likes those men’s lounge pants that geezers wear around the house.  It should work.  What else can you buy for the man with the taxidermied squirrel on a skateboard?

squirrel skateboard

Yes, Dad really does have a taxidermied squirrel on a skateboard.

I learned a new word from the infomercials that pollute the airwaves from 2-4 AM.  Insomnia must have some advantages, if only to enlighten me to the wonderful world of such invaluable products such as the Pos-T-Vac, the Nu Wave, and the No-No.

I always thought that area that’s not your neck, not your tits and not your shoulders was simply the not-neck-not-tits-not-shoulders area.  Then I discovered the French actually have a word for the not-neck-not-tits-not-shoulders area.  It’s always good for me to expand my vocabulary.   They call it the décolletage or décolleté- meaning “sort of around the neck area,” and you’re supposed to slather expensive cream on it so it doesn’t end up looking all wrinkled and birdy.  One infomercial suggests you should blast this area with a radio frequency device you can also use on your face to ward away the birdy wrinkles.   ‘Kay….

All I could think of when I came upon this device was Oh. Holy. Shit.

face blaster

If I feel the need to hook my face up to this, I have deeper issues than a few birdy wrinkles.

I can just imagine if I’d found this when I was five years old and had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night at Grandma’s.  Seeing Grandma’s and Grandpa’s dentures sitting next to the sink, glaring out at me from their soaking cups of Polident as I was taking a midnight whiz was enough to give me nightmares for a month.  It was bad enough that Grandma could remove her teeth at night. I could just imagine the insane terror my five year old mind would have gone through if I thought Grandma took her face off at night.

At first glance I thought the above alien face mask was some kind of device intended to turn someone into Lieutenant Commander Data from Star Trek:

Data

You never know.

Of course women have been doing bizarre things to themselves to attempt to stem the inevitable tide of aging since the beginning of time. The truth is that entropy is always going to win.  Live long enough and your tits will bounce off your knees.

At least most women don’t still wear these awful things:

corset

I bet they itched, too.

I have discovered many interesting things online that I can’t imagine anyone would have any sort of real practical use for, but people will buy anything on Amazon. Even this: It’s a model to practice doing prostate exams.  And you can have it in time for Christmas if you order it by December 23!

prostate exam thing

I have an idea for a new party game based on this: “Pin the Prostate on Bob”?

Victorian Ephemera and Other Morbid and Melancholy Forays

Lactated Food sounds pretty gross, but it’s simply an early form of baby formula made from powdered lactose (milk sugar) and various grains.  Infant mortality was about 25% in Victorian times for a number of reasons, many of which are preventable today.  If a mother wasn’t able to adequately breast feed her child this was one of the alternatives.  If you’ve ever tried a taste of modern baby formula, or even smelled the stuff, it couldn’t taste much worse.  Today’s baby formulas are majorly nasty tasting,  but if you don’t know any better and that’s all you get, well that’s all you get.  Unfortunately Lactated Food, while it may have served as a emergency baby formula, it couldn’t do much to prevent the epidemics or correct the sanitation issues of that era which likely caused most of the infant mortality.

The Victorians are especially known for their sense of drama in matters involving death.  Death was not something that was shoved off into hospitals and nursing homes, far away from the rhythm of daily life.  Death was part of daily life.  The guy who built your furniture was the same guy who built your coffin.  They also called it a coffin, not a “casket,” or  “receptacle for remains.”  Mortality wasn’t something reserved for the catastrophically injured, terminally ill, or the aged who are normally shoved off into some sort of facility for months or years before they die- mortality was an equal opportunity proposition.  Death usually wasn’t a lingering thing back then. One day you might be doing your daily business and the next you could just plain drop dead.  I think that’s the reason why there were so many post-mortems taken.  You didn’t have a chance to have so and so’s pic taken when he/she was alive, so now you have to do it before he/she starts to rot.

Was it winter? Did they put her out on the porch to chill until the photographer could make it? ‘Cause she looks pretty well preserved for being dead over a week.

I don’t know why I find post-mortem photography to be fascinating.  It’s creepy to take pics of dead people and even creepier to gawk at them, but I guess it’s more morbid curiosity.  The Victorians raised post-mortem photography to a high science, even developing a sort of guitar stand for the dead so they could be maneuvered into a more lifelike pose:

Now I can explain Keith Richards.

Should I have had the misfortune to have been born in Victorian times, I likely would not have survived much more than a day or two- I was born with pneumonia and had to spend a week in the hospital from the beginning.  Sickly infants were the first to go. The Victorian world made 1000 Ways to Die appear comparatively tame.  If the contagions and bad nutrition and having to wander around in horse shit didn’t kill you, the odds of death by accident or misadventure were pretty good too.

I still admire the artwork of the Victorian era though.  The drawings are stunning and ornate.  The clothing, while beautiful, would have had to have been something wicked to clean and maintain, and I don’t see how any of that stuff, especially corsets, could have been comfortable.  I balk at underwire bras and pantyhose.

I have no idea how these poor women could breathe- but they were probably already rail-thin from always having Montezuma’s Revenge.

 Another hallmark of the Victorian era was maudlin sentiment, which was sort of understandable when you didn’t know from one day to the next who would be alive and who would be dead.  The next birthday you remember might be the last, so yuk it up good.  The cards- and I admit I don’t spend much time or money on paper cards these days- are awesome.  Even the ads are so much more artistic than the ones we are treated to today:

Of course the stuff in the ad probably had lead and arsenic and heroin and cocaine in it, but what a pretty ad!

Patent medicines- basically anything someone could put in a bottle or a tin and market creatively- intrigue me also.  A lot of that stuff proved to be more deadly than anything.  I have to wonder how many people died because the “cure” was worse than the disease.

This looks like someone’s acid trip- and it might just be acid- but if it does something about my lumbago, I might just try it!

I like the little demon drilling on the top of the dude’s head  (center frame on the left.)  That’s a nice touch.