I’ve wanted to write a few times lately and stopped myself because it felt pointless. I can’t remember all of what I’ve said and what I haven’t from all the post that have been started and deleted.
I started writing here when I had imaginary conversations running in my head, when I had something I expected to say to all my friends and family that I saw so posting was a time saver to keep the conversation moving ahead at all times and not repeat myself to everyone I met.
Lately though I’ve lost most of my friends, some people I thought were very close I learned were not, and people who are close to me don’t understand what I’m trying to say. So anything I think about writing I know will be read by people I no longer trust to one degree or another, by people who think they know what’s happening and don’t. And it will not be read by the people I really wish I could communicate with.
With the friends I have left that I talk to in person I feel like I’m surrounded by robots. Everyone will pay lip service to “being there for you” everyone “cares” but that’s just part of their programmed vocabulary. What makes it all worse and so much more isolating is that whenever I do try and talk to someone they start talking about themselves. Some say uniformly positive things, some uniformly agree with a shrug that life is hard, and then they talk about themselves.
And so “If you need to talk…” becomes “Listen to me talk.”
Of course you care, everybody cares. We care about each other but we don’t actually care for each other. We care about each other’s lives like we care about TV shows. We stay up to date on problems and take comfort that it’s all at arms length and doesn’t really affect us.
Because we all want to “Stay out of it.” People are so interested in staying out of it that they’ll turn their back on you like you never existed. Until they see you again and suddenly the programming switches and they claim they’re always there for you.
People will say what they think a good person should say when it in no way corresponds to their actions. No one cares how you feel, they care how you behave. I thought I had built a network of trusted friends and the ease with which everyone can pretend I don’t exist just about killed me. And when I saw people again how quickly and quietly they went on acting as if nothing was wrong. They were aware that I was upset and relieved that I wasn’t acting on it.
That’s what always happens to me. I listen when I want to be talking, I behave for others benefit when I want to be freaking out. And all my trying to be good, understanding, patient, etc and put other people first it just winds up with me getting crushed. Then I’d write a post explaining what I would have said if I could go a minute without being interrupted.
So what’s the point of this post? If I have no left to talk to?
I guess I’m writing to myself because my mind is a painful, disorganized loop when I’m sitting and thinking. And my goal of being understood, of feeling connected, marches on and I know I won’t get there if I give in to the isolation I’m feeling.
I know part of The Artist’s Life is being misunderstood in their time. I know I’m meant to die young and lonely and it’s up to others to find the importance of my work after that. Ultimately that is the life I want and I have no regrets. I know I couldn’t turn around and life a standard life now if I wanted to, songwriting is the only thing I’m good at, I have no skills or connections or drive in any other direction, I don’t even want a family. I’m a hopeless dreamer and deep down I’m proud.
There’s this crushing normalcy around me though and I feel like I’m speaking different language than the people I use to rely on. People love to comment that when you’re young you know everything and blah blah blah. But the fact is when we were young we did know right from wrong and we weren’t afraid to say it. As we’ve aged we’ve all gotten scared and compromised so many times we’ve rationalized away ourselves. It’s easier to believe that youthful ambitions are stupid than to admit we didn’t have the guts to go after ours.
So we became robots. We became characters. Saying and doing a version of the truth that’s easy and palatable. Everything is surface-level and safe because there are things we don’t want to admit about ourselves. And the purpose of art is to shine a light on those things in a context that makes it not invasive and let us know we’re not alone, we’re not robots, it’s just that everyone is pretending to be a robot. Good art makes us feel like we’re not going through this journey alone.
But we are. Human connection is a myth because people will retreat into rationalizations, into robot-mode, into normal life at the first sign of turbulence. At the first thing that doesn’t make them feel better about themselves. And so we’re all alone and so very crowded.