Celebrity deaths rarely affect me as deeply and profoundly as the death of Harold Ramis has today. I actually learned about it from John Kovalic's tweetstream and I swore that it had to be a joke. I mean, come on guys, he's Harold Fucking Ramis - he's immortal. I have to say that I was disabused of that notion this morning and really - I couldn't be more miserable. Besides the amazing work, he's done over the years in just about every medium you could think of one thing he's done means something very special to me in particular. If you frequent my blog often you know that I suffer from the peculiar combination of night terrors and insomnia. I'm pretty sure one stems from the other somehow - but I and my legion of doctors over the years have never been able to figure out how or why. There are days when I can't go to sleep because I'm too scared of what will be waiting for me on the other side of the Gates of Horn and Ivory. Having nearly three decades to deal with this, I've come to gripes with the fact that my dreams cannot hurt me. But as a boy, I didn't know that. I thought I was being visited by the literal forces of Hell whenever I slept. I remember the first time I saw Ghostbusters. I stayed over at my aunt D's house and had a night terror. I woke up screaming. She didn't know what to do because I'd not be around her often. So she sat up with me, and we watched Ghostbusters on sparkling bright VHS. I didn't get all the humor right then. I couldn't. I was maybe four or five years old. But the one thing I saw was the Ghostbusters fighting back at things that scared them. Seeing this helped me. It helped me so much that my aunt gave me the coveted VHS tape when I went home (I wore out two more tapes and a DVD since then - I'm all digital now). I know it sounds corny, but in my child's mind, I knew that no demon, ghost, or monster could hurt me because the Ghostbusters were out there. Hell, they were ready to believe me. They said so. They knew that the demons came at night and tore away the covers and scared me - but if I had the Ghostbusters move playing, they couldn't hurt me. They couldn't sacred me. But they couldn't hurt me. That movie, more than anything (other than my doctor getting me to journal about my dreams) might have saved my life. And I mean this in a very real, very literal way. I vividly recall wondering if I could kill myself, and if I did would it make the nightmares stop. I was a fucking kid, and I wondered if death was the answer to a pain and torment that I just could not understand. So losing Harold Ramis has hit me in the gut like few celebrity deaths could. It's like losing a favorite uncle you never see - you know he's out there and doing things - but he's busy. Maybe it's a little weird, but the Ghostbusters have given me comfort over the years like few things ever could. Even now when I need a laugh, or I'm feeling outting of sorts I put on the movie and play it on repeat. I could recite the entire thing backwards, forewards, or whatever I've seen it so much. So Mr, Ramis thank you for your work, your humor, and being there (along with three other kooks) when a child was too scared to sleep. May you find whatever peace you can.
I got issues, man. A lot. A whole fucking lot. The futhermucking light on my ceiling fan will not stay at a constant 60 watts. I'm diabetic and afraid of needles. I worry too much. I can't sleep at night. When I do sleep at night, it's like HorrorVision in my head. I'm always walking a tightrope between anger and sadness. I can't be around most people because I'm afraid of what happens if I lose control. And I have to constantly occupy my brain, or it revolts - you either give that fucker something to do or he finds something to do. Now at least one of these things I can do something about. No, it's not the fucking light bulb - that thing is cursed or inhabited by a grumpy tech spirit that my cybershamanic diplomacy just can't assuage. I worry too much. I worry too much because I'm a "What if?" thinker. I do it because people depend on me. They respect my opinion, and they value my perspective. And I'm a sucker for someone in need. I tilt at windmills. It's just who I am. This worrying is part nature, and part nurture. I did security work for years, including working as a bouncer, and where I grew up if you didn't think about who was going to beat your ass meant you'd get your ass beat. Add that to an imagination that is...vivid and you can see where this goes. I'm not complaining (too much), because let's be honest - asking, "What If?" means I've got a plan A, B, C, D, E, - you get the fucking idea. That's how I operate. I expect the first couple to fail and have built in backups and fail safes. But this comes with a price. A old boss put it like this "When you're always prepared - you're always paranoid." He was an old cop, and I loved that man like he was blood. Taught me everything I know about security and law enforcement procedures. Anyways, that phrase has stuck with me a long time, and I've come to shorten it to "Preparanoid." (a obvious portmanteau). Yesterday, I got shitty news. I was turned down by Uncle Sam for the third time because (and I'm paraphrasing here because if I think about it too much I'll need to go destress) "You're issues aren't severe enough! You've never even been hospitalized." Well, no shit! You don't say? Because I've had an intensely loyal and loving set of family and friends, I suddenly don't need as much help as anyone else? Pal, I'm Bi-Polar, ain't nothing I can do about that - my brain chemistry is so fucked it's like Philip K. Dick got into my head before I was even born and said, "Hey, let's just dump this whole beaker of Dr. Hofmann's brew in here. Baby high on acid - that shit will be hilarious." Of course, I don't really hallucinate, not in the traditional sense. No, my brain tells itself stories. The same thing that makes me good at planning, adapting, and overcoming can also leave me paralyzed with fear for those I care about. "If they go out in this weather they could have a wreck." "If L.A. rides the buses someone could try to hurt her." I've learned to deal with the fear over the years by allowing - no, demanding - myself to hope. I am a creature of infinite hope and optimism, but I'm also a pessimist. I see the worst, because if you know the worst, you can plan for it, and then take what you get in stride all the while hoping for the best. Anyways, I kept hoping that for once, I'd be able to do things the easy way. But nope. My issues are "mild." Let me give you an example of what my brain can come up with if left to its own devices:
Me: Man, I haven't heard from my brother in a while. I hope he's okay.
Brain: Yeah, he's probably okay. You know how he is.
Me: Thanks. Brian!...I mean, Brain. Sorry.
Imagination: What? No! That's not possible he just told you about that thing. You know? That thing! With the guy! The thing with the guy. What if it happened?
Me: Shit. The Thing.
Brain: Shit. With the guy.
Logical Plan-y Me: DON'T LISTEN TO HIM! HE'S A FUCKING LIAR. It's what he does! He tells stories and comes up with gaming stuff! I mean he does help me plan and all...But no! He's lying! Don't listen to him.
Imagination: That's why you should listen to me! I know things...and stuff. Ignore the Vulcan Boy Scout - he's useless unless you need a nerve-pinch, or you've got a seven-year itch, or you lost your wallet, or whatever. Seriously...what if it happened? CALL HIM!
Brain: CALL HIM! WE'RE DOOMED! DOOMEDDDD!!!!
Me: Oh, god, no. Oh, god. We're doomed! I'm calling him. [no answer]. It's okay. I'll just wait an hour or so and call him again...
And that's how I stayed awake for nearly three days straight. I couldn't get a hold of my brother so I couldn't sleep because I kept coming up with possible reasons why I hadn't heard from him. It's a fucking magic trick, see? I disappeared my sleep. So you know what? I'm going to try letting go. I can't control everything. So yeah, I'm gonna try to let go - even if only a little - who knows if it'll work. Besides, I can't do anything about the fucking light bulb. [Flash] [Burble Luminescently] It's like Lucifer in Edison-Thought Form. Yeah it's the bringer of light and all - but that light drives me nuts. So this is me letting go, just a little. Maybe tomorrow I'll do it a bit more and see where that takes me. I'm going to go sleep now.
I ask these questions when I begin to feel anything. Moreover, I think about what I am going to say before I say it. Will I hurt someone with my words? What about my tone? I’m a very guarded individual in person, though it may not come across that way over the Internet. That’s because over the Internet, I can filter myself slowly, instead of “in real time.” Over the years, the Internet has become my playground and a place I can be free. This isn’t to say I don’t have friends, because I do, but these people know me intimately. They know what I struggle with, and they know if I have an outburst I’m going to be near-instantly sorry. And they forgive me. I don’t know why they do, but they do, and I love them for that. They keep me sane. When one of them leaves me, it leaves scars in my soul so deep that I know I’ll never be completely whole again. Sometimes, I don’t even know how much I rely on them until they are gone. Like my grandmother. When my grandmother died, I drank myself senseless for almost two days straight. (For those of you playing along at home, I’m diabetic. Diabetics and alcohol got on as well as oil and water. I shouldn’t have gone there, but I did. I couldn’t handle it.) When I finally saw my mother silently crying in her room, I snapped out of it. I could deal with my grief later. My family needed me now. Over the weeks and months to come, I felt myself becoming more and more unbalanced. The chains restraining my inner Beast were unraveling, and I didn’t know why. I was angrier than I’d been in a long time. I isolated myself even more in fear of hurting others. I let myself contact only a few people and my L.A., she kept me sane all the while dealing with her own loss. She’s a hell of a woman. But C kept us both together really (and still does). I don’t know how I’d have made it out of the quagmire of my own wrath and pain without him. He hates it when I say I believe in him. That he’s always there for me, and he is. And I know why. Because like me he’s afraid of failing those, he cares for. But he’s never failed me yet. Not even once and I've known him for nearly twenty years.
I wage a battle on myself daily, and somehow win. But it’s a pyrrhic victory. I must segregate myself from the world. I can't be out there the way I currently am. It’s probably better that way, my anger is frightening. When in a rage, I cannot stop myself from breaking everything around me, and so far I’ve never physically hurt anyone – which is a miracle, in and of itself, and I wonder whether that will ever happen – and how I might come to terms with it. I hope I never have to find out. It’s one of my greatest fears. My life is an unending war against my worst enemy – myself. That Beast in me, I can’t seem to kill it or banish it forever. My pain is a battlefield and the weather my moods. Some days the field is sunny and the wind blows in my direction, other days storms rage above a muddy swamp of no-man’s land. Barbed-wire fences keep the world at bay, and only a few know how to reach me when I retreat. I distract myself with writing, reading, watching movies, and listening to music – hoping in doing so that the Beast will stay buried for just a little while longer. That maybe today I won’t have to fight it.
That's my typical day.
Recently, I found out that I may have Asperger's (though my case seems to be pretty mild or I've worked around a lot of the usual issues) after visiting a neurologist for my bi-polar issues. Which is probably why my bullshit detector is so finely tuned (apparently, it's called "Hyper-Empathy" - I admit I wasn't paying attention to the doctor when he spoke). They even confirmed two conditions that I've suspected I've had for a while. I have both panic attacks (yayyyy. T_T), and a form of synesthesia (aural stimuli/musical notes > haptic/tactile feedback). The panic attacks are pretty "normal," but the synesthesia is kind of weird. I literally feel music or sounds (or sometimes, the sound of someone's voice) as touches on my skin. Some people's voices are like being bathed in silk, others like nails on chalkboard. Music takes on a whole new frame of perspective for me. Some music feels wonderful, like the tones/notes are giving me a massage...some are horrible. Like being punched in the gut.
So there it is, my ugly little secret(s). If you’ve ever noticed I was in a bad mood or just out and out depressed one day and chipper the next, now you know why. Don’t judge me too harshly. And if you do, that's okay too, I don't mind. I may not be neurotypical, but I'm still a person.
On a side note, enjoy some
Jose Gonzalez - the man's voice is like a handshake from a good friend, to me at least.