Dear Doctor

Sidney,

Some people don’t have anything. Some people don’t deserve anything. A computer, a television, a car, a job, money, family, friends, self respect. Some people hate the fact that they’re alive. I feel like that a lot, like I had a window open for a while and then I saw it close, it’s always like that, I’m like three years old and I hear somebody crying, and the window’s open and I can see the sun. Then I wake up and it’s midnight, nobody’s screaming, nobody’s there, nothing but four covered walls and a typewriter. There’s a couch, a bookshelf, desk, chair, guitar, two broken digital pianos, and notebooks. Those have been my best friends. These notebooks know more about me than I know about myself. I’m not trying to make a diagnosis, no syndrome, no sickness, just a casual lethargy and apathy.

There was a parade three days ago, at the Party in the Pines, and the parade, when I was young, was always glamorous, the beauty queens on corvettes, the marching band and horses, and the Shriner’s on little go-karts. That’s what they used to look like. Now they’re sad, the opposite of what they used to be. The beauty queen is old and her make-up just doesn’t fit her anymore. The go-karts are gone, the band is out of key, and the crowd is thinner. I think this little spot in the woods is going to be forgotten entirely, all of the people I’ve known in my life will have no footnote in history, no biographies or books or TV specials based on what they do. They get up, go to work, pay the bills, raise their children. It’s all pretty regular. I guess there are maybe 1,000 people here, tops, and everybody thinks they know everybody. That’s bullshit. Nobody knows anyone, not really, just information, birthdate, anniversary, Christmas, Easter, holidays with filler in between. And in between the holidays I’ve had a few friends, all end up in two categories: they hate me, or they don’t know me. Knowing me and hating me intersect about halfway down the road.

All the letdowns, the fronts, the suicidal experiments. That’s what it’s like to talk to someone I used to know, girl or not, they either want to kick my ass or don’t know me. I understand their position. It’s my fault entirely. I can see the problems. I can see all the failures and the neurotic nonsense. But it’s like I see it with someone else’s eyes, like it’s not me at all anymore. The window was open and I shut it and now I’m pissed that it’s never open, but I closed it, I did it to myself. And I think the gradual depersonalization, dehumanization, I think it’s finished. Everybody is at a distance now, because they know what happens when someone gets to know me. It’s the same stupid story everytime.

I meet someone. I try to figure out everything I can about that person, pay extreme attention, get to know them as much as possible, then I find out what it is I think they want, and no matter what, I try to become the vision of what I predict they want in a friend, then I try to be that. No matter what it is, it will happen. If I were to talk to a girl who was into music, then I’m a musician. If they’re into art, then I’m an artist. No matter what it is, I try to be that, whether I was before or not. Then I try to carefully construct myself to their expectations. And as long as I stay in that category, then I’m fine, but sometimes the insanity and nonsense spills over into my personal life, the other, smaller life outside my head. Outside the jail cell in the woods, I know there is a big world out there, full of people, full of complex patterns, full of tragedy. Everything is a tragedy eventually. Even if the lovers kiss at the end of the movie, they’re still going to die, their make up is going to fade, their skill will age, and they’ll die and disappear. I imagine it like a giant warehouse full of lightbulbs. I imagine at one point all of them were on and bright, but over time, the lights start going out, and sooner or later there will be no light in the warehouse and no one left to tend to all the broken bulbs. I wish friend requests came with requirements. That way I’d know everything I needed to be and everything that I shouldn’t be up-front. It’s a stupid illusion, and some people see through it, like hallucinations of the real me showing up before I get the wall back up, before I find out that they’ve seen a glimpse of what it is I think I have to hide. I don’t know myself. Maybe it’s the confusion. Maybe I want to give someone the false impression that I’ve got a pretty good grip on things, like I understand it all, like I’m coherent and lucid and a decent person. Then the hallucinations crop up again, and where whatever caricature of me was at, appears the real me, what I’ve tried so hard to hide with words and pictures and obscure sounds. Then they see the confused addict child trying to put on some elaborate show to keep them interested. I have no idea why. It always fucks up. It’s a lot like Jenga, really, one piece always makes the whole fucking tower fall. And so much effort had been wasted to sustain it. And then I paint the fucking rubble, or write about it, and then offer that as my report on the scenario.

Reports from fucking nowhere, from the little prison in the woods. I could have had anything, and that’s how it turned out. I used to want to be / do everything that was possible for me to do. About a year ago I lost track of all the loose ends, the fringes, the pathos and the fabrications, I lost track of what was real and what was not. I had no idea what I wanted anymore. I had what I needed, I think, but I hesitate to even say that. That’s vague. What do people really need? Food, water, oxygen. I had that. I held all of my biological obligations. Adaptation to environment, survival, reproduction, Brandon 2.0. Hopefully there isn’t some engineering flaw, something that I could pass down and infect the next generation with. But people these days need more than mere survival. They need clothes and friends and families. They need careers and cash and things that make them laugh. That’s the proper response to me. I’m a clown who can’t afford the paint or the time to leave the circus I’ve created, my little freak show, just a bit of entertainment, for your consideration. Do I get my pardon now, my pass? I don’t want your pity, your approval, or your understanding. And even then, I’m talking to myself.

I’m telling myself that I don’t need my pity, my approval, or my understanding, and I’m glad, because I don’t have any of that. I don’t pity myself. I probably should, but I don’t. Sometimes I feel like a robot, a robot that was broken and had an amateur repair that really didn’t fix the problem. Humpty Dumpty was me 15 years ago. All the kings horses and all the kings men was a group of kids and an old lady who drove me to the hospital. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. They got me together again, but the wires were mixed up and tangled, and I’ve been trying to untangle them ever since. Why write about it? I don’t really know the answer to that, but I’ve always loved tragedies, and writing about my life feels like I’m talking about the poorest tragedy I’ve ever tried to frame. And it’s taking too long. And living seems to be a procession of lost and found and lost again.

I try to anticipate response, so I can address it, the usual, “Oh, look at him whining again,” or, “what a bunch of bullshit,” or even, “he thinks we give a shit.” I have been programmed to report the way I see the world, and if that world is just a bunch of bullshit, then you don’t have to care about it. Who am I talking to, really? I’ve wasted so much paper and typing debating myself that I’ve forgotten what the argument was about, but it keeps getting louder, louder and the meaning of it all has long been lost. There is no meaning. There is no purpose. There is no consolation. Just words that will be forgotten from a place that won’t exist from a person who doesn’t know what they are or what they were supposed to be. I don’t even have a reason for opening notepad. There is no reason I don’t think, just a primitive protection mechanism, another empathy manifesto that lands way outside the mark. This is what keeps me up at night. “This,”-I have no idea what that refers to, but as oblivious and I would like to appear, sooner or later the props will fall and a blip of the real me is going to slip through and when you see it, you probably won’t like it. I’ve had the best friends and family, outside of my biological mother and father, two redneck drunks who didn’t know what the fuck to do with a screaming child, and whenever I see the possibility for real happiness, I’ll almost have the tragedy framed and in the past so I can move on, I always, ALWAYS, sabotage the entire operation. If the Jenga tower is complete, the game is over, I’ll pull a piece out anyway, against my will. Just to spite myself. I don’t know why. I do know a lost cause when I see one, and for all my real friends, I see the same fuck-up you see, the same pathetic piece of shit, a car capable of driving that never moves, because I’d rather paint the picture of the piece of shit than drive it.

For your consideration,
Brandon.

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