I was upstate the other week with my mother, doing nothing but watching the Investigation Discovery channel. One week straight, non-stop murder mysteries. At one point, I heard a rare neighbor person of some sort outside yelling and I wondered if she was being tortured or she's just really bored like me. I assume the latter. My mother always lived in the Bronx until a few years ago, when she moved to the utmost middle of nowhere. A town with very few residents, which is fine since it just means I have the best hair in the whole place regardless of humidity. It's typically quiet all around except, of course, for the sound of my mother talking. "Cand! Can you hand me the _______?!" Always have to hand her something. Or reach for something. She speaks at a volume most would call "shouting." A level I would reserve for instances such as talking to someone on the 6 train platform as it was speeding by. She doesn't get any quieter than that.
All this loud volume gets in the way of me listening to the same obsessive thoughts in my head, and that can be an annoyance, but it's an actual human connection. Something I feel I've denied myself of as well as been denied of for some time. So I'll reach for whatever it is even though I have no idea how she got it up there in the first place.
My parents have gotten older. I went to Los Angeles for almost 7 years and was so far removed from New York that I missed out on their gradual aging process and now it just appears severe.
It can be alarming, if you let it. If anything, it signified how I had to be in New York more and spend less time trying to get LA to work for me. I had to come back, and with that, I had to deal with a lot of my past that I ran away from. In person. And that includes, my mom.
I kept myself isolated in LA for so long that I missed out on a lot of things and I don't want to anymore. Los Angeles can feel like Glengarry Glen Ross but in the form of a city. If you meet the wrong kind, it can center around a lot manipulation, deceit, domination, power struggles and greed without the need for a love story in the whole plot. Built on some sort of emotional burial ground where the restless spirits of failed actors and scorned lovers haunt the people. Many will grasp onto you if you have something to offer, or if you're associated with celebrity of any kind. I assume that's why celebrities can live there for twenty years plus. They get the good out of the masses. Meanwhile, there's those like me, who don't have fame, don't want notoriety and just moved to Los Angeles because it's another major city that is not home and is completely season-less. Everyday you wake up to a scorching white sky and trees that never go through any changes. It can sometimes feel as if you're living in a fish tank with the same backdrop. And after a while, you do sort of take on the mannuerisms of a goldfish. Just floating around, expressionless, doing nothing over and over again while waiting for something cool to happen like a kid dumping food flakes on your head or getting a gig. Many times, the people you encounter will look at you with a blank stare and not have enough interest in you to form words to come from their mouths. I've learned to accept this as it has nothing to do with me, it just means they are suffering from adrenal fatigue from all the smog and enduring years of nothing but meaningless sex and vapid chit chat. And guess what they're chit chatting about? The goddamn weather. The same weather, the same conversation. After a while, your brain just gives up and drops dead inside of your skull. I can get the same level of human connection calling Apple Care and speaking to the automated voice system, but maybe get a little more compassion because they ask me what music genre I prefer to listen to while I wait, so that's sweet.
When you spend years without establishing any sort of meaningful relationship or connection with another person, you will turn into mush.
Of course there are great people of depth there. And I love them dearly, and they think the same about the city at times. The feeling of loneliness was like nothing I've felt before. Odd thing is, it was something I always longed for since certain people in my life affected me to a point where I just didn't want to associate with anyone.
Perhaps LA and I are in a little bit of a fight right now and we're taking a break. He still has all my stuff so I don't think it's over. I'm maturing and he's still saying the same, but if one day he can communicate with me and open himself up to love, we could get back together. Besides, I met back up with New York and he still has my heart. Plus, he's good to me.
That was the most Tori Amos thing I've ever done. Right there.
Anyway, LA is great place to go to if you want to reinvent yourself, and a lot of people move there for that reason. Yet, it all comes down to this: You can't run away from who you are. It will always come back to you.
Truth is, I never knew how to cope. I turned to talk therapy, like many do out there, but you have to utilize it correctly. You have to allow yourself to dig deep and feel the trauma and get it out of your system. A lot of people naturally are uncomfortable doing so in a certain settings, especially in front of a stranger. It's a step in the right direction, but there's more that needs to be done, for I feel it's only scratching the surface. You have to re-experience the pain, and a lot of men can have a hard time dealing with this, more often if their pain comes from a father who made them feel like an inadequate male, so being emotional isn't something they're keen on. In which case, they may choose to just discuss it, and not feel anything they're saying as they're too preoccupied with how they come off discussing it. In Los Angeles terms, it's like a really shitty actor reading a monologue, failing miserably because he's just reading it and not feeling it.
Example of talk therapy gone wrong:
Man: Yeah, my dad was verbally abusive and told me I'd never amount to much because I couldn't spackle the bathroom wall when I was 9.
Therapist: Oh, how do you feel about that?
Man: I hate him. I had to make up for my lack of masculinity by ingesting endless scoops of creatine, getting a truck too big to fit into my carport, and keeping my emotions hidden from all the women I've loved and in turn, went cold on them when I felt anything.
(They wouldn't say this but this is what happened.)
Therapist: Okay. I'm going to write you a referral to a psychiatrist. I think you could really benefit from an antidepressant and something for the anxiety as well, such as a combination of Zoloft and Xanax.
Hey guy, you're still gonna be a shitty human who has to move your big, dumb truck at 6am because you're stuck with street parking, in a relationship with a woman who wants to say so much, yet feels more comfortable with fearing you at this point, sitting in the passenger seat with dead eyes. And plus you're still going to hate your dad. Difference is, you'll feel numb and have no sex drive, which will make your girlfriend feel even more special :D
And now she has accumulated her own issues because you're impossible to communicate with. Yay, fun for the whole family! I'm going to go with maybe, change your perspective on the logic. Make being a bigger man a man who deals with it.
So I suppose a lot of us are running away and dragging our baggage with us, and just infecting everyone else. Kind of like if the monkey in Outbreak was a host species for daddy issues.
You're not going to want to connect if you're carrying around a burden from another person.
With or without therapy, I already think way too much and know where the problems stem from. I firmly believe that revisiting the situation as best as you can, can give relief. No medication or discussion with someone who has no direct affiliation with the source behind the pain is going to make it better. At least in my case.
My tactic years ago was to run from who I was. I ran away from that person and that person's pain. I dyed my brunette hair to blonde thinking that would be the demise of her issues, for she no longer existed. Hid behind an exterior of silliness, because, hey, you wouldn't take me seriously anyway, so why bother? Formed time and energy consuming relationships with people who displayed an ounce of something I could identify with, but didn't match me on an emotional level. Can't blame them. Who would've thought I had one? Not even me. I repressed her and instead, spent years reading comedic tweets to distract myself from acknowledging her. Like I mentioned, it took me a long time to learn how to cope. It's either deal with it all, which I've done a whole lot of recently, or change my look as a defense mechanism, making statements and building guards with a hairdo, becoming a new person, and repressing all that would make me react in that fashion. And of course, hide.
I feel that fate has directed me to come back to New York for such lengthy periods of time to heal. People from many years ago are suddenly resurfacing. People who affected me deeply before I knew how to handle it. People that left a mark on me for many, many years. Everything that led me to hide for so long came into discussion. And now the need to hide is gone. Whatever barricade I created for myself that sheltered my physical being, my self-expression, my creativity, has finally come down. Now I have endless amounts of ideas and possess positive thinking. Weird. I mean, I'd cut off all communication, change my phone number countless times and disappear and think that was the answer. Which is not exactly healthy. When you run, what'll happen is, any close relationship you have in the future, any little trigger, any inkling of a specific person, and you will do what you do best: You will react in ways you'd react in the past. That person you shoved into the trunk of your mind will still be alive and kicking. "I don't like your hair dark," says the boyfriend. *Remembers her mom said this, on bad terms with mom* "Oh my God, get out of my house, and TAKE YOUR STUFF! Also, you never taught me how to DRIVE!"
Therefore, when you're in arguments with your boyfriend, your arguments become arguments with your mom.
Healing the past can get irritating depending on the person. If you're a more introspective type, or perhaps you're empathetic enough to see your part in a situation, then maybe you'd be easier to speak to and resolve issues with. Yet if you're defensive, then, whelp, you're a nightmare. My least favorite kind of person is one who can't own up to anything. And if that's the case, I just gotta take the highroad and know that they're not mentally capable right now. My hurt will be removed on that alone.
Then there's the type you shouldn't get re-acquainted with, the miserable types. It's funny to watch their faces change when you show them you're in a good place. People can be so petty. There's a lot of that running rampant, especially in this day and age when you can post online what you deem to be a moment of value. A lot of people are satisfied in keeping you hidden, bringing you down a notch when you're feeling blissful enough to want to shine a bit. Having you feel self-conscious and second guess your happiness. Don't bother with these types. They will grow old and alone, because growing old and alone is a curse, and be cast as grumpy elderlies who can't get the best of time, and not be able to do what they've always done best: control everything.
The great thing about dealing with negative people throughout your formative years is being able to spot them from a mile away and knowing to run 7 miles away. Or for me, Uber 7 miles away. If I was the younger, naive me, I'd try to make them like me, and in turn, have to endure their negative mindframe rubbing off on me, for I've always been like a social sponge. Such a bother.
The goal for me at 35, is to get back to where I was before all the trauma set in. Before I embarked in relationships with people who weren't good for me. Or mend the broken relationships with people who do matter. I will be as creative as I can possibly be without that pesky barrier called fear that was handed to me somehow in mid-conversation with a few people who weren't good for me, nor themselves at the time. I'm almost there now and I haven't been happier since the late 90s. I find myself feeling completely enamored with Forest Hills again. Walking along the gardens, a beautiful place I grew up near that I once called, "My Strawberry Fields," until a few bad emotional attachments left a bad taste in my mouth for over a decade. Now I feel a rush as I get flashes of teenage memories and not wanting to quickly dismiss them. Listening to the same 80s music I'd blare on my walkman in 1997, still adorned in a leather skirt and a black top, still having daydreams of unrequited love, longing for a deep conversation with someone who actually understands my language for once. (Some aches can be cute fun for the imagination.) Having a human connection with someone who gets me without the anchors of past resentments weighing my mind down. It's strange to me how fate has brought me back here and I'm finally embracing it all, instead of what I've always have done: Book a flight to the edge of the Earth to be left alone.