Genuine Hope

Content warning for ableism, sexual content and description of abuse.

There are times where I can’t articulate why I keep myself alive. Yes, I do a lot of things. I work 40 hours a week and I write a lot. I vent on social media, to my friends, to my therapist and my support group. I eat at overpriced restaurants and I hit on people, maybe get lucky with one person (or two). Sometimes I try to draw/do photography, and when I am not overwhelmed by a sense of guilt/self-loathing, I share the results. Thing is, that’s surface-level shit. I am not my possessions, and contrary to what David Wong said, I am not my job. If I am my job, then I would be able to exercise it without doubt, without being distracted or bored. If I am my possessions, why do I sometimes get sick of them and donate it all to various places? Plus, my hobbies change. I really wanted to be like Tiger Woods AND Michael Jordan when I was younger. I wanted to be like Carmen Sandiego (remember that game?), be this globe-trotting person looking for…something. But I’ve tossed all of that stuff away, and what I’m left with is paranoia, hunger, a bit of avarice, ambition and fear…maybe even a little optimism. I mean, that’s the best word I can use for why I’m still alive in spite of everything going on.

None of that counts. Why? Every time I break down my beliefs, my profession and my possessions, it all comes down to feeling. I only have a hunch that my job will exist tomorrow. I only have a hunch that the closet I stock my shit in will last and not, say, be raided by Neo-Nazis who know where I live. I’m living on hunches, bets, gambles, predictions. And as confident as I can get, or as scared as I may be, I am only basing things on how I think the world will turn out, which guides how I act right now. I only get a few moments where I am actually engaged in the moment. I am often thinking shit over, I often concentrate on something else. It’s a (bad or good) habit of mine, and I maintain it because I feel comfortable with it. And yes, I’ve been prescribed drugs for it, but after a while I just drift away from it. Because I’m afraid of committing to that stuff, because committing to it would mean destroying this thing that makes whatever I am function, and I don’t want to let go of it. Yes, I admit it, I don’t want to let go of my habits. I piss and moan when said habits get me somewhere bad, but then there are moments where they lead me to somewhere good. A juicy bite of a good burrito. The smooth skin on someone’s lips. The warmth of someone else’s hands. The morning sights, pats on the back, and the bits of validation I get. I may profess to have a left-leaning, Socialist ideology, but what guides me is sensation, and the hope that I will be able to experience more sensations.

That realization  makes me worry, however. If what guides me is sensation and feeling, how can I ever be trusted to be a good ally, friend or lover? Don’t relationships depend on a degree of predictability? Does a movement not need strong leaders and followers with conviction? Retirement plans would not exist if there wasn’t some sort of confidence in how things will turn out in the long run, otherwise everyone would look at those things as gambles (which, well, they kinda fucking are even though everyone says you should apply for them). True, to paraphrase Immanuel Kant, “A mere idea of a thing is not the mark of its existence”. But daily human life is driven by mere ideas. We depend on the mere idea that our country is great, our markets good, our beliefs sound, and our leaders just…but they may be wrong. And there is an idea I cannot shake.

Which leads me to slink into myself. Look at myself in the mirror and dissect myself. Ever since I was a kid, I have often talked to myself out loud. Talked to imaginary friends, and then I just began talking to myself. I mumble, make sounds, move my lips constantly. When I am completely alone or even in public, I engage in loud conversations with myself. Which drives some folks nuts and freaks others out. People have asked me, sometimes with mocking tones and other times out of some sort of pity, if I am autistic. My parents said, “Yes” (without showing me medical papers stating such). This one therapist I had read from the DSM IV to prove that I was not, in fact, autistic. Regardless, I talk to myself just to affirm to myself, in some way, that I exist, and from there I do my best in everywhere else outside of me. My existence is important to me, no matter how miserable or joyous I am, and I want it to be affirmed by the outside world. I want to be vindicated just for existing and using up the chemicals in our atmosphere. But most of the time, I’m not.

I feel empty most of the time and sensations/experiences only do so much. The act of learning only does so much. Because at the end of the day I always ask questions. Always read the label and question what it means. Always ask drawn out questions when most people just want to get to the fucking point. Most people are comfortable in just one space, accepting things and doing shit. Well, from an intellectual standpoint, I can’t accept that. I need chaos. I need the most pessimistic sides of me vindicated so that I can move forward, ask harsh questions, and eventually get to an answer. Despair and pessimism has made me switch beliefs, move out of my old home, seek new relationships. I’m no genius, arriving at, “rational” reasons for why I should stay or leave. Hell, more than a few people have called me, “stupid”, “retarded”, and “special”. Maybe I am (after all, I was in Special Education classes until around the 2nd grade). Or maybe I’m just deviating from their idea of what, “smart” people do. But it’s not the ideas that hit me, it’s how they are imposed on me and my surroundings. It isn’t God that moved me when I was a child, it was mother’s belt. It isn’t the idea of bisexuality that moves me, it’s my physical attraction and experimentation. The idea of being a chick with a dick isn’t nearly as…complicated…as actually being that.

The idea of something, the ideals that people act upon, reach me way after I have felt the pain and pleasure of what has happened. And as long as that is the case, as long as the concrete overrides the abstract in my experience, I have to keep questioning. Because what drives me, the genuine hope that gives me the motivation to get up in the morning, is the idea of Home. Where I am Ok, Loved, and Beautiful. Where I can function without worrying about my existence being at the expense of someone or something else (assuming that is even possible). Where everything I do simply is. It’s not that I want to do away with the politics, economics, and moral questions of life. Any intellectually honest person knows that you never can do away with those things. It’s just that I want to do right by all of those things somehow. In spite of, and because of, everything I have experienced…I feel that there is a better way.

I believe that there is a better way. I just have collect and throw away shit on the journey there.

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