Fake it ’til you make it
One of these days, I just know I’m gonna remember that riff that I use to be able to play pretty well. I even have what you might call faith. Until then? Fake it ’til I make it, I guess: Grab the instrument, fingers on the board, and keep toiling away until the holograms of happy dancing couples begin appearing again with some regularity.
That said, I really don’t know what I’m doing most of the time. I feel OK, but slightly discombobulated. I was in a roomful of people a little earlier, one where everyone who talked went on about how they really felt connected and in the middle of the herd and things, and I stared out the window and wondered why I sometimes feel utterly alone, even in the middle of a crowd. Not that I want to feel that way, mind you, and this isn’t coming from a place of self-pity or anything, but I’ve always gotten the sense my brain was wired a little bit differently than everyone else’s, which can make for the occasional uncomfortable silence. Actually, a lot of uncomfortable silences, coupled with a lot of “WTF?” looks when I start babbling about, oh, the behavior of ants in colonies and birds flocking in the sky, and how that relates to humans. (Fortunately, I have a few friends who understand my ramblings, and will start talking about morphogenetic fields and increasing novelty, but I don’t get to see those folks all that much these days.)
Most of the time, I can function in my own little world all right. I still spend the lion’s share of my time alone, when I would prefer to be more gregarious; hell, even cockroaches are gregarious, but I’m not. I eat alone. I go to shows alone. And I’ve come to realize that I just must be one of those people who relates much better to other people through a keyboard than I do in person. Maybe it’s just that, in person, people think I’m kind of uncouth and weird or something, and they’d prefer to read my stuff online a lot more than they want to hang out with me. I’m OK with that. (And I’m not even going to go into the meeting-women part, because I’ve finally reached the point where I’ve just let that one go, at least for the time being.) Shite, this sounds like I’m whining, so I probably am.
Anyhoo, as I’ve mentioned before, I do this recovery thing, and I’ve steered clear of the bottle and the bong for, well, it’ll be 19 years this coming September. Part of that particular spiritual practice involves praying to a Higher Power, as they say in the rooms, and so I do that every day — just turning my thoughts, feelings and actions over to the care of some Great Benevolent Whatever outside of myself, and forgiving those who I think have trespassed me, and all that. It’s a practice, just like the meditation sit that I do every day. Lately, and for a little while now, I’ve taken to pray something along these lines: God, I ask that you take whatever that miserly thing in me is that keeps me blocked off from connecting with other people on a heart-to-heart level, and that you smash it, dissolve it, break it down, take it away — whatever it takes to where I can connect with others with my heart. Please make me loving, generous, compassionate, caring and kind, so that I no longer feel so alone and disconnected from the rest of humanity.
I’d like to tell you how well it works. Sometimes, maybe. But right now, I’m back to feeling pretty alienated. I know it’s just a feeling, and that feelings are not facts — but that feeling has persisted, and I’m really starting to lose whatever faith I’ve gained over time. Even so, I’ll keep on trucking along, doing what I do, because it is a practice, and to maintain a practice, you have to do it day in and day out, every day, even when you feel like you’re wandering through what feels like weeks of twilight. Like my sainted mum, I am a stoic motherfucker when I need to be.
And that, chilluns, is today’s cheery little dispatch. So, hey! Let’s party! —Jackson Griffith