Saturday, August 25, 2007

A quotation from The Deeply Unfortunate Doings Of An Ill-fated Life

So as mentioned, here is the depressing introspective text that I wrote in a notebook. The harsh light of reality is not always pleasant. Anyway, here goes.

The Deeply Unfortunate Doings Of An Ill-fated Life is perhaps a little melancholic, but none the less has an echo of truth to it.

Life recently has not seemed to positive. The events themselves do not necessarily warrant such an extreme reaction, but they have acted as a catalyst of sorts, bringing back doubts and uncertainties I had not exorcised but had put to one side.

One of the big doubts I have is what I want to do with life. When I left high school I had a definite plan: get a degree, do honours, get a PhD, enter academia, do research, become a professor, etc, etc.

This plan has been abandoned, and as yet has not been replaced by a new plan. I have floated along in life since then, going where life takes me.

The other big doubt that eats at me is my inability to relate to, to interact with other people. Sometimes talking to people is a challenge. Sometimes in a conversation I will have nothing to say, and so I will just stay silent. In a group this means I mostly listen, while in a one on one situation means I cause an awkward silence. I know it would be proper to say something, but either I don't know what to say, have nothing to say, or don't know what I want to say, or whatever, I still go mute. Sometimes the other person fills in the gap, but often the silence prevails, and the longer it lasts, the harder it is to break. I know this is not the normal way of things.

On this aspect I have been improving, albeit very slowly, but I'm still sub-par at this. And because of this I feel like I'm missing out on parts of life. Most parts of life, actually. It took me 25 years before I had a romantic relationship. I've been in Japan 11 months and have no friends who are not connected to work. I keep in regular contact with only two friends from university, and irregular contact with a few others. In every group I'm a part of, I'm an outsider, an extra. Stuff happens with the group, and sometimes I'm included, sometimes I'm not. Sometimes I don't hear about an event until after it happens. Sometimes I'll know somethings going to happen, but not when or where or who else, and am afraid to ask if I can be a part of it for fear of a) looking presumptuous by barging in and b) out right rejection or otherwise being told no. My basis for this fear is the assumption that if my presence was wanted and/or desired I'd already be invited/informed.

At any rate, a few weeks ago an incident occurred of which I'm not proud, regret and which threw these issues into a harsh light. I'm not going to go into details of what happened, but at any rate it was not my finest hour.

the consequences of that night still endure. There is now a second member of the "EsonLinji has done terribly wrong by you" club. Since then I've been feeling more morose than ever. On a positive note I have a stronger desire to take action to change the way things are going.

Last Saturday I visited a counselor in Kyoto. This is not the first time I've visited a counselor, but it is the first time I went with a definite intention to continue. I went once before, around the time I quit my PhD.

This time was a bit different. Partly because I was going of my own volition, rather than to appease a scorned master.

Mostly while I was at the counselor I just talked. On some topics once I stop talking I can keep going and going. It seems to be the small everyday talking I'm not good at, which unfortunately is the much more common and useful type of talking.

I talked about a lot of different things. The recent past, my PhD, my family, my lack of purpose in life, lots of stuff.

It's weird that I'm more comfortable talking to a counselor about some of this stuff than friends (with I think maybe 3 exceptions). Perhaps because with most friends and acquaintances it's a very casual relationship and these are serious matters. Perhaps it's because most conversations don't last long enough to get to serious matters. Yet another sign of and problem caused by my lack of social skills.

I think some of what the counselor is useful but some I'm not so sure of. This may be my cynicism showing through, although lately I think I'm too cynical. I was not too receptive to the idea of contrasting the head and the heart (intellect vs emotion). To me they are one and the same. The heart as the source of emotion is a symbol, not a fact. As a fact, the heart is a pump, nothing more. Symbolism has its uses, but reality should not be ignored to support it.

I'm also not sure of the idea of having a cynical person inside of me holding me back. My point of view is that it's just me. Perhaps this is again symbolism. I'm much more open to the ideas of facets of myself vs the idea of several different people up in my head.

This railing against symbolism brings to mind one of my favorite works, "The Sandman". In "The Sandman" the main character is Dream, the embodiment of symbols and stories, and where reality is defined by them. Maybe I'm attracted to such stories because in this and most other media I enjoy there is usually a thread of something greater going on either behind the scenes or less often right up front. I think this reflects on my general lack of purpose or meaning in life, and my desire for such things.

I've lost the sense of how to continue writing from here, so I'm going to stop. More is likely to follow.

End Post
Writing time: 34 minutes typing, several hours writing over a few days
Time since last post: 2 days
Current media: Firefly - Disc 4

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