I have not typed much here, nor have I even expressed myself through written word or spoken word in awhile. Part of it is the disjunct lifestyle of summer, from 10am bar visits to watch the world cup, working at the university, riding a motorcycle to Alaska and back and now, caught between the impending school year and a lack of motivation.
Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited for the upcoming school year, it is going to be a tough one for me because my schedule is so full, but right around this time I always get fidgety and wish I was back in the classroom. I am not sure what it is, but I love being in there. Perhaps it is because I know I am good at it and it is my personal kingdom where I am tyrant, dictator, and supreme ruler.
But I felt a lack of the need recently to share much of my life. Aqila has mentioned I am a little quieter since coming back from the trip. I am not as willing to answer text messages or phone calls and I often sit and just let the mediocrity of the internet keep my mind just busy enough to stay sane.
I also find myself censoring myself for some reason. I guess I am worried about upsetting people, ruffling feathers, or hurting feelings…..something I am not used to worrying about.
So fuck it….
I am an intelligent man, sometimes to0 intelligent for my own good, call me cocky, but I know what I am doing. There are times I play the less observant role to keep people at bay. A colleague called me on it once at a conference. I love joking around, and making myself the target of the humor. At the conference after a long day and evening, she pulled me aside (she had a little drink) and said “You don’t fool me, I watched you all day, nothing got by you. You play that dumb role, but boy you got a brain in there and it won’t stop running eh?”
It was strange to have someone call me on it. Years ago when I felt like being cocky and arrogant with people they would call me on not paying attention and then I would recite the conversation verbatim and with the correct inflections. What can I say my brain cannot ignore situations. Sometimes I need to follow two or three stimuli to keep me from going crazy….for example, internet reading, TV, and music, simultaneously processing all three stimuli and not losing any information from any of them.
Sometimes when I am bored I will start a though, run with it on my brain’s back burner and start cooking more and more, like a veteran chef I end up juggling 4,5,6, or even 7 pots at once.
Sometimes I try to focus on just one thought and I end up picking my toes until they bleed.
Sometimes I touch my index fingernail to my thumbnail by accident and I have to go through a series of ritual finger motions with all ten fingers or a strange neurological fire sparks in my arms and rapidly spreads through my body until I feel like my body is trying to fight its way out of my skin.
Sometimes I watch people walk by me and I feel badly for them.
Sometimes I listen to people complain and I wonder how I feel so content and well adjusted in life when I know I have a bottle full of crazy just waiting to be uncorked.
Sometimes when I am with people and I listen to their conversation my Dark Passenger will come out and start messing with me, often coming up with what would be the most horrific thing I could do in this situation and how would the people react. It is quite amusing really to be talking to a person with a dog and then begin to imagine a scenario where they are talking to me and I just attack their dog and just rip it limb from limb with my hands and mouth, spitting viscera and blood on the owner of a now deceased and mutilated Yorkshire Terrier.
Then my conscience kicks in and the internal laughter dies down.
Sometimes I wake up at night and start freaking out that I will end up alone and homeless staggering through the streets telling people about how good my life used to be and I really was somebody back then….they ignore me and shudder in disgust. I wonder if the homeless people I see were ever really somebody.
I love how people give me advice on how to live when I have it down pretty damn good as it is. I guess I often enter a conversation assuming I am smarter than the person I am talking to, narcissistic I agree, but I can’t help it.
Like a caged animal if I don’t get enough mental stimulation I begin acting out in destructive ways. I am a big fan of playing “human chess”. This is where I decide on an outcome I want to achieve and then manipulate people into outcome. For example I was going out with a group of friends, five or six guys, and one was way to excited for his own good. Being bored I decided to orchestrate the other five guys into coming up with reasons they couldn’t go, thus crushing the excitable guy’s hopes. Through carefully orchestrated emails at precise times and with just the right excuses as their conten I watched my friend (who I work with) go from elated to angry. When I achieved my intended outcome I told him it was a joke.
I like the idea of moving the organic chess pieces without their knowledge.
I am by no means saying I am perfect, I am overweight, a result of being a fan of instant gratification. I know it, I recognize it, and if so desired I can control it. I have gained and lost weight multiple times. I told my doctor I am conditioning my heart.
She gave me a scattered and befuddled look. I said “Look if you stay in shape your whole life your heart becomes accustomed to that, when you get older and can’t stay in such good shape your heart can’t deal with the weight gain and slower metabolism. When you live your whole life fat you weaken your heart and it can’t work as long. However when you go from fat to fit you are conditioning your heart to transition between the two.”
She continued her gaze and without blinking she said “I don’t think there is any medical evidence to support that”.
She is right, my Dr. sees through my BS, in fact she would be a great therapist. I remember trying out one once when I was NYC. I manipulated and played her so easily I actually started feeling badly for her. I knew her psychological tricks, I knew the results she was going for and I knew how to feed into them to string her along.
She told me I was an arrogant child who doesn’t understand the importance of emotional connections with people. I told her she became a therapist so she could ignore her own issues and fix other peoples problems, or convincing other people they have problems so she doesn’t feel lonely in her weakened brain.
I do not have everything figured out. I still have anxiety, sometimes severe anxiety. I remember not to long ago Aqila was staying at her parents house which she often does. I was sitting home alone, watching TV, surfing the web, and I felt this tremble in my neurons, like a flood was coming that I wouldn’t be able to stop, the anxiety snowballed and I began to lose it. The walls seemed to close, I felt like I had to physically breathe or my body wouldn’t know to do it, and then the wave crashed into my consciousness, every fear and worry I kept tucked away washed over my cortex.
I am used to carrying four or five thoughts at once, but all of a sudden hundreds began firing off at once. I couldn’t control it, like a lightening storm in my head, each bolt starting a fire that raged on I couldn’t control what entered and my mind. It was like a hive of bees buzzing around my brain.
I force myself to breathe, the walls push themselves on me and I begin to feel so unbelievably fragile that I think I am about to die. I feel a true fear, not a manifested one, but a true fear that wraps its dark tendrils around your brains and won’t let go.
Then I feel myself talking. “Calm down, you are OK”. It is quiet at first and does nothing, but then my it becomes louder and louder, not yelling, but a soothing loudness that exudes confidence. My brain manifests thoughts into strange shapes. I see myself standing on the precipice of a cliff, holding my ears and feeling like I am being pulled over the edge.
Then that confident voice, comes walking up with all the calmness of waveless ocean. I pull my hands from my pocket, grab the anxious me off the edge and give him a look that says “Really buddy, stop being so weak and get back to normal”.
Then it is gone, I feel fine. This whole ordeal might last anywhere from 3 minutes to 20 minutes.
I remember this happened to me once at home when Aqila was there. My family was sitting around the table with her and I and for no reason I felt the anxiety climb up my spine. I began looking around and silently lost it. I began to think that I am alone, no one at this table can possibly understand what is going on in your head. Inside I was screaming, at the edge of the cliff. Outside I was fine, not showing any sign of the fear gripping me.
I excused myself went up to the bathroom, stared in the mirror and talked myself down from the cliff. Just like that, no crying, no freaking out on other people. Just me alone calming myself.
I don’t think I have ever shared that before in my life.
This ability to talk myself out of what people call panic or anxiety attacks gives me even more confidence. My medical doctor was watching me during an appointment as we talked. Just so you know I love my medical doctor, she is amazing. Calm, genuine, and I never feel like she is judging me, so sometimes I just talk to her.
I also have strange habits when I talk. My eyes dart around because if I look someone dead in the eyes I have trouble adding another thought or two in my head and then I can only focus on them and begin to dig at my fingernails or go through a number of OCD rituals I have when I feel that neurological fire begin to burn.
She noticed me doing this and asked about. I told her all about my internal OCD behaviors, inability to focus on one thought, I showed her my bloodied and mangled toes from when I can’t get mental relief.
She wanted to prescribe me an ADD or OCD medication. I told her thanks but no thanks. I have learned to deal with it and actually embrace it.
As I sit here and write I am rolling my childhood, 32 year old blanket in my fingers in just the right the pattern to exude just the right about of pain under my fingernails to keep that twitchy, restless feeling at bay. See I discovered early on that administering small amounts of superficial pain to myself will put out the neurological fire that sparks up when my obsessive compulsive behavior kicks in. Hence the pushing of hard objects under my fingernails, or if I have the time to myself, picking at my toes. I guess it keeps me sane.
I discovered I have a mild form of synethesia which is where the stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. In other words, my senses often get crossed. My base symptom that I always have constantly is grapheme synethesia where numbers are perceived as colors. While most people comprehend them as numbers I cannot. When I see a number in my head it is processed as a color or palette of colors. This goes for weeks, months, years, decades, etc. This also explains why math took more work than the norm for me.
I began researching this recently when I made a statement to a friend who thought it was strange. What was happening was I was eating and my friend asked how the food tasted. I responded that it tasted pointy and a little round.
He looked at me blankly. Then I realized what I had said. My whole life smells, which are tied to taste, evoke a shape that I feel. For example something sweet makes me feel like there is something round in my mouth. Something acidic, like pasta sauce, makes me feel like there is something pointy in my mouth. Now I don’t have to be physically eating these things. If I smell something sweet, I literally feel like I have something round in my mouth. Sort of strange, but also explains why people always ask me why my mouth contorts when I am just sitting around.
Synesthesia has no ill affects or does not affect the individual in any negative way. from my research, most synethesiaists like myself never know they have it until someone tells them what they say doesn’t make sense.
Aqila just poured some milk and and I felt something bumpy on my tongue, ha, so weird. When I told my Dr about this she was intrigued, did some research and found like myself it is way more common than previously thought. She also attributed my ability to remember conversations and situations so well to this. When I observe my surroundings my brain is generally storing them as colors and shapes, these as you remember from preschool are some of the most basic and simplest things. So when I recall a situation I am basically recalling a series of colors and shapes that my brain then renders into a language that I can then transfer out.
I once tried to describe what the number 1734 looks like in my head but discovered there is no word for what I was seeing, but I know how to transfer the basic info to someone else…just can’t transfer the details.
Sometimes I tell people I forget or don’t remember a scenario just to make it easier for myself.
Damn, it feels good to write about all of this. I think this is also why I became a little off and out of it during my motorcycle trip. Being so hyper-focused was not easy for me, I think I sprained my brain. However I did notice that on a few occasions I was moving out of the way of road debris before my dad even saw it and he was in front of me.
I was once in the backseat with two other friends in the front driving down a country road at 2am and pointed out a dear on the side of the road before the driver or front seat rider noticed it. I discovered why.
When driving my brain filters the images. The constant, repetitive, scenery (white lines, trees, signs, etc) get put down as a monochromatic layer, then out of the ordinary objects (moving cars, birds, road debris, etc.) all take on a textured multicolored look. They mine as well be neon signs against a black background.
I discovered this on the motorcycle trip, I had so much time driving that I learned how to control the different layers in my brain. Take away the normal road and only show the potholes and debris. Take away the trees and shrubbery and only show the birds and deer.
However because I was riding with two other people I found myself focusing on riding how they want me to ride rather than how I could. When I did this I realized I was less safe then when left up to my own devices. My brain begins to think “does he want me closer? further away? should I switch lanes now?”
However when I ride alone I can focus and concentrate on the layers with no concern about pleasing someone else. However there were times when I would just think, screw it, ride how you want and factor them into the layers. This made it easier.
Phew, what a random mess of cerebral puke.
I love the human brain, I love my brain, especially since recently I began unraveling it and figuring out how it works. Not sure how I am doing it, but I realized I can only do it when I don’t focus on it. It is like looking at some stars, you can see it when you don’t look directly at it, but the second you focus on it, it disappears. When I try to focus specific workings of my brain they disappear into web of nerves, however when I focus on another aspect of my brain the periphery workings begin to come out and show up more defined. Almost like talking to one person while watching another person in your periphery vision the neurological functions and pieces come into sharp focus and I can begin to control and manipulate them.
I don’t know, I can’t sleep tonight, insomnia has been so foreign to me that I didn’t notice him sit down next to me tonight. I guess I needed to get some of this out because I felt like he was giving me a disapproving look for the lack of writing and purging of the my synaptic valves lately.
Take as you want, but what I know is I am happy, confident, content, and love every minute that my neurons are alive and firing.