Headaches, dreams about to come true, and the value of discipline.
Fuck man, I have to say, my life won’t be normal but sure as fuck is entertaining and full of things xD
See, I’ve been working hard, for many, many years in finding myself (I know this is vague and cliche) but yeah, too many years. You may feel this is a stage of life but it’s not, let me explain: you easily get to spend all of your hours on Earth and never come to understand what you are, how you are, what you want and what you’re willing to do for what you want. It would sound like it should be a basic premise of any given person but we’re presented with a lot of surrogate sources of distraction, entertainment, conflicts, stress, etc, that for too many, that moment of self-reflection never actually comes.
This is one of the things that I hate the most about modern life, and part of my personal quest is to find a way to show people how important their life is, how full of potential, and how they’re able to break the cycle of a cookie-cutter, pathetic existence.
The “value of discipline” mentioned above is closely related to this previous reflection; ever since I was fired from my second job, I took it upon myself not to get another job, even if I feel like I really really need or want that extra money I was used to earning. Instead, I would take a set of activities that I have identified as leading me to build my personal life strategy (yes this is something and it’s been written in a notebook for two years), and take them with the seriousness of that second job, or even more because one is about money but the second is about meaning. And it’s hard man, it’s fucking hard, I’m dying every day in a good sense and being reborn; studying the disciplines that my plan requires, and experimenting with uncharted intellectual and artistic territories every single day after work and after exercising (which is part of the change) is taking a bit toll on me. I’m tired, and I’m in a lot of internal conflict and uncertainty, I’ve left the shore and set out to discover the unknown.
Probably that’s where the headache is coming from; no, most certainly that’s the reason why (note to self: buy some fucking aspirin).
I haven’t mentioned the “dreams about to come true” part, I know, I know. But as rational as I try to be, there’s still a more primitive man inside of me who’s superstitious and I’m afraid if I say it, I’ll jinx it.
But I promise I’ll tell you when it happens, and I will link it to this entry 🙂
Listening to “Durdu Dunya” by She Past Away, a freaking awesome band.
Now I gotta say a few things and I must write them in the next 10 minutes, so here they go:
I told you I was gonna be back. The last time I wrote in my journal I was falling into depression and I told you about this issue of mine. I also told you I was gonna be back, and here I fucking am!
The wolf: The wolf is no coincidence. I also wrote a while back that I was writing a horror thriller about a serial killer, and the wolf is related to this. Yet it goes deeper than just character building, I have found a very hungry wolf inside the writer himself, one that I won’t let starve for longer. But don’t worry the serial killer stays inside the book and hopefully in your darkest dreams 😉
The whole thing and some decisions: I captured from my last downfall a lot more of what I intend to do with the rest of my life, and I’m working very hard on it. Building a presence in social media, building the artist in me who’s been buried in code for years is not an easy task, but I’m dead serious about taking this to the final consequences.
I’m thrilled to present to you “The Cultural Deviants Coffee Club”.
I’m a person of the Arts and Humanities, and I happen to believe there are many breadcrumbs to a deeper understanding of the world, which have been left by some of the greatest minds in diverse disciplines like film, and literature, arts, and music.
It’s a delight for me to analyze and interpret the beautiful legacy of great artists, I also happen to believe that if you’re a non-conformist, a person who’s thinking outside of propaganda and cultural mainstream, you’re probably interested in finding like-minded individuals.
My aim is to achieve both things and share them with you, and through this start building a community, an actual “Club” where creativity, connections, projects, and great ideas can spawn in freedom, detached from bullshit impositions around us.
So I say: Let’s do this!
TCDCC will start streaming next week and it will also be recorded and uploaded to my YouTube channel. So here’s the gist:
Live Streaming on Twitch Thursdays at 9 pm CT here
Live Streaming on YouTube Saturdays at 9 pm CT here
Subscribe to my Twitch and YouTube channels and enable notifications so you don’t miss it!
This is a post about me, this is a public declaration of a decision that will change my life forever, I know it because I’ve taken a similar one in the past, and it did.
Let me tell you a story.
I got married young, very young. I didn’t know what the fuck to do with adult life suddenly falling upon me like a fucking iron dome, no way out. It wasn’t marriage that was the issue, as a matter of fact, this was no issue at all, my life was already a lot better than it was years before. The issue was, that I had to become a full adult as an “emergency procedure”, there was a sequence of decisions that were all about breaking free and having a very slight chance to actually build a life of my own, and the promise of these decisions came with a high cost.
It was tough. I was broken, really broken not like nowadays that everyone with a hint of anxiety says “we’re all broken” to get sympathy, fuck it. Seriously.
Do you know what it is to see everything you prepared and worked for years be destroyed in a matter of days?
Have you had an experience where something out of your control rips your life apart and effectively takes away every dream and hope you had sinking you into chaos?
Have you felt a hospital is more of a home to you than your actual home?
Have you been institutionally abused, harmed, tied to a bed, or threatened with getting electroshocks to your brain?
Have you watched every person you know move on with their life and plans, while your youth is draining like the blood of a dying man in an alley, with no hope to be helped, no one who can stop the hemorrhage?
Have you ever felt death was a gentler fate than dealing with who you are or have become?
If you have, because I’m sure I’m not alone in tragedy, then I send you a sincere hug and I tell you: this will pass, but you need to hold on to hope, focus on that and find a way out, things will get in place eventually.
If you haven’t, then I hope you never have to walk those paths, I don’t envy or resent people who’ve had a better or easier life, I believe this world needs all the happiness it can get, and I sincerely hope you’re making the best out of it.
I lost the five most important years of my young adult life, my college years, not in college as I have prepared for, getting the best grades, getting admitted to the college, and the program I dreamt of and planning everything carefully. I spent those years in between hospitals, doctors, depression and despair. It didn’t come to me because of a bad decision, it simply happened and it couldn’t be helped.
Back to where I began: adult life. At 23 I was just recovering from the darkest period of my life when I decided to make it on my own and marry. Not only was I broken mentally, emotionally, physically, and with no structure whatsoever in life but also, I was financially broke and absolutely ignorant of how things work. So I came out of a personal tragedy five years long, to an absolutely brutal struggle with my own decision of becoming independent and the poverty that came with it; when I say poverty I mean it.
Then, a life-changing decision
While I took a crappy call center job, I came across network technologies; I heard it from lots of people this was a hot trend to get into and people were being paid lots of money. I needed no more explanation.
You see, I was a failed law student because of tragedy, but that was in the past now. At this point, I was able to have a job (that was a huge achievement believe it or not given my circumstances at the time), I was just married to the best girl I’ve ever met and we were both enduring great pain. It didn’t matter that “it wasn’t my passion”, it didn’t matter that “I felt life was unfair to me”, nothing of that mattered. What mattered was that there was a very slight chance of turning the tide for us, and I took it.
It wasn’t easy, I was never a systems person, I have always been a culture and humanities person. But I’m thankful to God I had the opportunity, and the vision to believe I could thrive in this; I couldn’t afford lessons so I had to learn this by myself.
I had no computer, I stayed late at my job to use their computer and then took the bus home; my health was still in terrible shape, and doing my job plus studying was simply taking me to the limit. When I finally was able to buy a cheap Toshiba Satellite laptop, I was living in a tiny, cheap apartment full of noise and shady people, one of whom actually came to threaten me with a gun if I kept asking them to lower the music a notch. These are the conditions in which I completed my first I.T certification, after paying it with a credit card because it was impossible for me to afford the exam, and then failing my first attempt.
It didn’t matter, now I was in a different community, a different market with unbelievable opportunities and I laid my life on the line to be part of it. Many more years of study, a lot of tough on-the-job learning, and countless hours of side freelance gigs to increase my learning and development, finally took me to a proven position of seniority and the ability to pretty much choose my jobs, after a decade.
I let myself go and also my previous aspirations in order to be able to attain opportunities for me and my family. It’s taken me a lot of time to understand that there are years of my life I simply lost and they’re not coming back, nor the experiences I was eager to live during those years. But I got something different and amazing, certainly far better than what my original career was going to give me as far as life quality and opportunity.
I was blessed, and I consider myself blessed. The decision to jump into the void finally proved to be the right one.
But this is not what I want in life, it’s certainly a beautiful stop on my path to it, but it’s not it.
I told you before, I’m a man of culture and humanities, not a man of technology. I’m a thinker and a writer, and it’s amazing that I got to build a strong career as an engineer given the fact that I’ve never had fulfillment doing this.
Man, you build a life for more than one decade of continuous, hardcore sacrifice, sleepless nights, all sorts of jobs, you earn certifications, study the coolest and craziest cutting-edge stuff, build a business and succeed, then fail, rise again, build connections, travel the world with your shiny career… all of this after being poor and having nothing at all! And then come to realize this will always get you a good income, but will never fulfill you, will never replace what you know you want, what you know you are. It’s hard to know what to do.
I’ll tell you what I did: I wrote.
A New Beginning
This takes me to 07-01-2022 at 1:52 AM, the time of writing this post.
When I was a child, I used to create monsters, stories, and worlds of my own; my first short stories, I wrote just because I felt like at 6 or 7 years old. My first poems at around 9 years old, and as a teenager, I always carried a notebook for thoughts, songs, and poems, and I ended up destroying it always because I felt it wasn’t enough and because the contents hurt me more than they would help me.
It’s been extremely hard to find myself, but this is me, a writer.
I believe even if tragedy hadn’t struck me and I had carried on with my plans, sooner or later I would have realized law was not going to fulfill me the way writing and creating does.
This is me, I’m an artist.
It’s hard to find it out at 35, but it would be a lot harder to never find out and live with a deep pain I can’t understand.
My English sucks, I really need to work on it, I’m totally rusted, I have never studied creative writing seriously and I know no one else close to me who is a writer, who could give me a hint.
But I found out I have a slight chance to be fulfilled at what I do, even more, to leave a mark on other people. And I will take it.
I will keep working in technology because my career is a miracle and a blessing and because I have to fund my dreams and provide a platform for my family. But once again, I will study at night, and spend late nights writing, reading, and editing, not because I need the money like the first time, but because I need to be me.
The first serious poem I wrote as an adult, “Binary“, is my story and my promise to that broken teenager who died in darkness, that he will live again and become what he should have been, and do what he’s meant to do.
Yes, yes it is that time my friends, “ground-zero”! Time to fulfill the promise I made in “Welcome to Fight Club” and start my 3-layered analysis of this mind-blowing movie. I know, I know I’m overly excited, so what!
So today, I will present to you what’s probably the most obvious dimension of the movie and that is, the mental state of our friend “narrator” around which the whole movie gravitates. I feel it has to come first because it impacts and links to any other commentary on culture, or society and definitely shapes the nature of the relationships between the characters.
So if you’re a hardcore fan like me, you know saying “narrator” is just an unstable guy having an episode is a seriously simplistic understatement to the wealth and depth of the content presented to us in this story. But before you judge too hard someone who does, let me just say in their defense that the “narrator” himself defines it similarly at the end of the movie, as he attempts to explain the current situation to Marla: “You met me at a very strange time of my life…”
So what’s up with this whole “narrator” thing?
–“Sure, why don’t we start at the very core? It’s not like it’ll end the charm too soon, will it?” LOL.
There’s an artistic reason and a psychological reason, why not only me, but a lot of fans of the movie call Edward Norton’s character “narrator”; now I’m writing this to whoever’s interested this is not segmented for-fans-only, after all, Tyler is a “man of the common folk”, the “all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world” a bucket in which it seems most of us (fans ar not fans) fit equally, in his vision of things.
But, I’m getting carried away here, the more obvious reason is that the movie is narrated by the protagonist, who would occasionally address the audience directly and explain things that are happening; the other reason which I find very eccentric is that throughout the movie, this character is never actually named; moreover, there are very intentional moments in which providing the name is avoided as if Palahniuk is mocking us in our own faces, I already spoke about examples of this in the first article, but indulge me with another one I noticed recently: Narrator’s condo just burst in flames, he picks up the phone and calls Tyler, Tyler asks “who is this?” do you recall narrator’s answer?
“…we met on the airplane, we had the same suitcase? the clever guy…”
I love it, the story author’s genius allows such a transgression to conventions to carry on all throughout the story, and you don’t even care and perhaps didn’t notice it the first time. I’m mentioning Chuck Palahniuk even when I mentioned this posts will take the movie as their only foundation, because of two reasons:
It’s his mind that brought us this masterpiece
I came to understand while preparing these articles, that the movie respects a lot of the original lines as they appear in the book
Having made that meaningless clarification, I come back to the original point, besides the artistic eccentricity this entails, there’s a deeper sense to the narrator’s anonymity, it’s precisely the quality of being anonymous and seemingly devoid of an identity that triggers the whole chain of events. So keeping this guy unnamed is a perfect homage to his struggle.
“You wanna see pain?”
So what’s his struggle you ask? Well, I’m glad you ask, this is why I’m writing this entire piece, to answer that very question; in short, our beloved narrator is suffering from a severe philosophical void in his life, he’s nothing, no one, his life is meaningless and the whole world around him is soaked in the same banality, life doesn’t make any sense at all and he’s just too aware of it for his own benefit. But here’s the worst part of the curse: while he’s aware of the condition and suffering from it intensely, he’s powerless, there’s nothing he can do to change the condition of his own life, and don’t even think the world around him.
Now, this manifests in different, more visible symptoms we learn about throughout the movie, insomnia being the key problem in the opening act, yet obviously surrounded by a deep dark depression appropriate to his existential suffering.
As it usually happens, he’s annoyed by the symptom and he’s not fully aware of the dimension of what’s going on inside his mind and soul (can’t really judge him, it’s so hard sometimes, isn’t it?), so he goes and sees the doctor about insomnia. And here’s where the title of this section gets his name, the doctor really reacts with the apathy and mockery ordinary people of our society usually reacts to mental and emotional suffering: “that’s nothing, you need to do some exercise and sleep better”; as narrator replies “I’m in pain”, the good doctor replies:
As an omen of what’s being triggered here, we see the first “subliminal” apparition of Tyler behind the doctor in a glimpse of a second, right in this scene. Now the big turning point here is, where most people would have taken the doctor’s suggestion for what it was: a rhetorical mockery of his patient’s complaint, our narrator actually decides to go to the testicular cancer group. A fateful decision.
Losing All Hope Was Freedom
You think you’ve seen it all in movies until you find yourself watching a guy becoming addicted to support groups, how crazier does it get? – A lot more.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, let me ask you, dear reader, have you ever been in a real-life support group? Lucky you, who can answer without anyone else knowing, I can tell you that I have. Support groups can be a true blessing, and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them to people who are struggling with addiction, disease, and other conditions; now, they do have their quirks of course, like anything, and such quirks make them a fertile ground for humor.
Now back to our character here, support groups aren’t necessarily anyone’s first choice for relief or socializing, they’re meant to help people undergoing very specific and tough situations. And so we can tell from the whole catalog Marla and the narrator start arguing about, negotiating which one each of them will keep.
So how is it that our tormented friend is able to recover his ability to sleep and enter a place of “peace” while engaging in these activities? Well, he explains it to us rather philosophically: “losing all hope was freedom”.
I find it very concerning, and very telling of the deficiencies in our society to address mental health properly, that a person with a clear pathology needs to find shelter among people with unrelated terminal illnesses or irreversible conditions. His expanded explanation could be: “by surrounding myself with people coping with loss, people who are hopeless about their condition I also feel like I can let go of any need to find a meaning, a reason, a motivation, an expectation from life; I can imitate that state of hopelessness and thus, let go of my anxiety and find it easier to live”.
That’s a primary, very compelling reason for him to become addicted to support groups; and isn’t just a few steps away from suicide? Think about it, when the proximity of death, and the thought process to accept it seems preferable to the anguish of dealing with life, I’d say we’re talking about rather deep depression. Now, interestingly enough, he’s not hopeless regardless of how he’d like to think he is, if he was hopeless he wouldn’t be in such a conflict, he wouldn’t be seeking to feel free, alive, and listened-to among the people in support groups. So there’s also that tension and contradiction, which is very natural and which leads to the next stages of his crisis.
But then, when relief seemed to be at hand:
Why? Why is Marla such a terrible presence in the support groups? It doesn’t have anything to do with being exposed, she’s also a tourist and doesn’t want to be exposed either; no, the problem is that she’s a mirror to him, she’s another desperate, sunk-in-darkness no one who’s constantly reminding him that he’s not really terminally ill, he’s not in acceptance of death, he’s a faker who’s borrowing from other’s the relief he can’t permanently find for his own condition. This sweet relief is now exposed as fake and temporary, doomed to fail.
In spite of the efforts to negotiate a way out, by getting rid of Marla and distributing attendance to support groups between each other, insomnia returns, and his small existential oasis is now invaded and ruined, by someone perhaps too similar to himself (which is something he would deny and despise, of course). There’s yet another subliminal omen of how Tyler’s appearance is close, right after confronting Marla for the first time (found this cool gif version of subliminal Tylers, the last one is the one I’m referring to here):
Honestly, it’s just that this post is getting way too long, and I will need to split it into parts. But I think this is a great moment to stop, because Tyler’s official introduction into the story is what’s next, and this is really the turning point; so thanks for reading me, and stay tuned for part 2 of “Fight Club in 3-D: The Mental Dimension”.