17 August 2006

Journal of a Misplaced Soul: Beginning

I am scared to begin, to tell you the truth. But I'm pissed, too.

Pissed wins.

I am supposed to be jumping into a new phase in my life. A chance to leave the wreckage of all these failed projects behind. Including my career itself - the biggest failed project of them all. A creative phase. A chance to create where there's only been frustration and stymie.

It sounds really good when I am sitting alone in my apartment, at the end of a day (or a week? a life?) of isolation, anxious to just dive in.

But I am so lonely. I am the misplaced astronaut, far from home, stranded between worlds, with none to call my own.

Jessie gives me a hard time about dating a girl so much younger than me. But I've been alone this entire time. This has gone on so long. Nothing here, and yet all I have is here, and I'm leaving that too. And I don't know how to meet people because I am so odd, everything about me - my tastes, my creative nature, the fact that I'm not creating anything, my faith - separate me from people.

It would be wonderful if a girl were to like me. But why would she? I'm not doing anything. I am all frustration and tangled bales of barbed wire and gnarled branches and choked roots.

I don't even know what I'm trying to say here and now exactly. (Apparent, isn't it?)

I'm going to miss Scarecrow video. I'm going to miss the
potential of being here. I should have gotten involved in NWFF. I don't have a script. I don't know people who like what I like. Except for Jessie and Steve and Aaron and Ian. And of course they are so much younger than me, that to hang out with them is awkward - I would hope good things could naturally grow out of it. But Jessie said "her friends..." She would be uncomfortable because I have dated girls the age of her friends. She wants a boundary there, to keep me out. Just like my dad wanted to keep me away from his wealthy friends, never to let them "waste" their money investing in a project of mine.

Why am I so horrible? Why am I only someone people want to keep the people they
really care about, away from? Why aren't I someone people who know me are proud to introduce me to? Now Andrea's mom has no ideas about who I can meet to help the Workshop either. What a waste! After all I've put in up here, no one cares. Fuck them.

I want to see good movies. I want to hear good music. I want to see and read and listen to good ideas, to process them. Maybe I'm more like that than most - because at my heart, I guess that's who I am: a processor of ideas. I take ideas and process them and fit them in with other ideas, in new applications, bringing out new aspects of them. Like the way I like to fit people into suitable new roles, or introduce them to each other to see new friendships and dynamics take place.

So what role is there for me, the processor, the combiner? No wonder I want community, conversation, stimulation, ideas, activity. No wonder I feel so sidelined, so lost, so out of my element, so useless, like this.

Screw Jessie. Except she's right. But it hurts - what is so wrong with me that people don't like me, don't want me in their circles, don't care?

In the past I've been very charismatic, and have drawn people, led teams and crews and groups, and had a lot of fun in that role - my element, my role, fulfilling. How to find that again?

Morning pages and my hand hurts. I don't know about that. But for now I have this blog, for right this moment I can write my thoughts here.

I am mad that I got this old and missed out on so much. I am mad that cool, genuine, friendly and unpretentious, bold and passionate, smart and creative people are so hard to find. I'm sorry I feel too styleless/too old/too unattractive/too untalented/too unsuccessful to hang out with them. I'm mad I listened to these stupid preconceptions so long that I haven't spent the last ten years building a career for myself. And now that I try to make the Workshop legitimate, the few people who've known us all these years - known
me - don't care enough to do anything about it. They will see me leave, and they don't care.

And Jessie wants to protect her friends from me. Come to the Tiki Party, except don't.

And I don't want to be the old guy at the party. But i do want to be the guy that has to offer what he has to offer, amidst other folks who are curious, smart, and sincere. And I want to be seen and valued for who I am. I want to be attractive - as a friend, as someone to work with, and especially I want to be attractive to attractive girls, to get to know, to date and find out more about each other.

Even with KA, it was just nice to have someone to talk late night adventure and insomnia with, someone clever, sharp, witty, a bit acerbic, and who seem to appreciate my own attempts at wit and cleverness, so we had a fun back-and-forth going on. That's all I'm looking for, you know? Late night conversations, on the phone or on long drives or on midnight walks, and making plans for other interesting things to do. The fact she's female - and attractive in her own right - made it even more interesting, even though of course I'd never take the idea of anything romantic seriously, as I'm twice her age. But it was a nice diversion I was allowing myself to imagine could have happened. Jessie burst my bubble. Maybe she knew - or sensed - or was told - about KA specifically. I wouldn't be surprised. Maybe it's just coincidence. Whatever.

I've got nothing happening for me here in Seattle. Friendships all dwindling away. No creative community. Right or wrong, the Workshop is where I've invested myself, and now not even with Shannon or Dana Jill or anyone else to be my peer in the process. So it's natural that where I've invested, that's where I'd need to reap returns of a social group, of people to meet, of projects to work on. But of course that's misplaced because they are all going off to college, because they are so much younger than me - even though I haven't cared about that - have
wanted it not to matter.


So that's it, I guess: my complete failure to have a life, creatively, and thus career-wise, and socially. So the one place I have invested all this time is these kids and this program, yet nothing is coming back out of it for me in any of the three sectors. And because I've neglected the rest of my life, and have nothing going on in it, out of desperation I am trying to get money, projects, purpose, and people out of the Workshop. And it's not working. Others are indifferent.

[And as far as young girls. Well, there are several dynamics going on there:

- whenever I find "my people," we are so excited to click with each other we don't tend to care about age

- I find young girls attractive

- I was so isolated and antisocial when I was young I "missed out," so on some level it's an attempt to "reclaim" that experience

- after years of feeling ugly, undesirable, or
unworthy of things that other people enjoy, the idea of having not just a girlfriend, but a young, attractive girlfriend stokes my ego, since a young, attractive girl is something universally desired, so I get to feel like I'm the one who "gets" to have one.

And truth be told, I have always been surrounded by especially attractive women friends, and the girls I have dated. I appreciate them, and apparently relate to them in a way they like, that they don't get from a lot of other men.

I think there is an aspect of this that isn't necessarily unhealthy - so what if my girl is somewhat younger than me, and so what if she is particularly attractive, as has worked out before, etc. I know I am capable of valuing someone as a person, and not having it always be about some unhealthy dynamic at play. But when things are this bad, it "activates" these unhealthy, desperate motivations and then I am just looking for an attractive girl to satiate my ego.]

So the purpose then, is to develop these three areas of my life, to build them up again, after all this neglect. To conquer the self-doubt, the ignorance of opportunities, that have contributed. To unblock creatively, so I can create and explore and expand. To get into communities. All three are codependent on each other, and also reinforcing of each other. Having a social group will help me succeed in my career, and also help me be creative. Being creative will help me have a career, and give me confidence to involve myself socially. Having a career - a good one - will stimulate me creatively and provide a social context.

Okay, so i can tell myself that. And it does make me feel a bit better. I know people can like me, when I have the chance to relax and get to know them and make myself known. I know I don't have what a lot of people are looking for, but truth is, they don't have what I'm looking for either. In "my" context - creative, genuine, exceptionally smart people - I do quite well.

It's just hard to start from scratch, when I feel like I don't have anything to
show for who I am - who i am right now is burned out, desperate, empty-pocketed, and lonely.

But maybe Kate and Micah are a start, and some of their friends perhaps. Maybe church is a start - especially if I can find an artistic, smart niche inside it. Maybe do an Artist's Way group in it. Maybe the UC or SFSU can be a start for smart folks. Maybe the FAF. I have to get out and find those people, to help me not feel so isolated anymore - I just can't
stand this. I am at an acute level of social need now. (Even now, as I had to get out of the apartment and find a coffee shop where I can at least watch people go by.)

And I need to
do things, need to get involved. It can't all be about me creating something - that's too much pressure. Ideally there will be something I can do - like the Workshop was at first before I tried to make it my whole thing - something that is at least somewhat related, something in which I can exercise myself, not just a pair of hands or eyes. Maybe I can go to school for something. Or somehow be involved in doing something. The key is to have the time and the lack of pressure, which will be hard. The film industry sucks for this. The only way it will work, I think, is to make my own thing - which I am completely capable of doing, if I can just freely create movie ideas.

And maybe besides just being involved socially and active creatively, I can do something to take some of the pressure off from the inside. Maybe I can realize I'm okay, and be okay on my own, and with God, and not need other people's assurance or validation so much. I hope so. But that is hard too. God please bring healing.

(Even the idea that this coffee shop will close in 20 minutes, and I will be back alone, kills me. I want to go sit in my car and watch a movie rather than watch it in the apartment - but i want to park the car somewhere where people still are. It might be enough to get me to go to a bar just because they are open an additional couple hours. This is acute. I can't stand it. And moving will be hard. But I am moving away from a handful of friendships that aren't working for me the way I need them too, and no creative community, and the current crop of Workshop kids going off to school, and the parents being indifferent, and a lack of infrastructure for me to build a new Workshop. It sucks to start over, but I need to figure out a plan - not figure out, but find from inside me - a plan to rebuild those three key areas of my life.

It's just so hard I don't know if I have the energy to do it at this point, without some serious rest and attending from others.

Starting to meet a couple people at Tuesday night. Having frisbee on Saturday mornings with Patrick and Seth. Ironically these are the things that are really good right now. The barest possibilities of some support, from Amy's grandma's connections, from 4Culture, from this Kiros group downtown. I am sorry to leave these things that feel like potential opportunities, the kinds hard-won by just being in a place long enough, meeting people-who-know-other-people enough, that once in a while they just by happenstance happen to come up. I will be leaving all of them to go to the Bay, and it will be hard to start that up all over again. I'll have to be a networking maniac, yet without doing it in that gross for-its-own-sake way. I'll have to be really active in finding my new favorite coffee shops, bookstores, restaurants, parks, hang-outs, and to get active with classes, groups, activities. All those films, all those workshops. It will be hard to duplicate that outside of the previous context, which I just fell into with Gretchen.

But it's possible. I know more than I knew before. I can look, and try to put myself out there to find and be found. I can be aggressive about asking people for their network ideas. Why not form an artist's way group? Or a new workshop - or one with adults? Why not find filmmakers, or a filmmaking collective? Somehow, somehow. God does have a plan. I am not alone.

And as for girls, well that's the hardest - again, my desire to be loved, and the lack of it for so long, has these feelings of loneliness and un-love especially acute and painful. But if I'm myself, active, manifesting and exercising who I am, it will happen, naturally, and good - better than it ever has.

And if Seattle really is, culturally, indifferent or cold - and it's not just my perception - then it is good I am getting out, cut my losses, and invest where people will connect more freely, take me in. Hip, fun, creative, genuine, cool, creative, curious, genuine, sincere, passionate, joyful, happy people. Praise God. I hope I can make it happen, with my family and situation being what it is. God have mercy on me. Thank God for Steve. He knows me, he loves me, he accepts me, wants my investment and wants to return it, delights in who I am and who we are together, and would introduce me around. Having that one relationship alone is almost enough to make me want to go to Los Angeles, just to let that one good connection grow. I love Seattle as a city, but I don't know how to be who I am here, and can't stand the anemic social, all the dysfunction and sickness, anymore. Lord, deliver me! As much as I'll miss it, as much as it has great things the Bay Area doesn't have, I can't make it happen if this is how the people all are, for everyone, dying connections, emptiness, cold, walls.

Cinema books. The Seven Gables theaters. Third Place Books (both of them). The University Bookstore. ...but, I do want to find places outside, to watch the people go by, and that's hard to do here. I hate the crime in the Bay Area. I hate the elitism and self-absorbtion. San Francisco is too expensive. But maybe I have to spend more time in the City itself. Or Berkeley, even more than I was - to find places. Or other college campus areas - Mills? Stanford down south?

We'll see. Here we go.

-- M