February 28th, 2002

The gentleman is always properly dressed

Thou shalt not

For the first time in a while, I’ve got the perennial Radiohead anthem of angst, Creep, going through my head on a constant loop:

I don't care if it hurts
I want to have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul


I woke up this morning feeling like a hack and a tourist. Another way to look at it is that I’m having a serious crisis of faith over my place in the world. I’m not “pretty” (or, using a better term from a friend: “shiny”). I’m not artistic. I’m not witty or cultured. Heck, even with all of my pretensions otherwise, I don’t even consider myself terribly intelligent. I find things interesting, but for whatever reason, I can never apply myself to any of them long enough to achieve a reasonable level of mastery. It’s the same self-destructive internal (infernal?) dialogue. It’s maddening really, but I have some idea why it’s set upon me.

First off, I’m overtired. Sleep came hard last night, and as usual it was more the result of my not letting myself sleep than anything. Stayed out late playing with friends, got home and played Arcanum badly (died twice in Kree before I decided I was too tired to play seriously), and then read a couple of Usagi Yojimbo stories. Should have just gone to bed since I was feeling groggy by the end of M anyway.

Then there’s a slightly more esoteric influence. Yesterday, I found my way to the lj of a young woman in France whose prose is so incredibly beautiful that I wanted to weep. It was simple, un-self-conscious, and never once got in the way of itself. It was evocative, but utterly honest and utterly real. What it really comes down to, though, is that I was jealous. Some people covet women or cars or money. I covet talent.

Of course, the perfectionist in me kicked in and I started wondering whether I would or could be masterful at anything. Actually that’s not nearly enough to describe it. I want to be BEST at something. I know that it’s the fear of not being the best that keeps me from becoming reasonably competent at anything, but I still crave it. I want the recognition and the accolades and know somehow that I don’t have the stuff to get them. So I keep telling myself that it’s in the journey, not the destination, that life is lived, but at times like this, that voice is roundly shouted down.

I don't appreciate beauty because I get stuck in my own shortcomings.

It makes me feel weak.
  • Current Music
    Radiohead, "Creep"
The gentleman is always properly dressed

The wonder of it all

Utterly beautiful minds astound me. A passionate intellect and a sense of curiosity untempered by fear are the sexiest things I’ve encountered in a woman. Pure creativity, a sense of humor, and the ability to speak a second language are pretty darn cool, too.

Stupid things impress me and can make me feel better. I download a new skin for winamp and suddenly feel calm. I’m not sure if I should be happy about this or if I should try to understand just how tragic it is.

I find teen angst simultaneously fascinating and repulsive. I also believe that teen angst is not limited to the teen years. The questions being asked by the guy going through a mid-life crisis are essentially the same ones he asked when he was in high school. Maybe, if he’s lucky/gifted/reflective, the questions are as sophisticated as “what’s it all mean?” and “how does my presence affect the world?” Sadly, though, it seems that first and foremost for everyone is “how can I get more play?” For clarity’s sake, I believe that it happens for both men and women but each deals with it differently.

Everyone wants to be loved, I guess.

My mom went through her second adolescence at about the same time that I started my first, and the result was frighteningly predictable. I was denied my own experience of first struggling with these impulses, and was forced instead into the more parental role of observer and confidant. Now when I recognize these impulses in myself, I feel like I’m being self-indulgent and childish. I repress them to the best of my abilities and obsess over propriety.

Yep, still blaming the parents... sounds a little like the teen angst thing again doesn’t it?
  • Current Music
    System of a Down, "Toxicity"