There’s a difference between what we are and what we hope we are or imagine ourselves to be. Case in point, fatty in platform boots, a corset, mascara and fish net hosiery who likely imagines himself as……what? A chic emo-edgelord? Some sort of trans Goth warrior with a battle sword? When, in reality, it’s nothing but a hot fucking mess of a trans-goth-death merchant positioned somewhere between Marilyn Manson and Chaz Bono, aesthetically, and stuck between laughable and pitiful, viscerally. The again, maybe he’s just trolling us.
I hide behind an avatar but I don’t imagine my stuff edgy or controversial but I understand that others might. At least, I don’t write edgy purposefully, it’s just the natural consequence of the free play of my mind. It all started by fucking around, trolling the most absurd posts on Craigslists Rants and Raves, giving myself a good laugh and hours of what I hoped were productive play over responding (trolling) to the silliness of it all; by trying to take a poster’s nearly absurd logic to the next step, the utterly absurd. But people get upset when you poke at their reasoning and beliefs and I thought it was funnier to post it as a character than just anonymously. Plus, I found it easier to imagine how someone else might think – someone other than myself, yet an extension of me nonetheless. To exploit and explore a piece of you that gets amplified through a character or persona (incidentally, the same thing behind creating a successful pro rasslin’ character). Creatively, it just seemed easier and it was fun. So that’s where we stand today, a middle-aged nobody shit posting and trolling under a name suggested to him by some line of code at MSN.
I frequently ask myself, “what the fuck are you doing?” And, “are you a coward for not identifying yourself?” But identifying yourself to who? Nobody who cares about anything you do or say? But even if it’s just a few, I’d rather hide behind the character who I can blame for being the fool rather than blaming myself.
But I get these stupid and silly and absurd ideas stuck in my mind, stuff that the radio on the drive to work won’t muffle. So I chew on them and digest them and regurgitate them again for further chewing and digestion. And it’s not forced, it’s just the way things are. So I’ve tried to make something out of it all, which is the shit you’ve gotten this deep into reading at this very moment.
All this back and forth….is it right or wrong? what exactly are you doing?….are these ideas something of a healthy self-expression or getting closer to some truths or something?….is that what motivates all this? It’s certainly not profound but is it something more than utterly juvenile at least? All this back and forth…the real angst of it…..real angst…not the cool kind…..but that shitty angst and neuroticism that wakes and keeps me awake at 10 am when I wanna sleep until 1 pm…..fuck!!!! I really wanna sleep, see. I’m not just pretending to want a full 8 hours. That’s why I call it real angst. It’s like some some sort of psychological self-flagellation.
In a way, I hate any sort of exposure. I’m not prepared for the consequence of being humbled or even worse, humiliated on even a minor scale. So I protect myself by saying it’s all in fun. It’s not to be taken seriously. But why so sensitive to just potential criticism then? See, that’s where I gotta admit, I’m lying to myself, saying it’s not important, when obviously, based on my emotional and psychological and physiological reactions, it is. So I lie to myself and, unfortunately, I fucking hate liars.
There’s a difference between what we think we are or imagine we’re doing and what those things really are. Are we fighting a battle for free speech or just barking for attention or defending a cockamamie belief just to defend what we want to be? Am I truly a nice guy or just trying to make myself feel better with petty acts of philanthropy? Like that fella above who seems so lost in whatever identity he’s attempting to portray, I’m lost too. Lost behind this fucking avatar of a guy in a wrestling mask. Hiding. Pretending to be something because I don’t know exactly what I am. For fuck’s sake, it’s Friday. I hope the weekend turns out better than this.
And lately I can’t get this shit about David Foster Wallace outta my head. See, I sometimes wish some of these guys were still around so you could try to find out what they were thinking or feeling about certain things. Like for DFW, did it bother him and, if so, how much, to be aware that you can never be aware of just what you are. Like, for him, whether or not he was a “true” artist or a fraud? A fraud to himself. A fraud that an industry purposefully kept him from understanding with the intoxication of all the praise and attention they threw at him. See, if they allowed him to see himself as a fraud, then perhaps he’d stop writing. Or even worse, hang himself, which did come to pass anyway (Though not necessarily over understanding himself to be a fraud. Another question’s there too, “Why suicide, David?”). So along with the worst part of his egotistical nature, the industry could easily collude to keep his self-awareness of own fraudulence at bay. And those forces, both internal and external, might be so powerful for him to never understand it. And he probably knew that. That he could easily be a fraud without ever being able to understand that he was a fraud.
I wonder if he knew that and how much it weighed on his conscience. It weights on my mind, truly. Not as an artist, but as a person trying to figure out what I am. Something real like the person who shaves his neck every few days? Or am I something manufactured like the edgy words produced by the wrestling masked avatar who is something different than I am in real life? Or is the real me something in-between them? And if that’s it (not just me but all of us), then am I the fool for agonizing over all this? Shouldn’t I just accept it like the rest? Or do you accept it? Are you aware that you are likely a huge fraud, adhering to beliefs and a self-conception just to give you the comfort of understanding and identity? Well, maybe that’s all bullshit. I don’t know. I know that I don’t know. I know that I can probably never know. Ah, fuck, this self-flagellation on a Friday. Fridays are for 6 p.m. beers, not this bullshit.
Maybe that’s much of what this technological age has produced in all of us. Given us freedom to express parts of our truer selves to the world anonymously. Express parts of ourselves that we suppress at work and holiday get togethers. We’ve been given the freedom to explore those parts of ourselves online, but then we gotta put it back in its cage when we go back to work on Monday. But we know it’s there, like a puppy that wants to play but might also tear up the couch or shit all over the carpet if you give it freedom outside that cage while you’re off doing your 9 to 5. So I guess somewhere in here’s a half-hearted defense of the keyboard warrior. I never wanted that but sometimes that’s just where things go, not unlike Kangaroo necrophilia stemming from Outback Steakhouse and the upcoming county coroner elections. That’s the weirdness, not contrived, that’s sometimes the consequence of play, I suppose.
And then there’s the thing of being a single man approaching fifty who spends his time trolling and shit posting. What a fucking utter waste, right? But then I think, so much of this world’s an utterly idiotic shit show, what else are you gonna do? I guess you can jump in head first and wallow in the shit to, or try to stand on the banks and entertain yourself with the folly of it all….the absurdity of it all. In other words, revel in what you got, which is the absurdity of us either wallowing in shit – giving ourselves an identity through attachments to beliefs of the utterly complex that we never wanna admit we can’t comprehend cause without those identities, we’re nothing* – or having nothing better to do than comment on the wallow, cause I sure as fuck know I ain’t gonna fix it.
Again, I pray that the weekend turns out better than this.
*This isn’t to say that all beliefs are stupid. That you believe you were biologically conceived and delivered into the world via your mother seems more sound than that you were conceived via alchemy or wizardry. Yet, we take the understanding that leads to such reasonable beliefs and try to expand that understanding further and further, eventually committing ourselves to beliefs beyond our understanding. That I came from a mother gives me an identity (Momma’s son) but maybe that’s not enough. It doesn’t explain enough of who and what I am. So we naively grasp for more meaning and more meaning along the same path of reason (often poorly applied) and stubbornly and obnoxiously cling to some grand understanding of politics and culture and history and human nature which give us some belief in our understanding of things, including ourselves.