The Tact

Got to be able to reset yourself.  Surrender to the moment, accept what is and simply move forward in a neutral manner.

You realise someone can hear you, someone takes offense, someone disagrees.  You have to get a feel for the fact that time goes on.  Die a little inside and remember that the continuity of now is infallible.

I like feeling socially destroyed.  I step carefully and nearly every step of everything I say is from a place of tact.  When someone changes the subject, disagrees.  I like to stop and go with it.  Forget what I’m holding onto.  Let go.

I prefer to draw people out.  Talk about their favourite subjects.  Them and their lives.  I find the gaps inbetween what’s being said for a quip or a retort, a short story or an idea.  Like to give people time to be heard so they don’t feel the need to let it all out quickly.  Enjoying a conversation’s all about pacing.

Like to ask open-ended questions or questions that inspire deeper thought.  Still, I can’t refrain from being sarcastic.  My own brand of cheap, innocuous humour.

Like to think I can get along with any personality type, though that doesn’t always work out.  Seem to clash with a specific type of person.  People with anger and ill-thought.  Laugh if they died.  Though always try and be polite to people.  It’s an easier life, that way.  Simpler.

Breaking Character

Pumped up on old Chinese kung fu classics, I started to believe I was good at martial arts.  I felt like I could go anywhere, at any time.  I felt like I could confront life head-on and I felt free as a result.

This does seem to suggest that physical violence dominates my life.  Well, the thought of physical violence.  I went to a new kung fu class and got annihilated.  The shock set in.  I wasn’t invincible.  I’d have to strike to maim, or even use a weapon if I was to maintain my confidence and protect myself.  But something changed in me, upon making that decision.

Met my Dad when I was about twenty-five.  Around the same time I became disillusioned with my combat potential.  That was a big arrow to the head.  It’s like my whole life I’d strived to be the man I imagined my father would be.  After meeting him and realising he was just a normal guy it stripped bare the idealism I’d created.  My ego grew, my sense of personal identity shattered.

It took years to return to a state of, by my reckoning, normality.  I went on a long dark road full of doubt and hatred.  Who was I?  And what had I become?

Right now I feel somewhat similar to the way I did when I felt combat ready, living out my own idealised self-image.  I’m not combat efficient.  Recent kickboxing classes have reminded me of this fact.  I’m not my ideal self in thought or deed, and I don’t feel invincible.  Still, I have my composure, relatively low expectations and a daring glance at happiness.  It’s a simple life, and calling me a normal person’s gone from being an insult to being a compliment I don’t quite live up to at the moment.

Moral of the story, don’t meet your heroes, and don’t be fooled into thinking you’re a big fish in a small pond.

Grasshopper Mind

Spend my time thinking about what I’d do with Godlike powers.  Snap my fingers and I’ve got three people in a darkened room, each tied to a chair.  Give them a talking to, see where that leads.

Change every front page newspaper’s content to a picture of Christ and have people discussing it on the news.  In fact, a lot of my fantasies involve watching the news to see the impact of my divine power choices.

See myself as a power unrivalled.  MI6, CIA.  The governments of the earth looking to me for guidance and intervention.  But I wouldn’t intervene too much, and I don’t make myself known as the power.

Have fantasies where I’m a billionaire, buy land and build multiple houses for friends and family.  Give away money to causes close to my heart and never let on to anyone that I’m a billionaire, besides those close to me.

I don’t know how much escapism I need.  Imagining myself in positions of authority and power.  But I’m pretty sure today’s daydream is telling of tomorrow’s delusion.  I keep an eye on things.

Perhaps I feel powerless and I need to envision myself creating change and impacting the world.  It goes around in my head on autopilot.  Something I can observe but something I don’t necessarily grasp.

Daily Steps

Being in psychiatric care for prolonged periods of time can be strange.  Sometimes it feels like the place is empty, no staff or patients to be seen.  Other times the atmosphere is humming with activity.

You see cliques form and it’s enjoyable for a while, feeling part of a group.  But with traffic as it is, groups gather, and then they fade away.  You seemingly a part of the furniture.

Meals become hallmarks of the day.  With little going on besides an hourlong pottery class and a thirty minute gym session you’re glued to the TV room settee, counting the minutes until it’s food time again.  Eat, lay, sit, pace, walk, smoke.

The floor outside’s smothered in fag butts.  Your ten a day habit now twenty.  Smoking breaks up the monotony.  And you’re wondering what “getting better” entails, and how it could ever happen with the humdrum status quo herein.

You watch problem patients when they first come in.  One guy’s screaming at the nurses, another woman’s pissing herself, pacing the corridor, weeping.  It feels like irony to call these people crazy, but there’s no better description.  You, the wandering hypocrite reaches the end of one corridor, just to turn around and walk back out for a smoke.

Somebody’s talking in the dorm room.  You try not to zone in.  Hone in on something and you might get sucked into another’s bubble.  You feel alone in the crowd.  Everybody’s got their own story, their own agenda.  Sometimes it can be nice, building friendships.  But usually people leave after a month or so.  You’ve been here seven.

To find what seems like a true friend, or even just somebody you can relate to, gives light and life to the ward.  A skip in your step abolishes the bee in your bonnet rather quickly.  You can laugh, you can open up.  We’re all nutters in here, mate.  And sometimes it is nice to make that acquaintance.  Sometimes it’s good on the ward and it’s a proper cooked roast dinner for tea.  The sponge pudding gets demolished, you’re outside sharing a wise-cracking in-joke and everything’s suddenly fluid again.

Wonder what it’ll be like in the community…