Friday, November 1, 2013

I am at peace (with killing my socially constructed self)

Michael Scott Monje, Jr. has "I am at peace (with killing my socially constructed self)", a three part entry on his blog Shaping Clay. The entries has, as he puts it, "all the triggers", specifically some bullying, threats, drug use, dark thoughts, mental health (self and others).

Part One
I'm at peace with myself for the first time in my life as I write this. I'm not done. I'm not settled. I'm not successful. I have, however, found a measure of peace. It's the first time I've felt that way. Ever. 
I have not overcome my disability. I don't believe that that's really a thing that people do. I think that the people who claim to have overcome their disabilities are actually just powering through a lot of pain and frustration and trying not to be touched by it. That's not me. I'm touched by everything. 

That's part of the problem. 

I'm going to tell you a story now. It's going to take some time. It's about a fictional character that I like to call Neurotypical Mike. Neurotypical Mike was a character that I played for a good twenty years of my life, until I was about twenty-six years old. I can still remember when I started to create that character: it was when I was four years old. I wasn't playing as Mike full time until I was about six and I started Kindergarten, but I had to start working on his mannerisms and his way of expressing himself earlier than that, because it was very clear that Michael was not going to be allowed to do certain things. 

Mike and Me -- The Early Years
For example, Michael did not get to call himself Michael when he wasn't around family. No matter how many times he told teachers and other kids that he was Michael, they had decided that they were talking to someone named Mike. It used to make Michael cry when they did that, but as time went on and more and more people decided that they knew Mike and that Mike was fine with being called by a nickname, they simply ignored what Michael said he wanted. Eventually, Michael stopped trying to talk to them.

Read more.

Part Two
Michael Stops Talking
As Michael got older and Mike got more completely constructed, the boys noticed that a lot of the things they used to do were starting to change. For example, their mother stopped babysitting for other people's kids and started taking them to visit neighbors with kids who were their own age. Those kids wanted to separate the boys and the girls, the older and the younger, and so Michael and Mike followed along. They wanted friends, after all, and their friends were doing those things.

Somewhere during this time period, the boys also had to stop playing Little League. They had aged out of Tee Ball, and now they were not allowed to play with girls on the team any more, which meant that the games were pretty evenly divided between standing in the middle of right field and having things thrown at them. Mike was willing to stick it out so that he could try to get better, but Michael started having screaming nightmares about being hit in the head that only got worse after he was actually hit in the head while they were at bat.

Read More

Part Three
Metal Mike and the Electric Hellfire Band
Let's admit right now that Mike was a real bastard--both literally and figuratively. Convinced of his own adulthood and finding no evidence that there were actually adults that were more responsible than he was, he decided to ignore all conventional wisdom and advice and to revel in anything that gave him pleasure. I liked it when he took to violent video games and heavy metal, because the rhythmic nature of the latter and the complex geometry of the guitar work were both like bisecting crystal lattices in my ears, and I could explore their auditory architecture in ways that made them highly visible to me. I also liked the games for the rapid and satisfying risk-reward loops that they threw me into. When I was feeling creative, I could also get out the map editors and make my own worlds to tromp around in. It was like I had found LEGO again, only no one was around to make fun of me for playing with toys as a teenager.

When Mike discovered Marilyn Manson, I knew that I had found the sound that would define my entire existence. Today, seventeen years after the first time I heard Antichrist Superstar, I still listen to it at least once a week. Mike liked it because it was brutal and confrontational and because it bugged the shit out of all the so-called adults who told us what to do while they fucked us around and refused to protect us. I liked it because the surreal, lyrical storytelling deftly exposed the nature and texture of a hate that I could feel but could not understand. Today I listen to it because it is the most articulate dissertation on moral hypocrisy that I have ever heard, and it adequately shows both the way that this hypocrisy perpetuates hate and the way that that hate slowly corrodes us. In fact, I'm listening to it now.

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