The boy who loved excess
Sept. 6, 2011
When I was a young I would venture off and collect bugs and insects in jars. Try and trap little fish or frogs and keep them as pets and act as if I were an adventurer from an Indiana Jones movie.
One day I was playing in a ditch and I found a frog. I was able to catch it with my hands, and I had nothing to put it in. My home was only 15mins away, so I put both hands over the frog and held it tight so I could put it in a jar when I got home. The frog was slippery so I made sure to hold onto it very tight, not letting any space for it to slip through my fingers. I could feel the frog move around in my hands and was so excited to have caught one. Frogs were never easy for me to catch. When I got home I took one hand off the frog and pressed it tight against my stomach to open the door. I ran to get a jar from the kitchen. I knew the exact one I would use. It was a very special jar that I always wanted to put a goldfish in or something like that. It was perfect and it belonged to my grandmother. She had passed away and to my memory was thee only blood relative that really cared for me.
I got the jar, ran to my room and slipped the frog into the jar. I knew I would have to poke holes in the top so it could breathe. But when the frog went into the jar it did not move. I could tell immediately that it had no life left in it. I poked holes in the lid anyway, in some sort of denial. It was what I had to do to be responsible.
I felt so bad because I had killed the frog. I felt also bad because I was so excited to have caught it, but had tortured it to death.
When I had a fish die we would flush it down the toilet, but for some reason I felt bad and hid the frog in my room. I kept it in the jar. The frog began to stink after a few days. Our dog would come in my room and she would smell the decaying frog’s corpse. I could smell it every time I walked in the room. I tried to cover the scent with blankets, I put plastic wrap to cover the air holes for the frog.
My mother, who was very strict, would comment on the scent. I didn’t want anyone to know I had killed this frog and poked holes in my grandmother’s jar. I put the jar and frog into a bag and walked back to the gutter I had found the frog in. I took out the jar and threw it shattering on the cement gutter. The frog was dead. The jar was smashed I felt bad for a moment, but I could walk away and forget about it. It was in some ways it was like I no longer had killed the frog, ruined my grandmother’s jar and everything was back to normal.
Over the years the lid to the jar remained in that same area. I remember finally one day it was gone, someone picked it up and threw it away. I was sad to not have it there anymore.
Today, as I write this, is my second day at 34, yesterday was my birthday.
I walk through the city of Bratislava, Slovakia at 8am after no sleep.
I have experienced the night of my life…
Friendship, love, camaraderie, passion. It is endless what I felt tonight.
I should be filled with gratitude for living a life that has everything I could ever want, but I am not. I am filled with the want for more.
I want to control the good feelings I have had and not let them go. I want to hold them in my hand.
My I spent my birthday with my friends who I had made on the current workshop and another dear friend of mine had traveled from Vienna to Bratislava to celebrate with me.
The city is still cool from the night before.
The light cuts through the old buildings shaping its way in contrasting lines across the ground reshaping the cityscape.
The city is just waking up, but my heart is restless, confused and searching for meaning.
Once again I am alone, then night is over and the morning has begun.
Everyone is asleep, but I cannot rest.
I had one of the best nights one could ask for in a birthday, so much live and attention but I am alone.
I want more from this.
I want meaning.
I want the things around me to make sense and their confusion of purpose, love, life, meaning and ideals have still left a cloud of dust around me.
The never-ending search for man is driven by this want.
Only now this ‘want’ has nothing to do with an object, or a person, it is driven by a desire for clarity. It is a need for peace.
As a boy I always wanted more.
I wanted more toys
more of anything that seemed to mean something that people had to offer
This gave me meaning, it put a value on who I was, and now who I am.
The need for food love and attention turned into a thing that I needed to try to control
My young hands trying to hold onto the wheel of life…
You try and control what you get
You try and get what you think you want
Then the obsession takes over
My sense of self, my identity, self-worth constantly needing to be defined by an action. Somehow a result would finally prove that I was good enough.
Humanity is a funny thing.
No matter what we get, if we cannot find happiness in what is right in front of us then it is not happiness. It is a reaction, an exhaling of an insecurity, a thorn being removed from our spiritual void. It is relief of to reality, but not reality.
This morning has no answer for me, other than the simple action of feeling what I feel. Old emotions erupting in me as if I had never felt them before. The covers of my normal façade have been removed and the boy that simply wanted to be like his brother, get love from his mother, and wanted his friends to like him – no longer has chaos of his life to wear as a mask.
Two nights ago (Sept 4th) I spent the hours with a man from the trip we are taking. We talked about life, purpose, women and the idea of self-acceptance.
I had said,
“I am not religious, but I believe there is something more to the world that I can imagine. If I were to call it something it is easier to call it ‘god’. But because it is so much bigger than me I cannot define it. I can simply understand that I don’t understand it.
God is either everything or god is nothing. God is in just as much of this glass of water as it is in anything I think is great. If I am spiritual enough to have clarity then I can find the god in anything, or any moment no matter how bad it is.
But this is the point of humanity. We cannot always do this. Life is so big that it forces us to stay humble.”
“I am glad I am fucked up. I am glad I am controlled by the disease of obsession and compulsion. I am also glad I know now that this is no way to live.
I am grateful for my confusion, because it is the only that will keep me humble. It is the only thing that will give me that sense of calm serenity we have always been looking for. Those are the things that force me to look for ‘god’ in all things.”
“One of the biggest things for me was to realize that within my life I never looked at what the difference between powers greater than myself and the thing I would see as a higher power. I may choose to not be able to define a god, I do know what I believe. But you, this moment, this city, the food we eat, the situations we run into, the woman that loves me and the woman that rejects me are all powers greater than myself. Money, lack of money, responsibilities and so on. If I don’t choose what my higher power is, if I cannot humble myself to anything then all those things that are powers greater than me will force me to become humble. Then I will find myself brought to my knees by the anger, self-loathing, confusion and contradiction of my life through them. However if I can learn to humble myself to the one thing that I believe in the reality of life can only be reality. I don’t have to hold onto it. I do not follow a religion, but if there was a form of prayer that I did it was simply one human being talking to another. This is because I know I am someone that cannot be changed, but if I meet someone and they can connect with me then I know those things that were in my life that were once hopeless lose their power and I so much can be changed.”
The beauty about being human is that you can’t always hold on. It stops working if you keep trying to use a human interaction or experience. We never ask what are we using it for.
We hold onto it because we won’t let reality be what it is.
Our pain comes from our fantasy of what we can get.
You can only hold your hand open to truly let the experience be what it is meant to be.
But we are obsessed with pleasure. It runs out, but for me I hold on to it until it is dead in my hand. My want, my need, my desire to fulfill my will and self-worth turn life into death. Even when it is dead, I still try and hold on, and cover up the damage. The holes I poke, the special things I cam shatter. I hold on, and that desire turns into regret, that regret turns to shame and that shame becomes my self-worth. You can only fill the void with so much, until it is your life to scrap at the bottom of the barrel to find things to fill it…
Your identity, experience, and purpose are only self-hatred.
Identity becomes façade
Experience is replaces by an attempt at actions or a process or method that will work fix it all
Purpose gets over shadowed by a result that will somehow give us meaning.
This is the core part of the ‘life’ part of the Sexual Life
Life is -
Identity that shapes Experience that cultivates Purpose
We don’t have to hold death in our hand. We don’t have to hide it in our room within ourselves, until it turns to shame.
In life we may make mistakes
In life we may have done terrible things
And terrible things may have been done to us
But today is special. It is one of those days where I said goodbye to someone and couldn’t bring the words to express what I felt. I walked through the city confused. My confusion turned to anger, and soon I felt those old feelings come back to haunt me.
Once again a power greater than myself becoming my higher power, only now it does not have to bring me to my knees.
I walked through the city, looked at the light shape its way through the buildings.
Looked at the people waking up, the cafes setting up outside so that one more day can continue in Bratislava.
It made my mind wander. I started to think how for these people the day is beginning and for me it is ending. I looked at their ambition for the day and compared it to the fatigue and emotion that I had.
I walked around taking my time. Taking pictures with my small camera, and found that moment of god in looking at the light…
The shadows it made on the ground
And the contrast it brought to everything it touched.
For many years I worked as a light designer in theatre, as simple as it is, it is very special to me.
I thought about the different physics of light
How we know so little about the physics of light
How the spectrum of it can never be augmented from the source that emits it
How it was discovered that it moves in waves in the 1890s
How it became theorized by Einstein that is has mass
How light can bend
But it didn’t matter how much I thought about it, how much I tried to learn more and more about it, just like now and for the 26 productions I designed it could always leave me speechless.
It may be all these things, and have all these characteristic, but today I was a man in the city experiencing the unexplained beauty of the world I can’t control around me.
I was the boy who wanted excess
I was someone who was brought to my knees by it.
And rather than needing an answer, and needing a definition
I could just walk and know that I am part of a world that moves around me.
I can experience the god in everything or I could hold what I think I want in the palm of my hand. Hold it until it is dead, hiding my wreckage and becoming a slave to those powers greater than myself.
We will leave here today in a few hours to Budapest.