old (2007), Uncategorized

identity crisis

How do you take away from a man his madness without also taking away his identity?

— William Saroyan

I keep thinking about a movie I saw a couple of years ago — Unknown White Male — on the same night that I got drunk and almost broke my wrist at the Holiday Club (though I didn’t realize this until around 5am, when the alcohol started wearing off and the intense pain began). Everything seems so confusing lately — I am alive, and I am sober, and I am able to go out of my home, and I quite frequently interact with people in this conceptual place called “the world” but it is all very foreign to me. How is it possible that I can recognize so many things without remembering them? This strikes me most often when I’m on my way home from meetings — when I drive past Delilah’s or the Hopleaf or The Spot — and I have a vague recollection of at some point being a woman who not only felt comfortable in those bars but knew what to do. I look back at the past few months, and I contemplate the decisions I’ve made, and I do not understand how they made sense. I can no longer fathom how I could have been the person who so frequently made such obviously bad choices, which I suppose means I’ve finally deemed myself insane.

But a not-insignificant part of me wants to be insane again, because at least I had a history filled with things that didn’t work. My failure was predictable and comfortable, and pain was simply the price I paid for a certain sense of regularity. Every decision I make now, every action I take (or fail to take) is made or done for the very first time, and they are all performed so unnaturally that it’s nearly impossible to know what’s right (or wrong).

I don’t really want to go back to where I was, but sometimes it sure seems as though it would feel pretty damn nice.

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