I awoke kind of late, this morning, Mind already aswirl with Memory, and with a glittering suggestion of Insight, Context; like coins in a pool.
I may have been dreaming; I don’t know. It is not usual for me to remember Dreams.
Magnolia/Tomball…Cops…School/College…Her, and how those experiences fit in with all the rest.
I don’t mean to belabor…to wallow…
But it is important, to me, to get at these Roots.
I am an Exile.
I have always been an Exile, even if I didn’t know it,….
I woke with the Memory of that Feeling…in Tomball, close to the end of my times, there. I was in the Van, at Spring Creek Park. I had a job, still…but I was soon to quit, and leave, forever. I had had a somewhat harrowing night of being chased, again. Hunted, one might say…for that is certainly what it felt like. This was during a relatively sober period. And I remember sitting there, thinking; why do they hate me so? Officer Stan had let me know that the rest of them were planning on ‘getting rid” of me…and I reeled as I digested this.Like all the rest of my involvement with cops, it seemed like such Overkill, such Surreal Behavior.
I had gotten their ‘attention’ by doing what I thought was the Right Thing…and Her Dad disagreed, and made me a Pariah. All my BS was a reaction to this. She was now long gone…and I had tried to overcome the Pariah-hood, doing the things I thought I was supposed to do. College, Job, attempts at Sobriety.
None of this mattered. I was still hunted.
It likely didn’t help that I was homeless, most of the time. I didn’t get along with Mom…so I avoided the Homestead…Dad was gone off, into his new life. I couldn’t afford an apartment…so it was the Van.
The only places that I felt welcome were the Beerjoints.
Playing the Blues.
Attempted Sobriety meant avoiding such places.
I had nowhere to go.
I avoided thinking about this conundrum, for a long, long time…this Unwantedness.
I was Naturally Rebellious, of course…always had been….and, as I’ve said, Undomesticated…Feral. Social Conventions eluded me. I was not a Christian, I was a (Wild) Genius, Pothead, Hippie.But all my old friends were gone …save GW.
I had already determined that I disliked College…I found the focus on “Career” a disappointment…as well as the lack of the Intellectual Bohemianism that I had expected.
All was Shallow.
So, it was with a certain reluctance that I made the move back to Huntsville, and University.
Though I tried to be serious about the Schooling, and the Band(what I really wanted to do, btw), the feeling of Pariah-hood, of Not Fitting, Not Belonging, followed me.
I was aloof, for my whole time , there.
These feelings of Separateness, coupled with the Boredom of the Classes, as well as the whole College/Frat Normality, led, inevitably, to Drinking.
In this, at least, I was not alone. Everybody was fucked up.
The point is my Not Fitting….My Exile…Ostracism…Alienation.
I can sit here, in my Library, 20 years later, and know that what was ‘wrong’ with me, at that time, was that I didn’t Belong…seemingly anywhere. But I still don’t know Why…I can point to all sorts of things, but they all fall apart with even a half-hearted application of Reason.
There was never enough money, of course…which, at the time felt something like betrayal…Me and my Brother had always expected, with good reason, that this time of our lives would be taken care of, financially…and it was not. There was barely enough Jack to get by…and few jobs, in this sleepy little hick-town.
The flying leap that was the Exodus to Austin was, on paper, due to this…and the Dean’s uncompromising attitude. Beneath all of that was the Hope that Austin, being the only Liberal Enclave in Texas, would prove to be the long sought Home. Potential Asylum….the only Asylum that could be hoped for in Texas, at least.
This Subtext I never spoke of.
And the disappointment that was found there was entirely Personal and Private.
The Hope was shattered.
My Folks had never given any indication that they understood what was happening with me, during all this time…from Mag/Tom to Hunstville, to Austin.
Dad’s aloofness, was compounded by his unawareness of Economics. It was no longer 1962. $50 wouldn’t get ya anything, in 1992 College Life.
Too, I know now, that he was dealing with his own Psychology…as was Mom,in a different way.Denial and Confusion. Searching, in their own unique ways for their own, personal asylum.
I understand, now….and I don’t blame them…for divorce, or any of the unintentional baggage they foisted on my Brother and I.
It did, however, play a large part in my own problems…my Roots had been severed. There was no Homestead to retreat to, any longer.
The Cop problem followed me.
I don’t know why I have always been a Cop Magnet. It doesn’t matter if I cut my hair, wear nice clothes, etc. There is something about me that bothers them, even from a distance.
Having a gun to one’s head, for no good reason, put there by a representative of Normalcy and Society…against whom there is no recourse…has an effect, I guess.
Cops and Rednecks give me the Willies, even now.
All of this, I figure, combines to shape who I am.
In Love, in Civil Society, in “Academia”(I should’ve gone to Brown, or somewhere…), even the perceived, and unintentional, Rejection by Family.
I made it worse, of course, by seeking solace in Drunkenness….and by going even further afield, as it were, in my Rebellion.
Even the approved drug of choice of my Civilisation made me even more of a Pariah.
Attempting to Deal with the Pain of Rejection brought greater Rejection.
I could never Grok why I was singled out, from all the other Drunks, for such Special Treatment.
It was with this Psycho-Social Dysfunction that I retreated to this Wilderness Outpost..far from everything. The Failure to Integrate Myself into a larger Community, while still maintaining my own, Personal , Integrity followed me here.
My years here, have seen me retreat even further, body and soul, from the world. The Loneliness grew oppressive…even after I met my wife.
My attempts to integrate into this Frontier Community have, largely, Failed.
I , very simply, have nothing in common, with anyone.
Too, the Paranoia engendered by the Cop Problem grew and flourished with my Exile….always expecting, despite the irrationality of it, the Knock at The Door…
On the Farm, I could see the cattle guard that was the only approach, some ½ mile up the dirt road. The few times a Sheriff’s Car ventured down that road…even if I had called them!...my heart skipped. I found myself looking over my shoulder, even way out there.
When we determined that we had a Prowler Problem…psychopathic Neighbor, sneaking…the Paranoia grew even worse. Even in that Far Place, I was Unwelcome.
So, after 15 years, when my Stepdad had his Psychological Break, and I was the Root of All Evil, it was no surprise, really.Why should I expect to Belong here, when I had never Belonged anywhere?
To Town…still Far from Civilisation…and I had a long, slow Breakdown of my own.
For better than 2 years, I’ve been rooting around in my Past…how I felt, what all happened…Confronting all this Pain and Bewilderment…Remembering, at last, where I came from, and what all contributed to the making of Me.
I am coming to terms with it all…accepting it. Even, it is to be hoped, Owning it.
I, to be honest, have few Regrets…that is not what all this is about.
If I blame anyone, it is the Civilisation, as a whole, in which I had the misfortune to find myself. The one Nation in the history of Mankind, where one was taught to expect, at the very least, a certain Tolerance for Strangeness…and I have found it entirely wanting.
The expectations I inherited from Family, from Schooling, from the Lies we tell ourselves about Who We Are…It is no wonder, at all.
I did my best, in the circumstances…and kept my own counsel.
There was, it turned out, no good, accurate, actionable advice to be had.
Camus said, “We all carry within us our places of exile, our crimes, and our ravages. But our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to fight them in ourselves and in others.” … and I feel this, in my Bones.
I have been, at times, Overwhelmed by this Otherness…at other times, I Embraced it. Mostly, I have walked the fine line between…and this, I think, gives me a good grounding for the Identification of, and Indictment of, our Collective Failure to live up to our lofty Ideals. In this time of Public Rebellion… at where We are, and just how much We’ve been lied to… I am finding at last a Connection, however tentative, with Humanity.
In my time, I have been Ostracized…and while there have been many who seemed to relate to this…nowhere have I found someone that was willing to talk about, to Explore this phenomenon. I have perceived an unconscious devaluing of that part of my history and psychology that Feels this Ostracism so fiercely. These feelings, like my fish in the pond analogy, were always, at least tacitly, illegitimate….and that denial, that gave birth to the deligitimatization, is what appears to be falling away, right now…out in the wider world. Occupy Everything, indeed…where have you all been?
I’ve been hammering away at these things for years and years. Invalid Hurts. Devalued Feelings. The strange behaviour of Law Enforcement towards me… the American Mythology of Rugged Individualism, of “Responsibility”…this has been preached at us all, for a long time. The water we swim in is of no consequence…it is our own damned fault.
When I would articulate that this was almost entirely Bull Shit…on those few occasions, it was as if I had stripped naked in church and lit my hair on fire. Unthinkable.
This is turning into a time of Apocalypse…”Unveiling”…where the scales are falling from what looks like a majority’s eyes. I just got there first, it seems.
It took the excesses of the Bush Darkness…the Mythos on display, for all to see it’s Hollowness….and the Cynical Purchase of the Tea Party, along with their own insistence, beyond all Rational Credulity, that they were Genuine(!)…as well as(most importantly) the Breakdown of the Whole American Dream/Exceptionalism/ Wholesale Irrationality-Project that has been the Norm…for more than a fringe minority of my countrymen to finally Wake the Fuck Up….
Can I come Home, now?
Can I be an American, again?
May I rejoin Civilisation, now that so many of you have finally come around?