I’ve been debating coming back to this blog. I spent about 8 years writing on it. It was a friend to me while I learned all sorts of things about the world and talked too much about myself. I exposed every inner working for the entire blogosphere to see, banking on the fact that I’d forever remain obscure.
I’d like to say that my interests are less insular and more outwardly focused now. That I’ve learned to be more centered and less obsessive. That writing and music aren’t the only things in the world I’m interested in. That creativity applies not only to the arts but to relationships, food, vision. I’ve learned a lot about relationships and people and life and love… I guess I’ve grown up.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the process. But, like Jerry Stahl once said on The Rumpus: “To the extent that I have a philosophy of life, it’s ‘make a new mistake.'”
Some other changes–since I used to talk a lot about my past. I’ve worked through a lot of the things I was trying to work out in public on this blog. I’ve tried on a lot of hats I hadn’t tried before. I continue to be blown away by how little I know, and I have the feeling, often, that I’m hurtling forward in a strange, unpredictable universe with no order.
(Oh. Shit. I guess I am.)
One tiny update. I no longer believe in the “cult of sobriety,” first off. I don’t think being sober makes you better or worse than anyone else and I raise my glass to the others who were once using alcohol or drugs to escape terrible traumas they didn’t want to face, took the bull by the horns and used (sometimes controversial) methods to heal those traumas and now imbibe once in a while to no loud consequences. Cheers. To those who are straight-edge–cheers. To each their own. I no longer base my life on whether or not I imbibe. There are other things to think about and focus on. I no longer ascribe to the idea of being “an addict,” in my own life. I’m not going to limit myself with language like this, especially knowing what I know about neuroscience and the brain, and after reading many fascinating conversations about the matter, such as this conversation between Sam Harris and Johann Hari: A War Well Lost. I agree more with the ongoing research that addiction is not a brain disease and that it is the psychology of the person who takes a substance that causes many of the results of taking that substance. I also rest with the camp of Gabor Mate, in the idea that childhood traumas affect a lot of your life thereafter, and if you can work through these, you can heal. I know firsthand that it is possible to change, and that you don’t have to be extremist about it. I hope more people with this experience come forward, so that those who don’t do well with morality/religious conventions being applied to whether or not one imbibes can decide for themselves to either abstain or moderate based on their own free will–this is the ONLY reason I am mentioning this. Because I believe a conversation is in order and people need to speak up so that endless people who want to improve their lives are not shuttled to shunting dogmatic programs where they are shamed for being immoral or to prison systems profiting off of their addiction.
Of course I have to throw in the disclaimer that those who are true addicts, and can’t stop should seek whatever help necessary to get through those first years of abstaining. I came around after 13 years of abstaining, and now surround myself with people who aren’t extreme. You kind of become like who you’re surrounded by, regardless. You are what you think you are. Unless that’s a unicorn. Then you aren’t. Or maybe you are. I don’t know. You decide what you wanna believe. “That humanity at large will ever be able to dispense with Artificial Paradises seems very unlikely. Most men and women lead lives at the worst so painful, at the best so monotonous, poor and limited that the urge to escape, the longing to transcend themselves if only for a few moments, is and has always been one of the principal appetites of the soul.”― Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception
Look forward to more from me in the future. And don’t expect lectures or diatribes, only existential thoughts and postulations. I hope you like having The Stifled Artist back, and that it inspires you to do your own thing, too, to trust yourself. As you should know by now, you are your own authority. So here I am, after much adventure, opening the door to more adventure. I was going to bury this blog for good, but my friend, Kirsten, planted a tiny seed that made me feel perhaps I should write again. Onwards, then. Let’s get back to it.