Today I post the 100th page of my sketchbook. I finished it some time ago but waited til I had something to say—apparently nothing special.
These four pages leave me little encouraged about my life. The paranoiac scrawl with the words kill them all in all-caps—the cryptic reference to a torture scenario—the treasure-chest skeleton monster from my nightmares—these do not bode well for my well-being. Then we have the slightly demented pretty boy with gender dysphoria and a pair of rape jokes about democracy—there's the drowning child and the fiery banner railing against my recurrent eye strain. No, things have not been well.
In the last weeks of 2015 I had a clutch of friends and loved ones witness me go completely mental. I didn't attempt suicide, and I didn't do myself any harm—no one was hurt, and I wasn't taken to the psych ward—but I did pound on a door while screaming “make it stop!” “make it stop!” until I collapsed onto the floor in a screaming fit. People I liked witnessed me in such a state as I never wanted anyone to see. Being audience to my own complete loss of self-control is amongst my greatest fears—that, and discomforting people I'm fond of.
I'd hoped some chance success of my art or writing might improve my confidence and mental health, gradually encouraging me towards a life of prosperity and productivity. I could then deem my life worth living, possibly even comfortable, and put aside the question of my psychiatric condition as a trifling inconvenience which in the past has provided so many of the severe hardships that make for humorous stories in hindsight.
Now my hope for the year is that by concentrating my energies on an improvement to my mental health specifically I might be more successful in regaining my ability to complete constructive ventures in the future. Today I composed a number of the dream records I'd been neglecting to enter. I'd stopped making them October 14th after a particularly gruesome nightmare about a professional freelance torturer in a circus ringmaster uniform torturing a friend of mine to death. Today, however, I found at last the wherewithal to record it and thus satisfy myself that its memory was now safe to me.
Actually, all five of the dreams I recorded today turned out to be of a nightmarish quality. I'm surprised they didn't cause me greater distress. The threat of being gang raped by burly muscle-gays, or a massive allergic reaction swelling my windpipe shut and asphyxiating me unconscious, or a civil disturbance forcing me to flee Canada as a refugee for the safe haven of Iran where me and my wife are made to conform to Islamic orthodoxy—somehow I never despair of such misfortunes. Rather, I feel greatly relieved they aren't worse for scarcely can I think of such dreams as nightmares when remembering my nightmares within my dreams such situations hardly qualify.
Imagine being tortured to death—when you happen to be immortal. Or perhaps simply the thought of spending eternity conforming to the strictures of dystopian social control.
To be deprived the relief offered by the great circle of life winding to it's gentle close is perhaps the greatest of my fears. The others are made palatable simply by offering a definite endpoint to their suffering. It seems like there's almost something life affirming in it. As long as one can safely navigate from suffering to suffering without being mired in any particular hardship for long there is good reason to be consider yourself fortunate. Perhaps we ought to greet our individual miseries with a show of gratitude for the curiosity they provoke—each threatening new and unique dangers for us to overcome as we make our way to the next series of punishments.
Indeed, there's a great deal to be optimistic about in 2016!