Jim Trainer

Clearing the Chamber

In anxiety, Being An Artist, self-help, therapy on February 12, 2016 at 2:22 pm

“…that guy is trying so hard to get out, and he’s never gonna be the one to hurt you, believe me.  Let him talk.  Let him tell you what you did that was so bad.  Listen, you know what you did?  You hung on, kiddo.  That’s it.”
-Berger, Ordinary People

Therapy works.  Take it from me.  First time in the chair I was strung out on cocaine.  High for over 30 hours but coming down hard.  Oh, right.  Not my first time seeing a therapist but certainly the first time I wanted to.  I remember sitting in therapy when I was 20, with a swollen black eye and thinking that if I fought this counselor well that would be alright, too.

Generally speaking, something happened and I got buried.  To think on it or wonder why boggles the mind and sometimes there are no answers, no matter how hard you try to find.  Dysfunctional upbringing?  Ok.  But I had become my own man before I even left home. The self-talk I used to help me twist from the wreck of dysfunction worked.  I guess there was more than one way out, but I chose mine and now I’m free.  Or getting there.  The mere existence of self-talk is a loss of innocence.  You’re beside yourself.  Apart.  My brand of the stuff was particularly harsh and unforgiving and, well, ridiculous.  Should somebody have told the rageful 2o year old me that Ayn Rand and Henry Rollins were at best mythical but at least as one dimensional as a page in any of their hard-bitten and overwrought books?  Point is no one could have.  Their and others’ work for me was fuel.  And the point is no one did.

I’m not on here to victimize anybody.  Ok, that’s not exactly true, but I certainly don’t want to victimize myself.  Ok, that’s not true either.  Ugh.  Let’s just say that it’s a wonder nothing short of a miracle that I sit here today, mostly sober, drinking tea and reflecting on the past.  The glory and the wreckage.  I’ve been talked down from the ledge of addiction to cocaine, the depths of alcoholism and the abyss of seeking unconditional love from damaged and narcissistic partners.  Rick, if you’re listening, I owe it all to you.  You’ve been like a father to me, and we roped off my demons and laughed and cried and held on our way to freedom.

Know thyself.
-First Rule of Magic

That I do, good Reader, and often to my own determent do I know myself.  Of course there is the danger of being so active and engaged with your own issues, no one else has to be.  But fuck them.  They can go on living a charmed and unexamined life.  The real danger in plumbing your own depths is simple-you run the risk of isolating yourself.  But, let’s face it, that’s not always a bad thing.  I feel like I’m always heading for the cave, seeking out space and wide swathes of time to “write”.  What’s up for me these days is anxiety.  I’ve roped off the bad blues.  I don’t drink.  I practice Yoga.  I devoutly get 8 hours of sleep every night and fucking isn’t at the fore on my list of priorities.  I am me, at a higher intensity and for more sustained periods of time.  I’m not trying to avoid and I have allot less to prove.  Drinking and fighting and fucking.  Take these off the dais and all I’ve got left is this dream and the audacity of it, calling down to me where I sit and agonize over the details of September‘s Austin release.  I am thinking of all the right things and that’s the problem.  My identity as an artist is on the line and that’s the problem too.  I’ve been strung out on bad anxiety since I published the book, and I’ve dealt with it by laying around and watching Howard Stern.  Jerking off.  I fear the relinquishing of my identity as an Artist to the extent of paralysis.  I let another day go by with my dick in my hand without placing the ad, making fliers or editing the proof.  The fear that I’ll be found out when no one shows up to the reading is my main motivation.  Depression is the slothful bedfellow of anxiety.  Anxiety is the real and it’s a real mother.

I’ve been lucky with therapists.  My first therapist, Rick Ferry, is the man.  We trawled the savage road together for almost a decade.  Don Jones won’t let me off the hook and he’s like the master on the mountain, slapping my self-talk across the face weekly.  If me&Rick went on safari through the rich veldt of the heart, Don and I are in the pit of the arena, where the lights burn the brightest, and we’re doing work.  We will make this dream happen.  It’s my hero’s journey, and how lucky, how fortunate and auspicious that I still got a dog in this fight.

“Of course you know your self-talk is ridiculous and of course you can see the logistics clearly, after the gig.  But that’s of no use to you now.  Not while you’re in it.  You’ve got to track the anxiety.”

It’s Thursday afternoon.  I’m waiting on word to go ahead with the ad for the reading.  Waiting to hear back before I book a flight to Crescent City and a train ride back.  I’ve been shot-through and ridden since I got back from Portland but there’s one thing I can do and that is track the anxiety.  Once a nervous wraith of doubt hung, I turn the barrel around and take the safety off.  I’m not strung out on coke, weighted and soggy from booze or mad with perseverant lust-but a nervous and dreaming boy, wide-eyed and wanting more, wondering if I deserve to have the life I want for myself, but not for long.

My time here is parsed with deadlines.  I’m nothing if not stubborn, my Italian mother’s son, my cocky Irish father’s boy.

 

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  1. […] or venom I just disappear.  I opt to suffer all by myself and suffer I do, good reader.  Blogging clears the chamber, it’s a high wire act with the blues and it’s surgery without anesthesia.  I’m a […]

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