« on: June 21, 2012, 04:31:30 am »
Some of you might remember me from my last go around these parts.
No doubt, you remember me as a whiny attention whore. And that is absolutely correct.
I'd like to talk to you about an earlier time I was here, even before that -- as a half-hearted 15 year old lurker. I almost joined, but decided at that time it wasn't for me.
Y'know who I was at that point? I was Tupac L. Porker, or a less bizarrely interesting hirley0. I was the all-dreaded Earnest Pinealist. I thought I was both intelligent as fuck and insanely hilarious, that anyone I talked to would be in fucking TEARS from the sheer torrent of gushing intelligent and witty patter, and that I should probably be an objet d'culte for everyone I ran into. Online, that is.
In real life I had just begun to recognize that hey, America! isn't all it's cracked up to be. I was smart as hell, make no mistake. Hell, I was capable of reading the newspaper at the age of 4 and had coherent conversation with my family 3 years prior to that -- yeah, that's a 1 year old speaking in full sentences. But smart young people, I find, tend to be most vulnerable when they're smart enough to understand adult ideologies and inexperienced enough to not realize that everyone has something to sell them -- at gunpoint if need be. Not to mention that among their own peer groups, they become targets.
I was 15, and I was JUST waking up to the fact that folks have a uniform they want me to buy and put on and never take off, so when the time comes that hey, I'd like to try something else, you find your flesh has grown around the fabric like trees grow around fences. Discordia very likely saved me from becoming a countercultural rube by stepping into my life and telling me that hey, these people can sell you expectations as sure as they can finely tailored suits. And helping me come to the realization that I'd already bought enough of those expectations to have really fucked myself up, because I bought them at the age level where an eyedropper full of ethanol will both get you drunk and ruin your ability to grow in a healthy manner for the rest of your life.
And yeah, that's where all the horrific shit I'm struggling with mentally comes into play, but that's a story for another OKM at another time. This is about my own personal "coming of age," not misery porn.
But to get back to that fourth paragraph up there, waiting patiently for its continuation. The summation of the nature of my knowledge and life at that time meant that I felt myself to be like a god online, while I realized that the people around me in real life were drones -- but far more dangerous for BEING drones. Because they'd have the canned responses that everyone would listen to and nod in agreement with and forget that the drone responsible for what-the-fuck-ever was ever involved. No doubt, the combination of the "stay unnoticed" and "HEY LOOK AT ME" bullshit led to some serious cognitive dissonance that is probably with me to this day.
And on the ass end of 15 years old, having already found and read the "Gospel" according to Mal-2, the information I had gleaned in my life meant that when I found PD.com, I lurked for a bit and decided (quite reasonably) that it wasn't for me. It wasn't a conscious decision, either. I'm sure i wrote it off with some silly rationalization, but what really happened was that my subconscious had assimilated the relevant info and, while it was still putting it together piecemeal with painstaking care, realied that I was NOT READY for PD.com. There were tiers above 15-year-old me in the world, and this was not a place for the careless or the young.
So I never joined. Never participated. And thank fuck I didn't.
Skip ahead -- what was it, 3 years? 2008? Somewhere between 2007 and 2009, whenever Cait M.R. joined the forums. Feels like a decade between 2005 and whenever I popped up, though.
Anyway: I run into PD.com again. And this time, I join.
In the intervening timespan I'd realized a few things.
1: Everyone is a potential drone.
2: Most of them aren't harmful, not even if they're drones.
3: Drones are preprogrammed to deal with situations in highly specific ways, and will never deviate from that behavior. To wit, they do not make exceptions.
4: I am an exceptional person, but (as per no. 3) when I try to discuss the Nazi genocide in school, to dig down to the root psychology of the whole thing, the teachers get scared and I get an in-school suspension.
5: Your family is not going to stand by you if you start acting against the societal programming they've grown up with.
Most of these are the building blocks of what PD.com has come to call The Machine. For the most part, I was still coming to terms with them, especially 5. And I was still misinterpreting 4 -- I considered myself "exceptional" in the special snowflake sense, not as someone who exceptions should be made for. (Which is every human being -- not all situations are equal, and most people will be put in an extremely unfair position at least once in their lives.)
As a result, I was not at all ready for PD. Not that I realized it, because I'd figured out a lot of the stuff these guys were talking about. Not to such, depth, of course, but I was on the right road. And I never really paid any attention to anything that veered from my viewpoint, so it's not like I was going to learn.
Some of you may remember that I contributed nothing, started a ton of IRC drama, then came to the forum freaking the fuck out and begging for help when the floor I'd relied on as a given (shelter, food, hygiene) got pulled right out from under me (learning point 5 the hard way, always good fun!) and then disappeared when I realized the true interpretation of point 4 the hard way from the folks here. That is a perfectly accurate representation of my time here.
Now comes the fun part. I wanted it to be a story, but you can't tell this kind of story. Sometimes, the truth is too hard.
Some of you might think that Tucson is the worst spot in the US, followed closely by Florida. You're wrong. No, those are just the places that do the worst job of pulling a blanket over the dry rot and horror. (For the record, Tucson's dry rot is still around 169% more worser than anywhere else's, and they didn't even bother finding a blanket to try to cover it with, they just used their own feces and the corpses of homeless folks.)
Wanna know where the worst spot in the US is?
It's below the poverty level.
And I'm not talking about anything so quaint as the ghetto, or even the rescue mission I was in for awhile, or the time I got mugged in Pittsburgh.
I'm talking about hiding in the corner of a mudhut about 5 hours walk from the nearest gas station, hoping I don't get raped, robbed, or catch tuberculosis. In the middle of a room full of filthy alcoholics and junkies. The real pariahs. The ones that don't even have programs left to help.
I'm talking about writing myself a 201 so that I'd have a safe place to sleep and the luxury of daily showers. And then attempting suicide when the discharge notice comes so that I get to stay a little longer. (Your tax dollars at work! Thank the gods for free insurance for the poor folks, it's probably why I'm alive.)
I'm talking about finding a way to make phonecalls every day, and begging my family to let me at least pitch a goddamn tent in their yard so I can be somewhere familiar and safe. And getting told I'm insane and a sexual deviant, so no. And calling back the next day anyway.
I'm talking about nearly 2 years of being at THE bottom of THE lowest income bracket. Roger's Horrorology posts are amazing, they're the closest I can come to describing The Place, the proverbial bottom of the abortion clinic dumpster, the place where being a career criminal is an improvement because that keeps you alive and -- perhaps even more important when you're that far down -- noticed.
I wasn't guilty when I went to jail, or even when I got out. But I sure was guilty a year later. Of a lot more than I ever want to admit to.
And that brings us to the present day. When I came back to PD.com.
You don't go through harrowing, life-or-death experiences and come out the same person. You don't do it over and over constantly for a period of months on end. You CERTAINLY don't cut yourself open nice and big just so you can have a hot meal the next day and come out a whole, healthy human being.
I'm not sure I can describe how I've changed, this time. It's a bit of a "paradigm shift" -- there's nothing comparable to it in the rest of my life. But suffice it to say, I feel now I can finally say this is where I belong. Before, I was a stupid kid who thought she knew the way the world worked. Who was trying to fit in, as horrible as that might sound, treating the forum like TGRR and Nigel are fashion designers whose clothes only the cool kids get to wear.
Before that, I was an even stupider kid who didn't care how the world worked because I Was Special.
Now, I've been through the War. Not the War with guns and trenches and tanks, but the secret War for survival still raging below our radar. More importantly, I survived it. The war where there's no rules of engagement, and if you commit war crimes no Geneva Convention will have anything to say about it.
When you go through that, like I said, it changes you. It twists you. Some call it PTSD, some call it a disease. I like to let them think that, if it makes them feel more comfortable. But I know which one of us is going to be alive when the system goes up in flames and down in smoke.
Now, some might be inclined to say: "but it's not a war!" I'll answer them in a roundabout way.
Urban primitives think they want to go to where I was. I want to see them last ten minutes. I met folks who actually collected the bones of the guys they killed.
To expand on that a little: Ronald Poppo could have been even less than a goddamn statistic. If the attack had been under the bridge, no one would have ever noticed. The fellow was already believed to be dead, it's not like anyone would have ever known he'd even been in the area to begin with. And we modern monkeys don't remember that surveillance can't see through walls. It can't see under streets, or in sewers or storm drains. There are, I'd guess, around a third again as many murders as are ever counted, all among marginal folks so removed from society that they're practically already playing in the ashes of our empire.
If that's not a war, I don't know what is.