If you don’t want to wake up…

I recently had a sober friend who was explaining to me — when he’s doing poorly, he needs more structure. More prayer, more meditation, more 12-step meetings. More things to get his wandering, perverted mind under control. This is a guy who gets mad at himself for listening to music too loud or for checking out a beautiful blonde as she passes by. That’s his ego, he says. That kind of stuff isn’t good for him. He has to get that behavior under wraps, or else.

I disagreed with him. Why? Because, to me, listening to loud music is only human. I’m not saying you should destroy your ears. Hell, even wear ear plugs at a rock concert, I’m all for it. But don’t go around saying that a taste for loud music makes you a bad, greedy, evil person. I think we’re all “guilty” of it. And that beautiful blonde? Yes, I agree, you should try to put yourself in her shoes and look at her as a fellow human being, as a sister. Rock on man, absolutely. But let’s not pretend her beautiful body doesn’t make you feel some type of way. You’re not some evil perverted maniac for having those types of feelings and thoughts. You’re just a normal human being. Does sex really have to be mutually exclusive with love?

So that’s why I disagreed with him. But before parting that day, I told him, I respect his view. If that’s what works for him, then great. I haven’t talked to this guy in awhile (for obvious reasons), but I was just tonight thinking: I actually DON’T respect his position. I respect his right to hold it, sure. I’m not anybody to MAKE him change his mind. But I am calling it like it is — it’s bogus.

This is the type of guy who doesn’t want to experience life, who doesn’t want to experience the unknown. He WANTS to spend his time castigating himself because it gives him some kind of purpose, some kind of meaning, some sense of identity. Some weird sense of certainty; something to grasp and hold on to. This idea that “I am a fucked up perverted addict” may seem dark, but at least it’s familiar.

I heard a parable — a boy always slept in the dark, but one night he went to sleep at his grandma’s house. His grandmother kissed him good night and shut the lights off. The boy suddenly screamed! “What’s wrong?” asked his very concerned grandma. “It’s so dark!” He said. “But you always sleep in the dark at home!” “Yes,” said the boy. “But that’s MY darkness. This darkness is completely unknown!”

So yes, even darkness is good, as long as it is familiar. The real scary thing is the unknown. And this guy I’m talking about— he likes his darkness. He likes thinking that he’s fucked up, that he has to punish himself, and that the way to happiness is to work constantly to “fix” himself. As soon as he drops his identity of being a broken, messed-up individual — that’s when the real scary stuff happens. The jig is up. Now he can’t know what’s coming. Now he has to admit — I don’t know who I am, or where I’m going. And none of this is up to me. And how scary is that? So it’s better to stick to the old way… The old self-loathing way. At least that way was familiar, safe.

But now I’m calling this out for what it is. The worst part about it all is that it’s under the guise of some kind of spirituality. Let me be clear: it’s not spirituality: it’s hate, it’s rejection, it’s fear. So don’t call it spirituality.

First, I’m calling it out these attitudes in this guy. But more importantly, I’m calling them out in me. I’m not a fuck up, and I don’t need to be fixed. I’m just a human being. And I don’t know who I am. I don’t know where I’m going. But I do know this — I’m exactly the way the universe made me to be.

So no, I don’t respect this guy’s position. But I do respect his right to hold it. If he doesn’t want to wake up, I am not entitled to wake him up. Let him sleep. I have enough living to do on my own.