“There comes a time when every kid peeks behind the curtain and sees she’s not the only one putting on a show. Fathers, mothers, cops and robbers… every member of the PTA, all playing dress-up… all in their masks: The constant Halloween. That first peek behind the curtain… the lifting of the mask, it’s a disorienting moment. The solid ground beneath you slips away to quicksand. Along with all you thought you knew. But you realize, as days and nights go by, that there’s a kind of truth in the lie… that the mask is often more revealing than the face that lies beneath… that because the person that you pretended to be (the mother, the father, the sister, the cop) became, somehow, the person that you are.” -In Plain Sight
It’s not that straight-forward… it’s not as discontinuous as a mask can provide. But it applies. I remember being obsessed with the notion that no one could ever really know any one else. …that no one could ever see all sides of another person and that the lens used to view would always have a neutral density subjective filter placed upon it. In fact, I wrote my first screenplay based on moments witnessed… pieces of the puzzle of who a person may or may not be. Put it together… figure it out. Or not.
I’m sure this isn’t a unique experience by any means, but at that time (and for years following), I felt the invincibility of my person. But more importantly, no obligation to “be something”. It is personal freedom to the highest caliber. Left with no burden to even exist at all. I can’t be sure why I felt so safe sticking needles with stimulants in my veins. But that’s not true, either. I guess that I believed nothing certain about myself except for my invincibility. My ability to, for lack of a better term, stand outside of all experience and observe. Rendering all of my actions, merely actions. Needles and coke and meth and ecstacy and dilaudid… anything, by this definition became things that couldn’t touch me because it was impossible.
And somehow, everyone else was so subjective that everything that they did affected them. They were fully-formed human beings with very strong views on character and people. …fully-formed human beings, unchangeable but affect-able.
And in this manner, as well, I was not a drug addict. I was a person that performed an action. Buying and doing drugs is the same as going to Rite Aid for eyeliner and walking across 23rd Street to work. Even, level… the same.
This is why I hold this time in such high regard. I created a way in which I could do anything. And I did. The error in this manner of thinking is that one is not invincible. And though it makes it completely possible to do everything and chalk it up to an “action”; though there may be no burden to exist or be something, every action will and does affect the person that you are. As under-developed it is or as much as one has created a mechanism wherein they can deny the existence of it at all. Everything affects one… you… something, because, like the rest of the human race, you are a person.
I didn’t think of myself a drug addict for a very long time. And then, I secretly (or not) reveled in the idea that I might be one. And then, I held onto the definition for dear life as one of the most important components of who I, as a person, am. Basically, I accepted a certain version of day-to-day reality. Age, evolution and the fact that to “be something” is now an obligation. And though it took that “decade under the influence” and longer, even… it feels more like a swift, half pirouette. Where my head has snapped, more quickly than the eye could detect, to a position exactly opposite of where it was half a second ago.
And though I’ve always been able to hide it well… I felt that I was internally, somehow (and inconsistent with everything I’ve said here) inherently, a drug user. Furthermore, I was a person… subject to all the personal consequences of action and experience.
And there you go.
This is the grey zone. Because I was always a functional this or that and because I didn’t technically make a statement to the effect of “I’m not doing drugs anymore”… because I’m not in recovery… because I still drink; I felt things hadn’t changed enough. Fuck, who even knew that I was a heavy drug user to begin with to know that I stopped using drugs at all?
Furthermore, I didn’t make this decision.
In a way, you could say that my actions made the decision and I carried-out my actions. But, it’s not that simple. Even a month or so prior to this time, if my dealer had up-and-disappeared (as was the case), I would have gone scouring Los Angeles for meth. And I would have found some. I had, I believe 5 separate meth dealers as detailed in The Bus Ramblings… in Los Angeles in roughly 2 years. Only Frank in NY (and he wasn’t just meth… and that spanned atleast double the aforementioned time). But this time, in LA, I was just over it, somehow. But also, I can probably also attribute maybe 75% of the “just over it” to the quality of crap-ass meth that I was getting.
None of this matters, of course. And though I finally felt a pathetic-ness of being a drug addict, there was a HUGE-ass part of me that reveled in drug culture, drug experience, drug everything. I was just now aware of just how much I couldn’t talk about it. And without the drugs to make me forget about this whole thing, felt exceedingly stifled. And not only this… but because I had krazy-glued this notion of myself as a drug person into my fiber… I felt like a fraud; a liar. …and a bit digressively, empty.*
*to be addressed in a future post.
But this is where the quote comes in, one might see themselves as a definitive thing and thereby fraudulent by acting in seemingly unnatural ways… I suppose this would be the mask they speak of, but:
“…you realize, as days and nights go by, that there’s a kind of truth in the lie… that the mask is often more revealing than the face that lies beneath… that because the person that you pretended to be… became, somehow, the person that you are.”
It feels unbelievable… incorrect, even. But time… small increments of moments and then; the whole thing… I mean, if you stick around long enough… it sounds retarded, I know, but it starts to feel possible. …And sometimes, when one takes stock… if one’s privy to that sort of thing, one realizes that, in one’s own continuous manner, it’s been happening the whole time, maybe? Slowly; molasses-ass slowly, but happening none-the-less. I don’t fuckin’ know. I just know that I’m different now than when I started this whole thing (when I thought that I’d never really be able to do the adult thing; do the responsible-thing… I’m a great actor. I could pretend tremedously, but would also only ever be excited by what I really am: a drug addict)… I just know that it is possible to change while still remaining the same… if that makes any sense to anyone. And I do believe all of this rests on time… the passage of time.