In retrospect, it's foolish and futile to blame a chaotically destructive adulthood on a turbulent and unhappy childhood, but that's what I did for a long time. As a child and early adolescent I had been too good, too complacent, too willing to please others and never bend the rules. I was as perfect and compliant as it was humanly possible to be. I emotionally remained a child well into adulthood.
I absorbed my father's violence and negativity like a sponge and never questioned his terrifying reign of absolute autocracy. I feared him more than anything else on earth and this fear continued well into my adulthood. I once told my mother that I feared him much more than God - because God is an abstract entity whose presence relies solely on faith and imagination. My father's incredibly powerful presence was horrifyingly real. He ruled every aspect of my restricted world and had the power over whether I lived or died.
My mother was my only anchor in a sea of chaos. She was beautiful, brilliant, and extraordinary in many ways. She was emotionally strong for enduring my father's insanity and for surviving it, yet she was also weak for never leaving him. She tried to leave many times but always failed. One time, when I was twenty, she escaped to Reno, NV and filed for divorce. My father did some detective work, found out where she was, and drove up to see her. He begged her to come back and she reluctantly acquiesced - - knowing full well that there would be no happy ending.
Why am I burdening my blog readers with all this ancient personal baggage? These past few posts are merely random thoughts, preliminary sketches, prelude to a memoir. The things I've written about my father in Ashes (my previous post) are whitewashed fluff. If I ever wrote how bad the situation really was, it would be difficult to believe. I was an emotional zombie for so long that it took years and enormous effort to resurrect myself.
I'm not looking for sympathy. I've finally shed the detrimental effects of my ravaged past. Nothing heroic was involved. Survival is an animal instinct. Life is an on-going exercise in the art of survival.
My eventual escape didn't set me free, but rather trapped me in a detrimental web of self-destruction. Often it is much more difficult to
escape from the ravages of what we do to ourselves than from what others inflict upon us.
I willingly entered the dark, dangerous, delusional underworld of escapism: sex, sin, booze, drugs - the deliciously enticing gamut of debauchery. In essence, it was escape from myself and the world of reality.
The grand illusion of Hollywood was the perfect setting for shedding my painful past and assuming the identity of someone I never really was and never thought I could be. It was surprisingly easy.
I was young, good-looking, desirable, and more than eager to be corrupted. My transition into the depths of Sodom was swift and seamless. I initially had no clue that I was desirable, and my guilt about being sinful was profound - but I soon learned to suppress any vulnerabilities.
I projected an exterior facade of abject indifference and intriguing mystery. I abandoned good manners and correct grammar. I eventually learned to be street-wise and to speak in crude abstractions. I feigned being tough. I smoked cigarettes - even though I disliked them and seldom inhaled.
I dressed like a faux cowboy, for no particular reason other than I liked it: leather boots, Levi jeans, Kennington shirts, occasional cowboy hats.
I hated hard drugs but I smoked grass, did poppers (amyl, butyl), took quaaludes, and indulged in other assorted downers and uppers. I mostly drank - and drank heavily. On occasion I'd mix dangerous concoctions of alcohol and pills together, just to experience the effect.
Sex? I was a sexual addict - easy and eager to please. What I really desperately wanted was love, but I quickly learned that "love" is a dirty word in the cold and merciless realms of midnight anonymity.
Later, I had ample opportunities to have serious relationships and I rejected most of them - in the false and selfish belief that it's better to initially reject than to eventually be rejected. Don't ask me to explain this distorted reasoning.
Writing about myself only serves to puzzle me. I was always an enigma and have never yet completely figured myself out.
I've just deleted the last part of this post because I feel that I'm becoming boring by saying too much.
Well, at least I didn't charge admission.