Stressed Out, All My Life

Stressed Out, All My Life

You know, I’m a little scrambled, I can’t remember these days which summer vacation it was, 2009, 2010, or 2012, the year the four of us went to either Costa Rica or the even bigger, once in a lifetime trip, Fiji – but for some reason that summer when my vacation arrived and I was off work . . .

First we stayed at a place, a fairly local beach and it was the first day, worked Friday, set up at the beach on Saturday, and I relaxed. I felt the absence of a tension, I went completely limp and calm for nearly the entire three weeks. I think by the time I was back to work I was . . . normal again. That was once. The second time in my life that I actually relaxed was maybe six weeks ago, and that was, uh, let’s say better living through chemistry.

It’s getting these days that if you want the heathen devil-weed you can get a prescription if you’re sick, but at least around here, in BC, it’s getting where you can just walk into another store, swear you’re hurting, sign, and shop. I guess they’re getting ahead of the legal curve a little, getting jump on it before it’s full on legal and Phillip Morris jumps in. I didn’t believe it, I didn’t. I mean, I was a pothead for a long time, I know it helps with pain and the worry and stress of pain. But I didn’t realize they were actually being serious about the medicine, like identifying different traits for different troubles. I didn’t think the ‘feels’ could be as different as they are and now I think they may have a breed, a particular mix of different cannabinoids, etc., just right for each and everybody, because it was this Purple Heaven that reminded me what calmness felt like again, and I’ve had – there’s no better way to put it – the American Beauty experience. Zero paranoia.

And in that state, that I too would have described until recently as ‘clinically wasted,’ I was calm, and performing better at everything for it, making fewer mistakes, forgetting fewer things. The relaxed mind works better, apparently. Is this how other people feel? Calm, and a lot of the time? Really?

That particular breed hasn’t been available since. Well, it is just plain terrific, besides being magic for me in particular, it’s stats are insane. Maybe this stuff just feels that good for everybody, I don’t know. I’ve been smoking again since a death in our family three months back, all manner of cannabis, other breeds of bud, keef, hashish, oils . . . I’m trying to finish my last bit tonight and not go back, at least for some months. If I’m gonna smoke, it’ll be like the Phoenix character: “This is all I ever smoke.” Plus I’ll invest in a vapourizer, try to make it a little healthier, stop this cherry oil smoked off of a cigarette business. I’ve never even smoked cigarettes, they’re disgusting, especially in this country. But enough of this dope talk, you don’t want that, nor do I.

The point of all that was that although the first time was nice, the first time in my fifty years I really relaxed, it didn’t seem important then, and I pretty much forgot it until the second time, my week long trip to Purple Heaven. Now, however, after my American Beauty epiphany, but more importantly, after realizing that I have been stressed out, unable to calm myself long enough to swing a golf club either forever, or at least as long as I can remember, I want that. I’m worried about my health at nearly fifty-five, and it just plain feels nice, but more. I’m starting to see how being constantly stressed has caused many, many of the mistakes and embarrassments in my life, how it has limited my effective intelligence in applying myself in this life. If I were a TV show, meaning if anyone has been watching my life, I almost want to apologize. It must have been so sad, to see my tensed up little self, with a stiff and brittle connection to life, trying so hard and undeserving of a moment in decades for a few deep breaths. I mean, this despite a life with more than its share of sloth.

I was a pothead for years and years, and I spend a lot of time on here, or in front of the TV – but all that dope never put a dent in my stress, and neither does ‘staying real still until that feeling goes away.’ Of course back then it was really illegal, and I was hiding it from the kids – I’d tell them, but I wouldn’t show them – it was a bad thing then, an addiction, which of course only causes stress in your life in the long term. There’s something there to write about, but I’ll only mention it today: by legalizing it, lives may be transformed, addicts may become patients, treating themselves and having relief from stress rather than the reverse. A prohibition pushes lives to the dark side, not all of which may have been there already. Like I said, twice in my life, within memory, I really relaxed. This goes to psychology, of course.

Perhaps I am feeling the stress of the Mask, the suit of body, mind and heart armour that so many of us wear in order to fit into our families and society, the front we present that fits the shape of the place that other people’s perceptions and delusions have left for us to inhabit. The mask, if I understand it, is our avatar in the game of Surface Life, our userid here in Maya, the World of Illusion.

The Mask is not my symbol. I think has been around for some time, but there is a blogger here who has made it their own. Here’s his ‘About’ page:

And here’s a few examples of his ideas. I advise you get to the end of at least one of them, it’s so worth the trip:

Cortland here has an incredible way of laying it all out, creating a story that makes issues of mental illness stand out clear as day whereas everywhere else we encounter the subject or the illnesses, confusion normally rules and hope evaporates. The ideas in the takingthemaskoff blogs have the potential to make straightforward what was  . . . esoteric, extremely difficult to nail down. Cortland is shining a light for us.

Inherently stressful, is life behind the Mask, maybe it’s as simple as that, or not. The Mask is a ceramic suit of compromises we make with our environment – other people, that is the environment for humans and other social animals – and it sets up, hardens over time while our true selves are locked away and ignored. For myself, I’m sure I haven’t yet identified who I am, which parts of me are me and which parts are part of the Mask, but I’m going to start trying to figure it out. I don’t yet see where this issue of my lifelong stress-state fits into the metaphor of the Mask, but I’m intuiting that it’s all of one thing, and that this is where the key to it will be found.

It’s a rough world out there, maybe that’s enough to explain why my entire life has been spent in a spasm of a species of desperate, bracing for the blow fear that has made any kind of peace a pipe dream for me (apologies!), and maybe other folks like me as well. That peace, having glimpsed it, that is something I need now. The way I’ve been? That has been some only pretending to live type bullshit.