For the last few days, I have been very much alone. Not in a figurative, woe-is-me sense. Just by myself, opening up my family’s summer home on Martha’s Vineyard, scrubbing the outdoor shower, dancing around the house in my briefs or less, listening to 400 Lux, sweeping up insectile cadavers from their resting places beneath couches and jammed between floorboards, drinking cheap wine, reading DeLillo’s new book. All of which was very fun and enjoyable.
In those of us with active brains, aloneness often gives birth to self-reflection. And while being relentlessly and debilitatingly introspective and hypercritical of myself is one of my favorite pastimes, I promised myself on my solo 4:45 am drive to the ferry from the North Shore that I would capital N bold faced and italicized Not think of myself in any serious ways for my three days and two nights of solitude.
The drive itself marked the transition. I listened to my guiltiest musical pleasures. I drove above the speed limit to the point that I felt risky. A few times I found myself just laughing, alone, audibly in the car. Screaming occasionally. “I’m a fucking psychopath!” I’d scream to myself, laughing all the more loudly and screaming the lyrics to Don McLean’s “American Pie” or Akon’s “I Wanna Fuck You” or Nate Dogg’s “Shake That.” Sometimes I just turned the radio off altogether and sang a cappella. The song of choice was “I’m Different” by 2 Chainz. Yes I began devolving into some sort of manifested id at 4:00 on Thursday morning and I didn’t stop until I was back in my garage at home on Saturday evening. It was a ride.
In the house, I was unabashedly myself. I sang loud, continuing from the car, and left all the doors and windows open (partly for the musty smell, partly so the neighbors would know that I was having a fuckin’ ball). I subsisted on Oreo cookies and foot-long subs from the store down the street. I ate supermarket sushi that was on the verge of expiring. My adrenal glands have never pumped so hard. I was almost always shirtless. I was very often completely naked. I stood on the back deck and cast fishing rods into the treetops just to see how hard it would be to reel them back in from their tangled webs in the branches. I did this for longer than I’m capable of even quantifying based on memory.
But it wasn’t all spasmodic urge-following and letting the subconscious bubble up and commandeer my body. I read a shit-load. I read free of distraction, free of worry, free of the sense of “I should probably be doing something else.” I fell asleep on the deck and woke up aching and sunburnt. I fell asleep on the couch. I slept on a bare mattress. I took shits with the door ajar. I peed and did not flush. Like a lot. I talked to myself for extended periods of time–pretty much the entire time I was there–often feeling as if there were three or four different versions of me in the room. I spoke in a voice imitative of Uncle Doogs: raspy, repetitive, uneducated. I narrated almost every action I took. I cultivated personas for the sake of conversing with them. We debated politics, people, ex-objects of my desire–we had a great conversation on whether or not I was going schizophrenic, me myself and I and him.
I am not schizophrenic and that’s probably not something I should really joke about. But I do think that it’s necessary to isolate ourselves every now and again and engage in discourse. Be it fruitful or be it just plain odd. We all know there’s probably a dozen versions of ourselves bound in our flesh. So why not stand your batshit insane self in front of the mirror and accuse your reflection of being absolutely fucking batshit insane. Point at it, get up right close to the mirror and look into your own eyes and see what you actually are–not what you have to be day in, day out. Because we all are in our own special ways, insane, and I think people have more fun, people are happier when they admit yeah I’m really deep-down just another psycho trying to navigate the grids of order that’ve been put forth before me in this world.
Grids are exhausting. Life isn’t an Excel spreadsheet and we’re not technological. But that’s how we live. We’re organic and weird. Flesh and blood and bone and brains and weird urges and longings and thoughts that catch us off-guard sometimes. I’m fucking weird. I know this. I scream in the car whenever I drive. If a psychologist saw me, she’d probably institutionalize me. Give me the straight jacket, baby. Give me the padded room! Watch me gnaw my way out.
I was able to be 100% my weird self for the past three days and it was fantastic. I recommend that we all do it. Take the time to be who you are and to be whoever that is unapologetically. Don’t hold back. You’ve got the rest of your life to do that.
We are who we really are when we’re alone.