February 27th, 2000


A Shattered Cocoon

Some time ago I wrote of the lingering shyness that still dogged me, of the remains of the cocoon of conditioning that still clung around me. Well I've developed again, and the cocoon is nothing but memory, a set of potentially useful information from the past.

So how did I "shake this off"? It was no single deliberate act, I merely developed as we all do, by reacting to others and to surroundings and events. No doubt my beloved Jenn was key in much of this, but the sources are many and various; a large number of friends, plus a lot of reading, plus my developing career. I feel, and believe, that I am respected as a capable and productive team member, even if they do consider me way too cynical (some add the disclaimer "for someone that young"). Anyway I'm earning my way now and I'm financially independent, if not exactly rich. There's a certain satisfaction in this.

But somehow I don't feel that young. I feel like I've let too much of my life pass me by. As a kid I was never very popular or sociable; I virtually never went out, and that trend continues. I was a virgin until I was gone 21, while it seemed to be accepted that no-one got past 18.

So what's to regret here? Am I ashamed that I wasn't a mindless happyboy, or some sort of slut? I've been told that this is very shallow of me (although the words used were rather kinder). And I now accept that as true. My accepting this, and committing it to type, is probably a key stage; the end of the first backlash against my foolish, inoffensive christian youth.

Well that phraseology should convince you that I'm not returning to that stage. I'm not christian, I'm pantheist, a goth with various dark and enjoyable hidden sides. In many ways I'm very unformed; I question everything, including my own morality. And it 's in the answers to these questions that I am defined, from the answers that come out the same way time after time.

Key among these is my fiancée. I asked myself every question that had an effect on our relationship many times before asking her to marry me - even the questions deemed unaskable. And it was an incredibly intense moment when she accepted. Every time I think of this, and of our relationship, the brighter our shared future - and the present - looks.

I make a point of asking myself *all* pertinent questions when considering something. I've considered suicide, murder, theft, drugs, rape. No doubt some would claim that this makes me an unstable pervert who needs to be kept away from society - and it's due to this sort of thinking that I'm very careful what information I release. I *am* a deviant, and people will fear this. But I also know myself better than the vast majority of people know themselves, and I know that I'm hardworking, reliable, and - though it seems an insult to say this - safe. I don't merely have my destructive instincts under control, I scarcely have those instincts. I act on thought, not reaction, and I know that - whatever else may be variant - that control is built into me at a very low level. Which is not to say that I'm ineffective; that degree of control can cut both ways.

The list I gave above no doubt seems an alarming one. But it doesn't mean that I've seriously planned to carry any of them out, merely that I have considered the concept of each and found them not to my liking. Suicide is too absolute for an ever changing life. Murder has always turned out, on consideration, to be undeserved - and it's beyond the scope of a functional society. It's a very close parallel to suicide; I don't try to annihilate my problems, but to face and solve them. There is a certain elegance in a simple,effective solution - although there have been times where elegance was not a driving factor. Theft? Nothing I need enough to act against my beliefs of mutual respect. Drugs? they scare me; my mind's wild enough without random external forces - and there are some people that I *will not* direct my money towards. Rape? Continually disgusts me; but such is the price of considering all angles of life.

Writing this may seem to indicate that I've gone from shyness to exhibitionism, shouting my mind and self out loud. But not necessarily - I've no idea how far, or if at all, I will release this. It's amazing how freely you can speak when you can have the only copy of your words passcoded on your belt. Even then, I couldn't have written with this level of honesty with my old shyness. That's truly gone now, and what remains is a simple caution, the knowledge that some, on seeing these words, would fear them and mistrust their author. Rather than disquiet them, and allow them to build a negative image of myself which could inconvenience me in the future, I shall keep my counsel. I've no objection to people thinking I'm strange or cynical (I am), but I wouldn't want them to convince themselves that I'm unsuitable for their jobs, citizens or countries. (I appreciate that I'm paranoid. It doesn't worry me.)

So, finally... what brought me to write this? Well I could say that I'm writing this because Jenn wanted to trigger me to write something. Actually that's not entirely accurate. I started thinking about writing something new when I finally got around to reading "Black Coffee Blues". The book had lain beside my bed for about a week since Jenn left, untouched. Then I finally found a time to look at it; and it almost fused my mind. I devoured that book, and it almost devoured me. As I read through it as fast as I could input the information it was like putting my mind through an overloaded feedback amp. I'm not claiming Rollins' mind is exactly like mine; it's not (no-one's is). But it had some very close aspects, and that proximity coupled with the power in the writing to force me to consider the darker aspects, death-murder-rape-abuse. What does this make me feel? Do I oppose it, do I condemn it? Why? As I've said, we develop when we react, and we react most when we are made to think. I sat down to write because Jenn was interested. But *what* I wrote was a reaction to this, to my thoughts, to everything.

One of the greatest things we can do for someone is to make them think.

Thank you Jenn,
I love you.