Please Kill Me,
There isn’t much that we can do about ourselves. Sure. We can subscribe to the undulating clitori of meditation and/or medication. Sure. We can reach out to our fellow damaged man (or woman, #Feminism) and spew our guts all over their shoes. Sure. We can stew in the toil and tumble until our minds become veritable wastelands of trial and mouthwatering goo.
I’ve been putting a lot of thought into that idea. NO! I don’t mean “give up all hope,” (although, if you’re reading this, you probably should). NO! I don’t mean avoid the psychiatrists and/or other tangible remedies (…like masturbation). NO! I’m not saying that it’s all worthless/pointless/[Insert alternative desperation here]. Rather, I’m saying that we’re the Hulk. (…okay, you may need some context.)
Remember that scene in Avengers: Endgame? (If you haven’t seen it, you’re dead to me.) The Hulk was in the deli/diner/sex-lunchatorium with Black Widow, Ant-Man, and Cap Murica’. I’ll give you a moment to remember it. Got it? Good. Anyway, the Hulk explained how he became a lean-mean brain-machine and essentially told us all how to conquer our demons, “…put the brains and the brawn together.”
He identified the monster within him and, rather than look at it as a disease to be dealt with, he began viewing his ‘disease’ as a cure. In the end, he became a sum greater than the total of its parts. As the kids would say, #IFeltThat.
As creatives, we take a lot of heat for being different. Some of us smell. Some of us obsess. Some of us ‘freak out’. And some of us are the quiet postman (seamlessly traipsing by, until the day an AR-15 seems like a good way to clear traffic). We’re imperfect vessels of humanity and applied stoicism. It sucks. But what if we could use it? What if our ‘disease’ is the cure?
I’ve been talking to an elder-writer a lot lately (don’t worry, I’m fine.) and she basically laid my mind out for me to pick and prodder. Initially, I wanted help with my ‘restless-brain’ syndrome. In a nutshell, I freak out because I feel crazy, but (somehow) it’s working. She asked me to outline my thoughts—the same way that I would a story—and provide her with a narrative. I’ll spare you the unseemly details.
When I was done thinking about it, she asked me (as the protagonist) to “define” the desire. What did my character want? What tried to stop him? Why does he have an irrevocable hatred of the Kardashians? (#TheyBrokeKanye). I pondered the thought. Studied it. Absorbed it.
My answer was simple: He doesn’t want “it.”
Elder-writer: Doesn’t he?
Me: You’re forgetting about the thought-goblins.
El: If they didn’t affect him, he wouldn’t be the hero.
Me: He’s not.
El: Then change the story.
Me: *shits self*
Thus, the identification and reconciliation of my inner-demon. Not the concept of ‘thought-goblins’. But, the question. I invented them. They haunt me. However, I control the narrative. The goblins were just another part of the story. An acknowledged threat—manifested into stagnancy and woe. Simply put, I created my own poison Kool-Aid and drank it straight from the nozzle.
Me: …but how do I get rid of them?
El: You don’t.
Me: I’m leaving.
El: If you were powerful enough to create them, then you’re powerful enough to use them. There’s hardly a tale without existential conflict. Most people find it in their job, or family, social-circles, or whatever…You’ve found your ‘super-villain’ in the depths of your own mind. It’s not there to stop you. IT’S YOU. Rather, it’s there to give you something to push against. Something to drive you forward. Perhaps, even drive you crazy. A counterweight to your sanity.”
Me: An antagonist?
El: It’s you. You’ll be in this duel for the rest of your life. Either be the hero, or forsake the villain. Neither ever leaves. They are one.
Me: *shits self again*
So, I took the poison of self. Instead of attempting to ‘cure’ the thought-goblins, I interviewed them. Dissected their purpose. (Fondled them gently?). I wanted to discover the inner-workings of my mortal enemy (myself) and blow them straight to hell. But then I got there. Deep and strenuous thought. What I received was an epiphany, of sorts. A message from my deepest desire: “Nothing can stop you, so we have to try.”
It’s me. The same intolerable spirit that carried me this far. The same asshole in a lived-in chair that’s writing this right now. It’s the other side of my existential coin. The other side of my ambitious thoughts. My Hulk. The Yin to my Yang and the most serious threat to my future accomplishments. It’s me. It’s always been me. So, I guess I have to face it. Rather, use it.
Nothing. I have to do nothing. Nothing but see myself as the hero.
The key to conquering that other side is viewing it differently. Not as the disease. But as the ‘cure’. The “counter-weight.” Because a hero without a villain is just a bystander. My mind designed what was required. Maybe I need it. Maybe it needs me.
There are always ‘thought-goblins’ (doubt, woe, trauma, etc…). That doesn’t change. Similarly, there’s always a protagonist to combat them. Yin-to-Yang. Black-to-White. Kardashian-to-Silicone. Without one, there’d be neither. Without the villain, there’s no hero.
I’m just lucky to be the hero of this story.
There ain’t much I can do about that.
Until Next Time,
— Antwan Crump
Welcome to the depths of chaos. After exploring themes of humanity and destruction in the previous two installments, Antwan Crump furthers the “A Collection of Things” series with six thrilling new tales that redefine life, death, desire, and consequence. Do we dare to face the darkness or will it devour us before we know its purpose?