Nothing There…

20.08.2009

The point at which I put my pen(s) down and decide to take a break from my artwork production and information accumulation is the point at which I start to crack up.

The fact is, when I’m forced to ‘live’, when I’m not running the conveyor belt of my routine, I don’t actually like being alive – a matter that no kind of therapy or drug can make better. I am empty of the qualities that have kept humanity going, and I doubt anything can re-fill this emptiness.

I fear that the real me died long ago. I ruin all social occasions for myself, because I do not know how to act, enjoy, and I don’t know how to communicate with other people in the warm type of way I see others doing so often – so I end up grossly overstepping the mark in someway or another.

It is apparent that 10 years ago, when I began to build my perpetual walls, that I chose to turn myself into an automaton. Whilst others were learning – through trial and error – how to be human, I was walling in all my emotions so that I could be a more efficient ‘better’ person. All my misery in life is tied up in this decision I made in 1999 – voluntarily or involuntarily made.

It is a waste of time looking to get mental help, because there is no inner core left; just an illusion which keeps me dreaming of an happy past in which I loved fossiling, computer games and eating without the guilt of it – the illusion was proven when I tried to re-gain my old 8-bit computer games in 2003, in an attempt to re-gain old happiness and stem my drop in anorexia, and all that happened was that they too became part of my routine based disorder, and it became an obsessive task to search for them on market stalls.

However, the initial ‘searching’ to stem the anorexia only began when others around me started telling me I had a problem: In truth, my anorexic spell – when its obsessive routine was in full working order – was by no means my least happy period, in fact I barely experienced unhappiness with it, as I’d become such a brilliant automaton that I avoided all avenues of emotion and human contact at all cost. However, extreme weight loss inevitably brought great barriers to this misery-free routine.

The bad thing is, I sometimes wish that I was back in this routine. It was taking me nowhere, bit I didn’t care because I was so thin and(in my perception of what was good and bad in society) thin meant ‘good, perfect and innocent of all bad things in the world’ – so, in this state, I believed that nobody could pin any blame and weight on my shoulders. All this always eventually crumbled, but it was such a straight forward existence for one who has given themselves over to be an automaton, and misery doesn’t reach the pure automaton.

Being so skinny and ‘sexless’ means that one can hide from the eyes of the world and they too don’t have to look at the horrible world. One is ‘winning’ – being skinny is winning in a consumer society – they have become a prefect nothingness, which is free from the world’s problems. Some of the lyrics from the song ‘4st 7lb’ by The Manic Street Preachers (a song about the anorexia disorder) sum all this up: these lyrics are “I want to walk in the snow and not leave a footprint” and “I am twiggy and I can’t see the horror that surrounds me”
In a sense, though it eventually destroys and kills one, being in an anorexic state makes one feel like an unborn; not being assigned to the living or dead worlds – a place from where nothing can touch and hurt you.

The kind of depression, which on rare occasions brings me to the brink, only started to occur when I began to come out of my main true spell of anorexia, and I started to try being part of the world again. This is a spell which runs from summer 2004 to the present, and at times I almost got where I wanted to be – I almost found my human side again. However, as soon as anything went wrong, my automaton side quickly stepped in the shield my weak emotions, and it took over again. I can never tell which one is in the right – inside of me – and because the automaton is stronger and more of a ‘quickfix’ to safety, I’ve stuck with it, whenever I’ve come into contact with a situation that my emotions aren’t developed enough to tackle.

However, this routine is now beginning to fall apart as I enter my 27th year, as it cannot serve a protruding adult life from which nobody can hide from forever.

I am realising that this obsessive routine based life can no longer be king, because it isn’t equipped to serve an adults’ life, but there is nothing else there, either, to let me be a human again – this has either rotted away inside, or it never grew in the first place.

Over the past 2 months I have felt more discontent and frustration than possibly any other time before this, and it’s now beginning to bubble up to the surface – if it’s either in punching walls and putting my head in my hands in public, or ranting at people, who I should be just talking to, on ‘nights out’. However, the things is; there is something inside of me telling me to be voyeuristic with this anger, maybe due to the fact that it’s the only emotion I seem to know how to express, and sometimes I want people to know just how messed up I am – the thing is, I cannot even explain why I want them to know!.

So, to last night: another night in which I went out and ended up feeling so much guilt and shame that I don’t want to do it again for some time – even though it is apparent that these places are some of the only places where I am going to meet people. I think I still do – well, at times – believe I can still have a human life with things like a relationship in it, but at moments such as this one – and I cannot stop thinking that this has already happened – I feel that there is nothing left inside of me for another human to share; and at these points the continuation of my life, now that my routine looks like it can no longer veneer over its cracks, seems pointless.

However, if you were to read this, you’d see me tomorrow and I’ll look fine – I’ll be speeding around, keeping ‘busy busy busy’ as for now my routine is still working to some degree – but you must remember that that me is not the me who is writing this now; the me who is writing this now, is the me who shows anger and mania as he lets his inhibitions down after 5 pints of cider, and just because he is drunk, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t me; that screwed up, only emotion anger me is the real me, not the automaton one, which you’d probably prefer to think of me as.

So, when somebody says to the real me ‘you need to be more positive’ you now know the reason why I can’t be. All that remains of the real me is anger and unhappiness at the realisation that that is nothing else left inside.
I want out, and I do still hope that one day I might have a woman and a more content existence, but I think I’ve made myself into a machine that has no use, once it can no longer perform its routine based duties. I don’t want this kind of ‘out’ but I do not know how to veer from its pathway.

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About John Ledger

A visual Artist, eternal meanderer and obsessive self-reflector by nature, who can’t help but try to interpret everything from within the tide of society. His works predominantly take the form of large scale ballpoint pen landscape drawings and map-making as social/psychological note-making. They are slowly-accumulating responses to crises inflicted upon the self in the perplexing, fearful, empty, and often personality-erasing human world.

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