I mentioned that, back in my high school years, I walked that fine line between genius and insanity, and my feet ended up bloody. In less than 2 years, I wrote 150-200 poems, a couple of dozen short stories, a few extremely bad songs (though they could have been hits today with the extreme shittiness of modern pop music), and 3-4 short one-act plays, all in a bid to express what was going on inside my head and to find at least some peace while I was dealing with the loss of someone very close to me and trying to resolve other issues from my past. Instead, I found myself continuously reopening wounds I really should have let heal, and in a bit of a perverse way, I even started to define myself by that pain. I didn't really let anybody in. Finally, I had to choose: continue to write from that dark place and slip further into the abyss, or give it up and try to make peace with my past and myself. So, I put down my quill, and for the next few years, I went to work, I paid my bills, and I did a good bit of thinking. During those teenage years, I once made the extraordinarily cynical observation that, no matter what, people were always going to do one of three things: betray you, leave you, or die. Over those next few years, I realized I was factually correct, but I also realized that I was ignoring the deeper issue, not even thinking to answer to one last question: Given that fact, is it worth it to keep your heart open? Over time, I came to realize that, instead of really living, I was only existing, so slowly, I started to open up and live again. As you've seen on this blog, I won't say that I haven't been hurt and that I haven't broken my own heart in the years since, but it has been worth it, because I've gained so much more, and more importantly, I've given myself the opportunity to get close to family members I had been distancing myself from, people I would have regretted not getting to know while I still had the chance. I've built friendships, and while I'm still a work in progress, at least I am still working on that progress, and I have my family to thank for that, even if they didn't always realize it at the time.
On a different, happier, note, I don't drink, or smoke, or consume caffeinated beverages. I've never consumed any illicit drug, but I have other pleasures I take from life, other "drugs" if you will. College football, especially that of my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide, is either a stimulant or a depressant, the latter especially after their 21-14 loss tonight to Louisiana-Monroe, a team that is currently ranked in the middle of the Sun Belt Conference, in a game the Tide was favored to win by 25 points. Food, oh the various odes and posts I've written about food. I savor good chocolate and enjoy it like some people enjoy a fine wine, and I can always count on food to be a comforter. Music is another true passion of mine, and the best music moves my soul, from a deep low like Nine Inch Nails music, to an energetic euphoria like some good dance music, or just make me feel better about life in general, or even make me laugh depending on the artist and the song. Literature, art, and movies move me the same way, and afterwards, I feel whatever those art forms inspired in me. In any of these cases, on a biological level, my brain chemistry is being altered by an external stimulus. The key difference is that the external stimulus is not a chemical, like alcohol, nicotine, or other substance that's directly acting on my brain. Granted, the effects are usually shorter in duration and less extreme, but this is the way I see it. And the best thing about it: it's all legal.
Finally, on an odder note, former Alabama Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Loretta Nall, who ran easily the most entertaining (if the least effective) campaign in 2006 for governor, is now protesting Alabama's 1998 (how I wish that were a typo) law banning the sale of sex toys by organizing and encouraging people to send sex toys to AG Troy King. I'm not sure if he's vibrating with happiness or irritation, but I'm sure he's walked in and out and in and out of his office in frustration at her antics.
Enjoy the music, "The Test", by The Chemical Brothers, featuring Richard Ashcroft. Pretty trippy song and even trippier video.