Interview With Myself #10: No Show

It is 10:07am. I am dressed in a t-shirt, boxer shorts and am wearing comfortable slippers on my feet. I have been sitting here at my kitchen table waiting for the interviewer to show up for quite some time now. I don’t think he is coming today. I have been staring out my kitchen window, watching my German shepherd chase squirrels. I have made myself green tea, oatmeal and wasted time surfing around the internet. I’ve been patiently waiting for the interviewer but I do not think he is coming. Maybe he is upset about yesterday’s interview. Maybe he is trying to get revenge on me for not meeting him in the place that he wanted to meet for our interview yesterday. Who knows why he does the things he does sometimes.

Maybe it is good that we take a little break from one another. I thought things were going well between us but it seems that it is very easy for each of us to trigger each other. Things can get out of hand very quickly. Granted, I am willing to admit that yesterday my behavior was a bit out of control. I allowed myself to get uncontrollably defensive and angry as a result of his accusations. Sometimes I feel like I am not able to control my less desirable emotions. When I feel angry it seems like it is difficult for me to override this anger with will power and remain calm and present. I have a tendency to over react, to get carried away in the moment and I almost always regret it later. So yes, I did allow my anger to get the best of me yesterday. I felt disrespected and picked on by the interviewer and I allowed him to trigger me into what some may describe as a very unreasonable, psychotic fit.

Maybe it is good that the interviewer and I do not see each other today. I know that the interviews have been going well for the past few interviews but I think that the entire interview process takes an emotional toll upon both of us. It can be emotionally draining to be so focused on one’s inner emotional world rather than just being present in one’s life. But I do not have a therapist right now and I look at these interviews as a kind of self-induced psychoanalysis. The interviews are a kind of therapeutic process for me but at the same time I question their legitimacy. I occasionally doubt the entire process. I often ask myself, “why I am I doing this?” What is the point of interviewing one’s self? I know that the interviewer feels that these interviews can shed a kind of microscopic light on the human condition. He feels that there is immense value in doing these interviews. I on the other hand am not so sure.

I am just one individual in a massive sea of individuals. I am only here for a moment in time and then will vanish into that place which is the great equalizer. Why is it so important for me to leave a trace of myself behind? I am not some great character in the unfolding story of human history. I have had little influence upon the times in which I live. I am not what my father calls a “mover and a shaker.” Instead I am more like a stone. I do what I can to help others, I live a very peaceful and solitary life and without a doubt I sit on the sidelines of human history. Yes I am an artist and a writer but I do these things solely for my own pleasure, to document a life lived. I have little desire to hang my art in a gallery or to read my words in a published journal or book. So why interview me? Who gives a damn about what I have to say? Why not spend my time doing more useful things like going for walks, gardening, playing with my dog, rolling in the grass with my wife, reading, meditating? All of these things seem much more beneficial to my well-being than having my inner world picked apart by the interviewer.

But I continue to allow him to interview me. Despite my doubts and hesitation I allow him to push both of us along through this interview process. I am grateful that he is interested enough in some obscure character and dedicates so much of his time and energy to interviewing me. But is it really necessary? Sure it is therapy for me. I do get something out of it. But what does he get out of it? Why is he doing this? Why does he care so much about interviewing me? The interviewer has told me that this process is something very important to him. That despite the fact that only a few people may ever read it, it is an important journey for both of us to go on together. He likes to compare it to the id and ego or the conscious and the unconscious spending more time together, getting better acquainted with one another. So for now I am trusting his vision. I am going where he wants me to go but I suppose the reason why I am may be so temperamental and easily agitated is because I do have my doubts about the entire enterprise.

Well it looks as if the interviewer is not going to be showing up today. So be it. I will apologize to him whenever I see him next and hopefully we can get on with things. Move beyond our petty quarrels. For now I think it is best for me to go do something more useful with myself than sit here and think about all these things. Maybe I will take off my shirt, go outside, get some sun and water the plants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview With Myself #8: Nudity, Irresponsibility and Brushing Teeth.

When this interview begins I am again sitting at my round kitchen table. It is 10:05am. Before the interview begins I already know that the interviewer is not going to be happy with me for two reasons. One is that he wanted to meet in a different place, such as the living room. The fact of the matter is that I feel most comfortable being interviewed at my kitchen table. It just feels right here, so I stood him up and am now waiting for him to arrive in the kitchen. The second reason why I know the interviewer is not going to be happy with me is because I am naked.

Interviewer: (silent)

Randall: Good morning?

Interviewer: (still silent)

Randall: Are you just going to show up to interview me and not say a word?

Interviewer: Look I don’t know what the fuck is going on with you this morning but this is just not acceptable.

Randall: What is not acceptable?

Interviewer: First of all we agreed to meet in the living room for this interview. I was waiting there for you for the past ten minutes and when I assumed you had forgotten and came into the kitchen to see if you were here I find you sitting at the kitchen table naked! What the fuck is going on?

Randall: Nothing is going on.

Interviewer: What do you mean nothing is going on?  Why are you not wearing any clothes?

Randall: I just felt like being naked. It is a warm and sunny October morning, my house is warm and I just did not want to wear any clothes.

Interviewer: You just did not want to wear any clothes?

Randall: That is what I said.

Interviewer: Do you feel like it is professional and responsible of you to show up to a serious interview naked?

Randall: I don’t see the problem with it.

Interviewer: You don’t?

Randall: No.

Interviewer: Can you understand how it could make me a little uncomfortable?

Randall: I don’t see why. I mean after all we are the same person.

Interviewer: (taking a deep breath) Look you are the last person I would expect to show up to an interview naked. You barley ever even take off all of your clothes when you are making love to your wife so I am surprised to find you comfortably sitting here in the nude. It is not like you at all.

Randall: Look, I thought that I would do something a bit different for our interview.

Interviewer: Well please spare me. I don’t need you to do anything different. I just need you to show up dressed and ready to talk about yourself.

Randall: (taking a deep breath) Fine, fine, fine. Have it your way. You always need to have things your way, so fine (Randall gets up, goes into his bedroom and puts on a black t-shirt and black sweat pants).

Randall: Is this better?

Interviewer: Much. Thank you.

Randall: (silent).

Interviewer: I thought we agreed to meet in the livingroom for this interview? Why were you sitting in the kitchen?

Randall: I just felt more comfortable having the interview here.

Interviewer: That is fine and all but do you think you could have gotten up and come and let me know?

Randall: Look. You and me are the same person- I thought you would know.

Interviewer: Well I did not, ok? I was waiting there like a shmuck for ten minutes.

Randall: There is an old Zen saying I like which you should try: “If you can learn how to enjoy waiting you do not have to wait to enjoy.”

Interviewer: Look Randall, do not try to tell me how to be. I really don’t need your cryptic Zen sayings. I am fine with waiting when I need to but I don’t appreciate being strung along. I find it very disrespectful that you would leave me sitting around waiting for you on the couch while you sit in the kitchen vegging out in your birthday suit.

Randall: I was not vegging out. I was preparing myself for our interview.

Interviewer: Preparing yourself? Common, you do about as much preparation for these interviews as I do for brushing my teeth.

Randall: Yeah and you barley ever brush your teeth so you’re not one to talk.

Interviewer: I brush my teeth everyday thank you.

Randall: Once a day at the most.

Interviewer: Some times twice.

Randall: Almost always once and that my friend is disgusting because you eat all day long and then you walk around talking and smiling at people with all that food stuck in your teeth. Disgusting.

Interviewer: I would like to remind you Mr Wonderful that you and I share the same set of disgusting teeth and if I am walking around all day with food stuck in my teeth, so then are you.

Randall: Yeah but at least I try to brush my teeth more often than you.

Interviewer: I really don’t think so pal.

Randall: You don’t think so?

Interviewer: Hardly

[Randall gets up and storms out of the kitchen. He goes into the bathroom and grabs a toothbrush and toothpaste. He comes back into the kitchen, goes to the kitchen sink. He covers his toothbrush and fingers with toothpaste and then starts ravenously brushing his teeth. He is making a mess and getting toothpaste all over his black shirt and on the floor. He keeps brushing and brushing while looking at the interviewer with a kind of smirk on his face.]

Randall: (while brushing his teeth) Ha, ha, ha- you don’t think I brush my teeth? What does it look like I am doing now? Ha, ha, ha????

Interviewer: (looking very uncomfortable) Ok obviously you have lost your mind. You are not on the safe side of sanity and I declare this interview finished.

Randall: (still brushing his teeth) What does it look like I am doing now? Ha, ha ha??? Brushing my teeth!!!

[Interviewer gets up from the kitchen table, politely pushes the chair in and walks out of the kitchen while Randall is still madly brushing his teeth.]

Interview With Myself #7: On Self Love, Loving Others and Thinking Your Way Out of a Depression

It is 10:19am on a Tuesday morning when this interview begins. I have already eaten breakfast and meditated. It will probably be no surprise to you that I am again sitting at my round kitchen table and am dressed in the clothes that I slept in. I am not sure why this is the place that all of these interviews are conducted. It seems that I am most open to interviewing myself in the mornings. As the day progresses, my head fills with all the things that I need to do so I am less inclined to stop what I am doing and sit down to be interviewed. Mornings are a convenient time for me. My mind is freshest in the morning. I feel that I am more willing to be honest and open in the mornings. By the afternoon, it seems as if my ego is in full swing and I am less willing to be open about my life. After one in the afternoon I notice that I get more defensive, judgmental and negative. I would like to add that I am working on this. In the mornings when I wake up I do a loving kindness meditation where I try and fill my body and mind with positive and loving vibrations. My meditation teacher tells me that if I do this consistently, every morning, positive and loving vibrations will be imprinted in me and I will no longer be such a jerk come mid afternoon.

Interviewer: Good morning Randall.

Randall: Good morning to you.

Interviewer: Good morning.

Randall: Good morning.

Interviewer: Wow, you seem rather up beat this morning.

Randall: Thank you. I do feel in good spirits.

Interviewer: And to what do you owe this emotional sea change?

Randall: What do you mean by emotional sea change?

Interviewer: Well a few days ago you were suffering from a low-grade depression and now you seem up beat and well, relatively happy.

Randall: Ah I see- you mean how is it that I have gone from Z to A?

Interviewer: Maybe not Z to A but from Z to R.

Randall: Ok whatever I don’t want to argue over the alphabet. I think I get what you are asking me. Yes for a few days I was stuck in a depressive state but fortunately I was able to think my way out of it. Along with the help of a few friends I realized some things about myself that I had not considered before.

Interviewer: Such as what?

Randall: Well for one my life is not nearly as bad as I often think it is. I occasionally sink it to these ruts where I compare myself to others and I even tend to envy them. But I realized that this is a very misguided thing to do. Who knows what these individuals deal with in their life and just because they have fame or financial success does not mean that they are any better off than I. I realized it is futile to compare myself to them. We are all human and we all have our own struggles to deal with and it is silly to think that their life is any better off than mine because they have more money.

Interviewer: So basically you realized that it was the way in which you were thinking about your life that made you depressed as opposed to the actual realities of your life?

Randall: Yeah the reality of my life is very good. I am in many ways a blessed man whose problems are manageable. Things are not out of control. I may not have a lot of money, I may have huge student loans that I need to pay back, my health may not be 100% but still I am doing well. You know what realization helped me most?

Interviewer: What?

Randall: The realization that I never was the kind of person that had making money as a priority or goal. Most of my adult life I have shunned the idea of living for the buck. I dreaded living a life that was all about earning cash. To me this was how to get on the path towards a quiet life of desperation. Instead I wanted to live fully rather than work hard. I wanted (and still want) to spend my afternoons wandering around with no destination in mind. I wanted to be able to have the freedom to do what I wanted rather than have to do what a boss or society tells me to do. Chosing time and freedom over career and money has set me back financially- but what it has given me can not be compared or measured.

Interviewer: This is true my friend. I would not describe you as someone who has wasted their time.

Randall: NO that is the thing. I feel like I have spent my time wisely. I feel like I have lived a full life and done things that mean a lot to me. I do not feel like I live a quiet life of desperation.

Interviewer: So you realized that your life is very blessed, that you live a full life rather than comparing yourself to people who may have accomplished more in terms of financial and worldly success?

Randall: Yeah. I realized that deep down those things are indeed meaningless to me. Financial and worldly success really do not mean anything to me but like everyone else- I have been conditioned by the society in which I live and occasionally I fall into the trap. Fortunately this time, with the help of a few friends, I was able to pull myself out and get back on track. I also realized that for being someone who has lived more for the moment I am lucky to have the things that I do. I consider myself to be an artist, a writer and a wanderer who has not made very much money from these activities. I am lucky to have a beautiful wife, an amazing house, a car and a fridge filled with food. Most artists, writers and wanderers that I know have not been so fortunate. So really I have nothing at all to be down about. I know now that there are people in my life who love me for who I am and will support me in being who I am rather than punish me for not being who they want me to be.

Interviewer: You have people in your life who punish you for not being who they want you to be?

Randall: Oh yes. Most of my life was spent in this climate but I don’t want to talk about it. It is not important anymore. What is important is that I found a doorway out and I have come to a place where I feel supported for being who I am. This is an incredible feeling.

Interviewer: Yes must be very liberating.

Randall: It is. It has also taught me a lot about love. I have learned that love is supporting another individual to be who they are. When we are being critical, judgemental or unaccepting of another because they are not being who we want them to be, we are not loving them. In fact we are hurting them.

Interviewer: Yeah I would say that this is a good definition of love. It seems to me that in today’s world it is really difficult for people to love each other.

Randall: Yeah it is. Everyone is so hurt and angry inside that they are stuck in a continual cycle of projecting their hurt and anger onto others. This process is never-ending. I think that it only ends when the person who is hurt and angry works really hard to diminish the hurt and anger within themselves for the good of others in their life.

Interviewer: You mean the angry and hurt person changes who they are mainly so that they do not continue to hurt the ones that they love?

Randall: Yeah, I think this is correct. Of course they do it for themselves also because when we are liberated from our hurt and anger our lives can become so much fuller and richer. As long as we remain angry and hurt our lives are diminished because we are missing out on having the kind of relationships and experiences that a person who is not filled with anger and hurt can have.

Interviewer: How are you doing with all of this?

Randall: What do you mean?

Interviewer: Well you talk a lot about other people and what they can do. I am curious how you do with this.

Randall: Well to be honest, I have a lot of hurt and anger inside of me.  Much of my life has been lived under this influence. I am someone who has to work hard to be loving. I literally need to be mindful of my thoughts and actions because my automatic response to others is one filled with judgement, criticalness and over all negativity. I need to really watch this and make a conscious effort to be loving and accepting instead of judgemental and critical. This is why I do a loving kindness meditation each morning and it is also why I really envy people who are able to be so loving and accepting towards others.

Interviewer: But is it true that they are able to be loving and accepting towards others because they are this way towards themselves?

Randall: Yeah, ultimately I think this is true and I am working on it. I have 41 one years of having a critical and judgemental voice in my head and I am working hard to exorcise it. To become loving and accepting towards myself- this is my goal as silly as that my sound.

Interviewer: Does not sound silly at all. I wish you well in your endeavors.

Randall: Thank you- I think it will be a life long journey.

Interviewer: Without a doubt it will.

Randall: Yes.

Interviewer: Well this interview went rather well, don’t you think?thank you for meeting me for our interview today.

Randall: It did, yes. I rather enjoyed it.

Interviewer: See these interviews can be productive rather than just argumentative.

Randall: Yes.

Interviewer: So what do you say next time we meet someplace different- such as the garden or the living room.

Randall: Sounds good. Why don’t we meet in the living room next time?

Interviewer: Ok. Sounds good. See you there.

Randall: Until then.

Interview #6: Death, Depression, Existential Hang-Ups and the Unbearable Beauty of Life.

It is 10:48am when this interview begins. I am again sitting at the round kitchen table and am dressed in the clothes that I have slept in. I have not looked in the mirror but I presume my hair is a mess. I meditated for a few minutes this morning and then proceeded to make myself some cereal and green tea for breakfast. I “surfed” around the internet, wasted time on facebook and youtube and am now ready to begin the interview. Outside my window it looks as if the day is going to be filled with blue skies, sun and heat. Strange weather for mid October.

 

Interviewer: Good morning Randall.

Randall: Good morning.

Interviewer: Did you sleep well?

Randall: I had a hard time getting to sleep but once I feel asleep I believe that I slept well. I remember getting up a lot to pee though.

Interviewer: Did you drink alcohol last night?

Randall: Not much- I had a pint of beer.

Interviewer: How was it?

Randall: Delicious. Beer is very grounding for me and even though it has drastically increased the size of my stomach I have a hard time staying away too long from my beloved beer.

Interviewer: I see.  How have you been feeling lately?

Randall: To be honest the past few days I have felt what can only be described as a kind of negative, bleak, depressed feeling.

Interviewer: Really?

Randall: Yes, you say that as if you are surprised?

Interviewer: Well I know that you are prone to bouts of depression but I am surprised because it seems as if things are going so well in your life.

Randall: It may appear that way but you know that old cliché adage: “Wherever you go there you are.”

Interviewer: But just a month ago you were infused with the greatest feeling of happiness that you have ever felt. What happened to this feeling?

Depression: Wish I knew. Trust me I am looking for it. Depression is kind of like a weather system. It gets triggered by something and then moves in over you like a rain cloud. It is tough to get away from and all I can really do is wait for it to pass. It is true I have a lot to be happy about- my beautiful wife, my new home, my great dog, my life and on and on. It is true- so why am I not feeling “happy?”

Interviewer: This is what I was going to ask you. Do you have any idea what the cause of this depression is?

Randall: I think that it is a combination of things. One is that I am worried about my finances. To be blunt I don’t have much money and I live in fear of going broke. Why am I 41 years old and still so financially strapped and why am I not more ambitious about changing my financial situation? I suppose in this regard a part of me feels stuck and like a failure. Yes I have everything and more that I could ever want but there is this one thing missing. This thing is this inner satisfaction that I can take care of myself financially. That I do not need to depend on others for economic help. As I think I have said before- in our culture manhood is all tied up with economic success and somehow there is this feeling that has been conditioned into men that if they are not able to be economically independent they are somehow less of a man.

Interviewer: Yeah I have noticed this myself.

Randall: The second part of my depression I think stems from the fact that my life has not turned out the way I thought it would. I never imagined that I would be starting a career as a psychotherapists and have so more financial aid debt to pay off as a result. When I was younger my dream was to succeed as a writer and painter but this is not how things have turned out. Even though it is very difficult to make a living this way I thought I could do it. I never really wanted to be “a professional” with financial aid debt. Seems very mediocre and unremarkable to me. I envy artists who are able to make a living doing their art, to be themselves and get paid for it and the fact that this is not how things have worked out for me depresses me.

Interviewer: Well out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Randall: What is that supposed to mean?

Interviewer: Not sure but it seemed like the right thing to say in the moment.

Randall: I see.

Interviewer: (smiles)

Randall: The third reason I feel depressed is because I feel like I am not able to please my wife sexually at as a result I feel as if I am letting her down. I seem to be sexually inhibited and it requires a lot of effort for me to be intimate. My wife has a very healthy sexual appetite and if I was in the mood we would be having sex at least five times a week. But the problem is that I am often not in the mood and I just don’t understand why. I think my sexuality is all fucked up. I know that I am shy sexually but I just don’t understand why I can not be sexually intimate with my wife more often. My wife is one of the sexiest women I have even had the pleasure of having sex with but still this does not seem like enough. There is something deeply rooted in my sexuality that keeps me from being uninhibited and consistently sexually active and I wish I could find out what it was and change it.

Interviewer: As far as your sexuality is concerned this is a big topic and I would like to spend the next interview discussing it if possible. For now I would like to stay focused on discussing your depression if you don’t mind?

Randall: No I don’t mind but I think that I have said everything I need to say on this topic.

Interviewer: Do you talk with your wife about your depression?

Randall: Kind of. I think she gets what is going on and I try and talk about it but it is often difficult for me to open up and discuss it. It’s embarrassing that I feel this way and plus I just would rather not talk about it. It is a complex problem.

Interviewer: Complex how?

Randall: Well I know there are so many factors involved. There is also the fact that I don’t have a job at the moment. I am trying to start a psychotherapy practice but things are very slow. I also went a few days ago to a memorial service which kind of confronted me with the facts of life and death. At a deeper existential level I think I am depressed because I know that everything we work for, everything we own and love passes away. The cars, homes, art, furnitures all these things remain when we pass away but we are gone. The suddenness and finality of death make life, for me at least, seem very beautiful but also very tragic and sad.

Interviewer: Seems as if you are having a kind of existential crisis?

Randall: I have been having an existential crisis most of my life. I have been aware of these things to a degree which is probably not healthy. Whereas most people spend their lives working and trying to avoid the fact of their mortality, I have confronted it head on. It is scary to think that all of this can disappear in an instant and it is this awareness which has led to my life long struggles with anxiety, hair-raising anxiety.

Interviewer: So it seems as if while you are living you are in a perpetual state of mourning?

Randall: I do not know if it is mourning but I know it all vanishes in a second, that we age and deteriorate and for some reason this scares me and makes me sad.

Interviewer: Yeah I find it a bit depressing myself but at the same time it makes life that much more beautiful. It makes life something I want to cherish, be present with and really drink in.

Randall: It also really makes me want to do things that have meaning, to accomplish things that will out live me. I guess I get depressed when I see artists who are engaged in this process and I know that right now I am not. Having a career, having to pay bills puts a person in a situation where they are investing in things that vanish and do not stand the test of time whereas when you make art you are involved in a process that is much greater than you and the things you own.

Interviewer: But even art eventually will turn to dust.

Randall: Yeah, but if it touches enough people it will be around for a long, long time and there is something deeply gratifying about knowing that you are involved in this process.

Interviewer: So why don’t you involve yourself more in this process?

Randall: I am trying but it seems as if the motivation is just not there. I am also confused. A part of me would rather spend my days on earth working in the garden, wandering around, listening to music, sitting on benches, writing in my journal, walking my dog and just being. I have spent many years of my life making art and now a part of me just wants to do very little and be. Enjoy my life and work on myself.

Interviewer: That does not sound so bad to me.

Randall (shakes his head in agreement).

Interviewer: Well I certainly hope your depression passes soon.  I need to get going but I hope that we can continue this conversation at another time.

Randall: Sure. Thanks for listening.

Interviewer: Try to enjoy your day today. Make an effort to be positive and not think too much. Listen to music, walk around- do whatever it takes to just enjoy your day and get that feeling of happiness you spoke of earlier back.

Randall: Ok

Interviewer: Ok.

Randall: Thank you.

Interviewer: Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview #5: Difficult Parents, Anger Towards a Father, Economic Woe and the American Dream.

I am seated at my kitchen table. It is a round vintage table from the 1950’s. I spent a lot of money on this table and every time I see it I think about that. It is 9:49am and I am dressed in a t-shirt, sweat pants, slippers and I have a blanket draped over my shoulders. My hair is a mess, my eyes are swollen, I feel lethargic and bleak and I did not even drink alcohol last night (I did have a pint in the afternoon). My wife just walked into the kitchen and asked me if I was “filled with the love of the universe.” I replied, “No I am filled with the dread and worry of the American dream.” Not so sure where that answer came from. I am about to eat a muffin and drink some green tea as this interview begins.

Interviewer: Good morning Randall.

Randall: Good morning.

Interviewer: Good morning.

Randall: Good morning.

Interviewer: Look I just want to apologize if you feel that the last few interviews have not gone so smoothly.

Randall: I appreciate your apology. I’m not feeling hung up about it at the moment. It is in the past.

Interviewer: Good I am glad to hear that. I will do what I can to make sure that this and following interviews are much more pleasant for the both of us.

Randall: Sounds good to me.

Interviewer: How are you feeling this morning?

Randall: I am ok but I suppose a bit grumpy. I did my thirty minute morning meditation and my mind was racing with all kinds of thoughts.

Interviewer: What kind of thoughts?

Randall: Well thoughts about my anger towards my parents, thoughts about my childhood and how much I have aged, thoughts about all the bills and economic worries I have, thoughts about my difficulty breathing in the mornings- all kinds of thoughts.

Interviewer: Do you mind if I delve a little deeper about some of these thoughts that you speak of.

Randall: Sure.

[Randall eats his muffin and sips his green tea]

Interviewer: Do you still feel like you have a lot of anger towards your parents?

Randall: I do not know if it is a lot but it is in there and it comes up at various times. The anger that comes up seems to be more directed at my father.

Interviewer: And what are you angry with your father about?

Randall: It is hard for me to fully understand but I think I am angry at the way he has treated me all of my life. For me he was a monster while I was growing up and still to this day he gives me the creeps. I do not trust him and I never know if he is really trying hard to be nice to me or if it is an act. I am often very uncomfortable with my relationship with my father. I have all these past resentments that I feel never get resolved and I have current resentments towards how he shows up in my life even though I really don’t want him to show up anymore.

Interviewer: How does he show up in your life?

Randall: To be honest he plays a small roll. If I really need it he will throw money my way, I get a phone call once or twice every two weeks from him, which I admit I try and avoid. When we talk it is very superficial, uncomfortable and we both try and pretend like everything is ok. I know he is making an effort to be nicer, to be a better father but the problem is that I don’t feel like he takes much responsibility for what he has done to me nor does he acknowledge the pain that I live with that is a direct result of our relationship.

Interviewer: I also know that you are angry at him about money issues. Is this still true?

Randall: It is, as much as I would like to admit that it is not. I do feel that he is very greedy and selfish with his money and am resentful that he does not help me out more economically. You and I both know that I have a lot of worry about money. A lot of my self-worth issues revolve around money (I can thank my parents for this). I currently have a lot of economic worries and wish that he would help me out more instead of build his mansions in Idaho and take long vacations in China. I feel that some of that money can be put to better use (his children’s well-being) but this is not my parents priority. They feel that we should make it on our own, work hard and that economic struggle is a good thing. I think deep down they believe that if you do not work hard enough you are going to struggle economically. In their mind it all boils down to- I have earned my economic struggle because I don’t work hard enough. I don’t slave away at a job, so I have earned my economic struggle. My dad is a republican- what did expect?

Interviewer: But you also know that it is not a good idea for you to take money from your father. That taking his money in the long run can make your life much more stressful, unhealthy and it is not good for both of your relationship.

Randall: Yes, I am aware of this. I suppose I am resentful that my parents have allowed for money to become such a big issue between us. It just should not be that way. Money is there to make life easier not more difficult.

Interviewer: It seems to me that you are a bit confused by exactly why you are resentful or angry towards your father.

Randall: Hmmm. I suppose so. I suppose there is so much water under the bridge that it is challenging to sort it all out. Fundamentally I am resentful about the fact that he does not love me the way that I need to be loved, he does not meet my needs for trust, authenticity, safety, care. Ultimately he has made my life much more difficult than it has needed to be and I am resentful towards him for this. But I am an adult now and I am trying hard to let all of this go. To become independent of him and all the emotional garbage I carry around. I feel this will be a lifelong process.

Interviewer: Yes it will.

Randall: Yes.

Interviewer: Well this brings me to wanting to know more about your economic worries. Can you tell me a bit about this?

Randall: Well this is complicated also. One thing that I have learned about myself is that when I have more money I feel much more confident and good about myself. When I sink below the economic worry line and start to feel like I do not have enough money and then feel like I need to rely on others for financial help I no longer feel so good about myself.

Interviewer: What do you feel like when you are in this economic red zone?

Randall: I feel like a failure. I feel embarrassed. I feel stuck. I feel like a loss of independence.

Interviewer: I see. This loss of independence must feel terrible.

Randall: It does. I also feel like others judge me because I am 41 and not in a position in life where I am making a lot of money.

Interviewer: Hmmm. I understand this.

Randall: Yeah.

Interviewer: But you have a nice life. You have your own house filled with beautiful furniture and a remarkable backyard. You have a wife who has a good amount of money and is willing to help you out. You have a beautiful dog, a nice car, a painting studio, computers, a refrigerator filled with delicious food- you really have it all.

Randall: Yeah in a sense I do and I appreciate you focusing my attention on these things but I suppose I am someone who looks at the glass as half empty. All these things that I own I can barely afford. I have never had more bills than I have at the moment. I also have financial aid loans that are over $80,000. My employment is not bringing in any money at the moment and I really have no idea how the hell I am going to afford my current lifestyle. All the good things that I have in my life just do not feel like enough to assuage my economic worry. What if I have car trouble or my dog gets ill? I have no idea how I am going to afford these things and that worries me. How am I going to pay my bills and have enough money to live? It is thoughts like these that run through my mind and yeah I am resentful that my parents are traveling around China in luxury when they could be doing more to help me out of this financial worry.

Interviewer: Yeah but you understand that you are trying to become independent from your parents, to separate yourself emotionally from them and if you take money from them it is damaging to you on so many levels.

Randall: I know. I know but why do they have to be so fucked up around money?

Interviewer: The American dream does this to the best of us.

Randall: (silence)

Interviewer: Look, it is just the way it is. It is not that they are bad people- it is just what they have learned from their parents and it is who they are. You need to accept that they are not going to change. They have their karma to live out and you have yours. Don’t allow their karma to mess up your karma more than it already has.

Randall: I am working on this. Do you know that when I got married my wife’s parents spent way over 40 grand on the wedding and my parents gave no more than a thousand dollars towards our wedding?

Interviewer: Be happy they gave anything at all.

Randall: I know but it just does not sit well with me. If they had no money it would not bother me but because they have so much and give so little it just feels selfish.

Interviewer: I understand but don’t let their negative karma become yours. You need to find ways to let go of your anger and resentment towards your parents before it corrupts any more of your life.

Randall: Yeah I know. I am working on it. I have been working on it for years. I try to be kind to my parents, be there for them and be a good son- but it is tough when I have all this rage towards them. I know I need to let it all go and trust that if I do let go- things will work out. It helps talking with you about all of this.

Interviewer: Good I am glad it helps. I am glad that you trust me enough to be so honest and open with me. It always amazes me just how much power a parent has over the life of their children. Unfortunately most parents are not aware of how their behavior affects their children and as a result generation after generation passes down these emotional wounds. You can look at it as a kind of inheritance.

Randall: That is a bleak thought.

Interviewer: I know but the only way to disown your negative emotional and psychological inheritance is to distance yourself emotionally and financially as much as you can from your parents and also to continue to work on yourself and cultivate the qualities you needed from your father and mother but never got. Be generous, be honest, be loving, be kind, be grateful.

Randall: Yes. Thank you for the reminder.

Interviewer: Not a problem. I think that pretty much wraps up our interview for now. I know it was a rather serious interview but I hope it was helpful.

Randall: It was. I enjoyed this interview much more than the last two.

Interviewer: Good I am glad. Well have a pleasant, worry free day and go get dressed. You look terrible.

Randall: (giggling) I will.

Interview With Myself #4: Doing Dirty Dishes and on Growing Up a Spoiled Rich Kid.

While this interview is being conducted I am doing dishes. It is mid afternoon and I am dressed in brown corduroy pants and a black t-shirt. I did not want to be interviewed while doing the dishes (especially after the last difficult interview) but the interviewer shows up at unpredictable times and is very difficult to turn away from. As is typical I did not stand my ground but instead gave in to the interviewer.

 

Interviewer: I don’t mean to bother you again but I notice that you are doing the dishes?

Randall: I am.

Interviewer: I know we ended our last interview on a difficult note but would you mind if I asked you a few questions about doing the dishes?

Randall: Really? Now?

Interviewer: Yes, now. I promise it will not take up too much of your time. Just a few questions.

Randall: You want to ask me about doing dishes?

Interviewer: I do.

Randall: Really?

Interviewer: Really.

Randall: (taking a deep breath) Ok, do what you need to do then be done.

Interviewer: Sure, sure- will only take just a minute of your times sir. I am just wondering how you feel about doing the dishes.

Randall: Really?

Interviewer: Yes, really.

Randall: Well it is not my favorite thing to do.

Interviewer: Do you find yourself doing the dishes often?

Randall: I try to avoid doing the dishes as much as possible but there are few things that I dislike more than a sink filled with dirty dishes.

Interviewer: I see.

Randall: Yes.

Interviewer: So I often notice that if your wife does not do the dishes the sink sits filled with dirty dishes for at least a day or two. Why is this? If you dislike doing the dishes so much why are you not more consistent about doing them?

Randall: You know, I don’t really know.

Interview: Maybe you are waiting for someone else to do the dishes or for them to magically disappear?

Randall: Are you starting with me again?

Interviewer: No, no of course not. I am just wondering why if you dislike dirty dishes so much you do not do them more often. You should know better than anyone else that doing dishes can be a kind of meditation, an enjoyable activity and after all you always say to everyone else, “after enlightenment than the laundry” yet you yourself often do not do the metaphorical laundry.

Randall: Ok look, I really don’t want to argue right now with you. I am trying to get better at doing the dishes. I was forced to do the dishes as a kid and so it is only natural that as an adult I have a natural aversion towards doing the dishes.

Interviewer: I know that you did not like doing the dishes as a kid. I think it is safe to say that you did not like doing anything that you were told to do as a kid.

Randall: Ok, whatever.

Interviewer: In fact I feel the real reason why you do not like doing the dishes as an adult is because you grew up with a maid who always picked up after your messes. She did your “laundry,” cleaned your room, did your dishes, cleaned up after you.

Randall: So what are you saying?

Interviewer: I am saying that you do not like cleaning up after yourself because you are so used to having someone else clean up after you. You leave messes and wait for your poor wife to clean them up. Would you not agree?

Randall: Look, you said that you only had a few brief questions to ask me. You are not really asking me questions about doing the dishes but instead you are trying to accuse me of being a spoiled little rich kid. I pick up after myself and clean all the time. I am doing the dishes right now aren’t I? I find it disrespectful that you come here while I am doing the dishes and try and accuse me of not doing the dishes enough! Some nerve you have asshole!!

Interviewer: Easy, easy, easy man. I was not trying to accuse you of anything and I did not come here to make you feel bad while you are doing the dishes. I just wanted to ask you a few questions that came to mind when I noticed you were doing the dishes.

Randall: Well now I am finished with the dishes and would appreciate it if you left me alone for the rest of the afternoon.

Interview: So be it brother, so be it.

Randall: Don’t call me brother and what the hell is “so be it” supposed to mean?

Interviewer: It means I am already gone.

Interview With Myself #3: Bowel Movements, Blogging and on Being a Writer (or Blogger) Without Readers.

I am again sitting at my round kitchen table looking out into my backyard.  For this interview I am not still in my pajamas but instead am wearing a nice pair of corduroy pants with my shirt tucked in. It is fair to say that I am dressed up nicely. It is 11:15am and I have already been out of the house for a bit to grab a muffin and some tea from a bakery that I like in downtown Claremont. I sat and drank my tea, consumed my muffin and read a book for an hour or so. The mistake that I made was that I drank strong green tea and ate a bran muffin. Halfway through my walk home I felt an immense pressure pushing against my anal sphincter and knew I had an immediate problem. This happens to me sometimes when I eat certain foods that seem to have a laxative effect. I forgot that the combination of green tea and bran muffin have this effect upon me and as I walked home I really thought that I may defecate in my pants. I used my butt muscles to create a kind of block against whatever was trying to force its way out. The closer that I got to my home the more difficult it became to not give into the pressure. I am embarrassed to say that in the middle of an intersection I had to stop and use my hands to press both of my butt cheeks together so as not to literally lose my shit right there in the road. I am glad to report that I made it to the toilet just in time yet escaping the mess and humiliation that almost occurred. After using the bathroom I came and sat down for this interview. I had a look of great relief upon my face.

Interviewer: Well now that you gave us that rather disturbing and somewhat disgusting introduction how are you feeling now?

Randall: I feel really relieved at the moment, thank you.

Interviewer: I am sure you do.

Randall: I do.

Interviewer: Well, thank you for making it on time to our interview today.

Randall: My pleasure.

Interviewer: After yesterday’s interview I was not sure if you were going to show up today.

Randall: Neither was I. Yesterday was a tough one and I thought that I may just want to take today off, work in my garden and try to rediscover my love of reading literature.

Interviewer: Well you have plenty of time to do that later today.

Randall: Yes I do.

Interviewer: Just out of curiosity, have you ever “defecated in your pants” before?

Randall: I have, once before. I was in a coastal city in Spain called Malaga. I had eaten lunch at an outdoor restaurant on the beach where they specialized in freshly caught fish and jumbo sardines. I ate a lot of large and delicious sardines at lunch a long with another kind of whole fish, eyes and all, covered in pebble sized sea salt. The name of the fish I do not remember. I also drank a pitcher of delicious sangria (not all to myself of course, I was having lunch with another person). Anyways after lunch we went back to our hotel room, rested for a bit and then I decided to get some exercise and went for a long walk. I hiked up into the foothills of Malaga where there were beautiful Spanish style suburban homes that overlooked the sea. On my way down from the hill I began to feel that pressure against my anal sphincter that I spoke of in the introduction. But this time the pressure was much more immediate and serious and I knew I was in trouble. I…….

Interviewer: Ok well I think that is plenty of information. I get the point and would be quite happy if you spared me any further details.

Randall: But you don’t want to know about how I……

Interviewer: No, no, no really I get it. My imagination can take care of the rest. Lets move on to some other questions.

Randall: Well you asked me if I had defecated in my pants before.

Interviewer: I did and I am sorry that I did. I opened a door that I should have kept shut. That is why I want to know move this interview in another direction.

Randall: Ok, whatever you need to do but I find that this is a recurring theme with you.

Interviewer: With me?

Randall: Yes. Whenever conversation seems to get too difficult or uncomfortable for you you pull out of it. It is like you just can not deal with the conversation if it is not agreeable with you and often times this leaves me feeling cut off, shut up and unheard.

Interviewer: Well, I apologize if I make you feel this way, it is not my intention.

Randall: I understand that it may not be your intention but it is often what you do and I do not like how it feels. Just like you want to be able to discuss and talk about whatever you want I have the same needs. You always tell me to speak my mind, to tell you honestly how I feel but then sometimes when I do this you get uncomfortable and upset with me. You confuse me- I don’t know if you want me to speak my mind and be honest or to be careful what I say to you for fear of upsetting you.

Interviewer: Well I don’t know what to say to you Randall other than I will try to be more mindful of this in the future. Of course I want you to speak your mind, to be honest with me. As the interviewer I need you to be honest and open with me or else the interview would be dull and boring. I will work on being more mindful of how I react to you and try to not avoid or shut down the conversation when you are discussing things that make me feel uncomfortable. Fair?

Randall: Sounds fair to me. Can I continue with my story about how I defecated in my pants?

Interviewer (with a cringe upon his face) I think that for the sake of the reader it would be best if we moved on to other subject matters. There are so many questions that I want to ask you about yourself that it may take a year to get through this interview process at the rate at which we are going.

Randall: What other questions do you have for me today?

Interviewer: Well I wanted to talk with you about the blog that you have been keeping for the past five years or so.

Randall: You mean Absurdistry?

Interviewer: Yes.

Randall: Ok.

Interviewer: Well I am wondering how it feels to be a blogger without many readers?

[just as I asked Randall this question he got up to go see if there were any avocados that were ready to be picked from his avocado tree. He came back inside with three unripe and unready to be picked avocados in his hand.]

Randall: If you put them in a paper bag, in a week they will be delicious and ready to eat.

Interviewer: Aren’t you trying to rush natures process?

Randall: Sometime I am too impatient for natures process.

Interviewer: I see. Well are you ready to answer the initial question that I asked you before you got up to go check on the avocado tree?

Randall: The question about being a blogger who know one reads?

Interviewer: Yes.

Randall: (taking a deep breath) First off I do not consider myself to be a blogger. I am a writer and I use my blog to self publish my writings.

Interviewer: Isn’t that what most bloggers do?

Randall: I don’t know what most bloggers do but what I do is write stories and other stuff and then use my blog “Absurdistry” to self publish my writings.

Interviewer: I understand this but is it fair to say that there is a difference between self-publishing and posting?

Randall: What do you mean?

Interviewer: What I mean is that often times publishing often involves some kind of contract/payment for your work and it also means having more than one or two readers whereas posting is what a blogger like yourself does when they write something and then put it on their blog hoping that others will read it.

Randall: I am not a blogger.

Interviewer: I understand that you do not think that you are a blogger and prefer to think of yourself as a writer but as it stands- you are a blogger.

Randall: I am not a blogger.

Interviewer: You really are my friend.

Randall: Would I be more of a writer if I did not “post” my writings on my blog and instead sent my writings out to other people and agencies in that hopes that I get published?

Interviewer: Yes. As long as the entirety of your writing output is not going up on your blog and you are making an effort to be exposed to a larger amount of readers through various publishers, literary journals, on-line, I would say you are more of a writer then.

Randall: Well, we both obviously have different ideas about this.

Interviewer: You are a blogger.

Randall: I am not.

Interviewer: You are!

Randall: (silence)

Interviewer: And how does it feel to post your writings on a blog that barley no one reads or comments on. To basically know that you are writing, or “self publishing” and almost no one is reading these words and you are doing it for free!

Randall: (silence)

Interviewer: (waiting for a response)

Randall: Look, I started Absurdistry because I thought it was a good way to “self publish” my writings. I am not the kind of guy who is going to take the time to send or submit my writings to various publications (this is why I decided to become a psychotherapist). It is just not going to happen. I feel like my writing stands on its own and in time it will earn the respect of various readers. I trust that the future of reading is blogs and that I will get more readers and notoriety from “posting” on my blog than if I was to take other publishing routes.

Interviewer: Is it fair to say that this point of view is just a way for you to rationalize your laziness when it comes to doing anything about your writing career? That you are engaging in a bit of magical thinking and are avoiding really doing what it would take to be the kind of writer that you have always dreamed of being?

Randall: (silence)

Interviewer: Do you not want to answer my question?

Randall: I think I have had enough of your questions for today.

Interviewer: Really?

Randall: Really.

Interviewer: Now you are shutting me up, doing just the thing that you asked me not to do to you.

Randall: I think this interview is finished for today.

[Randall, obviously very frustrated with the subject matter I brought up, gets up from the table, opens the refrigerator and stares into it as if he is trying to find a way to escape from this particular moment in time.]