The Many Me’s, part 1: Different Mirrors

“Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate.”
– Sarah Jessica Parker

I know. I’m shocked too, but it’s the only one I found that hit the topics of today’s post on the head.

Still not a fan - she's still Sarah Sanderson to me.


Interjection: This reminds me – I’m going to do a post in the near-future about celebrities I can’t see beyond a certain role, and as such, I can’t take them seriously. It should prove entertaining.

Anyway, to the task at hand.

For whatever reason, my life seems to replay for me for often than  I would like it to. I’m not talking about drama, or previous actions coming back to metaphorically “bite me in the ass”, but I’m stating the fact that a lot of my work over the last few months has been somewhat autobiographical. I’ve written to varying lengths about varying topics: past loves, past lives, memories, and ambitions. I’ve gotten some decent material out of it, but the question still remains:

What else, if anything, am I getting from this?

I’ve felt lost within myself for a very long time. So long, in fact, that it’s hard for me to remember a time when life was nothing but contentment, to always see the “silver lining”, despite what may or may not have been going on.

However, as this written excursion began back in July, I’ve been able to see my world currently through different mirrors, and I think because of that, I’ve been able to see pieces of me that I thought were missing.

For example:

I look at my life to this point collectively, and I realize there are many me’s.

The Explorer

Early in my life, most likely between the day I learned to walk and my entry into junior high school, my mission was to understand as much about as much as I could. These were the days that provided me with all the comforts of childhood: stables of friends, recess, pizza parties, etc. During these carefree days, I absorbed my surroundings like a sponge, spending afternoons literally exploring areas around me from open fields to scummy creeks. I explored people, their likes and dislikes. My eyes were open and my will was strong. I wanted to know my world.

I could have been this guy - in whatever field I chose to explore the most - just hopefully without the demise he had... or some equivalent...

Interjection: Oh, it is not too soon! Much love and respect, Steve. Rest in peace, my friend.

The Instigator

From the first day of sixth grade through, probably, the duration of high school, I was a driving force in collective friend bases, conceiving plans and executing copious amounts of tomfoolery not just at home, but also at school and other public locales. From betting on student fights, capsizing canoes, and Operation Tollbooth to revenge against hostile enemies, devious delinquency, and The Great Halloween Prank of 2002, this seven-year-stretch is as epic as any in the history of worldwide adolescence.

Ah, the Great Halloween Prank of 2002... I spent most of that night here. Bless you, Medical Center of Lewisville.

It was a hell of a ride, despite it’s tendency for the dramatic.

The Loner

After high school until around the time I turned twenty, life got bizarre for me, and I wasn’t equipped to handle it, or so I justified anyway. The most important figure in my life had died, I had destroyed my shoulder in a skating accident, I received the worst concussion of my life, and became disillusioned with the world around me. This world I had, at one time, been so curious and progressive about. Also during this time, my family, that I had at once upon a time always viewed as stable, shattered, my friends’ lives and my own began to separate, I started dating to fill the voids, and essentially lived at houses other than my own. Vicious fights, verbal and otherwise, became the norm around me, even with people who I would have never imagined getting into an altercation. My relationships with people became a catalyst for self-abuse, which would be a trend to continue for years to come.

There was a lot of this going on...

At this junction, the swelling stress and emotional agony was completely unbearable. I’ve christened this next three me’s, The Triplets, since they were present together.

The User

When I left home, the darkened, humid sky was the perfect metaphor for the journey I was soon to be embarking on. Asphalt jungles, bleeding sound, and the by-product of such a lifestyle: rivers of vodka flowing down highway corridors and various pills ingested like Skittles. I emaciated, sending my body into varying states of sickness, tail-spinning and regaining control with no rhyme or reason to any of it. These were years spent in fog.

Yep... Skittles.

The Deceiver

This second component consisted of my greatest sins, the chains I have carried like the ghost of Jacob Marley. I manipulated the people around me, at times even without knowing, and poisoned people I tried to keep close. My emotions, long bottled up, began causing small earthquakes within, where the pain seeped slowly out like magma from an awakening volcano, all the while the pressure inside continues to build faster than it escapes.My relationships, especially with women, consisted of mistakes and an inability to control the progressive fallout from those mistakes. Bonds were severed violently, and even lives were ruined, especially for someone who will remain in anonymity.

Just in case you're wondering, this is Mount St. Helens... just before it erupted...

The Composer

This time consisted of me beginning to formulate my theory and motivations in art. My mediums expanded alongside my knowledge, and the music, words, and pictures began to take new life. The compromise for this progression of abilities, in many cases, was that I had to be under the supervision of substances or facing my anguish head-on. It got results, but it weakened me progressively. Slowly.

Sometimes it seems like I haven’t necessarily escaped the clutches of The Triplets, that their influence still occasionally hovers over me like the black lenticular clouds in the concept art I made for “Frontiers”.

"In frontiers unseen / Cabal-themed dreams control my sanity / Cloaked in my lies / On a funeral pyre / I stand among the bleak December / On these frontiers..."

However, there are also occasions when it seems like I can keep at least two of them at bay, as obviously The Composer will never be subdued.

I guess as I quickly approach my mid-20’s, things have gotten a little more difficult. Relationships with people are more complicated. The drive to turn pipe-dreams into careers is stronger. Your responsibilities are different. Life seems so surreal. I’m reminded of a lyric from the song “Speed of Light” from Queensryche’s 2006 album, Operation Mindcrime II.

“Everything moves faster now / We’re living at the speed of light / I stand here fascinated…”

I am fascinated and I have looked at the time spent, especially recently, as being the blurred neon lines frequently seen in montages of downtown areas with the tape speed kicked up. Like most Zach Braff movies, I stand in the middle of the fluorescent chaos, in normal speed.

It’s truly fascinating, but begs the question: Where has my life gone?

In five months, I turn 25. I know I’m still young, and older people I’ve talked to about this have kind of scoffed at the idea of my disinterest in this particular birthday, but I think I find it somewhat scary. I mean, I’m halfway to 50. One-quarter of the way to 100, which I doubt I’ll live to see. Throw the family genetics on top of it and it feels like I’m almost halfway done with my life.

Interjection: In my family, a significant portion of us tend to die in our 50’s from cardiovascular issues and such.

I’ve been horrible to my body, especially over the last six, seven years. I smoke just under a pack of cigarettes a day, granted down from two-and-a-half, three packs a day, but it’s still heavy. I drink socially, which is better than how I used to drink, but it could still raise it’s fist as a contributing factor. But the kicker, as explained above, was the Triplet known as The User.

I was a speed freak for a very long time, on top of other experimentation to varying degrees and lengths. Even today, I don’t feel hunger. I’m never hungry. I have to guess when my body would potentially be hungry if I had never used. However, when I start to eat, my body realizes hunger. This isn’t normal. It’s a sign of someone who abused amphetamines.

Has this affected my lifespan? Has this affected my heart? Throw the drugs in a blender with the cigarette consumption and the high-stress life I still seem to live, and it feels like…

Cerberus – The three-headed dog guarding the gates of the Underworld, keeping the souls who have crossed the Styx from escaping.

Wow, that analogy literally just hit me.

From left to right: Stress, drugs, and recklessness - aka The Composer, The User, and The Deceiver.

Could this also be part of the reason I’ve pushed relationships away? Is it not just the stress and inability to maintain the same level as the woman involved, or is that a by-product for the former question?

This is probably something I need to figure out if I ever want to have a successful relationship in the future.

Damn these introspective posts sometimes.

Here’s a question I’ve had on repeat over the last couple of weeks. In reference to the volcano analogy from earlier: what if the eruption actually hasn’t taken place yet? Granted, I’ve had my nervous breakdown, but what if I’m not done? Despite the things going for me right now, it still feels like I’m somewhat empty. I still feel fair amounts of sadness and loss.

Is it the artist’s curse? Again, I’m reminded of lyrics, this time from the hand of the genius, Mark Linkous. The chorus of the song “Sunshine” is:

“There will come a time gigantic waves will crush the junk that I have saved / When the moon explodes or floats away, I’ll keep the souvenirs I’ve made…”

I’ve been through the ringer, especially since July. Life has been, arguably, more complicated now than when I was pushing one-hundred hour weeks writing and performing music, being shackled and chained and held captive by the torturous motives of amphetamines and all his friends, and dealing with the mounting chaos within me from my repeated sins that I failed to realize were as such initially.

In November, I lost my way… but, that’s what tomorrow’s post is for.

I’ve often used my nervous breakdown to justify these introspective posts. Or my son, Jax. I have to admit though, I think what kick-started this one is my little brother’s wedding in October.

Alas this brings us to the end of today’s slightly pedestrian post. I’m getting back into the swing of blogging, honestly, I’ve been slacking (since this is the first post of 2102). Part two of this three-part concept, The Many Me’s, should be live at some point tomorrow, so until then…



About Robert L. Franklin

Ah, the About Me section - social networking's excuse for you sounding like an elitist prick. Hmm... what to say? What to say?
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