Monday, October 24, 2011

A peek inside the soul of a soulless man Pt. III: Reality Reconstruction by Jersey Campbell

From when I was a little tyke running from the girls with the cooties in the schoolyard my reality was developing itself. Well it was even before then, from when I was born in North Shore hospital and when my cute Martian-sized forehead began taking in this whole new world around him; my reality was beginning to take shape. I said that my reality was developing itself, what I meant to say was my reality was developing in virtue of the people and the things that surrounded me. I was incapable of developing anything during that time of my life with the exception of some feces in my diaper.

Recreation of the moment when my friend got Rock Bottomed
As the cute young baby grew into a handsome, trouble-making young lad, my perceptions of the world became more concrete. Old people were boring, read a lot of newspapers, talked politics, and forbade me from playing Mortal Kombat with my older brothers because it was too gory. All I wanted to do was go out in the yard and recreate great wrestling matches. (These recreations were always epic. Flying elbows off of the fence, two-legged dropkicks with perfect Hardcore Holly-like form, and DDTs that even Mick Foley could admire. A friend put me in the ankle lock one time and got a little too hype with it. He ended up spraining my ankle and I had to get it wrapped for a few days. I could never tell my mother how it happened. I got him back a couple weeks later when the Rock Bottom I hit him with sent him home crying like a little bitch. OK, that last part wasn’t true. I wish it was. Let’s act like it was.) All I wanted to do was watch Cat-Dog and harass my older brothers into beating me up to the point where walking was difficult.

My reality had little to do with me and more to do with the situation I was surrounded with. We’re supposed to be masters of our own destiny, but that’s tough to manage when we are also slaves of circumstance. I grew up in a Christian household and my fundamental beliefs about life reflected that up until several years ago. If I grew up in a Jewish household I’d be eating kosher food and hoarding my secret Jew Gold in my necklace pouch. If a grew up in Muslim household I’d be wearing a turban, praying five times a day, and sacrificing myself by suicide bombing the American embassy so I could be among 72 virgins in heaven. (It’s a JOKE. Relax.)

I can’t tell you the specific time when I began to doubt all that my parents told me about God and religion. I only remember sitting at the dinner table with my family one night when my lovely sister had returned from college. She told us that she was going to major in religion, and that’s when I started thinking about all the other religions in the world. That led to me weighing the merits of different religions and when I couldn’t demarcate what a true religion would be like I said, “Screw it, you’re all illegitimate.”

Reality reconstruction is that point in your life where the old way of thinking and behaving don’t make sense anymore. It’s when nothing makes sense anymore. It’s when everything you see forces you to ask, “How is a nigga gonna borrow a fry?” It’s when the values that have defined your life are no longer valuable. It’s when the principles once held as eternal have to be rethought due to their complete dismantling. It’s when everything you previously believed to be true is given the double middle-finger then viciously Stone-Cold Stunnered in the middle of the ring… and then beer bathed.

So that sums up what happened to me when I came to the conclusion that God probably doesn’t exist. It wasn’t so drastic but it altered the way I viewed my position in the world. Before then I was a normal church boy, after I became a borderline atheist. You know how for total validation of a promise people will ask you to swear to God? Yeah, that isn’t a problem for me anymore. Even though I’ve never told a lie a day in my life it’s nice to know I’ve got that in my back pocket for when I need it. (If you’re thinking, “I’ll know how to get ‘em, I’ll tell ‘em to swear on his mother’s grave!” Yeah, that probably won’t work either. For something that meant so much back in the day it’s fairly insignificant to me now. I’m not even sure what it means. What I’m saying is: don’t ever trust me.)

There are five phases to reality reconstruction: 1) Dismantling- what you know no longer makes sense. 2) Disillusionment- you’re lost in the sea of foolishness around you. 3) Emptiness- you’re alone with your thoughts because no one can really relate to how you’re feeling. 4) Reconstruction- from the ashes of the old reality comes the building blocks of the new one. This is phase one of the unaccustomed self. And finally the 5) New Reality- like a phoenix rising from its own remains, new beliefs and value systems have manifested themselves in your new perception of the world.

Maybe there are powers higher then myself, maybe not.
Since that first semi-reality reconstruction back in high school to this slightly more serious one I’m experiencing at this very moment, the evolution of me has gone through a shitload of frequencies. It’s like I’m in a constant shuffle between phases one through five and there’s no way out. That’s the problem; I highly doubt there is a way out of this web that I’ve spun around myself.

Now we’re at Jersey Campbell version 3.0 (or is it 4.0? or 3.5? I lost count), and a mental crisis has once again hopped the fence and nips at my heel. At this point I’m somewhere around phases four and five. But these last couple of years has proven to me that at any point in time I am susceptible to revert back to phase one where the long climb back up the beanstalk becomes even more hopeless. It could be the case that with each recurring devolution to phase one Jersey is coming ever so closer to that ultimate truth he’s looking for, but I doubt it.

The days when other people built my reality for me seem like so long ago. That was when Mommy and Daddy were superheroes and whatever they said was instantly true. Maybe I’m acting like the little bitch I dreamt I turned my friend into, but I can’t help but feel like a baby cub who was not ready to take on the wilderness without mama bear. They say you’re supposed to grow up and take on the responsibilities of an adult; my parents did a wonderful job of preparing me for that part of life. But what they didn’t prepare me for was being exposed to all the wondrous differences in the world. The mental shelter they provided for me is long gone and now my reality is in constant flux. Would it be easier if I would have stuck with my parents’ religion of choice? I don’t know. I don’t business with hypotheticals. Let the other Jersey Campbells in alternate universes deal with that.

Reality is a tricky thing to deal with. Does it ever have anything to do with you? Or is it solely an amalgamation of all the other people and ideas that you’ve ever been in contact with? Ultimately this is the question I end up asking when I find myself back at phase one. Then when I begin working my way back up to phase five my reality inevitably crumbles under this shaky foundation.  Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t even begin to describe this current state of flux that I’ve dug myself into. I try and put bits and pieces together, but it could be the case that I don’t have enough pieces to the jigsaw puzzle or I could have too many.

Some of us come to a point in our lives when we demand to take control of our reality. I’ve been reaching and grasping for something to hold on to for awhile now, I just can’t seem to find whatever it is I’m looking for. I think you’re supposed to know what it is you’re searching for before you go out looking, but life only last so long. My gut feeling is that I won’t know what I’m looking for until I find it. Until then I’ll be consciously and unconsciously constructing my perception of the world through these randomly occurring reality relapses.

In conclusion (finally right), I’m not crazy. I’m just waking up… again.

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