001-Light Under the Shade-Memoir


I hardly have the strength to begin this work with any formal thesis statement, nor with any kind of cool sly catchy hook. Wanted to introduce you, slowly, to my Porcelain Utopia series, which has not been written in the same manner as what you’re about to read.

Just to write bad posture is enough for now. They’re the first words that come to mind, and I could probably give you a thousand examples of how bad posture metaphorically describes the way I feel, the way I think, the way I act, and the way I am. The spinal cord and the brain itself—they control everything. And everything seems to be out of alignment, including my posture.

I lie on my right side, my back crooked with restless legs, resting my head upon my right elbow. The laptop presses against my chest. This physical body of me is outrageously contorted, restless and fidgety. If you could see me right now, you’d think I was having withdrawals from kicking a heroin habit, but I am not. I am, however, probably setting myself up to be a hunchback, or something, later in life. All of the agony I feel is due to stress. It’s due to agitation. It’s due to nervousness.

As for these words I write, I write them, I don’t speak them aloud. I have little clout when I speak. I’m not taken seriously. I’m a schizophrenic. Therefore, anything I say to other people is likely to be considered a delusion, or even a lie. Lies are the things that usually save us. (Save us from what?) There’s social stigma looming, all around. Judgments are everywhere.

I question who I am and what I’ve become, but there seems to be no deep or even philosophical answer. I’m just a lonely guy who finds pleasure in watching tearjerker films, along with a few other idle activities. I watch life pass me by, depressingly. Tearjerkers? I enjoy them because they elicit emotions and they usually make me cry.

I love crying, though I have never been able to sincerely let it all out. The few but lucky times I find myself choked up, my short-lived crying spells seem to get cut off. Something always comes up which causes me to stop crying. Usually, my cries are halted because of some kind of fear or some kind of impeding paranoia. The fear and paranoia feels like an orgasm that suddenly dies right when the very peak wants to topple over, and melt me. My so-called orgasm freezes. I feel a continuous avalanche of emotions about my anxiety and about my emotions. The emotions come stampeding down the mountain, compounding all fear and paranoia. Its roots are deeply embedded underneath the soot, darkly smelted in the past as it takes over the present.

They eyes of a separate me observes myself with a mean mother kind of judgmental heart. Her eyes hone in when I cry. But, as long as I can believe that I am allowed to cry, I will, at any place and at any time.  I cry, as long as I am not penalized. I’ll cry, as long as I am not in the ward crying, and as long as I am not under the care of Mommy, crying. I’m able to let it out, as long as my thoughts don’t wander to any dark or hideous places. Crying is probably the only display of emotions I seem to have anymore, hardly personal, hardly private. My crying is a reaction to the pain and torment I feel, though, my crying is always confronted by a sort of voice that says, “Stop it.” And so I stop. When I get to cry, I feel alive, and I feel that I might actually exist, even if in complete solitude.

My crying, like a baby, is proof of how lame I am. Sure, I’m a total wimp. Furthermore, I am wimpy with my creative endeavors. I overuse certain words and break the rules. I read self-help books, and I don’t do the opposite of what they say, even though I might lie by saying that I do. I sometimes exaggerate in order to get attention. I don’t really do much of anything. Even with all the experiences I write of, about 90% of my life is spent in a state of complete lethargy. I stare at the TV blindly, lying down—always. I reside way out there in la–la land, in a state of confusion, as a means to dissociate from all the abuse I’ve been enduring since infancy. I can actually remember back that far, to when I was born. I’m able to remember because I have an inborn talent for putting myself into a remarkably deep trance, nearly on an instant.

In the rare event that I have any motivation to write, I feel like all I’m doing is taking some mumble jumble dictation from somewhere in outer space. I lie to myself, believing I’m some kind of genius who tries to be what’s called transgressive, stylistically and thematically, in my writing, of course—not within my personality—and I seem to fail.

My personality is friendly and out-going. I hear that all the time from others. I try to be someone else when I write. Although, all too often, I sense myself rambling too much, as much as I shoot for raw and brutal honesty in my writing. Strangely enough, at the same time, I hope that my honesty, however much of it I can produce, might actually help someone—(Help whom? We’ll get to that soon enough.) I’m trying to make sense of, and keep at least some structure to what I write since I have symptoms, like what they call pressured thoughts and pressured speech. The Sz (Schizophrenia) causes my writing, my blah-blah-blah’ing to come across as being cryptic and not commercially viable. A real downer, if you ask me. I am beating myself up, unnecessarily.

Whether I am Ben Schreiber (my own fictional protagonist) or Georgie Gust (Ben’s alter ego), or even Jonathan (the real me), I’m a big fat wimp, like I said before, or better, a beached whale, but I’ve got testicles of steel.

I’m as resilient as I can ever aspire to be—nearly numb, yet entirely fragile.

I still believe that I can’t take it anymore, but I do take it all, and in many ways I’m forced to have those testicles of steel. Forced by this concept I barely have any grasp on: Reality.

About Jonathan Harnisch

Author | Mental Health Advocate | Schizophrenia | Artist | Blogger | Podcast Host | Patent Holder | Hedge Fund Manager | Film & TV Producer | Musician
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