There’s A Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven’t Thought Of It Yet

December 3, 2008

I went Christmas shopping yesterday for my one-legged girlfriend. I managed to find her this great prosthetic leg, so I bought it. It’s not her main present though, more of a stocking filler.

 

 

Thanks folks, I’ll be here all week.

 

Ok, seriously, this is my favourite joke of the week: Two nuns are driving down the road, when out of nowhere, a vampire jumps on the car bonnet. ‘What shall we do?!?!’ Screams the first nun, to which the second nun replies ‘show it your cross.’ So the first nun shouts ‘GET OFF THE FUCKING CAR!’

 

This week, I have mostly been NOT revising. I write this sentence at 09:26am, meaning that I have a grand total of 33hrs 34mins to learn the entire biological process and theory of anxiety, including notable dates of discovery, who discovered them, and, for good measure, an encyclopaedic mental reference guide to animal testing, differences in human and animal brain hemispheres, and, if possible, where all the main receptors are located in the brain. Shouldn’t be a problem, right?

 

But prior to this, I have some work of an entirely different nature to do. In fact, no, scrub that – it’s basically the same. I have a friend we’ll call Alex. Alex is a fucking great guy, has a great job, and a great life. Alex has a brother, who we’ll call Steve. Steve is ying to Alex’s yang – where Alex is successful, bright and together, Steve is unemployed, has no motivation, and suffers terribly with depression.

 

Alex and I know each other well enough that I was able to tell him about my process – why I did it, what I was going through, and how I feel as a result, and, because of this, Alex has asked me to talk to his brother. I met Steve once – he came out for my birthday with Alex – and, at the time, he seemed pretty happy, if a little shy. The meeting was orchestrated by Alex, with a view to me meeting his brother, just so he has someone to empathise with, and to talk to – I guess Alex feels I’ll understand some of the things Steve is suffering with.

 

So last week, I called Steve, and my heart nearly broke. Alex has obviously told Steve he can talk to me and he can tell me anything he likes, and I’ll have at least a small understanding of what he is saying – but when I called him, he sounded as though somewhere inside of him, all he wanted to do was curl up in a corner and wait until the entire idea just goes away.

 

Gone was the friendly, together person I met 6 weeks earlier, and in his place was a very clearly frightened person, stammering and stuttering his way through disjointed sentences. Like I said, my heart nearly broke. How I felt for this guy; how daunting the entire idea must be for him. He’s never had a day’s therapy in his life, and has just shouldered and swallowed every feeling he’s ever had, and tonight, he’s meeting with someone that was there, and has come out the other side. What he doesn’t know is just how nervous I am, too.

 

Though there is overwhelming temptation, I am going to resist the urge to advise Steve about what he should do. Sure, I can help in little ways, but mostly, I am just going to listen. And hopefully he will talk. I really, really hope that whatever I can do, it will help or comfort in some small way.

 

Thinking last night about talking to Steve, I remembered an oh-so great behavioural pattern of mine, and, in thinking about things I might talk to him about, I was reminded of what I used to do, and, in a time when I am consumed by change in my life, am perhaps guilty of recently.

 

And that is setting myself unobtainable targets, and experiencing what it is to ‘fail’. (and whatever goes with it)

 

Currently, it is with regards to finding a new job, so I set myself the target of get ‘get a job’. Of course, unconsciously, I don’t just want ‘a’ job, I want a job that best represents myself, caters to my ego needs, and pays the sort of money I feel I should be earning.

 

None of these things are impossible, of course. But what I have learnt, and can thankfully now identify, is that in-between thinking ‘I want a new job’ and the many, many rejections all applicants receive at one point or another, I experience no ‘win’ – no sense of a target reached, or something achieved. Instead, I batter down the mental door with a constant barrage of ‘no’ and negativity, and, eventually, my self-esteem suffers.

 

A more positive process takes a little extra time, but the rewards are significantly more. Instead of setting myself a long-term target which will take a long time to receive, I break things down. I start, perhaps, by checking my CV (or ‘resume’) best represents me and the job I am applying for. Target 1 achieved. Then, maybe, I’ll think and try and identify something I might want to do. Target 2. And this continues and continues – the point being that I always feel overwhelmingly positive about what I am doing. Of course, it helps that I like myself quite a lot, and feel like I know what I want, but that in itself is just another process which needs to be approached in small steps.

 

So I guess what I’m getting at is this: if you’re out there struggling with something, or getting down on yourself because you feel you can’t do it, set yourself achievable targets. Let yourself feel good. Let yourself experience the joy of actually starting and finishing something. It can be as small and seemingly insignificant as you like – my sister, also a Hoffman graduate, always begins any period where she wants to lose some weight by saying ‘I want to lose ¼ lb,’ for instance – and alleviate some of that pressure. It really, really works.

 

I’d like to finish today with a pondering I have been throwing around in my head. I’ve been thinking about this a while, but I have to tell the truth and say that I am very hesitant to say it out loud. But you know something? I’ve never been scared of speaking my mind, and I’m not about to start any time soon.

 

I have a friend, we’ll call her Christine. Christine has a history of problems I won’t go into, but recently, she went away for some treatment, finished, and decided she wanted some more. Christine is, I wish to stress, one of the bravest people I know, and I am proud and almost humbled by how she faced the ghosts and horrors of her past in the way she did. Over a period of about 4 months, I cannot even begin to conceive how much punishment she must have put herself through almost every day, just to get better. But get better she did, and returned to normal life, happily declaring her treatment complete.

 

Of course, like everyone that knows Christine, I readily (and genuinely) joined in the congratulations – she thoroughly deserved every bit of it.

 

But then something began to trouble me. Christine declared she wanted to go by a new name, lets say Jane. Jane decided that she had left Christine behind, and that the person who had gone by her previous name was long gone into the mists of the past. But, I have to confess, my first thought was that she was running.

 

I am in no way accusing her of anything, nor am I trying to demean what she went through, because I think she’s amazing, and, of course, I could never even begin to understand the internal processing that led to wanting to change one’s name.

 

But (now) Jane’s new name made me think of parallels with another story I had heard recently. A friend of a friend had been dating a guy for about 6 months. He was into drugs, suffered with depression and anxiety, was quick to anger, and was constantly involved in something or other ‘dodgy’. After these 6 months, this friend of a friend discovered that (a) his American accent was a fake, (b) he lied about his parents being dead, and that (c) essentially nothing he had told her had been true, not even his name. This guy was, she decided, consumed by self-hatred to the point where he had invented an entirely new persona to live by.

 

A situation I can well sympathise with, as I have done similar, just to lesser extremes.

 

So, dear readers, I leave you with a question, a question I have been wrestling with for about a week.

 

‘When is a new beginning actually a new beginning, and not just another really big target we set ourselves?’

 

Maybe you’ll be able to answer it better than I.

 

Until next time, my love to you all.

Closed Box

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Dunkin’ Do Not

December 2, 2008

Welcome, welcome, one and all, and welcome to ‘Back and to the Future’, the blog that kept voting Ruth, if only to see her epic boobs on X-Factor every Saturday night. RIP my gargantuan-chested Spanish senorita.

 

Readers, it is said that you learn new things every day. This, of course, is bullshit. If you’re anything like me, there are occasional days when you’re up for no particular reason (porn reading the bible) until the early hours, and the following day, you’re just happy to stay awake, and couldn’t really give a fuck about learning new shit. Anyway, I digress.

 

This weekend, I learnt something new about sex. Which is an interesting one for me, because I was at least fairly certain I had a pretty good grasp of the subject as it was. But no, there is new shit even I didn’t know about.

 

Apparently, nearly drowning is a turn on. NEARLY. FUCKING. DROWNING. I have a friend, a friend we’ll call Julie, and this weekend, I’m talking to Julie and Julie proceeds to tell me she’s fucked up. ‘Oh’ says I, interested, as being fucked up appeals to my love of the macabre ‘what’s up?’ So Julie begins to tell me about her fetish. When in the bath, Julie likes to have her head repeatedly dunked under water as she is bent over on all fours in the water. The faster things go, the faster the head dunking goes, making her shorter and shorter of breath, until she feels as though she is drowning. This, apparently, makes her orgasm. Just makes me think that someone’s going to have to clean up a very messy bathroom. But that’s because I’m an OCD freakazoid.

 

Either way, I don’t get that one at all, but have moved Julie off my ‘never say never’ list, and on to my ‘colour me intrigued’ one.

 

Aside from seeing Kevin Smith’s ‘Zack and Miri Make a Porno’ (short review: pretty funny, too much male nudity, ending tacked on, Elizabeth Banks = goddess) the weekend was a mixture of attempting to revise, and lots of saying to myself ‘hey, shouldn’t I be revising?’ I expect this to continue for the next 2 weeks as I work my way through to my end of year exams.

 

Monday, however, was one of the more positive days I have had in a long, long time – and I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but in-between telling people to fuck off, making jokes about Jews and general self-depreciation, I’m a pretty positive guy to start with.

 

As is generally the case when I’m wearing my Ramones t-shirt, (and yes, I like the band – I didn’t just buy into some fashion fad in 2002) I was in a pretty good mood anyway. And then I get a call from a recruitment company out of nowhere, telling me they want me to interview for a job – sweet! And then, I got an email:

 

I understand you would be interested in sharing your experience of the Process with the media. 

 

I would like to put together a profile of you – either by interviewing you over the phone, or by you providing a few paragraphs on email.

 

A journalist will then want to interview you over the phone – it will take no longer than 15 minutes. It would be great if you could provide me with a few details so I can start drafting your ‘blurb’: age, where you live, a few lines about why you decided to try The Hoffman Process, how your life has changed since you took the Process 

 

Please can you also email me a recent picture of yourself to send to the media, alongside your profile? If you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Best wishes,

 

And my never-ending diatribes in this blog will attest, I am rarely short of words, so I’m rather looking forward to sharing my experiences – honestly, and with no agenda or personal vendetta to ‘push’. Should go nicely with my attending ‘Closure’ for a second time on January 15th. (Did anyone else get this?)

 

And I think that will do for today. There’s more to talk about, but frankly, I can’t be fucked.

 

Love to you all,

Closed Box


Much A-Jew About Nothing

November 28, 2008

Dear Readers

 

It is with regret that I must begin today’s blog on a sombre note.

 

It seems that not everyone on planet blog has a sense of humour. Some, clearly with not enough intelligence to see that 99% of what I say is with tongue firmly in cheek, deem it necessary to read my blog, take it literally, and send me abusive emails. Which is fine.

 

But if you’re going to call me a ‘cunt’, please at least spell it correctly. We’re all about correct spelling here on ‘Arrogant Fuckwit and to the Future’.

 

To anyone reading this today, a plea from this blog’s author: If you are not intelligent enough to spot sarcasm or satire please do us all (mostly me) a favour and FUCK OFF. If you don’t like what I write, FUCK OFF. If you do not get that I (a) make reference to, and (b) constantly make fun of Jewish people because I myself am Jewish, then please stop reading immediately – you’re embarrassing us both.

 

And lastly, you can call me every name in the sun – I don’t care. But don’t make fun of my hair. That shit ain’t cool. Dick.

 

On a lighter note, yesterday was a fine day.

 

I managed to meet JL, who has not changed even one tiny bit (this is a good thing) for some coffee and Yo! Sushi – where I introduced her to the delights of Yakatori chicken – as planned. I was much more nervous than I let on – as I always tend to be when I am meeting people who I have wronged in the past – and I kept making stupid jokes about myself. Total defence mechanism.

 

Unfortunately for all concerned, JL is not the only person I have ‘wronged’ in my life, and my nerves stem from what I view as weak excuses, in my more unsure moments. I have learnt, as my Hoffman group will attest, that my behaviour was often not my fault, but rather a learned or reacted behavioural pattern. Often, they were natural defence mechanisms. But it takes a person of serious compassion, empathy, or understanding to buy that.

 

I want to, and do, accept responsibility for all my actions. I do not blame myself for everything as I once did, but I accept responsibility for my past, so I can absolve myself in my present. It’s the only way I find I really let go. This process, however, tends to leave me in an apathetic no-mans land, where I am fighting between telling someone ‘it wasn’t me, it was all involuntary/it was me, and my fault’. It’s a conundrum alright, but I find if you explain yourself fully, understanding tends to be your reward. Equally unfortunately, this is not the first round of apologies I have had to make in my life. (A time machine to 2002 would most likely find me apologising for the years 1996-2001)

 

After leaving JL around 6, I had to go to my dreaded Thursday class – ‘Biological Basis of Behaviour’. After working my ass off for a couple of weeks, I had been disappointed that the teacher of my Wednesday class had not marked my recently-handed-in essay, being that I thought it was rather good, frankly. Unlike my Thursday class, my Wednesday ‘Foundations of Modern Psychology’ class is the most interesting thing I have ever been a part of – I actually ENJOYED researching and writing my essay.

 

However, Thursday is a different matter. The class is fucking hard, and rooted in science and biology, two subjects I’ve not studied in the past, and have no interest or capacity to do so in the future. With that in mind, I have aimed for a ‘pass’. I was particularly worried last week, when I handed in my first essay ‘The Differences Between The Right and Left Hemisphere Of The Brain’. The problem, really, was that I felt I could answer the question in about 4 lines. This is never a good sign for an essay of considerable size.

 

So, in came padding – extensive research, history, modern examples of study – which all complimented my correct, but far too vague, answer. And the result? 54%. And I am fucking delighted. I lost 10% for not having a reference section at the end (oops) and another few percentage points for including web links in the main text as my references. But the comments were really pleasing – ‘well written’, ‘well researched’, ‘enjoyable’ – and it put me in a great mood for the entirety of the class, which was about the biological process of anxiety. In my mind, technicalities stopped me from getting around 70%, which is a HUGE achievement for a first essay in 13 years, especially with it being on a subject I don’t actually really ‘understand’.

 

And that, dear readers, draws this blog entry to a close.

 

Until next time, I bid you all farewell. Except anonymous email guy – you can go fuck yourself.

 

Lots of love,

Closed Box


The Greeks Invented It You Know

November 27, 2008

It’s not easy being awesome, let me tell you. Sometimes, the pressure of being as absolutely awesome as I am can get to you. Sometimes, people react to your awesomeness in adverse ways. Same thing with being a Jew, or, as I like to call them ‘the rest of you heathens are fucked’.

 

This morning, I get on the tube (The London Underground) at the usual time – about 7.15am – take a seat in the same sort of area as normal, and start watching Seinfeld on my iPod. All the usual suspects are there – fat guy who’s that kind of fat where its not a glandular thing he just eats too much cake, Jewish girl who uses her boobs and a short skirt to deflect from the fact that she applies her make up with a shovel, old guy with a comb-over, and the couple with the baby in a pram who know everyone is pissed off at them for taking up so much fucking space. So I’m watching Seinfeld as you do, ‘what’s the deal with chicken?’, yes, very funny, ‘you know where we are now? We’re out. This is what ‘out’ is.’ Very amusing. And then, about 2 stops in, as tends to happen, someone takes the seat next to me.

 

I shower every morning. For once, I am clean shaven, and, as such, I have applied the tiniest amount of aftershave, (to soothe the skin and so I smell good) which I deliberately chose to compliment my honey oak and vanilla shower gel and neutral deodorant. All my clothes are clean – I am wearing freshly washed jeans, a brand new and never worn (just back from the dry cleaners) black shirt, and a grey suit jacket. Yeah, I dressed up a bit because I’m meeting JL. Eat me.

 

So the gap between stops is about 2 or 3 minutes, and while I’m watching Kramer sliding all over the place, and the light reflecting from George’s head, I notice this woman occasionally looking at me, and then looking at her paper again. She’s reading the ‘Metro’, which is this free morning paper they give out in London, which is the reading equivalent to being arse raped by a bear. Anyway, she’s reading about this Iranian or Egyptian or something foreign dude who is complaining because he signed up to some joke text message service and received a racist joke. Big fucking whoop. No-one mentions that he’s unemployed but HAS A FUCKING IPHONE. Anyway, he’s clearly a douche.

 

The train pulls into the next stop, and this woman takes one last quick glance at me, and then GETS UP, WALKS TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRAIN, AND SITS DOWN. And so I’m just like ‘what the fuck?’ It wasn’t a clearer area of the train, and she sat down between two other people. But then it hits me.

 

Secret Nazis.

 

Secret Nazis are everywhere – in your schools and supermarkets and even in your workplace. You might be sitting next to one right now. They meet predominantly at night, where they being each gathering with a chant of ‘Ich werde nie einen jüdischen Buchhalter einstellen’, which literally translates as ‘I will never hire a Jewish accountant’. Which, as we all know, is a lie. ALL accountants are Jewish.

 

They then pass around pictures of Hitler, and spend time either playing backgammon or fashioning ninja stars in the shape of a swastika. True story. I saw it on the news. Oh, and they wear yellow and collect pigeons and smell like potato.

 

Aside from the secret Nazi who deeply offended and confused me by moving this morning, today is a momentous day, and not just because I have a freshly shorn scrotum. No, today marks the first occasion I finally worked it all out. My final solution. (Damn you, Nazis!)

 

‘The Morning Bag Conundrum’

 

The ‘bag’ is a difficult obstacle for a man to negotiate – either you end up looking like a student or you look like a woman. Either way, there’s no ‘manly’ way to go about carrying a bag. You can carry a laptop bag, certainly, but laptops are an exception to the rule, mainly because if you’re ferrying a laptop around so often that it facilitates buying a dedicated bag, you need to re-examine your life. And people that work on laptops on the tube? Don’t get me started.

 

For a while, I carried all my papers and textbooks for classes in a rucksack, which meant I had to dress appropriately. Out went my classy awesomeness, and in came Wayne’s World-esque flannel shirts, converse all stars, and a corduroy jacket I borrowed from 1984. However, at 29, instead of looking ‘hip’, I looked like a fucking moron manchild, which isn’t going to help as I signal to women on the train that I love them and want to marry them in morse code through eye movements. On second thoughts, that might not be the best idea – might look a little crazy.

 

The thing is, I still have shit to carry. So, leather man bags? Too gay. Rucksacks or just carrying papers in a haphazard manner, covered in tea stains and with the corners curled over? Not gay enough. But fear not, resolution has been reached. Document wallets – The perfect halfway house between gay and not gay enough. Which I shall call ‘straight’.

 

Anyway, I’ve clearly gone insane, so I’m going to leave you for the day.

 

All the love in the world, except to secret Nazis

 

Closed Box


Ok, Fine

November 24, 2008

Thank you all for your comments and emails. I didn’t realise quite how many people I know read this blog.

 

After a weekend of due contemplation, I have decided to return to this blog. I originally left thinking I had said all I could about myself, and the process I had done. I was wrong. I cannot promise that my entries will be of the same frequency, length, or entertainment levels, (intentional or otherwise) but I shall do my best.

 

I am entering a huge period of change – and I am afraid. The next few months are going to provide huge challenges and tests of the ‘new me’, and I am suffering with enormous apprehension, borderlining on dread.

 

But I’d like to start ‘Back And To The Future 2.0’ with something else.

 

A good few years ago, when I was just a little boy lost in the world, I was a full time bartender – a perfect job for someone with as much false bravado as I. I worked across London’s clubs and bars, most notably in the relatively-famous Ice Bar. (More info here: http://www.belowzerolondon.com/icebar/)

 

It was here I met a friend of mine, who we’ll call JL. JL and I became fast friends, she a girl version of what I wanted so badly to be – free spirited, a rock chick of the highest order, impossibly cool, and able to live a life like no other, despite never having any money. JL epitomised the ‘free’ way of life, working as a waitress/bartender to keep her with just enough money to put in her little car to drive to wherever it was she needed to go. I loved her, hated her and was oh-so-jealous of her in equal measures.

 

On what I think was her 24th birthday, and being that I wanted to show off – I was occasionally like that once upon a time – I organised to throw JL a birthday party at my house with the people we worked with. A great time was had by all. The downstairs part of my house was nearly destroyed, and my relationships with most of the people I worked with was destroyed when I threw them all out of my house at 3am, absolutely terrified that the carnage would continue.

 

JL and I slept together for the first time that night. For about the next six months, between icy glares from my co-workers, and a thin line between people resenting me for living in a huge house whilst working as a bartender, and people just hating me for being an arse that night, JL and I became what I guess were sort-of ‘fuck buddies’. There were no booty calls, no random meetings, just sometimes, we’d go out together, and sometimes, we’d end up having sex.

 

I think I liked JL because she bought out a side of me I so wanted to expose, but was so scared and self conscious of. With JL, I was caught up in the party world, still dangerously close enough to drugs and booze, without really partaking, that I felt ‘part of it’. We’d do crazy shit, like one night, after working until 1am, going to Kabaret (http://www.kabaretsprophecy.com/) until 4am, and then checking into the Sanderson Hotel, drunk off our arses, trying to pretend we’d missed a train.

 

I genuinely loved JL. Of course, now, with hindsight, I see a great deal of why our friendship developed the way it did, and why I ultimately acted the way I did with her, but there is no question in my mind that I loved her. She and I would never be ‘together’, but I honestly thought the world of her.

 

Unfortunately, our friendship ended. I was pushing and pushing, forever seeing how far I could take things, including ways I don’t particularly want to recall. Things ended when I got some tickets to a Red Hot Chilli Peppers concert for her and her friend Amber, and then decided I wanted to charge her for them. I was looking for excuses. I acted like a prick. We went our separate ways.

 

My time at The Ice Bar was further tainted by my relationship with my manager, a guy we’ll call Dan. Dan and I didn’t get on from day 1, for a number of reasons, but mostly I suspect it was because I have a tendency to come across as an arrogant southern posh prick, and he was a no-pretensions northerner – from Leeds originally, if I remember correctly. Not that I’d like to generalise about people from certain regions, but there were no real ‘personality’ clashes, per se.

 

The point of bringing Dan into this story is this – about two weeks ago, I got a friend request from him on Facebook out of nowhere.

 

I left it for a day. I really didn’t know what to say. Eventually, I wrote to him, still not accepting the request, saying – ‘Dan, thanks for the request. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but you didn’t like me when you knew me – what gives?’

 

He replied, apologising if he wasn’t particularly nice, I did the same, and we haven’t spoken since. Of course, I looked at his profile, and there she was looking out at me – JL.

 

I have done much work, and spent a great deal of time, apologising these last 4 months. I have made up with people, reconnected, and built and re-built a number of bridges. I took me 3 days to work out what to email JL.

 

I apologised profusely. Explained what had happened. Explained what had happened since. I pressed ‘send’, and felt a genuine sensation of panic about the torrent of abuse I felt I was sure to receive. I was wrong. The sincerity in my voice was apparent in my email, erm… apparently.

 

JL forgave me for the way I acted, and accepted my apology. And now, for the first time in 4 years, I am meeting my former best friend, and one of the few people I have ever loved with any sincerity and I am ABSOLUTELY FUCKING TERRIFIED. It’s there, casual coffee between two old friends on Thursday afternoon, and it is just galloping towards me – incessant and unrelenting.

 

Why am I scared? Well, here’s the thing: what they never tell you is that quite a lot of the time, people get into a certain way of life, no matter how destructive it is, because it’s fucking good fun. Why did I ever do drugs? Because I fucking loved them. Why did I so love indulging in the lifestyle my friendship with JL afforded me? Because I fucking loved it. And now? I guess I’m afraid that she’ll take a look at me – a good 15lbs heavier, quieter, more humble (seriously) and more weary and war-beaten than I ever was – and be disappointed. And, I’m worried that the new me won’t quite know what to do when looking into the mirror of my past.

 

And maybe I’m worried that I am opening a door I have no control over closing.