I have suffered from something of an identity crisis all my life. I’ve had it as long as I can remember, really. When I was a kid I’d read some kind of dumb comic book about Moose Boy or whoever it was that was popular back then, and then – in my own imagination – I’d actually BE Moose Boy. Or I’d read a comic strip about Protozoa Man and for weeks after I’d BE Protozoa Man, capable of assuming any shape, capable of reproducing asexually by binary fission, and – most thrilling of all – capable of engulfing his enemies and absorbing them into his own primitive but all-powerful unicellular body.
Then when I moved out of this phase I’d engross myself daily in reading those crummy little pulp Sci Fi paperbacks that there used to be so many of. I would devour them, spending all my time reading about galactic heroes like Johnny Neutron the intrepid Space Ranger. Embarrassing really, I know, but in my own head I would BE Johnny Neutron, travelling the cosmos in his FTL spaceship with his trusty crew of mutants.
Normal enough for a lonely, socially-dysfunctional, highly introverted kid with too much imagination and not enough friends, I hear you say, but even then I took it too far. Even then I was deeply abnormal.
Looking back to those childhood days I have no consistent memory of being anyone. Don’t tell me that’s normal. If someone asks me about my childhood I just go blank. I don’t know what to say. I can’t remember who I actually was back then because I had been so busy imagining that I was someone else. Somebody more interesting.
When I became a teenager things only got more confusing for me. I stopped reading comics and crappy pulp Sci Fi and moved on to Philip K Dick. This allowed me to go around feeling that I was not human at all but only some sort of highly advanced android programmed to think that it was human and which had been provided with memory implants taken from somebody else. I need hardly say that this did little to improve things.
As time went on I found myself less and less able to function in a social setting – or any other kind of setting, for that matter. I couldn’t relate to people. I couldn’t fit in, no matter how in tried. I was the perennial outsider – always looking in from the outside. I grew peculiar in my ways. I developed odd mannerisms, mannerisms that tended to attract the attention of passers by as I walked down the street, with consequences that were not very pleasant. I was being noticed in a bad way, a way that could easily get me beaten up,
I was not in a good place, at this point in my life. I abused drugs. I remember keeping a stack of low-grade Moroccan ‘slate’ hashish (along with the obligatory soap-bar) which I would periodically bring out when I was feeling low and subject to the vilest insults. I would say some very bad things indeed to that poor Moroccan slate hash for being so crap – I am mortified when I remember it. I got arrested eventually – the neighbours overheard me shouting and screaming and they called the police. Community social workers got involved and I had to go to a treatment centre.
That was a very dark time in my life and I am grateful to have come out of it. These days I still socially isolate but I have found some kind of peace in myself. Life has taught me the lesson that it’s okay to be a freak. That it’s OK not to fit in. It’s all OK. We live in a very spacious universe. A very ‘allowing’ universe, if I may put it like that. People may not be very allowing but the universe is.
I got into blogging for a while, ranting about society and writing perverse, self-mocking stories, but that didn’t work out.
Now I spend all my time on Facebook, making lots of new friends for myself. Friends who I know I will never have to meet.