First Draft

Page 30

It had been over two months since Ben had written in this notebook. God, did he feel awful today. God, did he feel so awful, so often. Why? Why him? Why would someone so ambitious and so excited for life have so many days in which he just desperately wished for death? The only times he actually felt clear, focused, energized and well seemed to be those in which he was fasting from all food and drink, save for water, and perhaps tea. Otherwise, it was all a crapshoot as to whether or not he would have a happy, productive day or a distraught, emotional, unproductive one. He had scoured his diet and lifestyle for some sort of culprit – some poison that was causing his lapses in emotional and mental stability. And while he had found many possible answers, none ever seemed to consistently cause the same effect. Cutting out one “poisonous” food or drink might help for one week or one month, but then adding that same food item back the next month might actually also seem to help.

Ben was just so fucking tired of fighting an uphill, inflammatory battle. He was fighting so many external conflicts right now. He had just returned to his tiny shithole in Ohio after a week at his parents’ house in Pennsylvania. While he was there, he had become so goddamn clear as to how he was going to proceed with his issues back in Ohio. And now, only a day later, he was a sloppy mess, with no motivation, energy, clarity or focus. He was going to come back here and begin cleaning up this festering garbage pile of a life, so that he could explore the possibility of photographing and selling the tiny house, and thus move on with his goddamn, motherfucking life. He had until August first to vacate the property that he was on, as it was owned by a nightmarish individual who, in all likelihood, had some sort of severe, DSM-5 disorder that had yet gone undiagnosed and untreated [though he dared not continue to speak further on the matter, for fear of swift and disproportionate retaliation].

He was broke – so fucking destitute, all the fucking time – a problem for which he had absolutely no solution, save for working longers hours (which, coincidentally, was an impossibility when his mind was on fire, as it was now, and as it often seemed to be). He needed to build, clean, do so many things to wrap up all of the projects which he had started throughout the past several years. And yet, even with all of these overwhelming external issues combining and interacting with one another, at times he genuinely felt as though he could see a path through the woods, out into clear daylight…that is, until his mind was once again seized in a moment such as this – a mental state in which nothing made sense, no path seemed right, and no emotion was consistent. Discontent, uplifted, angry, inspired, enraged, hopeful, exhausted, hopeless – all of the feelings that he could feel, experienced within the course of several minutes. He felt like his mind was an 800-horsepower diesel truck, throttled at full-tilt, with a shattered steering shaft.

His soul was so willing to do the things that it sensed would lead him to a better life – to write his book and his blog, to clean his life up and present it to the world (and potential buyers) – but his mind was being fried by some unknowable grease fire that was burning in the places which he could not reach with any known fire-suppressant. God…with that metaphor in mind, Ben was at least mentally clear enough to understand what he needed to do to put the fire out. Starve it. He would fast again. Not for 18 days, as he recently had done. But for a week perhaps? If he needed to adopt some sort of fucked-up fast/famine lifestyle in order to survive this period of his life, in which he consumed all of his required calories on a few days of the week, and then spent the rest of the week in a clear, focused, energized state of mind, then so-fucking-be-it.

It was Sunday, 11:10 am. He had computer work to do to make money. But his mind was too broken. So he resigned himself to going outside to plant some potatoes, a bottle of wine in hand. Tomorrow, he would fast. And the day after that, he would move forward, in another attempt to improve this life which he loathed. It was 11:12 am.

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