Wednesday, 5 April 2017

pulling focus

At some point during the period that I had no job, I had a brief but intense obsession with this Cold Chisel video. Kind of like a bout of gastro that pwns you completely for a day and a half then departs your system as quickly as it came. I'm not in the least denying that it's a great video* but there's really nothing about it that invites or requires the degree of brooding attention which I lavished upon it. Yet another example, as if another were needed, of the leitmotif of this phase of my life: obsession in restless search of an object, it lights upon something, bang! away I go. And then the obsession burns out, and then, 'scuse the mixed metaphor, rinse and repeat.

I've been talking about this for quite a long time now, with you-know-who, as you my dear reader are only too well aware.** This week, what I think is that the conversation is helping.

One durable suggestion the conversation has provided involves shifting the interpretative gaze that I apply to my own thoughts, wishes, intentions and experiences, shifting it knight's move style or like a camera operator pulling focus - shifting it off the object of the obsession - off the obsession itself - and onto the nature of my feelings about the obsession.

What I then see, when I make that shift, is the overwhelming dominance of a single way of thinking about myself, about what I do, my life, and everything else. That way of thinking is judgement.

For whatever reason (and I still don't much buy the cliche Freudian reasons), judgement is my default mode. This has manifested in bright and dark ways. I've always been in love with the sparks and cracklings of the satirical imagination, whether it's embodied in a person who died two hundred years ago or in a person I see every day. And ha ha, there was that career in literary criticism - wouldn't have missed it for the world! But there's also the deathly, inhibited stasis that comes from having to judge everyone and everything, and having to feel constantly under somebody's judgement.

When I see this, I can sometimes suspend the rush to judgement. No longer is it inevitable. And that makes room for other ways of thinking to have a turn. If I don't have to evaluate (and most likely condemn) myself I can perhaps understand myself instead, or even just have some feelings and be more aware of them.

So when I think about those obsessions, if I can manage to avoid the first thought being to class them as terrible, stupid, ridiculous or whatever, then a space is created where I can explore what they might be able to tell me. Which is quite interesting.

Unfortunately I am not able to provide you, or me, with one of these newly liberated interpretations of what the fixation upon the Cheap Wine video was about. I can tell you that I somehow worked out the address of the flat where it was filmed, and I found a real estate listing online from the last time it was on the market. I can vividly picture the rooms in all their expensive and tastefully renovated glory but I have no memory of the address or how I tracked it down. I didn't think to write it down anywhere either, it would seem. One more past decision for which I will not judge myself, or not much anyway.

I should really stop there instead of opening a whole other and separate kettle of fish...but the one thing I really don't appreciate about the way therapy approaches this question is the way it totally disregards and thus obliterates the specific identity of the object of the fixation. I've mentioned this here before, I know. For now, enough to note that it continues to be utterly important to me to acknowledge that the things I fixate upon have innate value independent of the longings I project upon them. To be continued, I'm sorry to say.

*I highly recommend actually watching the video instead of reading the rest of this post.

**I don't know how you put up with this nonsense really I don't. Reading me go on and on and on and on and on about my stupid life must be like imagining a Rorschach blot stamping on a human face - forever


Anonymous said...

No, not like that. More like, we don't know each other but many of us have walked this route before. Maybe , even silently, we can offer you a wind break, if that doesn't sound too wanky . ( that autocorrected to "wanly", which is also a good word)

Anonymous said...

It's cos Barnsey is hawt

lucy tartan said...

Anon II: Yeah well I don’t dispute that – if anyone can make the wearing of unwashed floordrobe seem halfway ok it’s JB in this iteration – but I dig the whole thing not just the half-undressed rockstar.