Sunday, February 19, 2006

If You Try To Be A Martyr......

I'll start this off by sharing a conversation I just had on the phone with my mother about an hour ago:

Me: I need to tell you something....I don't think you're going to be very happy.

Mom: What?

Me: *long pause* I'm taking a break from Christianity.

Mom: Phweew.... I thought you were going to tell me you quit your job.

My mom then went on to tell me that I was young and it was no big deal. I quickly realized she was right, but only because it seemed to fall in with a general realization that's sort of been blooming over the past few weeks. I seem to have some sort of fucked up martyr complex.

Back in the spring I convinced myself I was going to Hell when I realized that I was committing mortal sins faster than I could confess them. I started having panic attacks and lamenting my poor soul which had so obviously been predestined to a life of futile penance followed by eternal damnation.

I quickly became absorbed in the life and teachings of Martin Luther. Because fucked up minds tend to think somewhat similarly. And I soon traded in my St. John Of The Cross Complex for a Martin Luther Complex. Where once I had determined that I was destined for a life of ascetism and solitude, I was now determined to live a life of perpetual remorse, constantly bemoaning my every trespass and beating myself up over every little temptation which I was oh so helpless to withstand. I practically memorized Bondage Of The Will word for word and reveled in my new life affirming helplessness.

About five months ago I started attending services at a Lutheran Church. I loved the sola fide doctrine on an existential level. However, I had a very hard time reminding myself to turn off that part of my brain that remembers that I've actually read the second chapter of James' epistle. And I've found that whenever I'm searching for truth whilst at the same time purposefully ignoring it, I often end up drinking. Which was great because then I made sure that I had plenty of sin to beat myself up over. I was getting my fair share of dark nights of the soul and in the process I managed to break a toilet and flood my friend's bathroom.

Dr. Frank recently pointed out this which spurred my nogin to once again analyze MTX lyrics to the point where I become convinced that Frank is secretly watching me and writing songs about me (even though this song was written over a decade before I developed my martyr complex, which leads me to believe that maybe, just maybe, I'm not the only one who puts himself through this sort of shit). This line in particular seems to say everything:


>>One day maybe you'll be way beyond this silly habit you've put on, tough and strong enough and wrong and wrong enough for long enough to belong there, but till that day comes along you'll be sullen and regretful querulous and fretful carrying a head full of evil thoughts and there'll be lots of girls and people who want to know where you stand, but in your sackcloth and ashes you'll never make them understand.<<

-end quote-

But, if it seems like I'm taking this line completely out of context, don't worry, I'm not just talking about religion. There's a girl too. And as I go over the lyrics to Sackcloth and Ashes I realize that every single word applies to her perfectly (she looks incredible in blue). I started to like her because it seemed like she liked me, when I realized she didn't I became infatuated with her (I still haven't figured out that particular leap of logic). When she stopped talking to me I became infatuated with my own capacity to be infatuated. I was Kierkegaard's knight of infinite resignation. When I wasn't playing martyr to my tortured conscience, I was playing martyr to my undying and unrequited affection.

After a series of embarrassing drunken confessions, she quickly caught on to my fondness for mental mortification. She figured out how she could use that to fuck with my head and I frequently found myself in scenarios like this one:

Her: How come you never call me anymore? You used to tell me your darkest secrets, now whenever you have a problem you go running to Regina.

Me: You're right, I'm a horrible horrible human being.

And so last night I'm chatting with my friend Sarah, and she asks me a question that cuts right to the mother fucking bone.

"Do you ever like convince yourself that you feel more guilty about something than you actually do?"

To which I reply; "Yeah....actually, I do."