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Certainty of One

Chapter One


Solving For X


My blood runs with information. My lineage has both plagued and blessed me with an abnormality of thinking extremely fast. The pills they have prescribed for me don’t dampen the speed of the chemicals surging around in my brain. I’ve been diagnosed with a type of schizophrenia, a type usually allocated to males, being rarely seen in females. My father is a full blown schizophrenic who self-medicates with alcohol so his thoughts slow down long enough for him to function. I’ve never self-medicated and never will. I rely on the pharmaceutical industry.
     The onset of my schizo-effective disorder happened in my mid twenties. Now I am middle aged. My cross-referencing is frenetic, my memory never fails, numbers and words stream in and out in a dance of meaning that only I will know. What terrors I have felt—but oh!—what miraculous things I have seen with these eyes and imagined with this crazy, tired mind. I would not trade this euphoria for anything.
     I have a brother. He carries the DNA with him as well. He channels it into music just like my father once had. My father had his onset when he was in his late twenties, and because he self-medicated, never looked back and is today imbalanced and usually drunk.
     I started out as a self-taught piano player and, having a fondness for language, would write lyrics to songs until the melody didn’t matter as much as the words. Finally there were only words and I stopped playing all together. Words in books, words on paper, words in conversations, words on billboards, words on my cereal box, words everywhere. I tried to distance myself from them by becoming a very young painter, trying to express myself non-verbally, to speak a sublime truth with paint on canvas. Yet, later, as time went by, the letters seeped through. I created collages with newspapers and balloons from comic books, so much so, that a picture was not enough.
     I needed to explain through language, express through language, experience through language. I needed to grasp the thing, understand the symbols, read into the meaning. But as a young adult, in my mid twenties, finishing up my degree in English, the symbols rushed in too fast, culminating in a schizophrenic breakdown. I finally got my degree mailed to me because I was in the hospital.
     The medicine rushed in and my mind hiccuped, my life changing forever. Little plastic cups filled with little colored pills. Out again in the world with my chemicals, my mind an unstoppable sponge. I stand still and the world spins around—colors, sounds, white noise coming through until there is nothing left but the transmission, the eternal buzz of the sensory symphony. I am just an instrument. I am the receiver trying to decode the language of the universe without getting knocked off into space and staying there permanently, only understanding in a vacuum of psychosis.
     I am a product of too many criss crossed wires in the information age where my survival depends on channeling the data flow as fast and accurately as I can. I am not a product of my generation but a product of the machine, walking when the light is green, stopping when the light is red. I am an automaton with the primary objective of ingesting and regurgitating the symbols so I can function and make a connection with humanity.
     Humans—the neurons making up the network, the networks making up the mega brain in which I must walk, talk, eat, sleep, breath and take in the sun. My insatiable desire to find order or to rigidly impose systems on things that would ordinarily be disjointed, comes from my innate need to grasp an underlying theme in all things, a need to see relationships where there are none, a need to understand the undecipherable. I will do it with all things. I will do it until the day I die. It’s the way my brain works. This need to read meaning into things stems from an underlying fear that I do not see what others see, or there is a deeper essence to the explicit order which I myself, and only myself alone, am not privy to. My paranoia grows out of a deep seeded hunch that all things are indeed connected and unified in a way in which, if I cross reference fast enough and hard enough, often enough and accurately enough, I can decipher and truly understand so that a safe place can be reached in my mind—a place where all problems have solutions.
     For, where I stand, to not have a solution is the worst aberration, eating away at the mind’s sanity slowly but surely, like the creek of a door that never stops, leaving you to deal with the entropy in an otherwise perfectly quiet house. Yet, it was soon that I realized that my hunch that there was a secret to life that everyone knew but me, came from my need to know why and how I came to be in the first place. I don’t mean conception and birth. I mean a meaning and purpose to my life…
     If I can control the words, read into the syllables and give symbols of metaphor to the letters, I can go on deciphering and encoding so I don’t have to deal with what’s really there—my total distrust in life because it didn’t give me the simplest of answers—WHY?
     And am I a fool for spinning around like a top, trying to find answers to existential questions? Do I find patterns in things because I need to or do they really exist? And if I see them, there must be a mode of rationale behind them? Are they speaking to me of some larger unified whole? Why do I do this over and over again, unable to take things in at face value, unable to sit back and enjoy the beauty I do indeed know I am privy to?
     So, I continue to take it in all at once, the computer running constantly in my brain, the gears and levers tirelessly churning so I live in high anxiety 90% of the time, hoping I get it right, balance the equation, hear the words with the right connotations and inflection, praying you understand me and share the same world.