Bill Fountain Posted January 9, 2021, 7:28 pm

Misery is Optional


I always felt broken compared to other people. It was as if there was something wrong with my brain and my ability to socialize. I picture the brain of outgoing people, and I see two brain cells about an inch apart, and there's a bright, blue flash of electrons ping-ponging back and forth at each of the brain cells. When I visualize the biology of my own brain, I see those two same brain cells, but with no flash of electrons whatsoever. Out of order. The flash of electrons is what helps people stay comfortable in social situations and know what to say next, but I'm evidentially defective. Trust me, I'm a brain surgeon or whatever.

I have a small group of friends, and every so often I get very comfortable with them and I can feel those blue electrons doing their job! I feel so relaxed and safe, knowing that I can be my true self and my friends will not make fun of me. It’s very rare that I’m relaxed, however. Whenever we go out to parties or any other social gathering, my tendency is always to latch on to my closest friend and then just play the event out by ear. If I find someone who can break my shell, that’s great and I am able to leave the nest of my friend’s company. More often than not, though, I will just follow my friend around and wait for when we finally get to leave and we can be alone, so I can go back to being myself.

Alcohol was a great gift when I first was introduced to it. All of a sudden I could speak to anyone as freely as I pleased, and I was having fun doing it! Even if people were judging me, I simply was in my own world and did not care. If you don't like me, I can always just find the next person to vibe with. Partying was really fun for the first few years, but alcohol gradually turned into a crutch for me, because I started to feel like I needed it in order to feel emotionally comfortable around people. One night an old female friend whom I haven't seen in years sent me a text about my interest in web design and told me she would call me in a few hours. I proceeded to hit up the gas station and start pounding beers until I felt ready to receive the call.

I was always terrified of phone calls. The moments when I can’t hear them put me in a panic; ethically I’m only allowed to ask for three repeats, right? After my third request, they usually will become angry with me, criticizing and blaming my phone or my hearing. It’s better to just pretend I understood, though I’ve learned this can sometimes be catastrophic. I frequently use a strategy that more often than not works flawlessly, but it did backfire on me one day. I don’t know how to make people like me, so I have this instinct to chuckle and smile at anything and everything they say, so long as it's not negative. In my mind, the person will feel like they are funny, and will not be threatened by me or think I don't like them. I will always remember about twelve years ago when I was in high school and hanging out with my good friend Thom and a few of his friends. His friends were older than us and I was really scared about my overall appearance around them because I didn't want to be seen as weird or uncool. One of the girls said something in her usual sarcastic tone I recognized from school, and I thought she was hilarious so naturally, I chuckled despite having not understood what she said. Her response was "I don't know why that was funny…" I felt mortified and from that day on I have been very cautious about utilizing this disingenuous and manipulative tactic. I also feel like I get trapped on phone calls, and I find I don't know how to dismiss myself. As a result, I'll be stuck on the phone for way longer than I want to and I become extremely agitated, but only on the inside as I continue pleasing the person I'm talking with. Over time I have learned the best way to avoid all these anxieties is to avoid people altogether.

Growing up, I was bullied a lot by my older brother. I didn't even realize I was being bullied until I was in my twenties because it was generally verbal, and was something that I had subconsciously accepted so long ago. He would frequently exclude me and pick on me, especially in the presence of others. It appeared I was just too weird and uncool to hang out with him, however, he was fine with intermittently spending time with me alone at home. He had a lot of energy and so I was conditioned into the belief that if I submit to my brother and let him take the lead, it is much easier and things will end up better off. If he was angry, just let him have his way. This was okay with me because I loved him and thrived to see the day where he would one day accept me into his friend group.

My life changed for me when I was laying in my bed one late night during my late twenties, scrolling through my tablet looking for something to watch. I had just lost a lot of money gambling online, but this was a feeling I was no stranger to. It was a miserable way to end the night, but it was a misery I couldn't seem to avoid year after year. Browsing through one of the streaming apps, a title caught my eye- a movie called "The Secret". I thought about what I knew about this topic and was reminded of a book my father had given me back in my high school days. I thumbed through that pamphlet-sized booklet and the content barely made sense to me; honestly, I dismissed it all as just another religious fad. I knew it had something to do with how thoughts can make your reality but it was nothing eye-opening or jaw-dropping to me.

Upon confirming it had solid reviews, I decided to start the movie. I could feel my arm beginning to ache from holding up my tilted head but I remained still, preparing to select another show to watch at any minute. The movie started out surprisingly intriguing; it had me turning up the volume and sitting up to relieve my uncomfortable position.

I watched on, amazed. It all starting clicking for me; dots began connecting. Everything I was hearing made absolute and total sense and I couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it. The people in the film were speaking every word that I needed to hear; they were answering all the questions I’ve been asking for so long.

I decided right then and there that I no longer am a cigarette smoker. I started a journal as the movie suggested, and began writing the things that I wanted in my existence. I told close friends and family about the film, attempting to reel them in but to avoid appearing too hokey. Upon them watching it, I was quite disappointed to find they didn't seem to understand and discounted its genuineness. How did it not speak to them the same way it spoke to me? My father didn't even remember that he had given me that booklet, even after I showed it to him. I ended up giving the reading back to him because I wanted him to understand The Secret the way I did, though it became apparent he simply did not care.

I lasted about three days before smoking another cigarette. This was my first of many lessons of how the great law of attraction truly works. I did not attribute my decision to go back with "The Secret" not working, but instead, I know I made the conscious decision that I'd rather be a smoker than not one. At least at that moment.

The reason “The Secret” spoke to me and why I know that every word in it is true is because when I think of my past- light bulbs are lit by the thousands. I decided at a very young age that I was not important compared to other people. My brother said and did things that led me to the only logical conclusion that I must not be as important as others. I decided that I was shy and bad at talking. I decided that my brain was defective and that there was no fixing me. I decided I’d rather isolate and gamble than be active in a community. I saw myself as inadequate and believed it to its core. But I learned all of this can change.

“The Secret” is a powerful and amazing concept because it simply cannot fail. If you don’t think it works, then you are absolutely correct. If you think you aren’t able to obtain something, then you are right. Subconscious knowledge is important here because we cannot magically hypnotize ourselves into new ways of thinking (overnight). Trust me, I tried going to the casino with nothing but positive vibes, feeling the true feeling of already being a winner and already having the riches that shall come. It didn’t work because no matter how hard I try to scream at my inner-self that “I am a winner!” the facts remain the same: I understand that there’s a mathematical probability that proves I will lose more often than I win. Even if you don’t know this- if you gamble overtime, you will learn this and it can’t be unlearned.

There are laws of the universe that must be obeyed. The Law of Attraction doesn't work like witchcraft but instead works with external tools and effort. You ask the universe for what you need, and the universe will provide you with the tools you need to get it. The universe won't hand it straight to you but instead will show you the door and give you the opportunity to open it. My friends and family believe that the Law of Attractions says "if I picture it in my mind, it will come flying at me like a magnet", so understandably I could see why they pay it no mind. However, once you truly accept "The Secret" for what it is, it can be used efficiently and to the benefit of you and the people around you. Even after knowing about The Secret and doing extensive research on it, I still find myself in ruts where I know I’m self-sabotaging myself, and I merely don’t care. I’m miserable and overwhelmed and listen- I just WANT TO BE PISSED, OKAY UNIVERSE?! This is okay, and part of being human.

Keep your subconscious thoughts positive and loving, and do not label yourself. Who you are today does not define who you are as a person. Love yourself, forgive others and recognize that your thoughts manifest into real things.

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