John Oxenberger

Walking carrion is what I used to say, quoting Cioran. This is what a hopeless pessimist like him would describe a human being. I’ve done my best to shift my focus and attitude from that in the last decade, so let’s phrase it a little bit differently altogether:

‘Bite your way through this and think of the good stuff yet to come.’

I’ve always had hope – it’s something I need to get out of bed every day. There hasn’t been an instance where I wouldn’t get out of bed. No, I’m not happy, and neither are the people around me or the people I love. I don’t know what to do except for staying strong myself. I’m not good at talking sense into people, even when they need it the most. Therefore, I feel useless most of the time. They believe what they want to believe. And you can’t change people.

Unless you give me a story to write, I could create some sense. It’s the only time I’m clear-headed enough, as I’m given a chance to be imaginative and be my own God. It’s my way to remain sane, and I’m sure another million people out there feel the same way.

Today is the solar eclipse in Cancer, and we’re supposed to cultivate empathy. But how do you empathize if you don’t have empathy for yourself because you’re mentally so absent? Friends from high school used to judge me for continually feeling sorry for myself, and I don’t blame them. I could’ve done better in channelling my emotions. That’s what you get for being an overemotional Cancer with Saturnian energies.

What were you supposed to know as a lost teenager anyway? – Learn, grow. Unfortunately, in the process of it, you numb out a lot. You don’t entirely show how much you care because it did you no good in the past.

Observe, but remain objective and calm. Either that or whatever you feel is now so outdated; you already know the consequence. It’s a cliché – a past lesson already learned. It’s just that everyone has to go down that road, and it feels good to leave it behind as soon as you can. Empathy, however, is about others. Not everyone lets you change them, even though you love them the most. It doesn’t matter if you want to help. Everyone I love the most is so broken.

All I’m doing is making sure I’m still standing upright, focus on the things that I can change. Considering that my stories or characters may influence some people and change the way they view things. Thinking that this is the least that I can do. Either that or I give up on everything and volunteer at a shelter. I’ve heard of people that do that to atone for something. But writers are selfish people lost in a reality that does not correspond with their own perception. If they don’t do something about it, they’ll become suicidal.

If you’re not understood, you’re lost, and the only way is to put it down on paper. It’s like a secret Dostoevskian cry for help, but the story is for entertainment.

A fictional bassist called John Oxenberger in a fictional punk rock band documentary said he wrote in his notebook so he wouldn’t forget things. The interviewer asked him what would happen if he did forget.

There was an eerie, painful silence before he said:

“Then I’ll be lost, and no one can find me.”

It makes me think of space. I think this is everyone’s biggest fear – total solitude, emptiness and the cold that will shatter you to pieces. Your tiny little particles will disappear into nothingness. It’s like you never existed.

You go through identity crises when you’re young, wishing you were somebody else. Oxenberger’s sense of identity (in the movie) is strong because he had no alter-ego name:

“Maybe I never had a real self to throw away like those guys.”

This Saturn retrograde is weighing heavily on me. It’s making me feel humble and chastened. I admit that I’m scared – more than ever.

But I’ve learned enough to know that this phase will pass if I maintain my sanity.

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