Everyone simply accepts this idea that men around the age of 45 will go through a “midlife crisis”. This is utter societal bullshit. I’ll tell you exactly what happens. It is something deeper. More true. Darker.
Young men grow up with certainty. The moment they sever that connection to their myopic predecessors, they come into their own immediately. They know what they like, what they think, and what they feel. Many purport that women mature faster than men, due to their increased likelihood of following the script. Their inclination towards throwing away their undefined and changing selves, to meld quietly into the herd.
But men are no better. They hold that spark of individuation for a year, maybe two, and they then do the same. They find love. They discover the depths of their emotion. They discover something more than they had before and buy into the shared illusion of majority reality.
Next thing you know love brings them to fatherhood. Young men, so sure, so self reliant, so actualualized. They too simply cast themselves aside. They give it away because the script tells them too, just as young women have done shortly before them. They must be a good father. Better than theirs. A provider. A rock for those in their tribe. Young women think that the script is better than they could create for themselves. And men assume the script out of some capitalist sense of responsibility and misguided pride.
And here we are. In our 40’s, sitting and watching dated clips on youtube, wondering (we men do wonder on occasion) where we lost ourselves. Many of us, a this age, are quick to find ourselves again. And what are we met with? Shame and ridicule. Another old man in a red sports car, blasting Black Sabbath like he’s 18 again. It’s a sad sight, I’ll grant you. I’ve seen it. I’ve taken pride in laughing at it myself. But there is something there. There is wisdom gained that goes unseen and unappreciated.
For me, the defining moment of my youth was reading Helter Skelter. I was 18 and truly just beginning to tear myself from the womb when I discovered LSD and came across this biography of Charles Manson and his family. His family was not like mine. There were no cold and silent dinners in that family. No avoidance of the darkness of humanity. No unsaid words plaguing that family.
And they acted on their principles, rather than wasting all of their energy spouting them at those whom they disliked. They were creepy-crawlers. They left themselves for a night and became invisible. They left their worlds for a night, and became a part of the world of others. For those of you who are not familial with the history; Before the murder of Sharon Tate, members of the Manson family would sneak into peoples homes and simply observe. Quietly, without interference, without violence. They watched.
Judging by the family’s actions after this, as well as my own observations regarding the race called “human”, I am sure that they did not like what they found.
But that is neither here nor there. What is here, is me. My True self. Who I’ve always been since the very beginning.
I was the observer tonight. I was practical. I wore black exclusively, and parked my car close, but not too close. I left my identification at home and practiced the story I would tell had I been discovered outdoors and deemed suspicious. It really was quite simple. The house had a deadbolt, but it was unused in favor of the lock on the handle. Thirty seconds with my screwdriver was quite expeditious.
The difficult part was getting upstairs. By the time I reached the second floor my body was completely wrecked. I must have spent a full minute on each and every step. Regulating the pressure of my feet, second by second, so as not to make the lumber creak in protest. After this ordeal, my moment had arrived. I gently pushed the bedroom door open.
I am embarrassed to say that I had hoped it would be a woman. I don’t know why I had a preference in either direction.. Tonight was about truth, and self, and fear and acceptance. Yet it felt more intense to have my subject be a woman. And it was.
Furthermore, this woman was masturbating. I could feel the fire and confusion well up inside me, and I staggered. This was something else. This was not what I was looking for, some cheap pornographic moment. Some peeping tom, pulling off in desperation at his own shame. I shook my head violently to help suspend the arousal that had already begun. So base. So typical.
The trails of light before my eyes slowed until they were stationary. They were candle flames. In fact there were six candles surrounding the woman. She was lying on what I had first mistaken for a futon, and now saw was in actuality a wooden plank covered in thousands of nails. My eyes agape, I took in the scene before me. A pentagram drawn on the floor in what looked like sugar. An antler rack mounted upon a shelf behind her head, horns jutting upward from her ecstatic face. Blood smeared across her midriff in symbols and letters that appeared to be neither.
I lurched, clutching my stomach, and braced for retreat.
“David, Come inside” She was sitting upright now, facing me, tracing the lines of the shapes upon her torso.
I turned and ran. This was not right. This woman was not playing by the script. This woman was not part of the machine. I’m not ready for this.