numbness – part one: the sensation junky and moments of clar·i·ty (ˈklerədē)

You may remember that not so long ago I mentioned I was numb from my time in The Boil? Well the truth is, I’ve been numb most of my life, but it was in The Boil that the numbness was slowly killing me.

On occasion during university, or after an infatuation gone bad, I would find myself so emotionally impacted or inspired that I was swimming in emotion, I called these moments of clarity in which I felt and could understand the world.

my other neglected artistry put to work while sailing in the caribbean

Sadly these moments were brief and fleeted as quickly as sunsets, often taking about a half hour before I realized it’s presence, then only lasting about an hour and a half before it faded away as if into darkness.  It could be months even years before the next glorious moment of clarity visited me. Eventually I realized these were precious moments in which I could exercise my Artistry at the highest levels before the moment faded away.

Outside of these moments, emotionally, I didn’t feel much of anything. The needle on my sensitivity scale was hard to budge. When I did feel emotion significantly enough to move the needle, those moments were short and easily dismissed unintentionally, leaving the needle nothing to register. I regretted those dismissals the same way I regretted awakening from great dreams I didn’t want to end.

emotions, dreams, they go to the same place

I recall moments of experiencing emotion with enough intensity that the needle would register on my internal sensitivity scale as a seven or eight: during times when I experienced pride from receiving a rare bit of recognition, or when marrying my ex-wife (and again when our divorce freed us).

I felt the pleasure of falling into infatuation, from lust, sex and love, when my emotional sensitivity appropriately hit a nine or the maximum sensitivity of ten, but otherwise my ability to feel emotion and experience or appreciate life never seemed to be able to register higher than a ‘meh’ inspiring three on the sensitivity needle and not the five you might expect to come with a mundane daily routine.

The fault in this might be that the manner in which I live and survive in this life. By embracing the adage that if there was a problem or scenario I encountered that I had no power over, nor the ability to influence the outcome, I shrug the matter off, let it go, and move on. This is a behaviour I learned to embrace in order to not allow myself to give into the negativity and unnecessarily stressing anguish The Boil brought with it, but it also taught me not to feel in the process.

This unfeeling state was a far cry from the joy I once got, even prided myself in having once been an angst ridden teenager that couldn’t find a happiness greater than the one he received by allowing himself to give into gloom and weariness of spirt. I did this because it pegged the needle of my emotional sensitivity scale at a ten. As a teenager, I wasn’t giving into gothic levels of moodiness and wearing black to stand out, I was doing it because it allowed me to feel and celebrate something I normally couldn’t, emotion. I was a sensation junky, and I’d take sensitivity from negative or bad emotions if I had to, because happy moments and the good emotion that accompanied them were hard to find.

The Boil had dulled my sensitivity; the sensation junky had either grown up and gone away, or I had become unable to access the old familiar rush of a moment of clarity anymore.

your lies are more attractive

than the truth

love is all I want

your lies are written down there in your book

love is all I want

Should be higher
– Dave Gahan & Kurt Uenala

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