Every time I go to therapy I fill out a questionnaire that asks 'in the last week have you thought about ending your life?' This question is a self-perpetuating meme. I, like many, attend therapy once a week (by the miracle of the NHS), so my honest answer can only be 'yes', because this dumb questionnaire asks me about it, once a week!
Don't worry. I'm not going to kill myself. I never will, and I know this because I talked it through with someone trained in listening. It was a conversation among many with my therapist, covering topics ranging from the sublimely disturbing to the downright ridiculous. Because we all have them, don't we? Stupid thoughts. Silly misfires of the mind. A colleague once confided that she worried if holding a coffee whilst talking to somebody she might suddenly, without reason, throw it in their face. She doesn't want to do this, she doesn't want to hurt anybody, and she enjoys drinking her coffee. But still, I've noticed she only uses cups with lids, and I'm sure the terrifying other scenario still plays out in her mind.
My brain's silliest misfires are over cosmic conundrums that have no relationship to, or basis in, the real world. I'm concerned about freewill in a universe without gods, and whether anything is infinite, because if one thing is, then doesn't everything have to be? My brain's worst misfires make less sense, because brains think nonsense (sometimes, if we're lucky, they make a bit of sense from something). A lot of the time we don't have to worry about this nonsense - it can stay in Imagination Land where is can't do harm. Sometimes, however, the lines around nonsense and reality get blurry, and it helps to talk to someone else to re-focus things. Friends and family are great, even if a lot of the time they can be as glum as we are. But sometimes you feel like you can't even talk to them, because they secretly don't like you, or because you've worn them out.
But these are my issues, and you don't get to hear any more about them. It's none of your beeswax, mate. It's between me, my doctor, and my therapist. That's the beauty of patient confidentiality. You don't get to know what I talk to them about. We can alleviate our more noxious nonsense in a statutorily protected conversation.
Now I know you're sad I'm not droning on about my problems, so instead, I offer to entertain with some other weird shit I've recently mentally misfired.
First, some context: There are things called Thoughts, and a place called Endlessness. If you're not careful, Thoughts will gallop-away across Endlessness without any idea where they're going. If you're feeling glum, those clippety-clopping hooves will seem to ask 'do they really like me?', and the wind through their manes will whisper 'do I like me?' and 'am I real?' This wild stampede is called Rumination, and sometimes Thoughts will tell you anything to have a go, including they they're chasing after meaning, or purpose, or answers. Lies. The only meaning they can have is what you give to them, and the only answers they can find are to questions you've ask. I've gone through times of thinking that Rumination's revolving door would unwind me entirely, and times of thinking how short life is so stop thinking about thinking! But sometimes you can't stop those Thoughts once they've bolted. So what to do? Here's my two-step plan: 1) Don't mix metaphors, and 2) Let those galloping Thoughts have fun.
Have you ever sat repeatedly wondering how badly tomorrow will be? Ever been worried you annoyed your boss (or partner, or parents, or kids, etc) by doing that thing they've never commented on or expressed displeasure at? These are imaginary scenarios, and by the standards of imagination they're tedious. Nobody wants to repetitively think about this nonsense. Nonsense should be fun.
So, earlier this evening, as I sat flipping worrisome idea-burgers on the hotplate of my mind, I tested my new theory of mind. I decided I'd write some lyrics to go with the symphony of trumpety-kettle-drums that the lords of randomness picked from my music library. Create a song. Nothing flashy, just something upbeat and absolutely amazing.
Initially - I'm not going to lie - it was a bloody slog. Turns out all that music stuff I learnt in school about letters, that represent sounds, which correspond to dots, floating on a ... fence? All that stuff can slip out of your mind in the blink of a decade. I finally managed to find a structure to which I could strap my lyrics. This did require a few (fourteen) rewinds on the score, but eventually I nailed it. And you lucky ladies and gentlemen get to appreciate it. I recommend you read the following inspirational anthem whilst listening to the flagrant(1) sublimity of its orchestral soundtrack.
And so, without further ado, please put your hands together for my Ode to Rumination, composed to the theme tune for Star Trek Voyager(2):
THINGS GO ON!
THINGS JUST GO ON AND ON!
THINGS GO ON! ON! AND ON! AND ON! AND ON! ON! AND ON AND ON!
So there you have it, my magnum opus. Its graceful simplicity has the added bonus that it can be sung to any tune. And before you ask, yes, I did write it all myself.
The output of this experiment in embracing nonsense may appear to be a dead-end devoid of meaning. But as I was beginning to giggle at my singular lack of songwriter's talent, I was able to notice a couple of mistakes I was making. My first was trying to add extra meaning (lyrics) to something that requires it not (sci-fi soundtracks). I can remember doing this as early as about six-and-a-half, when I concluded that the Jurassic Park theme tune was written to the lyrics "ITS AND DI-NO-SAUR!" (nobody had explained to me that not all songs have lyrics(4). My second mistake was that I was procrastinating. I then wrote this blog.
I consider this foray into nonsense a victory. It may seem pithy to some, but what matters is that I raced the Rumination derby, got beamed up by a Starship, and laughed at myself. Something physio-chemical probably happened when I laughed(5), I don't know, I'm not a scientist. But whatever it was it was fun, and it let me let the music just be itself so I could wrote this blogathon. Thanks for bearing with this meander, my therapist is paid to listen to my crap, but I reckon even she'll draw the line at letting me sing her an Ode to Rumination. But I don't know, maybe she she'll allow. I guess you'll never know, because that's none of your beeswax, mate.
(1) Adjectives became meaningless when 'literally' was re-defined as 'not literally'
(2) Fan. (Fanatic) ... See 'A Defence of Sci-Fi' by Professor E. G. Mania: "Call me childish, but something about the potential, imaginary but infinitely possible, for humanity's constant invention of (and invention by) a potentially infinite number of equally likely lines of causalities, with technologies and ideas that could bend the laws of physics, and space-ships!... Something about all that really resonates with me."
(3) Full lyrics available from Kanye West
(4) Apparently they still haven't
(5) See Internet