Gary Numan and Me Wearing Leather

“Dead Sun Rising”

We come, we go
We can remember “The Dark”
No songs, no words
Just whispers that wait for you to sleepAnd when you dream,
We’ll come for you and breathe in your pain
We’ve seen such things
Hide them from you and so keep you pure

I’ve seen gods bleeding
I’ve seen worlds burn
I’ve seen stars falling
And I’ve seen a dead sun rising

We live, for you
We keep you safe
We keep you unknown
We die, for you
Like rain we fall until you are born

We are the lost
Without you we are all that was wrong
We are the last
Without you we are the sigh in the wind

I’ve watched gods bleeding
I’ve watched worlds burn
I’ve watched stars falling
And I’ve watched the dead sun rising

And I’ve watched the dead sun rising
And I’ve watched the dead sun rising
And I’ve watched the dead sun rising
And I’ve watched the dead sun rising
And I’ve watched the dead sun rising
And I’ve watched the dead sun rising
And I’ve watched the dead sun rising

Note the repetition, something I enjoy if it’s good.
This is a good album from 2000 something by Gary Numan – Dead Son Rising, ” not ‘sun‘.

As a teen, I loved Gary Numan’s music-and his heavy eyeliner and dour expression-and listened to songs with lyrics like, “I don’t think I’m an alien, do you?”.

His music was melodic yet moody, dark but somehow uplifting. It spoke to my alienation and general gloominess.

When CD players came on the market, I was an early adopter. Boy, did I love to see the rainbow colors of the spinning disc.

I even had a CD player in whatever hospital I was in – usually it was the same hospital and they let me have it, but not during groups or school. I was not often in group or school anyway because of nearly constant “inappropriate behavior” or latest meltdown, of which I had up to four a DAY.

These episodes would usually result in 5 point restraints or, at the very least, my hands locked to my waist. They called this “wearing leather”.

As in:

“Knock it off, Christian unless you want to be wearing leather.”

I didn’t care -in fact, I kind of liked the feeling of control restraints gave me. They were a non committal hug. Akin to Temple Grandin’s “squeeze machine”, which is a device which holds animals firmly as they are slaughtered.

Plus, when in restraints I could compose poetry and other writing-dictate it to the ceiling

As I was alone most of the time, anyway, being in restraints was just another break in my day.

This asking for external control would be deleterious in the long run as it did not teach me internal control.

Buddhism has helped with that; but more on that later.

These institutions also advocated the release of anger via padded bats and pillows we were supposed to punch. I never participated because the one time I tried it I got so angry I was wearing leather afterwards. Actually, I had to be removed from the group screaming and flailing, biting and banging.

Studies have shown those methods of “releasing” anger are not so great; they actually ENCOURAGE anger.

Buddhism states anger is destructive to both you and others (no duh) but the way that religion – and, yes, Buddhism IS a religion, NOT a philosophy – the way the Buddhist faith phrases things, its tenets make sense to me, inspires me to try to adhere to the “Right Path”. Even if the tenets are the same as in Christianity, such as “Thou shalt not kill”, in Buddhism, the same idea may be expressed more as a positive -“strive to do no harm”.

My younger self was filled with rage and hatred and wanted you to know it. I was bitter, abusive and did not want to change.

This was THEIR world – I called you “THEM”-and I wanted no part of it.

When absorbed in my gloomy tunes you better leave me alone. I had no qualms about pushing old people or pregnant women; I smashed into big guys on purpose during rush hour just to start fights.

I got arrested several times and then I attacked the police who  do not fight fair and who finally convinced me to stop fighting.

Actually, it was a judge, who said next time he saw me in his courtroom it would be a felony.

I actually stopped fighting then, and found the idea I had of adrenaline I mistakenly thought I HAD TO release was a fallacy-all that fighting and aggression actually fed on itself causing me to be MORE aggressive.

That was Halloween 1999, so it was a little while ago-but what a relief it has been to not be so controlled by rage and its aftereffects. As per the tired sentiment, “first you have to WANT to change”. Not becoming a felon was my impetus. I was also being threatened with being institutionalized and conserved. NOT so great for Tomcat Me who is somewhat solo and does not like being crushed together with other people.

I have not had a fight since then. I would and can protect myself if necessary -and I do live in a city, near a bigger city and sometimes have to, or so one might think-since I stopped looking for trouble it seems trouble doesn’t find me.

Wednesday when my phone was stolen was an exception, and I even danced away from her when she lunged at me.

Quite an improvement from someone who used to believe physical violence was a show of strength. It is not; it is weak to give in to anger, stronger to resist. So my attitude has changed and that is key.

Yet, obviously, I am still human and still get angry at times.

What do I do then!

First, Buddhism and meditation have mellowed me so I no longer get so angry and definitely not as often.

I DO get frustrated and this is related to anger. I may throw something on the ground and whine, emitting an animal sound. I KNOW when I am about to lose it and remove myself from the situation.

The most important is not to get into situations in which anger could be aroused.

This is not always possible, but by surrounding myself with friends who do not encourage fighting helps!

Sometimes I hit my face when really upset, lower right jaw

This is a work in progress, but the Buddhist angle is one I will return, especially as it showed me I do have the ability to be compassionate, the other key to managing anger; if you can feel compassion toward the “enemy”, you will no longer be as angry at them.

More on compassion, or “lack of empathy” in autism another time.

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