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Adolescence and Ultimate Confusion

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I am currently 18 years of age. I began playing the piano when I was 15, and I ran into a lot of problems along the way. Wrist pain, many musical weaknesses, and starting late have all been major detractors from my progress. None of these, however, have utterly paralyzed me as this revelation has.

I have talked with many musicians, both in person and online. The overwhelming consensus is that music is a dying field, and becoming an artist dedicated to sincere artful creation is an impossibility that cannot realistically bring in enough resources to support the artist.

There are very few musical performers who are making a living doing their craft full time. It seems only the best can do this now. Berezovsky, one of the finest pianists of our day, has admitted he has financial problems in his fascinating documentary.

When looking at musicians, specifically in the classical idiom, only the absolute best in the world are making any kind of decent living performing this great music. In the pop idiom, it’s even more ridiculous. It’s all luck and business.

This troubles me deeply. It isn’t as simple as willing yourself or putting your mind to it. Reality doesn’t function that way. We live in a capitalist state in which the greatest goal is to make the highest profit. The depth or meaning of life doesn’t matter, as long as the net profit is large.

Is this it? Is this all we have accomplished as humanity has been screwing around, ruining our planet no less?

To aggravate things further, it seems that I show many symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome, a form of high-level autism that restricts social functioning and works to terribly alienate the person it afflicts. I cannot function in the standard workforce. I cannot do the standard day-jobs. I get so aggravated with people’s insincerities and the corporate structure. This is an outrage.

I am tired of disagreeing and fighting with people about this. It is killing me.

I am certainly not the only one who feels this way, yet things persist and stay exactly the same. The United States epitomizes the vast shallowness of the modern age of commercialism and an immense hidden depression. A passage from the American Nihilist Underground Society is of absolute importance and sincerity of thought when it says, “We do not know, for example, that depressed people often exist by having such lowered expectations that they are able to tolerate mediocrity as a positive”, and “societal depression remains a large influence on our modern lives, as many suffer from it and many more exhibit a subtle and pervasive form of it that never hits extremes but remains constant like a droning background noise.”

I think “a droning background noise” is quite accurate.

Perhaps it is not the depressed population that has a problem, but the culture itself. I’m really quite sick of the widespread ignorance, apathy, and mediocrity, and the respect and acceptance of those things. It is insane. Am I really the only one fed up with the advertising and absurdly overdone Christmas sales?

CNN reports of women trampled and knocked unconscious for a DVD player. Really, this is insanity. All Wal-Mart apparently has to say about this is that they want her “to come back as a shopper.” Really? Come on. Is the corporate world really this pathetic?

In all honesty, we are surrounded by oblivious waves of machines that look like people. This is entirely unacceptable. This needs to end, right now. This is no longer the 50s. Leave it to Beaver and John Wayne no longer apply. Screw you people and your corporate, profit-based agendas. I am so completely sick of it.

I’m also worn out from being so enraged all the time. The debates will continue because we all have, I suppose, a fair amount of self-interest. I hit a lot of walls with this. What is right and wrong? Do they exist? Do things ever change? It is paralyzing.

I have severe trouble connecting and becoming emotionally close to anyone because of what may very well be Asperger’s syndrome. This includes my friends and relatives. Girls my age hardly interest me. Girls ten years older hardly interest me. It takes an incredible person to really engage me in a positive way. I can get engaged negatively quite easily, but positively? That is nigh on impossible.

I will mention here that one of the few people I have ever been sincerely attracted to was well into middle age. The aura she gave off was something ethereal and rare. She was a professional opera singer for 17 years. That is depth. That is interesting. That is influential. The rest of these people seem quite content to be mediocre and remain that way for the rest of their lives.

I suppose the great people who are rejected by society contribute their genius in original and fantastic ways, only to be appreciated much later. If we look at the history of Bach, we find that only after his death did everyone have an epiphany and go, “Wow, he was a great composer too!”

I mention the difficulty with intimate connection because I really feel disconnected from reality and other people. I can’t tell if it is because of my own personality or society itself. We like to think that getting out and making friends is always a positive activity, but those unenlightened guidelines regurgitated to us when we were young hardly apply as we get older.

I am often confronted with Christianity when I bring this up with other people. I think that is largely because I am in the United States. This is my fight, not theirs. I’m tired of their attempts to enlighten me with their insane beliefs. This is a postmodern age, now, and religion has no place here.

I have lost faith in most things. People often tell me, “You’re young and you have your whole life ahead of you!” They fail to realize, however, that youth is a great struggle. Adolescence is a painful process and the more original you are, the more agonizing it is.

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About Colin White

  • Bob

    Don’t worry, it gets worse…

  • Colin,
    I can’t believe you’re only 18. You express yourself very well. I have more than a passing acquaintance with people with Aspbergers. One of the hardest things about it is that people with AS can function very well in society, it’s just the interpersonal connections that are so tough. So people look at you and say, “get over it” or “relax” and you want to rip their ears off.

    Adolescence is brutal. In many ways, my friend with AS was protected due to his lack of desire for interpersonal relationships. If you don’t care about the idiots in school, you’re safe from the horrific pain inflicted by their cruelty. Find people you can relate to wherever you can, no matter the age. I’m sure it’s no consolation, but I’m tired of my own rage at other people’s stupidity too. I choose friends very carefully (and very rarely).

    And I think it does get better. As you get older, more autonomous and have more freedoms, you’ll find your niche. Musicality or musical genius is better respected as you age. In high school it’s “band geek” or something along those lines. In adulthood, it’s a great way to meet people with similar interests.
    Good luck to you.