This apple has no relation to this post except that it might be a nice accompaniment to roast pork butt. Do people serve pork with apples so often because pigs are big fans of eating apples too? Seems a little mean, especially when pig heads are brought to the table with an apple in their mouths, that’s the most surreal food garnish ever.
My brain never stops talking to itself all day. This is why cooking is so soothing to me, it allows me to concentrate on something enough so that the chatter in my head is blurry and indistinct for a while. Sometimes it feels like there’s me, and then there’s my brain, both talking at the same time. Generally speaking, this all goes on inside my head and no one knows just what an understatement it is to call me a chatter-monkey, because they only hear the stuff I let outside.
What is my brain saying? Is it directing me to kill people? Or to play pranks on bank managers? Do I really believe I’ve got two distinct voices in my head and one of them isn’t me? (Admit it, you think I might be schizophrenic don’t you?)
I was making eggs for myself just a little while ago and I was concentrating on the anticipation of eating an heirloom tomato lightly seared in my frying pan into which I would then pour my eggs when the chatter-monkey in my head, who had been going on and on in the background, grabs my attention with this gem:
Whore away, little friends!
What? Turns out my brain is busy playing with the word “whore”. Whore-ific. Whore-tastic. Whore town. But I’m pretty sure that before it started fixating on the satisfying punch of the word “whore” it was actually playing out some little imaginary scene and in this scene someone said “Whore away, little friends!”
I’m not actually schizophrenic. Nor do I have multiple personalities. The narrowly averted danger of that road was passed many years ago. I will say that if you are a person who has a hard time understanding how it feels to be mentally ill and you have a hard time understanding why a person like me gets freaked the hell out by little details such as surprises, you need to get into my head. You’ll understand why I have such a hard time holding it all together most of the time and why medication has vastly improved the quality of my life (it doesn’t make you high, sadly, but it quiets the brain down so you can function better).
Here’s how I think I can explain it best: The extra voice in my head is my subconcious mind which I’m not supposed to be able to hear working. If you’re not mentally ill then your subconscious mind is one that you can’t hear except for in your dreams. You filter it out because if you didn’t: you’d go crazy. Stimuli comes in, you have your thoughts about it and you move on to new stimuli while your subconscious brain then processes the information quietly that you’ve set aside so that you can keep paying attention to what’s going on around you in the ongoing present.
I hear my brain processing information all day long. For example: I take in a conversation I’m having with someone and as I move forward with the present having my conversation, my brain is processing everything too, but in a crazy non-linear way. It takes something it needs to file (that’s just been said) and throws it around in monkey-pants and glitter to see where it should go in my brain storage, or if something bothers me about the conversation I’m having it will replay the conversation to try out different ways it could have gone, or fixates on something it can’t get past: WHILE I’M STILL HAVING THE CONVERSATION.
If that doesn’t make sense to you then you may rest easy knowing that you are not mentally ill.* What a joy for you to not have to listen to your own subconscious mind talking and processing stimuli every single hour of the day like a toddler on crystal meth.
All of that just to explain how come weird phrases frequently jump into the forefront of my head, seemingly from nowhere. Things like “whore salad”. Or “If my hand was cut off the whole world would be quiet.” or “Watch out for teeth that move!!”
The constant clamor in my head is obnoxious and exhausting. This is why I often have to watch movies for three hours at night in order to go to sleep. A while ago my Kung Fu teacher was telling us how studies have shown that our brain activity while watching television is the same as a brain in a coma. I wanted to shout out “That’s why I love it!!!”. He meant to point out that it makes us brain dead. I want to point out that as a therapy tool for someone whose brain NEVER SHUTS THE FUCK UP watching television is like a spa treatment. Sometimes it’s really really deeply truly (I can’t emphasize this enough) vital for a brain to shut off, to be completely void of activity. Especially if it often gets less rest in sleep than it does in waking.
When I watch movies my whole brain is distracted so that the voices are quiet. Really quiet. It calms me down, it brings me peace, it stops my anxiety and soothes depression. But mostly it just brings the quiet to my head. I don’t have television but I usually watch at least 2 hours of dvds at night before bed. Often things I’ve already seen a hundred times because that soothes the OCD.
Right now my brain is fixated on weird cuts of meat. As a lifelong vegetarian it’s not normal for me to hear things like “skirt steak” or “pulled pork”. Meat cuts and meat preparations give me a great deal of visual amusement. Pulled pork is obvious, it brings up visuals like a cook pulling at a pig and the pig is just thinking “wtf?” and the cook is figuring that if he pulls it long enough the pig will turn into a delicious sandwich. Or else maybe there’s a big hunk of dead pig and a cook is pulling on it to shred it instead of using a knife. I annoyed a friend over “skirt steak” for days. Steak in skirts. Doesn’t anyone else think that’s funny?
Today’s meat words that I can’t get out of my head are “loin chop” and “pork butt”
That’s food? Loin chop just makes me think of a very painful Kung Fu move. Or worse. Much much worse. Axes and blood and Jesus-style cloth.
The best, though, is pork butt. PORK BUTT. Once I saw it in one place it started showing up everywhere like the world is trying to short circuit my brain. Imagine if people were cattle and cattle were people. This is a favorite past-time of mine. Human butt. “I think I’ll have a little braised human-butt.”
“Don’t you know, Agnes darling, the human butt is the best cut of all. Very juicy and tender if you serve it up with just the tiniest dollop of whipped butter and chives. Horace simply can’t get enough but the vet said he needs to cut down or his cholesterol will blow through the roof. Pass me that dish of braised grass, won’t you?”
*Or that your mental illness is VERY calm and different than mine and I envy you very much.