Rest In Peaces (5/5/1)
It is no coincidence that the final episode of this five-part series is resolved on All Hallow’s Eve, a time dedicated to remembering the dead, telling scary stories and playing pranks.
I unearthed these journal entries and made them available to the online public, so that I may present them as a burial marker in the ether of the Internet, a memorial of a loved one which you and I may visit, a place where I might finally lay this chapter of my life to rest.
Here lies the unanswerable.
As writers are known to say, we have to “kill our darlings”; just because you love something, doesn’t mean it needs to be in your story.
This is easier said than done.
I once cried because I killed a character in one of my screenplays. He only existed in my imagination, yet I grieved a death which seemed inevitable. I could control the narrative, and find ways for him to survive, but it wouldn’t have served the story.
He had to die.
And I watched it happen.
My hands murdering him as I tapped each letter on the keyboard.
Sometimes, you have to remove something, or someone, so that room can be made in its wake.
Additionally, it’s difficult to know what is and isn’t of importance when writing a story about yourself, because exploring the past is done so in the present, with the knowledge that it is to be observed by others in the future. The three moments are linked.
I am me in all those times, and yet, alien to one another.
I am trying to write an ending, but for whom? The character or myself?
If the character, I have to disassociate myself from the retelling of what I once was, and therefore, this fabricated version can complete the book in a myriad of ways, at no cost to the writer, because he will only exist in literature. I can give this protagonist an unhappy ending, turn him into a monster, torture, mame, love, wed, give him superpowers, whatever flight of fantasy I’d like him to journey on.
If I am attempting to write an ending for myself, this is a lot more difficult, because I can’t control the Universe… And most likely because no body likes spoilers.
I speak of a past version of myself as if he were someone different, because for all intents and purposes, I am.
Things between then and now have changed me, and depending on when I set my pen in the past, these catalysts may have been as small as changing an opinion I once had, to fundamentally restructuring the whole person.
I don’t know what is and isn’t of importance to my story because I’m oblivious to all the things I missed; those times I listened but couldn’t hear, these moments when I was quick to anger rather than had the strength to take one big breath and center myself, the way the eyes of a twenty year old sees something compared to that of someone thirty years of age, a person before and after a broken heart, details that affect how one interacts with the environment.
I’d like to believe in free will, but after hypnotherapy, which I emerged from with the corpses of three past selves, I uncovered the evidence of my destructive behaviors, which doomed all of my relationships.
I was the common denominator in my failed attempts at Love, because I so often used the hammer when I should’ve used the paintbrush.
And I can’t blame me nor him, for I have seen the causes that created the effects. This is if I accept we are bound by the chronological unfolding of time.
We are all tormented by the multigenerational transmission process.
I am the way I am because of my parents, and they are the way they are because of theirs, and therefore truth can always be found somewhere in the attic of a basement, a quote from a book, in a sequence of DNA, somewhere down the line was that first fallen domino, and even in that genesis, there was a finger that knocked it down, or maybe a gentle breeze, perhaps the quaking from the floor below.
Something happened before, that got you here.
And yet, we must take responsibility for our words and our actions.
It seems a little paradoxical to me.
Either I can control nature or I can’t.
Even microchips, fracking, and tamagotchis, which have the fingerprints of humans all over them can still be viewed as Nature expressing itself in order to understand itself, and the human is its conduit.
The eye was created so that it could see, the telescope to observe its artful nebulas, the microscope to see the life teeming within other sources of life.
Perhaps there is a Goldilocks Zone where human consciousness is able to thrive and control itself, but anything beyond its edges turns you into a zombie.
An approximation of honesty doesn’t cut it when the person who needs to read it the most is yourself.
I’ve found that I have stopped myself from telling my truth for two reasons; one is the acknowledgment of living in perpetual Rashomon.
All of this is merely one perspective. Mine.
There are billions of us living on this planet and this isn’t counting the rest of flora and fauna.
So what do I know?
I best keep my mouth shut before I hurt myself or others.
And two, perhaps I have watered down certain elements because I fear the reactions, be they negative or positive, small or large. It is the unknowable that has put brakes on my honesty. And so I have peppered pieces throughout my work; not just the writing on my website, but the videos on my YouTube channel, photographs on my Instagram, because perhaps it is best to be a puzzle. A personality for people to crack and discover. The truth about who I am is out there, but it’s up to you to solve.
Perhaps we all need secret identities.
After all, I have been hurt enough by you and feel safer camouflaged.
So what is and isn’t of importance to this story?
“What were trying to tell?”
Oh yeah…. I forgot…. I was trying to answer something….
People kept asking me how I woke up with no memories, that day, on the 17th March 2019, in Los Angeles.
The majority of the catalysts can be found from the last day of hypnotherapy. The following is simply a story and it’s for you to decide wether or not to believe it.
“The most incomprehensible thing about the Universe is that it is comprehensible.” – Albert Einstein
31st December 2018
I emerge out of my last online hypnotherapy session on the last day of the year, which I thought was a delightful coincidence, seeing as the catchphrase ‘new year, new me’ finally applied with perfection. It was also the last time I would use the word ‘coincidence’ without alarm.
The way I have compared hypnotherapy is like somebody saw me trailing heavy suitcases around and forced me to look into them.
“These are all your children’s clothes. What are you doing carrying all this around? You’re an adult.”
“Oh yeah… I didn’t even realize.”
And with now empty bags, I didn’t even need to carry the luggage, I was light, my hands are freed and I could now run.
And run I did.
It was a little confusing to feel this good, this alert, this powerful.
I’d be able to pause somewhere, watch the wind blow through the trees for hours with enjoyment, and then carry on my day without feeling like I had wasted precious seconds, because for the first time in my life, I had nowhere to go, since I was already here.
There was no past chasing me, and no future to worry about.
I felt a little like a simpleton, but it was nice to simply be, to be, without expectations.
And that is enough.
The prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that acts like the control panel to our thinking, social skills and present day behaviors, takes about 25 years of your early life to develop. The brain is like a sponge that absorbs its surroundings in order to best adapt its environment.
Have I said this already?
There was a time when all my fears for tomorrow, for next year and the decades to come were being visualized through the lenses of someone terrified; a byproduct of my childhood.
I cannot truly complain about the early years; a nomadic childhood had its complications, one of them is constantly feeling like the new kid, the other, the stranger, the foreigner with the strange sounds coming from its mouth, “get this demon outside of the city walls!”, and this alienation is something I understand to be a universal trait for the growing human.
Nonetheless, these complications shape the rock like water finding its way through cracks.
A constant shifting from one place to another desensitized me to the necessity of people. Seeing as there was no value in forming long-lasting friendship to avoid the sorrow of packing up and leaving once more, it is necessity that rendered people transactional.
All too evident by not having any strong friendships, but befriending multiple, a collection of acquaintances on the playground from which I could bounce between to camouflage in and stay safe, from the ones who hunted me.
In the interest of balance, the beatings I took were unleashed back on people who didn’t deserve it. What is it they say? Hurt people hurt people. I am not proud of it, but I did growl to show my fangs, and I would bite if you got too close, as if trauma had to be passed along for it to survive, and latch onto an easy prey, controlling the motor functions of its new human host.
And so, I re-entered that landscape, in hypnosis, the adult me, now sifting through shadowy membranes of repression, to find and destroy the creatures clutching onto me as a child.
I will share the following three memories in chronological order, as they’re best understood that way, but in hypnosis, I returned to them in descending order; third, second and first.
The First Memory,
Circa aged fifteen,
The Abandonment of my Parents.
I don’t want to delve deeply into this, but it’s as if overnight, I became orphan, to parents who were still alive.
If I remember correctly, they gave me the option of going with one of them when they separated, but after constantly moving from one place to another, living in burrowed bedrooms, I decided to do it alone.
So, I can’t complain too much about it.
I remember choosing.
But one might ask at what age can adult decisions be made?
Even if it is natural for parents to leave the nest, or vica versa, the sudden removal of loved ones shakes things up a bit; challenges were now tenfold, and unbeknownst to me, deep in my psyche, a monster was growing.
The Second Memory,
Circa aged sixteen,
The Bystander Effect.
Getting beaten up by the town bullies became a regular enough event, and some were worse than others, and it surprised me which one I had to revisit. I didn’t get even get beaten up that day.
There were five of them, surrounding me with pool cues, forcing me to count down from ten to zero in French.
As a storyteller, I admire that they built tension before the inevitable.
As the child tired of abuse, not so much.
Tears streaming down my face,
I looked around at the few pedestrians walking past me, but none came to help.
Thankfully, someone stepped in at the last second and shooed the vilains away.
But the damage was done.
I didn’t fully understand why it was this memory that had me gasping for air when I resurfaced from that session of hypnotherapy.
I asked my best friend, a brother at this point, seeing as I was often invited into his parent’s home during my homeless years.
He became a wise neuroscientist capable of finding answers in the most ludicrous of places. I asked him why he thought it would be this memory that I had to confront.
“The total abandonment of the adult World, bruv. Your parents just deserted you like a couple of smack heads, and now, you’re looking around for someone to help, but nobody came. Maybe because you’re a loser I don’t know.”
It seemed so obvious.
At that moment, I realized I was alone, and this became the baseline from which I knew I couldn’t rely on anyone but myself.
This water erodes the rock and begins to smooth the rough edges, giving it a more palatable shape.
The years followed, plenty of hardship to dissect there but none that had to be confronted in hypnosis. Some worthy of mention. I sold my body to science for medical trials a couple of times so I can pay my way through University. And there was a botched laparotomy that had me unable to eat and learning to walk again. I eventually left the hospital looking like a skeleton wearing only skin.
The Third Memory,
Circa aged twenty-three,
The Public Shaming.
Again, I was surprised it was this moment which I had so much pent up rage for; my first TV appearance.
Hired to be a clown and make silly faces, I used my gangly limbs and gargantuan gums to entertain, with a catchphrase as its only script. Little did I know the effect a successful product could have…
Dozens of Facebook groups dedicated to how ugly they thought me to be, were spreading like wildfire across the Internet. I received death threats and abuse from strangers in the street, all because I was ugly.
Thankfully, I had just started my career in stand up comedy and was able to humorously deal with the onslaught.
Friends would comfort me saying the abusers were jealous and spiteful, and that I was beautiful.
Grateful for their attempts at consoling me, but seeing hundreds of thousands of people join these hate groups felt like evidence. To ignore these statistics would be like climate change deniers ignoring the scientist’s data.
“Hey,” someone beckons me, “did you know that if you type ‘Ugly Man’ on Google, your face pops up on page two?!”
All I can do is deflect.
“What? I didn’t even make it to page one?”
We laugh, and inside, I die a little more.
I accepted my role and buried the trauma under the mask of a comedian.
I was suddenly forced to taste what felt like a whole country’s poison, their toxins filling my vessel, and feeding the monster.
When I woke from this hypnotherapy session, hyperventilating, I ran to the bathroom to wash the tears streaming from my face, crying at all those times I saw myself ruin beautiful moments, because I had low self-esteem, because I was the ugly one, the beast, the monster who was suddenly capable of wearing my body like a suit. My hands were now his.
Relationships with people whom I loved so very much, destroyed at the hands of the tortured one who didn’t believe we deserved to be happy, to feel beautiful, to be loved.
I splashed cool water on my face and suddenly, I caught myself in the mirror, as if for the first time.
“Who is that?”
This person was unrecognizable.
Same face… but… so much underneath was being rewired, that I couldn’t recognize who I was looking at, like these experiments on elephants who find a mirror in the jungle and slowly learn that this reflection is them looking back.
All I could see was someone new staring back.
And yet, friends and family members engaged with me as if they knew who I was.
Needless to say, we all have moments in our lives that play a part in our creation. Hence why I am so perplexed by discussions of free will. I can literally pinpoint spacetimes on some chronological map which directly influence present-day behaviors.
Am I better informed now or am I still under the control of past events guiding me?
After all, we are reading something that emerges out of me with such force that it’s as if the story is expressing itself through me.
I am the one writing this.
Am I not?
So… one of the major catalysts was the hypnotherapy, but of course, this was suggested after all the catalysts before it. Yet, we have to start the story somewhere…
2nd February 2019
I land back in California after a week of work in Cape Town, South Africa, feeling relieved to be back with some money in my pocket.
I enter the apartment which was once home to a married couple, but now feels like a squatters palace for three comedians who took the opportunity to move in after the separation, which helped me pay the bills and keep this roof over my head.
I open the door and immediately feed dread, but let us not dwell on that, busy yourself with work, or with the pretense of work.
Before leaving for Europe, I had written a screenplay called Of All Things; a philosophical zombie series about the nature of reality, exploring the interconnectedness of everything.
A producer had read the pilot episode and enjoyed it enough to request a Show Bible, which is a breakdown of the series, its logline, character descriptions, and possibilities for future seasons.
I knew the majority of it, but hadn’t written and presented the information for other people’s benefits, so it seemed natural to begin this process.
To extend my work from a pilot episode, I wanted a little guidance from experts in the field of storytelling, so I picked up the book The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell.
And here is when reality post-hypnotherapy took a twist into the supernatural.
I recommend reading this book to anyone who wants to learn more about storytelling and the myths which are embedded in our cultures.
I simply can’t do it justice, but here is another catalyst.
The hero goes through three trials, and immediately, a thought arises and whispers in my ears, “oh what, like the three memories you had to conquer?”
“Oh yeah… that’s funny.”
Nothing more had to be considered, because I am no hero, nor am I on some sort of epic journey, despite some passages reaching out to me through the pages as if I were reading some sort of manual.
I return to the script and my protagonist, Annestas.
I thought it interesting to name the characters based on a detail about their role in the story. The etymology of her name is from Anastasia, meaning rebirth, and this hero was certainly in for a character arc.
She goes by the name Anna because so many people struggle to say her name correctly, and seeing as the story deals with the cyclical nature of time, it seemed fitting her monicker be a palindrome
The Devil is in the details.
As an aside, a little moment of curiosity, I wondered what my name meant, and so I Googled…
Oh…. OK… well…
And my middle name is Roy, which is old French for King.
I’m sure you can appreciate that those two details had a powerful impact on my vulnerable state of mind, and suddenly made me feel like I was in a story, scripted, written, in which I was the above.
It was both a sudden injection of ecstasy and paranoia, and made me feel a little like I was in John Carpenter’s In The Mouth Of Madness.
I rang my Mother and asked her why they had chosen the name Eric.
“C’est Mémé qui a choisi.”
My Great-grandmother chose the name.
“Elle t’as nommé après un ami qu’elle travaillé avec au cinéma. Elle vendait les tickets, et lui, il était projectionist.”
She named you after a friend she worked with at the movie theatre. She sold the tickets, and he was a projectionist.
Do I love cinema or am I destined to?
Suddenly, I felt as though I was in the script I had written.
This is why people who suddenly appear unhinged, and speak in riddles at an anxious speed, are tarnished with the crazy brush.
If you see a white whale and tell others who cannot conceive of such a thing, then you are telling lies or have lost the plot, whereas your reality points to every sign of a new World.
When you discover something that goes beyond what you could’ve imagined to be possible, something that you thought could only exist in the confines of a novel, theatre or cinema, and it suddenly blurs into your reality, it breaks down everything you think you knew, and nothing can stop the eventual implosion.
The countdown had likely begun before I was aware, and now, I knew that I had crossed a threshold, but didn’t have the words to express myself coherently.
Yet, I try.
You desperately need someone else to see what you see because you’re either losing your mind, or the Universe is indeed communicating with you through more than people, but with perfectly timed synchronizations, between internal dialogue and external reaction.
I would think something and then it would happen, which was a new and powerful phenomena that it was hard to believe I had a say in its manifestation, therefore I assumed, they were telekinetically transmitted to me… as if that was any easier to accept.
I told this new friend, the new housemate, about this new storyline I found myself on, and although a little alerted to my sudden erratic behaviour, he was brought up in a religious household, so the fantastical and absurd was already in his lexicon.
In fact, he further confused or enlightened things.
He would often, jokingly, call me his “Lord”.
I never asked why… I assumed because it was playful nonsense and he was grateful I had helped him out of a tough situation. It seemed fitting too as I had a big beard and long hair which he enjoyed, because it made me look like his favourite historical figure, Jesus.
But when I told him about all these synchronicities, as if I was in dialogue with the universe itself.
“God you mean?” He then points to the scar on my hand “That’s his son’s stigmata.”
“What? No. That’s from when I was a kid. I saw the movie Superman, and was telling other kids on the playground about it, and seeing as he looks human and can fly, and I look human, maybe I could try. So I jumped, I jumped high to get some air, I’d run and jump and laugh trying to do it. And on one of those jumps, I didn’t come back down, because I stuck my hand on the spike of a security gate. That’s how I got that scar.”
“Yeah, but,” he continues, “Superman is a metaphor. He comes from the Heavens and saves everybody on Earth.”
“Oh… right…. Well, shut up. I’m not your Jesus.”
He looks down at my bare feet and I follow, seeing the plus sign on my left ankle and a minus on the right… and then he continues.
“It’s no wonder you stepped in the river Jordan”.
“What did you say?” I ask with a little antagonism.
“Your ex-wife, she’s named Jordan, and now divorced, you’re all cleansed from your past. Jesus went through the river Jordan to wash away his sins. Just sayin’.”
When presented with uncanny coincidences and an array of seemingly unfathomable yet distinctly connected events, it become impossible to dismiss what you are witness to as evidence, and then reality transforms.
I don’t know why. I was almost angry. Stop making me into something that I am not!
All sorts of new emotions I didn’t think possible were flowing through me.
I’m in Los Angeles, the city of Angels, and we happen to live in the Miracle Mile district. Suddenly, tsunamis of connections were being made and I truly felt part Of All Things.
I know this journal entry is long, and I thank you for reading so far.
I hope you can appreciate that I am doing this mainly for me.
I need this fucking story out of my head! It weighs so heavy on my mind and I am unable to move on from my asunder.
14th March 2019.
Every day, I would wake up powerful, happy, excited to find myself in such a new dimension. I was confused, but life had abruptly become a lot more exciting, because the Gods suddenly seemed real, and with that, anything seemed possible, living in dream, life after death, death as a season to be experienced, power, anything.
Every day, I was becoming something unrecognizable, so much was happening, that I simply couldn’t capture it all in writing, and on this day, walking around with a spring in my step, millions of butterflies floated through the city as part of their migration. There is a scientific reason for it, of course, but as you can probably tell, I made it about me.
Because after everything that was happening, it seemed to further confirm I was at the right place at the right time, experiencing a metamorphosis which was suddenly projected in the external World.
If this were a movie, this would’ve been an ideal scene to represent the character’s transformation.
The Sapir-Wharf hypothesis.
It’s the suggestion in linguistic relativity that the speaker’s perception corresponds to the language they know. But this isn’t just the ones we speak, but mathematics, cinema, love; you see reality based on what you’ve been taught. And I was being told something through the language of storytelling.
All these coincidences acted as checkpoints, to signal that someone somewhere was taking care of my course, and this is why this felt like communication with God. However, in the interest of balance, perhaps I was witness to some geometrical pattern coalescing together, like a stream suddenly shooting through a small gaping escaping with gushing speed, or how the movement of stars might look like if you were travelling through a wormhole.
So now… I’m really thinking… who am I?
I do a little more digging, interrogating my parents about their pasts.
Who are they now that I live in this World of angels and angles?
The answers were what you’d expect.
I saw myself as an echo of my Father’s past, noticing my behaviours reflected from his, like some sick shadow puppetry reverberated against the cave wall.
I suddenly felt like I knew him better, which I can’t say was a pleasant feeling.
As for my Mother, she had quite the part to play in my rebirth.
Glossing over her revelation wouldn’t do her story any justice, going into detail seems unacceptable, but ignoring would be a disservice to how it react in me and killed off the person I was once and for all.
She experienced something evil when she was a child.
Let the use of that word, evil, be enough.
I don’t usually use it for a reason.
It conjures up something that goes beyond profoundly immoral, and my empathy for others has always found counter-arguments for the causes of people’s actions, providing balance in how people can be portrayed.
After all, vilains don’t think of themselves as vilains.
We all have a reason for doing the things we do.
Therefore, the use of the word ‘evil’ might allow you to appreciate the ferocity of how I feel about the event that she endured, at the hands of a family member, and whom I share a birthday with, decades apart.
It’s only a coincidence of course….
But as you might now understand from this story, coincidences were now a constant. Clues?
Her honesty, of which I am thankful for, broke my heart and filled me with murderous rage.
I considered all the time I was an ungrateful little sod as a kid, and all she did was shower me with love (except for that terrifying prank, which I speak of in chapter three, and even then, I understand this to just be a tragic, and comedic, misjudgment on her part).
I was grabbing onto my chest as if I could feel my heart bursting into flames through the ribcage, convulsing like a patient having a defibrillator used on him in a cardiac arrest. I was on my knees, living only on adrenaline as I wasn’t sleeping, and my back was hurting as I thought wings were erupting out of me.
Was I being brought back to life or is this what it feels like to die?
And then, a Coup De Grace.
A thought experiment grabs hold of my mind, perhaps as an attempt to distract me.
The Trolley Experiment mixed a little with the Grandfather Paradox.
If I was given the choice of changing the tracks, would I?
This thought experiment only lasted seconds, but opened up gates to eternity.
Would I give my life to save that of my Mother’s?
But further calculations had to be made.
Let’s say I change the timelines so that this event never happens to my Mum, this would be such a sudden shift in her personality, and a new way of seeing the World with altered decisions. It’s incalculable what would happen next, but it’s perhaps safe to say that this paradigm shift would not bring my parents together, and most likely, I would never be born.
I accepted this.
However, the person who would’ve been my Mother and the other who would’ve been my Father, might go on to have kids of their own, but this change of tracks would mean that my four siblings, the ones that I know today with their unique identities, would not be born.
This alteration would kill them.
And I couldn’t let that happen…
Therefore, the final blow to who I was, a simple thought experiment as a hara-kiri, was allowing this evil act to happen, so that my siblings lived.
I understand this was only a thought experiment, but it occurred at the peak of this apotheosis, and had such an explosive reaction in me, that it blew me through an Einstein-Rosen Bridge.
Laying there on the floor, broken, one more thought creeped into my mind… this family member whom I share a birthday with… before he did his evil act….
Well… they say he wasn’t the same after he woke up from his coma.
A day later, I woke up with amnesia.
I am 33 years old. Ha ha ha.
This is the end of Act One. Five chapters.
There is still so much more to reveal. We only just got to the day I woke up… And of course, there’s the part of the screenplay I wrote which turns into a pandemic…And, we all ended up in one…
I have a theory about amnesia and other memory-based challenges that people experience. Notice I don’t use the word illness. Perhaps it’s my romantic nature, but maybe a valid theory, if one is capable of transcending certain conventions.
“It’s a zero-sum game in the eternal,” growls the voice, “that’s why people have to forget stuff. Remembering is the game.”
For now, I need a rest from this complex part of my story, and I will return weekly with much shorter entries. I am exhausted.
Thank you for reading this far. Hopefully, one day, I can work with an editor haha, but for now, I did my best to elaborate on the causes of my sudden amnesia, and I believe I effectively presented the fractured sense of self across time and space in this five-part structure.
I appreciate your contribution, especially if you want to know more, message me on my donation page https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Lampaert
Till next time,
Lots of love,