Fourth of July. Independence Day.

For me, it is one of those rare days where I achieve a little strength. You would not notice anything unless you know me very well. And then you may still miss the little signs. Perhaps I am walking with a little more iron in my spine. Perhaps my gaze lingers in your eye for that fraction of a second longer than my normal furtive meet-your-eye-then-move-on skirmish.

Perhaps you see something in my smile that was not there yesterday.

I am older but still completely at the mercy of these rare moments of strength. I say moments rather than periods. After they are gone it seems like they took me over for as long as a cloud covers the sun. And it is something I have just as much control over. A car accident can be the result of a momentary lapse of concentration. Well so perhaps is my strength the result of a momentary lapse of self-hatred.

I have learned a little on the origins of these phases. This one was sponsored by a good haircut yesterday. $23.50 spent well. Along with a GDR army surplus jacket and my favourite worn black jeans that everyone tells me to throw away, or at least roll up the frayed hems. That much I do for my mother as I drive her to a friend's art exhibition this afternoon.

This strength that tonight courses through my veins, in parallel with but independent to the gabo that pushes away pain and tiredness, it sponsors events of its own. A plan to do sit ups is growing in my mind. I look at my gut hanging off my formerly skeletal frame with less than the usual disgust and more of a 'what can I do about this' attitude. Sim suggested sit ups, so tonight I will do some, although I know it is the gear sitting me up, not me. It still must burn the same calories mustn't it?

Asia Argento acts out a Gibson short story, her beauty rendered unreal by grainy film.

I shave with greater care than I have shaved with for years. I get up into the nose, shave hairs there that did not exist a decade ago. I shave down the neck, I nip at the boundaries of my goatee but cannot bring myself to remove it entirely. Is this a sign that my self-esteem fades already? Perhaps.

I spend a little time in self-analysis.I ponder the vanity I have served myself for two decades. A vanity that grew unnoticed like mould in the crack between the oven and the kitchen bench. My vanity is that I am some kind of beacon to abused girls. I grew to noticed that nearly every girl I formed an intimate relationship with had been abused in her early choldhood. At times I have found myself thinking that I am some kind of special boy that girls can trust more than the average joe. I hunt and peck for quotes from the girls that will support this belief. And of course I find them. Memory is self-serving, that is its first commandment. To serve the individual, what else is it there for.

So I dig up quotes 'it's almost like sleeping with a girl' 'you're not like other boys' etc that support my hypothesis.

But I am the fraudulent scientist, picking his test results to meet his theories. It is more likely that there is a high rate of unreported abuse in Western or perhaps all societies. Or, darker, perhaps I seek out the abused subconsciously. Maybe I can only approach those who have been hurt, perhaps their defenses are so tuned to defence against a certain kind of attack that I slip past their usual perimeters and connect unexpectedly.

There are a thousand non-self-serving explanations for me having dated abused girls, why do I choose the explanation that casts me in the good light? That I am a knight in shining armour to them? Self serving and myth making, I have propelled myself through the years and the relationships with misbeliefs and misunderstandings.

So this lucid period of self esteem provides a light to my darker corners, a light I hope will burn away the mouldy buildup that drives me back to using. Perhaps the self analysis is the yin to my better shaving yang. They feel like opposites, like one trying to pull down the other, but I think I can integrate them. I hope that growing t oa truer understanding of my self and casting away a media-asnitised image will, in Nietschze's way, reveal teh superman. Only truth can create beauty.

And man is lost if he fails to integrate what he experiences. Lovecraft said 'The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents."

I abrogate my right to call for mercy.