Back in the Saddle (on my usual high horse)

Maybe I’ve waited too long between writings. Thoughts are bits of paper and ash caught up in a maelstrom, a tempest of things I feel like I need to verbalize, if only to relieve the pressure in my head.

“Tame the storm in your head.” Indeed.

I think too many people don’t understand what friendship should be, what love actually means. When a friend tells you that they are about to do or have done something that makes them happy – even if only momentarily – then you should be happy for them, and congratulate and encourage them. If you see dangers, point them out – but only so they are aware of things they might have overlooked in their excitement. Past that – what is it you gain by criticizing their actions, their desires, their hopes and happiness?

Friendship and love are not about you. They aren’t about possession. Sometimes they hurt, but there are better ways to soothe the pain than sharing with and reflecting it onto other people.

This seems a fundamental thing to me, common sense. Clearly, I’m mistaken in that perception.

People are terrified of homosexuality, so they use every tool in their power – even religion, which they all claim is built on a foundation of love – to debase and destroy it. People are terrified of different skin color, so they commit wars and genocides. People are terrified of being alone, or of being someone’s second (or last) choice, or of not being in someone’s favor, and so they lash out and try to share the rejection.

I don’t know. It frustrates me to no end for so many reasons. Maybe because I treat others this way in hopes that they will return the favor. Maybe because I see friends being treated as possessions, as people who haven’t earned respect and trust in their own ability to make decisions. Maybe because the things I see others doing or experiencing are things I would rather avoid in the future, and wishing that at least those I call friends (and that call me the same) could practice this path.

I recognize that you have the right to say whatever you want, no matter how hurtful, ignorant, wrong, despicable, misinformed, or just goddamned stupid it is. You need to recognize that the rest of us have the right to walk away from you, to ignore or dispute anything that comes out of your mouth.

We have the right to free speech, not the right to an audience. Learn the difference.

Related: stop telling me what comes out of my mouth is offensive. I frankly don’t give a plague-infested hate fuck. If you don’t like what I’m saying, stop listening. I won’t bother chasing after you.

This world, this society, this little piece of square footage that we call our own, is completely about us, as individuals. We are what makes the universe worth experiencing, what inspires and sparks and teaches and grows and evolves from one second to the next. Every single one of us important and crucial to the big picture, if only for a split-second – none with value over the others.

The world, this life, is all about you. You’re all you definitely have, the only absolute you can ever be 100% certain of. The only guarantees you have in this world are being born, and dying, and something in-between. Odds are pretty good – but not guaranteed at all – that in-between is going to have pain and loss, smiles and celebration. Each is important, even that which you think is bad or causes you discomfort, because without the darkness, you stop appreciating the light. The measure of your capacity to feel happiness and satiation and love is directly proportional to your experience with sorrow and desire and hate. Embrace them all, because it’s a big chunk of this gift of being human.

Until it’s at the expense of another, especially one you call friend or claim to love or respect. At that point, you’ve lost at least some measure of humanity, and probably deserve whatever karma sends your way.

The beauty of a dream

I’m too old and too pragmatic and too cynical to still think this way.

It’s not as strong as it used to be — doesn’t happen as often, nor as unwaveringly. I see the holes in the thought process more readily, and I don’t fight or deny those holes as blindly.But it’s still there, that part of me… the dreamer.

I still believe in the possibility of comic books and Hollywood endings (and beginnings, and middles). Anything that I can imagine can happen. Anything that anyone can imagine can happen.

Thousands of years ago, was light from a source other than the sun or fire possible? Could you capture images for future viewing? Communicate across distances with a hunk of metal the size of your hand or travel to other planets?

Things man once swore impossible are not.

If reality can destroy the dream, why should not the dream destroy reality?

That’s the beauty of a dream — you don’t ever let it go.

I’m in love with ideas and ideals, with things that no adult believes in, with things that belong on the printed page and in celluloid nights in cinemas.

It can make it rough, being a grown-up while still holding onto childish things,… but it makes it easier, too, getting from one day to the next.

Ouroboros can go eat itself

There is nothing more disheartening to me at this moment in time* than realizing that that thing — that incident, that action, that behavior that has been weighing on you all day, angering, puzzling, bothering you, on too many levels to deal with rationally and properly — is similar if not identical to something you did in the past.

Fuck your context, and mine. Being a hypocrite sucks. Self-awareness doesn’t really balance this one out too well.

* fuck you, semantics Nazis. You’ll not be using this one against me in the future…

Pressure valve

Some days are all fun and giggles in my world. Other days — and this is one, it is probably apparent — not so much. I get caught up in the news: in reading stories about religious extremists killing and torturing in the name of their god, about men abusing women and children and each other, about greed and entitlement and belittling other people because they are different and you’re afraid of that and everything that is wrong in the world. I get caught up in these things like taking a step too far into the flood waters, thinking they’re shallower or less powerful than they are, realizing as I’m suddenly knocked off my feet and being pulled along with no control.

I get angry, and that’s not something I enjoy feeling. My natural instinct, in fact, is to say no one does — what kind of sick person enjoys being angry? Besides political extremists and the talking heads on news channels? And religious people, and people that are passionate about issues, whether cultural or economic or spiritual, whether left or right leaning. Whether right or wrong, by my definition or yours, they get angry, and shout, and write, and take action.

So there’s the positive takeaway, I tell myself. Working for change in the world, to turn the tide from the status quo, to bring awareness. And sometimes it works — my parents were in the generation that fought to get equal rights for black people, that attended rallies led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, and split from their parents and neighbors and refused to give in to the ignorance and intolerance. And my grandparents, they were around for women’s liberation movements, and I’m living in time where sexual orientation is becoming less and less acceptable a reason to deny someone their rights.

But how much has changed? How little? Close friends of mine still think of blacks and browns and yellows as different and inferentially inferior (especially when there’s no one else around). Gays are weird and gross — and from the agnostics and atheists in my circle. The really religious are so much worse. And women still ask for it they way they dress, and who cares if they make less than me for the same job?

Over the years — almost 43 of them, and counting — I’ve tried debating, using solid logic and research and, when appropriate and necessary, impassioned words. It’s a nice thought, that all that talking and discussing leads to change (on either person’s part, to be fair, or perhaps even observers who don’t participate). But realistically — how many minds have I changed over the years? How many minds have I opened? I won’t say none, but the number can’t be much greater than that.

For whatever reason, people are set in their beliefs, even when shown that the foundation of one of those beliefs is patently untrue. Which, you know — fine. Ignorance is bliss, maybe. And what do I care, at the end of the day, if the rest of the world want to believe in something that is demonstrably (even obviously) wrong?

Because, like it or not (and this is one of those days when I don’t so much), I’m stuck living in the same world as them, and more likely than not, these false beliefs shape their actions, and their actions touch me. Sure, I can ignore the entitlement-shaped statements, and the ignorance and fear-fueled idiocy, and the greed-driven hi-jinks, until it turns into a religious nut deciding that I should die because I believe differently, or my financial situation is affected by some out-of-touch CEO’s avarice — because the world owes it to him, by God!

That list almost went on ad nauseum, but it was gonna end on an obvious Justin Beiber joke. Because fuck that guy. With a jackhammer.

Seriously. Jackhammer. Right in the earhole. Or anywhere, really. it’s a jackhammer. No need to be picky about it.

It’s all impotent rage, at the end of the day, which I think is why I choose to ignore it. It’s more fun to be the funny guy, the guy who makes people smile and laugh and forget about their worries, than to be the guy who gets on social media and rails about problems and issues and who shows up in bars making fun of those idiots who have different opinions than his own.

I wonder what it’s like to be ignorant, comfortable accepting the truth of the world around you from talking heads without ever questioning any of it, letting first and easy impressions and assumptions become the fact and foundation of your world.  I really do. Is it easier? Are you happier at the end of the day?

It’s all just ranting on a page. And even with scalded fingers too tired to hold open this valve any longer, I don’t feel at all ventilated.

I blame it all on Bieber fans.

Day… Nine?

Man, it’s a good thing I’ve spent a good chunk of my life working two or three jobs. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be quite so used to not getting enough sleep, and I would likely be looking a lot like the aftermath of the Hindenburg right now.

I may or may not be a little more irritable than usual, and a little more prone to introspection-bordering-on-depression the past few days. I’m also remembering dreams again (if not details, then the fact that I had them) every morning. They’re not particularly weird or vivid, aside from the fact that I’m used to not remembering them at all. The only real noticeable side effect — and it might not even be the Chantix causing this, but any number of other factors — is a lack of quality sleep. I can go to bed at whatever time, in whatever state of exhaustion, and I’m pretty guaranteed for the last three nights to sleep no longer than two hours at a stretch.

I’m on this for three more weeks, max, so I’m not too worried about it. And I’ve not been 36 hours without a cigarette (one in the past 60), so now on top of determination, I’ve got the “Why ruin my progress?” thought going for me.

…and then I saw this today:

... Progress Successfully Saved!

… Progress Successfully Saved!

One day at a time, though.

Day six

And day zero of no smokies. Not so bad.

Chantix isn’t necessarily giving me bad dreams, but something — and I’m looking at you, Chantix — is fucking with my sleep patterns. Enough that I’m remembering my dreams a lot — and thus, how I can confirm my sleep patterns are being fucked.

Not so bad, aside from the tired. Got my vape thing, so when I slip and have that physical reflex, I’m okay.

Think this time it’ll finally stick.

Day One

“Simple lush beauty, melancholic words couched in a perfectly autumnal sunshine. There’s a passage of fire ahead…” – earlier today…

Primarily for my own interests, tracking the latest attempt to quit smoking, via Chantix. It won’t read very interesting, likely. In fact, I may short-hand most of it. Because why not?

Day one, today. Ground zero. One half dose, this morning. No noticeable side effects – perhaps a mild bit of fog/confusion, but it’s tough to separate that from the dehydration-related (? – boy I sure hope that’s right, and I’m not suffering from mini-strokes or scarring from a past embolism) fog I experience after drinking nights. No noticeable results, either, but from my reading yesterday, I’ve got a few days before the levels build up in my bloodstream.

Related: I Had a Stroke at 33

Today being the last day of September, I finally round out a month with 50+ miles of (targeted/dedicated) walking/running (stupid knees) behind me. Trying to decide whether or not I should up that number for the October (even as the timing of walking wil lbecome more challenging, with the weather potentially turning cooler and the amount of available daylight decreasing). Happy enough with 50 miles/month, I will say.

I’m going to begin working on some basic core exercises — nothing hardcore, as I have no interest in spending the time and effort necessary to look like I’m an athletic 20 year old anymore. Just some slightly better me type exercises. With perhaps a hint of narcissism.

I need to get my time more under control, and get back to working on creative things — that novel that’s been burrowing its way out of my head for a year plus, short films, music… Something. And I need to finish that latest King book, at least.

There. All caught up. Nothing else exciting to see here. Move along. I’ve got to go walk.

Addicted to the new

Attention wavers, interest peaks and abates with the speed of a burning fuse.

The follow-up question: is that a terrible thing? Sometimes — that’s an answer, not inaccurate. The inertia of mentioned a few days ago never builds positively. Sometimes not, though — the roller coaster seems to always come back to the really important stuff.

Perhaps I’m willing to give in to this addiction because it — like most other addictions — feels good, but unlike most others, isn’t inherently unhealthy. At least, not that four out of five dentists surveyed have pointed out…

Or maybe I’m just trading in, one addiction for another, one vice to fill the gap another left behind.

I think I’m okay with that. Or at least okay enough for now.

Inertia Creep

I have determination enough to realize that there’s a ton of things that I really want to do: re-record the album’s worth of tunes that I wrote and recorded in my early- to mid-twenties (good songs that I remain proud of, but badly in need of better arrangements and production); finishing the novel that I’ve started twice now; working on a new movie, for which various friends have pitched great ideas on top of my own.

That’s about where my determination stops. Or maybe where my distractability takes over, because look! Squirrel! (More accurately, in my case, it’s look! Vodka! or Music! or … well, okay. Squirrel!!!)

I suppose at some point, discipline will be learned, or another lifetime of potential will have been wasted. Seems to be a recurring theme in my life, that either/or thing (guess which one usually wins, at least historically…).

There is no cure for willful stupidity, nor for willful laziness.

Appropos of no one in particular, but everyone, too

 

 

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It’s amazing to me, the number of otherwise seemingly intelligent friends that I have in my life that not only believe things that are proven to be untrue (as well as the more-than-occasional not-proven-but-c’monfuckingseriouslyyoustillthinkthat concept), but encourage others to do the same.

Here’s one important link, since waaay too many of you seem to be to lazy or incapable of doing some simple basic research instead of simply believing whatever you’re told: Snopes.

I’m not saying that whatever source you’re getting your information from is always wrong – but only because I don’t know what your source is, and a broken clock is still right twice a day. I am, however, saying that you clearly never learned to think critically, or possibly at all.

And while we’re on the subject, did you know that people that give me half of their income every week live an average of five years longer, and are demonstrably happier? It’s true. Saw it on Fox News.