Sunday, December 29, 2013


If the Ghost of Christmas Past rattled his chains the way I can't help but get my groove on when this song comes on I would sign him up as percussion in my band in a heart beat.  Who needs a tambourine or maracas with that gloomy Gus keeping time rattling his bones?  Seriously though, my mind has been on the limitations and restrictions we place on ourselves, for positive and negative reasons.  Self-restraint is a useful skill that seems under-applied and there's a lot of rhetoric and BS dedicated to justifying the lack of good judgement and self-control being exercised (and promoted).  It's profitable and to say that people are brainwashed isn't an exaggeration, but when you couple mental conditioning with ambivalence and apathy you get a perpetual status quo that occasionally makes adjustments for sake or remaining ubiquitous.  Maybe that's why the passage of time sometimes seems non-existent?  The output of product continues but for certain strata of society it has no impact on their impact on their lives.  When industrialization reaches as far as it can possibly be sustained and every nation on earth advances technologically to the point where the only thing keeping them from a modernized existence is international trade relations what will be the status quo?  What will the standard of living for the majority of the world look like?  What will the typical attitude on life be?  Will people be nostalgic for the varied social strata of the past, with cultures defined by the poverty/ or isolation they emerged from?  What ideas will be bound to?  What will anchor our thinking?  What will we be chained to?  At some point will the focus return to things other than the material world, it seems that's the only thing a person can truly be chained to?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

We only notice light when darkness crashes against it.

I happened upon Sleeping At Last about 10 or so years ago.  It's primarily the work of Ryan O'neal, and as their music grew more serene and sophisticated it leapt ahead of my own emotional development, and I have only recently found the sort of peace and reflective state of mind to digest it in what feels like the proper state of mind.  At this stage of my life, the project they've undertaken, christened Atlas, fits the way of consume music and life, in broad philosophical strokes that aim to encompass the whole of life, the grandeur and minutia, everything that gives it meaning.  The first installment of the series of EPs is Darkness, and the song Woodwork (link goes to the lyrics) is the tune that grabbed my attention and captivated me.  The emotional timbre of this song suits my baseline mood these days, especially given the state of transition that seems an eternal constant. In light of the passing of a former coworker of mine this week, a particularly warm and welcoming soul who lit up a room with her smile, and calmed the tears of many a child with her empathetic manner, this song grows ever more poignant.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ain't It A Shame

When I first heard this on She Who Dwells... I was taken by it. I didn't know it was a B-52s cover.  I just knew it was a great song.  Sinead's voice is incredible and when I heard the original, it was great, and the track is pretty similar, with the Sinead cover being a little more aggressive/ rock.  But her vocal just shines above all else.  Truly an Angelic voice if ever there was one. She's quite the person. Righteous indignation fuels her fires.

Rainy Day Music for the Can't Get Off the Couch Blues.

Ryan Adams, Follow The Lights EP is where it's at, particularly If I Am A Stranger, the slow version, and Dear John.  Love Is Hell is a gem for this kind of day too.

Silence and the rain in the downspout is music enough for me though, percussion mainly.

Monday, September 16, 2013

All My Friends - [Explicit Lyrics - NSFW]

I saw Land of Talk open for Broken Social Scene back in fall 1998. I was transfixed and obsessed with them from that moment forward.  Their sense of rhythm and melody, Elizabeth Powell's beautiful yet broken voice, and the emotional transparency of the music just overwhelmed me.  They songs had me in a rapture and I couldn't go to sleep without finding their music.  If I was smart I would have asked if they had their cd at the merch booth, but since I didn't even know the band's name, I went home and looked up the bill for the show, rather than ask a human amongst the sea of people there at the venue.

I found every song from the EP they'd release the year prior on blogs, with the exception of a couple, which I could only find live versions of.  All My Friends was one of the ones I couldn't find, it was also the one song I couldn't get enough of.  It had possession of me, F*bomb in the chorus and all.  I was conflicted about wanting to play the song all the time, because the inclusion of the swear word may have been artistically sincere when they wrote it, it's still profane, and I believe in being respectful and appropriate.  It's not something I want little kids singing along to, and in general, I have spent the majority of my life with little kids within earshot, and I treasure their innocence, largely because mine was spoiled, and I know what I missed.

The song, much like the moment in my life when I first heard it, put me in the mind of what it's like to be in college, aloof, held up by the support of the rogues gallery of friends and acquaintances you accumulate from one semester to the next.  Bad decisions and influences make the rounds, and codependency grows like weeds.  It's a circle game, and I did my best not to get too caught up in it, but once people catch feelings and start coupling off, the pull strengthens and you're bound to go down if you're hand in hand with someone.  Make of it what you will.  One things for certain, when you have good company, the energy of nosedive sometimes feels like a carnival ride, and this song represents that.  It makes you want to accelerate even though it's telling you to drive careful.  With friends like these...  In the end it falls on you to make the right choices.  Friends are great for support, but life is sand in the hour glass.  The only thing that can support that sand is the enclosure, and we all know that glass is fragile, as is friendship.  It's not for the careless.

"F***ing around, pretending there's a problem. Figure it out."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Free You Mind and... Pardon Their French [NSFW]

Freedom is free of the need to be free.

Taken that way freedom is acceptance.

Strength. Serenity. Wisdom.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


In trying or turbulent times an anthem goes a long way.  Some people seek uplift, some seek solace, others seek solidarity.  This is a song of solidarity.  Jars of Clay emerged on the national scene with Flood, and this song invokes the water metaphor again, but the context of the life of Dan Haseltine during the songs genesis paralleled the struggles of my life in late 2007 not too long after it came out.  Life is pain vs. Life if a blessing.  I'll take the latter, and take the prior to mean that living life in this world as humanity has known it can be a struggle.  Effort is required.  It is as it was.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Sophomore year of college I experienced this song.  I was taken off guard by it, because my initial exposure to Goodie Mob as a full collective was Cell Therapy.  The latter spoke to the kid raised on Public Enemy, N.W.A., KRS - One, X-Clan, who entered manhood with Masta Ace, Souls of Mischief and Outkast blazing a new trail.  I don't return to it like I did then, partially because the reality of death has firmly cemented itself as a part of my reality, whereas at that time each loss was a soul jarring trauma I had no experience digesting.  The shell shock of international terrorism hadn't hit home, figuratively and literally.  I was just a young idealist with zeal and no direction.  Now, I'm grown, and aging, and the world has rushed into our insular worlds demanding our attention while we ignore it like a child who demands attention but has tested our patience to its limits.  Freedom isn't free.

What You Gonna Do?

I've been blessed/ fortunate in my life for a long time running, and yet I am always a paycheck from utter chaos and with that said, sometimes I have to scramble to get things in order.  There are so many doing so much worse.  This song is as low down and heavy as anything I have ever listened to, but as soulful and funky as I could ever ask for.  That's dUg Pinnick for you.  Needless to say, it pays to keep things in perspective, keep it real and what not.  I Love this Song, and like most of dUg's work, it means something on an intrinsic emotional level.  Count your blessings people.  Nothing's promised.  The serenity prayer is the answer to the question.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Down With The King ( Abortion and Altruism )

A discussion on Abortion prompted the following reflection, but first, I need to explain the title.  This song, it's a pretty blatant declaration of my allegiance, in a spiritual and philosophical sense.  And in this case, quite literally, I'm siding the with the King.  But more than that, this song, it's release was the moment of my adolescence where things I'd identified with, Hip Hop, and God, intermingled in a way that was generally accepted as positive.  Run-DMC, the group that broke down barriers between genres not long after it seemed there was no traversing them, was heralding a return to prominence after they'd "fallen-off" as an old school act that was irrelevant.  They were pairing up with one of the first successful yet seemingly down to earth rappers, Pete Rock and C. L. Smooth.  They had at hit in T.R.O.Y. but they weren't household names.  C. L. Smooth was  MC's MC, and Pete Rock was a go to producer at the time, but ultimately, they made music for Hip Hop heads and your parents and little kids weren't going to know who they were.  Down With The King was an elevation for them, a validation of our generation's talent and relevance in the grand scheme of Hip Hop culture at that moment.  The fact that Run DMC took the opportunity to invoke their inclusion of faith into the band identity was the sort of unprecedented coup no one could have seen coming, and they did it in the slickest way possible, by sampling themselves they used the titular phrase as a double entendre, referencing their role in the history of Hip Hop music and their religious affiliation, pretty much a taboo at that time. Ironically  Down With The King reestablished them to their ascendant role in Hip Hop from years gone by.  It was the first Jesus Walk (albeit Kanye, by way of Rhymefest's lyrics, was more direct in how it addressed the topic of faith whereas Run-DMC hit you self-referential lyrics).  That brings a whole new meaning to Watch The Throne.

As for Abortion, and all matters of life and death, and humane, righteous, or wise judgement, I am going to go deep off into Metaphysical Spiritual La la Land, and I'm cool with it, because, the ends justify the means.

About 10 years back I had dream I was in a class taught by a professor in our Comm department at Truman who was also a provocateur of many a heated conversation about the salience of many religious claims to supernatural feats.

Well like all dreams about being in class, I wasn't prepared, hadn't done the reading. He asked us to turn to Kings 3:10 and that we'd learn how to be wise or something to that affect. The class went on sans the usual pop quiz you know you're going to fail and I woke up determined to find out what was in Kings 3:10

I wasn't raised in the church, we stopped going around the time I was in Kindergarten, and after that I only went of my own volition to random churches close to where I lived for the occasional Bible study to hang with kids I knew. I'd read some of the New Testament, but never made it much past the Gospels, and never made it out of Genesis in the Old Testament. The closest I came to reading Kings was listening to the band King's X. I'd never studied it, didn't know much about what the book of Kings covered, it's significance etc. Don't recall any lessons out of it.

So I went and looked up this lauded scripture that I'd just been introduced to in this vivid dream.

"10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this."

Useless right? That's what I thought, then I decided to get context...

"1 Kings 3
New International Version (NIV)

3 Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem. 2 The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the Lord. 3 Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.

4 The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

7 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” 15 Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream.

He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.

A Wise Ruling

16 Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. 18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.

19 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. 20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. 21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”

22 The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.”

But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king.

23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’”

24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”

26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”

But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”

27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”

28 When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice."

So, I was taken aback. My Professor and dream delivered on what was promised, Wisdom. In this case, it gave me a means to judge good and evil in even the most arbitrary situations by that story of the mothers and the child:

If someone has good will & love in their heart they will be willing to give up the thing they love most if it means that thing will live on.

If someone has ill will & spite in their heart they would rather see something destroyed than see someone else possess it to be vindicated.

For me those two extremes became the typification of Love and Hate, Good and Evil, Conservation and Wastefulness, as far as human interactions.

It once and for all helped me clarify my attitude on Abortion to a decidedly pro-life stance, and it also served as an indictment of so many of the partisan politicians at each other's throats.

That story, that one facet of wisdom, even Solomon's whole-hearted pursuit of wisdom, to me, was a benchmark of being Humane, empathetic and loving. It made it easier to judge this world.

It informs my attitude of everything, from Nuclear armaments to the environment, from abortion to the spread of communicable disease.

It's like the Hippocratic Oath, "First, Do no harm." 

You can explain away the genesis of my dream, but what I garnered from it has served to make me a better moral human being, and hopefully allowed me to share that with others in a positive way.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

There was a guy I used to know, that planted a seed he couldn't grow.

It's been 15 years since I came across a listing in the distributor's new release newsletter for Chocolate Genius's Black Music on V2 records.  It was the first i'd heard of V2 or Marc Anthony Thompson.  I was sold on the album by the mention of Melvin Gibbs, John Medeski, Chris Wood, and Abe Laboriel Sr. who'd all gotten credits on other records I'd been listening to.

When I sat down with the album, upon hearing this song (Life is the actual title of the track linked in the title above) as the opening track, I was a happy man.  Around that time I was off on a big kick, transitioning my tastes from Hip Hop and Alternative to Singers and Songwriters.  Chocolate Genius was one of the first unknown or obscure artists I championed.  The raw emotional content of his songs were so real, it passed indie muster, but the quality of the music was so rich, courtesy of Craig Street, who I'd eventually learn to trust as an arbiter of all things tasteful.

At that time, the only other record I would promote as vocally as Black Music was Grace.  I'm nowhere near as vocal about either at this point, but their influence informed my taste, and my songwriting at its core.  I would not have been as keen to take an interest in Andrew Bird, Chris Whitley, Joe Henry, and other artists (used in the most literal sense of the term) sans exposure to Chocolate Genius.  Many of my friends were into Tom Waits at that time, which seemed the best litmus test for liking Chocolate Genius, but I was not keen on balladeers, so I only dug 50% of Waits material.  Chocolate Genius tapped into a soulful tradition, closer to the Isley Brothers or Bobby Womack when he slowed things down, making his melancholy and longing more palatable for my tastes.  Thanks to this, I developed and affinity for artists who  have carved out paths as songwriters that serve the craft of writing more so than their book keeping.

This song still strikes a chord, more so now that I'm closer to, if not older than Marc Anthony Thompson when it was released.  You are what you eat.  All things considered, I thought of this as a rewrite of People Are Strange, given it's jazzy melody, but it stands on its own apart from that gem of a track by the Doors.  It's aged well. Fifteen years ago it marked a pivotal moment in my time in College, in Kirksville in particular.  That summer would set me on the path that shaped the next 10 years of my life.  Now, Five years on from the end of that personal  journey, I'm going through an interesting transition on my professional journey.  It's high time I worked on my gardening skills.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Straight From The Sewer

I still love that song, and Ironically...

I've been getting closer and closer to recording some straight up funky, hip hop influenced instrumentals as of late, and it's coinciding with a series of unfortunate aromas emanating from my basement in staggered succession.  First was the Deflated Maus, pun intended.  I never figured out where the poor critter had stowed itself away, but there it remained until he was effectively dehydrated.  Credit to Double JJ of KC who hipped me to just letting nature run its course and masking it with deodorizers.  That method worked.  Now I'm confronted with recurrence of the backup that occurred in August 2010.  Maybe a Roots song should be the link instead of Das EFX, cause the roots in my lateral are no doubt the source of my problem.  My main drain has had its flow reduced to a gallon or two of water etc. before backing up.  NOT GOOD.  I caught it happening before it was excessive and got past the unfinished laundry room area.  But still, to have to deal with this again, ugh.  Headache.  And WALLET ACHE.  Anyways.  Congrats, Sticky Gumball Tree, You got me.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

KC Jones (Please don't try and correct me, I know what I'm doing here)

So this week traveling has been cursed for me.

Prologue: My calf started to hurt a little, felt like an issue with tendons, but I wasn't sure, hoped it would go away.

1. Car breaks down.

2. Fixed up my bike, but when breaking it down to be moved with the car when I got it towed home, it gets further jacked up, and time is lost readjusting the brakes and wheel alignment.

3. Repair car after a couple of attempts but sprain my Achilles at work the following morning right off the bat and have to file a workman's comp claim.

4. I plan a trip Kansas City to see Ben Kenney and visit friends, initially planning on driving before my car problems.  Not trusting my car, and looking to keep costs down in case I have to get some major work done on it (my plates are up this month and I need to get it inspected) I choose public transportation. Greyhound and Megabus jack their prices sky high, so I book Amtrak roundtrip to KC, relying on Lisa to come rock out with me and drive us from KC to Lawrence and back cause that's where the show is.

5. I plan to leave my car and catch the Metro Bus, to the Metro Train which puts you right off at Amtrak, but I realize this morning at 5am I don't have enough ones and the bus takes exact amounts only.  I go to walgreens and double back home, realizing I am not going to be able to walk to the bus stop in time.

6. I figure I will try leaving my car at Airport parking and catch the train from there, but I didn't know if they allow that with security, so in a pinch I called my Uncle Colin who picks me up after getting a little turned around, and as we pull into the north hanley metro link station the train is pulling off.  I figure I will just drive to amtrak ASAP and leave my car there.

7. On the ride home I look at my ticket and realize departure is at 9:15 and I thought it was at 9am the next metro train would have gave me 15 minutes to get on the Amtrak, so I might have made it. Too late now.

8. I get home, get in my car and hit the highway only to find 170 south shifted from 4 lanes to 1 lane at St. Charles Rock Road.  I exit and make a U-turn when I see the jam is only at the overpass and get back on the highway on the other side of the ramp and dodge that bullet after losing a few minutes.

9. I get on 64/40 East and the exit to the Amtrak Station is closed so I have to get off on Grand.  I get a little turned around so I turn on the GPS, and it gives me ok directions to get back on 64E but it tells me to make a left on 14th while on the highway, instead of taking the exit and then making a left, so I get confused and end up taking the last Missouri ext, then Choteau to Tucker, Tucker to Clark??? I forget, but I get close to the Amtrak station but the roads are blocked because The Race For the Cure is today.  I have to wait on that.

10. I get there and look for the long term parking but only see short term and some kind of kiosk. I say screw it, lock and alarm my car and go into the station. I ask an older man if they called for the KC train and he says he didn't hear it.  I go to the ticketing counter and the station agent says it's getting ready to pull off now.  I walk, then run to the hall that leads to the escalators that lead to the catwalk, that leads to the trains about 100 years away, but is actually 400 yard away because of that erector set style path they make you go through.  Before I can get through the partition they have for the lines, I see the train starting to pull forward. I missed it too.

11. My ankle started throbbing, my knee was feeling weird.

Epilogue: The ride home was entirely unencumbered, a couple of red lights, but absolutely not traffic.  Maybe it's better that I be in town to spend Father's day with my dad, and visit with the family of the closest I had to a brother coming up as a child.  Ben Kenney just needs to bring his bad self to St. Louis on tour dagnabit!


Casey Jones is the only Dead song I every really took to right off the bat, and still think it's their best.  The fact that it's based on something that happened just across the river from here plays into the whole pathetic affair that was me getting around this week like a stroke of cosmic karmic genius.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood.

Lord knows that's been what I've been thinking, now, and probably most every day for the last nearly seven years.  When you spend a good share of your day with people you don't really know, who really don't know you, but you can potentially have meaningful communication with, your reputation is all you have.  Everything is impression management.  The careless suffer.  There's not much room for nuance or sophistication.

Anyone who really knows me, knows there's a lot going on in this mind of mine, but seldom does it amount to anything other than meandering rambles.  They know that when it comes to things I Want to do, I simply pursue them.  If it takes me a long time to make up my mind and get off the fence, then I already know that my desire is less than my apprehension about the risks that come with said pursuit.  I try and go with my best judgement without being judgmental.

It's strange because I often find myself trying to protect people from protecting my feelings.  I'm hyper aware of my flaws and shortcomings.  Thanks to my experiences in school, where cruel insults and belittlement was the past-time, I can point out other people's flaws as well, but that's petty.  The thing is, in my mind, any confidence I may present that to others seems out of place is simply my way of acknowledging that I know we are all masking/ hiding/ overcoming insecurities of one sort or another.  In a world without deception, or dishonesty, a world of full disclosure, would things be healthier?

In seven years here's what I've learned about communication in my current situation:

What seems most obvious is usually the truth, and sad as it is, the cynical viewpoint, though it may close the door on what seems like potentially positive social relationships, is going to serve my best interest and emotional well-being the most.  When you set yourself apart with your actions or inaction, you alienate yourself from those who chose other ways to live.  That compounds any aesthetic or cultural incongruity involved.  If people really want to relate to you, they will.  If they don't relate to you, then leave it alone.  If you can't be yourself with the people you're with, and can't justify changing to fit in (cause let's be honest, sometimes the problem is internal), then you're not with the right people.

If you can't agree on the terms of a deal, there's no deal.  Every social relationship is a deal/ exchange, because communication is an exchange of information and meaning.  If I keep failing to communicate, and have a hard time understanding what's being communicated to me, so much so that I have to step on toes... well, I have big feet, and I don't want to be known as the guy who always steps on peoples' toes.  I put people on edge enough as it is.  I'd rather just leave well enough alone and find somewhere with people it's easier to communicate with or less necessary to do so on the level at which I have to where I am.

At some point I've just grown wary of people being so delicate to each other face to face, but callous and caustic behind each others backs.  If there's an elephant in the room, I want to talk about it, give it a peanut, a magic feather, let it take wing and fly free.  If I'm not the only one who feels that way, no one is comfortable telling me.  That's how I know I'm in the wrong place given what I value and my convictions.  I'm in so many wrong places...

So, maybe I should have been praying this refrain day in and day out all this time?  But then, I should know by now that people believe what they want to, filter out what doesn't coalesce with their disposition.  I was educated to be objective and question my perceptions and biases, and even when I fail to do that, it's in my head, so much so that I tell myself "You are failing to see the whole picture, be very careful."  That is another red flag that denotes excessive emotional entanglement and feedback interfering with effective communication.  It's like living under a threat level.  That's not what I signed up for, not what any of us signed up for.

All of this has me looking back at definitions of passive-aggressive behavioral tendencies, to see if I have fallen into them, or am being felled by them.  The answer is yes.  This seems to be the normative behavior in the environments where I find myself uncomfortable, and I'm uncomfortable with that too.  I know who and what I want to be to other people, and alienated, detached, disingenuous, and passive-aggressive are not on the list, but all seem to be traits that are all too common.  I'm going to just go with a strong dose of detached for the foreseeable future and pray to God that it's enough.  Let go and Let God right?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

You Can Do What You Want To Whenever You Want To.

The blessing and curse of solitude is that you can make your own decisions about how you spend your time, so long as you don't require the presence of anyone else.  Eat when you want, sleep when you want, read, write, dance, play, cry, pray, all at your own leisure, until your body relents.  It's a bit of a trap because once you get a taste of peaceful solace, the pitfalls of coexistence become magnified.  That's not to say that the perks of coexistence don't stand out when you find yourself alone when you would rather have company or support, it does happen from time to time.  You can do bad by yourself, but why do bad when you can do better?  That's the challenge.

Left to your own devices, maybe it's easier to see when you're being your own worst enemy, or maybe it's easier to delude yourself into thinking you're serving your own best interest?  This is why a Healthy Perspective is a Godsend.  We're lost without it, and seldom do we find it all by our lonesome.  Thank the Lord for the written word.  Ideas, transcribed, and clearly communicated, can open our eyes to certain truths we'd otherwise deny.  But, who says you have to do anything if there's only you to answer to?  It's a mixed blessing at best, a combination of liberation and condemnation, sort of like the song quoted (and linked) in the title above: equal parts content and defeated. Some ask, "What's the point in living if all you are doing is expediting your death?"  That's a good question.  Irreconcilable schisms invoke Nihilism, which usually precedes self-negation.  It's the people who love you, and love having you in their life that can make the difference, otherwise...

"You can do what you want to,
whenever you want to,
though it doesn't mean a thing,
Big nothing."

~ Elliott Smith

Saturday, May 18, 2013

If I Told You A Secret, You Won't Tell A Soul, Will You Hold It and Keep It Alive?

I've had a lot on my mind for what seems like a lifetime.  I've been harboring guilt and shame for things I did when I was 4 years old for the last 33 years, on top of every sinful thought and deed that's followed.  Then on top of my own immorality rests the transgressions of others that I have been witness to, and not confronted or exposed.  We truly are born into sin if you look at your existence as a collective experience inclusive of all that you take in vicariously through the actions and feelings of others around you.

I picked this song, Travis's Love Will Come Through, simply because I am at a loss for songs as of late, my literary mood has been elusive.  Much like with my conscience, I can turn off my internal monologue and give "having perspective" a rest and just live moment to moment.  It seems like a shortcut to escapism in a way.  Well, I've decided to just embrace that inner monologue, and embrace my conscience.  I had a dream last night that egged me on.

I was in some sort of situation where some strangers were asking something of me.  I felt put out and alienated by whatever they asked, and maybe I snapped a little?  One of these strangers transformed before my eyes, and admonished me for displaying a temper.  The person became bird-like somehow to my eyes, but in some ways still human.  It was a dream, and I could visually represent it with an illustration perhaps?  The power of this entity's voice and tone conveyed an otherworldly authority.  I woke up thinking about whether I do have a temper problem, and how that will be judged in the eyes of Righteousness.

I'd like to think I have a decent amount of control over my emotions.  I always felt I'd come a long way since my early childhood where I would "go crazy" when upset, or my adolescence when I would punch holes in the drywall.  But yeah, I am still an emotional person who's developed a lot of healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms to prevent the unflattering emotional outbursts of my youth.  Part of my problem may have been my active disassociation from my childhood and adolescence once I was able to literally escape it by relocating for college and severing most of those ties, or re-establishing them on adult terms.   I may have thought I got over being angry and holding grudges, but I still have a bent for resentment that I wrestle with.  I want to think I'll come out on the better side of that struggle more often that not.

With age and experience people get set in their ways, or so I've been warned.  That flies in the face of the saying "learning is a life-long process." Whoever said that learning has to result in the application of that knowledge? I say this all the time, but it never fails to be true, "Just because you know better doesn't mean you'll do better."  Knowing Better and Doing Better are related ideas, but that doesn't mean the prior will result in the latter.  All that said, I'm reminded of a principle I was introduced to from a radio sermon that I used to offer as perspective to friends and strangers alike, "Love without honesty is cruelty. Honestly without love is brutality."

Anyway if we must err in this life, I hope we err on the side of True (Honest) Love.  I hope I can, and do.  Sometimes I wonder.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mouthful of Cavities

There are days like these, where life's interactions leave me feeling the same way I've felt the last few times I've gone to the dentist, dating back to 1998.  It's that feeling of learning that a part of you hasn't held up and needs to be salvaged or extricated or it will only cause you pain.  The reality of your fragility, the vulnerability that comes with being human can be unsettling.  But it's reality, and there's something to be said for living with  reality in mind.  The pragmatist would say to focus on what's possible, what's realistic, what's attainable, and learn to appreciate it and you will be a happier person for it.  The problem with people is that they aren't rational all the time.  We give our selves fits and make our selves sick negotiating the knotted emotions we get wrapped up in.

Eventually reality reigns supreme, and  that emotional bubble gets burst by the spike that's been looming in the periphery all along.  It's a sudden, steep descent, and it leaves you feeling all out of sorts.  Other times it's like a spoonful of the worst tasting medicine being lifted to your mouth slowly when you're already nauseated and on the verge of being physically ill.  You wont get better if you don't take the dose, and doing so may turn your stomach and make you feel even sicker.  Or maybe it's like that sharp pain of the injection going into your gum-line that numbs you before the dentist engages his drill to fill a cavity?  Either way, what at one point is a fullness of feeling is vacated, and the emptiness in its wake leaves you feeling bewildered, wondering, "What is this? What just happened?"

Friday, May 3, 2013

I Remember

If I can trust my recollection, with this song Rene' Spencer Saller exposed me to the best sounding rock I'd heard from a quasi-local band.  I heard it and wished it was the new Pearl Jam song I vaguely recall the DJ saying they were going to play, but I don't think it was.  Maybe, it's just the slower tempo of the bridge that makes me thing of one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs, Light Years?  I do recall that the first time I heard Light Years, it was on David Letterman, and it renewed my faith in them, maybe even elevated it. Having seen the linked video of PJ dedicating Light Years to a departed friend just made the sentiment of the song, or this moment, strike a deeper nerve, and say more about the emotion inspiring this blog than I could have ever hoped to.

In short, remembering someone, in thought, and action, and honoring that memory seems to be the essence of what it means to Love them. Remembering their favorite things, remembering their stories, remembering to call and check in on them, remembering dates important to them.  They become unforgettable to you.  Their impact on your life becomes indelible.  The weight of having lost a loved one is their memory gaining a gravity you can only measure once their presence is gone physically.  The space they took up in your life and imagination becomes all too real as just that, space.  People live on as recollections, as ideas.  That was the notion I was sharing with one of my coworkers who is kind enough to discuss such personal matters with me candidly.  Much like the songs I've linked, memory can be an invigorating jolt, or a serene night listening to the rain make its way from heaven to earth.

For me, I realize I must have forgotten how to desire acceptance and love as a child does.  I can thank my Great Nieces and Nephews for reminding me of what that feels like, what it means to our hearts.  They catalyzed a change in me.  It's been a process, but I recognize that feeling.  A family member said, "He'd make a good father." not long ago in my regard.  It was a high compliment, but also highlighted the reality that I'm not a father.  I remember talking with my mother a year or so prior, lamenting on my solitary state of being, not having a family (other than the one I was born into) or children, nor pursuing either because of my own self-absorbed preoccupations & interests.  She pointed out the very same Great Nieces and Nephews as my children in spirit, as my family, in that I can be a Father-like figure to them, even though I'm their Great Uncle.  It was humbling, because it highlighted the responsibility and commitment I was avoiding in my life. I had no desire to live with the ramifications of someone else's personal choices.  I was subject to them so long in life that I developed a perhaps unhealthy apprehension for co-dependence on any level.

But who wants to be truly alone, with no one to reach out to, no one to share the beauty of life with?  Who wants to live a life without someone they want to honor, to make joyful with their accomplishments and expressions of affection and appreciation?  It took being a part of the formative years of young lives to remind me that the answer to those questions was not Willie Edward Smith Junior.  It took embracing the memory of my own formative years, happy and sad, after the loss of another soul who took part in defining them to bring me back around.  Sometimes remembering is the only way to come back to feeling, to being human.  It can be emotional, but it's what we are.  I have grown to cherish every opportunity I have to share these recollections of experiences and emotions from my own growth, and the growth of the children I have played a small part in raising.  The people who have been generous with their time, their thoughts, and their own recollections have taken up real estate in my heart because it's allowed me to remember what love is and how essential it is to our beings.  It's an incredible thing, like swallowing the warming light of the sun and shining it on someone.  I see why we try and pretend it doesn't exist when it's not present in our lives, or the situations we wish it would permeate.  It's not something you soon forget.

Monday, April 29, 2013


This song came into my life 15 years ago, after a brutal summer of transition and revelation.  My world was in upheaval, and this song seemed to capture that experience, it's energy.  It was like a wrecking ball swinging through my reality, which was surreal enough as it is.  Looking back on the last school year, since my life is still organized around the school year calender after all this time, this year has been a trip.  When I think of all that's happened in the span of the last 12 months, it's actually rather dark, but when has life not been defined by contrasts?  Contrast is a constant in my world.

In 1998 a series of dreams heralded in the changes in my mind, and my life.  One came to fruition word for word.  Then  what will be 10 years ago a dream came to fruition in actions, not words, and changed the course of two lives, on of which being mine.  I can't really recall any dreams this year.  It was last year's dream, roughly a year ago this time, that radically altered my course, and undermined my perception of things around me.  It wasn't long before things started to get strange, old threads were woven back into my story, if only to prove they had no place in it as they were, and others were severed after years passing sans a connection.

Though it can be overwhelming, I am blessed and grateful for this life I have, even when I don't know where it's heading, if anywhere other than a constant loop.  I've found some measure of ease and that may be the closest thing I could possibly hope for at this stage in my life's story.  I know, when I heard this song back then, the idea of it playing as the world fell apart seemed like an appropriate visualization for the music.  In these imaginings I always saw myself making it out of the chaos.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Drink The Water

The sweetest siren songs draw you down to drown in a daze, hypnotized and mesmerized swooning in the rapture, an enamored ember adrift amid the glow of a flame long contained allowed to finally blaze.

Life isn't so complicated that it can't be figured out,  Neither are people.  That's why we lie, that's why we keep secrets, that's why we change things.  To keep the illusion of complication alive when faced with being exposed, made vulnerable, found out.

I fall apart at the sound of words I could write with ease, spoken aloud.  Their weight takes on a life I couldn't fathom because I am so unaccustomed to being an audience, directly or indirectly.  I used to want to  know every nuance of my environs, the circles I ran in. Somewhere down the line, I changed.  Maybe when I got used to no one caring about my life, my circumstances, I let myself do likewise.  There are times when you feel you are simply feeding people ammunition.  This is especially the case when you start to hear what people have to say about each other, but not to each other.  Being in the midst of that kind of talk is curious at first, but there comes a time when you just don't want to know some things.  I've gotten particular good with intentionally not knowing, ignoring, or blocking out.

When I am actually asked to recall something, then I'll hold myself to retaining it.  Otherwise, any strong desires I have to know what has or will come to pass convicts my heart.   For that reasons I have restrictions I place upon myself, to prevent me from doing myself harm by getting crossed up emotionally.  I don't have room to be smitten and  entranced by unrequited daliance.  Sometimes you just want to catch feelings at the right time, for the right person, but all you find yourself doing is catching feelings whenever they seem to be communicable.   Being Lovesick isn't the same as being In Love, but it can break your heart in it's own minor way when it keeps you from falling in love.  That's what happens when you emotionally invest in hopes that don't materialize, or dreams you don't have the confidence to pursue. We all have a reasons for doing and not doing, and I know that for me, I have to foster a deep emotional attachment before I can even entertain broaching the high level of social and emotional jeopardy that comes with sharing my affection and a passion for someone and their company.  It gives me time to check myself, and them out.  I have to do it because I'm drawn to emotional vulnerability, which means I'm predisposed to codependency, and that's self destructive.

There comes a time when you realize that all you want is to know you are loved, and be free to feel and express your love of someone else to them.  I'm not free, and it's a two-fold problem.  Part of me sees freedom in detachment and not caring, because I am drawn towards emotional volatility, and situations where I have no advantages or limited leverage.  Part of me misses having my life simplified by knowing love and sharing it, so that my focus is clear and defined. 

I find myself hearing this song, Drink the Water, literally, and metaphorically.  That I should be the Pisces I am and heed the call, go with the flow, be drawn into the currents of my emotions, where ever they lead.  But what good is that if they lead you to your undoing?  That's the curse of the Siren's song.  What if she isn't even singing to you, you just happen to catch her humming, steal a glimpse at her beauty, and find yourself lovestruck?  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Love, Love, Love (and Marriage Equality)

Eros, Philios, and Agape. Those are the 3 kinds of love I learned about years back, Erotic aka Sensual, Brotherly, and Altruistic aka Idealistic Love.  Ideally a person has boundaries for people, so that Lovers get Eros, Friends and Family get Philios, and Intangibles get Agape.

When the subject of Engendering & Orientation come up I look back to the three kinds of love I mention, and I think, I love people of both genders, but have only felt Eros towards women.  It's not how I was raised, it's how I'm wired.  So are we arguing about Love or coupling?  Definitely coupling.  So my attempt to lean on the idealistic definition of Love is useless.  This is a visceral dialectic, not a metaphysical one.

So, since I spent all those thousands of dollars I didn't have studying Anthropology, we can look at the biological argument in regards to sexuality and coupling.  I'm going to dumb it down to basic Darwin: Survival of the fittest.  Adaptation that promotes survival is ideal.  What it takes to survive gets odd at times, but ultimately proliferation of the species is a prerequisite.  By most accounts homosexuality is a mutation of sorts, one that ultimately negates the urge to proliferate one's DNA.  Oddly enough, though it doesn't prosper the individual, some argue that in nature it prospers the species by slowing overpopulation.  That's the utilitarian take on it.

If Gallup's numbers are correct with 3.4% of the US population being something other than Heterosexual* then the Utilitarian take on evolutionary adaptation across the human genome seems a little presumptuous.  That number, though very real, is also within the margin of error statistically.  What does that mean?  Well, given the credence we give "facts" based on analytic interpretation, would it be fair to call this population a persistent genetic neurological anomaly?  How would it go over if a person identifying as Homosexual was classified as mentally handicapped?  It's those kind of notions that beget the Eugenics of old.  It's a dark path to the past, and with the potential onset of genetically modifying offspring, the future.  Regardless, Anthropology and Darwin render Homosexuality an evolutionary dead end, biologically.

If we deign Homosexuality an act of Free Will, and not the result of Biological Determination, the argument for equality takes on a more libertarian slant.  That seems the best path towards litigating the issue honestly.  Then the question becomes, how much freedom, and of what sort, are the people of this nation willing to accept at this point in our history?  If we are to judge by the democratic process of most of the states of the union, not a lot.  If we are to judge by the strength of advocacy receiving coverage, all but a few.  The reality is, in the marketplace of ideas, numbers don't matter as much as volume.  Those who shout the loudest, enunciate clearly, repeatedly, for the longest period of time, will be heard over the opposition if they are not equaled in those qualities.

If the argument is for equal rights for all people, then the laws as they are, are biased.  If this nation is still a proponent of majority rule, then the move to overturn laws restricting marriage to Heterosexuals through litigation instead of popular vote, is biased.  The history of the United States tends to put the government at odds with the electorate on these sorts of issues, because there are contrary ideas of what/ which Moral Authority is preeminent across cultural and generational lines.  Hypocrisy is woven into the fabric of this Country because our value for self-governance and democracy is often in conflict with how moral advocacy has to go about finding a footing in the political landscape when it finds its cause unpopular.  It's a very contentious and alienating way to go about change, and probably responsible for a great deal of the polarization and backlash manifesting in today's rhetoric.

From a religious perspective, particularly Abrahamic religion, the idea of proliferating the genome of  Abraham was a Biblical covenant, and any act by his offspring to undermine that process was considered sinful.  From that you could argue the idea/ definition of Sodomy evolved.  The Old Testament is in many ways a genealogy of the descendants of God's chosen people.  In that regard the aims of Darwin's Evolutionary Fittest and God's covenant with Abraham are similar, that their offspring be vast in number and carry on the line.  From that reasoning, aligning the United States with a Christian identity, as unconstitutional as that may be, is a logical reason to oppose marriage equality.  It's misappropriated and ill-executed logic, but it follows, given the presumption of hypocrisy.

We're entering a time where many may feel we are on the verge of maxing out our capacity to evolve in a functional way.  Our material evolution may yet continue as we tinker more and more with technology and our biology.  In a world where this is the norm, the traditional role of gender and coupling may lose meaning and value.  We may just move forward to the point where coupling is no longer the means by which children are created, and instead an actualization of sentiment between individuals exclusively.  Maybe not any time soon, but in the not too distant future.  The means are available.  It's this sort of world that will render the arguments rooted in Biological Determinism moot.  Until then, it seems the move is to future-proof our rhetoric and assert a moral authority that trumps civil authority.  Making such a move will put us in opposition with the majority of the world's population, which is made up of developing nations, most on the precipice of being 1st world nations (India, China) and the rest not necessarily as progressive in regards to cultural tolerance of non-traditional sexuality in the public sphere. This puts the US in a position of apostle to the world in matters of sexuality.  Add that to the list of things we assert over others that furthers the rendering of our nation as elitist and meddling.  Again, the hypocrisy is second nature for us.  Freedom is not the anyway street we make it out to be.

There seems to be a stalemate/ zero-sum gain at play.  If we assume that all Homosexuals in America get married that amounts to 1.7% more of the population having access to the benefits of marriage.  This would be of little significance unless a significant number of that 3.4% were EXTREMELY HIGH wage earners with EXTREMELY HIGH net wealth so that the dispersal of income would be effected in some manner I can't reasonably foresee.  That doesn't seem to be the reality.  There's no grounds for employers to claim the financial burden will cripple them, save for the possibility that the vast majority of this 3.4% are living in virtual segregation in enclaves so that their ratio to the normal population is disproportionate and thus employers in those areas would bare the brunt of the financial impact of having to provide marriage benefits.  The only real threat I can imagination, is the fear of punitive litigation against discrimination.

Ultimately, I'm ambivalent on the issue.  There's a lot of symbolic politics at play and it's a turn off for me.  I was, and still am Pro-Civil Union, and the semantic game at play here has alienated me.  If this is solely a legislative matter, then decoupling the word Marriage from our Federal Language would solve the problem, but that's not the issue.  This is a clash as much about Cultural Sovereignty as it is Politics.  If the faith community wants to think of Marriage as it's property, we can believe that, but it's a word, a concept, one the State can use as well.  The challenge becomes, if the majority of the population a State, or the Nation, are part of the Faith Community, how do you get them to accept a modern philosophical movement that doesn't align with their faith?  You can't.  The legislators of the government are only empowered to make provisions for equal access.  That seems to be what's happening, but it's not going to change the cultural rhetoric.

You can't make everyone like** you.

** meant in both common senses of the word.
Having the same characteristics or qualities as; similar to: "they were like brothers".
In the same way that; as: "people who change countries like they change clothes".
  1. Used with reference to a person or thing of the same kind as another: "the quotations could be arranged to put like with like".
  2. The things one likes or prefers.
(of a person or thing) Having similar qualities or characteristics to another person or thing: "I responded in like manner".
Used in speech as a meaningless filler or to signify the speaker's uncertainty about an expression just used.
Find agreeable, enjoyable, or satisfactory.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

...Where I'm Not Ugly and You're Looking At Me

The blessing and curse of having so much to consume in the span of the last 17 or so years is that it's easy to forget things that were at one point extremely important to you in their era.  This song was just that.  Back before I was as into Neil Young as I would become, but still a fan of Pearl Jam, they released this single, and it struck me as the best things i'd heard from them yet.  It felt Epic, Anthemic, but retained the tension and brooding that I could relate to at that time. The title, I Got Id seemed so clever, so much so it sprung to mind when I was thinking of the subject impulses, and how a sudden immediate urge can persuade people to make choices that may last lifetimes.

I was made to feel my body was betraying me very early in life.  Maybe it was providence?  I was destined to take the acetic route to relating to the flesh, seeing it as a limitation as much as a vehicle for my existence.  The idea of Id, Ego, and Super Ego, when they were introduced to me, made good sense based on how I learned to break down my self.  My struggles with detachment in recent years are a direct reflection on that whole process.  Being sensitive in that oh so human way was my kryptonite.  Every time I succumbed to rage, envy, pride, greed, it was an impulsive response to ill considered observations.  My mind, my body, it was something more than I ever would have wanted it to be.  Sensitivity will throw you for a loop.

That being the case, the enchantment of women was especially terrifying as I grew up, because the allure of love was strong in me.  I wanted to be loved specifically, and to love specifically.  I was devoted by nature, but I felt a certain amount of rejection from the women in  my immediate family.  I usually felt like a burden or nuisance more than anything else.  I think having your sisters constantly wishing for someone to give me my comeuppance in so many words (no matter how much I deserved it), was a special kind of rejection.  It's fair to say that as a result I tried seeking the kind of warmth and nurturing you'd expect at home elsewhere, but with no grandmother around and the physical and emotional distance between the other women in my family, there was none to be found.  I relented my seeking, it didn't seem to be in the cards.

So... time passes and hormones kick in, and my need for acceptance and affinity for affection are complicated by carnal desire.  Now, this might not have been as much an issue if I hadn't had the misfortune of being in the company of unsupervised juveniles with whom being horny was their singular obsession. Sans responsible adults keeping a watchful eye on those types of kids, even the most innocent child gets exposed to the most  perverse of ideas and media.  That kind of unwanted exposure constitutes abuse, but most kids don't know that when they're living through it.  Most people have come to just write it off as children being children.  I would argue that in that case ignorance is bliss.  Kids should be allowed to come into their own in the context of an empathetic education, not misguided happenstance under the influence of maladjusted  influence.

Anyway,  my opposition to my Id and my Ego starts around that time.  I rebelled against my Id in response to the influence others hand on it, the hand perversion played in corrupting those folk who then, for their own reasons, wanted to share the "goods" with me, because, well you share your secrets with your friends right?  The saying "Knowledge is power." is particularly true with children because of their naivete, innocence, and or ignorance depending on your take on the situation and your take on things. Enlightenment is always around the corner in youth, an ever-expanding experience of illumination.  People are like living reels of film that use that light to project whatever images and impressions they've captured onto the unexposed. People how the power to completely alter a child's existence intellectually by simply planting the seed of an idea.  It's truly like Inception.  I know because I've been subject to it and witnessed it time and time again.

Having a Gnostic bent lends a person to being prideful.  Having the steadfast conviction that you were a born leader when you are 5 or 6 years old, for no other reason than a innate sense of destiny, well that's a recipe for being a wise acre.  Ironically, at 6 I distinctly remember identifying with the Owl as an animal because it was supposedly wise.  So, I was already on a similar path to many of the great leaders who were notorious for good judgement in most affairs sans those of the heart and libido.  By the time I was 10 years old I was actively trying to let go of my desire to assert myself as a leader, and just be a part of groups, a contributor.  I was already extremely self-conscious after years of brow-beating from my sisters for getting on their nerves.  I tried to get over myself, and the process is what brought me to look to God.  I also did my fair share or reading Time Life books on astrology and mythology for what that was worth.

What it all amounts to is a combination of  intellectual and biological restraint reigning over me in my conscious and unconscious worlds.  What some look at as repression, for me is an expression of self-control.  All things in moderation is a common adage, but seldom have I heard anyone establishing a fair definition of just what moderation is.  Rather than try to figure that out, I tried to confront any feelings that had me reducing a person to my own personal interest in, and not thinking of them as a complete human being.  It's fair to say that this was a manifestation of faith as much as a bit of  logically derived humanism, largely as a result of a lack study of the one text my faith was based on.  I was basically making it up as I went.  As a result I allowed myself a certain amount of flexibility with my indulgences, which left me open to hypocrisy.  My penchant for egoism couldn't live with that.  I was good at keeping myself out of trouble so long as I didn't get emotionally involved with things, but I had a problem with emotions.

By and large, because of that, I made small goals, like not making a fool out of myself.  Seems easy enough right? If only.  I remember being particularly happy when I was in committed relationship because it meant I could disregard all  those awkward moments of attraction or infatuation that would come to pass, but had no place in my life.  Having a love to focus on gave me an "out" that was worthwhile.  For someone who identified with the loyalty of dogs, having a love in my life was liberating, when the relationship was healthy.  Selflessness came with the territory and I saw that as a means to undermine my self-centered egoism.  I could focus my hormonal energies on my love, but doing so was fruitless if I didn't invest and express my interest in her in all the other ways she valued.  Unfortunately, I failed to do those things to her satisfaction, just as much as I failed to show the best judgement in choosing a relationship in the first place.  So when Katie and I broke up for the last time, the one lingering concern above all that I lost regarding the pursuit of a lasting, enriching love, was a skepticism about my ability to pick out the foundation of a good relationship from a bad one.  Was I naturally attracted to self-destruction or conflict?  Did I attract unstable people?  Was the chemistry I got caught up in hormones and  opportunity at work, or the byproduct of some deep seeded emotional needs or deficiencies possessed by myself and the people I connected to in that way?

All of those concerns  had me second guessing my intentions in interpersonal interactions with porous boundaries.  Like I mentioned before, having very clear cut boundaries is a Godsend for me, because of all the confusion I see with them as a part of modern relationships, and aspects of my own personal history.  Those who don't learn from their past are doomed to repeat it.  It's insane to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results, and it's nihilistic to do the same thing over and over again and willingly accept negative consequences.  There are a multitude of proverbs and folk wisdom I can apply to keeping myself from getting myself into trouble, but that would be a waste of time when the real issue is how I feel about myself carrying on as I do these days.

I feel as if I'm a participant-observer in my own life.  Instead of just feeling things, I'm making note of the fact that I'm feeling things.  I've used this blog to write about the particular way my interactions with a few women in my life have made me feel. This is all outside of the realm of physical or emotional intimacy, because I'm simply just not that close to anyone in my life right now.  But still, in the absence of the wind, the lightest breeze is noticeable.  In a world full of beautiful women of varying degrees of confidence and emotional or romantic attachment, recognizing beauty is a natural reaction.  Being particularly attracted or captivated by one individual, that is a more unique experience for me.  It's such a curious thing, that I'm more inclined to ponder it than actively pursue it, mainly because of my track record with attraction.  I don't make things easy for myself in that department for whatever reason, and thus far it's only ended well when I spared myself the indignity of the foregone conclusions I chose to disbelieve to invest the ways I have in the past.  Those losses had consequences I can't live in denial of.  Anyway, I find myself mesmerized by the power a person can have when you are undeniably attracted to them.  At the same time, I'm fascinated by the thought process attractive people have when they are aware of their ability to do so, and how they choose to make use of it for whatever purposes, or are unaware of it, in denial of it, or try to overcome or suppress it to have social interactions unburdened by furtiveness of one sort or another.  It's the heady stuff of life we try to underplay or minimize as routine.  In reality it's actually overwhelming stuff and responsible for a lot of psychosis in this day and age or modern culture.

All that said, feeling like a raw nerve, sensitive to every nuance of communication, every potential opportunity to express desire and intention through inference, is all the more reason to take a step back.  At least, that's how I have been approaching it, because of my poor judgement.  Getting caught up in the moment when you have a desire for some semblance of sustainability with the positive things in your life is surefire way to undermine your best intentions.  I can't afford to justify my flight of fancy by having a devil may care attitude. Sometimes you have to step up and make the right choices ahead of time instead of trying to mill lessons out of the wreckage of  foolhardy whims pursued.  And yet, I want to build a rich life and share it with someone of like mind and spirit.  But this life we live gets all the more complicated with each choice we make along the way with lasting ramifications that carry forward even if those relationships don't.  It's in those moments where the Id just wants the Ego to check out completely.  That's exactly why I refuse to let it.  My Id is relentless, and because of that, my Ego and Super Ego have to be as well, to keep the "Me" I know in check.  Balance is key.  I don't have a lot going for me beyond the comfort I create for others when I'm projecting an even keeled, well adjusted vibe.  Then again, what's that got me in the long haul?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Get Over It

So, I wrote myself a theme for this moment in my life to power me through what it would be fair to call a rough patch, though I've taken it in stride.

Get Over it

Honestly, where do I start?
the holes are round, all I got is square pegs
still i insist on playing it out
to bake a cake you gotta break some eggs

that's how it's done so get over it
no other way, you best get over it
the cross you bare, you gotta shoulder it
to err is human, so just get over it

I've said and done some careless things
had my share of wounds that slowly healed
taking flight, but only angels have wings
enjoy the fall, the landing's gonna sting

that's how it goes, so get over it
dust yourself off and get over it
maybe this is not your fate, let go of it
it's another obstacle, get over it

Monday, February 18, 2013

Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Let me take a deep breath.  I like this song a lot.  At a time when I'd all but written off Oasis, largely because of the lack of empathy they seemed to generate, here came Noel with this pleading, melancholy melody and lyric.  Though the production was contemporary at the time, to me the tone and melody felt like something I might hear in the mid 80s, by Phil Collins or Mike and the Mechanics (think Home by the Sea or Silent Running).  Those where formative years for me in a major way.  It was when my parents divorced, so I was an emotional wreck, an 8 year old misanthrope dealing with my world shattering less than a year removed from the first death I can remember, that of my paternal Grandfather.  The fallout of these events radically altered the trajectory of my life.

I've written about how my body betrayed me, and I'm pretty sure I've written about the impact of my parents personalities on the formation of my own, but I skimp on details.  I neglect the things that make "belonging" and "conforming" so bothersome for me.  I am not normal, I just am not.  I am physically uncommon.   I'm Black, a minority group member, so there was already isolation as a result of being singled out among the majority.  I was the youngest of three children, the only boy, four years younger than my closest sibling, so I was the odd man out at home.  I had an antagonistic relationship with my sisters and mother, and my father was an Enigmatic Icon.  I ended up feeling more emotional attachment to my dog than my family, and then my friends outside of home.   I lost all hope of getting lost in a crowd of  people my own color by the time I was 13 years old and 6'2".  It was a wrap.  After that point I went from being tall for my age, to uncommonly tall, to abnormally tall.  So, my skin color and my height rendered me a physical minority within a minority.  Then there are the cultural issues.

Growing up in the early 80s pop culture was still the primary influence on kids.  It wasn't colorblind, but it was wide open.  Michael Jackson & Prince were Mega Stars, and shared the limelight with Madonna and Cyndi Lauper.  Eccentricity was the norm.  Boy George didn't seem like a weirdo to most of the 8 year olds I knew.  Then again, I thought Boy George was a nickname, and didn't realize George was a Boy for a good long while.  In my eyes Elton John and Billy Joel where the same guy musically, and I had no interest in either or their sexual orientations.  I'm Still Still Standing and For the Longest Time were just catchy songs.  I didn't care that Annie Lennox was ambiguous, the Eurythmics just had great songs.

There were a few things I knew for certain.  Cruel Summer by Bananarama was on the soundtrack of Karate Kid, and was one of the songs that came out when my parents separated and it seemed so fitting. Shout by Tears For Fears came out that summer too, as if sent from on high, to give me something to focus on other than the Sky Falling.  I remember seeing promos for Miami Vice's debut set to In the Air Tonight and playing a toy electric guitar I was given with its push-buttons, even though the track is mostly keys and drum loops until the the breakdown, save for those sweeping lead lines that I couldn't have picked out back in the day with my limited understanding of music.  There was so much melancholy in the music undercutting the glamour and flash of that day and age.  Leave it to Prince and The Police to put it completely over the top...  They made depression dance-able. They made it popular.  I would have to say, seeing the video, as well as repeatedly playing the 12" single of Owner of A Lonely Heart I found in my parents' record collection hammered in my understanding of what it meant to be solitary.  It was only through Hip Hop that I got a sense of vigilance and defiance about my own identity as a person. Maybe I could have found that in Punk Rock, but at that time I hadn't heard anything like that that would have appealed to my taste in music.  I was raised on pop, rock, and r & b through the mainstream media.

My fondness for the music of my childhood and refusal to let go of those tastes created a problem once the music world started to slide back into the old-timey tradition of "Race Music".  It can be argued that the return to music segregation was inspired largely by the popularity of Hip Hop & New Jack Swing.  Along with my move to a more segregated community, the expansion of the urban music market made it possible to completely avoid listening to pop music, which to many people my age & race, became "White" music.  As I learned more about embracing the cultural legacy of being African American musical prejudice became a habit, and it was only via tracing back samples used for backing tracks in a lot of songs that I got reacquainted/ reintroduced to the value of popular music past and present.  The catch is, in doing this, I alienated myself from my friends who weren't ready or willing to embrace something outside of what was culturally acceptable for young black kids at that time.  I ended up gravitating towards rappers who seemed to care less about fitting in, and more about finding things they liked.  This put me on the fringe of the subculture within a subculture.  By that time I'd found a few Black rock groups to dig and it became possible for me to breach the cultural-musical divide without breaching the racial one.  Living Colour, FishboneSeal  (my first taste of 90s electronica honestly), and Lenny Kravitz (which they actually played on Video Vibrations, which is where I first saw it one day, waiting for Rap City to come on after school!), were inspirations, albeit with limited exposure, if any on BET or Mtv in the long haul.

Those folks pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable made it possible for me to be a musical explorer.  I have to give some credit to the Video Jukebox for turning things on their head too.  They played Smells Like Teen Spirit so much I had to cave in and listen to "that one song" with the amber hued video at least once, and that was all it took.  I bought Nevermind on cassette but nothing else from the grunge era back in 91', my last year as a normally sized human.  After that I joined Columbia House and BMG, I ordered nearly all the Hip Hop cds they had in their catalog and then started working in on classic R&B and soul, and once I exhausted that, and had reached the zenith of my alienation, I went ahead and got two rock cds:  Jimi Hendrix - The Ultimate Experience & Black Sabbath - Paranoid.  I kept this music to myself, with no expectation that any of my friends would give it a chance.

Rock & Roll was a solitary thing for me.  My interest in it was a means by which to alienate myself from my peers, save for a few, although I did have a friend or two concede to liking Teen Spirit or Jeremy, the latter being an anthem of sorts given my feelings of alienation.  My rejection of norms in my artistic interests (I was still an avid comic book fan at that time and video gamer) coincided with my rejection of other stereotypical or characteristic facets of my identity.  I lost interest in competitive athletics, the local franchises, and anything exclusively marketed for a particular demographic I identified with that seemed cliche or corny.  I became aggressively contrary as a means to self-actualize in the face of disappointing points of identification from my childhood.  After spending two months bed-ridden and wheelchair bound after elective surgery was performed on both my feet by my podiatrist I got serious about believing in God and being a Christian.  Though it may be hard for some people to believe in this age of polarized political and cultural rhetoric, there was possibly no smaller minority among the social circles I was exposed to during high school than vocal Christians.  You did your thing if you believed in God or Jesus, but you did it quietly.

All of those choices pretty much pigeon-holed my prospects in my social life, and ultimately my future by merit of limiting my options in who or what I was willing to relate to, and vice versa.  It was a trap, one I couldn't/ can't escape without getting over myself.  But then came the "have it your way" age of instant gratification by way of the internet, complicating matters.  It allowed me to isolate myself further with more contrary choices in interests and activities.  It also made it more likely for others to have the freedom to make those same contrary choices with there being less stigma against them.  Coupling is hard enough, but it's infinitely more difficult if you limit your options by what you're willing to accept, and what you force someone else to entertain.  By committing so much of my sense of self to disparate cultural interests, I've made it so compromise isn't a choice, it's destiny, and "settling" is the outcome of courtship.  The more even-keeled, humble and thoughtful people of the world will have more forgiving views, but when things get rough, and something about the person you're with rubs you the wrong way, it's going to be really easy to think to yourself, "Maybe if I'd have kept looking I wouldn't have chosen to be with someone who has an issue with ________?"  In some cases that's fair, sometimes we do choose poorly for ourselves because we are haunted by our emotional baggage, or material/physical consequences of our choices.  It's a rough trade, this companionship thing.  With every choice we make, we add a panel to the maze that leads to our hearts and peace of mind.  When the things we choose isolate us from others, those panels are mirrors.

Friday, February 15, 2013

F!#*in Up - Definitely NSFW "Not Safe For Work"

I love that the guitar riff borrows from Born on the Bayou in the best possible way.  I love the the background vocals "Why do I???" pull from the best parts of classic rock on such a raucous tune. I'm not surprised that so many people call this song a personal anthem.  To err is human after all.  Well, this song wasn't on my mind at all this week, but now that the weekend is here, and the work week ended the way it did, there is No Other Song that bookends this week better than this one.  I call it "Road Rock", music to drive to, but given the subject, I'd call this "Speed Trap Rock", music to get pulled over to.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got...

I wish I had that kind of resolve, that kind of conviction, to be content and thankful for my circumstances.  But I'm undone by who and what I am.  That silly phrase that presages upheaval, "The Heart Wants What It Wants." gets the best of me every time.  What that entails is something that varies.

So, for the better part of a year perhaps, I've found myself drawn towards someone. I've written about her, about the precarious circumstances that have left me kicking myself for being so enamored.  You see, everything I know about my situation, about this person, tells me that I am beating up the wrong bush.  Part of it is brutal self-awareness of my shortcomings and flaws, part of it is an awareness of her and other people's perception of those flaws, or ignorance of them.  Then there's her circumstances, flaws, known and unknown to me.  My conscious and unconscious mind have both given me pause and kept me from diving headlong into murky waters that most would assume are shallow.  So why am I drawn?

The most troubling thing about this is, it's kept me mentally engaged on such a level that I can recognize beauty, attraction, sweetness, in other women, even a certain amount of chemistry of whatever sort, but the strength of those connections has yet to trump the lock that this situation, this woman has managed to (un)intentionally put on my passions.  True enough, the notion of the "Love Bank" is in play, and I can't think of any withdrawal that measures against the deposits she's made in kind words, appreciation, general good nature, and personal attributes that I find attractive, most of which I didn't even recognize beforehand because I always saw her as unavailable.  Once that perception changed, it was as if something had changed in my brain chemistry, and perhaps it did?  But what does that matter if my inner mind's eye sees the flaw in my fascination.

Since I've been single, and ready to make myself available (debatable if that latter part is true) I've been troubled by my lack of desire and motivation to advance my interest in anyone romantically.  As much as it feels like that has changed in this situation, it hasn't really.  But the feel of it did, even if it only seemed to do so in a situation that is about as untenable and potentially frustrating and wrong-headed as any I've been involved in before.  I have a knack for getting wrapped up in women who are either in the midst of emotional tumults looking for islands of serenity to gather their whits, aka the rebound guy, or a surrogate for a counselor in the form of an overly involved relationship.  I don't trust my taste in women for this reason, at least the emotional temperaments that draw me in and get me to lower my guard.   Sans that pull, I either accept something I'm not driven to pursue, and let it wither on the vine, or, in its presence, become a man possessed, fixated on something that for all intents and purposes seems like a fool's errand. I dread to find myself on a path to a circumstance I will be resentful of when contrasted with the things I'm seeking to avoid in life, especially when taking the relationships of the people I was raised by into account.

So here in this situation, this cluster-bomb of misgivings, I have emotionally latched onto empathizing for someone who seems to want to be loved, learned to cope with being denied, but probably isn't looking at me to be a source of affection and devotion.  But that hasn't stopped me from wanting something for her, wishing I could be the source of it, even if it seems like the cost of doing so exceeds what I'm willing to sacrifice when left to my own devices, clear headed, and released from the pull of my emotions.  The availability of an opportunity may very well be an illusion.  The difference between knowing better and doing better seems like a small span, but it's a vast chasm.

When you definitely are the wiser, but can't shake the urge to proceed forward down the treacherous path of a predetermined fate all the same, I guess it's fair to say you shouldn't be upset when you get what's coming to you.  The reality is, none of this would be a problem, even merit a thought, if in place of solitude and conjecture, confusion and projection, I just had someone I could always turn to, that always cared, that was available to me, whose time and attention I didn't have to compete for.  That would be a lot easier to pursue if I wasn't so wrapped up in this situation and everything it entails. The nebulousness of it all is suffocating.  I truly need the steadfast gratefulness and faithfulness sung of in this song.  I long to not want what I haven't got, as much as I value what I have, if not more so.

Friday, February 8, 2013

What Sarah Said...

I personally feel this is one the most incredible Death Cab For Cutie songs musically, and the sentiment is pretty powerful, though I can't say I am 100% on board with that position.  This short film I stumbled upon set to it is very well executed and puts a twist on the meaning of the song I'd not fathomed.  But the something said by a Sarah I met as a college freshman is on my mind, and they're nothing like what the Sarah of this song said.

Sarah lived down the hall from me, was roommates with one of the more outgoing girls in my Freshmen bible study, and of the four roommates, she seemed like the mellowest.  I didn't get to talk to her much, but would run across her because she worked at the hall desk where my mail was delivered and they sold Twix, my vice of choice.  I never really got to know her in those chance encounters, then one night, while transiting between buildings via a basement walkway just wide enough for people to walk single file, tucked in a stairway just in the periphery of my vision I saw a figure.  It being the middle of the night I was startled, but I tried to keep my cool and not flake out in horror.  I did a double take, and realized there was a girl sitting in that stairwell, which lead to a fire exit from the basement walkway, crying.  It was Sarah.

I asked her if she was okay?  She wasn't (obviously). In so many words her heart was breaking, because she'd been let down by a young man.  It was an incredibly vulnerable situation for her, but she'd known me well enough, and of me, through her roommate, to not feel threatened in confiding in me at that moment, and what did it matter, who was I going to tell?  Regardless, we had a talk, and I'm sure I talked to her about my unrequited crushes to show solidarity and empathy.  I was averaging one denied infatuation every two months.  It was a tough adjustment, being in a college with 1000s of  young women, instead of a apartment complex with maybe 4 girls near my age, and a high school with a couple of hundred, so many I'd known long enough to turn them off beyond repair.  Anyway, after that night we were more apt to have conversations when I ran into her at the Hall Desk, or she ventured out with her Roommate who attended my Bible Study ( who would join us and confide in us about her own heartaches ). 

At this point, Sarah, having heard me wax poetic about my life trapped in the Friend Zone, in the midst of me explain how it happens, my drift from friend to attached emotionally, looked me square in the face and said, "Will, don't get any ideas."  It was about as straight forward and sincere as can be, with nothing but honest directness. It didn't feel like a put down or rejection at all.  She just made it clear, we were friends, and for me it was exactly what I apparently needed and wanted.  For her honesty she became one of the favorite friends I made that year, because she was just an honest good soul, and shared her heart and mind in kind.  I found myself wishing more girls I knew were like that, rather than being afraid to hurt a guy's feelings, or uncertain about their own due to their own self-esteem issues or co-dependent tendencies.  You know, maybe some people didn't feel they needed to say it?  Fair enough, but I'd say those girls were fooling themselves or didn't want to own up to having their own reasons for feeding the ambiguity.

Sarah was awesome in my book, someone I wished more young women were like, and still do to this day.  We eventually fell out of touch, which was pretty common for most of the college friends I got to know through mutual grief.  I figure it was just a part of moving on from the pasts that were hurt by and grew wiser from.  On the one or two random occasions where we crossed paths later in life*, she seemed like the same, mature and empathetic person she was then.  That's what I appreciated about her that so many of my peers seemed to lack.  She had her head on straight, and was sort of grown in ways none of use weren't.  She was self-assured, which was a very valuable and admirable trait to impressionable kids new to college and life out on their own surrounded by thousands of equally impressionable peers.

Here I am in my mid to late 30s, working with people of various ages, but all of us Older than Sarah and I were back then, still struggling with directness, honesty, and empathy in regards to where they stand with each other.  It just makes me appreciate what Sarah said to me all the more.  She listened well enough to know I was weak, and needed boundaries established.  Doing so liberated me from trying to interpret where they were.  Few others got that.  Few still do.  Stop being afraid to define your terms.  You miss out on the beauty of true friendship, and ultimately true love, as a result.  A person with strong boundaries can be trusted, will have their boundaries respected.  That's sort of person that's the marrying kind, because they will let you know when you're welcome to give your all as well, and that's the kind of acceptance we live for, are willing to die beside, like Sarah said...

* I'm thinking she was a nurse at MO Baptist when my father was admitted there in the late 90s, which she mentioned when we'd ran into each other at a Quicktrip in Columbia MO???  For her to be in Nursing really brings adds a thread of synchronicity to this post I didn't expect.  What else is new?

Nothing To Say

Stuck in a mental rut? I don't know.  I've just been living, been open to feeling, experiencing, taking things in, from a safe distance.  But I keep getting closer, trying to make things out, get a sense of what's going on, getting the bigger picture by focusing in an the details.  That's all fine and dandy, but what if the paint's wet? Fire is pretty, but get to close...

So yeah, I'm in awe of the uncertainty of beautiful things in progress, of which I may play not part, wondering if I can contribute to their composition, if I am welcome to, and if that's a responsibility I have the character and fortitude to embrace and commit to.  The thing about "don't talk about it, be about it" is, well, the first rule of fight club is...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hate You ( pet peeves about love & lust mainly )

The song was like a  bolt of Black Lightning for me in the midst of "The International Incident", the misguided affair that really amounted to a summer fling that I'd propped up to be the Love of A Lifetime to justify the lengths Eve & I went to escape our realities with each other.  I was young and foolish, and she was only 3 years older than I was, and we were both in mourning.  It was a mess, and the betrayal I felt in how it all unraveled, in such a predictable, redundant fashion, was enough to get me to draw my guard up for half a decade and then some.  When it ended, I was dejected, but still in love, with the idea of sharing love, accepting love, falling in love in tandem.  But instead I was kicked to the curb, shat upon.  Definitely not a positive reciprocal relationship.  But I didn't get mad, I got sad, and jaded, and then I heard this song on King's X's first post-Warner Bros. album, in a sense their "break-up" record with their major record label, and at the same time, from what I gleam, marital problems were a part of their extra-musical reality as well.  This song was a perfect example of  Willard Harley's "Love Bank" gone wrong. To cut to the quick: You can only Hate someone you love because you won't let anyone else get close enough, or get away with enough, where you would let them hurt you bad enough that you'd hate them for what they did.  The idea of Hate being the product of one person's love run up against the injuries the object of their affection inflicts on their heart makes total sense to me. Love makes us vulnerable, and vulnerability makes us defensive, nye hostile.

Anyway, I don't have Love to throw around in the least, just small morsels of affection that I might toss in someone's general direction now and then, but I'm hesitant to even do that because the landscape is so ragged.  People have ruined themselves, ruined relationships, ruined romance because they've gotten into the habit of accepting and normalizing substitutes and half-truths to fashion false companionship and commitment.  People have gotten so fearful of getting hurt and being vulnerable that they adopt actions and habits that take the risk and worth out of their emotional and physical interactions.  They treat emotions and bodies like tools and toys that can be worked and played out with little regard. Relationships are like a child's christmas present, boring after a few exiting moments and something better comes along to occupy your fancy.  It would be great if people were more discerning with their hearts, their passions, but the reality is, it's not discernment if it's always after the fact, after you get instant gratification, that never lasts (so how is it even gratifying?).

It's obvious that I'm old fashioned.  I'm of the belief that fear of commitment is part and parcel with a fear of consequences.  We can't avoid consequences, and I think it's childish and foolish to try and ignore or minimize them.  I think it's better to accept what they are, what they mean, and make a strong effort to forego them by using Wise judgement.  Every time we try and tell ourselves "it's cool, i'll be that.  It ain't no thing." when we know we're tripping, messing up, it's so demeaning.  It's like saying, "You won, I can't beat you, so I'll just pretend it's alright."  Bump that.  It ain't cool.  I'm not content with being compromised or settling for some whack half-cocked  scenario where someone tries to have their cake and eat it too or have it both ways when that's impossible.  I have fully embraced the notion that you can not serve two masters, you will Love one and Hate the other.

I believe that Love brings us peace.  I believe Love brings us inspiration.  It's fair to say I believe God is Love incarnate.  Love rules my life, Love is my Master.  Though it may not be what brought me (or anyone into the world) it's what inspired my parents (or anyone who raises a child, their own or otherwise) to care for me when they could have let me lie and rot after I was born.  I love Love, it is the essence of Goodness, Righteousness.  I love the idea that it means honesty, commitment, loyalty, sacrifice, compassion, empathy, dedication and all those other good traits.  Therefore I have grown to understand that it's only natural that I hate dishonesty, fickleness, selfishness, apathy, unfaithfulness, and all the things that usually come with people trying to get over on other people to have their way or circumstances on their own terms, rather than the altruistic ideas that have inspired so many for thousands of years.  Those emotions and states of mine lord over our hearts and minds, disturb our peace, breed conflict and strife.  They will make a slave of you if you let them, and if you are a slave, hate is your master, your god.  You can't serve two masters.  You either love peace, or you love conflict.  Your actions will prove this out by what you bring to situations in your life.  If you are a slave to hate you will feel spite towards peace wherever you see it.  If you have Love as your inspiration your heart will sink when the threat of harm looms.  Our existence is only justified by the act of loving life. Anything we do that is counter that is hateful.  We are made to love. Our world and way of life no longer reflect this.

That may be the only romantic concept I still have any faith in.  In the core of my being I believe that the reason society and culture are crumbling and we're losing generations is because we stopped putting any value in the idea that building lasting relationships supported by idealistic behavior by all parties involved is worth the work it seems to take.  Stable societies are built on stable people, and stable people are raised up by stable families.  Instead we are a society of survivors, who have come out of a lot of dysfunction.  We are blessed to come out of it functional, but lack the distance and ability to guide the next generations through life in such a way that they don't repeat the same mistakes unnecessarily.  Cycles of psychological and physical manipulation and abuse become cultural norms and expected rites of passage into adulthood just because they happened to others in the past.  Pathetic.  Totally Pathetic.

So, if I come off as jaded and resentful about the state of the world, it's because I love the good in it. Seeing this masquerade, this charade, making willing victims of people who in their heart of hearts, just want to be accepted, loved, cared for, appreciated, should sicken us all, but it doesn't.  We let ourselves get used to it, and called it "growing up".  That's not growing up, that's corruption.  "Growing up" is recognizing just how foul that corruption is and working hard to undue it and not visit it upon others.  When I witness people settling for these frauds, the disappointment and frustration rush over me like a hot flash.  I don't hate the people, but I can't deny I hate what I'm made aware of.  I understand what it means to be a Zealot baring witness to Blasphemy or Heresy in those moments.  This thing you're doing, thing you're saying, it's not what you say it is.  You are lying to yourself and everyone you talk to if you think otherwise. Likewise if you think it's okay so long as you're honest about what you're doing.  I want no part of it.  I truly do hate it.