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What Happens Next

This summer, I came to the realization that it wasn’t someone else, wasn’t anyone else, that I longed to have this song serenaded to me by, it was myself. Well…my future self, that is. To sing this song to my middle school self. Let him know it’ll be okay, and if he wants, I won’t tell ’em his name.

Music has always been a huge factor in my life, and I may still long to have my “song” sung back to me. But as I said in my last post, I almost made the choice to not have a life for music to play a part in.

“And scars are souvenirs you never lose
The past is never far
Did you lose yourself somewhere out there
Did you get to be a star”

I used to think I have loads of scars. But if I were honest, I don’t have scars yet. I think I still have wounds.
And that’s partially my fault for not letting them heal.

Well anyway, it’s been 5 years since I got around to not only creating new music, but updating the music section of my website…

Check out the new song, “What Happens Next,” there.
(Or click HERE for convenience)

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When Life Kills the “Impossible Dream” part 2, When the Dream Kills Life

My son recently told me that the reason he doesn’t like his dreams is because he’s alone in them.
I didn’t know what to tell him.
The world’s big enough as it is, moreso when you’re four and a half.
And then you add a burgeoning subconscious that you’re only starting to navigate, and how do you come to understand who you are and process what this thing called living is when by no choice of yours, a hungry sasquatch comes into your house looking for snacks? And while that in itself is enough to cause you to question things, on top of that, the family that tends to always be there, isn’t; it’s just you, a four and a half year old kid, left alone to deal with this unprecedented situation.
What do you do as that kid?
Go hide in your bed, and find a sword.
…At least that’s what he said he did in the dream.

But more than just that one dream, what do you do as that kid having to face a reality where things seem normal until they’re not, and when you most need reassurance, comfort even, none can be found? Because you’re dreaming. And you’re alone. And you don’t know it’s a dream.

I think if I were being honest, I didn’t know what to tell him because experience has only really served to actually drive this point home. It seems like shit advice from an emotionally uninvested parent.

Guess what kid, it’s only going to get worse in the real (waking) world. You’ll find yourself facing questionable, unprecedented situation after questionable, unprecedented situation as you get older, that’ll all seem just as jarring as a bad dream, and there will be countless of those situations where you’ll look around for comfort and reassurance, only to find yourself alone.

Harsh… But true?
Just how much of life are you not alone in? And the more you experience life, the more it could feel like that child-like oscillation between being asleep and not knowing it, and being awake.
Between being alone, and being connected.
Being apart from.
And being a part of.
When you’re awake, you know you’re awake. Everything’s normal. But that’s only because you’ve experienced waking.
When you’re dreaming, and don’t know you’re dreaming, it feels like everything’s normal. It’s only after you awake, that you realize the experience you had prior that felt so normal (no matter how strange it got), wasn’t normal, and was the dream.

And how often in life does something feel normal (no matter how strange it gets), only for you to find out it isn’t?

How often in our lives does it feel, effectively, like we wake up?

So is it so strange that some people begin to feel like my kid does right now, and begin to despise the “dream”? But it’s not dreaming, is it, it’s an aspect of reality—the world—itself.
Ever had someone in your dream tell you it’s real life, not a dream?
How is that any different than telling someone who feels alone, that they’re not alone?
And if you can’t tell you’re dreaming when you’re dreaming, so much so that you begin to hate sleep itself because of that fact, how do you begin feeling about life after those situations where you look around for that comfort and reassurance, only to find yourself aloneagain.

I think at this point, there may be a tendency to differentiate between solitude and isolation. And it’s true. They’re different things.

Growing up, there was a lot of circumstances in my life that left me to my own devices. Family of five that grew up moving around regularly; with sisters that were not only just enough older than me that there was rarely any scholastic overlap, but are also twins. This solitude was further perpetrated by having an immune deficiency disorder, one which required plenty of self reflection if only to get the help I needed, because I rarely would show signs of being sick outwardly until it was INCREDIBLY bad.
Throw in experiences and trauma in my life that further left me feeling unrelatable, and the solitude I never really minded, turned to isolation. And it never mattered how many people I connected with, or how often I was told I wasn’t alone (cue the Christians with their “but God is always with you” rhetoric), didn’t change how often I felt like a four and a half year old discovering a sasquatch in his house, hungry for snacks, and no one else at home to comfort him in this scary, unprecedented situation.

 

 

We have moments of solitude. We FEEL isolation.

And that’s the point. My kid’s not afraid of solitude. He’s afraid of being alone when he’s really scared. He’s afraid of being alone when he really shouldn’t be alone.

Being afraid of solitude is one thing. Being afraid of isolation, of being alone, that’s something else.

The Bard put it best, “If tomorrow wasn’t such a long time, then lonesome would mean nothing to me at all.”

 

Sometimes tomorrow is such a long time, and the dream when you’re alone—unknown to be a dream—seems to stretch on forever.
Sometimes you’re so alone, you can’t remember the sound of your own name.

I originally planned on titling this “One and Done.” Because maybe one isn’t the loneliest number, maybe it’s just the most solitary. Which would make it more prone to bouts of loneliness.

How often, do you think, has “One” struggled to find another “One”? How many suicide notes has “One” written in its lifetime?

How many suicides prayed to God for SOMETHING to wake them up only for their prayers to go unanswered. Or maybe thought the answer—the “wake up”—lay at the end of the rope, or down the barrel of the gun, or the razors edge, or the bottom of the pill container.

 

I can’t enter my son’s dreams and make it so he’s not alone there, but I can make damn sure I’m there for him when he needs me in waking life (yes, my daughter too…not leaving her out to dry).

I recently spent one hell of a weekend where I almost wasn’t, because I didn’t want to be. I almost wasn’t here, because I was going to choose not to be.

And…those were some of the toughest words I’ve ever written out. To admit to that truth.

 

And see, one of the worst parts of being in a dream that you can’t wake up from, and don’t know is a dream, is that you don’t wake up unless someone wakes you.


It may very well be that Alonzo Quijano is awake, and Don Quixote is the dream. And Alonzo Quijano MAY have “friends” and “family” around; but the truth is, Alonzo Quijano is alone.
His existence might as well be a dream.
Don Quixote may be the dream, but the dream isn’t alone. Even if the dream requires being awoken TO it.

Alonzo was ready to die. And die alone.
Don Quixote was ready to live. And adventure.
Even though he dies shortly after.

The thing is, Alonzo would’ve died alone. Don Quixote didn’t die alone.

It’s probably crazy. Crazy to to be alive. Crazy to hope. Crazy to dream. Crazy to keep believing in a Dulcinea that WILL return and sing your song back to you.

But I’m done with the lie that we are alone. I’m done with “life as it is…

And you know what?
I’d rather be crazy, than dead.

And I’ll joyfully die a crazy madman who dreams he’s not alone, among other crazy madmen who dream with me.

 

Time to wake up, Darling.
Time to wake up. And keep dreaming the Impossible Dream.

 

->and the world WILL be better for this…

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Grab Life By The P***y

My son really needs to get out of the house and make some friends.

 

His views of the world and the current geopolitical climate are more than rudimentary…they’re damn close to an archaic level of barbaric. Oh, and he doesn’t have Facebook., or social media of any kind. They only thing he really likes doing on the internet is watching YouTube videos. And that’s no basis in which to form an educated opinion. This being cooped up is really getting to how he thinks and what he says. He demonstrates just how little he understands every time we talk.

To be fair, he is only one and a half. He can’t even form sentences. And his vocabulary leaves something to be desired. So I guess he gets a pass.

I’m unemployed. Graduate schools don’t want me. And I’m currently attending a trade school for a degree that’s more pragmatic than passionate.

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I’m basically a younger Jerry, from Rick and Morty. I guarantee you that I’ve had just as brilliant thoughts on breakfast cereal as he has.

 

So lemmie just tell you, I am having a FIELD DAY with the current election. Do you have any idea how awesome it is to have something else to focus on? Something that detracts from the inner shame and anxiety that are a constant threat to my daily functionality?
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Except there’s something altogether different about the distraction this time around, isn’t there? I can’t be the only one that feels it. This time there’s so SO much beyond the “them” that it’s so easily about, right? This time around, it really is about us.
shit-got-real

You can see it on Facebook, you can see it when you talk to people (or when people actively avoid talking about it). Something about when things get serious, our true natures come out.

Thankfully, we’re not short on knowing what people think, because everyone is sharing something.
And I fall in that sweet spot of being one of the lucky few who can make the claim that people should listen to me.
I’m white. And I’m a man.
I’m another white man with an asshole.
No, an opinion. I’m another white man with an opinion…I get those two confused all the time (assholes, opinions…everybody’s got one.).

So here’s my opinion on the whole debacle:

ARROGANCE is the single greatest threat to who we are and any interaction we may have with each other.

Let me preface this by saying a few things. For starters, I haven’t voted in this – or any – election since the first time I was allowed to vote. And I don’t have a pony in this race either. You will most certainly find critical posts of one side of this election, but you want find support for the other.
So please don’t assume that because I’m against one, I’m for the other. What I want to address is not either candidate, but how either candidate serves as a reflection of all of us.

Second. I know many would say that humility is an absence of arrogance, but I don’t believe arrogance to be substance. I believe it stems from a lack of substance, an emptiness, a void. Arrogance attempts to fill that void, or deny the void is even there; humility recognizes the void – and whats more – knows that nothing “natural” or occurring in this world can fill it (only something supernatural can).
So humility isn’t an absence of arrogance.
ARROGANCE is an absence of humility.

Lastly, I don’t equate ignorance to arrogance. Just as arrogance is an absence of humility, ignorance is an absence of truth (another void). However, when ignorance willfully chooses to not accept the truth when its present, and instead justifies and rationalizes itself, then ignorance becomes arrogance.

It’s ARROGANCE that assumes if you’re not on “our” side, then you’re on their side; if you’re not “for” us, then you’re for them.
If I’m not for republicans, then I’m for democrats. If I’m not Pro-Life, then I’m Pro-Abortion.
what
I’ve also been told that since I don’t have a side, and since I’m not voting, I don’t have permission to say anything. I don’t like watching football either, but I can tell you that the Broncos/Falcons game was pretty miserable.

It’s ARROGANCE that thinks voting is a duty, rather than a right.
I have a right to a lot of things in this country, and I exercise that right by not doing them. I have the right to own a gun and I don’t. Does NOT exercising my right to own a gun mean I’m forbidden to discuss gun control (more like, “Gun, Outta Control,” amIright?)?
Mike Rowe said it best: “There’s nothing virtuous or patriotic about voting just for the sake of voting…”

It’s ARROGANCE that says if you can’t change hearts, change laws.
This one is so fascinating to me because the same people that claim to be concerned with people’s hearts believe that the things they hold to be morally reprehensible should be illegal. It fascinates me because these are the people whose beliefs tell them they’re free from “the Law,” and yet the Law is what they want…not for them, mind you, but for those that aren’t them.
Further, I’ve also found these very same people oblivious to the fact that they speak out about things like Sharia Law when they themselves basically want a Christian version of Sharia Law.
st-dustin-law

 

It’s ARROGANCE that loudly states it’s Pro-Life, and yet is selective about which lives it’s “pro” for.
I can’t believe we have to argue about how it’s defined, but when it comes to the word, “life,” that should be completely unnecessary. Instead we should struggle over how we fight for life and wrestle with those complicated scenarios where it’s not an easy choice.
If you’re Pro-Life, but are annoyed or upset in any way by the Black Lives Matter movement, are you really Pro-Life? If you’re Pro-Life, but aren’t concerned about Syria, or don’t have compassion on its displaced people, are you really Pro-Life? Anytime you have to say, “I am Pro-Life, but…” you aren’t Pro-Life!*
(*And this isn’t even covering the theological aspect and connotation of Jesus calling Himself, “the Life,” or defining Life as “This is life, that they know you.” In which case, if you were really Pro-Life, you’d do everything you can to not hinder people from knowing God the father.)
So what is arrogance is if what you really are is Anti-Abortion, but think it more of a statement to be “proud of” to say you’re Pro-Life.

 

It’s ARROGANCE when in order to prove yourself right, others have to be wrong.
matilda
This seems to be central to the abortion debate, one which is already muddled by a lack of genuine understanding of the other side.
“The [Pro-Life] leadership is largely male, and most of the women involved have enjoyed lives of relative ease, in which they can sincerely experience each new life as a joy and gift. For these women, perhaps it is shocking and distressing to imagine ever seeking an abortion, because they’ve never been in a situation so dire as to make it look like a viable option.”
“The problem is, the people leading the discussion know very little about what’s going on in the culture where abortion emerges as a “choice,” except for in theory. The leaders of the pro-life movement are, primarily, well-educated middle-class white persons who have been almost completely insulated from the realm of abuse, poverty, and desperation in which this choice occurs. And because the leaders of the pro-choice movement are also well-educated middle-class white persons, it looks to the pro-life leaders as though abortion is being touted by smug comfortable women who obviously must just want to kill their babies for their own convenience. The conversation is happening on our TV screens, as men and women in expensive suits argue over podiums – or in academic journals publishing the findings of sociologists or ethicists writing from well-appointed offices. The reality is hidden from us.” (link to quote)

It’s ARROGANCE to have to even prove yourself right.
mary-pop-explains

There’s right, and there’s wrong. If you believe this, then it exists outside of you (or what’s called, “a universal truth.”). Universal truths do not have to be proven right to be right. They’re right regardless. When you believe it is on you to prove a universal truth, it becomes about you, and ceases to be about the universal truth. And when anything becomes about you, that’s arrogance.

It’s ARROGANCE that says it can only be done your way.
my-way-or-the-highway

Now understand that I didn’t say the “right” way. Because humility asks for help. And humility understands that people help in different ways. It’s arrogance that says if it’s not done your way, it’s wrong.

It’s ARROGANCE to be so caught up proving you’re right, that you forget your wrongs.
(See what I did there with the you’re and the your?)
ted-is-wrong

ARROGANCE is inconsistent. (In its logic, in its arguments, and just period)
doesnt-make-sense

Arrogance will always argue to its favor. Whether it means one moment saying that someone’s personality or life choices don’t matter as long as they’re a good leader, then the next moment calling the other candidate a Satanist.
ace-v-satan
Should it matter who she worships in her personal time as long as she’s a good leader?
I’m fighting to make America great again! But you know what, all guys talk like that and it’ll never change.
But don’t you want it to change??? Are you going to be okay hearing your son talk like that? If you don’t condemn it now, how great do you really want America to be???

It’s ARROGANCE that shames a person, and a country for something they aren’t a party of.
“That said, I believe it’s important for all of us to realize just how much trouble we’re in. After killing 58 million babies, America now faces impending divine judgment. There is no way out, no way back. The blood of 58 million babies is crying out for justice and they will get it.”
I said before that I carry a lot of shame. I struggle with it. But I didn’t kill 58 million babies.
ricky-bobby-evil
And what’s more, this isn’t how God’s judgment works. Seriously, this was the same logic of the Dark Ages. They believed they were facing diving judgment then too. Come on, people, we’re better than this.

 

It’s ARROGANCE that says there hasn’t been damage done, or that it won’t take a long time to repair it.
And it’s not just the political system itself. I’m talking about political parties that no one in the next generation is going to support. And I’m talking about religious institutions that then go on to wonder why they’re failing to reach people.

It’s ARROGANCE that despite everything telling you to adjust your mindset, you continue to “vote party, not person.”
To actively be shown someone that goes against everything you believe as a person, but still believe voting for the opposing party is worse? Really?

ARROGANCE does whatever it can to seem strong rather than admit that it’s afraid and/or confused.
We’re a nation of people that are hurting. We’re a world that’s hurting.
We’re broken.
And that’s not an easy thing to accept. It scares us, and confuses us. And I get why so many try however they can to avoid anything that reminds them of that fact. Every morning I open my phone and look specifically at film news, I look at io9’s “Morning Spoilers,” and I look at Screenrant. Throughout the day, I’m consistently avoiding all the thoughts about what’s wrong with my life (which is hard to do when everywhere you look you’re reminded you’re unemployed, your family is barely making ends meet from month to month, and none of what you hoped for is panning out).
I don’t understand it, and it scares me.
And it’s way easier to just say that God is punishing me with his righteous judgment because of my beliefs. Or that God hates me because I’m a false prophet.
At least that would be an answer…

It’s ARROGANCE that presumes it can do something like hide truths from the American people and get away with it.
And if and when the American people do find out, to justify it. Anything brought to the light becomes light. And light is good, it just can blind and hurt for a bit until we adjust our eyes to it.

It’s ARROGANCE that opposes a behavior, only until it’s caught with its own pants down.
Bill Clinton’s sexual behavior is immoral! Impeach him! Get him out of office!
Oh…Donald Trump is just, “one of the guys,” and guys are like that…Put him in office!

It’s ARROGANCE THAT EQUATES BRAGGING ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT TO *MERE* MISOGYNY.
And it’s arrogance that assumes every male talks like that.

 

And ultimately, it’s ARROGANCE THAT THINKS IT HAS THE RIGHT TO GRAB ANYTHING BY ITS GENITALS.

My kid doesn’t understand these things. And even if I tried explaining it to him, I’d have about as much success as I would someone who believes this is the ultimate battle between good and evil, heaven and hell. It’s about as messed up as being in a hoedown from a Pauly Shore film…which is a modern way of saying it’s like being in Lovecraft’s Mountains of Madness.

But it’s important that when he can understand them, I’m able to explain why it’s so wrong, and what we can do to combat it.
Or maybe I just need to stop feeling like I need to speak, need to speak up, need to have my voice heard, and just concentrate on raising him, on loving him.
Because I have a feeling that it’s less about him hearing it, and more about me saying it.

It’s less about convincing others, and more about being heard.

It’s less about being a voice for those that don’t have one, and more about simply knowing your own voice is heard.

Maybe I’m still just that silenced middle schooler in back of the bus, and all I want is to know I have a voice, and it is heard…

And maybe I’m just as arrogant in my own way, because being loved and loving those in my life isn’t good enough for me; isn’t enough for me.

Because LOVE is that supernatural thing that fills the void.

And it’s just as much arrogance to not allow yourself to be loved, as it is to deny or get upset when someone tells you that your main goal is to do so: to be loved and to loved.

Christians: they’ll know what you are by what?

Humanity: is there any reason to feel arrogant when you know you’re loved? Is there anything you have to fight when you feel you have worth just as you are?

So to my son, I’m sorry I trap myself. I’m sorry that I don’t allow myself to just be present and enjoy you. You’re worth me putting down my laptop, and my phone, and getting out of my head.
I want to do better. I want to live life with you and go out there and grab it by the…*ahem*…

And I promise, I’ll only work on this when you’re taking a nap.

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