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…
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 alone…again.
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 awokenTO 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.
I heard a Preacher once tack on to Mark 9: 43-47 this, “Better to enter into heaven without your manhood than to stroll down the road to Hell whistling Dixie with your Dick in Hand.” He began to preach on the horrors of masturbation, porn, premarital sex, and I think the Kama Sutra—all of these he considered to be “the woman Jezebel”, and “the Whore of Babylon”; I don’t really remember, I wasn’t paying as much attention.
My first pornographic experience was a dirty German magazine some friends and I had discovered in the public garbage (though, to be fair and true, my overall sexual experience began much earlier). I remember everyone wanting to see it, but no one wanting to admit what they did with it. Was there anyone else like that? You remember? I can look back and it was always the same. Everyone wanted to look at porn, no one wanted to admit that they did what it was used for. Here we go: Masturbate.
Bum BUM BUM BUMMMMM!
The unmentioned topic. The Voldemort of pubescence and—in some cases, pre-pubescence. Looking at porn was fine, thinking about masturbating to it…not so fine. In fact, it became just another topic of ridicule. “You masturbate!” became the insult of ultimate insults…up there with “you’re a fag!”
Anyway, after a long stint of digging through countless German public trash bins hoping to score some new reads, I eventually moved on to screen captures of films like “Wild Things” and finally came a-knockin’ at the door of pornographic films.
Robin Williams once said that “God gave men two heads, but only enough blood to run one of them at a time.”
Story of my life.
I started “making out” when I was in first grade—second time I was in first grade, actually. There was this girl across the street and we would hang out and kiss. And we thought sex was her on top of me with our clothes on and making out.
I grew very aware of arousal and pleasure very young. And it began to develop into masturbation; way before puberty even came along. And when that happened my desire for experiences did too.
And now we’re caught up to where I started.
When I was a freshman in high school, there was this one time a bunch of students went to an FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) conference and we all got to stay in hotel rooms. We had free access to a lot of things—and German television. Not to mention the porn channels. Now these, mind you, were pay by minute viewing. Not at all like how it is in the States. Here there’s a check and recheck system so that there’s no way you could watch porn if you didn’t want to.
I mean, if you had a porn charge come up on your bill staying at a hotel in the States, and you wanted to deny it, I’m sure the talk with the clerk would go a lot like this:
“40 dollars for porn.”
“What? Uh…I didn’t watch any porn. It just came up accidentally.”
“Really? You accidentally found the Porn section of the channels and accidentally clicked it?”
“Then when it said, ‘You are entering an Adult section, are you sure you want to continue?’ you accidentally clicked yes; then when it asked again, ‘are you sure?’ you accidentally clicked yes again?”
“Then when it asked you to enter your birth date to make sure you were of age, you accidentally did that?”
“Yeah, I must’ve sat on the remote or something and it did that.”
“Sir…just take the 40 dollar charge.”
Anyway, I digress. So sure enough, I wanted to see some porn, and it couldn’t wait until late night German television—which is basically porn. No no. Right then. And when we got to the end of the conference, and my teacher was paying the bills…guess what came up under room charges to my room? Yep.
I was humiliated. I was ashamed. And…I had a lot to deal with on that long drive home, and after.
A couple years prior, some really bad things happened to me in 7th grade. I don’t mean to seemingly jump off topic but I want to make it clear that I was struggling with a lot that whole middle school time. From being an outcast to really severe issues with intimacy. I felt worthless (I know, every middle schooler does), I felt disgusted with myself, and I kept looking for some escape.
I feel pleasure became distorted. It grew to be what I sought as a means to make up for the pain and disgust that was all me then. I felt that once that was attained, at least in that moment, I was safe and I was free.
And there wasn’t a real middle ground. I’m one of those people that doesn’t have a dimmer on my light switch—I’m either on or off, light or dark, energetic or shut down. So I fluctuated between pain and pleasure pain and pleasure.
Time moved on and so did technology. My voracious sexual appetite did not.
And porn became as easy to find as typing a letter. Just sit down in front of any ol’ computer with web access and click away. Back then though, it wasn’t so regulated, and pop ups where horrendous. And…when you’re using the family computer, there’s no hiding the sites you’ve been to except by deleting the history. Which I couldn’t do, because dad would know. I remember trying to cover it up by saying that I accidentally deleted the history instead of the cookies and thought I was in the clear. I mean, if there was no proof, than there was no way I could get in trouble.
Except Dad always had a way of finding out. I mean, I’m in no way as computer literate as I know a lot of people are. But he always knew the sites. If you’re out there and you can tell me how someone can figure that out without the history, please lemmie know…I want to be ready for my kids someday.
Well, so the usual routine would go as follows. I’d look at some porn, rub one out (as it’s been coined), “accidentally” delete the history, and think I’m in the clear. A couple days later, Dad would be in the computer room, and casually call me in from the living room. There on the computer was one of the sites I looked at. In the beginning—the first few times this would happen, he’d ask me if I visited this site. How do you deny that when it’s right there? “Uh, no Dad…did you and Mom? What type of freaky craziness are you two into?” Nope. I just had to stand there as we both knew the truth, and Dad in silence pulled up site after site I visited. He would then simply tell me “You are not allowed on this computer for *x* amount of time. There are now certain viruses I have to spend time cleaning up.” And he’d then show me all the viruses that the virus checker picked up thanks to me.
So there I’d be. Time and time again, invited into that room with my Father only to come face to face with something I felt disgusted with myself for doing.
Then came the ladies. Then I got in to actually taking something I felt badly about, and putting that on another person. All in the hopes that somehow, I’d find a way for the pleasure to finally cover the pain. I would finally find the intimacy I desired, the passion. But it’d be fleeting. And I’d be left feeling worse off than I did before. And so would seek again. Maybe, just maybe, that one was out there that could not only satisfy me, but create a sense of passion and intimacy that wouldn’t fade. All the while the primal desire to just have sex was there, so too was the porn. And again, then I’d go back to feeling more disgusted with myself than I did before.
Now it isn’t my intention to condone all the faults and “sins” I committed while “under the influence” of Jezebel, the whore of Babylon. Nor do I want to make light of an issue that for many, is an addiction, an uphill battle, a thorn in their side, and a part of them they wish to be done with once and for all. But I do feel that if we can’t talk about it, or stare it in the face, how will we ever be comfortable with being who we are? Every aspect of who we are. Further, how can we see what love, God, truth, may see in us if we cannot bring everything we are to the light of day?
I began to feel more and more like Aldonza. And the closer I got with someone that eventually let me down, the worse that Aldonza feeling became. I was raping myself. What else could it be?
There’s a song in the musical, “Man of La Mancha” where Sophia Loren’s character is at her worst. She sings a song titled Aldonza about her disgust with herself. One of the lines in the song summed up just how I’d feel time and again. Don Quixote tells her “never deny that you are my lady Dulcinea.” To which she responds screaming, “take the cloth from your eyes and see me as I really am!”
I still can’t watch the musical and not cry at that song. I connect with it so much. I am Aldonza the WHORE. And I scream out to God “of all the cruel bastards who badger then batter me, YOU ARE THE CRUELEST OF ALL!”
But maybe true love doesn’t fail. Maybe I am also still Dulcinea. Maybe in fact, I being Aldonza the whore is exactly why I am also Dulcinea. Maybe the sheer lunacy of true Love is what gets me to see that.
Maybe dad wasn’t so much concerned about the porn as he was the computer viruses.
Or the computer viruses that infected me. Maybe the infection is that hurt, is that shame, and I was never meant to have those things. Maybe he cast me out not out of shame, but out of cleansing.
Maybe love will catch me up and show me all the things that it’s been telling me. And maybe that love not only looks a whole lot different than what we may expect, it hurts like hell because it causes us to see ourselves and feel shame and disgust. Then causes us to see ourselves as Love sees us, and through the pain, through the disgust, through the shame, see that it doesn’t matter how we see us; that the eyes of love see it all and yet still love.
My name is James Christian Kumpost.
I go by my middle name.
I’m a hobo gypsy who happens to be an ordained Reverend, and spend my time teaching and doing other things.
The “other things” is only if you want me to...