I’ve written and re-written this post 4 times now.
I’m kind of stumped at not just how to start this, but how to treat it.
See, I know this is a new blog site, but I’ve been writing for years – not that you could tell from my fragmented prose.
( sorry, I’m kind of in a “healing” period right now )
I’m not a writer. I just write.
Much like a guy that just robbed a bank and is running away isn’t really a runner.
He’s just running.
We’re both using our skills as a means of escape.
But each story or article I write is like a child.
I conceive them. Nurture them. Admonish them when they are acting out.
And eventually delete them and try again.
…no, wait, that’s not right.
Every article is like a a pancake.
I have this idea of what the perfect pancake should look and feel like, but the results vary each time.
Sometimes I’m in the mood to make a bunch of smaller pancakes…sometimes one large pancake.
The problem is, I don’t really have the patience to wait until it’s fully cooked on one side before I flip it. And more often than not I end up with a drippy stack of half cooked pancakes.
But once you melt the butter and pour the syrup on top, it tastes just as good as if they were scratch prepared by a professional chef.
…ok, these posts are nothing like pancakes.
Forget I said anything about pancakes.
I titled this post “Shame” because right now, it’s my overwhelming emotion.
But not my own shame, someone else’s projected shame.
And I sit here wondering, “why”?
There’s a very fundamental truth about human nature.
We are who we are. Plain and simple.
Sure there are things we can change about ourselves.
Behaviors, patterns, reactions, but the core building blocks of a person remain from birth till death.
Your perspective is a muscle that you can strengthen. Your personality is not.
It’s why they say you can’t cure a sociopath.
And it’s a shame when you try to change yourself to fit someone else’s ideal.
…unless you’re a sociopath.
Then you should definitely try to fix that.
Also if you pronounce “supposedly” – “supposibly”.
Fix that too.
Life is not a series of Passing Go each time you make it around the board.
You get one roll and you keep moving forward until the game is over.
And in-between that first roll and last step, there’s going to be baskets of good and buckets of bad.
So if the game ends the same way for everyone, why would anyone be afraid to play it as intensely as possible?
All in. All the time. Why hold back?
You gain nothing by living in the shadow of fear and it’s little bastard son, shame.
Life is nothing but a collection of experiences. So fit as much in as possible and smile your way to the grave.
I very rarely do this because it’s such a goddamn hack cliché, but indulge me for a minute….
To quote the famous author,
Hunter S. Thompson:
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
This is a man who knew how to live
Don’t worry. That’s likely going to be the only time I lay down a quote from someone else.
Unless it’s Bill Murray.
That guy’s got a lot of useful advice.
Back to business…
I know this all sounds like a lot of poetic bullshit, but hang in there, I’m getting to the point.
I’ve mentioned why I decided to do this.
This website…these posts…I do it because I’m battling my way out of something.
Physically, emotionally, spiritually, literally, metaphorically, symbolically, remorsefully, girlishly, savagely, erotically, organically and all the applicable “lly” adverbs I can muster.
This is my fight to a better place and all of this is nothing more than real time documentation.
I’m not standing on a stage, under a s spotlight telling a wide-eyed audience,
”I Remember when..”.
This is when.
And I want to remember what this isolation, loneliness and sense of loss feels like so I never make this fucking mistake again.
I’m a man in my own prison. I’m doing my time. Paying my penance.
Begging for freedom and swearing to God he won’t do it again.
But is that true?
Will I “never do this again”? Can I make that claim?
How realistic is that?
What would the circumstances have to be like for that to be a fact?
Are my actions part of my overall nature?
Do I do what I do because it is who I am?
And if so, where does that leave me?
I don’t want to get into specifics about how, why, what, who – not right now anyway – but there’s a reason I’m here. A reason this all happened.
And yes, I shoulder the lion’s share of that. But there is another component.
I’m not reckless (although my behavior might indicate otherwise) – but something on a fundamental level was not clicking within me.
Something wasn’t properly calibrated or lined up with my internal workings.
Gears were slipping and the more they did, they more the mechanism became inefficient until it finally failed.
….goddamnit, I stepped in poetic bullshit again….sorry….
There was a time in my life where I was made to feel ashamed for being me.
Or at least at the time, I thought it was me.
…no…it was….it was me.
….sorry, a bit of self reflection right there.
You can just ignore that last sentence.
And this one.
It wasn’t outright shame, nor was it done intentionally.
There was no finger wagging or stern lectures.
Pursed lips drawn into a frown.
I wasn’t put in a time out or beaten with a switch.
– yea, you youngsters out there are just gonna have to Google what a switch is.
I ain’t got time to go into it right now.
But there were two people and one showed indifference.
There was aloofness and a resistance.
There were dismissals.
Which of course lead to resentment and shame.
Now I have to be absolutely positively crystal clear in this next bit.
None of what I experienced was done with prepared or premeditated intention.
There was simply a disconnect that just never got connected.
– that is the benefit, and curse of hindsight.
However, at the time, I thought, “There must be something wrong with me.”
Or worse. I thought, “there must be something wrong with them.”
“Why don’t they get it?”
It’s one thing to question yourself and your own motives. It’s something entirely different to personally criticize someone else based on your opinion.
In a relationship, you don’t get to dictate how things “should be”.
Unless we’re talking about extreme circumstances like physical or emotional abuse.
Than, that shit should definitely not be.
You can only express your point of view and hope your partner understands.
See, empathy is a tricky thing.
First of all, it’s a learned trait. People are not born empathetic. You might be born compassionate, but compassion is not empathy. To be truly empathetic, you have to be able to see a situation as someone else sees it. To stand in their footsteps and view the world the way they do. Two people might form a connection, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are connected.
Secondly, empathy is the first thing to go when anger takes over. Things like love and respect can remain even in the worst of situations, but empathy dissolves faster than butter on pancakes.
….what the hell is up with me and pancakes today?
The problem with that, is, without empathy small differences can become overwhelming obstacles in the blink of an eye.
You are you.
Fundamentally. Your core is as concrete as the sidewalk outside your house.
…assuming you have a sidewalk outside your house.
…..assuming you live in a house.
……..you know what, forget all that….your core is as concrete as a big block of concrete.
But what you do and how you react to things that are, lets just say, outside your general nature, are a choice.
Goddamn I wish I had written this before my life fell apart.
I sure could have used this perspective a year ago.
Anyway..where was I?
oh right…choice….you have the choice.
Just like you have the choice to feel shame.
Ahhhh…see…I told you there was a point to all this.
I chose to feel shamed based on a non reaction.
It was a reflex emotion, yes. But had I examined it at the time, I could have chose to feel differently. Shame had become my defensive protection that allowed me to lash out offensively with a false sense of justification.
In other words, “You shamed me…Hiiiiii-Ya!!!!”
( that’s the sound of an emotional karate chop)
But nobody shamed me.
I allowed myself to feel shamed.
Lets tie it up like this…
Empathy, compassion and shame.
Not everyone likes lemon flavored donuts.
Not everyone thinks having group sex in a public place is a turn on.
Almost everyone’s pee smells funny after eating asparagus.
You can empathetically comprehend the first two while being compassionately understanding about the last.
But you shouldn’t feel shame about any of it.
For the most part, shame is a waste of time. It’s like our emotional appendix. Why do we even have it? It lies dormant, unnoticed until something causes it to rupture.
The only thing it’s good for is becoming infected and reminding us of how fragile we really are. I don’t know about you, but I already have a pretty good handle on my own mortality. I don’t need another weight added to life’s backpack of inconveniences.
In my opinion, life has some pretty simple rules.
1. Don’t be an asshole
2. Be kind to strangers.
3. Don’t liter.
4. Overtip your waiter or waitress.
5. Pet all the dogs.
That’s pretty much it.
Anything after that is just the sauce on top of the gravy.
If you’re lucky, you’ll spin around the sun at least 70 years before you go shuffling off this mortal coil. Why waste any of that very limited time battling shame?
…I mean, unless you’re diddling things that shouldn’t be diddled.
Children, goats, llamas and clowns.
You were born the way you were born.
You developed into who you were always going to be.
That shit was etched in stone long before you were even a twinkle in your mama’s eye.
If you believe in fate or destiny, well then, yea, it’s all that.
Live life as that person.
Not as someone else sees (or worse, doesn’t see) you.
You’re beautiful baby.
Just the way you are.
Ain’t no need to be ashamed.
In fact, go ahead and dial it up a notch or two.
Give them something to talk about when you’re gone.
That’s taking your Vitamin Vee