Friday, September 19, 2014

SUMMER IS IN RECESS


I should have been more kind. That is something a person will never regret. You will never say to yourself when you are old, ‘Ah, I wish I was not good to that person.’ You will never  think that.”  ~Khaled Hosseini, And The Mountains Echoed

The above words were echoing among my thoughts as I consider my stay in Nutwood.  I cannot recall anyone having gone to the extent to be as accommodating as Ken and Beth both were during my stay.  Other than being badly trounced at horseshoes, I cannot think of a single moment where there was any sense of loss or discomfort while I was visiting.  There were no periods of angst, no feelings of anxiety.  It was, as I told both my host and hostess, one of the best times of my life.

Ken, Beth, and I  took time and walked around the campus of Notre Dame.  It was invigorating as we toured around the stadium and went into the Basilica (and did not immediately burst into flames upon our entrance!).  Later on, we went into town to meet with friends of theirs, several who have been mentioned in their blogs.  The next day, it was off to Detroit!!

It was a quick ride.  We’d have a lunch with my Dad and my youngest sister at a neighborhood bar, not too far from where my family (had once!) lived.  Lunch was preceded by the discovery that my family had moved and that I had bounded upon the porch and INTO THE HOUSE OF ANOTHER FAMILY!!  Thinking that it was still “home”, I went crashing into the front room to find strangers sitting in the living room, with both Ken and Beth in my wake!!  Thankfully, the enthusiasm with which I burst in the house with was taken in stride by the new tenants, and we were able to leave THEIR house without further incident.  After lunch, we checked into our hotel rooms and rested before our dinner date.

It was a real treat to finally meet both Alaina and her husband Tony, along with a couple who were local net friends of my host.  Tee Jay would show up with her (now adult) daughter in tow.  I took in the moment… sitting at a dinner table in my favorite restaurant, dining with some of my favorite people in life, filled with fond memories and I sat and tried to absorb as much of the moment that I was experiencing.  These were the kinds of experiences that I had looked forward to having once I left “the provincial town I once jogged ‘round”.

The kindness that Ken has shown me (over the years..!) has been invaluable, as has the thoughts and acts of others I have come to know through this blog.  Words fail me when I try to express the depth of meaning and affection that has been represented in all the heartfelt comments and actions taken on my behalf, actions that have helped to bring me to where I am now… living a full and happy life.  That was evident during our visit to the Motor and solidified in my visit with Ken and his wife.

NOW THERE ARE DISHES TO BE DONE

It is always good to take a step back and look at what you have accomplished, looking over how you did what you did, and how you are going to get to where you are headed.  While I think that I have done well to get to this point (I grade myself at a solid ‘B’, which is also my G.P.A !).  Getting away from Omaha and being able to enjoy the fresh air of Nutwood Junction, I felt clear-headed enough to where I had an epiphany (of sorts).

Although I am comfortable with myself and where I am at in my life, but that comfort is relative to things that I think are arbitrary in comparison.  I mean, if I were to set myself to my co-tenants in the building I live in, I think that I would not be self-centered in claiming to be doing better than other residents in my building.  Still, that is hardly satisfying to my internal drive.  I want more than to be a happy subsistence member of society.

Being grateful for my current state is not the same as being comfortable with it.  I think that is what drive is about, that voice inside of a person that won’t let you cheat on your last rep or let you skimp on studying for your next exam.  While I was on vacay, I did some reading and came across a section that really spoke to me.  In my mind, I have lived a VERY First World life, meaning that no matter my station there are excesses that conspire to sap my drive and higher desires, desires beyond those of shelter, food, and safety.

I am going to take my certification test in October so that I can begin my career as a personal trainer.  In November, I will resume college, with the goal of making this my last year of junior college.  This means I will be taking on a heavier academic workload, but I think that doing so will get me ready for the demands of attending UN-O (University of Nebraska-Omaha). Besides, maybe my comfort has become a detriment to my future progress.  See, until I arrived in Omaha in October 2010, I was waging a desperate battle against complete and irrevocable fail, and for years the the threat of fail was more real than any of my hopes.  Thanks to belief in my quest and the good will of others, I am at a place where I am in full control of my destiny.

Confirmation of my approach has been made; I am heading on the right track.  It is now that I can begin moving in a direct fashion towards “wherever it is I am going”.  Again, thanks to all who have made this journey with me, and to those who have gone on in their own direction whilst I blogged away.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

GOING THE DISTANCE


FILLING THE UNFORGIVING MINUTE

Time flies in the wake of putting together a string of good days that have eventually became months and since have led to years.  Moving to Omaha has been what I had hoped it would be for me, and that is one more opportunity, one more shot at getting back into this thing, this existence, this whatever you want to call it.

While I have endeavored not to begin celebrating before the game is over, I am really looking forward to heading to South Bend and making the drive to Detroit.  While it is very unlikely that I will have the chance to see my oldest daughter, meeting blog friends and getting the chance to see my Dad were and still, the main purpose of the trip.  The cherry on top will be getting to have dinner with Tee Jay (and maybe my sister if she wants in) and sitting at my favorite restraunt with some of my favorite people of the last seven years.

Upon my return I will finish up my study for my certification to be a personal trainer.  Once I pass that and become certified to be a trainer, it would leave matriculation as my main concern alone, and I am looking forward to the challenge.  I have to say that once I arrived in Omaha, that my life has gone better than I could have pictured it.

There have been moments where “the days of my nights are like the nights of my days”.  Thankfully, those have been few and far between.  Had to take a little something “on the chin”, relationship-wise.  Nebraska and I never got off the ground (though recently there has been a thaw between us; a wonderful lunch date a week or so ago in CB), and there was the still-born development between Princess and myself to account for, not to mention several “one-off” dates.  But remember, I never purported to be about finding love in someone else.  This was more of my finding myself, “the man that I know and love”, and rejoicing in the opportunity of being.

It hasn’t been easy and the road has been far from smooth.  I have never labored under the premise that things would be anything but, anyway.  The reason that there haven’t been too many woeful tales in these pages has been the axiom, “Problems that have solutions aren’t problems.”  I don’t panic, and another piece of military wisdom/saying that I have adopted, “working the problem”, is more helpful to me than being paralyzed by my fears.

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”  - Alexander Graham Bell

Going back to when I began my journey, because there were so many romantic or romanticized overtones to my writing, my words may have held a certain affect to the casual reader.  I am CERTAIN that it created a character profile of me in Nebraska’s mind that I believe adversely tilted our relationship.  Hopefully we can grow in spite of the foundation that has been laid since my arrival and become friends, no hyphenated suffixes or qualifications added.

There has always been a certain unease when I think about past loveships.  It was this feeling that kept me from a full-on pursuit of Tee Jay, and perhaps to a lesser extent both the SFC and Nebraska, too.  “History never repeats”, its been said, but, if one repeats history then what is history doing?  That is the thought experiment that I could never compel myself to ignore and it was a question that I always had to have an answer for.  This time when I see my “true love”, it won’t be to try to reignite something that burned brightly over a decade and-a-half ago.  No, this time it will be in celebration of what we had and the bond that we obviously still share.  And for me, that will be something new.

One of the really exciting things about this trip is the validation that will take place.  It was not without cause that the feelings and emotions bound us together… and I hope that I am not being melodramatic in saying this - and these bindings are around tightly about our souls.  I know that I don’t know where I would be without having made blog friends, and how they have refreshed my purpose.  Maybe I will have to go back to Chicago for a visit… and there are a couple of stops in Texas that I can imagine making, especially if they involve a trip to the Texas State Fair!!  And just maybe, maybe I will dare to visit New Jersey; Lexxie intends to move to Philly and that would be a good enough reason to go east in and of itself; visiting a blog friend - priceless!

"I began the process of unloving you that day… unloving you for the sly and uncaring way you were betraying us. More than this, I began to un-love you for being a stranger to everything my mind and heart had erected you to be." ~from Like Litter in the Wind by L.M. Ross

Though I am seemingly putting our relationship misfire solely in Nebraska’s court, I am not forgetting that there are two parties that have to act in concert to make a relationship work.  But my interests lay with myself, as I am sure her lie with her and what’s best in that regard.  So what do you want from me?  Still, this isn’t about that as it is about Princess.

One of the tactics that I have used since the beginning of memory has been to invite the ghosts that populate and linger in my heart and mind in for “tea and cake”, and to chat with them politely.  The quote selection that accompanies this part of my entry applies most directly to her and me.

The suddenness that our relationship came to a close was as jarring as the whipping of the cars on a roller coaster.  For the sake of this entry, I replayed how the sequence of events played out.  We spent Valentine’s together, then in March she had a procedure, and when April came, I was DX’d.  I don’t know what happened… I mean, her boys were so sold on our relationship that her two youngest were wondering if they would need to change their surnames after the eventual nuptials!

Kicking the idea around of what is NEVER going to happen (she has not contacted me at all in two years; and likewise, neither have I reached out to her, save a lost afternoon in Council Bluffs two years ago), I find myself not seeing where the gap is in my thinking that would allow me to welcome her back again.  Nor do I think she would be interested in looking for an opening anyway, but this is more about me.  This is the exercise that I have had with myself at the end of each and every relationship that I have been in.  The essence remains within, but it stays locked away and I have never had anyone ever try to recover whatever was left of my love for them.  And that, ladies and germs, is likely why I have not lost much time in trying to rekindle the embers from a once-burning flame.  I mean, what?  I gave it to you before??  So what, now that it has to be earned, it doesn’t have any value???

Friday, August 29, 2014

EXPANSION ON "HOW I LOVE"


TACTICAL
Thursday was an interesting, very good day for me.  I did not do anything of note, simply rode my bike a little, caught a bus for the sake of catching a bus to North Omaha, and took a nice afternoon bath and sat down to start my entry.  So my “Tactical” for this will hopefully segue into the main body of my entry.
I want a new computer.  I have been thinking about getting a notebook (no, I never did get the laptop running, but that is a story for maybe another day) and not having the burden of carrying a laptop around.  My stops was a local pawn shop franchise, Sol’s, where the lady who was helping me was very kind and knew her stuff, and Office Depot/Max, where I saw  several replacements, one less expensive than the one at Sol’s.  But with my not knowing the differences between the specs, the trip was more about the intel than actually making a purchase.
Because I rarely go across Dodge Street, the North Side is intriguing to me in the same way the East Side of Detroit is to me.  Despite its reputation, I still see more spots where I could picture myself setting up shop and chilling.  Then, in another reminder of why, like the East Side of Detroit, North Omaha has such a fearsome reputation, there was a detour set up by the police.  Seems like there may have been a shooting in the afternoon, and two passengers exclaimed, “That’s our house!!” as they leap up to exit the bus.  Maybe I will have to shelve the idea of going to the North Side… a disabled cat who rides around on $800 bikes kind of shouts, “potential victim” to the ne’er do-wells who look for opportunity.
Got back safely to my apartment and called the woman who is still on “probation” up and we went to 5 Guys for some take-away and watched “Star Trek: Into The Darkness” on Netflix.  We also made meaningful conversation and it was good, quality time spent in one another’s company.  And thus I was sprung into my long weekend of working Friday, Saturday AND Sunday for the first time in MANY years!
COMMITMENT LEADS TO ACTION; ACTION BRINGS OUR DREAMS CLOSER
Each time that I begin to think about the question, “How do I love?”, the expected saccharine-coated “twee” is not the among the ideals that enter my mind.  Whenever I have thought about participation  in a loveship, the word “commitment” has always been kept at the forefront of what it means to love and to be loving.  I know that I have cultivated an image of being a darling (or is it of “This Charming Man?”) man, strong yet tender, firm as well as considerate.  But what I think has always been missing in assumptions made about me is that of my deliberate nature.  And it is this omission from the equation that I believe contributed to the fail between Nebraska and myself, among other attempts at being “in love”.
I see love as the default nature of man.  I could string together some poorly-understood academic ideals  to support my theory, but I won’t.  I shouldn’t have to.  I won’t accept into philosophy something that I have not vetted and verified for myself.  And in that statement, I think you get a handle on how I love, and what love means to me.
Because I believe what I do with regards to love, I also do not think that it needs our approval to be present in our lives.  It is a part of the natural order of things and as such, is neither in need of “magic” or “luck” to be a factor in our lives.  Rather, I would claim that instead of chance, love is about surrender and acceptance, as it is a voluntary acts from which growth takes place.  The gap that keeps some from finding the love that they seek, the choice to be a part of the spiritual growth of another person, is the only real obstacle between “love” and being “in love” with another person.  To rely on the non-essentials to being in a loving relationship, like material wealth and what is best only for oneself, inhibits a person from fully being “in” anything; their concern with the objective forces outside of the relationship prevents the relationship from fully actualizing and reaching for it truest potential for being.
The idea of commitment is one that in my mind that is connected nobler and higher notions than does not allow for the kind of degradation than the casualness that comes with love.  Commitment, is for me, more than just a promise to do something, it is an action that places you not only in the present with someone, but in the future with that person, along with their hopes and dreams, and all that they ever hope for.  A “promise” is something that is made with the same guile and insincerity that is found in elementary school negotiations all over the country.


Commitment is spoken of throughout the speech in the video.  The game can be a metaphor for life and the speech by Coach Gaines is essentially a primer for how life should be lived.  The appreciation for where you are and fragility of each and every moment is a part of his motivation, as well as the sacrifice that they have implicitly promised one another -- is very similar to how I feel that a intimate personal relationship should be set upon as its foundation -- based on doing everything that can be done in the name of building a successful relationship.
Whether it is to a person, a cause, or your own well-being, a commitment is a choice.  So to be committed you have to be fully conscious and in being conscious, my idea of love is not one where I am struck by an arrow as it is the possible solution to a complex calculation, a theorem.  And like any theory, once proven incorrect, it is discarded and it is on to the next possibility.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

TELL ME ABOUT HOW YOU LOVE. I APPRECIATE THE RULES FOR HOW YOU LIVE… TELL ME ABOUT HOW YOU LOVE DEEPLY



TACTICAL

I haven’t made much mention of it but I am just as focused on my trip to Indiana as I was my trip to Carolina.  The same anxieties and concerns, but the stress is a slightly less fraught-filled.  The planning and logistics  are not as urgent, but that is why I need to be more exact in my preparations.  The mistakes are ALWAYS made at the easy places, and I don’t want to disappoint anyone else or myself.  So I will be tightening up for my flight to South Bend!!

For those who share my Facebook feed, I have joined a training website called Fitocracy.com, and I have been posting my workout routines on there.  I have linked it up with my other feeds, Twitter, Tumblr, and on Pinterest.  Not like I want to start a big following or anything, but I figure it is just sharing more of myself with those who are interested in me.  As I study for my certification has intensified, I figure it would be appropriate for me to talk about the process.  For instance, we are going to begin doing yoga/stretching more intently as well, seeing how both are critical to overall wellness.  Also, I have begun to think that nutritionist is going to be on my agenda in the future for me as well.  I already imagine that I am going to be in school for a LONG time, which isn’t a problem for me at all.

One of the characters I admired was “Howie” from the Lee Major’s vehicle, “The Fall Guy” television show.  No matter what the situation, he always had taken a class at some institution of higher learning which proffered an educated insight on a specific function of the case… and I can EASILY see myself going from UN-O, to maybe STATE, or even one or both of the “U-Dub’s” in my mind.  That would be a cool way for me to spend my 50’s, and I can stop worrying about my ever shortening bucket list and begin anew with goals to strive for.

My building has gotten Wi-fi that hasn’t worked well… I have thought about getting a wi-fi extender to boost the signal but I am not too sure… I went back to Cox and got my own account turned back on.  Currently, my major issues are making sure I send in the relevant information for my Medicaid and paying $50 to have a double-A battery installed in my smoke detector..!


TRULY, MADLY, AND DEEPLY        

I have returned to a question that was asked of me in one of my comments… “How do you love?”  And while I have struggled with the explanation, there are only three words that consistently come to mind when I ask myself, “How do you love, Mark?”, and that is truly, madly, and deeply.  Even if all of my journal has been a figment of my imagination and these are indeed the rantings of someone who needs both therapy and a life, the intent and passion that I want in a coupling should be clear.  The Adrienne Rich poem, a piece I read in my elementary school years, talks about the excitement of love and going on a journey where there are no directions and no markings to guide us along our way.  I want to be out on a safari, and adventure into the wilderness where maps can’t take you because they are so out-of-date.

See, I like it when emotions spill out like quicksilver, shimmering as it coalesces again in a glistening ball, ready for its next seemingly reckless dash across the paper.  But when things act on and in their true nature, what is observed is usually an illusion…

My pursuit of a person is usually because something on the fringes of my perception (as well as a nice set of hips and big breasts..!) drew me to them… usually, I recall the first time that I met someone I have dated, not because it was memorable for anything, but because of what I saw immediately when we met.  And I know that is not special in and of itself, but it also isn’t something that I take for granted… and I think that may be special.  Anywho, once I meet “someone who might be that someone”, the narrative arc scribbles itself across the paper and the story begins.  Isn’t that just mad?
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I have thought that I have loved someone truly… twice now.  First, the Delta Girl when I was at A&T, then years later when I ran into Tee Jay after I begin to implement my personal philosophy to life rather than let my belief be the fodder for rainy day conversations and Sunday evening reflections.  What I drew from both of those relationships is the concept of “the buy in”.  See, as two become one, there are some things that each will have to either put away or change in such a fashion that they can maintain a desire or belief without compromising it along with remaining faithful to the love that they claim to have expressed and want to share with another.

One of the things that has consistently happened when I have met a candidate for a partnership is the undeniable attraction that I feel for them and the subsequent lift in confidence that I should bring to their lives. It is not unusual for me to hear in a coupling that my partner feels attractive in a way no one had ever made them feel before.  I like to think that the whole “only has eyes for…” thing is what is happens when I meet someone special, and when it happens it is legitimate.

To be honest, I don’t know how many objectively attractive or beautiful women I have been with, though I am certain that I have been with a few of those.  But more importantly, these women that I am with, they are beautiful to me, and I desire them in such a way that casts the impression that I have never loved anyone the way that I love them ever before.  And in all sincerity, it is the truth-- at least it is OUR truth-- that they have become transcendent to me and all that I want, have ever wanted, and ever will want from another person can all be found in them.  And when you are wondering how deep, it’s deep, deeper than Atlantis.
______________________________________________________________________________

I was still fighting amateur boxing matches when I met my ex-wife.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go  pro, still feeling that I lacked the connection with a decent trainer to teach me to be a fighter.  So when I met her, I was still lacking a little confidence in my ability, to be the next Thomas Hearns.  But really, that was never my goal.  The dreams of professional sports stardom is littered with broken souls, and I never wanted to add mine to them.  But what I did see in boxing is the life of adventure and not only that, the means to my next step in my life.  Though I was never an “at-risk” child, I always had thought that boxing kept me from wandering the streets lost and in search of an identity, so it had already more than delivered for me.  With the modest goals that I had in mind for my professional career, I only needed to have been with a supportive woman to have achieved my goals.  Clearly, I did not meet that woman in my ex-wife.

Superficially, I know I give off the aura of “twee” and that whimsy is the garland around my neck.  I know that I sound lost to the pipe dreams of romanticism, and that my “goal-deficient” outlook does not sit well with the “more mature, realistic outlook” of women.  Whether they have children, looking out for family members, working and going to school, the LITANY of responsibilities that makes them “more responsible”, I think that those like my ex-wife, are doing the “good women” of the world a disservice when they appropriate that particular mantle.

When I look back and think about what I lost in that relationship… the term “deeply” comes to mind.  Not that I am shallow and superficial, because I am not nor have I ever been.  But that when it came to deeply loving, I had a “deep” but it was not “as deep as necessary”.  Apparently, that was a lesson that I had been hard for me to learn, because it happened twice.  And it had to be re-taught because of what happened the very first time I was tested.

My ex-wife did not like me boxing.  Rather than delve into all the insecurities and irrational thinking and behavior that took place, what I want to stress here is that for the good of our marriage, I stopped.  Cold turkey, not unlike what I have done since I retired for good, not even trips to the gyms about town to reminisce.  Nothing ran as deep in me as boxing did, and because I was sworn to an oath, unable to convince her to allow for my dream, I put it off, deferring it, actually, to another place and time in my life’s continuum.  This was the test of how “true” my love was for her.  Because if I truly loved her, why couldn’t I make this sacrifice for the greater good of our marriage?
_____________________________________________________________________________

Now the past is prologue only if you did not learn the first time… and if it was wrong when you first went at it.  There are some things that needed to be changed and others, well, refined would be a better description for what became of them.  Yes, there were those ideas that needed to be jettisoned, others that needed to be improved upon.  The bottom line is that I have continued to grow and improve, and that I am a better person for it.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

THE CODEFIED LIFE XII

TACTICAL


Many of the things you can count, don't count. Many of the things you can't count really count.”

In researching the above quote, it has been attributed most frequently to Albert Einstein and I am going to roll with that.  I felt that by measuring and identifying the qualities of personal interaction and relationships, I could avoid many of the pitfalls of contradiction that others seem to fear admitting to.

The pursuit of more for the sake of more has never really intrigued me.  In the “ESPN Sportscenter Highlight” of my life, I felt that it was my lack of desire, that burning engine, that has kept me from achieving more in my life.  But even as I pursued my life, I knew that having the most or the best of anything never had any appeal to me. The people for who found meaning in having all that was available to everyone as though they were divinely entitled to everything, they never seemed happy.  I think about Michael Jordan, whose persona in his retirement has changed as he has demonstrated a churlishness that was always present but hidden by the vast public relations apparatus that built “Air Jordan” up and packaged him to the public.

One  of  the  incongruities  of  the Einstein quote is that most of the things that can be  enumerated actually DO count, often their value comes at the expense of the things that can’t be counted.  My ex-wife, who was concerned with the materiel and logistics of our lives, did not fully comprehend, IMO, how the value of the things that you can’t count or place a value judgment on, does mean more than the “things” that she believe had value.  Her perception of my boxing career, for example, did not account for the low-level grinding at the very beginning, the hours on the road  to nowhere and $400 fight purses that did not cover the trip and money lost from missing work.  I could break down example of specific episodes but it always was summed up by her lack of faith in me.  What baffled me was … well, it is one of the more baffling things that I have had with women since I have discontinued the coordination of my intersexual affairs via the “run and shoot” philosophy.

Anywho… maybe the things that count don’t matter… but you should count try to count things anyway, because analysis reveals the patterns as to “why” things are happening.  You count punches in a boxing match and collate them into various categories and from those numbers it is possible to discern the patterns that leads to victory.  It would be observations like this as I repeated behaviors throughout my life that led me to what I have called my “Rules To Live By” and to live a “Quantified Life”.  I decided that I should put numbers to work for me and make very crude predictive models that works on my local, indefensibly small scale, and live a noble and worthy life.

THE DECISION-MAKING FLOW CHART

I actually tried to list my rules in an order but I found myself saying, “this should be higher” after making the choice to adopt a rule into my belief system.  So I simply made a list of rules, using the different quotes that came from the material that I had read or had come across and frequently found myself repeating as wisdom.  Unfortunately, this was often after I had repeated a mistake that I knew was an error before I even begun the endeavor.  I was able to take full control of myself and well-being, and this was shortly after the debut of the Carolina Women. But before I could examine the world through the miscellany of thought, I had to first be sure that I could apply them to myself and qualify as “worthy” of my own ideals.

As I said, trying to put them in an order of importance was a bigger distraction than it was trying to create my philosophy.  But the two that were singled out by Thomas, could themselves be all that a person would need live a better, more meaningful life.

"If you fix your eyes upon details and neglect important things, your spirit will become bewildered, and victory will escape you."     

I mentioned that there are some rules that on the face may contradict one another.  But I never find the juxtaposition, and if anything, I think that like all the things we can count, sometimes it is the things that should be counted but weren’t, that matters the most.  This item to me is for when you are actually engaged in the activity or pursuit you are after.  Once you have decided to make something your goal, whether it is getting an education for a better job, losing weight for whatever reason, improving your relationships, you can’t be worried about all the things that you didn’t account for.  You have to have complete faith in the process that you have chosen and your ability to achieve the ends by your own means.  In fact, rules nos. 13-15 would give a deeper explanation as to why worry is what undoes many plans of the wanting.

The other rule, number 20, is one that has always been a part of my character.  I can never picture myself ever allowing the sadness of another drift into my life.  F*ck that… and that is what makes the “Bizzaro thinking” that many confused souls believe as profound stand out in the light of inspection as idiocy.

You can die from someone else’s misery...emotional states are as infectious as
             diseases.”

Most of my anger was not at broad groups (though I can understand if occasionally it seemed that way!)… that was one way for me to diffuse the emotions that I was feeling living with people who did not possess the ability to do much better than living a “subsistence life”, doing just enough to get to the next day. I can’t submit to that kind of living… thinking so small and narrow… I mean, I guess it is going to happen, inevitably when boxing really catches up to me.  But I am going to give it a run and I can’t imagine doing that when paired with someone who thinks small and has limited vision.

Anywho… I think that I have rambled enough… and to answer, partly at least, to me love is duty, fidelity, and commitment.  More on that later, man..! (I can dig it..!)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

RULES TO LIVE BY


TACTICAL


I am feeling strangely fine… the butterflies present because there are things that are still up in the air that I would have rather not be up in the air, hence the title of this entry.  Everything is still a go for my trip to Nutwood, and I think that I am turning the corner when it comes to my hopes and goals for my life.

Pecan Sandie is still at it with posting on Facebook… “just cause I post something doesn’t mean it is me”, then followed almost immediately by a direct,”why does bullsh*t happen” post that can’t be seen in any other way than as a comment about her then-current condition.  Whatever.  At any rate, she is back in her blame-denial with our daughter, giving me all kinds of sh*t about reconfirming contact information (even with my suspicions that her Mom’s sh*ts on mail from me) and that I can call/email Lexxie at my leisure.  The only thing I could say is, “Thanks!” and follow through with what I can on my end.  If there is one thing that I would want for anyone to get from my experiences with being a sh*tty non-custodial parent, it is this:  Not all parents who aren’t present in the lives of their children are willfully negligent.  They can have help, as is the case with me, with being pushed to the fringes of the lives of their child(ren).  My falling down on my end does not justify others from taking the opportunity to further hamstring a cat, now does it?

My attempts to get information from Pecan Sandie has been the basis for my recent Facebook agonies.  Facebook is my Ennis DeMar… I just cain’t quit it, at least not yet.  I hope that Lexxie emails me back (I’ve already written her) and we can truly have a dialogue.  But I am also aware that my demonization has been a useful tool to assert absolute blame upon, and that there are interests that move to keep the status quo between the three of us.  And enough about that … what about these shoes..?              

RULES TO LIVE BY

It has been nearly 20 years ago that I began to collect a series of quotes and statements that either always had held my attention or that would catch my mind as I found myself in personal and spiritual decline.  When I finally told myself “enough”, I wanted to be able to focus on the things that I could believe in, that could explain the situations that I could not understand, and finally to explain to me with clarity “why am I here?”.

Many of them have been with me for since my adolescence, when I thought that they were “cool to say” especially being a twerpy black kid.  But because they survived through my trip on the choppy seas of life and where I was at when I made the decision to take back my life, I put them to paper, and I would read them over and over, making my plans to find “anywhere that would have been better.”

While there are those “Rules” which lend themselves to absolute, I think that even in the most literal reading that there is room for liberal interpretation.  But the essence of the rule, the fact that the responsibility for its implementation is always with the reader, makes them unbending.

Finally, as smug and self-important as a journal can be, I have thought that by making this a public journal I would seem like an arrogant bullsh*t artist, talking about stuff he barely understood and could not work into his own life.  The redundancy of ideals that are in my rules has emerged from the phrase, “Redundancy saves lives”, ethos picked up in my time in the Army, and it makes perfect sense to me. Again, allowing for the arrogance to take from and promulgate these words as “my own philosophy” that is based on real world observation and not rumour or wish fulfillment, .I think gives me the right to claim what I do… that these ARE my “Rules To Live By”, and that I am doing just that, living by these rules.  It goes without saying that violations of these tenets to my thinking are dealt with most severely, which grew as an outcrop of what I have drawn from living my life.  Make of them what you will… some will be discussed as I am going to make this term off from school a time for internal review and planning for the future.



Rules To Live By


  1. Answer questions on what’s best, never what’s easy.
  2. There is only one decisive victory- the last.
  3. A major victory can only be achieved by positive measures aimed at a decision, never by simply waiting on events.  In short, even in the defense, a major stake alone can bring a major gain.
  4. Victory alone is not everything- but is it not, after all, what counts?
  5. The first favourite was never heard of, the second favourite was never seen after the distance post, all the ten to oner’s were in the rear, and a dark horse, which had never been thought of, and which the careless St. James had never even observed in the list, rushed past the grandstand in sweeping triumph.
  6. This is just the moment not to slacken.  All the races which the calendar holds, or nearly all of them, are won in the last lap; and it is then, when it is most hard, when… the end seems to recede before us- like climbing a hill when there is another peak beyond- it is at that moment we in this Island have have to give that extra sense of exertion, of boundless inexhaustible, dynamic energy that we have shown… tirelessness is what we have to show now.
  7. In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten”  then he who continues the attack wins.
  8. The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.
  9. To ensure victory, the troops must have confidence in themselves as well as their commander.
  10. If you fix your eyes upon details and neglect important things, your spirit will become bewildered, and victory will escape you.
  11. Wise princes and republics should content themselves with victory; for when they aim at more, they generally lose.
  12. If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles.
  13. We cannot take this uncertainty too seriously, and it is important to be prepared for it from the beginning.
  14. The minute we begin carrying out our decision, a thousand doubts arise about the danger which might develop if we have been seriously mistaken in our plan.  A feeling of uneasiness, which often takes hold of a person about to perform something great, will take possession of us, and from this uneasiness to indecision, and from there to half measures…
  15. We must therefore, be confident that the general measures we have adopted will produce the results we expect.  Most important in this connection is the trust which we must have in our lieutenants.  Consequently, it is important to choose men on whom we can rely and to put aside all other considerations.  If we have made appropriate preparations, taking into account all possible misfortunes, so that we should not be lost immediately if they occur, we must boldly advance into the shadows of uncertainty.
  16. After we have thought out everything carefully in advance and have sought and found without prejudice the most plausible plan, we must not be ready to abandon it at the slightest provocation.  Should this certainty be lacking, we must tell ourselves that nothing is accomplished in warfare (life) without daring; that the probable will always be probable though at the moment it may not seem so; and finally, that we cannot be readily ruined by a single error, if we have made reasonable preparations.
  17. The third rule is never to waste time.  Unless important advantages are to be gained from hesitation, it is necessary to set to work at once.  By speed, a hundred enemy measures are nipped in the bud, and public opinion is won most rapidly.
  18. Great men and women have never found the easy road to triumph.  It is the same old route- by way hard work and applied faith.
  19. Discipline is doing what you are supposed to do, when you are supposed to do it, and always being ready to do what you are supposed to do it.
  20. You can die from someone else’s misery, emotional states are as infectious as diseases.
  21. The essence of power is the ability to keep the initiative, to get others to react to your moves.  You, yourself, must learn to master your emotions and never to be influenced by anger; meanwhile, however, you must play on people’s natural tendency to react angrily when pushed and baited.
  22. Self-interest is the lever that will move people.  Once you make them see how you can in some way meet their need or advance their cause, their resistance to your requests for help will magically fall away.
  23. Do nothing without regard to the consequences.
  24. Dying for each other- getting so much more back.
  25. Believe in yourself, have a passion for what you’re doing, and focus on attaining your goal with a laser-like precision… monitor your progress until you have accomplished them.
  26. If in the affairs of the everyday-- the trifles of life… a man is inconsiderate and seeks only what is advantageous or convenient to himself that which belongs to all alike, you may be sure there is no justice in his heart, and that he would be a scoundrel on a wholesale scale, only that law and compulsion bind his hands.
  27. Do not consort with fools, especially those who consider themselves wise.  And be not self-satisfied with your own ignorance.  Let your intercourse be only with men of good repute; for it is by such association that men themselves attain good repute.
  28. Victory is ever worthy of praise, whether obtained by valour or by wisdom.
  29. I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is the victory over self.
  30. All my care will be to gain victory with the least shedding of blood.
  31. what enables a good general to win without fail is always having unfathomable wisdom and a modus operandi that leaves no tracks.
  32. GENERAL ORDERS
1.  I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly
                relieved.
           2.  I will obey my special orders and perform all of my duties in a military manner.
          3. I will report violations of my special orders, emergencies, and anything not covered in            
               my instructions to the commander of the relief.
   33.  The formula for my happiness, a yes, a no, a straight line, a goal.
   34.  Never begin anything until you have reflected what will be the end of it.
   35.  Mistakes are always made when people get to the easy places.
   36.  Surprise is the fusion of speed and secrecy.
   37.  If we have our own why of life, we shall get along with almost any how…
   38.  The bite of conscious, like the bite of a dog into stone, is a stupidity.
   40.  To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.
   41.  Get in touch with what you need.  Visualize hour perfect day.  Make a business plan.             
           Take action!  -The four laws from “The Success Trap”
   42.  The three keys to (life) corporate & career acceleration- 1)  Clarify your three highest
          priority outcomes for the next six months.  2)  For each outcome, identify the three things
          you can do that will have the greatest positive impact on achieving it.  3)  Identify the six
          things you will stop doing so that you will have the time and energy to do what you need to
          do what you know you need to do to achieve these three outcomes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WERE YOU ALWAYS TRYING TO GET HERE WITH ME..?


TACTICAL


Got my plane ticket to South Bend… hoo-rah..!  So if I continue doing the things that I have been doing that has brought me to this point in my life, and I go on to have another positive shared experience with people I care deeply about, I will have won the year!!

Pell Grant came in..!  Winter term, here I come!!  I will have to calculate whether or not I am going to push myself and finish up junior college this upcoming academic year or not… still undecided on that front.
Biked the Keystone Trail down to Bellevue and snatched  bits and pieces of the air show at Offutt Air Force Base this past Sunday.  It was pretty cool… next year I will have to buy a ticket so I can go on post and check it out! London ended up giving me trouble on the way back… :0( Spokes came loose on the rear wheel and it was suggested by the owner of the repair shop that I might want to invest in a custom-made rear wheel… that is around $300 bucks, so some THOUGHT will go into that purchase.  Being a little bit of a bike snob put me on the slippery slope of spending for that kind of upgrade, and it makes sense.  With the amount of riding I do and the fact that I am a big cat, getting a wheel would make a lot of difference.  We will have to do some more “goat-thinkin’” on that idea.

Finally decided to go with an every-other-day study for my Personal Trainer’s certification.  Informally, I will be doing stuff regarding fitness nearly every day, but specific to the exam is what Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday’s will be for!  So it won’t be long until I am an official fitness professional!  Man, from sitting sleepless in a damp townhouse basement in the depths of early mornings, to making it to professional trainer, with progress to a degree in Exercise Science… HOO-RAH!! AIRBORNE!!!

HAVE YOU BEEN THIS WAY ALL THE TIME -- OR WERE YOU ALWAYS TRYING TO GET HERE WITH ME??

It sounds egoistic when people ascribe to themselves a quality that is there for everyone to utilize, even if the actual employing of said action or thinking is rare, and rarer still is the proper implementation of whatever into appropriate and effective utilization into a philosophy or way of being.  That is only a part of what irritates me with Facebook posts … I just have to question the effort that they have put into change (though with Pecan Sandie, waves of guilt crashes against the docks of my soul)… I mean, how many weeks, months if they can stay focused, will it be until they are back into their “Schleprock” mode, posting the social engineered pictures and memes of the sheep, passing it off as serious thought, sincere declaration of intent to be different?

There hasn’t been reason to mention that “I’ve been reborn so many times that I can’t remember them all”, in a long while as I take a run at explaining how difficult it is to make change in your own life.  The main reason that I find it difficult to do so is my philosophy and belief systems are centered around optimism and a willingness to work hard, traits that seem to low on the list of those who talk about change and not the efforts that go into change.  I don’t know when or why being optimistic got such a bad rap… I used to refer to myself as having a “Pollyanna outlook” (until someone “Big Lizard-ed” my using that term… not mention who or any of the 48 contiguous states that this person resides in but… I am sure you get who) because I can’t ever think of a time that I did not expect the very best of all outcomes in my life’s endeavors.  But thinking the misunderstanding of that term and how it was used speaks volumes about why I am the way that I am when it comes to the people I let into my circle. You can say a-hole things, even occasionally do a-hole things… but if you have a lucid, cogent explanation, I won’t think of you as an a-hole.  But if an a-hole is what you ARE, then I ain’t got no use for you.

Having quantified as much as possible regarding how I understand and interpret my life, I already have parameters established for the roles that are available in for anyone who wants to be an active part of my awareness.  The whole introvert thing, while being used so much that it is more of another of the self-diagnosed character markers for those who seek to belong to something or draw attention to oneself.  For instance, purposely trying to find obscure music to claim an obscure, “cool before it was cool”, to listen and for the desire to be out on the forefront of a wave that has probably already came in… that isn’t because I am trying to be an introvert, but it is just who I am.  “The music that they constantly play,” sings Morrissey, “it says nothing to me about my life.” I can no more help finding myself where I do on the musical spectrum no more than I could on the social spectrum.

...speaking of obscure music…
(at least it is to me..!)


This song has been a pleasant earworm for the past two weeks… the use of the word “space” and its vastness hooked me along with the “space” between the beats and the atmospheric vocals that accompany the musical score, I was taken into the clouds and through the levels of atmosphere and floating about in the never-ending and seemingly visible noise betweens points of light.

I imagine the characters in my mind (and blog) and scrutiny being made on them through the prism of this song.  It solidifies my purpose for me and keeps me from being lost in the woefulness of imagining what anyone is doing, from  Mookie Dee, up to the potential recruit who was on probationary status.  Does it matter in the grand scheme of things why the music affects me the way that it does..?  It isn’t going to reveal any great secret or unveil any of the great mysteries of existence … except that it does, at least, for me.

The song is a validation of a sort… unlocking the answers through subtlety, probing introspection and leaving revealed the bareness of a soul.

YOU USED TO CHECK THE WEATHER AND YOU STOPPED THAT
 
One of the many issues that I have with the “tiny brained folk”, people who have never been anywhere, never being exposed to the variety of life is that “they think so small, they used small words…”.  By that I mean it is likely that they have not pondered about what lies outside of their comfort zone.  Having muscled through Toffler’s “Future Shock” as a kid confirmed for me that whether or not that I was right in an absolute sense was less important than the dimensions of life that I believe that I feel I was correct about.

I knew that I was living in a dying society when I was growing up… the death of the hierarchy.  Not only will I get to see a woman president, I believe that my granddaughters will be the first generation of women for whom the patriarchy will matter less to them as the blunt and crude racism of the first half of the 20th century matters to minorities now. Not that it won’t be a factor or that sexism still won’t matter (because the tiny brained are a hardy species and will lurk in the dark places where light doesn’t reach), but it will matter far, far less than it does now or ever did.  Those granddaughters will have children that will be as unfamiliar with the patriarchy as a children today are as unfamiliar with a rotary phone, blatant racism and rampant sexism.

What will the new society of the future look like?  Well, as an adult that is scruffling along below the poverty level and coping with a wonky brain, not to mention the lack of scholarship to bring a strong argument for anything, I don’t have a clue!!  But I do know if you are holding on to the old mythologies rife with bias and ignorance, you will suffer the fate of the dinosaurs and the cro-magnons.

Falling freely through inner space, it is hard for me to alter my unknown trajectory for a known route that will lead to a dead end.  There are some things that I am simply not wired for… and that is why I went ahead and scratched out the profile to my philosophy and I work to project where I intend to go from “here”.  When it comes to personal relationships, realizing what has be done cannot be undone (but maybe they will find a way through quantum mechanics to do it… my postulation is that change in our reality alters the reality in another future, but I digress..!), I am left with really one option -- and it is not upon me to find and present any alternatives… how could I?