Saturday, August 22, 2015

MORE RANDOM THOUGHTS


TACTICAL

In the decade (!) that I have been disabled, there has been A LOT for me to get used to.  For instance, the non-chalantness that I had about my recollection of personal events and stories of others has went from a trait that I accounted to my “a-hole-osity”, to becoming something that I have grown to be concerned about.  But if living with Mookie Dee did anything, it confirmed for me that for the most part, keeping up with the worries of other people was still something I could disregard.  Mind you, this is not a statement of my lack of concern for the welfare of someone else, but that people are ever only concerned with the mundacity of their own lives and that they are not looking for anything other than pity and commiseration, confirmation that the antagonists in their lives are wrong and that they are really the better person in their struggles.  Meanwhile, as for them showing me the same kind of compassion and thoughtfulness that I gave them, well… now, THAT’S DIFFERENT.

I hark back to my marriage and how my ex-wife would often erect barriers to why things were more serious and involved for her and not so for me when it came to personal issues and obstacles.  Because I was a man, or because I did not have children(!!!) to think about, that my life experiences left me somehow freer and more unburdened than her, and that the social schisms that complicated my being as a black man was somehow less than hers as a black woman… yadda, yadda, yadda.  Anywho, at the time I would come to identify that line of thinking and belief as the height of selfishness in a personal relationship of any kind, and was codified for me by Arthur Schopenhauer's  comment on  character and determining if a person was a “scoundrel” and without a care for the concerns  or the well being of others.  Being of the opinion that a person who can rationalize their inherent selfishness as justifiable because of a perception that they are aggrieved by their own social beliefs or position, is a person that is best left to their own devices.


Were I to mention any real complaint of mine, like that of Portnoy's, it would be of excruciatingly dense and personal, but also one which I feel that I do not have the language to adequately describe (a small part is certainly owed to my injury, but enough with the excuse making) my emotions and their processes that I would attach to my grievances.   But I can say that straight away it has its roots in self-esteem, and as any real self-esteem conflict should have been settle in a functional adult, in one's high school years.

THE COOL BOYS BIT THE DUST… THEY COULDN’T TAKE THE PRESSURE…

Not that I know of, or would care to know of, how my peers from my junior high/high school days are doing.  I mean, a few of them that I did genuinely care for and thought of as friends, such as the Yalie, has indeed excelled. There is the one cat who I used to train with as an amateur who has found his way in his life.  And of course, there is the “Fly Skimmie Kimmie”.  Other than perhaps one or two more people, I am not aware of any other person from the “Era of My Discontent” that has gone on to achieve anything that one could consider remotely enviable as far as living an examined life.  I have knowledge of a few, some of whom you could call “the worst people of my existence”, who either fell into the abyss of urban poverty, or, who like my ex-Wife (and I am beginning to think the same of Pecan Sandie as well) who are barely staying afloat consciously, living their lives in that desperate pursuit of fulfillment and happiness.  Because of my off-brand style of thinking and philosophy, I think that I have been allowed to see people in fractals of character traits, the vision often contradicting their claims or their display of those traits of virtue and of good moral standards.

The only time that I take personal account of what people think of me, is when it is something that would verify any trait or characteristic that I may/may not posses.  Often times I picture myself as Jimmy, Quentin Tarantino's character in the movie “Pulp Fiction” trying to explain to Jules, (Samuel Jackson) that he doesn’t need to hear “how good his coffee is” when it comes to a  personal assessment from exurbs of my personal gallery.  How insulting is it when a person who is one of the unhappy “play-it-safers” that constantly wants without being able to recognize or ever trying to grasp the opportunities in front of them if they were somehow able to see them?  Where do they gain the authority to make a statement on my choices if they have never dared to explore their own hopes and dreams?

Peeking out on Facebook and seeing the griefings of people commenting on their lives, talking about how there is lack in some aspect of it, be it money, love or hope, and especially from those who I know of intimately, is a depressing act.  The salience of the meme’s and simple quotes from savvy social media promoters, expressing feelings that they would lay claim to as echoing the desires and wants in their own soul,  escapes me like that of a prey animal sudden dash to escape the clutches of a predator.  I just don’t get it… I never have and never will, at least not personally.  

...AS A SIDE NOTE

A story that broke this week about people who were rich living in public housing struck me as odd.  First off, the total amount of people who are “high-income” tenants is very, very low.  It smacks of a smear job not unlike that of “The Welfare Queen” myth of the 80’s.  Second, the folks who pay the higher rate of subsidized rents (like myself), represents a source of funding for the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) that the perennially underfunded agency would otherwise be without.  I don’t understand how this “problem” drew such attention?

Residents who pay the “market rate” for their residences (set at 80% of the median rents of similar residence in an area) provide HUD with over $90 million dollars a year.  And sure, it seems wild that there is a cat in Oxford, Nebraska who has assets totaling $1.6 million dollars (and a bank account holding $335,000 dollars..!), but I think that it also speaks to the liveaTACTICAL

In the decade (!) that I have been disabled, there has been A LOT for me to get used to. For instance, the non-chalantness that I had about my recollection of personal events and stories of others has went from a trait that I accounted to my “a-hole-osity”, to becoming something that I have grown to be concerned about. But if living with Mookie Dee did anything, it confirmed for me that for the most part, keeping up with the worries of other people was still something I could disregard. Mind you, this is not a statement of my lack of concern for the welfare of someone else, but that people are ever only concerned with the mundacity of their own lives and that they are not looking for anything other than pity and commiseration, confirmation that the antagonists in their lives are wrong and that they are really the better person in their struggles. Meanwhile, as for them showing me the same kind of compassion and thoughtfulness that I gave them, well… now, THAT’S DIFFERENT.

I hark back to my marriage and how my ex-wife would often erect barriers to why things were more serious and involved for her and not so for me when it came to personal issues and obstacles. Because I was a man, or because I did not have children(!!!) to think about, that my life experiences left me somehow freer and more unburdened than her, and that the social schisms that complicated my being as a black man was somehow less than hers as a black woman… yadda, yadda, yadda. Anywho, at the time I would come to identify that line of thinking and belief as the height of selfishness in a personal relationship of any kind, and was codified for me by Arthur Schopenhauer's comment on character and determining if a person was a “scoundrel” and without a care for the concerns or the well being of others. Being of the opinion that a person who can rationalize their inherent selfishness as justifiable because of a perception that they are aggrieved by their own social beliefs or position, is a person that is best left to their own devices.


Were I to mention any real complaint of mine, like Portnoy, it would be of excruciatingly dense and personal, but also one which I feel that I do not have the language to adequately describe (a small part is certainly owed to my injury, but enough with the excuse making) my emotions and their processes that I would attach to my grievances. But I can say that straight away it has its roots in self-esteem, and as any real self-esteem conflict should in an adult, in high school.

THE COOL BOYS BIT THE DUST… THEY COULDN’T TAKE THE PRESSURE…


Not that I know of, or would care to know of, how my peers from my junior high/high school days are doing. I mean, a few of them that I did genuinely care for and thought of as friends, such as the Yalie, has indeed excelled. There is the one cat who I used to train with as an amateur who has found his way in his life. And of course, there is the “Fly Skimmie Kimmie”. Other than perhaps one or two more people, I am not aware of any other person from the “Era of My Discontent” that has gone on to achieve anything that one could consider remotely enviable as far as living an examined life. I have knowledge of a few, some of whom you could call “the worst people of my existence”, who either fell into the abyss of urban poverty, or, who like my ex-Wife (and I am beginning to think the same of Pecan Sandie as well) who are barely staying afloat consciously, living their lives in that desperate pursuit of fulfillment and happiness. Because of my off-brand style of thinking and philosophy, I think that I have been allowed to see people in fractals of character traits, the vision often contradicting their claims or their display of those traits of virtue and of good moral standards.

The only time that I take personal account of what people think of me, is when it is something that would verify any trait or characteristic that I may/may not posses. Often times I picture myself as Jimmy, Quentin Tarantino's character in the movie “Pulp Fiction” trying to explain to Jules, (Samuel Jackson) that he doesn’t need to hear “how good his coffee is” when it comes to a personal assessment from exurbs of my personal gallery. How insulting is it when a person who is one of the unhappy “play-it-safers” that constantly wants without being able to recognize or ever trying to grasp the opportunities in front of them if they were somehow able to see them? Where do they gain the authority to make a statement on my choices if they have never dared to explore their own hopes and dreams?

Peeking out on Facebook and seeing the griefings of people commenting on their lives, talking about how there is lack in some aspect of it, be it money, love or hope, and especially from those who I know of intimately, is a depressing act. The salience of the meme’s and simple quotes from savvy social media promoters, expressing feelings that they would lay claim to as echoing the desires and wants in their own soul, escapes me like that of a prey animal sudden dash to escape the clutches of a predator. I just don’t get it… I never have and never will, at least not personally.

...AS A SIDE NOTE

A story that broke this week about people who were rich living in public housing struck me as odd. First off, the total amount of people who are “high-income” tenants is very, very low. It smacks of a smear job not unlike that of “The Welfare Queen” myth of the 80’s. Second, the folks who pay the higher rate of subsidized rents (like myself), represents a source of funding for the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) that the perennially underfunded agency would otherwise be without. I don’t understand how this “problem” drew such attention?

Residents who pay the “market rate” for their residences (set at 80% of the median rents of similar residence in an area) provide HUD with over $90 million dollars a year. And sure, it seems wild that there is a cat in Oxford, Nebraska who has assets totaling $1.6 million dollars (and a bank account holding $335,000 dollars..!), but I think that it also speaks to the livability of public housing, as well as the industriousness of its residents. See, the thing is, where the people STARTED from is often overlooked, as they had to qualify to be granted public housing. For instance, I am living on disability and a part-time job. Going to school and eventually the jump to a full time profession, I have often wondered “why would I move?” I have no problems with my fellow residents and my tower is located within a 30 minute ride of wherever I want to go. So even as my presumptive income grows, I can’t see why I would want to move from where I am at, to just pay for the right to be in a different cramped apartment?

Anywho, I think that the investigation of HUD residents who are paying for their homes should not be a mark against the agency. I am sure that they weren’t well-off when they begin their residence. It seems that corporate welfare and tax dodgers at the top of the economy would bring in much more money and not hurt people who worked through the system.
bility of public housing, as well as the industriousness of its residents.  See, the thing is, where the people STARTED from is often overlooked, as they had to qualify to be granted public housing.  For instance, I am living on disability and a part-time job.  Going to school and eventually the jump to a full time profession, I have often wondered “why would I move?”  I have no problems with my fellow residents and my tower is located within a 30 minute ride of wherever I want to go.  So even as my presumptive income grows, I can’t see why I would want to move from where I am at, to just pay for the right to be in a different cramped apartment?

Anywho, I think that the investigation of HUD residents who are paying for their homes should not be a mark against the agency.  I am sure that they weren’t well-off when they begin their residence.  It seems that corporate welfare and tax dodgers at the top of the economy would bring in much more money and not hurt people who worked through the system.

Friday, July 31, 2015

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? AND WAS DAVID BYRNE RIGHT??



TACTICAL

The last weekend was a fairly good one.  Went out on date (note to self: quit going out with medical professionals..!), and Sunday I think I slept in all day!  The reason that I say “I think” is that if I did sleep in, then I slept HEAVILY!!

Next month I am going to start to post regularly about fitness stuff.  This is something that I will do every other Monday or Tuesday, to keep myself accountable to the goals that I aim to achieve.  For instance, I truly believe that my attentiveness to my physical condition has begun to slip and that there is a LOT MORE for me to be doing regarding my personal fitness.  Also, I have really been slacking on moving toward my professional/academic goals.  And with that said, let’s move on with the move on!

THE FUTURE IS NEVER

In Roberto Benigni’s film (Oscar-winning performance in the movie) “Life Is Beautiful”, about life in a Jewish concentration camp during World War II, there were many lessons about humanity and the ability of people to adapt to their circumstance.  Like another production that was about an epic story of human endurance in the face of inhumanity, “Roots”, there were scenes and moments where things seemed “normalized”.  Objectively, it could be observed that things were anything but “normal”, but in both cases, because the characters still operated within a range of emotions that could be described as normal, some could see the experience as something less than the tragedy (Southern apologists for slavery fall into this category) that they were.  Those behaviors weren’t about either of the disenfranchised groups (particularly the slaves) growing to accept their conditions, but they were both testaments to the ability of human beings to change and adapt to outside changes in their world.  I think that you can sum up these behavior to the phenomenon called The Hedonic Treadmill.  Right now, I am concerned that I may be on one such treadmill of my own right now.

My thumbnail sketch of the Hedonic Treadmill idea is this: no matter your situation, your personal happiness set point will reset no matter the situation you are in.  So, when my ancestors were bowed beneath the weight of being enslaved, the fact that they continued to find and develop artistic endeavors and those of intellect, did not dissuade them from finding happiness of a sorts.  If that is too fraught an issue to use as an example, then, how about those lottery winners who instead of living a life worthy of a Robin Leach show, they instead talk about how miserable that the money has made them.  That is because money, quite simply, does not by happiness.
I have had a little money at one time, as well as a decent paying job.  And I do not think that I was happier at either of those times in my life as I am right now (though during the latter era, there were plenty of Astoria cookies and NPR weekends to be had..!).  This has been something that I have found occurring throughout my life.

See, I was cool with being AMONG the smartest kids in school during my elementary and junior high years.  And I was satisfied with writing stories that placed and was recognized in a very immediate and local way.  Even as I boxed, it was once I became one of the “up and comers” as an amateur that I found my hunger satiated.  Now, this is not to say that I was slack or I chose to coast on my self-perceived laurels, but the gnawing desire for something more has not been a part of my experience.  Knowing about the treadmill for as long as I have, I have often contemplated what it would take to push through the eventually adaptation of consciousness and to achieve more out of living, to achieve a level where my life was not only experienced, but well-lived and with a nobility to my existence.

There is a book by Daniel Pink called “Drive” and I am going to set my mind to reading it (along with my materials for my PT certification) because I want to get as much as I possibly can out of myself before my Sun Dog comes for me…

Being able to find one’s level and to find complete peace in it is one thing.  If it comes with a person having taken their best shot at living and being able to live well with the consequences of risk, then I do believe that is an effort worthy and meriting affirmation.

Yeah… I am prolly going to journal for a while yet.  Though I expect that fewer and fewer people are going to read this mess, “Stars…” has already accomplished its main mission, which was to get me out of “the Provincial town I once jogged ‘round”.  Getting off the treadmill and getting back to agony and ecstasy of putting in hard work towards that as-of-yet unseen and unknowable goal, is going to be on me.

As physicist’s explore spacetime and create new definitions for what we call reality, the inconsistency of what is real and important to many is not lost upon me.  Striving to lead lives of meaning ultimately will be proven futile and all existence really means is that you are a bundle of atoms that have collectively gained self-awareness, all the while harboring the delusion that your existence means something on a grander scale than the cosmological insignificant “thing” that it really is.

So I guess my question to the guru-on-the-mountain would be something on the order of, “Whose meaninglessness means the most?”  Or maybe it should be, “Whose meaningfulness means the least?”

Friday, July 24, 2015

JUST ANOTHER ENTRY IN AN APPARENTLY LONG-RUNNING SERIES OF ENTRIES


TACTICAL


Well now… if you were to ask me, Sandra Bland’s death is more of a sign of the coming “race war” than anything else that has happened with intent to inflame a social crisis than anything else recently. The “lone wolf” actions of cats like Dylan Roof in South Carolina and Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez in Tennessee, while tragic and despicable, have more to do with the psychosis that took place in their own mind. In fact, I think that those two cats, and those of similar ilk, have more in common with guys like “The Son of Sam” (and I am working with the characterization of “Sam” in this Spike Lee joint). The reason that is behind my claim is Sandra Bland, who was an African-American female, demonstrates how vulnerable we are as a group to the influence of the White Supremacy Dynamic that controls and influence virtually all global human activities.

(Descends from soapbox) Alas, the African-American diaspora is one that has continued to be disenfranchised, from the sailing of the first slave ship from Africa. There has never been a unified, cohesive, body politic, that represented a shared social standard, certainly not one to have been feared. Even when united and armed rebellion was the goal, (Dred Scott, the Black Panther Party), between apathy, fear, and self-interest, there was no real sense that the system of oppression was going to be altered in a dramatic way.

There was an photo array of Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson titled, “Adrian Peterson Looks Like A Real Life Action Figure” in AOL Sports recently. In the photos taken of “A.D.” at training camp, he certainly seems to resembles a life-sized “He-Man” action figure. Now THAT is what I am working toward!! I am going to try to get this photo enlarged or something, maybe set it as my computer background for motivation.

It is the end of July and the “what are you going to do in August” alarm has gone off. Do I really want to go back to school? I allow myself to let the “inner Pinky” ask the question, so that “the Brain” can reply, “We are going to do the same thing we’ve always done in August, we are going to go back to school.” One of the reasons that I know that it is time to get my “game face” on, is that I have been sleeping later, not even buzzed to get out of bed. For me, sleeping in has always meant that there was an uncomfortable restlessness shadowing me. That is as clear a sign there is to me that there are things for me to do, plans for me to make, preparations to be reinforced, and a goal to be achieved.

As far as Lexxie is concerned, I am going to have to say that she won’t be coming to Omaha this year. Not going to give up on getting her out west one day, but I don’t think that it will be this summer that she visits me.

Finally, it seems that the Cosby myth is completely shattered. The one woman who leaked details from her case took a brave stand on releasing the deposition from her involvement with Cosby. Whether or not she receives any punitive actions against her, the revelation should be lauded as a public service (and I am aware of the possible hypocrisy here with my comments… thank you very much!). But this guy has been a douche for a long time… and he dared to admonish people about behavior and character..?  He was willing to throw his OWN DAUGHTER under the bus to save his reputation!!

....THE SAFETY OF WHO YOU ARE…

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” - G.K. Chesterton

I rode Madison out to Village Pointe the other day, which is west of me by about 135 streets. My bike computer said that I rode about 60 miles when it was all said and done, between stopping and watering up, and a little shopping, I was out for about 8 hours!! When I finally made it home, I was feeling not only the high from the physical exertion, but I was just giddy from being in Omaha. 

Looking back at where I have come from isn’t something that I am prone to do. I am no longer bedeviled (if I was ever) by my past, and I can look forward to the things that I hope for. The micro-story that I found on the “I Wrote This For You” blog gave me pause to do some “goat thinking” about the people who find themselves wanting things in their life, but unable to muster the courage to, not attempt to go after their desires, but, rather than reconcile their choices and accept/affirm them, look outward and declare how “unfair” life seems to be to them. At no time do they think about anyone else and how their pursuit of their own life’s hopes drove them to act, but lament on how things were “given” to those who were “blessed”.

I am a big fan of agency. No matter what is going on, the individual is the one who is at the center of their own “atomic structure”. There are times where I think how good it feels to be where I am today, and that I was able to get here primarily on my strength of will. The harder and more focused I became, the more fortunate (the well-timed gift from I've received from friends, for example) I found myself. But I never took anything for granted.

Maybe the it is a lack of gratitude that keeps those who “die while living” from actually living and experiencing life. I had hoped to take a selfie of Madison and myself out at Village Point, and I did snap a couple of shots of us at 168th & Blondo… but the reason I did not get one at Village Point is the same reason that I don’t have pictures of most of the places I have bee… I was submerged in the moment and it really never occurred to me to memorialize my ride. After all, I KNOW that I rode for nearly 8 hours and that I went out to the western exurbs of Omaha… why do I need a picture to remind me that I took my bike for a long ride..? 

Yep… that is the main reason (along with not being particularly photogenic) I don’t do pictures… I think that I will miss more by losing the moment to take a picture than I would gain from worrying about getting a good photo. And when I go out again the next time, it won’t be as unique, so why worry about one then?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A DAY IN THE LIFE... A LIFE IN A DAY...

TACTICAL

I sit down often to make an entry in my journal, only to find myself struggling to piece together enough of an observation of life to write down.  This is not due to anything relating to my condition or anything that relating to my present state of being.  Most of the things that made up the fodder when I first started journaling no longer matters to me, as they scarcely occupy the furthest reaches of my thoughts.  For instance, in the past I would reassure readers that moving to Omaha was not based on the hopes for a relationship, and here it is, I find myself not only alone but without much to claim as a relationship with the person that I may have been moving here for.

A few days ago I fell while riding my bike to work.  It was a minor incident, as a hidden pothole made itself known suddenly, causing me to lose some control and crash into a low curbside and lose my balance in a slow sprawl over my handlebars.  One of the “hangers abouters” that frequent the area of Park Avenue and Dodge Street did ask if I was okay.  I reassured him that I was, and the only real damage that was sustained was by Madison, who lost a (since repaired) rear spoke.  Later, when I got done with work and readied for bed, I saw a couple of scratches and bruising on my left thigh.  In fact, the most notable part of the entire experience was not that it happened but that the FREQUENCY of such an event has decreased to where the significance of “losing my balance” has not been a cause for increased (though any such happening is always going to be noticeable to me)  concern.

When I envisioned myself being on my own, I always did so thinking about how I would fare being self-supporting, disabled cat.  Even my best hopes for me and Nebraska always had “the bell ringing” and the both of us being able to return back to our respective homes, with full and rich lives outside of our relationship.  To be honest, I took it as a positive coincidence that I was assigned residence where I currently live, as it is centrally located, when I account for my interests and objectives, and I have found it to be comfortable for me.  Living where I do has allowed me to feel secure, and most importantly, completely independent.  Though I have not encountered any real “DefCon 4” level situations since I have been in Omaha ( and really, who among us regularly deal with things of such a critical nature that frequently anywho? man, I would pity the fool that does.!!), I do feel that I could manage for a few months if necessary, to say nothing about recovery in the moment, should something unforeseen occur.

WHY WOULD I WANT TO CHANGE..?

Out enjoying a rare “Chocolate Thunder From Down Under” and some Aussie Cheese Fries at a local Outback Steakhouse, I think that I got hit on by a transgender person!  Anyone familiar with the restaurant knows that it has a “clean” look, meaning that you can easily see anyone from any seat in the restaurant.  The bar area is usually open seating, directly behind the hostess stand which is the right in front of the entrance.  When the hostess greeted me, I indicated that I was going to simply sit in the bar and she kindly smiled and waved me through.

As I took my seat in a booth, someone in the restaurant had notice me and began to make their way to where I was seated.  I don’t recall the order of salutations as instantly my “perimeter defence” sounded an alert.  While I have come to expect the occasion forward approach from a woman, there was something in level of observation just below consciousness that kept me from being fully engaged causally with my new guest.

After I invited her to sit down (because the exchange she initiated seemed to lead to that), I could not stop conducting surveillance of her.  She was tall, six feet or so, slender with no curves and from what I could tell, a pair of 34D’s for her breasts.  I thought that the dye job in her hair, some reddish-magenta and platinum blond, was not only bad, but oddly ostentatious.  But what convinced me that there was a higher probability that “all was not as it appears”, was the make-up job that she wore.  The “fail” could have been due to the heat, as it has been muggy and warm in the Midlands.  But there was something that said, “Mark, this isn’t a ‘muggy day-runny make-up’ job… this is just a BAD make up job.  The kind of make-up that a teenager whose “Mom-just-gave-her-a-tutorial-and-let-her-do-her-own-face-for-the-first-time” kind of job.  So that served as the first confirmation that something was up.

We made conversation.  She talked about keeping fit, and her long sinewy arms were testament to her attention to her conditioning.  While my physique is testament to how important working out is to me, I did have her note that my diet was pretty bad, as evidence by my decadent dessert-appetizer combo.  As the conversation continued, I continue to reconnoiter, trying to see if I could detect a verifiable “tell”, like an Adam’s Apple (which can be surgically removed), or spot hair follicles that would indicate where hair growth might have been present under her chin and nose.

As her presence stretched from an impromptu visit to now an imposition into overstaying in my comfort zone, had begun to make my inner self (after all, you did see that I came here alone, right?  That wasn’t by mistake… I came here to be LEFT ALONE) ready to take action. Instead, motioned to her companions, and wondered to her if they were ready to leave.  My guest glanced over her shoulder, and for a moment considered something (was it a reveal?  A possible “get-it-on” date set in motion?), and with resignation, she admitted that she should get back to her friends and said it was a pleasure to have met me.  Neither of us asked for any contact information, and she shook my hand as she excused herself.  I watched as her friends got up and met her in the dining room, and waved at her as they left the restaurant.  And this is one of the great things about Omaha… I did not feel like anyone was staring or thought anything was out of sorts from the sight of what may have been a white, “maybe tranny” trying to pick up a muscle-bound black cat!

The point of this story was to show how the precepts and rules that I have for making my way through the social sphere of life works. All of my mistakes, or nearly all of them, have been made when I have consciously blew through the warning signs of my unconscious mind.  I have never had reason not to trust myself, as I never overstate my abilities or expectations, and my thinking and philosophy, “The Eclectic Method”, accounts for both the known and unknown variables I may encounter (illustrated by the episode mentioned above) from day-to-day.

A concern of mine since I was diagnosed with a brain injury has been the misunderstanding of what it actually means and entails for me.  The story about the NFL player and his wife dealing with his post-career injury that I sampled for an entry, was an example of what I won’t ever have with someone… that they “knew” me and would be able to be empathetic and understanding of my being.  That… that seems unlikely to happen for me.  But I don’t mind, I don’t mind (shoplifters of the world, unite and take over..!)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

“THE BIGGEST DISEASE TODAY IS NOT LEPROSY OR TUBERCULOSIS, BUT RATHER THE FEELING OF BEING UNWANTED.” - Mother Teresa

TACTICAL


I have been well.  My summer achievement of being able to lift 1200 lbs. between three different lifts (the bench press, the deadlift, and the squat) is well on its way to being reached.  This Monday, I did a single for 435 lbs. in my squat.  This goes along with an observed single of 450 lbs. deadlift, and a single of 285 lbs. in my bench press.  I am looking forward to getting this out of the way so I can started doing more aerobic training and shaping up my body.


We reached out to Nebraska recently.  It and that went about as well as could be expected.  And while it is still up in the air, Lexxie isn’t likely to visit me this summer.  Que sera.  Otherwise, I have been doing pretty alright, working out and flitting around Omaha.  If anything, I have been doing a little bit of this and that with regard to mental housekeeping.


“THE BIGGEST DISEASE TODAY IS NOT LEPROSY OR TUBERCULOSIS, BUT RATHER THE FEELING OF BEING UNWANTED.” - Mother Teresa


Since I have been Mark almost all of my life (there was a little bit of a question “who I was”  in my mind for the first few weeks after I was born, but I began figuring out who I was pretty early in my kindergarten-elementary school years), being alone hasn’t been that big of an issue for me.  My concerns are mostly around the negatives that are associated with being by oneself, and doing enough to limit the effects of being alone.  For instance, I don’t allow myself to go without dealing with people and being out in public, which is more of a thing for an introvert than you would think.  But here again, because of not only my introspective nature but because of accrued information on the subject, I have taken steps to make sure that loneliness won’t be the major problem in my life.  I listen to those around me when they notice things about me that I am either unaware of or ignoring with regard to my health.  And when I have opportunity to be social, whether it is an extended impromptu conversation, or I am invited to either a function and/or on a date, it is always an 80/20 lean to going out if there is nothing on my agenda.  This was a conscious decision that I made when I decided to leave for Omaha, and that was because I know me.


Since I still have the reflexive emotional memories of growing up guiding me, I know how I am with large groups of people.  My condition does not make things any better, but like with most of my self-identified weak spots, I have continued to push myself to where I am cautiously confident in larger crowds alone.  Next up, is for me to plan a trip somewhere by myself and to DO SOMETHING while there!


Much of my time this summer has been spent picking away at things in my apartment.  From an organizational standpoint, I still have needless clutter around, though I have slowly been reducing the mess.  I think that it is an emotional attachment that is keeping most of this stuff of mine around.  Were some of the things here for practical reasons, that would be much more different and it would be easier for me to categorize and find a place for things.  At any rate, being self-referential once again, my natural inclination for order will eventually win out.  Things WILL BE straightened out and orderly around here!

SOMEONE ELSE’S MIND


Though I do think that Omaha is a nice town and I would risk the chance to make for an even better experience by “hanging about” with someone, I do really enjoy being by myself.  So when I say that I would hint at embracing a relationship, it is actually something that I feel more driven TO than  it is something inside of me.  This is important to note as in the relationships in my life that held “the most potential to…” had a high level of “wantin’ to get atcha’ brother” in common with them (this does not include the fabled “Run ‘n Shoot” era of scampering about heedless in my reckless ways) as I have always responded to someone’s interest in me.  In the occurrence that I did not respond, it was not out of a lack of awareness as much as there were likely disqualifying reasons (on either end) that kept me from doing so.  I guess I am saying that I am drawn to someone’s yearning and want as I am my own desires.  This makes sense to me as in these relationships that I am speaking of, each person THEN becomes the object of my desire AFTER I have decided to move towards the pursuit of them.  For instance, two relationships that I have spoken of frequently in my journal, my failed marriage and the one with Nebraska, among the qualities that they have in common is that at first, neither of them were that “enthralled” by me (though with the latter relationship, one would beg to differ my accounting).


While I am a bit more verbose than the character that I am about to mention, Mad Max is someone I feel a kinship towards.  Not necessarily just because he is a bad a** as well as a loner, but I see myself in him because he is those things and he lives by a coda. It gives him a nobility, a morality, the greater-than-myself something that he is living for that despite the conditions of the world around him, he always manages to adhere to a higher state-of-being than that of his current existence.  In many ways, he is one of the most honor-driven characters I know.  And that is another point in common that I have with him, that in spite of my surroundings or my lesser qualities, I live my life with a code that keeps me from egregiously being selfish.


Am I in someone else’s mind?  I think that I am.  Will we ever cross one another’s paths??  That, ladies and gentlemen, is something that I was once sure of, now is riddled with doubts.  Anywho, I don’t feel that I should mourn for something that was never thought of as “mine”...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

FILLING SPACE

TACTICAL

A few weeks ago I got a text from KT and her Mom.  It seems that they were having a conversation about KT’s heritage and our daughter has it in her head that she is “mixed”.  Her reasoning being that her father is half-white and she leans a more to the “black” in her!  I had a good laugh and it made me smile knowing that I am a part of their conversation and in KT’s thoughts.  The self-deprecating humor of the comment was not lost upon me, because my non-conforming character has always meant that my “authentic blackness” would be called into question.  Then the Rachel Dolezal story broke.

If you get my feed on Facebook, then you may know that I was captivated by her story.  Jezebel had an article on Ms. Dolezal and it brought tears of laughter to my eyes as I read it the Saturday morning after the story first broke..  I had never heard of anyone ever claiming to be African-American when they weren’t, and the anguish of “passing”, immortalized by the book and movies (there were TWO of them!!) of the same name, “Imitation of Life”, is at the root of the issues between light and dark-skinned African-Americans.  For Ms. Dolezal, this seemed to be an obsession of sorts for her, as her parents indicated her fascination with African-American culture in her youth.  After her parents adopted 4 African-American children, her obsession took her into an entirely unforeseen direction.

Maybe part of Rachel’s desire to leave behind her whiteness could have been due to the upbringing she endures.  Her claims of abuse notwithstanding, I have often  been given to ruminate on dysfunction in the social systems of families where faith is a critical component to the philosophy of how a family lives.  This is not to say that only religious families suffer from these kind of social and intra-family breaks from standard.  You could substitute “faith” for  “ignorance” and pretty much find a similar kind of problem within a family.  When I was a child, the saying “follow an ugly child home and watch an ugly parent open the door”, could have been just as easily be substituted with the word “stupid” or “ignorant”.  In fact, the PRIDE within a social community on their lack of intellect or desire of the pursuit of knowledge is one that simply staggers the mind.

...MEANWHILE

Still haven’t been able to confirm travel dates for Lexxie.  Going through her Mom is difficult, as she harbors an ill-will towards me.  There have been times where discussions have been smooth, but more often than not, she get angry and jumps the track, which unsurprisingly, leaves us with nothing accomplished.

I am progressing nicely towards my goal of lifting 1200lbs between my deadlift, bench press, and squat.  After I do that, my next fitness goal will be to find my legs and get back onto a regular running schedule.  I will do more cardio, adding kettlebell swings and combo exercises with lighter weights. And I expect to take my certification test in July, mid-August at the latest.

And that is that with that..!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

THE GULF BETWEEN IDEALS AND CONCEPTS... BETWEEN THE HERE AND NOW


TACTICAL

I have been doing just fine.  Lexxie’s visit is still up in the air and her Mother and I have been trading messages on Facebook the last few weeks, much said without resolving the problem between Lexxie’s plans for her own excursion and mine for her visit.  I hope we get the opportunity to be with each other but if not…

...I can likely guilt KT to come and visit me next year!

My gout flare is gone and I am going to get back on track for my “1200lbs. lift”.  I don’t think that I am that far off in two of the three lifts. Recently, I did a chest workout that I was able to work up to a “double-double” at 260lbs. and two singles at 270lbs.  Later, I did 5 sets of 5 reps at 315 on my deadlift.  And with my squats at a pyramid of 10-8-8-6 repetitions (reps) or 315, 340, and 365 lbs., I could be ready at the end of June for my lift!

One of my co-workers did a challenge where he did 100 reps of 185lbs. in a squat, with the goal of doing them consecutively. If he racked the weight, he did 20 burpee pull-ups as punishment!  I think that he did 50 squats s straight before he racked the weight (which means he rested the weight in the rack that holds the bar) the first time, I think that he would rack the weight twice more before he knocked out 100 reps.  He had another squat challenge, one in which you double 245, wait 15 seconds, triple it, wait another 15 seconds, and rep out 5 more.  That is one set and there are ten of those with two minutes in between each set.  So I have enough fitness planned with these challenges on my plate as well as my own training plan and fitness goals.

DRAFT ANALYSIS

My latest gout flare had me thinking that I may actually need to make friends in a more tangible way.  It would have been nice to have had a friendship with someone where I was comfortable with calling upon them for a ride from school or to the grocery store.  Maybe their concern would have pushed me to go to the health clinic or emergency room to have my ankle looked at.  But as it was during the present moment, I did have enough people at both school and work who encouraged me to take a day off and have my ankle looked at.

See, that has always been enough for me.  Knowing that someone genuinely cares about me
without prejudice is primarily what I am looking for in a relationship.  Of course, it varies to the level of the relationship, because I am not going to expect anyone whom I am clearly on a casual level to be willing to go to any great lengths for me.  Yet, when it is a feeling is sincerely felt, a tugging of an emotional string that is so strong that the person who is feeling it has no other choice but to act, well, that does not need much discussion between parties now, does it?  Two movies rush to mind whenever I think along these lines as a display of sincere and heartfelt affection between people… “The Straight Story” starring Richard Farnsworth, and “Unforgiven” starring Clint Eastwood.  The motivation to act in both stories were pure and unspoiled by any but the mildest sense of self-interest for any of the major characters.  It was almost as though they had a calling of honor that bound them to their choices, and that they would have clearly have felt diminished had they not chosen the course that they took, regardless of the consequence.

One of the things that I believe is that it is not enough to want something.  No matter what you believe in, whether your believe is driven by a theology, ancient mysticism, or empirical objectivity, I don’t believe that you can truly have full faith in anything if at first you do not GIVE what you hope to receive  I think that we are born into the world as partially-filled vessels, but we do not become filled until we begin to give of ourselves.  That is when life begins to pour back into you and you become replenished and in this manner, having partially emptied of your own self, you can experience fulfillment.  And I think that this is especially true when it comes to our intimate relationships.

I do not feel that much more removed from “my early burglary years” when it comes to how I pursue close relationships.  If anything, I feel more angst for regarding my nature… for instance, I would not mind communicating and acting with those of you I have made IRL connections with, but, there are those who see me locally that I don’t bother to connect with.  I do attempt to do things with people, for instance, when I am asked I will go hang about with folks.  And there have been times where I have asked about someone else’s activities with the intent of planning an event.  Even with that, I have no real drive to create deep connective relationships with people.  Besides, my “draft stock”, I believe, has slipped.

From co-ordinating a love life that I envisioned as the “run-and-shoot”, and whose prospects were once forecasted in terms of being “top draft choices”, using the latter analogy, I think that I have fallen to mid 5th to 7th round choice nowadays.  Being regarded that low is almost certain to regulate me to “undrafted free agent” when it comes to partnering with a woman.  So that means, at least for me, it is more about the desire to be with someone than it is where I am going “in the draft”.  Because when you are down this low in the draft, it is more about how bad do you want it.

I already know that I don’t want a relationship that bad.  Do I even want a relationship “enough”?  That remains to be seen…  As far as my ever wanting a relationship “bad enough”, that should not even be questioned (but it has to be asked..!), if any of my claims of introversion are to be seen as valid self-characterizations.

“Where must we go, we who wander this wasteland, in search of our better selves.” -George Miller
Thoughts of what Nebraska and I could have been have been with me lately as well, because I don’t know if our relationship will ever advance to where we are held in one another’s confidence.  My wonderings takes me back to when we first made plans to meet in Chicago back in 2009.  Not only have the “prescience of fate” been lost between us, but so has the laying of a foundation for a relationship of any kind, on any level, been spoiled.

LIKE THE MOONSTONE, EXPERIENCE IS A HARSH MISTRESS

I have not felt compelled to make disparaging generalities about women of any specific demographic because I am no longer oppressed by the caricatures of any demographic, because I just don’t care.  Not that it doesn’t matter to me, which they don’t, at least not beyond the most superficial extensions of my awareness.  Part of that is due to my lack of participation in the  spinnings of “this and that” (see, I told you that they were not related..!).  And  ever were I so inclined to become involved in the scrum of the yearning hearts, my accumulated knowledge from any of my previous adventures and excursions would keep me from getting in the muck willy-nilly.

As cool and gratifying as it is to be a high draft choice, and as much as a boost up being drafted at all is, there are things as an undrafted free agent that are advantageous to the determined prospect.  Rather than being put into a situation that may not fit, as a free agent you get to float around and find a situation where you can maybe make your opportunity if you work hard enough for a “spot on the roster”.  And making the roster, not where you were chosen, is all you really want.  IF that is what you really want.

My laissez-faire approach to life has me question my own commitment to a relationship.  Other than the occasional “urges” (which reminds me to do kegels because you never can say never..?), I begin to question myself when it comes to committing the essential “emotional materiel” to a intimate relationship campaign.

Things that I look forward to:  Visiting Chicago/South Bend and enjoying time with friends and the big city.  Going back to Detroit to see my Dad, visit my peeps, track down Skye and again, visit friends.  And those, as well as a few other things of personal significance (getting a degree, going somewhere with my daughter KT), come ahead of growing a relationship.  That said, it still would not surprise me to find myself “in” something… but it HAS to be on mutually agreed upon terms.

At this point of my life, where no matter how you measure it, I have been around the block more than enough times to know without second guessing myself how much my happiness lies in an intimate relationship.