Wednesday, April 15, 2015

...AND THE FUTURE COMES INTO FOCUS FOR BUT AN INSTANT


Closing out a week where I was able to keep hope alive!!

In my Spanish 101 class, I was able to bring in a 79 on my most recent quiz!  Tweaked my study habits and I was able to grasp a little more than I had with previous lessons.  Now I don't think that I will be able to have a conversation or anything in Spanish... yet!  But I am back on my way to being able to do just that!!  I am glad that I was able to suck it up, but more on why that is later, man!!

Printed out and mailed away Lexxie's flight information for the end of July.  I am already excited about that, even if all we do is look at one another (which, I can assure you, we won't be limited to!!).  One of the things that I think happens with mail that I send her is that it gets intercepted, because I usually send her a little spending money along with a card or a note.  Since I have never received a confirmation from her that she has received anything... anywho, after finally reaching her on the phone, I feel less inclined to give her custodian the benefit of the doubt and not consider my belief that someone is hijacking communications between us.  At any rate, I hope to have her for a week-and-a-half, with my taking a full week of her visit off.  It also means that I will have cable for a couple of months this summer... we will see if that will be long enough to make me desire television viewing again, but I sincerely doubt it.

I don’t have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect and beautiful journey of my life.” ~ Kerry Washington

I am not a cat who frequently pays attention to the comments of celebrities.  So much of what they say seems to be calibrated in such a way to make them seem like something that they are not.  But this is a statement that should replace the oft-repeated quote attributed (and she may have NEVER said such mess) to Marilyn Monroe, about "being at worst and best".  It is difficult for me to parse the quote because it covers so much about accepting that not only is their no such thing as a "perfect" person, but in accepting that they themselves are also with flaws, that flaws does not necessarily serve to impair the quality of ones own life.  And neither, I might add, should any of the "imperfections of my person" have any bearing on the person that I have grown into, or the one that I have yet to be.

The article that motivated this entry is not the same one that I borrowed Kerry Washington's quote from.  As I read it and I thought about "certain people I know", I could not help but unconsciously nod in agreement with the author, and with certain statements like, "My checkered past has made me who I am' it has made me more interesting, more intrinsically appealing", which is something that I have always felt about myself, as I ran heedless in my "early burglary years".

Who wants someone without a flaw in their character?  Even as I still remain outside the paradigm for the general woman, I look at those who still are in search of a Prince astride his stallion, impeccable in his riding coat and jodhpurs, boots caked with mud from the match on the polo grounds.  With a jaunty grin and rakish gleam in his eye, dismounting his steed with an effervescence that belies his grace and care, he sweeps her into his arms and bestows upon her --

Aw, whatever... I think that a reader would get the point.  Prince Valiant, with sufficient funds to where that they only had to volunteer or work part-time to simply "amuse themselves". Que sera, I won't begrudge anyone their desire, especially when I KNOW that their desire isn't me.  That is part of why I have always been as forthright as I have been with others, because those who have those "perfect" lives, like the "peaked-in-high-school Rob Lowe", often are deliberate in their hiding of their wounds and scars.  That's cool.  I would rather your wear yours without shame, and allow me to admire them as they are, untarnished with shame or regret.  As for my wounds and what they do for me?  Well, and I am going to borrow this phrase, I believe that they have, along with my past, "...given me unfathomable depths; ...has made me more interesting, more intrinsically appealing."

Think of it; a cat who claims to have seen the world and has only the barest of evidence of his travels... save for a few photos, who would even believe I went to South Bend?  And if I did not have daughters from Carolina, who would think I was from there??  Heck, no one wonders if I am not from Omaha... and were it not for introducing myself, they would have never guessed that I was not a native!  And I say that to make the point that it really is the still waters that run deepest, and there is no need for me to be boastful about anything.  I already know who I am; I am secure within myself.

While there are mysteries within mysteries for me to reveal about myself, who would want to hear the tales of a bland, unimaginative existence of being safely moored in harbor, rather than tested by rough seas of having lived a life worth a story?  The person who wants that is not the person for me.

As chippy and choppy as things have been for me, are right now, and as I am sure they will be in days to come, I am doing well.  I consider myself as still flourishing, still maintaining the necessary balance in my life that is keeps all the plates I have spinning, going strong.  Right now, though things are really challenging, but I still have the ability, and the opportunity to "be extraordinary", and that is just what I plan on doing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

TACTICAL POST

TACTICAL

Been tired a lot, feeling worn to the point of being held together by frayed cargo straps and duct tape!  But for me, that has become a good feeling, because I am "chasing both the raven and the wren through gorges unexplored since the dawn..." .  One of the things that I really appreciate about being not only single, but alone, is being free of the mundacities of other people's lives.  For instance, my no-longer-on-probation friend, deals with lingering issues that I have neither the inclination nor desire to affix myself with, or have to be weighted by hearing constant complaints and petty discussions that said complaints inspire.  This is an example of the reoccurring "moments of clarity" that strike me when my fatigue leaves my conscious in a weakened and vulnerable state.

My being alone has allows me the freedom to not hindered by whether or not someone else's issues are going to prevent them from helping me with my concerns, concerns which I have reshevled so that I could be more available to help with their problems.  Understand, I don't think that someone should be exclusively available to me whenever I may call on them without reciprocation.  It is more that I do not think that effort and sacrifice should be exclusive to either me OR them, and that we both do all that we can to be present in one another's lives.  By giving all that you can to someone else, I think that you will discover if they are the "right person" quicker and more painlessly, to be quite honest, than if you were to drag things out in a piecemeal fashion.

Nebraska, in my opinion, never really understood that part of the equation in our particular formula.  That, I think, is crucial to why we did not work out and why our relationships reflected poorly when we held it against our previous marriage.  Though I cannot speak for her, the lack of mutual respect for me as a person and the principals that I chose to make the foundation of my life, truly echoed the discord between my ex-wife and I.  It was not that anyone was a bad person, certainly I don't think that Nebraska is a "bad person", but that being limited to traditional expectations and how to achieve them, really prevented either relationship from being anything more than what they were.

Every now and then, I do find myself thinking about reaching out and making a connection... simply for the sake of community.  But as I type these words in a quiet, lonley corridor at the South Omaha campus of Metro Community College, when I could have just as easily chosen to do so in one of the commons area, where " where there is music and there is people and they're young and alive", I think says more about me than anything that I have manage to write down...

Another personal goal for the month is to continue to progress with my workout regimen.  I have a goal of accomplishing a "1200lbs lift", which is a combined total of three different lifts, the squat, the deadlift, and the bench press.  When I first approached the idea of doing the lift, I brazenly claimed that I will do a 600 lb squat!  Now my current max, accomplished two years ago was 405 lbs, and to go from that to a 600 lb max, is quite staggering!  The reason that I figured on doing that much weight is I know that my bench press is going to underperform, and I would have to make up the weight somewhere.  But I have since re-tooled my estimates, looking to get 500 lbs in both the squat and dead lift, leaving me with a meager 200 lbs to go for my bench press.  Even should I pull off "the grand" in the dead and squat lifts, I still will try to best my previous high of 265 lbs in the bench press.  I think that I will do a video... maybe even put it up on Facebook to wow everyone that gets my feed!

Finally, today I am dragging my stinky (woke up late... had school and took not a bath..!) self to the Joslyn to check out the "American Moderns" exhibit.  Then I can go across the street to the fitness club where I am employed and work out..!  Sounds like a "winner, winner, chicken dinner" schedule to me..!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

WHAT'S BEST FOR HIM

TACTICAL

I have been doing about as well as a cat could be.  My struggles with my academics is only a surprise because of my hubris, but it also means that like most underachievers, I just have to work harder.

This past weekend was spent flailing away at a paper that is going to be late, working, and BEING A FRIEND.  It is worth noting because I found a door mat that I shared on my Facebook that greets a would-be visitor with the command to "Go Away" that really encapsulates my desire to be alone with my struggles.  Yet, by no means is it an indicator of the kind of person, or friend, I am to people.

HE LOVES TO SPEAK AND HE LOVES TO BE SPOKEN TO



Anyone who has met me (I've assumed) would be surprised to know of my preference for solitude, what with my verbal nature.  I have rarely found myself out of my depth in conversations over a wide array of topics and interests, often coming up with a few choice comments or other bon mots.  So it often catches a person as of the mark to learn of my true nature.  That said, were I to really peg my character, it would be that of like that of the palm tree, standing vertical with an arch, an arch that allows it the flexibility to bend with flow of the wind no matter the direction it is blowing in. 

The past weekend not only saw me struggle with my "Concept and Reaction" paper for Psychology, but attend two celebrations, the first a function at Creighton University; the other was a private dinner at Hiro 88, a sushi restaurant.  The student that I work with on my own time doing boxing drills, a native of Hawaii, invited me to a festival that the Creighton students from that particular state throws each year.  Apparently, the school has a long-establish program that recruits Hawaiian students to come to Nebraska for school.  It is a pretty big thing, entertainment provided by the students, and a catered dinner.  It was nice, seeing the young men and women of Creighton perform various skits and dances representative of the island's native culture.  I was able a date, which in and of itself is scarcely worth mentioning.  What is worth mentioning, was the meaning that being able to share the festival with "my pupil" had for him.

Now I have not been in that large of a crowd since the Terrance Crawford - Yuorkis Gamboa fight back in June of last year.  Other than scrambling through a few airports (draining), the last time I was around that many people, it was the North Carolina - Michigan State basketball game at Ford Field back in 2008.  Though I don't lead a life that lends itself to being in large crowds of people, I feel that in crowds I go through something that I refer to as "sensory overload".  It did not take much for me to want to leave after me and my date found our seats, but I hung in, enjoyed the show, and most importantly, my pupil, happy.

Riding up the elevator after my date dropped me home, I took inventory of what I was feeling at the time.  Nothing I reflected upon was about "me", it was about being able to share a special night that meant something to a person that I have invested time and commitment in.  This was a night that he had looked forward to, an event that he thought a lot of, and he wanted to share it with me.

Sunday would find me watching Michigan State doing what Michigan State does in the NCAA basketball tournament, which is make the Sweet 16.  Resuming my scuffle with my paper, I had the birthday party of a co-worker to attend.  Fortunately, State played in the early game, leaving me enough time to struggle with homework and get ready for the dinner.

After first going to the wrong restaurant, I got oriented and joined my co-worker and his family.  His in-laws, and I think one of the families of a brother-in-law... I am not sure, was there when I arrived.  It was a few minutes before we were seated, and in the interim, the rest of the party arrived.  As soon as we were seated, the first thing that I noticed were that there were enough chairs for everyone... which meant that he had counted me as part of his party before he had asked me! (well, actually he had TOLD me I was coming... much like I was told that I would be visiting Detroit and my Father last year!)  And much like with the evening prior, my enjoyment came with seeing how fulfilling an event was for someone else.

In the "quid pro quo" view that I have for relationships, it was worth whatever discomfort or out-of-character awkwardness I had to get over to make people that I hold in high esteem happy... and it has been my experience that when you can really do something in the name of and for others, that you receive even more in return.  I feel super comfortable with my relationships with people... though I do sometimes admit that for some folks, I do want to be a better friend, especially in light of the kindnesses that they have shown me.  Even with me being who I am, I like to think that I do pretty well with what I have to work with.  Sometimes, being friends means dealing with being a little uncomfortable, and if you can deal with that, you can make special things happen.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

...AS THE FINAL TENDRILS OF WINTER BEGIN TO RELEASE ITS ICY, BONE-CHILLING GRASP


HIT THE NORTH


One of my favorite cult bands is The Fall.  I listen to their song "Hit The North" pretty frequently on my "Starred" playlist on my Spotify.  I definitely remember it from a random exposure as a twerpy pre-teen.  I would not catch up to it for over a decade, not until I was in Carolina and I was visiting a used record store ('memba them..?) in Fayetteville.  The same would be true for the Pixies, finally finding the album that the song "Ed Is Dead" was on.  Getting back to "Hit The North", I never really got what the song was about... most of the references seemed to be obscure, maybe exclusive to Britain.  Still, it was a unique song when I was young and the notion that "the North" was something to be "Hit" would prove to be very intriguing to me.

Another song which has been recurring in my mind is the ethereal and moody tune by the Boards of Canada called, "The Beach At Redpoint".  Another song with which there is a strong connection to the artist location.  I wonder what it is about the Scottish beach that evoked such a dismal and forlorn expression in music?  I know that could be pondered about a lot of the Boards music... but there has to be more of a connection between the place and this song than random coincidence... doesn't it?

Speaking of random...

REASONS TO TO FAIL


Though the rules that I live by may seem numerous, they actually revolve around three or four pillars of my thinking, so that when they are not understood, makes me think that either it is a willful lack of understanding and/or lack of the capacity for understanding that causes for the misunderstanding between "me and you".  While I don't know how else to say it, the acceptance and proceeding even as you acknowledge your own ignorance, is "like that of a dog biting into stone, a stupidity".  And what is worse is the awareness that you are operating out of ignorance, which, at least to me, than reaching conclusions by purely being stupid.  It is because you know the things that you don't know are important, but you simply don't care enough to become more well informed... about ANYTHING.

An online article spoke to the subject of why relationships do not work out.  There were more like a series of reasons, 4 primary reasons why relationships don't work out.  While I have my "Rules...", I would venture to say that many of them would fall under one of the four primary (or 3 sub-primary reasons  given in the article for the fail).  A lot of the frustration that manifested while I was with Mookie Dee and would occur with Nebraska was of a belief that I have always been clear about one thing in this journal, and that is about myself.  I am too big an a**hole to ever play the victimization card, which is while I thought the violence perpetrated on me by my ex-wife was unfair, I could understand, because with people that I believe either don't like me for what I am or have a image of me that is so thoroughly subjective that it isn't relate to who I am, but more related to the person that they want someone to be in the image of for them.

The article brought up these following several reasons for failure within an intimate relationship.  As follows, they are 1) Courage.  This is something that I had noticed about women in general around my late twenties-early thirties.  This is not to be confused with the skittish ways of how relationships developed in the late teens-early twenties, which were fraught with confusion and fear.  But the courage that people who feel that they have been hurt badly on or by either side of the gender line, has eroded and because of whatever scarring that took place has left them with a memory in which the overarching story is one of fear.  As fearless as I have lived my life, from going to watch Tommy Hearns the few times early in his professional career on the Grand River bus, then walking a mile-and-a-half from the bus stop in the pitch of night, up to now, taking a broken mind and body off where NO ONE  (other than someone who does but doesn't like me..! :0) knows my name, being afraid will get a personal arrogance foul penalty called on you (not to mention thrown immediately out of the game..!).  While only a fool has no fear, fear should NEVER have a hold on a person.  Fear eliminates the ability to want, because achievement is only made in spite of the element of risk.

The external factors outside of your character and your instantaneous, immediate control, can also give failing in relationships a justification for the fail.  Letting your family, friends or who-the-f*ck-ever impact on your relationships is another one of the "it was you who made your due" problems with fearful people in relationships.  It is a sign of a lack of character when concern about what your friends think or how your photos may look with you and this person on Instagram and the numbers of likes your photos with this person gets, invalidates the very reasons that most people get into and develop healthy relationships.

One of my favorite personal sayings... "You should have done better in high school", was developed in part because of people used to blame their lack of opportunity on what they didn't have growing up.  The sad part of this is that I was growing up too, and I knew what this meant, because growing up thinking that you can't because of things like your environment or your family, you were going to suffer from psychological stumbling blocks and create problems where there are none... but you are convinced of otherwise, as though you have schizophrenic-induced breaks from your surroundings.  The things that you either did/did not receive when you were young are NOT my problem.  This doesn't mean that I am not willing to help you but you have got to want help yourself, AND, you have to take the help and move past what is holding you back.  For relationships, that may mean getting over never having a real-life role model to form your expectations on, or your working on getting past your cheating ex-husband (or violent ex-wife :0), to your better place where you can fully participate in a relationship.  If you are not willing or able to participate in a relationship, do you really think you should be in a relationship at all?

Risk.  Either you are all in or you are all out.  This goes back to Old Testament instructions where G-d says either be hot or cold, because being lukewarm gets you spat out of his mouth (man, I am SOO fighting the urge to digress here a bit..!).  From the very beginning of my relationship with Nebraska, I never felt certain that she respected that she had become attached to the unconscious dreams of a child.  What frustrates me is that when attention is paid to a successful (don't we hate it when our friends become successful..?) person, who speaks to how the spark for their passion was first born of childhood interest and encouragement, and I can make the connections to a time when my brain was only just making the connections that allowed the things I was taking in, and for those things to become a life-long drive, and treat them as if they were nonchalant.  You don't have that authority... and the shocking thing is how it is only in those intimate relationships that I have been in, where I have found this contrast to be strongest.  It comes to mind when I think of when I have met someone and they have chosen to believe in the caricature that they have made in their mind of me.

As an adult, particular after my brief stint in the military, I have had a different perspective of my life.  Shoot, from the first time I ever looked down the barrel of a gun, over in a field at the Immaculate Hearts of Mary school on Pembroke and Mansfield (guess who lived on Rutherford just before someone else moved to the 48219..?  Guess who moved out of that neighborhood a few weeks prior to someone elses and their and their family's arrival..?) to the last time when a cat threatened my stepbrother over in the 48235 as an adult, there have been enough real life/death experiences for me to say "f*ck you" to anyone who thinks that I can't understand the importance of things.  Wait, arrogant a**hole of a person, until you look at the cold, unmoving faces and the spiritless bodies of two people you love nearly as much as your own life, then tell me about why you are scared of a cat who walks with a messenger bag or doesn't want to watch "Being Mary Jane".  Not judgin', jus' sayin'...  talk about the audaciousness of self-importance... makes you wonder if they have these incredible and amazing responsibilities, responsibilities that are shared with billions of others and similar to hundreds of millions of them, are they even going through something that is unique?  If so, are you capable enough of understanding and more importantly, respecting, the risk that you engender in the pursuit of a relationship??  If you can't, well, that is your choice.  But in the checks and balances of nature, you can't get more than what you are willing to put up to get it. 

Anywho... tired of rambling... school starts next Tuesday for a cat... wish me luck, Chuck..!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

THE WAR EXCUSE


TACTICAL       


I will likely never to go in-depth about my condition.  This is not because I have a problem with sharing my experiences as a disabled cat, but I would rather let an explanation from authority relay the list of symptoms and issues than for me to be drawn into an ad hoc debate/comparison/competition with someone about it.  If a person is interested and really sincere, they will at the very least glean from a reputable source the symptoms and then ask me what my particular episode is like with the condition that I am afflicted with.  For me and for all concerned parties, I feel that would be best.  That was one of the reasons that I was once open to letting Nebraska accompany me on a session with my therapist a time or two. Because as Anthony Griffith indicated in his spoken word piece, there are some things that in the African-American community that we have trouble comprehending and understanding.  I believe that injuries like mine is among the indelicate conversations African-American people have. Anywho, I do feel better, dealing with the small things that prolly would bug someone else, particularly, if they were not aware that they indeed were walking around with brain damage.

One of the things that popped up on my societal radar recently is a SNL skit where they mocked an Armed Forces commercial (which I have never seen).  In the SNL parody, the father and daughter have the type of emotional good-byes that is associated with sending someone off to college or, as in this case, the service.  Only in this instance, the daughter (one Dakota "Shades of Grey" Johnson) wasn't going off to a branch of the United States services, but to join a white pick-up truck filled with guys dressed in Arabic-style insurgent gear... she was going off to join ISIS..!  Some people has a snit fit over it, obviously forgetting how we as a country, watch our media and entertainment mock unapologetically the opposition during WWII.  If you were one of the people who watched the skit and got your panties in a bunch because of it, f*ck you.  If you are so unable to form an informed opinion of your own, following in knee-jerk synchronization with other low-powered bulbs, then there is little hope for you.

In my discussions with Nebraska, the ones prior to recent turn of events, I never got to let her know how much I appreciated the gifts she gave me for my first Christmas in Omaha, or how big a thrill it was for me to finally meet her in our first adventure in Chicago.  Then there was when her middle daughter hooked up a project for me.  Though I mentioned them a time or two in my blog, the feelings were quickly overrun in the tide of what was actually taking place between us. And not unlike my ex-wife's diss of Tommy Hearns or her physically assaulting me as she threw me out of our home, the reasons that I did not whitewash how I felt about my Phillip Roth-like complaints, are that they have roots in my past, unfocused and immature, sense of judgment regarding things that I have never again wanted to repeat in my life.

Since communications between us has completely broken down, I have no idea of how she feels about me.  Rather than being sad or feeling like I somehow lost out on something (pretty hard to feel that way since I have on several occasions been reminded that we never actually "had" anything) promising, I don't have the feeling of lost.  As to the reason why that is, well, that is a simple as an objective reading of the rules that I have chosen to live by.


WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT YOU KNOW THE ENVIRONMENT

This is a question that has a simple answer.  But all too often, it is the simple things that are harder to implement as an action, with the more mundane something is, the more likely that it is something I have found that a person will let slip by.

As a young boy, it seemed fairly clear why the young women in and around me in my life at the time were having the problems that they were with their boyfriends.  Whatever had them overlook the traits and flaws, those of simple selfishness to those that signs that mark bigger flaws in a person, such as those that would mark the faithfulness or kindness of a person, continued to leave me baffled.  Even as sisters would use a broad brush and paint men as "no good" (or as my ex-wife used to say, "A man is a dog and a dog is a man"... yeesh) and whatever, they would still be compelled to act with a lemming-like behavior in the chase of what they believed was love.

Even as I would rant 'n rave about African-American women, in my mind it was always with a caveat, my comments said with an understanding that most of the "why" to their behavior was due in no small part to their reaction to the behavior of African-American men.  That said, if you have figured out that most of you choices for a potential partner are likely to have certain flaws to their character, then somewhere in the process that has to be a way to separate "the wheat from the chaff", so to speak.  If there are anything in an individuals methodology in choosing a partner that keeps bringing them back to the same kind of partner, then, it isn't necessarily that "all men are dogs and a dog is a man", but just maybe it is you...

A big part of the reason that people choose poorly has to do with their mental state.  Affirming the African-American prejudice in getting psychological help (which is mirrored somewhat by Scientology... so you can just imagine how wrong-headed the idea of psychological health care being an exclusive privilege is), is the lack of general understanding of our emotional health.  A TED Talk given by the psychologist Guy Winch that was shared to me by Thomas, reminded me of when I was a little pre-pubescent child who read above his level.  Nearly all of the things that Dr. Winch talks about, especially with the things that exacerbates the problems of unhealthy mental health, are second nature to me.  I can understand how difficult it must be to develop the habits of good mental health, because so few seem to have them.  The irony is that those who were/are bullies to me and are now as adults projecting the scars of their emotional distress, still are unable to face the nature of their actual problems.  Which leads them to make the same mistakes over and over, in spite of the superficial difference that they may have observed... because they are still doing the same thing, following the same script.

THE UNFATHOMABLE PREDICTABILITY OF THE ECLECTIC METHOD

I remember from one of the comments I got in the AOL Journals days spoke to the kind of woman that I would partner with is going to have to be intelligent.  And I think that it was correct in the sense that whoever I am with is going to have to be nimble of mind and capable of holding her own in conversations on a myriad number of topics.  But not only should this potential person be capable of holding their own intellectually, but their emotional maturity and growth may be of even more critically importance.  To me, the emotional capability of a person informs their intellect and the both then are increased.  But intellect alone is less than without an emotional grounding.  Emotional maturity, I think, allows a person to be capable of doing what Fitzgerald suggests, being able to manage both what they believe against what they don't, and not invalidate either belief intellectually or emotionally.  This is something that I strive for in my personal relationships, and in those where this is lacking, the relationships withers as a result of the paucity of respect that comes with having a working balance between what one knows and what one feels.

"When I am focused on small things, then I don't have to worry about larger ones." - a quote or something resembling the source, which is from someone who is more wise than I am

If character is about the things that you do when you think that it won't come to anyone else's attention, then the scope of that character is based on what matters to you and is comprised of the things you qualify as priorities.  This is where the most obvious signs of trouble in relationships can be seen and is most often ignored.  If a person is capable of "cutting you" in the small regularities of the everyday... the trifles of life, then there is NO DOUBT that for you, this is not the person you want to hinge your emotional stability upon.  The thing about the trifles are that they are not to be confused with petty or insignificant.  You can't consider a ride to a grocery store or a request for company "small" because on the surface it may seem so to you.  But when you take something that one person holds in a different regard than you do and your prejudice causes you to unjustly diminish another's personal sense of urgency, that is the instigation to "relationship fail".

Whenever I have been told that I "think too much" or that I "take things seriously", I have interpreted those words to mean that they are less concerned with the importance of whatever it is to someone else and are limited to the opinion of the significance of the subject of the conversation.  Too often, I have been that "someone else".  When it comes to the general population, I am cool with that and I may even agree with this assessment (but only to an extent; beyond that, I could care less).  But if to someone who is seeking to build a deep and meaningful relationship with me, I just can't do it.

Only on the surface and to the superficial does "how I think" look overly complex and straining towards a philosophical depth.  "I am human and I need to be loved... just like everyone else does", goes the song, "How Soon Is Now?".  And as the mournful soul whose heart lies at the bottom of those lyrics bemoans their perceived fate, do I find myself trying to avoid the label of being deep.  Using my "community" again as a scapegoat, when I was growing up, seeming too intellectual was also seen as a betrayal to your race... UGH..!  Anywho, I don't like being called deep because I only have a superficial understanding of what other's may think that I understand.  That said, if you think that you are going to enter into a relationship with me at the same level of conversation that you may have pursued other relationships with, I think that you ought to think about it!!

EPILOGUE:
Wow... I have been running my mouth, using a lot of words but am I really saying anything?  Welcome to my public diary, as much of what I have said is nearly engulfed in unnecessary verbiage!  Some of this excessive ranting is due to the various challenges that I am facing as direct as I can... and the rest is due to unresolved feelings about Nebraska.  But, I am not seeking or asking for a resolution... I am going to go on (and don't stop..!) with myself...

Monday, March 2, 2015

WE KNEW THE ENVIRONMENT

TACTICAL

I feel consciously and conspicuously better these days.  My newest 'scrpt seems to be doing its job and I am grateful for it.  The shadows of my condition have grown a bit longer in the sense that they could not get better and can only worsen over time.  Is 8 1/2 years long enough for signs of some degradation of my personal state?  This will be the third time that I have had my anxiety medication changed to something else, and who knows how many more times in my life I may need to have an adjustment to my medication?

If the future is written, and we become good friends at some as of yet unknown time, the time from the summer of 2013 until the point when we again become relevant in one another's lives again, will we say that in the fading winter of 2015, the lowest point between Nebraska and myself was reached.  At times, our relationship has resembled the kind of discussions that I'd imagine pass for the negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and there still is enough there for me to not completely throw in the towel on our friendship.  And if the climate between us remains a frigid as it currently is, well, I have ridden my bike through plenty of cold, inhospitable, winters in my life.  I think that they way that I have handled them, both the real and those made up of the unseen forces that come between two people, has me wanting me to shrug my shoulders and say that "whatevs" as the appropriate comment should the final exchange of email be what becomes of our relationship and Nebraska in my life.

BECAUSE IF THE RULE YOU USED BROUGHT YOU TO THIS...

The particulars of our earliest, pre-concept, conversations are lost to me.  I really did not think to save our emails or IM's because, again, why?  But the ones that I do have, particularly those around our very first IRL meet in Chicago during the pre-holiday season of 2010 and early 2011 only reaffirmed what I tried to express to her as I explained why when I got to Omaha, I did not feel obliged to engage in a full-bore pursuit of a relationship with her.  That said, even if some of the "pre-historic" emails and IM's that I did not save were true, by my Mom's advice, the relationship between us was tabled.

As I grew more into my own person, I observed that things were not as clear cut as the metaphorical Agent of Death that Anton Chigurh would have one to believe.  Not even my cranky philosophical mentors, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, would have considered my approach as strict and pure adherence to their thinking either.  I did not have a way to make what I felt a solid piece of thinking, something that I could transmit as an idea to another person, until I read a quote by then-besieged Notre Dame football coach Bob Davie.  At the height of the rivalry between the University of Miami Hurricanes and the Notre Dame Fightin' Irish, he said in an interview after a particularly heinious-looking performance by the Irish in the old Orange Bowl and home of the Hurricanes, that "we knew the environment" (which could be exchanged with Dennis Green's rant after a game between his Arizona Cardinals and the Chicago Bears..!), meaning that they knew what they were getting into and had prepared with the intentions of giving a better performance.  Still, the rule remains that once a person shows you that they don't like you...

I took what she said about meeting me and stated then that I did think as highly of her as I had before my visit; in fact I thought even more highly over her because she treated me well IN SPITE of her diminished expectations.  So, I knew what I was getting into with her and it was confirmed when I made the trip to fill out the paperwork for my apartment here in town.  Far or unfair, that is how I roll with EVERYONE. 

Operating under the idea that it is easy to be crappy to people over the computer and much harder to do it to someones face... to MY face.  For those who have seen me, the people in my life that know me, could not imagine ANYONE saying some of the things that have been said via email to me.  So imagine my reaction when I saw some of the same traits from those conversations on display as we sought to establish a connection... which must have included some level of willful ignorance.

WHO THE HELL DOESN'T TAKE THE THIRD GAME OF THE PRESEASON SERIOUSLY?

We've known each other for something on the order of 13 years.  Nearly from the beginning, I not only told her about how I felt about Omaha, but how I felt towards her and WHY.  Nearly all the time that I was single and really ready to mingle, she was indifferent, to say the least, my entreaties.  Then when I made my claiming statement and let her know that I was going to move here, she was still waffling in what she felt towards me and our possible relationship.  Going back to how excited I was after getting to Omaha and meeting a bus driver who was is a Detroit native, I could not hope to explain how good I felt about my decision.  What this meant was that if the rule(s) that I had believed in once I decided to "grow up" in my early thirties, that I had to, at some point, decide to live a life that reflected the life that I want to be remembered for on my deathbed.  Asking for a clean slate, down a path that no foot had disturbed, I was going to make this my last chance, and that is what inspired my drive to write down the things that shape my person.

In this journal I have set out to empty myself of the mental detritus that I felt was responsible for some of my less-than-good choices in life.  I had assessed the things that I had made poor choices on, then I resolved to not make those choices again.  The things that I was thankful for, like being an African-American in the late-20th century and not in any other time prior.  Thankful for the kind of Mother that would let me think and do for myself to the extent that she did.  With all my things to be thankful for, I felt obliged to actually get back on the grid and make something of myself.

My life is no longer mine.  I have had a super great run... if I wanted to be in a happy marriage, well, why did I not do better in high school?  Same thing with a better career, more success in professional boxing, having more fulfilling interpersonal relationships.  When I was in high school, I simply should have done better.  Underachievers, puh-LEEZE try harder!!

And now... it doesn't matter that when we first met online that Nebraska did not take me as serious as I had hoped.  It doesn't matter that she did not take me seriously when I made the decision to move to Omaha.  And I think that even as my things arrived at her house, she may not have taken me seriously... she certainly did not after my arrival... and that is why you have to wonder WHO the hell doesn't take the third game of the preseason seriously? 

We have been in separate worlds almost since I arrived here.  Save for rare occasions, meeting her Moms and girls for supper... when I got hit shortly afterwards by a car (hello 2012..!), and when she came over with her daughter and bailed me out with a project, we have been on different wavelengths, and that is just that with that.  So... that said... really, who takes the third game of the preseason seriously?  Our starters all played 3 quarters... they are who that we thought they were!!

...and who we thought they were... is exactly who they are.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

WHO DO YOU TRUST WITH YOUR EMOTIONS..?

TACTICAL

I am starting to feel better than I have been in weeks.  On Tuesday, I had a "Mary Richards" moment as I waited with the regulars for the #13 bus to school.  It had begun to flurry, the snowflakes were crisp as they floated in the cool but not uncomfortable breeze. I looked around and I felt in that moment (which was not unlike many that I have had before since I have been here), that finally, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.  The feeling brought to mind Nebraska, and how unsuccessful I was at convincing her that I did really want to be here, that my affections for the Big Red, Marlon Perkins, and Sam Lacey and Nate Archibald were, along with unfrosted strawberry pop-tarts, enough of a connection for me to want to move to Omaha.  And that would be a disappointment that had been relived, in a fashion, Monday at lunch, when my erstwhile date to the Holiday Party thrown by the company that the fitness center is a part of, invited me to a deli near the Arksarben Village, just south and west of the UN-O campus.  While the lunch date itself was fine, the problem that I had with it was that it was the first time I had seen her SINCE said holiday party, six weeks ago.

What had brought about the sequence of text messages (???) that arranged our lunch together was a question by a female co-worker, wondering if we were an item. Said co-worker also attended the party, which spurred her question, and I indicated to her that we weren't, and that I had not heard from her since the night of said party.  I would go home that night thinking that maybe she was a story waiting for Chris Hanson or whoever to exploit for ratings, and that I may have been among the last people to have seen her.  So I sent her a message and she replied, straight away.  She then tried to explain what had happened, which I told her was unnecessary, and my reply was that I only wanted to make sure that nothing untoward had occurred in her life.  After that brief exchange, she asked for the lunch date, and that was that.

So on Monday, she stopped by and picked me up and we had a pretty decent lunch.  Conversation was not stilted, but neither was it exceptional, or so it seemed to me.  After we finished, she dropped me off at work and I've not heard from her since.  And unlike the last such period of radio silence, I will not be interrupting this lack of communication with any worries about anyone's well-being.  I mean, if she can go nearly two full months without sending me a lowly text message, then I don't need to do anything further in confirming her interest (or lack thereof) in me.


WHO DO YOU TRUST WITH YOUR EMOTIONS?

When I was languishing back somewhere in Mid-Michigan, most of my critique of women in relationships had this question (and the title of this section) at its core.  Who DO you trust with your emotions?  I mean, I don't think that anything that you can know about a person necessarily has to have a point of reference from where you can draw a definitive conclusion from, and I really think knowing someone as much as you can is all you can really ask for.  That said, how you INTERPRET the information is definitively all on you.  Now I am not going to go into the variables that make up another person's life experience for them.  But I take the available data points and combine them to gain a perspective with which I can make an informed decision on whether or not I am going to be able to "be" in someone else's life.  It doesn't matter what role I am seeking, as much as it depends on the availability of the roles in the person of interest life.  That is when I begin to figure out how well we match, in character, goals, and various expectations in a relationship, as well as the ways and means of reaching stated goals, especially if there is a high level of intimacy between me and said person.

For women, the question of trust in relationships has long been particularly vexing.  Trust is something that for many women is at once a strength and a weakness, validating hopes and certifying fears.  The nature of human societies has been set in favor of men since the dawn of time, and the movements that has spawned the increase in equity in all areas of society for women is still in its nascent stage of development.  There are times where I am unsure if the collective of women even understand this change, whether it is in picking up the check for dinner or whether or not a family moves for her prospects and his just comes along for the ride.  Because equality is just that... things are EQUAL.  There is no more of the elevation of a woman's responsibilities than that of a man's in relationships and vice a versa.  If anything, I think that the ability to work and function in a unified way is likely to be the highest expression of love, because it shows the true value of one person to another.  At any rate, my personality and approach is well suited for the evolving rigors of relationship seeking, primarily because of how much I value the ideals that make for the criteria I use to judge who it is I trust with my emotions.

To begin, my current state is ALWAYS a more preferred option than the choice to be in a floundering relationship, held together with delusion and willful ignorance.  It has never occurred to me to want for a relationship as a way of seeking some kind of balance or filling a need in my life.  As I have grown older, I am at the point where I KNOW THAT I would rather be alone than to either hold on to, or to chase, a relationship for the sake of being in something.  Second, getting to a point where I trust a person to allow them to be a part of my life, the basic pre-qualifying requirements are non-negotiable.  That is another thing that has gone from "theory to practice" because of my real-life experience, as reflected by my "Rules To Live By" and the thought to codify my life.  It is when I look back and knowingly acted contrary to what I knew was better for the hopes of something that may as well been steeped in mysticism and unfounded prophecy.

Finally, I loathe contradictions in my personal life to the point where I simply hate unexplained contradictions of any kind.  After reading this far, the preceding sentence should come as no surprise.  Nearly all of my justification and comfort at being solitary revolves around the clarity that I have in my life.  Now, when I talk about MY daughters, it feels unobstructed and whole.  The short-sighted and dim view of our situation would grimace and be ready to voice trite and pathetic opinions that are made popular by the different social groups and associations that I have been knowing to make light of.  Untroubled by such commentary, I get to voice my concerns, my hopes for, and my plans surrounding my relationship with them, because they are a top priority and motivator in my life.

Many of the traits that I value in a person's character just also happen to coincide with some of the things that make for good character traits in a relationship.  And were you to invert the list above, then you would be able to figure out why you may not have the consideration in my thoughts that you may have previously presumed.  Together, they form the core rationale of why I don't miss the people who once was a part of my life (well, except for maybe Tee Jay..!)

COUNSELS AND MAXIMS

 "Most men are so thoroughly subjective that nothing really interests them but themselves." -Arthur Schopenhauer

One of the classic reasons for the reasoning behind single and childless cats not wanting a woman with a child or several, is, for me at least, caught up in the words of Schopenhauer.  Often, both sides are only thinking about themselves, first, foremost, and finally.  Internal conflict within, among the fears of some men  that unrelated children will be competition for a limited pool of affection and disobedient; that the other parent or family members would needlessly complicate the main relationship.  Then the fears of many women, that they are somehow being selfish/neglectful by pursuing love, or that they can't stand the critics in their lives, be it family, their friends or co-parent.  And whether I hit or miss with some of my estimations, the biggest of the concerns are those that are hits... because those are where the complications will arise.  Of course, there is a great deal of irony in critiquing men for being unfair or judging women because of a couple of bad encounters or typing.  Because, you see, women are just as, if not more so, subjective in judging men.  At any rate, I am not trying to be objective here, nor am I making a comment about ANYONE IN PARTICULAR.  I am simply using my journal to JOURNAL.

The quote about "the trifles of life..." and it is, for my money anyway, the truest indicator of a person's character.  Usually, the people that I "care less than" for, like my feelings towards my ex-wife or the feelings that I held a pre- or post- "ex-list" Mookie Dee, have violated this critical element in how I regard people.


"...And while I am on the subject, there is another fact that deserves mention.  It is this: A man shows his character just in the way in which he deals with trifles -- for then he is off his guard.  This will often afford a good opportunity of observing the boundless egoism of a man's nature, and his total lack of consideration for others; and if these defects show themselves in small things or merely in his general demeanor, you will find that they also underlie his action in matters of importance, although he may disguise the fact.  This is an opportunity which should not be missed.  If in the affairs of the every day-- the trifles of life... --a man is inconsiderate and seeks only what is advantageous or convenient to himself, to the prejudice of others' rights: if he appropriates 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."  - Arthur Schopenhauer

After learning this lesson the hard way several times in my life (after having KNOWLEDGE of these words..!  Incroyable.!!), when I decided to actually enact and live by my "Rules To Live By", this became the blade with which I cut people out of my life.  The only exceptions that I have allowed for, Tee Jay and the SFC, were not made solely by my desire to be in a relationship, nor was it completely base on my emotions for them.  What had made them exceptions was that they KNEW how I measured against my own beliefs, and that is what allowed for their exception.

It was, and always has been, at least for me, anyway, the small things about a relationship that spoke the most to me.  I never should have married my ex-wife, not just because I was too immature, or that she was too selfish, but because of a small thing-- her insult of Thomas "The Hit Man" Hearns, in front of my family and in my HOME no less, which defined her as a person.  The additional issues that followed in our marriage were totally unnecessary-- her actions were presaged by her comment-- and that has been the signal that a person has to be eliminated from my life.  See, I am unable to trust in a person who can say, unapologetically no less, that they have me place on a tier below "their loved ones", when we are supposedly developing a loveship.  Or, that they have tiers of friends and I am on a lower tier than those that they would make plans with and yet, I am the one who gets called when they go awry.

No.  That is not me.  And in getting back to the male reluctance to date women with children on the behalf of young men who may think that way... it isn't their selfishness alone that may cause them to think this way.  What I have not heard in this discussion is the aspect that a man must commit to said woman in a way that does not guarantee that she is going to, or even considers herself capable of, making the same respective level of commitment to him.  If he is truly committed, he must, similar to what I had exhibited to both Mookie Dee and Princess, that the priorities in there lives, their children, were priorities in my life.  And this was done by me in ways both large and small.

I can't help but think of my Mother advising me that, "When someone acts like they don't like you, believe them the first time."  With the verification of this theorem as part of my life and exampled by my failed marriage, it is something that the more I have chosen to act upon, the happier I have become and the better off my own welfare has been.