Apartment living among strangers

Always something going on in my apartment complex. Yesterday while I was indoors roaming the internet peacefully there came a knock on my door. The police, again. They were trying to get my next-door neighbor to open up, having been called by his son and asked to conduct a wellness check. In other words, the man’s son was worried about his safety and wanted the cops to look in on him. So, they had tried knocking on his door and received no answer, then knocked on mine to ask if I knew the man. Said I didn’t. Actually don’t even know what the guy looks like. Told them that we have such a high turnover rate here, particularly in that apartment, to where I just don’t barely keep up with who moves in or out. (People have to stick around here for several months or a year before I take much notice of them — perhaps sad, but true.)

While speaking to the police the man next door did answer. He barely got his door open before falling with a loud thud. Sounded rough. Like maybe he hit his head. The cops were talking with him, asking if he could hear them. Another neighbor opened his door and we both exchanged looks at one another while listening to what transpired. I could hear the fallen man making a sort of groaning/wheezing noise. No clue what was wrong with him or what led to his condition. Decided instead to head out to my next work appointment before the ambulance arrived and blocked our driveway.

Sound crass on my part? Welcome to the modern world, folks. Tis the age where many of us do not know our neighbors nor barely care to. Though, in our defense, the lady across the hall who’s lived here a couple years did knock the night before to offer me a bowl of her homemade chicken noodle soup — wasn’t half bad. And I do offer food and cosmetic items to another lady who lives upstairs. The man who lived directly beneath me was sociable but recently moved (they always do), as did the couple downstairs whom I’d grown to like quite a bit. Besides an old lady down the hall, I’m now officially the longest lasting tenant in this joint, approaching the 10 year mark this winter. But out of 30 units, I know people in maybe 5 of them at this point. Maybe.

This place is like a revolving door. Always people moving in and moving out. Half the time you don’t even find out they’ve moved until a couple weeks have gone by. The herd of buffalo who lived above are gone, which only dawned on me after belatedly realizing it’s pretty quiet around here. No clue how long they had been gone before I awoke to that realization.

Our parking lot is filled with all sorts of people who are always coming and going, some who live here, some who are just picking up people who do, a couple others who seem to be up to shady shit out by our dumpster (not curious enough to investigate — maybe sex in their cars?).

As I tell people, this place is much nicer than when I first moved in. Out with the meth heads, in with the Mexicans and Africans. A better lot of people overall. Though, I wasn’t a fan of seeing women’s panties hanging off the satellite dishes, nor was I enthused about finding a used condom left near my door. But we haven’t caught people fucking in the stairway anymore, so that’s a bonus. And the rowdy kids who lived here last summer (one of whom was responsible for busting out my car’s rear windshield accidentally) are all gone.

Could be worse, could be better. I don’t mind living here. Cheap rent. Not too much bullshit usually. Though it wasn’t that long ago when the cops were knocking on my door asking about a couple who abandoned their van in our parking lot and presumably ran into our building. Showed me pictures of them — no clue who they were. Doubt they live here but I wouldn’t be able to say for certain. The cops roamed around our building for a couple hours that night, searching the periphery with their flashlights (searching for what, I do not know) while waiting for the tow truck to come remove their van.

Several months ago we had another joker abandon a vehicle in our parking lot and take off on foot. Not sure why they like to do that here. *shrugs*  All I know is I went out to my car to grab something and while out there I see his van roll up, the driver’s door opened and a short black (presumably African) man stared at me before bolting out of it and running toward a nearby street. His van slowly descended toward the rear of our parking lot, narrowly missing the dumpster before coming to a stop. I had to call the cops on that event so as to report the running, abandoned vehicle that needed to be towed. Perhaps because of calls like that in the past is why the cops like to keep knocking on my door nowadays. Not sure.

Not that I mind. The cops around here are a pretty friendly bunch. They don’t scream at us the way Omaha and Mississippi cops used to. Very professional and helpful overall. These ones around here don’t seem to have much of an axe to grind, though some of the locals like to chide them all the same, pretending as if the police here are horrible about violating our rights and behaving as racists. I’m not seeing it, even while living in such a diverse building as I do. You’d think if they were wanting to pick on people of color they’d hang around here more often and act like jerks while here, but they don’t. So I see no reason to give them guff.

Gotta appreciate the good ones where you find them.

Anyway, no clue what happened to the old man next door. Never did get a good look at him either. Maybe I was skittish over the ordeal due to all we went through 4 years ago when the older man across the hall drank himself to death. Was a pretty unnerving situation that I’ve yet to stop thinking about. Basically just holed up in his apartment and quit eating and decided to drink vodka until he died, resulting in his body being effectively mummified. That is, until his body was moved by the paramedics/the guys in hazmat suits. I wasn’t around to witness that day, but a neighbor who’s since moved away told me everything. She was very shaken by the ordeal and had been worrying about him for many days before the landlord finally went inside the apartment to check. His name was Sam. I had dinner with Sam once, not too terribly long before he died. Never had a problem with the man and let my cat go over to hang out with him occasionally.

Anyway, I know I’ve written about him on here before, but I suppose it’s hard not to think about him when the cops show up in the hallway. It was a sad situation that most of us aren’t sure how we should’ve handled differently. I interacted with him more than I did with most neighbors here at that time (and more than I have with others since). His family didn’t come by to visit him, and I know he seemed upset about a lot of things, most of which I don’t know the details of. I was mired in my own personal drama back then and was pretty depressed, so it was just a rough time all the way around up in this corner of the building. But I didn’t realize he was that depressed. How would I though? People who pass one another every few days on the stoop.

The man right next door has been there maybe a month (or has it been two?). I never see him coming or going. Never hear anything from his apartment. Kind of sad to think that I was sitting here yesterday, probably no more than 30 feet away on the other side of a wall from a man who was in a bad way. Had no idea. Wouldn’t have known either had his son not reached out to the police and requested that they check in on him. Perhaps we’ll eventually see him come and go and get a chance to speak in the future.

So, yeah, that’s what people have to look forward to when living in apartments in the city around folks they do not know, especially where low-income persons congregate for a few months or a year and then move on to the next place. Just a constant trickle of people in and out. Here one month, gone the next. Breaking leases and taking off. A couple deaths. Listening to indistinct beats of music drumming in through an open window — location unknown. See so many faces one time and then never again. The routine scent of weed wafting through the hallways. This is just a place for us to lay our heads, store our stuff, rest and relax when we’re not working. Maybe everywhere is becoming this way.

Guess I’m just reflecting on my answer to the cop about the man next door, not knowing for certain when he moved in or what he looked like. And I wouldn’t have even thought about it if not asked.

I’m not convinced that we humans can all adapt to this sort of atomized style of living. I can understand why it proves so depressing to plenty out there, especially if they lack family and a strong social network. Especially in the winter months when we’re trapped indoors. But, strangely enough, I seem to be adapting, albeit not in the most pro-social way admittedly. Guess I ought to keep an eye on this situation and how it may be impacting me and my other neighbors. Kind of disconcerting to think we may be witnessing the full-on erosion of any sense of community right here in a place like this. Close proximity alone doesn’t necessarily bring people together—barring an emergency—not when walls and locked doors exist where we can retreat into our own individually-stocked cubbyholes.

A new chapter begins

He’s Kansas-bound beginning tomorrow. Off to embark on the next chapter in his life, as I must also turn to in my own.

I’m gonna fight ’em all
A seven nation army couldn’t hold me back
They’re gonna rip it off
Taking their time right behind my back

And I’m talking to myself at night
Because I can’t forget
Back and forth through my mind
Behind a cigarette

And a message coming from my eyes says leave it alone

Don’t wanna hear about it
Every single one’s got a story to tell
Everyone knows about it
From the Queen of England to the hounds of Hell

And if I catch you coming back my way
I’m gonna serve it to you
And that ain’t what you want to hear
But that’s what I’ll do

And a feeling coming from my bones says find a home

I’m going to Wichita
Far from this opera forevermore
I’m gonna work the straw
Make the sweat drip out of every pore

And I’m bleeding and I’m bleeding
And I’m bleeding right before the Lord
All the words are gonna bleed from me
And I will think no more

And the stains coming from my blood tell me go back home

That was “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes. A long-time personal favorite that’s coming to take on a whole new meaning right about now.

Stopped by his house today to help load junk into the dumpster he rented. Trying to empty the house to get it ready to be sold. Sat on the front steps when we were done, looking around at this place that soon enough I won’t step near again. Piece of shit problem house with more things wrong with it than it’s worth. He’s glad to soon be unshackled from it. I’m glad for him too, much as I can’t help but miss the comfort of that place. Lots of fights and pain in there too though. Seven years went by…

Of course I’m going to miss him. But he and his fiancee will have a chance at a fresh start in a new city, which will be good for all involved most likely. He is my friend these days and I’m grateful for what I’ve learned while knowing him, rough as these years have been on us. He’s figured out how to love again and says I will eventually too. Hope he’s right. Hope they’ll be safe.

It’s always hard to say goodbye to our loved ones, even if they’re only moving a state or two away.

May the Lord protect and defend you…

And now I’ve got to walk this off. Turn my attention elsewhere for a while. He’ll be back periodically to work on the house and get it ready to sell, and this is not goodbye forever. But it definitely does mark the beginning of a new chapter. Been coming a long time, but I didn’t have the strength to force the issue all the way myself. So life intervened and made it so. It’s understood. Hard to imagine ever falling in love again, ever bearing my soul like that again. But we must. C’est la vie. He’s proven strong enough to do so and says he knows I can too, so I’m going to believe him. But I’m still going to miss him.

His new adventure, my time for greater solitude. The writing’s been on the wall for so long, and yet it still hurts anyway in the final hour. The heart wants what it wants. Even if it no longer makes any sense.

We filled the dumpster pretty darn full. So much to be tossed out, no longer carried forward. Old memories for him of a life raising a kid to adulthood, for me these last several years of turmoil and crazy magneticism. We seem so much older now, still spry in our own ways but definitely weathered by time and experiences. It’s been a long road. Here’s to the next leg of the journey…

The libertarian woman vs. the “liberal” Leftist (on unwanted pregnancies)

This past weekend I kicked a hornet’s nest on Twitter, resulting in my first big feud on that platform. Granted, since joining in 2012 I hadn’t used the site much for socializing until in recent months when I decided to find out what all the hubbub was about on there. Have been enjoying the memes and humor, but then I wound up following political threads (per my curiosity) which inevitably led to the topic of women’s rights and abortion — a topic I haven’t been as keen to weigh in on in recent times after tiring of dealing with feminists in years prior (and men’s rights activists in more recent years).

Not that women’s rights aren’t important to me. I’m a woman so of course I can’t help but care what laws and social/ideological trends are attempting to impact my life. However, it came to feel like a contest of wits, a political battle where people screamed at one another across the void, incensed that this group or that one could dare to see things differently. So I bowed out for the most part, resolving to accept that the only person I truly have control over is myself and that my energies are best directed there when it comes to protecting and promoting my own individual interests. Partially because I don’t agree with what appears to be the majority of people out in society (because either they’re pro-life and therefore detest my pro-choice stance, or because they’re pro-choice feminists who either celebrate abortions like a right of passage into womanhood and/or advocate for more government involvement in our lives in their efforts to push toward evermore “equality” between the sexes in accordance with their utopian visions for the future).

Before I began identifying with feminism in my late teens/early 20s, I first began identifying with libertarianism. Not the Libertarian Party itself, mind you (was over it back when Bob Barr came on the scene and, though I voted for him twice, am not a big supporter of Gary Johnson), but libertarian (or classical liberal if you prefer) ethos. Individualist strategies for seeking and preserving liberty, in other words. Which boil down to the fundamental principle that I as a human being have dominion, first and foremost, over my own self, my own body. That remains true if we’re talking about the drug war or self-defense and it’s what underpinned my own understanding of feminism/women’s rights.

But feminism took a hard left long ago, perhaps before I was even born, so after 10 years of debating with my fellow feminists and feeling like I was beating my head against a brick wall in attempting to communicate from my own perspective (while being heavily pressured to accept their way of looking at things along with the political positions they, as a collective, overwhelmingly embrace), I exited that movement and ceased referring to myself as a feminist in 2009 or thereabout. We’ve not been on chummy terms since, assuming we ever really were.

Both as a sex worker (in my 20s) and as libertarian-of-sorts (which I remain), I’ve been confronted time and again by feminists with notions that flew counter to my own unfolding understanding of how life works and what reasonable measures can be taken to improve the outcomes we claim to seek. While they busy themselves fighting in the political arena for evermore benefits for women specifically, claiming always that we women are at an inherent disadvantage in a man’s world, I’ve been experiencing and observing quite the opposite reality. More women admitted into colleges with higher test scores on average, more women running for political office, more women rising in ranks within businesses here and abroad, more women heading households, more birth control (and abortion) options allotted to women with legal protections on the federal level guaranteeing access, more freedom to live and work as we choose, more legal protections from sexual assault and harassment out in society (with claims, even without sufficient corroborating evidence, generally being taken more seriously), more products designed with our comfort in mind being marketed to us, etc. And yet feminists are more upset now than probably ever before. More demanding, more sensitive, less consolable, more hysterical, more vengeful toward men in general.

Consider this. Since the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, more out-of-wedlock births have been occurring across all racial and class demographics. At a time when more medical/pharmaceutical technologies exist to curb this trend than ever before, accompanied by legal protections allowing pretty much unfettered access in the U.S. Then, from the 1990s onward we’ve been blessed with so much information at our fingertips thanks to the internet. Nowadays a growing number of teenagers have access to the internet through smartphones: according to Pew Research in 2015 more than 60% of teens have gained this access, even among the lowest educated, lowest income, and racial minorities. And that’s only teenagers, mind you, saying nothing about adults’ increased access.

All the world’s information literally at people’s fingertips.

Leftists like to frame matters in terms of a lack of access, lack of resources, lack of life skills and knowledge to make better decisions. That strikes me as a rather glum view of humanity, giving the impression that they have pretty low expectations of both females and minorities when it comes to directing our own lives. Makes me wonder which came first, women and minorities’ ignorance and evident lack of self-determination, or the Leftist rhetoric that tries to convince us that we are victims of circumstances incapable of directing our own lives successfully?

Dr. Thomas Sowell’s books paint a very different picture, particularly in regard to his own racial demographic (black American), alerting us to the fact that many of these problems arose most markedly AFTER the Civil Rights era, arguing that all Americans actually had lower rates of unwanted pregnancies and crime and higher rates of marriage in decades prior (especially black Americans!). I recommend his books to others as food for thought, particularly: Black Rednecks and White Liberals, The Quest For Cosmic Justice, and Intellectuals and Race. These books can aid us in putting matters in a clearer perspective that we otherwise won’t hear about through our media or our education system.

Here’s a quick takeaway: Ideas being pushed from the Democratic Left aren’t helping people. Not really, despite all claims to the contrary. And the proof is indeed in the pudding.

Now, I’d like to share a bit from my own personal perspective, anecdotal as it is. Some of the Leftists I encounter online like to project onto me their assumptions of what I must be in order to hold the opinions that I do, including that I must be rich (or come from a well-off background) and afforded many opportunities others were not, that I am undoubtedly white (because frickin’ white people suck, right?), and that I haven’t encountered struggles that others face and lack firsthand experience with the topics under discussion at any given time. I’m occasionally mistaken for a man online and berated for being the “type of guy” they’re complaining about.  lol  Seriously. I am also told that I lack sympathy for “victims,” that “it must be nice” to have higher income and greater access to that which they claim other women lack, and they also like to dismiss me as “one of the lucky ones” who pulled myself up by “bootstraps” (a perennial favorite). If my experience doesn’t jibe with their narrative, it must be because I am somehow a super special snowflake all of a sudden, otherwise I must support the dreaded patriarchy. My ignorance must be due to my “privilege.”  Ha!  No shit. Guess I am to be counted as one of the extreme outliers whose experiences don’t count and needn’t be injected into any of their public conversations on any given topic, lest I offend the “real victims” who are trying to share their perspectives without “feeling shamed” by a conflicting point of view.

Ugh…

ALL OF WHICH ARE PROJECTIONS. Unwarranted and inaccurate.

So let’s see how I shake out in accordance with their own so-called “progressive stack.”

First off, I was born to a single mom living with her parents in a trailer in a small town in Mississippi. She became pregnant during her freshman year in college by a Saudi foreign exchange student, resulting in her dropping out of college and returning home. So, while I am Caucasian, less than half of my blood is of European origin. Without going into all of my upbringing and background, I will say I had some advantages while at the same time I most definitely don’t qualify as someone born with a silver spoon in my mouth or as a product of a remarkably stable and nurturing home environment. In the 7th grade I was exposed to one sex education class where protection and STDs were discussed. I dropped out of high school in the 10th grade and completed the GED. That same year, at age 16, I walked into a Planned Parenthood (in the Midwest where I lived at the time) and asked to be put on birth control pills, which were funded by what’s referred to as donation services offered by PP since I had very low income. No parental help with any of that and was living out on my own at the time.

I later attended university by applying for student loans (which I still carry the ever-growing debt from). During that same time period, I got married and 4 years later we divorced. I didn’t want to have kids, so we did not have kids because I remained on birth control (while pressured by a doctor to switch to Depo Provera, a method I absolutely loathed and gained a great deal of weight on). After my ex and I split and moved apart, I became a sex worker at age 21 and remained in that line of work for about 7 years. Still attended college throughout (did I mention I was a Social Sciences major?). Also managed to not get pregnant or contract an STD despite having numerous sexual partners because I remained on birth control pills, used condoms, and screened my clients the best I could.

In 2010, I decided to take a rest from taking hormonal birth control after 13 solid years of usage. A year later, during one careless occasion with a man I was dating at the time the morning-after pill failed and I became pregnant. He, being a decent human being and a close friend, helped me through that time and covered my abortion through Planned Parenthood 6.5 weeks in to the pregnancy. (I have a video where I discuss this matter on my youtube channel and will not go into further detail here.) He and I had for years discussed our positions on abortion and not wanting to have children, so this matter was handled without drama between the two of us. (Though, I will say this: after years of being accused by random people out in society for being a “baby killer” simply for supporting a pro-choice position, such harsh words launched at me since—typically from strangers who do not know me nor about whether or not I ever underwent an abortion—do noticeably sting more.) Tried the Paragard IUD after that and hated it (had it removed within a few months), but I have still managed to remain pregnancy-free, nearly 8 years on. Partly due to dating a partner for a few years there who agreed to undergo a vasectomy, thankfully — it’s nice dating men who give a damn about my health and well-being. (Albeit, clearly further evidence of my “privilege.”)

The last 10+ years I have worked in a different self-employment position where I don’t make much money, partly by choice since I’m not a fan of paying much in the way of taxes to our corrupt government. Personal decision there. I have not been covered by health insurance since I was 12 years old when sent me off to live with other relatives, aside from 1 semester in college many years ago. Yes, I was an avid Obamacare holdout and have been vocal about that. So, not rolling in dough over here or privy to health care coverage that plenty of others do access. Thankfully my health has remained pretty good, now entering my late 30s.

AND it’s not as if I sidestepped all of the pitfalls and vices that commonly plague our society. I drank heavily for a number of years. I smoke cigarettes too and have for over 2 decades (both are expensive habits). I’ve made all kinds of stupid, dangerous decisions in my day and put myself in situations where I am admittedly lucky to have not been more hurt by.

YET STILL I have managed to avoid an unwanted pregnancy 99.99% of the time (and terminated the one mistake that did arise). How is this possible for someone who comes from a poor household originally, who isn’t fully white, who’s female, who’s made bad life choices (according to plenty of people out in society), who’s a high school drop-out, who isn’t earning a high income (or even remotely a middle-class income), who isn’t insured, and who’s considered promiscuous even?

MUST be muh privilege to blame!

Did it require me threatening men to conform to my wishes? Thankfully a couple men in my life agreed to undergo vasectomies, but I’ve been intimate with far more men than just them — so, no. That alone wouldn’t have cut it. Have I ever had a man remove a condom during sex? Yes I have, and they received an earful too. Have I ever experienced negative encounters with men where I felt intimidated? Yes, and thank God I had backup methods or was on birth control pills at the time so as to protect myself. Have I ever encountered pressure from my former spouse to have children? Yes, and I told him he knew my position when he chose to marry me, so he didn’t get his way on that. Have I experienced condoms that either broke or slid off during intercourse? Yes, that’s why it’s best to utilize more than one form of birth control at a time (or use a backup method). Am I claiming accidents never occur? Obviously not.

Am I claiming other women in America can embrace their agency and protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy if they so choose? YES. They could if they really desired to. Am I encouraging others to follow in my footsteps? Well, you all will live however you personally choose, regardless of what I say, but it becomes a problem when you start talking about wanting others, via taxation, to provide women with free birth control (especially when so many—particularly those who can afford it—aren’t demonstrating a willingness to take the responsibility seriously enough thus far) and/or abortions. The idea of state-funded abortions is a real stickler in the U.S. that upsets people whose religious convictions conflict, and I cannot and WILL NOT endorse any plan to force people to fund a practice that they consider immoral to such an extreme level. Similarly, I have a huge moral qualm with paying taxes that fund all these wars/invasions elsewhere around the globe — it’s wrong to compel people to be complicit (going so far as taking money out of their pockets) in matters that injure their soul. People are bound to be far more tolerant of our lifestyle choices if they aren’t foisted upon them or financed by them without their willful compliance. Hence why I don’t support government funding of Planned Parenthood, despite continuing to support that organization 21 years running — donations are the way to go there, not forced funding. Continuing down this path will only create greater social and political divides in this country that I don’t want to see.

Now, I think I’ve written enough on this topic, so if Max Brett () or whomever else wants to keep replying to argue or project, I’m going to go ahead and redirect you here because I’m tired of repeating myself and find Twitter to be a poor platform to try to debate ideas on. I am willing to expand at a later date on differences between libertarianism and Leftism and why the two camps can seem to share certain points of agreement while arriving at those points through totally different means, resulting in a desire for totally different outcomes — but not today. This was a looong post, so that’s enough typing for now.

Pondering on purpose

Been bumbling through life up to this point and figure it’s a grand time to pause and consider my purpose going forward. Might’ve jacked up the first half of life, but here we stand now, at what could be the midpoint of life (assuming I live to age 72). Didn’t know how to guide myself too well the first bit, but it’s taught me a lot so I can’t entirely regret it for its lessons. Have to learn some way. Trial and error.

Anyway, I got to thinking tonight while watching a video from Pastor Joe Fox, after having listened to a few by him since discovering his channel recently. Paused to ponder and write down the thoughts that sprang to mind when contemplating what may be my purpose from here on out. What matters and what direction I personally wish to aim in. Basically loosely outlined a few goals/values/areas of focus. What I jotted down:

1.) To learn more and become skilled at various worthwhile tasks.

  • Sustainability (or at least the move toward that) matters.
  • Curiosity is actually a positive attribute.
  • Consider what’s of base-level, fundamental value to us human beings.

2.) LOVE MATTERS. Tough love included.

  • Connection matters.
  • Love of family, friends, values…

3,) No pain, no gain. Challenges are necessary for growth. Pick your poison.

  • I want to keep growing.
  • Respect matters.

4.) Quality of Life deserves attention.

  • Past, present, future, successors.
  • Consequences arise regardless of what may be our intentions.

5.) Personal Autonomy is sacred and God-given.

  • Hence our natural right to self-defense.
  • One is not merely a cog within a collective, but nor is one an island unto oneself.
  • Freedom matters, but so does Sacrifice. Find the BALANCE.

6.) What is that which we call God? What does God seem to direct me toward?

  • And how does one really know when it’s not just Ego playing its typical games? Discernment required. Meditation/prayer. Deep reckoning over time.

______________________________________________________________________________

That’s a start. Put it in writing. Reflected on it this evening. Could’ve added more, and did in a couple places.

Preparation matters too. I won’t claim to be of much use to others currently, aside from being cared about by my friends and loved ones (and tending to my job), but I do want more out of my life than what I have constructed thus far. The word redemption keeps following me around, going on a few years now. Keeps insisting that it matters, saying that atonement is required for some of what I’ve done, lest I never be able to forgive myself or the situations that arose as a result. Right or wrong, regardless of how many tell me to let it go and move on, this feeling stays with me, nags at me, proclaims itself to be real. And so apparently I must accept that and figure out what it wants from me. And I guess I will try to give it what it wants , if that’s the cost of some measure of eventual peace. So be it.

Have nothing better to do anyhow. Except languish in this apartment when I’m not working, watching the wheels go ’round and ’round, ruminating on so much that cannot be changed, that’s done and over with, regardless of fault or blame or regrets. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…

I look forward to however many years I get to experience in this next half of life. To see where it might go, to shape what I might become. There have been a lot of blessings in life too, and I am grateful, though there’s a lot that’s made me bitter. Gotta work that out, gotta direct that energy somewhere more productive. Otherwise life will likely turn out to feel long and pointless, aimless, meaningless…lost. That’s no good. But it does appear a bit daunting, knowing how much I wish I knew but don’t. To figure out how and what to learn while restricted to living where I do for the time being, rather isolated in the city. But I see what is within my control currently and know where to direct my attention more to begin with, so that’s where I’ll keep plugging away and expanding. The first steps in a better direction.

Helps to have something to look forward to. To realize what’s a better option, a more worthwhile struggle, and to start heading that way.

Been pondering vaguely along these lines for many years now, but it’s all finally starting to crystallize this year. Coming together, making better sense to me. That being a blessing unto itself. So, that’s where my mind is right now.

Monday journaling in early July

Hangovers truly do hurt more than they used to. Said it before but feel the need to say it again. Takes less to bring on the pain these days also. Makes me wonder how I functioned all those years if this was the fog I’d been routinely living within.

Amazing the difference in perspective time taken away from drinking provides. Makes it increasingly difficult to accept surrendering to that lifestyle, despite its ongoing powerful allure. I go back, guilt consumes me, my head aches and my vision blurs for a day or more afterward, stupid events may or may not occur that leave me resenting my weakness for giving in yet again, then I resolve to leave the mess alone until the next time I succumb to its temptation. Rinse, repeat.

A big part of the problem here isn’t merely a lack of will power — it’s a lack of an alternative direction, a better vision for the future. Some call this nihilism, which I suppose is accurate enough. It’s a lack of giving enough of a damn. Life feels very long and I’m not sure where to direct it from here on out, disconnected as I am from any great sense of community or common purpose. To simply throw myself into attempting to help others conjures up a whole host of questions, such as in what ways and how, toward what end, in service to what philosophy, would this be helping or rather enabling, etc., etc. Though that remains the conventional response from others during one’s “dark night of the soul” — Go help others so that you’ll quit focusing on yourself! If only it were that easy and clear-cut…

Makes me wonder where the line is between trying to be helpful and fashioning oneself into some form of masochistic martyr. The distinction isn’t as bold as people like to imagine, come to find out.

And what about one’s own self-interest? Oh sure, being of service to others can indeed boost one’s own sense of purpose and esteem, depending on how one goes about it. Can also waste a bunch of time and energy on matters of trivial importance too if you’re not careful. Can wind up leading to another dead end where you realize that what you’ve been attempting is just another game of smoke and mirrors, yet another useless distraction wherein you attempted to save others when in reality you can’t even save yourself. Food for thought.

I am bitter these days. Very tired inside from this unending struggle to right my wrongs and to reorient myself toward living and socializing. Apparently this is just the way life goes and there’s no real reason to complain, but it is wearing over time. Hard to recharge one’s batteries under the circumstances. Tough to decide on where to head from here, what to shoot for and plan for. It’s ultimately a question of values, though what I value isn’t necessarily in line with how I tend to live, truth be told. Bad habits can and do change us, re-shape us, deform us, corrupt us, perhaps in some cases irrevocably so. I’m not sure who I am when considered in this light. Seems pretty late in the game to fantasize about starting over and becoming something wholly different.

Also, I’m not sure how one can re-fashion herself into something new while planted within this larger social/political/economic context. Though I understand it needs to happen, I’m not sure how to go about it entirely. Sounds like a recipe for greater social exclusion, which pains me to consider. But there’s no way around it really — I know. The trick is to somehow stonewall myself in the face of that realization and attempt it anyway. Not as if most of the socializing I’ve been doing is worth salvaging anyhow — half these people I deal with are in no better positions themselves, so what are we really trying to hold on to here? A sense of escapism? Yes. Mutually-bolstered delusions and retreats into unfulfilling comforts. That’s all it is and all it ever was, so life has been teaching me.

But when I look out and try to imagine alternate paths, I wonder how I might walk them in my present condition. One foot in front of the other, you say. Sure, but unguided by much, heading toward the unknown from the abyss. Carrying with me my past pains and neurotic problems that have distorted my thoughts and emotions, because such baggage doesn’t simply go away despite our wishes for it to. Seeking what? New opportunities to socialize and maybe even experience a sense of community, to prove helpful and useful, to discover redemption of some sort so that my mind might give me some peace finally. In what fashion? That which can be sustained, that which is truly human. And that’s a long way from home.

Lots of charlatans out here in society pretending to be what they’re not, advertising lures that they can’t deliver on. I know that. Undoubtedly will learn plenty the hard way regardless of which path I choose. Learned plenty the hard way already, so what’s the real difference there? Wherever humans are, trouble is nearby — that goes without saying. I tell myself that I need an adventure, to break away from Cookie-Cutterville and all of its inane trappings that numb my soul and entice me to escape myself as a means of coping. I don’t belong here in this land of families worried about good schools and crime rates, jabbering mindlessly about mowing lawns and sports scores, regularly anesthetizing themselves in local pubs where people like me get in the way of their good times. I’m too moody and dark for this place, too uncomfortable in my own skin and itching for something more to life than this. Yet I too have been lulled into a sense of complacency here, appreciating all these creature comforts and tasty foods and the relative ease in which society functions day-to-day. Can’t shake the feeling of being an alien here though, over a decade running.

Feels like I’m hiding here, but from what? From God? From a call to leave my comfort and to instead risk everything I have for what I can’t yet foresee? Damn. That’s a tall order. But I get it — appears necessary. Just tricky and unnerving and leaves me wondering if I’ve finally flown the coop since all the rest here claim to be relatively content and aren’t chomping at the bit the way I am. Why must I differ from them? Why can’t I be content with what’s been provided to me? Probably because I’m a disagreeable jerk not originally from this place and unable (or unwilling) to assimilate properly. Not that these folks deserve to be given grief; they mean well. I just don’t know what to do with myself while among them. Serve them so as to earn a living, yes, but what else? And that’s been the question forming over the years.

Am I scared? Probably. Most of us fear change, even if we’re uncomfortable with where we’re at currently. Not sure why — just a normal human response, I figure. The longer I stay here, the more difficult it feels to leave. Yet the longer I stay here, the more bitter I become, and that’s of no benefit to anyone. Not sure where else to go. Will take me at least a year to pay off bills and raise money and finish out my lease, but in the meantime I have to worry about leaving alcohol alone and coping with my present circumstances. Kind of feels like a catch-22. The longer I stay, the more I fear I will never leave and will grow colder and more withdrawn until I cease to be me. It’s a conundrum, but I suppose it can be surmounted.

I do get lonely. The hours in a day grow very long toward the evening. I read up on what’s happening in my society and all sounds so chaotic, so impossible to reign in. On some level a simpler life is needed, maybe so that a creative life becomes more possible. Because what I’m experiencing now is not life-affirming, it’s life-deadening, numbing, trying not to feel what I can’t help but feel. And it won’t change just because I wish it would — I know.

The answers are simple, though not necessarily easy. That much is true. What do I have to lose? Not much by this point. Am already pretty isolated. Already have picked up and developed bad habits. Already learned the wicked ways of people, including that in my own self. Spent enough time staring into the abyss and feeling it staring back. Learned a good bit about what not to do and have a better idea now of what’s in my greater interest, finally, as I slide into middle age. Money comes and goes — that doesn’t dictate everything for me. Have a pretty simple life that’s uncomplicated by too many major responsibilities. And maybe it’s that which I’d miss the most, that being my perch from where I’ve been free to watch, listen, and ponder for all these years.

But then there comes a time for action, for putting into practice what all we’ve been wrestling with and figuring out. So, on to the 1-to-2-year plan. Research what I can in the meantime. Because, Lord help me if I am still sitting here in this city 10 years from now. That would represent the opposite of growth — pure stagnation. Not certain my soul could bear it.

Reckoning with where to go from here (Saturday morning journaling)

Not been writing much on here lately. Less and less over the last year or more. Been trying to get out of my head and more into my body through exercise and distractions. Why? Because I am stuck in a mental rut and can’t break free. On and on and on it goes.

Existential panic a few years back turned into a full-blown crisis, which now has subsided a bit and transformed into what might be considered a curious form of nihilism-of-sorts. Not sure how to define or describe it, but I grasp that it’s not a state of mind a person wishes to remain in indefinitely. How to escape it, though, is the million dollar question. Can’t reason my way out of this conundrum, as I’ve figured out.

Hence why people like Dr. Jordan Peterson can have such an impact and attract our attention, giving us hope for pulling our shit together by offering a gameplan for physical action. BUT…even there in studying his words the last couple of years I’m feeling left out in the cold due to irreconcilable differences in our outlooks for the future. His traditional orientation, life-affirming as it may be, does not gibe with this 21st-century citizen’s outlook on life. One reason being that I am child-free by choice and out of a sense of necessity, the reasons for which are numerous. This obviously reduces my ability to place so much emphasis on family in my own orientation. Not to mention that I am from a fractured family myself and lack a sense of connectivity in that sense as well. Which then can spill over into impacting one’s view of the community — in my case I live a very atomized existence within a community where I did not originate and apparently have never successfully assimilated. These aspects alone create a severe discrepancy between what Dr. Peterson teaches and what I actually experience, much as I continue to appreciate his viewpoints and share his material with others.

Furthermore, I’m not so interested in becoming what he and others suggest is the healthier option. Not because I wish to remain unhealthy by comparison, but because it doesn’t make sense for me personally. A few years ago I tried to fit this square peg through that round hole and created a great deal of pain for myself and others in the process. In the end, it doesn’t appear to have worked much and likely only shaved a few years off my life through the emotional/psychological turmoil it brought about. Wasn’t the answer I had hoped for in the end either, but here we are, required to face the facts that not all can live in accordance with such ideals. If anything, it’s spit me out with a renewed understanding of how deeply my own personality penetrates my being, how it cannot simply be overhauled or denied without severe consequence to my overall well-being. Come to find out.

Yet where I stand now doesn’t feel like somewhere I’d recommend to others. Doesn’t feel like a place where one can grow comfortable and accepting of what’s what. Hence why I continue searching for answers or at least better questions to ask.

Introducing routine exercise over the last 3 years has proven very beneficial insofar as helping lift the sense of depression that had been plaguing me. Quitting drinking for several months also aided me with better orienting myself and improving self-control, though nowadays I go back and forth between spells of drinking and not drinking. Giving up cigarettes this year was another bonus, though I remain addicted to nicotine through vaping technologies. Finally severing the relationship of the last 7 years also provides some peace of mind, though he and I remain friends at a distance. Been sleeping more, at least some days, and that too has improved my mood stability. Lost 40 lbs. from my highest weight, with hopes of losing 10-20 lbs. more through improving my diet.

And yet, the neuroticism remains. Ain’t that a bitch? Appears to be a deep-seated part of my personality. Some say you must find some sort of creative endeavor in which to pour all that energy, and there I’ve been coming up empty-handed. Been writing less than usual, assuming writing even helps in that regard. Haven’t painted in years. So instead I offer up my help to others to work on projects around their home or yard occasionally so as to keep myself busy and learn new skills. And I cleaned my apartment thoroughly this spring, trying to reduce the smoke smell in this place after 9 years of smoking indoors here. Been trying to socialize more and meet new people, with mixed success. Haven’t been reading print books much despite a desire to do so, though I continue listening to audiobooks regularly. Resumed cooking new recipes that are in line with a low-carb diet. Also have been training at the range with my weapon, trying to improve my marksmanship.

Also continue keeping a finger lightly on the pulse of what’s going on out in society, though my interest in politics in general has waned over the years. All appears to be a losing battle — yet another reason for not bringing kids into whatever the future may hold. There are literally thousands of causes and issues calling for our attention, and yet we could spend 10 years focusing on only one and still may (likely) wind up with nothing to show for it in the end. Sad but true.

Sounds nihilistic? Does to me also. It’s not much fun being accused of being “negative” and a “downer,” so I try more and more to keep my mouth shut around most folks. It remains true that technologies are moving too fast for someone like me, that they’re leaving me behind and giving me a strong sense of foreboding for what is to come on down the line. We humans care an awful lot about power, control and respect, and yet here we are, confronting a very uncertain future where it looks extremely likely that the vast majority of us will lose more power and control over directing our own lives. And what does respect even mean in a time when it’s become customary to sell our souls to the highest bidder? Or just to make a living? Giving ourselves over to corporations in order to secure our livelihoods as well as for our material sustenance.

This is an inescapable existential quandary I find myself in. Simply shifting my perspective and pretending that what is occurring is actually fine and fun doesn’t appear to be a realistic option for someone like me. Consider it a shortcoming on my part if you must. Blame it on a lack of imagination or pragmatism. Whatever. I’m coming to resist this outlook less and less though. Hurts less when I accept it as being just the way things are and cease chomping at the bit so much. But it’s also a very alienating way to live. Gets in the way of social connections, particularly with new people. I do pray occasionally and ask for guidance, direction, and the answer I’ve received back troubles me. Sounds like another waste of time and energy, although I can see where it’s more than that, where it’s an opportunity for honing one’s skills in a way that never truly goes out of style despite being threatened by emerging global political designs. One word: sustainability. Seems to me it all comes down to that and always has, always will.

Yet I’m reluctant to jump in that direction as well. Not sure why, considering I’m not doing myself or others much good sitting here preserving myself in this apartment year after year, fretting over matters I have no control over. But I think we grow so accustomed to our lifestyles, even when they’re painful, because they’re at least known to us. The unknown is far more unnerving, even if it might prove ultimately beneficial in the long run. And of course changes often require money, financing. Life doesn’t sit on hold without money to maintain it. All of our material goods require a place to store them, lest we give up everything we ever worked for. The car must be paid off. Credit cards must be paid down. Have to figure out how to afford gas and the cell phone bill each month if no longer bringing in an income.

The plan that keeps running through my mind is giving myself over to helping on small, family-owned farms. Sounds crazy, right? But what’s crazier — trying that or continuing to live like this without a sense of purpose? Grandma says I wouldn’t last a day in that life, and maybe she’s right. But what realistically is my alternative at this point? When life gets to feeling like a very slow death, something must give. I’m less miserable than I was a few years back, but still I’m feeling the years slipping by, wondering what it’s all for more and more. Life’s been teaching me that suffering is inevitable, that really your only choice is to choose your pain. Suffer here or suffer there. Suffer physically or suffer mentally. Helps to become addicted to the pain, to embrace one’s inner sadomasochist. Endorphins are our friends. So far as I can tell, it’s all crazy no matter which way you turn. Human life all unto itself is crazy. We just grow accustomed to certain forms of craziness and accept them as the norm.

I don’t have a better answer than this. It’s not exactly what I wished to be presented with either, but that’s what I get for praying. Whatever I am praying to…

Self-preservation for the simple sake of doing so is such an empty endeavor. That much I have figured out. Life is meant to be lived, not hidden from. Not merely managed through the use of mind-altering substances. We’ve become the domesticated beasts who must beg others for what we need, and that’s a pathetic mode of existence unfitting for human beings. Our relations with one another are growing less authentic with each passing year while our lives are simultaneously growing more complicated. What’s all this technology for nowadays? To cage us? Does it really make our lives easier and of better quality? In some ways yes, in others no. Slavery truly never really ended, it just changed forms. Seems to me that now most of us are slaves and serfs, even if we don’t realize it. I’ve stayed out of the corporate game so far as work goes, but there’s no escaping corporatism in this day and age. This is what people are resisting when they call out capitalism, though they aren’t articulating their concerns very clearly. It’s a worthwhile fear, if you ask me. Not as benevolent as some like to portray it as. Extreme economic disparities being just one problematic feature it possesses.

I don’t know if humans can overcome this trend or if it will eventually overcome all of us. Am not convinced we common people might win this battle — that remains a question. Plus, I’m not sure most even want to. We’re not all on the same team, nor will we ever be. Any alternatives envisioned can’t help but differ as well. For years I’ve rolled around the thought of 10,000 communities going their own way, pondering what that might mean and why it seems necessary, so now I’m being called upon to practice what I claim to believe. To deny this calling is to become a complete hypocrite, a talker who will not DO. And it kinda pisses me off to feel like my hand is being forced here, being the rebel that I am and all. But what real alternative is there for me? Keep sitting here, day in and day out, pondering on life and growing more weary while feeling like I contribute little of actual value in response? My contributions will always be small, and so be it, but contribute in some productive way one must. Lest the nihilism blacken our hearts and minds and turn us against Life and those who seek to affirm it.

As a woman I will probably always have one foot in chaos, per my nature. And that’s all right. It’s to be expected. In the end, I expect Nature will ultimately win out regardless of what we humans might do. And I’m okay with that. Keep trying to remind myself that it truly is about the journey and not the destination since we’re all destined to be turned to dust. Waiting for what the future might hold is a waste of each day. Dark as I might be, I do love. Much as I personally might lack a sense of community, I can grasp the importance of it. No human being is an island. And local power is the only real power most of us will ever potentially be afforded. Which is to say through our interactions, interpersonal communications and work. Squalling online doesn’t change a thing. Forever trying to get laws passed to force the hands of others only will ensure that others will fight you on the political battleground indefinitely. Reason and argument can go a long way in changing hearts and minds, but not quite far enough. Not as far as bonding can take us. And we bond through what we share in common, through the work we do side by side and the respect we earn in one another’s eyes. Perceived differences tend to shrink in such scenarios.

I don’t know what’s right, but I have a few ideas on what’s wrong. What’s unsustainable yet heavily invested in leads to wrong. Leads to people doubling down on what won’t work. Leads to ideological possession and fanaticism because the truth can’t or won’t be accepted. And that leads us to a very ugly side of our natures, good intentions be damned. I’m not sure what’s really real anymore, but I have an idea or two on what’s obviously fake and false. It appears this is what’s meant by worshiping false idols — human-made idols that we’ve grown attached to and have our egos enmeshed with. Hard to let that go. Tough to admit how wrong we’ve been.

I don’t have any answers here, just a bunch of questions. And a recognition that what’s been tried so far isn’t sufficiently fulfilling. Life feels very long, even as each day slips by too fast. Might want to take advantage of our health while we still have it, put it toward some better use. Might want to use our minds for something better than continuously arguing with one another over matters that most of us don’t have any real control over. Casting blame and shame and forever seeking scapegoats to pin life’s problems on. Or entertaining ourselves to death through means that don’t actually help us improve our skills or well-being. Someday, when this country eventually falls, will we be a failed nation full of people with few practical skills beyond pushing buttons, rendered helpless and/or criminal when that which we’ve relied on falters? Will we then beg for any leader, foreign or otherwise, to remedy our plight, even if that means forsaking all the freedoms this nation was once about? I bet we will. Unfortunately so. We’ve lost something, in fact so much, that was once considered sacred in our spirit. It’s not about religion, it’s about character. My own character needs adjustment and healthy growth, and I don’t know if that’s possible in this current setup. Seems our common way of life unto itself is undermining in this respect. Impacts us all. What might change that? Guess that’s a question we each get to ask ourselves.

Back to sobriety

It’s been a long year so far. Not necessarily bad, at least not in full, but definitely strange, shifting, changing. The man who was once my love is now gone, off with a new woman, and good riddance. Our game went well beyond tiring. Though it is a transition to leave it all behind, to let it all go and not keep looking back. No point in questioning where all went wrong or why when the questions have already been asked countless times. The answer remains: life is crazy, life is mad. Sometimes people come into your life and things go berserk because of the dynamic between the players involved. Simple as that. Reminders of the past can create intrigue and solidify bonds that probably never should have been. But we learn from all experiences regardless.

That he referred to himself as a “martyr” during one of our last phone conversations a couple weeks back is severely disappointing. Thought we were beyond this cat-and-mouse game of accusations and guilt. But that game never ends apparently. The only way to stop it is to cease playing by ceasing interacting altogether. And so be it.

Unfortunately, throughout the transition I decided to try my hand at drinking once again after 7.5 months sober. As to be expected, this three-month spell only further proved my inability to moderate. So, as of nearly 2 weeks now, I have returned to sobriety. Absolutely necessary if ever I am to move on in this life and arrive at greener pastures. The past cannot be changed, and that drug doesn’t help a thing — just makes each day foggy and keeps the ruminating alive. Keeps the pain alive, forever in limbo.

Been giving a great deal of thought to the reality that is addiction. Come to believe that anything can be addictive, not only substances but also relationships between broken people with dysfunctional pasts. Seeking to fill a void is all it ever is, and yet it does not work. Will never work. Depression can grip you like a vice, strangling all that matters while robbing all present and future potential. That much I’ve come to see very clearly over time. That anxiety can’t dissipate so long as such a dynamic is allowed to interfere with one’s daily process. Just keeps the wounds raw and forever reopened, never letting healing to take place. Why? Who knows? Competitiveness? Anger, justified or otherwise? Needing someone to blame? Seeking an ultimate reason on which to lay blame (God, Life, etc.)? I tire of trying to sort it all out.

The answer is that it doesn’t matter anymore. It’s been over for years and yet kept rolling on so long due to being allowed to do so. Like sleep-walking, it just kept happening regardless of intentions. Unconscious motivations must drive it. As well as spirits, quite literally.

Alcohol is a hell of a drug. Seems rather innocuous when looked at through the lens of socially acceptable pastimes. But that’s a mirage, come to find out. It’s the closest I’ve come to feeling possessed by forces and drives that felt foreign, hidden, dark and destructive and nihilistic. That’s not offered as any sort of excuse, just a realization of the power of intoxication once indulgences have gone too far. Years and years went by within that lifestyle — nearly half my lifetime. More than half of his thus far also. Amazing how communication breaks down and truths wind up distorted over and over again. How crimes become commonplace, dismissed, accepted, laughed about, ignored, downplayed. Shocking how much time slips away…

Months slide by. Then years. And you arrive at a point where you have to ask yourself what the hell is going on here. Why have I forsaken myself? To escape? Why? There is no escape from reality. There are just ways to complicate it further unnecessarily. Addiction being just one, albeit a powerful one.

It’s not about transferring blame to a substance, though it is about recognizing the power such substances can grow to have over one’s life and mind. It’s certainly not a secret that people can and do fall prey to such traps and have for thousands of years. Why? Temporary easing of pain, escapism, alteration of mood, seeking pleasure, etc. And then one day you wake up to the inescapable realization of the shackles you’ve placed on yourself. A new form of slavery, this one self-induced. Not intentionally, sure, but intentions have little to do with what becomes real. All feels like a choice in the beginning. This sort of thing can even feel like fun…until it isn’t.

So much time escaped me. Years. Wake up and you’re middle-aged, worn out and feeling defeated, overwhelmed by new grief you’ve self-imposed through ongoing hedonistic pursuits, crying out to God to show you a sign and help give you the strength to walk away from what now binds you. Such is this lifestyle…eventually.

But here we are, back to taking a long hard look in the mirror. Back to recalling the dangers and pain we’ve put ourselves and others through. Back to contemplating future consequences if that path is not abandoned. Swirling in the stupid memories of a life on autopilot, of a relationship headed nowhere and only going through the motions. Of self-inflicted wounds created out of a desire to escape from thoughts and feelings of previous wounds. On and on and on it went.

Part of me feels guilty, like I’ve let myself and my loved ones down. But none of that can be changed now. All we can do is get up and stay up and learn to fight a better battle. Mourning over time and money wasted helps nothing, erases nothing.

I feel much better when I’m sober. But, at the same time, I have a lot of time on my hands needing to be filled in other ways. Been exercising more and trying my hand at preparing low-carb meals once again. Tried to get out to socialize and meet new people, but so far that hasn’t proven too fruitful. Needing to reconnect to my creative side, though it’s slow to come back to life. Been listening to a lot of music and am back to watching more films and videos. Occasionally go to the movie theater with friends. Resumed the decision to start getting up earlier so I would go to bed earlier in an effort to bypass the “witching hour” (as I refer to the late-night timeframe). Listening to audiobooks like usual, but also trying to get back into reading print books more now too. Finally worked on a website yesterday that I’ve been putting off for ages, so that was good. Still have a little more work to do on it. Glad to have bought a newer car a month back and am looking forward to taking roadtrips when time permits. Basically needing to get out of the rut I’ve mired myself in over the last several years.

Takes time. One day at a time. But onward we go…

Welcome 4/20/2018…

That was “Love Invincible” by Michael Franti (as shown on here many times already).

Another favorite, The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony”:

Returning again to Depeche Mode’s “Hole To Feed”:

“Other Side of the World” by K.T. Tunstall:

Always liked that tune. It played randomly tonight.

“Lunatic Fringe” by Red Rider:

Dixie Hummingbirds – “Nobody’s Fault”:

“Working Man Blues” by Merle Haggard:

“The Man Comes Around” by Johnny Cash:

That was a cover of Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That” sung by Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers.

On a personal note, haven’t smoked a cigarette since Sunday night. Wishing to be done with that addictive slavery.

Hey slave

Isn’t it odd how much we’ve outsourced of our personal lives in modern societies? Our personal needs. We pay someone to massage us. We pay someone to listen to us (as in a therapist/counselor). We may even pay someone to have sex with us and/or to provide other forms of erotic pleasure. We procure pets who require a great deal of attention so as to pet in order to feel better, to give our lives a little more sense of meaning. Pet them and feel a bit better, all while we pine for contact with one another.

Seems almost a crime when one really stops and ponders deeply on it.

What are we doing? In what ways are we becoming damaged psychologically in this day and age, and why? Is it required and necessary that we endure this? Maybe the path must go through nihilism on its way — I won’t claim to know.

But look at us. LOOK at where so many of us stand currently. And only rising.

Now what? What then? What are we to do?

What’s a better approach forward? Where better to go from here?

Seems accurate that the best way to save others is to first save oneself.

Has the perfect storm resulted in an inevitable societal outcome, unchangeable by us regardless of what we individually and even collectively may attempt? Have we already gone too far? I don’t know. But I’ve come to think there will be a good bit of hell before we might arrive at some approximation of heaven on earth.

Some call that outlook pessimistic. I call it a realistic probability. And I have to contend with whatever life is bringing. Anything else is living in delusion. How can it not be?

Wednesday morning tunes (spring is finally arriving)

A new tune for me in recent months, Joe Bonamassa’s “Dust Bowl”:

Love it.

Haven’t been on here in a minute. Busy with life. Back in the dating scene in full swing lately. Been interesting so far. Though the one piece of eye candy who most excited me flaked out pretty quickly, unfortunately. Don’t know why and might never know. But ah well. So, moving along, I’ve met with a couple new people since, one of whom is interested in working out so we’ve been taking long walks and went to the gym one evening together. Another I met for the 3rd time recently for dinner and to see another live band, which was nice. Then there’s the gun show to look forward to this weekend, which I plan on attending with a buddy. And plans to go bowling this weekend as a first date with another gentleman I met once briefly.

Just staying busy…keeping in motion. Considering my options and working on getting out of my head and back into my body more so. Been cooped up enough thanks to our long winters, so now I feel the need to go out and mingle, to work my muscles and sweat as well as try restaurants I haven’t been to in years.

My former partner is off with his new love interest in Florida currently, lounging on the beach. Good for him. We both needed a vacation badly, so perhaps my time will come later this year.

And in other news, I bought a newer car last week. Very nice. Fancier than I had expected. The old car was pouring oil and leaking transmission fluid, on top of calling for various other expensive repairs, so it was time. Actually secured a good interest rate for the first time ever, and my goal is to hopefully pay this newer vehicle off within the year.

Up this morning cleaning and tending to chores, like completing my student loan repayment re-certification process. Fun fun.

Alice Merton – “No Roots”:

Was invited out to tea this morning before the day’s work appointments, but we’ll see. Waiting on laundry currently.

Definitely feeling different lately. Nice to have some social demands on my time considering how much time I’ve spent alone in recent years. Big, deliberate shift there. Feels healthy to get in motion and stay active and to get out of my cave. Speaking of this cave, spring cleaning has been coming along nicely and I’ve already donated at least 3 boxes of unwanted items to the Salvation Army, with another big bag of clothes and shoes ready to go today. So much junk needs to get up out of my space finally.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – “I Need Never Get Old”:

Dating in middle age actually is proving more enjoyable than I recall it being in my 20s, interestingly enough. Maybe because I’ve been through enough by now that I’m in no rush and have lessened expectations in terms of how things ought to go. lol Very strange dealing with these corporate types though, but I’m being open to them about my own resistance toward going that route myself. Prefer my simple life out here on a perch, observing the fray. Also a bit hesitant when it comes to dating men with kids, and I won’t even consider men with very young children since I know my limitations. But practically everyone went the family route, and so be it. I did not and will not. But at least their kids are grown or nearly grown by this age — that helps. Not to sound like a snob, just not terribly family-oriented myself. Former had a son who’s now in college, and that all went fine, but I feel like a fish out of water trying to play that game too closely. Best that I maintain a distance from too much of that. Though it’s true that the most responsible men out here do usually have kids, hence why they developed into more responsible persons in the first place.

To each his or her own…

A tune introduced to me just this week:

That was “Temptation” by The Tea Party.

Still considering my 2018 goal to quit smoking cigarettes. Feels like it’s coming sooner rather than later. The desire to save money while ceasing destroying my health is strong.

“A Quitter Never Wins” by Tinsley Ellis:

Recently saw him live locally. Being turned onto new music by the new people I’ve come into contact with.