Abuse, Abusive, Cycles, dating, depression, family, Forgiveness, Freedom, Friends, Friendship, Letting go, love, Partners, Partnership, philosophy, psychology, relationships, Relatives

Being Nothing

What hurts the most is being last. You know, when you have a partner, you’re supposed to face the world together. What happens when your partner doesn’t even work with you? When you try to explain, through reasoned conversation without raising your voice, how you feel and that you want to know how they feel, yet they lie to you and hide things from you, and they “avoid conflict” with you by doing so.

We never really avoid conflict. We make its consequences worse by postponing it. I remember once she did something foolish that could be interpreted as unfaithful. And she told me. I was upset, but after one night’s conversation, perhaps argument, I wasn’t mad about it anymore because she didn’t hide it and she was honest with me. But I also remember, in the middle of the argument, she said: “I knew I shouldn’t have told you.”

She didn’t remember that we were fine the next day. Only that we initially argued. That’s the way she operates. Avoid conflict at any cost. Put it off ’til later and it might not happen.

It always happens. Later just compounds the lie. Makes the fight worse and reinforces distrust. But she doesn’t want to be in conflict. So she lies to me in favor of people who do get angry, who raise their voice, who get abusive or bully her. She does what they want so she can avoid conflict. She doesn’t do what she wants. Her entire life is spent in trying to not upset people, so she’s controlled by the terminally upset. Don’t mistake me. She’s not a bad person. She’s been abused into submission.

The problem is: people who have been abused need support to be strong enough to fight the unhealthy patterns that they were trained into by threat. But I have been trying for years to be that support, and all she’s done is pass on the feeling of worthlessness to me. Because I can be ignored because I won’t get mad. I’ll be understanding. But abusive people and bullies who she wants to love and respect and appreciate her will never do any of those things, no matter how hard she tries. They’ll always go back to pushing her around when she finally stands up for herself or for us.

I try to love her like I’ve never been hurt, but the becomes increasingly difficult the more she becomes the one that hurts me.

I can’t keep being lied to. I can’t continue to come last after everyone else. I can’t build a future with someone who refuses to try to lay those foundations with me. It starts with love, but without trust it’s a house built on sand. It can stand for a while, but the waves of troubles we all have to face together will rip the house to shreds.

She’s built a structure with stone foundations with them, but it’s not a home. It’s an oubliette. A little place they can throw her in and forget her until the torture makes her beg for mercy and do whatever they want. She could climb out, but she wants their approval.

It’s a hard thing to give up on someone trapped as she is, but when they fight you and not their captors, you either have to give up and respect their self abuse, or force them and become the abuser. I can’t do that. What she does reflects on her. What I do is my fault.

So I have to let go the rope that keeps her from falling all the way down. Because she’s pulling me in with her. Not trying to pull herself out. And once we’re both in there, there’s no way out for either of us.

Maybe I’ll be there when she pulls herself out. It’s likely I won’t. She’s kicked me away too many times for me to ever trust her again. I can love her without trusting her, but that’s not a partnership. That’s a distant friendship.

I hope she’s satisfied with what she’s chosen. I know, until she’s ready to pull herself out, she’ll never be happy. But maybe she’ll be satisfied with the constant abuse and discouragement and unkindness she’s always known. It’ll feel like home.

As for me: I’ll never go back to that. I would rather die with my self respect than bow to those who disrespect me.

I don’t want her to be so misused. But it’s her choice, not mine. I gave her the rope to climb out, she gave me the finger. I sincerely hope she’ll get to the point that she realizes her own strength, but I remind her of that without her permission. I have to let the rope go.

Your disillusioned friend

Ed.

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family, Forgiveness, Friends, Friendship, Honor, Human Spirit, Kindness, love, Making No Sense of the World, Melancholy, morality, philosophy, relationships

Tomorrow

Well, it’s the night before the fight and I can’t sleep. But this time, there’s a reason. Going to do my best tomorrow to be kind, truthful, honest, and understanding, but I can’t expect the same in return. I remember so many times with others that I had this kind of fight brewing and I tried to win it. Tried to cover my ass and make sure everything was their fault. That I could hold the high ground.

Can’t maintain that energy. Even if I tried my best. I know I did my best and made mistakes. I’m not going to defend myself. I’m going to listen. And be completely honest. What would be the point in doing otherwise? I didn’t betray anyone. Suppose that’s the most important thing to me. And I’m not going to be cruel and I’m not going to press an advantage. I’m just going to be me. Say what I need to say, ask for some honesty in return. I doubt I’ll get it.

Life is in the attempt, isn’t it? Honor is in how we treat others, not how we reciprocate hurt. Sitting in the dark, alone, isn’t so bad unless you do something to earn it. So I won’t be unkind. I’ll do my best to treat with understanding and compassion even though I don’t expect the same in return.

And I won’t try to hurt. There’s no point in reciprocating hurt. I know I’m not going to come out of this without scars, no matter how it plays out. She’s going to be angry and cruel. Because I know what she kept from me. What she didn’t want me to know. The only thing I can do now is preserve my integrity. Don’t return cruelty with cruelty. Be at peace, and remember that honor is how you behave when you have nothing to lose. And know that there are only three options in life: come to understanding through conversation, learn to live with their unchangeable behavior, or walk away.

I hope I have luck. That this is all just a misunderstanding. We all know it’s always more complex than that. There’s really no hope for that. I suppose I should hope I can be proud of myself and my actions once it’s over and I’m elsewhere. Having been kindly honest. Though honesty and kindness, in this instance, will be a difficult balance.

I can try, though. And, if the worst happens, I can strive to control what I can. My own honor and self respect.

Ed

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dating, depression, faith, Forgiveness, love, Making No Sense of the World, Melancholy, morality, philosophy, rationality, relationships

Honestly?

Well, here I am again. Because there’s nowhere else to go.

You’d think I could talk about how lucky I felt without life trying to slam the hard door of reality down on my fingers, but no.

Tried to be optimistic for just a moment and it made a fool of me. If I can give you advice from my life: hope is a fickle mistress. Never trust her.

I’d prefer it never applies to you, my friends. But be careful. Trust is earned, not given. Love is exceptionaL. But there’s a whole lot of hurt in between. And I don’t know how much I can do about it anymore. I’ll be back soon, no doubt. Just don’t lie to people. Don’t hide things, and never be dishonest. Never gets you anywhere worth going. You avoid trouble for a few minutes while you start a war in the long run.

If you love someone, they deserve your honesty. If you don’t, then don’t even talk to them. You waste everyone’s time.

-Eddy

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family, Friends, Friendship, love, Making No Sense of the World, Obligation, Parents, pets, Siblings, Uncategorized

Family

I have never been fond of the concept of family. I don’t relate to the driving need to hold people close who you would never have been close to just because you share DNA. We all share DNA.

There are family members I am close to and others whom I regard simply as relatives. The distinction isn’t how much blood we have in common.

Yet so often I see others sacrificing faithful friends for the sake of unfaithful family. Trying ten times as hard to please those who are terminally critical of them, even sacrificing those who are understanding of them in order to finally gain the approval of family.

There are relatives I have who are family. Those who have shown that they have love, respect, and compassion, and try to understand me. That is the measure of family. Not blood. Blood makes a relative. Friendship makes a family.

So the majority of my family aren’t relatives. And many relatives have kicked out of my family. That’s my prerogative. As it is yours.

A true friend of different blood is closer than a false relative. We prove we make our own family every time we marry. No, it’s not always what we thought. Sometimes we divorce. Or lose touch. Or drift apart. Love is the only tie that binds. And family is the people we love and trust. No matter the blood. Never lose those you love in order to please relatives. It only causes regret. We make our own family. Some relatives, some friends, some pets, and some relationships that we have trouble defining.

Don’t mistake blood obligations for love. And don’t give up love for anything.

My pointless opinion.

– Ed

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Uncategorized

Ovid in Exile

It’s a very old story. Caesar Augustus was cleaning up the empire of “degenerate” and “immoral” people. One of the greatest offenders was the writer Ovid. Who wrote about adultery and passion and pushed limits that Augustus had a problem with. (I might be getting a few details wrong. It’s been a long time and I’m a little rusty on my Roman history.)

Ovid was exiled for his salacious writing to the outskirts of the empire, where no one spoke his language, and the illiterate villagers mocked him and didn’t even speak the same language. Desperate hell for a writer. And he said in lament: “To write for these people is like dancing in the dark.” He meant it in tragedy, but “dancing in the dark” has become a phrase oft uttered and rarely understood, in meaning or in origin.

To perform without an audience.

To exhibit art to an empty room.

To practice something that, in the end, will be futile and unacknowledged.

To do what I figured I was doing when I started this venting stream of consciousness blog to just bitch into the ether whatever thoughts trouble me.

It has been a pleasant surprise that some people can see in the dark. And appreciate this silly dance. It makes the exile feel more like home.

Thank you all.

Edgar

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cats, classical, Hope, Human Spirit, Little things, philosophy

Grocery Shopping

Me again. That last post didn’t turn out AT ALL how I intended. Why do I always have to keep it dark?

I’m never dishonest with this blog. What would be the point in that? But it’s telling about my psyche that I start with “I want to get away from the heavy topics on the news, so let’s talk about something lighter: the inherent cruelty of humanity when they are released from social obligations! Yaaaaay!”

By the way, I just inadvertently referenced a song I love that might some insight into that. Keep It Dark, by Genesis.

It tells the story of a man who was missing for days and finally got home. He told everyone he’d been kidnapped by criminals who mistook him for a rich man they could ransom until they discovered he was nobody, and let him go.

The next part tells about where he really went. And why he lied. It’s a really good song. I highly recommend it.

Anyway, I’ve been caring for a bunch of orphaned kittens (cute little tykes that shredded my arms) and I get to go grocery shopping today. Which usually would be a slog, but I am going with my lady, and she makes it fun. Which is exceptional, because I don’t like leaving my house…ish…thing… (refer back to my post: “Leveling” i think?).

There are a lot of good things. I don’t usually talk about them, but I should. Especially now. My relationship isn’t perfect. Don’t mistake me. But I have someone I love who I really think loves me. And it’s good that it isn’t perfect because that means it’s honest. If your partner is perfect, palm a blade. They’re a serial killer.

I’m listening to Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance no.7. Beautiful music. Though it’s hard to find an appropriate volume. ; ) To everyone who knows it.

I have a warm… Bed. Kinda. Thing. And the roof rarely leaks. I bought good boots in 2015, so I’m shod. I have a few really true friends who are on opposite ends of the political spectrum to keep me grounded and to have good fun with. I have a dear actor friend from the old guard who sends me brilliant films from across the country. And I found a clean shirt after the cat just vomited on the last clean one I thought I had.

(It’s a silly holiday t shirt someone got me, but it’s comfortable.)

I’m ok. My career and finances are in ruins, but there’s still life. Still bright mornings and beautiful evenings. Loved ones and pets. And, while I’m stuck in a cesspool of monumental proportions, I can still laugh. And I can still love. After all, shadows pass. Eventually. I believe they must. Aaand…

…Always look on the bright side of life…

Wishing you the best of times,

Your friend,

Eddy

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equality, Forgiveness, insomnia, Internet, Kindness, nightmares, philosophy, psychology, relationships

Cruel Encouragement

Well, here I am again. The sun is coming up and I haven’t slept a wink. I suppose if I had, I might have to retire the subtitle of this blog. But there’s no danger of that happening soon, as far as I can judge.

This time I’m not going to bother you with my thoughts on division or current events. I think we’d all rather escape those things for a while. If only for a moment. I’m also not going to trouble you with my nightmares because either you could easily handle them and I’d look as goofy as I am, or they might trouble you. Neither is a rewarding result.

Instead, this time, I’m going to talk about being an asshole. About me. Being an asshole.

I never intended it to happen. I try my best to be fair and kind, but I get so easily annoyed. It’s true it takes a bit of prodding before I pop off with some hurtful comment, or a hurtful sarcastic remark, but it comes too easily for my liking.

I have plenty of demons. Some are memories of conflict, some of shame, some of loss, some of upbringing. The worst are the demons I create when I have a choice not to. Not the ones that were a result of circumstance.

I know people who care will forgive me when I say something thoughtless. Doesn’t really make it feel better. It makes it feel worse to see how understanding they are when I get irritable.

I realize I already got an eye-roll from some because I said “hurtful comment,” but if you remember having a mom as a kid, you might have done things you thought were clever that really hurt her or scared her or made her angry. And you didn’t mean to, but you were too young to understand that clever and cruel are distinctions made by others, not ourselves. And you didn’t mean to hurt her when you pretended to be injured as a joke, or to tell your mom or dad you hated them when you were hurting and just lashing out. But when you saw the hurt in their eyes, you understood how bad you messed up.

You learned that your actions can have unintended consequences and you learned to be more careful because it felt terrible to hurt people you love.

Or you just felt good and kept doing it. If so, this post isn’t going to make much sense to you. But, by all means, keep reading.

If you felt that sinking feeling when you saw the hurt in their eyes, you know what I’m talking about.

And then there’s the internet. Where you can pop back a retaliatory comment as cruel as you like. And you don’t get to see the hurt in the other person’s eyes. And they don’t get to see it in yours. It cuts everything down to spectacle. Who’s going to dominate the argument by making the clever statement? It doesn’t matter if either person is right. Often they’re both stubbornly wrong. But what matters is who made the final clever dig on the other.

I think that’s where we lost a lot of our humanity. We get to be as uncaring as we want and, so long as we do it well, we win. But win what? A fleeting sense of affirmation to balance our insecurities?

I need that look in the other person’s face to know whether I need to apologize for hurting them or whether they took it lightheartedly. Because, without that input, I kept going further. Lower more social inhibitions. To the point that the other day I responded to someone who was coming at me through their ignorance and judgement with my own well-worded cruelty.

And what did I achieve? I won the internet fight. Whoop-dee-fuckin-doo…

It’s a contest. But I don’t think it’s one worth winning. If people are staring at a username, or a name tag, or listening to a “Thank you for calling” voice on a phone, they tend to take out their day on them. But it’s not nearly as bad, many times, as the way people just forget their humanity on the internet.

It’s a rotting bog of cliques and clubs and unquestioned opinions that expels anyone it chooses just for a minuscule deviation from the status quo. People on social media tell you to “nevermind negative people”. And if you disagree or discuss, it’s often “that’s a negative person.”

As though anyone who doesn’t agree with me is just being vindictive.

I had to get off those sites. It’s all so phony and I was starting to feel phony. When I retorted in anger, I didnt see their faces. I just felt relieved of my irritation.

The internet interactions on social media are largely engineered to stroke your ego. Differing opinions that would make you uncomfortable enough to question your righteousness or preconception are excluded from your input. You’re fed what makes you feel good. Like a Roman emperor or an addict. What you’re being fed isn’t good for you, but it’s good for the person(s) feeding it to you. And you forget, sometimes, that that’s another human being you’re disagreeing with, not a punching bag to take our your frustrations on.

i don’t know.

Maybe I’m delirious from lack of sleep. Could be a distinct possibility I’m just being jackass again.

Your friend,

Ed

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grief

The Downpour

I hear the sound of the rain outside. I don’t know what is wrong with me. I suppose I just miss my friends. Loving someone can end so horribly. So finally. Yet we continue.

I’m sorry. I don’t mean to open with such a hopeless and depressing statement. I just miss my friend. And I’m trying to fall asleep and the sound of the rain drenching the world outside reminds me of her.

Grief is hard to talk about. Even to those closest to us. Even if we get really drunk. You can’t get drunk enough, after all, to say some things. Some things just get locked up inside our hearts because the person we would say them to no longer exists.

I’ll be ok. It’s something I can survive. It wasn’t even the most recent. But a friend who meant a lot to me. And sometimes, late at night, the feeling strikes you and there’s nobody to tell. I don’t know how long you have to live before it actually stops hurting. Though the thought of it not hurting feels disgraceful.

For anyone going through it, I understand. After a while, you don’t think about it as much. And the gaps between which you think about it get wider. You think about them a lot more once the pain dulls, and it makes you smile to remember. But on occasion, a scent or a sound or a specific thing hits you. And then you’re right back there.

For a moment.

Then you find a way to let the pain go. At least a little bit. Maybe you cry, maybe you create art, maybe you write to some strangers a world away whom you’ll never meet.

It’s worth it. I know it doesn’t seem like it when you’re hurting, but that’s how special they are. Those we love. I wouldn’t trade this hurt for anything. Because I would have to part with the memories I keep. Those memories are worth any pain.

I just needed to talk about it for a minute. Thank you, for being my friend and listening.

Your friend,

Edgar.

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Community, faith, family, Human Spirit, Kindness, love, philosophy, psychology, rationality, relationships, religion, Sociology, Tribalism

Category

I think people get so caught up in their “category,” they forget everything else. So it’s important that we explore the idea of categories, and where they come from.

Let’s start with the easiest to talk about. It’ll provide a baseline for the others, and since it’s largely innocuous it’ll be a good spring board. Not that there’s any subject that doesn’t make someone lose their mind anymore. But we’ll get to that. For now, let’s talk about drinks.

To most people, there are different brands of beer. Most people don’t know or care about the specific types of grains used, ale or lager yeast, fermentation or filtration. Their category is the name of the brand. So the distinction between a red, a stout, and a lager don’t really matter. What matters is that they can make a distinction between what they enjoy and what they don’t. Or what they’re in the mood for. Most people have their particular preference in beer, and they’ll stray from that on occasion through experimentation, or mood, or availability. We call them different things because they taste different, and if we want a specific taste, we need to know what to ask for from the vendor. Maybe you’re a wine person, and you prefer red or white. Maybe you’re more particular, and you want a Cabernet, or a Pinot. Or you’re more in the mood for a port. Or maybe you’re a zinfandel person.

Ah. A zinfandel “person.”

See, categories are fine. They’re necessary for simple definition and communication. Without categories, we’d be hard pressed to communicate.

Let’s go a little deeper. Medical categories. Well, in drinks, categories started largely the same way as medical categories. We need to know what we’re talking about. So, the first people to try to treat health problems needed a framework by which to categorize certain issues so they could analyze which treatment would be most beneficial. You don’t want to apply a honey and mushroom salve to cure a headache any more than you want to put willow bark tea on an open wound.

Then there are other categories. Regional categories. In the stone age, these taught you who to trust. That guy from down the valley comes from a village that hunts the same game as your village does. So, if he tells you to use spears instead of arrows, you might want to question where the information comes from. It would be foolish to switch based on his advice because he might be trying to sabotage your hunters’ success rate so those of his own can get more prey. It’s natural and beneficial to be suspicious.

That is how humans work. We’re hunter-gatherers with a hunter-gatherer mindset. The problem is: which categories are important for survival and which aren’t? We’re not as good at making that distinction.

For example, I think we’ve all met a beer/wine snob. Someone who feels defined by their preference to the point that they are actively hostile to anyone who doesn’t agree. They fail to make the distinction between a “zinfandel person” and a person who prefers zinfandel. Because they identify as a part of the group that is defined by their preference for, say, pinot noir.

This phenomenon is very human and hard to avoid. It’s helpful in a lot of situations to operate this way. So much so that we choose colors to put on pieces of cloth that we can wear or fly over our buildings so everyone knows our category.

It’s so ingrained in us that we punish or exclude those whose preferences aren’t the same as ours, even when those preferences don’t impact our survival in the slightest. I have had to break up a fight between a fan of one soccer/football team in the UK and a rival team, also in the UK. In a crappy pub in Phoenix Arizona in the United States. Neither person had ever been to the UK.

People keep asking why we’re so divided. It’s not that hard to figure out. We unite over idiotic things. Because we categorize ourselves. I’m a writer. But I’ve also been an actor, a singer, and I’ve worked at a video store (when those were still a thing) and a convenience store. And a bunch of other jobs. Am I really a writer? Or a clerk? Or an actor? A singer? If I chose to define myself that way, I might defend any one of those “groups” even if they were wrong or there was no reason to do so. I’m a person. I am not categorized by the things I do for fun or money. Or my parents religions or nationality. I’m not defined by my gender identity, or my sexual preference, or even my opinions. Those are aspects of our lives. We get so stuck on arbitrary categories that we forget ourselves. We forget our humanity, the integral fiber that binds us to everyone else. We are so caught up in our categories that we actually deprive ourselves of vital community. We seek those who fit into the narrowest categories and stick by them, even though those of other categories might love us.

I tend to like porter. My friends are mostly larger lovers. Imagine how foolish it would be, how much we would lose, for me to dismiss them as enemies because our tastes differ and you begin to see just how far this arbitrary nonsense of categories can harm us without us ever acknowledging how petty and superficial it is.

If this upset you, I apologize for wasting both our time.

Your friend,

Ed.

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Art, Creative writing, depression, Hope, Human Spirit, Literature, Making No Sense of the World, Melancholy, Passion, philosophy, Poetry, Uncategorized, writing

Making No Sense Of The World

Some of the folk who’ve read more than one of my posts might have noticed the prevalence of the category “Making No Sense Of The World.”

It’s almost every post. Always seems appropriate. We try to make sense of things through communication, art, and expression. But we never really do. We just figure out what doesn’t make sense to us. We ask questions of the universe, hypothetical and meaningless, cast out into the ether of the internet. We talk of our triumphs and heartaches, our dreams and nightmares.

The effort means something. It helps. But it still doesn’t make sense. So, the first time I used it, I was going to use: “Making sense of the world,” but I hadn’t accomplished that. I’d not shined a light, but invited people to my darkness where I described what I imagine the world I can’t see clearly looks like.

I’m not really good at humility, and I’m not very good at accepting compliments. I know my strengths intimately. And I know my failings like a an ex lover who keeps ending up in my bed. Closer than intimacy, with a touch of tears and a lot of shame and a knowledge that, despite my best efforts, I will be with her again.

Humiliation is closer, more like family, than humility. I find it odd how much humiliation stems from honesty and trust. If you replaced the word “humiliation” with the word “love,” that last statement would be printed on a coffee mug. Because it’s saccharine. And pleasing. And nowhere near true. But that’s what people like to hear. Half truths that reaffirm their prejudices, their hopes, their preconception.

Do you remember The Princess Bride? “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something.”

I’m not selling anything. Probably a reason it’s hard for anyone to get paid to publish poetry anymore. Lies sell. Poetry is honest if it’s good. How can you sell something that’s simultaneously bitter and truthful when people want something that’s sweet and deceptive? I don’t publish poetry anymore. I give it away. I have to write it. But those who consume it and understand it often don’t have money to buy it. Nor would most publishers invest in it. So I put it on the internet. Where anyone can access it. So the people who appreciate it can have it, and those who don’t can ignore it.

I’m not saying this musing is poetry. It’s babble. I’ll do you some poetry soon. I lack inspiration right now. If anyone wants to, out of morbid curiosity, you can comment some prompts for me to write a poem on here. Something like “Love as cheese,” or “dogs,” or “the day you had a pancake.” I’ll figure something out, maybe. But the point is that I don’t try to sell poetry anymore. It’s personal and doesn’t really have a market like “inspirational” saccharine has.

The best poetry, the best thoughts, don’t try to make sense of the world. They show you the senseless in a way you can relate to, a way you never thought of, or just in a way that makes you appreciate the honesty of it. They make no sense of the world. Because we don’t need someone to tell us how it works. We need someone to tell us it’s fine if we don’t quite figure it out all the time. That we’re not alone in that.

Ed.

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