You have been loved.

“There is not enough love and goodness in the world to permit giving any of it away to imaginary beings.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

And with that our minds are open to a plethora of oddities that don’t necessarily make sense. Take the context of what our good friend the Nietzch was trying to convey with the entire text of “Human, all too human”, what are we but living beings? We contemplate how life could be different, how life coud be better, life could be, well….to be honest, somebody elses. How many times to we sit in envy of somebody elses live, family, love, job, car, security, blah blah, you get what i’m saying. Although envy is one of those cardinal type sins, we can’t help but feel inferior at times in the face of superiority. This is what the world is about, the divining rod between water and drought, rich and poor, hopeful and helpless.

This omnipotent presence that we all attain through our years of living tends to start dying down once we realize that the race was run a long time ago and there isn’t any way to re-run that race. Take for instance middle school, we were all uncomfortable, we were all awkward, we were all lost. We lack all the things that make life whole. To look back at the Nietche and his concept of imaginary beings, did we not all fight those imaginary beings in middle school. Did we not all suffer at the end of the day because we felt like there was somebody better, smarter, faster, prettier…you get the idea.

But the problem with the middle school mentality, that the Nietch understood, was that those demons we were fighting were all imaginary. The person that claimed to be “smarter”, well, taking it out of context isn’t there something you might know more about? The prettier girl/more handsome guy, yeah, he’s there, he intimidates the crap out of you, but then it ends up they’re knocked up and the rest of their life is ruined. You look at your perceived “ugliness” and embrace it, you’re actually doing pretty well, you advanced beyond the teenage mentality, you. can. move. forward. The scary thing is that many people still face those imaginary spooks well into their high school, college, careers, you name it. There is this scary being that chases them throughout adulthood. There is a haunting spirit, a paranoia have you, that will always be a stigma on some peoples conscience. Take for instance the girl that was picked on cause she had a skin condition or the boy that got picked on that had facial hair in fourth grade, that imaginary pain follows them throughout their life and the shame, although it was decades before, still follows them into adulthood. This pain, is in fact imaginary.  Our perception is our reality, and in these cases the reality of current events are solely based on events that happened years before.

The paradox in the whole Human, All too Human text was that the people that suffered were those that didn’t realize the love that resounded around them and the goodness that total strangers might have. With pain and angst being your shield, there is no way for you to allow a true love to penetrate that blockade that you’ve put around yourself.

“Love, that’s what’s make life worth….” (Earl, on My Name Is Earl)

Although they are two very different philosophical parallels, the fact is that  Earl, although he was a fictitious character in a sitcom had a point, ” Love, that’s what makes life worth…” everything really. What is life when you’re walking around with a shield keeping people from getting close to you because you’re fighting these long gone imaginary wars that perhaps never existed in the first place. We can totally flip this love thing around and take the Trojan Horse for example, it was an offering of a peace, but, the peace was imaginary. Nothing good came from that in genuine emotion. Nothing good came from a false offering. Again, this is where Human, All to Human gets a little blurry. We’re supposed to acknowledge the goodness and love in people, but when do we know when it’s a pure love? When do we know that it’s true and not a trojan horse coming to destroy us?

“If man makes himself a worm he must not complain when he is trodden on.”

Immanuel Kant

This is where the story of love and imaginary fears turns into reality. The problem with our pasts is that we allow it to consume us and take hold of what we allow ourselves to be. Take for instance that terrible first marriage that you had that scarred you for life and made you feel like everyone in the world was evil and that there isn’t anyone in the world that will look you in the face and say they love you (and really mean it). The point is that if you allow all of those previous experiences form who you are now, you deserve what you get.

The precipice of Kant’s worm example was that you can be a terrible person, an you know you’re a terrible person, but if you pretend that you’re a saint you’ll probably be worshiped like a saint. Without plausable reason to doubt your sainthood, why should anyone call you out? In all aspects of the word, you might as well be in holy scripture somewhere, but deep down inside you know you’re terrible, you know you steal from the Salvation Army at Christmas and you know you’re mean to the Jehovahs Witnesses when they come by. You’re a terrible person, you cut in line, you lie on your taxes, you skip out of work early and still get paid, but you’re still a saint in the eyes of the world, as long as you’re not called out on it.

The worm man, however, is honest with his wrongdoings. The worm man knows that, well, the decisions that he made were probably not the best, BUT, at the same time, he deserves to be trodden upon. those that have an actual conscience will accept the fact that being a worm is one of the lowest forms of life there are. You emerge to the surface when it rains to keep from drowning, but stay buried in the soil to keep from letting the world see you for the slime you are. You still have purpose in life, you feed birds, you enrich the soil, you even help old guys catch big fish on the lakes. You’re a worm, but who decided that you have to be a worm.

It circles around to the Nietch talking about that imaginary being that resides in all of us. The being that decides whether we’re a saint or a worm. Are we going to allow our imaginary battles struggle us down to make us worms or are we going to ignore those things that don’t exist and become the superheroes that we should be.

With love, even if it’s just self love, life goes on. Embrace the fact that you’ve been loved….by someone….someone good.

On a razors edge

“The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct”
William of Ockham

So lets assume that I feel like I’ve made a huge mistake, and let’s assume that the repercussions are irreversible and that the mistake was unintentional. Let us also wrap our minds around the concept that in my heart I felt I did the right thing, but have sense learned to allow my mistake to consume me. My mind is reeling with guilt, denial, doubt of self, and most importantly, fear. The fear of making another mistake, the fear of making an even bigger mistake, the fear of letting my fear take hold of my life and prevent me from living a basic, normal life, in which I have become accustomed to.

Let me remind you, this is all in theory. I haven’t really done anything that consumes me, but in the past I have allowed myself to become consumed with guilt and loathing, usually for the most ridiculous reasons. I’d dwell on stupid things that nobody else cared about, and let it lead me by the hand into a self destructive path towards death. It was a dark spot in life, it was a scary spot in life, it was not so long ago actually. The rational mind wraps itself around a concept and restricts it like a snake, extracting every bit of information out of it so that the creative mind can whirl it around into a tornado of ridiculous concepts and scenarios that are usually absolutely bunk. Picture a thought of guilt, okay, you feel bad that you cut that person off on the way to work this morning, the rational mind says:

  • I cut that guy off
  • I could have crashed
  • I knew there wasn’t really room but I had to get over
  • I hope nobody saw me
  • The driver flipped me the bird
  • I needed gas really bad
  • I was late to work

After snake like mind coils itself around the situation, it squeezes every last fact out of the situation, and then the creative mind kicks in and has a field day. The creative mind says:

  • That guy could have been a criminal and he could have pulled a gun on me and chased me in some sort of fantastic road rage type situation where I find myself ran off the road and shot in the head, not to be found for three days when a homeless man wanders by, steals my purse, then informs the police that there is a wicked ugly corpse half way hanging out a car window with a bullet in her head.
  • That lady I just cut off could have had a car full of kids and was taking them to daycare and the situation scared her so much she was afraid to drive more than a little under the speed limit, always in the right lane, just to make sure she wasn’t in the way of anyone. This slow driving then caused her to be late to drop the kiddos off, and then it caused her to be late to her job, in which she lost her job, had to collect her kids from daycare, and then move in with her parents because she was a single mother with no other income.
  • Maybe that other person was taking on their cell phone (over bluetooth) and not paying attention to what they were doing in the first place and by me cutting them off it caused them to become hyper aware of the situation and consider changing their driving style was to a more road focused, distraction free driver. This mentality caused them to become proactive in the community, helping teen drivers to not drive distracted.
  • That old man that just flipped me off could have been on his way to the hospital because he felt he was having some constriction in his chest. He popped a nitro, but the pain didn’t subside, he was afraid he was having a heart attack. The excitement of the almost collision caused his heart to race even more, which it wasn’t prepared to do causing an embolism which caused him to die of a stroke.

See? It’s a simple action, but the creative mind can take it to and fro and make a mountain out of a mole hill. Occam’s Razor – a philosophical view point from William of Ockham explains to us that although theories can be expressed, the simplest answer is usually the right answer. The principal of the whole “razor” is that things should not be multiplied unnecessarily, in this case, ideas or theories of what might have happened were replicated by the creative brain causing a blockage of actual perception of what reality is really like. The concept is really just Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” In the cut off example, the simple conclusion is:

  • I cut somebody off this morning

And that’s it, no more static, take the fact for what it is and don’t extract the juices of ridiculousness. It’s done, nobody got hurt, somebody might have been a little peeved, but certainly it didn’t ruin his day – – and if it did, by gum, he needs to start practicing the action of not taking the action of extracting extra information out of a situation. It’s like that line in the Electric Koolaid Acid Test citing that “it’s just a table, man, it’s just there to like, receive your food. It’s got legs, man, it’s a table.” I paraphrase and those aren’t the exact words, but the concept is there, it’s simple, it’s a table. You can go on about where it came from, what wood it’s made from, how much you paid for it and then go into the fact that the deliverymen had to, and the men that built it, and the tree that was cut down for it….see where it leads, a never ending abyss of confusion.

In the end, everything is just a table, man.

“If you label it this, then it can’t be that.”
― Tom Wolfe

So, instead of labeling things as “good” and “bad”, why not just label things as, well, just things, or thoughts or actions. They are just part of who you are and the life you decide to live. Actually, the simplicity of the lifestyle in the Electric Koolaid Acid Test is very congruent with Occam’s Razor. The concept that people lived to be who they are, like the ass kicker that didn’t apologize for kicking ass, because that’s what he was, an ass kicker. Also the bullshitter, he never took back his words, because that’s who he was, full of bullshit. Those fantastic people on that fantastic bus might have been higher than kites most of the time, but they really dug into the fact that perception is actually reality and life is what you make it. Granted their lifestyle was a little, ahem, risque, but hell, don’t we all do things that we wouldn’t tell our parents or pastors about?

“I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still, and threw them out the window in disgust.”
Henry David Thoreau

If that isn’t simplicity at it’s finest, I don’t know what is. In our case with Occam’s Razor, the limestone and dust accumulates in our minds and we often forget that we can extract those troublesome things by letting them go. Release the boa constrictor like grasp on that idea and just like it float out to sea to trouble some other poor sap.

Besides, you’ve got a lot of living to do, so I do for that matter. Although I admit I’ve made some seriously fucked up mistakes, I no longer hold onto them and channel them into deep regions of my brain. I let them float out to sea…

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What I’ve learned about totaling my car. the Philosophy on life after loss

“What’s done cannot be undone.”
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

(please note, Macbeth is probably my favorite non pop culture read out there)

I’ll preface this with the fact that it was not my fault that I totaled my car…but then again I say very few things are my fault. I sort of shrug stuff off and point my finger at everybody else. You’re to blame that I crashed, you stupid guard rail. You’re the fact that I crashed stupid song stuck in my head. You’re the reason I crashed Zips, all buckled in in the back seat, almost as if he was anticipating death. Verily we might have died on that stretch of road going up through Mountain Rest, but we didn’t. My dad, Zips and I return home, without major injuries, but with one really fucked up car. We were lucky enough to be able to limp it back to Anderson to more closely examine the damage.

I’ll pat myself on the back when I say that I didn’t break down in an emotional fit….well…not until nobody else was around. That car was my everything, that car was my buddy, that car was my only slice of privacy in this world and it’s wrecked, totaled, no more. Vaya con dios. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was about ready to learn a very important lesson in life, one that I hadn’t ever learned before. I can be independent.

Forever and ever I have always felt that I needed a crutch to prop myself up on, somebody to catch me when I fall and to bail my ass out when I’m in trouble. After our separation, my crutch is no longer there, so I’ve been propping myself up on sticks that wouldn’t hold me. I constantly stumbled over stupid things and tried my hardest to realize that I have the strength to actually make my own decisions. I don’t have to approve my life actions because, what I do, I do because I *think* it’s a good idea.

That’s exactly where this loss business comes in. I wrecked the car, I wrecked my last relationship, I wrecked another car, I wrecked myself several times, I wrecked my bank account, I mean, I’m a human wrecking ball….but only because I’m not taking control of the gears.

“Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.”
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

But how, with all of my philosophical learning, with all my common sense, with all of the life experiences I had, why was this so difficult. Why could I not just take the reins and ride that wild horse wherever I wanted to go? What was holding me back? In a word, confusion. I was confused at how to live a life that nurtured me, that catered to me, that allowed me to open up and actually share my feelings with people. I was confused how to begin, almost like being brought back from death and looking at the ceiling of the hospital room and wondering “I wonder why that light fixture is there.” I now wander around confused about what I’ve done with my life, where I’m going in life, and what the hell just happened the past ten years of my life.

South Carolina happened, that’s whats been going on for the past ten years of my life. And as much as I love it here, it hurts me too. Something about it hurts, and I think it’s my heart. My tenure here has been full of bad decisions, a few good ones, and then one really bad one. It’s done though, and I cannot go back, the wheels must roll forward…and exactly that happened. I went out and bought a brand new car (which I never thought I’d be able to do in my entire life) and got what I wanted that was practical. I didn’t ask anyone for advice, I didn’t let anyone manipulate me into getting something that I didn’t want (cough, that fucking maxima), and I sure as hell didn’t care what other people thought of my new ride. I needed out of South Carolina, I needed fresh road and thinking time.

“Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.”
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Hitting the open road was my medicine, and although I feel awful that I left loved ones high and dry without really telling them where I was going, truth be told I didn’t know where I was going either. I was going somewhere. New places, new roads, a new lease on life. Perhaps in these rolling back hills of north Georgia and Tennessee I would find a sign, a purpose, some sort of epiphany as to why I belong on this earth. I drove, and then drove some more. Deep inside of me I had always wanted to see Rock City. So I went, of course being me I had no brains (no brains, no headache) and was wearing spike heels. For once in my life I said “fuck it, if they look at me funny, so be it, this is my dream, this is my life, this is what I want to do.” And I did, although it didn’t bode well, instead of wrecking the car that day, I wrecked my knee. A tumble would be a mild way to express my fall, but I didn’t care. I made a decisions, a risky one at that, and paid the consequences.

I was on a path of self destruction, I was hell bent, I wasn’t to do all the things that I’d always wanted to do and then just call it a day. Jump off the rock or something, but something inside me cried, “stop the madness.” I drove the stretch of road between Rock City and Chattanoga balling my eyes out. This trip was supposed to be my adventure, my spirit journey, my trip to heal the ripped open wounds of loosing the things that I love. Things that I will never have back. I sobbed, which didn’t really help anything, but I realized the only reason I lost the things that I loved the most was because I didn’t take time to really appreciate the love exuded. I was too busy in self destruct mode to see the reality, and I was also too consumed with making up what I thought other people thought of me.

“I cannot fly,But bear-like I must fight the course”

A motto that I’ve had ever since first reading that book in high school. The torment that Macbeth suffered was comparable to the hell that I was putting myself through every single fucking day. For what reason, however? What did I do to deserve such malicious and hateful self treatment. It didn’t make sense. I arrived in Chattttaannoooggaaaa, with all intentions on going to see the Choo Choo and other touristy places, but the only place I found myself was bellied up to a bar, a fantastic bar where they actually seemed to “get” me. Of course talking to random bartenders is a past time of mine, but in this circumstance I needed someone to talk to, someone that didn’t know me from Adam.

“I totaled my car”

“Oh shit, that sucks! It’s just a car though. Be thankful you weren’t hurt.”

“You don’t understand, that car was my baby.”

“I don’t think you understand that that car is JUST a car, it has no feelings, it can’t love you back. It might make you smile, but it doesn’t love you.”

“So what you’re saying is it’s a good thing I totaled my car and got a new one?”

“Yeah, I guess so. Don’t fall in love though, remember, it can’t love you back.”

“My plenteous joys,
Wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves
In drops of sorrow.”
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

I left, and got on the long road to Johnson City, Tennessee, a place that I have some bittersweet memories of being very sick. Those words were resonating in my head, “it can’t love you back.” All that time that I was so proud of my car, taking pictures of it, treating it like a member of the family, all of that shit….and it never loved me back, it was just a car. It wasn’t even possessed. It was just a car….but then it dawned on me, it wasn’t that I loved the car so much, it was the attention that the car got. It turned heads in a way that I was always jealous of. People were always complimenting me on my car, but I would rarely get compliments on me. I’d show it off, channeling that attention people were giving to the car into myself. It never loved me, but I loved it for the attention it got me.

Sick to my stomach at the realization, I pulling into a rest area and curled up in a ball in the back seat. The emotional roller coster of the day was too much for me to bear. Not thinking, I didn’t crack windows, I didn’t turn on the ac, and it was 92 degrees out. I fell sound asleep, I mean REALLY sound asleep. The lack of sleep from the night before plus hundreds of miles down and many more to go had me exhaused….mind you in the 92 degree heat…in the sun…with the windows up.

The only reason I woke up was a semi passed and used it’s air breaks and pretty much rattled my car to the bone. I woke up, sopping wet with sweat and feeling dizzy. I was scared, but I felt renewed. That was twice in a week I escaped death. My nerves were shot, my heart was healing, and I was on the road again, trying to pick up the mental pieces where I left off. I filled myself with music that made me sing, one song came on that made me cry like a baby…and actually right now, it makes me well up. It’s not really even my type of music but it fills my heart with sorrow for all the things that I’ve loved and lost.

I suppose these next 30 years are going to be full of the love and loss too, which makes it really hard to love something or someone, because you never actually know if they love you back. Like a car….it will not love you back.

audi

“Remember, always give your best. Never get discouraged. Never be petty. Always remember, others may hate you. But those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.”
Richard M. Nixon

People may shake their head at me, but I’ll be honest with you, I admire Richard Nixon. Sure, there was the whole “crook” thing, there was the whole impeachment thing, there was the whole Watergate business…but so what? He was human, he had a job to do and, well, no matter what your political vantage point is at this juncture, he was just a guy doing a job. Granted there were some shady things going on, but really, isn’t that everywhere? Aren’t people artificially coloring our produce to make it look fresher, aren’t bartenders watering down our overpriced drinks, aren’t we as writers often apt to stretch the truth a little bit.

None of that mattered though, nobody thought back to see where this man came from, they just focused on the bad, never the good. Honestly, that’s what I see in many people nowadays, and it hurts. There was no going back to a normal life for Nixon, and actually, while my dad was in the marine corps his primary job was to guard the house where Nixon resided in San Clemente. There was still turmoil over the scandal, but what people didn’t remember were the positive aspects of his career as a politician. The most important one, at this very scary time in America, was the civil rights movement. Nixon was front and center to see the south decide to embrace the fact that every living human being had equal rights, no matter who the fuck they were born from.

The cool thing about him was that although he was pretty well spoon fed by funders, he was still honest about where he truly stood. Where is he now? What can he do for this nonsense going on in the State of South Carolina?

I’m not a political person, and I never try to take one side or another without investigating every single aspect of the issue. I don’t usually write on current events, and very VERY rarely do I drag some sort of earth moving spin on any of my writings, but this shit is ridiculous. What the fuck is wrong with people, and why is it such a big deal all of a sudden? Did I miss something, are minorities suddenly an enemy. If so, somebody please explain to me what it is?

I grew up in an amazing place, although it was severely lacking diversity. I think we had two mexican kids and maybe MAYBE one black kid in the entire school (k-8). We were in Wisconsin, were were the epitome of a melting pot with last names with too many “z” and “y”, not enough vowels, and usually a pain in the ass to pronounce. All of our heritage was from other places. Nobody (aside from the Native Americans) were really from there, and nobody really touted any sort of banner of history in regards to where we lived. We just lived there, we called it home, it wasn’t something to get wild about. Except, of course, that one time in 1967 riots broke out in the booming tourist town of Lake Geneva. The problem with this, however, was that nobody really knew what they were fighting about. They were a bunch of young kids, mostly up at summer homes, that would typically reside in Chicago. Lake Geneva didn’t have a huge police presence so when a race riot broke out in the quite little lake community the police did what they felt they should do…put those naughty white kids from Chicago in a barn and call their parents.

It wasn’t something that was fueled by racial hatred or even anti-war, as one rioter admitted decades later “We didn’t know what we were rioting about. It was fueled by beer.”

Huh. Beer. The police chalked it up to young people letting off pent off steam. Those were the days, when all we had to worry about were some angst ridden teenagers throwing beer bottles, sobering up the next day, and then saying to themselves “oh shit, that was NOT good.” I’m a fan of beer, and honestly, if anything in the world would make me NOT want to riot, that would be it.

The point is, the civil unrest is ridiculous here in South Carolina. What ever happened to that whole “give peace a chance” business, and the whole “all men are created equal”. It turns into an Animal Farm mentaility here for some people and they decide that “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” What exactly is the hierarchy? What determines it? If I were to lay in a tanning bed and get as dark as possible, would that cause me to be “less equal?” If my name was something with an ethnic tinge to it, would that make me more likely to get shot? How do I fit into the whole scheme of things.

South Carolina, to me at least, has become a manifestation of Animal Farm, Walden, and some sort of horror film with rednecks and chainsaws (the name eludes me). The problem is that not EVERYONE here is like that, there are decent human being that love people no matter what. To use a bit of Animal Farm again: “Several of them would have protested if they could have found the right arguments.” What is the argument these people have, exactly? Where does this hate stem from? Is it something genetic, if so, why aren’t there awful race riots in states like, I dunno, Nebraska. In order to protest, you have to have two things, a spine and a valid argument. It seems this state is full of spines and nothing to back it up (ha pun intended).

I’m not promoting the burning of the Confederate flag. I understand it is a part of history. Hell, we proudly hung the secession flag on our home for years. People would scoff, but at the same time, it symbolized individuality. For us it was a beacon of the ability to overcome oppression. It was actually my idea, and I’m not even from here. The fact that I’m in South Carolina right now is just a luck of the draw, but I can’t deal with some of the hate that people here can harness. I’ve never met so many people that will smile to your face and stab you in the back at the same time. It’s not everyone, there are some awesome people, but from what I’ve encountered, especially in the media lately, there is so much hate in this state I just don’t get it.

I once made the statement that I don’t see anything more attractive than a black man in a suit. Immediately I was told that was wrong and I shouldn’t think that way. Why the fuck not? A good person is not derived from their skin, it comes from their heart. A white man in a suit can screw you just as easy and the black man. There are fringe populations, of course, but there are those fringes in every race, every culture, every nation (except maybe Monaco). Those that are stuck in the lower level of living lifestyle usually have no choice but to keep on living life the best they know how. Their power to survive, even in tough conditions, is admirable. Those people deserve to live life and be happy. People who judge should, well, I can’t stand it. People who judge should stay the fuck away from me.

Stop the hate, stop the killing, stop the madness. We’re all one.

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”

Walden.

Leave your hate alone.

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Pain And Prejudice

“The worst thing about that kind of prejudice… is that while you feel hurt and angry and all the rest of it, it feeds you self-doubt. You start thinking, perhaps I am not good enough.”
Nina Simone

It’s a haunting feeling that sometimes overwhelms the central nervous system and shuts me down like a light switch. I’m lucky enough to be at the point in life that I can realize what my mind is doing and what my heart tells me to do. When I get backed into a corner and feel like there is nothing left to do, and there is no more fight left in me, I just fall asleep. A spontaneous falling asleep, not a nap, not a daydream, but a cold hard sleep. It’s not a narcoleptic fit, it’s not fatigue, it’s just my brain turning off. Like I said, like a light switch.

Often times it will happen during movies, when the plot doesn’t make sense or I can’t relate to what is going on. It’s almost as if my brain gets overheated and the cooling fans have long sense stopped working. My brain tries to wrap itself around the topic, but it eventually gives up. When nothing is making sense, when everything might as well be in a foreign language, my brain throws the white flag and goes to sleep. Sort of like a computer can go into sleep mode, but for me, you can’t just move my mouse and wake me up. Once I’m out, my brain will remain out until it’s good and ready to be a productive member of society. Sometimes that take an hour, sometimes it takes a few days.

This is especially pertinent in daily struggles and torment. For me, there has forever been this thorn in my side of never being good enough. Call it child trauma, call it a feeling of insecurity, call it an abandonment issue, but I am never good enough. Not only do I not consider myself not good enough for others, but not even good enough for myself…this is when I go into sleep mode. I use a prejudice against myself, I hate myself for who I am although I know other people don’t understand. Just like racial, religious, and political prejudice, it’s just a deep seated hate with no rationality except the statement “I don’t like the way they, it, you…” You get my point. Although there aren’t many things to be textbook prejudice against me about, I guess I struggle with it anyway.

“You ain’t from here, are you.” Bam, not good enough. I’m from Wisconsin, so that automatically means that I’m not as good as those born and raised in the south. You’re damn right I’m not from here, I don’t want to be. I actually have pride in the fact that we’re a melting pot of diversity, not a bunch of people that just stay here because their daddy’s daddy fought in the Civil war and it’s a territorial thing.

“You’ll never be _____fill in the blank some famous hot person____”. Bam, still not good enough. I can be whomever I chose to be, a runner, a soccer mom, a dancer, an alcoholic, but I’ll never be a super model actress with smokey eyes and a body that slams. I’ve lived too rough a life, and have too many scars to even dare try. Besides, the amount of time and money that it would take to get me looking that way, well, lets just say that my candle is already burning at both ends and I barely have time to shower some days let alone spend three hours on hair and make up. I can fix up nicely, but then again, who exactly am I doing it for? A bunch of people that are going to compare me to people that I can never be? That’s not fair.

“You’re not that smart, are you.” Bam, not good enough. Apparently that’s a big thing nowadays, and although I know a lot about obscure things, like lyrics to songs only few people have heard, I also have a bit of street smart. Sure, that’s just the low IQ version of intelligence, but then again, I’ve gotten myself out of some pretty hairy situations, all because I’m smart in a different way. My brain doesn’t exactly fire on all cylinders sometimes, and I can blame a few things, but that’s not the point. If I’m going to be judged by my intelligence, I’ll go back to hanging in dive bars where nobody has a level of education higher than grade 9.

I shut down, I close my eyes, and my mind rests. It’s almost as if my brain wants to return to a happy place, one that doesn’t hurt. My brain wants to be in a place where it feels safe, and can instill a calm surrounding. My brain just poops out.

Although last week wasn’t exactly the highlight of my adulthood, I did learn some things about not being “good enough”, and the pursuit of some sort of stability in my mind and thoughts.

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”
Ernest Hemingway

I’ve gotten pretty good at dusting myself off, but it’s getting pretty hard. After the past couple of months I’ve realized that the best thing in the world for me has been lost. The things in life that I took great enjoyment and love of are now contorted into some sort of mangled mess. My life has become a vagabond in the streets seeking what was lost, but never forgotten. I grasp at the memories that keep me sane, and I grasp at the things that broke me in order to renew my faith in my future. I want to put back those broken pieces and become a stronger person, but I can’t. I’m not good enough.

For all the times that I’ve gone on “adventures” in order to find myself and get my thoughts together, I’ve never once wanted someone there with me. I wanted to be alone, I needed to be alone, but it seems that alone never happens, I’m afraid to be alone, however, I’m also afraid to be around others because in my mind “I’m not good enough”. The personal prejudice kicks in and I hang my head. I keep a brave face and confront the world, all the while I’m bleeding inside from self inflicted mental wounds. “You’ll never be good enough, Nikki. You’re fat in a bathing suit, you eat too much, you drink too much, and you’ve got a problem saying what you really feel. You’ll never be pretty, you’ll never be smart, you’ll never be her.” And that’s when the knife twists and the blood flows. It’s not my fault.

Picking myself up from the bloodshed, I look down at the imaginary puddle that forms around my chest where I broke open my own heart. With words like daggers I stab myself over and over again in a sort of self healing. Maybe if all the bad blood comes out, my body will produce less self prejudice. I love everyone else, I have no prejudice towards genders, sexual orientation, race, or even religion. If only I could love myself as much as I love the diversity in the world, it might make life easier. For now, I’ll just hang with Zips, he gets me.

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Blame The Butterflies

“Then when I was distraught
And could not speak,
Sidelong, full on my cheek,
What should that reckless zephyr fling
But the wild touch of thy dye-dusty wing!

I found that wing broken to-day!
For thou are dead, I said,
And the strange birds say.
I found it with the withered leaves
Under the eaves.”

Robert Frost “My Butterfly”

It’s always interesting to me that I can be standing in a sea of blooming flowers full of fragrance, color and beauty and see nothing of interest. I see nothing that is beautiful, I sense smells that nauseate me, and the colors offend my eyes due to the lack of organization. I work with flowers all day, I smell their sweet perfume, I see their happy flower faces day long, and still, to this day, flowers don’t take my sorrows away.

I tend to get sick of people telling me “you must love working here, you’re surrounded by all these cool plants, all these cool fountains, all of this nature. It’s paradise isn’t it!”

In a word, no. Hell no. Not even a sliver. It’s work, and people can’t understand that work is just that. Work. On a deeper level, however, the flowers that are supposed to enliven me and pump me full of happiness and gratitude for working someplace with so much beauty, it also has periods of extreme ugliness, just like our lives. You can have feast or famine, things can be going really well or really bad and typically the line of demarcation between the two is pretty thin. When I’m among my flowers, my nature, my what they call paradise, I reflect on all the things I’ve lost, all the things that I’ve left behind, and more hurtful all the things that have left me. I get depressed, really depressed.

Something about all of those flowers, blooming, waiting to go home with somebody to make them happy. Little flowers in little pots, half of them only to be ripped up again and torn up. Flying from the beloved flower in the pot to the foliage to slowly rot in a landfill or compost pile somewhere. What once brought joy was now “too ugly” to keep around. The annual flower either dies or just losses it’s desirability. Without a hesitation it’s tossed. I have compassion for all those that get tossed, I have compassion for those plants not because they’re in pain, but because they’ve been tossed aside. They’re no longer good for anybody. That little plant that once made somebody light up is now slowly decomposing and becoming less and less of the beautiful thing it once was.

I feel like a cast aside annual flower sometimes. The type that looks great on the shelf then gets adopted by some novice gardener only to underwater, then over water, try to burn with fertilizer, and put it in some sort of pot that isn’t just right. I cannot perform in subpar conditions, I can try….just like that little flower in the wrong place can try, but it’s not going to be successful. The relationship between nurturer and nurturee is a fragile one. Plants, however, cannot speak up for themselves and say “hey, I don’t like it here”….and neither can I for that matter at times. I’m a flower that has no voice. This depresses me, this makes me want to change.

Thus the poem come into play. This poem has been one of my favorite for almost a decade now. The imagery of me laying on my side, resting my cheek in the crook of my arm laying in a field of grass contemplating all that has fluttered away. I can see each little memory flutter about like a butterfly, and although I’d love to catch them and keep them in a jar by my bedside for comfort, I know they’re happier being free. I continue to lay in the cool grass in my distraught state, silently, waiting for the right words to come and the right person to orate to. I run through sentences in my head of things I should have said but didn’t, actions I should have done, but failed. I see my ever aggravating ability to remain silence during serious things but act like a 9 year old when given the opportunity.  I’m a child, I never grew up.

As I lay in the grass and watch those butterflies of memories dance in the blue sky, diving and swerving I notice a change in behavior. Those memories that once danced and were happy, those memories of times of yore, are gone, they’re twisted, the dark side of the happy memories emerge and the dance of the mental butterflies turns into a pathetic struggle to stay in flight. The struggle get more severe as the happy memories are tarnished by the darkness of surrounding situations. The butterfly fall to the ground and the sky turns black.

Your memories are dead, they’ve died along with a little piece of your heart for all that you’ve lost and all that you’ve left behind. You scramble to bring them to life, lay in your side, on your cheek, and you try to muster up images of those memories to try to resuscitate them. No breath could bring life into your feelings, your memories are now hurting you, and you’re worst off when you started. Fucking butterflies, (memories) why do you have to be so beautiful?

“I cannot fly,But bear-like I must fight the course”

William Shakespeare MacBeth

You cannot give up on life and succumb to the terrorist memories of a life gone. You cannot flee and evade them either, coming to terms with your haves and have nots, your missing links, and your “ones that got away”. If life were to be lived in the past, our calendars would be set up different, our watches would work different and life wouldn’t be such a race to the end. Every precious breath of life can be a battle ground, and you can’t escape it. You could, of course, by taking the sweet relief of suicide, but that solves nothing and will get nobody closure on what makes you so encompassed in your thoughts anyways. There are times when boxers don’t want to fight anymore, times that runners hurt but push through. This is life, and it’s your choice, are you going to push through, or watch dying butterflies?

Leggy Petunitas

Money, Mountains, and Madness

“It was true that I didn’t have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?” Charles Bukowski

Lately my life has become more of Hunter S Thompson story than an actual life, which pretty much makes sense. I went from the bottle as a baby to watching psychedelic movies and listening to the Dead. I never really got was “mainstream” was. I was different, I didn’t like it, but that was just who I was. I had good parents, a decent upbringing, I never went without. I was just different, I didn’t even have a drummer to march to. I was over playing the triangle in the corner sneering at those that were keeping pace. One that that always drove me, however, was the desire to be something more, something better, something bigger, something more awesome than I was.

Flash forward into current times and I still listen to psychedelic music, I still have moments where I end up places I probably shouldn’t, and I always ALWAYS make mistakes. The coolest thing about it, though, is they usually don’t hurt anyone else. Usually is an operative word, and of course I try to defend myself and my wrong doings to the death. I’m human, I get it, I only wish the rest of the world could see how amazing being human really is. Being afraid to make mistakes is about as boring as sitting through a webinar on Sterile Compounding Practices (and that was just yesterday, yawn). Reading back over to Bukowski and his amazing depiction on the average human life, it sucks. We do wake up to alarm clocks, we do shit (sometimes not right away in the morning…) and we do go to work.

Work, “god damn what a bummer” as the illustrious attorney in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas said. We go and make money, usually we’re pretty fucking miserable doing it. There are people we don’t like, things we don’t like to do, the list goes on, but we still do it. We do it for the almighty dollar, we milk it, we watch the clock as it ticks down the end of the work day. Our ambition is never to actually go to work to work, it’s to go to work to make money. Think about it, would you actually go to work if they didn’t pay you? What would be the use?

Not to mention the boss aspect. I can’t relate to this, but I have people that can and do. I have had some shitty clients before, but that’s kind of different. They boss you around because they have the innate right to do so, they are giving you money, and you are going to take it from them. Give and take, right? Not really, the ability for some people to feel they can hulk and god over your life because they’re paying you is asinine and the lack of respect is foolish. It all comes full circle to that “ambition” statement. Sure we have ambition to make money, but we also have ambition to make money, and that money is what fuels our passions, our lives, or needs. Without money, where would we be and what would we be doing in life?

It brings me back to one of my favorite quotes by Bukowsi where he proclaims that he woke up a 63 year old man with $1.06 to his name. I wake up that way, although I’m not that old, but it’s ambition that forces me to get up to try to harvest more of that almighty dollar. I don’t necessarily have a lot of expenses, I do live life on the edge of a razor and that can get rather expensive at times. Expensive habits, expensive tastes, expensive desires, but none of this to try to impress a single soul but myself. I’m happy being me, living in excess, and not regretting a single moment. Like I said, these past couple of weeks have been some of the most, well, interesting that I’ve had in a long freaking time, and I don’t have money to thank for affording me this pleasure.

My wealth, my riches, my fortune comes in the fact that I have a personality that seems to lure interesting people into my world. I can go to a grocery store and find random strangers to strike up conversations with, I can talk to anybody at the nursery about just about anything ranging from this fellas track Corvette to a womans messy divorce. I can make people laugh just by being me. It’s was my dad used to call “turning people on” (not in the sexual way). I can honestly say I learned it from my dad, he could walk into a room and turn it on just by being him. Hell, just taking my car to get fixed at the dealership left me with four business cards from random people that just thought I was “cool” (I think they really mean hot, but whatevs, I’ll take it). My life has exploded with people that not only amuse me, but enlighten me as to who I really need to be in life.

All of the struggles with the eating disorder sort of have escaped my mind and I focus on what other attributes I’ve got and what it does for other people in the world. I can make or break a persons day….which the breaking part has been pretty heavy lately too. My reckless disregard for the feelings of others can be harsh, and although hurt never is intended. I can apologize until my throat goes dry, I’m pretty good at realizing when I’ve done wrong, but it’s always hard to explain why I did it in the first place.

“I knew it was a crime, I did it anyways. Why argue, I’m a fucking criminal” -Hunter S Thompson

Although I don’t often break crimes, we’re back to that breaking business. I speed, I might be distracted while driving, I might do other thrashing maneuvers on back country roads and mountains. I’d much rather be the one explaining to a traffic cop why I was spiritedly driving on a twisty road than to be explaining my off-centered adventures. That’s what this whole fucking blog is about, my adventures. Although some of them lately, I’ll keep to myself. As I told a good friend yesterday, I’m going to save them for my next book entitled…..well, I don’t remember, maybe he does.

Sometimes I forget what happened yesterday, sometimes my ambition turns more into a Bukowski like state of mind as opposed to a nose to the grindstone type, but my heart is usually in the right place, it’s just my body doesn’t always accompany it.

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Turd on the Run

“Tryin’ to stop the waves behind your eyeballs,
Drop your reds, drop your greens and blues.”

There have been countless times that I’ve gotten into the car, and just sat there. I sit, entombed in my machine, wondering where the fuck I went wrong in life. Why don’t I have a better job, a better house, kids that love me, a husband that cares about me, and maybe even some sort of rocking body that people would envy. I wonder what ever happened to that girl that used to play with Barbie dolls and….

wait a minute….

did play with barbie dolls, but really…I had more barbie CARS than I ever did Barbie stuff. I could care less about what the hell she was wearing, it was what she was driving with was so much more important. Was she going to drive her convertible corvette or was it going to be a red mustang sort of day? I sit in my car, I wonder what life would be like if I were Barbie. I’d probably have those kids, that house, that husband (Ken…I’d have Ken and his non anatomically correct package). I shake my head, I realize that’s not me. I’m fooling myself. I get depressed.

Really. Fucking. Depressed.

This is where you cue up Exile on Main Street and get lost in some passionate, gritty rock that hits you right in your midsection like some sort of emotional sucker punch. With the sadness of realizing I’m not where I should be, I realize that I’m probably where I need to be at this point in my life. With the opening couple of licks from “Rocks Off” i melt into this puddle of what I like to call “fuck it” and ponder life. I spend lots of time in my car, I spend lots of time pondering life, I also spend lots of time shaking my fist…but that’s for another day.

Why is it, however, that this fictitious perfect family scenario is so deeply carved into my frontal lobe. Why do I want the house, the kids, the husband, the damn golden retriever asleep in front of a fire place named Spot. All of those things that I see other people having, why do I want those things? Are they really as awesome as they seem in movies/public/my brain? Then the song changes and typically by then I get myself motivated to drive.

“He ain’t tied down to no home town,
Yeah, and he thought he was wreckless”

Torn and Frayed comes on and I start to realize that I’d be the worst stereotypical “mother” in the entire world. I’m selfish, I care only about myself, and I’d probably end up on the news for leaving my child on top of the car. My lifetime of experiences, good and bad, would follow me into my parenting and I’d probably turn my kids into little criminals. They’d not graduate high school, they’d work at a truck stop (which there is absolutely nothing wrong with that), and they’d probably never speak to me after leaving the house at a ripe age of 16. The girls will get knocked up, the boys will knock girls up, there will be drugs and booze. There will be fights, lots of those….but chances are, I’d probably still love them, but hate myself for thinking that there was any way in the world I could pull off such a gig.

With all this pondering, the music melts into Loving Cup….

“See your face dancing in the flame,
Feel your mouth kissing me again,
What a beautiful buzz, what a beautiful buzz,”

Aaannndd suddenly I realize that that concept of a “perfect husband” probably doesn’t exist. The concept of having somebody want to see my face in a flame and kisssing and all that sappy stuff doesn’t really exist, does it? Are there really people out there that feel that way, and if so, what the hell is the chance that they’d cross into my existence? Getting a beautiful buzz, now that’s something that comes when you have those butterflies in your belly when you see the one you love. The person that you cuddle up next to every night buzzes your brain better than any drug and you’re in a love sick puppy state. Sigh, and how long does that last, you reckon? At least until your kids are out of diapers,

“I need a love to keep me happy.”

That damn song always comes on right when I’m getting over the fact that there isn’t a perfect relationship, and again, it whirls me in another direction. He’s right, he sings those words, with so much passion, and makes so much sense. Alone. Finding yourself alone because you’ve been pondering stuff too much and spending time in your car too much too. Love keeps people happy, I think that’s why they have pets, but they die. They have relationships, but fight. They know what makes them happy, companionship, love….then luckily enough Turd On the Run comes on (which is a freaking amazing name for a song…

“Begged, promised anything if only you would stay,
Well, I lost a lot of love over you.”

How many times have I throw myself at the feet of someone and begged? Honestly only once, and it didn’t work so I didn’t try it again. How many times have I made promises. Eh, too many, but that’s not the point. Losing love is worse than having it in the first place. I have been the turd on the run, I have run after turds. I think about those turds. They were, well, turds. At the same time, I have to self reflect on who I am and why I think I deserve a turd, and more importantly why I treat other people like turds. I hang my head and for the next eight minutes I self loathe and wonder to myself if there is any sort of support group out there for turds. I also say the word turd out loud and sort of giggle. It’s a funny world.

Before funk sets in any deeper, Shine a Light comes on….

“When you’re drunk in the alley, baby, with your clothes all torn
And your late night friends leave you in the cold gray dawn.
Just seemed too many flies on you, I just can’t brush them off.”

There is a light out there, the light that shines on you comes from, well, you. You can’t expect a scenario, a person, or a social status to provide you with the inner light of happiness. The song spills wisdom and I find myself singing along like some sort of American Idol reject, grooving to the salty guitar licks and rolling down the windows. The personal capsule that I created for myself in the cabin of the car suddenly seems too small. I need air, I need sun, I need the world to share in my vibe.

Then someone usually flips me the bird or cuts me off, and out comes the Turd word again (rhymes, freaking awesome).

Moral of the story, listening to Exile On Main Street in it’s entirety is better than therapy, better than fighting, and probably better than having kids.

After the emotional roller coaster I usually stop and get a beer. It’s tough being me.

mickkeith_1501

99 Problems, but a ‘Stang ain’t one.

“Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

I hoped I’d grow up to be a wonderful, beautiful person that had a bunch of respect and friends. I hoped that I’d turn out to be something that makes my parents proud and make some sort of an example for the younger generations growing up. I guess I’ve given up on that certain adventure, and I’m just working to make myself proud. Screw the rest of the world, and what they think of my accomplishments, screw the people that expect more from me than I’m willing to give, and especially screw those that feel like they can step in and change things. Those people don’t understand, those people are confused, those people will be missed.

Take a certain scenario, feeling upset, confused…and well…dumped….on my way to work I decided to exercise the one talent that I have that nobody else seems to understand – the ability to get my car sideways on exit and on ramps. Yeah, okay, to be honest it’s the most reckless thing I could possibly do, I could hit a slick spot and fly off into obilivion, but I do it anyways. In all seriousness, I bet there are lots of things that we do “anyways” that we know we probably shouldn’t. We eat entire frozen pizzas because, well, they’re there. We abuse ourselves at the gym and push ourselves because we thing we’re going to magically become something we’ve seen in a magazine. We try to convince ourselves that the credit card debt that we’ve magically acquired isn’t really that bad.

But it probably is, and it probably was, and it was probably wrong, but we did it anyways…

“Yeah, I know. I’m guilty. I understand that. I knew it was a crime, and I did it anyways. Shit, why argue? I’m a fucking criminal, look at me.” -Raoul Duke Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

My car has been my best friend, my worst enemy, and my home for the past couple of months. Okay, maybe I exaggerate, I actually live somewhere, but I’ve found myself wanting to stay in the safe confines of the Tard more times than not. I can crawl into the (lack of) back seat and feel like I’m in my own little nap chamber…but then again, it’s never very comfortable. People don’t understand, and I doubt most people ever will. He’s my buddy, he’s my car, he’s damn good looking too. This morning, his good looks and my bad personality got intertwined and my nastiness came out. Not in the form of road rage, but in the form of spirited driving.

I typically go 63 miles an hour down the interstate – for the primary facts that a) I have a really long fucking drive every single day and I like to save gas b) I typically am as tired as I could possibly be and high speeds seem sort of scary to me and c) I’m in no rush, no rush whatsoever. I’m an old lady driver most of the time…but if you “poke the bear” as my good friend used to say it’s on. It’s on like Donkey Kong.

Sitting quietly at a stop light, sippin on awful coffee and listening to some wicked thug rap (baby, cause I’m a thug), a yellow Mustang pulls up aside me. Of course, the Tard, a quiet, unassuming, red BMW doesn’t look like it could smoke anyone, let alone an american Muscle car with balls practically drawn on the hood. With engine revs coming from the second left turn lane, I had a fire in me. I felt bile in my belly start to build up, this joker had a bone to pick with someone, and he was taking it out on me.

To be fair, he was on the inside, the corner had camber, and I have a six speed. This guy, this random yellow mustang guy, had a problem with life, he had a problem with his car, or he just wanted to prove a point. Being the kind person I am, and being the person with 99 problems as well, I decided to stroke his need for asshole driving.

On the interstate we played a few cat and mouse moves, weaving through traffic, me looking down once only because I was forced to decelerate due to a slow moving expedition and realizing 85 miles an hour seems like turtle pace. We weaved, we passed, we stroked egos…but then….we were both smoked. While in front, I saw four angel eyes in my rear view, haunting, ominous, flying up upon me faster than needed to be. A white BMW, a new while 428, an amazing car when you see it flying up next to you…then to look over and see a youngish blonde girl, who looks kinda like you, schooling your ass, and the yellow mustang guy, and flying passed you going at least twenty more miles an hour than you.

The urge to follow was strong, the urge to lift was also there, knowing that there is a line between adrenaline and danger…for once it was a line I wasn’t going to cross, and apparently the yellow mustang guy didn’t either. We both stayed politely in the middle lane, still going at speed, but watched her fly by. I couldn’t help but wonder why was she going so fast, what was going on in her life, what was she running from? What was she running to? Is she ever going to get to where she has to go? Does she even know. I put myself in her shoes, in a new 428, and realized it’s not worth it. Whatever drama is making her push the car to limits isn’t worth it.

The One Series and I tooled along and got to work, in one piece, and of course, yellow mustang guy disappeared into the horizon like a yellow bumble bee into the flowers. Of course he’s probably not considering the philosophical aspect of our adventure this morning, but for the short while the tree of us were engaged on the internet, it seemed our souls were combined. All suffering from some sort of pain, all wanting to get aggression out somewhere, all abusing the South Caroling Interstate system.

Yesterday, however, I had a chance encounter with a very attractive guy in a 135 at Fresh Market…and I had no desire to peel out and try to race. I wanted to know his life story, I wanted to know about his car, I wanted him to chase me, but at slow speeds.

Sigh.

“The sunshine bores the daylights out of me.
Chasing shadows moonlight mystery.
Headed for the overload,
Splattered on the dirty road,
Kick me like you’ve kicked before,
I can’t even feel the pain no more.”

-Rocks Off The Rolling Stones

Pain, yeah, it’s called having to refuel after a spirited day. Kick me again, please.

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