Designed on Mars, Manufactured on Earth

I am a humble person but not selfless.

How do I reach the point of selfless service for not only my species but also Earth-based lifeforms?

The answer, in this case, is easy — serve others before serving myself.

I reduce the size of the self, this “I,” until me is nearly pointless.

One way is to return to Lee and his friends on Mars in the future, leave the present behind, show where life will be when we live offworld.

That way, I avoid the temptation to talk about subjects of which I have limited knowledge and no expertise.

Tomorrow, my wife and I will attend a showing of the Living Christmas Tree, with special guest Committed, an a cappella group that won the Sing Off reality TV show a few seasons ago.  Reminds me once again when my wife and I saw Boys II Men Take 6 in the same concert with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, going from a cappella to instrumental in the same evening on stage at UAB campus many years ago.

No one can break the cycle but me

So, I have been able to hide from myself under the guise of my subculture for most of my life, the true self revealed in quiet, out-of-the-way moments, in foreign lands, under the influence of being under the influence.

It’s easy to sit in a cabin in the woods, free to let my true thoughts wander, find their way here, rather than have to face truth-or-consequences in society at large with my actions.

When I jumped back on Facebook for a day, reading the posts of people from my past — childhood friends, classmates, neighbours, workmates, etc. — I can only guess they are who they say they are.

I was never quite myself with them.  I was the people pleaser, seeking to perpetuate the image I was raised to project — a white, middle-class, monogamous Protestant American man/boy.

In my thoughts, though, that’s not who I am.

“Actions speak louder than words.”

True, I derive some comfort from seeing the subculture in which I was raised is still loved and cared for.

I admit affirmation of my external self is a form of comfort food.

But it only lasts so long until the internal selves are torn by the conflict.

There are only a few reactions between sets of states of energy that I expect to be shared on this planet and then only in the context of my safe, sheltered subculture — equal treatment of members of our species whilst recognising that competition for resources is inherently unequal (for many reasons, geography chief amongst them); that is, life is unfair.

Otherwise, I don’t personally practice any particular religious rituals except when needed to motivate people to accomplish tasks for the sake of populating the inner solar system; I don’t personally work for a military organisation that needs to demonise people in order to build market share but I benefit from those who do; I don’t personally have a stake in political officeholders but I once financially contributed to the campaign of one political party while at the same time was paid to deliver pamphlets for the opponent’s political party.

I am a people pleaser and I am an opportunist.  I am neither psychopath nor sociopath but can study their behaviours and act like one if it means we get a permanent Martian colony in return.

There are days when pretending to care about my subculture is a real drag, but I realise the alternatives can be much worse.

I often wonder why I stay married except I fear that if I, an Eagle Boy Scout who once received a U.S. Navy ROTC four-year scholarship to Georgia Tech, don’t believe in marriage, who will and if nobody does, what’s going to happen to the moral/ethical/religious fiber that we have said historically binds our subcultures together?

But then I look at our American society, which is supposedly composed of 46% of the population that is not married, and it’s doing all right.

Of course, it’s not the same as it once was.

Historically, the American Century was a geographical miracle of wars devastating foreign governments, creating global business competition which gave the impression that the American people (“give us your tired, your hungry, your poor”) were extra-special.

Having a monoculture that dominates the mass media (creating/perpetuating mass hypnosis) will give the impression that the monoculture’s unique traits are the ingredients that make people who they are; thus, premises can lead one to conclude that the American people were extra-special because the dominant monoculture was extra-special and the impression many had was the dominant monoculture was related to Judeo-Christian principles (and some would say it was 98% Christian and 2% Jewish (in fact, a few down here in the Deep South would shout it was 100% Christian but let’s not shout too loud just yet without the facts)).

I can only speak from experience and, in my five+ decades of living, I have observed that many who enjoy a relatively troublefree life of conformity to the Judeo-Christian subculture(s) are happy when they fully believe in and want to stay within the boundaries of those belief sets, regardless of small differences that have arisen over the years due to interpretation of the major religious texts and its various translations.

By extension, in larger subcultural subtextual context, we have belief sets associated with musical tastes; e.g., are you are Garth Brooks or Beyonce fan?  Is there any reason you can’t be both?

Can you be both a Christian and an atheist?

Does the way Miley Cyrus or Beyonce shakes her booty on stage teach feminist values better than a lifelong politician like Margaret Thatcher or Hillary Clinton?

In other words, our associative comparisons make us who we are.

By hiding here in the cabin in the woods, I can compare myself to the rest of the world and see I’m happy by comparison because I don’t have to do much to prove myself day after day.

In the 27+ years I have been married, there have only been two women who virtually held a mirror up to my face, asking me if being married to my childhood friend who has stood by me in my best and worst moments is the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with: Brenda and Abi.  In both of them, there was never a request to divorce my wife and marry one of them, instead, so I have been able to safely and happily use their unspoken question about my relationship to my wife as not personally motivated by them.

Their lifestyles not associated with a church, free from many expectations of social conformity, were the mirrors.

Both have been married and are divorced.  One told me she loves women.  The other told me she recently discovered she’s polyamorous.

I, too, love women.  I, too, recently [re]discovered I am polyamorous.

Therefore, it behooves me to ask myself the question, if my marriage bed has grown cold, if monogamy has lost its meaning to me, why, except for perpetuating my subculture and its current/historical ties to society at large, except for the comfortable financial conveniences that marriage still affords, except for the fact that my wife and I have known each other since we’re 12 and are generally compatible, am I still married?

My wife wants me doing something that brings more income into our household.  The last time I was in that situation, I saw how much I could afford to separate myself from her and put my childhood community behind me…permanently.

I admit it scared me at the time, traveling and working internationally, how much I desired to cut [some but not all] ties with a subculture I no longer believed in but was willing to keep up appearances for friends and family of old because it really isn’t all that bad but I might disappoint a few people if I acted upon my beliefs and not theirs.

When I jumped back on Facebook, I realised that with the hundreds of people there, I was accepting of whatever changes they had made from when I lived in the same community with them — married, divorced, childless, grandparents, nonheterosexual, godless, etc.

In other words, what am I worried about?  Why this unfounded fear of one particular change in my life?

I can talk until I’m blue in the face or, as encouraged by a woman who whispered in my ear this week, I can act on the belief it’s time for me to step up and be a man.

Ultimately, all I want is for our species to expand into the universe.  The rest of this is forgotten jibberjabber.

If I spend time worrying about hurt feelings, I’ll never get anywhere fast.

Cyclical

Appropriately, this blog entry starts while Piano Sonata No. 14 In C Sharp Minor (“Moonlight”), Op. 27/2, by Ludwig van, plays in the background.

Melancholy fills the airs.

The interplay of friendships and miscommunication fills my thoughts.

The renewed sensations of polyamory I first experienced in kindergarten when we took turns being boyfriend and girlfriend on playground swings, in cafeterias, lunchrooms and school buses…

He loves her, but not like that, she loves him unconditionally, he’s got more than one girlfriend, she has more than one boyfriend but wants only him for once.

She wants him, needs him, now more than ever.  Forever and ever, lovers and dance partners, alone on the stage making beautiful music together.

He wants to spend time with friends he hasn’t seen in months in her town after traveling across the Big Pond while she travels out of town on business the same weekend, knowing her best girlfriend wants to spend time with him.

Her best girlfriend remembers what she felt like after her divorce — disoriented, lost, afraid of crowds, wearing headsets to drown out the noise of loneliness and despair.

A word fraught with pregnant meaning and cultural connotations — hope — waits with anticipation.

It doesn’t help when insecurity makes her back itch in unreachable places.

And I, the author, like the best friend, am in the middle of all this, no one knowing my name, looking for a cogent storyline, something to hang onto, some hope that someone will remember my name when I’m dead and gone, knowing it doesn’t matter but it feels good to pretend it does while I’m alive because, gee, what else do I have going on in my life right now…really?

If we can’t find meaning, we can make meaning in our lives.

In that regard, we’re all the same even if we’re all different.

Today, I die another death, another forgotten day of hopelessness that stretches until the end of my days.

The joy of forgetfulness is not knowing how many of these days I’ve already died over and over and over and over and over…

…how many days I’ve picked myself back up, the hole in my thoughts of the death of my fifth grade girlfriend reminding me that life is an illusion of happiness that so many people perpetuate it almost feels real.

I take this imaginary dagger and jab it through my ribcage, ripping my heart apart, the pain searing my chest, filling my thoughts as the lights fade, my eyesight dims and…

Ghosts of concerts past

image

I’ve only performed in a few venues so my chances of hearing some of my favourite performers in the same venue as mine is next door to mission improbably possible.

Tonight, the planet’s aligned just right.

I sit with my wife watching Robert McDuffie, his sister Margery, and performers from around the world who play in the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings Orchestra.

What joy!

I forget how enjoyable watching the piano playing of his sister shows on Robert’s face, who seems to feel the musical sounds resonating the depths of his being.

A special nod to the violinist Shinjung Lee for her duet with Robert with piano accompaniment by Margery on Pablo de Sarasate’s “Navarra, Op. 33”.

Time to sit back after the intermission and enjoy Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

A couple of decades ago I sang in the choir that performed Faure’s Requiem in this same location, the medieval Gothic cathedral sanctuary of Trinity United Methodist Church in Huntsville, Alabama.

The illusion of excitement

Living most often in my imagination, believing that I would be someone I’m not if I wasn’t who I am (which of course I would be so why spin thoughts unnecessarily?), I pause.

The local cable television network has replaced the music channels I enjoyed — two classical music varieties — with “Latin Christmas Music” and “Sounds of the Seasons.”  Since I listen to classical music as incidental background sounds, I’ve switched over to the “Soundscapes” music channel which serves a form of slo-mo pop classical music soundtrack for this blog entry.

Tomorrow, my wife and I will volunteer to serve food to runners during the Rocket City Marathon, then attend a chamber music concert starring Robert McDuffie and his sister, Margery McDuffie Whatley.  We might even make it over to the Huntsville Swing Dance Society event at the Flying Monkey Centre.

In my imagination, I am a jealous/envious god but a kind one.  I worry about the repercussions echoed in overheard conversations between white people discussing the connection between the sign language interpreter at the Nelson Mandela tribute in South Africa and his attendance at an event interpreting the song “Kill the Boer” — usually, people at the margins of society or, rather, people who have been marginalised by society, most often less stable mentally, will act upon socially-unacceptable thoughts in ways we put into storylines for violent shows on the tellie.

It is those overheard conversations I miss in my tinnitus-wrapped thought set.

Whispers, rumours, hearsay, scuttlebutt.

The softly-spoken dreams and desires.

That is why I am happy to have in the core of my thoughts the spoiled first-b0rn god’s wants and desires rather than the vengeful/hate-filled desires of an insecure god.

That way, I can think in the interest of a whole planet rather than a single species, as long as I get some satisfactory portion of what I want/desire that seems fair to me in return.

Take, for instance, these deepest feelings I recorded in my secret journal a few days ago:

For the past two years or so, I felt a renewal in my belief, my hope, for joyous changes to the habits I had formed during the first five decades of my life.

I placed a lot of that on the imaginary shoulders of a woman I’d met at a dance studio — Y.

Y was/is so much like my sister and yet she isn’t my sister; thus, I could let the occasional sexual fantasy pass through my thoughts without feeling too guilty.

Guilt, however, was not the problem.  If I could have had sex with my wife in that timeframe, I might have been able to handle a longterm friendship with Y and not let some of my sexual frustrations carry over onto the dance floor.

Just not meant to be, I guess.

As my wife has gained weight during the past ten years, especially in the stomach area, trying to place my six-inch erection into/onto her vaginal area was an acrobatic act that became uncomfortable; rather than insult my wife about her weight, I chose to tell her that my back was acting up and I couldn’t have sex with her in the position she preferred — on her back, with me on top.

We haven’t made love in six or seven years.

Masturbation can only relieve so much of the frustration.

It’s not fair to the women with whom I’ve fallen in love, including both Y and Z, to put my hopes for a sexual relationship on them when my sexual bodily commitment to my wife is wrapped up in a social contract my parents made when they baptised me in the Christian religious community in which I was raised and am expected to continue to support.

I have been unhappy in that regard, knowing the moment I stood at the front of the church to marry my wife that I was giving up my sexual freedom for the security of community support.

Ahh…the price we pay for security…sigh…I am sad and depressed today and will be for I don’t know how long.

My suffering is imaginary. For that, I am truly happy. Sadness and depression in middle-class living is usually a way to make up for ennui.  A universal perspective will open one’s eyes to endless possibilities outside of one’s temporal emotions, one’s temporary set of states of energy in flux, including envy, jealousy or any sense of fairness.