Leaning on friends, part two of…?

At my age, I trust my instincts now more than ever, accepting that what feels like a higher than normal use of one social media product (Facebook) has…not a purpose or meaning, exactly…but fills a gap between two points, or connects me to a place further up the  mountain I’m climbing after encountering an uncrossable chasm of doubt and fear.

The same goes for real/physical life.

I have the goal of getting to Mars two hundred years from now and am leaning on the two friends who can get me there whether they want me to or not or whether they want to go with me.

No matter, the goal’s the thing and the friends are both the means and the motivation for moving me off my keister, buttocks, arse, tush to get there.

I love my wife dearly — she is an integral part of who I am from before I started dating girls/women, thus more aware than anyone other than my sister or mother of what/who I am.

At the same time, I worry that she is not interested in more than settling down in this suburban life for good, with the occasional vacation trip to other parts of the world, prepackaged excitement, well under control.

I am a wild man and would be dead now if it weren’t for her.

I’ve spent so long tempering the madness behind a shield that protected me from my father’s disciplinarian personality that I almost became a permanent automaton for the sake of a subculture that nourished and raised me but does not completely satisfy me.

My Christian friends have told me through the years to quit sitting on the fence and, presumably, to join them in their pastoral lifestyle that they see in me which makes them happy.

Little have they seen the real me who has no permanent happiness in weekly Bible studies going over the same material again and again as if there’s something in there they hadn’t noticed before.

By age five, I had my fill of the Bible and spent the next fourteen years nodding my head and feeding back to them their good feelings that they affirmed in Bible passages associated with their inadequacies and falling short of the perfection of an unseen deity.

But I found no relief in the religious text, hoping upon hope there was something else besides ritual, dogma and diatribes to cause endorphin and adrenaline rushes.

So it is that I find myself here, after getting an ego boost from nice words and phrases people give me on Facebook for the fourteen years of bliss I reflected back to them in my childhood and early adulthood.

They rarely if ever saw what was truly under the hood, what really powered my engine.

My wife knew.  So did Monica and Mike.  My sister barely had an inkling.

No one else knew the multiple personalities that begged to be released into society.

It’s time to give them full rein.

Abi understands more than I expected her to what lies within.

With her, I am learning to control the beast, to find the place between the madness and social dancing to make me someone better than I am.

With Jenn, well…a new storyline is emerging that changes my approach to the future.

What, if anything, they expect out of me, I do not know.  I can only trust my instincts that tell me to keep heading toward Mars.

Where my wife fits into all this, I can’t say.  I love her no more or less than before.  She has been so much an integral part of me that I trust her more than life itself.  If what people describe to me is the love of Jesus, then Janeil is my Jesus and of that kind of love, she is all I’ve known without fear of being rejected.

No one can make the next important decisions in my life except me.

These decisions include what the start of this blog entry was supposed to lead to earlier than now; that is, I’m beginning to see that Abi and Jenn are helping mold me such that my business side — the cold, calculating engineering project manager — can actually exist side-by-side (even happily so!) with my wild side.

Would that it be so!

It almost makes no sense to schedule my time to give my wild side room to grow but I think it’s time I do.

I practiced the idea when I built a desktop robot in dedication to Jenn’s father.

And, by golly, it actually worked!  I got to make a presentation on the Internet about the robot, explaining not only how it worked but also the theory behind it…and people were interested!

Therefore, thanks to the encouragement of Christina W., I’m putting together my engineering skills, my madness and my project management skills to branch out from this lab-within-a-study-within-a-bedroom-within-a-cabin-in-the-woods-within-a-suburban-subdivision and, should plans work out, open up a shop selling my wares, objects made with my hands from my imagination, all to raise funds for a trip to Mars.

How exciting is that?

We shall see how much my short story writing is affected — the quality as well as the quantity — may have to keep posting historical entries, a la Boing Boing, to keep readers interested.

Thanks to everyone for their support!


Three sounds my ears-to-brain connection cannot easily distinguish from the other: the roaring sound of a jet flying high overhead, the sound of hard plastic wheels of a baby carrier my neighbour pushes down the street, the sound of the heat pump through the house walls.

Soon, I shall be back on course, having achieved an important goal, and can return my character Lee to his Martian settlements.

What is the difference between meditation and prayer?

My GP M.D. gave me a book titled The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

As I flip through it, I ask if the difference between meditation and prayer is like the difference between Ubuntu Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Since everything around me is the illusion I want it to be, then I get to choose to say what differentiates meditation from prayer, taking into consideration all the billions of folks like me in order to keep my illusion in relative peace with itself, more and more free of unnecessary conflict as the measured changes between sets of states of energy we call days pass by.

Understanding that the semipermeable membranes we call cultures filter how the changes pass from one set of billion to another.

In this meditative moment, I let contradictory thought patterns pass through each other with ease, able to watch them reverberate out of phase with each other secure in my beliefs that who I am is who I am and who you are is who you are, no need to feed natural levels of insecurity, happy to build up our healthy level of support for our comfort zones.

I used to fear not having the right answer for questions, quite possibly due to my school-age training when being a people pleaser meant wanting to provide the learned responses to questions taught to us by our authoritative, grownup teachers, and get immediate approval from them for my support of the teachers’ participation in the education system upon which they depended for their livelihood, mental health and social acceptance.

The path toward my eventual demise takes many detours.

Luckily, despite some of my unhealthy habits, I am, at 51+ years of age, healthier than I should be.

According to new guidelines, there seems to be no more reason for me to take the blood pressure and cholesterol lowering medication that had been prescribed for my former unhealthy habits.

If I paid for three months’ worth of the medicine and have used a month of it, should I go ahead and finish what I have, throw it away or give it to someone who might could use it (I love the colloquialism of that last phrase)?

Regardless, it is, as the whisper said, time for me to step up to the plate and be a man.

Tonight, I take an important step in that direction, having postponed this step because of a habit in my childhood of being ornery to keep a small distance between myself and my father’s stern shadow hanging over me, matching passive-aggressive response to passive-aggressive paternal discipline system.

What happens next is a series of decisions that divert/reduce childish/immature behaviour and encourage childlike wonder/amazement in accomplishing mature tasks.

All while focused on a major event 13286 days from now.

How will I include my sardonic/sarcastic/wry humour in this new direction I’m taking?  Perhaps by saying it’s time I pass the zeitgeist humour making to others so I can spend more time on timeless issues in which humour is incorporated at a less obvious level, in the whole shape of society rather just in sarcastic throwaway headline news.

I don’t have a ready answer and I’m learning it’s okay to say I don’t really know what’s going to happen next.

I am secure in knowing uncertainty is a key component of my future.

Is that the difference between meditation and prayer?

Is meditation simply accepting the here-and-now as it is and prayer a request for a certain change to occur?

No, that’s not it.  In both cases, gratefulness is accepting what is and being thankful for it.  Meditation may be a request for peace in a troubled life.

How about if I just lean my head back and take a quick nap?

My friend, my therapist

Dividing the self from the other (the other being the self as fictional character(s))…

There is one person who knows my body as well as, if not not better than, my wife — Abi.

Allowing Abi into my life (or, rather, her stepping into my life without permission (receiving forgiveness)), I have Jenn to thank, and for Jenn, I have Harold to thank, and for Harold, I have my wife to thank, and so on.

Letting Abi have my emotional states to play with, to analyse by plopping me down on a massage table and working on the notes knots in my chest, back and arm muscles has been a bigger challenge than I expected.  I didn’t expect Abi to challenge me the first time I saw her in Harold’s dance studio in May (has it only been a little over five months since I first met her?).

C’est la vie.

I am open to ripping myself apart in order to reach another state of being in moments not yet lived.

Abi expects me and everyone she meets to better themselves.

While working on my back day before yesterday, Abi told me that she feels emotional memories that flash into her thoughts when the knots in her body are worked on.

What did I feel?  I felt pain shooting down my back and out through the big toe of my left foot.

I also felt a new sensation that I’ve spent the past couple of days simmer in my thoughts, not sure what the sensation was, being wrapped or twisted together with familiar sensations that I’ve tried to suppress.

But I no longer want to suppress what I feel, despite a lifetime of being a good whipping boy for my subculture.

The primary sensation was old but new — the realisation that I didn’t start writing in earnest until fifth grade, which I’ve written about before, when my girlfriend of three years, Reneé Dobbs, died when she was ten and when I met my new best friend, Mike McGinty, who looked Puerto Rican but is half-Irish and half-Italian, and could wiggle his ears, with whom I exchanged letters when he moved out-of-town the next year, which led to my starting a penpal relationship with my wife the following year.

I visited a psychologist when I was 22 at the advice of my girlfriend at the time, Sarah Johnson, who was going through a divorce and worried about my life expectancy, sensing, after I slept and lived with her best friend for a short while, that I was deeply troubled and beyond her usual mothering therapy that worked with our friends in college.

The psychologist walked me through my autobiography, asking me to describe my life year-by-year as accurately as possible, saying it might take a few sessions but it would give him a clear picture of what stood out in my soliloquy.

After three or four sessions, he came to two conclusions — the death of Reneé had scarred and perhaps stopped my normal adolescent development, which was complicated by my internal image of a controlling father who had no sympathy for Reneé’s death and thus was blind to my post-adolescent stunted emotional states.

He asked if I agreed.

I admit I did not.  At first.  I was angry at Sarah for forcing me to see the psychologist before she would sleep with me again and I was angry at the psychologist for putting me in a vulnerable emotional bind.

The psychologist said that I would keep internalising my anger just as he observed my father had from my description of him.

He held a couple of sessions with my father to further understand what was going on.

Dad felt like the psychologist was wasting his time trying to analyse Dad — Dad was there for me and that was it.

The psychologist told me that his observation of both my father and me confirmed the typical father-son generation gap problems he had seen in many so-called intellectuals; in his view, I was not unlike many male college students who were struggling with finding their own paths while stuck on the path of pleasing the father figure within them.

He said that I was doubly troubled because I had never resolved my feelings over Reneé’s death due to my father’s disapproval of crying over a dead friend (my father had told me almost immediately after Reneé died that he had a good friend who died about that same age and he got over it pretty quickly because he had seen and heard worse stories of family loss because it was during WWII when many people lost family members, limbs and their livelihood, not to mention whole countries that suffered).

He believed that getting me to talk to Reneé would be good therapy because it had worked on many other patients my age.

I told him I don’t talk to the dead.  Plus, I didn’t like being told what to do, especially if I had heard it’s the same as what other people have done.

He insisted, saying that he wouldn’t have any more therapy sessions with me if I refused.

So I did.

It feels just as silly now recounting an imaginary conversation I had with Reneé, pretending she was sitting on the sofa next to me as it did when I talked with her, crying about how much I missed growing up with her, telling her that I was doing the best I could to go on living without her and was sorry I had disappointed her so many times.

But it didn’t bring her back.

It didn’t make up for all the years that I’d tried to be the boyfriend and girlfriend for both of us, unsure of whether it was “cheating” when I talked with another girl I was interested in, or danced with a girl that Reneé had not liked or not known when she was alive.

Every time I slow danced with a girl and she breathed heavily in my ear, I asked myself if I had permission from Reneé to draw circles on the girl’s back to check if she wanted me to kiss her, which usually was met with circles drawn on my back to say yes.

I knew I couldn’t tell Dad or Mom what I was thinking because I knew they talked with each other.

I couldn’t tell my friends because melancholy people don’t have a lot of cheerful friends, or friends at all, for very long.

As Abi pressed down on knots in my back, pushing pain in my body to the point of passing out, after she rolled me over and buried a thumb in my solar celiac plexus, the dim reminder of these old memories rose up into my consciousness.

While Dad was alive, I was never able to resolve the dispute he had with me about my feelings for Reneé.

Now that he’s dead, can I “get over” Reneé and go on with my life?

Can I explore possibilities that I’ve held away from me because part of me still worries that it would disappoint my imaginary image of Reneé?

I don’t like looking back at old memories repeatedly because it takes up space for central nervous system processing of possibilities for future action.

However, in this case, because of Abi, I’m willing to explore these thoughts because I want to let go.

I want to let go of repressed anger and fear.

I want to let go of expectations that no longer apply to me.

I don’t know if I’ve ever publicly confessed I love a woman after I married my wife.

I loved Brenda (and guess I still do) but didn’t explore a physical relationship with her because our love wasn’t of that kind (in other words, she likes women, not men); we had fun flirting anyway.

I love my wife.

But I also love Abi.

Love is that catch-all word that is too easy to toss out and lather over a blank page like posting a generic slogan that says “Follow your bliss.”

I love Abi because of the small child and old woman in her who look at the world in wonder and wisdom.

I love Abi because I trust her completely, wishing that Janeil was willing to let go and trust her, too.

I love Abi because she has given me hope that I can overcome the fear and anger that were embedded in my body due to conflicting memories of love for Reneé and love for my father.

I love Abi because she wants to make my wife a better person even if I don’t always do (why? As I confessed to both of them the other day, my wife reminds me of my father and when the two of them were together I sometimes went mentally crazy…literally; although now that my father is dead, the stress is less but there’s still a fear factor I have in the presence of my wife, wondering why, as my father would do, my wife jumps on me for what seems like no reason, putting me constantly on guard, feeling like I have to defend my personal thoughts, expenditures, wants and desires that have nothing to do with my wife).

I love Abi so much that I’m hoping she can get back with Stephan, even if that means she figures out how to live with or near him in France and she’s no longer in my life.

No, nix that last one.  I’d be happy for her but I’d miss her deeply.

Today is Halloween and as usual we had no trick-or-treaters which means one thing — more candy for my wife and me!  Woohoo!

Anyway, I’ve put off work on my yard art sculpture because I’ve been meditating on learning to let my body relax and not be in constant, bent-over pain while I’ve mulled over the interaction of feelings and desires — the general testosterone-driven sexual desire versus the specific feelings of love for a person who happens to be a woman.

I’ve never had a woman in my life who was my dance instructor, massage therapist and friend with whom I can be alone holding her in my arms or her driving her elbows into me while mentally working through a bunch of emotions and not let my physical desire get in the way.

I have to thank my years of a type of mental martial arts deflecting the desires of the flesh in order to explore thought patterns generated by actions in the moment, actions that include smelling scents, looking in eyes and measuring body closeness in realtime.

I’ve never loved a woman like Abi before.

I knew it was possible because I know who I am.

I knew it was possible because of the strength of my love for my wife, who is my friend first.

Have I written down everything that went through me as Abi worked on my body?

Maybe.  Maybe not.

She has more work to do, which I have to balance against my wife’s desire to, as she said earlier this evening, “return to our frugal ways,” which means she doesn’t want me spending money on massages and extra dance lessons.

Which means I have to challenge myself to generate more disposable income!

Which means I return to working on the robot and Web comic series about life on Mars that the other love of my life, Jenn, has inspired! [Thanks to Jenn’s husband, Gilley, for his understanding that my love for Jenn is not a threat to their relationship.]

Living the life of my characters

Over the past few days, I’ve puzzled over how to portray the actions of two characters who live on Mars — Shadowgrass and Voodoo Billie — who’ve fallen in love with each other, both for the first time.

I’ve felt how confused they are, how their regularly scheduled lives have been interrupted.

I need space in my thoughts to separate myself from them so I can look at their situation from a bird’s-eye view for a while.

Yet, tomorrow the University of Tennessee plays the University of Alabama in a classic fall battle between traditional powers, the house that Neyland’s built versus the house that Bear Bryant built.

Two words: Go Vols! We true fans are behind you all the way!!!!

Flashback Lyrics for the Day

Tin Man:

Sometimes late
When things are real
And the people share the gift of gab
Between themselves

Some are quick
To take the bait
And the catch the perfect prize
That waits among the shells

But Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man
That he didn’t, didn’t already have
And Cause never was the reason for the evening
Or the tropic of Sir Galahad

So please
Believe in me
When I say I’m spinning round, round, round, round
Smoke glass stain’d bright colors
Image going down, down, down, down
Soapsud green like bubbles

Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man
That he didn’t, didn’t already have
And Cause never was the reason for the evening
Or the tropic of Sir Galahad

So please
Believe in me
When I say I’m spinning round, round, round, round
Smoke glass stain’d bright colors
Image going down, down, down, down
Soapsud green like bubbles

No, Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man
That he didn’t, didn’t already have
And Cause never was the reason for the evening
Or the tropic of Sir Galahad

So please believe in me

Interesting phenomenon

Do you ever go back and read what you’ve written?

I often do and notice a trend — my writing is poorest when I am in the midst of inflating my sense of self, as if I believe my writing is best when I’m writing about myself because if I am the greatest person who ever existed, everything about me must be, too.


Observing the self as other is another fun exercise in being alive with plenty of time for self-reflection.