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The past week or so has led me to some serious contemplation. Chief among them are thoughts like:

Who am I? And what is this I?

Am I amazing or inferior?

Am I unique or pedestrian?

Is that a pimple or a tumor?

These are thoughts that a lot of us have. We want to feel as if we mean something, that whatever time we have in our brief lives isn’t fodder for despair and misery. We crave compassion, but don’t give it. We yearn for beauty and happiness as we stumble through the playground.

At times, it seems like coincidence mars any progress I try to make. Oftentimes, I’ll sit and, after a spate of deep pity and self-hatred, summarize my resolve not to wallow. “Fuck it,” I’ll say. “I’m going to be happy. I’m going to love and live and know that the universe gives not one whit whether I’m alive or dead.”

Honestly, it works!

But, like I said, there’s an eerie synchronicity that pops up when I do that. “I will be happy,” I declare to friends and family. Then, poompf!, an obstacle arises: a dead car, an unforeseen expense, something bad. Coincidence or serendipity, whatever you call it, I say only that it’s debilitating. And discouraging. It makes me retreat back again to that sad Eeyore state-of-mind. Why bother? It’s all going to end badly, if you like it that way.

But that’s defeatist and not really helpful in pulling me out of where I am mentally and physically. It’s a white flag to consistently think that no matter what I’ll do will be abject defeat. We suffer, it is no secret. We are all in this horrible reality together and not given any real instructions to transcend. We have theories, philosophies, and religions, but these are salves and advice. None of it really helps unless we allow it to help.

We have two options when hit obstacles, rocks, walls, and moats. One is to simply resign yourself to futility. This one I’ve orated quite a lot in my past performances. It’s belittling and consuming, a real downer:

I don’t deserve happiness. I’m tainted and a sinner, some would say loathsome. I should know better than to think otherwise. I give up.

The other, though, is to present toils and troubles with a middle-finger mindset:

I deserve happiness. I am a good chap. Some would say awesome. But whenever troubles arise, I think, reality must be pretty fucking jealous of me.

This, folks, is my new jam. Self-love still stronger.

So I do a lot of thinking, a lot of self-examination designed to fix those pings and grits in my machinery. I am a dented shell, but I don’t want to give in. It’s hard, yes. It’s hard for all of us. I’m not the only one who is suffering. I’m fortunate in that I have a roof over my head and food in my cupboard even if the number of dollars I have are outnumbered by the membership of Adolf Hitler Appreciation Society, Westerplatte Chapter 1939.

Ha, which reminds me…

I am not how much money I have in my bank account.
I am Gonz’s smirking revenge.
We are all a part of the same compost heap.
It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.

I haven’t lost everything, but there are times when it feels close to it. I still have the love of my daughters. I have my friends, my humor, my kooky sense of perspective. I’m a student of the universe, listening to any and all wise teachers. I am the recipient of great warmth and generosity. A Beatles song can still make me nostalgic. A goodly and beautiful woman can still stir passion. I still can laugh.

A man gets a job at the sawmill. One morning, as his boss is walking by, he says, “Boss, I’ve just lost my finger!” The boss asks, “How did it happen?” The man replies, “I just touched this big spinning thing like thi… Damn, there goes another one!”

The lesson is to not keep going to the same thing that damages you. Resigning myself to misery and not trying does that. Thinking I’m horrible because I’m in a situation I don’t want, that others might be thankful to be in considering their current state, isn’t going to move me.

I am amazing.

I am, in fact, pretty fucking awesome.

Jam on.