Knowledge is power but belief is action

Yesterday was my first day as a pedicab driver. Tomorrow will be my second day. Today is hell.

Every muscle in my body aches. Even my brain feels fried. The important thing is I survived and I’m sure it will get easier. I like this kind of pain because it means I’m getting stronger.

I was telling my mom about the new job at Easter brunch today. She seemed surprised that I was trying to do it, you know, considering my age and all.

“You’re really going to see if you can do this?” she ask.

“I think I just proved that I can,” I replied.

Maybe it’s because I grew up in the age of Star Wars and those immortal words of Yoda still haunt me, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

I never try to do anything. If I have doubts, I will surely fail. I only set out to do something when I believe with all my heart that I can do it. Secretly, I believe I can do anything.

Sometimes I’m wrong. Sometimes I do something and I fail. I’m okay with that. I know that I can’t do everything. I know that I have limits. But in order to do anything I need to believe that I can. It is important to distinguish between knowledge and belief. They are not the same thing but they both have purpose. To put this in figurative terms, beliefs are thoughts we keep in our hearts, away from our brains where they can be killed by facts and logic.

I also know that I make mistakes but I believe in making mistakes. Making mistakes is how I grow and thankfully making mistakes never completely shaken my belief in myself. My second to last fare of the evening last night, I knew was probably a mistake.

It was almost bar close and I was heading down to the nightclub district to position myself for the hoards or drunken people that were about to spill out onto the sidewalk. Instead I found this woman stumbling down the sidewalk, all alone, talking on her cell-phone, and appearing to not have a clue as to where she was going.

I asked her if she needed a ride and she climbed into my pedicab. Then she handed me her cell phone and told me to talk to her friend. I’ll call him Michael. He lived about a block from my old apartment. It was maybe two miles away, which is a pretty long pedicab ride but not too far. It also meant going up the biggest hill that I had tried to conquer with a pedicab but I believed I could do it. This woman was in my care and I wanted to make sure that she got where she was going.

I quoted Michael twenty dollars. A taxi ride would have cost maybe ten but at bar close there was no way she was going to get a taxi. Who in their right mind would pick up someone who didn’t know where they were going and didn’t have any money? Clearly I was not in my right mind. I was following my heart, not my head. I was doing what I believe in.

I did make it up that hill, by the way. Sure, it nearly killed me and my passenger kept kicking me in the ass telling me to go faster. I told her, “Keep it up, it think it’s working!” Michael did pay me the twenty dollars we agreed on. He could have screwed me and there would have been nothing I could have done about it but I believe that most people aren’t out to screw me. I’m a pretty nice guy and we all know, nice guys don’t get screwed. I also made it to the 19 bar for bar close where I picked up another short fare. It was actually another guy who never screwed me although I think he would have if I had played my cards right. All in all, it was the best hour of my night.

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Cruel to be kind

She said, “Just leave the keys on the table and leave! That way if we ever talk again it won’t be some codependent sort of thing.”

That struck a nerve with me. I had been trying to resolve the issue the best I could and I’m pretty good at working through conflict. I didn’t want it to come to this. We had been in this place before, many times before, and it always ends the same. We love each other. We need each other. Not in a co-dependent sort of way, but in a family, love each other no matter what, meant for each other, don’t want to live without each other sort of way.

That’s how I felt. I didn’t want to just give up only to go through hell only to wind up right back in the most amazing friendship I have ever known. I actually didn’t think I could go through it again. I kind of felt like we had been through this enough to the point where we would never have to go through it again. I finally felt safe. I thought these kinds of fights were over. Can I do this again? I have limits. I have needs. I have to know when enough is enough.

So when she said the word, codependent, I thought, “Yeah, I don’t want to be that person.”

I put the keys on the table and left.

I do want to take a side note here and express my annoyance with the term codependent. It might be important for assessing my state of mind.

Codependent is a term that comes straight out of Alcoholics Anonymous. I’m not bashing on AA. It works for some people and I’m very grateful for that. It worked for me at one point in my life and I am very grateful for all it has tough me. My point is that codependent has a very specific meaning and it has been co-oped to refer to a number of other forms of unhealthy relationships that have nothing to do with addiction or alcohol dependence. It has also been been co-oped to refer to relationships that are not codependent at all but are actually loving interdependent healthy relationships, usually between one or more unhealthy people. By the way, I’ve never met a completely healthy person, only people who pretend to be healthy, which in my mind is pretty fucking sick. Just saying…

I am probably the epitome of what it means to NOT be codependent. If anything I am way too independent but I am trying to change that. I’m a guy who feels totally alone in the world but I think that is stupid. There are far to many lonely people for anyone to need to feel alone. When I find someone that I can connect with in a very real way I embrace that. I don’t want to lose that. I don’t think that is codependency. I think that is healthy. I think that is love.

Love takes trust. I understand that trust is not easy for everyone. I know that people doubt me sometimes. I doubt me a lot. But I never doubt my intentions. Loving me means knowing me well enough to know that I would never mean you harm. When people pull away from me because of something that I did that hurt them I can’t help but consider that there has been a loss of trust.

Before I left my friends apartment she said that she would now know that her privacy wouldn’t be violated. This concerned me. I actually don’t have much concern for privacy myself… obviously. I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I did, but I do have concern for her privacy. I asked her if she ever felt like I violated her privacy. She said that she hadn’t and I felt relieved.

I left her apartment and had a smoke on the steps before getting on my bike. Luckily, I was awake enough, sober enough, had enough energy and the weather was nice enough that that 7-8 mile bike ride home was not of life threatening concern – sometimes it is. This was not one of those nights where I was spending the night on her couch because I might die if I didn’t. This was a night where I was planning on spending the night because we really enjoy each other’s company.

So what went wrong?

I can really only speak from my perspective. I do have insight into how my friend was feeling but I don’t think that it is appropriate to speak for anyone but myself. She can comment here or with me directly if she wants. This is my space and I use it to speak my point of view.

We were leaving our final of our four venues for the evening. As we were unlocking our bikes she mentioned that she was made to feel uncomfortable by the looks she got when she was leaving. I asked if it might be her fear that was causing her to feel this way and perhaps not the actions of any individual. I told her that I was actually feeling very safe. This seemed to piss her off as she assured me that she was not afraid. I tried to clarify that I wasn’t saying she was afraid, only that her fear, which we all have, may have been coloring her perception.

Yeah, that didn’t go over very well. I wasn’t being accusatory, I was simply curious. I guess sometimes people don’t want you to ask questions, they just want you to shut the fuck up and listen. I sometimes forget that; sometimes my inquisitive mind gets the best of me.

This time it got me being called a dick. I didn’t think that was appropriate. I don’t like being called names. I told her that I didn’t think that was necessary. I’m really trying to do a better job of standing up for myself when I feel like I am being mistreated. I let a lot of things just roll off my back but I’m not sure that is always helpful.

She said, “Then stop being a dick.”

“Okay”, I though, “if that is the way you want to play…”. And I told her, “Then stop being a bitch!”

I didn’t know how I thought that would help but at this point I didn’t know what would so I figured I would play along. This was met with, “Fine, just go home and leave me alone.”

That may have been a perfectly reasonable solution. I totally could have made it home. I was pretty sure she would have made it home as well. I was more like 10 miles from home but my main concern was about her. In any case, I just felt like we were safer together so I shut the fuck up and we rode the rest of the way back to her place in silence.

Well, except for when I hit a pot hole that knocked my bike lock loose and I had to stop. She stopped too. She waited for me to get myself going again. I though that might have been a good sign that she actually cared about me. I fucking hate that I have any doubts that she actually cares about me. The fact that those thoughts even pass through my head make me feel kind of crazy.

But then I have to wrap my head around this: once we got back to her apartment I told her that what she said hurt me.

She responded, “Good, you should be hurt!”

I simply don’t understand that. I do a lot of fucked up things but I never want to be hurt anyone. I get that I do things that hurt other people but when they let me know I feel sadness, not glee. For anyone who claims to love me to want me to be hurt just confuses the fuck out of me.

As much as I love this song I have never quite understood it’s point.

Having this space to write is very helpful to me. I actually don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t just write about this. Actually, I do. I’ve been through it before and it’s not pretty.

So, I could really use your help. If you have any insight or commiseration I would love to know what other people think. I really want to know what my friend is thinking but in the meantime I want to use this time to connect with you. I think this is a very human experience and I would like it to enhance me rather than defeat me. My hope is that through my pain we can make the world a better place, together.

Yesterday

Yesterday was an absolutely fabulous day. Seriously, I’m so proud of yesterday.  This hardly ever happens to me, especially on Thursdays. Usually, I’m too wiped out from working Wednesday to do much of anything. But not yesterday. Yesterday I had energy, I got shit done, the weather was nice and everything seemed to be going my way.

I woke up at 10AM which was right when I wanted to. This gave me enough sleep after staying up writing the night before and enough time to get done what I had to get done, which was a lot. I had to:

  • Dive to target to exchange a print cartridge so I could print my pedicab license application.
  • Dump my newspaper recycling at the recycling center.
  • Fill out the pedicab application once printed.
  • Bike downtown to the get the form signed by Twin Town Pedicab.
  • Head to City Hall to get the license.
  • Bike bake home by 2:30 so that I could get my van and pick up my daughter from school at 3PM

I actually had everything done and was back home by 2PM – good thing too. When I got home I opened my mail and discovered that the county was over charging me on my property taxes. They had my home listed as non-homesteaded when I most definitely do live there… much of the time. In any case, it is my home!

So a quick call to the county told me that the problem was with the city. An even quicker call to the city told me that it would be taken care of and I was still able to pick my daughter up on time.

My daughter and I had fun shopping at the mall. I had a gift card for Claire’s that I needed to use up. My daughter and I have very similar tastes in fashion accessories.  I got my self some spiffy suspenders and some finger-less gloves. My daughter got a tie, some tights and a silver glittery bow for her hair. We then went back to my house where we had dinner and watched silly, funny YouTube videos until it was time to take her home.

Venus had asked me earlier in the day to guest DJ with hir at this monthly event at club underground called Vinyl Venus Space Lounge. It’s all vinyl, very eclectic, super swank fun night. I have no idea why nobody ever shows up. Basically, I was asked just to get one more person in the bar. Actually, the hope was that I would bring in more people. I tried but I didn’t really have time to promote beyond my close friends and while I can count on them for just about anything… I can’t always count on them to make it to a gig.

Oh well, I was done for it and I was going to have fun. I ran back to my house after dropping off my daughter,  grabbed up some records, slammed a beer and headed to the bar. Venus was already spinning so I sat down at the bar and ordered a beer from my buddy, the bartender. He said, “first ones on the house since you’re spinning tonight”. I love that shit!

I did my first set while finishing my beer then I ordered a second one for during my break. I only had twelve bucks in my pocket so how much damage could I do? I definitively watch my drinking when dealing with turntables but even more when I’m driving.  I ordered a water for my second DJ set.

After that, I was done, and felt like I could have one more beer. My limit when I’m driving is typical two but am willing to have three if they are well spaced out. This would have made my forth of the evening but over the course of five hours. So I was pushing my rule a little but I still felt completely sober.

That was until my lovely bartender offered to do a shot of Sambuca with me.  Shit! Now I had a dilemma. My number one rule is don’t drive while intoxicated but a close second is never turn down a free drink. What was I going to do?

Well I did the shot of course. I hadn’t done shots of Sambuca in years and years and I was feeling a bit nostalgic. Now, I was starting to feel it so when the second round of shots came around I said, “Fuck yeah!” to that as well. I also said yes to a refill of my empty beer glass.

I also said yes to Venus’ offer to drive me home.

Pride and Prejudice

I’ve obviously not been keeping up with my personal goal of posting everyday. It always sucks when I don’t meet my goals but I would rather fail at doing something than succeed at doing nothing. To me, the important thing is that I keep going, doing the best I can and not get too discouraged. My last post was written over the course of Sunday and Monday. It pretty much covered the highlights of Thursday through Saturday.

On Sunday my son returned to college after spring break. I barely had anytime to myself for a week so when he left I felt a calm come over me. That calm that an introvert feels when they are alone and at peace. Most people think of me as an extrovert and quite often I am, but after a week of fairly intense interactions I become introverted. My plan was to go to a one year sobriety party for a friend but what I really needed was time to myself – so that’s what I did.

By the way, time to myself does not mean writing – at least not blog writing. I actually find this to be an intensely extroverted activity. As I’m sitting here writing I’m imagining all of you reading it. Sure, at this point that may only be six people but that is still a lot. That still takes a lot of extroverted chutzpah.

Monday night seemed like a good night to get wasted. I had a couple beers at the Bad Waitress the shared a couple pitchers with a friend at the CC Club. It was almost 10pm and I hadn’t finished my gift shopping for my bff so I headed to the liquor store before meeting her at the 19.

Tuesday I woke up on my friends couch and headed home so that I could pick up my daughter. I hung out with her after school and into the evening. I was pretty wiped by the time I got back from dropping her off at her mothers so I went to bed early.

Wednesday I worked all day delivering City Pages and RENT 411. After that I picked up Chinese food and heading to a depressed friend’s house to see if I could do some cheering up. This wasn’t just bad mood depression. This was real clinical depression but it still helps to have an understanding friend around.

Okay… now that we’ve got that out of the way, this is what I want to talk about:

I’m starting a new fucking job!

Since getting sick and going on Social Security back in 1999 it has been my life duty to get better and move forward, just as it would have been if I never got sick. In other words, I’m not trying to get back to where I was. That would be insane. That is what made me sick. Getting sick moved me from where I was and changed my trajectory but it never changed my goals.

I’m just trying to get better at what ever pace I can manage. I think that is the dream of anyone with a chronic illness or condition. I’m not talking about terminal illness. I don’t feel qualified to speak to that, although technically, we all have a terminal illness.

What Social Security has done for me is give me the time to explore what I can and cannot do without risking homelessness or starvation when I fail. It has allowed me to discover what I am good at so that I can be the best person I can be. I wouldn’t wish my “disabilities” on anyone, but fuck! I wish everyone got Social Security. In stead of a safety net, it should be a concrete floor which no one can drop below. Seriously, no one should be worse off financially than me no matter how stupid or unlucky they are. Stupid people are people too and we need crazy fucking risk takers if we are going to advance as species!

What really pisses me off are people who think that those on disability are lazy and milking the system. Really?!? You don’t think that people would seek a better life if they could? Living on Social Security sucks! Getting on Social Security sucks. I know a number of people who could qualify but struggle on without it because they don’t want to admit that their life sucks more than someone on disability! But hey, if you think that people on disability have it made and are jealous because you don’t qualify, let me know. I will gladly come poke your eyes or cut off your legs. Then you can live the high life too.

WOW… I really got off on a tangent there. It was an important tangent but I really wanted to talk about my new job.

So I’m going to be a pedicab driver. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a bicycle taxi. It’s like a rickshaw pulled by a bicycle. They are common in Asia but becoming more common in major cities in the United States. It’s not so much a transportation solution like a regular taxi, but part of the whole entertainment experience of a night on the town; part classy escort through the busy entertainment district, part tour guide. Yeah, totally up my fucking alley!

A few years back, when pedicabs started showing up in Minneapolis, I began wondering if it was something I could do. A big part of my recovery process has been getting back into biking but could I really do it as a job?

I determined that I could. I had been working as a newspaper delivery driver, as I still am, and really wanted to get out from behind the wheel and over the pedals. My big fear was the sales aspect, the dealing with the public part. I’ve done sales and I’ve been good at it. It was just a long time ago and I hated it. But then I realized, it’s not sales, it entertainment. I can do that! But entertaining fans from the stage is different than entertaining strangers who are standing on the sidewalk. That scared the shit out of me.

I wasn’t ready. But now I am. Almost. At least I’m ready to take the next step.

Saturday I went in to meet with the owner of Twin Town Pedicab. This is the closest thing that I’ve had to a job interview in next to… forever. I was a little bit terrified. I’ve been delivering papers for seven years. I suppose I had some sort of interview for that. I auditioned for All The Pretty Horses six years ago. That was a bit of an interview, but I knew I was awesome. Before that I worked cleaning houses for my best friend. Before that I did web design. I had two clients, both of whom were non-profits I worked with where I was in charge of hiring the IT. Don’t worry, I donated all of my income back to the organization.

My last real job interview was in 1996. I got the job, they put me in a monkey suit, I made a shitload of money and it nearly killed me.

But the meeting with the pedicab company wasn’t really a job interview. It still felt like one but really it was a sales pitch. Technically, I’m not their employee, I’m their customer.

I said, “Oh good, I’m a shitty employee.”

That didn’t go over so well. I was met with a suspicious, “What do you mean by that?”

I replied, quite confidently, “I just mean that I don’t believe in working for people, I believe in working with people.”

I guess I passed the audition.

Monday I went in for training on the pedicab. Driving a pedicab can be compared to riding a bicycle like driving a tour van is to driving a Ferrari.  That is to say, not at all! But within ten minutes I had it down and was out on the road. Apparently that was a bad idea. Until I have my pedicab licence driving on the road is totally illegal. Oops. Nothing bad happened but I’m sure I freaked out my trainer. With all the one way streets and dead-ends it took me twenty minutes to get back to the garage. Still, he was willing to get in the cab and let me take him for a spin around downtown Minneapolis. I think I did alright. I nicked a pothole and hit the brakes a little hard once but I’m still learning. I don’t think it will take me too long to get it down. I’m going to make mistakes but that is how I learn.

I still don’t know what they think of me though. I’m sure they have a lot of people who think they can do this but then quit. I’m sure that they are wondering who I am. Who is this weird, looking, weird dressing 46 year old and why does he want to be a pedicab driver? I’m sure they have their doubts. I’m sure they have their prejudices. Fuck, I have my own. I’m prejudging them by assuming that they have doubts about me.

Prejudice sucks, but it is also unavoidable. We all have it. In a way, we need it to make sense of this crazy complex world. It might be inaccurate but we have to start somewhere. I prefer to start with curiosity and intrigue but sometime that will get you killed. We need to be able to make uninformed judgments sometimes for the sake of safety. My problem is with intentional ignorance. I have a problem when someone’s prejudice prevents them from learning about another person. That just makes me sad.

What makes me angry is when someone allows their prejudice or ignorance to turn into hostility. When we take action based on these points of view we are discriminating. When our discrimination about a class of people causes harm it is wrong and unjust. Proposition 8 in California and DOMA at the federal level are wrong and unjust. I pray the Supreme Court of the United States will do their job of protecting the American people by striking down these unjust laws. Those who are being harmed by them cannot wait for people to overcome their prejudices. Human lives are at stake. Children’s lives are at stake. America has a horrible history of treating people unfairly but we can do better. I believe in this country. Please don’t let me down!

All the time in the world

I had no intention of going out Saturday night. In fact, I had every intention of staying in and writing. I hadn’t been able to write since leaving home Thursday afternoon and I was longing for it. I was needing to write but as my lazy Saturday afternoon wore on into a lazy Saturday evening and the sun vanished from the sky, the fact that Saturday night had arrived was inescapable, as was the fact that I was not yet home. I had delayed my bike ride home as long as I could but the time had come where I could delay no more. In the end, no writing would get done.

But what if it had; what if I had spent Saturday night at home writing? What would I have written about? What stories could I have told? Much had happened over the past few days. Many adventures had come and gone. Many connections were made, revelations,  inspirations, declarations and many questions. As that time has now past, I am left to wonder what could have happened.

I could have written of seeing my parents after nearly three months and how I learned to accept their offerings as gifts without expectation or demand but as tokens of who they are and what they have to give.

I could write of a man I met at the Depot who traveled half way around the world to find the money needed to care for his family. It would be a wonderful story of honor, responsibility and sacrifice.

I could write of seeing Mark Mallman and Gospel Gossip perform Thursday night. I could tell a story of Minneapolis music fans who give their love so quickly only to let if fade a year later as their gaze shifts to the latest, greatest thing. Oh, I could write a lot about that.

I could tell of my dream to become a pedicab driver and the journey of personal growth which led me down this path. I would write of my hopes for where this journey will lead me.

I could write of chaos in the medicaid system. I would write about how my medical coverage got deactivated because I didn’t pay my premium because I didn’t get a bill because my medical coverage got deactivated.

I could write of the benefits to treating social service workers with kindness and respect. I could write of the great things that can be accomplished when people work together for a common goal.

I could write a story of Native American pride and my admiration for the ability to avoid violence.

I could tell you about the blast I had at the first Mix Up! dance event at the Blue Nile. I could expound on the power of dance and about meeting new friends and potential lovers.

I could tell of a friendship thirty years in the making, of destiny and fate. It would be a story of self acceptance and embracing diversity to find our higher purpose.

I could write about all these things and perhaps one day I will. For now, all I can do is acknowledge that they are out there. They are moments which have past, yet still live on within me and within those who shared them with me. Some may fade away and eventually be forgotten and some will continue to evolve as time goes on.

I will never regret a missed opportunity, only my failure to seize the opportunity which stands before me right now. Each moment has been meticulously designed, just for me, by each moment which has come before. To reject this moment in the belief that there is something better, somewhere else, is to reject the unique opportunity which has been presented only to me, which only I can fulfill.

Opportunities are never ending. As for running out of time, I have no fear of that. In all my days on this planet the universe has not failed me once in providing more time. Perhaps, one day, I will be proven wrong but until that happens I will continue to believe that I have all the time in the world.

The pursuit of happiness

Tuesday evening I met up with a friend for a beer. He had been going through some tough times. He had recently lost his job and needed to get out of the house. At one point I asked him something about how he was doing or what his plans were and he responded, “I’m trying to have a good time.”

I just recall thinking to my self, “This is one of the most miserably people I know. Having a good time sounds like a pretty lofty goal.” Of course I was really thinking about myself. Of course I wanted him to be happy. I wanted him to have a good time. I just know that from my experience, pursuing happiness as a goal is bound to end in disappointment. Happiness happens, but not when I’m expecting it.

Rethinking what motivates me has been on my mind a lot over the past week. I’ve been called a hedonist before and for the longest time I took no objection to that term. Hedonism is the devotion to pleasure. How can that be a bad thing? Especial when understanding that my pleasure is dependent on the circumstances of the people around me. Devoting one’s life to bringing pleasure to the world sounds like a beautiful thing to do.

As an entertainer I hope that I bring pleasure, happiness, good times and amusement to the world. But is that what entertainment means to me?

I was discussing this subject with my son Sunday evening. He is an actor and musician. We had just seen Propeller’s production of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” at the Guthrie Theater. I felt impressed, inspired, intrigued, incompetent, moved, changed, at times aroused, but not anything that I would associate with being entertained. My son and I had shared a meaningful experience. We felt connected to one another and to the playwright and actors. To my son, this is what art is meant to do; create a shared, meaningful experience.

But for many, music, dance, theater, comedy, television, movies, literature and other arts are just entertainment. That’s fine. There is a sense of satisfaction in knowing that people are entertained by what I do, but that’s not why I do it. I don’t think that most artists would do what they do if they only viewed it as entertainment. The act of creating art is hard work, it’s frustrating, painful and wrought with failure and disappointment. We do it because we have to; because it is who we are. We do it to give our lives meaning and purpose. We do it to feel connected to the world around us.

Yet, there are those occasions where it brings us great joy. Creating something that we conciser absolutely brilliant or putting on an amazing show that connects us with the audience can put a smile on our face.

My bff was relating her favorite Venus story to me this past weekend. We had just put on an incredible performance to a packed house at First Avenue for the David Bowie tribute show, Rebel Rebel (Rock for Pussy) and Venus was on cloud nine. S/he was simple glowing and dancing and having the time of hir life.

Yes, happiness can be found in this life but as an artist, it is not my pursuit. As a person who’s life is filled with adversity, having a good time is not my goal. I am not seeking pleasure or avoiding pain. I’m just trying to keep going in the pursuit of meaning and purpose. If along the way I find happiness, joy and entertainment, I’ll take that too… as long as I can share it with you.

The bitter red pill

Saturday saw the end of whatever manic phase I was going through, or at last the end of whatever benefit I was receiving from going through a manic phase. Morning was not fun. Mornings are hardly ever fun but I felt hungover which is not typical for me.

I managed to pull myself together enough to squeak out 600 words or so. As I was making my way through my third proofread my son arrived home from college. I hadn’t seen him since January and should have been overwhelmed with joy. I was excited to see him but I didn’t feel like I could fully connect with the emotions appropriate for the situation.

I stopped what I was doing so that I could focus on him. I wanted to hear about school, his girlfriend, his theater projects and his music. He was eager to share his new EP with me. It’s really good stuff. These are some amazing kids, amazing musicians, amazing songwriters and it’s impressive what they can achieve with such limited resources. I listened intently as we discussed music and more.

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Then I was eager to get back to writing. My son was eager to get to writing as well. Unfortunately, blog writing and song writing do not go well together. I couldn’t concentrate. I found myself surrounded by music and getting frustrated. I was getting frustrated with my son. This was not his fault.

In fact what he was doing was brilliant. It just wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted him to stop. I wanted complete quite. Well guess what? What I want doesn’t fucking matter. I don’t get to order the world to meet my needs even if I have the power to do it. I could have told him to stop playing and he would have, but that would have been fucked up!

I was frustrated and annoyed but I kept it to myself. I wish that I could have felt the joy I know I have when I hear my son playing music but in that moment, it was no where to be found. Despite all the ways that I wanted the world to be there was no escaping reality.

Embracing, accepting and whenever possible, rejoicing in reality has been the theme of this past weekend. In a way, it’s the theme of my life.

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My friends, my close friends, those that hold a truly special place in my heart, we often talk about “real” people. I love evaluated, delineating and categorizing things. I don’t like doing this with people. People are far to complicated to be placed in boxes. The fact that we do; I believe to be at the core of many of our social problems.

My therapist says that there are two kinds of people: those who believe there are two kinds of people and those who don’t. I kind of like that but my favorite is; there are 10 kinds of people: those who understand binary and those who don’t.

So who are these “real” people. I mean all people are real, right? We all do things that are fake. We all lie. We all lie to ourselves. We all have blind spots and aspects of life we choose to overlook.

But how many of us really want the truth. How many of us would really prefer the truth to what we have convinced ourselves is real. I have my own take on reality but I’m not prepared to get into that right now. In place of my own thoughts I want to present this:

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in itdoesn’t go away.” ― Philip K. Dick

Who is really willing to give up belief to live in reality. Who is so willing to embrace their doubt so completely as to give up their faith. Who is willing to take faith in the unknown and trust that reality it is better than the lie. Who, if standing before Morpheus, would take the red pill.

These are the noble souls we call real people, not because they would be the ones to take the red pill, but because they already have. Most were never given a choice. Most were slapped upside the head with such a heavy does of reality that they could never escape. I don’t know if this was the case for me. I feel like I was granted the opportunity for a mythical life of fantasy. I just never believed it. I kept trying to wake up. Now I am awake and it’s not pretty… but it is real. I’m not trying to escape, I’m just trying to survive.

Some of my friends are trying to get back in the Matrix through drugs, alcohol,  money, sex, violence, work, religion, self-righteousness, fantasy, denial… all  powerful forces, all things I participate in at times, all things that are no competition for reality. That is because they are all part of reality.

Okay, that is part of my take on reality. To say that reality is only what exists when we stop believing is to deny all that we believe in. Our beliefs, even if false or inaccurate are still real, they still exist and therefor cannot be separated from reality.  Sorry to get all existential but I am kind of an existentialist… just being real.

So I have a friend. One of those special friends, a real friend. Someone who is not trying to become part of the Matrix. Someone who is trying to become who they really are. Someone who by quirks of fate was not born who they really are, yet was born in a time of scientific and technological advances to allow them to alter themselves and become who they really are, as all of us have the choice to become who we really are or to alter ourselves to become who we wish we could be. I’m not saying which is right. Who I wish I could be, my ideal person, is probably a far better person than who I actually am, yet I believe that I am here for a purpose and whatever that purpose may be, I will be.

Saturday night this person wound up sleeping on the floor. Probably because of my shifting moods. As the night came to an end for me I was not cordial. I was demanding, insistent and done with being awake. I was done and the couch was mine. I didn’t like that I was being rude but I was done pushing myself beyond my limits. I knew the cost of doing that and I wasn’t willing to pay it again.

The following night I was able to convert the couch into a bed and found a hansom soul by my side. The gratitude of this occurrence did not escape me.    This too was a person I would conciser a real person yet the feelings were not the same. I believe that all souls have equal value. I wish that I could treat all the same. I wish that I could be the slut that I used to be but something was different.

As morning came I needed to tell this gorgeous creature, as beautiful as may be, we did not have the chemistry that I desired. But real and in my honesty there was no opposition, disappointment perhaps, but no denial. We were real.

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