Do wot you do

It’s been over a month since I’ve published anything on this page. I want to apologize for that. Of course I don’t know if my failure to post has caused any harm but I would like to believe that I have been missed. I always knew that I would be back but it was an unintended hiatus. To make a long story short, my life just blew up all at once in many different directions and as a result somethings got left in the dust. Another key factor which necessitated the hiatus was the direction I was trying to take this blog. I started down the path of asking some of the bigger “why” questions and discovered a rabbit hole that was too deep to put into words. Maybe, I’m not ready to take that on quite yet.

Still, I have been thinking about why people do what they do. In an attempt to simplify this question I’ve tried to categorize motivation into three all encompassing categories. We do what we do because:

  • We NEED to
  • We WANT to
  • We CAN do

The last one certainly accounts for all behavior but I felt it needed to be included as a separate motivation because so much of what we do has nothing to do with wants or needs, we just do. We are creatures of habit. We spend most of our day not thinking about why we do what we do; we just do it. Even our reactions to unexpected situations are not clearly thought out. We simply react. I would like to believe that we react by doing the best we can do but often we just do whatever we can do. I think it’s human nature to always be doing something.

I think that my chronic illnesses gives me a unique perspective on why people do what they do. I don’t spend a lot of time specifically talking about my so called disabilities. It’s not because I don’t think it’s an important subject or that I think people can’t relate. It’s because they are so omnipresent in my life that I don’t even think about them most of the time. They are not a separate part of my life. This is just my life. I’m sure that if I felt judged or marginalized for my life I would be more proactive and assertive about discussing my disabilities but considering that most people think I’m pretty functional I don’t see the need to make an issue of it.

What makes my life unique is that everyday I wake up with different abilities. It’s as if I wake up everyday with a new body and a new mind. Like everyone else, I get up everyday and do what I do but what I can do will very greatly from day to day.  I might not even know what that is until I’ve had a cup of coffee. Drinking coffee every morning is about as far as I can get with being a creature of habit. Let’s hear it for the power of addiction; it’s stronger that chronic illness.

So back to why I haven’t been doing this blog for the past month… it might be good to start with my motivation for doing it in the first place. As an artist, I consider this blog part of my art. Artists often feel an unyielding need to produce, to create, to make art. This blog certainly fulfills that need but it’s not the only means by which I have to do it. I actually started this blog as a means to an end. It came into existence because of something else that I wanted to do. For the time being, what I wanted to do is not an option making this blog no longer a means to that end. In the end, writing this blog is not a need nor a want, it is simply something I can do… sometimes.

That may be as good as it gets. For the past month I have barely been able to do the things that I felt I needed to do.  All of a sudden my daughter required more of my time, my job as a pedicab driver started up again, the band that I’m in kicked into gear again and I wound up with a couple of solo gigs that required me to focus on my own music. These are all good things so I have no regrets. I can’t exactly call having to file my taxes a good thing but I made that into more of a distraction than it needed to be. Plus, I’m getting money back so it’s hard to put that in the bad column.

The only truly bad thing thing that has happened over the past month which has contributed to this writing hiatus is having to let go of a friend, although hopefully that will be temporary as well.  There is nothing that I hate more than letting go of people. Sometimes it’s just a necessity. I would love to blame her for this action. I would love to say that she is just a bad person and that I am better off without her in my life. I’m sure that reveling in vitriol would feel better than this, it’s just not something I can do. As a person with chronic illnesses I have to take personal responsibility for my own health. I don’t have the luxury of blaming other people, making them responsible for my life; I can’t afford to give up my power.

Besides, blaming my friend for doing what she does would be like blaming the scorpion for stinging the frog. For those not familiar with what I’m talking about, there is a fable about a frog and a scorpion. The scorpion asks the frog for a ride across the river and the frog refuses stating that the scorpion would sting him. The scorpion makes the case that if he did that he would die too so the frog had nothing to worry about. The frog agrees and give the scorpion a ride on his back. Half way across the river the scorpion stings the frog.

The frog in shock asks the scorpion, “Why did you do that? Now we will both die!”

To which the scorpion replies, “It’s in my nature.”

The moral, at least as I see it, is that people are who they are. They do what they do. Some of it’s nature, some of it’s nurture but you can’t expect people to miraculously change overnight. My friend is a beautiful, wonderful, caring person but she will sting me if I give her the opportunity. I love and trust my friend implicitly because I know that she will always be herself. That is rare and it means a lot to me. You can say that the scorpion is stupid or even evil but I respect him for sticking to his nature even though it will mean his death. I just don’t want to be the frog.






Power of love

So what really does make the world go round? Not in a physical sense, but in a philosophical sense.  I would like to believe that love makes the world go round. It’s probably a common misconception among artists and dreamers like me. A more realistic view would be to say that money and power make the world go round. A quick google search for I did for shits and giggles returned one-hundred and eighty-one million results for love makes the world go round. Money got one-hundred and sixty-nine million and Power netted one-hundred and eighty-seven million. I’m not trying to make any scientific claims by this; just to illustrate modern society’s preference for power.

The second season of Netflix original series, House of Cards started airing on Valentine’s day. I’ve been watching it obsessively ever since. It is a remarkably well written, acted and directed show. The story is captivating. The characters are complex and compelling but what has really gotten me is the overall theme. This is a show about power and power is a potent aphrodisiac. It is addictive and consuming. Money is power. Knowledge is power and if you believe Oscar Wilde, even sex is about power.

“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” – Oscar Wilde

To feel powerful is one of the greatest feeling in the world. I understand why people seek it. With power you can make things happen. With power you can forge your own destiny. With enough power, you can control the world and here in lies the problem. Power is a tool to create change but it has no morality; it has no conscience, it has no soul. To me, the means by which we obtain power is paramount. With money, with knowledge, with skill we can create great things but also do great harm. If what we seek is peace, all we need is love.

I cannot subscribe to the principle of, “by any means necessary”. The ends can never justify the means for in my world view, there is no end. All we have is means and if our means are not rooted in love then they possess the potential of being misguided.

There is great power in love but love is slow. Love takes patiences. Love does not control. Love takes understanding and forgiveness. Love is humble. Love is actually pretty fucking boring. Love requires vulnerability and risk. Love offers no guarantees. Love cannot make anything happen. Love can only allow nature to take it’s course. This makes love rather unsettling to modern humans.

Let’s face it, love cannot pay the rent. Love cannot put food on the table. Real people have real problems and love is not the answer.

My ability to eschew modern world forms of power in favor of love is a luxury. This is going to piss some people off. I have one friend right now who is not talking to me. To be honest, I gave up the modern forms of power because they didn’t work for me. They made me sick. I turned to love as a last resort. I turned to honesty because I had nothing left to lose. But you know what? I gained a lot. In fact everything I have I owe to love.

I’m not here to tell anybody else what to do. We are each on our own path. I’ve seen enough to know that I don’t know enough to tell anyone else how to live. Fight if you’ve got to fight. Just know that if you can’t fight anymore, like I found myself, that love has a place for you.

I will leave you with some words from Jimi Hendrix, words which have been spoken many times before and will continue to be spoken until this dreamer’s dream is realized.

Power of Love

Power of Love

Teetering on the brink of sanity

I did have a complete meltdown on Friday. I’m dealing with issues surrounding my adoption. I’m dealing with changes that have happened in my life over the past year. I’m dealing with all the problems of the world. I’m dealing with being sued. I’m dealing with not seeing my daughter. I’m dealing with the fact that I don’t function well alone and I’ve felt really alone lately. It all just caught up with me. Sometimes we crack. Sometimes we just can’t take it anymore.

That’s when the tears start flowing.

That’s when the booze starts flowing.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with either. LET IT FLOW!

Unless it’s bullets. I do have a problem with bullets.

It’s okay if every once in a while everything else in the world just stops. I get that I’m not the center of the universe but technically speaking, I am the center of my universe. Anybody who wants to be a part of my universe can either help or get out of the way. That’s how I felt Friday.

I called my band leader and said that I was in no condition to make it to rehearsal. I secretly wished that she would come take care of me and get me to rehearsal but she is the center of her universe and had other things on her mind. That’s fair. And you know what… that part turned out okay. It’s times like these that I’m glad I’m not an air traffic controller.

These are dangerous times however. Someone who was is in the state that I was in Friday night could cause harm. We can do things or say things that our better self might not do. I do have one regret from Friday night. I did tell Ben Folds that he has no right to cover The Cure. Granted, it was only on my Facebook page and he probably never saw it but still; it wasn’t fair of me to say that and I’m sorry.

I did have one friend who was willing to enter into my universe on that night and I will be eternally grateful to her. It was a very brave thing to do and what impressed me even more was that she did it sober. I realize that I use alcohol as a crutch but I’ve got to tell you how much respect I have for people who have found sobriety; not just because it is hard, but because it is good. I realize that the path I am on will lead to recovery or death but I’m doing my best to avoid either of those options because they both scare the shit out of me. That said, I want to give a plug for sobriety. From what I’ve seen, it ain’t perfect, but it is fucking better. It is a path of love.

So what is sanity?

I’ve spent much of the day googling this question. I didn’t get any answers. I also don’t know why my Google Chrome browser is telling me that googling is spelled wrong. From what I can tell, sanity is just a made up concept like everything else. I get that there is a legal definition for “sanity” but to think that laws are not just made up is insane. Law are some sort of common consensus of what is right. They are also a whole bunch of rules that we turn to because there is no common consensus and we still need to function as a society.

So what happens when society goes insane? I think that is where we are. Maybe that makes me insane. Actually, by definition, that does make me insane. I have a couple of major mental illness diagnosis so I don’t really have a problem with being called insane but my diagnosis are not typically the kind of things that are referred to as insanity. I have depression and anxiety. They are both pretty logical considering what I have been through but they do take on some strange attributes from time to time. I break into tears for no reason and I feel like someone is about to attack me when I am sitting at home alone. Still, I don’t think that it is nearly as insane as the way our society is acting.

For example, CEO now may 273 times as much as their average worker. To be honest, I don’t know if this is true, I don’t know if this is fair, I don’t know if this is good. But is seems to be a well agreed upon opinion… and I think it’s insane. Still, this is what is called sanity in our society. There are many other examples but the point of this blog has never been to give you the answers; only to get you to think.

I think that society is doing okay. I think that I am doing okay. But we both are are probably falling over the brink into insanity. It may take some crazy thinking to bring us back. That’s why I’m okay with being on the insane side of normal… for now.

Up in smoke

Wednesday I finally picked up my electronic cigarette kit from Smokeless Smoking in Bloomington. They are on my CityPages route so for the past three weeks I have been telling them that I would be making a purchase once I got some money. That time has come.

I love it. It’s a much better system for me than the Blu eCig system I had been using. The new system has been keeping me vaping pretty constantly. My goal is to keep myself so hopped up on nicotine that I can’t even imagine lighting a cigarette. For the most part this has worked.

I did have one cigarette Wednesday night but that’s just me being incorrigible. I don’t like being told what to do – even if it’s by me. My morning cigarette with coffee and after diner smoke are still tripping me up but that should be pretty easy to manage. Considering that I spent my entire months tobacco budget on an e-cig system, eventually smoking tobacco won’t even be an option. I’m not trying to eliminate my addiction to nicotine, just reduce the harm that addiction is causing me.

That is key is having an alternative that I actually prefer. I try to be as healthy as possible but if I don’t enjoy what it takes to get healthy, I’m not going to do it. Electronic smoking is a superior experience to tobacco smoking in many ways. I like that you can do it constantly and everywhere. Cigarette smoking is an event. I roll a cigarette, go outside and smoke it – then it’s done. The e-cig I can keep with me all the time, have a couple puffs, put it down, go back to what I’m doing and then when I want another puff it’s right there. It’s still just as addictive but it’s a much less disruptive addiction. Sometimes, disruptions are good, even necessary, but you don’t want to develop an addiction to one.

Other benefits are that they don’t smell, they can’t burn anything, and there is no ash or cigarette butt to deal with. There is no mess and you don’t even need a lighter. As a nicotine delivery device, e-cigs are much more efficient. I actually get a buzz off of it but I expect that will diminish with continued use.

I will miss the ritualistic act of rolling a cigarette but e-cigs have rituals of their own. There is also all sorts of paraphernalia and addicts do love there paraphernalia.  The fact that it looks like smoking and kind of freaks people out I also conciser a benefit.

The biggest downside is that you have to keep the batteries charged but in the age of smart phones, that doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Also, I still find the nicotine solution tastes rather synthetic compared to my 100% organic tobacco from American Spirit. However, I do have some nicotine solution from Vermillion River that I really love. As long as I can keep myself stocked in that, I’ll be happy. I guess that is the other disadvantage to e-cigs; they are still not as ubiquitous as tobacco cigarettes. If anything brakes or you run out of fluid, you’re screwed.

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