Why ask why?

I’ve been writing this blog for nearly a year. It was born out of a dream, a vision, a plan but in truth I had no idea what it would become. I just knew that there was only one way to find out. It has carried me through many changes, many ups and downs, many successes and failures to land me at a place of contentment. That was not my dream or my vision but to be honest, I never really followed my plan. The truth is I’m much better at making plans than following through on them. Still, not a bad place to wind up. Being content is not the worst thing in the world. If you are looking for a road map to contentment, then feel free to follow my example. It works.

When I chose the name for this blog I really didn’t know what it meant. I just liked the way it sounded and felt like it captured my state of mind and outlook on the world. Now, after treating it like a daily affirmation, it has taken on a more specific meaning for me. It is a call for awareness and acceptance. These are the core principles of my philosophy. They are rooted in embracing the present moment and letting go of suffering.  They allow me to see the world as it is without judgement or expectation. They have lead me to hold beliefs like, “in life all things have purpose” and “love is all you need”. They allow me to treat every experience as a gift and to benefit from the lessons they teach. They allow me to roll with the punches, to forgive and find peace.

All of these things are fine and I am grateful to have found myself in this land of tranquility. It’s pretty easy for me to look at my life today and see how much better it is than a year ago. I am finally at peace…

… but I’m not at the end so clearly there is something more.

I’ve gotten to a place where everything is okay. I’ve found balance. I am surviving. I have enough and life is good. So what am I missing?

Mutherfucker! That’s exactly how it happens. I get to the point where I have everything I need, I’m safe and comfortable yet I’m still seeking something more. That’s when the questions start.

Awareness is clearly a good thing and acceptance is without a doubt the path to contentment. The problem is that some things aren’t acceptable. Awareness without acceptance will lead to discontent. Acceptance is merely the ability to not ask why.

I’m not sure I have that ability. I’m not sure I want that ability. Our ability to ask “why” is behind every scientific discovery we have ever made. It is the driving force behind every religion. It is probably our greatest evolutionary trait and the cause of our unprecedented progress.

It is also the primary cause of our discontent.

So why as why?

Because I am aware? Because it is in my nature? Because I am not content? Because I know that there is more? Because somethings don’t make sense? Because intuition is not enough? Because the rules don’t work?

Actually the answers are infinite yet none may be satisfactory. That may be the only thing there is to accept.

Because I cannot accept injustice.

I cannot accept poverty.

I cannot accept destruction of the environment.

I cannot accept war.

I cannot accept feeling alone.

I cannot accept feeling like I have nothing to give.

I cannot accept wanting to die or my friends wanting to die.

I cannot accept denial.

I cannot accept deceit.

I cannot accept lying.

I cannot accept contentment when I am aware that life still sucks.

So… what does that mean? Only tomorrow knows.

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Always listen to your bartender

I hadn’t been out on my bicycle in nearly two weeks and I was starting to go stir crazy. Even in the winter, I make bicycle my primary mode of transportation but lately between work, picking up my daughter, helping other people and then snow I’ve had to drive. And it drives me crazy.

Friday was a beautiful day and I was not going to let it go to waste. As soon as I was done writing I hopped on my bike and headed downtown. I went to the bank to deposit my tax refund check. I still want to close that account and open one at a credit union. I was going to use my tax refund to do that but now I need it for other things.

After taking care of my banking I received a text message from my bff. She wanted to know if I was going to Cause Soundbar that night to see Rape Door and Dumpster Juice. I said I wanted to but had a big day on Saturday and thought I should stay closer to home. If I was a normal person, I would totally be there but I have issues and life is hard. Okay, normal people don’t go see bands named RapeDoor and Dumpster Juice but they would be better people if they did. If I did, I would need to crash at my friends place because there would be no way I could make it home on my bike. Still, I didn’t know what was going to happen; my day was in the process of unfolding.

Feeling hungry, I headed to Club Jager for food and happy hour beers. They have great food that’s pretty cheap, wonderful bartenders who take good care of me and a happy hour crowd that is always up for some lively conversations. Plus, it’s centrally located to whatever I might do next. I was still waiting to hear back from a friend who was going through some hard times so I wanted to remain available for him.

After my two beers and a meal of artichoke dip I was ready to figure out what would happen next. My friend had gotten back to me and wasn’t going to be able to meet up. When I’m biking and drinking, I don’t like to stay in one place too long. Moving around helps me from getting too drunk. I had a choice between heading to Northeast Minneapolis for a couple more drinks then heading home or heading south and winding up at Cause where I would be stuck until bar close.

I proposed my dilemma to one of the bartenders. She suggested that I play it safe and stick closer to home. At this point that sounded like a good idea.

Then I got engrossed in a conversation with another bar patron so I ordered needed one more beer. He was having beer and a whiskey. I thought that sounded like a wonderful idea so I ordered a whiskey as well.

When it was time for my conversation companion to leave I took his seat at the bar and started up conversation with my new neighbor. This procedure repeated a couple more times and I had another round of beer and whiskey. By this point I was feeling pretty invincible. I thanked the bartender for her advice but informed her that I was going to head to Cause anyway.

I mean what’s the worst that could happen. I’ve done crazier things and I’ve survived. Yeah, there was that one time when I lost an eye but most of the time nothing bad happens. I have a pretty low bar for success. As long as no one dies, winds up in the hospital or jail – all is good!

Recently someone posted this quote on my wall because it made them think of me.

“I would rather die of passion that of boredom” – Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh may not be the best role model for responsible behavior but I do share his passion for life… and probable some of his mental illness.

By now it was dark out and the temperature had dropped significantly. The ride south was pretty rough. Before I made it to Cause I had to stop and warm up. I popped in at the Leaning Tower of Pizza for a quick beer before continuing the last half mile to Cause. They are only open from 4pm – 2am but I think half time time they are open it’s happy hour. Unfortunately I was there for sad hour. Oh well… I just needed to warm up.

I made it to Cause just before the first band went on. I had a couple of $25 gift certificates for Cause from CityPages so I headed to the bar to see if I could use one of them. The bartender said “sure” but I needed to use a credit card to open a tab. “Fair enough.”, I said and ordered a beer.

By this time the place was filling up and I knew most of the people there. It was a constant barrage of:

“Hey, hows it going?”
“What have you been up to?”
“It’s so great to see you!”
“ I’ve missed you!”
“Can I buy you a beer?”

At this point I was feeling like my Club Jager bartender had no idea what she was talking about. I definitely made the right decision. As I was trying to burn through my gift certificate, people kept buying me drinks. At one point I had three beers in front of me. I had to start giving them away. I completely lost track of what I had ordered or even how much I drank. I knew I needed more food so I ordered a slice of pizza, but to be honest, I don’t recall if I ever got it. I was so “in the moment” I didn’t know what what going on.

Despite what people might think, I don’t go out to have a good time. I’m all for people having fun, but that’s not what motivates me. I’m motivated by a need for survival and a need to make life meaningful. I go out primarily because I need human interaction or I will go crazy but I also go out to make other people’s lives better. You know… to make life suck a little bit less.

Without a doubt I was doing that but to my surprise I was also actually having fun as well. I was enjoying the music and the people and dancing and having a really good time. This majorly depressed person who lives almost solely for other people was, in it’s most pure sense, enjoying life!

Oh yeah, making bad decisions is totally worth it!

Maybe…

The night came to an end and everyone filtered outside. I still needed to take care of my tab so I walked up to the bar with my $25 gift certificate. I presented the piece of paper and asked how much I owed. The bartender seemed irritated and just told me it was twenty-five bucks.

“No, really. How much do I owe you?”

I suppose it’s possible that my tab was exactly $25 but that seemed highly unlikely and her attitude about the situation did not provide me with any confidence that I was getting a straight answer. I wanted to be able to tip her appropriately but that would have taken a level of interaction that I didn’t feel was possible in this situation. I was planning on tipping her at least $10 regardless but all I had were twenties. I would have needed change and I didn’t get the impression that she wanted anything more to do with me. I wish that I had just left a twenty and been done with it, but I wasn’t feeling it. I was feeling judged and rejected so I just left.

I got outside and quickly realized that I was missing my hat; my brand new fancy green & purple sparkly hat that my friend had made for me. I needed to find it. I headed back into the bar to look but was told that I would not be allowed back in. Was it something I did? Was I being belligerent. I usually don’t get out of line when I’m drinking but I guess it’s possible. I had been having a great time, feeling tons of love and now I was being treated with disdain. I was confused, unsure if I had acted inappropriately or if I was simply suffering for the sins of drunks that had come before me. In any case, I wasn’t going to argue. I wasn’t going to make a scene. I knew I was drunk and my band has played this venue on several occasions so I didn’t need to make any more of an impression than I already had. It was time to shut the fuck up.

They were kind enough to let my friend back in to look for my hat. Although she was not able to find it someone else did and brought it out to me. Whoever that was, thank you so very much. It would have been a unbearably cold bike ride without that hat. As it was, the two mile ride was close to intolerable. Temperatures were just above freezing and it had started raining. In my opinion, these are the absolute worst biking conditions. Add to that, drunk and tired and I had good reason for gratitude after making it safely to my friend’s apartment.

I striped off my sopping wet clothes, hung them in the shower and collapsed on the couch. I had made it, I survived; just as I had done so many times before. My friend asked if I wanted a shot of whiskey.

“Sure,” I said. “I’m safe. Nothing bad can happen now, right?”

“Just don’t piss my couch.” she replied.

The smile melted from my face. Oh yeah, that. The most horrifying, embarrassing consequence to pushing myself too far and drinking too much. A reminder of my limits so painful that I have actively blocked it out. But it’s true. I have peed her couch, not once but twice. In fact over the past three years or so I have had two other accidents while sleeping at other people’s houses. It’s never happen at home, only when I’m staying with someone else. I wish that was something that I could keep private. I wish no one else knew about that. I’m not one for keeping secrets about myself but if there was one thing I wish I could keep hidden from everyone, it would be that.

But I can’t keep it a secret because, you see, it happened again. I woke up the next morning and I had wet the bed. I was mortified. I felt defeated, helpless and alone. The only comfort I could take was in knowing that I would survive this. Having been through this before, I knew what I needed to do make things right and that it would not be the end of the world. I knew my friend would still love me and that I could repair any damage I had caused.

I also know that I’m not alone. A quick Google search of adult bed wetting returns over a million results. I know that there solutions but denial is not one of them.

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