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

Alone again

So last night was amazing. I didn’t stay sober but that was expected. In that respect everything went as expected. I woke up this morning on my couch in the living room, a spoon in an open jar of peanut-butter, still wearing my clothes from the night before and one combat boot.

And I was alone. I don’t know if I expected that to be different but I was certainly open to the possibility. I’m really starting to wonder if that is a realistic possibility. I’m seriously starting to doubt whether anyone is getting laid these days. I ran into a friend of mine, a totally hot, horny, polyamorous, bisexual married woman who is not having sex. Seriously, if she’s not getting any then who the fuck is?

I somehow feel like this is partly my fault. I’m trying. I’m doing everything in my power to make myself as sexually desirable as possible. I want there to be more sex in the world. I certainly want there to be more sex for me but I feel like the traditional avenues have been cut off. All of my life goals are completely contrary to being in a relationship so it’s not going to happen that way. The drunk hookup clearly isn’t happening but I don’t think that is really what I want either. Prostitution, although I don’t have any moral objection to it, has never been a turn on for me.

So I’m left with the sober hookup or having sex with friends. The sober hookup is only going to happen if I am really, really horny and kind of desperate. As much as I love, want and need sex my sober self still finds it kind of gross. It’s smelly and sweaty and I don’t care how hot a person is, the human body is just inherently kind of disgusting. Alcohol can help me look past all of that but really what allows me to be attracted to someone is being able to see inside that person. I need to connect with their soul.

That means that I need to deal with all of the emotional complications that come with having sex. I’m okay with that. In fact I’m more than okay with that. It’s actually the emotional connection that I’m seeking. If it was just physical I would totally be happy with masterbation but I’m not. I still feel like there is something missing. I want to be able to share that pleasure with somebody but it needs to be somebody that I deeply care about.

Fortunately I care about a lot of people. I just need to take the time to do the caring. If I’m going to have the kind of sex that I want it’s going to take an investment of time. Since a romantic relationship is not something that I have to offer and what most people are seeking in sexual situations it’s also going to take a lot of clear communication. I think it’s natural for the heart to turn to romance when sex and emotions are brought together. I just don’t want to create any false expectations. I know how bad that can turn out.

So it’s going to be a challenge. That’s okay, I’m always up for a challenge. At least now I have some clear and realistic expectations. I know it’s not going to “just happen”. I know it’s not just a matter of luck. It’s going to take work and it’s going to take time. At least I don’t have to feel like a loser for not getting any.

Armageddon It

Is it just me or is no one getting laid these days? I remember when I was 19 or 20 I used to go out to the bars every night and I would say half the time I would hook up with someone. That may not be my objective when I go to the bar these days, I’m not sure it was my sole objective then, but it still is a primary objective for a lot of people when they go out drinking. It just doesn’t seem to be working.

What has changed? I realize that we have AIDS now but it was around in 1987. Furthermore, we know what to do about it. We know how to have sex more safely and we understand that there are a lot of different ways to have sex, some with no risk at all. It just seems like there should be more casual sex going on.

A friend last night suggested that with the prevalence and easy access to porn on the internet that people are simply meeting their sexual needs themselves. I think there may be something to that. I know that it is a factor for me. Life is crazy, sex is complicated, if I can meet my sexual needs without much effort I’m going to do it. I’m still the best lover I’ve ever had. I know exactly how I like it. I know exactly what to do and when. Still, there is something missing. There are some things you just can’t do alone.

I think another part of the problem is sexual anxiety and it’s a completely valid anxiety. By the time someone hits 30 (or even 22), chances are they have had at least one absolutely disastrous sexual experience. These experiences are traumatising and make people very wary of hopping into bed with someone again. No amount of booze or bass thumping beats can overcome that.

But come on people, we can handle this. We’ve all been there, we’re all in this together and we need each other more than ever. We need to remember that sex is fun and sex is important. We need to start talking to each other about it;  what we want, what we need and what we fear. We should be drinking to lower our inhibitions, not to forget that we’re not getting laid.

Of course maybe the only thing that changed since 1987 is that Joe Elliott has gotten old and the mullet has gone out of fashion. Here he is in 1987:

Still waiting

I got three out of four major things done today but we will still have to wait for my next blog post. I hope it’s good.  I think it will have something to do with sex.

Manic poetic

I have found my self surrounded by poets lately. Perhaps I always have been. Perhaps I’m just more aware of it now that I’ve taken to writing as a serious preoccupation. Poetry is clearly a different format but I think the intent is much the same. I see poetry as means for the writer to shine light on the dark to expose the truth, not through argument nor facts and figures, but by awakening the truth that lies within the reader. I hope that I can do that through my song-writing and blog writing because writing poetry is not my calling. Even reading or listening to poetry can leave me bewildered at times.

My plans for Thursday night were disrupted by bad timing, miscommunication and technological difficulties. I was disappointed but a night at home, alone, could be good for me so I was determined to make the most of it. Alas, that too was not meant to be. It wasn’t long after I decided to spend the night at home that I got a message from Venus inviting me to a poetry gathering where she was going to perform. I hadn’t seen hir since driving hir and hir wife to the airport. Also, I really wanted to talk to Venus’ wife about writing.

By the way, I’ve been realizing that I’m a bit manic lately. This is not a common state for me but it happens from time to time. I have a feeling that this may be drug induced. I think that with the e-cigs I’m getting a much higher daily dose of nicotine and that could be effecting my state of mind. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. When your normal state is depressed and fatigued a little mania can be nice. Fighting it is pointless so I just try to be aware and take extra safety precautions where I can.

I decided that I could bike to Dusty’s Bar in northeast Minneapolis but that I would take a taxi home. This is why I can’t hold on to money. If I have money, I’m going to go see my friends. If I have money, I will buy them drinks. If I have the money to make the journey safer, I will do that too.

Just before heading out I got a call from a friend who wanted to know what I was up to. I explained the poetry deal and we agreed to meet there. I really wanted this friend to meet Venus and explained that we could take a taxi back to my place afterwards. There were other options for my friend to get home but as the night wore on each one slipped away and the possibility of us spending the night together became an inevitability. This was good news to me.

As much as I obsess about sex I don’t believe that it is sex which I am missing in my life; certainly not the act of achieving orgasm. I can supply myself with all of those I need. What I have been missing is human intimacy, not just emotional intimacy but the intimate connection achieved by touching another human body, preferably a hot naked body. Focusing on sex can actually get in the way of that. Sex comes with so much baggage – so much history of abuse, disappointment, manipulation, expectations, and insecurity.  I still love sex but it needs to happen naturally. What that takes is trust and trust takes time. In the meantime, I’m going to focus on what I really need and what I really have to give. So far that seems to be working.

Unforgettable days

Six days ago I finally wrote about my day which occurred twelve days ago. I still have not written about the day which followed, the Sunday, the day that is now eleven days history. I have not been putting it off because I am reluctant to write about that day. I have put it off because as time goes by I am worried more about losing the memories of the recent past. That day will forever be etched in my memory. It doesn’t matter when I write about it, it will feel as fresh as yesterday.

You see, that was the day I saved a best friend’s life.

The day before had been spent helping her move into her boyfriends house. It was a big day, an emotional day, an exhausting day. At the end she went to bed but the rest of us stayed up partying. At six or so in the morning she woke up to find us all still awake and hanging out in the kitchen.

She was understandably pretty annoyed with this. I can’t speak to her exact state of mind but I have a feeling she was upset with her boyfriend for inviting people back to his parent’s house and for not going to bed with her.

I wasn’t paying much attention to her arrival at the party but then she collapsed  She has epilepsy and was having a seizure. Her boyfriend and I rushed in to help her safely to the ground where she lay motionless in his lap.  A couple minutes past and she was not showing any signs of coming out of it. I have probably seen her have more seizures than anyone and I could tell this one was different.

I asked someone to call 911, someone who knew where the home phone was, or at least someone with a local number. The ambulance arrived in fairly short order and I met them at the door. I explained the situation and they went to work. The standard protocol is to administer a heavy dose of diazepam. I assume that they did that but it wasn’t working. I heard them say, “We are loosing her”. They cleared everyone out of the kitchen and I broke into tears.

People die from seizures.  In fact, as many people die each year from seizure disorders as from breast cancer. We had already lost one friend with epilepsy in the past year, I could not bare losing another, especially not one of my very best friends.

They loaded her into the ambulance to get her to the hospital. My adrenaline was racing. One of the party guests was pregnant and wasn’t drinking. We made plans to drive her boyfriend and me to the hospital.

—-

They next thing I knew I was waking up on the couch in the living room. My energy had finally given out and I had collapsed.  I had no recollection of falling asleep and now I was alone in this huge house out in the woods. I was alone, trying to get a hold of anyone I could but to no avail. I was alone in a state of panic for two hours before the boyfriend and his mother returned.

The boyfriend had not slept at all and was wiped out. I helped him move my friend’s couch into the basement and then his mother drove me back to my van. I got in my van and headed to the hospital to see my friend, but realizing that this would take me past my friend Scott Harold’s house, I gave him a call.

Scott Harold is the founder and CEO of the non-profit I will forever be tied to called, Rock The Cause. For the longest time I was considered the “moral compass” of the organization. I saw my role as that of preventing the organization from “selling out” to corporate interests. As the organization grew, their need for corporate collaboration became inevitable. I saw my role as an anchor turn into just a drag. I still have my doubts about some of the partnerships that have been made but I have no doubts about the good work they are doing.

For the past many months, Rock The Cause have been working with Zach Sobiech, a 17 year old singer/songwriter who is dying of osteosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that is expected to take his life within months. His story and his music are so incredibly; it moved me to tears to hear Scott tell me about him. I’m in tears now as I am writing about this. If his life does not embody the meaning of “Life Sucks, So What?” then I don’t know what does.

And then on to the hospital to see my friend who nearly died from epilepsy. I was grateful to find her no longer nearly dying. In fact, she was bitching about the food and how this hospital sucked compared to her last one. This may not have been any comfort to her in the moment but it was of great comfort to me. She was actually a pretty difficult patient but I wanted her to know that I still loved her. After spending a good hour or so with her I offered to buy her a coffee and told her that I would check in with her the next day.

Then I needed to get a drink. I had potential plans with this guy but he was not available so I called the woman I had not bought a drink for earlier in the week. She met me at the 19 bar. I explained how not buying her a drink went against my core values. We talked about honesty. We talked about lying. We talked about sex. We talked about all sorts of things until my bff showed up.

After bar close we went back to my bff’s place. We all got comfortable and after some heated discussions about poverty my bff passed out in her bed. My other friend and I were left alone on her couch. We began exploring each other’s bodies. There is much excitement to be found in another person’s body. That is something I haven’t had enough of lately. I just can’t tell you how much I missed feeling a cock in my mouth.

Nice guys finish last

We are still back on last Saturday. My bff and I were waiting for her sister to arrive at the apartment before heading to the show. With a few minutes to spare I offered to run up to the liquor store and pick up some beer. She handed me a twenty and a five and I walked the two blocks to the store. I grabbed a couple six-packs and headed to the cashier. It should have cost $22 or so but when I handed the cashier the twenty he started making change. I was momentarily confused until I realized he only rang up one of the six-packs. I let him know and we figured I owed him double what I had been charged.  He apologized for his mistake and thanked me for being honest.

“It’s a curse” I replied.

Fuck! I could have walked away with a free six-pack. Granted, it wasn’t my money in the first place.

Would I have been so honest if it was?

Absolutely, but it’s not a curse; it’s conditioning. I have made a very conscious decision to live life as honestly as possible. Despite what I know some people think, I’m not naturally a nice guy. In fact, I’m perfectly capable of doing some really horrible things. I can be an asshole, and at times, when I’m not on my game, that part of me still comes out.

So why not embrace it?

I’ve seen how people can benefit greatly from lying, cheating and stealing. People get away with doing fucked up shit all the time and even if they do get caught the consequences rarely seem to eliminate the gains. Nice guys get screwed over all the time.

Why would anyone choose to be a nice guy?

Well I do, because at the end of the day, I have to be able to live with myself – not because I need to believe that I am a nice guy, I know who the fuck I am. It is quite literally about my very survival. I’ve seen the harm that abuse, corruption and dishonesty can cause and I don’t want to live with someone who is causing that kind of pain. Life sucks enough as it is. I can’t bare the thought of making it anymore difficult for anyone else. Perhaps, if I were a stronger person I could stomach being an asshole, but I can’t. I’ve got a brain that routinely tries to kill me. I don’t need to give it any more ammunition.

The good news is that there is an upside to treating people with respect, kindness, honesty and generosity. There are benefits to being a decent person, but not without humility. Humility is probably the hardest part, and while it may seem a bit counter-intuitive, it is the key to making the “nice guy” way of life self serving. I may be nice guy for purely selfish reasons but there would be nothing nice about it if I thought it made me any better than anyone else. You can’t fake it. You have to be it, but I believe it is within all of us. Hell, if it’s within me, I’m damn sure it’s within you!

So what are the benefits to being a nice guy?

For starters, you can do away with shame and guilt. I’m not saying nice guys never fucks up, but if you are respectful, kind, honest, generous and humble you can own your fuck-ups and not let them get the better of you. You can apologize, learn from your mistakes, and know that your transgressions don’t define you. You don’t need to keep secrets and you don’t need to hide from who you are.

It also makes you less susceptible to manipulation and coercion. The adage that, “you can’t con an honest man”, I will go on record saying is complete bullshit.  But, if you are truly a nice guy, you won’t need the external validation that will make you susceptible to this kind of manipulation. If you capitulate it will be by choice, because it’s your nature or who you have chosen to be, not because someone pulled one over on you. Coercion involves force, which you would think a nice guy would have a harder time defending against, but most force is primarily psychological, not physical. What is usually being threatened is your sense of power or prestige but a nice guy knows these things come from within and cannot be taken through intimidation.

The best thing you gain by being a nice guy is the relationships you create. People will like you. Obviously, not everyone. Some people will have a really hard time with someone who is shameless and can’t be manipulated – that’s okay. You don’t need everyone to like you. Even an elected official only needs 50% + 1 of their constituents to like them to get elected. Okay, I don’t know if that is a good example. I don’t think I would conciser most elected officials to be nice guys but I think that most nice guys have higher approval ratings than elected officials. The people who will like you will like you for who you are – not for what you can give them.

I don’t have money or leverage but I still have people who like me. I have a phone with over 1,000 phone numbers of people I consider friends. These people mean more to me than all the wealth in the world. Because I have built this network of people, by getting out there and meeting people, by being genuine and honest, by being a nice guy, I know that I can make it through anything.

And this is what this entire post has been leading up to…

At two o’clock on Sunday afternoon I found myself in need of a date for a seven o’clock play. It’s an amazing play by the way, it was written by Jon Robin Baitz probably best known as the creator of the ABC drama Bothers and Sisters, dealt with the issue of writing a memoir and the damage it could cause to family members, something I can relate to oh so well, but that’s not my point. My point is that I had three hours to find a date on a Sunday afternoon. I can remember when this would have seemed like an impossible task, but now I totally felt confident that I could do it.

I started going through my contacts. I didn’t call everyone but it still took me up to letter J before I got anyone to answer their phone. Are J named people really better? I like to think so but no… it was just coincidence, just luck, just fate, actually, it was just the way it worked out. But I couldn’t have been happier. I wound up with the best date I could have hoped for.

I didn’t get laid. This is an area where not being a nice guy may have gotten me further but using my not-so-nice-guy skills is not the way I want to have sex. I am grateful that I no longer feel like I need to have sex at any cost. I still get laid but I do it with respect, kindness, honesty and humility.

Yeah, nice guys may finish last but life is not a race, it’s an adventure you want to last as long as possible.

I will leave you with a quote from a man who by all accounts was a nice guy. He came from extremely modest beginnings but became extremely successful and spent 88 years experiencing this thing called life.

“You need power, only when you want to do something harmful, otherwise love is enough to get everything done”  – Charlie Chaplin

 

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