You get what you deserve

Friday night I had two of my closest friends hang up on me. Did I deserve that?!?

Well… yeah, I probably did. After publishing my last post I continued drinking and needed social interaction so I started a mad rampage of drunk dialing. I called everyone I could think of. Some didn’t answer. That’s fine. That is well within their rights. Many did and I am grateful to all of them. Do I deserve to have so many people that I can call upon whenever the mood strikes me. I think so. I’m usually not asking for much and I offer everything I have.

With the friends who hung up on me I asked for more than they had to give and gave more than they wanted. ¬†That’s a common situation with the people closest to me. Thankfully, the people closest to me know how to deal with that situation. There really is no negotiating with a drunk person so the appropriate recourse is to just hang up. It’s not an easy thing to do but it’s far better than feeding into the reality of a person in an unencumbered emotional state with a highly encumbered cognitive system.

I woke the next morning feeling better than I had felt waking up in a long time. I knew I had a couple apologies to make but physically, I felt great. Did I deserve to feel so fantastic after such a full on night of poisoning my body? Probably not!

We don’t always get what we deserve. Life offers no guaranties. All we get with life is life and even that is only offered on a temporary basis. Every day that we are alive is a day to be grateful. Every day that we are alive we have the only thing that life has to offer. Everything else is gravy.

But we are human beings. We are a superior life form. Certainly we deserve more that just life. Certainly we deserve more than a single celled amoeba or a freaking banana. And of course, some human being are superior to other human beings. Some people obviously deserve more than others, right? I mean, take you and me for example. Since I’m the writer and you are just the reader, I deserve more than you.

Oh, I’m sorry. Did I lose you with that last statement?

Whenever we start comparing ourselves to others we are going to run into problems. My daughter informed me this evening that she has a more stressful life than other people. And you know what, she is not wrong. I tried to assure her that I would do everything in my power to reduce stress in her life but the fact is we all take on as much stress as we can handle. The real problem is when unexpected things happen that add stress we didn’t choose to take on. That’s when it’s probably a good idea to hang up the phone. ūüôā

The other fact is that we live in a society that is based on comparison. It’s really the only way that we can evaluate anything. This is bigger and that is smaller. This is stronger and than weaker. This is better and that is worse. Yeah, the only thing we are guaranteed is life but it is still up to us to survive. To survive, we need to be able to make these judgement calls. As a result we live in ¬†a very judgmental society.

I spent the day car shopping with a good friend of mine. Her very sensible mom car, the minivan, is on it’s last legs. It’s time for a new vehicle. ¬†Now this person is more than just a mom, she is a smart, classy, outgoing sophisticated woman who belongs in a more suitable vehicle than a minivan. This was a relief to me. I’ve bought three minivans in my life and it’s not the most exciting shopping experience. We were on our way to get a sweet ass ride!

Of course, in this society you can’t just go out and pick the car that suits you. You have to be able to afford it. Well… no you don’t. There is always credit. But you have to be able to qualify for credit and the poorer you are the more it’s going to cost you. In this society, poor people pay more for the same thing than rich people. But that’s okay. Poor people are inferior to rich people and so they deserve less.

Apparently, there is some doubt about that. There are some things that are only available to you if you are poor. I went out tonight with a friend who works for the county and we spend a lot of time talking about programs that are only available to the poor. I’m sure that these programs came into existence because of some idea that people deserve certain things out out of life but no one has to prove their worth as a person to receive them, only their financial worth. This is the system under which we live.

You can fight it, and take down the entire capitalist system, or embrace it and go get the benefits which this system has to offer. I don’t understand why people complain about those receiving government benefits but I also don’t understand why people keep giving all of their money to the rich. Both of these things seem stupid to me.

But then I think that we are all in a symbiotic relationship.

There would be no rich without poor.

There would be no writers without readers.

There can be no cops without criminals.

There can be no human beings without the amoeba and the banana.

There would be no living without those who have died.

We are all in this together and we can keep fighting for supremacy but in doing so we are fighting that which creates us.

Perhaps one day we will stop fighting ourselves. Perhaps one day we will get what we deserve.

Life is like riding a bicycle

I’m on the verge of falling apart. I can feel it in my body – the tightness in my stomach, invisible hands wrapped around my throat, the tingling in my back as if to warn me of some impending danger. Regardless of how many times my evolved brain tries to convince me that everything will be okay, no matter what happens I will be fine, my reptilian brain is on high alert.

My residual animal defence mechanisms know that winter is coming and after months of intense stress I may be too weak to survive it. My body is ready to fight for it’s life. I’m on edge, I’m anxious, I’m exhausted and depressed. One wrong move and I’m liable to bite someone’s head off.

The threats are real, the pain I feel is real but my ability to cope and adapt is more developed than my body gives credit. The greatest battle being waged is within myself. The greatest threat to my survival is me. In an internal struggle for power the best chance of survival is balance. Like riding a bicycle, the only way to stay balanced is to keep moving… or stop and put your foot down.

This life is for the birds

It’s five-thirty in the morning. The birds are are¬†beginning¬†to chirp. These are the same birds that earlier this week kept me awake as I was trying to get to sleep. Now my sleep schedule has completely turned around and I am trying to wake up. Still, I am unable to move. Words form in my head and I wonder if I will be able to deliver them safely to their home on the page before they are lost forever to the¬†nether regions¬†of my brain.

I have been¬†struggling¬†to write this post all week. It’s amazing how much can change in a matter of days. It’s amazing how many¬†contradictory¬†thoughts I can hold in my head at the same time. The challenges I faced at the beginning of the week seem completely contrary to the challenges I face today, yet for some reason they remain lodged in my perception.

Two versions of my reality stare each other down, each vying for control of my life yet locked in stalemate. One version is fueled by self-confidence, the hard won knowledge that I am doing the best that I can and that it is working. The other, fueled by depression, tells me that this is too hard, that I should give up, that there is no point to continuing, that everything I have tried so hard to build is built on sand and will fall to pieces under the slightest breeze.

The confidence is new to me, the depression is not although it has been some time since I have felt its presents so profoundly. Still, I recognize its signature traits. I know it is chemistry. For years I have fought back with chemicals; now I fight back with knowledge. Over time the chemicals have lost their potency but knowledge continues to gain strength. The knowledge most vital is that time is the only weapon that will defeat this adversary. It is this knowledge that keeps me hanging on in spite of everything which tells me to give up.

But knowledge is not enough. Of all the issues I face, depression is the most debilitating, challenging to overcome and the most deadly. Knowledge is enough to let me know that I can survive this. Knowledge is the reason why I have to survive this. Knowledge is the reason I keep doing the right thing even though my impulse is to completely lose it and tear everything apart.

It doesn’t seem fair. Why do I have to take¬†responsibility¬†for my demons when nobody else seems to? Why do I need to rise above it and be the better person? Why do I have to hold onto my pain? ¬†Why can’t I just lash out at the world? Why can’t I fight back when I am under attack? Why do I get held to a higher standard? Why do I hold myself to a higher standard than I hold anyone else? Why do I have to be so understanding?

Oh yeah, because I know…

Life sucks… so what!

It’s all we’ve got so I might as well do what I can to make it suck a little bit less. No gain will be made by putting more pain into the world.

So here I go again… Off to do what I can to make the world a better place.

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