Everything happens for a reason

So today it snowed and my daughter decided that she wanted to take the day off from school… all so that I would have time to write. Right?!? Isn’t that why it happened? Doesn’t everything happen for a reason? Or do things just happen and we assign them a reason? Well. in this case it’s both. There is definitely a reason why it snowed having to do with all sorts of meteorological stuff that I don’t completely understand and wouldn’t dare try to explain. My daughter certainly has her reasons for not wanting to go to school today but I learned long ago that any attempts to understand teenage girls is pointless. Love and acceptance are the only tools which have any chance of yielding positive results in that situation.

The fact remains that I am now writing. It snowed, my daughter isn’t going to school and I’m writing a blog post. Cause and effect. Bam!

It’s also a fact that I haven’t been writing much since I got sober. There is obviously a correlation but fully understanding the cause may be a difficult as explaining the weather or teenage daughters.

There is a simple answer however. There’s always a simple answer. It’s God’s will is probably the simplest answer and it’s good enough. When all other explanations fail me, I still have God. To be honest, God has been indispensable during this phase of my journey but I don’t really want to write about God. I don’t. I really don’t. At least not publicly. At least not now. I consider spirituality in whatever form it takes to be a very personal thing. I no business writing about God or spirituality and I can’t write about what has been going on in my life without it. It may be God’s will that I not right but more likely it’s my will to not write about God.

A lot of things changed in my life when I quit drinking. The undeniable truth is that drinking played a huge role in my life. The simple act of quitting meant that things were going to change. That was kind of the point. If I wasn’t an alcoholic that would probably be the end of the story. Man quits drinking, stops making trips to the liquor store. In my case it’s a much bigger deal than that. In many ways my story resembles that of every other alcoholic who has gotten sober. If you want to read some of those stories there is a whole book of them online.

I’m determined to make my story a success story but I’m not ready to declare victory yet, not that I even know what that would mean. Every day I don’t have a drink is a victory but I’m under no illusions that my recovery will one day be complete. Prior to sobriety I didn’t care how the story turned out. It was just me, doing my thing. I felt perfectly comfortable telling it in the moment. Win or lose I knew it would make a good story. But it’s no longer just about me. It’s bigger than me. That is to say, I’m part of something bigger than me. If I fail I don’t want to bring anyone else down with me. That and I actually care how my life turns out now. It’s not just a story.

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.

 

 

 

 

Things to come

As my life is becoming more structured I want to get back to trying to write everyday. There are so many thoughts and ideas floating around in my head that I really want to get out. I have an opinion about just about everything; I just haven’t felt that I have the  moral authority to speak about them. The more I read other people’s opinions the more I realize that I shouldn’t let that stop me.  It helps me to see that the crazy thoughts in my head are shared by great thinkers who have actually garnered respect for their ideas. When I find myself still disagreeing with people whose ideas I highly respect I come out thinking that I may have something original to offer. This doesn’t mean that I am right and they are wrong, only that I have a perspective which is uniquely mine. Some people will probably like what I have to say and some people might not. I hope you will let me know either way. I think the conversation is a good thing in and of itself. My thoughts and my beliefs are constantly evolving.

I want to try and tackle some of the big issues even if I can only do it in a small way. I want to share my musings on subjects like, god, meaning of life, good and evil, human evolution, fame and success, morality, inspiration, creativity, society, government, punishment and love. I also want to write my thoughts on the more mundane topics of the day like marijuana legalization, global warming, income inequality, gay marriage, the Arab-Israeli conflict, religious freedom and politics.

I’m sure that I will continue to intersperse some stories about my life but I don’t want that to be the focus. I’ve been using this in-the-moment memoir approach because my memory sucks and I wanted to have a way to remember what I’ve been through. I also figured that if anyone was going to be telling my story, it should be me. What I’ve found is that I don’t find my story all that interesting. I remember what I want to remember and the rest I am more than happy to forget. If someone else finds my story interesting, they are welcome to write about it. I need to write about what interests me.

My hope is that I will be able to develop a structure and framework that will make it easier for me to write. I also want to get to the point where I can write comfortably without the use of alcohol. I simply am not going to have the time to drink like I have been and there are some consequences to drinking that I would like to avoid. I know this will be a challenge for me. I’m much more self critical when I’m sober. I also have a hard time focusing on a single thought. I find my brain racing three pages ahead when I’m still struggling to find words to complete the sentence at hand. It’s really frustrating and time consuming but I need to find some other tools to help me focus.

Dirty dishes

I fancy myself to be an artist and a philosopher. I don’t have a degree in either art or philosophy. I’ve never made any money to speak of for my art or my philosophical thoughts but for some reason that doesn’t seem to bother me. I keep doing it because it is what I do. I guess that’s really all the justification I need. It would be nice to be taken seriously and perhaps even financially rewarded for my efforts but I find that when I place external validation as my goal, the creativity suffers. Still, I find it hard to believe that I would put myself through such hell if I wasn’t receiving some sort of validation. I pride myself on being a lazy person who only does what is absolutely necessary for survival yet I find myself doing all sorts of thing that are really very difficult for me. I must be getting something out of it.

Validation is one of the things that I get out of what I do but I’m starting to question if my motivation is actually external validation. I’m starting to think that it really comes from within me and I project it onto the world around me so as to feel less selfish.

So let me tell you a story…

I was at my friends house the other day. She informed me that she had some things to do and left me alone in her house. I have a key so there was not problem with locking up after she left. I didn’t have anywhere else to be so I looked around for something to do. My friend had recently had a party so the dishes had kind of piled up. I figured I could at least do some dishes while I was there. I like doing dishes. It’s an easy way to help and pretty hard to fuck up.

As I was washing the dishes I found myself thinking about how much I would be appreciated for doing this. I thought, what a pleasant surprise in would be for my friend to come home to find a nice clean kitchen. Certainly there would be some future reward in it for me providing such a valuable service.

Then I realized how ridiculous I was sounding. All I did was a few dishes. Even if it made things better for one day it would be completely forgotten by the next when a new pile of dirty dishes arrived. But it didn’t matter. In that moment I felt good. I didn’t even care if there was any acknowledgement of my actions. I had already given myself more validation than I probably deserved. I didn’t even do all of the dishes after all.

When my friends returned home she was pleased although by this time I had completely forgotten what I had done. When she sent me a text message which stated, “You little fairy” I thought she was referring to my sexuality. I still found it endearing but when I realized what she was really referring to I got to feel that sense of pride all over again.

And I’m pretty sure it was pride that I was feeling. I even took a pictures of my accomplishment.

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I could show you a picture of what it looked like before but I didn’t take a one of that nor would I post it because I wouldn’t want to embarrass my friend but I will show you a picture of my dirty dishes. 

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I like a clean kitchen but not enough to actually clean it. I clean when I have to. I clean when I run out of dishes or counter space. I cleaned my living room yesterday because a friend was coming over to give me a massage. There was no way she would have had room to work if I didn’t do some cleaning. My motivations are very practical; they are utilitarian. I’m sure that gives comfort to those who see me as a selfish prick and not the struggling soul on a path of enlightenment which is how I see myself.

I have no conflict with people who see me as a selfish prick. I also don’t consider enlightenment to be a higher form of being. I still think that we are all equal and we all kind of suck. The only thing that I think enlightenment offers is the understanding of how shitty we are and hopefully the insight to do better. But what do I know? I’m not there yet. 

That was one freaking year

It was one year ago today that I started this blog. I’ve recently gone back and started reading what I was writing a year ago. I just wanted to see what was on my mind back then and what has changed. The first thing I noticed was that I used to be a lot more angry. Either that or I just used to swear a lot more. Maybe I have become a better writer. Don’t get me wrong, I still love sailor speak and am known to throw an f-bomb around from time to time but it’s a bit of a lazy method for getting one’s point across. I’m glad that I don’t feel the need to do it so much anymore.

I suppose now would be a good time to make plans for the coming year, set some expectations or something, but that is not how I got here and it’s not how I’m going to continue. I just think that writing this blog is a good idea so I’m going to keep doing it.

I do want to thank everyone who has taken the time to check out my blog. I want to thank the people who have clicked the “like” button when they thought one of my posts didn’t suck. I also want to say that I do really appreciate the comments. Hopefully I can find a way to encourage more of that in the coming year. Mostly, I want to thank all the other bloggers out there who are sharing their thoughts and feeling with the world. It’s a pretty amazing community that we have and I look forward to becoming more involved as time goes on.

No bad days

It’s been a while since I have posted anything. In part that has been for lack of time but mostly it has been lack of desire. I just haven’t felt like writing and I kind of do what I want to do. It’s not like I have a lot of wants and I’ve actually been working on reducing the ones I have. That said, I can’t think of anything that I would rather be doing right now.

You see, for the past four days I have been is Los Cabos, Mexico. While back home in Minneapolis, MN people are getting pelted with a snow storm, I’m basking in the sun of 80 degree days. As I’m writing this it’s nighttime but I’m sitting quite comfortably in shorts by the pool drinking cerveza. I don’t need anything more than this.

Obviously, I did bring my laptop to Mexico but I probably won’t be posting much. I don’t know if it was subconscious or completely by accident but I forgot to pack the power cord for my computer so I only have six hours of battery life. To be honest, that’s about all the time I want to spend online.

My reason for being here is not a much needed vacation. I really don’t need vacations. I’m here to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday which was today. He and my mother have been coming down here every winter for the past decade or so and this year they wanted to have the whole family with them to celebrate.

There is no way that I could afford to do what they do every winter but this is the life. My whole time here I have been trying to figure out how I could make this my part time home. It’s not the hotel or the swimming pool or the fancy dinners that interest me. It’s just the sun, the warmth and the people. I’m actually finding being a tourist and having everything taken care of for me a bit unsettling. I really want to be working here.

I’m going to enjoy this time off and I hope that I return to the States rejuvenated and ready to get to work on my dream of never spending another winter in Minnesota.

The other side of life

I can’t really write today. I’ve been busy dealing with the other side of life. Ya know… learning. But I want you to know that I also have a facebook page. I sometimes post things there that aren’t mine but have moved me. I did it today. Please check it out. Please click the like button the like button while you’re at it and most importantly, please have a wonderful day if at all possible.

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