Monday, February 17, 2014

On being counter-cultural.

It occurred to me the other day that I haven’t really written anything insightful on this blog in a least, that was insightful to anything other than how I feel. So here’s something for your minds to chew on.

I love the culture that I have chosen, not because it is easy (on the contrary) or because it is most pleasurable, but because it is so rebellious. In the distant past, it was, perhaps, a rebellious thing to drink to excess, to treat sex as other than a part of marriage and family, to accept that there “is no truth” and that everything is permissible. Now, that is what it means to be of mainstream thought. That is the culture. So the culture I have chosen is strictly counter-cultural, and, therefore, rebellious. And I love it!

I remember very distinctly a wonderful evening I had with a close friend. We were college students at the time (well, he still is, actually, since he’s going for his doctorate) and had decided to go downtown to get a drink to St. Patrick’s health on St. Patrick’s feast day.


No sooner had we arrived in the bar area than we were exposed to women dressed immodestly, hordes of young people spouting vulgarity, a young man trying to cross the street who was too drunk to be able to successfully pick his phone up off the road where he had dropped it.

My friend and I slipped safely inside a bar we enjoyed because it was quieter, and proceeded to enjoy a fine Irish beer in the spirit of St. Patrick (a Guiness). A beer. We talked to one another about the topic of what a truly good thing beer was and what a truly Catholic thing it was that a beer blessing prayer exists, and various other things while we drank, and as soon as that warm feeling of beer washed over us we paid and were out the door, headed home as we continued to talk. And on our way back, we went to stop in to church to pray and thank God for a wonderful evening. But before we did, we were stopped by a group of drunk boys (I refuse to call them men) who gruffly inquired why we were headed home “so early” (it was really almost midnight at that point). We explained that we had our drink already and were headed into church to pray. At that point they became very belligerent and informed us we were missing out on promiscuous sex, though not in such polite terms. They let us rebels really have it. Guess we made them uncomfortable.

I am never reminded so strongly how strange I am to other people as when I inform someone who is of mainstream thought that I spend time with girls as friends alone. Seriously! I remember one young lady’s reaction when I told her about a time when I had a 3-hour conversation with a girl friend of mine. She was stunned, and it took me a moment to figure out why. The reason was because three hours with a member of the opposite sex alone meant sex! And really, the thought never crossed my mind while I was with my friend. And yet I still cultivate friendships with women without any intentions of more than just conversation and laughs. I suppose that makes me feel very rebellious!

It is fun to be different. It is a good thing to be radically opposed to the Romanesque, decadent culture of the West, to be so diametrically opposite of what it typically means to be an American male in his mid-20s. If I am to take pride in anything, it is good to be proud that I have cooperated with grace just enough to rise above the influence of the current cultural climate. Though I still have plenty of faults, it is good to reflect on how incredibly different I am from the image that our culture proposes I ought to be.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a rebel’s dream.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Intuiting success.

I wish that I could do whatever I wanted. Or, rather, I don't, depending on your point of view.

My last post was a hopeful one, and I sincerely meant everything I said. But I am realizing that in order to do something, I must really believe in it.

I am able to recognize the solutions to my problem. I could solve all my problems today, if I really wanted to. But I don't want to be the kind of person who would solve their problems that way. I don't want to be someone who settles, I don't want to be someone who hordes attention and scares people into caring about me, I don't want to spend time with people pretending I have one intention when really I have another. I'm not going to trade my only virtues for vices, even if they promise to make me happy. I won't do it.

That's not the only problem, though. As long as it's not mechanical, I am able to recognize when something will work and when it will not work. I can take a lot of chances, but I hesitate to make ones that I know with very little doubt are not good ones. I am, perhaps, too sure of my own intuitions. But so far, every time I've really had a hard time were all the times I ignored my intuition. I'm not about to do it now, even if it will temporarily bring some joy to my life.

For now, though, I am doing something. I need new friends, more friends. I am trying to reach out to new people in the hopes that I will meet others like me, who love their friends in the way that I need to be loved. I can't hang out with the same people all the time and expect them to just learn how to conduct their friendships the way that I do. It's never worked.

It's good to be doing something. I just hope it works.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for an intuition of success.

Monday, February 3, 2014

"Like out of the Far East..."

I am…so very arrogant.

What I mean to say is that I am sorry, both to myself and to others that have spoken to me that I claimed I had done everything there is to do about my situation. There is still hope, and I wish I had the courage to acknowledge it to those who spoke to me – even those who spoke anonymously to me over this blog. In my hurt, I gave myself permission to pridefully proclaim that all other opinions about the situation were null and void, and that my despair was gospel.

Today, I spoke to someone in my profession who is much more experienced than I, and has been very credible to me since the moment I met him…often in a way I couldn't deny, even if I wanted to. This man, a 'mentor' if there ever was one, just speaks to me, and I believe what he says. Today I told him all about what has happened to me over the past several years, and he spoke to me about a philosophy toward my problems so bold and tenacious that I would never have thought of it myself. I can be bold and tenacious if the situation calls for it, but at heart I am cautious, and think first of the cautious approach to situations.

I did not agree to all that he said – not yet, at least – but I did acknowledge that his idea was attractive to me. I told him that his idea was a philosophy "like out of the Far East," a foreign idea coming to those Westerners who thought they knew it all. I did think I knew it all – but clearly I did not.

I have often spoke of characters from stories in this blog. I have readily admitted in one particular blog post that I admire most the characters who never give up, who are bold and tenacious. Like Han Solo, Magus, Vegeta, or William Wallace. I like them because we are so unalike, but they have qualities I wish I had. I told this to my mentor, and he told me that all men wish for such qualities. He is probably right. I am not special in this – but I am special in that I’m willing to try.

I've come too far to do anything else.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream full of boldness and tenacity.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Mr. Brightside.

"I just can't look, it's killing me...and taking control. Jealousy, turning saints into the sea. Swimming through sick lullabies, choking on your alibies. But it's just the price I pay! Destiny is calling me, open up my eager eyes. 'Cause I'm Mr. Brightside.

I'm seeing a counselor again. She seems like a nice lady and everything, but I think I can tell what direction we're going to take. It's the same conclusion that my last counselor and I reached - that there's nothing to do, that other people and the world are what they are, and all I can do is become stronger, more tolerant, and carry on.

I am convinced that who I am is good. I really care about other people and am empathetic to them, and am a far better listener than anyone else I know. That is something I will never try to change, even if it makes me so lonely sometimes when I want the same in return. Even if it leads to periods like this where I want to disappear forever.

It is also true that every time I go through a period like this, I become more tolerant of the next one. I am beginning to feel better already, and though I know I am not even close to where I was last October, when I was probably the happiest I had ever been in my entire life, this is still a relatively quick recovery for me.

But I don't want my life to be all about being Mr. Brightside and just hoping for things that won't come. It would be nice someday to know that all I hoped for really was going to come true. That true, loyal, loving life-long friends will be mine. That I can get married and make a family. Unlike in the Killers song posted above, it would be nice to not watch while other people receive what I want from life, while I watch and hope for my turn.

I know there is nothing to be done, except to be a stronger person. At my mother's funeral, that was one of the things I quoted from her during the eulogy. "Don't pray for an easy life, pray to be a strong person." OK, Mom. I will.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream to be a strong person.