The Spiral

So, what brings you here? How’d you find this place? With the zero advertising I’ve done for it, I didn’t expect to see anyone here at all, much less a striking beauty such as yourself. Oh, really? Just stumbled upon it? Well, you’re in luck, because for opening day, we’re going to shoot the shit about life. I am going to say things that may be totally off. I may even say things with which you disagree. But, I’m going to say them nonetheless.

No, no. You don’t have to do much of anything. Just sit back and go along for the ride.

Let’s see: Life, huh? It’s uncompromising and sometimes relentless. But, I always have to remind myself that it can be immensely rewarding, and while one day is complete torture, the next day is filled with laughter. Sure, that could be the maniacal laughter of the evil madman who had tortured you the previous day, but I’m still right. It IS laughter, isn’t it?

We all have bad days. I just had a terrible one yesterday. Why? You name it. Single parenting, judging myself, thinking there’s nothing, lack of sex, judging others…shall I go on? Yes, you’ve been there as well. We all have. Although, I sometimes actually do think there is this whole group of really awesome people, with really awesome lives, and who really don’t ever feel sadness or anger.  And, I think, “Wow, good for them! They don’t have to worry about anything at all…except being awesome and having people think they’re awesome.”

I know it’s hard to tell tone in writing sometimes, so let me clarify. Those people don’t exist. That kind of life doesn’t exist. And, if it does; if there really are people like that, then it’s a life I really wouldn’t want.

Why, you ask? Come in closer…a bit closer…just a little closer…BECAUSE IT WOULD MEAN I AM INSANE AND DON’T HAVE A GRIP ON REALITY!!! Feelings give us our humanity. Feelings for ourselves and for others connect us. If you’re not connected to anyone or anything emotionally, or even connected to yourself and know it’s okay to fucking lose it sometimes, then perhaps that old saying “dead inside” applies to you.

Life NEEDS to be felt. We don’t have to like how it makes us feel sometimes, but we shouldn’t hide our pain or joy (did you know they can both be felt at the same time?). Should we share it with others? Sure. Sometimes, it’s needed. Yet, remember: the “others” you are sharing it with have their own problems too, so don’t throw it onto them thinking they are going to resolve it for you. They can’t.  Well, maybe Dr. Evil Madman Torture can take your mind off it for a while, by giving you something else to worry about, but that’s probably the wrong kind of doctor to consult in your case (or, in my case, since this really is a personal story and I haven’t talked about me for a paragraph and a half).

So, remember when I said I had a terrible day yesterday? That was true, but luckily I had the good sense to only share it with a small portion of people. Those I know, or hope, don’t judge me for things. I did not share the details, but only that the day was rough and I failed.

You know how I’ve been talking about needing to feel this whole time? I tried not to feel, by drinking. Not the best idea I’ve had, but certainly not the worst either. The worst happened in Canada one time; didn’t involve alcohol; didn’t involve any sort of sadness. But, it’s a story that we’ll save for another time.

So, I gave you a list of items above that made yesterday terrible. But, those are common things for people. Millions face that shit every day. I have to remind myself sometimes that I am not some island, but if I were, I’d totally be like the one they were on in “Lost”—scary, a bit insane, compartmentalized, difficult to figure out at times, hidden, stormy, and probably home to a smoke monster.

But, there’s always a trigger to really convert a day from normal to whatever state in which I ended up. It’s not that I suddenly decided to throw a fit because I decided I didn’t like the less perfect things about me. I actually embrace those imperfections. The imperfections are what make me a better person, a better friend, a better father, a better lover, and just all-around better human. The trigger in this case is that I felt too much.

And, I like to think she actually feels too. Well, she DID feel. I don’t know. Probably “did,” after I got all skittish thinking about the impossible and turning my self-depricating style into a weird spiral that one could probably liken to taking a tour outside of one’s body, and looking at oneself to see someone they don’t recognize.  I lost myself a bit. Getting myself back now, but there was a glimmer of someone else that’s not normally me.

Yes, I turned on the “crazy” for a bit.

Oh, God. Don’t look at me like that. I didn’t mean THAT kind of crazy at all. Oh God, no. I had a week of consuming thoughts that started when she told me to stop writing, because she can’t have me “hijacking her thoughts” and “I’m married.” Not the first time I’d been punched in the gut. I can handle that. But, if you knew me, you’d also know I don’t trust easily. I guard myself immensely and don’t share myself with others. Remember that compartmentalizing I spoke about in my whole “if I were an island”? Welcome to my seventh level.

But, that’s where the spiral occurred. It wasn’t that I had 1,003 problems without properly conceived solutions. It wasn’t that I have to worry that my kids happiness comes before mine. It wasn’t even that I was bored with my job.

It was because I felt guilt.  It’s because I was ill-prepared for this revelation. I should have been, and I started to beat myself up for not seeing it. And, this depressed me. Paralyzed me. Made me useless. Kept me up at night. Because, right when I thought I had made impact, I realized my impact felt small. I felt small.

Now, since this day, there were three days of complete silence. There were many messages I wrote, wanted to send, then deleted them. Writing a few others, deleting those too. Finally, when I had really thought I had ruined a friendship, a message came through that she missed talking to me and had been thinking of me. This prompted some emotionally-driven messages about us, our lives and thoughts, and to me making the most awkward video of myself in existence (because, she wanted to see and hear me, and that maybe if I did this, she could stop thinking about me, because she’ll see the real me and will see that I am not that “something.”)

So, this was incredibly frightening for me. I was about to offer up the real me, and I did not want to have her stop writing me, because she would see something that she really did not like. With me knowing full well I was in an impossible situation anyway.

And, there are versions of this video that will NEVER see the light of day. I tried it in three different locations: 1) at a University (where I couldn’t find a location for 30 minutes that would work, because I happen to try and do this on a day where construction was at an all-time high and there were hundreds of freshmen yelling because it was orientation day); 2) in front of a local neighborhood house (where after recording it, I realized that it was a mental health center, and if I sent that video, there’d be a huge sign in the background, and it might send the wrong message); 3) and finally, in the back of a parking lot, near a fence, where within one minute of sitting, I was interrupted twice by a guy who was there to drink his afternoon beer.

But, I digress…the real me…this person she’d never met. Oh, I didn’t mention that, did I? Sorry.  Yeah, we’d never met in person. We had chatted online.

Ow! What was that slap for??? No, I didn’t see anything wrong with this. Remember, I said I embrace my imperfections. Believe me, there was plenty of thought about this, and the fact that there were emotions involved doesn’t mean everything must be rational. As long as people have minds, the ability to connect, and hearts, they will always take a little leap of faith. And, believe me, some of the craziest decisions can also be the most rewarding.

Anyway, I sent the video. As soon as it was sent, I panicked. It was out there now. I couldn’t take it back. I tried to assess from her responses if it made any bit of difference. I couldn’t tell. There were some things she said that I read and thought, “Ugh, yeah. She found what she was looking for, and I am lesser now,” or, “Why did she say that? It is because the real me didn’t compare to the online me?”

Whatever it was, I felt defeated. My energy was gone. But, the thing I didn’t do was go back to booze. I saw the bottle and told myself no. I wanted to, but didn’t. Because, that is not me. That is who I think I should allow myself to be at times, and I may think it cuts the edge, but it doesn’t.  Instead, I grew up a bit and sucked it up.

You may say to me, “Well, it sounds like it’s all for the best, then.” And, you’d be totally right. But, I invest myself in people. From short-term to long-term relationships (that means friends or romance, not simply romance), I cherish people… I invest in them by giving them something no one else sees, and sharing with each other those crazy little things called emotions. But, this affected me tremendously. You can judge me for this. You can tell me nice guys finish last. (By the way, you’ll find clichés on aisle 27.)

But, you cannot change me. I will still continue to want to give to people in the most positive way I can: by being me. And, although I cannot fix anyone’s problems either, I certainly am happy to be a part of the process with them.

So, that’s the journey you are taking with me by reading this. I can’t promise I will have a new story each week. I can’t promise there will be any revelations from reading this in your own personal life. But, look around, explore a bit, give feedback, tell me I’m foolish, take me out…just give me ANYTHING to let me know  there are still parts of the world that are a bit sane. But, for the sake of us all, do NOT allow me to spiral out of control again.