Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I look in the mirror.  Each line a reminder that my cellular regenrative process is becoming more lazy with each new pass.  This sets me apart from exactly nobody.  We are all victims of lazy cell regeneration.

Time hath made fools of us all.

I remember a fresher face.
A thinner face.
A younger face.
A face that knew less pain.
And more anger.

I told you once that I would never forget you.  I don't believe I have.  But I look at those lines in my face, and wonder...

I wonder if I haven't forgotten you entirely.
And created a new you.

I look at where I am now, and wonder if I haven't entirely recreated in my overactive imagination, the road that led me here.  A past that is more forgiving of all of my mistakes. I wonder if the history I remember is a prettier fiction.

Or maybe my life really has been that fucking fantastic.

No man can have been so lucky.
Sometimes I feel like Forest Gump, without all that Tom Hanks charm.

Oh sure.
I know the pain of losing loved ones.
I know the tragedy of a broken heart.
The wounds that never truly heal.

I know sorrow.
That anguish that runs so deep, you don't know how you'll live another minute.

I know a face soaked with tears.
I know the bravery inside the lie "I'm okay.".

I know the strength required to let go.

I know sickness.

I know death.

I've watched cancer eat the life out of someone very dear to me.
I've seen depression destroy another.

I am intimate with injustice, and intolerance, and loneliness.

I have looked in the mirror, and seen the reflection of broken, and battered, and beaten, devistated.
And always in those crooked eyes, a smile.

Because I know other things as well.

I know that I have been wrapped in the arms of beauty.
I have heard another human being say

I love you.

And they were talking to me.

Just some guy...
Who was loved once.

I have found my place...
My passion...
My expression...

And I get to do it.

I get to stand on a stage and mimic humanity.

I have tasted exotic flavors.
I have danced with grace.
I have heard your voice,
and it was the song of the Universe.

Every morning I wake up breathing,
and every part of me that hurts, reminds me that I have danced in the stars.
I have swam naked in the ocean.
I have stood on the peaks, and gazed eternity.

I have seen the big picture,
and the tiniest detail.

And a new line on my face is simply another line on the map of my life.
That has been the mask of tragedy and comedy.

and with it
all the catharsis.

Every tear shed,
Every drop of blood,
Every shard of this broken heart

Is simply the payment for every breath I get to take.

Every wonder I get to perceive.
Or be part of.

I have heard the glory of life,
and the most glorious part of all,

Is I got to share it with you.

Like it or not, you are part of my story.
I am who I am, because you are part of me.

How can one person thank another for that?

And the blisters on my feet, only tell me that you and I have danced...
And it was amazing.

And since I'm still breathing, that only means that...

I'm getting ready for the next dance.  The next pass.  The next time around.

I am made out of memory and anticipation.

And lines.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The glow of know

Two years.  My how they fly.  I have memory that 2012 was not a pinnacle year for me.  There were a lot of good things.  A lot of theatre that year.  I met new people.  Made new friends.  I don't spend a lot of time dwelling on the negative things, but sometimes they creep in.  Especially when some of those things are relatively life changing events.

Two years.  My how they fly.  It's been two years now since I came to the end of my last relationship.  July will also see the 8th anniversary of my divorce.  Eight years since I was married.  Two years since I've been in a relationship.

And the big wheels really do keep on turnin.

I grew up in a moderately conservative religion.  I didn't go through horror stories like I hear about the more rigid dogmas.  Still though.  I was taught from a very young age, to follow the straight and narrow.  I have long since discovered that I much prefer the wide and bendy...but that took a while.

There were rules.  Lots of em.  There were constant reminders of the rules.  Weekly church service.  Youth groups.  Conferences.  Camps.  All designed to instill in us a sense of obedience.  God's blessings upon us for righteous living...and all that glorious jazz.

I was by no means a model citizen of following these rules, but for the most part I gave it a shot.  I went through the mormon process of sin/repentence/forgiveness.  Many times.  I know the routine.  Still, all these decades later I know the routine.  I remember meeting with upper clergy.  Specifically, my many different Bishops, who had the fortunate honor of listening to all my sins in confession.  Got to a point where it was more of a friendly chat, than any type of shaming process.

Ulitmately I think the problem is, even from a young age, I've never really connected to that guilt thing.  Shame has never had much of an effect on me.  Ever.  If you can't guilt or shame a young man into righteousness, there's probably not much hope for him.  These are, after all, the prefered methods of instruction.

So I did go throught the motions.  I walked the walk.  I very much talked the talk.  Oh sweet baby jesus do I know the vernacular.  I could still over a decade and a half, stand at the pulpit, and say the right words that would bring tears to the eyes of all the moms in the audience.  It's called acting.  Follow a script.  Present the emotions.  Take a bow.

I just...

I just...

I just really need to keep my acting honest.
My life honest.
Even my lies need to be honest.
And they are.
For the most part.

There is nothing honest, nothing, about me pretending to hold to any religion.
When I finally embraced this honesty, there was no looking back.
I was much too old to go through the experimental stage that happened next.

I should have done all this shit in my teens.  Maybe the first couple years in college.  However, I was still abiding to religious conscript at those ages, so...

I guess I'm a late bloomer, as they say.  Oh well.  Could be worse.  I could have never had that stage at all.

So all my rules vanished in a flash of light and new found freedom.

I did all the things.
I dumped so many chemicals into my body.
and the goddamn nicotine.
Of all the shit I put into my body.
For all the good times and bad...
For all the yes's I was taught to say no to...
It was the goddamn nicotine that got me.
It's a gripper...that's fer damn sure.

If not for the nicotine, I could say I entirely cleaned up.  I haven't really done any of that for years now.  And here's the kicker.  The thing they never tell you in the D.A.R.E. classes.  All that drug education...

I don't regret a single second of it.
I don't miss it...
But my god I had good times.
I done seen some shit.
I've taken the magical mystery tour.
And it was magical.
And there was mystery.

And there isn't a single thing that I've given an absolute no to.  I just don't really have much interest or inclination for much of it anymore.

And I didn't need rehab.  I didn't have to "get clean".  I didn't need counciling.  I didn't go through with withdrawals or cravings for any of it.  (Nicotine being the exception, but that's a whole nother story((yes I said whole nother.  Deal with it.))

And I did all the sex.  Until the divorce, in my entire life, I'd only had sex with one girl.  Oh sure, there was some mischevious fooling around with a girl here or there in my high school years.  Mostly just exploratory, and discovery stuff that I'm sure everyone goes through.  You know...the really really fun stuff when you're that age, and have no idea what the fuck the opposite gender is actually made of.
My wife was my first.
That was one of the church rules I actually kept.
I'm am SO fucking pissed that I did.
I truly believe this is a pretty harmful rule, and should be broken by every person.  Always.  No one should ever have to bear with the thought that they'll only be with "one special person" their entire life.
What a waste.

And I carried that anger with me after the divorce.  Having only really experienced sexual activity with one other person, I went out into the world in my early thirties entirely unequipped to handle life as a single sexually active adult.  I really only knew how one other body responded to my body.  How we reacted together.  I took an incredibly limited experience into the big bad world of  Las Vegas nightlife.

And I did all the things.
And I tried all the flavors.
I discovered fetishes.
And toys.
And clubs.
And groups.
And websites.
I bought a one way ticket on the magical mystery tour.
And it was magical.
And there was mystery.
Dear sweet baby jesus there was mystery.

And the only mystery I solved, is that each one of you is different.  Every fucking one of you is so fucking different. You are each one of you, your own beautiful mystery. And that is my favorite mystery of them all.  And my greatest wish is that in the end, it really is curiosity that kills this cat.

The other thing I learned, is that I don't really have the inclination or interest in much of that.  Having had my adventure, what I discovered about myself is that I'm not really as fond of that particular lifestyle as I thought I might be.  It seemed pretty cool from the outside looking in, but the vapid meaninglessness of it all, come to find out, holds pretty much zero appeal to me.

So I'm in a bit of a pickle.  A conundrum of sorts.  A middle ground.  A grey area.  A neutral zone.  A come to find out nearly mythical, and non existant place of no desire for a committed monogomous relationship, and a severe distaste for meaningless.

A delicate balance of it's gotta mean something...but by god it can't mean too much.

So I went from a childhood ruled by rules.  Into adulthood with a long list of them.
I let go of my religion, and with it all the rules it contained.

I know it's pretty cliche, but that's exactly what happened.  One extreme to the other.  Oh well.  I've been called out for being a cliche before.  I probably will be again.  Hell...I've got starving artist nailed.

And I descended into lawlessness, and discovered that didn't work well for me either.  It seems appealing in theory, but come to find out, it's not nearly all it's cracked up to be.  So I discovered that perhaps rules weren't such a bad thing after all, and perhaps I should adopt some.

So I did.
My own personal guide to better living.  I was pretty good with them for a while.  And I'd live my life and as the need arose, I'd apply some new rule. New boundary.  New way to give my life some sort of focus.

Then I noticed a funny thing start to happen.  Sometimes, almost as soon as I gave myself this new rule, occasion would come along to break it.  I would.  I'd break that fucker with great gusto.

Eventually I ruled it down to one, it's the one I haven't broken yet.
It's the one rule that I never will.  As long as it is in my power, I will not.

Just don't hurt people.

That's it.  That's the one rule that rings them all.

Everything else in my crazy little fiction that I call my life, is pretty much fair game.

I do have...I dunno...thoughts.  Ideas.  Ways I prefer to go, over other ways.  Preferences.

Two years.  My how they fly.  Two years ago my last relationship ended.  I have been "single" ever since.  I stated at the time that I would remain so.

A put it out there almost as...you know...as a rule.  That was my rule.  I would live the remainder of my life as a bachelor.

Well, I realize now that it doesn't really fit into the whole don't hurt people thing...so I can't call it a rule.

I can still call it a preference.  And I will.  I still see no reason to attach myself to another person.  I still don't crave it.

Except I do.

But I don't.

I know.  I am full of contradiction.

See cause here's the thing.  Life is too goddamn short.  Too goddamn precious.  Too goddamn amazing to put restrictions on.

I understand now, through my own experience that restrictions may be a good thing here and there.  Some people do need to be governed.  Some more than others.

But by god, break the rules.

Not all of my experiences have been good ones, but holy fuck do I have some stories to tell.  I know things about myself now, that I would never have known, if I would have allowed my fear.

If I had stuck to my lessons.
If I had stuck to the straight and narrow.
If I had said no to all the things I was taught to say no to.

I know me.
I know now the things to say yes and no to...not because someone else told me those things...but because I was either smart, or stupid enough to find out for myself.

And now I know, I know more than I know anything else, that I live in a world of beautiful possibility.
There are more things in heaven and earth and all that jazz.
I know the thrill of discovery.
I know the power of yes.

I don't know where all my yesses are.  I'm still looking for most of them.  In my own way.  In my own very slow fashion.  I don't even know if all of my yesses even exist outside of fiction.

I hope that my yesses are found in love.  Most of them have been.  Sometimes you gotta swim through a lot of shit, to find the love tree...but when you do...all that shit was not only worth it, but in retrospect, rather forgettable.

It is really really easy to brush off, clean up, throw on the snazzy jacket, light up a smoke, and smile through every painful memory, when you're eating the love apple.

And it's all apples.

My god it's so easy.
To love.
To love you.
To love every single scar.
And every heartbreak.
And every supposed enemy.
And every painful morning.
And every tearful night.
And all the mountians of thorns, and rocks.
To love Every Single Goddamn breath we get to take.

Because that's the price of life.  That is the cost of being human.  And being human is pretty much tops.

I would take every wound I've ever had, every pain I've ever conceived. Multiplied infinitum.
I would pay the price a thousand thousand times, and an thousand times again.
I don't give a fuck...

Because in the end, we will be old.
We will have stories to tell.
And I will die with a smile that I've been a part of those stories.

And I will take my final breath, with a heart full of gratitude, that you have been a part of mine.

Every broken rule, has brought me here.
And here
right here.
right now...

is pretty fucking amazing.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Around the bush

Facebook has been pissing me off lately.  Twitter too.  Tumblr.  All social media really.  Digital burnout perhaps.  I think we all go through this at some point.  We step back.  Slow down.  It used to be when I'd go through this, I'd make a big show of saying I was going to disappear from whatever site.  I'd leave.  I'd brush it off for a week, or two.  Then when the shitstorm in my mind had calmed a bit, I'd come back.

I don't do that anymore.  I don't make a production of leaving.  I'm not doing that now either.  I'm not going anywhere.  I'll take it all at my own pace.  Like we all do.  Like we all should.  I'm not making any judgements.  I'm not qualifying in any way all the things wrong, or right with social media.  In the end, it simply is what it is.

Also, it's really nobody specific.  In fact...it's nobody.  No person, or friend, or friend of a friend, or any person has set me off.  It's hard to explain.  Difficult to put my finger on...but I'll try.

Did you know you have opinions?  I bet you did.  I bet you're pretty aware of your opinions.  You know how you feel about most things.  And that's good.  It's nice.  Did you also know that it's very likely that other people have opinions that are in fact, in direct opposition of your own?  It's true.  They do.  People think differently than other people.  This fact all by itself makes niether you, nor the other person a moron, or an idiot, or a racist, or a bigot, or a fool.  Just someone who thinks differently from someone else.

It's also become nearly painfully apparent that no matter what your opinion is...absolutely no matter what.  No matter how bizarre, how mainstream, how on course or off...there is some article somewhere written by someone that contains quotes by other people who did studies at some University, conducted by people with W.A.S.P.y sounding names, that will one hundred percent validate your opinion.  That article exists, and it will be shared.

It's also true that no matter what your opinion, the exact same article exists that contradicts it.  It was written by different people, quoting other people, and studies conducted at some University by people with W.A.S.P.y sounding names.

There is always always always something out there that will validate the way you feel about something.  And there is the same something out there that validates the opinion held by someone else that is the exact contradiction of what you think.

Want to vaccinate you kids?  Neat...here are 3 articles, 5 studies, and 17 blogs on why you should.
Don't want to vaccinate your kids?  Cool...here are 4 articles, 9 studies and 32 blogs on why you shouldn't.
Public school?
Home school?
Climate change?
Fuck guns?

And it doesn't matter.  The topic.  It doesn't matter at all.  However you feel, I'm sure you can tell me why I'm wrong for not feeling the same way.  I've no doubt you can forward me the link to any one of a thousand sites that will absolutely validate that feeling.


My favorite are the articles I find on Facebook, telling my why I should get off Facebook.

I honest to god read two articles, just this evening, one directly after the other.  The first being about how we are all by nature of our human creativity...beautiful.  The next article was, I shit you not, how we are NOT all beautiful, and we need to stop using that word.
I read one article discussing all the problems of slut shaming.
The exact same "news" site, the very next link was a worst dressed of the week list describing in detail how whorish these outfits made these celebrities look.

Every single day.  Every. Single. Day.  Another republican says something stupid.  Every futhermucking day.  And every day I get to read what they said.  Then I get to read an article about what they said.  Then I get to read a meme about what they said.  Then I get to read what Bill Maher, or John Stewart said about what they said.  Then I get to read the Huff Post article about not only this stupid thing they said today, but the stupid thing they said six years ago that contradicts the stupid thing they said today, and how this must be the stupidest person to ever say a stupid thing in front of his stupid constituency.

I get it.  Republicans say stupid things.

I belong to a couple of Atheist groups.  At least they call themselves Atheist groups...but really they're just we used to be Mormon, but now we really fucking hate the Mormon church groups.  There is rarely a discussion of honest thought about how to better pursue a life without god or religion.  There is a TON of discussion on all of the things the Mormon church does, that they now want to bitch about.

I'm doing everything wrong.
I'm cutting cake wrong.
I'm shitting wrong.
I'm breathing wrong.
I'm sitting at my desk wrong.
I sleep in the wrong position.
I eat the wrong food.
I drink the wrong water.
I'm standing wrong.
I'm going to the wrong movies.
I'm reading the wrong books.
I'm listening to the wrong music.
I'm using the wrong words when I talk to women.
I'm using the wrong words when I talk to men.
I'm using the wrong words when I talk to my boss.
I'm raising my children wrong.
I'm wearing the wrong colors.
I'm using the wrong sunscreen.
I'm using the wrong apps.
I'm keeping my phone in the wrong pocket.

But it's okay.
With these life hacks..
With just ten minutes a day...
With this method of decluttering...
With these 6 simple steps...
With this one new app...
With my signature on this petition...
4 easy exercises I can do at home...
7 ways to pick up anybody...
This is how you get out of the friendzone...

And nobody talks about themselves anymore.  They simply link an article that reflects the opinion they have about something.

And it all becomes so much.  So many words.  So much contradiction, and lies, and just...words words words.

And I realize that none of these articles are actually articles.  Even the news, is really just an advertisement.  Start off by telling my how much my life sucks, and how doing things your way will make my life suck less.  Everybody wants the same thing.  In exactly opposite ways, everybody wants conformity.  Everybody wants everybody to do things the way they thing things should be done...and here's how.  And if you disagree, you're a fucking moron and should just shut up.

And I bubble and boil.  Toil, trouble, all that witchy brew.
And it builds.
And it festers.
And each new stupid thing grows inside me.  A fetus of anger in the womb of frustration.
And I become pregnant with vitriol.
And I become impatient.  I want to scream.  I want to rage at all of craptastic that it has all become.
I feel it in me.  Burning from the bottom up.  I want to throw things, and break things.  I want to punch brick walls.  I want to yell into the void, and ache for silence.  I feel the desparate need to somehow get all of that out, else I'll explode.
And so here goes.
I will let it go now...the best way I know how.

I love you.
I don't care what article or opinion, no matter how well intentioned, tells me I shouldn't use the word beautiful.

You are.


I love you.
I don't care how many articles have been written about how many things you my be doing wrong.

You're not.
doing it wrong.
You're not.

You're doing it exactly right.

I know sometimes you hurt.
I know there are nights of pain.
And lonliness.
And questions without answers.

I know sometimes you're angry.  You've been hurt.
I know sometimes you fuck up.

I know I fuck up.
I make bad decisions.
Sometimes on purpose.
I say stupid.
I do stupid.
I miss opportunities.
I choose...poorly.

I'm still doing it right.
Because I'm doing it me.
And fuck anyone who says otherwise.
I can only do it me.
And you can only do it you.
Correct, or incorrect.
Smart or not so smart.
Informed, or not...

You are doing it exactly right.
If you want to do it differently...then do it differently...

It's still right.
And you're still beautiful.
And I still love you.

All of the things about you.  The opinions you have that I share...and the opinions you have that I completely disagree with...

None of that matters.

I am simply me...
and you are simply you...
and you are simply the most perfect you.
And I love that about you...
because I love you.

Your existence, has added value to mine.
I can't possibly NOT love you.

And so I do.
And so I shall.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

How to quit smoking and the people who love them

I must look like a moron at work.

A few years ago I decided to quit smoking.  I was successful for two weeks before I quit quitting.  I knew I was going to quit.  I made a whole ceremony of it.  I planned my last pack.  I assigned each cigarette its own little meaning.  I made a kind of personal production of the whole ordeal.  I had my last cigarette at a predetermined time, and marked each breath of it.  Then I put out that last one, and gave up forever.  For two weeks.  That two weeks had a lot of ups and downs.

You see, smoking is a romance.  It's a love affair.

It doesn't matter how gross, or disgusting other people find it.  Only those who do, or have done it, can truly understand all the wonderful things about smoking.  And there are many wonderful things.  It feels good.  It's zen.  It's a great excuse for so many things.

Nobody ever talks about the good things.  In fact, we are so incredibly focused on every single negative aspect that it's impossible to talk about the good things.  Well, I'm here to say there are good things.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not promoting it.  In fact...

Well in fact...

So a few days ago I was walking home from work, and pulled out the last cigarette from my pack.  I was marking in my mind that I'd need to stop by the smoke shop on my way home, and pick up a new pack.  And then I though...Nah.

I started smoking in April of 2004.  It is now 2014.  Ten years.  Ten full years I've been a smoker.  I'm 40 now.  Which means a full 25 percent of my life has been spent as a smoker.  It's been said that if you don't start smoking by the time you're 25 years old, you probably never will.  I stand as an exception to that rule.  Of course I've also dedicated much of my life to defying rules, so this comes as no real surprise.

A full quarter of my life spent smoking cigarettes.

So I said nah.

That was it.  There was no ceremony.  There was no marking at any moment that I was going to quit.  That this would be my last cigarette.  I just...threw it away, and went home without stopping at the smoke shop for a new pack.

That was June 3, 5:15 p.m.

Two days.  Just two days.  Last time I made it two weeks before I collapsed and returned to the love affair.  As of writitng this I'm only two days in.  Nowhere near long enough to claim success.  Not even remotely.

I'm not going to say I'm quitting.  "Quitting" is not a real verb.  It isn't.  You have either quit, or will quit, but you can't be quitting.  "Quitting", in reality is still just doing.  I will not say I've quit until I've passed the point of drinking the cocktail that is a constant state of pure panic, desire, and will power all fighting each other.  I'm just starting that phase...so nowhere near past it.

One thing that is different this time is the vape.  I've got the liquid vaporizor.  I'm able to constantly infuse myself with nicotine.  Which is much much much different than cigarettes, which is at the moment what I'm attempting to give up.

It helps.  It does.

But it's not the same.  Sucking on a vape when you want a cigarette is much like being incredibly hungry, and being offered one M&M.

I'm currently purchasing the highest nicotine level juice.  Once I get past the need for an actual cigarette, I'll start tapering the nicotine as well.

Or...you know...who knows.  Maybe I'll quit quitting again, and be back with a cigarette in my mouth between the time I write all this, and the time you read it.

Another thing is I did eventually buy another pack.  See, my vape runs on a battery, that I pretty much kill by 6 p.m.  It has to sit on it's charger for a few hours to become usable again.  I have pretty specific plans for that pack, and so far have followed those rules to the letter.  I don't carry it with me.  The cigarettes stay in my bedroom.  I keep them, no longer in my pocket, but on the nightstand by my bed.  I will only allow myself on per hour, for as long as it takes for my vape to recharge.  And then once it is usable again, I won't have a cigarette.

Next payday, I'll buy a second vape, so that I'll always have one charged at any given time.  At that point the plan is to not buy anymore cigarettes at all.

That's the plan.

I've been keeping to  it so far.
But then again, I'm just starting.

My vape won't actually activate unless I press a button.  Most of what I do at work every day requires the use of two hands.  So most of my day, I'm just standing there, doing whatever it is I'm being paid to do in the moment, with my vape just sort of hanging out of my mouth.

I must look like a moron at work.

So yeah...I haven't quit.  I'm not quitting.  I've simply implemented a plan to eventually be "have quit".

One of the problems is immediate motivation.  I know every long term reason in the world why this is a good idea.  I know every single health benefit.  I know exactly how much I'll save every year by not buying cigarettes.  I know how long it will take for CO2 levels to return to normal.  I've researched and read all the changes that will happen.  All of the benefits.  Every reason to quit smoking.  I know them as well or better than any person who attempts to tell me why I should quit.  None of this is new information.  And for the record, I look forward to every single one of them.

The problem is, when my body is shaking, when I'm coughing up crap out of my lungs, when I literally can't form a cohesive thought in my head.  When every single noise, and person around me becomes nothing less than the world's greatest annoyance.  When my head aches.  My muscles hurt.  My lungs are screaming, My hands are shaking, and knowing...knowing absolutely that I can stop all of that in less than a minute with nothing more than the flick of a lighter...well...

None of that long term shit means much at all.  With absolutely no reason in the world to go through all of that, other than some idealized fantasy of what life might be like some months, or maybe even years down the road, it's all but impossible to not light up.

Oh well.  I've no one to blame but myself.  I am at fault for all the shit I go through, and ergo do not seek sympathy or condolence.  Motivation to continue, or not...I seem to be continuing...so far...

And the funny thing is, it just sort of came out of nowhere.  I didn't decide to do it.  I didn't plan to do it.  Just like I didn't decide or plan to start.  I'm just...doing it.  We'll see where it all goes I guess.

Another horrible side effect of the whole nicotine deficiency thing.  It becomes incredibly hard to...

Thinking is like...I dunno...probably like my third favorite thing to do.  A lack of nicotine makes this nearly impossible.  It doesn't shut down my brain.  In fact nearly the opposite.  Synapses in my spongy mass are firing at an incredible rate, but it's impossible to make sense of any of it.  I can't focus on any particular thing.  I'm super ADD, and it's annoying as fuck.

I'm the type of person that almost never forms an immediate opinion about anything.  I simply observe, and gather all available information, and file it in my brain for further examination later.  I take all sides of any argument, put it away somewhere, and look at it later, from all sides, and go from there.  This is a long process.  I'm currently unable to do that, because my brain is sort of taking every piece of information up there, and throwing it at me all at once.  There is a hurricane in my mind, and I'm trying to pick very small, very specific pieces from the flying debris.  So forgive me the stream of consciousness.  You can stop reading at any time if you'd like.  I won't be offended.  You can't possibly, ever, offend me.  For the past few weeks, I've had a LOT on my mind, and now in the midst of nicotine deprivation, it's all regurgitating at an incredible rate. It's chaos up in here.

The Tao Te Ching is the only book I've ever read, that I didn't have to adopt any of the philosophies, because it was already what I had internalized as my own.  I had no clue that this 3000 year old book of philosophy had encapsulated all of my own philosphies that I had made my own simply through the experience of my own life.

Sometime in the 1960's, a bunch of acid dropping hippies combined the Tao Te Ching with Greek mythology, and a world history of Conspiracy theories into a fake religion, and called it discordiansism.  Here is their bible.

  Principia Discordia

Read it.  Or don't.  It's pretty damn funny.

Discordiansim is a fake religion, much like FSM.  A response to religion, by atheists, in an attempt to confront ideas of religion in a satirical way.  It's been around for a few decades now.  Pre dating FSM by about 40 years.  Now I'm kinda like the flipside of the religious nut.  Always thinking about FSM, "My fake religion is better than your fake religion."

Good times.

One idea posited by discordianism (among many) is that true communication is only possible between equals.

I adhere to this.  I will communicate with everyone I know, with complete honesty, as long as I deem that the other person veiws our relationship as equal.  I hold myself on no intellectual, spiritual, or moral level higher, or lower than anyone else.  As long as I am dealt with in like manner, we are in fact equal, and I will always communicate honestly.  If I deem that the other person is making any attempt to make our relationship unequal by placing themselves on some higher ground, intellectually, spiritually, or morally...then my dishonest communication will begin with great delight.

I also delight in honesty.  And I guess I am about to get goddamn honest.

I've been reading for the past couple weeks how men sexualizing women is wrong.  I'm here to say...no it isn't.

Now before you tag me MRA, get pissed, call me misogynist bastard, or whatever...bear with me.

If you're female, and I've met you, I have imagined you naked.  I have run through all sorts of various and sundry act of debauchery with you in my imagination.  I've thought about it.  I pictured it.  And I did it all somewhere between "Hello" and "Nice to meet you."

In that amount of time I have taken note of how low your neckline is.  Every curve of your body. I know exactly how much skin you're showing, and where you're showing it.  I know if you're wearing a ring.  I've noticed how you're wearing your hair.  I know what you smell like.  I can estimate with a relative degree of accuracy your bra size, and depending on what you're wearing, what color it is. I know how tall you are.  The shape of your eyes.  The shape of your mouth.  Your face.  I've noticed your hands.  Your neck.  The whole of you from top to bottom.  I've done this in about 3 seconds.

I am not any type of Sherlock Holmes.  I also don't in any way pretend to speak for the whole of my half of the species.  I also don't believe for one second that I'm an anomoly.  I'm a guy.  That's it.  This is all information that I process at a glance, and in a moment.  I do this because I am biologically programmed to do this.

And although I'll never pretend to know or understand the female mind, I would be willing to bet that if you are female, you do much the same with a great many people that you interact with daily.  And probably at such a lower level of consciousness that it goes for a large part...unnoticed.  Much like it goes unnoticed with me when I do it.  It's automatic.

If we didn't sexualize each other, we would no longer exist as a species.  Sex is at our core.  It is what we do.


Sexualizing one another, in and of itself is not at all wrong.

There are however, many things wrong with what happens next.

It is wrong, for all men, or women, to believe that someone is obligated to give sex.  Ever.  For any reason.

It is wrong to feel that you deserve sex.
It is wrong to feel that someone owes you something.
It is wrong to take...EVER...something that isn't offered.
It is wrong to believe that simiply because you have experienced a fantasy, a thought, or a feeling, that you have some right...at any cost...to make that a reality.
It is wrong to force your ideas on someone else.
It is wrong to expect.
It is wrong to take.

I think ultimately the greatest wrong is to not honestly communicate.  Which is why I make this attempt now...to honestly communicate...because that I think is what we're lacking more than anything.  Honest communication.

Instead of teaching a person how to handle their own thoughts, fantasies, and biological programming and urges.  We simply teach them that those things are "wrong".

We're not teaching how to be human, we're simply teaching shame for being such.

Anyone who knows me, knows already that I can't be shamed, I will not shame, and I have a HUGE problem with all forms of shame in general.  I've climbed up on that soapbox so many times, it seems almost tedious to do so again.

Fuck anyone who would shame you for your body.
Fuck anyone who would shame you for what you do with it.
Fuck anyone wou would shame you for your feelings.
Fuck anyone who would make you feel, in anyway bad, for not being, living, thinking, acting, eating, doing, or in anyway behaving in any type of manner, that they for some reason have taken upon themselves to disapprove of.
Fuck them all.

I personally only have one rule for life.  One.  Just one.

Do not, with intent, initiate harm on another human being.

I use the words intent, and initiate, very specifically.

I also think that shame..is harm.  I won't do it.  I'll defy it wherever I see it.

*Steps down from soapbox*

I know that I've been on top of a pretty hot topic here.  I also feel that I've communicated poorly.  Or...insufficiently.  So here's the thing...
If you agree...
If you disagree...
If you adamantly disagree...
If you hate me for what I've written...
Or love me...
Or whatever...
I don't care.  I mean, I do...but I don't, in that in and of itself where you stand, or how you feel on the issue is less important to me, than your willingness to do as I have done.  Or attempted to do.

Let's take the shame out of it.

Let us engage, without fear, in honest discourse.  As equals.  Let's communicate.  Instead of pointing out all the things that are wrong...

let us together...

Discover what's right.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

This is a love story

This is a love story.
This means that this is not a happy story.
Nor is it a sad story.
It is a life story.

She marries her high school sweetheart.  They get a home, and settle in.  They paint the baby's room.  The baby is conceived, and born, but never sees a day.  Then the next.  Then the next.
She weeps for them.  All of them.  Her children that never were, but always are.

And life goes on.
This is a love story.

Another mother.  Another place.  Her fourteen year old daughter hooked to wires and machines.  She will not see fifteen.  She will, while distinctly faced with her own imminent mortality, be her mother's strength.  She'll also wonder what it feels like to die.  She wonders what it feels like to kiss.

And life goes on.
This is a love story.

A different man.  Another home.  He holds the hand of the man he loves, as his parents cry, and weep, and rain hate down on them, for being filthy.  For being perverts.  For bringing shame.  They wish he'd never been born.    He holds his hand tighter, knowing it will fuel their hate, but it's where he finds his ability to continue breathing.  Because you see...

This is a love story.
And they are in love.
And life goes on.

They share a cigarette under the moon.  With them, it is always the moon.  They can never be.  It's  complicated.  Isn't it always?  Everything is easy.  Nothing is simple.  He hasn't seen her in years.  He may not see her for more.  But there is this moment.  They are at least granted moments.  They are few.  There are never enough.  There never will be.  There could not possibly be.  So they must learn together, to take each moment.  Each rare chance, and create eternity.  And thus they learned to freeze time.

Every true love story,
must freeze time.
Because, the greatest horror,
and the greatest remedy,
and the only truth...
Life goes on.

She sits in her chair.  The blanket on her lap.  Her wrinkled hands gripping the paperback with torn corners. Her eyes are tired, and she rests them by looking away from the words.  She sees the picture on the wall.  "Goddamn you." she says to the man in the photograph.  The man in the ground.  The man who gave her fifty years, and left her alone for her last.  She misses her children who sometimes visit.  She misses her grandchildren, who send her cards.  She misses everyone who's come and gone, and sometimes come again.  No one she misses more than the old bastard in the photograph.  The conversations they had a thousand times, and she wants nothing more than that same conversation number one thousand and one.

This is a love story.

The high school sweethearts drift apart and away.  He leaves, and she's left to drift upon the rock, with worn out shoes and broken heart.  All is lost, then all is found.  A new day.
A new love.
A new daughter.
A new daugher.
Children, and light and laughter.
Because life went on, and love keeps happening, and the better things really do, on occassion, come to the fighters, and the dreamers.
She is happy.
She is fresh.
And the names of her babies are still, and always, remembered on every tear.

The girl in the bed, with wires and machines, has a visitor.  He tells her of her other friends who haven't come to visit.  The things she's missed in school.  When he looks at her, it is not with pity, or fear, or sadness.  He looks at her as he always has.  With warmth, and kindess, and she knows in her dying heart that she has loved him since they were in elementary school, and through all of her cruelties to him, and his to her, he's been a single constant in her fragile life.  He has to leave.
She gets her kiss.
Although in just a few weeks, she will be in a box...
Right now...
In this moment...
She is on the clouds.

This is a love story.

And the couple under the moon, have frozen time.  Now they are in bed.  Now he's holding her.
Now she's asking...
"What is the first line of our story?".
"He loved her infinitely.".
And now they're dancing.
And now they're laughing.
And now he's holding her beside her car.
And with the goodbye knife she stabs him.

She sits in her chair and smiles at the old fart on the wall.

He holds his hand, they hug, and put the ugly words behind them.  They kiss, and make love.

She's with him.  Posing for the engagement photos.  She looks into his eyes, and feels her yes.

She watches her leave, and knows all the words she should say to keep her from walking out, and doesn't say them.

He stands at his mother's grave, and cannot see through the tears.

She signs the divorce papers.

He signs the marriage license.

They sit outside a bistro sipping coffee in the new city, and after forty years together, he looks into her eyes for the millionth time, and feels his yes.

She sits on her bed, with music in her ears, and dog at her feet, and wonders why she can't just say it.
Just say it.

And all these little love stories
And all these little interludes
And all these little

They dance in the rain.
They kiss in the street.
They watch with pride at graduation.
They weep
They sleep
They hold
They laugh
and cry
and rejoice

Freeze time.

And before she drives away.  After the kiss.  After goodbye.  After that final reluctant break of shaking physical contact, but just before she closes the door...

Be love.

Not in love
Not I love

This is a love story.
Which means it is not a happy story
or a sad story.
It is a life story.

Feel your yes.
Steal your kiss.

Be love.
Be loved.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Grandpa's handbag

Do people still use calendars?  I assume they must, because at the end of each year I see all those calendar stands.  I imagine the stands wouldn't exist if people didn't purchase the product, but still...I wonder.  Do people still use them?  Like...put the chart with numbers on the wall...pick some significant date, circle it, and then x out the squares in some sort of ritualized countdown with a sharpie and anticipation?

I wonder about this.

I'm not sure I've ever owned a calendar.

Oh sure I have a calendar on my phone.  I have a clock on my phone too and don't own a watch.  Sometimes when I do a show, the stage manage will give a me a calendar with a rehearsal schedule on it.

So I wonder.  Does this happen?  Do people do this?  Or has the digital age taken from us this hallowed tradition.  Or was it ever?  I honestly don't know.

Wedding rings are weird right?

We use slave labor, sometimes at the price of limbs and life, to dig relatively worthless rocks out of the ground in Africa. Then we shine those rocks up, ship em across the ocean where they can be evaluated and given false value based on just how shiny they are.

Then we strap those shiny rocks to bands made out of "precious" metal, also given false value, so that all the boys and girls can go to the stores, look at these shiny bands, with the shiny rocks, and choose together, and pay the exhorbitant fees necessary to purchase these pieces of jewelry, that they will later strap on to one anothers fingers as a declaration of state sanctioned, and licensed human property. We somehow think it romantic when one partner says to another, "I'm yours."


And then, we all recognize these little symbols of property, as such.  We do.  I'm not interested in the least in pursuing long term romantic interaction with another person, yet every single time I meet someone new of appreciable age, I look for the ownership ring.  I don't care if a person is available or not, I still look.  We are trained to do this.  It's natural.

We don't like to call it ownership though.  We prefer the word "tradition".  Tradition gives the word some sort of meaning.  We're carrying something important.  A tie to our past.  A hope for a future.  Tradition has value.

Or so we've been told.

Tradition.  The baggage of dead men, that for some reason, we feel compelled to pick up that the claims counter.

Funny thing is, with all of our science, and history, and anthropolgy, and archeology, and probably many other ologies as well...we don't know how marriage started.  Which culture had it first?   Where did it all begin?  It's been around forever and ever, and we don't even know why anymore.

One prevalent theory is population control.  Not necessarily numbers, just...recognition.  Since marriage predates paternity testing by, say oh...10000 years or so, it used to be a bitch knowing what guy was making what babies with what women.  If you could assign a guy to a girl, or a few girls, it made knowing whose kid was whose a little bit easier.  Or in other words...not to control the number of women men slept with, but just the opposite.  Don't let the woman fuck around, with more than one guy, and you know whose mom she is.

Funny thing.  I read something somewhere that may or may not be true, 35 percent of the population STILL doesn't know that the child they play parent to isn't actually theirs.

This theory is rooted in probability, or at least some degree of liklihood.  We don't like to think about this particular aspect of "tradition" though.  It's not romantic.  It also suggests that if it actually is true, women should be the most anti-marriage people on the planet, instead of the biggest spenders in the industry.

So now we're engaged in a great civil war.  Where half the population believes that a small percentage of the population should not be entitled to the rights and privaleges of that specific tradition.  The other half of the population believes they should be.

Those against it, base their beliefs in an entirely different tradition of mythology, worship, and magic minded nonsense.

Those for it, base their beliefs in a supposition of justice for all.  Another premise that has never, not once in the history of mankind, actually existed.

Has anyone considered the possibility that the subjugation of rights is, in and of itself,one of our most hallowed traditions?

Just a thought.

The baggage of dead men.

The true value of a diamond is practically worthless.  It's a rock, and not even a really rare rock.  But with a bit of spit and shine, we give it false value, pretend it has meaning, and wear it on our fingers, regardless how much blood may have been spilled for it.

The true value of any basic human right is inestimable, but with a bit of spit and tarnish, we will demean it, label it, and toss it away.  Regardless how much blood may have been spilled for it.

And we do this all in the name of tradition.

The baggage of dead men.

I don't own a calendar.  I'm not sure I ever have.  I have never connected to that tradition.  I had a wedding ring once.  I was married for ten years.  I lost my ring within the first three months, and never had it replaced.  I just couldn't connect to the tradition.  It didn't mean anything to me to wear it.  It didn't mean anything to me if she wore hers.  I believed her when she told me she loved me.  I didn't need the symbolism of the ring.  I never felt that when she went out without me, she needed the symbol to indicate to others that she was my property.

Who knows though.  Perhaps it was the complete ignorance of the tradition, contributed to the end of the relationship.  I doubt it, but it's possible.

I seem to work sub tradition.

I don't really connect to any that I can think of.  I mean oh sure I put my shoes on the right feet, but mostly because that's the way my feet are built.  I wouldn't wear shoes at all, if evolution would have just given me leather instead of skin on the bottoms of my feet.  I can do all the things that people do, but I do seem to have a difficult time finding meaning in the things that other people put meaning into.  I don't find value in almost all of the things that I was told my entire life, I was supposed to place value in.

It's lonely on the outside.

People talk about the things they do.  The things they care about.  The things they want.  I recognize these things as nearly universal desires in the species, and I desire none of them.

To settle down.
Settle in.

None of these things really have any appeal to me.

Sometimes I think I want that whole "someone to talk to" thing.
Sometimes that thing where I can trust someone to hold my secrets, and my things that mean something.
Sometimes I think I thought I was...

I'm either very far ahead..
or very far behind
the curve.

The bus of humanity pulled away, and I'm still standing on the curb.
Chasing the bubbles I blew out of the little plastic wand.

And yeah, it'd be fun to have someone chase bubbles with,
but the reality is
if I did
Eventually that person will be really pissed off, and start chasing the bus, to see if they can still get on.

And I'll still be having too much fun chasing bubbles.

I'm pretty sure that I will never care that the bus pulled away.
I'm never going to mark calendars.
I'm never going to care about diamonds.

I know how to paint on my smile, and pretend I care enough, to keep the people around me comfortable.
But if they know me...even just a little...they'll know that I don't.

I can't bring myself to carry the baggage of dead men.
I have given up the idea that I'll ever have that person to chase bubbles with.

But as pathetic as that sounds...
as sad
or lonely
or...you know...

It is impossible to chase bubbles and be sad.

I have simply found what works for me.
My public face may be a continual exercise in social lubrication,
but my inside face is actually laughing.

Almost always.

I have found my happiness.
In my solitude.
Yeah it's got its downsides.
It truly does...
but then again...
what doesn't?

I'm not carrying the baggage of dead men.

Which means I've got a lot of room for dancing.
And by god I do.
And by god I'm gonna.

Friday, April 25, 2014

There but for the GRACE of...or whatever...

I'm currently on the bus.  Of course by the time you read this I'll be somewhere else, doing something else, but as I'm writing this, I'm sitting in my usual back seat staring into my phone.

I'm on my way to our final dress rehearsal for Grace.  A play by Craig Wright.  I'm writing this while reviewing lines in my head.  Always with the lines.

Theres a neat feeling about final dress.  Wanting the show to be perfect.  Simultaneously wishing you had an audience, and glad that you don't.  Reliving in your mind all the moments leading up to this one.  Knowing that in just over 24 hours, complete strangers will have paid money to watch you not fuck up.  So you'd better not fuck up.

JC Carter is a director I've worked with a number of times in the past.  Every time has been an enjoyable experience.  We've built a good working relationship, and an even better friendship. He cast me in my first show upon arriving in SLC, and we've worked well together and often since.

A little over a year ago, JC approached me with a pitch.  He asked me if I would be interested in doing this show with him.  Grace.  I hadn't heard of the show but I was familiar with the playwrite.  Sometime around 2004 or 2005, I read a play called Orange Flower Water, written by Mr. Wright.  It was the kind of play that just grabbed me.  I want to be the person who gets to say those lines on a stage someday.  

Quick unrelated pitch.  Someone in Northern Utah PLEASE do Orange Flower Water someday.  Someday soon.

Moving on.

So JC asked me if I would do Grace, and being familiar with the playwrite agreed.  At the time he asked everything was tentative.  There was no set location.  No time, or place.  Just the play, JC directing, myself, and one other actor committed to the project.  Beyond that was simply the unknown. Occasionally, I would ask JC where we were at, what progress was being made.  The answer was typically the same.  No word yet.  Sometimes it looked like the show might not happen at all.  During all that waiting, life...as it does...continued.  Other shows.  New job.  For a very brief moment it even looked like I'd be moving out of SLC, and wouldn't be able to do the show after all.  But I stayed.  Here I am.

Sometime in early January I was working out the logistics of two auditions in one day.  Noises Off, and Hedda Gabbler were both auditioning, and I had a keen interest in both projects.  However two in a day is difficult, especially when they are happening at near the same time, because being on opposite sides of town, and myself a subject to public transit...well...it was a planning nightmare.  However, I really love both shows, and thought, even if I don't get cast in either...at least the idea of being in one or the other is just so...delicious.

I got home late one night, and was preparing the email I would send to both companies, setting up an audition time.  I was in the process of writing the first email, when my phone buzzed.  Text alert.  JC was finally, after months of uncertainty, letting me know that Grace had the greenlight, the location locked in, and the rehearsal and performance dates set.  The first thing I noticed was the direct conflict with both of the shows I was preparing to audition for.  I closed my email, turned off my laptop, and responded to JC that I was ready, and could not be more excited.  That wasn't a lie.

Any gambler knows that you don't turn down a sure thing, for just a chance at something else.  Besides, this was a sure thing that I'd had my head wrapped around for months.  I was thrilled that everything was in motion.  I had also recently made a decision that there would be no more talk, or action toward moving.  I had for all intents and purposes decided to call SLC my home.  The wishy washy back and forth of do I stay or do I go was finally settled.  Stay I would do.  Stay I will do.  And my first show, post that kind of personal  moment of discovery and acceptence...would be Grace.

This production, like many others I've been in, and in all liklihood like many others that I hope to be in the future, has not been entirely without complications.  Our very first read through presented the first. We had with us, an older gentleman, whose name I can no longer recall to read for one of the roles.  The character is a man in his eighties who shares a memory of an experience just prior to WWII.  The actor reading this character was not fond of some of the language the character uses, and was already discussing script changes, before we had even finished reading the entire script.  This...is actually unnacceptable.  This is a HUGE no no in the theatre world, but for some reason, has become a little talked about, but widely accepted practice among theatres and theatre groups here in Utah.  I'd love to personally love to stamp out the entire tradition.  I have pretty strong feelings about the act of script shining, and those who practice it.  That however is another discussion for another time.

Needless to say, this gentleman would not work for us, and we very amicable parted ways.  I wish him no ill will, and hope that he does find the work as an actor, that is more suited to his tastes and abilities.  Ours however were not for him, nor he for us.  Which left us with a blank spot.

Enter Jeffrey Owen.  I have worked with Jeff previously on a couple of other shows.  I've gotten to know him, and like him.  He comes with unique insights and always new and interesting ideas.  More importantly he comes prepared.  He does his work.  He is always...ALWAYS a joy to share the stage with.

He also turns in one hell of a performance.  

Although he joined the cast after everyone else, although he was not there for our intial read through or table discussion.  It has always felt like Jeff was one step ahead in the game.  Although unfortunately not the first choice for this production, he is far and away the best choice.  I can't imagine enjoying this experience more, with anyone else in that role.

Grace is a tough sell for Utah.  Not particularly I think for the religious themes, but mostly because it isn't light, fluffy, or musical.  Oh sure there are some laughs, but this show goes to some pretty dark places.  Which I'm thrilled about.  I mean I enjoy light, mindless entertainment as much as anyone, but its the darkness that really appeals to me.  The explorations.  The questions.  I want this show to be successful, because I want more shows like this.  Always.  All the time.  I want the shows that don't promise a happily ever after.  I want the shows that grab my emotional nuts, and twist.

Grace played on Broadway with a kind of all star cast.  Paul Rudd played Steve.  Michael Shannon was Sam. Kate Arrington was Sara, and Ed Asner as Karl.  When it was on Broadway, I didn't even know the show existed.  Johnny Hebda did though.  He watched it, and brought it back with him.

It was Johnny that presented the idea to JC Carter.  Proposals were made.  Ideas exchanged.  Hands shook, or proverbialy anyway.  I don't know all the discussions.  I wasn't there for any of the pre production part of it.  I like to think that at some point, food was involved, but probably not.  I know that Johnny saw Grace on Broadway, liked it. came home with it, made it possible, and is now playing our Steve.

He carries the line load.  He pushes the action.  And he does it with seeming ease.  He has a wonderful, natural stage presence.  It is always so much fun working with him on the stage.  Okay I say that like I've done it before.  I haven't.  This is our first, (and hopefully far from last) show together.  So by always so much fun, I mean throughout the rehearsal process...always so much fun.  In any given moment, my character may not believe for one second, what his character is saying, but working with Johnny, you have no doubt that HE believes.  His sincerity...his dedication to the ideas he proposes are so real.  

And that's the crux of it really.  I think.  The power of belief.  People on this planet do the CRAZIEST shit, because they believe.  Believe it's in their best interest.  Believe its in the best interest of others.  Belief.  Flying in the face of all evidence.  Flying in the face of all rationality, lies belief.  That ability to convince ourselves that someone...something...is looking out for us.

I don't know if any of you reading this are believers.  I don't know if you're non believers.  Quite honestly I don't care either way.  The beauty of Grace is that, as a play...it doesn't care either.  Someone asked me if this was a "message" play.  All I can say is, no.  No it isn't.  This play does not take sides.  It does not condemn.  It does not present a case of right or wrong.  It simply tells a story.  It presents ideas.  Ideas that hopefully causes a viewer to examine their own.  It is not meant as an indictment against belief...or non belief.  It is simply a story about people on either side of that fence, and how their lives collide.  And collide they do.

And stuck in the middle of it all is Sara.  There seems to be a stereotype in American culture of "the good Christian housewife".  I love how Mr. Wright plays off this stereotype.  He sets it up.  It does it so well, that we may think we know Sara, after just a few lines of dialogue.  It seems it would be so easy to write her off.  But the playwrite doesn't allow that.    He lets us see that there is more underneath than we would otherwise give credit for.  We are not let off the hook so easily.  And let me tell you something folks.  The incredible work of Emilie Starr in the role of Sara won't let you off the hook either.  Do not underestimate Sara.  Do not underestimate Emilie.  It's not often, as an actor, you get to work with someone who is so giving.  Who shares energy so fully.  Emilie commits every part of herself, to every stage moment.  

So here we are.  Now just mere hours from our opening.  After weeks of rehearsal, we now have only nine performances in front of us, and we will put Grace to sleep.  It will be fleeting memories, and words on a resume.  But now, right now, it is very much alive in all of us involved.  

I know many people who read my little dillies and dallies here, won't be able to make it.  If you can though...please do.  If you're not sure of times and places, look it up.  If you're too lazy to look it up...ask me.  
If you say you want to come, but can't afford it...well...here's the fuck you.
May 4th at six p.m., the producers in their ability to predict such excuses, have created the Pay as you May performance.  That's right...if all you have in your pocket is one lousy penny, then bring that lousy penny to the front door, and they'll give you a ticket to watch the show.  Of course more than a penny would be appreciated, but it eliminates your "I can't afford it" excuse.

If you live in some other city, and can't make it, then do me this favor.  Go to a show in your city.  Just...fucking...go.
I'm not saying this out of some arrogant pretentious actors "go support the arts" bullshit line you hear now and then.  I'm not saying give money to starving actors, or new theatre groups or...you know...whatever.
I'm saying this because, do yourself a fucking favor...turn off netflix...and go get some live entertainment.  Go.
Go out to the theatre.
Go to a museum.
Co to a symphony.
Go to a concert.
Go enrich your soul, or spirit, or intellect, or conscious, or whatever you choose to call that part of yourself, that is inside of yourself, that is aware of something greater than yourself.  
Even if its not a deity.
Even if its nothing sacred.
Even if it's simply awareness of knowing you don't know.


These are the things that make up for 

I say go get these things, because believe it or not
you need these things.
Allow these things to connect you once again to humanity, when all the fucking humans have caused you to disconnect.

If you can come see me be other people...well...I'd love if you did.  If you can't, at least...do something that feeds that part of you that is always hungry, but you forget because it's easy to forget.  Because TV makes you forget.  Becasue internet makes you forget.  Because other things/people/diversions make you forget.

There but for the Grace of...
You get it.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Wish upon a Star

I am on two different dating sites.  That might be a lie.  It's within a realm of conceivability that I'm on more than two, but if I am, I have no recollection of joining them, and haven't visited them for...ever?  I am on two that I'm aware of.  This is funny to me.

I joined one at the request of a friend.  I don't now recall exactly why he recommended I join.  He must have had some compelling reason at the time.
The other one I joined, because I read a pretty funny article online about it, and just had to see for myself.
Both of the sites are free for basic use.  You can of course upgrade membership for full access to photos, emails, and even creepier stalker/voyeur options.  I haven't paid for the upgrade.  I won't.  I just can't bring myself to spend my not that hard earned money on the "business" of love.  Especially since, in all honesty, that's the last reason I'm there.

I never visit these sites on my computer.  They aren't bookmarked.  They are never really on my mind at all.  I just don't at all feel compelled.  The only reason I remember that I have them at all, is because I have the apps for each of them on my phone?


Because my phone is the most powerful computer I've ever owned, and I have like...8 apps on the damn thing.  3 of them that I actually use with any frequency.  So I filled it up with shit I don't care about, just to make me feel like I'm putting it to use.

So every once in a while my phone will alert me that I have a message from one of these dating apps or the other, and all of a sudden I remember that I actually have the damn thing.

I feel like I should mention at this point that this always suprises me.  I have not once, ever, initiated a conversation with anyone on any of these sites.  I don't send anyone messages.  I don't rate photos.  I don't click on the yes/no options when it's offered to me.  I in no way put myself out there.

What makes this even more of a surprise is that I've intentionally made myself rather unapproachable with my profile information.  I do my best to make it apparent that I am not relationship material.  I have said that I am not looking for anything requiring committment.  I don't want to casually date, and I'm not simply looking for sex.  Honestly if it's not one of those three things...what the hell else is there?   I very honestly indicated that I don't drink, I don't go to bars, I'm not into ANY scene, and I don't want kids.  I am a happy atheist who won't talk about religion, politics, or your past failed relationships.  I won't be a surrogate dad to your kids.  I won't be a shoulder to cry on.  I'm not interested in getting to know you.

Honestly, how fucked up do you have to be?  How desperate, to want someone like that.

I've been very deliberate, and intentional in making myself unapproachable, yet...


Yet for some unfathomable reason, I am still occasionally approached.

I'm always nice about it in my return messages.  I'll answer questions.  Ask my own.  Carry on a conversation.  I'll always be honest, and friendly.  Eventually, they figure out that I was serious when I said I wasn't looking for any of the things I said I wasn't looking for.  The conversations fizzle, and they stop writing.

I'm always okay with that.

One girl told me that I reminded her of her ex, and she had to stop before she fell in love with me.  I was a "heartbreak waiting to happen.".
I laughed really hard at that.  How she had projected so much of someone else on to me.  How she was already predicting our future through just a few simple emails.  I mean it's awful I guess, but I laughed.  I did.  Out loud.  I had the decency to not write LOL, wished her a happy life, and good luck in her search, and that was it.  It was fun conversations.  I don't miss her.

They're not all friendly.
These sites list your age for the world to see, and I've never really felt compelled to lie about how old I am.
I recently got this message.

"If your 40, and single, your gross." (sic)

I could honestly only think of one reply.

"If YOU'RE 40, and single, YOU'RE gross."

She replied...

"I'm NOT 40. I'm 26.  Your an asshole, never talk to me again.". (sic)

My attempts at helping with grammar went completely unnoticed, once again affirming that choosing not to go into a teaching career was a good decision.

I also found it interesting that she initiated the conversation with an insult, and then demanded I never speak to her again.  I don't judge anybody really.  To each their own, we all share this big blue/green rock, but sometimes its easy to figure out why someone might be on a dating site.

Then again, that may be harsh...allow an explanation

Although I've indicated on these sites that I'm straight, I'm often hit up by other guys.  This never bothers me.  I know what it's like to be a guy, and I know what it's like to have sexual attraction, and I know what it's like to have lonely nights, and I know what it's like to want another person.  I'm not at all attached to gender specificity.  I get it.  They're casting their lines out to see if they get a bite.

I always reply to their messages too.  I figure if someone took the time to write to me, then it's the least I can do to take the time to respond.

Guys are interesting creatures.  I've gotten a ton of nude pics.  Most before even the slightest conversation.  Most don't include a face, or salutation, just...here's my dick.
I'm a big boy.  I can handle it.

But I can also see how that is just...not even remotely attractive.  Although I don't really feel invaded, I can see how it could feel invasive.  I'm not offended, but I can see how it's offensive.

Mostly I just don't understand the tactic.  I mean sure...swapping nudies is as much a good time as anything else you can do in the digital age, but seriously, it's not the best starting point.  If a guy did that in a bar, he'd get arrested, but the safety of wireless and plastic allows for an entirely different kind of protocol.

So if this young woman with the bad grammar is used to receiving such greetings and intros, I completely respect where she's coming from.  She see's my profile.  Identifies me as the asshole I am, and unleashes the frustration that's been building up based on experiences with other users.  I don't really fault her for that.  I don't.

I simply wish she'd paid more attention in the third grade.

Usually when I do get a message, and remember that I have a profile, I'll browse other profiles a bit. It passes time, and is sometimes entertaining.  It's also...well..kind of monotonous.

The stories are all the same.  Loves dogs/cats.  Love their kids, but hate the baby daddies.  Love hiking, camping, books, reading, music.  "I have a weird sense of humor" is a big one.  "I keep it real", is another.  Really there are only about 6 variations on a theme.

All the past failed relationships.  All the heartbreak.  All the pain, and misery has made them who they are.  All the youthful adventure, and now just want to settle down with someone.  All hoping to find the one.  All hoping to find Prince Charming.

I blame Disney.

Nearly everyone on the planet is of age to have been influenced to some degree in the ways of love by Mr. Disney.  So many people now using Disney terms, weather or not they're even aware of it, in casual conversation, or profiles.  The One.  Prince Charming.  Handsome Prince.  All these silly little ideas of romance.  Some imagined idea, of a destined love, and the story ends at the perfect first kiss.

It's just so...

I wish I could get behind it.  There is a romance there.  I guess.  That the perfect someone is out there, just waiting to be found.  That god, or fate, or destiny, or the stars, have assigned you that one person who will be the perfect fit to all of your missing or broken pieces.  It's neat, that idea.

It's also just so much bullshit.

And that's what all the profiles boil down to.  Looking for "the one".  Waiting for one single person to come along and be perfect.

I just...can't.  Sometimes it makes me laugh really hard, and sometimes it breaks my little black heart.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying that you can't find someone, who you will eventually spend the rest of your life with, but really the odds are just...not at all in your favor.

Also, why just one?  We're on a planet of 7 billion people, and we are not at all biologically programmed for monogomy.  The Disney dream is nice, but really now.

I'm also not saying we should all be polyamourous, and have multiple of everything.

I just know that my experience has taught me that I am capable of loving so many people, for so many reasons, in so many ways, to so many degrees.  I can't imagine for one second that I am unique in this.

I also get that yeah, for the sake of structure, and security, and comfort, and kids, there is an appeal to a single family unit.  Marriage provides a defined structure and environment for the tots.  A security for the adults.  Something tangible that can be relied on.

At least til the boredom kicks in.
Until everything in the relationship becomes familiar.  Predictable.  Boring.

All of a sudden when things DO become familiar, predictable, and boring...all of a sudden the poor sap realizes they may not in fact be with "the one".

"We simply fell out of love."

No you didn't.  The love is still there.  It doesn't go away.  You got bored.  He got bored.  She got bored.  That ole spark just doesn't spark anymore...but lo and fucking behold, it sparks just fine somewhere else.

Eyes wander.
That feeling comes back again, and...

Instead of assigning it to chemistry, we call it love.
Now we're in love with someone else, but we're trapped in a stale marriage/relationship.
Maybe our original one, wasn't the one after all, and this new one is the real one, because this one made me feel again, and the old one seems to ignore me.


Patterns of human nature.

And so now instead of realizing that we are in fact on a predictable course, we have to create reasons to get out of a situation.  Invent all the things.  Boredom.  Neglect. Different paths. One reason, adds to another, and another, and pretty soon, you're hating the person you once thought was the one.  So you can make yourself available for another one.  Or perhaps just go exploring again so you can find out if there is another one.

I know this all sounds very cynical, and black.  I know that.  I am not unaware of what I'm saying, and how it's coming across.  Feel free to disagree with every word.  Feel free to defend that you are different.  Your relationship is immune to such things.  Feel free to tell me that I am the anomoly, and it's not at all like that.

Then go read some singles profiles.

Look back with a degree of analytical observation at your own past failed relationships.

Nothing has turned me off to the entire dating world, more than being on a dating website.  Nothing has made the idea of "love", more mundane.

I tell people I don't date, because well... I don't.

Here's the thing.

I understand.
I get it.
I do.

I see the appeal of being comfortable with someone.  I have had that.  It's nice.  I understand wanting someone in your life who "gets" you.  Who laughs at the same jokes.  Who appeals to your particular sense of human aesthetics.  I get attraction.  I get connection.  I get desire.  I understand all these things.

I was simply cursed with an analytical mind that too easily sees through the fog, and can predict outcomes based on trends.

So what did I just say?

That I won't play the game, because I already know how it ends?

Yup.  That's what I said.

Except there's more to it than that.

Even though I know how it ends, you see...I was also raised on Disney.  Through all of that bullshit, (yes I can call myself out on my own bullshit), I also still harbor that particular vision.

I would love to find "The One"
I also don't for one second believe that the one exists.
I do think that there are many many many....
Any of whom could become one...or one of the many...
but I just don't have the energy for that.

I'd love to have a night where I don't sleep alone.
I'd love to have inside jokes with another human being.
And pet names.
And ways we pamper each other.

I'd love to be a person that someone brings all their shit to, and feels better for it.  I'd love a person who can help carry my shit.

I also am not built for any of that.

See here's my reality.
I'm shit with emotion.
I can fake it okay on a stage,
but when you fake it in real life, eventually if a person gets close enough, they figure that out.

So I don't want to find "the one".
I like my life a mystery.

I don't want to find "the many"
I like my life simple.

I simply want to spend time with the people I'm comfortable with.
The people who are comfortable with me.
And wherever the river flows...well that's just where we end up.

I want every single person, on every single dating site to find exactly what they're looking for.
I want you to find what you're looking for.
I want us...all of us...to find that place where we can say

Where we can admit

Where we can understand

That we are, all of us different.  We all want different things, and...
...and that's okay.

I want to surround myself, not in the love of one,
but in the love of all.

And I want to blanket all in my own love.

I want us to all take one another by the heart, and say...

It's okay.

I love you anyway.

You never have to hurt.
You never have to be alone.
You never have to feel insecure, because
You are loved.
As I am loved by you.
You are exactly what I need,
Because you are exactly you.

I want love without restriction.
Without boundaries.
Without rules.
Without Disney.

I want the universe in the palm of our hands.

I want to be beyond human.

With you.