When it comes to feeling better, it's hard to beat building a giant LEGO™ Star Wars space ship set with your kids, then catching up on the feature-length Steven Universe goodness.
Back through most of my 20's, I did not celebrate my birthday outwardly. Nobody around me really knew when it was, or were sufficiently ill-equipped socially to remember it. It was a day of reflection for me; a private ceremony of selfish narcissism and a secret grudge against the world for my sense of otherness and not belonging.
That changed in my 30's with the advent of pernicious social media reminding everyone, friends who care about that shit, and starting a relationship with someone who is dedicated to making every occasion special. It was awkward and at odds with some of my fundamental drives, but loving and kind. And it helped me recognize my growing role in the world - no longer a selfish youth, but a sharing and supportive adult.
That's why today was so hard.
Being divorced against your will is hard enough. And reaching out in the world to try to grasp some new connections, only to have them reject you, is painful in a way I'm struggling to endure. Then the recent revelation that I will be losing my full-time access to my kids has been almost too much to stand; it feels like my footing in the world is lost. It all sucks so very much.
But then today... today...
Today was the world's way of making sure I felt all of that at the same time. Every fragment of pain had a renewed trigger; every aspect of loss was flaunted before me to not have; every insult was re-uttered by reality. So many of the fundamental ways in which I have belonged were burned before me today.
And it's not over yet. The parade of horrible feelings gets to continue for another couple days. Tomorrow is the wreckage of more hopeful plans and the gasping of fresh holes in my soul. Then the day after tomorrow is my 12th wedding anniversary, by which point I'm probably going to be contemplating seppuku with a rusty spoon.
Fuck this shit. How much more processing do I really need to do? I know the plan is to allow myself to feel all this, so that I can integrate it in a mindful way and move on while feeling complete. Which sounds super fucking enlightened. But in this moment, I definitely see the allure of temporary chemical oblivion and denial.
I've discovered a new well of pain to fall into.
Gosh, I'm special. 17 years to come full circle. 2002.11.26_Emotional_Meaning
I'm wrestling with whether my avatar of extreme friend-zone-ness is Jorah Mormont (noble and vulnerable) or Snape (dignified and accepting).
Either way, I'm a fucktard.
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Frank Herbert - Dune
There are stories. OH so many stories.
And there are thoughts. Wallowy have-to-extrude-them thoughts that should not be left to foul up my mind.
Plus there are plans. Yes, plans for how the thoughts and the stories should all be rolled out and expelled and dealt with and celebrated for the healing power of sharing and remembering.
Except I'm not ready yet.
I'm not exactly sure what I'm waiting for, but there's something in the mix about letting them marinate a bit more. Plus unresolved issues of privacy that I have yet to give up on.
So, yeah. Disregard this whole entry. It's just me venting by virtue of the action of writing more than by the substance.
The localized distillation of pure imagination and concentrated joy that is my daughter had her birthday today. To mark the occasion, she had her first sleepover with one of her oldest friends, Ruth. An uninterrupted stream of dragons and faeries and warrior princesses and other magical beings have delighted our home (and a local restaurant) in giggling playful forms.
The simple truth is that there is too much going on, and to do my usual processing here in the open is inappropriate. So, instead, I hide.
I hide my thoughts. The details of which should not be shared.
I hide my feelings. They are complicated and improbable, but even worse than their humiliating privacy are their grisly impossibility.
I hide my dreams. Every night, after too little real sleep, I succumb to as many nightmares as I can stand. They impress with their simplicity and their subtle reach.
I hide my hopes. They are too fragile for daylight of any kind.
I hide my fears. Like any proper shadow government.
I hide my self. Because I can't bear to witness what's left.
The philosophy is my hopeful path.
The album speaks to my lived experience.
It was a thick day. Burdened by heavy draping obligations and smothered by impossibility.
It was a funny day. Paradoxical in the dance of struggling with what is wanted versus what comes easily. Ironic in seeming to fail at my strengths, but gifted with success at my weaknesses.
It's a long day. Objectively starting way to fucking early, and dragging on way too long. But more than that, the individual moments stretching out ponderously. And probably memorably lingering for a great deal longer.
It was a day to be alive. Life is good, complications and all.
S made a related comment about what happened as 'a lot of water under the bridge'. That feels like it applies pretty broadly. Facets of that might follow...
Quintessential Simon birthday: bike ride on a well-equipped mountain bike, plus a couple big LEGO sets. Topped off with ice cream cake, and a pending D&D party with his crew.
[link to a Google drive full of images]
This year was a father-son bonding odyssey, and gave us grand adventuring spectacle as a background for having lots of time and space to contemplate existence. Laughing and joking for hours and miles really does help build souls, even while the cold and smoke and pests and injuries build character. Simon had an OK time too.
Nobody managed to quite capture decent images of the horses we came across running free through the woods of Ochoco Forest, but they felt very emblematic. Were they wild? Were they just pretending to be wild for a little while? Something like that.
More Amygdala talk? Maybe sort of. Except cryptic in a different way.
- Gasping Joy - From the soul nourishing magic carpet rides down Johnny Royale.
- Warm Completeness - From the Father's Day time spent with family at the Pride Parade.
- Tickling Exhilaration - From pending adventures and planned work project attempts.
- Shivering Inadequacy - From facing the family changes that cannot be undone.
Violet has demonstrated a precocious ability for representational artwork, drawing things realistically. But even her symbolic artwork shows a clarity that can be striking. This recent one really is great.
I hear you Violet. By the way, I stole this, and I'm keeping it forever.
Being a human is often surprisingly difficult for no other reason than we experience the world largely through a filter of emotional response.
Senses do their level best to report what's going on. Similarly, our rational minds make the best of what they can manage to lift with their few dedicated neurons. But it's all really a bit much, so evolution made the pragmatic venture into applied heuristics by not needing us to have either a clear sensing of things nor a complete understanding of anything for us to get some sort of directional suggestion. These suggested interpretations of reality, let's call them "feelings", are legitimate members of reality themselves by virtue of a Descartesian flourish - I think I feel, therefore I'm sad.
One of the lessons I've learned reasonably well is to not to try to deny feelings. That just makes them angry, and cruelly manipulative. But even as we acknowledge our feelings, that doesn't mean that we need to let them control us. Having a thought or a feeling is not what we're responsible for, those are just things that happen. What we are responsible for is our actions, so what we do with those thoughts and feelings is what really matters.
Today my feelings conspired to make it a multiply-difficult day for me. Vaguely negative feelings about my career started early on, which set the stage for my vulnerable and hurt feelings about the confusion that is my marriage-like relationship with S. Finally this was capped off with feelings summoned by a sad song on my commute home that reminded me that I still miss my dad.
Sometimes the only thing we can do with our sad feelings is to have a good cry.
Secret truth of the day: I really do hate everyone. I just also simultaneously not-hate some people, and try to make that be more important. It's getting harder, though.