The End

•6 May 2013 • 2 Comments

I have always had an odd obsession with despair, not in sadness, but in what causes despair. I never really understood why until just recently. I watched tremendously sad movies, I listened to depressed music, I would seek out discouraging scenarios and events. I felt compelled, I felt like I was growing up, I felt like I was being propelled through the vacuum of life into my destiny, my future, and here I am. Here I am. This is my future. This is my stop. This is where I get off.

Wisdom really never brought me any happiness. I suppose I kept digging thinking that I would find something. I kept searching the dreary and dark pages for what gives us light. I found a lot, nothing that I was looking for, but I surely found a great deal. I’ve learned so much about how this world works. It isn’t gravity that causes the heavenly bodies to spin and swirl, it is a clockwork mechanism, billions of gears that condense down into the tiny lockwork of our heart. It isn’t blood that flows through our veins, it is all fury and rage and love and care and all things. We are not one person, but many. We are not the same person from one moment to the next. Our eyes are not a gateway, they are a tiny slit, a small opening through which we try to make sense of a world so large we mostly make it up as we go. We don’t use words to communicate, we fumble with noises and thoughts and feelings and people and ideas that all crash into one another and create a senseless tapestry that doesn’t convey what we originally wanted to say. We are completely out of control. We are victims and criminals simultaneously. The universe is full of atoms trading electrons and bumping into each other and making people and stars and grass and books. I am the same.

If this sounds deluded, don’t be alarmed. It is. This is what we live. Every day. So here I sit, a hundred plus blog posts later, looking back on this mess of ideas I’ve slogged through. What is it? What is it!? I have discovered many truths. Finally I have found one which has minded me to turn back. Perhaps I’ve been waiting for this moment. Dig until you find what you are looking for, or find something that convinces you to stop looking. The simple fact is this: The world ‘is’. It ‘is’ for trillions of reasons. Variables so beyond our comprehension they aren’t worth our time, fit together to make our world. There is reason for all things. Animals eat because they are hungry. People fight because they are afraid. Grass grows because it is alive. Animals are hungry because they stomachs, humans are afraid because they are weak, grass is alive because one placed its seed in the dirt. Why do animals have stomachs? Why are humans weak? Why do things live? They do. It is the nature of things. Regardless of origin, it is simply the way they are.

Most overwhelming is the fact that it is completely meaningless. The nature of all things is to end. Everything. Must. End. Humans will die. Animals will die. The earth will whither and be consumed. The sun will go out. What will this blog be then? What will I be? What will you be? We will be the same. Our atoms in a different arrangement across some number of lightyears. This is bleak, yes, but it is true.

As I grew up, as all children grow, I quickly discovered one fact: there is something terribly wrong with this world. So I scoured for it, I searched the deepest, darkest recesses of existence for it. I picked apart my life until it was the most mere and meaningless of elements and I found nothing. There is no key, because there was never any lock. What is wrong with the world? Nothing. It simply is. I am left with nothing. Nothing…

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…time to start again. Why does anything matter? Life matters. We exist. You have no choice but to acknowledge that you exist. I can imagine nothing beyond existing, therefore, I wish to continue existing. It is rather clear that, upon death, you don’t get to exist in this world any more. Suddenly life has intrinsic meaning. You only get one. When you lose it, it is gone forever. Everything lost. So I choose to live. Now I must live. I require food, water, and shelter. Suddenly the branches become innumerable. This is the foundation of our living. All society revolves around this basic concept. Humans acknowledge their existence and wish to continue living and accordingly acquire food, water, and shelter. Some people survive better than others. Their shelter is large and safe, their food and water are reliable and deeply satisfying. We base our government, class, and occupation on these factors. Who is surviving the best? It is vanity. It is the nature of the human heart, fearful of its own weakness, to snuff out the danger of living, so we vainly pursue useless and silly things in order to feel as though there is some meaning in living when we have already conquered life. So here we are. Living in this mechanism. Social, physical, spatial, governmental, cultural, familial, spiritual, mental. These are what define our living.

I could go on. The fact is, there is really nothing here. I’m done digging deeper. I have found nothing that isn’t already perfectly evident. I want to do something different. I want to quit digging and start searching the stars. This empty, soulless world is nothing until you decide it isn’t. I see that there is no use in rejecting what has become our living. It is, because it is simply the only way things can be. Maybe I can make a difference, and perhaps I will try, though my efforts be that of a trout changing the flow of a river. We are speeding on a course to somewhere, what we call the future. This unknown that continually becomes the present and then immediately passes away. The future is truly far more consistent than we believe it to be, and is far more wavering than we are confident it is not.

So I lay to rest this lengthy experiment. I couldn’t find the horizon line. I have found many things that come from it, but it itself is hidden from me; moreover, I have discovered that it does not matter. The clockwork of living chugs forward, and not without tremendous strain, stress, and destruction will it ever change speed or direction. I am like a puppet who momentarily saw the strings. I do not wish to upset our living, because it is not without reason that we exist as we do. There is no tent-pole to our sorrows, no support for all that is wrong with this world which I can burn. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that feeding the hungry or putting out forest fires is meaningless. I’m just addressing my own conflict, here and now, my feelings that something is wrong, because it isn’t, it is just the nature of things. Also, I am not alone.

This enormous universe has room for all of us, and we all live and die the same way, part of the same wave of matter. We all exist and we are all unique, not necessarily because of anything any one of us has done to become unique, but simply because, as the cosmos have been aligned, we turned out as we have. There is something about connection, really getting to know someone, it is like gripping the hand of another person as you plummet over a waterfall. We are all so very much the same. We all share the same weaknesses and fears and needs. We live in the same present. Time does not pass more or less for one than for another. That is really the only source of true joy I have found, in the divine spark within us all. Perhaps we are cursed and blessed with the ability to comprehend what is really wrong with the world. It fills us with the pain of life, but it pulls us together like no other species, it draws us near to one another and lets us connect at a level completely out of reach otherwise.

I’m sorry if you were hoping for an answer, some deep excruciating moment of revelation. There is none, and in a way, I’m glad. We’re all together in this existence. Never forget this, there is nothing more valuable than yourself, nothing more valuable than a human life, nothing. We all have the divine spark, the knowledge of good and evil, the mind of a reasoning person. We all have the same curse that torments our souls. Everyone. Never discriminate, never hate, never judge one another, doing so is such a terrible waste of living breath. Draw out the fear in each other, hold it to the light, and love without faltering. In the woven fabric of existence we are stitched together and all have power to inflict pain and healing. Do not wield your power without careful thought and consideration. Do not harm without the deepest compassion, and do not love without the greatest of fury.

Thank you. I love you all, more deeply than you will ever know.

 
The end.

Moments of Insanity: Measure of Greatness

•24 April 2013 • Leave a Comment

My knees rises to greet me. My abs tense. I lay back. Again my knees rise. “Why do I do this?” I ask myself. I always ask myself why I do something when I don’t enjoy it, as any self-respecting person should. Perhaps its obvious, perhaps it isn’t, why not know, better than assuming you know why you do what you do. I think back, all those years, my useless abs. My abs that never scored me well on a fitness test, that never helped me do a pull up. That’s why I do this, because I am tired of being fat, unconditioned.

I think of Ender Wiggin. I am Ender Wiggin’s shadow. Not Bean. No, not his super-intelligent friend. No. I am Bean’s shadow. I am everyone’s shadow. I realize that I am very little. I can compare myself to the face of oblivion, but saying you are stardust in the face of a sun is too hard to grasp. No. I am not the strongest or smartest person in the world. Not in the United States. Not in my state. Not even in my own town. There will always be someone stronger. Someone smarter. No matter the work ethic, someone will always work more. No matter the cost, someone will always pay more. No matter the fight, someone will always win more fully. This is the truth about myself. This my omission: I am poor at best, and useless at my worst.

I find myself lost in my own mind. A post-modernist whose skills are un quantifiable. I will never be Ender Wiggin. I will never be Tyler Durden. I am neither intelligent nor insane enough to be any of these people. Perhaps that’s ok. Perhaps I don’t have to be the Fantastic Mr. Fox. Why do I feel the need to though? I feel the need to exceed the deeds of my family, my friends, the whole world. If I am not the best, then I am not worth anyone’s time. Even my own. Not only am I not the best, I am thoroughly mediocre. I’ve felt my whole life as though I carry a lot of burdens unknown to me. I fear nothing and everything, I grow weary at the drop of a hat, my ethics are poorly bound together at best. I lay here, on the floor of a home I had no part in building, staring the ceiling, wondering why. Why am I so weak. Why am I so mediocre? Why do others make it look so easy? Am I lazy? Was it my upbringing? Was it my own inhibitions as a child? Was it my friends, my school? Why am I like this?

I do another sit-up. “I am completely out of control.” I do another sit-up. “I can’t even avoid snack food for a week.” I do another sit-up. “I can’t do my job to anyone’s satisfaction.” I do another sit-up. “I [insert anything] too much/too little.” I do another sit-up. “I am Ender Wiggin’s shadow.” I do another sit-up. “I am Tyler Durden’s sense of disappointment.” I do another sit-up.

I can guarantee that at this very moment, there are several million people in the world who honestly believe they are the smartest person alive. They may not say it, but they believe it. They believe that their perception is perfect, their thinking is clear, and their wisdom infallible. They live their lives believing it, and a great many die believing it. To them, they were the smartest. In their ignorance they were the greatest person to ever live, and as far as they are concerned, it was true, as true as fire consuming or atoms vibrating. I am terrified that I think that way, that even in writing about how weak I am, I’m being precocious. Maybe I am, and maybe I am not, both potential truths fill me with dread. Maybe I am the dumbest person alive. Maybe I am the smartest person alive. Maybe I am neither. Maybe I believe any one of those things without even knowing it.

I wonder from time to time, maybe if I tried harder, I could do it, I could be the best. If I shove aside my discomfort with exhaustion and frustration and headaches and busy-ness, maybe then I could achieve greatness. I could be fantastic. A million invisible hands hold me back. Or do they? Are they even there? Do I hold myself back? How do I overcome myself?

The cat comes in and brushes against my leg. She looks at me, expectantly. I stare at the ceiling some more. She meows. I look at her as she lays down, and licks herself. “At least I’m not a cat.” I get up and go shower. My stomach aches. In the hot water I think ‘How do you measure yourself when there are no inches in humanity, success, or ability’. Its all so vague. To be a “nice person” is so vague it makes me ill to think about it. My atoms vibrate, just like the atoms of water that collide with them. My atoms seem to clump together in my head and make no sense.

The voice of Agent Smith comes to mind as he, terrified, cries at Neo “Why, why why WHY!? Why do you persist!?” I think of the expressionless Mr. Anderson, looking back with the revelation “Because I choose to.” I think of the great Dr. Manhattan, one who understands the essence of all things saying that he has no more control than anyone else, he is a puppet, too. The only difference is, he can see the strings.

I give up. The shower feels good, the workout felt good, too. Dinner will taste good. TV will be funny. Sleep will be satisfying. I laugh to myself. I deceive myself. As much as I’ve made myself believe I’m mediocre, or great, or whatever I believe, I’ve made myself believe that it matters. With a sigh of relief I turn off the shower and grab my towel. In the silence of the steamy bathroom I think,”I am.”

An Empty World – A Short Story

•18 April 2013 • Leave a Comment

Every morning I awake to silence. There is no one, only me. I get dressed. I turn on the TV. There is nothing on, just static. I go to an empty workplace. I sit alone and do my job, there is no one else working. There is nothing getting done. I drive home through empty streets. I look out my window at the empty sidewalks and homes and cars and churches and stores. I was told there were people here, but they were wrong, there is no one. We live in an empty world.

Strange though, I can’t see them, but I can feel them, feel their fear. They’re all hiding. They’re all cowering. They don’t want anyone else to know them. It only takes once to know the pain of judgment in nakedness, the sting of hate, to become invisible. We used to be many, there used to be so many people. We left evidence of life everywhere. Then we forgot how to love. We forgot how to forgive. We first forgot what those words meant, and then we forgot how to say them, then we forgot each other. We aren’t people anymore, we’re transparent husks, sickly and sad, hating and wishing for something we can’t even remember.

Most can’t remember that there are other people. They forget that even they themselves are people. Perhaps they’re happier that way. I remember what life used to be like. I remember when I could see people, even if I’ve forgotten their shape. I try not to remember, but I can’t forget. Mine was the spear of judgment, the fire of hate. I gave voice to the fear and drove people away. They hid, they vanished. They learned to hate, too. They now live in an empty world, too. I miss them. I want to find them. I want to give back to them what I took from them. It is too late now. The world is empty. We have ever so efficiently wiped it clean, it shines, in it you can see the reflection of the stars.

I sigh at the setting sun. Air is warm, glass is cool, I sit on my front porch in my empty world. I know I can’t see them, but I also know, they can’t see me either. I am invisible, too. I feel the fear, too. Occasionally I run into someone, we apologize, for a split second we might see one another, a faint shifting shape, a forlorn, empty eyed figure. It has been so long since I have seen a person, I don’t remember what they look like. I wonder what I look like. In an empty world, it really doesn’t matter, smash the mirrors, burn the photographs, lets forget, why won’t God let me forget.

Every night, I go out on my rooftop and shout into the dusk,”People, friends, family, churches, stop judging. Stop hating. Stop hiding. Stop cutting your pain into your own arms and come cut it into mine as well. Come and share your scars. Let me see you.” I wonder. They can’t see me, perhaps can’t hear me. If they could see me, could hear me, they would avoid me all the more. Perhaps being opaque makes you even harder to be seen. My evenings end with curses as I go to bed, in my empty world, just covers floating above what used to be a real person.

An Important Day

•11 April 2013 • Leave a Comment

I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I think too much. I have learned a lot, but most of it is unpleasant. Most of it I don’t like. Wisdom isn’t kind. It isn’t until you learn that you truly understand how blissful ignorance really is. That’s not what this post is about. This post is about something far more specific, something that I came to understand thanks to thinking too much.

There is something I have wrestled with for years. Its very subconscious and quiet. It doesn’t bother me much, but its always there. A small consistent pressure. It is the weight of a truth that sits heavy and lasts a lifetime. The truth comes in three parts. The first part is that my parents have given me more than I will ever comprehend. Not just in tangible ways, but in the intangible. The little things. My mother would clean the house while I was gone, either at school or at work, and I would come home to a clean home. My mother would say nothing of it. I just accepted that the home was clean. It was a good life. I learned though, in time, the sacrifices both my parents made in raising me. Those sacrifices, the relentless selflessness, have rubbed off, in a good way.

The second part of the truth is this: I wasted infinitely too much time. I don’t use ‘infinitely’ lightly. I use it in the sense that not only could I have spent more time with my parents, learning from my parents, appreciating my parents, I could have spent better time with them. It is time that I will never get back. Few things march on with such steadfast fervor. There are a variety of sayings that would catch this situation well, but no, I refuse them all. Regardless of how ‘normal’ it may have been, or how many excuses I may have, I did indeed waste time that I can not get back. The gifts my parents gave me could have been ten fold if I had been more willing to receive them.

The third and final part of this truth, the most crushing of all, is this: There is no possible way I can repay them. Start at the most basic element, life. The gift of life. My mother bore me and gave birth to me. No other event in human life is so vital. I am alive because of my parents. I owe my existence to them. That is only the beginning. For the next 24 years, my parents gave nearly everything in raising me. They played second fiddle, with joy in their hearts, even when the rewards were sour. How do you repay that? How do you give back enough? You can’t. I can’t. I think this is why I’ve so often been bad at showing appreciation to my parents. The task is so insurmountable I feel as though even trying would be futile. Couple that with my lazy disposition and here I am, full of regret for how little I’ve given back.

I don’t mean for this to sound so hopeless. Its a simple realization, one that I imagine a lot of people experience at one point or another. I know mom and dad are having objections to the things I’ve said, and those objections are the very essence of what I’m talking about. So, there is one thing I can do. I can pass on the blessings given to me. I can live my life in a way that lets me be proud to carry my family name. How do I do that? Very simple. I already know. My parents taught me, over the past 24 years. So no, I may not know how to build a house floor to ceiling or how to work a sewing machine, but I know how to love. How to live. I know the value living and loving.

Today is my mother’s birthday. Today is an important day. I’ve come to realize that the most important gift any person could ever give me, was given me by my mother. Not just life, but the tools to live. Those 24 years of quiet love and careful compassion have left their mark. She never said a word about it, but she changed my life forever. She taught me what real love and care is. She taught me empathy. She taught me how to give, unending, to those I love. I count myself among the luckiest to ever live, like falling thousands of feet from an airplane and surviving, like winning the lottery, like a dog lost thousands of miles from home who finds his way back. That is how lucky I am to have the parents I do.

So in this ever-so-small way, on my mother’s birthday, I’d like to try to give back. I’d like to be honest. Mom, I’m sorry if I ever made you doubt that I don’t appreciate all you’ve done. I’m sorry if I’ve ever made you feel that I think of you as any less than you are. Most importantly, thank you, for giving me everything, and asking nothing in return. A better mother I could not ask for. I love you.

Happy Birthday.

 

~Your Son

Lamppost Parade

•4 April 2013 • Leave a Comment

Cubicles pass by, lampposts along the curb,

Heavy words fill the perforated, college ruled pages of my mind.

Pregnancy, sequester, senility, anxiety,

We’re a generation of Christians, raised with whiskey in our bottles and guns in our cribs.

God gets serious today, joke’s on us,

The end isn’t near, it has past, the world already ended and we are what is left.

We are six billion lost children,

We are fat, we live without context, stained are the sides of our overflown cups.

We are parking garages and shopping malls,

Like ancient tree branches our hands have grown around our living, unable to let go.

Branches that don’t bend, break,

Hung limp are the trees, dead leaf brown branches swing from lampposts in the wind.

I want to hear them snap underfoot,

To hunt elk among them, climb their vines, build my home and live inside them,

Just to feel alive.

Moments of Insanity: Introduction

•28 March 2013 • Leave a Comment

I’m thinking of writing a compilation. I mean, I’m going to write it, and it will probably be terrible, and I will do nothing with it but let it sit and hope that when the world ends someone will find it and find enlightenment (good joke, everybody laugh). The good parts though, I’m going to post here. Its not worth another blog. This blog isn’t worth itself. So here you go, the introduction to my new compilation of personal stories about everything and nothing.

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The world is ending. The whole damn world is ending. Right now.

You’re reading this. It isn’t real. Right?

Wrong.

What is the end of the world? Imagine for a moment. City street, your car, stuffed in gridlocked traffic. Everyone cursing, horns blowing. You get out of your car. You see something coming out of the sky, its the moon, its falling, right toward you.

You grab the first person you see,”What’s going on!?” you scream in his face. Its a black man, bald, he’s in shape, his white eyes bulge in his black head.

“It’s the end of the world!” he screams back. You don’t notice his spit on your face. You don’t think about it, your mind shuts off. Its the end of the world. What does that mean though? The moon is 238,900 miles from the Earth’s surface. Simple math, do it in your head, its traveling at 1,000mph, it will reach the earth in….238 hours 54 minutes. That’s almost ten days. You have over a week. Is the world still ending? Probably.

The fact is, the world will end. One day. Its inevitable. Chances are good it will be our fault, somehow. When is it really ending though? Now I say. Right this very moment, our world is ending. You are witness to the greatest moments in history and you’re reading this stupid sentence. Waste of time right?

Wrong.

You read that story, about the black man, the city street, the end of the world. If you imagine hard enough, you can feel the fear grip you, you can hear the screams. Perception is everything, and we can make our minds believe almost anything. So for a moment, the world was ending. As far as your imaginative, squishy brain could tell, it was all over. As soon as the story ended, you were back in the real world, where the moon wasn’t falling, and no black man was screaming in your face (maybe). Now your mind has you believing the world isn’t ending. Who cares?

I do.

Everyone should.

This is my life. Moving between worlds.

I hate a lot of things, three of those things are these: books, writing, and cats. I can escape none of them. They are all annoying and pathetic, but I can’t help myself from tripping over them every moment of every day. My brain won’t quit, and until I die, it won’t stop thinking. It probably thinks all the wrong things, but that’s life. We’re always wrong. All the time. This all started with Roadside Picnic, the Russian science fiction novel. Then Fight Club, the nihilistic blood bath, and now, Ender’s Game. I can’t escape it. I start reading and I can’t help myself. I am Redrick Shuart, I am father to a diseased child and walking dead father. I am Tyler Durden, changing the world with soap and gasoline. I am Ender Wiggin, crying in bed at night because I mistakenly killed someone today. Its real. No less real than the ‘real’ world.

There is a brief moment, sometimes hours, sometimes the blink of an eye, between. I am reading, on the toilet, the cat walks in. She looks at me. “What are you doing?” she asks. I leave Ender Wiggin, cornered in the bathroom by six boys out for blood. I am not in the real world yet. I look at the cat, anger in my chest, she’s ruining it. I’m somewhere between. I’m trapped between worlds. I am not Ender Wiggin and I am not myself.

These I call: Moments of Insanity. Specks of time where I am lost. I am truly a third party, a party to none. When the cat brushes against my leg, I wake up. Ender Wiggin’s world ends. It’s all over. I am now a cat owner, sitting on the toilet in an empty house with the white letters of a book on my phone. How lame.

So this is it, I’ve had enough. I am crazy. You may not think so, but I am a schizophrenic. I am a homosexual. I am a paranoid maniac. I am an insomniac. We all are. That includes you. Most diseases and disorders are as simple as too much or too little of something we do every day. My brain is full. I need to write. I hate writing like I hate reading like I hate cats. Its so insufficient. It accomplishes so little. It takes so long. Its all I have though. Until I can plug my brain into yours so you know how crazy I really am, you’re just going to have to read about it.

So that’s it. I’m out. I’m back to the real world now, writing up this stupid introduction. I try to remind myself the world is still ending, but I can’t, I’m too afraid to believe it. So that’s it. Sitting on my toilet. Look at my stupid cat and my stupid book. Until I get lost somewhere between worlds again, this is all I’ll write, until the world ends, whichever one is really real.

Sinking

•25 March 2013 • Leave a Comment

I was born on a sinking ship. My parents told me ‘You can be anything you want, you can do anything you put your mind to.’ I decide to be a mechanic. I put my mind to being a mechanic. Waist deep in water I go to fix our ship. I say, ‘Let me fix the ship.’ The captain shrugs and says ‘Its supposed to sink.’ A man can fix a sinking ship, but a man cannot fix another man.

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