Phantogram - Celebrating Nothing

“What is wrong with me?” It’s a question I’ve asked myself over and over again since my father first made me feel less than worthy of his attentions. Invariably, it seeded my formative years with a great deal of emotional doubt and introspection. Admittedly, the introspection helped to forge what has largely become my morale steel and it served as a boon to me for the most part. That was, until a family celebration ended with me staring into the furious eyes of my father while he denounced me as a son and pinned me to a garage door. At that moment there was no room for introspection, all that remained was the thought “So this is it, he’s going to kill me.”

Obviously my father didn’t go through with it and to be honest it was the only time he ever came close to being physically abusive, but he was a master of psychological abuse. To a young boy not yet out of sixth grade the intimidation was palpable, I was paralyzed. Too this day just thinking about it makes my adrenaline rush and my body shake. Morbid as it is, he did manage to kill the scared boy on that garage door.

In the hours following, I found I had an answer to the question “What is wrong with me?” it wasn’t that there was anything wrong with me, but there was something wrong with him. Something that would never let me be good enough for him, no matter how hard I tried, or good I was, or what I did to prove how much I loved him. Something was broken in my father and there was nothing I could do to fix him. He had to choose to fix himself and so, for a little while at least, I stopped asking myself “What is wrong with me?”

The next time the question would tread upon my thoughts was just out of High School. A friend and I had an argument over something trivial. So much so that I can barely remember now what it is we argued over, but I remember firmly believing, as I suppose we all do in such cases, that I was in the right. I remember discussing it with one of my best friends looking, as so many of us oft do, for validation. Instead, what I received was an annoyed look and “You know what your problem is? You are too prideful. In all the time that I’ve known you, I can’t ever remember you apologizing or admitting you were wrong about something.” The response shook me to my core. 

There is something about the judgement of someone close to you, something that has the power to cut deeper than any instrument made from mortal hands. Maybe thats the nature of letting people get close to you. As comforting as the trust you place in their hands is, it can be the most lethal of weapons, an anathame you craft yourself and place into their hands. Either way, his words began an avalanche of introspection in the alps of my mind, forcing me to dig out of what I thought I was or freeze. Was I too prideful? When was the last time I’d apologized? Was being right worth a friendship? Was it worth being alone?

It was hard, swallowing my pride, and it took more out of me to do so than I thought it should, so maybe I was too prideful. Whatever the cause of the argument it certainly wasn’t worth a friendship and the thought of being alone, without friends, was terrifying. So I humbled myself, apologized, made amends, and assuaged the voice in my head screaming “What is wrong with me?”

So here I am, a month from my 30th birthday, a great career, plenty of friends, a comfortable lifestyle, nothing but opportunity ahead of me, and yet the question has plagued me for two years and a fortnight. No matter how blessed I am, no matter how much people like me, or say how great a person I am. If I am such a paragon of humanity why am I so ineffably alone? What is so wrong with me that I can’t find a person to share my life with? Maybe I’m too diplomatic, or assertive enough? Maybe the very qualities that make me a reliable, honorable, and loyal man are the same that make me too nice to be in a relationship.

Of all the innumerable answers none are more terrifying than the idea that perhaps she’s dead, or never existed to begin with, maybe there is no one for me. Maybe alone is all I’ll ever be. No statement my Father ever made has proved truer than the statement “Son, Life isn’t fair.” Why wouldn’t this statement apply to love?

More than likely this assessment is far more self-serving and melancholic than it needs to be, more complicated than it needs to be. Occam’s razor applied, what I’ve done for the past 29 years hasn’t worked therefore it’s wrong and I need to change it. There’s a flaw in the traits that make up my being which make me untenable as a partner. Perhaps the cliche that “Nice guys finish last” isn’t just so, but a fact rooted in the reality that bad men are preferable. Once they’ve all been spoken for all that’s left are the nice guys  and what incentive is there to start off with them anyway when, like the last kid picked for teams on the school ground, they will accept anything.

My problem? I don’t want to be a last resort, or someone somebody settles for, I want to be chosen. But it appears that, in order to be “chosen” by the convention of the day, I should be emotionally unavailable/dysfunctional, ethically relativistic, and morally dubious. Essentially the opposite of me (though I must admit to some emotional dysfunctional as evidenced by this very longwinded article).

Anyway it appears as though I’ve had the answer all along, the conundrum I face seems to be do I change myself this time and in doing so lose what I am. Do I come to terms with the fact that I will either be someone’s last resort or resolve to be alone like some aesthetic monk?

There’s a episode of “How I Met Your Mother?” that gained a little more meaning for me after I saw the finale. Entitled “The Time Travelers,” Ted’s soliloquy at the terminus of the episode eloquently communicates my feelings. There is a part of me that wants desperately to meet my soulmate, to know who she is that I might have the greatest amount of time with her in my life. To share more sunsets, more starry nights, more arguments, before shuffling off this mortal coil. But just like Ted I will remain alone until either the fickle fates introduce us or I become something different and someone, perhaps, antithetical to the person I am now.

Minus the Bear - Fooled by the Night

Forever

To bask in the glory of us

Entwined as we are, writhing in the midst of love

Peering deep into the mirrored windows of your soul

Close enough to taste your breath

The salty sweet aroma so infuriatingly intoxicating

Exploring familiar rosy buds atop ample mounds

Resting in valleys and lost in curves

Surrounded by supple strength

Lavishing dewy fields and soft flower petals

The weight of my world rests upon glad shoulders, trembling

Unabashed to rise and willfully seeking union

Till You and I, fall before Us

Certain that all we are, or will ever be, is Ours

Sunset

Upon the cliffs far above surf’s drown
Where love’s sunup grew at sundown
Rain falls beneath still pregnant sky
And I ponder answers to the why?

Dreams and hope so great began
Have dashed upon the rocks and sand
Where once was promised warm embrace
Naught but chill wind lash at the face

Frigid waters tempt rest from far below
But from the torment, I’ll not go
For burnished orange and rosy hues
Are lousy payment, for my dues

When will this sorrow cease to fret?
So that I may again view happy sunset

Sunset

Upon the cliffs far above surf’s drown

Where love’s sunup grew at sundown

Rain falls beneath still pregnant sky

And I ponder answers to the why?

Dreams and hope so great began

Have dashed upon the rocks and sand

Where once was promised warm embrace

Naught but chill wind lash at the face

Frigid waters tempt rest from far below

But from the torment, I’ll not go

For burnished orange and rosy hues

Are lousy payment, for my dues

When will this sorrow cease to fret?

So that I may again view happy sunset

izzymar:

Disney Fine Art: “Ohana means family" by Heather Theurer:)
(Source: disneyfineart.com)

Wonderful piece of art

izzymar:

Disney Fine Art: “Ohana means family" by Heather Theurer:)

(Source: disneyfineart.com)

Wonderful piece of art

(Source: tinkeperi)

I love everything about her, and I’m not a guy who says that lightly, I’m a guy who has faked love his entire life, I’m a guy who thought love was just something idiots felt, but this woman has a hold on my heart that I could not break if I wanted to. And there have been times when I wanted to. It has been overwhelming and humbling, and even painful at times, but I could not stop loving her any more than I could stop breathing. I’m hopelessly, irretrievably in love with her. More than she knows.
You will be shocked, kids, when you discover how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever.

That’s why, when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.

Churchill - I am yours

I’m tired of fighting you, so I’ll say what you want me to
You know we’re gonna wake up tomorrow
We’re back to where we began, let’s start it over again
Our voices breaking, steal, and borrow

You hold your tongue, your words are locked up in your lungs
So I’ll come at it quietly, I just want some honesty
Well you know that I can’t ease your sorrow

But I am yours, yours, yours
If you love me make your mind up, make your mind up
I am yours, yours, yours
If you love me make your mind up, make your mind up

So I leave with an open hand, your grip pulls me back again
We’re all together, lost in nowhere
You say what you mean it babe, tomorrow’s a different way
The story’s changed but reasons aren’t there

And now you hold your tongue, you’re trying not to come undone
But all I need is one, so baby speak your words, and take me somewhere

'Cause I am yours, yours, yours
If you love me make your mind up, make your mind up
I am yours, yours, yours
If you love me make your mind up, make your mind up

You wanted me to let you
You wanted me to let you in and I tried, I tried, oh
You wanted me to let you
You wanted me to let you in and I tried
But there ain’t no way else to tell you that 

I am yours, yours, yours
If you love me, make your mind up, make your mind up
I am yours, yours, yours, yours
If you love me make your mind up, make your mind up
Come on make your mind up, ‘cause I am yours

Falling - Haim

The following is a work in progress but I wanted to publish it so that I had a little more motivation to finish it…

Son,

The human heart is a fascinating thing and I am not talking about the complex muscle pumping blood through your body, though it too is a wondrous thing. No, when I talk of the human heart I am talking about that ineffable part of every person for which logic and reason have no meaning. It is the fount of emotion and lies as the cornerstone to a man’s strength. For when you have racked the mind, sought advice from the most apt adviser, and still you are left to wander in darkness, it will be there, like a lantern in the fog, gently pulling you in the direction you need to go.

That said as strong as your heart is, as deeply as you can draw strength and guidance from it, your heart is the weakest part of you. Do not interpret this as a flaw because your weakness is the same for everyone, young or old. I tell you this not to scare you or to berate you with cautionary tales but to prepare you for the hardest journey any man can make, the one that leads him to love.

When you hold a person’s heart you hold the very best of them, you hold their hopes, their dreams, their strength, and oh so much more. It is simultaneously the greatest honor one can bestow upon another and the most significant responsibility one assumes as an adult. Sadly as important as it is, many begin this journey woefully unprepared for this responsibility, to include myself. So Son, here’s my two cents…

Tell the truth, Always. The bedrock of a relationship is trust and trust is built on the truth, period. As with every message there is an appropriate method of distribution, so don’t take this as an excuse to be an asshole when it comes to the delivery, be tactful about it. It won’t always be easy, the truth can be a scary thing, but don’t ever let it frighten you into lying to someone who has trusted you with their heart. To a relationship, lies are absolutely pernicious. There are many things in this world that leave room for doubt Son. Don’t ever let yourself be one of those things to a person who loves you, lies are the fastest way to do this.

Be patient. Son one of the hardest things you can do in life is wait. Maybe you meet the right person at the wrong time. Maybe you have to wade through a string of wrong people to be ready for the right one yourself. Or maybe, the person you want has been so damaged by the wrong type of people that you have to wait for them to get to the right place. Either way, if they aren’t worth the wait, then they aren’t worth your time, and it won’t last.

Keep your promises. Guard your words, for while they may be an inexhaustible currency utilized in the attainment of many pursuits, never forget they are only as valuable as the action you put behind them. There are those who are willing to say anything to guarantee the close, to instantly gratify their most immediate desires, spending their words cheaply on fleeting moments that will leave them hollow and poorer in the long run. In the end even they will begin to doubt their ability to genuinely fulfill the worthless vitriol spilling from their mouth. Just as unwavering honesty gives credence to your words and builds trust, actions imbue them with merit and proves you’re trustworthy.

Be yourself.

Admit when you’re wrong. No one in this world is perfect, Son. Part of becoming an adult is realizing when you’ve made a mistake, rectifying that mistake, and learning from it. This means that over the course of your life you will be wrong many times and if you intend to know someone for greater than the period between mistakes, it also means that you will wrong someone you care about. It is in these moments that your character will be tested. Your pride will want to fight the truth, your fear will murmur about the potential for ridicule, and all the weakest parts of you will scream a thousand reasons not to humble yourself. The folly in this train of thought lies in its ego-centrism. To fall to it means that you place yourself above the integrity of the relationship, and if they should ever find out it tells that person you don’t respect them as an equal.

Pay attention to the details. Everyone you meet wears a facade, a mask they show the world, a filter through which their true self is a glimmer. We put up these walls in large part to protect ourselves from the deprivations of others, to maintain our privacy, and to navigate the much harsher social waters that we are forever immersed in. This is true even when courtship is in full swing. The point you should take away is that there is more to a person than what they show the world, their friends, or their family. However, each and every person has a deep seated need to be understood which necessitates the proverbial search for their soul mate. In relationships we often let down our walls to show the other person the “real” us. Meaning that as a paramour, you may be granted a wonderful opportunity to peer behind the facade of another human being, but these moments are all too rare and require that you pay attention to the details to fully appreciate them. Doing so will fill your mind with the information needed to fuel the actions necessary to effectively express your feelings and ultimately bring your relationship closer.

Follow your heart.

Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out.

Be Strong. There are many easy paths, especially in the journey to love. The one I’ve walked is not one of them. For most of my young adult life I was alone with nothing but the faith in my belief to keep me company. Being honest and dependable does not make life any easier Son, but there is something to be said for being able to look in the mirror and know that no matter what, you’ve always done what was right above what was easy. There will be moments when you doubt yourself, when all you believe and all you’ve tried to build feels like it’s taking you nowhere but an empty bed. These times will be the hardest right after the end of a relationship and for some time thereafter. In those moments, I ask that you be strong and remember that I was once where you are, looking down the very same bleak path. At the end of it, I found your mother coming from a path as hard or harder than my own, and she was worth every second of every year I spent waiting.

                                                               Sincerely, Your Old Man.”