Nov 192010
 

Dear Me,

I love how I am too humble to make a list of how awesome I am. Okay that was a joke but it does bring up the first real entry – you have a great sense of humor. You can see the pun in anything and everything, you can joke about almost anything. Making people (including yourself) laugh is something noble and you have a right to be proud of your talent there.

You're not altogether bad looking, in fact enough people have called you handsome that you can probably believe them. You keep yourself fairly in shape, you're not overweight and your are quite healthy with way below average cholesterol and blood sugar levels, nicely broad shoulders and perfectly defined calf-muscles – all of which is good, but not half as good as the fact that you truly have your own style. You look like yourself, people you've only met once always remember you because you truly stand out in a crowd. Many people would hate that idea, fear it, or worse consider it something bad for others to aspire to – but you have the courage to look the way you want to look – good for you.

You're smart, you really are. You can generally solve a puzzle where others see nothing but a wall. You can make sense of things other people just can't seem to understand. You can find a MacGuyver-style solution to most problems. You're creative and you got a real talent with both words and logic – that's pretty rare seeing as most people get one or the other. You manage to be both a math-geek and an artist, it's not something to be proud off really because the talent was an accident of genetics and you never believed anybody should get credit (or discredit) for their genes, but you worked hard to develop those talents and that is a matter of pride. 

You care about people. It's been a genuine burden on you for most of your life but it's never made you falter. Even when in moments of exasperated frustration you may have shouted about how you want to just stop giving a damn  – you have never seriously considered doing it. It's a hard life but a worthwhile one. 

You dream big and you try to achieve those big, impossible dreams. You are far more afraid of not trying than you are of failure. This has meant that you have often had to deal with disappointment but you've always stoically accepted that as the price of a life worth living. You can take some pride in the fact that you refuse to give up on dreams- even the ones that your rational mind knows will probably never happen.

You're dynamite in bed. Now almost every man on the planet actually tells themselves this – but you aren't, you're quoting. One thing your past lovers all agreed on is that your enormous effort put into their pleasure is far beyond the average, that your willingness to study and read books have given you an in-depth understanding of the human body which you put to very good use. That you are happy to make their fantasies come true with never any judgement just excitement. Your caring nature is as much an attribute of how you are  as a lover as it is of how you live every other part of your life.

Chances are nobody else is even going to mention sex in this post in particular and that brings us to the last and most important thing of all. You are truly open-minded. In every sense. You are open to new ideas and you don't hold with concepts like "shame" and "guilt" over human nature. You don't discriminate against anybody and you genuinely judge people only on how they treat others. You are sex-positive and you believe in equality for all, you have had friends from every aspect of the human spectrum. Every race, every sexual orientation (including the rare ones like transexuals) and you've accepted everybody without fear or favor or judgement. You are not afraid to talk about subjects that make others uncomfortable and since you genuinely believe their discomfort to be incredibly harmful to society (and you got the scientific facts to back it up) that too is part of caring for people.

You are by no means perfect. You have many flaws and sometimes, some of them mean that you don't entirely live up to your own ideals, even the things I wrote about here are things you've sometimes failed at – but nobody is perfect. You're still a great guy. You deserve to love and be loved. You deserve happiness – never let anybody tell you otherwise again.

Your friend.

Me.

Nov 182010
 

Today's topic is one I've been dreading. It's very difficult to really answer. The thing is – I spent so much of the past two years fighting to recover who I truly am, struggling to be true to myself regardless of opposition that I have become resistant to change. Perhaps sometimes too resistant – it makes the idea of choosing something to change about myself very difficult – and the choice just as obvious.

Inflexibility is no more good for a person than sacrificing your identity, so that fear of any change at all is what needs to change. It needs to be tempered with idealism and pragmatism and compassion for others. A preparedness to accept changes in behavior and self-expression as sometimes needed, but not given up. 

Losing myself again is something I cannot dare contemplate, the balance must always be in favor of preserving what I consider my true soul – but the details of how that soul is expressed, how it interacts with people… there is room for improvement there.  I am not entirely sure what all those improvements may be – but I got some ideas from listening to the genuine advice of concerned friends. I can't really imagine a better source.

Will I take some vow to change something right now ? No. That would be silly. What I will do is be aware of it, and allow that awareness to temper my considerations when I'm making decisions. Well, at least, I'll try.

Nov 172010
 

I wrote in an earlier post that I rather wish I had been a dad already so I think that should answer the question. Chances are I would be out of my skin with joy. Now of course, that may change if it was some random one night stand – but seeing as I'm not actually having sex with anybody at all, let alone randomly, and I've always practiced safe-sex anyway I have to say the risks of that is fairly small.

Now if it happens with somebody I care about, when the time is right for sex – and I think you all know who I'm thinking about here, then frankly I would not be unhappy. If it's early and unplanned that may introduce some significant practical difficulties but parenting always introduces a major practical challenge, it's a change in the nature of the challenge only – and I still believe the rewards to outweigh the challenges, so I would still be happy.

This is not my most rational decision, there is significant reason to believe that wanting children at all in an overpopulated world is highly irrational. Most of the arguments against that are provably false. Logically- anybody who is capable of spelling "overpopulation" really shouldn't be contributing to it -because there are so many who can't and are doing their best to.

 

But humans aren't entirely rational at our best, I certainly am not. We are emotional beings as well. We feel love and caring and nurturing and yes, anger and sadness and these things are as much a part of our being as thinking is. In fact a lot of scientists believe they are our entire being -that rationality always comes after the fact and it always just ends up with us explaining away to ourselves the emotional decisions we already made. 

I decidedly disagree. Too often I have found myself in rational self-denial – not doing what I desperately want to because I know it's really a bad idea. That alone (and the fact that everybody does it sometimes) proves the theory wrong.

There may be variation in the balance-  in how often we do it, but not in the concept. Of course those researchers will declare that the entire concept of self-denial is part of the lie we tell ourselves, that some other emotion stopped us acting, and now we convince ourselves that the reason we didn't makes sense.

I still believe we are capable of rational and logical thought, I believe we are a combination of many things. Our most basic drives and urges, our deeply felt emotions, our momentary feelings and our logical and indeed deeper thinking. Out of the combination of all these parts of our brains and minds emerges our personalities. 

Well this is one of those cases where I choose to trust my emotions over my logic. I want to have children, it's a desire I intend to fullfill. Rationality defines when and how I'll act on this desire for me, not if. My mind is made up on that.

I want to be a dad, when the time is right and the woman is right – I will be. It's a decision I made, and I don't care if it makes sense or not. 

Nov 162010
 

I'm supposed to pick just one ? People in my life then. People who accept me as I am, care about me and share my interests and dreams. Awesome people. I've named some of them during this series, I'm not going to do so again. You know who you are. You know what you've come to mean to me. 

There are of course other things in my life that are good. I love my job, I love the city I live in, I will quite soon be the legal owner of the house I have been paying for so long anyway. I am slowly falling in love. I have the absolute and unquestioning loyalty of Leela.

All in all, though I may often not feel that way, I'm a pretty lucky guy.

Nov 152010
 

Question one: Yes.

Question two: anybody who claims to be able to answer that is lying. Of course at the time you have reasons, everybody who ever thought about it, tried it or did it had some reason they were considering it – but that is never really the reason. Part o my defense is knowing that.

Suicide is caused by depression. The reasons we think up are just that – symptoms of depression making everything look so much worse than it is, and as the depression finally just starts to lift, those emotions are still there but our energy isn't so down anymore – that's when we're vulnerable.

In fact I have never tried it. I've had times I thought about it – what I know about the mental processes involved lets me avoid it for very long periods on end, I basically know how to prevent depression before it comes – it takes constant effort and it's never forever. When it comes, I also know better than to trust myself – I know my mind isn't right, this rational knowledge may not be enough to keep me from doing something as stupid and selfish as suicide is – but it is enough to make sure that I ask for help. That on those occasions – I reach out, relying on trusted friends to give me guidance when I cannot trust my own brain to do it for me.

I suppose  I could say that the most recent one – the reason  I felt, the emotion that had gone haywire and felt absolutely destructive was loneliness. I wasn't even all that lonely – it was just a lonely time, and it was the time just before my life would take several dramatic turns for the better – and I nearly weren't there for them, just because it was a Friday night, I was stuck home alone, broke and somewhat drunk – and feeling like I had nobody who would be there for me, who cared about me… which is bullshit.  I have wonderful friends, a wonderful family – my life is really quite good. 

I couldn't see it at the time though – that's what messed up brain chemistry does. That's when you need to reach out, ask for help, need to be able to let others remind you and guide you and help you see the reality you are painting black. 

A few weeks after that incident, a friend of mine who has a much more severe problem in this regard, who has tried to take her life before and dealt with avoiding it by sheer dint of effort only almost every day of her adult life – took a massive overdose. She survived but she's still in a clinic. I speak to her regularly and she seems to be slowly doing better. Her attitude seems better to – I think the help she's getting now is actually getting through. I hope so.

That is my message to those who read this. Depression taints your perception of your own mind and emotions – the first time you think "maybe it's better if I end it" … stop right there, and phone somebody, talk to somebody. Do not trust your brain because right then it doesn't really know, it doesn't truly understand and you are incapable of being realistic, you will see only darkness unless somebody else turns your face to the light – but the light is still there. Pick up the phone and call anybody, everybody – just don't stay by yourself.

And if it's a persistent thing -get help, long-term depression is a medical condition and it can be treated.

Nov 122010
 

I wrote a poem several years ago called "If I die tonight" – in which I wrote about the state of my life at the time, and why I wasn't ready to die-  there was too much not yet done. I still feel that way – I'm a much happier person now than when I wrote that but there are so many things I want to do in my life, dreams that have waited 15 years and which I just started seriously making true in the last few weeks are among that.

We can choose to die sooner than we would have-  but that would take away the opportunity to make those dreams possibly come true. The alternative is choosing to live every day to the maximum ability we have, and accept that it's not going to last for ever so we ought to make it count.

About 2 months or so ago, I had what goes down as the single most depressed night I've had since the divorce. I was in a truly terrible state. I didn't know if there was any point in living anymore. I felt my dreams were out of reach, my life lonesome and empty. I asked for help and the people I thought of as my friends weren't there for me. Instead… I found salvation, and help from an unexpected source, and girl i thought of as a good mate, became an incredibly close and trusted friend. 

Sometimes we have to change our lives (for ourselves – never for anybody else) and it's those days when you learn who your true friends are, who you can truly trust – who will be there for you through hell that are the days when we can do that. Out of our darkest moments come our most emppowering times.

I haven't felt lonely since. On the contrary, our little group of friends and acquaintances have become as close-knit as the muskateers, we hang out together, we play roleplaying games and… well we are doing something incredibly awesome. Something spectacular. Something I've wanted to do since I was 15 years  old. Caitlin was inspired by my poems to suggest it – I was encouraged to say yes, and Anthony was instantly sold. Megan and Mat – you guys may as well join us because you know we're not quitting now !

What is this awesome thing ? A few trusted people know. I'm not quite ready to tell anybody else yet. All in good time.   But I will say this. If there is a reason I am still alive today – it's because of amazingly wonderful friends, and the incredibly cool friends of friends they've introduced me to. You rock guys ! You utterly and completely and totally rock SO HARD and I want you to know I know that.

Nov 112010
 

Aww, this is a sweet topic. Obviously I'll be doing a playlist for Megan, but what makes it even sweeter is that I actually began my wooing (yes thats the word I used at the time) of this lovely lady with a playlist. At the time I only really had one band available, so it featured heavily, it shall continue to do so today – but it can now be augmented.

However, since I suspect almost none of these songs have ever been played on a radio, I'm going to cheat and link each to their youtube entries, so people can actually hear them, and then I'm going to cheat again and explain each songs reason.

To anybody who was hoping for "bad ass" as the major description – well sorry, this is a romantic playlist, I still think it is bad-ass but it's not angry music and I never thought that you can't make a bad-ass love song too, in fact the very greatest love songs I ever knew were all metal.

Megan's playlist:

  • "Devour" – Disturbed (Because it's about how a man should love a woman)
  • "All coming back to me" – Meat Loaf (Because it blows the Celine Version clean out of the water, and it's lovely)
  • "The night" – Disturbed (Because it's about how a woman should love a man)
  • "I'm a believer" – Smashmouth (I always liked every version of this song, but now I can relate, and Smashmouth made it awesome)
  • "Groovy kind of love" – Phill Collins (Oh hush)
  • "Mistress" – Disturbed (Just listen)
  • "Black Swann" – Belladonna (Because  want to be her poet-hero)
  • "Guarded" – Disturbed (Because it's about why you shouldn't fear love)
  • "Mystical Elysian Love" – Belladonna (A great piece of rock noir and among the greatest love songs of all time).
  • "Storybook love"- Mark Knoppfler ("The princess bride" was the first movie we watched together, the song, like the movie – is horribly cheesy in the most wonderful way)
  • "Love and War" – Drowning pool (One of the most powerful metal love songs I ever heard, lyrics are just mindblowing)
  • "Total eclipse of the heart" – Bonnie Tyler (80's hairmetal which you all know I love was a pretty male dominated genre, but the single greatest power ballad it ever produced was done by a female singer – one who later quit her contract because her record company tried to turn her into a country singer and she insisted she was a rocker)
  • "Bed of roses" – Bon Jovi (Staying with the hairmetal powerbalads for a while longer here, this song needs no introduction)
  • "Diamonds and rust" – Judas Priest (Not hairmetal but a powerbalad of the best kind anyway, a cover in fact but such a deep and meaningful one)
  • "This maniac's in love with you" – Alice Cooper (Because I want to stand on a rooftop and sing this to her)
Nov 102010
 

This is easy. I wish I'd been a dad. I said all along the thing I regret most about my failed marriage is that I didn't get to be a dad. Now granted, I'm pretty sure in terms of choices of potential moms that's probably a good thing, but I love children. I'm the number one favorite uncle to my nieces and nephews, the younger ones and the teenaged ones alike.

I have a knack with kids and it always annoyed my sister how at family gatherings I'd end up babysitting more than she did. The boy got along better with the children than she did. In fact at one point in my life I seriously considered a career as a preschool teacher. I also  know that we live in a world where one kind of sexism is not only not being fought against but actively encouraged – and because politicians can get lots of power by playing on (provably false) fears of sexual predators online (well there are a few, but in fact the whole thing is massively overblown and the truth is that just like 20 years ago 99% of all sexual abuse is still done by somebody who is known to the child and the family and mother-on-son abuse is still by far the most harmful) – well that piece of sexism that has even bloggers I truly respect like Chani saying things like "I sat there looking at all the men around me and wondering how many of them would try to take a girl's virginity by force" (this about a technology conference surrounded by educated developers – all of whom are people who are there because they altruistically donated their work to a higher cause – probably the lowest rape-risk environment in human history)…

That piece of massive sexism that brands every man a potential rapist or sexual abuser of children – and which means that any man who becomes a pre-school teacher will faces endless and massive opposition and it will just take one paranoid parent making a false accusation to ruin his entire life… that's why I didn't become one.

But okay, I digressed like crazy here… back to the point. I love children, I hate the fact that I'm scared to say that on my own blog in case some paranoid soccer-mom decides that a 30-year old bachelor who loves kids must be a pedophile  but  you know what, that's bullshit. Loving children is not a bad thing. I enjoy playing games with them – I love their creativity and their imagination – not yet stifled by education (and when education does that it's doing in my view the exact opposite of what it should be doing). I love giving them advice, hearing about their hopes and dreams and offering suggestions on how to reach them.

One of my cousins is now around 14 years old. When she was a baby, her family lived very close to us and I saw her most afternoons. For quite a while, I was the only one who could put her to sleep. Her mother considered me a life saver because I could put that little baby into a state of blissfull napping when nobody else could and give mom a much needed break. All I did was sing to her. But it only worked when I sang nobody else could do it. When I last saw my cousin I let her in on the secret. I was singing her metallica songs.

As a young teenager she could appreciate that – her words were simply: "You sang me to sleep with metallica songs as a baby ? That's is SO AWESOME !". 

That's the kind of uncle I am, that's the kind of dad I want to be. I haven't done it. It may be a long time before I have the opportunity to (making babies is easy – giving them a home and a family and being responsible about it – well it's not something  can rush). But I do hope I'll get the opportunity to do so one day. I think I'd make a wonderful father, my family who has seen the way I can communicate with children agrees.

I guess for now all I can say is: all in good time.