Life

New Year’s Eve

So here I am, approaching a new year chowing down cough drops and reading a book.  Not that I have any complaints, I outgrew the “let’s begin the new year shitfaced” a few years ago, but it’s low-brow enough to be a high-brow thing going on here.
I spent the last two days of my Christmas vacation sick at my mother’s and the first hour of my return home silently crying in the backseat of a car, wishing I could be sick at mama’s house again.
Not often do we get to have our mother’s take care of us and pity us when we’re sick once we’re grown and moved out, so I sort of basked in it… I have to admit.
I bought a new journal during my trip home which is always exciting for me.  It’s like a fresh start, however, it always ends up filled with the same crap at the end of it’s lifespan.
At some point, even our pleasures become cycles – dull patterns of our life that we get stuck turning in.  Not to sound pessimistic, I’m certainly not viewing it all that way, but there is a sad truth to it that can’t be ignored.  I’m not really the free-spirit type, more of a silent, creative-type that moves along in the background and freezes up when any of the last shines close.  I shy away from any recognizable credit but still beg for it.  I’m still not entirely sure if that’s an insecurity or just a personality trait.

I don’t even really know what I’m talking about, I picked up a computer to write and crap came out.  It happens.  I just figure writing is the important part.

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the beauty of giving music a second chance

When I was a teenager and impressionable rather than cynical, my love for music flourished beneath my pain.  I let music guide me through everything I couldn’t handle.  Part of me still clings to that sentiment, but I’ve found that musicians and songwriters are just as fucked up as (if not more than) I am and it’s like the blind leading the blind.
Of course, I still look to music first when I feel like I’m drowning, but age and experience have provided me with heroes and role models to help with the mental pain while music mends the emotional bumps and bruises.

Not that any of you are just dying to know what the hell I’m on about, but my god, I’m not often blindsided by music these days.  I feel like my ongoing 14 year music search has turned up quite a bit and provided me with grade-a band-aids for my pain.  But, every couple of years I go back and listen to bands I never quite grasped before, and a lot of the time I actually have a change of heart.
Recently it was Fleetwood Mac (the Stevie Nicks years).  I used to hate Stevie Nicks (no reason, just didn’t like her), but now I find myself reading everything I can about her and bookmarking sites with the cheapest Rumours and the self-titled 1975 re-prints.  Whatever I didn’t understand before, makes total sense in my life now when I listen to the Mac.  That is the most wonderful thing about age.
But that’s not what I’m going on about.  Fleetwood Mac didn’t’ blindside me, I just found warmth and understanding in a place I felt unwelcome in before.

No, it was The Jesus and Mary Chain.  Yesterday, they came at me like a sledgehammer.  I used to hate them.  I remember buying a Sebadoh album and a Jesus and Mary Chain album at the HUGE Warehouse Music I used to go to every weekend when I was a teenager.  My love for Dinosaur Jr. folded over in to Sebadoh so my guard was down on that one, but the Jesus and Mary Chain.. forget it. “Go back from whence you came!” I said when I put that album in a garage sale and that was the end of that.
But what’s this?!  Welcome back 27-year-old pre-mid-life crisis crisis Whitney who happened to put her not-enough-room-for-shit iPhone library on shuffle yesterday after downloading Darklands and Psychocandy a couple of weeks ago without yet a listen (this run-on sentence is absolutely necessary)…
I cannot explain the life that exploded inside of me the second Deep One Perfect Morning shuffled it’s way in to my life.
Who says:

“Deep one perfect morning
As the sun is heading up
Into the sky
And i’m sitting here warming
To the coldness of the things
That meet my eye
Something in me’s stirring
And the moon and all the stars
Fail to comply
And my thoughts are turning backwards
And i’m picking at the pieces
Of a world that keeps turning
The screws into my mind …”

behind such a wonderful backdrop of musical melancholy and understanding?  It’s those two elements combined that keep my head afloat when I’m lost somewhere in the dark moments of my past.  It’s those ingredients that have given music just the right amount of fluff through ages of amazing talent and made those with the gift legendary.  That place where you can feel miserable and listen to miserable music and feel understood and welcome in the world that seems to be pushing you out.
It’s one thing to be a talented musician, I have infinite respect for those who have that sort of natural partnership with their instruments, but to put down words that echo across an abundance of feelings and tie them all up neatly in a 3 minute song.. you have to stop and wonder “wow, what the fuck just happened to me?”
Poetry is like an amazing drug that lies in a world where music doesn’t need words and words don’t need a meaning.  Where all of the letters blend in to perfect metaphors of things only the irrational mind can understand.
But when you can take the components of that world and mesh them into the world of the rational mind… then you have something rare. I’m not saying that the Reid brothers are the best songwriters there ever were, I’m just saying they are part of a rare breed.

This meaningless blog post is just me welcoming The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Darklands to my future and to my coveted list of comfort albums.  It’s also me kicking myself for thinking of all the holes that could have been filled in my past if I’d just saw the JAM Chain (like that?) through instead of putting a $2 sticker on their album and forcing it out of my life.
Growing up has so many benefits but with the benefits come regret.  Second chances are always worth the risk.

To Be vs. Not To Be

It’s interesting how people’s morals differ or rather, the things that cause one person to experience guilt while another doesn’t bat an eye.  Of course, this is far from something new, you’d have to be a total idiot not to recognize that people are different, but it’s truly amazing how morals one person can value so deeply can quickly be discarded by another.
As most of you well know by now, I take the bus to and from work and tote my bicycle along.  It’s a glorious life, I know.  Each bus has a total of 3 racks for bicycles (on rare occasions, two) and if all of the racks are in use, you’re shit out of luck.
I find that people in Arizona are generally rude and a lot of them seem to lack basic manners, so it’s up to my non-existent assertiveness to get my bike on the rack when there is one available spot and another person with a bike is also waiting.  I guess part of me still expects more from people, but I’m so incredibly cynical that I experience miserable anxiety when I see another person approaching my bus stop with a bicycle because a lot of people are total assholes and quite honestly, the majority of bus patrons have displayed more low societal standards than even the most pessimistic person could imagine.

Just as recent as last Friday, I literally had knots in my stomach after watching bus passengers crawl over each other to glimpse a motorcycle accident.  I swear on everything I love that I was the only one who remained in my seat out of about 8 people on the bus.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all denying the presence of my own curiosity but even in my general dislike for most people, I still feel that even the slightest form of respect is necessary when it comes to situations such as that.
Imagine, the whole of 5’oclock traffic stretching their necks so far that their mouths gaped open, all hoping to catch a glimpse of some gory accident and possibly a handful of those people had enough respect to place their manners before their urges.  I felt so nauseous and sick afterwards, that it wasn’t until after getting home and taking a shower before I felt any relief.

However, I’m a little of track here.  The whole point of even bringing up contrasting morals was to sort-of confess my own wrong-doings.  You see, in order to avoid the miserable plight of anxiety and the fear of full bike racks, when someone with a bike is headed for my bus stop, I hop on mine and ride to the stop ahead of whichever one I’m at.
This act alone makes me question more about the changes I’ve made in my life than a lot of the things I’ve experienced the past couple of years.   It’s awful and I feel damn guilty doing it, but I have lived my entire life putting everyone else before myself and you know where it’s gotten me?  Nowhere.  I’ve taken shit from just about everyone and the second someone realizes that I’m kind and considerate, they take advantage of me quicker than a starving lion approaching an injured animal.

This has been the very thing that has made me as cynical as I am because it is so much harder to be a nice person than it is to be an asshole and the pressure has finally broken me.  Some people would just say I’ve grown up, but no, that’s far from the truth.  I know because of the guilt I feel when I do something unkind.  It’s miserable and it haunts me.  I’ve dug out a pit the size of a landfill to hide all of my emotions in and I don’t know what’s more terrifying:  turning in to the cold-hearted bitch I try to pretend I am or the breaking point.
I’ll always be cynical, I’ve given up that battle because it grew out of necessity from being extremely naive and vulnerable.   However, I refuse to become some bitter, old lady like Vera Donovan from Deloris Claiborne.

My life has changed so drastically in this 27th year that I fear some of the changes are irreversible.  Yet, I still feel a loving warmth that is ever present in my life.   I’ve simply grown a thicker coat in order to survive and the need to survive (both emotionally and physically) seems to outweigh all moral obligations at this point in life.  You can call it cruel or weak, but I will fight the argument until I can no longer breathe.

What amazes me about myself, that I have mentioned countless times, is that despite what I have experienced, I still believe in all the things that have disappointed me.  Despite everything horrible, I believe enough in myself and  my dreams, that nothing can break that confidence.
I truly do believe in the inherent good in people, regardless of what I’ve seen.  I don’t know why or how, but I know that it’s there.
I still believe in love and romance, even though the past couple of years have shattered my hopes and dreams of both.
I still believe I am a good person even though I do things that stretch the boundaries of the morals I was raised to uphold.

In all of the miserable and wonderful things I have experienced even in the past year alone; I’ve realized that while actions speak much louder than words, sometimes the circumstances are greater than the person.
As long as the cruel realization of reality doesn’t burn out the light inside of you – there is always hope that you can overcome even the worst of yourself.

milestone

There are no words for the emotional maturity that has blossomed inside of me.  For as long as my mind stretches into the past, I have struggled to balance my emotions, thoughts and reality.   Like the moon pulls the tides, I have struggled to resist the pull of my emotions, but I have finally learned how to maintain my balance in the trough of the waves.
I have, of course, been assisted by many great minds through the years; Nietzsche, Whitman, Rilke, Dickinson, Harper Lee and most recently — Dickens.  All of these great writers and thinkers (and so many more) have comforted me when I was held captive by my emotional turmoil and held a flame for both warmth and light in the velvet darkness.
Of course, music and friends/family have served as a lifeboat as well, but there is something about books — how you can wrap yourself in the world of someone else and escape your own while somehow pressing the two worlds together.  I’m not really sure I’m capable of fully expressing the love and appreciation I have for reading and the gracious impact the words have had on me, but I will never stop trying.
It is only within the past couple of months that I have noticed the deep, solid change that has taken place inside of me.  Not like the spurts of positivity that I have been showered with and then disappointed by.  This is a deep rooted change that has put me in control of how I let circumstances affect me.   I have not grown cold, but focused.  I have stopped trying to change what I do not like and simply accepted that it is alright to be recognizably flawed.  In fact, I enjoy my flaws, I no longer feel ashamed about my desire to be introverted, but I enjoy it almost to the point of overzealousness.  I no longer feel guilty or wounded by sudden changes in behavior of someone I considered myself to be on good-terms with (obviously an isolated incident).  In fact, I quit caring about so many small things because I started accepting myself ENTIRELY, not piece by piece, and I started believing more in the good-natured part of myself and believed that no matter what, the good in me would prevail.
I still consider myself in the threshold of this change, but this is concrete.  This is the milestone I’ve been struggling to reach for the past 5 years and it has greeted my life with incredible warmth and sincerity.
Normally this is where I would say something along the lines of, “I hope this feeling lasts forever” but for the first time in as long as I can remember, I know this is one of the building blocks to the person I’m growing up to be and I really, really love and respect her.

Pep Talk

There is a curse in being intuitive when it comes to other people.   It’s amazing to be able to pick up on a personality within minutes of meeting someone, but it’s a horribly lopsided ability.  It’s mentally awkward when a person you have no qualms with subtly stops being polite to you and/or doesn’t acknowledging your presence unless you say something.  Granted I’m no stranger to this behavior, but I’ve never suddenly “turned” on someone I considered an acquaintance without a good reason.
This sort of thing has been happening to me my entire life; I will form a friendship with someone when suddenly I’m being shunned with no explanation.  I’m generally pretty good at pinpointing the problem, but nothing has happened and yet, here I am in the arctic breezes of the cold-shoulder again.

Although I’ve formed a pretty thick shell and buried any physical signs of hurt feelings, it still stings like hell and it still makes me feel kind of shitty.  It doesn’t do any deep, internal damage anymore because I’ve grown to the point where I actually respect the person I’m growing in to and in light of that, I quit blaming myself for other people being total assholes.  For the past five or so years, I’ve been working really hard on my unpleasant qualities and molding myself in to what I believe is a good, stable person.  And as far as I’m concerned, I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself and those who have always supported me.
Every time this happens though, I dig deep through the pain of it and work to better myself.  The ability to do that is an actual gift – to take something from a bad situation and create something beautiful from it’s debris without letting the negativity affect you negatively.

Even my best friend, who is mad at me and hardly speaks to me (completely my fault) will always be my best friend because despite my major fuck-up during my 10th tour of best-friend duty, she still knows I’m a good person beneath my mistakes – no matter how big or small.  Even if she doesn’t know how much she doesn’t hate me right now, I know she opens every message I send her even if she doesn’t respond.
In fact, I don’t even know why I felt the need to write this, I’m irritated at a co-worker whom I actually liked among a sea of co-workers I don’t like, but fuck it; I have dinosaurs on my desk next to pictures of my mother.  I have my iPod with me filled with over 100 GB of music from the past 4 years (lots of emotional healing there) and even though my best friend won’t talk to me (which I really hate), I still annoy the hell out of her with text messages and pictures because I’m annoying and that’s okay because it comes from a good place and she knows I mean it.

I suppose I wrote this because I needed to remind myself that I’m a decent person capable of becoming a really good person.  And even though I’m far behind where I want to be in life, I truly do not worry about not becoming the person I want to or not doing the things I want to in life.  I have no idea how I know, but I know that I will be fine in every aspect of my future, and even though these little emotional mosquito bites itch like crazy, they’re only small happenings that help sharpen the image of the bigger picture.
It’s not even a lemonade thing, it’s just realizing that you’re in complete control of how you let life change you.

What the Hell is Happening?

At what point in social evolution did men get the idea that women actually gave a fuck what they thought about them?  It’s no secret that we lather ourselves in cosmetics, and pull, tease and dye our hair in hopes to become, somehow, more attractive, but if you for one second think this is all for you, it’s not.   Women desire to be just as attractive to other women.  If we spend $30 on a dress and don’t receive a compliment from another woman we deem even semi-fashionable, that $30 suddenly feels like $300 and we’re devastated.  Women live their life on a stage whether they admit it to themselves or not.   And most of the time, we’re out to make other women jealous of our makeup, hair or fashion abilities because it makes us feel better or somehow accomplished in some simple aspect of our lives.

There is an ad on the talk radio station I listen to and the host, of whatever advertized program, plays an audio clip from some author who says “We see a woman and when we first meet her, we immediately think ‘I would do her’ or ‘I would not do her’ and if you fall in to the ‘I would do her’ category, the only way you can get out of that zone is if you are such a horrible person or gain a lot of weight to the point where you become, somehow, physically unattractive to him.”
I have no problem accepting this, it’s not news that men think this way and that’s fine, but why do we need actual books about this shit?  The only people who would read garbage like that are other men, and they wouldn’t waste the money because they already know how men think.   In American society, women already suffer severe self-esteem issues, so there’s no market there.
So basically, the only reason for a man to write a book of this nature would be to brag about how shallow men are capable of being or just to see his thoughts printed between book binds and marked for sale in the clearance section at Barnes and Noble.
I am so tired of hearing men’s thoughts on what they think is some sort of  ground-breaking streak of brutal honesty when they talk about the physical aspect of women as if we’re just dying to take our self-esteem down a notch.  We know you’re emotionally callow and we know you don’t like cellulite or fat chicks.  So what?  Who cares?  The same goes to women who talk about small dicks and thinning hairlines – shut the fuck up about it.  It’s sad that that’s how we “fight” back.
Any woman with a half a brain whether she’s beautiful, fat, skinny, ugly or whatever superficial label fits her – would ever, ever date or sleep with a man who brags about the negative aspects of his interior being.  Unless, of course, she was drunk , high or at rock bottom and needed the self-esteem boost.

Cutting through all of the bullshit though, out of stupid people come stupid children who create stupider children and as each generation is slowly deteriorating, the smart people are beginning to feel somewhat hopeless because they are smart enough to recognize the decline in morale and common sense and everyone else is so god damn stupid that unless there is an emotional sting to a statement, it can’t be fully processed.
At what point did manners become some obscure part of the past?  I am pro-honesty, I have always appreciated brutally honest friends and constructive criticism, but honesty should have positive benefits, never damaging ones.
This generation is shit and it terrifies me that the yolo generation will run this country one day.
I’d just like to end this with saying that there is a reason we are capable of having private thoughts and I urge the majority of the population to exploit that ability to no end.

Only Thirty-Seven Hours of the Work Week Left

As much as I dislike Mondays, I’ve never found them to be nearly as difficult as Tuesdays.

a) because Monday morning coffee is the cat’s pajamas

b) because everyone I work with is so tried that they don’t talk to me

c) because any caught-red-handed slacking can be easily justified with a  “sorry, it’s Monday; I don’t know where my brain is”

Tuesdays, however, are just miserable things.  It’s like popping out of auto-pilot and feeling the full weight of everything.  Plus, the ABC’s of Monday are gone.  The coffee is good but not GREAT, people want to talk again and there are no excuses for slacking.  Monday has a certain edge to it that makes everyone else semi-miserable and since I’m usually Gloomy Gertrude, I benefit from their silent agony; I really do, I’m just going to come right out and say it.
I certainly don’t root for anyone’s misery, I’m just completely burned by this Monday-Friday routine.  I like routine things on my own terms, not on payroll terms.  Working in an office, truly is like Office Space.  When I was young, it was hilarious.  As an adult, it is far too realistic.  Peter truly is the blue-collar hero.
I’m ready for my Colorado cabin and occupational typewriter with a bottle of whiskey now.  I’ve had enough of this 40 hour a week crap.

“Accept Yourself”

I think my favorite thing about breaking myself free of childish judgments are the benefits of the music.  The moment I was able to differentiate talented artists and studio artists, I become a music snob and for a long time considered 95% of mainstream artists talentless hacks.  Somewhere after twenty-four though, that novelty wore off I realized that seeking obscurity was the real crime.  I was denying myself of so many great songs filled with emotional carnage and despair.  It also made me a total asshole.
Somewhere after they hit twenty, all of the punk rockers from my generation started this bearded, skinny-jean-plaid-shirt-wearing  revolution of hipster shitheads and flooded the music scene with concept albums and ironic acoustic sets of mainstream pop songs.
The last house show I went to (probably the last ever too), was to see a local band with the sort of following that requires a bicycle parking section.  After their set, my friend talked to the guitarist of the band that had invited her.  Throughout their conversation, I was informed that my job of printing labels for (organic) chemicals was bad because “Chemicals are bad”.
Just moments after that statement, this conversation took place with someone who walked up to say hello to him:

Stranger: Hey man! What’s going on?

Band-Dipshit: Hey man, I haven’t seen you in a while, how’s it been?

S: Good, I saw you at that party a couple of weeks ago!

BD: Which one?

S: The one at asdf’s!

BD: Oh man, I don’t remember… I was probably coked out of my mind.

End significant part of scene.

I counted at least three mentions of coke in the five minutes he stood talking to my friend and even more mentions of being too drunk to remember anything.  But, of course, he couldn’t tend to his other guests until he was able to ask my friend if she wanted to help paint the planet costumes for the band’s upcoming show debuting their new (concept) album.
If you ever find yourself curious about what’s going on in the local indie scene in Phoenix, Arizona – there you go.
But, back to growing up and becoming less judgmental of music: that band (a 7 piece including a tambourine player) couldn’t have sounded any better under the influence of twelve shots of tequila.  Sadly, just as little as three years ago, I probably would have been slightly jealous of them and wasted money on an album feeling like I was missing something fantastic that all other thirty people saw.
The point I’m trying to make here is that when you bypass music because a lot of shitty people who don’t know dick about music listen to it, you’re sometimes left listening to mediocre music that shitty people who don’t know anything about music make.
Just recently I started listening to The Smith’s.  A band I’d always ignored because… exactly.  There’s this whole anti-Morrissey thing going on, but I don’t know a damn thing about the guy.  What I do know is that “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” and “I Want The One I Can’t Have” are incredible fucking songs.
But because a buck-toothed (very) ex-friend of mine worshiped them (and Tori Amos – who I still don’t like), I hated them because for me, they were associated with someone who didn’t know what “quality” music was, also the fact that their following exceeded 5,000.  So I missed all those years of licking my wounds with great songs because I thought having “high standards” was part of loving music.Anyway, due to my previous arrogance, the past few years have been spent going back and listening to music I’d accused of being talentless and superficial or “too mainstream” (I was that dick for a while, yes),  and it has been wonderful.
People will always be idiots, but growing up and gaining perspective has taught me that people that listen to music but don’t know much about it, are no different from me liking pieces of art even though I don’t know anything about art outside of mainstream artists like Salvador Dali and Vladimir Kush.
I see something, I like it or I don’t. Art isn’t emotional for me just as music isn’t emotional for some people.  It’s like this in every aspect of life.   I’m sure there is an account somewhere that truly loves accounting, or a landscaper that really enjoys cutting grass.
There is a point when passion crosses a boundary and you just become a total piece of shit.  It took a very long time, but I have finally crossed the threshold of acceptance to a very sensitive part of my life.
I don’t know that I’ll ever have an appreciation for Lady Gaga or Katy Perry or any pop artists of that nature, but I certainly won’t be bitching about them anymore and it certainly doesn’t bother me that other people like them anymore either.
Whoever said growing up was boring must not have had a passion, because this is like falling in love with music all over again.

Hello Again

Okay, so I know I haven’t written anything in over a month, but I haven’t really felt inspired lately. Even my journal has been collecting dust, with the exception of a few self-pity entries and a crappy poem.
It feels ridiculous being depressed at my age, but I know it’s something I’ll never escape. However, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, after washing off the stink of it all, I feel somehow stronger and more independent because pulling myself away from such depths is always by my own hand.
I have a feeling that this will eventually begin to produce negative affects since I already struggle to open up and trust people, but overall; I’d rather be independent than naive.
This time, I’ve chosen to turn to Buddhism (again). I bought the Golden Zephyr book at Half Price Books when I was about seventeen and going though my “smoke weed and be happy” phase… which doesn’t really coincide with Buddhism at all, but who knows shit at seventeen anyway?
I skipped over the “boring” parts and practices I didn’t feel applied to me (again, seventeen), tried to meditate with absolutely no success, and then, like all teenage potheads, gave up and smoked weed to find some form of (false) inner-peace.
I quit smoking somewhere around 22 or 23 after the “peaceful” affects turned on me and I realized “wow, I suck” and then I just became boring on my own terms, without the help of any other substances.
I have taken the longest, most miserable path to self-discovery and though I have never lost sight of my potential, I still have yet to actually open myself up to it.
So here I am, nearing 28 (augh), and I can finally pick up this book and take something from it. Reading the forward alone was like listening to Beethoven in the Spring.
The last time I read it was about two years ago to help with the transition of completely uprooting myself from a life I’d always known to one where nothing was familiar. It helped a bit, but at the time, I was so hellbent on being an Atheist that I couldn’t truly look past the fact that Buddhism was considered a religion. Having finally grown up, shed of all need to be tied to any particular belief, and simply seeking something to create a balance in my life that allows me to be myself while still being internally strong (I’m an extremely sensitive and emotional person), I am truly at a point in my life where I can fully understand the teachings with little to no objection.
It sounds like it should be easy, but for those of us who spend our lives thinking and mulling over ridiculously tiny details, it’s no easy feat to get to the point where you can read anything slightly philosophical without opposing something. It’s almost as if not having some disagreeing point of view means that you aren’t thinking hard enough.
However, this time ’round, the most beautiful thing I’ve found in reading Golden Zephyr at this point in my life is that it’s not a guide to an entirely different lifestyle or belief system, it’s a guide to opening up to your true potential and finding patience and acceptance in the things you cannot change. Basically, you aren’t bound to anything but yourself and if you can’t find an inner-balance, then you can’t live a balanced life.
There’s no way to fully explain the impact – it’s either something for you or it isn’t. The things that change you the most in your life are the things that find you at the right time in your life.
Countless times, I’ve pledged a new world-view or a new perspective on life, and yet find myself right back to writing dreary poems between the dusty binds of a journal. I can only say that what’s different this time is that I am completely open to letting change happen to me rather than trying to control what changes.
I truly feel like that’s a step in the right direction and I truly feel I have the patience for it at this time in my life. I have no expectations and holy shit, does that feel good.

The Act of Socializing From the Perspective of a Hermit

Last night, I experienced a moment where I realized I had peaked in social awkwardness.  I felt the walls of my inability to understand the act of socializing close in on me and squeeze away any confidence I carried with me into the evening.   I tunneled as quickly as I could through years of reading philosophy and psychology books to take charge of the situation and make the best of it, but found myself pressed in to the background of a group of people I had nothing in common with.   I grabbed my bag, sneaked out the back like a rat and left concluding that I was boring, mature and rather friendless.  All of which carried no self-pity, but a rather harsh self-examination of how I ended up alone and crying on park bench across the street from a good friend’s graduation party.

Had I been this way my entire life, my hide would have been thick enough to protect the teeth of bitter self-loathing from sinking in, but the truth is, I haven’t always been this way.  I’ve always been a loner, always in my own mind, developing my own opinions and practicing my own philosophies.  However, I haven’t always been so withdrawn from other people.   Yet, after spending the rest of my evening reflecting my past, I realized that 95% of any social life I’ve ever maintained has been strictly for appearances and hardly ever for genuine interest.

What bothered me even more was the fact that in order to press myself in to a social situation without raising any eyebrows is to drink.  Get as much liquor inside of me as possible and ride passenger to my liquid courage.
Every angle of that particular “solution” strikes me as pathetic and insincere.  Which begs the question “Am I a hermit by choice or because I have no choice?”  Have I been so psychologically damaged by my past that I fear closeness with others, or am I genuinely uninterested in what people who share no common interest have to say?

In no way could I ever be considered arrogant, judgmental – absolutely, but not arrogant.    I am simply a firm believer in my own opinions and would prefer discussing human nature rather than human interests.  I prefer “naked conversation” where all parties are stripped of self-lies and false-confidence.  For me, a conversation doesn’t have to have depth, just honesty.

I suppose the point I’m (sloppily) trying to make here is that nothing is truly wrong with me.   There is something more wrong with drinking to “fit in” than there is staying home and enjoying my time privately.  It used to make me feel guilty and ashamed, but now, I realize it’s just what I enjoy.  And that’s not to say I never want to go out and drink again, we’re social creatures, too much time alone is unhealthy for one’s mind; we need stimulation and challenges, but not to the point where it becomes self-destructive.

While I believe it’s necessary to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, the result should be rewarding, never damaging.  And, although I know last night wasn’t the last time I will ever feel uncomfortable or suffer an anxiety attack, I will never have to feel guilty about it again.