black box warning

Relationships should be a positive thing, but I feel like they cause pressure and bring a sense of obligation to be an equal partner in the relationship.

It’s not being selfish when I don’t fully participate in the give-and-take, but it is being protective of my own psyche. Sometimes I just don’t have enough spoons for anyone besides myself. I don’t always have the mental or emotional capability to give everything that is expected of me, and I feel guilty because I’m not contributing enough.

If I were single right now, there is no way I would try to develop a romantic relationship with someone. I wouldn’t want to spare enough mental energy to put the effort into being a good partner. In addition, the other person would find too many faults and would run away as fast as they could. I guess this says something about my wife’s love for me, as well as her loyalty and perseverance. This also is an indicator of my being unable to see myself as worthy of someone’s love.

I guess it has become a thing to give out personal business cards when meeting other people. People like me should have a black-box warning on the back of the card:

WARNING: This person is damaged, and will disappoint you in myriad ways.

political blues

I have had to back away from following the daily news cycle. School shootings, political maneuvering, and the culture wars have left me disgusted, and it’s difficult to have hope sometimes.

I’m pretty far left on the political spectrum, and it disheartens me to think that the wing-nut conservatives are doing what they set out to do for the last 40 years. They have skewed the system so they are in power in all levels of government, including everything from school boards to state legislatures to the Supreme Court. They have gerrymandered legislative districts so that a popular minority can win elections in purple states. They have run a highly successful propaganda campaign that has fooled people into thinking their needs are important to the people in power. They use the right-wing media to whip their devotees into a frenzy and disrupt the respectful, adult conversations that used to be more common. They use the culture wars as a dividing issue to dupe people into voting against their own best interest for policies that serve the rich and powerful.

I dislike most of the people I work with, including my so-called friends, when they start regurgitating talking points and conspiracy theories that they heard on right-wing media. Instead of thinking for themselves and voting for people that represent their interests, they vote for whoever will “stick it to the Libs.” My work-friend AJ is a nice guy, but is disgustingly conservative; I disagree with almost everything he says. He started talking about the Former President, saying “I’d vote for him again tomorrow; I don’t condone him as a person, but…”, and then I stopped listening. He apparently has no sense of ethics or integrity if he would vote for someone he finds repulsive just to get what he wants.

In short, AJ is an AWPAC – an Angry White Person Afraid of Change. I’ve recently invented this acronym, and I want to make it stick. AWPACs are highly conservative, complaining that “this country is going in the wrong direction” and saying that “things used to be better”. They are against inclusivity, sensitivity, multiculturalism, abortion, gun control, pronouns, immigration, government, public schools, vaccines, environmental regulations, climate change, and electric vehicles. AWPACs are for white Christian rule, discrimination, male-and-female-only gender roles, more military spending, more police spending, private schools, drilling for more oil, and sticking it to the libs. They don’t seem to care about the collateral damage that 40 years of conservatism has caused, such as more school shootings, increases in mental illness, corporations in power over our government, damage to the natural environment, greater economic inequality, and loss of opportunity for young people without affluent parents.

AWPACs see change as a threat to a system of White Christian rule that has lasted for 400 years. They are afraid of minorities having a greater voice in government and society. They hate anything that gives more power to the people without power. They forget that their ancestors probably came to this country through immigration, but they want to shut the door on opportunity for others. They don’t believe that liberals should win elections, and change the rules of government to ensure that is the case moving forward. AWPACs disingenuously cry for freedoms on one hand, but consistently vote to restrict the freedoms of millions of Americans that don’t look the same or agree with their regressive policies. They will use slimy tactics and dishonorable people to get what they want. They don’t care how you feel.

Many of my work friends are AWPACs. I need to reevaluate those relationships and ask myself if I want to be friends with people who think the opposite of my beliefs in so many ways. I would like to find new friends whose values are more aligned with my own. Unfortunately I suck at meeting new people and making friendships. I tried joining a Meetup group a few years ago, but they didn’t make me feel very welcome, and I was too intimidated to meet them again.

At least I have my blog friends … unless you leave because of this post.

a very sad dream

I had a heart-wrenchingly sad dream a few nights ago. I was in charge of resistance fighters in a Star Wars-like scenario, with spaceships and lasers. I don’t remember who or what we were resisting, but there were maybe several dozen of us remaining. An attack by the enemy was imminent, but we were defending our home base, so spirits were high. Unfortunately we had few weapons, so some people hid while others awaited the attack from above. I had miscalculated though, because the enemy had tricked us by landing out of sight and hiking to the rear of the base. They walked in and captured everyone in hiding, and to save their lives, the people with weapons surrendered. Everyone except me and two other leaders were loaded into a transport ship, while I was being held on the command bridge of the enemy leader’s ship. We took off first, and I could look down toward the surface as the laser cannons targeted the transport ship and fired. The transport exploded, taking the lives of everyone I was supposed to care for and protect. I had caused their destruction; it was a crushing feeling, as all hope was lost.

I woke up at about 4am feeling incredibly sad, to the point of tears as I returned to reality. I’m still struck by how much it affected me that day.

The dream involved mostly anonymous dream-people, and some off-planet creatures, but several people I know in real life were in the dream and were among those who died; one real-life person was on the enemy command ship with me and survived.

don’t talk about it

When I was a kid, life at home was pretty messed up, and I was aware of it from about age 8 or 9. I didn’t want anyone to know what my home life was like, and I never talked about home to any of my friends. I never invited any kids over to my house, even though I wanted to. I always went to other kids’ houses instead so no one would know what it was like in my home. I was ashamed of my life, and for not being able to deal with it; this was the start of my depression.

Fear and suspicion of other people was drilled into me from an early age. What went on at home was “none of their business”, they being people at church, teachers, kids at school, the government, or the neighbor lady who listened in on the telephone party line. School counselors were off limits because they might tell someone else who would interfere in “our business”. I would feel immense guilt if I wanted to talk to anyone I knew about my problems. There was no safe place for me to vent. I didn’t know what a hotline was or that you could call to talk to someone anonymously.

I was taught to avoid all forms of outside help. Counselors and therapists and shrinks were not to be trusted. I was depressed all the time, and most of the time I felt like I needed to fake being okay. I felt like a fraud, and like I was divided between two existences. On the outside I had to pretend that everything was fine, and on the inside I suffered. I knew things weren’t right, but I had been taught that admitting mental illness meant you were weak and vulnerable and stupid, and I couldn’t admit those things to myself or anyone else.

I didn’t feel like any of my friendships meant anything, so I pushed everyone out to the farthest circle of my defenses as if they would hurt me like so many people had before. I was being fake with them because I couldn’t trust anyone. By 7th grade I had no real friends, just acquaintances who thought they were friends.

My friend Lisa was the first person I let myself get close to in a genuine way. She was caring, intelligent, wise for her years, and she valued me for myself rather than as the “smart kid”. I felt safe with her, like I didn’t have to pretend to be someone else. I finally allowed her inside my defenses and let her see into my life. I shared way too much of course, but she was supportive and comforting. She returned the favor, letting me know some of her secrets that she couldn’t share with other people.

Since that time I have grown emotionally, but I still struggle to trust anyone. It is difficult to be honest and genuine with people for fear they will hurt me somehow. I have several acquaintances, and a few next level “work friends”, but really only a few friendships that I value enough to where I can have some level of trust. Then I have you, my blog friends, who I trust with almost everything.

connections

I want to write a short note to my oldest friend Lisa. We haven’t talked or written in several years, most likely due to my mental health and the realization that I was using her as a therapist rather than a friend. I miss being friends with her, and I want to tell her so.

I’m doing this for the right reasons. I have dealt with whatever feelings I had about her in the past. I’m in a much better place now, and secure enough emotionally that I can have an appropriate old-friend relationship. I can communicate with her without oversharing or unloading everything that is on my mind. [That’s what this blog is for.]

What do I hope to get from this? I have no expectations, and I certainly don’t want to make a mess of things again. I just want to talk with her and share a few good memories.

I’m hesitant though, because she might not be interested in what I have to say. She might tell me to go to hell, or even worse, just ignore me. However, she might say that she has missed me too, and that I shouldn’t worry so much. I think she will be gracious and understanding, no matter what she says.

It’s a risk, but I think I want to take the chance. Do you think this is a good idea?

after the ordeal

Welp, the interview went about as well as I could have hoped for. Not great, not a failure, but a solid B+ effort. I’ll be mildly surprised if they choose me, as I think they are looking for someone with more field experience who will learn the office tasks. I have more office experience and would need to gain field experience. Overall I’m happy with it, I gave my best shot, and the rest is out of my control.

Talk about poor timing: my daughter was freaking out a little because she had missed her meds yesterday, and I was trying to talk her down a little, but this was two hours before the interview. I finally asked my wife if she could come home from work for a couple hours to help me out. Then I had to calm down and get back into interview mode.

I may have hyperventilated a little at one point, but at no time did I vomit. However, I may have accidentally peed on my leg a little before the interview. Don’t ask. You know how sometimes a fire hose will get out of control? It’s like that, but different.

I didn’t tell anyone at work except my supervisor, who gets notified by HR. I kept it to myself, and didn’t even tell my friends. Well, I told you guys, but I don’t think you would spill the beans. Then just 5 minutes ago, one of my friends at work texted me: “How was the interview?” Fucking Columbo. I thought about playing dumb, but I confirmed it. Good thing I didn’t choose a life of crime, because everyone would know who did it.

goodbye max

We said good bye to Max today. He had been getting progressively sicker for the past few weeks, and we decided it was time to let him go. He went to rest in Nicole’s arms at the vet. We brought him home and buried him in the woods behind the house.

DSCN3166

Max loved his people, and we loved him in return. He and the kids grew up together, so they have many special memories of him. We were all sad, but we will remember all the good times we had with him.

Jake stuff on my cat 009

Max survived a lot during his nearly 15 years, including the move from California, the cricket swarm, the white cat next door, and several injuries. He lived a full life, and I am honored to have shared it with him.

Good bye, Max.

jake attacks football