Monday, March 13, 2017

I Don't Deserve 'Love'

Last week, I left off on a bit of a dreary note, so I wanted to bring resolution to that by saying I don't deserve 'Love'. At all. Ever. Period.

But... but... to love and be loved is one of the highest aspirations of any person! Indeed, our culture is saturated with 'love'. Bad RomComs, bad romance movies, bad romance books, bad advertisements about engagement rings (Shane Co., on the corner of State Street.... you just said that in his voice, if you're from Utah), wedding expos, etc. etc. All that this does is distill 'love' down to being a saccharine, vapid enterprise. The goal is to find 'love'. I could easily launch into some diatribe about how the bourgeois is using this as a means of keeping the peasantry and proletariat consumed with pointless enterprises that only line the pockets of the capitalist pigs even more.... but that's not why you're here.

We're programmed from a young age to find 'love'. If a five year old boy and girl are playing together, jokes get made about them getting married (first of all, yuck. Second, WTF??). Valentines Day cards are passed around in classrooms, high school dances abound, and finally, when one becomes an adult, the pressure is ramped up to settle down and have kids so that the cycle can be perpetuated. We absolutely must find 'Love', fall in 'Love', stay in 'Love', and ultimately die in 'Love'.

However, I got to thinking about this during my tediously long, boring commute home. In the 2012 movie, "Perks of Being a Wallflower", one character says to another, "We accept the love we think we deserve." That means, in essence, that we acknowledge the adoration that we think we deserve. If, for example, I suffer from low self-esteem, then I'm probably not going to date someone who complements me often or builds me up. Because that's not the love I think I deserve. However, if I find someone with an acerbic wit, who critiques me often and complements rarely, I will probably date them instead. It is, simply, the love I think I deserve.

So how do the two intersect? Well, we are told to find 'Love'. Preferably true love, but any kind will actually do. We must get be in a relationship/get married/have kids as soon as humanly possible. However, when one takes into account that we only genuinely accept adoration that we think we deserve, we end up with... well... another pretty bleak picture. We settle. "Oh, she doesn't really appreciate me for my... me-ness. But that's OK, she's the best I can do." "Oh, he doesn't like that I'm shy, but he pushes me to go out and be friendly. I don't like doing it, but it must be for the best. I was always a slow learner anyway." The reasons go on and on and become more convoluted the more you think about them. But with the need to love and be loved, regardless of how societal constructs play into it, we will grasp at mirages of love as readily as I'll grasp at a glass of Johnnie Walker Scotch. But we don't hold out for the good stuff (like Balvenie Scotch). A new paramour says, 'I love you' and Wham! Twitterpation starts and we say it back without really thinking about whether or not this person is right for us.

The trite response to this is that you must love yourself. Not in the bright, happy way so many self-help books and memes portray it. But in a deep, gritty way. Because Love isn't hoping for perfection, it is rather accepting of reality. When I was in with my therapist last week, we were talking about Love and intimacy, and we discussed the three most important tenets of the two. Understanding, acceptance, and forgiveness. I must understand myself. All of me, the lazy prick who hates cleaning, the overly ambitiousness that can lead to being ruthless, the kindness that makes my heart bleed when I see a homeless person. All of it. Because I am all of that and all of that is me. That leads to acceptance. Accept what you are. Accept what your partner is. Then forgive it. I don't mean to toss that out there flippantly. On the contrary, forgiveness is hard. It's something that I struggle with and have not entirely capable of. But it is, arguably, the most important part of the equation. I can accept that I enjoy farting around on Reddit all day, and I can forgive myself when I fail to meet my goals because of it, or, I can force myself down the rabbit hole of self-loathing.

So I'll finish how I started. I don't deserve 'Love', because it's probably the love I think I deserve. I deserve to be understood, accepted, and forgiven. I deserve that for myself, I deserve that from others, and others deserve it from me. So, my friend, get out there and do some lovin'... don't actually. That sounds weird. But introspect, forgive yourself, and you'll find yourself looking at the love you get from others and asking, "Is this what I deserve?" I hope the answer is always yes, but I know reality will be different. Anyway, I've got to jet. Be humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you next time.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Learn to be Lonely

We've all heard that. "It's not easy being green." We all intuitively know what that means, and we have all experienced it in some form or another. Oh, you collect vintage cookie jars? Better keep that to yourself. You enjoy listening to Nickleback? You'll lose all of your friends and probably your job. There's always one or two little details about ourselves that, if they made it into the light of day, would influence how people view us. But why are we ashamed of our little nuances?

Recently, I read an article recently about how the effects of being in the closet don't end when you come out. The author rather eloquently stated that being in the closet is like being lightly punched in the arm over and over again. At first, it's irritating, then infuriating, then it's all you can think about. I can agree with this completely. This has led a great many of us participating in the Best Little Boy in the World Hypothesis. As children, we tie our self worth to those things which seem to lend value to us. For me, it was music and generally trying to excel at whatever I put my mind to. As an adult, it's excelling and amassing respect and starting a political career. I can unequivocally say that what I felt as a child carried over into and has played a large part in my adult life. For example, I'm an active participant on three teams for Weber State University. I'm a very active member and State-wide officer for my Fraternity. I'm constantly evaluating my performance and critiquing it. "Oh, you got a B+ on your paper. Why didn't you get an A?" "Oh, you didn't get offered every job that you've ever applied for? You're resume is weak and you are an antisocial weirdo. Do better." "Oh, you don't have a six pack and a good torso taper? You're a hideous buffalo." This leads to an interesting mix of feeling as though I need to be better, but then being so overburdened trying to be better that I end up failing.

But this has far more dire consequences.I feel the need to have the biggest biceps, the most defined six pack, stay up the latest, drink the most, all while maintaining straight A's in school and attending many other responsibilities. We must be the best in order to be validated. Which, obviously, is ludicrous. We idealize youth, beauty, and sex. We've lost the ability to look past someone's external features to see if they're a good person or, more importantly, if they'll make a good friend. From September to November, when I was single, I had a Grindr account. Now, I know what Grindr is there for. I know it's primary purpose. But it's where all the gays hang out anymore, so it's the easiest platform to meet people. I made it abundantly clear that I only wanted friendship. They only wanted sex. To be sure, I did meet a couple of really amazing people, and they've stuck around, however this article resonated with me because of that experience.

I had just lost a relationship, and it was impossible to make new friends because it seemed as though everyone was looking to be validated. That isolated me from my community, and it would seem that this experience isn't unique to me. We all camouflaged ourselves before we came out, we all came out, and we all still feel that light tapping on our shoulders. It doesn't magically stop when we come out. I guess that paints a bleak picture for the post closet years. We still feel the need to do better, to be stronger, to be smarter, to be... enough.

Well, I've got to jet. Be humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you next time.

Monday, February 27, 2017

I couldn't get any peace.

I hope everyone has been having a good year. I took a step or two away because I was over-stretched and didn't want to focus my attention on things that could be left alone for a minute. Anyway, I'm back again, full of piss and vinegar, as per the usual.

Recently, I was made aware of a new job opportunity in a city that would have cut my commute times in half, fuel costs, etc. It was in development, where I eventually want to land anyway, and the benefits package was generous. All around it seemed like a really great way to go. However, it would have been a significant pay cut. Around 25% of my income. Now, I could lie and say that I'm not a money grubbing jerk, but that would... well... be lying. I like my lifestyle, and I have a good gig going at my current job. Anyway,  I thought that the shorter commute could justify it, so I sent my acceptance email and went merrily on my way.

Except that I wasn't too merry. You see, growing up, my Dad always told me, listen to your gut. Listen to your instincts. If they're telling you something isn't right, chances are they're probably right. This has led to me being in tune, for lack of a better phrase, with my instincts, and they have rarely steered me wrong. That's what happened after I accepted the new job. I just couldn't get any peace about my decision That's what I say when my instincts are telling me that I'm about to go off the reservation.

But what does it mean? When I say I couldn't get any peace about *insert situation here*, it means that I didn't/wouldn't listen to my instincts and what I'm doing is a bad idea. That means I lose my appetite, I can't sleep, and I'm constantly anxious. Now, a lot of people say that, "you have to go outside of your comfort zone to grow!". I say bullshit. Yes, getting out of your comfort zone to do new things is good. It does help you grow. But I am of the humble opinion that the best learning and growth happens inside your comfort zone. Imagine, if you will, that you're in a battle, bullets are zipping over your head, artillery shells are landing close to your position, and so on. Then, a fellow solider sidles up next to you and says, "We need you to do this complex math problem. Here are the instructions, aaannd.... GO!". Is that really the most conducive situation to learning? I think not. Yet so many self-help gurus seem to advocate for throwing yourself into the wild unknown. However, it would seem that the best growth happens slowly.

Life, frankly, is a constant battle. Bills, car problems, relationships, just to name a few, are moving targets in our lives that shoot back at us. I had to back out of this job because between school and the Fraternity, I realized (a little late), that this was not the best situation for me to put myself in. I don't have the mental power to learn a new job in the middle of the semester, and I have a pretty sweet gig as it is. So for now, I am quite happy in my little comfort zone, and I'm glad that I didn't take the plunge. That is better left for another day. But, I've got to jet. Stay humble, don't stumble, and I will see you next time.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Welcome to Trumplandia.

Today, President Trump was inaugurated as our 45th President. The sky didn't fall, the earth didn't open up and swallow us. Fire didn't rain from the skies. In short, my Liberal friends, the world didn't end. However, I have a dose of bracing truth for you. President Trump is your Commander in Chief. Full Stop. Period.

However, for my Conservative friends, I want you to think for just a moment how terrified women, the disabled, Hispanics, Muslims, and every minority group is right now. I want you to honestly, for one minute, try to feel how afraid we are.

But you can't. You've never faced rejection from your family. You've never faced discrimination for your religion. You've never worried about getting whooped up on because you're wearing a hijab. You've never had to uproot your family and move to a new Country that speaks a different language, where people hate you without ever having met you, because you're out picking tomatoes in 100+ degree heat because your Hollister wearing, Converse shod spoiled brat of a child thinks that work is beneath them (Just for clarity's sake, I did work crappy jobs. I've watered and weeded huge greenhouses, I've scrubbed toilets, I've made pizzas, and guess what? Your child was no where to be seen. Some of the hardest working, most honest people I've met are illegal immigrants, and their employers took advantage of them. The laborers had no recourse, so they were forced (yes forced) to work 80+ hour work weeks without just compensation.)

But, I digress. I know you didn't vote for President Trump because you hate Muslims, Mexicans, or women. I know you voted for him because he has promised to bring back jobs. Your choice was pragmatic. But guess what? They aren't coming back. Ever. Oh, and aggressive foreign policy is a bad idea. President Obama wasn't a limp wrist when it came to foreign policy, FYI. His drone program was quite successful. President Obama spoke softly and wasn't afraid to swing a big stick. But now, now we have a Russian puppet. Now we have a cheeto with small hands who doesn't know how to run a Country. Now, we have a xenophobic, Islamaphobic, homophobic, racist, misogynist in office. So your decision was pragmatic. Cool. Now stand up and protect your friends.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Die 2016. Just Die Already.

**Strong Language Ahead. Reader Discretion is Advised**

I wanted to post something unbearably clever about 2016, since this will be the last post of the year, but really all I can say is, 2016, you're a whore. You're a dirty, crusty whore. From losing jobs to break ups and car accidents, this has been an incredibly fucked up year. Now, I usually pride myself on being resilient, hard times usually don't phase me. But 12 months of utter chaos are taking their toll, and I just want to run away and live on the beaches of Fiji, smoking Himalayan Temple Ball, and watching the sunset over the ocean. But then I remember that I have better things to kill my brain cells with (Like Scotch!) (+500,000 redeeming points because I like Scotch. Scotchy scotchy scotch), and I hate being bored. So without further adieu, let's hit the highlights and low points of the year. I'll keep score and let's see how 2016 does.

I lost my job in January (-500 redeeming points. Also, thanks for that one, former bosses. January is THE BEST time to lose your job). Yea, this caused some stress, but at that point I was starting to look for a new job anyway. Sending people to collections because they haven't handed over a tax credit seems shady at best, and downright illegal at worst. I found out that I was going to be losing the job on or around January 15, so right as the semester was starting. Again, thanks for that. Now, I realize that they had to do what's best for the company, and I understand and accept that. It's totally fine.

Skip ahead to March, and I find an amazing new job in... a town that's 64 miles away(+50 redeeming points)!! So, this one is a blessing and a curse. I love my job(+10), and I love taking a proactive role in helping victims of domestic violence(+1,000). I love my co-workers(+10), and I just love my job. Plus the town it's in is super nifty. Notwithstanding, I have to leave my house by 07:30(minus like five million for this. I hate mornings. But not really. (-500), otherwise I'll be late. Awesome. So because I was settling into a new job, I had to finish the semester without attending class(-500). But I did it through no small amount of effort and the help of an amazing friend(+100).

June was awesome, because Pride (+300). Except that during this glorious weekend, my boyfriend and I got into a fight(-600), which kind of overshadowed the whole thing. But that's fine. Just 2016 doing it's thang. Oh, and Bernie Sanders lost the nomination(-500). To conventional Democrats and those who subscribe to identity politics, I would like to offer you a deep, sincere, and heartfelt fuck you. America has changed more than you know, and you have to throw white folks a bone every once in a while. If you run on a platform for and by the minorities, you will lose the Presid... oh wait. GOOD FUCKING JOB GUYS. *Sigh. OK, let's keep moving.

July-August were pretty unremarkable. Thank god. 2016 has been the kind of year that, when an unremarkable month occurs, you're happy. (+1,000. I feel sick that I had to assign those points. Just for being life, without anything shitty happening. Awesome)

September probably takes the cake. My ex-not boyfriend broke up with me(-1,000,000), I moved (all of this happened in the middle of the semester. -1,000,000). Seriously. Fuck 2016 with a hot pipe. Two major life events in the middle of the god damned semester. Whatever. It's fine. Frankly the break up kind of colored everything till November. I went out and partied a lot, met some amazing new people (+1), discovered that gay men just can't be friends (-40 redeeming qualities), and worked on doing and being my best. I honestly was really happy (+500) because our relationship was toxic and it really exacerbated my depression and his. We're both good people, but at that point, not for each other. Anywho, so partying, drinking, staying out too late continued till I started my competitions. I had three competitions in four weeks, all in different cities in California and Utah. Good times were had (+500).

And now we're in December. I wrecked and totaled my car (+1,000,000. How fucking sad is that that the best thing to happen to me all year is a car accident? Lulz). My semester is done (+500,000), but I find myself in a severe depression (-1,000,000). But it sucks because I'm a high functioning depressive, so yea, I want to lay in bed and cut myself (not in bed. Blood is a pain in the ass to get out of luxurious 500 count Egyptian cotton sheets). But I don't. I get up and drive to work, deal with insurance bullshit, and go home. Nobody knows the crushing darkness I'm in right now, and that sucks.

So, let's tally and see how 2016 fared. Total negatives: -3,002,600. Total Positives: 2,003,421. Year Outcome: -999,179. Verdict: God-awful, not good, very bad year. Sentence: Having to read the tweet from Carrie Fisher's dog after she died every day for the rest of your life. OH YEA! Carrie Fisher died! But what a way to go, she drowned in the moonlight, strangled by her own bra. Tack on another -1,000,000. I grew up with Star Wars. Fuck. You. 2016.

Oh yea. And Trump. But he doesn't even deserve a cursory nod.