Saturday, May 12, 2007


It's been a long time since I posted here. I was having some trouble with the fact that I have a mixed audience here. It started off as a completely anonymous internet blog. I never intended anyone I knew from real life ever reading it. And then I introduced some of my high school friends. And then some of my high school friends. And somehow my family found it. And then my extended family found it.

All of a sudden, it was a different animal entirely. I am not the same with my high school friends as I am with my aunts and uncles. I do not wish my mother to read everything that I wouldn't mind my college friends reading. And likewise, actually. There are things that are perfectly appropriate for my family that do not necessarily sit well with my friends.

Life has been hectic as always and I haven't really thought about this place in a long time. It seems like a shame though. It's nice to have a record of all of the things I've been thinking. It's fun to look back through my archives and see the person I was. It's interesting to see what I like about that person and what I don't like.

I am going to try to post here more in the future.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Getting Over It.

I'm happier today. I've been having a rotten week. Rotten enough that some kid who didn't even know me on campus stopped me and was like: "Are you okay? You look so sad!" That was sort of embarassing. I don't usually wear my emotions on my sleeve like that. Damn Jasmin! I blame her.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Race Metaphors are Highly Overrated.

I've had an emotional week, sort of. Sort of a nostalgic week. I was looking on MySpace for folks I went to high school with and it brought back a lot of memories, happy and rotten alike. It made me think a lot about the person I've become since high school. There's no arguing that I've changed. I guess most of us have.

I used to only like myself out of pure bravado. I only said anything nice about myself when I was defending myself or my actions. It's a problem when your only sense of self-confidence stems from your sense of self-preservation. It's not a happy way to live because it means that the only time you're okay with yourself is when you're under attack. You're never okay when you're with the people you love, or when you're by yourself. And that means that you're always subconsciously seeking out conflict, just for a way to feel okay about who you are.

For example, my clothing in high school. I dressed quasi-goth. Not so goth that I pleased the goths, dark enough that I made everybody else uncomfortable. I didn't want to be one of those people; I didn't want to be one of "any" of those people. I didn't want a group. I wanted to be an individual. So my sloppiness pissed off my parents. My darkness pissed off the preps. My unwillingness to descend into a puddle of sadness, misery and marijuana pissed off the goths. And I liked it that way. Because if you said anything about my clothes, well that just showed what a judgmental bastard you were.

Christians, you claimed to love me, and yet you made nasty remarks about my clothes. Man looks on the appearance, you know, and only God looks on the heart. Non-Christians, you claim to be non-judgmental. You say that you love everybody. But you don't love me. You don't love me unless I'm passed out in a corner somewhere, so that means that you don't accept me for who I am. Teachers claim to only consider intelligence, but I'm smart as hell and you don't like me. Etcetera, ad infinitum.

When I was younger, I was always pleased when someone attacked me. It gave me a reason to defend myself. I felt like shit almost all the time about myself. But if you pointed out that I dressed funny, you gave me just enough sense of self-preservation that I could tell you how wonderfully right I was and how unspeakably, self-righteously and hypocritically wrong you were.

Jasmin has had jury duty this week. We were talking today about how she would have made a good defense attorney. She really would have. And I would have too. Only, I don't think it would have been good for my soul.

Until very, very recently in my life, I had never lost an argument. In fact, there's a proud part of me that wants to report that I've never lost an argument at all. It might actually be more accurate to say that. But more and more I've learned to restrain the part of me that needs to be right. Increasingly, I've learned to swallow the part of me that is right and knows it's right and wants everybody else to know that it's right, too.

We were laughing over lunch about the time that I single handedly shut down the anti-war movement on campus. It wasn't really any great accomplishment, since it was just a tiny meeting at our tiny student union. But for all my shyness and backwardness, there was no doubt at the end of the day that I had clinched the swing vote and the undecideds. I'm funny like that.

Jasmin was saying that my body language changes when I argue. She says it's funny to watch me because it's pretty much the only time I sit up straight and seek out eye contact. She says my nose goes up like I'm some sort of snot and I smile, because I'm enjoying it so much. God, she's right. I do well in an argument. My brain is wired in such a way that I naturally deconstruct any argument and crush its weak points without even having to think about the fact that I'm doing it. And when I'm done, I'm happy. Because I won.

Only, winning really isn't everything. I'm a horrible winner and I always have been. They say it's lonely at the top, and truthfully, I don't like it there. The part of my personality that wins at all costs sits very poorly with the side of me that has way too much sympathy for the devil.

The truth is, God has given me just enough grace to realize that being right and being seen as right are different things. Our Lord, born into the humblest of circumstances, by standards both human and divine, died a humiliating and painful death to save a people who mocked him, rejected him, used him for his power and ultimately abandoned him. And he never uttered a single complaint about it. He asked only that we love Him, and that we love each other.

Truly, I believe in that. And if I fail to live up to it sometimes, I know I'm in good company. I am thinking a lot about forgiveness lately. Forgiving people who've wronged me, and being forgiven by those (hard as it is for me to admit that I've ever done such a thing) have wronged.

There's only one kind of winning in life that matters. And that's a non-competitive race. In the meantime, we need to work more on helping our brothers when they fall. And on allowing ourselves to be raised up by them when we ourselves fall.

It's hard for an old hermit such as myself to admit it. But community is our lifeblood. God created us in such a fashion that we need each other. Whether we like it or not, we are part of one another. We are the body of Christ. We can work together, or we can fall.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Along the Path.

Sin is a strange thing. It's so much easier to lie than tell the truth. It's so hard to expose one's own shame. Even to the family; even to the friends.

The persistence of sin in the Christian is a bizarre duality. We know that God will punish the sinner. We believe that that which is hidden shall be exposed. We have felt God's awesome power and are motivated to continue on in an otherwise meaningless existence by the knowledge that He is interested in us, that He is guiding our steps, and that He wills that we should continue even if it is against our will to do so.

And yet we lie. We who have known the presence of God willingly step out of it. Because we are ashamed. Because we do not trust our brothers and sisters to forgive us; to help us back up. Pride is an ugly thing. And when pride mingles with desperation and the fear of loneliness, sin arises.

C.S. Lewis wrote that within every man there is a great saint or an unimaginable demon and that each day, we are helping everyone we meet along on their journey to one of those destinations. If we Christians were true Christians, we could be trusted to help our brothers become saints.

How is it then that the world is filled with such darkness?

Monday, August 14, 2006

I pity the fool.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I'm Not Perfect.

I am massively stressed.

Those of you with small children may recognize this song:

"I'm not perfect,
No I'm not.
I'm not perfect,
But I've got what I've got.
I do my very best,
I do my very best,
I do my very best each day.
But I'm not perfect,
And I hope you like me that way."


Hopefully you an at least forgive me for being that way.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Addictions Institute.

This past week has been strange and exciting.

I've written here before that I've been getting kind of down on my intended career path. Social Work isn't really all about having a good time on its best day, and lately I've been drowning in negativity. The kids in my cohort all hate their jobs and spend most of our free time in class complaining about it. My professor this quarter has spent most of his time focusing on de-stressing techniques and warning us about how bad it really can be.

I was beginning to think that maybe I chose the wrong field. I'm sure it isn't immediately obvious to everyone I meet, but I've really been working this past year on being more positive. I don't want to be unhappy. I think that life is worth more than a general malaise and knee-jerk cynicism. So finding out that Social Worker seems to automatically imply being pissed off, burnt out and underpaid has been a little overwhelming and more than a little disconcerting.

This is completely off-topic, but I just learned that I can type just as fast with a popsicle in my hand as without it. It's amazing how the human body compensates.

Anyway, back to Social Work. I've been so anxious and discouraged that I kind of set up an ultimatum. I was going to go to this three day seminar in Columbus about drug addiction. I figured it would be a non-OSU, non-Mansfield way to look at my future profession. If I liked it, I would continue in my program. If I hated it, I would be done after this quarter. So my anxious factor has been pretty much through the roof these past few weeks, waiting on this silly conference to come around.

I wanted to make an honest go of it, so I actually got my haircut and bought like, dress clothes. Normal looking ones that fit like clothes are supposed to and make me look business-like. I wanted to try to pass. I figured, if I can fit in at the conference, I can fit in in the future. If not, I may have a problem.

So Monday night I skipped class mostly because I didn't want to be pissed off when the conference started on Wednesday. I wanted as fresh an outlook as I could possibly have and residual depression from a Monday class seemed self-defeating. I went and worked on Jasmin's new house instead. It was actually happily therapeutic. My job was to beat the hell out of the walls and knock all the plaster off. This was good for my bad nerves.

Tuesday night I went to Jasmin's house again. I decided to stay there until late because I knew I wouldn't be sleeping all night, so it would be good to have something to do. I stayed until well after midnight and expelled much of my nervousness on the walls. I didn't sleep more than an hour Tuesday night and was, therefore miserably tired on Wednesday morning when it came time to leave.

This was actually a blessing. Being so tired I could hardly see straight meant I was miserable about things that weren't my new clothes or the fact that I was going to have to socialize with strangers.

The upshot of the day was: I really loved the conference.

My first workshop was on the use of stories in counseling. My teacher asked me to tell three stories about my life: one from childhood; one from my teenage years; and one from the present day. They didn't have to be about anything in particular, just the first three stories that came to mind. When I was done, he looked at me and said: "This is the theme of your life right now..."

And damn! He was right. The more I think about what he said, the more I'm certain that he was correct. He taught us his technique, and other techniques, and I'm just amazed at how well it works. He joked and told us that his technique wasn't really anything special. It's the same technique they use to train operators at psychic hotlines. He told us: "Hey, if this social work thing doesn't work out for you, you're now qualified to work for Miss Cleo."

My other workshops have been equally good. I made a lot of friends, even networked a little, embarassed as I am to admit that. I was complemented non-facetiously on my appearance. I actually learned a lot and met a lot of people who were excited about, and very proud of, their jobs. It was exactly what I needed.

I now feel refreshed and ready to head back into the trenches. This is a very good thing.