Tag Archives: lessons

Hobbling Through Enlightenment

Note: Yeah, I have a new shiny travel blog, but I’ll still turn back here for slice-of-life postings I like to do that are not about the travels.

Crutches. Painkillers. Icebags. Elevation. These are the cornerstones of my weekend and the week ahead. Maybe the next two. God forbid it last longer than that.

Meniscus issues, it seems. I say “seems” because x-rays loom. My crazy-ass former-rugby-team-doc chiro tried a (painful) trick of pushing what seemed like a meniscus flap back into where it belonged. Two days later, I can bend my knee 90 degrees again. Not any further, and not without strain, but that’s a start. (Pro tip: If it’s a “rugby team cure,” expect to cry like a baby or punch the doc. Guy’s lucky I didn’t belt him.)

This gimp knee means that, for now, Netflix is my god.

elevated and iced

Today’s viewing includes the VICE doc “All This Mayhem” about the Pappas brothers and their skateboarding rise to glory and drugs/crime-fuelled crushing defeats. It’s about a blend of tragedy and redemption. Angst, attitude, and all the inevitable pitfalls that come from confusing being a student in life with being a victim of it.

We lived on the cusp of hoods and lifestyles when I grew up. A former vacationing area for the big city became an early suburb, filled with new families and financially-challenged folks who were living on the outskirts. It was an area made of equal parts the gentrifying invading forces along with the mainstay white trash.

I was offered my first drugs at 8 years old, but somehow I stayed on the fluffy-angelic line of the divide in the years to come. My brother toyed with the angst and everything else that came from the disenfranchisement of the suburbs. We were equal parts the product of our upbringing.

We were never in the leagues of those who really went astray. I remember a lot of those in my youth who were really, really angry. Some went on to crime and drugs, others went on to bleak places that were more internal than external. Some just died young.

I dealt with enough stupidity in my teens, just like a lot of other folks did. These “happy family” types piss me off sometimes even now because I’ve never really experienced that. It’s a weird world, tight-knit families.

I love my family but it was a broken family, still kinda is. Divorce, bad communications, everyone’s got their issues. The North American Way. But good, fine people, and I love them.

I didn’t really become angry until later, and I don’t really know what started it. I just got there and stayed there. I had all this stupidity happen where the easy reactions were bitterness and blame. Year after year of bitterness and blame.

These people who tell you they had some brilliant moment where it all made sense, I don’t really understand ‘em. For me, enlightenment is a gleaming of insight that takes me time and time again. The anger and confusion sort of wear away in the constant adversity like a river carving away at rock. Epiphanies make for better writing, POOF MAGIC, but I suspect most of us don’t have that change-of-state moment and instead we learn through time and repetition.

I learn more all the time, daily. Constant growth. Life is school, man. Like this knee thing right now. I’m reacting and responding better than I expected.

I mean, this is the sort of thing that throws a wrench in the travel-the-world plan. This was NOT an adversity I expected added to my list as the seven-month countdown begins. Yeah, I cried. Then I got over it. Later this week I need to find a course of action. That’s how it rolls.

That resilience, I’m not the only person who’s got it. There’s a lot of us who rock it, and I think for most of us it’s because we’ve been shit-kicked by fortune one way or another time and time again. Eventually we just realize it ain’t personal, it ain’t malicious, it’s just life.

BOOM, adversity. BOOM, overcome it. BOOM, onward. That’s life.

It’s funny, you know. A lot of the people I know who were once angry as a way of being, a lot of ‘em have gone on to become the mellow, easy-going people I like to know. They’ve been on the “dark side” and realized that perspective was a lot of the problem.

Yeah, my leg’s fucked up. Oops. That really sucks. Know what’d be worse? Being broke with a fucked up leg. Or having it happen when abroad. That’d be bad. Maybe it happening now means I change something, improve myself, and reduce the odds of such a thing happening later. Who knows. Maybe this is a catalyst for changes I need in fitness and health. I suspect it is, because I’m feeling motivated.

Adversity is the biggest teacher there is. Necessity of change is the mother of invention. Those are truisms for a reason.

I feel sorry sometimes for folks who have these smooth-sailing lives and then BOOM, some huge thing happens and they just crumble. It’s a hard road through it for them. Sometimes I see them becoming bitter and hardened as a result.

Everyone needs to open their eyes and see how hard others often have it. They need to look for examples of the extremes we can overcome when we focus and ditch the victim complexes.

Shit happens to us all. We’re allowed to cry a little and get a bit angry, but odds are we learn more about who we are as a result of those fluctuations. The trick is in the bounce-back.

So I have to bounce now. I gotta weather this little patch of suck-ass luck with my knee, find a few positives, make a plan to overcome it, and do everything I can to avoid feeling sorry for myself or acting like a victim.

If you think that’s easy for me, or for anyone else, you’re a moron. It’s not easy. But it’s doable, and it’s a choice. It’s a lot of self-talk, deep breathing, and weathering through periods of feeling like everything’s hopeless. Because that happens to us all. That’s the mindset. That’s the challenge.

It’s also where the victory comes too, though. So, yeah, this blows a little, but methinks I’ll get past this. I have something to prove to myself.

I also have the fortune of knowing it’s my own stupidity that caused my injury, from when I heard the little voice in my head saying “No, don’t sit like that, you know your knee hates it–” and chose to ignore it.

I caused this. Now I have to solve this. That’s the school of fucking up. It’s also “Success in Adulthood 101.” It’s called responsibility. Like my favourite saying goes, life’s tough — get a helmet.

(Or a crutch. Check.)

crutch

Our Lives After Their Death

There’s a full moon tomorrow. I’m in a weird headspace.

In social media, I’m seeing snippets here and there from those I’m connected with, remembering the passing of our good friend Derek Miller last year. My thoughts on Derek, as his death took the world by storm by way of an incredible blog post, were posted here.

Someone once graffiti'd a lot of sites in my new neighbourhood, and this one made me think of Derek last week -- a lighthouse, a beacon, at the end of a long path, and at the foot of it, "The things you really want, you can't buy."

Derek’s death became a lot of things for a lot of people, and I’m having trouble even now identifying what it meant to me, but I know his blog post, and his passing, were part of why I spent the next few months realizing how unhappy I was with my life. The thing was, I knew someone like Derek would simply comment, “Well, then change it.” So, I tried to figure out what I needed to change, why I was so deeply unsatisfied with everything.

He may have “just” been a husband, father, and all-around geek, but I got the sense that there was really nothing else Derek wanted from life. He had everything he wanted. He was where he wanted to be. All he wanted was more life, more of the same with the people he had around him.

All The Things I Wasn’t

I found myself thinking a lot about, well, I’m not where I want to be. I don’t have what I want. I don’t have the people in my life I want (ie: love). Let’s not even talk about the bigger picture.

I’d been kind of skating through life and sort of ignoring anything below the surface. I’d stopped being a good writer (in my view) and stopped living the deeper, observant, involved life I’d once had. I’d been depressed before, but this wasn’t depression — this was plain old unhappiness.

Derek’s death somehow was a slap in my face, like a loud shout of Wake up! Get it right! Time’s ticking!

And, it took a while, but I think I’m where I am now because I’d realized through him of just how far afield I was from the things I considered basic requirements in life — time to write, close to the ocean, quiet, and so many other little things that speak to who I grew up being, who I was in my 20s, when I was most “myself.”

I’m new here, in Victoria, so I’m ironically even more “alone” than I had been in Vancouver. I’ve not been looking for a new tribe yet, but I will begin later this month. Because that’s another lesson I’ve learned through him. Some people just make our souls feel better, and we need them in our lives. We are better people when we have better people around us, and there are few we can’t learn something of life from, but others offer a master class in it.

Two Lost Souls Swimming in a Fishbowl

When I sat in that theatre for his remembrance, listening to all those amazing people paying homage to Derek, hearing their stories, I couldn’t stop thinking about the degrees of life. This couple, Derek and Air, they were in the same crowd I’d run with nearly 20 years before. But by inches and degrees, we must have missed each other here, there, and at different times. Somehow, some way, we never connected until the end of Derek’s life.

What if I’d paid more attention? What if I’d slowed down? What if?

I’m not done learning lessons from Derek’s life. Or anyone’s life. I’m just not done learning.

Next week, Mother’s day rolls up again, and the Hallmark Machine is playing that message loud and clear. So, these days, I’m thinking a lot about the people I’ve lost in life, the legacies they’ve left me, and whether I’d feel I’d done enough if I were to leave this realm tomorrow.

Coming Back to Life

Getting here, moving, that was a start toward the life I’d like, and the legacy I seek to leave. But I’ve barely even begun on my way. I was off-track so many years that just getting back on-track is a hell of a journey in itself.

I’d like to think there’s plenty of time for me to get it right, but that’s foolishness. Sooner is better than later.

So, as the full moon messes with my frequencies, and the hazy oppressive clouds dampen the world beyond windows, I’m lost in thought about who I am today versus who I’d like to be, when I really should be writing a project quote and starting my day job’s work.

Sigh. I don’t know how to finish this post. I’ve tried six different endings and I keep deleting them. Maybe there is no ending. Not for me, not for this, not yet. Maybe there is just a beginning.

Well, then. That’s how it is.

Rant: The Kid and the Long, Long Night

Ed. Note: This is a classic “me” post — starts one place, ends miles away. It’s a bit of a trip, but it’s a fun one. Hang tight.

I should go back to bed. It’s a raining Tuesday morning and I have a few minor goals today. One, I want to write my goals. (Ironic, isn’t that?) Two, I want to brainstorm a few ideas. Three, I want to have a nice breakfast, take a soggy walk up to the video store, come home, and write for a couple hours. The reward? Episodes five and six of the second season of The Wire.

(If you like intelligence, you admire a well-written, complex criminal story, and you like good acting, editing, and directing (and I mentioned the writing) and you’ve not yet seen The Wire, then what, pray tell, are you waiting for? Brilliance. Really.)

So, I sound like I’ve got it together. Plans for a low-key day, chilling. A day without men. Full-stop.

Let’s face it, there’s a certain point where we each get tired of the opposite sex’s bullshit in dating. One of the luxuries of being single is that when it all gets exacerbating, we can pull up the stakes and say, “Nah, man, party of one this week.” Yeah, don’t think I ain’t considering it.

Okay, I try to keep things relatively benign here. You don’t need to know my business. You probably want to know (filthy pervs) but you don’t need to know. Let’s break the rules this morning. A special exception.

So, a week or so ago, I hooked up with this kid. I was going through this two week period where my hormones raged like some political coup d’etat in South America. It was excruciating. I needed relief. I lowered the standards a bit, let’s say. Sorry, but it’s true. Yes, I let one slip by me.

This kid. I really, really, really hate to admit this, but I literally forget his name. I think I blocked it all out. I know I knew it earlier in the evening, but I remember thinking, at about 11, “What the fuck is his name?” and I’ve never since found out. So, I think it starts with a J, but it might be a D, and either way, I just don’t care enough to look the damned name up. I wrote it. Somewhere. But he’s The Kid.

I’m 32, he’s 26, not a big age difference. The thing is, I realized right then that all the men I’ve been seeing have been 34-36 of late. It’s been wonderful. I’d always toyed more with younger guys, since I do have a pretty young disposition when I want to, given my music and culture tastes and love of rebellion and so forth. But these guys I’ve been seeing have all kind of had it a bit more together, and certainly were far better lovers overall, with patience and dedication and openness being factored in, than I’d had in the past.

(You know, I got to say, there’s something much more attractive about divorced men now that I’ve had the privilege. They’ve had sex, regularly, and sorta know what they’re doing. Usually, even a sexless marriage means he gets out and gets free, then gets laid and gets open about it. Not an entirely bad set of circumstances, girls, if you’re looking for someone who has the geographical prowess to find your damned g-spot.)

So, he’s 26. One of these kids into Anime and punk and foreign flicks and art-house indies and classical music on Sundays. You know how it is. “I am artist, hear you roar.”

We hooked up for a coffee and had basically already said we’d watch a foreign flick, cuddle up with blankets and some wine, watch the movie, and play with each other the whole night. Given it was snowing outside, it sounded like brilliance. We ordered Chinese in, laid about, and got pretty damned intimate.

The great thing about the couch-and-movie thing with someone you’re interested in, at the very beginning of an encounter or relationship, is that virgin groping of each others’ bodies. It lasts for a couple hours running time, and then things heat up exponentially. When you’re already in a relationship, you just press pause. I like delay.

So, here’s where you need to know that I’ve gone from being a steamed milk lover to a vanilla lover to a malted milk lover. I ain’t chocolate yet, daddy. You don’t really know much about those aspects of me, but yeah, the only thing I don’t do, really, is pain or humiliation. Maybe one day I might get interested with the right person, and I don’t rule it out at all, but this is not that day. Suffice to say, I’m certainly beyond “you show me yours, I’ll show you mine” and other basics that may well reside in another galaxy. I obviously feel no fear about speaking out about sex, and certainly not while doing it. I’m very helpful. Older guys seem to enjoy this. Most of the time, younger guys did, too. Again, this was not that day.

Necking, kissing, groping, ooh. Nice. Of course, someone always needs to go to the bathroom, and it was him. Naturally, we decided the bedroom a more fitting place to play the extra innings. Onto the bed we went.

Things escalated to all-over kissing and using fingers in orifices and all those fun things. Now, for me, I have to say the experience was a headtrip. Longtime or thorough readers will have heard tell of a certain sexual encounter I retold that I’ve long since made private — a guy we’ll call M I really fell for and was devastated by in my youth.

I was cutting The Kid extra leeway because I knew the body type, the personality type, and for me, he was very much a throwback to that great guy who introduced me to my sexuality and gave me a glimpse at the lifestyle I now lead. Absolutely, the eyes, everything sort of reminded me of that sexy irreverent man of the past.

But make no mistake, regardless of where the “inspiration” came from, I was absolutely turned on. It didn’t matter how he fumbled or did whatever the hell he did, I was into the moment because I was making it happen for me.

We rested later, and then after an hour or two of sleeping, I rolled over and snaked down his body and gave him a blowjob, thinking of M the entire fucking time. (Hence the post about oral last week.) It was hot, probably last an hour or slightly longer, with a couple cuddle breaks for five, but yeah. The lights out, my mind was elsewhere. That part of the night went over very, very well.

But when he left, I knew I’d never be interested again. If you can’t get someone’s face out of your head when you’re playing with someone else, it just ain’t fair to do it again.

He left, though, because I finally rolled over, turned his face towards mine, and said simply, “You need to leave now” at 7:30am. I mean, fuck. 7:30? I think there should be a law about inquiring in 90-minute intervals from 4:30 on about departures for first-night sleepovers. Jesus. Then I won’t have to come shy of muttering “get the fuck out” when I need my sleep before work in the afternoon.

So, he left. We exchanged kisses. “Another movie next time,” he said/I said. Nod. Smooch. Buh-bye, and thanks for flying Indoor Air.

So, yesterday I encountered the kid. “So, that’s that,” I commented.

“Yeah, well, that was no fun, you were way too aggressive,” the Kid says.

I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I mean, if they’re rubbing something like a clit and it’s not a clit, it bears mentioning, yes? If they haven’t got a clue where the g-spot is, it’s kind of nice to give them the keys to the future, n’est ce pas? And rolling over for an un-asked, un-told blowjob in the dead of the night, definitely a bad kind of aggression, I know, but I can’t help myself. I’m a monster. I should be locked up. Or tied up, at the very least. Please?

Yes. You heard it here first, readers. I’m too aggressive.

God, shoot me if I ever have to have feather sex again.** I’m implementing an “extraordinary cases only” rule about fucking guys under 30 now. Yes, one bad apple spoiled the barrel, but shit, I’ve only heard rumours about the bad lovers thing before now. I just hate having evidence thrown in my bed. I tell you.

And on top of all that, he was the kind of guy who doesn’t pick up the condom after. Learn this, men: It pisses us off when you do that. Toilet seat up? Not half as bad. Take your fucking condom with you. Please, and thank you. That concludes this public service announcement.

End rant. Thank you for listening. Now, which coffee shall I brew?