Toward A New Year of Healthy Living

New Year’s Day, 2010

photo by nkzs Yesterday’s post spoke about thinking more thematically about New Year’s Resolutions.  To follow up on that, I feel I must give some more concrete examples of really what I mean. To that end, I have only one New Year’s Resolution. More aptly put, I believe this is a New Year’s theme that I hope characterize my year and the years to come. That theme is Healthy Living or Health. 

You see, I could do what I did last year and talk about all the things I want to do, as though life were some sort of checklist to be completed before the end of it. As a product of the American baby boomer culture, I’ve seen life this way more often than not.  I’d make my list, work frantically to accomplish it, come very close (or maybe not at all) and feel miserably unsuccessful or ineffective if I didn’t complete the list. I was what I could accomplish. 

List Fail

The problem with this thinking, at least for me, is that the list can never be completed because something is always being added to it.  You check off one item only to put another objective in its place.  What’s the sense of accomplishment in that?  How does this manner of operating lead to peace and contentment?  Even if you do accomplish something, the effect or result is only temporary, unless the item stays on the list and then, if you think according to the list, even if you’ve made progress, the danger of perceiving that you haven’t completed anything or not as much as you would have hoped exists. Lists are about completion not progress.  I want to focus on progress, process and becoming.

Really, what I am talking about here with this whole New Year’s Theme thing is not giving myself more stuff to do (and more reasons to be disappointed if I fail) but instead I’m dealing with effecting lasting change in my life.  There are areas I am not content with and I need to change.

Time for Change

Perhaps an example from my own life might serve to provide greater understanding of what I’m really driving at here.  Several years ago, nearly a year, maybe almost two before my divorce even started beginning, things (as things in a failing marriage will tend to be) became very chaotic and conflicted.  I was unhappy, he was unhappy, the kids were caught in the middle of that and dealing with the magnitude of kids that we had (11 in our blended situation), tensions were running at an all time high.  We’d been separated and back together more times than I care to consider, and I was at the point where I knew that something had to change.  I was afraid of what that might mean, but I knew I could not continue in the present situation any longer.  My health was failing rapidly and it was only a matter of time before  I experienced a serious and major collapse.

j0386273 I really had to take some time and think about what it was I wanted.  Now, I didn’t take the attitude of it’s all about me.  I took the perspective that I needed to take care of me so that I could take care of those who depend and rely on me.  In that case, my children, my support network, my community in a larger context, but admittedly I wasn’t thinking on that grand a scale back then.  I was simply in survival mode thinking about what was going to be best for my children and I in the short run, but also in the long run.  If you’ve ever been in this place you know what a difficult task that can be.  How do you think about making monumental decisions that will be right for the immediate future and still be the right ones, down the road a piece?  There are ways of doing this, I’ve since learned, but at that time I was floundering around in a state of hopelessness, fear and anxiety. 

Respect and Survival

As I sat there in a school presentation where the speaker was talking about dealing with children respectfully and building a climate of respect in schools and in homes, everything crystallized for me. It all came together for me, not as a list of things I needed to do in a sequential order, but rather as a frame of mind I needed to adopt; as a way of being I needed to pursue.  It became clear to me, in seconds, that what was lacking on so many levels and in so many areas in my life was, quit simply, respect.  I wasn’t being treated respectfully, nor was I extending it to others in most areas of my life. Not only that, material possession, symbolic of someone’s effort, time, life and money were being treated disrespectfully, the world around us was not being treated with any measure of respect either by any of us. This is not how I wanted to live, nor was it the environment I wanted my children to grow up in learning that this manner of living was an accepted option. 

With the theme being respect, I was then able to clearly see that in the current situation I was going to be crippled if not completely detained in my pursuit of a respectful home atmosphere and lifestyle.  I was then able to make the hard and frightening decisions with confidence and assurance that I needed to make at that time to ensure for me and my children a life that involved treating each other with greater respect and infusing our home with respect.  Three years after that day, I can look back and say it was the right way to look at things and, though we haven’t perfectly arrived, because we continue to learn more each day about areas where we can demonstrate greater respect to each other and because, quite frankly old ways of being die hard sometimes, we are in a much better place than we’ve ever been. We would not be here now if I hadn’t taken the necessary steps to start the process.  I couldn’t have taken the necessary steps if I had focused on what I should or shouldn’t do.  Focusing on what I wanted my children and I to be and experience made it possible for me to figure out the rest.

Healthy Living

 j0442586 It seems I’ve come to another place where a theme is stepping up to the forefront and demanding attention.  In the last three years, several themes have developed. First, was the theme of Respect.  The next theme that characterized the first year after the divorce till now was Survival.  The next theme which I believe to be developing in my life is that of Healthy Living or maybe just Health.  It is a theme that encompasses not just the idea of physical fitness and healthy eating, but also the areas of spiritual health, intellectual health (sustenance and growth) and relational health.

These “themes” I am talking of, if that is even an appropriate terminology, are not something I adopt, carry around with me for a while and then discard because they no longer suit the situation.  If you could think of building an onion from the inside out a layer at a time, you might come closer to how this all works for me.  As each theme develops in my life, it becomes part of me with following themes overlaying themselves on pre-existing themes.

So, since the title of this post is about a healthy new year and since I did mention it earlier on in this now rather lengthy post, I suppose I should discuss it just a bit.  Healthier Living, as a theme in my life, for this year, or for whatever amount of time it decides to be the forerunning focus, will help me make decisions daily regarding my time, my activities, my decisions, my focus.  Instead of creating a list that I may or may not accomplish, depending upon my motivation level or my feelings, I will instead operate from the place of asking myself, “Is this the healthiest thing for me right now?”  Or I might consider, “Is this particular choice going to move me closer to the healthy, whole life I see for my children and myself?”  The particular questions help me sort the myriad choices I face each day in order to more closely align my life with the healthful vision I see of myself and for myself and my family (because I don’t just simply think of myself, ever, in isolation; what I choose impacts and affects many others whether I recognize it or not).  So, in brief then, the theme works to direct my efforts, focus my energy and determine my choices.  I am no longer burdened by a list that can never be accomplished. I am simply, moment by moment becoming healthier and these moments will, undoubtedly stack up and create a year that is much healthier than years previous.

j0433106 Enthusiasm, Hope, Confidence, Optimism

Approaching life this way has, over the last three years, been very effective for me in implementing significant and incredibly positive change in my life over a relatively short period of time.  This approach might not work for everyone, but I’ve found it to be incredibly effective for me in determining where to focus my energy, how to prioritize all the conflicting demands that bombard me daily as a single mom, and in helping me keep at it even when things become discouraging and disappointing as they likely will. It is an approach which instead of frustrating and defeating me, fills me with optimism, confidence, enthusiasm and hope. Since I’ve heard those are some of the key ingredients for someone in good mental health, I guess that’s not a bad place to start.

Giving Up

Seriously?  Sometimes I feel like just throwing in the towel.  Misunderstandings, offenses, you know.  Things intended to affirm actually offend and the next thing you know something like World War 3 is underway. 

Yeah.  I give.

Won’t do…say…that any more.

Gotta Love the City!!!

Okay, I really don’t know what to think of this one. 

On the one hand I think, “You gotta love the city!  It’s this kind of stuff that makes the city experience, well, the city experience!”

On the other hand I totally empathize with those who are being visually assaulted.  I mean, aren’t cities supposed to further civility not erode it? 

Something to think about while you are viewing this:

Some People

Some people are just real downers. 

These are the people who take everything happy and good and fun and find something wrong with it.

These are the folks who feel it is their duty to caution you.  It is impossible for them to ever rejoice with you…or anyone else.

They are filled with the worst possible scenario every minute of every day and they take precaution, caution and looking at life realistically to new levels.

They fill me with dread, doubt, fear and anxiety.

I worked with people like this for 8 years and was able to get along with them but the stress I endured was incredible.  I just wasn’t aware of it till I quit working with them. 

I simply can’t be around people who are over the top negative and cautious like this. Really, I am bad enough if left to my own devices.  I don’t need any help here.  I need to surround myself with “glass half full” types not “glass half empty and there’s nothing you can do to change it” types.

It’s just not healthy for me!  They stress me out.  Life is better than they say it is.  It is less dangerous than they suppose and for me to say that…well…that just tells you something!

Religious vs. Non-Religious

There are several reasons why I don’t usually venture down the road of the theological. 

First, it is because it doesn’t matter.  Okay, wait.  Hear me out. It’s not that theology, religion or spirituality isn’t important to me, it is just that the discussions are not necessarily important, especially those discussions that tend to divide and take sides as in the theist vs. non-theist discussion that occur ad nauseum all over the blogging world. 

Seriously.  What good are these discussions?  Has anyone ever been converted from their standpoint as the result of one of these dialogues? I’d like to hear if they have.  I suspect though that if they have then that’s the exception and not the rule.  Most of the discussions of this nature seem to me to be people picking fights with other people just to create some drama so they can get their daily adrenaline rush.  Not something I’m inclined to want to do much of. 

The next reason I don’t really go there with the spiritual or religious or theological or lack there of is because again, it doesn’t matter if I do.  Here’s what I mean by that this time.  It means, I know what I think pretty much.  I have some definite convictions, I have lots of questions and sometimes even some real serious doubts.  None of it can be “proven” from a scientific point of view (neither theism nor non-theism can be proven) though many make some very logical arguments for their particular side.  Nevertheless, regardless of the amount of logic, it is generally isn’t sufficient enough to sway my perspectives from those that after my own study, reflection and research and the conclusions I’ve come to as the result.  Nor are my arguments going to be convincing enough to alter anyone else’s views…usually. 

Another reason I don’t go here is that if I were to do so, I’d immediately have a bunch of people from all ends of the spectrum throwing their dogma at me in an effort to a.) share their opinion or b.) try to change my perspective.  I don’t so much mind a.  but I really hate b.

Finally, and probaby the real reason I don’t deal with the more religious or spiritual much is because I’ve placed my own views squarely under the microscope and am refining my own focus.  I’m not abandoning my conclusions per se, but some of my own warped and misguided and misinformed thinking has to be reassessed and quite possibly adjusted.  This is not a process I necessarily want to make public…yet.  Not saying I never will I just don’t feel like it right now.

Where Do We Go When We Go From Here?

Do you ever stop to think what happens to you when you leave this place, when you breathe your last, when you finally, due to the failure of vital bodily systems to keep pumping blood, pushing air and firing synapses, cease to exist in this physical world we call Life?

Do you think a person with thoughts, energy, vibrant enthusiasm, humor, intelligence, emotion, passion and spirit ceases to completely exist altogether or do we simply continue our existence elsewhere in a different realm or a further, deeper, greater dimension?

Do we really become food for worms, mulch for the cemetery garden, dust returning to dust?

Or is there more, another reality, an eternal existence and, if so, have you ever pondered the nature of such an existence?

What have you wondered when you’ve wandered in off the busy, hectic, chaotic activity of your life filled days just long enough to find some silence, a bit of solitude and a nagging question that irrespective of religious leanings must sneak in sometimes if ever so fleetingly?

Have you ever stopped, silenced your soul, your spirit, yourself long enough to entertain the little question, “Where do we go when we go from here?

Will Men Become Obsolete?

Articles like “Will Y Chromosome Go Bye-Bye?” really get me thinking.  Actually, articles like this give me a headache.  My ADD tendencies just want to go crazy with this one  by tossing out ideas and questions without the discipline to think clearly and follow any to their logical and usually flawed conclusions.  Add to this that my multiple personalities begin arguing amongst each other as  to who is correct and you have a migraine that requires a month’s supply of codeine to put down. Even so, the article is interesting and in spite of the headache I’m going to attempt to deal with this one in some fashion. 

In the most simplistic analysis the article discusses the discovery that Chromosome Y (the chromosome responsible for everything male including the reproductive paraphernalia that men sport in one particular area of their bodies) is losing genes at a far faster rate than the X chromosome is.  That’s alarming! 

One I instantly thinks thought, “So that’s how God has planned the end of the world!  He’s just going to eliminate men on a gradual basis so we all think it is evolution!  One day it will be a world without men, no sex, no babies, no further human race once all the women die out.”

Okay, other than being over the top silly (remember what I said earlier about “flawed conclusions”) this just not going to happen for so many reasons. 

The first reason is that we now have the technology to reproduce human beings without either of the two biological parents being present.  All we really need is a few well maintained cells and a warm healthy uterus.  No men needed if the sperm bank’s accounts are full.  For some of us, “No Men = No Problems” so this kind of existence would be a welcome one and as near a Utopia as one could want.  I personally, have a difficult enough time dealing with three females in the same household at a certain time of the month, I can’t imagine an entire female only planet.  If nothing else, men are at least different if completely incomprehensible and often smelly.  They at least add comic relief to our world.

Oh and don’t go all funny on me here and say “Well, without men how would we have and enjoy sex?”  Peeps!  Do NOT even go there! No!  Not with modern technology and alternative lifestyles.  It is simply not a discussion that needs to happen. Women have gotten around this one for ages. 

The article stated that evolution favors survival.  It also stated that the genes the Y chromosome is losing are genes that are no longer needed.  The evolutionary process and all, I guess.  If we consider that as our daily existence changes over time and that existence impacts the human body, how it operates, functions, survives, deals with the changing environment then, okay, the genes that make up that body must necessarily change or adapt over time.  The ones that aren’t needed go bye-bye and other ones stay.  Whatever.  What would interest me would be knowing which genes exactly are disappearing and what they were specifically responsible for in men. 

Like, I wonder, is intelligence implicated here? Or is the gene for discussing bowling, fishing and hunting and the best brand of chew or microbrew replicating itself in exponential proportions?  Personally, if science wants to contribute to humanity it should make the Nascar gene  disappear. 

Is courage and the ability to walk up to a woman and ask her out on a date implicated or has that gene been lost?  Now all men are able to do is give out a number and hope a woman calls or tell her, “Hey, when you get some time and want to do something call me!”  If that gene hasn’t been lost, I suspect it is disappearing.

I suspect that over time, with the overwhelming aversion to body hair continuing into the next several centuries we might see the body hair gene disappear in both sexes.  That would save so much time in the shower and pain at the spa!  Maybe science can figure out a way to speed that process up a bit. 

What I really believe is going on here is that the human body, like everything else in our world is downsizing.  It, like the rest of the world, is moving toward a simpler more efficient existence.  Therefore, to adapt to this more efficient world the irrelevant is being discarded and the human body is simply adapting. 

Simply put, men are already obsolete and evolution is just cleaning up the riff raff. 

Something to think about anyway. 😉

How Do You Feel About That Ugly Word Baggage?

Personally, the word “baggage” is a term that rankles me.

Several posts ago,  in the comments section of the article titled Kip’s Challenge, I was quite pointedly and not-so-nicely accused of having baggage.  He made the comment that most men reading my blog would slowly back away from their computer monitors and retreat to the companionship of other men in a bar.  The implication being that relationship with me would be too much work. (Now, how he would know what other single men would or would not do since he is a.) not one of them and, b.) not a woman dating them, is beyond me, but, yeah, we’ll go with that for now.) Supposedly, Kip has an inside track to the normal healthy available  male mind (the aberrant, unhealthy and unavailable don’t interest me, for obvious reasons.

That comment of Kip’s elicited a flurry of comments which ended in Kip silently backing away from his computer monitor and retreating into silence without much of a fight.  It’s been said that silence is interpreted as agreement.  Need I say more about that?

I’m not entirely certain what Kip  meant by baggage, but if, as I think he did, he was referring to the typical things that people refer to when labeling someone as having “baggage” (kids, past failed marriages, life history and experience, a career, some debt, and a life of my own that I actually enjoy and am not willing to necessarily tube for some dolt with a penis and a pocketbook) then I suppose he is right.  I have baggage and loads of it.  The fact that he said it, doesn’t really bother me so much, the fact that he was the one saying it, when I know full well he is sitting on top of a load of baggage far messier and larger than my own, is what I found humorous.  But you can go read all that for yourself over there if you like.  I’d suggest you not waste your time…unless you actually like some drama.

Over the last two years, I’ve done some thinking about the word baggage, and Kip’s comment forced me to revisit and take another look at this ugly word.

It is an ugly, ugly word.  It is ugly because it attacks the person at the core of their being but doesn’t mean anything at the same time.

Upon entering the dating scene nearly two years ago,now, I like most others just coming out of a disastrous marriage, was in no shape to begin dating.  Even so, I ventured forth against the advice of good friends who knew me and knew better.  I dated for about six months, learned a lot about myself and eventually quite dating, because I determined my friends were right.  I need to sort myself out first before I was going to even be able to recognize a soul mate should he ever venture onto the scene. 

During this initial dating period, I tried several different methods of meeting people.  One of them being, online dating.  In fact, I tried nearly all the prominent well known ones and some of the not so well known ones.  During this online dating phase, I encountered the word baggage more often than I care to remember. 

Baggage is an ugly, derogatory word that contains a million diffferent meanings depending upon who is using the word and what their particular definition of it might be. It is like the word love in reverse.  People love God, or they love their significant other or their kids, and they love movie theatre popcorn or stiletto pumps, or lobster.  Another vague and meaningless word like this is the word, “good”.  What exactly is good?  He felt good.  That movie was good.  You are a good person.  Baggage is yet another word that is so vague as to be meaningless anymore except when it is used it can really sting.  Even if it isn’t true.

You often hear folks mention it in their profiles saying things like this, “Those with baggage need not apply.”  LOL!  Like, first of all anyone with baggage is really going to admit it and second of all, what exactly are you calling baggage there, buddy?  I mean, really? Seriously?  As if the person writing it who is pushing 50 has a clean slate themselves.  If they do, that’s the biggest piece of baggage!  Baggage for me (not divorced, a lot of drama associated with the past because the divorce settlement or parenting time was vague, too many financial loose ends involving the ex, a volatile or violent ex,  emotional instability, a prison record, unemployed, homeless, addicted) could be entirely different for someone else.  Most men seem to state kids, addictions, and insecurities as the main elements of baggage.  Most men do not include a stalker woman as one who has baggage since they mostly like to be stalked.  Expecially if the woman is beautiful, tiny and has had her breasts magically enlarged so that they are significantly larger than her buttocks.  What they don’t really recognize though, is that a woman like that (unless she paid for the services herself) is probably carrying a load of “baggage” (read insecurities and not comfortable in her own skin) and has even bigger expectations for relationship which don’t center around accepting the man as he is but instead focus on measuring him in light of the depth and breadth of his pocketbook.  But I digress.

Most of the time, when someone says, “He/She has a ton of baggage” it is intended as malicious insult aimed at undermining the recipient’s competence as an adult human being.  It simply means “He/she is incapable of doing life”.  They are an incompetent individual unable to deal successfully with the challenges of adult life, therefore they are being crossed off the list of life by someone, usually, who has enough baggage of their own as to make the person they are criticizing look bag free.

It doesn’t mean merely that person was not a good fit.  It doesn’t mean that  the person made some bad choices in the past but they are overcoming them and they’ll be alright.  It’s a completely derogatory term usually used by the middle aged single people for other middle aged single people.  And most people don’t mean “life experience” or “the past” when they are talking about it.  They definitely mean to lump all the person’s issues into one neat and tidy word without specifying anything but with the clear intent to verbally knock the person flat.  Because really, the term baggage is so vague, so broad, who honestly can argue with it?

To many, I would be someone with a lot of baggage: four kids, a home that I own that I have not foreclosed on, but which needs some cosmetic improvements and which has a yard that needs tending to in order to keep it beautiful, a diminishing debt load and a successful career that requires a lot of time and energy from me during 9 months of the year.  That would be baggage for some.

For others, my baggage would center around the fact that I have two marriages that didn’t work out.  Okay, I’ll say it: I have two failed marriages. And, yes, they failed because I was as much a part of the problem as the other person.  That admission somehow sends off alarms to all (well, at least the unhealthy insecure “all”)  that I’m incompetent in relationship.  People make assumptions instead of asking the critical question, “What was that about for you?”  For others, my baggage would center around the fact that I’ve spent a fair amount of time after my last divorce thinking through exactly that very question and reflecting not only on what the other person did or didn’t do that didn’t work for me, but also on how I contributed to the problem.  The result is, in some areas I’m very clear on what I will or will not tolerate in relationship.  I’m clear on what the foundations of a good relationship must be and how to recognize them. I’m becoming more and more clear on what my limitations are and what does or doesn’t work for me and my boundaries in this regard are getting firmer daily. I’m also unwilling to waste time in any relationship that doesn’t demonstrate at least the basics of emotional, financial and legal availability and the biggie: mutual  acceptance and respect .  Many men, especially those, who haven’t a clear concept of their own self identity, who are insecure or immature, and/or who need a woman to take care of them or fulfill them or to meet their self-centered needs, or who are simply stupid, can’t stand me.

I’m totally okay with that! 

The term baggage, however, is  one of those words which while intended to harm the person talked about, also implicates the person wielding the word.  When someone uses that word, eyebrows raise and the question goes out, “Oh, really, what do you mean?”  It works like this.  You use the word “baggage”.  The question goes out, “What do you mean?”  The word is uselessly vague so you must clarify the word and in clarifying the word you malign the other person somehow. When you malign another from your past, especially when on a date with a new person, it is the death knell.  You’ve succeeded in assassinating the person you were talking about but you made yourself look just as bad in the process. Baggage is an ugly word which when used reflects badly on both the person targeted but even more so the person using the word.

How do you feel about the word “baggage”?  What does that word mean to you?

Boredom Busters

Have you ever kept someone in your life, listed on your cell phone, written in your little black book so to speak, that you have no intention of ever getting serious with?  They aren’t really a friend, they aren’t a love interest, they are nothing, but you keep them around because, well, when you have nothing better to do they are something to do.  They are your own personal boredom buster.  I’m not even talking a friends with benefits thing here.  I’m talking simply someone you contact when there is no one else available to contact.  You do it because you are alone, you are bored, you don’t want to be alone and you’d rather be bored with someone else nearby, anyone else, than be bored by yourself. 

Personally, I don’t operate this way, but I know there are others who do.  It’s especially humorous, when I discover that someone has placed me on their own personal Boredom Buster register. This happened to me a couple of nights ago when someone I met nearly a year ago on one of those sleazy free dating sites contacted me out of the blue through a text message.  Now, this was someone who initially contacted me.  They always contact me. I never initiate contact ever. We corresponded a bit but since he never asked me out, we never met.  I’m not much into digital dating so I moved on and dismissed him as a real contender for Date of the Year Award. 

He would text me (he never called) every so often.  Sometimes I responded, most of the time I did not.  He still kept contacting me.  One night many months ago, we agreed to meet.  He was never a serious interest and I happened to be out with the girls at a trendy little pub in a trendier little community.  He contacted me wanted to know if I wanted to get together for drinks.  I told him I was already out, if he wanted to come by I’d be there for another hour or so. 

He showed up in a t-shirt and a baseball cap.

He didn’t look at all like his pictures.

I was even less impressed than before and it didn’t help that I found out he’s separated, not divorced and “due to finances” not getting divorced any time soon.

Wrong answer!  Thank you for playin’! 

I finished up my drink and went home. 

He never called and then a month later he texts me, again on a Friday night to see what I’m up to.

I didn’t respond.

Seriously, girls, do not get into the last minute habit here with a guy.  You’ll have no life.

He texted me a month later same deal, no response from me and then he went silent.

A couple of nights ago he texted me out of the blue and this coversation transpired:

He: Now that my ribs are healed, I’d sure love to get together again with you.

Mind you, last time I saw this dude was over the holidays, maybe as late as February.  I mean really?  Who shows up at a trendy pub with the intent of meeting a hot chick in a baseball cap and a t-shirt?  Not someone who is serious about impressing said  hot chick that’s for sure. My thought was, “Wow! Wonder what he looks like when he’s just hanging out at home?”  It wasn’t a good visual.

Back to the bizarre conversation at hand… 

Me: What happened with your ribs?  (Duh!  Like I really cared, but I suspected it had the makings of a great blog post!)

He:  (I deleted this message but it said something like…”I didnt’ tell you what happened?  OMG!  I thought I did.” Then he made some nondescript statement about really wanting to date me but about being “shy” of all things.

Me: Yeah.  You’ve kept in such close contact I’m absolutely certain you are into me…NOT! 😉

He: Wow…you’re tough…well I would like to take you out for drinks…dinner…both…when are you free?

Me: Seriously? Thought you were playing me. I moved on.  

I never actually considered this guy for a minute.  At one point, I told him directly that since he was not moving in the direction of finalizing his divorce, I was uninterested in getting to know him in any other capacity than purely platonic friends without benefits. What I didn’t tell him was I’m not really even interested in getting to know him as friends.

He: Ok…I really am sorry I did not contact you more.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you.  You were the 1st interesting conversation I had in months (yeah, that’s what they all say and then they don’t call…if I only had a dollar…LOL!)

Me: Well, thank you.  I enjoyed meeting you too, but in the down time someone captured my interest and imagination and I just feel I can’t give anyone else a fair hearing while he’s a contender.  It might not go anywhere and that’s okay, but until I know that for certain, no one is stacking up.

Now who would pursue someone after that?  Yet, he comes back for more…

He: Fair enough and for love’s sake I hope things work out for you.  You deserve to be happy. (Darn straight I do…and so does he…but he’s not getting anything with that level of effort. And, wait…what’s he talking about?  I’m already happy.  LOL! ) I will check in at a later date. 🙂

I did not respond to this.  I mean what could I say? I probably shouldn’t have engaged in the conversation with him to begin with.  It is clear I am simply a boredom buster for him.  He’s not legally available and is merely looking for a distraction. I am not willing to be that distraction.  I’ve been very clear with him that I am not interested in a friends with benefits situation nor am I into dating someone who is emotionally or legally unavailable.  I met him for drinks once after meager correspondence of no substance for six months, when I was already out with my girlfriends.  It was nice, not great and I didn’t even shake his hand upon leaving.

Sometimes I don’t understand human behavior.  Isn’t it better to be alone with your own thoughts than to continue to put yourself in social situations that end up unhappily?  I mean, it just seems like he’s intentionally setting himself up for failure. I guess some people just can’t stand being alone with themselves and anything, anyone will do to help stave off the lonliness, pain, emptiness, disappointment and boredom.  Or…am I simply missing the point here?

Now, while I’m making this little anecdotal record out to be humorous, and while it does have it’s humorous elements, the real emotion I feel at the end of the telling is sadness.  Not for myself, necessarily.  I am pretty content with myself and I can handle tons of time in solitude and silence.  In fact, solitary confinement would never be a punishment for me it would be a relief.  But for him and the many, many people like him who seem trapped, alone, lost and unable to really take control of their lives for themselves (and I do know how taking control is frightening and difficult) I feel very, very sad.

In the end, it all just seems he’s living a life of quiet self imposed desperation.

Kip’s Challenge

My last little benign (or so I thought) post elicited some pointed discussion from a long time reader, Kip. I encourage you to scroll back read the post and his comments and my initial response.  His follow up comment, I will deal with here.  He’s been enough of a burr under my saddle ( I do mean that affectionately)  to earn his own post in response to his last comment.

First his entire comment:

Yes, well, there’s no mystery about the hose attraction, is there? When in doubt, introduce prurience and the mob will take it from there (present company included).

And drama, well, of course. That’s why we read novels and go to plays and watch the tube and if we can’t find it there we create our own.

I expect you’ll keep doing with this blog what you’ve been doing all along. Doing your brain dumps, sifting and sorting the experience of your life, putting it out there for better or worse. Which is fine. But what do you really really want to achieve by doing this in a blog? What role to you want your audience to play, if any? If you want them to acknowledge their presence by talking back, you’re darn well gonna have to provoke them. Get out the big guns. Start spilling out the things we all think about but never say. The things we all want but never acquire. The things we’ve all suffered in silence. Sex, love, death, money. All the biggies. You go girl, I’ll be watching.

*The Wild Mind raps her fingers on the desk in a monotonous pattern while staring pensively at Kip’s comments*

I expect you’ll keep doing with this blog what you’ve been doing all along. Doing your brain dumps, sifting and sorting the experience of your life, putting it out there for better or worse. Which is fine. But what do you really really want to achieve by doing this in a blog?

I originally began this blog to play with writing.  My goals for writing were to improve my writing and to play with a variety of topics and approaches.  This I stated up front.  Another goal, though unstated, was to improve my confidence in my own writing.  I have achieved both these goals to some degree though they are goals that are by nature never completely achievable. While it might not show it here, my writing in other venues has improved tremendously to the point that I am routinely called on to write and edit materials others create before they go to print.  My confidence in my ability to write has improved as well.  Writing for an audience and getting audience feedback albeit sporadically through this blog was a bonus.

I admit, I do not write to intentionally arouse debate or discussion.  I have reasons for this.  Reasons I am scrutinizing myself right now.  It is true that comments are the life of a blog.

Another added benefit of writing on this blog was the sifting sorting process I undertook which Kip refers to in his comment.  Unplanned but valuable to me personally.  I don’t apologize for that, because in the end I don’t write to please others here, I write for my own purposes. I have achieved those purposes with this blog so far.  If it seems less than interesting or meaningful to others based on the presence or absence of comments or interesting content then so be it.  This is my personal journey and it has been valuable to me to sort through the crap I’ve encountered along the way in this format.  Whether I continue in this vein is something I’m weighing.  If I do, I will have achieved my own humble purposes in doing so, audience participation or not.  I am decisively undecided about the direction I want to go with this.

Kip brings up a good point.  What the hell is my purpose here?  Writers generally always write for a purpose. What is mine?  It is a fair question and one I must address.

Next….

What role to you want your audience to play, if any? If you want them to acknowledge their presence by talking back, you’re darn well gonna have to provoke them.

I haven’t decided about this either.  Provoking kind of puts me on the line and I’m not sure I want to take the heat…I’m also not sure I don’t want to either. It is an investment in time and energy which quite frankly I’m not entirely certain I have loads of either to invest in order to present a quality forum.  Certainly not on a daily schedule for sure.  Again, I’m pondering this direction too.

It seems the real question here is not can I or do I want to take the heat, it is, am I up for the mental challenge?  Face it.  It just requires some clarity of thought and some conviction.  While I at times have both of these in spades, I’m not sure I want to put it out there just yet.  On the other hand, maybe it is time I quit lurking in the sidelines and really begin to bring it.

Sigh. This is almost as painful as deciding what to do for a graduate research project.

Start spilling out the things we all think about but never say. The things we all want but never acquire. The things we’ve all suffered in silence. Sex, love, death, money. All the biggies.

Now this is the most interesting thing you’ve said yet.  By that I mean, this is the the statment that has me staring blankly at the screen pondering…pondering…pondering.

Because…

Because if they are the things we all think about but never say there is a reason we never say them!  Maybe they shouldn’t be said? Maybe they can’t be articulated adequately.  Or maybe it would be very healthy to say them. 

And, yes, there is a bit of the chickensh*t in me that says I really don’t want to face the heat!

I get that there’s a challenge that’s been laid down.  Picture me quizzically analyzing said challenge, weighing the costs in terms of time to research, write and respond and then where to focus in light of the many other things I’m also considering.  Plus, there is the knowledge that even after a great deal of time and energy expended my efforts will be lame and weak at best. 

You see, in the end, it isn’t an issue of the quality of writing here, it is a reflection of the quality of my thinking and it is this component I am evaluating and dealing with right now. I simply cannot write anything of quality if I’m not thinking those really wild thoughts and these days, thinking is tough when just as I’m beginning to formulate a thesis statement I’m beset with sibling rivalries, dirty laundry, leaves in the pool and the eternally nagging question of what to fix for dinner.  I hate it, but it is my reality for now.  While I’m fighting it ever so valiantly, sometimes it all just gets me stuck.

Then again, maybe I am just the little podunk cowgirl who really doesn’t have the mental abilities to tango with the big boys. 

Okay, now them’s fightin’ words!

And now, after reading this post,  you must have no doubt that the moniker, “The Wild Mind”, refers not to the bizarre quality and content of the thoughts occurring within said Mind, but instead to the undisciplined and untamed nature of that Mind.