The Mirror

What would you do if you met yourself?

Would you like yourself?  Would you be interested in hanging out with yourself, having a beer?  Would the conversation be fascinating, or would you be bored in minutes? When the night was over, would you hope to see yourself again, or would you give anything to avoid that awkward situation?

Yes, I’m aware of the stunning amount of narcissism inherent in this line of thinking.  Shut up.

After my first divorce, years and years and a lifetime gone by, I realized that I had a tenuous grasp of my own identity. I had spent so much time trying to make other people happy (thinking that that was the key to my own peace of mind) that, when left alone with no one else to please, I didn’t really know myself at all. I’ve spent the last fifteen or so years trying to understand myself — not just knowing who I am and what I like and don’t like, but the underlying reasons and causes for why I am who and what I am.  I’ve tried to figure out the pieces of myself that I don’t like, and to discard those pieces.

And contrary to my above statement, I don’t really see this as a mark of vanity.  I think understanding yourself, a sense of self-awareness, is incredibly important to understanding those around you, and your interactions and relationships with them. Of course, as always, the more I learn, the more I know I don’t know shit.  Mileage may vary.  Caveat emptor.  Slow: falling rocks…

For me, over these past years, this self-examination has been largely key to my happiness and optimism (cynical though that optimism may be colored).  I’m perfectly content being alone, which means that I’m not constantly on the hunt for validation through attention from others.  When alone, I have plenty to do, and I enjoy my own company.  When not alone, I don’t have to question the motivations of others, or of myself.  There’s an honesty to my own behavior (and I think of those I choose to be around) that I can distinctly say was not there in my “other” life, pre-questioning.

They say that opposites attract.  I get that, to a degree.  There’s a lot you can learn (and I do so love learning, often) from someone different than you.  But it seems so much more obvious to me that — in the long term, at least — having friends and lovers that are alike would make more sense. Not identical, obviously — you’ve already got one you to hang out with, from here until the day you are no more.  But identical enough that there’s an inherent understand, shared passions, similar belief structures; a foundation upon which you can explore your differences and learn new things and experience the unfamiliar and (hopefully) unexpected.

Real self-awareness — the kind that is meaningful to yourself — requires that you ditch the rose-colored glasses. The side benefit of that is an ability to view life the same way, to admit that things aren’t perfect, to see the flaws.  The important follow-up is realizing that, in your acceptance of your own imperfections, you can find the ability to accept and even embrace the imperfections of those around you.  You become aware from the beginning that this isn’t some mirage or illusion, and the early acceptance of reality can keep that same reality from making a sudden sharp intrusion into your fantasy.

Kurt Vonnegut’s Timequake deals with the idea of having to relive, moment for moment, action for action, the past ten years as a passenger in your own body.  Just as he posits that you might consider living your live in such as way that the unpleasant moments you would have to relive are kept to a minimum, it seems important to me that you become the kind of person you would be okay spending an evening, a week, a year, a lifetime with.  Because that’s the reality of situation: no matter how much you may (even successfully)  distract yourself, eventually it’s going to come down to you, yourself and you. Shouldn’t you be okay with that thought?

I know I’m not there, yet, but I’m getting closer every day.

Don’t tread…

Sometimes, writing very angry things down on paper is all that you need to do.  Sometimes, typing them onto a screen over the course of two hours — two very bitter, angry, black-metal fueled hours — and then re-reading your words, and then highlighting them all and hitting delete is all you need.

Rather than go over the same ground that I’ve beaten into a concrete floor, I will simply say to the people in my life that have never taken me for granted, or tried to make me feel guilty for their self-imposed problems (knowing full well that I feel in no small part responsible for the well-being of those around me, for better or worse), or lied to me to get their spoiled bitch way: thank you.

To the others, who probably don’t think this applies to them: I know who you are, even if you don’t.


On a lighter note: if you really want to drive your blog’s traffic up, post a topless picture of Phoebe Cates (specifically, from Fast Times at Ridgemont High) in one of your rants.  (The daily traffic here — or more probably, just to that one post — has gone up, I shit you not, about 3000% in the past few weeks, and after eight years, I’m pretty confident that it’s not my writing.)

On death, and living

Rain blades are portals
Burrowing in ether
Through fleshes of souls
Deeper and deeper
Into the flames
Of words with no names
An unborn teeming oblivion
Yet still
I breathe
In this fathomless void
This bristling darkness
What is there to see?
In the blackest of shadows
An echo replies

The answer is nothing
The truth is the question
A sun-crested searcher
Beaming her bones
Fills up my lungs
With a new song of question
How can there be now?
If only I’d dream
Faster than light
Set fire to the past
Set the future to flight
See with the eye
For which I am the mirror
The pitcher; the catcher; the game

There is rhythm in this silence
Blood in this faceless wind
Pistons of white flame
Firing perfect unity
In the machinery of the beyond

Swallow the heart of God with your hands
Don’t trust your eyes if they see only tears


The brain is the most fascinating computer of all…

From the BBC:

Imagine if you could see time laid out in front of you, or surrounding your body. And you could physically point to specific dates in space.

Important dates might stand out – birthdays, anniversaries. And you could scan a visible timeline – to check if you were available – whenever you made plans. No actual diary necessary.

Most people dont wish for any more mental anomolies than they already have, but I wouldn’t mind having synasthestia.  If anyone knows where I can pick some up…

Today’s special: NOTHING.

So, as it turns out, there actually are somethings that I won’t write about in this very public and non-anonymous blog.  Hm.  Go figure.

I wonder if there’s someone out there that can explain politics to me using logic and reason.  ‘Cause I just can’t manage to wrap my head around it.

F’rex’: Jefferson County, where I unfortunately reside, seems to be run by the five least capable, inept, self-interested people that could be found.  And perhaps that number is unfair: I cna’t say for sure that to a person, they’re all worthless, but as a whole? Yup.  My cat’s last bowel movement could do a better job.

Now — after laying off a third of the county workers (but refusing to take pay cuts themselves, or for their staff members), after thoroughly bungling the sewer system and putting themselves (and therefore all of us, the taxpayers) in debt to the tunes of billions of dollars, after spending tax dollars that were not theirs to spend that they will now have to pay back… now, they’re considering bankruptcy.

But none of this surprises me.  Politicians as a group seem to be self-interested, refusing to do anything to solve a problem if it might interfere with either their re-election chances or their legacies, choosing instead to leave the problem for the next (also self-interested and probably inept) person(s)  to solve.  There’s a lot of corruption, people looking out for themselves even if it means making ethically dubious (at best) choices.

What surprises me is that we haven’t gone Old West on them: tarring and feathering in a public square, running them out of town on a rail, drawing and quartering them and then mounting their heads on spikes outside of City Hall as a warning to future rulers… For that matter, why haven’t we gone New West on them, and voted them out of office?

Who are the morons that keep voting for these morons?  And what are they gaining out of the deal?

Seriously: Bettye Fine Collins, you may be the political representative that wins Worst Leader Ever in my book.  I mean, there’s still plenty of time for someone else to overtake you.  But you’re safe for now, since I moved to Homewood, and LaLa isn’t technically my problem.

I guess, since he still lives in Fairfield, he’s not technically Birmingham’s problem, either.  But hey, if Bush can get eight years and a completely bogus war out of it…

The new Porcupine Tree album, The Incident, comes out in two weeks, a sprawling, ambitious song cycle that may be the best album to come out this year (Devin Townsend’s Addicted isn’t out until November, so I’m not making that call just yet).  And it has what may be my favorite lyric of the year:

Pride is just another way of trying to live with my mistakes
Denial is a better way of getting through another day
Silence is another way of saying what I want to say
Lying is another way of hoping it will go away

(It’s a tough call, compared with Devin Townsend’s Ki:

So we fall on warm silence
I know we all fall away


Okay. Back to making Wednesday — and, I think, the month of September — my bitch.

Be my bitch: