A General Reply On Honesty

I have been asked by several of my readers why it is I choose to share so much of the humiliation and hardship I have experienced over the years. Well, there is no simple answer. On one hand there is my philosophy about radical openness.  In an age which is dominated by social media, privacy is a luxury most of us do not indulge in.  It is like Shakespeare said, “all the world’s a stage…”
Privacy is nonexistent, and the sooner we embrace it the better.  I feel that if I share my own hard times with you, you all may feel inspired to do the same.  Not being the prisoner of your Skeletons is a liberating feeling.
My second reason, and possibly the most important is for solidarity.  We all have a hard road to travel, and if I can help someone feel less alone in their struggle then we both win.
I always quote Gandhi; his rule is a simple one. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I want to live in a world where people do not fear judgment for their actions, and if I must be judged in the process then
so be it. I do not fear disapproval, in fact I give zero ducks about it.  I used to care too much, but those days are behind me.
Truth is that I like me-I think I am a pretty good person. I don’t always feel that way, but I am working on it, and I encourage you to do the same.

Facets of You 5

I am not the best at processing my emotions. My wife will sometimes ask me, “What’s wrong babe?” To which I will usually respond, “Nothing.” It is not that I am lying if something is actually wrong in my world; it is more like I am not yet dealing with whatever that is. Though I try very hard to be present in this moment, a lot of the time I find myself in autopilot, and it is not until I am removed from the moment (usually through drinking) that I find out what is really going on inside. Case in point: For my birthday we went to my sister in law’s house for a few drinks.

My wife enjoyed a few beers while sister and I imbibed some Turkey on the rocks. That first drink is always the decider of the evening for me, and this time I could see the writing on the wall. The first taste was magic, and the potion warmed my soul alleviating any sort of pain that I had been feeling (which I will get to later) sending me into that special euphoric space saved for only those who suffer from the genetics and predisposition for alcoholism as I do. One drink turned to two, and two to three, and three to a bottle, and a bottle to more, until I was certain that I should be finished with this game of drink. Unfortunately for me, I was no longer in the driver’s seat for this trip, and this night of debauchery would continue on to the bar.

Now, at this point I was not yet out of control—merely an unstoppable force, and after meeting up with some more friends and family, the night began to go south. I met up with a fellow musician, and we decided it would be a good night to have a patio jam session, with he and I both singing while he played guitar. I have to admit, it was a refreshing change of pace from my normal day to day and the whole thing brought me right back to the days when singing was my every waking moment.

The whole thing was completely improvised, and since we are both quite versed in this art it sounded like we had been working together for years, which we had, though not directly. We used to often play the same shows, and have always been fans of each other’s work. The big difference between us besides genres of practice was that he remained a paid musician, and I did not. It was not until about six more drinks that I realized that this bothered me. Not that my friend was still performing, but that I was not. It has been about eight years since I was involved in the scene, and despite an otherwise happy existence, I realize now that this is a pretty big hole in me.

As the night went on, my performance got more and more sloppy and went from solid harmony to simply bad on my part. I needed to go home, but that is not what happened. The rest of this story is more or less second hand, as I do not quite remember what took place. I left the “stage” and proceeded outside where for whatever reason I decided to go and make a violent scene inside. I am not a violent person, and luckily there was no altercation, but I can say that I was yelling and otherwise making a general commotion as drunk people sometimes do. You see, I was not mad at my partner on stage for being a musician, I was mad at myself for not being, and instead of dealing with that I projected my insecurities onto someone else. It is an embarrassing moment of my life, and one that I wish that I could take back, but that cannot happen.

It has been a long time since I made the sort of mistakes that I made on the eve of my birthday, and I am fortunate that I have people who love me. I cannot say that I understand what provoked my behavior directly, but I can say it was abhorrent behavior for which I am deeply sorry. I guess this is my way of owning my faults, in the hopes that I can grow from them. At any rate, this has been an eye-opening birthday. I hope that I have the wherewithal to grow from it…

The Death and Birth of Freedom

In order to ensure that we as a people are on the same page when it comes to terminology, having the same definitions is key to moving forward.  In the media and in everyday life I constantly hear the word “freedom” both in the mouths of talking heads on the news and in the public forum, and on the bumpers of just about every pickup truck with a gun rack here in the middle of nowhere.  It seems obvious to me that everyone would like to have the right to be free, but what is not so obvious is what is meant by this word.  What does it mean to be free?

When looking for the definition of freedom in my Merriam-Webster dictionary, I am confronted with a list of about 10 definitions, all vague and of little help.  “The quality and state of being free?” While that may work for some clouded explanation, it does not work for a working definition of something that is supposed to be understood by all as a birthright so reminded to us by our constitution.  A more useful definition I think is found in the interwebs as you search for the definition of freedom, which is as follows:  The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.  That is a pretty broad statement, is it not?

Now, after reading that sentence the question I must as you dear reader—are you free?  Can you say whatever you want and do you have the privacy to make these statements known or not?  Can you do whatever you would like to do with your own body without the threat of punishment as long as this act does no harm to others? Can you travel where ever you wish without hindrance?  It seems to me the only kind of freedom we possess is the freedom to choose our television programming, which sports teams to root for, and which flavor of potato chips to snack on while enjoying the game. 

The truth of the matter is that we are all free.  When the founding fathers of the US created our Constitution, it was not to declare what rights we were being given.  This document is a list of rights that are, and that cannot  be taken from us.  It is your choice if you want to exercise them.  As discussed in my last post “Remembering the Apocalypse”  being in a constant state of war for years has allowed for the subsequent removal of the rights of the people.  It is up to the people of the world to reclaim these rights; if not for us then for future generations on this planet.

Here in the US it seems that there is hope, or at least motion in the right direction.  States like Colorado and Washington have taken steps to make legal the use of cannabis, and though I am not myself a user of this substance I understand the implications that this leap toward personal sovereignty has had on the entire country if not the world.

This is a step in the dir041313_1452_ScientistEx1.jpgection of true freedom.  To allow citizens the power to control their own consciousness and all that this entails is the beginning of the long road back to being a truly free society. Like a great deal of what you read here, this is my opinion—one which I am free to have.