The Friday Bitch – Rise of the Toys

People, women, men, whatever, are not toys. They aren’t there for your amusement or enjoyment and then to be put back on the shelf until you feel like playing again. People are real. They live real lives and they live important lives and you have no business being part of that life if you’re just playing. Life is not a game and there are people out there every day just acting like it is.

So just stop it.

And I’m just not referring to romantic relationships. Or just adults. I’m talking about people interacting with people on a frequent basis. Friends. Co-workers. Lovers. Wanna-be lovers. People use people and act like it doesn’t matter. All you’re worried about is your own personal gain. Be it a new sweater, an ear to listen or a piece of ass.

People are not disposable.

And then I just love how these users and game-players turn the tables and blame their toys. They twist and turn reality to fit their mold. They use endearing words and count on their toy’s open heart and genuine affection for them to continue the game. All those empty words and gestures are meaningless. The toys see through it. They are just hoping for the day the game stops.

But the game doesn’t stop, does it?

No. Not until the toy decides that it’s had enough. The toys has the ‘ah-hah’ moment and realizes that there is no amount of willing or wishing or hoping or acquiescing that is going to make it real. That no matter how many times you agree to come back or agree to accept or agree to just be patient; it’s always going to be a game. There is not going to be a moment when the toy is valued for more than it can provide. There’s not going to ever be a time when the toy’s needs are put above the others. The game players don’t know how to care about their toys; they aren’t evolved enough to grasp the idea that all things need to be cherished. They’re tiny user brains can’t figure out that caring for someone in a genuine way is the true key to happiness and contentment. They are single-order organisms only looking out for their base needs. Even scum knows it needs to stick together to cover the pond. Users and game-players don’t get it.

I’m tired of seeing people being used and quite frankly I’m tired of being used. If I see you using someone or if I’m being used, you better fucking believe I’m going to tell you about it. Call me cold or hard or just plain too stubborn for my own good; it doesn’t matter. The days of playing games are over.

This toy is done playing.

Seeing is believing

You’re asking for blind faith…or unconditional submission or something that I’m just not capable of. I need to know. I want facts and plans and timetables. Statistics and probabilities. Worst-case scenarios even. I just want to know. I know a lot of this goes on emotion and adrenaline and a splash of whiskey, but I can’t close my eyes and trust.

I’m not wired that way.

Sure, I can – do! – trust but not to the limits you want. And I can dream and aspire and take a leap of faith. You’re asking me to step off a platform swaying in the stratosphere without thought or consideration. You want blind faith. You’re asking me not to ask, simply be, without promise or even a subtle whisper of what’s to come. No pressure, no questions and no complaints.

I can’t do that.

Because the problem with blind faith is that you have to open your eyes some time. And what you see isn’t always what you thought you were getting. You’re right, nothing is guaranteed which is all the more reason I cannot accept blind faith. Things change and a person stumbling along with blinders on doesn’t always see that new twist or turn in the pathway. When you’re not actively looking, a lot of things change. Sink holes open up and swallow you whole.

And I won’t do that.

But I want what you’re hinting at. I want it more than I want to breathe. I want it like I want chocolate and puppies and soft blankets. And if I keep my eyes open, I can see it up over a small knoll and around the bend. But you want me to keep my eyes closed. When I do; there is nothingness. Darkness and worst of all – doubt.

So let me walk into this eyes wide open. Let me know and feel and experience. Let me see you for all the wonder that you are and let me believe in you because you are real in front of me in all that I’ve come to love so much. And believe in me. Let me help and soothe and bring that beautiful smile to your face. Let me show you what can be when two people fully see what lies in front of them and choose it together.

And this, we can do.

The Art of Horrible Parenting

Want to feel small? Impotent? Totally without ability or even a fucking plan when your world is crashing around you? Try standing idly by when your kid is in trouble. Try propping up your prodigy when you yourself could use a crutch. And try telling the human you made that everything is going to work out when you’re having trouble believing it yourself.

I’d rather pull my own teeth out with pliers first.

Children. They are our greatest source of joy and our doom. Our pride and our fall from grace. Nothing can make you hurt more than seeing your child suffer. As parents we are hard wired to protect and nurture and guide our creations to greatness. And when that goes to shit, we suffer – more so than if it was our own misstep.

We don’t even blame our children for their mistakes. There’s only so much blame to go around and God knows after we’ve taken our share, there’s none left. We feel one hundred percent responsible for the trials of our children. They are us more intimately than any other thing on the planet. I carried these beings inside me. I’ve made it my life’s work to study and get to know them. Who better than me to understand how they work. Who better than me to be their fall guy. After all, were it not for me and my selfish need to procreate, they would be doctors and lawyers and rocket scientists. Hell, there are times I’m convinced a pack of wolves would have done a better job of parenting than I have.

So when they fall; I feel ultimately responsible. I hit rewind on their young lives and critique my parenting every step along the way. Where I was too harsh; too lax; too absent; too smothering. Too flawed.

So many ways I’ve let them down. Too many to count.

So instead of some insightful, slightly uplifting sentiment with a curly-que of hope and a humor cherry on top, this post is an apology to my kids. I’m sorry if was a less then par parent. I’m sorry I let you down. And I’m sorry I didn’t raise you to have every opportunity in front of you. You all are wonderful people and you deserved way better than what I gave. I wish I had it all to over again. I would not have burdened you with such uselessness.

And those times that you are soaring, and there have been many, know that I am proud of you beyond belief. Not only for your great accomplishments, but because you managed them in the face of great obstacle. Namely, your crappy parent.

Go get them kids. Show the world you don’t need good parents to make something of yourself.

Love Ain’t Just for Tennis

Blogger’s Note: I started this post about a month ago and sadly it still relates. Prepare for my dark period.

Relationships are a lot like my golf game…in my mind, it’s a beautiful thing; in practice it’s fucking messed up.

Yes, that’s an original quote by your favorite non-blogging blogger. It came to me last night, oddly enough while I was doing two of my favorite things: drinking wine and listening to live music. And I thought that magnificent quote and immediately tuned out the rest of the patrons and (gasp) even the wine and I began to think and expand and tear down that tidbit of quotational genius.

Relationships, be it of the friendship or a romantical category, often are not how we envision. We expect made for TV love affairs with heart touching scenes played out in soft summer rains. Or we want to have that tear inducing moment when a friend we’ve lost comes back into our lives and forgives us our sins. We play these moments in imaginary time over and over, willing real life to just once imitate the beauty of what we dream.

Kinda like me fantasying about that perfect tee off shot. I know it can happen, but rarely do I experience on the sixth hole. And never on the ninth. And not too much on the remaining seven.

And no amount of wishing is going to change that.

So what is? I don’t have a damn clue. I can’t say for sure if it’s even possible. Maybe those kinds of relationships can only exist in our minds. In the harsh light of our waking hours you can’t have that perfect love or that magical moment. We might come close, but the pure mystery and magic as it plays out in our minds just cannot cross the filmy mist between reality and the beautiful dream.

Pretty deep shit, I know, for a breezy Sunday morning. Makes it wonder whether … well it probably makes you wonder a lot of things … like are quotational and romantical real words, whether that’s just orange juice in my glass and just how bad is my golf game. But maybe it also will make you think a little about relationships how important it is to protect what happens when two beings connect. Cherish your person; love your golf game; and handle both with care.

See you on the back nine!

The Good Artist

The clay is always the same. Brown, cold and in some kind of geometric shape. It’s manufactured by the ton, or in tons, as I am not up on just exactly how clay is made or mined or if it drops down from the sky. And you can’t say that no two pieces of clay are alike because they most definitely exactly are alike.

It’s what you do with your clay that counts.

At first embrace, clay is hard. It has angles and planes that are rigid and exude no life. It has no beauty. A mere shape with any clue to its inner value well hidden. It’s the artist’s eye that sees the worth of clay. And clay is cold. In its most elemental form, it does not produce its own heat. It’s only when a skilled artist begins to gently work the clay does it finally warm. Untouched clay is dormant and waiting for the gentle hand of the artist to bring it to life.

Some clay is fortunate and is molded by the gentle and loving artist. This clay becomes beautiful; its beauty enduring long after both artist and work of art are gone. It is spoken of in hushed, reverent tones and all can agree that while the artist created a beautiful work of art, the work of art made a beautiful artist. They play off each other like shadow and light and the world is a better place because artist met clay.

The unfortunate hunk of clay falls into the hands of a selfish and vindictive artist who molds a work of ugliness and darkness that is the perfect reflection of himself. He is harsh with his clay, pointing out its imperfections and flaws. With cold and rough hands, the artist abuses the clay, never allowing its inner beauty to be revealed. In the end, the clay is cold and dry and without life. The artist blames the clay for the failure and both artist and work are quickly forgotten.

The good artist recognizes the beauty long before the clay reveals it while the bad artist never sees the beauty that is right before his eyes.

Be the good artist in all things.

Love and peace.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Of all the qualities an individual can have, I believe respect to be one of the biggies. Compassion and a sense of right outweigh respect, but I think that without a healthy dose of respect, you can’t care for one another nor can you be expected to do the right thing. Respect for another person and respect for one’s self seem, to me at least, essential to being a happy person.

So where do you start? Respect others or resect yourself? I think having respect for yourself has to be first and foremost in any plan. I think that you need to understand your uniqueness and your irrefutable importance are what helps make the world go around. If it were not for you, or me, or your arch enemy, life just wouldn’t be the same.

And respect isn’t doled out in material items. You can’t get respect by driving a luxury sedan or having a 90 inch flat screen on your wall. In fact, I think that the more you show your good fortune, the less respect you probably have for yourself. Well, let me back up here a tick…have the Lexus and the giant TV, but respect yourself for working hard to get those things.

But I digress. Respect doesn’t depend on wealth. To have respect for yourself you need to understand that you are working towards being the best you can be. That you are not a failure even though you may have fallen down a few (dozen) times. It’s the getting back up part that counts after all.

And once you honestly learn that you are worth something, respect for your fellow man will follow. Once you understand that you have worth, you’ll see the worth in others. Neighbors who you thought were nosey are really just trying to get to know you…and okay a little nosey. Once you feel good about yourself, it’s easy to understand that we are all just trying to be happy in a place that often times can be very, very unhappy.

I think the final part in this whole respect thing would be that your own self-respect becomes contagious and soon people will be treating you with respect. They see a person who can hold their head high, relatively secure in the fact that they are a worthwhile piece of carbon doing the best they can. It’s kinda like “if it looks like a duck” theory…if it looks like something valuable, we will treat it accordingly.

You might be wondering if I practice what I preach and if I do in fact respect myself. The short answer is no. Elaborating, I’d have to say not yet, but it’s in my long term plan. I work on respect every day. And until then I’m just gonna fake it till I make it!

You’re a valuable person, own it!

When Losers are Winners

I don’t always feel like a strong person. Hell, 99.9% of the time I am scared out of my mind. I’m trying out so many new things in my life that it honest to God freaks me out to the point where I sometimes just don’t know whether I’m coming or going. Oh, I wouldn’t change a single thing; I’ve just gotten somewhat used to the terror.

And that’s okay.

Being afraid puts you in that flight or fight mode the majority of the time. I’m usually ready to fight, but I have been known to retreat to live to fight another day. Cliché, I know but entirely true. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve thrown up the white flag. I learn a lot with each defeat; perhaps more than any victory has taught me.

But no one wants to hear about battles lost now do they? We all want to cheer for the hero who would not exist were it not for the loser. No conqueror would enter the city triumphant without a conquered. No victor without a vanquished. We need our losers. They define what a winner is.

And while I don’t like to think of myself as a loser, I do like to think that I have some the qualities of a loser. Losers are important. They teach us a lot.

But what do they teach us?

Losers teach us that everyone believes in something. Right or wrong, every person has beliefs. Even those who end up on the losing end believed in their cause. They’ve given their all for what was most precious to them. That’s admirable. Beliefs are what keep us going and, win or lose; it’s what keeps us fighting on.

Losers teach also teach us to fight even when the odds are against us. We’ve all seen the 300. We know the odds were stacked heavily against them. But we cheered the Spartans on anyway. Losers oftentimes know they can’t win. They see that the battle is nearly lost before it’s begun but they take a stand anyway. And they usually stand with others who are just as equally committed to the fight. It’s inspiring to watch.

Being a loser myself, I’ve learned humility. I’ve learned that when I lose, I find myself. I’m a little more sensitive to the plight of others. I learn that I’m not the center of the universe and that others will often come before me. And through that humility, I become more human. I like being human. I like connecting with the human plight. To know and to be one with those who are considered lowly means to join in a mass swell of humanity who have nothing to lose. Most winners were once losers who had run out of options. That gives me hope.

After having lost — sometimes several times — losers learn to try harder. They are more determined and more focused on what needs to be accomplished. It doesn’t always happen the second, third or even fourth time, but by God, eventually losers will win. Crawling over past mistakes and defeat, bloody knees and nails broken to the quick to reach a little further each time, the loser will emerge victorious. This builds my strength.

And sometimes I, as a loser, just have to learn to accept what I can’t change. There are battles out there I’m never going to win. And being able to adjust and adapt will make me a winner in the long run. After all, isn’t it the unyielding who are ultimately toppled? The supple and willowy will shift and sway to accommodate what is thrown at it. The things I cannot change, I will learn to live with. I will not allow it to ruin my life but will make it an acceptable part of it.  And it’s those things that excite me.

Losing makes me smarter. I hone and sharpen my wits to better my odds of winning. I learn from my mistakes and I store that knowledge for the next challenge. Winners don’t have the advantage of learning from mistakes. Losers have the opportunity to try again with gained perspective and intelligence that only losing could have brought them. Being a lover of knowledge, I look forward to the occasional set back if by doing so I gain a wealth of it.

Losers learn pretty damn quick who to trust and who not to. It’s not hard really to figure out when you’re on your knees. The guys with the swords are the ones you don’t trust. Those who are extending a hand to help you up are the good guys. The world becomes pretty black and white pretty fast: enemy and ally; really no one in between. And maybe the most important person a loser needs to trust is themselves. To rely on oneself is maybe the most valuable lesson learned. To look in the mirror and think “I’ve got this” and you know it’s just you and you alone is empowering. It’s what turns losers into winners.

So losers are just winners who haven’t won yet. But they will. And oh how sweet that victory will be. I want to leave you with a quote. I can’t remember where I saw it or even who to attribute it to. It could be a proverb or I’ve could have seen it on a fortune cookie but it’s sums up a loser in a simple sentence.

Fall down seven times; get up eight.

Peace and joy; learn from losing. Namaste babies.