Tag Archives: love

My passion never left, it just changed forms.

3 Aug

Back around the time I was graduating college I started to lose my passion for history, archaeology, and everything I loved. Why? Well I think there were a variety of factors, but I haven’t got that all sorted out yet. What followed was this period of listlessness, of being adrift with no idea what to do. For the 2+ years following my graduation I had no idea what I wanted to do, no idea where my passion had gone.

But then I had an epiphany the other day: My passion never left, it just changed forms.

This occurred to me when I realized how my passion used to manifest itself. Back when I was in love with history, archaeology, etc, those were the things I constantly thought about. When I wasn’t actively talking to someone, or focused on completing a task my mind would inevitably wander back to those subjects. That’s how I knew I was passionate about them, I would always be thinking about those subjects.

Well after my personal collapse in 2010 I stopped thinking about those things by default. Instead my thoughts shifted to religion and politics. I had always been interested in these things, but they had previously taken a back seat to history and archaeology. I created this blog a long time ago as a way to nurture those thoughts that manifested themselves from time to time, and to give them a home, yet history was still my main focus.

Why did I feel my passion had disappeared? It took me two years to figure it out: Rage.

My passion for history and archaeology was built on love. I genuinely enjoyed talking about those things. I got excited to discuss them with others and they made me happy.

As things in my personal life started to fall apart, the happiness was replaced with this rage. I stopped thinking about things that made me happy and started thinking about things that infuriated me. It was not something I could consciously control, it was a byproduct of what was going on in my life.

Religion and politics were two issues I had always cared about, but now they had become toxic. I was consumed by them. I was constantly furious as my idle thoughts always returned to these poisonous subjects.

I felt lost and adrift because, unlike history and archaeology, religion and politics did not have a productive goal.

Back when I was in love with history I had the goal of becoming an archaeologist. It was something I was working towards, something to achieve. I had direction. When that mindset was replaced with rage, I lost that direction. There is nothing productive for me in religion or politics. I’m not about to become a religious figure since I think the whole thing’s bullshit, and I’m not about to go into politics because I have no faith in our system or the possibility of changing it through legal means.

So where does that leave me now?

I don’t know. I obviously need to replace the rage with love. I want so desperately to do that. I want to be happy again. I want to be somebody who’s excited about something, something positive. I just don’t know how to make that happen. I still have to figure that bit out, but this has been an amazing leap forward for me!

The pale blue dot and revolutions

30 Dec

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I’m just writing. Help me work this out will you? I don’t have anything I’m trying to prove, or some preconceived end conclusion that I’m trying to build an argument for. I’m just writing.

All my life I’ve wanted a cause. I’ve wanted something to belong to, some type of mission or quest with companions who would risk their lives for me and vice versa. I guess that’s why I’m such a sucker for revolution stories and stories that feature a strong bond between two or more people. Books like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, the Harry Potter series, and now The Hunger Games. Stories like these feature a small band of people, willing to sacrifice their lives for one-another while fighting for some common cause, even if that cause is each other. I can’t think of anything more intimate.

Nothing would make me happier than to have that kind of bond with someone, though I’m feeling I’m drifting into the topic for a different post. Back on course.

I guess I’m having trouble finding a cause, or more importantly, difficulty determining if there even exists such a worthy cause for me to find in the first place. I keep thinking of Carl Sagan’s “Pale blue dot”. I want to focus on a few words, but for those of you who haven’t heard it, or forget, here it is in full:

The words that strike me most in this context are:

Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

 

I remember these lines and then think of some hypothetical cause I could be fighting for. What’s the point? Am I not just fighting over a corner of a pixel like everyone else? Some might counter that I’m fighting for a better world for myself and future generations, yet some part of me says that this will never happen. People have been fighting for a better world for their children since the dawn of time. Their children just grow up into adults who commit the same atrocities on their fellow human beings, thus keeping us in a constant state of “fighting for a better tomorrow”, like a hamster in a wheel.

I don’t know. Maybe that’s overly cynical. I want desperately to believe in something like that. I want a cause, something I can feel sure about. Something to give me direction, a purpose.

I hope that my salvation lies somewhere within the knowledge that this is the only life I have, and that maybe that is something worth fighting for.

But I haven’t quite worked that out yet…

How many lives have you had?

29 Mar

How many lives have you had? I’m on my fourth, saving up for my fifth. What do I mean by that? Well for example, my first life was spent growing up in Virginia Beach. All the people I knew back then, my best friend, my hobbies of making movies and doing medieval living history with the Virginia Medieval Arts Association, all that was my first life. That life ended when I graduated high-school, burned a lot of bridges to toxic relationships, and went off to college.

College was my second life, starting over from the ashes of the first. New friends, a new love, new hobbies. That life got washed away when I graduated and left everything to start my third life down here in South Carolina. That third life was the toughest. Luckily after a few months I managed to start my fourth life, getting a real job, an apartment, and a whole new group of friends.

Lately I’ve realized I’ve kind of been drifting in this fourth life of mine. I’ve always had this vague idea of starting my fifth life in 3-5 years in Canada, but now I realize I need to speed that time frame up. This fourth life is kind of an interim period before my real life really gets started. I imagine my fifth life will be moving to Ontario, finding a new love and new adventures. There certainly isn’t anything for me here in South Carolina.

It’s just odd when you run into someone/something from one of your past lives. Sure we all keep connections from different lives, but we’re really not the same people we were in those lives. I’m three lives different from the person I was in my first life. If I ran into my old best friend from back then, he’d have no clue who I was, I’ve changed so much. Same could be said for my second and third lives.

So how many lives have you had?

A political blogger’s pledge

10 Jan

This is courtesy of GreenGeekGirl:

The pledge:

As a responsible citizen, I pledge to avoid all inflammatory rhetoric and propaganda, including violent rhetoric, unfair comparison of people with whom I do not agree to atrocities such as the Holocaust simply because we do not agree (unless, such as in the case of the Arizona laws where immigrants have to carry their “papers” at all times, such a parallel is historically warranted), immature and childish name-calling, and to use a minimum of unnecessary sarcasm.

As an American, I pledge not to center my political blogs around conservative vs. liberal in order to avoid deepening the divide between political groups.  Instead, I will focus on ideas and not make mass generalizations about groups of people.

As a blogger and a writer, I pledge to do my best to try to see both sides of an argument, even if I initially think that the other side isn’t worth considering (and even if this conclusion persists through exploration).

As a friend and neighbor, I pledge not to let differences in ideology interfere with my ability to see other people as human beings, even when we disagree or when they start name-calling, using unnecessary sarcasm, or using bad logic.

As a person, I pledge to be as compassionate as I can.

I am human and humans are prone to making mistakes and forgetting pledges.  To anybody who is reading, if I break this pledge, I want you to call me out on it (but as Wil Wheaton says, don’t be a dick).

We may differ politically, but you are not my enemy.”

Overall I like this pledge, hence why I’m following GGG’s lead and taking it on my blog, though I do have a reservation. I’m really not sure how to say this, because I feel it will make people instantly think I’m a bad person, which upsets me, but I’m not sure I entirely agree with the bit:

As an American, I pledge not to center my political blogs around conservative vs. liberal in order to avoid deepening the divide between political groups.  Instead, I will focus on ideas and not make mass generalizations about groups of people.”

I understand the sentiment, especially the second half about not making mass generalizations, though in practice avoiding generalizations is extremely hard to do. I think there are varying degrees of generalizations, some more appropriate than others. For example, the generalization “All republicans want to install a theocracy” would be very over reaching and inappropriate. Sure faith and religion are on average more central to republicans (that’s an ok generalization), however there is a very specific, albeit very large and powerful, group within the republican party that wants a theocracy. The rest of the republicans don’t.

I mentioned the problems with generalizations in an earlier post here, though that post was focused on religious generalizations. In order not to be paralyzed by precision, some degree of generalization is required. So can I in good faith pledge to avoid generalizations? I cannot. I can, however, pledge to try and not making unnecessarily over reaching generalizations.

Now on to the first part of the bit I have a reservation about:

As an American, I pledge not to center my political blogs around conservative vs. liberal in order to avoid deepening the divide between political groups.

Again, I lament that people might think me a bad person for saying this, but I honestly cannot agree to this. It is my firm conviction that liberals and conservatives are two groups with irreconcilable ways of perceiving the world. Now before you judge and condemn me, understand that I do NOT mean that liberals and conservatives can’t live together peacefully. I do NOT mean that one group of people is evil. I do NOT mean that there are no circumstances under which conservatives and liberals can work together.

All that I mean by that is conservatives and liberals put different priorities on different values. We both are capable of love and compassion, just as we are both capable of fear and hate. We both want our friends and family to live in a better world, however, we have fundamentally opposing ideas of what that “better world” is or how to get there. Liberals and conservatives have fundamentally different views on the role of government, the importance and deference to place on certain types of authority, how the constitution should be interpreted, personal and economic freedoms, etc.

While these views are incompatible, we by no means should we ever resort to violence as a way of settling the disputes, and that is the main sentiment of this pledge that I whole-heartedly agree with. While I may fiercely disagree with someone, I will never allow that to take away their humanity.

Age old confusion over relationships

24 Dec

As usual with these types of entries, I should be asleep but I can’t stop pondering this. I know this might come across as kind of weird, but I honestly don’t care, I just want to know.

Something’s been puzzling me lately. I’ve never had a girl who was just head over heals for me. Maybe I have, perhaps some ex girlfriends of mine were at one point and I just have a pessimistic confirmation bias; I don’t know, but it just feels that way.

What brought this on? Well I just recently talked to one of my old friends and she mentioned all this stuff she did for her boyfriend. It ranged from little nice gestures to more adult themes, if you get my drift. She raves about him, but he doesn’t seem to do anything out of the ordinary. It’s not just her! I’ve talked to other friends of mine who love to talk about their boyfriends. They all seem very loyal and excited to be dating him, and it’s not the “new relationship high” because they’ve been dating for a while.

I don’t feel like I ever get that from women. Ok, that’s not fair. I can think of a few times when past girlfriends have gone out of their way to do something nice for me, but it seldom happened. From talking to my friends, it seems like they are often thinking of their boyfriends and nice things to do for them. I just don’t get it. What is it about their boyfriends that inspires so much love and loyalty?

In the past, I always strove to be the absolute best boyfriend possible. Just ask any of my exes. I would get them cards and flowers for no reason other than I cared, I would cook them dinner and breakfast in bed, would drive them anywhere they needed to go, take them out for ice cream, go out at 3am to the store and get soup if they were sick, I did it all. I was always thinking of little things to do for them, but I never felt it was fully reciprocated. Sure they’d tell me they loved me and every now and then they would get me a card or a piece of candy, but they never seemed as excited about being with me as my friends are about being with their boyfriends.

I realized later that perhaps I was setting way too high a standard, doing so much and asking for it back in equal measure; I was setting myself up for disappointment. I also realized that by doing stuff like this all the time, I was inflating it and thus devaluing the gestures.

Fear not, I’ve since grown out of this. It just really frustrates me because I often hear women say how much they wish their boyfriend would do stuff like this. Now I know it depends on the person, but if the ones I dated in the past said this, they were lying. They obviously didn’t want a guy to do all these things for them. Maybe they thought that was what they were supposed to want and so they said it. Perhaps in reality it was just annoying.

Another thing I have to consider: I’ve never dated a fully independent woman before. I think things would be a lot better if I did. Most of my past girlfriends were when we were both in high school. I was always the only one who could drive and had a car. I dated one girl for three years in college, but again, I was the one with the car. I was constantly taking care of her and driving her places. I’ve noticed that, in all of my past relationships, I’ve always been the one doing the leg work, going to the girl. Only twice in my entire life has a girl I’ve been dating driven across town, or further, to my house to see me. I saw the same pattern online as I aimlessly browsed through dating sites, looking at profiles and messaging people. Why am I always going after them? Why am I always initiating first contact, yet I never receive first contact messages myself? Why is it not the other way around? Those guys my friends are dating don’t seem to do anything, and yet the women go out of their way to be with them. Why can’t I inspire the same kind of loyalty and excitement?

This just really confuses me. I know this isn’t supposed to be something you ask out loud in public, that you’re just supposed to “know,” but I honestly don’t care. Perhaps that’s paradoxically attractive, whatever.

Perhaps things will be better when I finally date a woman who’s living on her own, earning her own money, and has a car. Perhaps then I’ll find somebody who’s willing to put an equal amount of time, energy, and money into being with me. I’m tired of always being the one doing the majority of the work to keep a relationship going.

Human relationships are fragile

14 Aug

This idea occurred to me years ago when I went through some bad break ups (losing girlfriends and best friends as I grew up) and I wrote it down in the physical diary I had at the time. I naively hoped that I was wrong and that time would show me that some relationships are indestructible. Well in the several years that have passed since I first wrote about this, my little experiment has shown me that my original conclusion was right: No matter how strong you think your relationship with somebody is, or how sturdy the foundation, it can all be washed away in seconds.

In my experience, every major relationship I’ve had has fallen apart. First, my best friend growing up: We spent almost every day together since the fourth grade. We practically lived at each other’s houses. We both had two sets of parents, mine and his. Everywhere we went we were together. Slowly he grew colder and into an asshole, and then one day towards the end of senior year in high school we had a fight. Poof! My relationship with my best friend for 8 years was over.

My first major girlfriend, dated about 1.5 years. Things slowly deteriorated then one day we got into a fight and poof, everything was over. (It’s been several years and we’ve since then started talking again from time to time, but we’re nowhere near as close anymore)

My second major girlfriend, dated almost 3 years. Her family was a second family to me and we practically lived together. Things also slowly deteriorated towards the end then one night about a month before I graduated college she packed all her things out of my apartment and left. We got back together briefly, but officially broke it off for good right after my graduation ceremony. I gave her a hug goodbye, thanked her for a great three years of my life, and drove off to a new state where I knew nobody. We still talked for a bit, but then got into a heated IM conversation and I’ve since been completely cut out of her life after 3 years of being each other’s closest confidants. A few words, mere pixels on a screen, and everything was undone.

Lastly, my best friends from college. One I talk to now and then, the other hardly at all. The later left me to sit in his basement all day while he fucked his girlfriend after I had driven 700 miles to see him. After I told him I probably wouldn’t be living at his house in D.C. while he was away and I looked for a job he hasn’t put forth the effort to contact me. He doesn’t even message me once in a while to say “hi, how’s it going”. Just one bad day and suddenly the past 3 years of college don’t mean much? (To the other friend’s credit, he does put forth the effort to keep in touch)

I realize writing this that a couple of the relationships I’ve recounted fell apart slowly, but all of them have a distinct moment when I knew everything I had built up over the course of past years was undone. I don’t know why, but I guess I have this naive notion that history means something. Like if you have a history with someone, especially if it spans years, that you should be able to have some sort of relationship no matter how bad you fight; after all, everything you’ve been through together has to count for something? Right?

I guess not if it can all vanish in seconds. This whole thing just leads me feeling very jaded. Am I doomed to go from one relationship/friendship to another, each time hoping “maybe this time it will last!” only to end up alone and broken? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Yet I don’t see any other option! It’s either keep trying and keep getting burned, or just give up on any hope of finding a lasting friendship.

I distinctly remember pondering this years ago. I remember lamenting that what I really want were friends as loyal as medieval housecarls. I picked housecarls at the time after reading romanticized historical fictions about them and how they wouldn’t abandon their leader even in the face of certain death. It wasn’t that I wanted to be a leader and have a lot of friends, it was just that I admired and desired the loyalty the housecarls embodied. As silly as it might sound, I always thought of myself as a housecarl to my closest friends. I would do anything for them. If they were in trouble, I’d drop everything and rush to help them. It didn’t matter if doing so would cost me a school suspension, my job, my car, or even my life in the most extreme circumstances. I would walk through hell for them. (And I even had the swords and armor to complete the whole housecarl thing ^_^ )

I know that sounds extreme, but I had this intense love and loyalty I wanted so desperately to give; and wanted returned equally as strong. It was the latter that always disappointed me. I’ve never met anyone else who was willing to go as far for me as I was for them. It drove me crazy! I was keenly aware that my flavor of intense ancient style loyalty was rare. I would look at my friends and think “Can’t you grasp what I am offering you!?!? How many of your other friends would give their lives for you?” It was a borderline death wish. There was this period in high school, while other guys were fantasizing about women, I fantasized about dying big dramatic deaths defending my friends. Crazy, I know. I just always wanted the trust and loyalty I’d imagine two old war buddies would have after saving each other’s lives numerous times.

I’m starting to doubt that type of relationship exists outside of the war veteran context. Even if it does, I’d imagine it’d take time to develop, but how much time? I’ve had multiple people with whom I’ve been very close, often several years at a stretch; yet still no housecarl loyalty. Am I chasing a fairy tale? Should I just conclude that deeply loyal and trusting friendships that stand the test of time are beyond me grasp? Should I resign myself to never expecting much from any relationship/friendship since I’ve always eventually been disappointed in the end? It just seems that whenever I think I’ve built a relationship that is rock solid, a few words can undo it in seconds…

The government shouldn’t recognize marriage

7 Aug

Earlier this week I was elated to hear that a republican appointed federal judge over turned proposition 8 because it violated equal protection under the 14th Amendment. The entire argument against allowing homosexuals to marry can be boiled down to: “It is my personal religious view that homosexual marriage is wrong, and thus I am going to impose my religious views on you!” (Yeah, you could word it differently and dress it up to make it look like another argument, but deep deep down, at the heart of it is this religious intolerance) Trying to take this bigoted view and impose it on other people through law not only violates not only the 14th amendment, but the 1st as well.

Come to think of it, the government recognizing any religious marriage is a violation of the first amendment. Instead, the government should only recognize the civil unions formed by people who obtain the license and certificate from the local court house. (Which everyone, regardless of religion must do) If the government did this, then anyone could be joined in a civil union. A marriage and ceremony would be secondary. The legal privileges of a civil union would be open to anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, as the 14th amendment guarantees.

I’ve seen conservatives frothing at the mouth over this issue. They somehow have gotten it into their head that if the government allows same sex couples to form a civil union, then the conservatives will be forced to preform marriage ceremonies for them. They draw this image of a government officer holding a gun to the head of a minister, forcing him to marry two homosexuals in the minister’s church. This is so utterly and completely absurd! Nobody is going to force any religious figure to preform a ceremony they do not wish to preform. No government agents will storm into a church, hold a gun to a pastor’s head, and make him wed two gays. Ideas like this are another side effect of binge drinking the kuh-kuh-koolaid. The absolutely ridiculous nature of this belief aside, from a purely legal standpoint, the government could not do this for a plethora of reasons, two stand out immediately: A) The church is private property. B) This would violate the 1st Amendment. (Yes, kiddies, the separation of church and state protects churches from the state, so think about that before you try to tear down that wall)

The government cannot tell religions how to act. That would be “inhibiting the free exercise” of religion. The concept most conservatives don’t seem capable of understanding is that imposing their beliefs on people who are not members of their organization through the public legal system is NOT an instance of free exercise. Therefore the government if fully able (and is required by that very same amendment) to block any attempt by the religious to do so. You can be a bigot inside your church all you want. You can be a bigot in your home. You can even be a bigot and shout in the street so everyone else knows you’re a bigot. You CAN’T be a bigot and try to impose your views through law. Sorry, go home.

Instead, when homosexuals want to get married on top of having a civil union, they can do so with any person willing to preform that ceremony. That’s the keyword there, willing. You better believe there are people willing to do so. Homosexuals getting married is GREAT for business. More weddings means more demand for services, more demand means more jobs, more jobs mean a stronger economy and thus a stronger nation.

Conservatives will still be able to marry in churches that refuse to preform the ceremony for homosexuals. I think there is another big disconnect for conservatives on this issue: stopping homosexuals from getting married doesn’t stop them from loving each other. The will still be there, they will still love, and they will still do everything everyone else does when in a relationship., and their ain’t a damn thing you can do about it. The only thing trying to bar them from their 14th amendment rights does is cause suffering.

“Your partner of 40+ years, the person you love with all your heart, is dying in the hospital? I’m sorry, you’re not allowed to see him, but the family that disowned him 40+ years ago and haven’t spoken to him since can go right on up…oh wait, they’re not here…guess he’ll have to die alone…”

Or

“You want to adopt Sarah from her abusive and alcoholic home? That’s wonderful, this poor girl’s had a really hard life. I see you are mentally fit, responsible, have no criminal record, and are able to provide her with a stable home, food on the table, a roof over her head, and school supplies to learn, that’s great! Oh wait…before Sarah can start her new life, are you a homosexual? Yes!?!? I’m sorry then, Sarah’s going to have to go back to living with her abusive father that broke her arm. You homosexuals are bad people and your home is no environment in which to raise a child!”

It’s stuff like this that really makes discriminating against people disgusting. The ironic thing is, many of the people who would willfully cause this type of suffering (which is very real and happens every day) do so in the name of their god of “love”. That just makes me want to vomit.