Spirit? Or Simply Charisma?

The “number of times watched”-counter on this must stand at something close to “20” over the last two weeks:

It is soooooo inspiring! And devastating at the same time. Because: Here I see (fragments of) the life I failed to go for. Or missed out on. Failed to fully manifest. Call it, what you want. How so? Short excursion for context, then back on point (which is #nihilism):

I remember this: I touched the string of my uncle’s guitar at age two. I was sold! Was made to learn other instruments before actually being allowed to move on to guitar at age 9. (local music teacher thought my fingers were too short. They still are. Doh!). The same teacher then had the presence of mind to realize that I was “underchallenged” and asked my home folks to allow me to learn a second instrument. I wanted the electric organ. They thought – upon advice of said local music school teacher – that the piano would be a better apt choice. I was mad then, but I no longer am.

Fast forward: Come age 14, two years into my piano lessons with a classically trained local music teacher, sent to the “outpost” of my home town by the congregation she was paid by. Two years into classical training once a week and I was religious about showing up prepared. Nobody needed to tell me or force me. I wanted to be prepared and the best version of me I possibly could be!

Fast forward again: The piano tuning guy we employed once a few months tunes the upright piano in our living room. He makes me audition for him (unbeknownst to me then). I play a few things. He then does a hearing test. Says “Perfect pitch” (or at least very near, I was nervous). Offers me a gig with his Big band some 10 miles away from our home town and which toured internationally and made the press regularly.

I tried to negotiate. I said, I’ll gladly drop any other activity, if I’ll just get to do this! Join the Big band. In the end, I basically begged. No way. I was told it was beyond our very meager budget to take me to rehearsals twice a week. (I must say, from today’s perspective I can understand that). I didn’t understand then.

And now I’m watching above Jacob Collier at MIT for some 20th time – and can’t help falling apart over it every time. Because, deep down, where the gut feeling of any person – screw that “soul” bullshit! – resides, I know that this should have been my life: Join that Big band, go for some more formal music training after High School, then go on and land me a “gig” with one such Big band. Tour the world with them, make a comfty living, maybe teach here and there.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda… I know. But… it feels pretty bad to now realize at a progressed age that I’ve missed my calling in life (or at the very least: That’s how it feels when watching the video, not meaning to liken my modest chops to those of Jacob’s…). On the other hand: I’m probably making too much of this. Life is happenstance anyway. We’re all here for some random quantum fluctuations some 13.8 billion years ago. And we’ll all be gone in the blink of an eye. It really, REALLY doesn’t matter at all! None of anything! (I failed to include a trigger warning in the beginning, sorry….)

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Imagination Off the Charts: Jacob Collier comes to MIT – YouTube


Lost it. Again. Completely. Over this. Gonna have to figure out as to why that is. Or maybe not me. But the friendly…. uhm… shall we call her “practitioner”? Yes. I think, that’ll work.

update: Figured it out: I see a life, which I think I could have and should have had (spell: Vocation, purpose) – or at least similar to it – weren’t it for the limitations of the condition and general history imposed on me. I’m not seriously saying that I thought I could have been a Jacob Collier, talent- no, geniuswise. But someone …. maybe a little bit like him, although on a much more modest scale. Much more modest. The main point being: I see and feel the purpose in this. I possibly could and should have been my life’s purpose had I had better judgement at the crucial junctions in my former life.

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Women And I. Or: Why I’m Relationship-Challenged

Just had another very unpleasant encounter on Facebook (like so many before). It started with a posting that is a loaded one at this point as it addresses sexual misconduct and sexual abuse. (Yes, Weinstein, of course, what/who else).

Let’s be clear: Sexual abuse is wrong. It is a crime and thus punishable. Sexual abuse must not be tolerated. And everything that “happens” to Weinstein at this point should actually have happened a long time ago. And exactly that is what my posting was about.

As expected, commenting on the situation pushed some buttons. The sad part: Those buttons pushed made it impossible to really communicate. Some females invited themselves to commenting on all kinds of things that my original posting was not about. I as a male person apparently lent myself to being a target of projection of their own experiences with such misconduct. Again: Sexual abuse must not be tolerated. But… despite all my efforts to keep the “discussion” civil, it spun off into shaming and finger pointing and hate speech. In other words: I seem to have started a shitstorm against myself and the mere fact that I am a male person daring to comment on this issue seems to have been enough of a criterion to bring this about.

I will tell you: This is a very very painful experience. It feels like some kind of reverse verbal abuse. It hurts. It is scary. No effort of mine to find some common ground or to try and get back to the point at hand was acknowledged. Ultimately, it triggered a host of bad memories and feelings in me making me feel like I had no right to be, let alone express myself. Wow.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time something like this happened. Just recently, I had thought I had met someone again, with whom I might even dare to engage in a romantic relationship again, give it some time and all. Not for long. Very shortly into this, I had to realize that I as a person, as a sentient being did not matter to her. I was made an area of projection of someone else’s ideas, issues and problems again. I do not exist as a person for her! She does not see me at all. And again: This is not the first time. It’s been like this every time! And I think, I can truly say that every time I tried to be with someone that I’ve really opened up to them, invested myself, took all the risks, committed to the person and experience as fully as I possibly could. Yet…. time and again, I was not seen. And I can’t help, but wonder that it was like that for the very fact of trying to be as mindful as I possibly could. For doing my best not to put myself first, but the other. Result: Trampled upon, ignored, disrespected and ultimately: Discarded.

After seeing my ex-wife for the last time some time in 2002 until our ultimate divorce in 2003, I had this distinct feeling “That’s it! You’re done with relationships. They don’t work for you.” And this after every relationship – except one – that I was being walked out on. There were about 15 in their entirety throughout my life.

It is kind of scary to realize that I seem so damaged in that area that I really can’t make a romantic relationship with a woman work for me, for us. There were times when I’ve wondered, whether I might be gay (although I never sensed being attracted to men at all – vice versa, yes, but me? No. And I’ve tried to be open to the possibility, but that’s just not me.)

Love, romantic relationships, the very realm of human existence that seems to be at the core of all our societies, after all seems to be yet another realm that I just don’t seem to have any access to. That’s some scary shit, to be brutally honest.

But I’m giving up. It’s not working, never has and very likely just can’t work at all as I seem too damaged in that area. Yikes.

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About God ‘n All.

OK. People seem to have a need for worship. Can be their Chevy parking in the driveway, their kids, their spouse, their … I don’t know. Fill me in. Whatever. There seems to be an innate need for worship built into human beings. (who – sorry… spoiler… – are just another breed of mammals that #evolution thought up when it didn’t have anything else to do with #time….)

I as of late found that I’m worshipping squash. Yes. No kidding. Squash. As in: Pumpkin. Or Japanese/Hokkaido pumpkin. Or as in: Butternut. (It has the #nut in it, so that naturally appeals to me…).

Matter of fact and point I’m trying to make: We worship that, which or who feeds us. God – “sorry, Sir!” – doesn’t have too big a part in that where it concerns me. (I hope, that godhead doesn’t rely on ego as the mere mortals and rest of us do…). So, with this being said: Sorry, God. You lost over…. pumpkin. Get over it. You’re the big guy. You can do it!

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Ticking Away

There was this aunt on my paternal grandfather’s side. Noone of immediate bio family liked her much as she was rumored to have stolen food from other family members during the flight and expulsion of Germans towards the end of the war and after when food was a rarety. But as they were told, they kept her in, looked after her, family sticking together, got to, you know.

I must have been anywhere between 8 and 11 years of age, when my mother would make me go visit her about once a week or so. Some kids older than I lived in her neighborhood and every time I had to go see her, I tried to find those kids, too and get to spend some with them. But before I was relieved from the duty of seeing this aunt, this is what I remember:

When I rang her doorbell, she’d pretend to be happy to see me. (Maybe she was, I was too …. I don’t know…. preoccupied to notice). She’d invite me in, offer snacks and tried to break into some small talk. Usually, she’d briefly inquire as to what was going on at school, whether I was doin’ o.k. there, that sort of thing. Everytime I was there, I couldn’t help, but wonder: What is it like to live alone? Never have anyone to talk to? Immersed in your own thoughts day in, day out.

She had embroidery hanging on the wall, usually some sentimental motto about her generation having lost their home and longing to be back. There was this smell of … old age. And the incessant ticking of her “grandfather” clock in the kitchen. Tick, tock, tick, tock. Every moving of the hand seemed to say: “This is the grim reaper talking. I’m preparing for you. Just fix your eyes and ears on the watch. With every move of her hands, I’m closing a notch in on you. And I’ll be coming and you know it!” That is what her kitchen, her living room, her bedroom felt like: Death closing in without any mercy on anyone.

I’d usually stay there for maybe 30 or 45 minutes, long enough that she wasn’t under the impression I had only showed up to collect some spending money (when in fact that was the only reason I ever brought myself to showing up there). Every time the “conversation” – if you wanted to call it that – dragged. There was actually no communication at all. I wasn’t really interested in her stories, she didn’t seem much interested in mine.

I always felt a great sense of relief, when I got to leave. And I always knew: One day, this is going to be you.

Guess, I have always been morbid….

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A Day Like This

There are days when you can’t help but wonder: Why – put up with all this anymore? Today is one of those days.

First thing I come across today after booting the computer and checking emails, social media accounts, noteably Facebook, is this. They spoke of 50 dead this “morning” in my time zone, the death toll has now risen to as much as 59. And over fivehundred injured (!), some possibly still in critical condition. The police have confirmed the identity of the attacker as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, according the Guardian. Over …. fivehundred injured! My first conclusion that I can’t help but make is this: He must have had hundreds, if not thousands of rounds of ammo on him to fire this many shots in comparably a short amount of time until he was found and killed by the police. He used ten rifles and must have been either trained or very good at aiming at something from a distance away as far as several hundred feet (370, I read). And he chose a music festival with a crowd of some 30,000 coming together to celebrate music, life and being together. And he … aims at them and kills 50 in next to no time, wounding hundreds of others.

I don’t think, I can wrap my mind around this. I know what’s gone wrong with me in my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever harbored an idea like this: (Randomly?) “Picking” tens of thousands of innocent strangers to take out my bitterness on? Or my pain? Or both? No. In all honesty, I have never had an idea like this.

Even later then, news broke that Tom Petty has died this morning after having been found unresponsive from cardiac arrest in his Malibu home and taken off life support as of this writing. According to other sources, he’s still hanging in, though!

want to look at the bright side of things. I seriously do. (and I am, ever more often). But some days… things get too fucking much to “accommodate” anywhere… This is one of them.

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… is god’s way of reminding us that we’re only here for him/her/it to have fun. Fun with us, that is. #no_thanks_big_motherfucker_go_suck_your_own_celestial_universe_sized_motherfucking_dick_motherfuck

(P.S. I’m gonna need y’all to pray for me. Thank you)

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Will there be a Post Recovery Void?

For some time now, an eerie idea has been haunting me: What if I managed to truly recover from the majority of my PTSD symptoms and instead of enjoying the feeling of a serene, relaxed here and now in my body with a sense of being safe, instead of the anticipated big sigh of relief, I’ll meet abject boredom? What if my mind somehow reinterpreted the insanity of an overcharged nervous system that I’ve been living with for so many years (decades and practically all of my life since almost day one) and had me believe this was the heartbeat of life, a nervous energy that permeated all my days, all my feelings and informed some of my actions? What if arriving at the anticipated liberation from the pressures of said nervous systems and the physical manifestations it has been producing for so long left me feeling completely …. dead inside? Unmoved, indifferent, bored “to tears” as the expression goes save the tears? What if I missed feeling on the edge and being hypervigilant for most of my waking time?

Suddenly, it dawns on me that I had never even tried to imagine whom I would be minus the condition, minus the often agonizing symptoms and the challenges they create in my daily life. I had been so obsessed with getting rid of them that it never even occurred to me what I’d do and whom I’d be once they might be gone… And now that I’ve been fighting hard to find a hospital with doctors and personnell well trained in trauma therapy with a special focus on the somatic aspect of things, now that I’m zeroing in on actually getting specific help taylored to my therapeutic needs and thus relief and potential healing coming within reach for the first time – I can’t help but start panicking over above questions and what the aftermath of hospital and therapy might feel like.

I haven’t had an abode to myself for a year and the bulk of my former household is stored away in moving boxes and those boxes sit in my bio family’s garage or basement. I only unpacked the utmost necessities in order to get to have clothes and a few pots and pans to fix breakfast, coffee, meals etc. The housing arrangements prior to that year offered reduced privacy and felt limiting, only a hair short of stifling. I have signed a lease starting in November and am undergoing the necessary huge amounts of paperwork that I need to hand in with authorities paying those meager benefits that make the remains of our social security system. So, currently I know one thing: I’m most likely coming back to a largely empty appartement in a new place, where I don’t know anyone and which is likely not going to be furnished (or poorly furnished, like an oversized palette/panoply for a bed with a thin mattress on, no closets, no sofa, just a tiny desk with a computer screen and some electronic equipment). I know that. I expect to feel as empty and lost as I did in the first few weeks after my ex-wife had separated from me and with me needing to find another place to live as the former one was beyond my budget and the layout of rooms wasn’t conducive to having a room mate (to be honest: I would not have been comfortable having a room mate without the possibility of having a place to get to completely retreat to when needed). So that’s going to feel weird, possibly depressing. I also know that I haven’t found a new perspective in terms of what professional occupation to go for when released from hospital. I also don’t have any mental GPS left in terms of what to look for. Which is ironic as I think I have a bunch of good qualifications from my previous career and life that might still be needed by someone and possibly even pay decent money. (largely technical stuff, online content/special interest writing, SEO marketing, content management systems, some basic marketing skills, at least one language I think I know well enough to communicate in on a professional level etc.). In short: When fast forwarding my outlook to the time after being released from hospital, there is… a blank slate. (well, technically not entirely blank as I’m not an infant anymore and as life has left its mark[s] on me in a multitude of ways and outcomes).

Shorter even: It’s scary. The one thing I don’t deal too well with given my condition is not getting to plan ahead, not knowing what’s coming at me. (yeah, trust issues, haha! That’s a no-brainer, isn’t it? 🙂 ) But that is precisely what I’m looking at over the coming months.

Guess, whether I’m ready or not, I had better embraced the utter unpredictability of life, its potential perils, its pitfalls – some of which I’ve fallen prey to – and force myself to make room for the mysteries and wonder and opportunities that are also [said to be] a part [of] of all that.

Boy, oh, boy…. I hear that there can be an easier path to travel…? Apparently, not for me. At least not until now. I’m still around, because I’d like to know what it all feels like minus all this anxiety and worrying… maybe even become what they call a “happy camper”? Contrary to what I just expressed above, I think that might feel nice. Just getting to be a happy camper.

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The Neighborhood

It’s a quiet neighborhood. A light drizzle falls upon the leaves of the apple trees in the garden. The grass is wet under my naked feet. It’s fall, but not cold just yet. I stand there in my undies enjoying the droplets on my skin. Some of the neighbors have their lights on at 3 a.m. Like I have the lights on at this time of day. There isn’t much I haven’t been through. And yet… I can’t help, but wonder: What have they been through?

Another puff from my “stickie”. I walk back to the house, knowing that I’ll have a comfty place to sleep. Things could be worse. And have been worse. Not anymore, though.

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Finding Peace?

Filmtheater Krumbach

Filmtheater Krumbach

Context: I grew up in a small town. Back in the days, the number of citizens maxed out at somewhere around 10,000 (including neighboring communities that got factored in). Today and in 2017, we’re closer to the 20,000 mark. But it’s still a small city compared to the urban centers in my country and still far from numbers of inhabitants most US cities boast.

But – it is – or was it? – about numbers at any point? Possibly not. My version of a possible explanation reads like this: You probably won’t have too hard a time imagining that the number and quality of “excitement(s)” in this small a town was limited growing up in the 70ies and 80ies. The local sports club, the local swimming pool, a number of outdoors activities, your mandatory time with family on weekends and on family vacations, one or the other “odd kid on the block”, a movie theater, a number of cafés and bars in the single digits realm, maybe a weekend outing with the local boy scouts. That was it. Pretty much. (I may have been oblivious to the more interesting stuff going on seeing as I’ve been holing up myself in mold-infested rehearsal rooms for the larger part of my high school years and becoming so religious about wanting to be a professional musician at some point. Speaking of which: “Mold” probably had to stand in for my first encounter with “natural psychoactive drugs” or something…, o.k., with weed being added to that roster shortly thereafter). But I’m digressing. As usual.

The point I’m trying to make is this: I counted the years, months, days until I’d GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE! (the capitals largely on account of my upbringing and bio family). I even signed up for a short contract with my nation’s Army in order to have an income right away after high school and in order to get to make my own decisions. That is how bad I wanted to get the fuck out! And I’ve been staying away for all these decades until…. about eight years ago. (I would have stayed away, though. I’m gonna spare us the details as to why that didn’t exactly work out as “planned”). Long story short: I’ve been finding myself living here, in my original hometown, again for the past year. And what can I say: I met the most interesting, loving, wonderful people I couldn’t have dreamed up if I had wanted to and with a loaded gun pointed at my neck! The experiences and encounters here kind of remind me of a scene with Julianne Moore in the wonderful, though tragic, movie “The Shipping News“, starring the equally wonderful Kevin Spacey and the outstanding Grande Dame Judy Dench! (I’m getting misty just typing her name and thinking of her almost uncanny performance of “Send in the Clowns“… whoa….!). So, the scene I am thinking about is somewhere towards the last third into the aforementioned movie, when Julianne Moore’s character explains to Kevin Spacey’s how she ended up on this patch of land in New Foundland, which can sport four seasons in one day. The bottomline of her monologue there revolves something around the notion that pople on the island embraced her with so much love that she seemed unable to bring herself to leaving. Something like that (and I certainly hope, this wasn’t too big a spoiler…)

Well…. it kind of feels like this in reverse to me. Or maybe it feels exactly like this….

I have been looking for a place to myself for more than two years. My moderate household is stacked in my home folks’ garage with only the most needed things unpacked. I have been looking far and wide and I would have taken any old place so long as it provides the possibility for retreating from the world. But… something else happened. I no longer want to isolate myself from the world. I no longer need all this solitude. I am hungry for encounters, people, chatter, card games, hanging out, being silly, getting drunk… and whatnot. Also: I’m very interested in cultural things. Bottomline: I’m interested in as high a quality of life as possible (not necessarily meaning luxury or high spending). And I seem to find … more than enough of all that where I’m at.

This is a surprise. A big one. I had fooled myself into thinking I’d have to go far away from home to find all these things. And now it turns out they have been at the tip of my nose all along… Guess, I’m grateful. Very grateful for this. (it’s still a surprise. A fat one!)

P.S. I want to give back. I guess, I just volunteered to help save above local movie theater from getting torn down for good. This is going to be a several years-spanning endeavour. And I want to help. As best and as much as I can.

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