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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No Entanglement.

Even particles become entangled. That means verbatim: If one particle over “here” in the universe is measured with an upward “spin”, the other particle – GALAXIES and LIGHTYEARS AWAY! – instantaneously is measured with a downward spin. In other words: Those particles were “entangled”, “connected” in ways that even quantum physics haven’t figured out to this day. In yet different words: Those particles make a pair, the exact nature of which is still hidden from the eyes of very smart people with the most refined “machinery” ever seen in the entire history of mankind. Let this sink in: We have tools – “eyes”, as it were – that can look “back” to the beginning of the universe. And that means: Eyes, that can see as far as 13.8 BILLION YEARS!!! Try this on for size! And yet, we don’t know how entanglement exactly works.

But whatever. I’m not part of that equation anyway. I got locked out pretty much from the get-go. No comfort zone. No bonding. No nothing. To this day. The woes of ordinary people… I simply can’t get excited about as the reality that I was thrown into had “FIGHT FOR YOUR FUCKING LIFE, FUCKTARD!” written all over! How can you have empathy for someone who broke their fingernail? Got a root canal? Had regular surgery somewhere on their body that they knew upfront wasn’t going to be life-threatening? How can you put yourself into their skin when your own got prompted into survival mode from almost day one? With no help, no perspective, noone to help you make it through it.

I haven’t figured it out. I thought I had fallen in love. Turns out, she doesn’t give a shit about me. If she had known what a BLACK-HOLE-EVAPORATING ENDEAVOUR it was on my part to even TALK TO HER! Let alone find the other parts of courage that managed to kiss her? What if I told her that this is my equivalent of putting on a space suit and getting shot into “thin” – as in: no, zero! – “air” in the cosmos with only a tiny rocket ship for protection wobbling away under my ass? Millions of miles from home with no intercom? What if … she knew only a portion of that?

I don’t think, we’ll become entangled in any way, shape or form. I had so wished for it, though. Could have used some heart-warming experience for a change. A physical one, too.

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Unlucky in Love

Wow…. the things that reveal themselves to me after the veils of lifelong dissociation fall one after another… And now I find that I had to live to see 52 and for the first time in life experience, how it feels to be unlucky in love as in: Having fallen in love with her and she doesn’t love me back the same. Fifty-effin’-two YEARS! (That’s roughly 18.980 days, b.t.w….; others have checked off that experience in their early teens, possibly sooner)

But you know what: As crazy as it may sound I’m grateful for feeling this! Because I take it as a sign of having connected with my core self – at least more than ever before – or else I’d still be caught in my – narcissistic from the outside – bubble of trauma-dominated perspective. No? I’d think so. Because until here, most of anything I ever experienced were events and encounters that I only made from “extrapolating” other people’s behaviour and then finding the commonalities in that in order to arrive at what others consider “normalcy”, then try and adopt those behaviours and make it part of my own (where they resonated). You still with me? I mean, I’d be like an autistic person, watching other people interact, then find patterns in their behavior in order to get a faint idea of how people “work” in general. In software engineering this approach is called “Top:Down”: You look at an algorithm from the angle of what it does and derive the underlying mechanisms from that. I am aware how weird this will sound and come across, believe me: I know! But I’d rate it as one of my coping strategies throughout life in order try and make at least some sense of all the distressing and unsettling experiences I was put through.

For one of the first times, though – I think I’m a lot closer to living in the moment. And that means: Abandoning (perceived) control over everything and just taking things for what they are and then possibly respond to them for what they are. And I seem to have responded to a recent encounter with …. falling in love (while I had taken a personal vow after my divorce that I would never engage in any romantic situation….). But it seems to be a one way road. And this hurts more than I or anyone could have prepared me for. In other words: I just found a whole new dimension of pain for myself. And I’m …. kind of glad that I did. Means progress. Healing, possibly. At least, that’s how I’d like to think of all this. If you have thoughts on this, feel free to share them.

P.S. How was this one here different as I still keep going on and on about what I am feeling? Well, granted, yes. You could take it for another bout of narcisissm. However, this time it’s different: This is not about whether I get a chance at this or not. I want to be given a chance at her giving me permission to be loved – by me! I’m thinking about things like “will I be good for her? Will she be better in her skin for letting me love her? Will I always figure out how to make her – and keep – her happy? In other words: She is at the center of my thoughts and feelings. I’m afraid I’d have to say that I was immature enough all along not to have realized that this is just how things are between lovers: You put the other one first!

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The “Comfort Zone”.

Coming from my background and taking that yours is similar, I’d postulate that in this day and age and with the massive violence that is going on anywhere and against anyone and anything on the planet – people – and by that I mean: The 1st world – have/has forfeited their “right” to a comfort zone. There can’t be any such thing. There mustn’t  be any such thing. For if we are to prevail as a species, there can only be one currency: Compassion.

And compassion holds that it is not o.k. to lean back in your favorite recliner, AC running at full throttle while the sun is at full blaze outside, sinking your spoon into your favorite Häagen-Dasz icecream bucket, while reports of mass killings almost anywhere else on the planet are populating the news far and wide. How dare I? Well… o.k…. I’m being overbearing. For I haven’t known anything even remotely close to a comfort zone as luckier people have. (and I take it, you – dear reader – are ready to chime in on that). So… easy for me to come out at that, i.e. postulating other people shall be miserable, too.

But: Is it just bitterness? Hell, naw. I make it my mission not to be bitter in the face of devastating personal history and … while I think I’m coming around from the former … seeing similar “history” unfold every-fucking-where on the fucking planet! Personal bitterness, my ass!

Compassion. Means feeling what the other person feels. Or at least … trying to imagine their pain. You and I – we were forced to become experts at the latter. In order to protect ourselves when nobody else stepped in for it. In order to …. preserve the notion of sanity somewhere further down the road. In order to… survive.

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About Grace, Dignity and your Inner Beauty

A good “thing” happened to me recently. A good person, actually. It may turn out to be nothing but a fling – or: the beginning of another chapter of committed intimacy for the both of us. Fact is: I don’t know. The stakes are high. But – this blog won’t be about myself. (or at least not completely – I hope). I want to address you, dear readers and subscribers to this blog, and make this about you. How so?

Well. Some context first: The good person has a troubled history herself. (and since I’m not naming names or giving detail, I’d like to think that I’m being discrete about her and some of the things she shared with me in this short amount of time since first encounter about a week ago. Haven’t had a week like this in a decade, possibly two…). Prior to that week I had vowed back in 2003 to not even consider another relationship – or even just intimate encounter – after my marriage had ultimately fallen apart, thus marking the preliminary – or final(?), the jury’s still out on that – end to a history of failed relationships throughout my more or less adult life. I’m already going on and on about myself again, right? Bear with me for another breath, please. Point is: I have a soft spot for the “troubled kind” – and I can’t be sure whether there is such a category in the first place nor whether it is a very nice thing to do lumping people’s very individual paths together like this. And maybe I can find better wording, too: I have a soft spot for the caring kind, the ones who had bad – I mean, really bad – shit happen to themselves and still want to help others along and contribute to their well-being and thus transform their own strife into purpose, by selflessly providing their insights into overcoming the pain of the past and thus make the lives of others better. Or so I’d like to think, at least (about their motivation).

Braving your own struggles like this – and I have to say that most people I came across who were struggling with one or the other thing from their past had almost always managed to make themselves into the kindest, most loving, mindful individuals – and then sharing the progress with the bulk of humankind…: I can’t think of a more noble, graceful, dignifying thing to do with one’s life. Bottomline: Turning hurt and pain into love – I don’t think there is anything more meaningful, shy of saying “sacred” mission on earth than that.

All of you – minus the occasional fake profile that was only generated to create clicks and marketing potential – are like this: Everyday heroines and heroes, turning the bad shit of the past around, making yourself, me and ultimately all of humankind a better version of ourselves. You’re super brave, you’re worthy, you’re beautiful.

Thank you! For having incarnated and for being here. And for what you do. Thank you.

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The Healing Power of a Real Hug

I’ve been secretly dreaming of this forever: Feeling a tender, compassionate hug given by a truly understanding, good-hearted person, who feels my pain and responds in the most human way: By wrapping her arms around me and engulfing me in a good long, comforting hug.

Over the course of two consecutive nights, that miracle happened for me. And the healing power of such a seemingly simple “thing” is enormous. The “feelgood juices” started flowing in the brain, my entire feel to my body has changed from “descpiccable source of torture and pain” that deserves abuse and more torture and slowly begins to move towards loving acceptance and reverence for what it’s been enduring. My outlook on life – although still with massive amounts of trepidation – starts to take on brighter hues of color again, the image of becoming a real person with a real life again is not as much of an inaccessible phantasy any longer. Maybe I’m even falling in love a little…. it’s too early to say and the devastation that wreaked even more havoc on my more recent life – the past ten plus years to be exact – still runs deep. But …. to find a person who has the good heart, life experience and capability of creating and holding a space for the pain body…. like I said: It feels like a celestial event to me. I might sound like I was going for “super drama” again. But then: It’s just an accurate account of what happened and what it felt like.

I so wish that this might happen for you, dear reader, as well. No pill, no exercise, no substance of whatever nature can even come close to this wonderful feeling of … just being held by a kind and compassionate other. My gratitude is infinite. And my wish for you is that you’ll experience this too and as often as needed.

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Self Sabotage – or Self Protection? I’m At A Loss Here

Started to force myself into hanging out with other people again (yeah, call it “auto therapy” – or whatever suits your taste… 😉 ). This after bouts of what I can only describe as paranoia, possibly psychosis, maybe even schizophrenia (minus the voices, though). Get invited to a schoolmate’s birthday thingy. Get to sit at a table with a couple of married girls and one apparently single girl. Get her phone number. Long story short: I’m not in the “friend zone”. What zone I’m in – I am trying to figure out.

However: Whatever I don’t even permit myself to feel… how can this live? I collect “benefits” and they boil down to about 150,- squid a month. I can’t get anywhere, much less go to fun places and not even spend money on drinks, let alone food, let alone gifts or transportation. I am unable to get gifts for the little one. Or come up with the occasional treat to stay “interesting”.

So… help me out here: Is it self sabotage for not giving this a chance? Or self protection? For having gotten broken a myriad of times? Which is it? I get confused. Any hints – feel free to hurl them at me. Thank you.

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Megalomanian Mission

Every time that a convenient degree of inebriation has kicked in with me, there’s this burgeoning, potentially overbearing – borderline megalomanian – idea on my mind. And it goes something like this: “I’m preparing to have your feathers ruffled all you wusses who had nothing else to worry about but finding that nipple – a.k.a. Mom’s seemingly infinite supply of feelgood “juice” – at times when you weren’t even able to hold your shit back, at times, when I had complete strangers sticking needles into my spine, shove a hose up my nose and down my belly, waking me at ungodly times to expose me to even more painful exploration. I’m gonna show you right, you pussies/pricks! I – MADE IT ANY-FUCKING-WAY!!!! And no: You won’t ever come at eyes’ level with me, you captains of wuss-dom!”

Of course… that only works when cheap booze is available… 3:) 😛

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Memories

9427517-adorable-children-on-beach-facing-the-tropical-waters-stock-photo

It is high summer. Day temperatures are in the high 80ies – which is a record breaking high in our parts of the world, thanks to #global_warming. I’ve always loved summer. For a number of reasons. One being that I got to look forward to the summer break from school. As troubled as my upbringing and childhood may have been – and was! – summer always meant a time away from all the harrowing routines. Summer meant: Going away on vacation. I come from very modest, short of saying poor means in my family. But they managed to take us somewhere abroad every summer, although modest destinations as well. I’m grateful for that. So, summer meant: Getting up somewhere in a foreign land with hosts not speaking our language and breakfast basically consisting of a strong cup of coffee / espresso – even for us kids. Summer meant: All you had to put on to be “orderly” dressed was swimming shorts. And flip-flops, maybe. Sun glasses, if you wanted to be sophisticated. And then after coffee and the sun already high up in the sky the only other “to do’s” on the day’s agenda were: Head to the beach, bring your beach mattress, your frisbee, softball tennis rackets and ball and other toys and – enjoy yourself to Kingdom Come! (Only to be topped by snacks and soft drinks carried on in a cooling bag and the perspective of dining out somewhere downtown at night, preferrably at a place where the locals meet in all their life-embracing enthusiasm!) Summer always meant the best approximation to that which others know as “innocence”. I do remember that I always felt like I was on top of the world!

It is summer now. I’m not a kid anymore. And for the life of me – I can recall those memories, but barely any of the feelings. They somehow got buried in the debris of what my life has become or rather: Has been from the get-go. There is only this thick, muddy, murky sewer-pit substance of darkness engulfing me from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I close them (and the latter only being possible with a pretty “fair” share of inebriation as of late). A depressive episode, you say? Well. Fuck me, then! It feels like it’s never been anything else, but that. And I’m just done and spent with the hanging on and waiting for that day that will never come: The day that my being will feel worthwhile exploring. It’s not. None of it is. Life is absurd and always was as we’re only here for one tiny moment – and some of us only for “reasons” of enduring inexpressible amounts of pain – and the next moment, we’ll be gone for all of eternity.

I am pondering getting my things in order. Last will and such things. (But before that: Seeing to it I don’t inherit any debts to my family for the series of poor choices I’ve made in my “adult” life).

Well. Whatever. None of it ever mattered. Or will matter. And that’s perfectly alright.

 

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