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Fluffy Confidence

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photo credit coyotefugly

Look at this dog. I took this photo in the city I used to live, and I can honestly say I will never achieve the level of confidence that this dog has achieved. This dog oozes ‘cool’. People see this dog and instantly want to pet him, be his friend and take his photo, just as I did. This dog is the epitome of confident, incarnate.

I, on the other hand, have no confidence. My gay little butt will never feel as good about myself as this dog feels on a day to day basis. I try so hard, too. I write, I make art, and I try extraordinarily hard to be happy with myself at the least, but I can’t get there. I just can’t do it. I want to like myself. To like what I do. But I just can’t. I’m struggling to get my work off the ground, to get anyone to appreciate my work, and in the back of my head, I’m reminded of this dog. While I’m sobbing into my pillow about how I’m never going to make a difference in this world or matter one bit, this dog is probably laying around somewhere with his lady by his side, both smoking cigars and listening to indie rock. This dog has it together.

Why is confidence so elusive? Why does it seem so impossible to attain? People tell us to love ourselves, but no too much, because then we’re full of ourselves and have an inflated ego. There’s no middle ground with this world. You’re either complete garbage or you’re a total blowhard. There’s no in between. What happened to just sort of being ok with everything? Why does everything have to be to such levels of extremism? Why do we have to either be the best or the worst, and why can’t we just settle for being alright? For being happy with what we do, with ourselves, even if we aren’t the best. People often say “It’s a dogs life”. They say that dogs have it easy, and we should all be so lucky to be dogs. As someone who’s sat around for 5 years doing nothing but sleeping and eating and going for walks, ie; living the life of a dog, lemme tell ya, it isn’t all that fun. It gets real old real fast. I’d much rather have a job. It says something about our culture that we equate ‘doing nothing’ with ‘happiness’ and ‘stress free’. It says that we have put too much emphasis and importance on what we do, and the failure we achieve.

I wish I could be like this dog. I wish I could be like Fuzzy McAwesome, but I can’t. I’m me, and I’m trying hard to make that ok. I’m not striving for happiness or success, just being moderately tolerable. Others try so hard to be successful and happy, and here I am, trying so hard to just accept that it’s alright to be ok, to just exist and be fine with that. This existential dread is crippling, and if I could just one day be ok enough to BE OK ENOUGH, then that’s success to me.

Is this dog radical? Absolutely.

Do I want to be this dog? Not at all.

As much as I hate myself, and as much depression as I have to deal with, I’m happy I’m me, because simply being me gives me something to work on. I’m working on myself. I’m working on bettering myself, and hopefully one day, being ok with being me. I’ll get there too. I at least have enough confidence to believe that. That’s a start.

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Nice Girls Don’t Burn Ants

I remember sitting at the kitchen table, listening to my parents tell me why what I was doing was wrong. How it was scaring the other children. How I needed to stop doing it. I thought to myself, ‘Well, what about the boy who wants to poke people with scissors or the girl who pulls other girls hair?’ but the thing is, it didn’t matter. I’d been singled out, solely for making the decision at age 8 that I wanted to burn ants with a magnifying glass at lunchtime instead of playing with the other kids.

I remember being forced to see the school psychiatrist; a smarmy, smug woman with shoulder pads and an eighties hairdo with large wire rimmed glasses, who asked me why I did what I did. What made me want to kill ants? I just shrugged. I didn’t have an answer. I was 8. I told her, “Why not?” because really, why not? She asked me why I didn’t prefer playing with the other children, as if social interaction is all that matters in this world. I told her I didn’t like them. She asked if I wanted to burn them too, and I was horrified. Who would want to burn other people?!

I remember being told by my older sister, “You’ll never get a boyfriend if you continue to burn ants,” to which I thought to myself ‘good’. I’d rather burn ants than care what some stupid boy thinks. I remember kids signing my elementary school yearbook when I graduated 6th grade, ‘Have a nice summer, pyro!’ and wondering what pyro even meant, then upon the discovery of its definition, why they chose to associate it with me simply for burning insignificant insects. I remember being in middle school and having people walk by and ask how many ants I’d burned today, even though I didn’t do it anymore.

I remember getting an ant farm in my freshman year of highschool. I ordered it from the back of a science magazine I’d begged my parents to subscribe to. It was 11.95, and it arrived in less than a week. I set the ant farm on my desk, and every night when I did my homework, I’d do it in front of the ants. I drank my first beer in front of the ants. I had my first kiss in front of the ants. I lost my virginity in front of the ants. When I went away to college, I took the ant farm with me. I still have an ant farm. It’s been 30 years since I’ve burned ants for a few weeks in elementary school. Some of the other students I knew ended up in prison, ended up dead, or ended up never graduating. I burned ants, and they made it a huge deal.

I’m well adjusted, I have a nice job, I’m married and make a decent living. I’m happy, but I did learn something from this. It taught me that curiosity is deemed ‘dangerous’ if it’s something that isn’t within the norm. I encourage my children to be weird. I encourage them to explore and discover, to be who they want to be and I’ll never ask them why. Asking them why puts doubt in their mind. “Am I really that different? Am I…wrong?” I don’t want to do to them what everyone did to me.

Be weird. Be creative. Burn some ants every now and then.

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Million

i want to read a million books

i want a million magazines

i want to watch a million films

and dream a million dreams

i want to hear a million bands play

i want to write a million letters

i want to eat a million types of food

and spend a million years together

i want to love a million people

i want to own a million clothes

i want to drive a million cars

down a million different roads

i want to sing a million songs

and dance a million dances

i want to cry a million tears

and take a million chances

but i know i never will

get to do a million things

and this sadness pierces my heart

with a million little stings

so i’ll stick to what i do know

and i’ll do the things i can

because there’s a million ways

to have a million happy ends

 

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Dienosaur

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My newest art piece, “Dienosaur”, is available. These are limited products. They are a wooden dinosaur carving on a paper background, and they come complete in frame with my signature on the back. If you’re interested in owning one of these, comment on this post. The cost is $5.00+S&H.

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You Left Us Little Choice

Derek Fisher and Sandy Price were cruising through a parking lot, attempting to find a space to park so they could go inside and eat dinner. They’d been dying to try out this new place, ‘Spoonfed’, for weeks now. They finally had saved up some cash to do so, and had made am 8:00 P.M. reservation for that evening. Derek checked the time on his car dashboard again as Sandy circled around once more. It was now 7:47 P.M. and Derek sighed, leaning his elbow against the door and rubbing his forehead.

“Don’t worry, it’s gonna be fine,” Sandy said.

“This is the highlight of our week. Do you realize that? Do you realize that this is…this is our…our night out? And…and you can’t even, like, it’s fucking frustrating. We don’t get weekends off work because we need the money, so this is what we have to do. Scrimp and save. Daydream about eating a fucking restaurant. THAT’S high class for us.”

“Derek, don’t do this,” Sandy said, sounding exasperated, “I know it’s annoying, I know, but we’ll find a spot. It’s a parking lot. Granted, it’s a public, free lot but still. There may be some competition but we’ll find a place. It’s not a thing to get worked up over.”

“I just, I don’t…I don’t think you see what I’m getting at here.”

“I see exactly what you’re getting at here,” Sandy said, “And I agree. This is sad. This is our fun. We don’t get glitz and glamour and champagne and we don’t get to even go to a country club once a month or something.”

“Like you’d ever be caught dead at a country club.”

“My point is, you’re right. But it still isn’t something to get upset over, especially when in a few minutes, we’ll be sitting down to a table and enjoying dinner,” Sandy said.

“I guess you’re right,” Derek said, “I’m sorry.”

Sandy pulled around again, and this time they spotted a spot. They both perked up immediately. Sandy started to push a little bit more on the gas and as they were halfway to it, another car pulled in. They stopped, sitting in the idling car, and Derek could barely breath. They watched a well dressed older couple get out of the car, which was a fancy Lexus, and Derek balled his fists up.

“Are you. fucking. KIDDING ME,” he snarled, getting out as Sandy grabbed at the back of his shirt to keep him in the car, but to no avail. He leaned on his door and looked at the older couple. He whistled and that got their attention; they both turned and noticed him.

“Excuse me,” he said, “We’ve been driving for…god, a half hour I guess now, trying to find a spot and we found this one and we were about to park when you swooped in and took it from under us.”

“Oh, well, we’re sorry, we didn’t know,” the older man said, looking back from his car to Derek.

“Well, is there any way we could get you to give it up? This is our one time out in a long time, we both work all the time, we just want to have a nice dinner. We…we don’t have the money to pay for a garage spot or we would. We’d be so grateful if you could-”

“We’ll be late for our reservation,” the older man said, helping his wife into her coat.

“But you can just go down the block and get a garage spot. You can pay to do that. We can’t but you can.”

“Just because I can pay for it doesn’t mean I should. This is free, public parking. I’d like to take advantage of that.”

“But you don’t HAVE TO!” Derek shouted, “Do you not see the…the problem here? The problem isn’t that you took a space we were about to take, the problem is that you CAN pay for parking, but you just WON’T. We can’t even do that. We could BARELY afford this dinner! Why not spend the extra bit of cash if you can afford to?”

“Because I don’t want to,” the older man said.

“What’s your name, sir?” Derek asked.

“Peter,” he said.

“Peter, hi, I’m Derek. Listen, you work. I work. You make money. I make money. The difference is that you came from a generation when work actually allowed you to survive. I don’t. See, people my age, we don’t have that luxury. We barely have any luxuries to be honest with you, but when we do, it’s like the end of the fucking world for us. It’s like your team winning the goddamn Superbowl. You know what I mean? Did you ever have a time in your life when you had to save for something? Maybe like, when you were young parents and your kid needed braces, but you weren’t making enough yet and so you had to save every last penny?”

“Yeah, it’s something we’ve all been through,” Peter said as his wife applied some lipstick, clearly annoyed at having to wait out this conversation.

“Okay, well, take that and multiply it by ‘forever’. That’s our reality. We don’t have the whole ‘work your way up’ thing at jobs anymore, alright? That…that doesn’t exist. We live our lives in perpetual saving mode. That’s just how things are for us. And you can’t say it’s because we don’t apply ourselves. God knows we try.”

“Nobody’s saying you don’t, but what I am saying is this; you will get there. Be patient.”

“No, no, see, Peter, we WON’T. We won’t because the middle class doesn’t exist anymore. That isn’t a thing. It’s a piece of the past,” Derek said. They heard a car door shut and Derek looked back to see Sandy getting out on her side.

“Derek, come on, let’s just go,” she said, “I’m hungry.”

“I’m-I’m in the middle of something here,” he said.

“Derek?” Peter asked, “Can we go now? We really do have to catch a reservation.”

“Peter wait,” Derek said, chasing after them, “I just want you, if nothing else, to at least recognize that you can pay for the parking. At least admit that to me. Because see, when you say you don’t ‘want’ to, that’s different. You guys, you have choices. You grew up with the options. We don’t have choices or options. That’s why if we had the money, we’d spend it, because we don’t really know a life with money, and all we know is how life is without it. That’s why money makes no real difference to us, not in the abstract.”

“Money doesn’t make a difference?”

“No, ugh, how do I explain this,” Derek said, shaking his head.

“I think what he means is that…it’s like when you live your life in poverty, ok? You don’t know what it feels like to NOT live in poverty, so therefore without the concept of spending money, you feel like spending money isn’t really that bad a thing. It’s like being a kid and saying, ‘I can’t wait to grow up so I can stay up all night like mom and dad!’. Get it? That sorta thing,” Sandy said.

“Yes,” Derek said, snapping his fingers, pointing from Sandy to Peter and his wife, “Yeah, no, that’s a great analogy Sandy, thank you. This is what I’ve been trying to get through to you.”

“We’re leaving now, Derek,” Peter said, taking his wifes hand and leading her through the parking lot.

“Poverty isn’t preferred, Peter!” Derek shouted after them, “Your generation used up everything, hiked up the cost of living and holds those under it to the same standards! It isn’t fair! Fuck you Peter! Fuck you and fuck your fancy car and your fancy clothes and your wife! Fuck your mcmansion!”

Sandy sighed and shook her head.

“NOW can we go?” she asked.

“I don’t get it, how can they NOT care? About the problems their own children, or people their childrens age, are facing?”

“Because they’re not facing them themselves, Derek,” Sandy said, “They got a free ride, and they don’t see anything as being hard because it wasn’t for them. Simple as that. Now can we go? Inequality isn’t part of a full dinner.”

“Yeah. Alright.”

As they got back into their car, a homeless man showed up at Dereks window and knocked on the glass. Derek rolled his window down.

“Can you spare a dollar?” he asked, and Derek reached into his pocket, pulled out a dollar and shoved it into the homeless mans hand before they drove off. Sandy grinned.

“You didn’t have to do that,” she said, “I wouldn’t have called you a hypocrite.”

“I know,” Derek said, “But it’s still the right thing to do.”