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Saturday, January 07, 2017


some years ago i counseled my youth pastees to act as though they had faith, in order to prove they already had it. the logic is this: that no one who sincerely wants to believe something, can simultaneously disbelieve it.

(wanting something to be real is not the same; but one who is willing to do something in order to achieve belief, is obviously acting out of some seed of existing belief, however feeble it may seem to them.)

this weekend i find myself automatically following my own advice. or, actually, i find myself living out one of my fundamental beliefs: that one's actions are the surest indicator of what one believes.

some would describe belief as a feeling, a certainty, an expectation, or even a moral code. but it isn't any of these. it's patterns, actions, motions. if you call yourself a Christian, for example, but do nothing that is Christian, then you simply aren't. 

this is good news. 

it means that you can choose your beliefs in the same way you choose to raise your hands. it means you can feel like a failure, yet still succeed. it means you can expect ruin, while building reward. you can live with deep, malicious fears in your heart, but act with courage, the same way anyone who felt unafraid might do

this phenomenon, the ability to discover in ourselves the beliefs we hope to find, is a problem-solving superpower which all free-willed creatures possess.

i don't believe people have zero limits. but i do believe that we must earn the right to declare our limits, either by surpassing them or else by expending so much in the effort to surpass them that we bankrupt ourselves. (we know exactly how far we can run only when we collapse, gasping for breath and sweating blood.)

i don't enjoy that experience. sometimes it feels like a feverish nightmare, a little sliver of eternal torture. my heart rate skyrockets, fight-or-flight kicks in, and i have to remind myself who and what is in charge.

i'm doing that now. around 95% of my essence is clawing at me, trying to pull me back to where i can breathe. unfortunately i still have some oxygen left, so i'll be here perhaps several months more, before i earn the right to say "i cannot."

i'm really looking forward to giving up.

Thursday, December 08, 2016


“Federal agents don’t learn to spot counterfeit money by studying the counterfeits. They study genuine bills until they master the look of the real thing. Then when they see the bogus money they recognize it.” 
- Tim Challies, "Counterfeit Detection"
~     ~     ~

my girlfriend and i argue with each other about which one of us will break up with the other. i have never broken up with anyone, yet i've been dumped (pretty badly one time (my car got stolen, and it still had a few grand in payments (and yes, i paid them))) at least four times. that may not seem like many but each of those relationships lasted more than two years, so it feels like many, okay? anyways my point is, i have a record.

and it's weird to be writing this, because i thought for sure i had done away with any concern for my romantic future. in fact i am more free-spirited and present-focused (in that regard) than i've ever been. but as i write this i realize that i really care about what happens to me. i realize i have the potential to be genuinely afraid, of losing something essencial to my happiness. i realize that being dumped is not nearly as terrifying as dumping someone.

i am irrationally afraid of breaking up with someone. and i have never ever been afraid of such a thing until tonight.

what if i change drastically? what if i have to eat every last one of my Nonchalance-Os later? without milk?! 

it could happen. people change, and i am one. i could experience something life-changing, heart-changing... ...but i guess the same could happen to anyone at any time. in fact growth should happen to people. and some of them should grow together.

anyways i don't know what's going to happen. but i'm not going to let that keep me from doing what i believe in. i won't let fear paralyze me. actually, my plan is to do its mom, and then describe the experience to it in great detail.

not really... i just couldn't think of something more offensive and immediately recognizable as a serious insult.

~     ~     ~

in early august '07, i was sitting alone at my parents' dining room table. it was past midnight. i had stayed up late that entire week, working on a present for my fiancé. the stacking sleep deprivation was doing a number on me, to the point where it was compromising not only my mental acuity, but my emotions also.

i had lit several candles throughout the living and dining rooms in an effort to get into more of a normal late-night-zae mood, but it wasn't working. in fact i was getting angry at the color of the flames... not because they were hurting my eyes, or because i wished they were some other hue. i was just angry at the color, for no discernible reason. but i was determined to finish this gift in time for her birthday, so i kept working.

the longer i worked, the more i started to feel something strange, something extremely rare (for me). i was afraid. not worried, not stressed, not apprehensive... i was terrified. it felt like something was lurking just out of sight, waiting for me to turn my back so it could dart over to me and slice me open.

i don't know why i thought of being sliced, specifically. but it gave me this great idea, which i quickly implemented.

i got up, went into the kitchen, opened the long drawer and pulled out the largest, most horror-movie-prop-esque knife we had. the blade was around 9 inches long. i brought it back to the table, put it down, and then turned my back to it.

and i waited.

AND THEN IT POUNCED just kidding, there was nothing there. which i had known the whole time, and though i was irrationally terrified, i was simultaneously very annoyed that my work had been interrupted. so, after a minute or so of waiting to be murdered, i put the knife back in the drawer and got back to work. oh and i finished the gift on time.

before you ask, the answer is, yes... i do still get booty calls from fear's mom.

~     ~     ~

i have sometimes set goals for myself in my relationships, so what i'm writing tonight isn't innovative in that sense. but this current goal (it isn't the only one; just the one on which i'm reflecting currently) is definitely a new one. i thought of it as a result of this ongoing, mostly playful argument with my girlfriend.

since i'm expecting her to break up with me, and since it makes sense that other people will try to win her affections after i'm gone, and since they may succeed, and since i love my girlfriend... it makes sense for me to invest in that future now. (right now is the second best time to plant a tree.) it makes sense for me to act in such a way that, even after she's left me, she'll continue to benefit from the choices i've made.

so, one of my goals in this relationship i have with her, is to treat her in such a way, that anyone after me who treats her not-as-well as i did, will utterly fail in their bids for her vulnerability and loyalty. my goal is to be better to her than i've ever been to anyone, so that the next person who romances her will have to do at least that well.

i want her to touch, tilt, look at, look through me and see a gold thread woven through, find a portrait of a trusted ruler, feel fine cotton fibers. i want to be the real deal; worth her time; useful in real life; fun to take places; i want her to feel rich because she has me. i want to be feit. i want to surprise her in a good way when she finds me in her pants. metaphorically probably.

i've grown a lot, improved a lot... but i try not to think too highly of myself. i know there are better [wo]men who will pursue her after i do. i want them to do so; and i want her to pick those better people out from the crowd of admirers. after she's left me, i want her to be happier with someone else than she ever was with me.

mathematically, it stands to reason that the happier i make her now, the happier she'll be later, when i'm just somebody that she used to know, some-bahdeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhh

sorry. bedtime. and i'm not gonna QA it like i normally do, soooo report any broken links or misspellings to your friendly neighborhood spiderzae. please & thank.

Thursday, October 06, 2016


tonight i looked past my immediate circumstances and saw the big picture, which allowed me to duck beneath the wave of anger and come up again without even straining my lungs. i decided to be gracious to my own face, to the same degree i'd have done with someone i loved. so, i actively Loved myself, in a way that made an immediate positive difference. i treated myself with kindness.

of all the things not currently taught (and trained) in the church, in the classroom, and in the home, i think this should be somewhere in the top 3 most urgent list... for our own sakes, individually, and for society's.

Monday, August 15, 2016


i don't just let you hug me. (and i don't let just anyone hug me, either.)

timid people let others interrupt them in conversations. task-oriented bosses let employees take vacations, grammar nazis let slip a few errors here and there, parents let their kids have an extra scoop of ice cream, pilots let their attention wander while autopilot does its thing. responsible morning people occasionally let the alarm go to snooze.

"let" is a word with subtle notes of begrudgement, and strong tolerance on the finish. at very best, it's a word for rare moments of indulgence that go against one's better judgment. there are much better words for what i do with your affection. here are some of them (with complete sentences and everything!):

- i wolf down your affection. here's an illustrative video clip that has zero wolves in it. the music is creepy unless you watch at double speed (which i recommend highly), at which point it becomes kinda cool. (watch for me at 1:20 or so)

- i anticipate your affection, and miss it when i'm expecting it and it doesn't come. like when you're listening to music through your phone and someone calls right as your fav part is about to play. if i see your arm move toward me, especially in the corners of my vision, i lean toward it a little bit, automatically.

- i shiver at your affection. have your parents ever shivered at letting you have an extra scoop of ice cream? didn't think so. i realize how silly it looks from the outside, perhaps even from your own vantage point, but in the moment i care naht.

- i get drunk on your affection. while sober. i don't need to explain this one. and i don't mean buzzed, although that can happen as well. i mean it's tough to remain standing. that diane krall song is a crock. lies and manip. deceptionypoo. she and i both lied. sorrynotsorry.
~     ~     ~

my problem, whatever it is, has not to do with the above reactions but with how i feel without them, and how quickly i come to that feeling, in the absence of closeness. it has to do with what i realize i want, when i'm most honest with myself, and with how often i want it, and how much.

i think one of the reasons i ask "what are you in the mood for?" or some variation, so often, is because i can easily identify and empathize with desire. it's comforting to feel that someone else is feeling what i'm feeling; it feels good to think that i'm not the only one who desperately wants somethings. it could be something as simple as mustleib, or more complex like essencia... if someone is craving something, i can relate with them. (and i can possibly try to satisfy that craving, which feels just as good if not better. but this post isn't about that.)

in this chapter i am almost always in the mood for physical affection. a lot of it. even a little can satisfy me... for as long as it continues. if my desire for 24 hours with you were a tree, this would be one of the thickest roots. i could drink all of it and still not be full. maybe 48 would fill me? idk... it's been a very long time since i got to spend that much time with someone close to me. i actually miss the me who quickly tired of all people-ing, who sought seclusion regularly and savored it.

ok so for example: if i could have anything right now, it would be a backrub. not a massage (i think my shoulder/back problem might go deeper than sore muscle issues); a backrub. my whole torso actually. might as well go above the shoulders too. in fact everything from the waist up, and yes, i'm aware that that's not typical talk for a typical guy. but it's the case; i just needwant skin contact, the kind that calms. the kind that restores balance or zen or whatever. a spirit evocation that restores soulstuff.

an hour or so oughta do it. i think that would make this demon shut up completely, for the duration. and then if i could maybe take a nap with the person who so generously donated their palms and fingertips to the lonely zae foundation, it'd seal the deal. my tank would be full-ish-er. i would have no pain or emptiness or longing or desperation.

until after the nap ended and my napping buddy withdrew her company, possibly leaving me exactly as i was before: pitiful / needy. but maybe not so much that i couldn't hide it for another few weeks, which would be nice. preferably though, i would experience this several times a week. i'm willing to try a daily regimen even, with an optional break every other Saturday (those days we'd just sit next to each other).

tldr: i literally can't get enough physical affection.

none of this would have made any sense whatsoever to isaiah. i distinctly remember what my pains and longings were back then, and none of them overlapped with any of this. it's inconvenient as hell and i would flip off the switch for it if i had one, no hesitation.

instead i sip, like Thomas, and wonder if i can afford the continued cost of masquerading as a nornal human. or if maybe there's a cure (an exorcism?). i wonder if a Justine would survive me. i wonder if one should even be subjected to the opportunity.

at this point i mostly believe one shouldn't.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


the first time i visited Eru-by-the-sea, the old jewelry-crafter gave me her undivided attention, which was a bit strange because there was so much newness to take in... so i was whelmed with everything already when she began circling me. i took pictures; they all turned out blurry but i kept them anyway. viewing them in rapid sequence has a cinematic effect, and reminds me of how i felt more walued and wanted than the gems for which she holds her breath each morning.
~     ~
when my first ex-girlfriend invited me to see the vikings, we spent the first dark warm evening walking around her neighborhood. she had been dating for over a year, but he had declined to hang with us. it didn't at the time, but it now reminds me (as i look back on it) of the first hours we spent together in person, at the beach, because of the bermuda grass and low trees and sand. she led me by the hand; we spent more time laughing than talking. i slept on the couch that visit. but later, when Caleb drove me there so i wouldn't have to leave my car while in Estonia, all three of us took the couch, and as i was falling asleep i felt one fingertip come to rest against one of mine, lightly.
~     ~
after a few years of e-friendship, and much talk of meeting someday, we met someday in spring '08. her family stayed at a hotel, on their way back from Disneyland. she convinced her dad to stay up waiting for her while she met the alleged Caliboy and his alleged lack of axe-murdering tendencies. it was very late. my fiance wasn't thrilled. i was feeling a little weird. we had less than an hour to hang out. i don't remember anything that happened after i walked into the lobby to find her reading (and she made me wait until she got to a good stopping point before hugging me).
~     ~
two days before our firsts, i served her (and others) four kinds of whiskey and a barbecued dinner. i tend to enjoy swimming only in my ideal conditions, but of the few notable exceptions, she is one. when she began circling me in the pool, i felt the way i imagine experienced time-travelers do when they shift: the world rocked abruptly but gently, and though i felt i was still in the right world, the surreal quality made me look up to make certain. hard liquor: check. barbecued food: check. the Baltic: close enough. femme fatale sharkling: check. danger of losing a finger or segment of upper body: double-check. not-so-accidental friction: check. mesmerism: mother-effffffff. and my next thought was, "she has no idea what she is re-creating... she's just doing what feels natural."

it was that thought which planted this post's seedling.
~     ~     ~
all of what we experience as adults gets interpreted, but not everything is consciously so, nor is everything deliberated upon. some experiences scale or burrow below our guarded gates, appearing in our inner chambers-- like thieves, but with benevolent intent (however selfish). these make for vivid memories, and perhaps even good blog posts.

i hope i create these for others at least as much as they have/do for me