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Friday, December 20, 2013

fair warning, fair lady

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - from the book Narcotics Anonymous (1981)

~     ~     ~

foreword: to a few of my future female friends

hi future female friends. i will be happy to meet you. i mean that, and a great many other oft-misinterpreted phrases, very literally; and that's significant, because i experience happiness very, very rarely (perhaps because i define it quite narrowly... but, it seems wise and useful to do so).

my name is isaiah. it doesn't really matter what you call me, as long as you call me the same thing every time, otherwise i won't know you're addressing me.

the things you might immediately ask me (to begin the process of getting to know me) are probably trivial. i'm likely to answer you anyway, but i would much rather skip to the important stuff. in fact, this entry for that very purpose: to tell you what you need to know about me, in order to prepare you for potential emotional entanglements. i beg you not to judge me arrogant; in truth, it has taken years and years of soul-searching and lesson-learning (the hard way) to bring me here, to the point where i have the choice of either matching the above definition of insanity, or else admitting that i am who i am.

at first it seems so strange to me that i would hesitate to define myself. but then i remember that there are certain things about me that i hate, and that if i were not so set on being me, i would change them.

so please read this with the understanding that i am neither bragging, nor self-absorbed; neither overconfident, nor narcissistic. i am not attempting to justify any actions, nor am i writing this out of concern that i will be misunderstood (though that is a constant concern of mine apart from this writing). my purpose here is to offer you the chance to decline my friendship.

"why would i do that?"

because, apparently, i am a troublemaker.

"in what way?"

i love people; then, shit occurs. let me explain.

~     ~     ~

there is something critical to be said of genuine, deserved confidence: although it has earned recklessness the complimentary title "calculated risk," enabling its possessors to go where no one has gone before, it has also led to needless strife and suffering. if i were king of the world, i'd mandate that the phrase "nothing ventured, nothing gained" should always be completed by its cautionary counterpart: "so if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall."

this is the thing you need to know about me, before getting to know me: that when i meet a woman whose interests & personality & character cooperate with mine, and whose needs i find myself able to meet, i simply do so. with all of my weight forward, i set my eyes on this goal and pursue it as though it were my divinely inspired purpose. actually, that is just the pinnacle of compatibility. all it truly takes for me to devote myself to someone, are these three things: 1) a perceived need for friendship, and 2) a perceived openness to that friendship, and 3) female-ness.

((there are certain elements that could compromise this pursuit, even at the level of my desiring to do so... but they have shown themselves to be few and far between, and i cannot count on them to keep me from danger.))

sometimes i need to say a thing several different ways... not for you, but for me. this is one of those times. so here it is again: when i meet that person, i love them, on purpose, with little-to-no regard for the secondary consequences, ramifications, or potential complications. i neither expect nor require them to reciprocate; reciprocity simply multiplies and expands the situation, many-fold.

it began innocently enough: i believed loving people was the right-est thing to do, so i decided to do it. only, i wasn't able to connect very well with men. since early grade-school, i've just gotten along better with the awesomer sex. i'm somehow emotionally incompatible with most dudes (there are some notable exceptions, for whom i am very grateful). anyway: i found myself paying more attention to the non-men humans. and, as it turns out, women who are already feeling cared for don't respond much to my kind of generosity. not that they avoid or dis-appreciate me... they just aren't deeply drawn to me...

...id est, women who are not feeling cared for, are deeply drawn to me. or maybe it's women who have been dis-cared for in the past. probably both. whatever; i don't have that all figured out yet. i think you get the basic idea.

the bottom line is that, once i realized my crusade to eliminate un-cared-for-ness would inevitably cross my destiny with those matching a certain description (non-male, my age or a somewhat younger, hurting or lacking in some element of essencia), i did one (or more) of the following:
  1. immediately ceased all intentional caring for people
  2. placed strict boundaries on the content of my relationships with girlypoos
  3. turned myself in to the authorities in anticipation of committing well-intentioned but still reprehensible relational atrocities
  4. all of the above
  5. went on just like i always had 
i'll give you one guess. highlight this gray bar   the answer is   to check your answer.

~     ~     ~

honestly, i would be thrilled to develop a close friendship with you. again, i mean that very literally: as i consider the potential for mutual enjoyment (of a general nature; nothing specific), these symptoms present themselves: my heart rate increases. my mood temporarily improves. the creative portion of my brain kicks into gear. i begin dwelling on the expectation of good things, and no matter what degree of crappiness characterizes my life at the given moment, i immediately feel my own personal ray of sunshine warming my skin. i feel more alive. i feel fulfilled. i find in you essencia, and turn my full attention to it the same way roots seek water or certain plants turn toward the strongest light. i am neither exaggerating nor taking creative license. these are my concrete, tangible, only-slightly-metaphorical experiences, described exactly as they occur. and what i've described here is only a portion of what i experience.

the more i perceive potential friendship, the more devoted i become. i brainstorm about what gifts you might appreciate. i search my memory for things you've said to me that would indicate what you might need, that i can offer. i pay special attention to phrases or interactions that reveal your sense of humor, and from then on tailor my jokes to your personality. i ask personal questions, produced by genuine interest in your life, along with intent to verbalize my empathy, with the hope that you will not only believe that i care about you, but experience that care with your whole self.

i decide to care for you (read, but carefully: to love you) in the most active sense of the word.

"isaiah... not gonna lie. this sounds fantastic. where do i sign?"

i urge you to reconsider.

"why?!"

because i tend not to consider what will happen as a result.

"what undesirable thing could possibly occur???"

perfect question... almost like i thought it up and asked it myself. here are some possibilities based on my real-life experiences so far:
  • you could have trouble distinguishing platonic interactions from romantic
  • your parents could worry that i'm a predator who's targeted you (untrue, but suspicion sucks)
  • you could, against your will, fall in love with me
  • you could become un-healthily dependent on me
  • your boyfriend could become... well, a little upset
  • my wife could get more than a little upset (i'm single now, so i'm archiving this one)
  • base, carnal lust could complicate our friendship (also being archived, thank the Lord)
  • i could become impractically dependent on you
  • our preoccupation with each other could interfere with our daily functioning

there are of course other dangers; i just haven't cataloged them properly yet. still eager to sign? i should hope not. but if you are, then perhaps you need more of my babbling to convince you. lucky for you i'm extremely wordy tonight.

~     ~     ~

in another post, i expressed gratitude for those women with whom romance never reared its lovely-yet-dangerous head. i wouldn't call any of the above complications super-likely... just plausible for the general population, and somewhat plausible-er for women matching a more narrow description.

"you have a hilariously high opinion of yourself."

that statement itself is hilarious, because the exact opposite is true. the reason i come across this way is because i feel compelled to make sense of my experiences, and to share what i've learned with those who give a rat's patootie (or more) about me, mostly for their own sakes.

"what experiences? you mean like, other ones besides what you alluded to above? what are you saying, that women just fall all over you left and right?"

not exactly. what i'm saying is that whatever scent i'm metaphorically wearing (putting on, really, since it's my own choice), it seems to be popular with certain creatures. here's an example: in the days before facebook, there was a social network called myspace. it exists today, but in a much different form. back then it was the facebook of the world, except super dumb.

anyway... i would express myself there quite openly, and frequently. my personal life has not been very private since high-school, and that, friend, is a choice of mine as well... one that pairs very well with my chosen / given mission. yes. but anyways, this is what happened: women would write me to express their deep appreciation for the way i seemed to care for people. they were often complete strangers, two or three degrees of separation away, but they would recognize even from a distance how much i cared about people, and would then take the time to write me and say so.

this happened mostly with women, multiple times. i have searched in vain for a better explanation than that upon which i now strive to expound.

it's way past time for me to decide whether the spade is a spade or not (in my worldview). the correct course seems clear to me now, tonight, in spite of my dislike for it.

"did something happen recently to shed light on it, or to push you to finally define it confidently?"

multiple somethings. and i am thankful for them. i am thankful for the experiences, excruciatingly painful and (at times) extremely stupid though they were. i am thankful that learning is finally following loss. i was not at all convinced that it would do so.



i write this to you, future female friend, because i want you to know ahead of time what you're getting into. i write this because i can no longer, in good conscience, delude myself into un-expecting the next segment in the pattern. it began with a wondering in the back of my mind: "will this happen again?" and grew into a worry: "could be coincidence this time, but should i maybe do something to prevent it happening yet again?" and has now become a necessary fear: "exactly what kind of ethically bankrupt idiot am i, if i don't take responsibility / action?"

i am so weak, and so human, and aching with longing for essencia, especially in this, the end of a chapter, as i give up some of the most substantial, fulfilling, enchanting friendships of my life. i actually can't wait to meet you.

but i'm choosing to be honest this time, primarily with myself and secondly with you, that i might succeed at this other goal i hold so highly: to do the right thing. and maybe, in doing the right thing, i'll accomplish this as well: the preclusion of friendships that lie in cold, empty ruin rather than aging to perfection. and please know this: i am aware that friendships rise and fall like kingdoms, some flaring like falling stars for only a brief time while others go on for many years. my goal is not to make every good friendship last forever, nor even to keep a friendship stuck in a certain stage. rather, i intend to make sure that, when a friendship changes or ends (as they naturally do), that it does so for acceptable reasons, and not because i effed it up.


one last important note: there were some highly significant friendships which began differently. in very rare cases, they developed because a girl decided to care for me first. in others, simple proximity / friend-ish compatibility was the magic recipe. i recognize that these exist and could exist again, and i see that my responsibility in those is no less than in these other types.


thank you for reading this monstrous writing, / my shamefully bare soul.
when we meet, i hope to be who i am in such a way that you only benefit and never suffer.
please forgive me when i fail, and please encourage me when i succeed.
i [will] love you... always genuinely and with an innate passion, but now with caution as well.

-i-



for more reading on a sub-topic of this topic, and to get a look at my thoughts on these matters before i decided what to do about it, click this link, which will list all of my blog entries on a perceived 'grey area' between platonic and romantic relationships. (it will include this post; don't let that confuse you.)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

leave the light on



my whining is because it still hurts, not because i'm actually upset. i say that to let you know, i'm really happy that our friendship woke up again. i'm not sure any amount of pain could outweigh the good things i experienced. even now, as things wind down, i'm more alive than i would be otherwise, especially if i let myself dwell on the friendship overall.

some of my most favorite days (of my life) happened this past year, and you are to blame for so many of them. after a hellish 2012, you made things bright and warm and i don't care if you want to give someone else krediit; you're taking this praise or else i'll be angry with you, on purpose.

listen to me: you helped me heal. i don't want to even consider what this year would have been like without you. there's a reason why, as our friendship matured, i had a hard time keeping up with it. you aren't just fun to talk to. it isn't just that you hear me so clearly where many others don't. it's more than the fact that you sought me out again after so long. it's that you helped rebuild me.

you being 'there' every morning and every evening felt a lot like a miracle, over and over again, and you are (or were) the only person who could be what i needed. i'm crossing my fingers at this point, hoping i don't need that anymore, because if i do i'm probably effed. feels like i'm trying my new feathered-friend wings for the first time... after being pushed (out of the nest), not after jumping voluntarily.

i still want to message you all the time. that hasn't changed yet. but i'm expecting it to, and almost ready to let it happen... since it seems like it will happen anyway. i tell you this so that you'll know, it isn't because i lost interest in your life or don't care what's happening with you anymore. i do; i'm heavily invested. but that is changing. i just want to make sure you know, this isn't something i chose, or would ever choose.

i'm not locking any doors. just closing them so the cold wind doesn't freeze me permanently. even if i locked them you probably still have a key anyway. the kind that opens every lock, even after years of disuse. good; keep it.

i'm still reading Eye of the World again, and i'm still taking rellcommendations, and i'm still leaving the wolume halfway up, most nights. i wake up every few hours to drink some water anyway (that's also your doing, of course).

tänan, müsteerium, for a thousand thousand things. you are my heroine. (the good kind. but also sometimes the drug kind sorta. but mostly the good kind.)

Monday, December 16, 2013

IPPON

months ago i posted something about returning to my original mission. i'm changing my mind slightly, to incorporate (or maybe just to grudgingly accomodate) new situations and new understandings of what others want and need.

i've decided or discovered (or both) that some things must be allowed to take their own course.. that my personal emphasis on free will and design as overarching omni-applicable values are sometimes ineffective and therefore impractical. what this means is that i am elevating something else to a higher position in my hierarchy of goals / drives. not sure what to call it, but it is far more responsive. if it were a martial art, it would use more circular movements: less kicking and punching, more adapting to the styles of others. more guiding existing forces rather than initiating them or opposing them.

"awesome. now that you've explained it to yourself, say it in 'merican."

it is better for me now to reciprocate and reflect than to reinvent, revolt, or resist. i will try less hard and less often to make things happen, and instead navigate within what is happening.

this sounds so great in my head, and looks even better on blogpaper. but in my heart it still feels like planned atrophy with the eventual goal of amputation.

i would change things if i could. not many things but a few big things, foundational things. this is not where i want to be, constantly on the edge of samishii, living from hug to hug, drinking only moonlight, waiting for music to matter to me again, wondering if maybe seasonal affective disorder can be rightly blamed for any portion whatsoever of my emotional state.

but i have little-to-no say in any of that. so i must learn judo all over again, and find a way to apply its principles to life.

starting is the hardest part. so i'm giving myself one full point for doing it.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

quit while i'm ahead

on Sunday i took my siblings, plus Ara Sessary, to the Scarlet Sparrow.

i had to ask Mom to extend Leah & Gabriel's curfew to 10p. and she wasn't rational about it... but i am learning (finally, after 27 years) how to navigate that successfully. mostly it has to do with accepting the irrationale itself (and a person's lack of aversion to it) as part of life itself... which happens to be the subject matter of this post.

going back a little: Leah was in her room with the door closed when i knocked and asked her if she wanted to come. i could tell she was low on energy, or mood, or both, but i like to include her because she's pleasant company and because i like to let her know that i care about her... especially since the family started buckling under multiple stressors several years ago.

she was quiet most of the night, with a total of maybe 1.5 smiles (reluctant ones even then), and it reminded me so strongly of myself in college: willing to be with people, but often so stressed and/or drained that i did a crappy job of it. we were in a group so i couldn't just ask her what was wrong; but since she'd borrowed Dad's cell, i texted her and asked if i could do anything for her.

she was texting people most of the night, but she never replied to mine.

i am not one of those people who expects prompt replies any time i communicate with them. that's because i know that no one should expect that of me. sometimes i have multiple reasons for not talking to people. the difference with me is that i eventually do get back to them.

i haven't figured out yet why this hurt me so much, but i'll try to figure it out here, even before making this post's point (and perhaps it will support that point).

as far as i know, Leah appreciates my brotherly acts of gift-giving and taxi service and tech support and camera instruction. i also believe she is being hoenst and genuine when she says i'm a good brother. so, i thought (perhaps mistakenly) that i was actually doing a decent job of it. this matters extra to me in this chapter because before, in familial relationships, i always coasted. i learned that relying on autopilot in a family of introverted people makes for very low-key relationships. even if we can say with sincerity "i love you," there isn't necessarily a strong emotional investment in that commitment.

i set out to change that several years ago. the progress has been so slow, but i treasure the tiniest weeniest fraction of every mile of road i put behind me. i am teaching myself (my heart) to treasure my family.

so when i tried to care for Leah by doing the only respectful thing i knew how to do in that situation, and she continued talking with others but not me, i was disappointed. that is normal. internalizing it in such a way as to blame myself, is normal only for me; i do not think it is healthy.

i understand some of the reasons why i took it personally. i understand the various trusts i have destroyed, and that i now expect people to be repulsed by me. i understand that 'decent' might be the very highest attainable goal for me as eldest brother Micu. and i understand how much work friendships can take sometimes.

but even understanding all those things, i couldn't shake this deep sense of offense that resulted from Leah's lack of reply.

so i asked her about it last night. she was in her room with the door open this time, watching Hogarth enjoy the new cat-house she and Dad built for him. 

i asked why she didn't reply to my text. she didn't really answer. i asked what i should do in the future. "just don't talk to me." i asked how i can know when i'm supposed to not talk to her.

"i don't want to talk about this right now. i'm going to bed."

at this point i almost broke down. the way i tell it here, it sounds pretty normal; she wasn't in the mood to talk about it. but from my perspective, with everything i'm carrying, it was my fault. something was wrong with me.

so, finally the point: i am very super extra ready to blame myself for any relational setback, hindrance, issue, or conflict.

"but isaiah: other people have issues sometimes that factor in."

i know that. the problem is that i can't know what those are. even if the person tells me, i can't always trust that they're right. it is much more likely that i'm the problem.

"no it isn't. you just tend to believe that."

perhaps. but i can rationalize it.

"but whatever's motivating you to think it in the first place may not be rational."

that's why i'm writing this post. i have to figure out what and why and how to deal with it. and i know this for sure: i hate thinking negative things about people i want to be close to.

so in this case with Leah: if i acknowledge that she might have some issue that's keeping us from communicating well, then i will be less drawn to her as a person. i won't love her any less; but i'll be let down. i'll be disappointed because it would mean that i can't make our friendship better. 

yes. now i can say it more clearly: if i am responsible for a problem, that makes it possible for me to fix it. but if someone else is responsible, i can do nothing, and the problem is beyond my ability to resolve. and that leaves me hopeless.

as little faith as i have in myself sometimes, i still do have faith in me. some. enough to try.

but how can you trust that things will turn out well, if someone else holds the key to that? if a friend hurts you and refuses to talk about it, what can you do? what can do?

there's not much. i sort of have to wait it out. and, in order to wait for something without letting it eat at me, i have to let it go. i have to walk away from the kettle if i want to wait patiently for it to boil. and i'm the kind of person who takes the lid off every minute to check for tiny bubbles. x_x

i don't always invest in someone. but when i do, i generally dive in head-first. this is bound to be emotionally difficult, if i keep the habit.



recently i've been... challenged... by life, to let go of things. to withdraw heavy investments. i cling to these things (people, mostly) because i benefit from them so much, and because i love it when they benefit also. it's a mutual nourishment for which i find it impossible not to seek & strive daily. it's closeness. it's a close brother to essencia. it's good for me and others. yet life seeks to pry it from my stubborn fingers.

why?

i don't know. perhaps there's no reason or purpose behind it; perhaps it really is an endlessly complex combination of chance and choices. it doesn't matter either way. i still have two options: 1) hold on to the horse's tail as it tries to gallop away from me. 2) learn to let go, and take the much longer route through the desert. 

(i say "learn to let go" instead of simply "let go" because giving a man a fish vs teaching him to fish, blah blah blah.)

~     ~     ~

letting go of shame isn't something i'm ready to do yet. i can tell because when i ask myself if it's a good idea, i laugh at it, but then continue asking myself.

letting go of the people closest to me, of my life's best friendships, is not something i'm totally ready to do... but it's something i'm planning to do anyway. behind my own back, in a way, since i plan to force myself to do it even though my heart isn't willing.

letting go of any expectations for closeness with my family is something i might be ready to do. caring about them so much makes it so difficult... but maybe i can convince myself that i can't be of much benefit to them anyway. i'll try that next.

letting go of my church family will not be as difficult as i had once imagined. it's many weeks since i heard things from out of nowhere, but one or two of them sunk in and sprouted leaves, and the fruit they bear may soon be ripe enough for the picking.

letting go hurts a lot. i attach so tenaciously; i long to keep what enlivens me, to live in the house that suits me so well, to continue Loving people close to me like it's my whole purpose. but it isn't always an option i guess, and the best things in life are not guaranteed permanency.

i feel like cursing but i'll spare you this time. welcs.

closing thought: i wonder what will happen when i finish uprooting myself from the soil that sustained me. i don't know whether i'll wither, adapt, or take root elsewhere (if there is anywhere else to take root). i feel like my time for making the most of life has passed, like an aspiring musician who spent 8 years and a gadzillion dollars on law school.

the only thing i really know for sure about the future is that it can't possibly be as good as what i have experienced (and what i almost experienced) so far. which probably explains what i feel like doing currenty.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

gravestones

to paint them, i used bleach, not dye
to match the friendly shades that haunt and colour me:
weeping willow, golden oak, and evergreen
each in its season, fairest company, as far as
the grounds where my needs would need to be buried

rosy-cheeked, with an envious eye,
Selûne is, for once, less pale than i:
my mirror, ever a sympathetic ear,
she prophesies my passing, with help from
her younger sisters, seen in sea and sky

i long to learn this one lesson:
a life lived many moments at a time
will likely lead me to overlook
the elusive meaning behind leaving my past behind:
that my location matters much less than my movement

i'll not romanticize with epithets
anyone's comings or goings. i'll not regret them.
no remorse for taking shelter, fruit, or support,
nor for risking life or limb. instead, i'll take steps
to honour my own fitting and proper death.



and if i make so bold, as to cover 
these corpses with rich loamy earth, or flowers, 
or candlelight-- that is, if i try to beatify
this empty husk... then, i'd like my malogy
to consist of these few most truthful words:

here, isaiah lies.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

muscle failure

pretending to feel the opposites of whatever i'm actually feeling, is one of the most draining things ever. i am adding this to the list of reasons why i want to leave.

essencia ii

well... i've tried everything. my current audio book, spiced rum, the usual mental tricks, stretching, my sleepytime playlist, my happy place... even the warm fuzzy that comes from expressed mutual care. nothing has worked; so, i might as well blog.

that extra hour i'm supposed to get tonight is a pretty good joke. i haven't been to church in 3 weeks; i've been sleeping in, even though i probably should've been arriving early to coach the AVT. but this week, i have to leave the house even earlier than normal, and it's 1[2]:47a and i can't sleep. oh, p.s. - i can't listen to my mourning piano playlist on Spotify, because it's linked to my facebook account, which i've deactivated for the same reason i have to be up early todarrow.

#fml

~     ~     ~

i saw this movie with Rabbi Evian Wade, whose passion for and education in cinema arts makes seeing movies double worthwhile. of course we had high hopes (though not necessarily expectations) for this somewhat controversial Nebula Award winner adaptation. i dunno about Evan's, but mine were met. intense throughout; edge-of-seat excitement, dramatic tension, contemplative moments, a strong natural aesthetic... well done. but none of those elements were what brought me near to tears.

yea, i know: i get emotional about seemingly random things. but each time, there's something of personal significance that's wrenching at me. it isn't just chemical imbalance and lack of sleep. it's something important to me. in this case, it was loyalty.

Andrew Ender Wiggin inspires others to follow him even though his commanding officer tries to make the rest of the students hate him. Ender's boldness, out of place in what initially appears to be a slightly-built baby-faced wallflower, quickly earns the respect of strangers and even some enemies. and when, after the climactic moment, he sprints (almost stumbling) to his room in an attempt to escape the horror of what has happened, his 'crew' follows.

they say very little, which makes Petra's words all the more powerful: "let me stay with him." and the rest of the crew simply looks on as Ender is laid in his bed. their faces aren't particularly expressive; it didn't take any genius acting from any of them. the context, the story, supplied most of what was needed, and their silence actually spoke quite loudly, and made my face scrunch up. the human race looked at him as a hero; his commanders were stunned, and applauded him.

but his crew, his teammates, his friends: they adored him.

their devotion... i don't even... ugh.

~     ~     ~

i had no clue how to truly prepare for marriage, before i was married. but now, with these nifty retrospectacles (and with the help of some needwanted friends who are setting the bar), so much of my romantic dream is congealing into a discernible shape, with textures and colours that make me weep... even in a public theater. an itemized list would probably be quite long, were i to detail the 'perfect' significant other... but, essencia seems to be a fairly simple recipe, based on what i've learned so far. and this movie helped me realize what one of those ingredients is.

i want someone who is on my side; whose heartfelt care for me is unwavering; who would run to my aid almost instinctively, rather than as an act of reason or practicality or even principle. that would be an immeasurably precious trait in my other. it would be endless warmth. it would surely move me to perfect stillness.

sometimes i glimpse it, in its platonic form, and isaiah (quite annoyingly) remarks to me, "this is enough to keep me." to which i never reply, because i know that he'd simply backhand me.

speaking of which, i should probably conclude before he wakes up.

Ender's Game: it should have been longer, and it should have included more growth of relationships (of all kinds) and of the characters themselves. but, it kept my BPM elevated, my brain engaged, and made my heart throb at the right moments. i give it 6.5 out of 9 moon phases.



p.s. if you're a fan of my sneaky writings, follow me on Twitter: @intimacyordeath

...nah just kidding. (but that would be hilarious. and kinda fun. ...okay i'm considering it. don't tell isaiah.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

good grief

today i talked with our mutual friend, and could not contain my tears as i finally realized what it might mean to let go, and why that could be the right thing to do. all this time, i've been holding on. even my plans to flee were born of an attachment i was loathe to surrender. i am attached to you, despite what your confusing message said, and have been for years. happily and healthfully, i might add, although that addition would be an obvious and pitiful attempt to defend it (though i believe it to be true). today's 2.5-hr conversation (my lunch break is supposed to be 1 hour) showed me that, paradoxically, i have a responsibility to give up most of that responsibility, to withdraw that investment, to sever that attachment... because somehow, in the very first and [i hope] last instance of this occurring in my life, the kind of friendship i offer so naturally and eagerly is the opposite of helpful. that grates against my heart, and makes me want to puke. i'm serious; i really felt like actually vomiting, when the realization first gripped me. and then i cried, right there at lunch, because this time, i saw the solid reasoning behind the goodbye. this time, it wasn't just my feelings telling me what to do; it wasn't desperation. it wasn't for lack of better options. it actually made sense to me. and yet / and so i still feel a little bit like puking. at a time when the battle is hottest, when blood is being shed, when even simple kindnesses could be a welcome warmth and blessing... that's when this soldier is sent home. i tremble with a hunger for those front lines: to be actively militantly opposed to the forces, sentient or otherwise, that are set against you. i regularly dream up ways to brighten your day, to find something of comfort, to encourage, to foster hope, or just to relieve a little of the stress. to offer whatever i can, even if it's only my presence or my prayers. and of course, mixed in with my urge to do something helpful is the draw i feel constantly: to be your friend. to do something that expresses that friendship, and to invite you to reciprocate, and to [rightfully?] expect that you would. but what our friend tells me leads me away from these things; our friend's words tacitly suggest i find a way to inhibit at the effing heart level some of the most iconic and foundational elements of my identity, as i express them in our friendship. well... it's not about me. i do not serve myself. but rather, i will serve you, and Him, and pray that His desires are fulfilled... very preferably with my help; but if He chooses not, then so be it. whatever sacrifices i make, whatever contradictions or tensions i feel between my various motivations (primary, secondary, tertiary, et cetera), whatever amount of time is needed to reach that next place... whatever is Asked of me, i will find a way to give it.

i love you and miss you, so much... maybe not
more than i ever have, per se, but closer to my core, where life-changing decisions and true sacrifices are made. and the pain i feel is not primarily of loss, but of something breaking.

and so, the one selfish prayer that i will allow myself, is this: that the breaking is in preparation for the construction of something better.

please, please, please Father, please
let it be so

Friday, October 18, 2013

this wheel

i haven't the energy or wakefulness to even summarize what just happened to me, nor to carefully process everything meaningful that occurred today. but i have to mark the moment.

something extremely important is happening.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

something in the way that you are



i can feel the cold air flood into my lungs
brave another winter and pray for the sun
but the sun will never warm my heart the way that you do
you got me singing out

i live in a castle where no one can come near
every wall was laid with bricks of mortar and tears
i swore i'd never lower down this old bridge again
with every word you speak, my walls crumble in
when we both sing

there was a time when i could tell you for sure
that love was just a cruel charade of
empty words and promises to break
but something in the way that you are
makes me wanna start again

love can draw a fine line between wisdom and folly
and clarity of vision proves itself beyond worth
but every line is blurry when your eyes are like mine
but still i clearly see what you'd have me find
when we both sing

with all the crippling fear that heartache can bring
darling if you take my hand
i'll walk with you from winter into spring
something in the way that you are
keeps me hanging on again

with all the crippling fear that heartache can bring
darling if you take my hand
i'll walk with you from winter into spring
something in the way that you are
makes we want to start

purustatud

i trusted you.

but, just like the phrase "i need ____", those three words mean nothing without some prepositional phrase following. context normally supplies the needed meaning, but i dislike relying on that all the time. it's better to be specific, for clarity- especially when DTR is needed. and it is needed, if two people are to be at peace and enjoy each other's company. (most of the time people use society's ready-made templates, but you know how much i despise those.)

so now, for integrity's sake, i have to ask myself: with what did i entrust you?

the answer tonight: my identity.


~     ~     ~

extrospection is very dangerous. it leaves me vulnerable. and, it doesn't take a blog post to extrospect. it can happen in a spontaneous conversation. it can happen in a postcard. it can happen in a song shared.

between two close friends especially: anything expressed through any medium, if the expresser invests lor opinion of the other in that expression, is dangerous.

this is not because close friendship automatically makes someone impressionable by nature. rather, close friendship is built on a feeling of trust. feelings of trust can circumvent or even erode strong defenses. case in point: i defend my opinion of myself vigorously, often via what others perceive as excessive self-deprecation. but you are constantly building secret-effing-passages. you serendipitously find lost keys to forgotten locked doors. you vault over battlements and crenelations and tonnes of other crazy shit like that. you go behind my back and tell the troops that next day is a holiday, and then encourage eating and drinking and being merry... so that the next day, when i should be securing my hard-earned low self-concept by way of drills and combat exercises, instead i'm... i... you...



there is a word for you. it's saboteur. you ruin my disapproval of self, on purpose. i have known this for months... what i hadn't experienced yet (at least not to tonight's degree) was the kind of doubt that would motivate me to banish you.

and i am so motivated. there's not an iota of difference between how much i care about you, and how much i want to send you away. for so long you had me be-living (if not believing) that our friendship was mutually beneficial. you had me thinking that maybe i could be a positive element in your life. and really, it's a matter of integrity again: if i was living that way, then i was believing it. so i guess you convinced me.

i was mistaken, it turns out. but since you are responsible for convincing me of it in the first place, i won't apologize. damn me for a complete idiot, though, lack of apology notwithstanding.

i trusted you to tell me something important and true about myself. that's huge!! i trusted you with my self-concept! you shaped it with every tool & trick you had, and did a masterful job. well, i now applaud your work, even as it collapses.


~     ~     ~

there are many things that confuse me still. i suspect most of our argument is actually misunderstanding... like so many of our arguments have been. and i suspect we could clear them up... like we have so many times before.

except that something is different this time. i don't know what it is... and that is worrying. also, you seem... well, not unconcerned with those misunderstandings, but actually something worse. you want to perpetuate them? multiply them? these are my best guesses.

i have much more to express, but it's late and i am emptied.

"i hope your plans all work out and that you will be happy. bye"

they can't all work out, since you were a major part of them (oh sure, i save up a few grand for every little thing that mildly interests me). and i can't be anything close to happy about the way this ended, so that's fucked also. but hey, at least you were really polite in the way that you finished the conversation, and that's what counts, right?

title: waves

i don't have any way to express what i'm feeling right now. my recently-birthed plan to treat my emotional self with respect & acceptance is temporarily out the window. but i have to say something or else i will harm myself somehow (not physically). and all of that leaves me here, speaking to no one, these four sentences.

five: nothing, not even moral failure, destroys my courage more than watching something i worked hard to build, something i believed in, wash out with the tide like it was always only sand.

six: i think i need to write a longer post.

Monday, October 07, 2013

who i am hates who i've been

i am sorry for the distance i've created between [all/any of] you & me. my choices affect not only those involved directly, but all who are (or even have been) close to me. please forgive me. please be gracious, even if only to erase and preclude any grudges, bitterness, or lasting pain.

i desire good things. i desire closeness (intimacy, really, of all kinds). i desire deep friendships and the mutual nourishment that those yield.

to that end, i would like to describe myself as i am now. questions about who i was are invited, but i will not be very forthcoming with details, because those details horrify and shame me. who i am now, does not. (not that i'm content, but i'm making progress. so, actually, being discontent is a good thing, because it motivates me toward becoming more myself. (the correct self, not the crappy one.))

i should (and would like to) give credit to Whom credit is due. i have already publicly thanked several of you for the life into which you've helped bring me, and into which you are still helping to bring me. but if i am to be most honest, i should trace back everything good in my life to this singular Source: the God-man from Nazareth, Who is Himself light & truth & joy & peace in unmeasured abundance, the very definition of wholeness, Whose hand reaches further and farther than any other, into and around and through the depths of me that no one else can see or touch (in this life). it is because He speaks not only against who i was, but in favor of who i should be, that i can move forward. i am at His service, and painfully aware that if i were to ultimately serve anyone or anything else, i would resume my foolish march on the road to perdition, and at this point, probably arrive far ahead of schedule. He is finally responsible for any of the good you see in me, whether He designed it initially or redeemed it recently. 

He says you're welcome. ;)

*whew* welp... yup. words. in great number. you've just finished reading this post's introduction! two isjami points if you keep reading, and two bonus points if you don't switch browser tabs until you're done.

~     ~     ~

"hi, i'm anonymous asker. i have no specific age or gender or really anything specific, other than the way i talk, which is extremely similar to yours. what's your name?"

hi. my name is isaiah, and today i prefer to define my current self in light of [mainly] three groups of things: struggles, plans, and beliefs. for that last category, and only for the purposes of this post, i mean specifically the beliefs i hold about my role[s] in this chapter and the next, in contrast with my roles in previous life-chapters.

struggles
- the first that comes to mind is the struggle to define my relationships. using that term brings a smirk to my face, because at Vanguard we used it so often that it became abbreviated: "DTR." in fact, it was so common to see two people (often one of each gender) discussing with a great deal of body language and vocal dymanics the precise nature, the history, and the future of that relationship, that we came to refer to certain concrete benches as "DTR blocks," even when they were being put to much more casual use.

DTR is my primary struggle in this chapter. you can see some of this in posts labeled grey, where i discuss the absurdity of my younger and less experienced self's notion of this dichotomy: platonic | romantic. my smirk turns to a disgusted, eye-rolling sigh as i consider how foolish i was, to think that there is a wall between the two. there is not; that wall is an illusion. early on in life, it can be quite a helpful one... but in reality, it is only a dotted line between two lanes on a speed-limit-less freeway. and i wish i had learned that the easy way instead of the shitty way.

DTR is not only about that, though. the combination of what i've done and what's been done to/around me has led me away from some of the people i've valued and enjoyed the most. old friendships have been archived, brought back down to be dusted off, forgotten, attenuated, bedraggled, discombobulated, outlawed, and in some few cases ruthlessly exsanguinated. simply navigating through that morass has cost me dearly, as if i had much left to spend after losing so much, relationally speaking.

however: i call it a current struggle because i'm still trying. some friendships are rooted deeply enough that only a few drops of water is enough to revive them, and they have or may resume their growth, with consistent nourishment. 

- the second struggle that comes to mind, is the struggle to become healthy. i spoke earlier of He who spoke against the me i had chosen to be. His voice can be a balm (or "da balm" for you hip teens reading this), but it can also cut sharply, dividing soul & spirit, joint & marrow. being cut in this way is not punishment; it is surgery.

having been under His knife several times, i can say now with great confidence that cooperating with such operations is always an excellent idea. i am no longer infested by certain malignant elements which nearly destroyed me entirely. but, there is still this work to be done, and it could be appropriately termed recovery.

it amazes me, not only that i was so unhealthy last chapter, but that i was so blind to my unhealth. truly, i feel this emotion called astonishment, looking back at myself. how? how did i survive long enough to make it to the hospital?

doesn't matter. i have this work to do, and it involves something i thought i was good at but apparently sucked at: taking care of myself. actually, that's one of the reasons why i have felt such intense gratitude for you this chapter: you were giving me something i was not providing for myself.

to be somewhat fair, i am very good at self-providing certain things, most of them via introspection... but this is not always a healing process; instead it serves as sort of a pre-op procedure, or even monthly check-ups.  i am also fairly good at knowing what kind of rest i need.

but, this chapter has brought something new: the purposeful development of daily & weekly habits that keep me out of depression, self-harm, physical malnourishment, and sedentariness. it feels strange to spend so much time thinking about how to take care of myself. it is very different than figuring out what i want at any given moment. it's keeping track of my needs, and fulfilling them.

i am a very needy person in this chapter. that's what recovery's about, i suppose: 7-UP and Saltines and movies. restorative therapy. but, it doesn't feel good, most of the time. i mean... being cared for feels good. but my awareness of the role-reversal feels wrong.

i need you to understand: it feels exactly like putting your left shoe on your right foot would feel, if putting the correct shoe on the correct foot were mankind's highest ethical obligation. it isn't just uncomfortable. it scrapes against my conscience

i probably don't need to explain that further to any of you. i'm sure i have several times already.

so, i'm struggling toward health. this is different than me in the past because i was always struggling for the health of others. it felt right to do so, and maybe it was right. but i'm the one in need, now.

eff.

on the other hand: it feels good to regain use of myself, to increase in functionality, to grab Effday by the throat and swing him around like in the Olympic shot-put event and toss him a basquillion meters. it feels good to accomplish things i once only dreamt of accomplishing. it feels good not just to recover but to grow.

this struggle interacts quite often with the first one (DTR). apparently i'm not the only one who feels uncomfortable being the caree rather than the carer. some people have adverse physical reactions to feeling like the friendship isn't 'equal' in terms of what's given & received on each side. and, while i can understand and respect that, i cannot simply make all (or any) friendship[s] equal.

what i can do is offer select individuals (you may already qualify for eligibility to be selected!! urgent: details inside!!! this offer ends next chapter!!!!) occasional opportunities to help me in specific ways.

...you're welcome??  :S

- another struggle: living with my family. this is a smaller one, but still significant. it also interacts with the first (DTR). i have to keep reminding myself that i can't expect perfection from my parents. isn't that stupid? how do i not know that already? somewhere in me, something is outraged when they do something that seems wrong. but why in the world would i expect them to do only the things that seem right to me?!

the most i've come up with so far, is that they always asserted themselves as my moral authorities, with a right to discipline me according to their own ideas. this is tough to discard, especially as the first-born, and also especially because of my innate sense of hyper-responsibility. i hold myself accountable for a great deal of what happens around me, even if i don't have an explicitly defined obligation. something in me drives me to take responsibility. (i don't always follow it, but i almost always feel it.)

so, here i am at age 27, living rent-free (see below, under "plans") and putting up with my parents. they're wonderful people, generous and caring... but sometimes they're stupid, and do stupid things. this conflicts with my programming: i was coded to follow them, yet i was also coded to think for myself. 

differentiation is hard no matter what. but it's way harder at home.

plans
living rent-free is very much a choice on my part. i can afford an apartment. i can even afford an apartment and luxuries such as Starbucks and movies and steak and long islands and comfy, questionably-stylish clothing. with the recent advent of the 5c, i could even afford all of the above and an iPhone.

(_____|_____)

i have plans. 

- during this past year, a newly discovered wanderlust combined with some other passions of mine (such as photography) to form this vacation dreamlette: a few weeks in Estonia.

"where's that? is that even a real place??"

i hope so, because i've already saved up enough money to get there and back again.

"why are you going there?"

because it's several centuries older than California, which means it has soupsauce churches and cobblestone roads and medieval walls and stuffs. because the World Health Organization has rated it the country with the cleanest air (while Fresno remains worse than LA in air quality). because there, instead of Starbucks they have saunas. because if you want to stay in a fifty-year-old farmhouse instead of a hotel, you can take your pick of several. because their economy caters very intentionally to tourism. because Ghost's pictures make me think i could very easily fall in love with Tallinn. because of the photo opps. because they have hedgehogs.

and because everything there will be a completely new experience.

"you could get that last thing in Omaha also."

that's still America. i need something more differenter.

"why?"

because... as i was telling Friendica a few weeks ago, there's something about new things that invigorates the new me. even the non-exotic makes me feel more alive, if i'm experiencing it firsthand. this is especially true of places. i guess it's a facet of the wanderlust i mentioned earlier. it's probably also a reaction to the drudgery of last chapter: the repetitious unpleasantries made me dislike repetition itself even more. 

"what repetitious unpleasantries?"

unhealthy marriage. you can read more about that in posts labeled divorce and marriage, but i don't know why you would really want to, unless you were one of those directly affected by the unhealth.

anyway: i need new. i don't just want it. something about it feeds some new hunger i have, and i have deemed this hunger a healthy one. in keeping with my new goal of nourishing myself well, i have decided to feed it. just the thought of stepping onto the airplane excites me.

previously, excitement was almost a foreign language to isaiah. now it's one stray thought away; i envision it every day.

Utah gave me a massive dose of this. likewise snowboarding in Yosemite. i even feel it (a little) when i drive to the Mojave or Tracy for work purposes. i got it when i walked Seattle for a couple of hours one afternoon, and when i drove through the jungleypoos of Seatac.

i need more doses. bigger doses. 

- my own website is something i've wanted since forever. i don't just mean a page that has colors i chose and text i wrote; i mean the code itself. this blog's previous template is the closest i've ever come to that dream, and even then i used Google's template and modified it.

my next one will be from scratch, and i'll have my own domain, and the design will be all mine, and the database architecture, and... oh man. i'm drooling already.

"nerding out much?"

quite a bit. but first i have to learn Python and some advanced CSS and whatever HTML5 that proves useful to me. so, i'm spending 3 or 4 of my lunch breaks per week on programming instead of resting. it feels good. it feels good to move forward. to make progress. to learn new skills. to become proficient at building something by hand.

- i also have some local-ish outdoorsy plans. these are less specific, and they depend heavily on reaching my personal health goals, but they are definitely plans and not just dreams. Half Dome is high on the list. Zion Narrows as well, though that will take a little more time and planning and resources. i have a mountain bike that i only use around town. it deserves more. i have a professional-quality DSLR. i have a hammock. what am i even doing here right now? okay, going hiking, bye!

jk, i have to at least finish this post first. and i should probly clock out at the normal time. but soon... soon i will cliiiimb eeeevery mountaaaaain, foooord eeevery streeeeeeeam...

oh the old nun vibrato. gets me every time.

beliefs
this will be the shortest section. you're almost there. you can make it.

previously i believed it was my job only to serve others (thereby serving the aforementioned Nazarethian God-man). my neediness in this chapter, along with several other persuasive voices, have directed me to follow my own dreams. this seems at first glance to conflict with my servant's role.

but, the fact is, i am largely detached from my church ministries at this point, both practically and emotionally. (the exception to that statement lies in the fact that my detachment from music ministry is a result of complications rather than attenuation.) i am still the eldest brother Micu, but even the youngest can now fend for himself. (i mean to say that i no longer cook his scrambled eggs and fried spam for him.) i am still useful in most of the places where i spend time, but i am not strictly needed. i am easily replaced.

no negative comments here, readers; i already wrote extensively about being needed and such. it's only a few posts back. go read it (after this) if it makes you feel better.

what i'm saying is, not only have i been given more responsibility for caring for me, i've also been given much less responsibility for caring for others. and everyone seems to be okay with this, from the neediest caree to the people caring for me. so, i am in the process of concluding that this is the best time in life so far, for me to g[r]o[w]. in fact, if not for my extreme aversion to hyper-spiritualization, i would say that i'm being led to g[r]o[w].

i used to believe that all opportunities to serve others superceded anything i might do for my own growth. i even considered the two to be intertwined inextricably; and perhaps they were, for a long time. 

but that time seems passing, and i find things increasingly extricable now.



i don't want anyone to think that i have no attachments here. in some cases, the strength of my attachment is motivation to g[r]o[w] rather than stay.

but i am gaining momentum, and there are very, very few things that could keep me here. some of them aren't even bad; in fact they're potentially excellent and praiseworthy. they are, however, so implausible as to be undeserving of any expectant thought.

i understand that this does not answer all of anyone's questions; perhaps it doesn't fully answer any one question that anyone is asking. but i'm confident you'll find some value in it, and perhaps even in other posts i've referenced herein.

there are some things about the old days that i miss quite a bit. it helps me to accept the fact that they are gone, when i realize how special that makes them. it also helps to know that even as chapters come and go, friendships can remain strong and enjoyable and beneficial. the content and feel of our connection may change, but i will always value you and our past experiences highly.

thank you for friendship, before and now and to come.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

sacrosanct

the love of God is greater far
than tongue or pen can ever tell
it goes beyond the highest star
and reaches to the lowest hell

it transcends time and disdains space
leaves me enmeshed in my trials
movement itself becomes my race:
one day, a year; one inch, a mile

have i with care this journal filled
and i this speech, with candor made
and were these nights my tremors stilled
and was my world of lies betrayed...

...to write the love of God above
on pages i cannot turn?
...to write the names of whom i love
on parchment destined to burn?

oh, love of God: how rich and pure!
how measureless and strong
yet, if invisible, then sure
to strain my sight for everlong

oh, love of God: it canst be found
in heav'nly lands afar
alas, i tarry in the ground
in sickly light of fallen star



the love of God is greater yet
than word or deed has ever told
to one like me; and i regret
to say i cannot feel its hold
on earth or man, nor in these rhymes
though angels' wings stir the air
around the throne, and outside time...

...just not in daily life lived here

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

sacred

i'm starting to crack again. it's too much to carry by myself, and i am extra tired of doing things primarily for *my* benefit. sometimes i try to consider what would be best for isaiah, and my brain just shuts down because it has no clue how to process that...

...except to say, "leave it all behind."

i told an old friend today, that i expect these present struggles will not be finally resolved until about two years from now. but i'm already exhausted, and my support is shrinking instead of growing. i feel like everything i depended on this last year is eroding, and i'll soon be left with only whatever air i can take in before i slip under.

"maybe if you'd stop being so dramatic, you could just float instead of thrashing your way to rock bottom?"

that's not really a question, anonymous asker. stop saying words. you don't know what it's like to have so many things turned upside down, to feel abandoned in a time of need, to have your most treasured things in life taken away (for good reasons, which is actually worse!) . . . to be abruptly alone.

in keeping with last post: the best things in life are not replaceable. there can be no adequate substitutes. 

what compares to trust built slowly & gradually? could anyone ever say of a close friend, "well of course that friend was really special to me; but i'm sure there are others just as awesome, whom i'll befriend soon enough" ?? or, has anyone ever thought, "i would probably be just dandy if [s]he suddenly vanished" ?!?

i cannot fully wrap my mind around this situation i'm in. i claw and clamber for some tool or trick to change things, but it's futile.

i realized today that i'm angry... which is strange for me in this chapter because i left the majority of that junk behind, in the previous. so that was actually the first sign that i was breaking. i was (and am!) angry at people and situations and even myself a little.

my default way of dealing with anger is to accuse myself of selfishness. but people i trust keep telling me to take care of myself, and make sure my own needs are met, and forgive myself, and blah blah effing blah. well, it isn't working out like you had hoped. i don't do well on my own anymore. 

i don't think anyone really understands that. i really am way WAY healthier & stronger than i was even 6 months ago... but that doesn't mean i'm no longer in repair. i'm not together yet, fully, and i am unsure how to get there without certain voices nearby.

i just want to get out. i'm tired of all of this. i wish i could leave, and stop bloodying my fingertips on this abhorrent Gordian. 

i find elements that i should classify as personal anathema, fouling my most sacred spaces and casting shadows where the best light should be. it's cold and rank here and i hate it.

i would give almost anything to make things better. but i cannot. so i feel like giving up.

the mirthless, hilarious irony, is that it probably wouldn't even matter.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Re: things i'm hearing from out of nowhere

this is the thing about wanting to be needed by people: by my own carefully formed and blogfully expressed philosophy of life, it doesn't make any sense at all.

there is no such thing as need; there is only need for _______. it is possible to simply want something, but in order to need, one must have a purpose... even if it is not consciously known. so, as i reflect on my desire to be needed, and as i speak with others about their similar desire, i must remind us and challenge us. or else i'll look & be super dumb, since i'll be contradicting myself.

why i want others to consider me essential to their lives, i have not yet figured out. fortunately i'm willing to wait for that particular revelation. for now, i simply need (in order to be at peace about it, and in order to live responsibly, and in order to help others live responsibly) to figure out what i want to be needed for. and despite my despair at hearing that voice-from-out-of-nowhere, i think it will be pretty easy.

i want to be emotionally fulfilling for others, such that if i were to leave forever, they would 1) always want me to return, and 2) be unable to fill at least one specific need. i suppose this goes hand in hand with uniquity. i want others to have isaiah-shaped voids in their lives, which could at best be only partially / imperfectly filled by anyone or anything else. and... i want them to express that to me.

if not-- if it simply isn't the case, or if i remain unaware of it-- then why would i remain in their lives? even if i needed them in that way, i wouldn't stick around for that. it would be selfish of me (barring cases where i had some practical need, rather than an emotional one). i simply cannot be content with having close relationships in which i fulfill those people in a generic, non-unique way. (acquaintanceships are different. i have very strictly-enforced low standards for those.)

i should give examples. the following traits are not exhaustive lists of the uniquities of the people described, nor is this list of important people exhaustive; i'm simply picking those that come to mind right away.

~     ~     ~

Brandylion has an incredible memory. he can easily recall in overly sufficient detail conversations we had a decade ago. this is especially useful to me because my long-term memory is horrible. 1-10, i might be a 3. i value this even more than other 3s might, because of my reflective, introspective nature, and also because of my need (in order to become more and more myself) to use patterns to find meaningful correlations between otherwise disparate events.

it helps greatly that empathy comes easily to him. it also helps that i've known him for so long. others could have excellent memory (her eminence the Lady Frost comes to mind), and even relate and empathize with me quite well... but Brandon came into my life in high-school. this makes him an invaluable resource: that i might at any time learn, re-learn, or un-learn something important about myself, simply by asking him questions about my past. additionally, he has experienced some of the same uncommon & life-changing events i have.

in this way, he uniquely fulfills a need in my life, better than anyone else can.

King Andrew is the perfect foil for my tendency to worry too much about things, and to zoom in too closely (or for too long) on complex situations. it takes him about as much effort to find chords for my words & melodies as it takes me to climb a tree. and, he understands me the first time i say something. oftentimes he'll understand more than i do about what i'm saying, before i'm finished saying it.

others do some of those things for me as well. but none quite so well. and, like Brandon, he has seniority. he was the one who convinced me to sing on a worship team for the first time. he was the one who pushed me to develop my voice in that way. we wrote over a dozen songs together, songs that helped us unearth and preserve the meanings of some of our lives' most significant events.

his unspoken yet consistently obvious unconditional positive regard for me, his theologically grounded yet down-to-earth practical hope for my present & future, his unattenuated desire to spend time with me no matter how i'm feeling or how long it's been since we've seen each other... these cause me to view him in a certain light, a narrow band of the spectrum that illumines no one else in my life.

Sensei has some of the same qualities, but he applies them differently, and casts light on my spiritual life with a wonderful combination of tenacity and humility. i find it exceedingly easy to grant him the same authority over my life that a sysadmin has over his local network. this isn't to say that i agree with him automatically about anything... in fact, our modus operandi is to initially feel a disagreement of some kind, but through conversation discover that we have arrived at a single point via two very different roads. this benefits both of us. plus it's fun.

i have granted similar permissions to a few others in my life-- notably Professor Rybarczyk, Pastor Dogterom, and Pastor Cameron-- but none of those three would make good close friends. Sensei & i have many common interests, most importantly music. additionally, we enjoy many of the same people (that is, we have mutual close friends).

lastly: he has been with me through some of this chapter's darkest, most painful challenges. he hasn't simply been informed of them; he was there. i spoke with him face-to-face, experienced those events while standing (or sitting) next to him. it would take me days to get anyone else up to speed on them in a purely informative way, and even that would not create any adequate substitutes for him (in that particular way only). 

for these reasons and others, i consider him essential for meeting my goals in this chapter.

~ i should take a moment to clarify something: the uses these people serve are paired with my desire to be close to them. practicality and healthy attachment inform and build upon one another in the same way that one and five make the major third overtone (when played just right). ~

until recently (and lingering on even now, like a resonant frequency, or like sunlight after sunset) Ghost has been a driving force for good in my life. i cannot begin to measure the positive effects for which she alone is responsible. like a wizard, she casts spells that i find utterly mysterious, transcending the absolutes that i previously believed governed my world without exception.

these things often take cruel pleasure in eluding me: unadulterated happiness. inspiration. self-confidence. positive self-regard. good sleep. a non-Christian perspective that informs and healthfully challenges mine (the recently established Evan Wade family does an excellent job of this, but that's different, because both of them were once Christian). motivation to move forward, to try new things, to strive for goals that fit me superbly but would have otherwise never occurred to me. she provides all of these, so naturally (and sometimes unknowingly, which, honestly, i find very attractive).

her weapons of choice are as follows: dry humor (very frequently a dead-on match for mine). brutal honesty. hilariously unconventional English. a killer accent (wow... i actually typed that out loud...). thoughtfulness. insatiability (trust me, it's a virtue). vulnerability (yes, reader, this can indeed be used as a weapon). a weird mix of self-deprecation and playful swagger. these she wields against my enemies (sometimes including myself as one such enemy) with ferocity & a dimply smile & gleeful disregard for cultural propriety.

i think it should be obvious even from this brief description that no one could ever take her place in my life, no matter how long that place lies empty. i have great difficulty comparing her to anyone else. she's pretty much a different species. i can say without reservation that i will always need her, no matter which chapter.

"need her in order to / for what, isaiah?"

thank you for asking. that's very isaiac of you.

*at the very least:* i need all of those things in the same way i need to see the world in colour, rather than black-and-white. could i live without her? well, of course i could. i could live without colour. but why the eff would i ever choose to? i'd as soon swear a vow of abstinence from essencia. 

well... for her sake, i might choose to live without the colours she paints. but that is the only reason i can think of. living without perception of colour would make some practical things more difficult, like driving and photography and avoiding poisonous berries and hating pink... but even putting aside the practical things, i would (and do) find life dreary without her. gray. overcast. dulled. and aesthetics, as you well know, are not simply 'nice to have'... they bring us to life. both my life and my capacity for life are increased dramatically when she is present, even many thousands of kilometers away.

lastly (for now): when i am truly feeling low, at the core of me, very few things in life can lift me up. even the most moving music sometimes falls upon a heart of isaiahstone. and, while it's true that even she cannot *always* cheer me up, it's equally true that, in her, i have found someone who is naturally good at it. i cannot stress enough the staggering rarity of such an ability. sometimes she does so without even trying. so... i cannot help but invest, and recklessly. i have invested, to the point where i describe my relationship with her in terms of needs rather than just wants.

it wouldn't be enough to say that i won't ever have another friend like her. i know very few of the people on this planet, so perhaps there are many who could fill certain unique roles in my life. but my somewhat arational belief at this time, is that Ghost is one in seven billion.

"everyone is, isaiah."

this is different. i don't mean there are no clones of her; i mean that if all 6,999,999,999 other people in the world attempted what she accomplishes, they would fail. i mean that no one *could* ever fill the role she has played in my life. (not that i'd invite anyone to do so. my likeliest response to any applicants would be the same as the Queen of Hearts' catch-phrase.)

"...oh. that's more significant."

indeed.

~     ~     ~

there are some others of whom i could write similarly descriptive paragraphs 'pon paragraphs... but this post isn't about people. it's about this question i have, this question of that for which i want to be needed.

there is more to realize and say about this topic, but i need (in order to be satisfied with this post rather than deleting it) to form at least a partial conclusion. i think it is this:

my wanting to be needed is not unhealthy. it simply needs to be put in proper perspective. unless i would call my trusted & insightful friends dishonest (or perhaps bad communicators, which they most certainly aren't), then i have no choice but to acknowledge that i am, to some degree, in some way[s], needed by others... in order for the isaiah-shaped holes in their lives to be occupado (as the Spaniards say).

i have some small inkling of what that shape is, and how i fulfill those needs. and, in the context of this writing, i find a contentment which i suspected was there, but which i didn't entirely expect to find.

maybe the desire to be 'needed' is entirely human. and maybe that desire can (or already is?) met in my life. maybe the voice-from-out-of-nowhere speaks against that, with the almost-reasonable expectation that i will not reflect deeply or incisively enough to discover the malignance of its motives & goals.

maybe i will disappoint it.



i would be painfully remiss if i didn't make some mention of my best friend, of whom i spoke last-post. i cannot know yet whether anyone present in this chapter will remain with me in the next. but, if i could bring only one...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

i would have liked to live there



i have trouble deciding which arrests me more: seeing through my second home's two front windows the sharp, clear skies of an earth several years younger... or finding the glass fogged, and unwashed. i would clean and dry them, except that the door is locked. i would have liked to live there instead, because i'm always happier there. why isn't my key working?

i have some unfinished projects in the backyard. as i work, the grit and grain make me feel like singing. they add a little rasp... but i don't mind, as long as the harmony fits. the tea and the evening are both dark: muted ebony, with eggshell foam around the edges. it's both sweet and bitter, as it should be.


i remember the first time i [was] invited inside. 

throughout life, i've usually known from the first few chords which songs would become my favorites, known from the way my ideas unexpectedly resonated, from the way my mind filled & fit the space of the living room, whether i could make my home there. this place was better than any other. 

i liked how my tone was affected: it became smoother, more colorful than i perceived it to be. and the way my timbre reflected: it came back to me with added richness, as if one wiser than i in the ways of me had invested and multiplied it magically. i didn't think anyone would hear those weak, sickly notes. but they were heard, and magnified, and applauded. i am still doubtful, yet truly grateful. i think the room had some experience in orchestration. 

(i grew to love the sounds of the house itself far more than my own, like many residents do as the years go by... but i won't describe any further those sounds (nor my reaction) here, because i cannot verbally describe those things. they are, in the most literal sense, too much for me.)

i remember taking shelter here, from the rain, the dark, the ocean winds. i was warm here, and comforted. i remember drowning here also, but that wasn't so bad (i got some good lyrics out of it, and discovered things about me that might have otherwise never been found). i remember silent, permanent prayers, and songs that consistently forced away every other noise, and permission to be myself without words. i remember screaming and yelling in a good way, which is rare and sometimes very much needed. i remember my worries going up in smoke, by lantern light.

i remember the kind of fiery anger which, paradoxically, comes from deep wells of caring. and i remember with fondness both the burning and the refreshing. i remember long draughts that took only moments but kept me quenched for days.

i remember near-theophanies seen only through the lens of koinonia. i remember that together we ascribed worth to the Worthiest, showed love to the lowliest, confessed our most wretched state, and rejoiced in restoring and in being restored. i remember cancelling debts, and investing recklessly. i remember being emptied, filled, emptied again, filled again... and enjoying every moment. 

i remember battling together those insidious inner demons and ancient dragons, the world's deceptions, false destinies, spiritual and biochemical depressions... and fucking winning. (only sometimes... but still. take that!) i remember being occasionally unable to win but standing ground anyway. and i remember boldly defending others: loved ones, our other set of siblings, some of whom decided being family wasn't enough, and became our friends. i like the way their voices ring, also, but they hurt sometimes because theirs almost always remind me of yours.

i remember saying goodbye over and over again, far enough away so that you couldn't hear me, and praying you'd find your Dad, over and over again... because i know how easy it is to get lost, over and over again. 



no mortal breadth, length, depth, or height ever pulled at me so strongly; i haven't encountered a grip less yielding, nor anything more captivating. will it ever let go? (selfishly, i hope it does not, and i will wait anxiously on the doorstep until i am kicked out. (and even then, i will probably be hiding under the porch.))

all of these experiences, and many more, wash over me, mercilessly reprising. and i have no choice but to let them, because i cannot let go either. or maybe i will not. or maybe i don't know how. (and maybe i don't want to learn.)

~     ~     ~

small tremors show me the house is not safe for visitors tonight. i'll come back later: to turn in my key. to let others resolve those unfinished projects. to construct a different framework that lets you sleep more peacefully. to self-indulgently stare again, undeserving, at the clarity of the skies that could arrest me or set me free at any moment, depending on what Spirit decides is best.

Spirit, please please be gentle with me. i am fragile

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

:(

i miss you

silences

i didn't ask for silence; i only wanted you to be happy. and sometimes that means silence.

i have always appreciated quietude itself, for the way it [usually] centers and calms me, for how it often invites creativity and self-discovery, and for how it rejuvenates me. but there are many kinds of silence.


shared silence is friendship
i have often said that my preferred way to get to know someone, initially, would be to sit wordlessly with them for an hour or more. this is still true, and perhaps extra-true of you, since most of our interaction consists purely of words. Facebook messenger doesn't even allow italics or anything!

but we have sometimes been quiet together, and though i feel your absence keenly, i am so grateful that you are to some degree still present with me, on purpose, during those quiet times. anyone willing to be quiet with me, listening for what is next but in no rush to get there, is very special. special among people, and special to me.

i would give up many of my most valued things just to sit with you for awhile. it might be a little awkward, but that would make it no less waluable to me.


maintained silence is strength

other times we have chosen to be silent for the sake of moderating our closeness. these were mostly just painful times; but i took a little solace in the knowledge that you were benefiting somehow. you once told me we deserve effing awards for being so patient. i usually discard whatever awards i receive, but i would keep that one.

you say you aren't as strong as me, but i don't believe you, despite the fact that you have sometimes broken radio silence before the appointed time. going a day without talking to you makes me feel like i'm missing a limb. so i won't judge either of us harshly for reaching out with ghost hands. besides, it seems like Zzyzx doesn't die no matter what we do. he may even be silent for weeks or months, yet suddenly rise up to roar just as loudly, without warning. perhaps we don't need to keep him on a diet. perhaps sometimes we just need rest, a break from giving him all that attention. and steak.


allowed silence is rest
there are times when we are quiet not for the friendship, but for ourselves individually. sometimes we need to be alone. we're both surrounded by social connections of many kinds; the closest and most intense don't only nourish us, they also drain us. or maybe it's life and our other friendships that cause us to need solitude.

regardless: rest via silence is needed. we can't always fully explain why, or what exactly is happening to us, but we know intuitively. so we say that we must go away for awhile, and that we hope the other is waiting for us when we return.

i have not always done a good job of this. but i will do better in the future, if given the chance.

which brings me to the main point of this post:


this recent silence is bullshit
the worst kind is the unplanned kind. feels like a gaping wound that doesn't heal, it just bleeds slowly every day. i keep changing the bandage, and asking myself, what is the point??

but then you tell me you're tired of being kind to me.

words this sharp are not simply painful. they are that, very much... but the more significant effect, is that you confirm with an unintentional yet resounding finality the truth of the words spoken to me from out of nowhere. i really am unworthy. not only that, but my pitiful heart automatically fills in the second sentence for you: "and so, since i'm tired of it, i'll stop, because it simply isn't worth it to me."

i have been around long enough to know, that everyone hears this voice speak from time to time. the difference is not in who hears it, but in how they respond to it.

i responded to mine by having hours of conversation with Sensei, with myself, and with others. i responded by being honest and open with my thoughts and feelings, as i've trained myself to do here (and rightly so, i believe). i responded by waiting to see what else it might say, and to find out how long it would last. i responded with vulnerability and patience.

you responded with sharp edges. you responded by agreeing with that voice from out of nowhere, even as you expressed anger at its words.

so: since you've clearly come to the end of your patience, i'll do what that voice tells me i should've done a long time ago. i'll completely hide my struggles from you, to shelter you from the pain and the worry and the stress that i bring to the lives of those who request to be close to me. i'll lean on those who are willing, and not on those who aren't.

this isn't a critique or judgment or immature retaliation. it just makes sense. why would i ask people for help when they call me hopeless? if someone says i never progress, never get better... if someone relly believes i am purposely making myself feel bad by looking for ways to justify my self-deprecations... 

if someone is tired, then that someone should rest. i hereby give you rest, from me. 

i am still so intensely grateful for everything you've done for me, even though apparently it was a complete waste, from your perspective. i still celebrate you, sacrifice half my dinner to you, wish i could hang out with you. i still commit to care for you however i can, whenever you will allow me that privilege. i am still and always will be your feathered friend, even if you're just my fair-weather friend.


expressed silence is beauty
when i emerge from a well-timed rest, from solitude and silence, i sometimes bring with me a new creation: some art, or poemy, or revelation. this time, i ache with longing; i wish so much that you could have waited for me like you used to do. i wish we could have spoken about my experiences and both learned something of worth from that conversation. 

i wish you could have asked me questions instead of making assumptions. i wish you had not been so hurt by me, not just because i hurt when you do, but so that you wouldn't have lashed out at me with such foolish words..

and i wish that i could've had the chance to explain to you directly, how the things i heard in my head, the things i still feel like believing, will not speak freely forever. even now i work against that voice. and i never acted on its words, even when i felt most strongly that they were true.



you have done so much. you have worked harder than most others, perhaps harder than all others so far, to keep my world bright and colorful when it threatens to wash away to deathly gray. and in that regard i still know you to be a miracle worker. but you've been the only one i really opened up to enough. maybe that's how i exhausted you. 

well... if i've decided anything after this recent darkness, it's that i may have to be as vulnerable with others as i have been with you this past year. so, maybe this won't be so bad, being unable to rely on you for help. maybe it'll be good for both of us.

(i'm not fooling anyone, am i?)