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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."


~     ~     ~

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


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?)

Friday, September 13, 2013

logos, pathos, ethos, nomos

i feel almost nothing. i care for almost nothing, worry about almost nothing, long for almost nothing. i perceive myself as almost nothing.

i continue moving, without change of direction, because habit. inertia. firmware. it's easier than ruffling the feathers of the status quo.

most of me believes what i wrote, even though i would disagree with it if it mattered.

but it simply doesn't

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

things i'm hearing from out of nowhere

i'm not good enough to be anyone's anything

i am no longer truly needed

i am failing at everything that matters

i should be alone, and leave others alone, because they're better off that way

i am unimportant, apart from how useful i can be; and even that is probably a lie

even if i reach my goals, those successes are worthless in the long run, and they do not prove anything good about me

people say and do kind things because they are kind, not because i am valued

i will never be emotionally stable; i will always be only a burden, and never a blessing

suicide is a dumb idea, because of all the trouble it would cause for others; living as invisibly and quietly as possible is ideal

anything that makes me happy is one or more of the following: empty of meaning, entirely illusory, or not mine to experience

all of my feelings are not only invalid but also pointless, and considering them is a waste of time and energy

i am incapable of constructive thought processes

sleeping is the most worthy activity because it accomplishes nothing... except to isolate me from people (which should be a main goal) and to suspend my wasteful internal activities

having friends, and being vulnerable to them, is simply a way of justifying my desire to take out my frustrations and pain on others... which makes me feel better not because i need to vent, but rather because underneath my conscious desire to be a good influence, i am actually a creature who fundamentally enjoys hurting others

and finally: if i ever leave these attitudes behind, i will be deceiving myself into thinking they were simply a fluke of some kind; therefore i should permanently replace all of my other introspections with what i have written here tonight

Saturday, September 07, 2013

small bear

this seems childish and pitiful, but i have to express it, else it will continue to worry me like a dog worries its bone.

more than anything, i want now and have wanted for weeks and maybe months... to be held, tightly, until i fall asleep. 

i cannot reconcile this with the self-concept i had built for me; so, i must re-understand me.

i am in need of affection and felt approval. i cannot depend on me to be confident in myself or my future, except when i happen to be in an uncommonly excellent mood. i think less of myself than i ever have, and feel like giving up. i do not consider myself or my potential, to be worth the effort others make to keep me afloat.

i do not believe myself to be a sustainable resource, nor a reliable source of anything good or valuable. i am not lost at sea, but neither am i seaworthy. i flounder even in the shallows.

in my responsibilities and challenges, i am an adult; but in my heart i am a child again, having nothing to offer and needing the most basic relational care and nourishment... e.g. kind, genuine words; quality time; and affectionate human touch.

these are simple blessings, and at first glance they seem not to be even remotely capable of solving any of the dauntingly complicated problems i am now facing in life... but i know without a doubt that, to have these three things in plenty would surely relieve me of every ounce of stress that now forbids me rise from my place of rest.

at this point, i would give up music itself to have those things. and i would sleep well, and breathe easily. and when i woke each day, i would take on my world with a sling and five stones. i would not show fear or worry. i would smile at the thought of returning home, not to a place of deep dark, but of warmth and tangible care.

i have never felt younger.