Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Ties That Bind, Gag, Hold Ransom, and Torture

My mother and I are not special in that we have a very strained
and unusual parent-child relationship. We are more like siblings;
siblings who can't stand one another and yet have business
dealings. It's toxic, unhealthy, unrewarding, and disastrous.
And yet, like all good Southern boys, I don't sever the bond entirely.

At the doctor's office the other day, there was an instructional
video playing in the waiting room. A very perky announcer was
telling how one of the greatest problems leading to stress was lack
of familial relationships. It's possible I may have blurted out that
"Family connection is precisely what had stressed me to begin with."
Or perhaps the other waiters were just looking my way casually.

When people ask about plans for the holidays, and I answer that
I'll be staying to myself like always, they look shocked and dismayed.
"Don't you want to spend time with family?" they crone!
"Why would I want to ruin a perfectly good day?" I shoot back.

They say "You can't choose family," to which I reply "No shit, Sherlock!"
Cuz there would for damned sure be a continuous line at the returns
counter if you could exchange these sorry bastards.

And yet, also like all goofy redneck sons-of-bitches, I can talk shit
about the crazy 'ho all live long day, but I'll not tolerate anyone else
being a dick to her. I'd cut and bury anyone who tried to hurt her.
I've earned my battle scars and the right to talk shit about her; no one
else has.

I occasionally get some sorry moralizing mealy-mouth who wants
to wax empathetic about 'dear old Mom' and tell me that I "shouldn't"
think or speak of her the way I do. To which I say, respect due,
"Go fuck yourselves." I'm happy they ate their obedient-robot
Wheaties, but I give tit for tat. Respect is earned, not a given.
Don't start none, won't be none.

No one has done more to actively and intentionally cause pain in
my life than Mommy Dearest. That's not some childish rambling nor
an exaggeration; she's a crazy, mean-spirited, controlling,
soul-sucking, manipulative personality. That others don't believe
it true or that it doesn't mirror their own parent-child relationship
has no bearing on my reality in the least.

Why do people stay enmeshed with such dubious links?
Is it a constant fantasy that one day things will magically change?
Or perhaps a hopeful desire that we'll be present when disaster
strikes so we can witness it first hand?

Either way, it's a given that the ties that bind tend to strangle
and limit more than they support and uplift. But the commonality
of that love-hate craziness at least give us all something to 
commiserate over!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Shitty Southerners

Redneck BBQ "Show-and-Tell";
"And then, what happened next was...."

Initially, I was taken by the idea that it was an "old people"
thang. Then I moved on to imagine it was particular to
"sick people." But as I live and learn, I now see it seems
to be (yet another) "Southern thang."

The art of talking shit. No, not 'reality' show pomp-and-
circumstance; the literal artless form of talking about one's
bowels and their private goings on.

Not for the feint of heart; beware of anyone who starts
out a conversation with great trepidation and angst and
the words "I was having trouble for days, cramped up,
constipated,...and then...."

No. No "and then." The constipation was more than I
needed to know. There is no formal invitation--implied
or otherwise-- to discuss scatological endeavors simply
because I say 'hello' to you, or, merciful mythology, ask
you 'How have you been?'  Keep that shit to yourself.

What is wrong with people? Why is it beyond them that
"my stomach's been bothering me" is sufficient? Even that
falls under the heading of personal, innermost, private,
innard-most dwellings and dealings. I don't want to know
that much about someone I am sleeping with, let alone
a stranger or an acquaintance at the grocery store.

Whatever happened to decorum? The impact of such
open-ended conversations should be clear, not at all cloudy
or hard to grasp; if you don't know better, try paying attention
to the look of horror that crosses people's faces when you
start in on a ten-minute diatribe about your asshole's innermost
workings. It's an eye-opener.

There's no Tarrantino-esque narration needed about your
porcelain time. No one wants to know a blast-by-blast analysis
of how you destroyed your bathroom. And I guarantee you
that the examination of the deployment is NOT appropriate
unless you are dealing with a medical professional....during an
appointment....upon specific inquiry. And even then there's a
time limit on the poetic rumblings.

It's probably a bit of the redneck ideology that "causing a
commotion or being disturbing is funny" involved in all of
this. But ignorance and poor taste runs a close second, in terms
of readily found traits, so who's gonna do the study to

Please. I beg you. Some things should be kept deep inside.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

There Are More of Us

(art by kwonshucutie at deviantart)
“I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not
unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life,
hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves,
hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn
by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and
unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden
rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our
lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps
as great a joy as we can know - unless it be to share our laughter.

We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it
can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live
in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search,
nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give.
We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.

For wanderers, dreamers, and lovers, for lonely men and women who
dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those who are
too gentle to live among wolves.”

-James Kavanaugh, introduction to "There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Do You Remember Who You Were (Without Your Partner Telling You?)

It's long been my contention that too much
togetherness is a horrible, debilitating thing. Even in the midst
of an otherwise healthy and mutually beneficial relationship,
too much familiarity does indeed breed contempt!

I have always felt that a couple should have at least
a spare room for one or the other to retire to for some
solitude, if not maintaining separate dwellings all together.
Ideally, a 3-bedroom house/apartment/condo would be
divided as my partner and I did it;
A bedroom for the both of us, and a bedroom apiece for each
individual (to be decorated and maintained only as they
see fit.)

See, there's too much compromise in a modern
relationship. Too much amalgamation and loss of
identity. It's an unnatural and costly social experiment.
We go along feigning acceptance of this atrocious
model of glomming on and complete bondage,.
but nobody really thinks it's a good idea.
But everyone's a hamster on a wheel, so...

Another good idea for maintaining sanity is to have a
vacation. No, not a couples or family vacation
(although those are all right in their own sense.)
I mean an actual vacation from all the
trappings of your normal every day reality--the shit that
drives you to need a break in the first place.

You, yourself, and maybe your friends you never see
anymore, take your asses and get in a car or on a train
to Anywhere that is away from the normal scenery.
Hell, even go to the next town over and get a room for
the weekend. But GET AWAY! Breathe. Relax. Do
your own thing. Have your own space. Be your own boss.
Remember who you are.

(If you have kids, you need to follow this scheme;
a family vacation with everyone (short and sweet,) a
couples vacation (to be free of chirrun for a change,)
and a solo vacation (for tranquility and meditation
and "Me Time."))

If we could talk people into adapting these habits,
we'd have a lot less depression, a lot less divorce, a lot less
anxiety, a lot less assaults, and maybe even some happier
campers at the end of the day.