That consensual lie

Why do we embrace the mythology of lifelong friends? Friendship so close that you talk daily. That you meet up for breakfast, go out for drinks, and are just generally each others family.

Are our actual families broken? That it creates this yearning to belong. Is it this which draws us into cults…or fantasy sports leagues? Are we just so lonely that the response has been by our storytellers to create this friendship mythology?

Shows like Friends, New Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Happy Endings, and even It’s always Sunny in Philadelphia. All ensemble casts. All depicting a level of close friendship which generally doesn’t exist.

But we clearly want it to. So why doesn’t it? If we clearly want it, what stops it from occurring.

I mean, first off… None of the people in those shows have kids. Because once that happens your friends disappear for at least a few years. And, ever after, friendship becomes a secondary thing to that family unit.

In other words, life gets in the way. And not all friendships are forever. Some are right now friendship or circumstance friends.

Maybe we’re all just so lonely that we create these friend mythologies to compensate for the lack of connection and permanence we feel in our lives.

Or maybe life just drives a wedge.
I’ve had some friends say they wish we all lived together. I wish we’d buy a street of houses and move in together. These are the people I want in my life. Always. But, I know that’s not how it’s going to be.

So I’ll watch another long running cast of fictional friends. And pretend that’s something that happens. Somewhere. Just not to me.

An interpretation of an interpretation

We see the world through the lense of our biases. These ideas about what is that we don’t even know we have.

I used to think that cops were the good guys. Way back in time. Before I saw them drag my neighbor out of his grandmothers house. He lived with her and took care of her. He did the yard work and did the grocery shopping. He was a good grandson.
He also dealt weed. He was a drug dealer. To my parents that was it. The sum total of his character.

They came for him in force. The whole neighborhood cordoned off. They had us move to the back of the house. Just in case bullets started flying.

He wasn’t home. But they sure terrified his grandmother.

They lay in wait for him and scooped him up before he got in his front door.

His grandmother had to sell the house. Collateral damage in the war on ‘drugs’.

Before, I never gave the cops a second thought. After, I never felt safe. Sure in the knowledge that they could snap me out of my life and ruin my family without a care for what’s real.

I used to see America as a promise and an experiment in equality. A grand idea which seamed to be bearing fruit. Leaders in freedom and truth.
But I grew up. And I see the rot built into every 3/5’s compromise. Broken and rotten from the beginning.
A foundation built on blood.

If something doesn’t directly effect you, you get to live in a world that doesn’t exist. You get to live a fantasy. Your bias is built-in. You can’t see what you don’t know.

The first time I dated someone from a different socioeconomic class…my eyes were opened up. I couldn’t not see their struggles. Things I took as simple became hard.

Everyone’s life is living in this bubble reality.
We can be empathetic and see what is happening and determine a course forward that includes us all.
Or we can double down on this false narrative and refuse to see anyone else’s experience. There’s a whole political party that’s into that.

What odd things do you find romantic?

You ever wonder about the weird things that you find romantic? Like for me, its having the same sleep schedule as me. It seems like something so small but it means that when you get tired, I do and vice-versa. Which means we get ready for bed and go to sleep at the same time. Which means we’re awake and can have time together at the same time.

Now, maybe that’s weird but my sleep schedule is a split one. I tend to sleep at about 8-10pm for about 4 hours. Then I wake up for a few hours then sleep for 2-3 hours. It works for me but its odd.

If someone were to have the same sleep schedule it would open up whole worlds. We could go exercise together. We could watch a movie or read or play a game. Because those small hours between sleep seem like stolen ones. Like they exist outside of the normal day to day and can be used for things that aren’t normal. Those hours exist in a gray area and can be used for whimsy rather than normal.

Existing outside the standard day diurnal cycle is hard. Maybe I just find those hours lonely and wany to share it.

A discourse on my feelings

I am not a teams person. By this I mean that I do not take pride in things that I did not have a hand in accomplishing. I may be proud of a person or group for their accomplishments but I don’t have that personal feeling as if it were my accomplishment.

This also means that I don’t feel shame for things that other people or groups have done when I have not taken part in those things. I may feel anger directed at individuals who take those actions but I am divorced from the feeling of shame that may accompany such.

This has an odd affect in that I widely regard actions as that of the individual alone while only at an emotional distance understanding the larger societal cause of those actions.

This means that unless I pause and think through the actions, I do not understand why a person may act or think a certain way. Because at the instinctual level of emotion those baseline emotions are not present for me.

Emotionally I only feel a part of a those groups in which I am an active participant. All others exist only at an intellectual level not a visceral one.

So wide statements as to my inclusion in groups as if I were an active participant hits me in ways many might consider to be congruent with the denial that said group is wrong. However, it is that I only see individuals first on an emotional level and only after that filters through conscious thought do I see them as something other than a human taking individual actions.

The way we(humanity) react first will always be at the emotional level and the way our emotions are constructed will always effect our behavior and relationships with each other. And when emotions are not consistent across groups, we find that understanding becomes quite difficult. Because at the base level we don’t understand and only at the intellectual remove do we see.

This is one of the reasons emotional introspection is so important. Because without the understanding of the what and why we feel, we cannot understand the how another feels. Emotional intelligence is bot just understanding yourself. But it must start there.

Burnout in a pandemic

I made the realization that it isn’t lack of motivation or will which holds me back from writing. It’s a desire to not think. To not form conscious thought.

And I can see the parallels to the burnout that I experienced years ago. Burnout that I came out the other side of, scarred but enlightened.

But it’s not something I care to experience again.
However, many of my release mechanisms no longer exist.

Going to the bar with friends, not gonna happen with Covid.

Going out to dinner at my favorite restaurant? Can’t. They closed down. They’d been open for the majority of my life but couldn’t sustain during covid shutdowns. It’s understandable as their food didn’t travel well but it was amazing and I’ll never have it again.
I used to eat a meal then sit in their parking lot watching these giant trees wave in the breeze. Just getting lost in the moment.

I used to eat a weekly lunch with 2 of my best friends. We’d talk about our lives and it was extremely important to me. But covid ended that.

I have other means that help but it’s not enough.
I don’t know what to do. I recognize the problem. But those were relationships that took years to build. Took years to feel comfortable with.
And I just don’t know.

Thoughts filter from the ether in the dark of morning

We all want the fairy tale. The one that says that we’ll find perfect love and be happy. But chasing that dream just results in ashes in the mouth. There is no perfection. No dream. Fairy tales are full of blood and betrayal. And we forget that. Bound instead to the spun sugar fantasy that modern cinema and Disney has spoon fed us.

There are people who are good for us. Who would be companions. Who would walk beside us in our slow boat to the end. But our brains are filled with the thinly veiled rot. And when things get hard…and they always get hard…many of us bail. Looking to that false sunrise over the horizon.

Of course, if the hard is abuse, then get out as soon as you can. Leaving them dead in your wake if neccesary. Just dispose of the body. Have a plan. Because our justice system is bullshit.

But from that digression, instead focus on what’s real. Not some thinly veiled possible. Find the people who love you. Stand up and beside them.
Life is hard. Alone, its impossible. At least long term.

But be real. Have the hard discussions. Get on the same page. Figure out what works. Love each other.
Nothing else is as important.

A rededication of purpose

There is an aspect of my life I’ve allowed to fall away. Thinking that with a purpose served there was no use to learning; to changing in that direction.

However, it was through learning and wielding in those aspects that I felt most alive. Most happy. Leaving. Taking a vacation for my, for the rest of my life, has left me without purpose. Having had purpose for half of my life, it felt like setting a burden down. Like I was allowed to breathe in full measure without labour. And while it was that, one loses focus. Loses the path when life becomes an endless parade of distractions. Hoping to fill the eternal empty of endless days.

Distraction, for a time, was nice. My soul needed it. But that time is past. My soul needs another path. An old path. Its steps chosen again and again. As the wheel breaks and turns. As the thin hopes of a hundred years crack, revealed to be naught but facade.

Only the storm remains. The deep night. And the eternal winter.

On knowing and deeper relationships

It strikes me. How little we actually know each other. What our likes are. How we feel about subtle things. What makes us laugh. What we find amusing. What smells bring memories. What tastes wake passions. Who we are. Beyond the social surface level.

I want to know all of it. Because I’m a knowledge junky. I crave information, context, feelings, hopes, nightmares. I want to see. To know.

But I resign myself to quarter truths and half knowing. Because that level of intimacy is daunting. The conversations we have in our minds. Things we want to say but don’t. Letting it pass by. Each moment lost.

Deep truths wake deep truths shared in others. I’ve done it. Seen it. Less with men than women. There is a cultural divide there which transcends generational shifts. As more people show public face due to a life being lived in the exposure of the internet, their deeper selves are buried deeper. Shared with a bare few. Isolating us further.

Where we’ll land, as to stable norms, is still being established. But it seems we establish more surface relationships. More treacherous parasocial relationships. With few bedrock ties. Leaving us more socially and emotionally vulnerable. And not the good kind of vulnerable.

It’s interesting at a remove. But living within such structures while desiring deep connections, is a recipe for pain. That dull ache of without.

Hoping not to mortgage any future I may aspire to

Fantasies. We all have them. Some are pleasant and diverting. Some sexual and arousing. Some dark and deadly. But some are dangerous.

The ones I fimd most dangerous are the ones that seem tangible. The ones that could be. Often, these are the fantasies which do the most damage.

That dream of better furniture. Better car. Better computer. Better clothes. It all mounts up and we can convince ourselves that going into debt for these things is a good thing. That these things will make our lives better. I’ve been there. I’ve bought the nice thing. Hell, even enjoyed the nice thing. But the debt of it dragged on me. It made and still makes my life harder.

Now. I don’t indulge on the fantasy of the possible. I still have hopes. Still dream of better. But I don’t project myself into that dream. Don’t try to force that future into shape. Hoping that by having I’ll be happy. Mostly. I’m still human. Looking forward, looking back. To a tomorrow a little bit better than today. Trying not to sabotage my future, by leveraging my present, to aquire a few baubles.

No matter how much they call to me.

A belated book review

I’ve been reading a book series by an author going by the pen name Shirtaloon. It’s about a Australian man who gets transported to another world via a summons gone wrong.

I find the series intelligently written though with editing mistakes and word placement which can be attributed to the self publication process.

I tore through the first 3 quite large books which are available for purchase on Amazon or through Kindle Unlimited. At the end of book 3, with the next book slated for a December release. However, the author has a Patreon. And on checking, I found that he had the equivalent of 4 more books available to read. I signed up immediately.

I’ve blazed through those 4 books and am stuck reading each chapter as they come out.

These books have evoked strong feelings in the community of folks who read LitRpg. For 2 reasons. The first is that the protagonist is perceived as almost rabidly atheist. That’s not how I read the motivations. I found him to have some of my same attitudes. In a monotheistic society, any dissension is seen as attack. But any true theist should welcome contention.
Faith which is not examined, which is not tested; is not faith. Instead, it is zealotry and zealotry is not something to aspire to.

Now this protagonist has no innate respect for authority. Any authority. Including God or gods. And that resonates with me. Respect is earned. He’s new to their world. They haven’t built up any goodwill. Why should he bow and scrape.

The second point of contention is that he’s political and he goes on little rants. But that’s not contrived and his friends and later, even himself makes comments about it.

I recommend the series He Who Fights Monsters to anyone who likes cultivation or gamelit. Or anyone who just likes good fantasy. Cause this is definitely it.