I was told by my friend that it's ok to whine in writing. So, let me write, and only whine a bit.
I'll be honest with you, my readers. I can be, because I don't really get judgement back from you, so this blog allows me to open up.
Tonight started off sad, and ended in devastating feelings, and I'm writing now, less for a story to tell, but to just have an open, raw moment.
Tonight, I felt isolated. With snow moving in, I can't travel an hour to go see a partner who I'm working on writing a blog about. I know that she would hold me, and let her fingers calm me and make me feel not so alone.
I don't live with a partner, I'm solo. I'm horrible to live with, for one. But I need to feel someone near me, and I get quite lonely from time to time. It's a trade off to being a solo.
The weather made it especially hard, because I have a friend who I recently told that I love travelling in the snow.
I texted this friend, and love everything about them. They are just awesome and have a beautiful soul.
And we opened up to each other about things that we don't share with others. Not on a blog, not in a book, not to most people that know us.
I opened up about my early life. They opened up about how they felt about themselves.
I thought that it was an opportunity to tell them how wonderful they are, and how unique they are from the people they feared they were like.
And very quickly, it became confrontational. They didn't want to hear what I had to say.
I kept trying to circle around to the point that I have a unique view when I was told that I had nothing new to say.
As a writer, that's like being told you are worthless.
And I felt pigeonholed by my sex, told that I was just a cis male mansplaining things.
I had to look up that word. I honestly didn't know what it meant.
It means a man being patronizing to a woman. I was probably told this because I'm considerably older than the person I was talking to. They've lived about 2/3 of the lifetime that I have.
I grew up in a physically, emotionally, and chemically abusive home.
I've had a combined time in marriages twice as long than this person has been legally allowed to drink.
I've seen every form of monogamy and non-monogamy.
The discussion also touched on religion. I've studied Zen Buddhism from about the age of 8. I was raised Catholic. I've been a Pentecostal preacher, and I ran a local Wicca/Pagan group.
I've spent my life studying philosophy, religion, sociology, and psychology.
I've been in over 100 relationships from one night stand to marriage and children.
All of these things have baring on the topic. And being told to, basically, sit down and shut up, because they already knew everything I knew... was insulting to say the least.
And yes, age is a factor. Having lived 150% longer does that to your point of view. Having been in many more situations also does so.
I'm not condescending or patronizing. But I have a lot more experience, a lot more education on the subject, and a lot to teach.
Now, I'm explaining this to you, readers. I said as much in not so many words. In fact, I said that I've walked more paths when told basically "I've already walked your paths."
No, not by a long shot, they haven't. I've been to maximum security prison and stood on top of a mountain in Japan. If you have done these two things, readers, reach out, and we'll compare just how many paths we share.
Of the 7 billion people in the world, few have walked my path.
I was calm, though. I explained that I was just trying to give another point of view.
Their view was of feeling horrible about themselves.
I think they are wonderful. I think they are extraordinary. I think they are talented, insightful, and a blessing to be around.
I was told that I'm spouting the same bullshit they've already heard. I was told that I'm crazy. I was told that I'm a dumbass. I was told that I was a spoiled brat. I was told that I was unattractive. I was told that I'm an immature, pompous dick.
By this point in the conversation, I'm bawling. What they are telling me really hurts. I've stopped crying, though I started this blog with my eyes still wet.
But in writing my previous attributes as a unique person, I didn't hurt so much. I have a lot to offer. While my life has been very imperfect, I have unique lessons. It's why I wrote my book, and why great podcasts have reviewed it as a unique insight.
But I love this person. I still consider them a friend, even though I was told in no uncertain terms to lose their number.
And it still hurts when you hear something hurtful like that. It hurts a lot. To know that when you try to give them a cheering up, and tell them that they are so damn special and wonderful... that they don't want your words. They don't care, or respect them. That they don't care or respect you, as a person. That they hit you with parts of you that are who you are.
To be called "just a female", or "just a male", by someone furious with you, it hurts.
Ironically, I was told also "don't be a girl", hehe... which I can laugh at now, only because its easier than crying.
They are wonderful. I want them to know they are wonderful.
And no, I'll stand my ground, I'm wonderful and unique, too. I sure as hell didn't write a 500 page book because everyone else has my experience.
But I know what happened here, now that I've calmed down and thought it out.
When I opened up, they took my side of things. I didn't get angry, or call them patronizing. I told them, "That's a good idea." It's because I've done therapy, a lot of therapy as a teen. I know how to listen to the advice. Sure, when you first here it, you think, "What the fuck do you know?"
But fact is, that's teenage thinking. It's a combination of "I know it all" and "You don't know shit about me." Been there, done that in 24/7 in patient care. On that, I should have gotten a diploma upon leaving.
So, when they opened up to me, I took the same tactic, though I'm much more wordy and use myself as an example.
The problem was, they want to feel their pain the way a codependent wants to overlook all of the flaws of the partner they are addicted to. I contradicted that view. I was even told as much.
I was explained that now was a bad time, that they had shit to deal with. I had intervened, and they rejected it.
It's not that what I said couldn't help them. It's that they aren't ready to listen. I could go further, but I'm not going to get into specifics here, or ever.
They specifically told me, point blank, paraphrasing "Don't help me. You aren't helping. Stop helping."
It's not logical thinking. It's emotional thinking.
What I was saying was right. Their view of themselves is wrong. They are NOT horrible.
But they aren't willing to listen.
Earlier in the conversation, they had apologized to me. They were sorry for being in a bad emotional spot when we met.
And it was evident that they knew that they couldn't control their emotions. And rather than facing up to them, owning them, and listening to others who might possibly know a bit more than them, they ran.
I pointed out that I knew, and I did, that what they were doing was not facing the problem, but blocking it out by blocking people out who contradicted their view.
What I didn't figure is what happened. They snapped at me. They said very mean things to me.
Rather than face the monster they needed to face, I was an easier target. I was attacked, and sent away.
Here's what really hurts...
I may have lost a friend tonight. I may have lost a friend, because I just couldn't let them have this view of themselves as a bad person when I know them to be incredible.
So, I got a bit of my self pride back, which I let be crushed.
It's not their fault. This is human nature, and I forgot that because we'd already discussed some things about me before that. It turned on a dime when the focus was on them. They didn't want to open up, discuss, and especially, didn't want to listen.
But they will, and that's what hurts. One day, maybe not even soon, maybe in a few years, they'll realize I was right.
Round about the time they turn 37, they'll hopefully know two things.
#1 - They are wonderful.
#2 - They didn't know everything way back when.
I hope that time comes much sooner. I want my friend.
But there does come an age where you realize somethings. You start staring death in the face.
It's not your parents dying. It's not your coworkers dying. It's not your friends dying. It's the people younger than you dying.
And you start thinking, "Fuck, the expiration date on this thing is approaching too damn fast."
I'm losing friends now to heart attacks. Friends I've known for 20 years. Friends I've known when the person I'm talking about in this blog was in diapers.
And at that age, you start seeing people older than you in a whole new light. You start to revere them.
And all that crap your heard that was "bullshit I've always heard" starts making sense in a whole new light.
You see, you heard it, but you didn't really hear it. I heard it. You heard it. We all heard it.
YOLO starts changing meaning from 15, to 25, to 35, to 75.
You heard the words. You do not yet grasp all their meanings. If the elderly were paid by the "I already know that"s of the younger, rather than taxes... they'd all be millionaires.
And someday, when what I said becomes their reality... and when they have to face someone younger than them throwing their words back at them that they spoke, it will hurt, and they'll regret.
Haven't we all done that? We told someone something, only later to realize what we said?
Haven't we all yelled at the adult? We know better. They don't understand.
And then we become them. And we can't rewind the clock. And we can't take the words back. And we hear those words from someone else. And it cuts so hard and so deep.
I've lived long enough to have that happen. I used to think my parents were idiots.
I used to think they were some 1950s, white bred, bullshit machines who spouted the bullshit of their culture at me.
I often look at the new protest generation. It makes me laugh. I was protesting in marches at my elementary school. The younger generation thinks they invented the protest, or revived it from the 1960s.
I grew up in it. Who do you think was the catalyst for groups like Anonymous? Shit, I was there when that group fucking formed, and I was already their senior. I was at the fucking planning of Chanology... their first real world protest of significant size.
I was protesting censorship in cities like Chicago before I could legally drink.
And I was a brash little shit then, just like the new generation. I thought I invented protest and was taking the world by storm.
But my friends included people from something called The Well. That's BBS days, you youngin's. That's a Commodore 64 on a 300 baud modem. I was on BBS's at the age of 8. That's 1984, the same year as the book by George Orwell. That's before the new generation was even born.
And I was learning from elders back then, the hippies who turned to computers and wanted to change the world.
And yet, I was still an arrogant little shit.
And you were either in 100% or you were a poser.
Time has not dulled me, but refined me.
And I look at those people now with awe, and reverence.
And now, it is thinking to this time when I was emotionally unwound, and a little shit, and hurting.
And I lashed out at my parents, and secretly at my teachers who were just reciting bullshit.
And I lashed out at older friends who were patronizing and condescending. "Yeah, whatever. Maybe that was true then, but the world has changed!"
And I regret it. I regret it so fucking much. I should have been thanking them. Well, most of them, some were and are still full of shit, haha.
And someday, this person will realize that I wasn't their enemy. Someday, they'll understand the saying, “Give advice; if people don't listen, let adversity teach them”.
Or more to this person, I would say, `listen carefully, pay attention and I will speak' - Buddha.
For all religions speak of listening carefully? Why? Because life will teach you the hard lesson if the soft spoken lesson is ignored.
Can a person ignore all advice, and turn completely inward to find knowledge? Yes, they can. But slow, they will learn it over an entire life, and waste the experience of those around them, as they reinvent the wheel and strain at understanding their suffering.
I have given my advice to many who ignored it. A pastor with 30+ years of experience heard me gently and tearfully beg them to reconsider their actions. They angrily threw me out. And they lost everything when what I had pleaded with them to not do, they did anyways.
Listening to soft words would have saved the complete loss of the achievement of their life long dream. That man is no longer a pastor, and never will have what he lost.
It is not condescending or patronizing when you wish your words to lead to a better end for the individual.
I loved that pastor. He was a good man, and I wanted him to remain a good man.
I love this friend. They are good as well, but don't believe they are. Do I watch them suffer a long painful lesson, or hand the truth over in a heartbeat?
How could I, if I truly am a friend, not hand over the truth of their goodness?
Maybe I lost a friend. But in the end, they will know their goodness. And I will have not been a friend to sit and watch them suffer.
Either sit, and watch them suffer. Or be pushed away, and they suffer alone.
Neither is a good choice. My choice is that they don't suffer. And when I was suffering, they offered me their hand. And I'm glad for it. And when I reached out my hand, it was slapped away. But they made the choice as my good friend. And I made the same choice as their good friend.
It still hurts.
It hurts like you wouldn't believe... or maybe you would. Maybe you've been there. I've been here a few times.
I remember a while back while sitting with this friend. A lady friend of their's came and sat. She told of abuse, she told of fear, she told of a man who might kill her... this man she called a boyfriend. I was shocked.
My friend told her that she would defend her, this woman who had her eyes blacked.
My thoughts were that this woman should run, flee, do anything. Not defend and wait for this evil man to change. My friend did not go so far, but in defending her, they were a good friend.
And I defend my friend! She is good! She is not the horrible thing she says she is! And I defend that!
I cannot protect my friendships at the cost of letting them know that they are good people. If anyone wishes me to be a good friend and watch them suffer, I cannot be both.
Wife #2 knows that. She suffers, so much. She ran to me for years with her suffering. But my words always fell on deaf ears.
I could not be her good friend and watch her suffer. I chose to be her good friend, and do not watch her suffer anymore. She still suffers, and I am still her good friend. But words have ceased forever.
I am at this point with this friend now. I will be their good friend, and that means that for as long as there are words, I will always say, "You are good, and you are loved!"
The words may cease. But I will remain their good friend.
For if I'm not...
If I'm silent to their suffering...
I am present, but present like a thief. I steal their presence at the cost of good friendship.
I will not be their thief. I do not sneak in. I announce my presence.
And as a good friend, I walk out when asked. It is a thief that breaks in unannounced.
And it isn't until now that I know why I wrote this blog post. It is because I want them to know my position should they want my friendship.
I will not break in. But I'll gladly step in if invited.
As I told them, and I'm using the actual words here that I spoke to them, "When you calm down... I'm here... you are not [bad]. you are a wonderful person, and I want you to know that"
Right now, I hurt. But I know they are hurting, too. And I wish to stop them from hurting. But I may have to live with my hurt in my attempt to stop theirs. I only regret... not having better words that may have worked. And I forgive the slap I received. I know what caused it, and that's always to be forgiven.