My Romantic Movie Night

Just got done watching Garden of Words.  The animation in that film is absolutely stunning.  It is a visual masterpiece.  Thought about doing a review of it, but I figured that I haven’t written anything of substance on this page in a while.  Honestly haven’t had much that inspires me to write about.  I could write about Trump’s latest idiocy, but that’s done by the entire fucking media.  To be fair, he doesn’t make it hard.  How are people saying that America didn’t elect its first female President?  Sure looks that way to me.  We elected an oversized teenage girl into the Presidency.  The glass ceiling has been broken!

But back to the film, it may have been a visual masterpiece, but I kind of hate it.  Hear me out – it all comes down to the ending.  There’s no resolution!  You have this scene where the underage kid reveals to the woman who he has bonded with when he finally figures out who she is that he’s in love with her.  She totally shoots him down.  It’s a harsh scene.  I felt so hard for that kid.  Throwing your heart out and then getting it thrown in your face is hard.  Then the adult woman who he admitted his feelings for realizes that she has feelings for him too and goes after the kid.  It’s a truly fantastic scene when they meet and the kid is all sad and angry and rails on her, only for her to run into his arms.  I love that scene.  It’s some truly amazing payoff and the voice acting is phenomenal.  It’s a testament to the people who made it.

Then she leaves!  The two are apart and that’s it.  Come on!  Now, I get that this would be a little weird, considering the fact that she’s 27 years old and he’s 15.  But better films have made this work.  Why have her leave?  Maybe have the two admitting how they feel but also acknowledging that they can’t be together because of the age gap and have them realizing that they will have to wait a little bit.  That’s an acknowledgement of reality while still having them looking to keep their feelings alive.  It would have been much more fulfilling if the film ended with her finding a life close to the person she loves, and having him giving her the shoes he had been making the whole film to her at the end.  Like a kind of promise.  Wouldn’t that have been more fulfilling?

See, here’s the thing about me – I’m a hardcore closet romantic.  When I watch FLCL, I feel a genuine tinge for the kid when he is falling for an older woman.  It’s funny, American media bitches about how the idea of a younger man dating an older woman is so frowned upon.  Japan certainly doesn’t shy away from an age difference with boys and women.  What’s more, they also make it respectable.  Sure, there is plenty of fan service for busty older women that young horny boys are into, but in both Garden of Words and FLCL, they play it as these women being genuine people with the boys discovering their romantic identity with them.  In both cases, it makes for some great scenes.  But while FLCL played it off that the kid falling for the older girl was a metaphor for him growing up and accepting who he is, Garden of Words played the romantic angle straight.  Which makes it that much more frustrating when the film ends on a sour note for no good fucking reason.

I really am bad about it.  When I watch the scene in Stein’s Gate when Christina and Okarin admit their feelings for each other, I judge that scene harshly as well.  It’s a great scene, but it could have been better.  For starters, the music in there is terrible.  It’s distractingly bad.  The scene would have been better served if there was no music at all.  Would have added to the emotional gravity as well, considering the fact that Okarin was about to let the woman he just admitted that he loves die.  Genuinely would have loved that scene more.  Also, get rid of the narration by Christina.  It added nothing.  Just quiet.  Have the rain be the biggest sound, with a few seconds for the audience to take in the cruel irony of what was happening with these two characters.

Anytime I see romantic scenes in stuff I like, I typically get all butterflies, while secretly seeing ways the scene could be better and really make me all warm and buttery about it.  Am I the only one?  No joke, someone in the comments, tell me if I am fucking crazy here.  So many great romantic scenes in movies are ruined because of bad details.  Used a lot of anime references.  What can I say, they tend to play romance a lot better than sappy love stories in American cinema.  That’s not to say that it isn’t done well in other mediums.  In the French film Blue is the Warmest Color, I feel genuine heartbreak as Adele is first introduced to the truth about her sexuality with a classmate, only for her feelings to be totally crushed when she realizes it was just a one-off thing and not a sign of true attraction.  The tears on her face seemed genuine.

I guess it’s a sign of me getting older.  As the years on my birthday cake grow, and my time having been single grows, I feel more and more of it.  But no one who sees me in person will know that.  My cynicism is well-known to those who speak to me.  Groj knows, I’ve made no secret of it here.  Deep down, though, there is that part of me that secretly longs to have that moment where I meet a girl at a place I regularly go and then strike up a conversation and something grows between us.  A man can dream, right?  Granted, everyone goes to bars to meet people these days.  I go to bookstores and walks around my home.  Not a lot of places for romance.  But hey, it can happen, right?

What about all of you?  What romantic scenes from stuff (I swear, if someone says The Notebook I’m gonna virtually smack you.  That movie is fucking terrible) have made you all warm and buttery inside?  Let me know in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“I love you.  I can’t help it.  Yukino, I think I’ve fallen in love with you.” – Takao Akizuki, The Garden of Words

Peace out,

Maverick

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The High Price of Failure

A dear friend of mine recently graduated from basic with the US Navy.  I was proud to see her in dress whites.  Girl’s outfit was crisp, pressed, and the shoes were so shined that you could light a room with them if you had a window available for light refraction.  Now she is off to another base to study.  She’s going into Naval Intelligence.  Listening to her describe training, the dedication and the effort she put in, it’s humbling.  I hate to say it, but more than anything, the biggest emotion I feel about all of this is jealousy.

I haven’t accomplished anything with my life.  Not really.  I got a BA that isn’t even worth the 120 credits it took to get it.  Unless you have a Master’s, nobody even cares.  It just goes on a resume and that’s it.  My resume is absolute shit.  I work for the state I live in, and I am desperately trying to get ahead in my employment.  But it’s a waste of time.  I know what’s holding me back – my shit resume.  I have one job that I’ve held on to for more than a year.  One.  The rest aren’t even past six months.  It makes me look flaky.  It makes me look undependable.  Had a ton of interviews, but I haven’t even had any that have hit up my references.  That is bad.  I work at a fucking call center.  My life is helping people that I want to murder with a hammer out with their fucking problems.  It’s awful.  And at every fucking interview I have to say that it has been a learning experience or an exciting challenge or some other piece of bullshit PR nonsense.  I can’t say that this job is sucking the life out of me.  I can’t say that I am secretly wishing that I had some kind of addiction or other problem, so then at least I could say my life is unique in some way.

But it doesn’t end there.  In fact, that’s just the tip of the iceberg that is my entirely worthless life.  I am a miserable, depressing person who has depression so severe that I don’t remember what feeling joy is like.  It makes NOBODY want to talk to me.  I got one friend who talks to me on the regular.  Well, two, now that my girly-mate is out of basic and at A-School with the Navy.  So, because I am depressing as fuck, my friend life is basically gone.  With fewer and fewer people who can even stomach talking to me, I feel more and more alone in this town.  After all, Eeyore only works as a character in fiction.  Everyone in the 100 Acre Wood wants to be his friend.  Because even though he isn’t always the most cheerful, he still gets in on the fun with everyone else.  Yeah, it works in fiction.  And nowhere else.

Then there is my absolute train-wreck known simply as my love life.  That’s so pathetic that I recently decided to hit up a girl I used to work with at the Library who I had never really liked, but had always found to be appealing on a sexual level.  Because hey, why the fuck not?!  Yeah, I know I’ll never even get a response from that stellar waste of time.  That didn’t at all make me look pathetic.  Nope, not even a little.  Had a friend who said it’s good that I took the initiative.  Not for one second do I buy that.  Haven’t had a relationship in three years.  Haven’t had sex in three years.  Statistically speaking, the longer a person is single, the higher the chance that they will remain that way.  There is no hope for me.

So when my friend, the Seaman Apprentice, tells me about her life down there and all the work she has put in, I am both humbled and unimaginably jealous.  Her life is going places!  She’s married!  She’s got a whole life waiting for her when she gets home!  What do I have?  I got out of college literally on the skin of my teeth.  I got D’s my last semester.  Straight D’s.  But D’s get degrees now.  Gotta love America’s pathetic education system.  I was so burned out that I didn’t even get my degree printed on paper to let my parents hang on their wall.  You gotta pay for that shit now, and I am NOT giving that fucking worthless institution one more fucking dime!  Fuck them!  Fuck all of them!

Where does that leave me?  No-goddamn-where, that’s where.  I am chubby, pathetic failure who currently has a nasty cold in the middle of summer that is fucking pissing me off.  I took today off work, when I don’t even have the time to take off.  You know what my leave time is?!  Not that!  But if I had gone in today I would have felt like shit and been cracking on the phone.  That’s life.  I get to go to a job that I hate in order to help fucking imbeciles get their fucking child support.  That’s right, I work for child support.  The most hated entity in the fucking state, after the cops.

I feel so fucking pathetic.  I have accomplished nothing.  I will continue to accomplish nothing.  I am trying to finish a novel, but I have so many unfinished novels that I know will go absolutely nowhere.  All I have to even be remembered for once I am gone is this website, and after a while that would disappear too.  If I vanished tomorrow, how many fucking people would even notice I’m gone?!  Not many.  All the people who have left me behind.

And it’s too fucking late.  I can’t fix any of the friendships that are gone.  My resume ain’t getting any better.  My love/sex life has a plot at the local cemetery.  The price of failure.  All I am is a failed boyfriend.  A failed fiance.  A failed best friend.  A failed medical records technician.  A failed student.  All I have is failure.  I wish I knew what to do.  I keep trying.  I bust my ass at that worthless fucking job and I have no friends.  Only friends I have had there have left.  I would give anything to have one chance to go back in time and change things.  I’d give anything.  Just once.  But life doesn’t work that way.

Well, that’s enough wallowing in self-pity.  Think I’ll finish this here and cry like a little bitch because I can’t even do the normal thing and suck down a bottle of Jack Daniels to drown away my pain.  I don’t even have the will power for a fucking addiction.

Until next time, a quote,

Maybe I’m too young to know what the world is supposed to be. But it’s not supposed to be this. Can’t be this.” – Huey Freeman

Peace out,

Maverick

Holding Hands

She asked us out for a drink
After work
Long day
Sounded like a great idea

Perfect evening
Restaurant is fun
We only have a couple
Gotta drive home

She gets white girl wasted
So much fun
No fucks to give
All the barriers are down

Decides to stop
Good girl
But what now?
Can’t go home this buzzed

Family there
Doubles as landlords
Asks me to drive around
We can shoot the shit until it wears off

As we drive, she has idea
Takes phone out and starts shooting video
So much fun
Narrating the drive and being ridiculous

Such a fun night
Don’t want it to end
She’s so much fun!
A crazy idea, I have

A dare – livestream this!
She does it!
This night is so insane!
Might be bad, but who cares?

Then, gets more serious
We start talking about other things
And that’s when it happens
She holds my hand

Her fingers lock with mine
It’s a lover’s grip
She leans against my arm
What’s going on here?

Asking more serious questions
Asks if I love her
What can I say?
What can I possibly say?

This is wrong
She’s involved
She’s loyal
What is happening here?

We hold hands, talk into the phone camera
Goes on for hours
Why don’t I want this to end?
Feels so good

It can’t go on
When the buzz wears off, the loyalty returns
She realizes the truth
What’s happening here is wrong

We get to her home
Ask her what it meant
Holds our clutched hand to her face
Says she doesn’t know

Doesn’t know?
We’ve been holding each other like lovers for hours!
Why doesn’t she have some idea?
So damn confused

Next day, tries to avoid it
Don’t want to tell the truth
What happened between us
Who is helped by the truth

Truth comes out
She tells us the truth
Was using us
Used our loneliness to get what she wanted

It hurts, but it doesn’t
In fact, it’s still just confusing
I still loved that night
Would do it all over again in a heartbeat

However, the damage is done
She is ashamed of herself
Become awkward and distant
What has happened to us?

She’s putting distance between us
No!
Not now!
Not after what has just been shared!

That night, and her gentle clutching hand
Will stay with me forever
But here’s the worrying part
Will I stay with her that long?

I held her hand
She held mine
She held it to her face
It was like a kiss

I don’t know what this means
Nor does she
Get the feeling everything hinges on us figuring the answer out
The question she wanted to ask

Was afraid to
Might not like the answer
Wanted to know anyway – do I love her
Answer is, maybe

She held my hand
I held hers
It was enough
For two hours, it was enough

Peace out,

Maverick

2016 Year in Review

Back when I was in college, I used to do Academic Year in Review posts.  It was a nice little way to wrap up the year.  With this year at an end, and me being all high as fuck (it’s legal in my state now, blow me), I thought that I would restart the tradition.  Only this time, it won’t be the Academic Year in Review, it will just be the Year in Review.  This year sure seemed to fly by.  That is, after I found my new job.  Once I was back to work, time has absolutely blazed by.  It’s been a crazy ride, but you know what, a lot has happened.  There’s a ton to talk about, so let’s get down to it.  Consider this my post for New Year’s.  By the time I get finished typing this out, it should be New Year’s Eve, anyway.

The year started on a terrible note.  I had just gone through the worst experience of my professional life.  I have already told the story of the crazy bitch and the PR company she worked for.  I haven’t heard a single thing from that company, so I guess they forgot about me.  Maybe that, or me pwning her into oblivion in her unfathomably immature texting flame war was enough so she didn’t want to deal with me again.  The way she copped out was just pathetic.  Coming off the heels of that, I was in a desperate financial situation.  I had no money.  My parents were basically having to pay my rent.  A fact that hurt me to no end.  Now back to the job market.  I was not doing well, mentally.

Months dragged by.  However, hope arrived!  I got an interview at a real estate company.  I was literally hired on the spot.  The power of my damn snappy suit, I tell you what.  For the first time in a long time, I felt pretty good.  Sure, the job had no benefits, and the pay wasn’t great, but it was work.  And I could look for a better job while there.  It’s always easier to find work when already employed.  It just looks better on a resume.  Anyway, two days in, and I saw something that immediately made my blood run cold.  It was a box at the office with the name of the PR company that I had just been through that fiasco with.  Immediately, I knew that this was bad.  I asked, and it seems they rented some office space there.  This was bad.  Say that crazy bitch dropped in?  Say she talk to them about me?  She’s as vindictive as Hillary Clinton, and will abuse her power whenever possible.

Sure enough, my worries were confirmed.  I get told by the same woman that hired me, at the end of my second day, that I am “not the right fit for the position.”  I was pissed.  No wonder this job had such a high turnover rate.  Did I not mention that?  Seems that the job did.  I was told as much.  Given the absurd things I had to do every fucking day there, I genuinely am not surprised.  Oh well.  To be honest, given where I am now, I don’t see losing that job as a huge loss.  Though it will be weird giving a W-2 to my aunt, who does the family taxes, for a job that I only held for two days.

More months passed.  I was so miserable.  The worst thing about not working, that they don’t tell you, is how you lose track of what day is what.  See, something else happened.  My special lawyer girly-mate left.  She and I had been thick as thieves.  I knew that it was coming, but still, driving her to the airport was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  The last time I did it, we shared an amazing kiss.  That girl’s lips were among the softest I have ever gotten the chance to kiss.  This time, it was just heart-breaking.  Last time, I had some reassurance that she would be back.  This time, there was none.  This time, she was leaving with a person that she had been dating to come back to.  This time, I could feel that she wasn’t going to be coming back.  Something inside just told me it was so.  That fact, more than any other, hurt me.  How many people have I watched walk away from me, knowing that I will likely never see them again?  I don’t know.  I doubt I ever will.

The next major event came up.  A neurology clinic that I had applied to got back to me!  It was an interview, and I kicked ass!  Hell, I impressed the person I was interviewing with so much, that they wanted me to meet with the manager of the office too.  I took them up on that, and it was a damn good call.  Two interviews for the price of one.  By the time I got back to my place, I could tell that good things were coming.  Sure enough, about a week later, I got a call asking if I would come back in, this time for something call a “working interview.”  A totally new concept to me, it’s when you come in and basically sit in and do parts of the job for a day, to show what you are made of and how quickly you can adapt.  I don’t deny, walking in to that office, looking ready to work, I felt so good.  It was a little nerve-wracking, but I very quickly got the hang of stuff.  Plus, the women in the office were great.  I was the only guy.  The only one.  They were all fun people, and I felt like I was fitting in just nicely.  By the end of the day, walking out, I felt on top of the world.  Got paid for my work (they have to pay you for a working interview), and they told me that they would be in touch within a week or so.  I decided to wait a few days, and then “check in.”  Show how eager I am to get to work for them.  It seemed smart.  Was told that the woman who was doing the hiring was out.  Okay.  That’s cool.  I’ll call back on Friday.  End of the week, exactly a week from the working interview.  Will find out then.  Had good feelings.

I call back, told that she is busy, but would call me back.  They took down my name and number.  I figured that they were people of their word, so nothing to worry about, right?  I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  In a way, I’m still waiting.  In what was one of the most unprofessional displays I have ever seen, they never got back to me.  To this day, I still haven’t heard a thing.  How unprofessional is that?  If you put in a day with a company, and really try your best, don’t you at least deserve to hear back from them?  I was so pissed.  What’s more, it was such a good opportunity.  A job I can walk to!  That’s what it was.  I could commute to work in five minutes, on foot.  Ten minutes in winter.  They didn’t even have the guts to tell me that I didn’t get the job.  So pissed, I was.

After that failure, my depression was doing a real number on me.  It had been getting steadily worse, but this was almost past the tipping point.  It was past a year since I had started working at the neurology clinic I was at.  A year since the best opportunity I had had slipped through my fingers, all because I was sick and angry.  What an idiot, I was.  But the real blow was coming.  My parents could no longer keep helping me with my rent.  The old man wanted to retire, so they couldn’t handle the lacking income.  By this point, I was beyond desperate.  However, hope came!  In my darkest hour, hope came.  I got an interview for a state job.  It was the ugliest state job one can ask for.  The most thankless state job one could ask for.  A job that involves money and children.  You can probably extrapolate from there.  Just the day before, I had had a golden idea to hit up an old boss of mine on Facebook and ask if I could use her for a reference.  She was more than happy to oblige.  And it was just in time, as this place called me back and asked me for some references.  My old boss told me she gave me the best reference ever when they called.  I was so happy.  Two days later, I got the call.  I was hired.  In that instant, relief flooded into my veins.

My new job starts, and it was in the first day where I met someone who has become so important to my life in such a short amount of time.  We were hired at the same time, and both of us were there at the same orientation.  It was all awkward and quiet, so I decided to break the ice.  What an awesome decision, that was.  We got each other’s name, and thus began a friendship that is giving me so much to look forward to.

The job is so fucking complicated.  Even now, I feel so stupid when I look at things and I don’t know what any of it means.  Plus, our office is so underfunded that we use fucking DOS.  I shit you not.  We use DOS to run our entire agency.  The level of unreal in that blows my fucking mind.  So much to learn, and I am in the Customer Service section of our Division.  Meaning that I get to deal with people’s hate directly.  Groj, so unpleasant.  But more than that, I was having a bit of an identity crisis for a while.  Being called by my given name, it felt so surreal.  Like someone else was in that office.  For a brief while, I couldn’t tell who was who.  Then, one day, I saw some stupid SJW shit posted online, and I reconnected with Lucien all over again.

As is want to happen, whenever I make a friend of the opposite sex, and things are going splendidly, something goes wrong.  It is my life, after all.  Her significant other has jealousy issues.  Those of you who have followed me for many years can maybe see where this is going.  The jealousy issues peaked when she hung out at my place and we had some drinks and were just chilling.  It was awesome.  It was everything I could have asked for.  For so long, all I have wanted is to have friends over to my place.  We could watch movies, make good food, play games.  It’s all I have wanted for years.  That night will go down in history as one of the best nights of my life, which then translated into one of the worst the next day, when our friendship was falling apart due to the love of her life taking umbrage with me.  I’ll give this guy some credit, he’s actually met me.  I could tell when we did meet that he was sizing me up.  And I don’t know if he liked what he saw or not.  I outsmarted him and his friends in a game that we were playing.  Felt good.  My poker face destroyed him.  I then decided to just fuck with all of them in the next round because I could.  We learned something about each other that night.  I learned that he wanted to stake his claim to his girl in front of me.  He learned that I am hard to read when I want to be.  I thought that the guy doesn’t like me.  At the very least he sees me as something of a threat.  But the way I see it, any beliefs about me being a threat should go due to recent events.  If there is anything that has cemented me as nothing approaching a threat ever, it’s what’s happened.

When things fell apart after the night at my place, I basically had to concede everything that I have ever wanted in a friendship for so long.  She listened to my heartfelt and nearly tearful statement about how much this hurt, and there was nothing.  Not a single emotion that registered.  She said that she can’t please everyone, and has to do what’s best for her relationship.  I get that.  I know that I will always come in second place.  Hell, I don’t even rank third.  I’m a new friend.  I rank in fifth or sixth place on the totem pole.  That’s how it goes.  I have no illusions about where I am on the pecking order.

For those who think that this is following the Emily path, that’s my biggest fear.  However, I will say this much – I don’t think so.  For starters, Emily and I were infinitely closer than Kathryn and I are.  Maybe that’s a point in this situation’s favor.  Plus, there is the reality that I don’t know what this significant other who at least has seen me as something of a threat thinks.  I’ve gotten conflicting pieces of information.  I may eventually choose to see this person again, see if there is something more to be achieved from interaction.  Who knows, right?  However, all the signs are there that this story will follow the track that Emily and I’s did.  If so, it will break my heart in ways you couldn’t begin to imagine.

However, there is peace on the land of our new friendship, for now.  We hang out as often as we can, but the understanding is that she will never be able to chill at my place again.  Ever.  That means that movie nights are out.  Making good food is out.  I’ve already talk about how much I wanted that.  It’s a huge sacrifice, and part of me still wonders what she gave up in return, but I’m done fighting a battle that I know I can’t win.  I’ve done enough negotiations in these situations to know when I have no bargaining position.  And it’s not to say that we haven’t had fun since then.

Just recently, however, things took another turn.  Her and I have been carpooling to work together.  There is a lot of ugly history with her sister, her sister’s husband, and the nieces that she now has no ability to see.  Some truly horrible things.  But one day, the sister puts out an olive branch.  Because I have this belief that a person should strike while the iron’s hot, when the sister invited her down to the states as a way to make amends and bring the family back together again, I told her to take the risk.  It’s a gamble, but how often does good fortune come a person’s way?  So she did it.  Used up all her leave time at work, spending almost everything she will have saved, all to go down to North Carolina to see her family.  Maybe she’s spending too much time with me.  Lady Luck saw fit to strike.

The same day, she is sent a message from her sister basically taking that olive branch she put out and burning it down in front of her.  The girl was in pain.  Horrible, aching pain.  Years of unaddressed agony bubbling up and exploding.  In the hall at work, she fell to the floor and sobbed.  All I could do is sit next to her and hold her.  I had no words, nothing to say.  All I could do is hold her and listen to her cry.  I felt next to useless in that moment.  Like I was the person putting a band-aid on an ax wound.  The boss came over, and in an amazing moment, she became a complete mom and was able to remedy the situation.  Had her go home.  Since we carpooled together, I took her home.  That was such a hard day, for me.

Ever since then, things have been weird.  She denies it, but I’m smart enough to see that something has changed.  I can’t put my finger on it, but things have gotten awkward between us.  I am sensing a growing distance.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Wouldn’t be the first time.  However, there has been a real change in things between us after that day, and not for the better.  Maybe that’s how it separates from the Emily story.  After I wiped the tears off Emily’s face in the Periodicals Room, the two of us were closer than ever.  Now I feel like I have lost a TON of ground.  Not a fan of that.  Wondering what I did wrong.  Probably overthinking this.  Unsure.

So that’s where we are now.  My job is sucking the life out of me.  The reality is that once Kathryn leaves to go to basic for the Navy (proud of her for that.  Was pushing her to reapply to get back in to the Navy), I am out of there.  It’s nothing against the department.  I just can’t do a job where I am getting treated like shit by people that I am having less and less sympathy for every day.  There’s no way I can do this long term.  Planning on staying with the state for at least five years.  Then I’m vested and have guarantee retirement.  Since state jobs like to hire with people already in the state, I feel comfortable when I go looking for a new port to call my own.

Looking ahead, I have been given hints that my lawyer girl may be coming back, if only for a little bit.  That gives me hope.  A brief glimmer of hope to latch on to.  It hasn’t been the hardest year, but a decent amount of stuff has happened.  Leading up to when I found this new job, it was months of time where, if I didn’t have this watch, I couldn’t tell one day from the next.  I have a job, already one review that looks good, and will have another come February.  A new friendship that, while it is currently on not the most stable ground, has a ton of potential.  Guess we’ll see what happens.

Until next time, a quote,

This may not make much sense to you now, a young man at the beginning of his career, but one of the things you learn as you move up the ranks and get a little older is that you wish you had more time in your youth to really absorb the things that happened to you. It goes by so fast. It’s so easy to become jaded. To treat the extraordinary like just another day at the office. But sometimes, there are experiences that transcend all that.” -Capt. Katherine Janeway, Star Trek: Voyager

Peace out,

Maverick

A Hard Question

Another long day comes to an end.  I put Ellie to bed and now was settling in to watch some news before going to bed.  My days of being a journalism student in college still catch up to me.  The urge to keep informed about what is happening in the world.  Another Presidential election over.  The infotainment that is cable news has to find some new thing to milk into the ground with the fact-free reporting that they do.  The modern Fourth Estate is a joke.  I truly do believe in what it was supposed to represent, but now it is just a shadow of what the great journalists fought for.  When Edward R. Murrow took on Joseph McCarthy, when Walter Cronkite took on the government over the Vietnam War, when Ted Koppel took on the government over the Iran hostage crisis, they fought for what the news was supposed to mean.  But they were gone.  Sorry if I preached, but I still think about things like that, even now.
They said that becoming a dad would totally change me.  Sure, it changed my routine and how I look at the choices I make, but it didn’t magically turn me into a curmudgeon who is uber-conservative and believes that liberals are stupid.  I still believe the things that I believed then.  Only difference is that now I get to try and be the best dad that I can be while believing what I do.  I have taken a hard stance that I want to impart my values in a way where I give all sides their due.  I wasn’t going to teach my little girl what to think, but rather how to think, and let her come to her own conclusions.  Sure, it meant that for a while there, she believed that her deity was Santa Claus, but now she is at the top of her class and is the smartest child I have ever met.  Makes me wish she could see her.  I look at the pics on the wall, and my mind goes back.

I met her when I was in college.  The two of us immediately clicked.  Our weirdness meshed so well, and we were fast friends.  For a few years, life was good.  We would go out, have dinner, go to movies, see random things that happened in town that got both of our attention.  Was even dragged to a couple cultural festivals by the girl.  I was always a little apprehensive about going to things like that.  So different and random.  Really was my father’s son.  He hated new things, and would complain up to the point that he actually was there.  After that, once he was in the middle of whatever it was, he was enjoying himself.  Made for vacations where my mother would have to put up with him complaining all the way there, but I could tell that she knew that it would be worth it once he was there, just as excited as the rest of us.
One night, at a Japanese culture festival, the two of us were sitting and eating some noodles.  It was fantastic.  There was music playing and I didn’t want to be anywhere else.  That’s when I look over, wanting to say something to her, but she is already looking at me.  A look in her eyes, telling me that she had been looking at me for a while.  We just look into one-another’s eyes, and I don’t need to say anything else.  Her hand goes to my cheek, and I move in closer.  Each movement brings new rounds of butterflies inside that are driving me crazy, but I don’t stop.  Then our faces are so close.  When did this person who was nothing but a friend to me become something more?  I didn’t know, and I didn’t care.  Everything about this moment felt right.  Our lips met, in a soft embrace that I never wanted to end.  It was the first night that I felt like I was living since high school, where my last relationship ended.
It’s five years later.  We’re at the church that she grew up in.  I’m not a religious person, but she is.  I can put aside how I feel about it all, because this makes her and her family happy.  I’m saying “I do,” and tears are going down her face.  We embrace again, and everything is wonderful.
Two more years later, and we are pregnant.  She is so excited.  I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared out of my wits.  We both have good jobs.  Money isn’t something to be afraid of.  We made sure that we were ready before taking this step.  But even with all of that, I’m still scared to death.  What does it mean to be a dad?  Both of my parents have advice for me.  Hell, everyone has advice for me.  The entire fucking world is suddenly an expert on having children.  Not helping.  Not one bit.
We are sitting in a room, listening to a doctor.  She is telling us that my wife has cancer.  Due to the pregnancy, it is making her immune system weakened.  It just happened to come in at the right time.  My wife is scared for the baby, but the doctor said that it hasn’t gone to her reproductive system.  Facing her own mortality, the first thing she thinks about is the baby.  Admirable.  I wonder why.  I just want to save her.  The options we have are limited.  We can’t do chemo with the baby in there.  We’d kill it.  By the time the baby is done, it might be too late for more radical treatments.  It’s already in the second stage.  My wife is crying.  I think I am too.  Hard to tell.  My whole body feels numb.
It’s just after dawn when she goes into labor.  I get her to the car and drive like a bat out of hell to the hospital.  It’s not close.  She looks terrible.  The treatments for cancer that are safe, along with the progression are making her so sick.  So scared that delivering the baby will be dangerous.  Told her to do a c-section.  It’s safe, easy, and then it’s over.  She says no.  Wants to deliver this thing the normal way.  Stubborn woman.  Stupidly stubborn.  What’s the point of doing things that way if it’s an unnecessary risk?!
Being right never feels like a victory, for me.  I am watching as my baby is being wheeled away, while they get the crash cart.  Over and over, they attempt to restart her heart.  It doesn’t work.  Holding my newborn daughter in my arms, I watch my wife die.  What should be the most wonderful night of my life is when my heart is breaking.  I have so much that I have to do, only difference is that now I have to do it all on my own.  Never have I felt more alone.

My eyes open, as I see a light at the top of the stairs.  Down the stairs she comes.  Sitting up, I see that the TV had turned itself off due to inactivity.
“Dad, you up?” a voice calls.
“Yeah, in the living room.”
In her flannel pjs, I see the girl coming over.
“What’s wrong, sweetie?”
The look on her face, it’s concern, but awkward.  “I heard a noise, from down here.  I think you were talking in your sleep.  Heard you calling out to mom.”
A feeling of shame.  “Oh.  Sorry if I woke you.”
She sits down in a chair across from me on the couch.
“It’s okay.”  There is something more there.  “Can I, ask you something?”
Parent moment – she’s just shy of middle school.  The talk is coming.  Anytime I hear that question, I know that the big one is coming.
“Sure, kiddo.”
Looks down at the floor, then back up at me.  “Do you blame me, for happened to mom?”
It hurts.  I am physically hurting because of that question.  Not because it offends me or something, but because I have to wonder how long she has been carrying that question around in her head.  The girl was always eager to please, her whole life.  Anytime that I wasn’t at work, she would be where I am, doing whatever I do.  To this day, she still is like that.  Part of me thought that it was just a kid bonding with their parent, but maybe it was her trying to atone for what she feels like is her fault.  Maybe this is a talk I should have had with her a long time ago.
“Never!  What happened to your mother was not your fault.  Cancer can happen to anyone, at anytime.  Lady Luck just didn’t shine on her, is all.  It happens to all of us.”  Was that the right way to say it?
Tears started flowing down her face.  “I hear you, but you kept calling out to her, over and over.  You said, ‘don’t leave me.’  How can I not think that you don’t at least blame me a little for what happened to her?”
I motioned for her to sit down next to me.  “Now, don’t you go thinking that way!”  She got over and I put my arm around her.  “You coming into my life was the greatest day of my life.  Your mom was willing to risk getting sicker just so she wouldn’t have to put you in danger.  She told me that if the worst should happen, to promise that I would take care of you.  And I did.  With all my heart, I said that I would be the best dad that I could possibly be.  Not a day has gone by that I regret it.  Not one.  It was the hardest few months of my life, adjusting to taking care of you without her with me.  I needed a lot of help from grandma and grandpa.  But you are the greatest thing to ever come into my life.”  A gripping at my heart.  “And with you here, in a way, it’s like she never left us.  She’s with us both, right now, because you survived and are still here.  Never have I blamed you for what happened to her.  Not one time.  I miss her every day, but it’s not your fault.  Okay?”
All she could do is cry and burrow into me.  I held her close for a long time.  Then, I picked her up and carried her like a big cat upstairs.  Thank Groj I am such a big guy and have worked to take care of my body.  Hefted the big kid like she was nothing.  Laid her down on the bed and pulled the covers over her.
“Good night, baby-girl.”
“I love you, daddy.”
“I love you too.”
I don’t think there is a harder question in the world I could have been asked.  Suddenly, that other talk seems a hell of a lot easier.

Until next time, a quote,

“Grief is like an ocean; it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing.  Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming.  All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison

Peace out,

Maverick

The True Meaning of Sacrifice

Something to know about me – I have given a lot of my devotion and energy to a lot of people.  Of those, some of them are the best friends I have ever had.  Others are the best friends I had, but for whom my friendship was not enough to stop them from selling it up the river in order to maintain their romantic relationships with people who didn’t like me.  Almost all of whom never even met me.  Jealousy and love wins out over friendship, every time.  But I still did everything in my power to accommodate these people because I cared and I didn’t want to hurt anyone.  That was in my early 20’s.  I’m kicking 30 in the ass now.  I’m too old for this shit.

The story has gone down virtually the same way every time.  I am getting really tight with someone.  Because my own gender and mine just never seem to click, it is often someone of the opposite gender.  That person is involved with someone.  The person and I end up spending more and more time together.  We get reasonably close.  Then, the person’s significant other sees me as a threat.  They come to me, and they try and make compromises.  They try and make things work for both parties.  But the significant other becomes more and more jealous.  Eventually, the person is forced to make a decision – the person they love, or the friend that they care for.  You probably know what they chose.  This is without a SINGLE exception.  None.  But I’m not raging about that.  Believe me, for a long time, I did.  Go back far enough through my site and you’ll see some emo shit written by me about how unfair things were.  I now realize that that was inevitable.  Of course friendship loses to love.  Of course it does.  That’s how life works.

Rather than getting into that, let’s look at this another way.  See, the story is starting all over again.  This time with someone that I have recently come to know and with whom I have gotten close to incredibly quickly.  The speed at which this person and I bonded is quite extraordinary.  And to the credit of this story, there is at least one plot twist – the significant other who sees me as a threat is someone I have met.  I got to meet the guy, and I know for a fact that there was an instance where him and I were looking at each other and we were sizing one-another up.  I will likely never know what he thought what conclusion he came to.  I never want to speak to the guy.

For so long, all I have wanted is someone who I could have over at my place to have movie nights, nerd out with, or just talk.  This person and I got to have that.  Her and I spent one truly amazing night drinking and talking.  It was incredible.  But the story playing out happens all the same.  So, she tells me that the thing I have wanted most, and been teased with, is gone.  Poof.  Never to return.  Thus begins the compromising stage.  Not gonna lie, it hurt.  It hurt a lot.  I haven’t had a new friend in ages.  Now here I met this cool person, and I saw a bright future of all sorts of fun.  Finally putting the chair for a guest in my place to good use!  Movies, pizza, and I could have a friend there when I finally get my hands on Final Fantasy XV and I am playing it for the first time.  Now it’s gone.  It’s never coming back.  Years upon years of nothing but my lonely place, my lonely fridge, and my lonely life, and now something truly amazing was teased in front of me.  You’d think I’d have learned by now that the moment things are going well in my life, that’s when it all goes to shit.

I know what you’re thinking – what does ANY of this whining have to do with the title of the post?  I’m getting to that.  I spilled my guts to her, explaining why I was so frustrated.  The response?  The simple version is – I have to do what’s best for me and (insert significant other’s name here).  In other words – if it comes down to you or him, it’s going to be him.  So, choices have to be made.  Sacrifices.  And who gets to make the sacrifices?  You guess it – me.  As always.  It’s always me who has to accept the lesser option.  Never anyone else.  No one else has to give.  Just me.  Because I’m the friend.

Now I know what you’re thinking – aren’t you just shaming her for choosing someone else over you?  Hardly.  I get it.  I’m the friend.  As Baz Luhrmann said, “understand that friends come and go, save for the precious few for whom you should hold on to.”  But love can shape your whole life.  It gives the human condition purpose.  I will never have love again in my life, so you can extrapolate how much purpose is in my life.  At this point, I’m pretty much just a corpse that walks and talks.  My connection with the human condition is so strained that one day I figure it will fade away and I will become a complete monster who doesn’t care even vaguely about anything.  But I understand that when you have a romantic connection, you will do anything to fight for it.  I’d like to say that in her place, I’d tell the guy to fuck off if he doesn’t like it, but given how terrible my romantic history has been, I don’t know what I would do.  Meanwhile, a friendship can be established elsewhere and be made with more stable people.  That’s adulthood, after all.  Closeness traded in for comfortable distance to keep yourself and those in your life happy.

Which brings me, FINALLY, to the point of this post.  Everyone likes to believe that sacrificing your happiness or what you want for some greater objective is a noble act that says something about you as a person.  I’m here to tell you – that’s bullshit.  The reality is that sacrifice doesn’t mean anything.  What did me giving to all the people who eventually abandoned me do?  Hell, most of them ditched in a way that I figure it wasn’t even difficult to do.  I’m easy to forget.  It’s one of the hallmarks about me.  It’s so easy to forget about me.  I gave and strove to make everyone involved happy.  But in the end, I made no one happy.  Not myself, not the person I was trying to work with, and definitely not the significant other who hated my guts without having ever met me.

Sacrifice is done when mature people realize that the connection they are trying to salvage is worth breaking down in order to compartmentalize it with another that they deem as more valuable.  It’s a simple equation of – I value this person more than that person.  So, I will let this part of it go.  If they cannot accept that, then I know to cut that connection loose.  It’s a logical valuation of how much one person matters vs another.  A simple equation.  That’s the true meaning of sacrifice.  You are doing an equation of what you are willing to let go in order to preserve something else.  I have chose to let all of my golden ideas go, because I want to salvage the idea that maybe I can enjoy some amount of camaraderie with this individual (situation) down the road.  But I know that it’s a temporary fix.  Jealousy is what it is, so I have no delusions about the story playing out any differently.

The difference is that in this instance I drew a firm line in the sand.  I gave up my golden ideas, the things I have been looking for for years, and that’s all I am going to give up.  If more is asked of me, I walk.  It’s a simple way of compartmentalizing this whole affair into what I figure is the inevitable end, that I have seen play out a thousand times before.  We’ll see what happens.  Does it hurt?  Oh yeah.  For one fantastic night, I was given late conversation in my place, with drinks.  That was a night that almost made me want to live again.  But it’s gone, and I know for a fact that it’s never coming back.

Sacrifice is given an elevated platform by society, but that’s bullshit.  It’s an equation that we do, valuing one thing over another and being willing to break the other thing down to make it fit in with the thing that we deem more valuable.  In my case, I value trying to keep what few connections I have to the human condition over my own happiness.  Hell, I gave up on that dead horse years ago.  True happiness is a concept that is completely out of my reach.  I don’t know what my new friend sacrificed.  I don’t know what the significant other sacrificed.  From where I’m sitting, nothing.  He got everything he wanted, and then some.  Oh well.  The equation plays out all the same.

What have you sacrificed for?  What were your sacrificed for?  Let me know in the Comments

Until next time, a quote,

“Love is sacrifice.” – David Oyelowo

Peace out,

Maverick

Another Empty Place

I haven’t done a personal post on here in ages.  To be honest, I haven’t had much to talk about.  The employment situation has been the biggest thing of note for the last MANY months.  But I don’t want to talk about that.  It’s been more frustrating than anything.  Sure, part of what has been the hardest winter with my depression stems from that, but I am at a point now where things are looking to move forward.  I have a working interview coming up.  Never even heard of that before I got the call.  Apparently, it is where you are thrown into the deep end at a place of employment and told to sink or swim.  I have no doubt that my skills will be pushed to the limits.  It’s going to happen on Friday the 13th, next week.  Yeah, Lady Luck is REALLY testing me.

But something finally happened that got me to wax all nostalgic.  Something really depressing (anyone who has read my previous personal posts will understand that that is a theme here.  What can I say, I have brain damage that has condemned me to depression.  So sue me), and it has me thinking of days gone by, and what is going to happen moving forward.  See, I took a girly-mate to the airport last night.  She finished up with law school and headed back home.  We got to go out for dinner for what may end up being the last time.  Forever.  People all say that there is Facebook and texting, but you know what, I honestly am not the biggest fan of that sort of thing.  The reality is that I would prefer to do things in person.  There’s something about face-to-face that just appeals to me.  I also like talking to people on the phone.  A voice is nice.  A voice and a face are best, but just that connection from getting to hear a person talk is soothing.  To me, anyway.

Anyway, she’s gone now.  I got to watch her get on that airplane, not knowing if I will ever get to see her again.  It wasn’t the first time.  She says that she’ll be back, but I know that there is a lot that can happen between now and then.  With my luck being what it is, I always assume the worst.  It’s a safe assumption.  She was the only person I had left to see and talk to in this fucking town.  I’m all alone here.  The days when her and I would go out and do stuff were pretty fucking awesome.  I looked forward to those times when I would get a random text from her asking if I could help her with something, drive her around town while we did stuff, or just to grab dinner or fries and talk.  We could talk for hours!  We would get some fries at McD’s (those things are laced with crack, I’m convinced of it), park the car and chat about stuff for hours on end.

This girl and I can talk about most anything.  She just graduated from law school, so we talk about legal stuff a lot.  Listening to her talk about court stuff is so cool.  Makes me feel like her schmo friend, you know?  We talk about political stuff.  This has been a hell of a year for it.  We occasionally spar over our differences in movies.  Since I am kind of a pretentious intellectual about my love of fiction, she can get a laugh out of that.  And since we are both people who like a good argument, just getting to have that can be fun.

I found out some neat thing.  On the way out, we talked about why our friendship works.  Apparently, she tells me things that she doesn’t tell anyone else.  She trust me above all others.  Including her boyfriend.  That made me feel good.  Part of the problem lately about feeling alone is the fact that I don’t think that anyone really cares about me these days.  I’m remarkably easy to forget, which is kind of amazing, considering that I’m a giant.  Though, it does bring to mind how several of my lady-friendships died on the vine because the ladies involved trust me above anyone else.  Their respective boyfriends immediately saw me as a threat.  Such a waste of time, considering that I knew that I was firmly in the friend-zone with these women.  But jealous guys being what they are, I guess I should have expected that.

Now my lady-friend is gone.  The last person I have to talk to.  All I have now is this lonely apartment.  Got me thinking about all the people in my life that I’ve lost over the years.  So many.  Friendships that languished on the vine or just up and vanished because of things I did or mistakes I made.  And now they’re gone.  Recently, I tried to reach out and repair some some burnt or damaged bridges.  Failed, spectacularly.  Not even a response.  From anyone.  Oh well.

Then there’s the lack of a personal life.  Naught to be done about that.  Money is like a river that is eternally drying up.  Doesn’t help that I’m not very attractive, either.  So that’s pretty much out.  Besides, I made a post talking about my end game plan for my life.  Anyone who has read that will know that having a personal life would just complicate things along the way.  Now if I could only get this damn itch to leave me alone, things would be just peachy.

I honestly don’t know where things are going to go.  I know that I have nothing going for my life, and things are going nowhere in a great big hurry.  I can remedy the employment situation (indivijual) in the near future.  That’s cool.  But until then, I’m gonna enjoy some zen music, and try and escape the itch.  Wishing I had someone to talk to.

Until next time, a quote,

“I’m not sure this is a world I belong in anymore. I’m not sure that I want to wake up.” – Gayle Forman

Peace out,

Maverick