Relationships: An Outsider’s Perspective

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By definition, a relationship is “a connection between persons by blood or marriage.”  This is the definition based on the concept of the male/female relationship in which love is involved.  There are other definitions of the word, of course, but this is the one I want to focus on.

The definition I listed above is a bit weak on details that make a relationship what it is.  Oddly enough, most definitions of the word that I have found on various sites (including dictionary.com and the Merriam-Webster website) are lacking in fundamentally spelling out what a “relationship” entails.

I am not pretending, in any way, to even begin to understand what makes a relationship between two people successful, because I have been in very few relationships and none of them have been successful or overly enjoyable for either party.  However, due to this lack of success and lack of happiness and enjoyment, I think that puts me in a unique position to talk about my ideas.

The most important part of a relationship would have to be love, as this is what the entire relationship is built on.  This is also a bit problematic for me as I have never been in love, and have never been afraid to admit it, so again, I’m behind the 8-ball a little when discussing this aspect.

If you love someone, I am assuming you would want to spend most of your time with them.  I see this as problematic given that most people don’t have enough in common to spend that much time with someone.  In my personal experience, a perfect February evening for me would be an episode or three or four of Forensic Files, a nice dinner and then listen to a Megadeth CD before going to bed.  There are exactly zero women on the face of the earth that would enjoy that.

Now, the other option is to sell yourself out and do whatever your significant other wants to do.  But what if you have no interests shared with that person?  Do you just sit back and say “what’s one wasted evening?”  But if you’re in a relationship, how many evenings are you willing to waste?  Isn’t your life and your time worth anything to you?  Why would you just give it away to someone?

Also, to have a relationship you have to have a mutual attraction.  This is pretty standard and straightforward, you can’t be in a relationship with someone you aren’t attracted to, unless you’re the type of woman who is only after a man for his money.  Luckily, I think most guys would catch on to that kind of thing.

But is attraction and love enough?  Maybe if you’re in high school.  But once you hit the real world, could a relationship last strictly on love and a mutual attraction?  Or does there have to be a lot more involved?

I was always smart enough to keep my relationships at arm’s length.  Part of this was due to the lack of love between both parties and the fact that I went into every relationship prepared for it to end.  I never looked at a relationship as a potentially full-life scenario, because that was ridiculous.  I have looked at each relationship as a war, a series of battles to be fought until the war was over.

I’m now 40, a little older and a little wiser than I was in my youth.  Cynical but not to the point of being ridiculous.  I have finally figured out, however, that relationships aren’t for me.  I’m not saying I’m against dating, or sex, I’m just saying I’m against the idea of chaining myself to one person for any length of time and suffering all the aggravations and misery that goes along with being in a relationship.

A perfect example of how I feel was vocalized in a 1974 episode of Columbo titled “Negative Reaction,” starring Dick Van Dyke as Paul Galesko.  In one scene, during an argument with his wife, Galesko says “I have nothing to face that day, but another 24 hours with a domineering, nagging, suffocating woman who took all the joy out of my life.”    That’s what I think when I imagine a relationship.

This is where the big difference between “dating” and being in a “relationship” really hits home for me.  When dating someone, you can go out and have a nice time, or spend an occasional evening together and enjoy each other’s company and then go your own way.  You aren’t chained to this person.  When you’re in a relationship, you are stuck with this person 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 52 weeks a year.

This is where I realize that I have never been in love or been in a successful relationship, because I have never met anyone I could spend more than a couple of days around without wanting to jump out a window or drink the nearest poisonous liquid I could find.  Yes, I’m a loner and proud of it, and that will never change.  I need quiet, alone time to reboot myself and do things I enjoy doing.

There are undoubtedly a lot of people out there enjoying their relationship or their marriage, and I’m not trying to ruin it for you; you may very well be happy and it may very well last for the rest of your life.  But that doesn’t mean it applies to everyone.  I am far happier being able to do what I want, when I want, where I want and how I want than having anyone tell me what to do.

This is especially true when the person I’m with, and that counts every one I have ever been with, didn’t love me in the first place and the feeling was mutual.  As I mentioned earlier, love is the most important part of a relationship.  If you don’t have love, what you have is a joke, and it’s fake.  You’re accomplishing nothing by being in a fake relationship that has no love in it.  It’s bad news.

Instead of wasting your life on that kind of nonsense, do what I have done and swear off relationships for good.  It doesn’t mean you have to stop dating or playing the field or any of those kinds of things, just don’t tie yourself down to one person and let them make you miserable for the rest of your life.

As Benny Hill sang, “why make one woman miserable when you can make so many so happy?”  It works the other way around, too.

I know some people will say “you just haven’t met the right person yet.”  Well, as I mentioned, I’m 40.  The dating pool is pretty shallow on this end.  That’s not a complaint, its just a fact.  And in the event I were to find someone that I had even 80% compatibility with, I might be willing to make some adjustments, but as I have not met anyone even close to 50% compatibility at this point, I’m not exactly hopeful that such a woman is suddenly going to materialize out of thin air.

In closing, I want to share three of my favorite anti-relationship quotes.

“I am not searching for my other half, because I am not a half.”

“Getting into a relationship may seem like a good idea, but so was getting on the Titanic and look what happened there.”

And finally, my all-time favorite:

“Marriage basically consists of three rings:  Engagement ring, wedding ring, and suffering.”

Peace

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My Thoughts On The Anti-Valentine’s Day Sentiment…

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There seems to be more and more anti-Valentine’s Day backlash every year by the single community, to the point of calling it “Singles Awareness Day.”  With this being my first single Valentine’s Day in seven years (and only the second in the past 12 years) I think I am in a bit of a unique position to see things from a very different perspective.

Yes, Valentine’s Day reeks of commercialism and it puts a lot of people on the spot who normally wouldn’t want to do the things that Valentine’s Day requires.  Some people hate to spend money on anyone but themselves.  Some people hate to spend money.

But you know what’s worse than spending Valentine’s Day single?  Spending Valentine’s Day in a relationship with someone who hates you and that you hate in return.

Imagine being in an unhappy relationship when V-Day rolls around.  Imagine that no matter what you do, it’s wrong and unappreciated.  Of course, you get used to that when everything you do every day is wrong and unappreciated, but it has a little extra sting on Valentine’s Day.  Add the requisite complaining and that makes for a great holiday.

Naturally, the perfect Valentine’s Day would be spent with someone you love who loves you in return, and those of us who are single won’t have that.  But spending the day and night alone is a lot better than some of the other options, and I say that from experience.

Take my advice, and be happy if you’re single on Valentine’s Day.  It’s not perfect, but it’s not the worst situation you could find yourself in.  Appreciate yourself and be glad there’s no one around to ruin February 14th for you, year in and year out.  If you’re legitimately happy being single, be your own Valentine.  If you’re miserable being single, quit complaining about it and do something about it.  Meet someone.  Fall in love.

But if you’re like me, and you’re just happy to be alive and you’re happy for those who are in love and have someone to share their lives with, and your previous personal experiences with Valentine’s Day are best left forgotten, don’t take away anyone else’s enjoyment of the day.  I’ll take single V-Day over miserable V-Day every single year.

Peace.

Me First: Why I Like Being Incompatible With Everyone Else

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Over the years I have been called selfish, obstinate, sometimes even hateful and weird.  Not because of anything I’ve done, but because of what I don’t do; I don’t “fit in” with most people.  I see absolutely nothing wrong with this.  I am true to myself, and I am true to what I love.  Because at the end of the day, I have to live with myself, and I don’t have to live with anyone else.  So, the idea of altering anything about myself to try to “fit in” with someone else is not only phony, it’s disgraceful.  But a lot of people seem to do it.

Relationships have been dreadful for me,  for this very reason.  I have never had anything in common with anyone I’ve been in a relationship with.  The closest would probably be my girlfriend in high school, and what we had in common could be counted on one hand.  I mean, we liked to watch “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and we were both big Garfield marks, and we liked a few similar movies, but other than that, nothing.

Some of my other recent relationships, though.  Whew.  Recently, I spent several years trying to make something out of nothing, and I knew it.  There may have been one or two outlier items that were in the same ballpark but nothing to build a relationship around.  There was nothing there.  But that doesn’t compare to an even more distant relationship.

I was in a relationship for a few years with someone that, I can say with all honesty, had nothing in common with me other than the fact that we both ate food and breathed in oxygen.  You couldn’t have found two more mismatched people if you sat me down beside a cannibal from New Guinea.  This woman was many years older than me, which meant we were dealing with a generation gap, but it was in the wrong direction.  She wanted to be “hip,” so she told me once that “anything (movies, music, TV shows, etc.) older than two years old is garbage.”  I, meanwhile, hate most everything current and crave classic music, movies and shows.  So, the upshot of this is we spent every evening watching two different TV’s, or doing everything we did apart from each other.  Most times, not even in the same room at the same time.  It was beyond ridiculous, and stupid.

In situations like those, you can choose to stay with this person who brings nothing positive into your life, and its basically like having a hanger-on because a lot of times they keep you from doing things you enjoy in life just because they don’t like it.  This has been a consistent problem for me.  And a lot of it is based on the fact that I am selfish and obstinate.  I am not changing for anyone.  Isn’t the fact that you would need to change who you are to fit someone else being completely dishonest to yourself?  Why do that?

Here are some examples of me being “obstinate” and “selfish:”

1.  I am a Chicago White Sox fan living in North Central West Virginia.  I am an island unto myself in that respect.  This area is Pittsburgh Pirates country, since I live around 90 miles from “The ‘Burgh.”  So, naturally, anyone I meet who is a sports fan will ask me “why are you a White Sox fan” and “why are you not a Pirates fan?”  Well, because that’s who I am.  I started following the White Sox in 1991.  I’ve invested nearly 27 years of my life into my team, not to mention thousands of dollars.  I’m not about to throw it all away just because there are no other White Sox fans in my area.  That’s not being true to me.

2.  I like classic movies and TV shows, and I haven’t watched anything really “current” since the mid-1990s.  Also, I never watched “Friends” or “ER” or “Seinfeld” or any of the shows that everyone else seems to have spent their lives watching.  I also don’t watch anything currently on TV, other than White Sox games on MLB.TV.  People look at me with disbelief and disdain when I mention “no, I don’t watch ‘Game Of Thrones’ or ‘I don’t watch ‘The Walking Dead.'”  This is amusing when I meet people who begin conversations with “oh, my God, did you see…” to which I can shut them down right there and say “no, I didn’t.”  Ask me who won the White Sox game.  That, I know.

3.  I’m my own man and don’t need anyone to “complete” me.  I can enjoy my own company, ad infinitum.  I’ve really never experienced this concept of being “lonely” because I have so many things that I enjoy doing, and that are things I do alone.  I don’t need anyone’s “help,” because nine times out of 10, it’s more of a hindrance than anything else.  I’m not saying I’m not appreciative of people wanting to help in certain situations, but most of the time I prefer to do things myself and do them in my way.

4.  I’m happiest when I am in solitude.  When I can think.  When people aren’t yelling at me or trying to make me do things I don’t want to do, or screwing up my schedule and ruining my day.  I rarely ever ask anyone for anything.  I wish that were the other way around sometimes.  And I’m not talking about friends asking friends for an occasional favor, I’m talking about a constant stream of noise and directives and demands.

Looking at it from an outside perspective, I think I would be hard to live with.  Of course, I have never been in love before so that could make a lot of difference in how I would feel about the situation.  If I loved someone, maybe I could make some adjustments.  But just from looking at me and where I stand now, I just like things the way they are, and I don’t need any interference.  And because I like things this way, I see no reason that I would need to change them, whatsoever.  As Sammy Davis, Jr. sang, “I gotta be me.”

Ultimately, I have no issue growing old alone and enjoying my own company.  In the event that I would ever meet someone who has more in common with me than those I have dealt with previously (and that wouldn’t take much), I might have an interest in looking in that direction.  I also have no trouble with social dating, a night out, dinner and a movie, with a girl who I may have absolutely nothing in common with because when the night is over, she can leave and my life continues, nothing has to change.

In closing, I just want to say that there are more important things in life than whether or not you are compatible with other people.  Be true to yourself first.  If you never have anything in common with anyone, that means that you are more unique than the people you are dealing with.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  There’s a world out there, just because you are an army of one doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.  I’ve had dinner alone, watched movies alone (in the theater and at home) and that’s just part of my every day life.  You should live it.  Enjoy it.  Because you will always have yourself to share it with.

Peace.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue: My Top Ten Favorite Covers Of All Time

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With the countdown on to the release of the 2018 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, which will be released in February, I have decided to do a countdown of my Top Ten favorite SI Swimsuit Issue covers.  Which should warm up a cold January evening.

10.  HAILEY CLAUSON, 2016
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This was one of three available covers in 2016, the other two featuring Ashley Graham and Ronda Rousey, respectively.

9.  KATE UPTON, 2013
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8.  ELLE MACPHERSON, 1988
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7.  IRINA SHAYK, 2011
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6.  KATE UPTON, 2017
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There were three Kate Upton covers in 2017

5.  KATHY IRELAND, 1992
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4.  BAR REFAELI, 2009
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3.  TYRA BANKS, 1997
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2.  KATE UPTON, 2012
SWIMSUIT 2012 COVER
Kate Upton’s first year as cover model.

1.  HANNAH DAVIS, 2015
America The Beautiful: Swimsuit Issue 2015
Now known as Mrs. Derek Jeter.

The Hannah Davis (Jeter) cover sticks in my mind because, when I got back to the Jeep with it after getting it out of my post office box, I was so flummoxed I couldn’t figure out how to start the Jeep.  Without question, my all-time favorite cover.  No contest.

We now await the 2018 cover, but it will be hard-pressed to compete with this one.

Peace.

I Have So Much To Be Thankful For

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Being thankful is a powerful emotion.  And an underutilized one, as well.

Like most people, I tend to only take stock of my life and realize what I’m thankful for after something significant has happened.  And that is the wrong strategy to take in life.

In my own case, I seem to only realize that I have a lot to be thankful for when I feel like my life is being destroyed.  Maybe that’s the eternal optimist inside of me realizing that things aren’t always as bad as they seem.  Or maybe its the Lord bringing it out in me.

In late 2012 and into early 2013 I was able to start looking at all the aspects of my life that were positives.  I was coming out of a very unhappy situation and I had a chance for redemption.  I had the support of great friends and I felt like I had a great future ahead of me.  I was planning a move to Illinois and had already taken some steps to get that move into motion.  I had a phone interview for a very good job and had already bought my airline tickets to fly out a couple of weeks later for an in-person meeting.  I figured while I was out there, I could start looking for living quarters and start putting down roots.  I was never so excited for a new beginning because I was in complete control.

Or so I thought.  Instead of taking that opportunity and running with it, I made a mistake of ultimate dimension and got right back into the unhappy situation I had just gotten out of less than two months earlier.  That mistake cost me my move and cost me a lot of my friends.  It cost me my dignity and my self-respect.  And a lot of wasted time and money.

But fate was able to extricate me from that situation, in the most unpleasant and painful way possible, but it was worth it in the end to be able to be able to escape such misery.

And now, I can stop, and take a look around me and realize that I am, in fact, the luckiest man on the face of the earth.  And now, I have the chance to make the most of my life.

First, I am thankful for my relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I had an amazing experience with the Holy Spirit in 2013, and I wish I had held onto that a lot more than I did in the years that followed, but when you’re involved with people who are evil, it makes it difficult regardless of how strong your faith is.  I can say, now without question, my faith is unbreakable.  I will carry it with me for the rest of my earthly life.

Second, I am thankful for my family and my friends.  I don’t deserve the friends that I have.  They are the greatest anyone could ever hope for.  I have turned my back on them, denied them, ignored them and eliminated them from my life, though against my own will, I still allowed it to happen.  And while I was disconnected from them, I leaned on my family.  My mom and dad are both elderly but they are always there for me when I need them.  As for my friends, nearly all of them have returned to me and for that I will be forever grateful.  They will never again suffer the indignities they suffered before.

Third, I am thankful for my freedom.  It’s amazing how people can change you, and not in good ways.  For instance, if you are in a relationship or marriage, your significant other should want you to be the best person you can be and remain true to yourself.  I am thankful that I am free to be me.  I can do what I want, when I want, where I want and how I want without any interference from anyone.  I’m not in a situation where I am expected to make anyone else happy, and I am especially happy to be away from people who only wanted what they could get out of me.  Being single is a truly blessed feeling.

Fourth, I am thankful for all that I have.  My material possessions.  Money in the bank.  A nice home.  A dependable vehicle.  They may not matter in the grand scheme of things, but I am very happy to have them.  They are things that make me happy and that I enjoy.

Finally, I am happy just to be alive.  For 25 years I told everyone I would never see 40.  I don’t know why I felt that way, it was just an overwhelming feeling I had.  Kind of like a premonition.  In many ways, it may have held me back, because I never wanted to really commit to anything because I didn’t figure I would be around to see anything through.  I realize now that was the wrong attitude to take and hopefully I realize now that I have another 40 or 50 years to accomplish everything I have ever wanted to accomplish.

This March I’ll be taking in Spring Training baseball in Arizona for the first time, in person.  That’s a dream I have had for years that until now, had no chance of being realized.  And if my month-long experience is a good one, I am planning to make a full-time move to the desert southwest.  There I can make a real fresh start, from the ground up.  And that opportunity comes along very rarely in life, and I will take advantage of it.

I have so much to be thankful for.  And I am most thankful for the second chance I have been given to do things the right way.  I am not shackled by my mistakes any longer, I am not tied to empty words or stupid promises.  I am free and I have everything I could want in my life.  And to anyone who feels like they are at rock bottom and they have nothing to be thankful for, just think about this.  Instead of focusing on the things that are making you miserable, step back and think about all the blessings you have in your life.  I know that can be a significant challenge, but if you can do it, believe me, its worth doing it.

Life is not bad, life is good.  But you have to eliminate the negativity, whether it be people or possessions or addictions or whatever is causing you strife.  Sometimes those things are removed independently of any action, and I was lucky in that respect.  I was saved from my miseries without really having to fight them.  But if you do have to fight them, fight with all that you have.  Don’t back down.  Don’t go back into the same patterns and deal with the same people.  Life is worth living and it is worth protecting.  At all costs.

In closing, let me say that if you just ask God to help you, you can absolutely depend on the fact that He will.  It may not happen overnight.  But I can say, without hesitation, that God has delivered me from every bad situation I have ever found myself in, and if you just trust in His plan and realize that everything will work out in the end, the road you are traveling will be a lot less difficult.  Be thankful for what you have and give all that you can to make sure you utilize the power of being thankful every day, not just when you are at rock bottom.  Be thankful for your blessings every day of your life.

Peace.

A Manifesto On Marriage

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This blog entry is going to offend some people, especially those who are in a happy marriage.  I want to preface this piece by saying that these opinions are mine, and mine alone.  I have carried these beliefs with me since I was at least 15 years old, regardless of what life may have been putting in front of me and what mistakes I made, or was able to avoid, for that matter, over the ensuing 25 years.

There are a couple of quotes that helped to craft my views of marriage.  The first was in the film North To Alaska, when John Wayne’s character, Sam McCord, said “a wonderful thing about Alaska is that matrimony hasn’t hit up here yet.  Let’s keep it a free country.”  The second was compliments of legendary British comedian Benny Hill, who sang “why make one woman miserable when you can make so many so happy?”

I do need to point out that I have never been married, so this is not going to be a hit piece about an unhappy marriage.  This is simply going to be my thoughts on the institution of marriage, and why, deep down, I would have never even consider marrying.

There have been four times that I have had marriage pushed at me, and all four times were ludicrous, in their own way.  And together, they brought me to this point in my life.

My first experience with marriage began when I was 17 years old.  Yes, 17.  I was having marriage pushed at me by a 15 year old I was dating at the time.  Fortunately, I was kicked to the curb at 19 and was able to avoid that situation before it would have been feasible.  But it was a bad omen.

The second time I had to deal with this was in 2005, and this is where not getting married was cast in stone for me, though I didn’t realize that until just recently.  The woman in this case lived nearly four hours away, and we were not dating or in any kind of relationship whatsoever.  She wanted a husband, period.  Didn’t matter who, didn’t matter where.  When I told her I did not love her and did not want to marry her, she simply said “you’ll learn to love me.”  Luckily for me, some idiot did finally marry her and I can only imagine the hell he must be living.

My third experience started well enough, I had just had sex with a woman nine years older than me (she was 37, I was 28) and as we lay there she said “I’m just going to tell you now, I’m never getting married again.”  This, of course, allured my interest, as we knew nothing about each other and had met only three hours earlier.  So, if she was not interested in marriage, to the extent that I was not as well, we definitely had solid footing beneath us in terms of our futures.  However, that was short-lived and within six months I was having ads from jewelry stores shoved in my face on a daily basis.

My final experience involved me actually getting engaged and nearly married, except that by the grace of God there was a double-booking at the church and we were not made aware of it until only a few days before the ceremony.  I think that was the point at which I was scared straight, and knew marriage was not in my future.  I talked to my closest confidant about this and we agreed that God, or fate, or someone, somewhere, was trying to tell me that marriage was a bad idea and that I should avoid it.

Now I don’t want to just outline my own experiences as to why I think marriage is dreadful, I want to look at some actual facts and figures that support my theory.

First, let’s remember that half of all marriages end in divorce.  That is mathematical fact.  Let’s also remember that a majority of women marry men of a higher economic status.  That means that in a community property state, women are coming out of the marriage a lot better off than they went into it and men are coming out a lot worse off.  And in an unhappy marriage, remember this:  If you leave, you pay.  If she leaves, you pay.  This was especially significant to me, as all four of my “marriage experiences” were of a lower economic status than I, which left me to wonder if their interest in me was real, or if it was purely mercenary.

Second, people change over time.  There’s a reason the early, happy days of anything are known as the “honeymoon” period.  In today’s world, the honeymoon period can be over before the marriage even begins.  The days of people rushing into marriage, while still happening, are not as prevalent as they were in previous generations.  We know more about each other for longer periods of time than we did in the past.  And that can be a blessing.  It allows us to not make the mistakes that may have been made in days gone by.

Third, and probably most important, takes me back to my younger days.  I believed (and still do) in the concept of “social dating.”  Rather than dating someone exclusively and letting numerous other opportunities pass by, date someone new every time you go out.  I did this and it was the happiest year of my life.  I got to spend time with a lot of different women, I had a lot of great experiences and lived a lifetime in one year.

However, I found this is frowned upon by society in general.  My sister, who lives beside of me, called me one Sunday afternoon after seeing four different cars with four different women in my driveway over a 36-hour period.  She told me how horrible this was and that I should go out with one girl and see if I “fell in love” with her and if not, then move onto the next one, and so on.

This sounded absolutely absurd to me.  I likened it to test driving a car.  You don’t go out and buy a car and drive it for a couple of weeks and then decide if you like it.  You test drive it, as well as other cars that catch your interest, and then decide which one is best for you.  To me, the idea of dating someone exclusively to see if you like them or not is like walking in a circle and wondering why you haven’t left the room.

Yes, this idea flies in the face of conventional thinking.  But I always made my intentions known from the beginning.  We were going on a date, or we were having an evening at my place.  Everything was open and aboveboard, and the only thing that was ruled out was a relationship, especially after one date, regardless of how well everything went.  I was told at the time, however, that women would try to “stake a claim” on me, and that did, in fact, happen, in spite of my directives.

Sex played a role in this, of course, but it went far beyond that.  As long as there is a mutual physical attraction, sex can happen regardless of the circumstances.  You don’t have to have anything in common, or even have a good time with them outside of the bedroom, to have a good time sexually.  But spending time together on a platonic level put me in a position to want to meet more and more women.  The sex was a given; I wanted to also enjoy myself sitting and watching a movie with someone and then know that, when the date was over, they were walking out the door and leaving.

The concept of socially dating is completely at odds with the concept of marriage, but in my opinion, so is the concept of being happy.  Unless you believe in soulmates, and you happen to somehow meet yours, and you are truly, 100% totally in love with them, and you can stand being around them between 12 and 24 hours a day, every day, for the rest of your life or you can stand the idea of half of everything you own walking out the door with them when the marriage fails, then I don’t see anything to be gained from getting married, at least from the male point of view.

From personal experience, I have yet to meet anyone that I could spend so much time with that I would not have to get away from them at some point.  The man cave came into existence for this very reason.  The very definition of a man cave is “a male retreat or sanctuary,” which is specifically for getting away from the man’s wife.  When you need to get away from your wife, and have a special room to do so, that tells you that you may need to look into getting away from her permanently.  Women can be insufferable, so why invite one into your life on a permanent basis which is legally binding and may cost you dearly when she leaves or you ask her to leave?

I prefer solitude, I like my own company much, much more than the company of anyone else.  Now, don’t misunderstand, that’s not to say I don’t enjoy anyone’s company, because I do enjoy the company of friends from time to time and that can be either platonically or sexually.  But at the end of the day, if it came down to being alone or being with anyone else, anyone of my choosing even if they were completely out of my league, I would choose to be alone.

Though if Rihanna asked if she could move in, I may make an exception in that case…

I jest, of course.  Though an extended stay would certainly not be out of the question.

I see marriage very similarly to a prison.  You lose your freedom.  You lose your possessions.  You lose your ability to think for yourself.  You lose your ability to make the most basic of decisions because you have someone else standing over you whose one goal in life, is to mold you into the person they want you to be, not to accept you for the person you are.  I find that whole idea to be nothing short of horrifying.

Looking back, had I gotten married when it looked like I was about to walk “the last mile,” I don’t think I would be alive today.  I couldn’t even begin to imagine life, married in that situation, in those circumstances.  I would have basically given up everything, and to make matters worse, I would have been marrying someone I was not in love with and who didn’t love me for me, the upshot of which was I would have had to change.  And I have no desire to do so, now or in the future.

Through the grace of God, luck and intelligence on my behalf, my record is clean and “divorce” will never be a word that will have to run through my life’s story.  And neither will “marriage.”  I have no problem with relationships, even long-term relationships.  But once you sign your life over to someone, once you put in writing that you are now someone’s “property” until you die or they decide to toss you over for a better offer, you have put yourself into a position that there is no positive outcome with, and several negatives outcomes that far outweigh any happiness you would find.

In closing, let me say that, if you are married and happy, God bless you.  Ignorance is bliss.  If you are married and unhappy, then you have fallen into the trap and I hope you have a good prenuptial agreement, and even then, they are not necessarily binding, so when the end comes, be ready to lose your shirt and a lot more.  If you are not married and considering it, please read and re-read this post.  Take into account everything I have said, everything that could happen going forward.  You think before you step in front of a moving car, because we know what the result of that will be.  Well, “walking down the aisle” has an end result as well, and we know the chances that it will end badly are equal to the chances it will end well.  And if you’re like me, and you haven’t been married and are not going to in the future, then congratulations, you’re on the right track in life.  Keep going, and enjoy yourself.  There’s a world out there, don’t tie yourself down and miss it.  Don’t look back on your life with regrets about choices that you didn’t have to make in the first place.  Make the most of your life and of yourself.  Live it up.

Peace.

“Hello, Me, Meet The Real Me…” – Seeing Myself For The First Time

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Self-evaluation can be a strange and uncomfortable practice.  Since we don’t see ourselves the way others see us, we naturally assume that we are right and everyone else is wrong in their evaluation of us.  I know I have been.  I have been stubborn, arrogant and hateful, but I never wanted to admit it, because I have always pictured myself as the man I see in the mirror, a man who put self-respect and honor above all else.

After some very therapeutic conversations with some close friends who are not afraid to step outside the lines to help me, it pains me to realize the man I saw in the mirror is not who I am or even who I hoped I was.  In fact, I’m almost the polar opposite of him.

While I may have saw myself differently, I certainly never adhered to the “golden rule,” treating others as you would have them treat you.  Jesus is very specific about this in the book of Matthew, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  But when your vision is skewed and you feel superior to other people who may be in your life, you are not apt to follow that advice, as in my thinking was “I’m better than you, therefore you will take what I give you, but I expect you to respect me as I am better than you are.”

I am talking about this on a very human level, down to the bone.  Not what clothes we wear or how we act or the things we do, right or wrong, I’m talking about man to man, woman to woman, woman to man and man to woman.  All equal.  I never looked at myself from that perspective, and when I did today, I didn’t like what was looking back.

“The real me.”

While talking this over today with my closest friend and confidant, she said, regarding how I had treated people in my past, “no one wants to feel like they aren’t loved enough to be lived with.”  That was exactly what I was doing.  I was, outside of my own thought process, being a jerk without actually wanting to be or trying to be a jerk.  In fact, I was being worse than that.  I was allowing my overblown view of myself to take control of what I was thinking, feeling and doing, and running over people in the process.

In fact, it may be a simple case of cognitive dissonance, which is seeing or feeling two sides of an issue or, in my case, being involved in it, to the point of it causing mental issues.  I thought I was a great guy but I knew, on the basis of what was being told to me by people I was affecting, that I was, in fact, not a great guy.  The great guy was inside of my head, and the not-great guy was inside of my head, and they were coexisting in there.

Problem is, the not-great guy was the one getting most of the traction and it was affecting me as a person and those around me, as well.  But when I looked in the mirror, the me that was looking back was not the same one that was dealing with those around me.

This may sound almost like a textbook case of schizophrenia, but its not.  Its not that I am unable to understand what is real and what is not.  Its more that I may have simply closed my eyes to what I knew was real and would rather have thought of myself as the man looking back at me in the mirror, rather than the man everyone else saw.  No one, except maybe the most anti-social among us, want to see ourselves as the “bad guy.”

I have made myself absolutely miserable on a few occasions just to not be the bad guy.  I was in a horribly unhappy relationship that mercifully ended in 2009 and should have ended three years before except that I didn’t want to be the bad guy.  The guy who stared back at me in the mirror was just too nice to be a jerk and end things, so he suffered for years when he could have found actual happiness elsewhere.  That helped absolutely no one.  One thing you cannot get back, once you have wasted it, are the years of your life.

There are people I have mistreated to no end and in my mind, I was being a benefactor, when in actuality I was being more of a socialist dictator.  Not just with my money but with my time and attention.  But I didn’t see it that way, even when it was explained to me.  I thought I was being benevolent and that anyone who was blessed with my presence for five minutes a day should be thankful that they got that much of me.

I went into a culture shock after being accused of something I didn’t do andI immediately fell into what you might call “victim mode.”  I was still seeing myself as the guy in the mirror who was benevolent and perfect.  Even though I am not guilty of what I was accused of, that doesn’t mean I was a great guy.  I was a jerk to those around me.  And in the majority of cases, it wasn’t justified at all.  But that didn’t matter to me at the time.

Now, that I am kind of outside the box in every situation of my life, I am able to see the big picture, and the picture it paints is pretty grim.  I never set out to be a jerk, I never sat and thought “I’m just going to be an asshole, for fun.”  And I never saw myself in that light, no matter how mean or hateful or selfish I was being.  I could always justify it in my mind that I was a great guy, that guy in the mirror who was looking back at me.

Ultimately, it cost me a lot.  But, it also gave me a second lease on life.  I was at a point where I sincerely didn’t care anymore, and while I hid it from everyone around me, I was quite open about it to myself.  I was almost waiting around to die, because my life was at a point that I felt like I had bottomed out and there was nothing left but that life.

I would have preferred things went a little differently over the past month and a half, especially where the false allegations are concerned, but maybe it was the extremeness of that, of being pushed to wall and to the breaking point, that had to come into my world to break me from where I had been and where I was going.  It shouldn’t have taken that much to break me, but when ego is running the show, maybe it had to.

Those that I was mean and hateful to won’t see this, and that’s by design, because it makes no difference at that level.  That time, and those people, are gone.  They will never be a part of my life again, and that is best for all involved.  But that does not mean that I do not owe an apology for the years of hatefulness and selfishness.  The “I give you money or things I buy, then you go fend for yourself because I have more important things to do” attitude.  When this was rebuffed, I took it as a personal affront, not realizing that my time may have been more valuable to them than anything I could have bought, and that my time might have been better served doing something I didn’t think was as important as something else I may have wanted to do at any particular moment.

So, to those affected, in front of God and anyone who reads this, I am truly sorry for that.

And now, that I am at the bottom and seeing me for who I really was, I can begin to climb back up and try to be the man in the mirror and make him the man everyone else sees.  I can do things the right way instead of the right-for-me way.  To those who remain in my life and those who will come into my life as the days, weeks, months and years go on, you will get the better part of me.  The man I was is not the man I want to be anymore.

I feel as though I need rebuilt from the ground up.  Physically, yes, but more spiritually.  And once I take my Arizona sabbatical, I hope my life is ready to come full circle.  There is a lot of good to be done in the world, and I can be a big part of it, once I look past myself and realize that there is more to this world than the man looking back at me in the mirror.  And I am 100% ready to make that move right now.  Without delay.

After nearly nine years of just being a jerk, its time to bury that part of me forever.

My support system has changed drastically in the past six weeks, and I am confident that they will see me through this, not just through the false allegations but through a total transformation that will make the world better for all of us.  I don’t deserve the friends that I have, they are all better people than I could ever hope to be, but that will be the bar by which I will measure myself, to be equal to those who have stood by me.

In closing, I want to say thank you to God, my family, my friends and to the soundtrack of my transformation, Megadeth, because without the sounds that I wake up to every morning and go to bed every night, I think I would feel lost.  And between the conversations I have had today and the Megadeth track “Sweating Bullets,” referenced in the GIF listed above, I think that is what finally knocked my head into gear and made me realize my footing was not nearly as solid as it needed to be, so I needed to dig deeper.

Thank you to everyone who reads this, and if you’re fighting your own battles, know that we are stronger fighting with a support group that believes in us.  I learned that the hard way, because without the support of those that care about me, I would never have even admitted to my problems, and admitting there is a problem is the first step to correcting it.  And I will begin correcting my problems immediately, with my supporting staff.

Peace.