Saturday, February 24, 2018

Numbers

They say age is a number. 

That’s true.

They say age is all in your head.

That’s also true.

Until your body says something different.

Like when the arthritis shows up-in your knee, in your neck, and in the big toe on your right foot.

Plus, the tendonitis, the bursitis and the plantar fasciitis.

Some of these maladies have external causes. I have tendonitis in both elbows and both wrists, though oddly enough it affects mostly my left elbow and right wrist, both of which could come from overuse-too much time writing on a keyboard and using a mouse or other device.

The arthritis in my neck may be genetic or may have been triggered by two car accidents in my younger days. My mother has severe neck problems, too. But she also was in a couple of car accidents in her younger days too. Maybe the predisposition for being in car accidents is genetic. The arthritis in my knee may be due to folk dancing without proper training and warming up. I was in a Mexican Folklórico dance group in college. We had no professional training, and my body took a pounding. As did the stages we performed on, as well as the patios, asphalt and any other hard surface. As for the big toe, my foot resembles my grandmother’s so I believe that one is genetic.

As for the bursitis in both shoulders, and occasional plantar fasciitis, I have no idea where they came from. I’ll attribute them to age.

Aging brings on other changes as well. Certain foods seem to disagree a lot more. Peppers and I have a mutual agreement. I will leave them alone, and they will not cause me gastric distress. Anyway, I had lost my taste for them many years ago, so our agreement is kind of moot, but I definitely abide by it. I am a man of my word, even to a pepper. 

While age is "just a number" and "all in your head", these physical changes, as well as others, colliding with my recent birthday where both digits changed suggest it isn’t all just a mental number. And flipping that first digit can have real mental consequences like reminding you of your eventual mortality.

Plus, aging while gay brings on a whole additional layer of issues in a community rife with ageism, perfectionism, youthism.

But, aging is a reality we must accept. The key lies in how we accept it.

We can refuse and therefore fight it or simply accept it gracefully.

Fighting it can become expensive with all the hair dye, plastic surgeries, etc. I don’t have that kind of money. I’m not a Beverly Hills Househusband. Nor do I want to be, in more ways than one.

Because time marches on, I have no choice but to accept it as gracefully as I can, making modifications as I go. How gracefully I accept it is up to me, though. I might complain when the pain in my elbow is a bit much to sit and write. Or when opening a jar or lifting something causes the pain in my wrist to flare up. Or the pain in my toe or foot strongly suggests I cut my walk short, go home and ice it.

This birthday was hard because of it all, especially that first digit thing.

But, I’m grateful and blessed that I had one more.

Some of us don’t always get this many.
In memoriam...


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Brainwashed 3

I seem to be on a rant lately, or maybe it’s a theme. I’ll go with ‘theme’ as it’s more positive.

I’m trying to find a social group to hang out with and find new friends to create a semblance of a social life.

But, all the groups I’ve looked at seem to have a ‘meet that special someone’ feel to them. Yes, I understand it’s human nature to want to pair off and board Cupid’s Ark. I’m just not there for a myriad of reasons. 

The main reason I have for not getting on board this paring off stuff is that I’m discovering and becoming my true authentic self and should I encounter someone intriguing, I fear I would slow down my progress. I would concentrate on figuring him out rather than continuing my work. Right now, I am my own priority.

One social group I looked at even had a “What’s your status?” question in their application; single or taken? I think I blogged about it, once or twice.

Another group was promoting a ‘stop light’ party for V-Day. Come dressed in the color of the stop light that represents your availability:
  • green-Go ahead, I’m available; 
  • yellow-Caution, I’m dating someone;
  • red-STOP! Don’t think about it.
I thought about going dressed in black though that might invite questions I might not be willing or prepared to answer right now. But, as I’m not in that space, I’m not sure why I was investigating this event. It wasn’t until I realized the date of the event and the words “V-Day” were connected. Why was Victory Day being celebrated in February? Oh wait, I get it now.

But, I have to ask myself, why is there this need to pair off? It’s part of our being brainwashed, I know. Plus, we have this need for social interaction. I get enough of that shopping. And yeah, I’ve heard all about the psychological need for human touch. I can get a massage for that. Plus, in this age of hooking up and unwanted sexual advances, where do we draw the line? Where does one feel safe, especially in a sexually oriented community?

Exactly!!
Sometimes, just the thought of sitting around talking to a group of people I don’t know is intimidating and exhausting at the same time. Sometimes, the thought of sitting around talking to a group of people I do know is intimidating and exhausting. But, this is one of life’s challenges I’ve been given and I must learn from it. And, I will.

Plus, until I’m comfortable with my new Self, how comfortable can I be in a group of total strangers? Some would think that being around the strangers would be easier as I have nothing to lose. But, all that initial small talk can be mind numbing. At some point, I will have to get out there and just go for it.

But, the group has to meet me halfway.

Right now, I’m looking at an LGBTQ social group and their upcoming events. They have three planned that don’t conflict with longstanding appointments. I’m sorry to say I don’t qualify for these events as they are for women only. Other non-conflicting events they have planned either don’t seem to interest me or fall within my budget. I mean, I don't see myself performing karaoke musical numbers in a gay bar with a two drink minimum.

Oh, well. Something will come along. Or I’ll check out other LGBTQ groups.

It’s just hard trying to find a place to fit in when you don’t.

Perhaps, the point isn’t about trying to fit in, but about being comfortable where I am. 

Both with my Self and around others.
I'm working on it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Brainwashed 2

I recently posted my thoughts on our being brainwashed by those oh-so-lovely fairy tales most of us grew up with.

But, Hollywood has done its part, too.

All those very romantic movies where someone-meets-someone, they have an instant connection and they live happily ever after. Or maybe they’re star-crossed, or overcome some enormous obstacles to be together or get back together. Once they finally do get together, it’s all so hunky dory. It’s perfect. Beautiful, blissful.

Yeah, right.

I’m not saying we don’t have a soulmate somewhere out there underneath that pale moonlight.

I’m saying we might have many.

WTF? 

Let me explain.

I believe we are spiritual beings on this planet having very human experiences. Our soul incarnated into this life from some other plane where we hung out with other souls. Maybe we grabbed a mocha or a chai at the SoulStarbucks and chilled a bit. We made soul friends. We became Best Soul Friends Forever, or BSFFs. We, or our souls did, decided what lessons we needed to continue our spiritual growth.

We made agreements with our BSFFs, “Will you help me with learning to let go of what no longer serves me?” 

“Yes, If you’ll help me with speaking my truth?”

“Agreed.” We then shook our soul hands on that. Kind of like a contract. With a termination date. Sort of. Just like the Magical Contract signed by the Little Mermaid and the Sea Witch, it can’t be broken.

We then made arrangements with other BSFFs for other lessons and established other contracts.

Then we incarnated. At different times, in different places.

As humans we don’t recall those contracts, but our souls do. When the time is right to fulfill our part of the deal, our souls arrange for it to happen. We can show up in any capacity; lover, friend, family member, neighbor, etc., all depending on the type of lesson to be learned. The cast can be varied and is often diverse. And once the contract has been fulfilled by both parties, the soulmates depart. Usually. Sometimes they might stick around, in case residual or remedial help is needed. But, once the lesson has been mastered or the terms of the contract have been met, it’s hasta la vista, baby.

Let’s also explore this deeper by now looking at the word structure. 'Soulmate' is a compound word made up of 'Soul' + ‘Mate'.  The word 'mate' has two meanings; 1) to procreate, and 2) a friend or companion. As souls are believed to be genderless that would leave them unable to procreate thereby eliminating the first definition. Therefore, a ‘soulmate’ is a ‘friend or companion’ for your soul. 

So, it appears we may have been misconstruing the terms ‘soulmate’ and ‘life partner.’  

A soulmate relationship can be intense, almost from the get go. It can be filled with pain and a lot of emotion as the lessons are usually deep. If the soulmate relationship is romantic, it usually ends with a very broken heart.

Life partners have shared interests, and share a larger amount of trust. The relationship is less intense, often very emotional but very dynamic. I’m not suggesting we don’t learn from life partners, but we learn on a more gradual, long term scale. It’s slow to grow. And we grow together.

Soulmates seem to recognize each other, there is a sense of ‘knowing you before’ or you may hit it off instantly. This is because the soul is remembering and triggering the human’s memory. Soulmates connect on deeper levels and may even tap into each other’s consciousness. Things between soulmates can be intuitive. That’s the soul connection, again.

Life partners are more like a cheerleader and supportive, having less egotistical notions. Life partners arrive at that moment in your life when there is self-love and self-acceptance. They do not arrive to fulfill any void in you as you have already filled that void with your own self-love.

Soulmates may come from a similar background but shake you up and show you where you need to heal, what changes you need to make in your life, possibly to prepare you for meeting your life partner.

Life partners may bring different experiences to the relationship which serve to enhance the connection. There is an ease to the relationship and a desire to learn more about each other. 

It is indeed possible that a soulmate can become a life partner. Plus, it is possible a relationship with a life partner may develop a spiritual connection over time. (I know, it’s confusing.)

Soulmates are established prior to incarnation; some believe we choose our life partner, while others believe that, too, is pre-ordained.

So, a soulmate is not necessarily our “other half.”

That is believed to be our Twin Flame, which is a whole different type of connection altogether.


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Brainwashed

Charles Perrault

I believe we’ve all been brainwashed. And it’s been going on since our childhood. It’s not our parents’ fault because they were victims, too. 

It’s Charles Perrault’s fault. And the Brothers Grimm. And the fairy tales they wrote.

In many of their stories, the prince must rescue the princess. The princess must sit, or lie, idly locked in a tower, or a glass coffin-waiting, waiting, hoping, praying. The widower must find another wife to be mother to his daughter because he can’t be bothered or is incapable and once he’s found the woman, he then either dies or vanishes into the Netherstoryworld never to be heard from again. And at the end of the story everyone lives happily ever after. Except the villain, of course.

There are some important lessons in those tales. After all, isn’t that what good, solid literature is about? In them, we learn that:
  1. Good will always win in the end no matter how long or what it takes.
  2. Karma is a bitch.
  3. We simply can’t be happy on our own. By ourselves. Solo.

The Brothers Grimm
And if we claim to be happy on our own, no one believes us. Because they’re brainwashed too. Well, in actuality there are some who allow us to simply be. But, behind closed doors, tongues sometimes wag, because it goes against nature. I mean Cinderella, Snow White, et al. got their princes and lived happily ever after. The Real Little Mermaid didn’t get her prince and was turned into sea foam. How can one possibly be happy as sea foam?


Did you ever notice the original writers never wrote a sequel?

I bet Cindy farts in bed. I’d be willing to bet Snow White turned a little Gray in chapter three of her sequel when the prince came home late once too often after doing whatever it is princes do. Or whoever they do.

And for LGBTQ kids growing up we simply switch the code when coming out. “Now, am I supposed to rescue a prince or be rescued by one?” I was a bit confused as to which direction to take.

So, the object of our happily-ever-after simply switches gender when we come out.

But, the brainwashing doesn’t go away. We still feel the compulsion to find someone because we are supposed to even if society and our families disapprove. "I’m going to find my happy ever after, damn it, even if I have to sleep with everyone to do so."

Even the Greeks had a creation myth around our search for completion:

Plato writes in his Symposium that initially humans were created with two heads, four arms, four legs and were both male and female so we self-reproduced. Evidently, we got a bit uppity and began storming Mount Olympus and Zeus was none too pleased. He wiggled his magic finger splitting us in half, forever condemning us to an eternal search for ‘our other half’ because we need that other half to feel complete, to feel whole, to be reunited and it feels so good!

But, hold your chariots!

Hear me out.

When Zeus wiggled his magic finger, staff, or whatever, and split us, he made us complete physically, meaning our minds and hearts are already complete as they are.

Okay, maybe emotionally we miss that other half-of-us who wanted to turn left when we wanted to go right. Or, who wanted Athenean food when we wanted Spartan. Maybe we miss those late night talks bonding over a glass of ouzo. (This is a Greek myth after all.)

He may have split the body into two complete entities, but he split the original soul in half. And it’s the soul that is searching for reunification.

(Yes, I recognize I’m hinting at a soulmate but we’ve been brainwashed there, too, by Hollywood’s ideals. That’s another post for another day, Brainwashing 2, coming soon! Stay tuned!)

The brainwashing is in the brain where we do our thinking. It’s our brain that is conditioned to think we need someone else to be whole. It’s our brain that gets us into trouble by thinking that the other half is just around the corner. Or the next one. And we start following a trail of bread crumbs to hopefully lead us out of the Dark Forest of Loneliness into the Kingdom of Wholeness.

The stories that we read or listened to over and over and over programmed us into believing we need someone to be whole. Kind of like a cult.

The answer here, I believe, is to deprogram ourselves, to remove the mask of this illusion of necessity. It’s time we listen to our soul. We already have all our pieces, we just need to put them together ourselves. We need no one else to complete us. By the way, is there a guarantee that the other person will have the pieces we think we are missing?

But, to find someone who complements us would be a whole different story.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Progress?


“...without progress there will be stagnation and decay. There again, progress for progress’ sake must be discouraged, for our tried and tested traditions often require no tinkering.” -Dolores J. Umbridge, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix   

There is no question we have progressed telephonically. 

I remember coming home from soccer practice and my mother would tell me of any messages from friends.

I later remember when answering machines came into vogue and rushing home to see if any one called. 

Then the answering machine got absorbed into the phone itself with voicemail. But you still had to get to a phone to check for any possible messages.

And now we have smartphones in our pockets.

We can be reached instantly; at work, at the ballpark, at the mall, on the john.

Progress.

Or is it?

Article after article has been written on how smartphones are affecting relationships.

Any relationship; parent/child, friends, partners, etc.
  1. Parents checking up on children and children feeling a loss of independence-clashes ensue;
  2. Conversations between friends get interrupted leading to hurt feelings and misunderstandings;
  3. Partners being suspicious of each other due to secretive texting and calls-accusations of cheating, surprise parties ruined;
  4. Conversations end abruptly-people left hanging, feeling disrespected;
  5. People get ghosted and begin to distrust the dating scene.
Yet, how has this 'progress' affected us individually?

What happens when someone asks a question and it goes unanswered for a few days? I know how I feel. But, I wonder how it would feel to someone else if I didn’t reply for a few days. Would they notice? Would they care? 

Because we can reach people nearly immediately, are we becoming so impatient that we demand an immediate reply? “I texted you over an hour ago, why haven’t you replied?”

Are we becoming so egocentric we no longer feel the decency of letting someone we dated know that’s it’s not working and simply stop replying to texts from them?

Have we so disempowered ourselves that when we don’t get a reply within a respectable timeframe we feel inferior? “They’ll reply when they can. I’m sure they have other more important things to do.”

Have we become so disillusioned that we type out our question, send it out into the netherworld without even expecting a timely reply, or if someone does actually reply in a respectful timeframe that we assume they have no life? 

Have we become so dependent on these devices we’re losing our desire for real honest human-to-human interaction whether in person or voice?

I know I’m an anomaly but I suspect I’m not alone. Most people I know simply pass these feelings off as part of texting because it’s become the norm. They passively accept it. 

“All people text that way. It’s just the way it is.” 

By that same logic, I can draw the following comparison: “All partners cheat. It’s just the way it is.”

How passively would they accept that, I wonder? 



Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Adaptations

Animals have had to adapt to survive in their environment. For example, giraffes’ necks have evolved to allow them to browse the tops of trees, while other herbivores can browse the lower branches. It eliminates competition for food, enhancing multiple species’ survival. And let’s not overlook the fact their long necks also allow them to see farther into the distance to spot those pesky predators, again a survival adaptation.

Humans, too, have adapted over time. 

We now walk upright.

We now use power tools.

We now have technologies that allow us to communicate over long distances at the blink of an eye.

We have telephone, email and that bane of communication, texting.

I’ve not kept my feelings regarding texting a secret, but I am still having the hardest time trying to adapt to texting as a major form of communication.

I totally understand the quickness and convenience of getting a message to someone:

  • On my way!
  • What do you want for dinner?
  • I’m running late. Be there soon.
  • Sorry, I have an emergency. Can we reschedule?
  • A major weather event is headed your way.
  • Your package has been delivered.
  • Your order is ready for pickup.

But, for long overdue deep conversations, no.

And here’s why:

I believe people make time for what matters. If it’s important to you, you will either make the time or make up an excuse. And not just when it’s convenient.

I have also come to believe that texting has broken down our interpersonal communication skills. People use texting to avoid difficult conversations, e.g., breaking up via text, not responding to texts in order to ‘ghost’ someone. People hide behind the screen to avoid the personal confrontation; therefore, they never learn how to verbally express their emotions. Or deal with someone else’s.

Also, I don’t know how many times I’ve been in the middle of a textversation and I’ve asked a question, then waited hours or even days for an answer. And then, without any explanation as to the disappearance or delay, an answer appears as if by magic. It’s a good thing I wasn’t asking about going out to eat…I might have starved to death.

I have also come to see that texversating is a colossal waste of time. I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked to clarify whether I was being funny or sarcastic, if either; to further explain my point (okay, this can happen in an old-fashioned real live conversation, as well); or to correct that unfortunately misspelled word. And how many misunderstandings and repetitions have arisen out of bad speech-to-text conversions?

And let’s not forget that always lurking, evil demon, Autocorrect and its machinations.

All of this typing and re-typing also plays havoc on our posture, our wrists, etc. Doctors are now diagnosing “text neck”, “text claw”, “text elbow”, and most recently, “text thumb”, all from overusing smartphones and other devices due to texting in positions our bodies aren’t accustomed to being in for long periods. This then suggests using the speech-to-text function on most devices would be more convenient. Yeah, but how perfect is that? And if you’re already using your voice to dictate a text, what the fuck is wrong with actually speaking by phone????? Oh, you want the screen available to see if other more important text messages might come through. You’re polytextory, you believe in simultaneous multiple texting relationships. 

But, I am trying to adapt, really I am. I am having minor successes in learning to identify my emotional reaction to being ignored, “I guess I wasn’t important enough to get an answer to my question,” as well as recognizing the improbability that a dire emergency arose on the other end of the line-you’re either lying dead in a ditch, having a major coronary event or your house suddenly exploded. And usually, when I do get that rare explanation, it’s along the lines of “So-and-so just texted me. Sorry.” So, you interrupted our textversation to carry on a textversation with someone else and then maybe someone else while keeping me waiting? That’s like stringing me along or cheating on me, isn’t it? I get it, it’s a text-orgy! And I’m just one of many... 

Maybe I exaggerate. A tiny bit. Or, maybe it’s your polytextory thing.

I mean, I can understand a few minutes’ delay; seriously, I can. But, a few hours? Or the next day? And no explanation? That’s plain rude and disrespectful.

I know it sounds like I am unreasonable. But, I’m not. I do understand there are times when interruptions can’t be helped:
  1. You have small children, rebellious teens, or spouses/partners demanding attention or food; 
  2. It’s late at night in your time zone and you simply fell asleep mid-text;
  3. You really are lying dead in a ditch.
Maya Angelou once said “If you don’t Iike something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” I can’t change the world’s dependence on texting long drawn out conversations, so if I want to survive in this new world, I guess I have to change my attitude regarding this phenomenon. So, to that end I will try my hardest to accept that: 
  1. Texting is not the same as a face-to-face or a voice conversation and those texting me already believe that and will behave accordingly. I will not take it personally.
  2. Texting is not the same as face-to-face or voice conversations which allow you to see facial expressions and to hear the tone of the speaker. I will simply read the text in a monotone which is exactly what the texter intended, I’m sure. I will not infer anything different.
  3. Texting is not like being at a party where people will usually politely excuse themselves from the conversation, not rudely turn and walk away. I will not take it personally.
  4. Texting is not like being at a party where good old-fashioned interpersonal eye contact lets you know who the comment was directed to and not inadvertently sent to the wrong person because of juggling multiple texting partners. I will not assume I am in a monogamous textversation and will not take any texting indiscretions personally.
I feel so defeated, so beaten down, so eroded-like a boulder to a pebble.

Perhaps, I could just learn to not have any expectations with texting. After all, text-pectations are a planned disappointment.

However, I will never, ever believe texting will convey the intimacy, courtesy or respect of a face-to-face conversation, or an actual voice call.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Synchronicities 9

I had the most bizarre synchronicity the other day.

Even though I experience many synchronicities daily, this one stood out. 

Way out.

So far out, even I was stunned.

A while back, a friend suggested that I play the lottery since I seem to attract numbers, or as she put it, “They have a thing for you.”

Okay, I thought, but I didn’t want to appear greedy and tickets can add up. So, we decided to play the lottery together and not one of the major draws.

We decided on the game Fantasy 5, where, to win big, we must match five numbers with no Power or Mega number to add to the mix. And it’s a daily draw rather than twice weekly. So, in my head, the chances of winning seemed greater, but in reality probably aren’t.

Plus, it’s only $1.00 per draw not $2.00.

The jackpots aren’t in the multimillions either. We didn't want to send a message to the Universe appearing greedy, just have our needs taken care of. I mean, at my age, what would I do with several million dollars? I could pay off my mortgage, travel and then? I don’t think I could spend it all before I passed away and the more I accumulate, the more someone would have to dispose of. I could leave it to charity or family, but let’s not get morose.

Anyway, I digress.

We came up with a set of numbers and play them consistently and twelve draws per playslip, meaning we pay for twelve draws in advance. The most we have matched has been three numbers, twice, which has netted us a total of $25.00. If we match two of the five we win a Free Play where the computer randomly selects five numbers for the next draw.

On one of our last tickets, we matched two numbers twice, so we had two Free Plays to collect when I bought the next ticket.

I cashed in the ticket, got the Free Plays, paid for the next twelve draws and drove home where I got ready to take a picture of the tickets to send my friend and that’s when I noticed it.

On the Free Play ticket.

There, on the computer generated ticket, were four of the five numbers we play consistently! I was essentially holding two tickets with the same four numbers out of the five total. I mean, mathematically, what are the odds of that happening? Probably the same if those numbers actually came up in a draw.

Once I got over the initial shock, I tried not to read anything into it, like we were going to win that night. Because that would mean that the numbers would be pulled in the draw later and that would be twice in the same day! Not very likely, but who knows what can happen and when?

But, it did teach me one thing.

Have faith.

If the computer can randomly generate four of the numbers we play onto a Free Play ticket, our numbers can hit. Some day. Down the road. When we least expect it.

And if the Universe is teaching me to have faith here, maybe there are other areas in my life where I should keep the faith?


Our regular ticket
The computer generated ticket


 P. S. No, we didn't win. But, we still have faith.