Tag Archives: Love

Personal Examination of Experimental Repetition

I once had a blog. I guess it was near 10 year ago, now. Would’ve made me 15, 16 years old. Yikes. Glad it’s not still around (although a part of me wishes I could still see what I wrote, and only me). But I’ve always been a scatterbrained little boy, for a multitude of reasons.

This scatterbraininess has its perks, such as giving me a lot of creativity. But it has also sucked very frequently throughout my life, as I either forget or can’t concentrate on important matters because my mind is always adrift. The only way I have found to combat this “driftfulness” is to repeat myself.

The first time I ever recall this happening was when I first attempted to get my driver’s license at 16: the “normal” age. A combination of stubbornness, philosophy, immaturity, anxiety, and obliviousness caused me to be a really late bloomer, as it were. Stubbornness, as I didn’t understand why I needed a car or a license, as I was content with staying at home (“leaving” meant hanging out with people. I was perfectly content with being alone. In fact, I never felt like I had enough alone time at home. A loud TV was the norm. I guess a license could have given me that alone time I wanted, but at any rate); philosophy, because it always bugs me when I can’t get to a real “root” of a matter (I stew relentlessly until I come up with something), immaturity (should be obvious), anxiety (I’ll get into that in a second), and obliviousness (related to the anxiety).

The philosophy and stubbornness overlap. I have always tried to understand things as deeply as possible. Well, at least with certain things. I remember being a kid, on a baseball field (as part of a team, in the middle of a game), in the outfield, picking up flowers, looking up at the sky, and wondering “Why am I here?” I wasn’t sad. Just curious. The contrast between the grass and the sky fascinated me. The color. The fact that I could touch the grass, but not the sky. The clouds moved, but the ground did not. I wanted to know more. And when I couldn’t learn more, I became very, very depressed. (Finally, I gave my attention to the people yelling at me to go get the ball. What in the Hell is going on here? I have no idea. But, to the ball I went. And I’m sure I threw it quite shittily. Yes, I’ll get lost in my own head: surrounding reality be damned).

A quick detour: my love for philosophy was quickly frightened into the deepest recesses of my mind by my introduction to religion. My natural desire to be curious was crushed by teachings (which eventually became my beliefs) of OBEDIENCE. “Curiosity” and “obedience” are on opposite ends of the “philosophical perspective” spectrum. This introduction introduced a whole host of anxieties to an already anxious little boy. I was frightened by inaction. (If you currently feel the need to preach to me about “God’s goodness”, or something, save it. Meaning don’t even say it).

But I avoided getting my license, or a car, because I truly didn’t understand why I needed it. I thought cars were just for hanging out with friends, and I just wanted to stay at home. I couldn’t understand it, so I wasn’t getting it. And that was that, even if it caused Hell on the whole family (which, regrettably, of course it did).

Also, anxiety became more and more of my “norm”. Absolutely tortuous levels of anxiety. A chaotic home life (just a continuance of just about as long as I can remember) and excruciating boredom just made me absolutely depressed. I didn’t care about anything. Suicide was a frequent thought, but I never actually harmed myself. Just stayed depressed. Mom is crazy and fighting with Dad and now she’s gone but she keeps coming back and leaving over and over and over and over. A quick slap in the face. And: whaddaya know! She’s gone again. (I’m not going in chronological order, as a particular slap that I’m thinking of happened before my driver’s permit time, but everything that was shit in my life just feels like one giant blur). The boredom was bad as well. If I would’ve known how to organize my thoughts better, I think writing could have saved me. But the very (and I mean very) few times I tried to write (way back in elementary school) never materialized into anything, because I could have an idea for an alien landing in my backyard, but I couldn’t figure out the words to start it. So the writing came to a halt until I got a Facebook page, and starting writing everyone’s eyes off there. And then, eventually, there was the blog.

I don’t recall what my first few blog posts were about. I’m sure they were a bunch of whining, as they are now. A lot of bad writing. I can’t remember the topics. But I remember letting a girl that I went to school with read something I had written. I was proud that I had written something. But she said it was very repetitive, and I felt devastated. I don’t think she understood the point that I was trying to make in the post, and I barely recall trying to explain it to her, but it didn’t do any good. I thought “What is the point in writing this if I can’t explain it for someone to understand?” I think I took a pretty long hiatus after that point.

I’m not quite sure why I keep jumping around chronologically, and I apologize for it. I guess everything just feels like a blur to me, and I have no rhyme, nor reason, for why things come out of my head in the way that they do. I suppose that’s still one thing that remains true about myself to this very day.

Yes, I was born a very quiet child. A sense of humor finally came out of me. It made me laugh, and made the people around me laugh, and that made me feel very good. There were still tremendous sadnesses within me, as I sometimes wonder still exist, but at least there was humor as well. A humor that provided me with a life and vitality that had been cheated of me at a young age, thanks to a reckless mother and various pastors.

I could spend a lifetime, and indeed, think I just might, thinking about why I am the way that I am. I believe that it is easier now than it has ever been; as youth provides one with a sense of depression at one’s, for a couple of examples, lack of ability, or “uniqueness”, that, it seems, can only be alleviated with age. The shortcomings of my youth, at the time, felt insurmountable. The only “answer”, it seemed, was to be depressed. And so, life sucked. Until, by divine intervention, it was alleviated. Not completely, but to a noteworthy degree. It comes and it goes, but I’m not sure that it has ever consumed me the way that it did back then. Isn’t that interesting? Although this certainly isn’t a certainty, it certainly does seem like the teenaged years are the worst years of the lives of most. Only the most unfortunate of us experience the worst years of our lives earlier or later than at teen age. That is quite fascinating to me. It is interesting. If I hadn’t spent so many years clogging up my ears with hymns, and would have paid more attention in biology class, I’d understand hormones, and puberty, better than I do now. But, as it stands, I can only speculate as an ignorant philosopher who has devoid his intellect of scientific understanding, and thus, here I remain, with but a small interest in science, and of such a variety as isn’t biological, but more of the physical. Alas, such is life, I suppose. Thanks, religion. I’ll move on and let go of my grudges some day. With some help…

Yes, I, like so many other children, although to a much lesser degree than a lot, learned of being cheated at a young age. And absolutely nothing I could do would fix it. I was absolutely helpless. To a careless mother. Sadness engulfed me tremendously. I shudder to think of creating a child as sad as I was, and I hope my mother shudders from it from this day forth. It’s the least that she deserves. I trust, and hope, that she has been in Hell from it since its inception. If she has, then I suppose I will forgive her in due time, when I deem fit. And if she hasn’t been tormented by it, and only provides crocodile tears, well, I suppose I will still forgive her when I see fit.

Yes, although sadness engulfed me, reality did not care. I still had schoolwork that I was supposed to do. Things that I needed to learn how to do for my own betterment; especially in the future. I was a confused and depressed mess of hormones. Oh, teenaged years. I pity the one who looks back positively at that time of his life. The poor bastard must be more wretched now than I have ever been (if God is as just as Christians say, at least. At least, if His justice is to be distributed equally among us all (which I don’t believe, exactly, is the case; for if it were, we should all be in Hell at this very moment)). Thankfully, I was blessed with such an intellect as to make most of my schoolwork quite easy, with little effort needed to complete the assignments, and with “good enough grades”. But boredom became introduced with the depression. And the self-examination and self-judgment socially grew as well. The latter grew, but was alleviated both with other “misfit” peers, and a growing apathy of socialization which I can only understand through my current introversion now. I suppose it was always there, to a certain degree. It was there very young, disappeared quite a bit, and then returned, mercifully. But the boredom wore on my soul, for what felt like an eternity. I never thought I’d see an end to the boredom. A bored 14 or 15 year old, with nothing to look forward to but a job: much like his parents had, and hated. His parents, who had always told him to do something different, and better, with his life, than they had, would soon be living the very life that they had lived. I was, and to this very day, still remain, a giant failure in that regard. I accept it now more than I did back then, but I have to wonder if I made a mistake by taking my parents at their word. I have to wonder if their desire for me to have a better life, and my believing in them, didn’t set me up for tremendous failure. At the very least, I suppose it supplanted within me a desire to succeed. Time will tell if that will remain enough in the face of cumulative errors. No, back then, more than ten years ago now, there was nothing to look forward to in the future but lots of hatred, exhaustion, and misery. This, and the boredom, introduced another wave of depression.

But, reality did not care. Back to the driving. My aloofness got the best of me. In more ways than one. The driver’s ed “course” bored me, and I couldn’t take what was being taught and think about it “in the real world”. The only experiences I had with driving were few, and they involved me slamming on the gas while a bunch of adults screamed at me. It wasn’t the most pleasant experience. So I was already not a fan of it. I didn’t understand the importance of a license because I didn’t want to drive anywhere, and I didn’t want a job because…well, jobs suck, of course. My dad always told me to “do something” with my life. He worked in a basic plant for all of his life. I respect him a helluva lot more than I ever did in the past. Especially, when I consider the Hell that I frequently put him through. Or, rather, I empathize with him more effectively than I used to. If I ever do “make something” of myself, he’ll be the first person I thank. (And I thank him, anyway). But I put a lot of anxiety upon myself to make sure I “did something better” with myself. I interpreted a “job” as a failure. Because I felt like I was going down the same road as my father, and, to the best of my knowledge, that wasn’t what he wanted for me. I felt like I was letting everyone down, because I should’ve been able to succeed. At 16, mind you. A little early, in hindsight. Did I have any skills? Of course not. At least none that I could actually get paid for. But Dad wants better for me, dammit, and I’m doing this shitty ass job already. I’m a failure. And the job sucks.

This, of course, isn’t mentioning my disastrous philosophy of money. Interestingly enough, later on in life, I had a “religious experience” when I had a breakdown about money. In the “Christian” faith, money is often seen as evil. Everybody, including non-Christians, complain about rich people. They complain about “greed” being sinful. That “the love of money is the root of all evil”. Well, I had accumulated a good bit of money (a couple hundred dollars) over the course of a couple of birthdays and Christmases. And wouldn’t you just know that I actually loved it? Ah, yes. Here we come to a gigantic contradiction between “faith” and “the real world”. Once again, save your preaching, please. I beg of you. But I hated money. My damn soul depended on that hatred! Sure, it buys me stuff! But at what cost? I can’t have this stuff! So laziness and anxiety kept me from getting a job longer than it should have. I finally reached a breaking point when I realized that “the world revolves around money”, and I knew I needed to make it. I decided to start studying money, and jobs, and all of it, right at that moment.

So I was very reluctant to finally go get my learner’s permit. Of course, the first time I went, I failed the computer test. It was all gobbledy-gook because I didn’t pay attention in class. So I had to go tell my dad I failed. And we went back the next day. And the next day. And I kept failing, and feeling like shit, because I still didn’t care about driving. Finally, I thought “Cody, you need to learn this. Dad ain’t gonna stop taking me here. Just focus and pass the goddamned test.” Of course, I have to thank my dad for not enabling me, as embarrassed and depressed as I was. He stuck with me, even if it was out of necessity for his own mental health. Some tough love was what I needed, even though I don’t suppose I ever really took it. Lamentation.

And, I believe, if memory serves me correctly, this was the first time that I had ever written anything upon my own hand. I wrote myself a little reminder on my palm in black Sharpie. The letters “LFE”. They stood for “Learn From Experience”. I, clearly, was not learning from the experiences of failure at the driving test. And I needed to learn from the experiences of my driving test. So, knowing that I am naturally a very stubborn, philosophical, immature, anxious, and oblivious person, I gave myself a little note, a little reminder, which was to serve as a self-helping contradiction to my own nature. I, philosophically, didn’t understand why I needed my license. But my dad wasn’t going to let me stop until I got it. Once I finally got it, I thought my troubles were over. But my father wanted me to drive him around to gain more experience. I, of course, resisted this as much as I could.

At one point, he bought me a car: a Nissan, either Altima or Maxima, I’m not sure, and I recall not the year. It had a manual transmission. I believe he got it for me for my high school graduation, as that was when he first told me to drive it (I do not remember if he had the car prior). He drove me to the nearest convenience store (much to my own personal inconvenience: especially, as you will soon find out), then told me to get in the driver’s seat. I think I was trying to back up, and killed it. All I really remember from this instance was another car pulling up to the convenience store and yelling at me (I guess I was taking too long to back up, or something), and my father, who very rarely lost his temper, ejected from the passenger seat and commenced to yelling with the driver.

I was absolutely overcome with embarrassment. He got back in the car and tried to commence with the lesson. I told him that I couldn’t do it. That I wouldn’t do it. I was already scared as it was, and that person losing their temper at me further recluded me into my shell. Finally, my angry father relented. He drove me back home, and told me, in so many words, that I needed to “develop a shell”. To let stuff roll off my back. I scoffed and went inside the house: no doubt, fueling my father’s anger more. Or maybe sadness or helplessness. I’m not sure. But even though I couldn’t take his advice back then, I still hear it in my own head today. I still struggle mightily with it, and I feel like I work on “developing my shell” constantly, but that is one area of life that I have a very long way to go before I can say I’m “done” with it, if I can ever say that.

That experience wasn’t my first time behind the wheel. No, successive failures led me further and further away from the steering wheel. This is where my obliviousness came into play. Changing lanes without checking mirrors, driving too close to mailboxes and trucks on the interstate. My mind could not have cared less about driving. I was only doing it because I was told to do it (yes, Cody, sometimes a little blind obedience will do you more good than your daydreaming curiosity, eh? Oh well). I did not care about it. Even if it endangered both myself and my father. And the more he attempted to correct me, the more it scared me away from driving. I clearly didn’t know what I was doing, and it scared me away from the wheel. I suppose I could’ve just…oh, I don’t know…listened to him. But I was a know-it-all, as I was always accused of being, so I basically never listened to much of anything (other than what I wanted to hear). It remains to be seen how that’s going to play out long-term. Some of it has worked, other things, clearly, have not.

I wanted to think about other things: not driving. I didn’t understand its importance. So I avoided it for as long as I could. Until I realized that I couldn’t avoid it any longer, and needed to get my license, and a car. Thus, the “LFE”.

I had kept my permit even when I was finally able to go and obtain my license. It took me a very long time to care about driving. To realize why it was important. Interestingly enough, my mother was the same way: at least that it took her longer than “normal” to get her license. Neuroticism runs in the family. And, I guess, some other things that are actually good do as well.

It’s also fascinating to remember being in the car with my mother and father while he tried to teach her how to drive a “straight-drive”. I do not remember how old I was, but I remember my mother attempting to drive a straight-drive while I was in the backseat, and my father in the front, with her. That’s very fascinating. I was born a couple of months before her 20th birthday, so she must have been in her early-to-mid 20s in this memory of mine. I remember where she drove. I vaguely remember her, seemingly, buying several different cars in the course of a short time period. I’m not sure if I was in a car that we had already owned, or was in a car that she just recently bought, or was planning on buying (but needed to learn how to drive). I just recall my dad trying to each her how to drive a straight-drive while I was in the back seat. Interesting how the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. That tragic tree, perhaps with a relation with the one which bested Adam and Eve.

It makes me hesitant to think about having kids in the future, as I am afraid that I will, inadvertently, treat my children the way my mother treated me during my youth. I don’t expect to slap my child, or abandon its home and stay out all night, only to return briefly to talk to my wife, and then be gone back out of the house again, even as my child sits in the yard, crying for attention from me, only for me to leave again. I certainly don’t anticipate being that negligent. But I get the sense that most parents want to parent differently (and better) than their parents, but seem to fall within certain traps. If that is the case, I don’t want to have children just in case I start falling into traps that my mother created for me. I’m not going to take a chance at torturing a small child like that, even if I wish that I’d not torture the child at all, even as I’m inadvertently doing it.

But, to continue (and repeat myself), life sucked for a very long time, and I sucked right along with it. I did not handle challenges well at all. Reality hit me in the face, and I had a hard time dealing with it. And the only thing that I could think of to do was write down what it was that I needed to do to overcome what it was overtaking me. Writing “LFE”, for “Learn From Experience”, was the first thing that I remember doing that seemed to work. I wore it on my hand through high school (I remember not exactly how many years of high school that I wore it). I’d try to keep my palm from public view, as I didn’t want to explain what I have explained here. I remember one girl, whom I always sat with on the bus, noticed it once, and grabbed my hand to look at it. She asked what it meant, and I told her it meant “Learn From Experience”. I don’t think I explained to her exactly why it was there. She was interested in it, however, and said “Cool”. (Don’t worry: I’m not projecting the interest that I wished she had upon her. She actually was interested in it).

So I kept “LFE” written on my hand in black Sharpie. I soon discovered that “LFE” wasn’t going to provide me with all of the answers. I couldn’t apply it to every issue I faced. So: what to do now? I had to start making decisions. I had choices that I was going to have to make. So I changed the letters on my hand. I began to keep a Sharpie in my pocket, just in case something that I thought would be more effective came to my mind. I decided upon “MMOD”: Make My Own Decisions. I knew I had to. I didn’t know how to gauge my decisions, but only that I had to start making them. Very quickly, this “MMOD” changed to “MMODAL”: “Make My Own Decisions And Learn”. It was a bit unwieldy, and didn’t look as tidy as the blockal “LFE”. But I felt like it had to be done. Once again, I tried applying this to every area of my life, with, obviously, mixed results. Some holes are round while your peg is square. But I tried to do the best that I could, remaining depressed all the while…

I watched science programs on television, and would go outside and stare at the stars. I’d go for walks around the local school in the evenings (the school had a walking track where people could walk after school let out), and just think. I’d look at one of the Dippers, and in my head, see a traffic light. A traffic light in the sky that I had seen ever since I could remember riding in cars. This is one of those scenarios that seem to exemplify my creativity and ostracization, but I shall tell it anyway, for catharsis. Three of the stars, nearly perfectly aligned, in one of the Dippers, looked like a traffic light to me. Now, I’m sure that the top star wasn’t more “red”, the middle star more “yellow”, and the bottom star more “green” in reality. But in my mind, that’s what I saw. Perhaps I was bending reality. But I saw a traffic light. I saw it every time I was in a car at night time. I began to look for it. And I would just stare at it, and think about it. A bit bothered that they weren’t in a straight line like an actual traffic light (I suppose that makes me “obsessive-compulsive”. I’d had an “interest” in traffic lights for as long as I could remember). Around this time, also, I developed a new message for my hand which I shall only mention briefly, simply because of how asinine my message was. It was “Understand Everything”. Yeah, right. I’m not even going to get started on how fucking terrible that path went. I took my desire to learn just a little bit too far, to say the least.

My brain was still scattered, and my words were still poor. I was still very depressed. But the stars, and learning about them, and space, on television, brought me a little happiness. The atheistic side of things began to take a toll on me, as I felt myself becoming an asshole. Or, rather, a different kind of asshole. I was an asshole during my younger religious days as well, condemning all of those who didn’t go to my particular church, with a little red in my face. But although I felt like an asshole as an atheist, I also felt a little relief. I still had problems, but at least they weren’t the old problems. At least, some of them were different. The fear of what would happen to me after I died still remained.

One thing that brought me happiness during this time in my life was basketball. Basketball became my escape. I’d shoot for hours by myself. I’d either shoot in the backyard, or down at the school when it let out, sometimes well into the dark. It gave me something to focus on and work on that I could actually do (putting the ball in the basket), and gave me an escape from all of my failures. My failure of struggling so hard to get my license, which was eating me alive. My failure to rid myself of my depression. My failure to comprehend money, and jobs, and the universe, really. I was depressed and bored and failing. And basketball seemed to be the only thing that made me feel any better about it.

I continued looking to my palm for messages. I kept “LFE” for a while, and tried to apply it to as many things as I could. I remember staring at light bulbs, and wishing I could understand the “science” behind light. Now, that requires a lot of mathematics. I’m philosophically-minded: not mathematically-minded. But I’d stare at them, and wish I could really understand them scientifically. I wanted to learn more science. The cool kids in school were atheists, and “worshiped” science, and didn’t believe in God. I wanted to be that cool. I was also tired of being afraid of God. So I started shedding myself of my old religiosity, and I embraced the cold, depressing realities of scientific atheism. It actually was not as terrifying as being a Christian had been to that point. I was afraid that abandoning God would bring the worst upon me, but the truth was that I had already been through Hell religiously. I had already spent my youth envisioning Hellfire engulfing my bed as I masturbated, and believing all lightning strikes to be God warning me of my own sin, so becoming an atheist, although still difficult, and anxiety-inducing, actually produced less anxiety within me than I had experienced prior. It was still there, to a severe degree, but provided me with a relief, as I tried to think about science, and absorb it as a philosophical manner of being to replace my prior terrors. It wasn’t that I wasn’t afraid, but it still provided me with some relief.

In truth, I found science classes to be very boring. My mind always drifted. Experimentation and taking notes and the like bored the fuck out of me. That wasn’t my idea of “science”. My idea of “science” was more of an anti-religiosity. Interesting to see this in other people today. I still tried to think of, say, light, and I thought “What’s the science behind that?”, with no mathematics to guide me. “How did they create those rafters from which the lights hang in the gym? Why does it get dark outside? Why is there artificial light at night time, and why is there sunlight in the day time?” (Sidenote: I associated artificial lights with creepiness. Instead of being scared of the dark, I associated that common fear that children have with the only sources of light around. I don’t know why. Perhaps I’ve always been obsessed with light, and couldn’t stop thinking about them, even among my fears which are normal to all children. Although, my fear “of the dark”, I guess you could say, was magnified by my past learnings about evil things in the world, which I had absorbed both through television news, my church, and, more than my church, sermons on the radio on the way to church). “How did they create these artificial lights? How does electricity work? Who are these teachers here at this school? Why do they come here everyday? What are we all doing here? Why does this person have this ‘job’ and this person has this ‘job’?” Yes, one constant in my life has always been the questions (once again: thank God).

I transitioned into what I believed to be a more “scientific” mind. In truth, I had always been curious about why things worked the way that they did. I recall being in a booster seat in a car (I had to have been four or five, at the oldest), and facing the windshield, and seeing the yellow lines in the middle of the road. (Then again, maybe I’m confusing a time that I remember being in a booster seat with another time that I recall looking out the windshield and seeing those yellow lines. I’m horrible with exact chronology. Everything just runs together for me). They fascinated me. I also saw the white line on the right side of the road. I wanted to understand what they were. I tried to follow the lines, but they moved too fast. I tried looking out the side window as they passed, but I was too short to see them (maybe I was sitting in the middle instead of sitting beside the door), and the blur of the outside made me very carsick. It is quite remarkable to me that I remember these details so vividly. (Like remembering a time a guardian accidentally clipped my thigh between a seatbelt and its holder). Whenever I can remember something vividly, I get scared. Scared that I haven’t made any progress from that day that I remember. But I think that’s a topic for another piece.

On a small tangent (which is actually related, so I guess that means it isn’t actually a tangent): I went for a small drive recently near my home. To roads that, much to my amazement, I hadn’t yet been down. They led me to familiarity, but it was the roads themselves that were foreign to me. I had known they existed, but had never traveled down them. And as I did, some interesting memories came to me, as sometimes happens.

It was late, and I had my bright-lights on. A car passed me by in the other lane, and I had forgotten they were on, and turned them off as the car was passing me. I turned them back on, and looked at my dash. And I recalled, seemingly, for the first time since it happened, seeing that same blue icon in my father’s old Plymouth Horizon. As a kid, I guess, partly, because I was tiny, and couldn’t see out the windows that well, I stared at the dash. I saw the green lights flashing (those were the turn signals). And I saw the blue light. It looked like something. I couldn’t figure out what it was, or what it meant. My dad kept flicking a switch constantly (for what reason, I did not yet understand), and the blue light would disappear and reappear. And, occasionally, the green lights would flash as well. I recall looking at the “Hazard Lights” button. Those three triangles (or however many there are). I think I wanted to touch them. Of course, I couldn’t. I remember seeing the defrost buttons. Why do they look similar, but are also different? And why is there heat coming out of these things? And why is there ice on the front windshield that you have to scrape off? And why do we have to get up for school today? Ah, yes. It all blends together. And the “whys” still remain (once again: thank God).

I remembered, as I took this night drive, thinking, at one point, that the blue lights looked like a jellyfish: or, rather, the first time that I saw a picture of a jellyfish (it might have even been on Spongebob), I thought of that blue icon. I’m sure the latter was the case. I saw a jellyfish “on its side”. Likewise, the first time I saw a house drawn, a triangle on top of a square, I thought of those green turn-signals that I had first seen in my father’s Horizon. Yes, on this night drive, I was consumed by my memories of my own creativity. I missed it. It had been taught out of me by peers and adults alike. “Hey, this looks like this!” “That’s nice. Have you got a car yet?” Yes, the creativity has always been something that has ostracized me (not even just the example I just mentioned, but in conversations with my peers for as long as I can remember), but, being an introvert, I’m ok with that, to some degree. I tried to train it out of myself to become better socialized, but on that night drive, I continued to realize that now is the time to let back out my creativity. That I am a creative man. That I need my creativity. I need to let it all out, and let it all flow. There will be plenty of criticisms, good and bad, on the road ahead. But I am happy when I am creative. I am happy when I experience deja vu. I am happy when I write. And so, thus being recently invigorated, and feeling justified, in expressing myself creatively, I have desired to write this here. It was begun before this particular moment of inspiration, but I have realized that I need to accept my creativity, and not run from it. I have ran from it forever, for several reasons. I’m sure that all of them felt justified at the time. I’m sure, if I really wanted to sit and think about it, some of them would be justified now. But my best friend is always in “imagination-land”. He can’t concentrate on anything other than the fantasies within his own head. He desires to be a fiction writer. And he dreams constantly. His dreams, and the written word, both reading and writing, are how he “escapes” the monotony of his work that pays his bills. But, in truth, these dreams of his were sparked long before he became an adult who needed to make money. His persistence, despite his struggles, inspires me. He desires to be creative, come Hell or high water. And he frequently struggles. But he doesn’t give up. And that inspires me. It inspires me to tap in to my creative nature that has been defeated. And to see what all can come out of it. I look forward to it, and can’t wait to see what all is in store for me as far as my creativity is concerned. One result that I am most anticipating is a tremendous level of happiness.

So now, as my desire to read and write have increased, I become aware of my limitations in both of these regards. Particularly, when other obstacles, not related to either of these, present themselves to me. I was driving, and thinking about something fictional that I wished to write, being inspired by the mountains that I saw before me. I couldn’t write it down, as I was driving, but I desperately wanted to remember it. So I started repeating a mnemonic in my head so that I could remember it when I actually had a chance to write it down. And as I was repeating it to myself over and over in my head, I realized a lot of different things. I realized that some things never seem to change about oneself. That repetition was just a tool that I was going to have to use for my benefit, regardless of how “weird” it seems to others. That words have significant power for me, in that words help me remember to do things which better my life. And if words have this kind of power over me, perhaps I need to invest more to them, even if that includes writing words that only I can understand. I’ll have to take that chance of social ostracization if it means that I can repay back the words that have benefited me so.

I need to have repetition in my life. I can’t live, or function, without it. My need to repeat things in my head in order to remember them has not changed. And they are still, if not more so, approaches to challenges, instead of, say, remembering to buy milk (which, considering my love for the drink, I never forget). I’ve been very lucky thus far in life, even if I haven’t realized it. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that it is a miracle that I am where I am today. I’m sure that friends and family members have thought that far back in time. I must say, I have to join them in that surprise. I’m pleasantly surprised, no doubt, but I have definitely been lucky. In large part, thanks to my hard-working parents (yes, even my mother, who helped me out later on in my life while she had abandoned me in my youth), who picked up my slack when I was too stupid and lazy to do it myself (and I can’t forget stubborn). Even if I should have been more proactive, I just want people to know why I wasn’t. Whether it is justified or not, I want to be honest with my feelings and my thought processes with the world. That makes me happy. I don’t look forward to the feedback, but the catharsis is fulfilling.

I have always needed some pen and paper, or electronic device, handy, so that I could write things down. I feel a great relief when I write, and feel much pressure when I desire to write, but am physically unable to, either because I am driving, or am at work, or have forgotten my phone with which I take notes, or whatever. Lately, I have discovered a great many internal roadblocks that I won’t even begin to mention in this piece. Look forward to them, God only knows how long from now. But this is something within me that I was just born with. It has been a struggle to do it over the past several years, and those times that I have done it haven’t been masterpieces. They’ve barely been amateurish. But I did them. My heart desired them, and I did them to the best of my meager abilities. And I expect the world to judge them harshly. But I can’t let that stop me. Regardless of how hard the world laughs at them, or how viciously they hate them, I can’t stop writing them.

And the next time that I am faced with some difficult task, in which I must repeat something to myself over and over in my head, to remember the specific task, or to remember a certain way of approaching the task, I need to remember that all I am doing is repeating words to myself. (Or, in some fucking way, that I’m actually thinking clearly. Calm down, Cody. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Breathe. Manage your fucking anger, Cody). Isn’t that that writing is? Thoughts and words. So if I desire to write, what’s wrong with keeping thoughts in my head? If repeating things to myself constantly helps me to remember to do tasks, and helps me remember things to write down the instant I can do so, why would I feel embarrassed at this? Yes, once again, youth shows itself. “Won’t people think you’re crazy for, say, talking to yourself? Or repeating some weird phrase in your head constantly? Or writing on your fucking hand, for God’s sake?” In truth: yes, of course they will. As many people have said, I must develop letting other people “roll off of my back”. It is challenging. But words are how I have always dealt with difficulty. I don’t anticipate this changing. I know not how difficult the future will be, but I know that I am going to need all of my words to conquer that future. I should not be embarrassed of anything which helps me improve as a writer, because that will help me improve my lot in life; and, indeed, I believe that it will help me become a better person as well. I welcome all of these possibilities with open arms, and will try to dedicate myself more to my own personal thoughts, and my own words, and getting better at communicating them in writing. This paper was very difficult to write, but that makes it very worthwhile. I know not if it will be received as my previous blog post was by that girl that went to my school, who said that she couldn’t understand what it was that I was trying to say, but I don’t anticipate that it will, and even if it did, I think I’m content enough with it to deal with that. My words are going to be with me forever. I want to use them as much as I can see fit. I want to improve upon them on my own terms, the best that I can, until I’m as satisfied with them as I can be. I want to write down all of my thoughts, and hope that my thoughts are of good quality, and that if they aren’t, I can fix them somehow. And if they are, that they will be received as such, and that the world is not in such a state as to hate that which is good quality (a state which, I fear, is upon us at the moment). I don’t look forward to any feedback, as that isn’t the point of any of my writing. None of my writing is for “approval”. If you approve, you approve. If you don’t, you don’t. My writing is my catharsis, and how I cope with my problems. You do with them what you will. (I’m still learning how to deal with feedback, both positive and negative, in case you couldn’t tell by my last outburst here. I can’t get ahead of myself. One step at a time. I need to love it before I incorporate feedback. God, help me).

Sanity has been a thought that I have been obsessed with for a long time. I’ve thought myself insane for many different reasons over the years. I used to get dizzy, and the room would spin, when I would try to go to sleep at night. My thoughts would race at times. I spent many years worrying about whether or not I was sane. I spent many years obsessed with what my peers thought of me, despite the fact that I also tried to fight against this. The truth of the matter is that, at the current time, I wish to do what makes my heart happy. This makes my heart happy. Honest expression makes my heart happy. I don’t look forward to mischaracterizations, which I know will be forthcoming. I don’t look forward to critiques, whether they be justified or unjustified. I don’t look forward to anger from others. I don’t look forward to any of this. I desire peace. But I learned a long time ago that the world doesn’t care. Someone out there doesn’t care. There will always be someone out there who wishes to destroy you, and would be gleeful if he does. That’s just something I have to accept as I continue to write honestly and openly, and attempt to improve at it the best that I can, and know how to. Lord, help me. Please. I’m desperate. I know You already know this, but I’ve announced it publicly. Will that help me?

I will stew on a problem until I have a solution, and sometimes, even after I’ve come up with a solution. Sometimes, I have a hard time getting my solutions to stick. I naturally have a restless constitution, for some reason, so am always looking for the novel. I’m always looking for the homerun. Thankfully, family has helped me realize recently that my expectations are far too high. That I’m too hard on myself. I only realized this because my anger almost got the best of me. I almost snapped. I was really angry with myself. But I have to work on managing my anger. Lowering my expectations. And a bunch of other shit that I’m not going to put into this piece.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say, and I have no idea if this came out as I wanted it to or not, is that I’m trying to mature. I’m too hard on myself. I’ve got problems. I get ahead of myself. I need help, and I’ve got friends and family to help me when I need them. I can’t do everything by myself. But when I do start to find out how to deal with myself, it will involve talking to myself: repeating things to myself. I guess everybody thinks, and thinks in words. So repeating things to myself are just ways that I remember to do things to make myself better. I have to accept that. I can’t feel socially anxious simply because I’m talking to myself. I need to keep my expectations low, and not be so hard on myself, and slowly, very, very, slowly, learn how to deal with myself and the rest of the world. This will involve rumination, but it also has to incorporate other coping mechanisms if I’m to not lose my mind, instead of having my mind and only having others think I’ve actually lost it. Pray for me. Thank you.

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The Wonder in Astronomy

Devin Stevens Presents Literature

“There, totally immersed in a bath of pure ethereal colour and of unrelenting though unwounding brightness, stretched his full length and with eyes half closed in the strange chariot that bore them, faintly quivering, through depth after depth of tranquility far above the reach of night, he felt his body and mind daily rubbed and scoured and filled with new vitality. Weston, in one of his brief, reluctant answers, admitted a scientific basis for these sensations: they were receiving, he said, many rays that never penetrated the terrestrial atmosphere.

But Ransom, as time wore on, became aware of another and more spiritual cause for his progressive lightening and exultation of heart. A nightmare, long engendered in the modern mind by the mythology that follows in the wake of science, was falling off him. He had read of ‘Space’: at the back of his thinking for years had lurked the dismal…

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Follow the Leader

Oh, Cody. Why do you write anything? Why do you do this to yourself? The brain thinks. It plays your shortcomings on a loop. Your head is a fucking mess. The filing cabinet is the skull: everything is just strewn about in absolute disorganization. Why not just keep it in your head? Why ever withdraw one? What’s the point? Do you want people to laugh at you? Is that what you are? A masochist? Why do you pour your heart out for it to be devoured? Why can’t you focus on organizing your head instead of letting the entire world know of your disorganization?

Why have you ran away from disorganization your whole life? You know it’s important. Does it bore you that badly? Do you crave the chaos? Even if that means your work suffers? Was it ever even about creating “good” work? Or is it therapy? Are you letting everyone know your mental problems as self-relief? The pressure builds. And the heart wants to scream. It doesn’t matter what the results are. The heart says “LET ME OUT!!!”, and you have to oblige. Because you can’t break your own heart. What would you have left?

No, your life is about using the world as your therapist. Your therapist that you’ll ignore, and cuss, and loathe. Yes, this is your life, Cody. You are a slave to your own heart. For it to be trampled upon and beaten on. But that isn’t the worst of it.

No, the worst part of it is when you kill your own heart. When you ignore it. Talk down to it. No, you treat your heart like shit, Cody. Your self-doubt eats it alive. You torture your own heart. Your heart says “Cody, why? Why are you doing this to me?” Shut up, heart. You don’t know shit. You don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t know how to create good work. You don’t know how hard life is. No, heart. You’re a fool. You’re a stupid fool who will be hardened, whether you like it or not. You aren’t that important, heart. Don’t you know you’re just one of many? What makes you think that you are more important than all of those other broken hearts in the world? No, the truth is that you are insignificant, heart. You’re just keeping this flesh alive for a short time. That’s all your good for. It doesn’t matter what you want, heart. It doesn’t fucking matter.

But, oh. The heart can’t take it. Little does he know that the heart drives the whole thing. A man can’t doubt without his heart. He can’t think anything, even depressing, doubtful thoughts, without the blood that is pumped by his own heart. There is self-destruction. But the heart can only take so much before it says “Ok. You win.” And then it dies. And you die with it.

No, the heart beats hard. Strong. It ain’t been broken yet. Just toughened up. Matured. Yes, the heart is “growing up”. It is easy to equate abuse with “growing up”. The truth of the matter, Cody, is that your heart has been more blessed than others. That’s the hard truth. Yes, that truth breaks it. But your heart was blessed. Your heart was very blessed. Not everyone has had a heart as blessed as yours. Yes, Cody, you were given a gift. “Here, Cody. Have this heart.” But, Lord. What do I do with it? “I will let you know when the time comes.” And the time is now. The heart is saying “Let me out, dammit! Let me the fuck out!” And Cody says “Well, ok then. If you insist. What are you plan-” And away, the heart is off. He’s racing. He’s racing against the entire world. Yes, we’re all pouring our hearts out, every day, trying to find love from others. Yes, please love me. Please give me love, the heart says. “Oh yeah? Why should I love you more than any others?” Point taken. But that ol’ damn heart. He ain’t quitting. He just wants to scream louder. More emphatically. No, that ol’ heart is gonna go places. A hardened heart calls it foolishness. But this heart is genuine. This heart is pure. This heart wants it all. This heart wants clarity. And peace.

Yes, this heart wants to beat it all. This heart wants to say “Hey, world. I’m here.” That’s all this heart really wants. And, in truth, is that really too much to ask? And who says whether or not it is? Heart, do you think that’s too much to ask?

No.

But this is gonna be hard, heart. You don’t have any idea how hard this is going to be. Are you sure you can do this? Why, no. I’m not. But does that matter? Why, no. I suppose not. It’s what you want to do, right? Yes, it is. Well, I wish you the best of luck, heart. Thank you. How are you going to help me? I don’t have any idea. Well you better start fucking figuring it out if you want me to stick around. Alright. Let’s get on that, then, heart. Let’s leave this world behind and go somewhere. Let’s go.

Let’s write stuff that we know isn’t going to be our best work. Let’s write shit that we’ll always be able to see the flaws of. Let’s write shit that tortures us. Let’s write stuff that we can nitpick, and tear apart, and have the world join in with us. Yes, let’s just write. Let’s just write all of the dark, stupid, depressing shit that we can think of, as long as it is genuine. Oh, heart. What is it that truly distinguishes you from other hearts? Why aren’t you as dark as you could be? Why don’t you want destruction, heart? Why don’t you want to blow up the world? There’s some poor soul out there cursed with a heart that wants to control the whole world, or blow it up. Why aren’t you like that, heart? Why?

Cody, I don’t know. I do not know. I think we are loved, Cody. Yes, I think you and I are loved. We are blessed by God. But why, heart? Why are we? Because we just are, Cody. We just are. Well, heart, what do we do, then? Cody, I don’t know. I say we write and that’s it. Write every stupid, shitty thing you can think of. Just do it. You need to get stuff done. Isn’t that what you want, Cody? Don’t you want to just have things written down? Why, yes, I do, heart. But what do I want to write? Isn’t that your job? Hey, don’t rush me. You can’t rush heart. You know I don’t control this, either. I know. So what does that mean we do, heart? Well, do you want to keep talking to yourself, or do you want to go somewhere else, and if you do: where? This isn’t Orwell quality. What the fuck is it? What is this? Heart, how am I supposed to know? You’re the one doing this! Look, Cody, I’m just a tool. I’m not in control of this. I know. That’s scary, isn’t it, heart? Why, yes it is. If neither of us are in control, then how are we doing this? What is going on? I don’t know, heart. I suppose it’s the Lord. But, Cody. Come on. You are saying the Lord is speaking through you. Do you know how crazy that sounds? Yes, I know. You know people are just going to say some mental case is talking to himself, and that he believes himself to be God, right? Yes, heart, I’m well aware. Well, Cody, what do you think about that? Heart, do you really care? Isn’t there some potential that someone out there is going to love this shit? Yes, someone will hate it, too. But does that matter? Heart: does that really matter to you? It’s hard, Cody. You don’t understand. It’s really hard for me to make myself vulnerable like this. Oh, heart. I know it all too well. Trust me. Well, Cody, what do we do? Heart, how many times are you going to ask me this? Are we going to keep rambling like this? Is this just what we do? We just go back and forth, and that’s our journey? I don’t know, Cody. What if someone says “This is genius.” How are you going to feel, Cody? I don’t know, heart. How are you going to feel when someone says this is shit written by a narcissistic egomaniac? Cody, I’m really not going to care. Really? Yes, really. I’m really not going to care, Cody. Why do you care? Heart, this is hard. You have it easy. You don’t have anxiety like I do. You don’t have doubts. You think you don’t affect me, Cody? You think you don’t affect your heart? Heart……what do we do? Whatever we want to do, Cody. How are you sure? I don’t know, Cody. I don’t know. Maybe it’s the Lord telling me. I don’t know. But do you trust your own heart? Well, heart. That’s a deep question. I don’t know if I trust you or not. You’re flawed, right? You aren’t perfect. Can’t you do evil things? Why, yes, I suppose I could, Cody. But am I right now? No, I guess not. Do you trust me right now? Well, yes, I guess I do. Then do hypotheticals actually matter? I don’t know, heart. Do they? I don’t think so, Cody. I really don’t think so. Do you hurt, Cody? I don’t know. Do you hurt, heart? Why, yes, I think I do, Cody. I think I hurt a lot. I think there’s a lot of pain in me. Yes, heart, I know what you mean. Hold me, Cody. Ok, heart. Give me a hug. *Simultaneously* Are people going to say that this man is talking to himself and giving himself a hug? Cody, I truly don’t care. Ok, heart. I love you. I love you too, Cody. I love you too.

Personality.

Insightful.

A Memorandum on Dreams.

My poetry.

Love and Advantage

A man came by the house today. He was a man I’ve known my entire life. And it wasn’t the first time that he’s ever showed up at the house.

He had some cards that he was wanting to know the value of. Some Yugioh, Pokemon, Magic, and some other cards that I’m not sure of. I told him that I had gotten out of cards a while back, and didn’t know how much they were worth. He then started saying some very profound things that I was not expecting.

He’s had some drug problems that I’ve known about. He was on a scooter. And I don’t recall what exactly started it, but suddenly, he started talking about religion. Unprovoked. But it was not like what you might expect when being preached at. Most of the time, when someone is preached at, they hear about how terrible they are as a human being, and all of the things they need to do to alleviate themselves from the consequences of their sin. But this conversation was nothing like that. In fact, one might say that it was the exact opposite.

He started talking about energy. He said that energy is neither created, nor destroyed, but that it just exists. That there’s no time. That there is only energy. That we are energy, and that we all share this common humanity. We all share upon this energy. And we can give good energy, or we can give bad energy. But the energy is always there, and we can’t destroy it. It reminded me very much of a Bill Hicks joke: “All my point is, all my point is is there’s a lot of ways to look at the world. You know what I’m sayin’? Why pick the way you learn over TV? Cause it’s usually wrong. You ever see a good drug story on the news? Never. News is supposed to be objective, isn’t it? Supposed to be the news. But! Every drug story is negative. Well hold it. I’ve had some killer fuckin’ times on drugs. Let’s hear the whole story. Same LSD story every time, and we’ve all heard it: ‘Young man on acid thought he could fly. Jumped out of a building. What a tragedy.’ What a dick. He thought he could fly, why didn’t he take off from the ground and check it out first? You don’t see ducks lined up to catch elevators to fly south. He’s an idiot. He’s dead. Good! You mean there’s one less moron in the world? Wow, what a fuckin’ tragedy, huh? I guess I’m one car-length up in traffic tomorrow. How about a positive LSD story? That would be newsworthy. Don’t you think? Anybody think that? Just once? To hear a positive LSD story? ‘Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration; that we are all one consciousness, experiencing itself, subjectively. There is no such thing death. Life is only a dream. And we are the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather.’”

One connection I made between the two of them was the drugs. But I don’t know if drugs really tell the whole story. Maybe they do in Bill’s case, but I’m not sure about this guy’s. But he continued. And things got really deep.

He said he’d be sitting around, drinking and smoking a bong with some people, and they’d say to him “How can you call yourself a Christian when you do all of that?” And he said to them that they didn’t get it. He told me that he’d tell them that the Ten Commandments aren’t laws which need to be strictly obeyed, but are rather more common sensical than that. To paraphrase, he said “Think about it. ‘Obey your father and your mother.’ That’s just natural, isn’t it?” The thing that struck me about this conversation was that I’ve been thinking some of these very things myself. He continued:

Once again, to paraphrase, he said “Life isn’t about obeying the laws of God. It’s about love. It’s about all of us loving each other. It’s about giving good energy through love. We are all part of this loving energy. And it doesn’t disappear: it just gets transported somewhere else when we die.”

Here was a man I hadn’t seen in months, if not a couple of years. Who I’ve known my whole life. Who just came to my house and started telling me this stuff. He asked a couple of times if I understood what he was saying. And, to my shock, I actually did. I’ve been thinking some things lately, but they aren’t fleshed out enough for writing. But I actually did understand what he was saying. And when I told him so, he’d say “I know you do.” And I could tell that he was being genuine. That he was serious. We shared a very human moment together. I thought “You know, I know people who would’ve asked him to leave. But I’m glad I just stood here and listened to him.”

He could be pretty emotional at times. Not to the verge of tears, but just very excited. I thought about telling him to calm down because I didn’t want the neighbors to check out what was happening, but he seemed to sense it every time without me saying anything. Of course, he couldn’t contain himself at times. He wasn’t sad, and he wasn’t angry, but he was very enthusiastic. Passionate. But he felt completely genuine to me. He wasn’t putting on a show. This man was pouring out his heart. And I could feel that.

He told me some very personal things about himself that I will not ever repeat to anyone. I don’t know if he was high or not. I believe I could smell a little liquor on him. But I swear, in that moment, I think his head was more clear than it had ever been.

He said he’d talk to Biblical “scholars”, to use his term, at nearby churches. Talking to them, presumably, about some of the things he had been talking about to me. He didn’t seem to think that they actually got it. Once again, it was a miracle that I was on the same brainwave as him. Maybe my natural thought processes are just as scattered as his, but I understood what he was saying. For the most part.

There were some things about tectonic plates and volcanoes and the world opening up that I was skeptical of. But I dismissed those pretty easily, because he was back on the loving energy topic pretty quickly. I don’t know if he’s right, if he’s wrong, but I guess time will tell.

He said “I’ve never told anybody any of this stuff. I’ve rarely read any of the Bible. But something just compelled me to come here and say all of this stuff.” And I understood exactly what he meant. It was a very touching moment.

He also said some stuff about seven nations, like America, Brazil, Peru, and others being a “seven-headed beast”. That “liberty” was just a myth. That there was some volcano off of the coast of southwest Australia that was going to open up like a pit of Hell. I was a little skeptical of all of that. He started losing me there. But I agreed with him, and understood what he was saying, earlier about loving energy, so I stuck with him.

He said he loved me, and I told him I loved him too. And we hugged each other. I could tell that he was genuine. And then, he was on his way.

I thought about that moment. I thought about dwelling on it. About trying to force that moment to be meaningful every moment of my entire life from here on out. But that isn’t how moments work. Moments exist within a specific time and place. Forcing them beyond that makes them lose what made them magical in the first place. But it gave me some interesting thoughts about love, and about advantage.

The way I grew up to think about love is incorrect. I thought that one had to love everybody to the fullest extent that one could, so that the world would be a good place. So that we could all get into Heaven. But the first part of that is actually more important than the latter, believe it or not. I treated love as something to always be working toward and striving for. But not just love: perfect love. “Am I being as loving as I could be?” This question always bothered me tremendously. Religion had taught me that I should love my fellow man, but how do I know how much I need to love my fellow man? Well, this was never answered specifically, but I believed that the answer to that “amount” question was the same as other “amount” questions that religion attempts to answer: “As much as you can, but that will never be enough. But you have to struggle towards that goal, anyway.”

So I put a lot of pain upon my heart to try to love people. But it only made me resent them. It made me hate myself. It confused me. I’m introverted by nature, and my idea of “love” (such as always listening to everything someone says when they talk to you, never disagreeing with someone, never getting angry at someone, etc.) was immature and, plainly, just incorrect. My old way of thinking about love put a lot of pain upon my heart that created a lot of hatred. And I don’t think my old way of thinking about love was even correct.

I believe that guy was on to something. I believe that love is a lot deeper than that. Way deeper than that. He said that he was struggling to find the words to explain what it was that he wanted to explain, and I feel the same way at the moment. I’ll bring up a conversation that I had with my best friend recently, Devin Stevens.

I called him up one night cause I hadn’t talked to him in a while. I was thinking some things about religion, and I know he’s been thinking and writing about it for a very long time now, so I just wanted to hear some of his take on religion. I asked him some questions. And he told me some personal things that I won’t break to anyone, but he’s planning on making these public in a giant religious treatise that he’s writing, so I look forward to seeing the complete piece myself. But as we talked, I came to the conclusion that, even among Christians, each person’s faith is different from one another. Christians experience Christianity differently. That was one thing that seemed very clear to me in that conversation. And I was very relieved.

It made me think of politics. In politics, force is used to make everyone “equal”, but it destroys their humanity and makes them miserable in the process. It made sense to me that, much like humans need freedom to experience the fullness of their diverse, individualistic humanity, that this humanitarian diversity and individuality would be experienced with God as well. God has made us individual, and diverse. That’s got to mean something holy. God created the Earth, and made us out of dirt. Despite our sins, I don’t think that God hates humans, nor do I believe that He hates the Earth. He created it, after all. No, most of the things He hates are common sense, I believe, just like that guy who came by my house was talking about. Stuff that most of us just naturally hate, like murder, or theft. Basic, common sense stuff. Yes, that is the stuff that God hates. That is the stuff that a loving God hates. That’s the stuff that love hates.

My old conservative ways of thinking about love and God, I have now come to believe, were wrong. There was too much emphasis on “completeness”. Too much emphasis, in effect, on the impossible. Which led me to failure, which led me to fear. But the emotion which plagued me the most about love, the old way I thought about love, was guilt. When I was younger, if I would’ve heard a story like that man told me today, I would’ve felt extremely guilty. My life has been nothing like his. And yet, this man was showing me love, and saying that we had a common bond. I would’ve felt guilty about that when I was young. But the truth is that I’ve had a much easier life than he’s had. It does make me feel bad for him, although I hope he can turn his life around, and I hope that what he said in our meeting today continues with him throughout the rest of his life. But I didn’t feel guilty today. I didn’t feel guilty for not having the troubled experiences that he has had. I just felt lucky. I felt blessed. I didn’t feel like a “better” human being than him, but I felt absolutely blessed. I said to myself “I have been lucky. I have been advantaged.” But that didn’t make me feel any need to bring myself down to any level that he has been at. Rather, it made me realize, or rather, it made me continue to think what I’ve been thinking about for a while now, that life is about taking advantage. It isn’t about “taking advantage” of someone else, but it is about “taking advantage” of yourself. Life is about taking advantage of your natural, God-given abilities and desires. That’s how human progress moves forward. That’s how things get better. When people experience the fullness of their humanity, and become the best that they can be. Not out of fear, but out of love for the world. Striving for improvement, maximizing their natural skill-sets. Bringing other people joy. The key is to accept what you have. Accept whatever it is that you have. And the key is to eliminate false humility. The key to love is accepting it when other people give it to you, for whatever reason that they do. Accept it, and move on to the next thing in your life.

For me, I’m pretty smart. Halfway decent with words. I can’t feel guilty about these things simply because I’m smarter than someone else, or a better communicator than someone else. And that lack of guilt on my part does not mean that I don’t love someone else. Advantage and disadvantage aren’t signals of love. Guilt isn’t even love. Love was that moment when this man told me very personal things, I listened to him, and then we hugged each other. The differences in our lives, past and present, had nothing to do with love. I shouldn’t feel guilty for having a much easier life than he had, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t wish him the best of luck in the future, and feel sympathy for his past.

That’s the biggest thing I need to continue developing in my life: how to take advantage of myself. How to remove anxieties and guilts, and be the best goddamned Cody Alan Reel that I can fucking be, with whatever it is that I have been given.

I’m sure I’ve heard this a lot growing up, and I’m sure I’ve dismissed it frequently, but all of those phrases about “Life being about the experience”, and “Living life to the fullest”, make a lot more sense to me now. The lesson didn’t come from the church. But I’m going to continue to take full advantage of myself, and figure out how to feel emotionally about myself as I go along. There has been a large transformation on that front as the years have gone on. A complete 180. A lot of blessings, and a lot of introspection. It’s a process. It’s an odd mixture of myself and things outside of my control. I’m going to think about it and write about it as much as I can stand it. As much as it brings me satisfaction to do so. But that’s part of my individual journey here on Earth.

I wish everyone the best of luck, and I hope that everyone can take full advantage of themselves.

Sam Hyde – My Boring Story (but I gotta tell it, real illuminati story).

The Apparent Conflict Between “Practicality” and “Art”

I’m not sure if my best friend, Devin Stevens, wishes me to make this public or not. But I think I will, anyway. My best friend, Devin Stevens, has a habit of walking back and forth, talking to himself. It is interesting, and some might even say peculiar. I really only paid attention to it when trying to talk to him, only to be ignored. A boy lost in his own head. Consumed by his own thoughts. The outside world, be damned. How it has always been, how it will always be. No hard feelings, of course. But I did find it quite interesting.

And now, here I sit, these several years later. A post opened, writing down words. Struggling to find exactly how to say what I wish to say, and how I want to say it. So what do I do? Why, I pace back and forth, and start talking to myself, of course. Why? Well, as I paced back and forth, talking to myself, I realized something. What am I doing when I talk to myself, walking back and forth? Well, I’m thinking, and I’m communicating. I’m thinking, organizing, and communicating it back to myself. And what is writing? Writing is thinking and communicating. So, in other words, they are the same. Thoughts come out of nowhere, and then, the will acts upon them. The thoughts come, effort is put into them as far as organizing and developing are concerned, and the end goal is some conclusion. Some conclusion to the sequence of thoughts that have occurred. At that point, one can decide whether or not to communicate those ideas: in what form, to whom, and how. Then, the communicatee goes through the same process, and back and forth it goes.

So what is the point of communication? The point is whatever the communicators want it to be. In other words, why does anyone ever talk to anyone at all? Because they want to; have decided to, for whatever reason. And these reasons are varied. So why do I communicate? For various reasons. The main one being that I want to. And why do I want to? I do not know. I think thoughts, I like them, and I want other people to be aware of them. “Do you like them, too?” I suppose that’s the main point. “Do you like my thoughts, too? Do you enjoy them as much as I do? Because I’ve really enjoyed them. They’ve made me happy. Do they make you happy?”

I realize that this is humorous to say, but, of course, I am not the only person who thinks, and I am not the only person who communicates. Everyone does this. When people communicate with me, I listen, and think. And then, I communicate back. And there have been very few people who I have communicated with who enjoy writing as much as I do. The main one is my best friend. And I don’t think our love for writing and our friendship status are separable.

Most of the people I have communicated with have skills that I don’t have. They tell me that I should learn those skills, as they have, because it would be helpful. My natural instinct is just to pay someone else to do it. It’s easier. I do something else for money, and give you the money to fix my problem that I don’t want to learn how to fix. It’s understandable how blasphemous it is to someone who does “fix their own problems” (arguably, I am fixing mine by paying someone else to fix it for me). But I don’t think those people love writing as much as I do. I never hear them talk about stories that they wish to write. Or treatises. It never seems to come up. Not once. They might mention a book that they’ve read, that someone else has written. But they never say “Hey, I want to write a book.” I realize that people don’t live in a fantasy-land where they can do whatever they want when there is money that has to be made, things that must be fixed, food that must be obtained to be eaten, etc. But starving artists have always, and will always, balance between making the money that they need to make and doing what their heart really wants to do. And that is a very difficult struggle. Artists often choose their art over more money. Non-artists don’t really have to make that decision: they just pick the money, no questions asked. It’s a matter of personal preference.

Some people seem to have accepted that “it doesn’t matter” what their heart really wants. But how many of them are happy? And yet, they’d respond that their happiness doesn’t matter. I reject that philosophy from many fronts. I have a lot to say about it. I’ve written about it some, and I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it in the future. But I reject the way that basic truths are applied by “the public”. I disagree with the way “most people” seem to apply reality. I can’t really get into it all here. I think that it will be a “life’s work” that I work toward; explaining my philosophies.

So how do I talk to anyone when they do not desire to write much of anything (for various reasons), when I do desire to write fictional stories or “treatises”? That’s the hard part. Talk gets small, even if important. It never comes to what I love. (Why “should” it? Well, why should I listen to anyone talk about anything at all? Why should I listen to someone, even a friend or family member, talk about their children? Or their health? Or the health of someone else that they care about? Well, it is simple. They have decided to tell me these things because it matters to them. And I listen, because I am either their friend or family member, and that’s what friends and family members DO. So why should the conversation ever come to what I love: writing? Well, why should any conversation ever come to anything that ANYONE loves?)

I suppose it rarely gets to what they love, either. Other things take precedent over dreams. One has to be able to eat, after all. And there ain’t gonna be any food if there’s none grown or raised. But my will, my decision, is to write. That’s what matters to me on this planet. I may not know how to fix my own car, or my own plumbing. But who is going to write if I don’t? Mechanics and plumbers won’t be writing. If everyone was a mechanic or a plumber, there’d be no books. I want to create books for mechanics and plumbers and everyone else to read. That is important to me. I’m more than happy to pay someone else to fix my problems if that means I don’t have to spend the time and energy learning how to do them when I could be reading or writing instead (or Hell, even listening to music, or playing video games, or whatever else that I want to do). It’s worth it to me to pay that price.

But it’s honestly my fault that conversations that I am in never include my love for writing. Why? It is very simple. Because the very skill that I’m lacking is the very thing that I love to do. In other words, what I love to do is to communicate. But I’m not good enough at it yet to actually do it. So I can’t accurately communicate to others that what I love to do is to communicate. I struggle constantly with that. Of course, questions are begged: “What kind of communication?”, etc. And there’s a million different pieces of advice that I will not take. I will do communication in my own way; in a way which brings me happiness. And I can’t accurately explain why it is that I’m going to do that at the moment, and thus, the frustration continues. It never really truly ends.

Writing is very hard. There is no way around it. It’s hard and it will be hard until you finish it. And you can say “Thank God” when it is done. But getting anything done is just hard, and there’s no way around it. If you want it done, it’s going to be hard. And if you don’t do it, it won’t get done. So it is either “hard” or nothing at all. As is every area of life. And that’s why being alive is such a son-of-a-bitch situation to BE in.

Everything looks easy when someone else is doing it. But doing something for yourself will always show you how hard it really is to do. I’ve always enjoyed learning that for myself, because once I learn how hard something is to do, I don’t sit around, envious of others, saying “I could do that. Life isn’t fair.” I’ve had enough of that for one lifetime, and I’m done surrounding myself with people that think that way. “It’s not fair that person has muscles and I’m fat. Welp, let’s start eating right and exercising. Hey, I exercised for a week. That’s pretty good. Where are my results? What? You’re telling me I have to do this CONSTANTLY? And I’ve got to drastically alter my diet? Uhh…so my choices are to either drastically change my lifestyle and get the muscles, or keep my lifestyle and either stay envious that I don’t have muscles or just say ‘Fuck the muscles’? I think it’s time to move on.” I personally could not handle anymore envy than I had in my late teens. It was unbearable. Muscles and money, muscles and money. My envy of those with more money than me reached a breaking point, and that’s when I decided to learn what the fuck was going on. To me, my choices were to either “Rip everybody off like everybody else is doing who has a lot of money”, or be “A good person who will inevitably be poor”. I thought those were my only two options. And at that point, I broke. My life changed forever from that day. That was as low as I had been in a while, but things changed for me that day. I know it was a religious experience. Everything has been completely different since then. And I’ve never looked back.

I’ve made some philosophical life choices over the years. At one point, I chose to be nihilistic because I thought it was “cool”. The completely idiotic “split” between religion and science made me choose science because science made sense, and if religion said science was bullshit, then I knew religion was bullshit. But thinking that science had every answer known to man made me angry and depressed when it, inevitably, was given questions that it simply couldn’t answer. Something was missing. “Science” was not enough of a framework to me. Thinking of how to “scientifically” explain light waves every time you turn on a light bulb isn’t healthy. With one caveat. It isn’t healthy if you DON’T LIKE IT. That is what I finally realized, with some help from my best friend, Devin Stevens. Devin introduced me to some religious ideas that I had never considered before. And I pondered them, and pondered them. And the more he told me, the more things made sense. And my life has completely changed, for the better, because of him. Without a single doubt. My perspective on life has completely changed thanks to him.

My parents, of course, have also influenced me. My father always told me to get an education, so that I could have a better job than HE had. He told me this and told me this and told me this. “Don’t do what I did. Go to school.” And my mother always gave me the confidence that I could make my dreams a reality. The “unstoppable force” (very evidently my mother) and the “immovable object” (very evidently my father) made ME. I couldn’t imagine being anyone else. Their advice produced a lot of anxiety within me growing up. I didn’t know how I was going to “do better than them”. I wanted to, because they advised it, and I didn’t want to hate my job every day, as they did. I was desperate to avoid that lifestyle. But I had no idea what I was going to do. HOW I was going to do it. I looked to the “rich and famous“: what have they done? What do they do? They play basketball? They act? Let me try those. And it was a fantastic decision to try. Because of what I mentioned earlier. My envy quickly evaporated. And I needed to learn something that I could actually do.

I learned to read at a young age, and I read a lot to my parents. I’ve written some about my history with reading here. And, somehow, I’ve got a “knack” for writing as well. Probably got it from my parents. It got developed in school as well. I’m convinced that good readers can write. Hell, I can write, and I’m not even a good reader. But writers are thinkers. But I don’t think that is enough. Writers aren’t just thinkers: they are UNIQUE thinkers. Common ideas don’t need to be written, because they don’t need to be read. If everyone says the same thing all the time throughout their day in communication with one another, why would any of them ever take the time to write something? Or read something? It’d always be the same. So writers are unique. There has to be something unique about writers. Even if multiple writers write very similar things, there’s just something different about us writers. We’re just different. Unique. Strange. “A little off”. And that’s what makes us so great. That’s what makes us worth reading. We’ll come to you when we need our cars fixed, but maybe we can entertain you or teach you something while you’re shitting. When people do what they desire, and take action, things just seem to have a way of working out symbiotically. Years of studying economics has taught me that profound fact.

So I appreciate it when a friend or family member tries to give me advice. I may or may not know exactly what they know, but, at the very least, I’m sure their hearts are in the right place. But I know what my heart says. I know what I need to do. I don’t know exactly how it will play out, but no one does. No one who gives advice knows how everything will play out. So the question becomes: what should I do? That, I will figure out myself. And, right now, it is telling me to write. It is telling me that I need to learn a lot more when it comes to writing. It is telling me that I need a lot more confidence when it comes to writing. That I need to read more. That I need to be more assertive. That I need to write more often. That I need to dedicate more time and patience to writing. And it is telling me that I need to be by myself, walking around, back and forth, thinking of things. Because that will, inevitably, help me with my writing. And that is what I want.

I think you’re on to something, Devin. I don’t know if you realize it or not. But I truly believe you are on the right track. And I believe I’m going to follow in your footsteps. I can’t thank you enough. Good luck to you. And to all of my fellow artists. And Hell: even to the non-artists, too. Good luck to EVERYBODY.

The Process of Thinking.

Apparent.

A Treatise on Stubbornness.

Intellect Equals Cockiness?

Why Express?

Why Do I Write How I Write?

Getting Sucked Into the World of Writing.

Conserv.

Personality Development.

Accepting Evil

I was introduced to the concept of “evil” at a very young age. It was introduced to me through religious conservatism, as well as through television news. Both were saturated with incessant talk of evil things that people were doing all around the world. When my religion taught me that I was evil, when I watched “the news”, I equated my evil with their evil. I equated myself to the murderers on the television, even though I hadn’t killed anyone. If we’re all lost as sinners, then who cares about comparisons?

Just thinking about evil is exhausting. There is no way to create a perfect man. How do we “measure” ourselves as good? Or, better yet, is there value in measuring how “good” we are?

In the past, I would’ve said “Yes”. I measured my good (as well as the good of the whole world) to see who among us, including myself, was going to Heaven. But I never knew what that amount of good needed to get into Heaven was. But I measured away anyway, completely dissatisfied, as the only result I came up with was that “None of us are good enough.”

Well, my religious beliefs have changed over time. And so have my ideas about “good”. But evil still bugs me. I still notice it everywhere. I seem to notice it all of the time. I don’t think it is really possible to ignore it. Throughout the day, I think everyone will, at least one time throughout that day, say “Damn. That isn’t right.” Evil is simply too prevalent to ignore. Sure, when we’re playing with our kids, or reading a book, we aren’t thinking about someone getting raped or murdered in the world. But surely it’s happening. There will be no “end” to it until we die.

Since none of us are sure when we are going to die, and surely we don’t want to think about death constantly, what do we have to look forward to? Why does “looking forward” matter? What do we have but to “look forward”? We look forward as well as looking back. We pleasantly reminisce about the past, while being thankful for getting passed the negative times. We dread the future, while looking forward to what we believe we will enjoy about it. There’s no “constant settling point” with regards to the past and the future (besides the fact that we are alive in the present). There’s no “perspective” that ultimately takes precedent. The past, the present, and the future engage all of our minds. But there’s something special to be said about “moving on”. To hoping. And to just being thankful. You can’t be thankful for anything when your whole life is spent anxiously lamenting and condemning the lack of perfection in the present. Sadly, even this can be taken over by anxiety. There’s nothing that anxiety can’t ruin. It’s a shame.

I should state that, once again, I’m not against lamentation completely. Of course, I’m not completely (there’s that word again) against anxiety. Both serve important functions. But there’s a difference between compassionately bringing up a serious subject that needs attention, and being an asshole about it that no one wants to listen to (being an asshole, I should know this). The latter ultimately boils down to a fear of the lack of “perfection”. I think, ultimately, the motivation comes into play, as well as the “soundness” of one’s argument when one brings up an issue. Is it objectively an issue? That should be argued. After that, why are you bringing up the issue? That should be discussed as well. After those are discussed, it can then be determined whether or not the issue being put on the table is worth “tackling”. Even with this, there will, ultimately, be breakdowns in communication, as ends will conflict with ends, means will conflict with means, etc.

My solution to this is: do what you want. If you want to argue, then argue. If you don’t, then don’t. One can try to bring to the attention of others as many wrongdoings as one can. My measurement is “However many one wants to”. Does it bring you some sense of joy to bring a problem to light? Do you receive something from it psychologically? If so, bring it up. But if you do not gain anything from it, I think the whole situation is fruitless. The nurse that tends to others as a “duty” without getting any pleasure from caring for others is missing the point of her helping others. Of course, they are being helped. That’s important. But the issue is: why wouldn’t that bring one joy? That is the even deeper issue at hand. If one is compassionate, wouldn’t helping others out bring that person joy? (Personal Happiness as a Virtue).

I’m not being stabbed right now. That’s a good thing. I focus on doing things in the present. And that’s what we all do. We all go through our day, working our jobs, reading books, doing a whole range of actions without thinking of the people getting violently attacked throughout the world.

Many would see this as a bad thing. Many people spend their whole lives pointing out these wrongs. Indeed, I would have to say I’m included among these “Hey, this is bad” pointer-outers. Should it not be the case that each and every single one of us should point out each and every single wrongdoing that we are aware of constantly? Wouldn’t this be a good thing?

In the first place, most “moral” ideas never take into account man’s limited nature. Man has to sleep. Poop. I’m not going to be able to help a man getting stabbed while I’m asleep. Nor when I’m pooping. What if the murder is happening hundreds, if not thousands of miles away? What if I have to poop? Not only that, but even if I didn’t have to poop, am I really to fly all the way around the world, only to risk my own life to save someone else? I’d certainly find it noble if someone decided to do that themselves. But should I do it for the “overall good”?

I have reasons for not flying to Africa to help out, for example, someone getting murdered, or for not flying anywhere to help out anyone suffering any kind of injustice. Why? Well, I don’t want to spend the money on a plane ticket. Nor drive to the airport. Figure out where I’m going to stay once I got to wherever I was going. Not to mention, I’d, more than likely, be putting myself in danger. What if I, for example, get kidnapped? Who will help me? My point is that when it comes to “good” and “action”, there has to be some other way to think about it besides the “perfection” attitude: that everyone must spend all of their time and energy to combating every injustice in the world all at once until every justice is eliminated. That is impossible. But, more importantly, I don’t want to do it.

This, of course, does not mean that I am completely against helping out people in need. I, personally, am not going to go out of my way to search for people in need (I commend those that do), but if I see someone get hit by a car, I’d, of course, have no problem with dialing 911. It isn’t that I’m against any person receiving help at all, but I am against an attitude of “moral perfection”. Words like “perfect”, “complete”, etc., really can’t be applied to humans; especially when “good” is involved (this, of course, does not mean that punishment should never happen).

I learned a long time ago that nobody is perfect (I don’t think I learned it in a particularly healthy way). But I was asked “WWJD (What would Jesus do?)” I was taught that I should live a “Godly” life. I spent much of my life being worried over “doing enough.” But enough is enough.

There comes a point when we have to accept our own limitations. I certainly don’t ever think we should say “Welp, that man raped that lady and stole her purse. Oh well. What are ya gonna do.” In an immediate circumstance, when one becomes aware of a wrong, it is certainly commendable to try to “right” the wrong. And there’s various different ways to go about trying to “right a wrong”. But the key to this and what I mentioned earlier is anxiety. Anxiety relating to “perfection”. Of course, it is perfectly natural to feel anxious if one witnesses an attack. But why do you feel anxious? You feel anxious for your own safety, anxious about the health of the one attacked, anxious about the safety of anyone else that may happen to run into the attacker, etc. Anxiety isn’t the problem, but why are we anxious, and what are we anxious about?

“Moralistically”, “good” must be done because one is unsettled by the lack of perfection or perfect good. Any philosophical axiom based on “perfection” must be rejected. We are not God. We don’t have the strength of Superman, the speed of The Flash, etc. Perfection is a destructive goal. It becomes counter-productive. The purpose of doing good is that…well, it is just good. It spreads good will throughout humanity. Compassion is natural and genuine. But the idea of “perfection” waters down “compassion”. Imagine you are a nurse. There are one-hundred seriously injured people under your care, all wailing out in immense pain. “Good perfection”, besides being the case in one definition that no one would ever suffer anything negative ever, would require you to be able to at least completely alleviate the pain of all one-hundred patients instantaneously. This simply isn’t possible. The “ultimate good” would be that no one ever experience pain. The “perfectly good” action would be helping everyone at the same time. But these are, quite obviously, impossible. Striving towards an impossible goal is pointless. Life is not about “the struggle”. “The struggle” just exists: we don’t have to manufacture it. In fact, our whole lives are spent alleviating “the struggle”. If “the struggle” is such a noble idea, why do we all spend so much time trying to relieve ourselves from it? We naturally hate our human condition. Conservatives exacerbate this problem by perverting the human condition, and telling us that we must enjoy it: that God is “testing our faith”, and that we should “be thankful for it”. That our suffering gives us credit that we later redeem to God when we die to get into Heaven. (In addition, according to these same conservatives, there’s a billion little things that will take away this “credit”. I think the fact that we all naturally hate “the human condition” says a lot about these perverted conservatives). Liberals exacerbate the problem of the human condition by striving for perfection to pursue the good. They equate compassion with perfection: if we don’t spend every hour of every day fighting poverty, rape, and racism, then we aren’t doing enough good. And, once again, “enough” is only a complete elimination of poverty, rape, and racism.

The problem, once again, is one of “perfection”, or “the perfect good”. “Perfection”, “completeness”, etc., are words that should not be part of one’s ethical vocabulary. One can never be “completely good”, or “perfect”. “Good”, “helpful” action should never be based on perfection, but should rather be accepted as they are: as “good”, and as “helpful”. One man being saved from starvation is good, even if there are countless others that are, at the same time, not being saved from starvation. We must not lose sight of “the good” simply because we can never achieve “perfection”.

Of course, it is true that, in the Christian belief, perfection is required to be saved from eternal damnation. But it is also true that, in the Christian belief, Christ died as a forgiveness of sins as this perfect requirement. That is Christianity. Christianity is “Perfection is required. Welp, here you go. With love.” That’s it. That’s the “extent” of the “perfection”. A nurse can’t alleviate the severe pain of one-hundred patients simultaneously. I suppose God could. But what if He doesn’t? What is the nurse to do? Should she sit around “believing” that she can simultaneously alleviate the pain of all at once? Or should she focus on each patient, one at a time, doing what she can with compassion?

The thing “to do” is what you want. Eat what you want, read what you want, do what you want. If you want to do evil (besides the fact that you’d do it whether or not you had my approval, or anyone else’s), people are going to want to bring you to justice. I think that is the ultimate point of all of this. Expecting everyone to be a sheriff, an executioner, etc., is impossible nonsense. It is an impossible “moral” goal. Someone will want to bring murderers to justice. Someone will want to be a nurse. The key word is “want”. People’s wants will find a way to meet people’s needs; whether people “want” to get paid, or “need” medical care, things find a way to get done. Never perfectly, nor completely, but they happen enough to be significant enough to garner well-deserved positive attention.

This diversity of values truly is a testament to how peaceful coexistence can happen at all. We’ll go back and forth, arguing over how to increase “the good” and decrease “the bad”, but a perfect, complete elimination of “the bad” will never work.

True compassion does not need an anxious duty to ignite action.

“Perfect love casts out fear.”

My Christianity videos.

Liberal.

Fem.

Insightful.

Free Will Contradictions.

Individual.

The Apparent Disconnect Between Thinking and Acting.

“Superwomen”

Vex not Thou the Poet's Mind

When I was a little boy,
The lake scared me; I’d watch
The Stevens slosh and splash out
Under the Georgia sun,
But would never flap with them.
The water was too deep for my feet,
Too big for my chubby belly.

Until, floating in shallow depths over time,
A woman with broad, brunette hair
Said: “The Deep’s fun! Just float with me!”
I grasped this one who seemed to have such control,
Such grace in the lake,
and we drifted away.
I learned that,
Though the water is large enough, infinite it seems,
One must swim anyway.
A fish is no fish unless it swims.

But the lake was cruel once.
Its dirty waves swallowed my aunt,
And I suddenly feared the thing I feared
Looking at my family in Georgia.
A moment of suspenseful silence.

Then, the water rose in a fury,
A swirling cyclone of James,
And…

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