Category: expectations

dogged self-deprecation

I get very confused about people and how to relate to them. What’s the difference between flirting and just being nice? What’s the difference between standing up for myself and just being a jerk? I haven’t always been so out of sorts. I used to be well-liked. And I used to think I had a grasp on grafting myself onto others. Then depression settled in and I withdrew my social self from the world. And instead of experiencing people, I just observed them. And by the time I wanted to step back into human relations, it seemed too late.

I think the best way to understand humanity is through both research and relation. I only achieved half of that. And that’s why I think I have some knowledge of correct and appropriate behavior but not enough to be successful in having fulfilling relationships with others. It’s that experience I lack, the on-the-ground research of getting to know and love and trust other people.

It’s hard to put myself out there because I’m insecure. I’m 32 with not much to show for it. I know we all have our own timeline for achieving goals in life but I have more potential than what I’ve produced. And this feeling of knowing I’m better, more capable, than what I’ve accomplished makes me very hard on myself.

It’s true that I hate who I am but unfortunately, it’s not self-contained. It seeps into conversations I have with other people. Long-term acquaintances are familiar with the inner insults I hurl at myself. I don’t even think about it. I’m so used to putting myself down as a self-defense mechanism and form of humor that it comes naturally to me. In my fear of being judged, I try to beat others to the judgment, pointing out my flaws in a funny way so we can all relax around my receding hairline or chuckle at my chunky body.

It’s usually when I meet new people that I become aware of how easily, how quickly, and how viciously I tear myself apart. When new acquaintances ask me to tell him about myself, the flogging floodgates open right up. It’s only after the conversation is over and I can reflect on the car ride home or before I go to bed at night the ramifications of my self-flagellation.

I want to be accepted but I also know I have several mental and emotional issues that could be off-putting. So I always have this need to explain away my crazy. But I over explain and end up making things worse. Instead of staying, people scatter and I’m left confused and lonely. I have to wonder if I should start keeping more things to myself. I always find it refreshing when people are open and honest. And so I try to be open and honest as well. And I never realized that other people could find that unattractive.

Should I change who I am and how much I share in order to keep people around? Or should I stay the same and hope that someone accepting will eventually find their way to me? It feels like a balance because you want to better yourself but you also don’t want to bend over for anyone else. How much change is too much? When do you go from improving your relations with others to compromising your personality for them?

I just wonder how I can be charming without charring my character. How can I make jokes without making myself the punchline? I’m sure it would be easier if I liked myself more but how am I supposed to do that? From the outside, it might seem like I’m well-adjusted and have a lot going for me. In some ways, that’s true. But only I can see the real me, the small squishy parts on the inside, the place where all the self-doubt and anger and despondency live and flourish. And it’s hard to like the person those qualities belong to, even when it’s yourself.

But I do understand that doesn’t have to be the case. And I suppose that’s at least one step in the right direction. And maybe one day, if I can get myself aligned with love instead of lashing, I might actually make a friend who will want to stick around.

Advertisements

immaculate connection

Have you ever just clicked with someone?

When I was visiting my college friend and her husband in Atlanta, I was floored by how open they were to complete strangers. If they had questions, they walked right up to people and asked them. They chatted with our servers, made conversation with our Uber drivers, and did not seem shy with anyone at all. All I could do was stand by and be amazed at their ability to converse.

I wanted to talk. I wanted to share a genuine smile, to give a compliment, ask an open-ended question. I wanted to elicit a laugh, to leave a good impression. I wanted to have that connection with another human being, no matter how small. But despite my best efforts, my mind just doesn’t work fast enough to form a thoughtful word and before I know it, I’ve exchanged greetings and goodbyes and I’m left wondering how I scored.

I really want to be good with people. But the problem is I just don’t like people that much. But I am fascinated by them. They are simultaneously the most basic and the most complex creatures. Most humans want love, connection, safety, and security. That goes across the board. But the way in which they obtain those things is where it gets interesting. And confusing.

I haven’t had that many great experiences with people. I don’t have any long-term friends. Never been in a romantic relationship. I don’t fit in with my family. And I’ve worked in customer service for well over a decade. If that doesn’t sour your view of mankind, nothing will.

I think people have the potential to be great but most of them just suck. Especially me. I don’t give people enough of a chance. I make snap judgments and can be too quick to cut someone out of my life. I know there are good people out there but I’ve been dropped so many times that I just expect people to give 20% before crapping out. But does such an assessment make me an ass?

Maybe I’d be more inclined to have a genial response to a welcoming hand but I just haven’t experienced that alleged human connection, love, dedication, and care.

And I just really want to.

I could learn a lot from people. But I’m put off by them, thus I don’t want to interact with them, thus I never learn proper people skills. So when someone cool does come along, I can’t capture their attention. I can only bumble around like a butthead.

I understand that I need to work on things. I’m flawed and frazzled and often stutter and sweat when nervous. I have trouble continuing conversations, finding interest in others, picking up on social cues and niceties. I’m a huge mess and therefore I can’t always be surprised when I feel left out of the crowd. I know I’m not always a lot of fun to be around. I just don’t know how I’m supposed to fix it.

I’m wondering how I can break the cycle of simultaneously wanting people and pushing them away. I suppose I should just practice. Just talk to people. Ask questions. Show care and concern. Maybe I’ll figure it out. Maybe the skill of learning to connect will come to me. All I know for sure is the connection itself will not. That is something I will have to make happen.

I’ve waited for years for someone to come along, to care, to be in my actual life. I’ve wanted that feeling of finding my people, of discovering my complement. It hasn’t happened. It doesn’t mean it won’t. But with every lost chance at a friend, it does become harder to carry on, to finally experience that immaculate connection I’ve craved for so long.

through the finger folds

“Let’s type words
Because they amount to nothing
Play it down
Pretend you can’t take what you’ve found
But you found me
On a screen you sit at permanently…”
-Ellie Goulding, Guns and Horses

When you get carpel tunnel from scrolling through your news feed, you’re probably following too many people.

It’s always interesting to me when I see others who follow hundreds of users on social media. I wonder how they’re able to keep up with so many individuals. How long does it take them to get through their feed before they hit that familiar old post they left off on from their last visit?

It takes me quite a while to go through all the ones I follow and I don’t even follow that many. But I do get through everyone. I know what they’re up to, which is why I followed them in the first place. It means I’m interested in each person. But if you’re following so many people that the individual gets lost in the abundance of memes and controversy-of-the-week type rants, then what’s the point? What are you getting out of it?

I don’t like change so I don’t follow too many new people. ‘Cause when I follow someone, my feed changes. And it’s usually not for the better. It’s not so much that anyone is annoying or not interesting. It’s just that I’m a douche bag. But I think it’s also because I want to be careful with who I follow because I already have a full plate and a limited attention span. If I’m with you, I want to give you all I have. I don’t want to follow you and then now follow up with a little communication. I don’t want you to get lost in the shuffle. You’re more important than that.

I used to assume other people worked that was as well. People got to know me and know what was going on with me and my life. They saw each post, read every word. ‘Cause why else would you follow me, right? But sometimes I check on users I follow and who follow me and see they are following hundreds of others. And I realize that, compared to the handful of people I follow, my posts probably bleed into everyone else’s. I am probably scrolled past because there’s hundreds of images and words to get through and no one has time to dedicate to my long-ass text posts. I always hoped the content would hook them despite the length. But that just isn’t the case.

I understand.

But I’m just not like that. And that’s when attachments become one-sided. You forget you’re not as special to someone as they may be to you. While you’re breaking your finger to scroll through the endless fuckjerry’s and beigecardigans, I’m focusing on you. And I like your stuff. And you like mine. But only occasionally. And it’s hard to understand that your acknowledgement is really just a like-and-run. Nothing really absorbs or resonates. You pepper your feed with red hearts while my heart is grafting onto you. You peruse analytics while I analyze you as a person.

And “liked” become messages become attempts at genuine friendships, which are shrugged off in favor of favoriting a funny quote instead. And I’m let down. And every time your screen name pops up, it pops me in the face. And I realize I’ve been stupid and have developed feelings for someone who can’t tell me apart from the other bearded guys they follow. I feel lame with a quivering stomach and confused heart. I gotta stop this now before this one-sided situation goes any deeper.

I gotta let you go. I unfollow and my feed gets that much smaller. While I deal with my feelings and try to move on with this unresolved relationship, wanting you to know I felt and how much it hurt, I know you’ll never notice me bowing out, replaced by hundreds of other memes and montages. And it sucks. But I have to remember that I never really knew you that well in the first place. I have to remind myself my chest ran ahead of my skull. It was my fault, really. Time and Tumblr do not a friendship make.

But I did like you.

yogi bear

Most people wouldn’t think of me as a tree-hugging hippie because I’m always eating garbage and I never go outside. But I wish I was more into nature and organic food and peace and love for all man, man. The problem is I don’t like bean sprouts and people are assholes.

As the days go by and my anxiety and sadness worsens, the inclination toward medication becomes more and more likely. I’ve been pondering taking some kind of anti-anxiety or anti-depression medication from around the time I was a senior in high school. These medications actually alter your brain chemistry and to me, that’s a scary thought. Sure, it might change me for the better but what if it changes me in other, not-so-good ways?

One of my high school classmates was on anti-depressants for several years and he said he didn’t like it. The medicine only dulled his depression and numbed his senses but didn’t really make him feel better. And sure, many factors could have contributed to his feeling that way: medicine type, dosage, his own brain response to the medicine but it didn’t make me feel better about venturing into the Prozac Nation. I don’t want to turn into Britney Spears. Did you watch her documentary? Total robot.

And for the same reason I try to stay away from drugs, sex, and alcohol (even prescription glasses as silly as that sounds), I don’t want to be dependent on something to get through the day. I don’t like the feeling of knowing I have to be connected to something at all times. What if I miss a dose or can no longer afford it or they stop making it? Is it going to send me back into a downward spiral and cause me to crash harder?

That’s when yoga entered the picture. Yoga seems like such a peaceful and relaxing practice. And it’s supposedly not only good for your body but your mind, and in many instances, your soul. Bingo. Sounds perfect for me because I’m hurting in all those areas and it taps into that crunchy granola side of me hidden behind the layers of potato chip grease and synthetic fibers. What a perfect and natural alternative to anti-depressants.

Several years ago, I bought a book called Yoga for Depression and read two chapters before I put it down because I really wanted to better myself! Eh. I picked it up again a few months ago and managed to read ten chapters before I put it down because I was really committed this time….Eh. So, as I read the book, the author wrote about her journey with yoga and I got the impression she relied on yoga the way people rely on anti-depressants. She said she felt sluggish and out of sorts if she missed even one day of yoga. Was she dependent on downward dog? Did the effects of yoga not last longer than a day or two?

I understand yoga, just like physical exercise or any other positive behavior, takes some time and dedication but it seems like a lot of trouble to experience a fleeting feeling of contentment. Are the effects of yoga not cumulative as I imagined? Do you not feel better overall?

Another problem I have with yoga is the five million types of yoga out there. Which one is best for me? I’ve experimented with various yoga programs over the years but none of them felt right so I eventually gave up on it.

A few months ago, I switched my focus back to yoga. I wanted to re-dedicate myself to becoming more emotionally and spiritually stable. I found a few DVDs and as I tried them, I concentrated on my breathing like the soothing lady voiceover said to do. But as I went through the DVD, she kept saying, “At this point you might feel like (blah blah blah) and I kept thinking to myself, “Oh, God, I’m not feeling any of that,” which then sent my semi-serene state into a tizzy. I wondered what I was doing wrong, why I wasn’t feeling these sensations the soothing lady voiceover said I should probably be feeling. Did I break the yoga? Or was it because I was too broken to find bliss?

I realized yoga actually gave me more anxiety than it alleviated so I took the DVD out and gave up. Again.

I still have the DVD and should probably give it another shot but I also feel like I’m too stressed to de-stress, if that makes any sense. I’ve got so much going on in my mind that I can’t concentrate on chilling out. It’s almost as if I need to get rid of some of the stress on my own before I can really focus on doing right by the DVD. It’s like gastric bypass patients that actually have to lose weight before getting the weight loss surgery. The problem is I’m too mentally famished to shed some of this excessive agony by myself.

The whole thing feels like a mess. I’m not sure what’s going to work for me anymore. Pills or poses? As much as I’ve tried to hold off on actually considering medication, maybe I really should take a serious look at it. Should I Namaste with yoga a little bit longer or become a Lexapro at pills? I don’t know what’s right for me. And will I be dedicated to either one enough to see positive results?

this is why i’m fat and poor

I used to never look at my checking account. I spent money like I assumed it would always be there. I bought stuff I didn’t need. Sometimes I bought stuff I didn’t even want because buying things made me feel better. And buying food always made me feel best.

I avoid stuff. I’m good at it. I like to ignore subjects that make me feel uncomfortable. I always reason with myself that I’ll deal with it when I’m emotionally ready. But I’m never emotionally ready. I bury it deeper inside until it resolves itself or until it becomes unavoidable and I actually have to face it.

My pants get tighter and I tell myself I’ll start dieting the next day. My funds dry up and I say I’ll finally publish my book and hope to make a good bit of money from it. But at the end of the day, I go to the grocery store and stock up on candy. I eat it. And then it starts over the next day and the next week and the next month and the next year.

One of the things I’ve been ignoring the most is my student loans. I’ve been clueless about them ever since I first applied for them. My parents never dealt with student loans before and didn’t know how to help me with them so I just went for a company my college recommended.

And then when they came due, the minimum monthly payments were too high so I deferred them and then used forbearance. I couldn’t find a stable job and the money just wasn’t there. I eventually settled into my retail job and was fortunate enough to be promoted to a supervisor, which gave me a decent pay raise. About that time, my deferment and forbearance was exhausted and I had to start paying them back.

I set up automatic payments from my checking account so I wouldn’t have to look at it or deal with it or think about it. I didn’t even know where to go to check on my balance.

My mom has always dealt with the family finances. For example, my dad gives my mom his paycheck and she pools their money together and distributes it to the appropriate channels. Maybe I’ve inadvertently started to think of my mom as a bank, collecting and lending money as she saw fit and never bothered to develop my own financial independence.

Well, better late than never.

Last month, I really had a talk with myself about how much money I spend on junk. I spent money ’cause I was in pain and it was a self-medicating measure. And that’s why I can’t get mad at myself over the wasted money over the years. I didn’t mean to be wasteful. I just meant to be okay. What’s done is done and I can’t get upset over spilled savings. No matter where I was, here I am now.

I downloaded a few financial apps to my phone and researched my student loans. It was a bit disheartening to see exactly how much I owe back and how little of my monthly payments are actually going to the principal but at least I know now and from this point onward, I have a better idea of where my money’s going.

With this new job, I’m making a bit more money and I’m hoping it gets better soon enough so I won’t have to quit and lose that pay increase. In fact, at this point I should keep the job no matter how much I hate it because this is what being an adult means. I got myself in this financial mess and I have to get out of it, even if it means several years of scraping by and being poor and skipping cheeseburgers so I can use that saved money to chip chip chip away at those loans.

Ah, chips.

No, no, wait. Focus.

It’s really a win/win. I’m saving money and calories. And I’m pretty proud of myself because I haven’t spent any more money than I’ve absolutely needed to this year. Sure, we’re only 18 days into the new year but I’ve really concentrated on doing better. It’s one step at a time, one day at a time. And I feel good about it so far. I hope I can keep it up!

art

“‘Cause we all know art is hard
young artists have gotta starve
Try, and fail, and try again
…”
Cursive, Art is Hard

“Art is not the world, art is in our hearts…”
-Showbread, Stabbing Art to Death

“Let me ask you something, what is not art?”
-Unknown

I used to draw.  A lot.  My childhood was spent with a Slim-Fast in one hand and a pencil in the other.  I often sneaked into my sister’s room and pulled out her charcoal sketches of dragons and Axl Rose she kept underneath her bed.  And I copied them.  I learned about lines and shading sitting on the floor of her room, surrounded by the waxy smell of drugstore makeup and wall-to-wall posters of hair metal bands.

An artist was born.

I devoured sketch pads and ground colored pencils into stumps.  As much as I loved toys, I loved drawing utensils equally.  I couldn’t wait to try a new type of marker or a new color of crayon.  I drew my favorite superheroes and created my own action figures out of paper.  But I was never incredibly creative.  My artistic endeavors were derivative of the enormous amount of Saturday morning cartoon I consumed and my eventual discovery of anime, which I was into way before it became so huge here in America.  I was ahead of the game back then.

I learned to shade and highlight.  I learned about depth and perspective.  All from doing it on my own, from observing, from drawing, from constantly creating.

I was good at copying.  Any attempts to be original were mediocre at best.  But when I was younger, I wasn’t preoccupied with being original or unique.  I just genuinely enjoyed drawing and having fun with it.  I was good.  It gave me pleasure.

But sadness and insecurity crept in and my mind became poisoned and I became a perfectionist.  People noticed my talent and were impressed.  And somehow, people began to inflate my abilities.

“Brannon drew a picture of my daughter and it looks just like her!”

“Brannon doesn’t even use an eraser!”

“I heard Brannon doesn’t need to draw from pictures, or from life.  He can draw from memory!”

“One time, I saw Brannon sneeze on a piece of paper and then when I looked over his shoulder, his snot was in the shape of Mona Lisa!”

None of this is true, of course.  But for some reason, in some people’s minds, I’m better than I actually am.  And that was a part of the insecurity.  I felt I could never measure up to people’s outlandish expectations.  I was my biggest critic.  Eventually, nothing I drew matched the image I had in my head and it frustrated me.  I knew I was better, more capable, but for some reason, I couldn’t translate the image from head to paper.

There were times when I got away with reaching people’s expectations, or at least that’s what they told me.  I did a few commissioned drawings.  But eventually the stress became too much and I stopped charging because my art was not worth anyone’s money.  And eventually I stopped doing drawings for people all together because I couldn’t afford to jeopardize the reputation bestowed upon me by others.  I never lived up to the hype, never went along with the adulation and as much as I tried to downplay what I could do, no one believed me and I suddenly I was a small town art prodigy.  And wanting to please everyone, I didn’t want to produce low-quality work and prove everyone wrong.

I had been painted into a corner, so to speak. Continue reading

cannibal magnetism

“Now that I am opened up, let me do the same to you
I can’t digest your insides but I can still chew
you look so beautiful, you look so sweet to me
you look so edible, it’s time for me to feed…”
-Knife to Meet You, Guts

“I sing for the damned
soulless hand in hand…”
-William Control, Damned

“I am not your friend
I am just a man who knows how it feels…”
-Brand New, Sowing Season (Yeah)

I just don’t know how people see me.  I don’t even know how I see myself.  I constantly go back and forth between thinking I’m good-looking to thinking I’m ugly.  It goes beyond the skin.  Sometimes I think I’m an ugly soul as well.  And no one understands because they don’t see what I see.  They don’t know what I know.  I can spot every imperfection on my face and body and mind and I do my best to cover it up with spot spell and sarcasm but I fear if people see me as I see myself, they won’t like me.

People tell me I’m attractive.  Smart.  Funny.  And sure, I can come up with a good joke every now and then and I can clean up well when all the elements combine and I’m having a good hair/skin/body day, which is rare.  But most of the time I feel like a mess and it messes with my perceptions of myself.

Another fact that should be pointed out is most of the compliments come from the Internet.  I don’t want to negate the positive comments but I wonder how these Internet entities can say such things when I get no interest from anyone in real life.  Where’s the disconnect?  Am I different person online?  Am I some inadvertent catfish?  Am I “hooking” people by presenting myself in some falsified manner, some idealized version of a tortured soul, but displaying an uglier, more genuine version of my vexations once the connection gets closer than a tweet or blog post?  If anything, I would have guessed the online viewers would think I’m a freak show based on the things I write about.  I think I’m actually more subdued with my psychosis in real life.

But I guess that goes back to not knowing how I present myself to others, not knowing what they are picking up despite what I’m putting out.

I spoke with a co-worker several weeks ago and told her about some of my insecurities and she said, “Don’t you see how everyone here gravitates toward you?”  It was a simple statement but it was also something I never thought much about.  I know I get along well with everyone I work with but I think it mostly has to do with the fact that I don’t do drama.  I wouldn’t say anything necessarily “gravitates” toward me, sans work girlfriend.  I just don’t get caught up in gossip and backstabbing and when I see it coming my way, I do my best to circumvent such scenarios.  People know they can just have a good time with me and a good chat with me and I guess that’s a good quality to possess but I just see myself as a reprieve from all the garbage that goes on at work.  I’m a safety spot, a place to stand still among all the whispers and dirty looks.

But so what if I am?  That’s still a good thing.  It’s still a desirable quality in a co-worker and, yes, even a friend.  Does it really matter why people like me?  It doesn’t have to be because I’m the best looking guy in the room or the funniest or smartest.  Maybe dumb jokes and an open ear is enough.  I don’t need to change someone’s life to be good company.  I need to know and realize that.  I put too much pressure on myself to be this perfect human being, the guy who has it all and knows it all and can fix it all.  I don’t have to be everything to everyone and I need to learn that it’s okay not to be.

Several months ago, a high school classmate randomly texted me and we filled each other in on what we had been up to.  I told him I didn’t do art anymore and he was shocked because he thought I was so good.  I explained that I was good for my tiny town but once I stepped out into the real world, I wasn’t as good as I needed to be.  He said he was jealous because I was talented and smart and was friends with everyone.  I told him I thought I was a mess and he said he was shocked to hear it because he thought I was so put together.  And I was shocked to hear that.

Again, I just don’t know how people see me.  I can’t help but to think of all the things and people I missed out on because I thought I was too hideous to participate.  All the while, they sit around and think I have it all together and never know the depth of my pain.  Kind of tragic to think about.

So I’ll try not to. Continue reading

role to play (i’m not even who i thought i was)

“But I wish I could feel it all for you
I wish I could be it all for you
If I could erase the pain
Maybe you’d feel the same…”

-Ellie Goulding, Guns and Horses

“How dare you be you, how dare I be me?
The two of us lost in our own fantasy…”

-Liz Phair, Oh, Bangladesh

Reaching out isn’t working out. At least I can say I tried. But after seeing the results, I think it would have hurt less had I not.

I have a problem with subconsciously assigning people roles in my life.  It’s messed up because these people don’t know I’ve done it and they have no responsibility to fulfill those roles but when they don’t, I get upset and disappointed and have this internal struggle over whether I should be angry or not.

Of course I shouldn’t be angry because it’s not their fault but in my irrational mind, I just think how could that person not realize they were supposed to be my mentor/therapist/advice giver/comedian/dinner companion, etc.  It’s silly that I do this and I don’t even know why I do it and why I can’t get it under control.

Going back to The Perks of Being a Wallflower commentary I mentioned in my last post, Emma Watson talked about meeting fans and how scary it can be because they have this expectation of what she should be and she has to fulfill those expectations in the minute or so she interacts with them and it’s a lot of pressure and I think that logic applies to people in general, celebrity and non-celebrity alike.  It applies to relationships. 

We get involved with people, be they friends or lovers, and after a while, we pick out certain character traits about them we find beneficial to our lives and we subconsciously expect them to pull out those traits and treat us but people are multi-faceted and we can’t expect them to perform for us like that.  Comedians shouldn’t be expected to be funny all the time.  Writers shouldn’t be expected to turn their to-do list into poetry.  Those who give advice sometimes need advice. 

But we build up expectations and wait for them to be met and sometimes they are and sometimes they are not and we are disappointed and disillusioned and then we judge.

I’ve noticed this often happens a lot with people I admire from afar for a while and eventually try to contact.  I hear them or see them or read them and construct their personalities from the bits of information they’ve provided and go into the relationship with a specific idea of who they are.  That’s not the best thing to do because, as with any kind of self-representation in any form of media, you are only giving a certain aspect of who you are.  It’s hard to be well-rounded when you’re the one telling people who you are.  How you see yourself and how other people see you can be different.  At least, I know it is in my case. 

But a full personality comes out in intimate conversations and inside jokes, something you can’t convey through canvas and cliffhangers.  I’m not saying you can’t get a sense of someone through their art or online presence.  Sure you can.  But as I said, you’re only getting pieces.  You’re getting a persona but only personal relationships fill in those gaps.  The danger is in those personal relationships not steering in the direction you hope based on the information you have gathered.

I should stop doing this because it’s harmful to others and to myself.  I get disappointed and then I disengage and might miss out on a good relationship just because they didn’t come to the game with the right gear.  Plus, it’s painful.  I don’t want to be disappointed and I also don’t want to disappoint others.  I’m sorry if I’m not who you thought I was.  I’m not even who I thought I was.  

Let’s all just stop having expectations, okay?  No one is ever as good as we hope them to be.  And it’s not their fault.  And it’s not yours.  It’s just a symptom of a swelling heart.          

apprehensive

“They’re fooling themselves. They think all this bullshit about hard work and achieving means something but it doesn’t. Universe is completely random. Particles colliding at random. Blind chance. So you didn’t make it. No big deal. It’s not your fault. Shit’s random.”
Party Down

I’m not an atheist, just apprehensive.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve stopped praying or relying on God in any kind of way.  I used to feel guilty about it but now I don’t feel bad at all.  Nothing in my life has changed.  I’m no better or worse for it, which makes me wonder if God was ever in my life at all, or if God is anything at all.

I don’t know.  I’m not sure I care.  I do hate that I’ve slid so far down but what can I do?  I’ve tried it all with the prayer and meditation and Bible reading and patience.  Nothing helped.  Nothing ever does.

Faith is a lot like a slot machine.  You pray and pull the lever and you hope for good results but you never know if you’ll hit it big or end up empty.  It’s really all random chance. You can never be sure if the constant prayer ever pays off or if things in your life just finally line up.  You want something long enough and if you work for it, you might just get it.  It doesn’t mean God had anything to do with it.  Just to be fair, it also doesn’t mean he didn’t.  You just can’t know so why get caught up in it?

It pisses me off when people think I have given up on my faith in God just because I am not where I want to be in life.  Do people think that’s how I think it works?  I’m not new to this game.  I’m not asking for a perfect life.  It’s not about circumstances but sensations.  I have never felt that comforting presence.  I have never had a good feeling when it comes to God.  I’ve only ever felt separation, emptiness, nothingness.  I am not reassured when I pray.  When I scream for God to give me a sign, I get nothing.  I am not comforted and therefore I don’t think there’s anything out there to comfort me.  How hard is it just to say hello?  If God cares/exists, why has he not shown me?

And where’s the stable relationship with anyone in my life, cosmic or concrete, with flesh or faith?  My parents are distant, my coworkers are crass and former friends are too busy.  I can congregate and communicate but I’m no one’s number one.  

I wish I could believe again.  I wish I could be the good little Christian boy in my Christian bubble like so many people around here.  They are small-minded and naive and annoying.  And sometimes I think it would be easier if I could just be that way, too.  What if God gave a shit?  What if he finally had mercy on my menial life?

It’s not like he’s bullying me or anything.  It just feels like it.  But that’s conceited on my part because, really, who am I?  He has a whole big world to ignore so why would he single me out to slice and dice?  No, he’s saving that dirty work for the devil.

every night is a knife