funk

I am easily in the worst funk I have ever been in.

The cold and short windows of sunshine always affect me but this year is by far the worst with regards to being down. I think I’m clinically depressed. I’ve let my appearance go. I hate showering because the bathroom is so damn cold. I’m always tired. I don’t answer the phone when most people call. I constantly call on myself to snap the fuck out of it but I can’t. The visceral reactions I once had to my hyper self-aware moments are just not there. The days in which I feel good no longer outnumber the bad. I reach inside for the strength and it’s not there.

There are so many things that I want (ed?) to do. Bucket list stuff. Skydive. Travel in a RV cross country and embrace my inner Kerouac. Ride my motorcycle, one of the things that makes me happier than anything. At least it used to. Write a novel. Get my own place. Fall in love.

Now that one I can say happened. But to what end?

My girl is not mine. But I love her. She belongs to another man. Yes, there is a possibility that she will leave him one day. In the meantime I’m hanging around, like a cinder-block around her neck, trying not to influence her in one of the biggest decisions of her life-to leave and start anew. Hopefully with me. The whole thing really is a “hopefully”. In addition to all of her potential adjustments in her own relationship I’m sure at some point she will ask if she needs another man in her life, and more importantly is it going to be me?

The one thought that dominates my psyche is can I be enough for her? I don’t have money. I don’t have my own place. The love in my heart and my dreams of a new and fresh start don’t seem very reasonable when I can barely get out of bed some days.
Sadly, I feel I’ve led her on. Not in the sense that I am not who I say I am. Instead, I feel that in my quest for normalcy I indicated that I was ready for a relationship. I now question whether I can. I can barely take care of myself, can I be enough for her?

All of these thoughts race through my head and I barely have the energy and will to process them, never mind act on them.

I’m in a bad place.

Numb

One of my earliest memories was watching the Resignation of Richard Nixon on TV. My parents sat on the edge of their chairs and assured the eight year old me that this was a momentous occasion that I would remember for years. They were right. I couldn’t believe what I was watching.
Soon after I watched the Saigon Airlift on the news and I was again assured that it would be etched in my brain. It was and is.
Then came the Pan Am 747 that was brought down by terrorists over Lockerbie, Scotland. I questioned the savagery of human nature.
Then the embassy bombing, I wept for the soldiers and families.
Then there was the Challenger. I was deeply affected on so many levels.
911… Sigh…I wept for humanity.
Mixed in throughout were the years of movies and television bombarding me with gratuitous sex and violence. I saw so many bombings and shootings on TV and the movies it became difficult to distinguish it from the biggest purveyor of blood, savagery, gore and all around bad behavior…Network News.
Fast forward through horrifying after horrifying affront to my sensibilities, by the day that I sat in my office, unable to avert my eyes from the carnage of Sandy Hook unfolding before me, I was borderline numb.
After watching the events of 1/6/2021 unfold before me, the fact that I didn’t fall off my chair tells me that it’s official.

I’m numb.

The mask

People watching is my thing. Many notice how absorbed I can be when out in public. They comment that I’m not paying attention to them, that I’m distracted. Rude even. I’m not really, I’m just studying the people around me. They often wonder what I’m looking at and I know they would be surprised if I told them. If they think it’s all female and I’m studying only the things desired by the typical superficial male, then they’d be wrong. Sure, I like a nice ass as much as the next person but that’s not what I look at. I look at the face.

The human condition cannot be studied only below the neck. With the exception of body language, which is very telling, the face is the great indicator of behavior and the eyes in particular are extraordinarily telling. I’ve always been one to look them in the eye.

It is said that everyone wears a mask of sorts. The face that we put on in any given circumstance is a guise, a facade. It is the embodiment of what we want to tell the world about us on that particular day. Few people in my opinion are comfortable in their own skin enough to wear the same mask each day.

Americans in particular like to pretend. I believe it matters less to some to be happy or successful if they can at least create the illusion that they are. Clothes tell some of the story, the rest is in the eyes and I can tell volumes from them. Consequently, the use of masks everywhere and all the time hasn’t phased me much in the people-watching department. Now that the eyes are all that we see, I’m in my element.

Have you seen someone run into someone and not recognize them because they are wearing a mask? I sure have. I’ve watched people, well-known acquaintances even, not recognize each other when wearing one. It’s never happened to me. I always look people in the eyes so it’s been easy for me.

Now, the eyes are all we have. While it has been one element in making communication harder these days it has created opportunities for the People-watchers among us. Studying the eyes is more than a way of recognizing someone, it is a way of reading their emotions in the absence of other facial tells. In ones eyes we can gauge annoyance, friendliness, irritability, anxiety, fear and even flirtation. Through a mask you can genuinely tell what a person’s reaction to your presence is. It’s all in the eyes, regardless of the mask you choose to wear.

As life continues to get more difficult and society grapples with all of the ways in which to protect ourselves, masks are part of our future. Communication presents more challenges each day. Do yourself a favor while you can.

Learn to see through the mask. It’s all in the eyes.

A rare resolution

I sat down last night to write a blog. I was motivated by the usual, traditional, dreadfully cliche and tired habit we have of waxing poetic about the coming year.
I didn’t really have a plan. I had a few things I wanted to vent about but it wasn’t very linear. But I decided to plug forward and see where it went. As I was composing my tags I held back on hitting the Publish button. I went back and reread. My god, what a dismal, rambling and negative piece of shit. I was taken aback at myself. When did I become this negative?
Therein lies the topic of this blog. Knock it the Fuck off will ya Mac?

2020 was a hard year for everyone. Human beings as social creatures being forced to isolate. A hostile social environment full of civil and most uncivil disobedience. Just plain bad behavior on all sides over an election. Rampant poverty and unemployment. I could go on but you know the story. 2020 was ugly.

I got caught up in all of it. It was impossible not to. In addition, and I’m not alone here, I had to pile a lot of health issues on top of it. My health declined significantly this year and the facade I had maintained for so long began to crumble. I became the sick guy that I had avoided being for so long.

I’m not one for resolutions. Real change happens when it is needed, not when you throw away an expired calendar. But this year I have made one. Regain the positivity.
When I started this blog I was at the bottom of the deepest canyon looking up. Readers said that my story was inspiring. Motivational. Brutally and refreshingly honest. Real (my favorite). Lately I’ve been uninspiring. Morose. Depressed. Boring and uninteresting. Where did I go?

No more. I am getting my edge back even if I have to do what always worked for me. Even fake it if that’s what it takes.

Today, the nurses all said something along the lines of, “you look better today.”
Exactly what I was going for. I felt no better than I did 2 days ago but by throwing my shoulders back into my trademark “Peacock walk” I LOOKED better and felt better.

Last year was one to forget. This coming one may be better but a realistic person knows that it may not. What I forgot in all of the carnage that we call 2020 is that there are as many positives as negatives. I used to be notorious for finding those positives. I need to again.

Happy 2021. I am not only going to hope for it, I’m going to work hard to make it so.