Raised by Wolves

Gaki: writing myself Real

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Dog Warrior's Lament: Nighttime music & ephedrine musings from the I-5

Quick, sidestep, man. You're looking down the barrel of the self-pity trap again.

"Oh, boo-hoo, why is this lad left by the wayside so often? He's nominally cute, nearly well-mannered, and almost fun! Why, then, does he wake up alone so often?" Woe is me, etc., blah-de-blah.

First of all, I got nothing to complain about. I got a roof over my head, no legal troubles, and without exception, all the women I'm privileged to know are beautiful, intelligent, and talented. Simple fact. (No disrespect, lads, you're beautiful too, I just don't obsess over ya. I know, I know, it's my loss.)

Secondly, I'm steering way clear of that "Nice guys get shit on," aphorism. It's cliche', and it simply doesn't do justice to the complex universe that is womankind. Nice girls get shit on, too, simply put. I'm not trying to bitch, here. (This time.) What I'm trying to sort out is why I'm so crap at relationships, when I feel like I work kind of hard at them. ("Yawn." Look, I'm not MAKING you read this. It's a journal, dammit. I'll put another quiz here next entry, I promise.) It takes two people to succeed in a relationship, and it takes two people to fuck it up, so it's not a blame thing. No regrets; I really do believe that love is always worth the risk. But I want to learn from my mistakes, too.

The thing I'm coming to realize over time, is that I AM a nice guy, to an extent. But it takes more than nice. When I think about my behavior over time, things begin to sink into place, and I begin to pick out some factors that I really need to work on and work out, for my own sake as well as others'.

I think that, in my basic nature, for good or for ill, there is a very stray dog-like aspect of my personality when it comes to how I interact with others, and how I deal with people. I don't think that's bad in and of itself, but it has it's pluses and minuses. I think I come off as friendly, but a bit aloof to begin with. I sniff around before I sit, and I am wary. In truth, however, I am an attention-starved beastie, and it is ridiculously easy to win my affections. Literally, all one has to do is compliment me at anything... my looks, my work, my interests... and I will all but roll over for a tummy-rub. As long as you have a genuine "smell," (which is to say, you've impressed me enough to believe you're sincere), then you can win my absolute loyalty in a dramatically short period of time. Tell me what you need help with, who I need to pick a fight with, where you need me to be, anything you want, and if I still have faith in your sincerity, and it's within my power, I'll do it. (I'm not quite dumb enough to be a total pushover, and I avoid "user" personalities like the plague, but in truth I am easy to manipulate if you know which buttons to push.)

There is a problem inherent in this type of self-effacing behavior. At first it seems to be really charming; who doesn't want a devoted knight at their back? (There was a girl once who dubbed me her protector "gargoyle." That is the sort of thing that will make me wade into a pack of 20 belligerent and agitating toughs at night in the middle of South Central L.A. and tell them to back up so we can move the car. Sometimes my continued lease on life amazes even me.) The problem is that this attitude exists on the presumption that I am worth less than the person I'm interested in.

That's not a simple issue by any means. I believe in sacrifice; sacrifice is a powerful statement, and actions do speak more truly than words. But there has to be a balance, too, and in my overly romantic, extremist little head, I don't maintain that balance very well. Sometimes I come close to abandoning my ego completely, and that kind of inequity can cause inevitable harm to a relationship. If I* don't believe I'm worth as much, eventually, I'm going to convince you of it, too.

Sidebar: My brother would say that there are Ninjas, and there are Cowboys, and that I am more of a Ninja. The Cowboy is a born and bred Westerner, an extrovert, ready to ride in and shoot 'em up, get reckless, restore law, rescue the girl, and save the day. A Cowboy's sense of self-worth is intrinsic to their nature, and when you have pride in yourself, you really can accomplish anything. Ninja, on the other hand, have a more Eastern set of values, abandonment of self in favor of service to a liege, thereby to a whole. A Ninja prefers action to showboating, silence to whooping, fighting in acceptance of death, rather than in defiance of it. A Ninja will die without fanfare and without a name, for sake of his objective or to appease the whim of his liege, on faith that his service is of more worth than his individual desires. Both have their place; they're not opposites, but yin and yang. (I treasure my brother's unique outlook on life; he's an amazing person. Girls, if you need the phone #, just ask. He's taller and better built than me, and you won't find a dearer soul.)

I don't bring up the Ninja/Cowboy thing to insinuate that I am devoted but underappreciated. My point is that my Cowboy side is lacking. I am assertive in some areas in life, but not in love, and that is a fatal flaw. I feel sorry for the ones that have fallen afoul of me, and realized too late that in the long run, my failings outweigh my strengths. Going out with me must be like going out with a mirror. I reach out to touch only when I'm being reached out to. I speak my opinion, but only when it is asked for. I call when called; I move to your side when you move to mine. There is some part of me that feels that I'm simply not worthy to initiate such things; that I have to be granted permission before I can act on my feelings. When it comes down to it, a mirror is a cold object.

I could rationalize that away, perhaps, to say that it's not such a bad failing, to be that shy. But pose a question to yourself, privately, and really think about it. When you sense that someone of any relation to you... friend, relative, acquaintance, lover... is much more into you than you are into them, or invests you with more importance than you think you merit, do you feel slightly awkward? Do you distance yourself a little bit, involuntarily even? Does it make you draw away at times, when someone places you on a level that they believe they cannot reach? (I know that I've done this to people, before, so I can hardly complain if it happens to me. It's justice.) Moreover, if you're the type of person who has pride in your ideals, and would abhor the thought of using someone... yet you know someone who hinges on you, who you can all too easily wound with a simple remark, and who simply thinks about you too much... isn't it natural, almost reflexive, to want to push them away a bit, make them stand on their own feet more, so that they stop leaning on you? Like I said, don't answer right yet. Sit on it for a while.

Emotions are funny things. When you're really into someone, then their intense emotional focus towards you can be a turn-on. But if you're not so into them, then that same focus can become a turn-off, or even completely repellent.

In life, I try to make the decisions that I think are right, regardless of what the world at large thinks. My friends and I argue, but we respect each others' differences of opinion. But love is an emotion that takes hold of me violently. I begin to take my self-esteem from how I am seen in another's eyes, and when I feel I've failed them somehow, or that I'm not enough to make them happy, my self respect takes a nosedive. I put them high up on a pedestal, out of my reach. And they look down, hurt and confused because I didn't climb up there with them. And I look up, hurt and confused because I feel they didn't, or can't, reach down to me. And we turn, then, and go our separate ways.

So we jump from one crappy adage (Nice people get shit on) to another, truer one, (You can't really love someone, until you love yourself.) I know I'm more than a mirror. There is a real person in here, but the amount of time and energy you'd have to invest to drag them out, to lead this neurotic mess through all basket-weaving he's done, I'd never ask of anyone. This heart is as easy to reach as it looks, but if you reach, you will come away with an armful of hurt before anything else. Today's travel advisory says to steer clear of this train wreck, and proceed along all alternate routes, until repairs are completed.

Scheduled completion time: Indefinite.

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Welcome to my insanity

I just wasted my freaking breathe typing out a letter to a dear friend and emailing them a copy of the introduction to a book I've spent several hours and days and weeks in trying to get a handle on the EXACT freaking porblems you just outlined about yourself.

And I decided after that last time, I wasn't going to do that again. it was overbearing and had all the pushy-shovey-ness of a door-to-door set of Mormon Twins or Jehovah's Witness Stalkers.

Why? Because they hadn't been able to see a smidge of themselves in what I was trying to tell them.

DENIAL can be defined in many ways. One of my favorites is: "Doesn't Even kNow I Am Lying" to which one could add "To Myself Or Others". But mainly it is the idea that the truth is so damn difficult and even UGLY that we would much rather watch a dog take a piss on our shoes than work with that truth.

It's hard to turn the mirror of ourself onto the self. I hate it almost as much as I dislike looking at myself in a mirror now.

Bah, I ramble needlessly. You're on track, ou just need some tools to help you repair. And you'll find them. Call it a lariet or a rope a gun or a boot, whatever you wish...but the tools are out there, if you care to look hard enough at your truth.

And you don't call when called, i know. I've called.;P

Re: Welcome to my insanity

I TOTALLY CALL! When you call my CEL, that is. I accept no responsibility for messages left on the downstairs machine; that thing is slightly more reliable than telepathy, but slightly less reliable than carrier pigeon.

Lariat, rope, gun: All bad ideas right now.
Boot: Quite necessary.

I dunno about "on track." But I have* noticed I'm way more productive while single. Silver linings. :)

At the risk of uber-triteness...

Wow. Empathy is so small a word for so layered a meaning and so resonnating an understanding. Sometimes all I can do is nod as a read and say, "yeah, there's some of those words I was workin' on or lookin' for." It reminds me why I need people, why we (as people) need people. Good for swapping tool-kits. Once upon a time as kids, we called it sharing. It's an equality thing. A respect thing.

Thanks for sharing. Hearing parallel perspectives--where the stories are so unique they might not even cross lives for all practical purposes, but where the view is profoundly ...linked--it helps. Like I'm just a little bit more armed. A little more prepared (repaired?) for what's to come.

"As Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Proverbs 16:31

Thanks, and blessings.

Please. I was just trying to break the "longest post ever" record to show the world how self absorbed I REALLY am. ;)

But seriously, while I'm busy looking at the sky and falling into every hole on the road (that's where the boots come in), I can only hope that everyone behind me learns to watch their feet.

Reach out more. For all the butterflies that so quickly... flutter by.

You keel my brother! Now, you die!

So that's what's wrong with us. Ya don' hit tha nail on tha head, son.

And don't be givin' my number out to random fools! Goddamn! How the hell am I supposed to maintain my ethereal ninja-elusiveness when my brother's flappin' his big yapper, telling some random sisters "yeah, here's where you can find 'im." Don't you know!? They could be RIVAL NINJAS OUT TO KILL ME!!! FOOL!

Joo brother, sloe

Re: You keel my brother! Now, you die!

D'oh!! I didn't say I was a SMART ninja.

Hey, I was thinking. (Again.) We both have some art and stories that it would be kind of cool to have online. And I have some server space at my email account. Maybe we could upload some shiznit and either create a LiveJournal that would access them, or a full-on webpage. Get in touch, and lemme know what you think.

And happy-ass graduation, foo'. When and where am I supposed to be, again?

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