Raised by Wolves

Gaki: writing myself Real

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'Cause you know I even make an orange jumper and green thermal look breakneck sexy.

"It is not altogether a bad thing, to have criminal ancestors. An arsonist grandfather may bequeath one a nose for smelling smoke."

The spoon is the thing that gets me. Tom Robbin's anthropomorphized implements would have an adventure or two to hear from this spoon. They give you one, small, plastic, no longer than the length of your hand (because I am fucking deadly with a plastic fork, don't doubt it). That spoon is your eating implement for the weekend. Don't lose that shit, or you're stuck scooping up tasteless food with whatever tasteless breadlike thing you get with it, or your hands. Rinse it, put it back in your pocket, it rides with you until the next meal, and the next one. There's little else to mark the passage of time by, just chow call, and the gradual slide of the sun from one half of the sky to the other.

It reminds me of nothing so much as grade school, in ways that are more unfortunate the longer I consider them. Maybe it's the outdoor lunch tables that really bring it home, inmates trading chips for sandwiches or apples while I sit in the corner by myself reading some abandoned fantasy novel that was left out in the day room, playing cards, passing Maxim magazines back and forth for the centerfolds, talking shit, killing time. On the way in through the first gate, a guard passes in front of me, mumbling something that sounds like "Hold it," so I hesitate. The gate has nearly swung closed before the yell from the back of the line goes out, "Catch it!" and my reflexes spring back into gear fast enough to catch it before it's shut, but not before someone else mumbles, "Man, someone's going to get us all in trouble," and there I am dropping the pass during flag football scrimmage all over again.

That's the biggest fiasco I end up caught up in, though; again, just like school, my survival instinct insists that it's time for an identity switch, pick another mask to armor myself with. Away goes the gentle geek, away goes the poet, the dreamer, the sensitive and just-slightly-too-gullible kid who's forever in trouble for leaving doors open or chores undone when his feet accidentally miss the pavement and hit the clouds. Put him to sleep. Bring out the shorty thug, the tattoos and punk rock, the petty thief, the drunken brawler, the crackpipe killer, the guy who survived getting jumped by two hoods outside the French Quarter, knocked through a broken staircase, and staggered into the nearest dive bar bleeding from the skull and asking where he could get a damn cigarette.

But it all comes back full-circle, and I realize one more time what a crippled shell school made out of me, and how much of the crazy hoo-riding ever since has really just been overcompensation, party-armor for the shy kid that used to carry around a whole extra bookbag full of comics, because there wasn't anyone else to hang out with at lunchtime, and nothing to do but read. Are you beginning to understand, that weekends in jail are all the more disturbing to me, not because they're uncomfortable, but because they feel so perfectly familiar? And the thing is, I can't really do that mask anymore. I've spent years trying to unlearn. Trying to be myself, to integrate the pieces of my persona into something that is whole, and unapologetic, and me. The mask is a lie, and I am learning to save my lies for use in writing, not in life.

So when Joe-Bob wants to come hang out and blather for the fifth straight time about the unfair hooker sting that landed him in here, I let him. I shake my head and commiserate, when that stupid young junkie kid gets busted for having pills on him, knowing like the rest of us do that instead of getting help, he's just gonna get more time. When Leroy wants to reminisce about meth in the 90's, or all of San Francisco's painful and abortive attempts to clean up Market Street, I trade stories. And when Rod asks for the names of a couple of rehab houses in the city, and says he wouldn't mind a letter now n' then, I nod and tell him I'll see what I can do.

When I went in, everybody said I was an angry-looking cat. Fair enough. But it turns out I make friends easier now than I ever did when I was young and much less angry-looking.

"How old are you, kid?"
"Heh. Twenty-nine, motherfucker."
"Deal with the devil," I grin. Maybe it's true. I look younger than I am, but I always feel far, far older, I feel Dorian Grey, I feel there's a portrait of me on a wall somewhere, hidden, twisting and mouldering, bubbling with my true and poisonous appearance, and each good deed I do is just a stall, just bleeding a little bit of that evil off. One weekend down, five to go.

"The unknown," said Faxe's soft voice in the forest, "the unforetold, the unproven, that is what life is based on. Ignorance is the ground of thought. Unproof is the ground of action. If it were proven that there is no God there would be no religion. No Handdara, no Yomesh, no hearthgods, nothing. But also if it were proven that there is a God, there would be no religion... Tell me, Genry, what is known? What is sure, predictable, inevitable--the one certain thing you know concerning your future, and mine?"

"That we shall die."

"Yes. There's really only one question that can be answered, Genry, and we already know the answer... The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable undertainty: not knowing what comes next."

Quotes from: Ursula K. Leguin's The Left Hand of Darkness.

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Is it Real Or is it Memorex?

Where can you go where you WON'T end up struggling against some sort of facade of your own creation lingering over your face? Where can you go where you won't make that decision "To fake it or just make it" today?

Are you any more your true self today than you were five years ago...ten years ago...twenty? Or is maturity about changing not just yourself, but how you view HOW you view...your self?

If life was nothing but would make more sense than it being a little of both uncertainty and certainty.

Re: Is it Real Or is it Memorex?

There is always a distance between the face that people see, the self you THINK they see, and the one that really is. When I think about the friends I have in this world, the ones that stick closest to my heart are the ones that have the least cluttered perception of who I am, because they make me feel it's okay to be ME around them.

Bruce Lee said that ultimately, martial arts is about expressing oneself honestly, but that expressing oneself honestly is a very hard thing to do. It's a sentiment that I reflect upon frequently. There will always be a distance between the person I am, and the person I want to be. There SHOULD be; not that one should feel inferior all the time, but that one should always be aware of how they can learn, grow, and improve, for in many ways a human being is a limitless creature. Of course you are always yourself, no more and no less. But I like to think that as I continue to learn to express myself more honestly, to understand my own drives and motivations, and those of the people around me, that maybe I am creeping closer to achieving more of my Potential as a human being, and in THAT sense, I become more myself each day. As you say, that involves changing not only constant reexamination of the way you look at things, but the way in which you look at the way you look at things.

The quote is meant, I think, not to suggest that there are no constants in life, but to say that one of the defining qualities of being alive is to never ever be able to be certain of what will happen in the next moment. If it were, then learning, growth, change, and all the things that make us truly human couldn't happen. Scars and all. ^_^

Damn. I'm a ramblin' man. :P

I will just continue to pray that you, among others, will be striving for the best Potential within you. For Wisdom, Patience and Self-Control. But *grin* not in the ways of this world. ;)

Here's a partial quote for ya:

"Like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently...and continues to do this, not forgetting...he will be blessed in what he does."

I met a kid last night, reminded me of you. Cat-agile with a young face and old eyes.

Thanks for this one. I like it. It unsettles me, makes me check my reflection, not out of vanity, but to remember.

I decided last night. Come hell and all those wildfires, (an arsonist or two in my tree), I'm in. I'm moving.

You and my clones. Just let me know if any of these people you keep meeting that remind you of me appear to be training for a duel in which they must eliminate all of their interdimensional rivals. A little heads-up time could save my skin.

Moving, they say, is good for the soul. Who says? I* say. ^_^

This was not a clone. This was just someone who looked at the world in a similar way, they felt like an old friend, s'all.

I'm glad it's *you who Says, 'cause yer gunna be kinda involved in some way shape or form in the whole process. Yeah. ;)

And as for the evolving Potential you responded above... Page.

nice to see that you're paying society back for whatever horrible and perverse crime you have committed...what law was it again that you broke? For some reason j walking comes to mind. reading your weekend in jail i'm glad i didn't come by the paragraph discribing some baba liking that angry cat look. just be careful with that soap, i hear bad things about it. lots of love flowing from the riverside to the bay side peace to you ken

I was locked up for killing starving babies with one hand while setting fire to an American flag wrapped around a kerosene-drenched nun playing twister with a gay marraige counselor outside of an abortion clinic in North Korea.

But no worries; it's only minimum security, thus just filled with people who do too many drugs, too many fights, or smack their women around. The shower room is a pretty safe place, though there is a sign up notifying you to FEAR THE FLESH EATING DISEASE! Nonetheless, I'll be happy to be done with it. Much love; keep rockin' the 909.

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