Monday, December 29, 2014

About A Boy Vs. After The Thin Man


Last night I found myself in the unfortunate throes and grip of a pretty nasty panic attack.  It has been a long time since I’ve found myself in that situation.  For the most part I think I’ve gotten better and better at dealing with my anxiety and developing healthy coping mechanisms for stress.  It is a never ending battle when you have that inside you.  You don’t have the luxury of just assuming you can deal with the rigors life can throw at you, and you can never think that what you have developed to cope with it will always work.  It isn’t that I somehow got less diligent; I think it is just one of those times of year where I find myself a bit overwhelmed.

I have put a lot of expectations on things in my life, it is something that in the last almost two years I’ve been trying to ‘undo’.  I have expectations on who I am, and where I should be in my life.  To be blunt I am not there, nor do I ever think I’ll be there.  I’m almost 40, spend 40 hours a week in a place where I love the work but don’t really care for those that sign the checks, I have no kids and not for a lack of trying, and physically feel broken down.  I have severed a lot of relationships that weren’t healthy for me or others and in doing so I am much better off for it.  
This has helped me to figure out that I don’t need nor should have a lot of expectations of other people who choose to be around me.  It isn’t fair, to them or me.  At the same time I left constantly questioning whether or not I’m a good person, of whether or not I’m worthwhile as a Friend, or if I am just the swirling maelstrom of uncertainty that pushes people away, or maybe who doesn’t deserve those relationships.  I know it is just a manifestation of my own insecurities, my own shaky self-esteem, and my never ending need to tear everything apart down to its tiniest nuances and then dissect it.  It isn’t real.  It is simply a manifestation of me mentally spinning my own wheels at break neck speed.  I over think everything, everyone, and every moment.  I have and continue to try and get better at this.  It is an uphill battle though.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be who I think I should be or if I’ll be who I want to be for other people, all I can do is keeping plugging away.

My relationship with my Family is a strange mess.  My brother and I, who spent so many years actively disliking one another, talk weekly in short bursts.  My mother and I have spoken twice in the last year, and my sister and I don’t speak at all.  You know I sent letters to my Family members with their gifts this year, real and heartfelt messages.  I thought maybe that would inspire a response, an e-mail, a message, whatever.  It did nothing.  In them I wrote that I think I have finally come to terms with being persona non gratis to my Family, but the reality is I don’t think I had till late last night.  My brother and I will keep talking, I am committed to trying to be a good Uncle even hundreds of miles away, but I don’t think I’ll ever find a common ground with my mother or sister.  I used to feign that I didn’t care, I did, I always did, however every day that piece of me gets smaller and smaller.  I don’t know if that means I’m maturing, understanding, and moving forward or if I’m just numb about it and bitter.  I’ve always had this expectation that a Family is close, but the reality is it isn’t.  I have always just wanted that, and it isn’t going to happen.

My Grandma is getting older and will die.  All things do end.  Even the best people are not immortal, unless she is secretly a Highlander and if so she better get to decapitating the Kurgan quickly!  In all seriousness my Grandma is awesome.  She has been super important in my life.  At the same time she can be a bit morbid in her honesty that leaves me put off.  I don’t like talking about my dad, and I certainly haven’t come to a place in my head where I want to think about her inevitable mortality.  She looks at both with such a serene sense of completion that it can be hard for me to deal with.  I need to try and get back in the habit of calling her no matter how it makes me feel, because it makes her happy and that is all that really matters.

We are coming up on the anniversary of my dad’s passing.  Last year I recorded a Podcast about putting that feeling ‘to bed’ and moving forward.  I think I have.  And then Sunday morning hits and I am dumbstruck by how profoundly I miss him and how much it feels like someone reaches into my chest and tears my heart out.  There are times and moments where I hear a song, read something, or see something that reminds me so much of him that I feel that longing to talk to him, to hear him laugh, to listen to him go on and on about something, or just to have him give me some pearl of wisdom that will carry me through when I am knee deep in my own bullshit.  I miss him.  The immediacy of that heartbreak is no longer the devastating pain it once was, but it has been replaced by this sneaky pang of loss that hits me when I least expect it and where I am not strong enough to easily push through it.

These things conspire in that negative corner of my mind to form this Legion Of Negativity.  Those tiny voices in my head who work at telling me I’m ‘shit’, but who I ignore most of the time.  They reach a cacophony of nauseating negativity when my anxiety starts to take off.  I can feel it pounding in my own head, and in that process I can feel that heaviness creep into my neck, my arms, and my chest.  It wears me out.  I can’t breathe, I can’t focus, I’m confused, I’m emotional, and I honestly get scared.  I loathe these losses of control.  It makes me feel helpless, and that is one thing I don’t do well with.

Cassandra thinks that I just pound down my every day feelings and emotions and that I reach a point where there is nowhere else for them to go so they just flood or erupt out of me in this uncontrollable deluge.  In a lot of ways I think she is most likely right.  I try and hold it all together by focusing on others.  I want to be there for others, dealing with or helping with their ‘stuff’ is WAY easier than looking at myself in the mirror.  I like helping others, and the reality is I’m good at it.  I want to be that rock that others lean on, and I am.  I like the idea of being a good example, of at times even being a leader in the people that I call Friends.  It just sucks to know that I’m not as strong, nor do I have it all together as much as I portray.  It stinks to know that I’m no ideal deep down.  I am simply a flawed human being who tries every single day to be a little bit better than I was the day before. 

The reality is this isn’t where I thought I should be or even who I should be.  My anxiety erupts because of these things.  I get inside my own head about them and can’t get out.  It is my own personal Hall Of Personal Failures and I have a season pass.  Then I get my breath, I realize that everyone has degrees of this, that tomorrow will still be there tomorrow, and that I’m actually happy.  Scary as it all sounds, I am happy.  Because besides all the crap that I seem to put in my own way or that life deals to me, I am as happy as or happier than I’ve been my whole life.  I have amazing people in my life who want to be there.  I may not like whom I do the deeds for, but damn if I’m not good at it and actually like it.  And while I may not be who I think I should be or even who I unrealistically imagine I could be, I am me.  All things considered, I’m a pretty ok person.  I’ll take that today.

Ugh, well I didn’t meant to throw that up onto the Interwebs, but it is what is going through my mind.  It generally helps, believe it or not, to sort of fire off this stream of consciousness and work through all the weird crap that permeates my thought process.  That is what this Blog has always been and will always remain…Well that and…

- Christmas has come and gone!  I think I did a pretty damn decent job of gift giving this year.  
I hit a few home runs, had a lot of good reactions to gifts, and didn’t really make any drastic gift giving errors.  We still have a few gifts left under the tree to hand out, but overall it was a damn fine giving season.  In the process I also received a TON of crazy swag.  So ‘Thank You’ to The Geneious, Sassie Cassie, LaLa, Lee, Gusto, Char, Sean, Maddy, Joe, Drew, Mom2, & Straw Hat Mafia Dave.  I need to give a special thanks to Master Kedrin 4.0 for being incredible and thoughtful, to THE Karl for giving me one of the single most amazing things I’ve ever been given, and to my lovely and multi-talented wife Cassandra who never ceases to give me things I enjoy but also things that mean more to me than I can explain.  I mean seriously!  Look at that!  It is a Hawkman symbol in stained friggin' glass!  WHA!?  Who even does that?  THE Karl, that's Mutha' F'Nin' WHO!

- I really want to mow some Fondu.

- I knocked out two books over the last few days, with another one over half done, but I’m going to refrain from reviewing them today as my brain just doesn’t have the capacity for it.  I did get a boatload of books for Christmas and my Burfday so I’m going to be reading like madman for a while.

- Guardians Of The Galaxy was just as fun the 2nd time at home as it was in a packed theatre.

You know I think that is all I have today.  I’m calling this one ‘done’…


  1. I don't think you ever get over or forget about losing a Father. and I don't think I'd want to. Sure I think of him less day to day, but he'll always be there. and when I do think of him, i get sad for a second, then it's happy thoughts and I start laughing...and it's the giggles and good cheer that keep me going.
    And is anyone happy with themselves?
    I think people set the bar and expectations to unreachable heights and that never works out.
    Keep it simple and low maintenance.