Maybe I mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioning again (repetition is the learning’s mother). When I was 20-21, I said something to my mother. She looked at me with disgust mixed with a lot of pity and said “Andi! You are the eternal teenager. You’ll never grow up”. I smiled, despite her expression, and thanked her. “No, Andi, it’s not a good thing”.Continue Reading
Again, about happiness
It took me a long while of failed experiments to figure out what would make me happy. You need to know what you are searching for, if you are to find it, isn’t it?! In most of those failed experiments money was involved. I had desires, Continue Reading
Fear! Fear is one of the most powerful driving engines of human psyche. It conditions us as much as, for example, love… and sometimes even more. Fear of being abandoned, fear of being cheated, fear of being laid off. It can seem a primitive instinct and maybe it is but it doesn’t seem to have anything primitive about it. In fact, the more intelligent and educated one is, the more fear one will feel – because one can envision much more ways of being hurt.
Hurt?! Well, that is the big idea – that we fear only bad things. Not necessarily true – sometimes, when we get too close to something good, very good, extraordinarily good, we fall into the eternal too good to be true and we start digging, investigating, analyzing, just to find out what is wrong with that close-by success. If there is nothing we can find wrong, we make-up something just to certify that nothing can be that good. I had good things a couple of times within my reach and I managed to sabotage myself with this self-destructive attitude.
It is as if – instead of being happy for a while but facing a probable misery, I am afraid of this happiness that will not last and I am ready to sacrifice it, so I don’t grow wings, so I don’t go close to the sun, so I don’t find out later that the sun is just a light bulb and that I am not Icarus but a moth.
There are places where the mind is of no use and where faith is all one needs. Faith is the only one that can keep the fear in check – not blind faith but a warm faith placed on the right to happiness we most probably have.
Depression – Part 2
As I promised, but later than I wished for, here is the follow up. “The pickle” with all my advices, the most important, the critical aspect I left for now. Nothing is worth a dime without the most important one of all –WILL/DETERMINATION. And, hey, that is exactly where depression attacks – the WILL. Most of us, let’s be honest, are lacking this in the best of times.
Try to ignore these depressive thought. They are just an emtpy howling to the moon. I still feel the need to lay them down so here they are…
Tomorrow will be better. Through how many tomorrows can one survive?! A tomorrow that will be better and never is. Sometimes it seems that that tomorrow when things are good, peaceful, meaningful, is just around the corner. Then, without a warning, those hopes crumble. How many times, do you think, Phoenix can rise again before it becomes a simple chicken and remains in the flames to get roasted.
I use to be immortal. Full of dreams, hopes, always postponing the greater purpose I thought I was meant for. And I could dream and achieve if only it served somebody. A random one like in the old sophism “The meaning of life is to give it a meaning”.
Then life throws upon one days like this, when one is in doubt.
I lived in 40 years what most people live in 80, if they are lucky. It wasn’t because I was special but because I had eyes to see what I have been living. I lived not only my life but also the lives of the ones surrounding me: my grandparent’s lives, my parents’, Brindusa’s, Gabriel’s and of all the other interesting people who have touched my life. And somehow, despite this great burden placed on my soul by this continuous introspection and understanding, I managed to find a purpose to all this absurd game that my life was. Yet now, more often, I find myself without an aim, erasing one after the other all those beliefs that guided me, that gave my existence a meaning. Gabriel?! He’s a great kid and would probably be better feeding on the image of a father who tries, who told him so many stories, who guided him, than the one of the father going through life like a ghost. My parents?! They never thought I had a purpose. Myself?! I am disappointed with myself – just a fly pretending to be an eagle, who managed to accomplish good things but never extraordinary ones.
I will pull up now the dark but soothing blanket of forgetfulness and I will sleep. Good night, Andi!
It’s a big, fat f@&%ing joke!
Life has a not-so-steep learning curve. I used to think that divorce is for sissies who can’t capture with their enthusiasm and valor the heart of their woman. Then, the divorce hit me and all my value and sexual prowess didn’t help one bit turning the tide. I used to think that my wife loves me unconditionally to death – and I chose to see her as a kin of blood. She chose to see me differently.
I used to laugh of ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder) and about autism – thinking that we live in a modern world that needs to label anything, that these are “diseases” meant to justify the growing army of psychologists and care workers. Then my child was diagnosed with ADD and Asperger. I still think that there is too much labeling for things that are borderline normal but now I understand why/how my dad could disconnect from the world and not follow a conversation even when looking into your eyes, why he didn’t speak easily about feelings and why his mind was so abstract.
After I divorced, the joke continued. Yeah, right, you’re laughing! Up there, you are looking at me as one would look upon an ant and teach it that focused light means certain death!
I first though – any good women, with household skills, that love me fiery is a good partner… And I got one. She wasn’t balanced, she had an inclination to think that each disease is a terminal one. The idea was that as soon as I find a job – I was unemployed by my will at the time – I would send for her. I had the most terrible misfortunes and jobs that I thought I pocketed already, were lost in a blink of an eye. Then I got one, she came and it was a disaster. I realized that the Big Joker was onto me. At that time he had my best intentions in mind: I will not give you a job because then you’ll bring her here. Seeing that I insist, HE gave me one… and it was a disaster. You want one?! Know what you wish for! Every time I would think I know what I want and formulate the desire, he would hand it to me. After a selfish girlfriend, I asked for “A good, genuinly good person who will place me first and care and heal me.” Anything else was optional since I could carry us both. And HE granted my wish once more – a genuinely good and naïve person, a procrastinator filled with goodwill and making promises but saying silly things, incapable of standing on her own two feet. By now I had been compromised by “wiseness” and looked in the past for answers of the future. I looked at her and I decided she, and her child, and the sponsorship is too much to handle. I played this game with my wife – pushing her, scolding her to strive, to achieve something, to be able to be of some support to me… and I succeeded and she got on her own two feet but, by then, she had already drifted apart from me and my pushy ways. Start it all over?! I don’t think so. With this example in mind, I said to myself – Oh, now I know! I know – what I really need is somebody who I admire and respect and that way, when my soul would grow tired of loving, I could always have an answer to “Why do I love her?”. And God was nice and granted me that wish… And I met somebody who I admired entirely, ambitious, enthusiast, strong… and strong-willed, with theories, and polluted by life and hardened in her independence and proud, who never gave up even an inch.
When is this fucking joke going to end?! I know that God doesn’t give you much more than you can carry… but, in my case, I would want him to not overestimate me so grossly. I am sick and tired of learning. Forget about me and shine your light somewhere else, don’t burn me with your magnifier!
Being a child
I feel such a spoiled child. I sometimes feel like dropping myself down and having a tantrum: it’s not fair, I can’t take it anymore, it’s too hard. I switch sides between accusing me of being a rotten apple and giving myself a spanking, metaphysical but a hard one, and finding excuses and allowing me some leeway.
After all, just yesterday, a good friend had his contract terminated and I realized that at 3 o’clock that his cubicle is empty and will stay empty, that I lost a good and intelligent person I could share things, ideas, opinions and who will not be afraid to tell me when I’m wrong… Later in the evening, confronted with the second day of Gabriel’s impossibility to do his homework due to some mental fears I will never understand (it was as simply as copying some stuff off the Internet and I was even pointing him what to pick from larger articles), I cracked and smacked him several times. And to end the day on high note, just like the scream of somebody falling 60 floors, I was dumped by a woman I should have dumped a long time ago for reasons of being too dynamic, after I allowed her to toy with me for almost 2 months.
And suddenly I felt abandoned, confused, lost, and desperate. I simply didn’t know where to go or what to do. I remembered that for the last 2 years I have been wondering the desert of online dating… with no end near.
I remembered that I wanted to purchase a reproduction from a Klimt painting Mother and child for the kitchen… and I realized it would be dumb. I mean I love it but it would always remind me of that much-desired-seldom-acquired unconditional love I probably received as an infant but I don’t remember anymore, and that I haven’t had in almost 16 years… since I split the last time from my girlfriend then, who later became my wife but only after I had chased all the tenderness and comfort she was able to give me.
I am oscillating between whipping myself: why are you ready to shed tears, Andi?! It’s just life, you take your lemons and make a lemonade. Real don’t men pity themselves and besides there is nothing to pity: you have your health, probably even smacking him Gabriel still loves you, you have plenty of money to go around, pay your bills, build a future… You should be ashamed of yourself!
But –the other voice gets to me my ears – it’s years and years and years of solitude, solitude in 2 that can help one fool oneself that he/she is not alone… and only 2 years since the feeling from inside materialized in the monster of loneliness… Indeed, you have been loved and maybe even adored but by people who didn’t even try to matter, people whom were never capable of earning your respect, no matter how low you set the bar. So it’s your fault, it’s only you and your stupid standards: no snobs, no ignorant, no flip-flops with a good dress, no fat and complacent women, no depressed and mind-numbing women, no powerless ones who will rely on you to carry them on your back, provide them with every comfort and who, when you need it most – like now – will tell you that they cannot help you…
And yet, like a selfish child, I am filled with rage and sadness; like a dog touched by rabies I am ready to bite everyone that even come close, letting them know that I don’t need their pity or emotional crumbs that they are throwing at me… in my inner core though asking for a loving embrace, for stars in their eyes…
I have accomplished, and keep on accomplishing and doing, and proving stupidly believing – despite knowing it’s not true (see “Buying Love”) – that somehow, somebody I can love and respect will hold me in their arms and relieve me of my burden, will lay in bed next to me and caress me into sleep with the love in their eyes and whisper to me “Everything will be ok. I love you and that is a promise!”.
But… it’s ok. I know what I have to do – I need to manage my loneliness… can’t leave it unattended because it can kill you. Will sleep and forget, forget and sleep and go back to one-day-at-a-time emotional hibernation, will pull through… and live to fight another day.
Just sunshine, wind and speed
If one reads my blog would be left with the idea that all I do is bitching… and it would an approximately correct impression. I wish I was blind, I wish I could simply enjoy life and not care what other people do or think… but that would just not be me. I always envied and blamed my father for having a quality that enhanced his life: being oblivious at everything that went around him. He would tell me often “Why do you get in fights with your mom? Can’t you just do like me: get a face appropriate with the topic, nod and just think about your projects and things you want to accomplish?” Well, the answer is NO. Now I know why – he probably has Asperger Syndrome, just like my son – and what he thought it was a developed trait it’s an inborn one. The only solution for me to be like him would be living on a desert island… and, with my luck, probably dying of appendicitis or something trivial, before I can get to a doctor. And yes – I used to blame him for withdrawing in his inner mind and letting me to deal alone with my mother’s nagging and dissatisfaction.
But no more bitching! Life is – as I often describe – interesting. No, you “shinny happy people” it’s not beautiful – sometimes is sad, other times is tumultuous, in spots is dramatic or happy… but it’s damn interesting.
Recently, as most of my friends know, I purchased a motorcycle. I had some money I was getting back from a credit card, the time is right and prices were very convenient, motorcycles attract women and I am a single dude… so I didn’t honestly was on the edge of my seat due to impatience. I was thinking also about all the hassle for the rider’s license, high-insurance for a new rider so I had my doubts. You imagine my doubts when, after a break of 13 years from the last time I rode, I had to take my new motorcycle home – I was yellow with fear, spun around a close-by parking lot until people thought I was crazy. But then it all came back to me… from the mist of my lost youth (don’t tell me that you found it!) the joy, the exhilaration of being in the wide open, fighting the wind, leaning in curves… I find it hard to describe the happiness that after just 1-2 days dawned onto me.
I was amazed how a simple object – I never believed in buying happiness – could bring so much pleasure, confidence in what is and what will be, and sheer happiness. When I sold my motorcycle – I think it was 98 – it was just like all my dreams of adventure, of open spaces, of the world being my shell had ended. I remember that when my ex would try to talk me into having a child I would tell her: “There is no 3rd seat on the motorcycle”… and then I would bend under the burden of my selfishness. And yet I sold it for all the correct reasons: I am a married man, I can’t kill myself, it’s not practical, it’s not comfortable. When I came to Canada, I flirted somewhat with the idea… but then I gave up. I used to joke (somewhat bitterly): “You know how I figured out that I am getting old? When I came to Canada my wish-list was: 1. Motorcycle; 2. Boat. Then I thought about the wind, the rain, the hassle… and I compared with the tranquility of the boat on an empty lake… and the new order has become: 1. Boat, 2. Motorcycle”. If I was true then, maybe it’s true now and maybe I found the perfect time-travel machine: the motorcycle. When I zoom across empty roads, my mind takes me back to the University’s campus where friends and I used to loiter on a fence and watch the spring wind blow up the girls’ skirts… It takes me back to a time where there were no deadlines, no real obligations or responsibilities. And then I leave the city and get in the middle of nowhere and the cool evening sends in my helmet the smell of “sinziiene” – flowers my grandfather had in the country side… and of dung… In a blink of an eye I am back to my childhood and all those enormous days of summer that ended in a story and listening to politics on a radio with lamps. And these memories are more like feelings than thoughts because I have to stay focused on the road ahead, scouring for rocks or potholes or some animal that might came out the woods.
If somebody thinks that I made a bad investment, think how much you would be willing to spend to be young again?! It’s all there, bottled in that V2 engine and it gets released into my body as I’m sprinting amidst the orange shadows of the sunset.
Yes, it’s true that after 1h of riding my buttocks are starting to get numb, I have a stabbing pain in my back but I simply cannot thing about them.
I am simply happy again. Not as happy as I could be if everything would be perfect in my life but enough to make days at least bearable if not even more enjoyable. I normally go to bed late and wake relatively early and that makes me somewhat grumpy. Now I am going to work with a smile on my face because I get to ride my motorcycle (although the morning rush can be quite unnerving).
Many people are asking me “Aren’t you afraid? So many accidents”. I am afraid – less now that when I purchased it but still the anxiety is somewhat high. Still, I ask rhetorical – why do only things that you are comfortable with? How can we become with new things, feelings, actions if we don’t experience them ever? I like challenges. Just like I love to do only complicated, presumably impossible things in my job, I also try to face any fear that my mind or my body flutters in me.
Yes, I am aware it’s still early to make long-term judgments. It might be that in 1-2 years the rain, the cold, the insurance or even a wipeout, would show me that motorcycle is not really for me. But then I will be able to lay in its grave my youth dream without regrets, love it and remember it if for what it was – a whim of crazy youth – instead of carrying it inside me as a frustration: oh, I could have been so happy if only I had the guts/the money/the X to do it.
I’m going back on my steps and maybe it’s not so wrong to look for happiness in things.
These days, in a world where Latin is quasi-dead, carpe diem seems to be the motto. Everybody seems to live the day – in every meaning of the expression. Young people in debt because they lived the day too hard, old people forced to work because they didn’t think there will be a tomorrow are examples of misuse of this philosophy. Despite my better judgment, I have to recognize, it makes me feel quite inadequate. Slave of the opinion others have about me, I was ashamed to admit I don’t live too much in the present. Today I muster the courage to step out of a closet… probably in another one, since we move from closet in closet (I guess that the trick is not to die in one).
Even so, my analytic thinking says I am not doing anything wrong. My present is not interesting at all. It moves at an even rate with its little joys and upsets. My future? My future was, as somebody said in a radio essay I listened last year (I apologize for my poor memory), amputated when I divorced. Now and then, I catch a glimpse of it but then fog covers the vague shapes.
What is wrong with living in the past? What is wrong, when times are tough, to cuddle back with your parents on a Saturday evening in their bed and watch a black-and-white western movie and then go content that Sunday follows and that I can sleep as much as I want? So what if my nostrils fill with the smell of steak and mashed potatoes and pickles and I read “The Three Musketeers”, or I laugh my ass off watching “Tom and Jerry”, while waiting for Mom to call us in the kitchen for the weekend lunch? What is the crime in remembering the smell of lime trees embracing my street in a warm spring night, after I just returned from the student campus where I met my girlfriend?
We all go places where we felt happy, safe, loved. Some go to Disneyland, I visit the space of my memories. I sift through them and then, when I discover a warm and fuzzy one, I nest in it and let it carry me through the neither-interesting-nor-promising present.
Memory-triggers very seldom make sense. I listen to Gloria Gaynor and I remember visiting my cousins – not having siblings, they were my brothers. I remember the nights I slept over and we kept yapping until midnight, whispering so our parents would not come in. Not that we ever listened “I will survive” together. I smell the freshly-cut grass and I remember the feeling I was getting at my grandfather’s place, in the country, in a cold spring, hidden behind the stove. I remember the smell of burnt wood.
Why is the present so great? We have a lunch with somebody we love, it’s peaceful, the conversation is great, and one sees glitters of love in the other’s eyes. It’s good but it will be a long time before being able to refer to this lunch as one that brought the most happiness in your life. Watch a movie – it’s good, it’s titillating, intellectually stimulating but one will have to waste hundreds of hours lost in stupid productions before acknowledging that this movie was one of the best.
Live in the present? Buying the CDs of all the latest fashion bands just to realize within 12 months, once the craze passed that they are worth even less than the plastic used in their fabrication? No, thank you!
Personally, I don’t see any value in present – it’s a fad, it’s a moment and then it’s gone, it’s without memory and it’s made for people who want to live without history and without future.
I promised myself I will shed my shame of not being aligned with this “carpe diem” society. I will sleep myself in lost times and wait for a spring where, hopefully, I will be able to love more the present through the remembrance of the feelings that crush me today, the past.
For quite a while I asked myself why I hate so much the man for whom my ex left me. After all, she’s an adult and it was her decision to start a sexual adventure with him, it was her who fell for him and finally, it was she who hurt me deeply. He, like a true modern-day hedonist, was trying to satisfy his urge for another woman. He asked, she accepted and that should be it. Yes, if it was a fulfilled marriage, more relaxed, filled with love it wouldn’t have happened… or would it? He had 5 very-long-term relationship and the last one he ended to be with my ex, was a calm, friendly relationship. My ex told me that a month before she left me she was declaring her love for me “just because I was satisfied” and my too-realistic answer was that after 13 years of marriage we weren’t doing that bad.
Still, it wrangle my guts to know this man – and many like him – walking out there. Yesterday I was finally able to realize why. Because he is like Death… and I was a moron. I knew that my marriage was not filled with happiness. The crazy years after immigrating to Canada were very hard years, for both of us. I was riding the highs and – more often – the lows of hi-tech industry, burdened by the thought that all our good life relied exclusively on my shoulders, working long hours, she was learning the language, getting college courses, juggling the school and the household chores… But, amidst all this chaos (driving sometimes 120 km/day on city-streets) I had in mind a future where we can relax, a future where I don’t have to scram the money for Christmas presents, a future where the family would have at least a real, 10-day vacation every year, where everything would quiet down and love would sip back into my marriage. I was dreaming about a sabbatical, at least 5-6 months traveling throughout Europe, visiting history where it was made, showing my son and my wife the fruits of all the hard labour, of all the sacrifices we made. Things were on the right track – or so I thought. Disgusted by a disappointing job-market in Ottawa, I left for Arizona to show to myself and to the world that all my certification exams, hours of learning and testing until wee hours of the morning were not in vain. Money was good, taxes were low, I was finding Information Security Specialist title as very satisfying… but far from my family I realized that without them nothing matters. It was in the solitude of the desert, like a true prophet, that I had this revelation. Some might say it was late, maybe too late. I say it was just right: I was able to afford this revelation, we were financially stable, I finally got my confidence as high as to understand that a job is just a job and if one ends, another one awaits you around the corner, provided that you are decent enough and hard-working by nature… Yes, I should have dropped everything and come home but I didn’t: since I had sought this contract I thought that I have to drink my poison up to the last drop. Should have, would have won’t help me now… It was all over in the blink of the eyes: Mr Death, the random man, in search of a boredom break, made contact and then everything went down the drain.
Sometimes We are Death. Like when you postpone to see your Grandfather, thinking there’s always time to see him in the summer vacation and then he is taken away and there are no more chances to say good-bye, this man took away from me any chance of fixing my marriage. Just like Death, who takes randomly, without regard of merits, reasons, this man killed my marriage with indifference, outside of right or wrong. He might as well have killed me for good. I hate him, and it would be a lie to say I haven’t envisioned many times his real death… But Death doesn’t die – if you kill one Death, the Universe will make up another one and it could be you. I hate him and I hate myself. Just like him I killed something thinking that, time and money allows, I will be able to grow it again. I was Death.