Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Going Negative

The universe has noticed that I am in a learning mood. It has set out to teach me more life lessons. I am going to take these on the first go round rather than have them drilled into me with an aggression that only is only seen in a bad hockey game or a good soccer match. I am kidding about that metaphor. I don't know enough about sports to talk about aggression properly. I wanted to say female Olympic volleyball players, but that ran the risk of sounding misogynistic. I love women in general and several members of the female gender specifically. I support women as both a reality and as a high level concept. I appreciate women in the abstract. I am very female positive. Ugh. There will be an objection to something I said there. I meant well!

Sunday I got too comfortable recording and shot my mouth off during a YouTube exclusive segment. Sadly, I opined on a subject that Garin was passionate about. The resulting negativity was about 4 minutes of strong opinions and unnecessary vulgarity. I won't lie. I chuckled about it during the editing process. I could lie and say that I considered removing that bit. I didn't. I thought people would laugh. I thought people would roll their eyes at my cheeky belligerence. 

No one laughed. Two people commented very passionately about how much we had offended them. Some part of their offense was that they incorrectly assumed that we owned a comic book shop and were complaining about missing out on making maximum money (I complained about people buying comics just to flip them on the internet.) I can actually understand their offense. It is the second time in the history of recording our show that I have immediately felt bad about showing out badly on the internet. We call the other ,"The Tom King incident." I really don't like talking about it at all, but I have a feeling eventually I will pay for that rant. 

When the first comment hit YouTube I was shocked. I never considered defending my position. I knew I was wrong. I apologized. I wish I had been forward thinking enough to just take the post down and edit it at that point. I wasn't. I felt this unfamiliar anxiety. My guts were squirming with guilt ferrets. It wasn't as if I have never said something wrong or untoward on the internet. Read this blog long enough and I will say some fool thing that will offend you in the moment. 

Let me take this moment to be clear about that. I have NEVER written a post to intentionally hurt someone's feelings. I have NEVER set out to attack anyone (that I recall). My purpose with the blog, more so when it is controversial, is to provoke thought and conversation. Sometimes I get the notes of the song wrong and screw that up. For every post I actually publish there are 2 drafts abandoned. I mostly do think these things through even though they are not proofread for spelling, grammar, or continuity issues. This is a therapeutic tool for me. I feel mostly safe showing vulnerability. I feel like I can be honest... because what is the point if I cannot? I hate that I don't have the strength to be unabashedly honest with all aspects of my life. Maybe it is my insecurity showing that I don't feel like the majority of the world would like an unedited version of me. 

To be clear, acting a fool and running my mouth on YouTube was not about showing my truth. No I went negative and attacked a type of comic book customer. It didn't advance any conversation. It really didn't need to be said. It wasn't the act of a brave person standing up to right a wrong. It was the behavior of a loud mouthed blow hard popping off at the mouth about something meaningless. That is probably why I dealt with guilt ferrets the size of chunky trash pandas doing a polka through my intestines and testicles. They always go for the giblets. Bastards.

So why is it a lesson I still need learning? Well, I knew better. The aforementioned "Tom King incident," kicks me in the booty. (Ok, so I went totally off the rails about Tom King as a writer after reading the first issue of his Batman run.Cursing. Ranting. Showing my ass. Later, I really liked what he did with the character. The experience made me vow to never bash a writer or artist on the podcast. I have stuck pretty close to that one. Hopefully, Tom King will never hear me acting a fool. No one has ever called me out on it but still.) As for the YouTube thing I apologized in the comments a couple of times. We cleared things up. I eventually decided to edit the episode and upload it again. (it bothers me that reupload isn't a word recognized by spellcheck) I deleted the old one. I hope we didn't lose subscribers or listeners, but I don't have a choice except to live with it if we did. 

I am kicking my own ass hard because I know better. I have made the negative mistake a few times in the last week or so. In examining my behavior I have to admit that I may be acting out a bit to deal with things that are stressing me out. I damn sure know better than to do that. 

I have all these rules that I work at living by. Sure, it is an imperfect process, but I don't think that I had one to cover this situation. I could argue that Don't get caught applies here. Pick your battles certainly is relevant. Don't pick a fight you have no way of winning? Maybe. 

Don't deal in the trivial. Wow. I need that one tattooed somewhere I can see it. I totally botched that one. A big part of not dealing in the trivial is about having some class. I missed that boat entirely on the show and with my last blog post. Ugh. Fail.

Do not take the actions of others personally since they are not about you. Forgot that one in my reactions. Shit. I know I just talked about having some class, but I am betting even the Queen of England drops the S word on occasion at a personal bugle. I can imagine if she lopped off an ear while knighting someone that," Well, Shit," would be an entirely acceptable response. 

The good news is that it is good to fail. You have an opportunity to really learn something by your failure. Let me try that again. I can take this opportunity to learn from my failures. What did I learn? Do I need to develop a new rule? Well, let's review. 

I got upset at work Thursday of last week and got beside myself for nothing. I "got my way," in the end of that situation. Even if I hadn't it wouldn't have been a big deal. I felt bad about getting in my feelings and handling it poorly. I recovered the situation and got control of myself. I did probably beat myself up about it after the fact. Shaming myself is an ineffective strategy. I did recover from that...mostly... eventually. I still feel a little silly and ashamed. 

Friday new drama went off at home. While I understand some of the source of the upset, I really don't understand how it got so out of hand. I was angry. Then I did a very healthy thing and processed my real feelings. I owned the fact I was disappointed and hurt. 

Then I screwed up. Again. I went negative in a blog post. I also went petty and spiteful. Sure, the tone of what I was saying was taking the most positive position possible I chose to leave in a bunch of angry thoughts and gave them the strike-through font modification. Was I choosing to pick a fight and hurt feelings on the internet because the drama that came at me was about things I posted on the internet? Guilty as charged. Is there any way to "win" that fight? Nope. It is already lost. I could have kept my mouth shut (fingers off the keys maybe) and been righteous in my behavior.  I didn't. I took passive aggressive revenge stupidly. 

The funny part is, I didn't feel any better for any of it. I hesitated to post anything. It would have served a therapeutic purpose to have written it and left it unpublished. Instead, it took a fairly good observation about a happy guy who has a tough job and tainted the whole thing. That was stupid of me. I have kicked myself around about it emotionally since the post went up. I lost my chance to stay out of a metaphorical fight by taking a swing of my own. Didn't help me. I don't have the moral high ground. I am just as wrong, and probably the bigger asshole because while lashing out I was talking about having my feelings hurt. That is a hypocritical move which is never a good look on anyone. Double shit.

Wonder if I talked trash on my (vlog?) podcast because of my negative mental state? I admit that I probably lashed out where I thought it was safe. That is what the world needs; publicly announced negative sentiment inspired by personal hurt and insecurity. Not my finest moment. Not a demonstration of my ideals. Piss poor behavior. Yep. Shit. 

Now you might be reading this and think I am beating myself up. I am not. This isn't a shaming session. I am trying to take an honest and objective look at my thoughts, feelings, motivations, and behaviors in order to learn something. Editing out the segment is not the same thing as undoing my behavior. I could delete the blog post. I cannot take back the words. If they were read or not I thought them and expressed them. While I am not a fan of being on my high horse it is nice when I can honestly say that I behaved in a reasonable manner. I didn't. Shit and Double Shit.

Yeah. Apologies are going to be necessary. I am not even excited to talk about the whole situation, and to do the right thing I am going to have to admit that my reaction to it was not right. Damn. Apologies are not my best thing. I don't even feel comfortable being apologized to. I normally go out of my way to not do something that I have to apologize for in the first place. I certainly shit the bed on that one. Damn it.

Ok, so. On the Rules Front I need to add;
Reflect. Do not React. 
I feel like I have written several posts about the damage I have done reacting. There is a quote something along the lines of,"If you are patient in one moment of anger you will save yourself one hundred days of sorrow." I am fairly certain that is a Chinese proverb. I know it well enough to be able to at least paraphrase it, but I don't apply it worth a damn. I need to work on that.

It was healthy to express my real emotions. I could have left off the angry nonsense. I also might should consider the benefits of posting something publicly. I will defend that one a bit. I understand that things I post for the public to read are subject to all kinds of judgement and criticism. 

I am generally not overly sensitive when someone makes fun of this. I was literally bullied at work in the most weak and passive aggressive way possible, but I don't particularly respect the bullies so it failed on every front except that I noticed it. I also write things without explaining what has inspired them which leaves things open to translations, interpretation, and most people cannot help but feel I am talking about them or someone they know. I COULD be more specific, but by speaking in vague and general terms I can share my thoughts and feelings in hopes of inspiring thought and maybe positive change without putting anyone on blast. 

I enjoy blogging and don't plan to give it up even when it does blow up in my face like this. I am not always going to write about shiny happy things (or shiny happy people singing happy songs). Life isn't all one thing or the other. I want to write a rule about not going negative in public, but I don't know that it is realistic. Perhaps the moral of the story lies in not venting negative emotions publicly? 

There is quite a difference in writing about some negative experience and how I felt about it rather than blasting out negative feelings that I haven't really processed. That is pretty well covered in Reflect. Don't React. I would say I could go with something about not being an asshole in public. The major problem there is that I am just an asshole in general. 

God help me. Is it time to think about outgrowing that? I will have to reflect on that one a while. I certainly don't want to react too quickly and do something foolish. 

All this has worn me out. It is funny how little emotional drama it takes to exhaust me. Quick. Someone tell a fart joke. Throw a pie. Smash my toenails with a hammer. Ugh. I just want to get away from all this emotional stuff. I am going to eat something bad for me and watch more of The Umbrella Academy on Netflix. 

Friday, July 31, 2020

Being Happy with What You Have

Today took a couple of shitty turns. One of the was absolutely literal. Our septic tank was in need of draining. It backed up. We called for help. 

Listen, I believe in doing things yourself when you can. I will change my own tires. I will patch and paint walls. I will build bookshelves. I will rewire switches and plugs. I will rebuild or replace engines and transmissions. I will even replace broken plumbing and fixtures. 

I am not equipped to deal with sewage. I don't have the tools, and I honestly don't want them. I really appreciate the service that deals with draining and cleaning our septic tank. I am not too good to pump out sewage. God knows it is probably a job I am not qualified for. It is something I don't want to do. 

Now, I work in customer service. I know what good service looks like. I have a pretty high expectation when someone is providing service. AT&T sucks at it. They are better than Comcast, but the distinction between the two is less than it used to be. I expect to be treated well by my baker. I won't ever deal with Home Federal in this life. That comes from one bad service interaction when I was twenty years old. Two decades later I hate them with a burning passion. I love the three banks I do business with. I keep two of them for good interest rates, but the third I refuse to get rid of because of how well they have treated me for that same twenty year stretch that I have hated Home Federal Bank. 

No, really, fuck Home Federal and anything related to Regions Bank. They are both AWFUL. 

I have no idea why I am emoting so hard on those old grudges. Well, I do. I lash out at safe targets when my feelings get hurt or I am disappointed. I am both right now, but that isn't germane to the post.Yesterday I was ready to fight a buzz saw over a disappointment that only lasted a few hours and then swung my way. Today I am struggling not to act or feel like a heart broken emo teenager. Fuck it. Let it go. I can rationalize. You are fucking forty, asshole. concentrate. Septic tank guy. You can write about something that you thought was cool.


So Rural Tank comes out to pump out our system. The guy who showed up was so nice. He taught me a bit about the workings of the tank while he was setting up. He really didn't even want to ask me to move my car. I was ready to move the car, the truck, the Explorer, and drag the International Harvester tractor we have that isn't running out of the way with the IH Farmall Cub that IS running. I moved my little Veloster out of the way and he thanked me. 

I am ankle deep in sewage in my front yard and have unspeakable horrors coming out of my drains in the house and this gentleman is thanking me for moving a car so he can fix my problem! I was blown away. It takes a bit to impress me, but that simple courtesy did the trick. 

The guy was quick. He was also more thorough than any other service we have ever used. I came inside to check on Teagan, Whitneigh, and Taila. I half listened to the guy giving Dad all sorts of ideas and pointers for the tank and the second one we have at the back of the property. That man won that expertise through some years of experiences. When a professional dispenses advice like that take notes. 

For the shit to almost literally have hit the fan I was super relieved at a quick recovery. It set my day back a few hours. We didn't get to a few things I wanted to do today, but that is not a big deal. I will get my to do list accomplished in the fullness of time. I have working drains and toilets again!

As I was showering off from the ordeal those shower thoughts took over. I was super impressed with how happy this guy was. He was personable. He had good energy to complete the task at hand. That job was removing several hundred gallons of human excrement. The dude has a literally shitty job. He had a smile on his face. 

Jesus. That made me ashamed of dreading doing my own job. My job has difficult moments. I think they all do, but what does it say about my character that I dread sitting on my ass and talking for a living. If I were cleaning septic tanks I would be much more unhappy. 

Now, this guy may genuinely enjoy his work. If he doesn't he faked it well. I don't always do that. This was a good lesson for me. Either I have not chosen my path well and need to find a better one. More likely I need to really appreciate the life I live and stop being entitled and short sighted. That is a good reminder and I feel like it came at me in a really interesting and profound way. 

I listen when the universe communicates with me.

Speaking of communication... Sometimes I get a call to write something that is in no way related to me or my situation. My post yesterday about relationships and unrequited emotions was not anything directly related to my life. 

But, David, you wrote with such conviction and passion. You cursed a lot. You sounded angry!

No shit, I am passionate about the subject. I always have thought the way people relate to one another is one of the most important things in life. I am not nearly perfect at it. I also see when people hurt one another and I hate it. I want the world to be a better place and I want the people I share the planet with to be better to one another. I forgive. I extend olive branches. I let go of hurts and hates of old. I live with a full heart and love everyone who will allow me to do so. 

I have said for years that the universe (my description for God and the cosmic laws the govern our plane of reality) sometimes gives me a moment of inspiration to say something that someone somewhere needs to hear. I very rarely get to target these messages. I also hope that anyone reading them knows me well enough to realize that I am not so amateurish or immature that I feel the need to put all of my own drama on the internet. For those watching in the cheap seats, let me make this exception.

Until the second wave of shit hitting the fan this evening I was starting to think that my life was steering fully away from drama. I have worked very, very hard to make it so. I forget the capacity of people to misinterpret, misjudge, and just generally think poorly of me regardless of my past as a pretty fucking stand up guy. You are going to think what you want. Do not expect me to try to change it or give a flying fuck how closely you pay attention to what I am doing. 

Keep watching.

I am likely to do a trick! I learned some new ones with cards recently. If I can ever get my shuffles and fanning right I could pass as an amateur magician. If you talked to me rather than sitting back and gossiping about me I would probably lay all my cards on the table for you. I understand that seeing how the trick works spoils it for some people. Keep doing you. I will keep making the right moves on my side and not worry a fig about what anyone things of my technique. It takes heart and talent to do the things I do. 

You know, when behavior means nothing, when shared history means nothing, when effort means nothing , and when forgiveness means absolutely nothing then there is a good chance you are wasting your time worrying about what those people think of you. I learned my value the hard way in the last quarter of 2014. There is no chance of me forgetting it now. The thing that changed for me is my ability to smile and take shit. I got a little colder and a little harder then. People have always mistaken my heart and kindness for weakness. This is a really stupid mistake. Anyone who knows me for any length of time and knows the person I am should really know better. 

First time you fuck me over I am super forgiving. Shit happens after all. The why doesn't matter. There was harm, but I won't cry foul. If you fucked me over and I didn't earn it then I may not be super happy to forgive. I will. Turn the other cheek and all of that. Don't make the ignorant ass mistake to think I forgot or that you have the carte blanche to stick a knife in my exposed back again. Trust me, it only looks exposed. I am giving you a target while daring you to go for it. 

There really shouldn't ever be a second go round. Once you have wronged someone you have to make a point not to let it happen again. If someone is strong enough to give you their trust and vulnerability after you had a hand in hurting them then it takes a low down piece of absolute shit to start fucking with them again. This is what I expect of a great many people. I am still disappointed when they prove me right. Having a big heart absolutely sucks. 

 Honestly, most people on this planet (there are 6 or 7 exceptions) are out of my life after strike two. That is just good policy. Only Taila and Teagan get to hurt or me or take advantage of me at will.

I use strike through a LOT when I am writing my fiction. I use it to leave in ideas I had that are no longer useful. It is a way from stepping away from poorly formed ideas. It is better than delete because all the things I want to say are still there for me to read and revisit if I have a need. That whole angry tirade was just a giant waste of 20 minutes of typing, deleting, typing again. I am not just angry. I am hurt. I am disappointed. 

When I get smacked out of left field with shit from my drains I call for professional help. I got some absolutely wonderful professional help today. I am satisfied with it. When I get slapped out of left field with drama and metaphorical shit I have my own coping mechanism. I write. I reflect. I work things out rather than reacting. 

The public sees a TINY fraction of what I write. I hope to change that by getting some things published. The fuel of this hurt and disappointment will make me pour more energy into all my creative projects. I was bummed about work when I worked out how to get cover art into videos. I was having a tough day when I came up with the second comic book script. I turn shit into success like a healthy crop processes fertilizer. Apt metaphor huh? I might get the door on my container tomorrow fueled by the emotions I am learning to accept rather than fight.

Turning your energy from deep negativity to doing something creative is about being happy and secure in yourself. It is important to be happy with what you have. I am happy with my life. I am proud of the things I have accomplished. I am proud at having overcome the hurt and the struggle. I am proud of the people who are putting in the work to be a positive part of my life. Even though I am humble about my place in the world, I am proud of myself. 

To anyone looking to have a serpent's tongue about me, I know it isn't personal. You have your own insecurities and fears. You may not have anything else to do than to dream up metaphorical drama from my words. That is fine with me. When I speak philosophically people are going to misunderstand.  I know most everything that happens on this planet really has nothing to do with me. I am only as important as people make me in their own estimation. I also know based on hard earned past experience the value I have in the eyes of others. Reminders can be good. Helps to keep me happy, healthy, humble, and safe from getting screwed over... again. 

I am thankful for an opportunity to see reality. Denying it and wishing things were different is pointless. In a few days I will have my heart set on what to do with it. 

I intended this post to be a very positive themed look at how you can choose to be happy doing anything. I know I missed the mark and allowed it to get tainted with a bunch of my own emotional feedback. I hope something good shines through all the shit. 

I know my last post at least made a few people think. My goal is always to help every single person I can. I try hard to never take away from anyone unless it is forced upon me. I guess every view of my blog helps my social media presence. With me working so hard to make a splash with the podcast, my writing, and the YouTube channel there is no such thing as negative press. 

I can tell you that it is shit like today that has had me destroy 3 versions of my blog. I refuse to live in fear of the judgement of others though. My words don't reach everyone that needs to hear them. I don't always get the message right. I am using my (rather questionable) talent to write with emotion and passion. I will keep doing it even when it is hard... or at least that is the promise I made to myself this time around. 

Shit. I don't know. 

I am going to go do something useful that I hope someone appreciates. 


Going Negative

The universe has noticed that I am in a learning mood. It has set out to teach me more life lessons. I am going to take these on the first g...