Tag Archives: support system

One Common Denominator

mirror6

When you spend the majority of your life wondering why each attempt at progress ultimately lands at the feet of failure, it could be wise to start taking inventory of the repeating variables.

If every social situation feels strained. If the looping cycle of start, stop, and repeat has scarred you with burns of a broken skipping record. If it seems like the world is reading a different page. If the inconceivability of normalcy is shocking. If there’s a security in remaining a prisoner to your own thoughts because that’s the only space where safety lives…then the obstacle to happiness and fulfillment is you. Well, I am finally ready to raise my hand into the air and admit that I am the problem.

I am the metaphorical lawnmower, starting with a forceful pull, attacking the task at hand, and then sputtering out in a cloud of smoke and burned clippings. Loud and resolute, my job is unyielding. Opinions and criticism are casualties left in the wake of my obsessive focus, eyes fixed on the finish line. Optimistic for options, I am seduced by the notion of possibility. Then, the tower of cards inevitably crumbles. I curse the lack of horsepower and blame the grass for being damp. But I’m the one who decided to mow in the rain.

My preferences too rigid and my lifestyle too stubborn, I alienate to maintain a false notion of control. Then I expect an illusory support system to cradle my artistic ideals for the betterment of the big picture. But that’s not how people operate. It’s how robots are programmed.

Until I stare into that mirror long enough to see why the fly is flailing in the ointment, I will continue to ride that slingshot back to start.

But identifying the sharpness of the thorn is the first step in facilitating its removal.

Adolescence Interrupted

The Keys to the Kingdom Can’t Open All the Locks

SONY DSC

Being born a white, middle class American male undoubtedly comes with a limitless bounty of benefits. The struggles that most modern human beings have to face on a daily basis make the insignificance of any routine discontent seem laughable. On a macroscopic scale, this dichotomy is even more ridiculous.

As Eddie Vedder so aptly chanted, “He won the lottery by being born. Big hand slapped a white male American.”

But the only reality we know is our own, and perception can be a wily thing. I look at the daggers I’ve dodged, the nearly-impossible summits I’ve reached, and the countless pitfalls I’ve leapt, and I wonder exactly what that lottery ticket looks like. As I find myself standing back at the starting line for the umpteenth time, I can only imagine what this fight would feel like wearing a different color skin, in a different city, or without the love and support of friends and family to provide emotional safety nets along the line.

Surviving in today’s world is like walking through an infinite corridor, following a flash of light somewhere in the distance. Unfortunately, without warning, random pieces of the floor can disappear beneath your feet and occasionally massive boulders chase behind you in some theme park-replicated Indiana Jones living nightmare. It’s a wonder any of us make it through life…alive.

Questions and concerns, worries and wonder. There’s a lot taking up valuable brain real estate. We have self-constructed familial and social circles, and we spin inside those centrifuges, hoping that the sediment will settle. But being dizzy is a big part of those passage rites, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic position.

We’re all just doing our best not to wobble and fall, one shaky and carefully-planted step at a time.

Adolescence Interrupted