Category Archives: Psychology

You Do You Part Two

I’ve written a few clever things about the folly of mocking other people’s hobbies or interests. This is not another clever take.

Soap operas, sporting events, reality tv, crocheting, video games, reading, stamp collecting, or having a skeleton display in your yard two months early (excluding serial killers). Putting up a Xmas tree in July. All of these are stupid to some people. It’s likely you love doing something that makes others roll their eyes. I know one woman who is so weird that she attends Billy Idol concerts. On purpose. (I put the last joke in for John K.)

The same is true about complaining about each holiday appearing early at retailers. It’s shocking news, I know, but they wouldn’t do it if sales didn’t justify it. We can laugh and ridicule the stores for doing so, but practically speaking, it wouldn’t happen if human behavior weren’t driving it.

If someone wants to put up Halloween decorations in September, good for them. A Xmas tree in August? Even better. It’s their life, time, and money. If you snark, we’re going to comment on your large belt buckles, commemorative plate collection, or shelves filled with what-knots or tchotchkes. (I included that last word for oddballs from Pennsylvania.)

A considerable portion of the adult population watches reality tv or sporting events. Taken from a certain context, both are equally ludicrous on a couple of levels. If you enjoy them, you don’t think so. That’s the point. We won’t vote you off the island; we might not let you on the boat, but we won’t banish you.

If you want to careen around with your cellphone and collect Pokémon, even if you are seventy years old, go for it. We’ll try not to run you over on our bicycles or cars.

If you’d rather sit on your couch and relax instead of going out and about to socialize, then do it and enjoy it.

If you want to watch grown men and millionaires throw inflated balls around while wearing absurdly tight pants, please do. I mean, it seems perfectly normal if millions of people do it, right? We don’t question your time or masculinity. Not to your face, at least.

Xmas trees in the fall are normal. So are Halloween decorations two months early. Valentine’s candy in January? You bet. Nothing says “love” like diabetes-inducing sugary treats. Except, of course, for doing the dishes without giving an Emmy-worthy “Did you notice?” performance afterward.

Get excited about whatever you enjoy and enjoy those things without guilt.

The next guy is just as full of crap as you are.

We can revel in that.

Just please stop complaining about seasonal merchandise appearing early in stores. It’s not going to lessen or abate in your lifetime.

Just like you can’t drive in traffic without BEING traffic, you can’t participate in capitalism without contributing your own version of “Xmas in July” at your favorite store.

You just don’t see it as weird to some people.

Because it’s not.

It’s just you doing you.

Keep up the good work, y’all.

X
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We Cut

“If you never heal from what hurt you, you will bleed on people who didn’t cut you.”

I’ve written about this topic before. We carry our wounds and issues, often in plain sight of everyone except ourselves.

This statement states it in a way that exceeds pithiness.

I made the image, too.

X
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Black & White Intentions

“We are very good lawyers for our own mistakes, but even better judges for the mistakes of others.”

One of the hardest things as a human is to swallow the urge to correct people who have misconceptions about you. We all come to our own conclusions, draw inferences, and make assumptions about other people, ones which are based on our own observations and intuition. No matter how carefully you talk, behave, or think, people will fiercely defend the conclusions they’ve come to. At times, they are simple misconceptions. Others? They are villainous views, ones that hit you at the core. No matter what led you to act or talk in a certain way, it’s a certainty that you’re going to be misunderstood. No matter your defense, your arguments, or your intentions, you’re going to have to develop the ability just to let it go.

All of this is why so many memes, reels, and TikToks exist to remind us that we must do our best to swallow the drive to correct people’s erroneous assumptions. Those assumptions belong to them rather than us. That doesn’t mean they are always wrong. Each of us gets blind to our stupidity or can’t find a way to accept how we’ve behaved. If you jump out of a tree, you’re going to have to land whether you’re prepared for it or not. You might not remember climbing the tree or why you did it, but you’re going to have to prepare to hit the ground.

It’s hard enough for me to live my life and with myself and thoughts without fighting intrusions from people who have written a different narrative. It’s doubly troubling when I’ve made mistakes that weren’t ill-intentioned or nefarious yet get filtered that way. Complicated situations and emotions become reduced to black-and-white decisions. I wish life were that simple or that I had the constancy of purpose and drive to avoid them.

Looking around, I see that most people are rowing in the same boat. If we’re rowing in the same direction, it’s folly to use our oars to pummel one another.

Love, X
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though the sky is blue

Because I’d been boiling myself off and on on the landing and baking in the sun, I turned the AC to 70. Because my AC and heat had to be completely replaced, given that it was from 1976, the new unit is incredibly powerful; its loud sound is relaxing. Güino decided to slumber in my office chair. He’s wandered the landing and the lower floor today several times. Instead of bothering him, I rolled him a foot away and pulled my red rocking chair up to the desk. It felt like I needed to write a couple of hundred words. A few thousand words later, all of it expunged from me in a single burst, I sat looking at the prism hanging outside through the slats of the window blinds. My metal front door is over 170 degrees again. I thought of all the energy reaching us from our nearest star, the sun. We only receive a sliver of its output. It provides enough energy in the form of light to power the entire world – if we’d let it. I think the same is true for each of us. Most of us have the gift of massive kinetic and potential energy inside us. It’s in our nature. Somehow, we allow our lesser forces to override our natural tendency toward power and movement. In my case, I’ve been busy. Being busy or productive isn’t always the best use of my time. It negates introspection and examining the things I’ve said and done with sufficient scrutiny. Life flicks by on lightning skates. It’s easy to live superficially, and sometimes this ease lulls us into thinking it is the preferable way. It’s not. A moment of thought, especially one of gratitude or appreciation, becomes twice as memorable when considered after the fact. Those thousands of words that poured effortlessly from my fingers as I sat here in the zone? They are some of the best words I’ve ever written. I feel it in my bones, the ones that now creak a little as they realize how long I’ve abused them.

Here:

though the sky is blue, you look to the ground out of caution
caution saves, but it also reduces
though the world is a palette of individuals, you seek understanding by viewing them through your own filter
though the world shall never spin according to your whim, you waste your
allotted moments by wishing it not to be so
the pond will fill if you hurl enough stones into it, though it will take years
your life will fill if you stop looking toward what lies behind you and spend your hours subtracting and adding according to your desires
the sky is blue, just for you
and for me
if we but let it be

X
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Bona Fide

I’ve written that the worst feeling in the world is knowing you are the villain. Or at least the one who has hurt someone, regardless of one’s intentions. In one’s head, you don’t think or plan in a straight line. The water starts out warm and then begins to boil. It’s easy to get into that mindset wherein you begin to believe that there is no resolution; hopelessness is often the result. Emotion, doubt, and undesired consequences merge into a mass of something that seems infinite.

“On a long enough timeline, everyone is going to be an asshole.” – X

I’ve learned again and again that my intentions are meaningless when compared to the consequences, much in the way that love is diluted when you observe behavior versus intentions. If love is indeed a verb, then it follows that consequences are the fruit of intentions.

I tapered off Lexapro by going through three reduced cycles and finally just tossing the remainder. This website might sanction me again for discussing it. (Which I still shake my head about, though it was a year ago.) It was a huge help for months; now, it lies on me to practice what I supposedly learned. For run-of-the-mill idiots like me, such medications don’t add value after an indeterminate time. My doctor’s office helped my decision along by being profit-oriented rather than patient-focused. I’m used to it. And maybe, in this case, it is for the best. Everything seems inevitable after the fact precisely because it happened that way. But as adults, we know that isn’t true, even if we cling to the comfortable idea of inevitability.

Real villains and narcissists don’t worry about whether they are villains or narcissists. But just because I’m not bona fide does not mean that I am not quite often an asshole.

I yield to the truth when I’m able to recognize it.

Discomfort. Doubt.

Ignoring it doesn’t erase it.

I yield.

PS I’m okay! I just like to write and share what’s in my head. Attempting to control how it’s interpreted is a fool’s errand.

Love, X
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The Little Pieces of Glass

I took a walk when the sun became hidden behind the dense summer clouds. My wobbly legs protested but the pavement called. Exertion has replaced chemistry in my quest for peace.

After a few minutes, I felt the bite of an incautious step. A little piece of glass upended and pierced the inside of my foot. It reminded me of being young when shoes were a nuisance and terrain was mine for the taking. I was walking barefoot, a modern savage for removing my shoes and walking the streets. Fifty-five-year-old men aren’t supposed to walk barefoot. It’s dangerous and an invitation to pain.

I walked several dozen steps and turned to look behind me. Little red swashes colored the sidewalk, my blood blotting the concrete with an irregular pattern.

Because there was no remedy, I walked until I left no such further trace.

I traversed the same arc after it rained. My little swashes were erased.

Life is like that if we are lucky.

A sharp, momentary pain, even if it lasts an undetermined time. All is momentary in the swath of one’s life.

The rain will come, or time will fade the bite of what harmed us.

We can take measures and cover our bare feet with shoes, yet pain will return, often from a surprising source.

Or, we can walk barefoot again, knowing that proverbial glass can lie anywhere, unseen. We can enjoy the rough textures, the literal touch of our world on our feet.

We can guard against anything, but we lose a dose of carefree disregard for the things that might happen.

There is no ‘might’ in this place we call home.

Everything is eventual, a muse once uttered. Good and bad, storm and calm, hunger and satiation. Ecclesiastes, distilled to its essence, reminds me of that frequently.

Rain will come, disguised as seconds, hours and minutes; it will surely wash us all away.

It boils down to whether you will walk barefoot despite the risk.

My feet uncovered, I decide to do it again.

If glass finds my feet again, I will once again watch in fascination as I leave traces of my stupidity behind me. But at least there are traces.

Cautious and incautious alike often lead to the same path.

I don’t want to find the glass, but I know it will find me, no matter its literal form or how confidently or carefully I walk.

Whether I keep walking is the measure of whether I’ve been stupid or wise.

My bare toes touch the bottom of the landing at the stairs. And so, I walk.

Love, X
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Return Of The Ugly Fence

Return Of The Ugly Fence

My pet dinosaur Redactyl sits looking out the suddenly barren fence line in the background. I know he will have a lot to say about it. He’s stuck staring at a lifeless, dilapidated scene now. Color once brightened his perspective.

I’m conflicted. I spent countless hours meticulously assembling the decorations for the longest fence where I live.

Nothing is permanent.

It was great fun, finding pieces and creative ways to use things that aren’t intended to be used in the way I chose.

It was also a lot of work. Work that put me in the zone and challenged me to keep going.

I heard nothing but delight from everyone about how much color and character it added to this ugly apartment complex and the area. Friends drove by or over to see it. Several people posted pictures of it on social media without me realizing it until much later. That made me smile.

This is precisely the kind of place that needs and needed color and something wild and different. Otherwise, it’s just a plot of land and a container that many find temporary.

Two days ago, in a blaze of adrenaline, I began to take the tiles, metal pieces, and assorted decorations off. It led to my shorts’ pockets being so heavy they were about to fall off, which led to the dreaded keys-in-the-dumpster incident. Hundreds of screws, washers, tiles, and assorted pieces. I wasn’t mad, but the disappointment grew as I looked at the fence. But seeing it this morning in the dim light made it dreadfully plain and lifeless. Nothing is permanent; I kept telling myself. But in the back of my mind, I wondered about minds so small they have to complain. 1% of me negatively reacted, given how much work and cleanup I’ve put into this place. We’re supposed to do that sort of thing without expectations.

On the other hand, I put in a proportional amount of work apart from the countless hours I spent brightening up the place. Most of my neighbors don’t do their share to keep the place better than they found it. It’s disappointing that someone took the time to complain they weren’t happy. Some people aren’t happy no matter what – and unfortunately, some take delight in ruining other people’s happiness. The problem with such people is that they will never be satisfied; they thrive on such effort. They are dramavores.

I will redirect my urge to color and brighten to something else in small places and wherever I roam. I’ve left dozens of decorations and pieces all over.

When people ask, “Oh my god, X, what happened to your art project on the fence?” I’m going to shrug and attribute it to the impermanence of everything. For a few weeks, it was something to behold. The entropy resulting from complaining took its price.

Now, as I look out onto the fence I repaired out of my pocket and with my labor, I see an ugly board fence, looking out onto a dismal parking lot. I think it traps us rather than keeps others out, especially now that an expensive home is being built on the small lot between us and the trail cut-through from Gregg.

In my head, though? I can’t look at the fence without imagining it filled with color.

As places like that should be.

I’ll put up a single tile in the middle of the fence at some point, one which will read:

“…Site of recent memory’s largest personal art project. It’s gone, but color remains if you seek it. X”

Love, X
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Sprint

“Are you willing to sprint when you don’t know the distance?”

My manager had me watch a short sports clip. The rest of the clip was good but that pithy last quote resonated. I liked it even though it was sports oriented.

Sprinting is running but not all running is sprinting. It is a commitment to go as fast as you can physically, as much as it is to focus your mind or go blank mentally and let your body do what it needs to.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere. It makes me think in multiple directions.

Just sharing it in case it causes someone else the same introspection.

X
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