November 30, 2014
Life lessons, parenting, Philosophy
Behavior, choices, kids, parenting
In an community of close living, life stories are compressed. Stories learned over weeks or months, become uncovered in hours. Certain questions are asked indirectly. A human’s discomfort with empty time tends to release most of the details. The why of why I’m in a shelter instead of moving for work is simple. My children are here therefore I stay. Three other men are staying here for the same reason. Whatever bad decisions or wrong turns they’ve made, wanting to be an absent father isn’t one. Do they get to see them? Not always. Are they used has a pawn in a power game of gotta? Sometimes.
Outside the window of where I sit are families. Grandparents herding a van load of kids into the library. Parents and small ones coming in to spend time in the children’s area. Being with their kids. No restrictions or barriers. Every parent feels the weight growing with the time spent away from the most important thing in their lives. Men of my generation are fairly stoic about separation. It was a reality we grew up with. It’s one of the reason the new group of Dads aren’t. Personalities cluster around commonalities. This one of the strongest. The desperation that drove men to leave their families to find gold is still a mystery. A time measured in years not days or weeks. To return from a fools errand richer in experience but nothing else. The only group that got rich were those who sold supplies to those with such expectations. Chasing dreams. Failing. Depending on the circumstances of your upbring, it’s a shelter or regroup among family support. One has a narrower set of choices.
The fear of becoming the Yoyo has become a constant companion. The rotating door of old habits overwhelming of the newly learned is what I see everyday. There’s only way open to me now. A future filled with uncertainty. Many have commented on how they see me. It doesn’t match the way I see myself. That comes across as being negative. Is it negative to understand that taking an action with full knowledge of failing is still a good thing? There’s a simple inescapable fact, mentally and physically there are limitations on the type of work I can do. A series of options is more than one dad has. So many barriers. How many will he take with him when he fails? It’s watching a train wreck happen. You know what’s coming but can’t change the outcome. Maybe deflect the flying debris from the not so innocent travelers.
Every man wants to be like their dad or m. Most fall in the middle somewhere. A majority of good with episodes of not so great. A child sees the there dad has an infallible god until he proves different. Questions without enough information to answer. So they fill the gap was what’s at hand. Times of revisions will color their relationship. History repeats itself in the long line of Sons and Father stretching back through time. Where mine and the others story end are still being decided. All you other Dads, go hug your kids. Sons call yours. Do it for others that can’t.
November 19, 2014
Philosophy, popular culture
Buddha, Dream, place
Snowflakes dance on the wind.
One partner visible due to other
Tango. swing. Hip Hop.
Skeletal trees color. contrast.
One Many Clouds of black birds swirl
Dart dodge to the sound of an unheard melody.
At rest still in a moving world
suddenly explosive in response
from a single liberty window.
November 17, 2014
Life lessons, parenting, work
Behavior, choices, dysfunctional relationship, economy, expectations
One of the great question is why are we here. I think the more important is how did we get to where we’re at. This is an exercise in imagination. List 3 people who influenced your life in some significant way. Time isn’t important. Influence is. No hurry I’ll wait. Ready. What if they weren’t there? That mentor outside of the family you didn’t fit into. They loved you. Maybe supported the dreams they couldn’t understand. I hear that the way families are supposed to work. How many do? One small casual moment doesn’t happen. The dominos fall different. This is the stuff of movies and plays. Two gentlemen of Verona.
The hardest part of being in the shelter isn’t the rules. The vast majority of men there come out of some institution with strict rules. the two other vets with me and myself are used to the framework from the military. no the hardest part is the empty time. I use it to listen.
Mom was doing drugs when she was pregnant with me.
My folks were good people but not really curious.
Family smoked so I been smoking since age 12. Hope it’s not COPD or cancer
Have a degree but can’t find a job. Came here with a promise of an opportunity. Just need some place warm so I can get back down south.
I’m a good welder but would wander to the machine shop because I was bored.
That could have been any of us with mentors and role models. The drug culture and gangs, minus the illegality and destructive moral issues, are the only business they know. Those football players who make it out had people in their life that helped them see a different life. When you’re dealing with the basic needs, It’s hard to find hope. To those of you in a stable place, is it built on sand or something stronger. This is the lesson. I’m where I’m at for circumstances beyond my control. Having had mentors, role models and family, my future is brighter than others. Others won’t ever be very productive members of society. Too much baggage or afflictions. Missteps others avoid by a guiding hand or a hand up.
Who are we and how did we get here? The answer always changes.
November 15, 2014
Bipolar, Life lessons, Philosophy
Behavior, choices, expectations, Fear, illusions, life lessons
The world is experienced in shading of grey. The popular book is about the sexuallity Americans work to make fit into nice little boxes with high walls. What I’m illuding is more fundamental. Is the prism of your worldview more Utopian or Dystopian? Tigger or Eeyore? The orientation of the prism begins at birth. Fifty percent of all we learn is in the first five years. Kids, sponges without filters or prejudice. Adults channel and refine those lessons. We don’t always get it right. My son reflects things learned in ways that make me cringe. What I see was a learned pattern from my father. Did he ever see his father reflected back in me? It’s a question that can never be asked or answered. What has been a surety is being challenged by the overtly christian surrounding of the shelter. Everyone needs to defend what they consider core beliefs occasionally. Not they will change under the pressure.
A particular toxic mixture of conditions made any relationship with my father contentious. Age and distance has allowed me the freedom to examine elements in a different light. Recent combat injuries and the NFL concussion issues have led me to believe my father suffered from such. in 1941 he played interior lineman for a very competitive high school in Houston. Before the injury he was a writer, active in civic activities and ROTC. Then the blackouts started. He was now 4F during WWII. The defining moment for the entire country. The last picture from that time is of a smiling good looking young man working for the DOD in Hawaii. The twisting poison hadn’t worked it way through the man to be yet. Forgiveness is a hard thing. It’s letting go of something that has been an anchor point around which our lives have traveled. A basic reality is an illusion. Questions long settled spin free. Answers of a younger self no longer fit. The person you have become now examine painful moments. What becomes revealed is that we were wrong in principle and fact. Only the strong can look into the abyss.
I gravitate to the dystopian view. It was too much a part of my home life. Rage and uncertainty or cold indifference. We never lacked for anything. Which makes being in a shelter that much more jarring. Over the past 8 years, I’ve learned how to survive with a different set of skills. What still surprises me is the basic decency and humanity of those in the same condition. House rules are chapel every week night. While I will defend the right of street preachers to be at public events, it’s the utterly disrespectful manner they show for others that piss me off. Respect and courtesy cost nothing. Taking a small side step changes how things appear. One speaker talked about trust. And how that made us vulnerable. Pain is to be avoided. It drives some to drugs or extreme behavior. Many to suicide. Including Mitch who shared my room. I understand that pain. Has a contrarian expecting the worst, I’ve developed a higher threshold. The older I get the more wearing it becomes. Lucky that street is no longer my permanent address. I do visit occasionally.
In being forced to listen in exchange for food and shelter, their stories are compelling. The same desires and fears. A common theme running through all the stories in the shelter. Call it arrogance or pride or just being stubborn, believing in an unseen hand is highly improbable. None is absolute. None of that diminishes the respect I have for those who give of themselves for what they hold has true in their heart. So my shading has become degrees lighter. Sunshine and unicorns are impossible. It simply could be not having learned to trust has a children makes it harder for me to learn as an adult. Trust and chaos are opposite ends of an yardstick. From birth to death we are all works in progress. Outcome, unknown. A man reaching for the stars with feet in the mud.