Though through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie, My grace all sufficient will be thy supply. The flame shall not hurt thee I only design thy dross, to consume, and thy gold to refine.
I began feeling depressed this evening at work. Recently I’ve caught myself thinking dark thoughts about me and about life, often when I’m not distracted by social and work environments. When I drove home after shift (roughly 1230am), I had neither to keep me company. Beyond driving North through the 405, 55, 5, and 57 freeways, there was no leisurely mental activity to entertain the superficial layer of my psyche. My thoughts progressed as I described. I was reminded about feeling lonesome and of little worth. I was watering the thirsty roots of my insecurities.
By the time I hit the I-5, I narrowed my thoughts down to a familiar idea. Her. So much has been built around never being good enough. It didn’t matter who else thought highly of me. The fact that She thought little made my faults a sobering reality. Nearing the 57 North ramp, I’ve reached the part of my thought process in which I feel wronged. I feel injustice and a shift of fault from me to her. How could she abandon what I thought was special to both of us? “We were close” she says, but now there is a certain amount of space in her life in which I don’t belong - it was time to stop prying. But like that stupid saying goes… “When you point your finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing right back.” I must have dipped my hand into a radioactive serum or some shit because I feel like I have way more than three fingers pointing back at me.
By the time I exited the freeway, I had gone through a short series on the remorse I felt from past relationships (serious or not). Some number of posts ago, I concluded by talking about how I’d wronged girls in the past. They were done in big and small ways. But regardless, I am in no way guilt free of giving others grief. I blame her for giving me grief, but I must ask myself just how much worse have I done to others. Feminism.. Masculinity.. Heck, the whole spectrum of gender roles is relevant these days. Misunderstanding and exploiting those roles is how you get a fuck-up like myself who gives the girls around him grief.
I’m driving through Carbon Canyon to Chino HIlls at this point. I wanted nothing more than to smoke a fat bowl of the finest indica to put me to sleep and melt my worries. Or at least a cigarette had I not quit three weeks ago. But I’m armed with neither. I finish off my drive home by compiling a stack of mental letters I’d send out to the girls I’ve wronged apologizing for being a bad person. I’m a bad person.
I think all guys are bad, though. Not always in a sick way. But in a naturally depraved way.. A “pobody’s-nerfect” kind of way. When I’ve shared with guys how I’ve been to girls, they just kind of agree and empathize with being… well.. a bad person. “It’s okay dude I’ve done that before.” If this is true, then I think my apologies go much further than to the 5 or 6 girls to whom I’m saying sorry.
To any girls reading this, on behalf of me and the other scumbags who have lacked commitment.. who didn’t try hard enough.. who neglected your emotions and insecurities.. who time and time again are ignorant to the subtleties of body language and tone… who have objectified you.. who have disrespected your body… who have taken advantage of you in your moment of vulnerability.. who couldn’t share the blame when both were at fault.. who called you crazy when you were jealous over another girl.. who prioritized a girl best-friend over you.. who emotionally sought that best-friend and couldn’t admit to it.. who you couldn’t trust.. who couldn’t trust you.. who can’t communicate or live peacefully after a break up no matter how many times you’ve tried to be friends… I am so, deeply sorry.
One of the most important things in my life is my relationship with my parents. They live for me. The best I can do is allocate at least one huge portion of my life for them. Christians have this saying about boasting in the Cross (on which Christ died). It’s this particular focus on life based on the idea that Jesus died for the elect. Anything they do is for a bigger picture of the fame of their one true God whose Son died for them. Death is such a funny thing. We glorify ones who die for a cause. Soldiers - for the cause of a country’s freedom. Firemen - for the cause of safety. Martyrs - for the cause of a religious or cultural movement. Jesus - for the cause of salvation.
My question is: Why do we not give glory to those who live for a cause? Granted, death is a momentous thing in the context of any quantity or quality. Look back to the time the news about Michael Jackson’s death surfaced and perhaps 9/11 as well - one involving a single death and the other involving many. I bet you could recall to some extent where you were and what you were doing. Consider and compare the deaths of Yoda and Obi-wan in Star Wars - one far more dramatic than the other, but both still so memorable and important. Yes. Death is momentous.. but also absolutely momentary. The smallest unit of time could measure someone’s death. But life is much much longer and has so many more constituents. If someone says they’ve lived for something or someone, that bears a big claim. I couldn’t say that it is a claim bigger than “I’ve died for ___________.” But it is still big.. Huge, in fact. Life means a lifetime, and everything we understand is limited to our lifetime and even the moments leading up to death, but not death.
My parents probably never stated that. “I live for my children.” But their lives show it. If anyone had access to some kind of memoir of my father’s life, they’d probably cry, give him a hug, and then bring a knife to my throat and hold it there until I gave some verbal agreement of repaying him with my life. If anyone had a transcribed text message of every prayer my mom prayed for me and my sister or a way to tap into her brain and receive a mobile “push notification” whenever she thinks of us.. well said cell phone would likely malfunction on cue.
The sad thing is that I’ve only recently realized to what extent my parents live and have lived for me. And only recently have I tried hard to grow my relationship with them (because having them in my life makes them happy, and their relationship with my sister isn’t always the best). The sadder thing is that my short streak of great terms with them ended last night.
Until last night, I hadn’t slipped up badly enough for them to resurface their ill-perfect perception of me. I fucked up and missed registration for a class and now I have to withdraw from school so I can avoid paying for two terms of school instead of just one. I’ve tried so hard to make things academically copacetic because I know they care a lot about my education. I fucked up. When this happens, they tend to dive deep into my character and try to dissect why… how… and WHY the fuck am I so prone to mistakes in school.
They pry and pry and eventually start asking me about how I’ve factored faith into my future. At this point I break it to them that I’m not Christian, nor have I been for some time. I don’t think they really understood it. They kept asking me, “Well do you read your Bible?” “Do you pray?” Of course not! I think people are confusing a struggling Christian with a former Christian. But it’s not their fault - it’s a big deal for Christian parents to believe their kids are going to heaven. It’s difficult to grasp the opposite.
The discussion of faith and Christianity went on for a good couple hours, eating into my study time for my Econ final coming up on Saturday. Eventually it gets way too heated, as religious arguments usually do, and I leave the room in the impulse of the moment. My dad said some really stupid shit that I know he didn’t mean. But he still said it and it came from somewhere inside him. I returned later to apologize for having to withdraw from school and for being so flawed, albeit rather harshly. He couldn’t apologize for what he said.
My thoughts at the time?
Why are they so bad at pulling me back into their set of beliefs/my former beliefs? Shouldn’t a Christian be more concerned with showing acceptance and love over being right in a soteriological debate? Isn’t my salvation the bigger picture than their winning of the argument? If anything, I’d say the argument pushed me way further from circling back to any monotheistic faith. What they did is just not what I want to be. Christians claim to be little versions of Christ. Well, if that is what Christ is like, I don’t want to be like him. And if that isn’t what Christ is like, my biggest potential Christian role models don’t really act like him - and I do not want to be that way either.
Because the conversation ended so badly, I can say that they and I are not on good terms. I love them so much, but based on their faith, I don’t trust them a bit on any emotional level right now. I trust them as little as I trust the poisonous pastor at their church who convinced me that a utility of Christianity isn’t about love, rather it is about pride and deviousness. I tried to make it a point to show them that I love them and accept them though they can’t accept me. My dad has been at the new house we are moving into every day to manage the construction and moving. Again, working hard for our family. I made and brought him lunch on the way to school (where I submitted my withdrawal form). Call it a peace offering if you want. I’m not mad at him, but like I said, I can’t trust him.
So my reflection ends here. Christianity has seriously put a shit-shaped dent on my relationship with my parents. MY hard earned good terms with them. MY chances to show maturity and cooperation. MY process of learning to live for them the way they lived for me. It’s all been torn to fucking bits because of the stigmata of the former Christian, made by the believer.
Being a 5th year has been super lonely. I honestly don’t mind being alone because I’m kind of an introvert anyway. I love being in my room by myself while listening to music, editing photos from my last trip, and sipping on a beer (or perhaps hitting a piece, in another life). But man my social life this year has really been different from every other year of school. 99.8735% of my graduating class… Gone. A new, annoying, hiply-dressed freshman class… Successfully infiltrating the void footsteps left by my graduated peers. I’m speaking of a visceral loneliness. It’s weird walking around campus and not having people to say hi to left and right. I’m starting to feel like one of those creepy older people on campus who never leave for some reason. (Although I barely look my age so I probably pass).
I figure it might be all in my head. There are plenty of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years I know and I don’t have a problem meeting people each day, but everyone has become either a haircut client or someone “with whom”I did campus involvement. I didn’t apply for ASUCI this year and it’s a very different vibe watching events happen instead of helping run them. Even people I call my “closer friends” have too much on their plates. Today I saw one of them for like 30 minutes before she had to rush to a bunch of exec meetings. I think that’ll be the last I see of her for a couple weeks. Aaaaaannnnd that was the high point of my social life this week. Regardless. I love you, B! (or R?)
I don’t live near campus anymore and still don’t have the apartment locked down for haircuts… so i just mosey around on campus whenever I don’t have work or class just because that’s what I’ve been used to doing but formerly with other people. Eventually, once I’ve realized I’m being in no way productive, I make my 20min trek back to A’s house where I study or watch Netflix alone until I get sleepy (which is around 11pm latest by the way). Then I wake up at 6 and repeat.
When I look through my phone, the message inbox consists almost purely of random numbers asking for haircuts. Don’t get me wrong. I love that my business grows literally each day, but most of those aren’t friends. I don’t even know the names associated with some of these phone numbers. To me, they’re just clients. To them, I’m just a means of looking good for a frat dinner. Folks, money isn’t the one key to happiness. I just looked through the inbox again. I forgot to mention the many times I try to hang out with certain persons and fail at making it happen. Does that seem pathetic? I hope not.. Because it happens to me. It feels pathetic.
So visceral loneliness. For the past 4 years, I’ve been surrounded by so many superficial (but still great!) friends that I barely noticed how few solid Rock-of-Gibraltar friends I have. Now that many of them are gone, it’s hit me. It’s kind of sad but I have this theory about being punished. Call it karma. Call it the good lord’s wrath. Call it the tides of the universe. But whichever way, I see loneliness, and anything sad for that matter, to be the lonely man’s fault. I looked back at my past actions. The way I’ve undervalued friends and the way I’ve mistreated girls led me to the conclusion that I deserve this visceral loneliness. It kinda sucks… But whatever. This too shall pass and it will always end the same.
One thing I’ve learned from living with my parents:
Always do for your loved ones even when they don’t tell you, “thank you.” I’ve never thanked ma and dad enough over the years.