5. Story

It was around “that time” then that I’d first heard something about it. Though I was scarcely paying attention enough to know that I’d heard anything at all. Things hadn’t become glaringly obviously broken yet (I hadn’t even been fired from that job yet…so I still had that going for me, and I had plans). I wasn’t even open to hearing anything (or was I?). It was May or June, a little over 30 years ago. I don’t recall the first conversation but I recall the last. I was so put off, so outraged, so indignant. Don’t ever call me and talk to me about that again! The F word was used to little or no effect and so finally the phone was slammed down.

There. That will get the point across. I don’t want to hear about it.

What was I so indignant about exactly? That was not a question I had asked myself at the time. I was too busy enjoying my triumphant hangup. Now many years later, as if I’ve been sitting in front of a mirror for all that time reflecting, I see. So many layers of that onion peeled away, so many swipes back and forth to clear away what was concealed, I see. I couldn’t see then.

You don’t care about me. You don’t even love me. I’ll show you.

Odd, yet that was what my life was about. Odd, I say…there was definitely lots of care and love for me. Just another blind spot I guess.

Ted E. Bear
My oldest and most enduring friendship?

You don’t care about me. You don’t even love me. I’ll show you.

This was a sentence I imposed upon myself and a declaration to the world in response to my own sentencing when I was around 4 or 5 years old. Ted was there (As my wife suggested – Ted is my adult name for who was known at the time as Teddy). As friends often do, Ted did not provide a lot of feedback on what had just happened…he just sort of put up with me. He took the brunt of the abuse that day, from what I recall. I’m not sure how he would retell the story but from what I recall…

I had just been sent to my room. For what, I don’t remember. It’s irrelevant. I was 4 or 5. Whatever I’d done couldn’t have been too heinous. I was having a tantrummy, meltdowny kind of response to being scolded. For all I know, I wasn’t even being scolded. In watching my kids today and recalling my world as a 4 or 5 year old I may have just been tired, or hungry and was being “difficult”, hard to be with…a real crabass. Like I said, why I was in my room is irrelevant.

What is relevant is that behind that closed door in my bed sobbing and wailing and screeching, thrashing and throwing (Ted against the wall) and punching (poor Ted – what a friend) and screaming and between quivering lips…until finally I said it. “You don’t care about me. You don’t even love me.”

Who was it referring to? My mother immediately…the imposer of the banishment. But it took on more in my 4 or 5 year old dialogue with my Self. It was obvious to me (it) with all of that thrashing, and screaming and wailing…with nobody coming, nobody listening, nobody caring. It wasn’t just Mom. It was all of them. All of You.

Left with only myself to rely on and too soon a response was declared. “I’ll show you.”

I‘ll SHOW you.

There it was. Done. Something to build a life on. What exactly I was going to show you at the time, again, irrelevant. It was a declaration. It would be there to fall back on. It was hidden. Concealed. Operating in the background. It was using me. To a degree “I” was using it. The degree is important. It was a small degree and I didn’t get to choose when I would use it. So, well, I wasn’t really using it – it was using me.

Ted may have been mad at me for punching him and throwing him against the wall and yelling at him. He didn’t try to talk any sense into me. Didn’t tip me off at all on what had just happened. Friends do that sometimes…they stand by and let you self destruct. Wishing you knew how much they loved and cared about you. Wishing they could say the thing that would make a difference. Sometimes they’re in on it with you…

Either way – Teddy, I want you to know that I’m sorry I treated you so bad that day and for scratching your glass eyes on the wall. I appreciate you standing by all these years and letting me sort things out.

As for the caller I hung up on? I’ve already apologized and thanked them for standing for me…for caring enough to say something. Even if I wasn’t open to hear it…

4. Story

Knowing everything takes a toll on you I think. Now, when I say “on you” I mean to say “on one” as in the collective all of us individually as a one, or maybe “on you and I” is another way to say it. Knowing everything takes a toll on one, I think, or on you and I, I think. As one of a set of the collective one, I will give myself a little bit of credit that I was open to some ideas. If they were written in a song and I liked the song, I was open to that idea. If it were some piece of knowing that would lead me to some desired end (and I could see that end from what was presented) I was open to that idea. If it were some knowing from a friend or somebody I trusted had my best interest in mind (though they would never imply in suggesting the idea that I didn’t already know what was best for me) I was open to that idea. Bottom line…if I trusted you as a source I was open to that idea.

Music was very much one of my most trusted sources for understanding the way the world worked. This likely had something to do with a combination of being the youngest of four, having that stereo system in the dining room so off-limits, and my older brother saving up enough bread to buy his own stereo, and maybe a number of other things. By the time I was 7 or 8 or 9 the belief that music held some deeper truth than most other sources of information in the world was firmly embedded in my view of reality. I can’t firmly place the correct time frame but I can certainly remember that time for a few days, or a few weeks, or however long it was that my brother was singing that final stanza of Stairway to Heaven out loud, everywhere and always, whenever and wherever he went. He was having a jam in his head out loud and I was watching and soon it was becoming a part of me. I even remember that stereo in the dining room getting “tried out” a couple of times while the parents were away, you know, just to see what it could do.

In hindsight it may just be that music tied to lyrics was able to evoke that sense of really being alive from within my experience of the world. Whatever the case, and this is my point of bringing it to the fore, I placed a large degree of importance on music. So much so that I knew many songs and many lyrics and would use those songs and lyrics as a form of expressing my thoughts. Later it would be movie lines and quotes from movies that I could relate to, that brought out some part of “me”.

Cub Scout of the Year
A true expression of the entity I would call me?

These things were pervasive in my world and “when I look back now” (as Bryan Adams may have said) I’m not sure I was given many alternatives, really. I was born into this something…this culture…this reality…this “way of being in the world”. I picked some things that suited me – music and movies, and there may be other things that one or you and I may have been able to select to make sense of this world they were born into. For the most part though, I was given an opportunity set and I picked one or two of a very limited set of options.

I have discussed some of this already in other blog entries but I think it’s relevant to point out the times I recall wandering around, walking from one place to another, doing what I would call at the time “talking to myself in my head”. I was rehearsing conversations that I would have with these “bums” that I mentioned here if I were ever to be confronted by one of them again. I was rehearsing knowing things, knowing about things, that I could use to give them the right answer should they confront me with an innocuous question such as “What are you looking at?” or “Do you like Jim L.? Do you want to go beat him up?” For whatever reason, I thought that these random dudes that I would encounter on these tough Cleveland city streets (they really weren’t that tough where I was, maybe sort of tough, but not too tough – or maybe they were) would be overpowered by my knowledge of musical trivia. Bands, albums, lyrics, Rock & Roll man… Really weird. And hey, maybe you’re reading this and I haven’t spent enough time articulating it and you don’t quite get it, or maybe I did and you think man that’s really odd that an 8 year old kid would be walking from place to place in his neighborhood (say to get to a friends house, or to get to school) first of all talking to himself in his head and second of all talking to himself in his head about Rock trivia items, or which band was better than some other band and why and just to clarify I recall having that thought myself. I think I was afraid. And I protected myself by knowing so that I could out-know a hostile “other” being and this was my way of protecting “me”.

A really strange way to think about things, in hind sight. I got really good at remembering tidbits of information though, so I could outsmart one. A useful and sometimes lucrative skill to have, when it wasn’t busy concealing reality and getting in my way of seeing what there is to see.

3. Story

I was in a tough spot and I didn’t even know it. Looking around out there, desperately trying to find the answers to the questions I didn’t even realize I was asking and all the while acting like I knew what I was up to. After all, as I said, I had a plan. I say acting like I knew what I was up to – much of the acting like was with myself – I was scared, and confused, and afraid, and outwitted, and dumbstruck by all this stuff breaking down in life and what’s really most interesting, looking back was that I couldn’t even be straight with myself about it. I would put on the automatic funny smart exterior but internally there was even something more deceptive going on.

Frantic. There was this unsettled internal frantic sort of trying to figure it out going on. I would have trouble falling asleep because I was so busy having thoughts about who knows what. Like trying to figure life out, make some sense of it. Maybe I just drank way too much coffee before bed. I wasn’t even sure what I was trying to figure out but I would replay conversations, or think of what I would be saying if such and such occurred. I wasn’t asking anybody for any assistance though…certainly wouldn’t ask for any help from anybody because that would really mess up the carefully orchestrated external deception.

Exhibit A. Photo C. M.

So how does one go from the above, fairly happy 4 or 5 year old to the below not as happy not 4 or 5 year old? And, keep in mind that the below photo is a couple of years before things fell apart – I was actually pretty happy to be alive here. Though I wished I could put on a few pounds – ha!

With the evidence presented you can see that there was “always” a little bit of attitude (or was there). At 4 years old with the long hair and tube socks stretched tight and pulled as high as they would go (God I hated how they’d fall) in Exhibit A. To that same attitude displayed in Exhibit B with the plaid Halford hat in full effect. I mean I can’t even play the guitar but you can see that I think I REALLY was.

Exhibit B. Photo P.O

Somewhere in between those points in time there had been a concealing. Like a real cover up. So elaborate was the cover up that the person who’d orchestrated it didn’t even know that it occurred.

However, I didn’t know it at the time. Luckily, I knew everything else…

2. Story

…and there was a girl. Isn’t there always a girl in all the best stories? Remember though, this story isn’t one of the best stories. It’s just a story. And, obviously in hindsight, this wasn’t THE girl, this was just a girl. At the time though, if you can put yourself there I would have told you that this was THE girl. My first love, or what I thought I knew about love at the time first love. And this girl had recently broken my heart, broken it hard. Some sordid and treacherous stuff had gone down and I couldn’t even comprehend at the time that such stuff could ever go down. It rocked my world. I might say today that it rocked my worldview.

There was that job I was fired from. It was rational that I was fired I would say. Had it coming. Probably wasn’t performing well what with all that moping around about the girl and blown up world view. I can’t really say I was all that devastated. By this time it made sense that I had been fired because everything was crumbling around me. In a way I expected it and the event itself was just a milestone on a predetermined chartered course to destruction. By now there was no stopping this steamroller of doom and I had it all coming to me.

Whatever I’d done leading up to that point, I thought, was bringing all of these bad tidings upon me now. Some sort of naive view of karma or fate. Don’t get me wrong, I thought I was a pretty good guy and I didn’t understand why all these things were happening to me but I was pretty sure that it was “meant to be”. After all, there were all those instances of six six six showing up at random places, especially while I was playing solitaire. I played a lot of solitaire at the time, with real cards mind you, because I had a lot of time to kill and I was looking for what it all meant and trying to make sense of it all and put all the pieces together. I mean, I really knew it was going to turn out – at least I did prior to all of this stuff falling apart. After all, at the time I pretty much knew everything. The things I didn’t know were deep mysteries and I figured if I could just get a handle on some of those deep mysteries of the universe it would all work out. But not anymore. Things were in quite a bit of disarray. By then I really needed to understand “If you were driving faster than the speed of light with your headlights on what would happen?”

By then, I spent a lot of time playing solitaire, with real cards, and staying up really late drinking coffee and talking about deep meaningful questions that really didn’t lead anywhere to try to make sense of why all those sixes were showing up and why I had been cursed with all of this seemingly “bad luck”.

No wonder they stole this car – look at the fun you could have in it!

There were other things as well. Bad things that had happened that I can’t even recall anymore, but you can be assured that at the time they were BIG things, and they were BAD things.

Only a year before that I’d graduated high school and I knew a lot about the way life was going to turn out. I had a plan after all, and I had a girl after all, and I had a job after all, and I had friends to hang out with and drink coffee all night – after all. I was going to take the year off after high school, work for a while and save up some money to go to college. I sure wasn’t going for that join the Army for two years and get your $18,000.00 for college business. That was for suckers. I was no sucker. I’d spend that time working, and saving, and hanging out with my girl, and drinking coffee, and in time, playing solitaire.

Now this story isn’t some cautionary tale about growing up and maturing as an adult. This is just my silly old story. And if you’re reading this you probably have your silly old story too, though it may not seem all that silly to you. Certainly, the timing lines up with a “oh, you were just a kid and thought you knew everything and had to grow up a little bit and have the world teach you some things through the school of hard knocks and blah, blah, blah…” kind of story. And yeah, that is one way to look at it.

The thing about this story though is that what I was looking for, this great mystery of the universe I was subconsciously seeking out, was really out there…

1. Story

I‘ve been planning to begin this tale for a while and have been envisioning how I would lay it out for a while. I still have no concrete answers and am uncertain how to proceed. The day is upon me however and I will begin.

Basik, Kona, HI

Along with this story I have been considering creating a new space within Aletheia, so to speak. It’s a concealment…an abstraction on top of Love. I think. I’ve come up with “Transitions” as the space to bring it forward. I still have some work with the WordPress to get it presented the way I intend and I don’t want to delay any longer. The sign over my head was too welcome and beckoned beginning. How can I delay. It will turn out exactly the way it’s supposed to, the way it already is. Perfect.

Today is the beginning of my 49th year. The story I want to tell has been coming up as a result of contemplating that. The first time I thought of telling this story was when I noticed it will have been 30 years for me. I remembered them telling me how lucky I am/was to get this while I was still so young. They couldn’t believe my good fortune. They were happy for their good fortune to have gotten it…most of them much later. Probably some of them around my age now. I can imagine what a relief it might be to have finally gotten that around the age I am now. To have lived a whole, full life without that knowing and then see the opportunity ahead of you with that knowing.

Along with that, my son is the same age I was then. And I’ve been wanting to tell this story for and to him. In a way that it may be impactful and may be heard. I know I couldn’t hear it and it probably started “showing up in my space” around my birthday, 30 years ago. Maybe slightly before.

The story itself is probably fairly boring. It’s definitely insignificant and will do little to alter anything for you. That is of course, unless you act on and from it.

I want to tell this story though. For me. To know that it’s been told. To know that I’ve done what I can do to make it known. Because it happened when I was “so young”, as they said, my mostly entire life has been a result of it. It, whatever it is, is something I could never get over. Something that I’ve done what I can to come to understand – to find out what it is that happened to me. That’s all part of the story I want to tell.

I haven’t yet decided if I’ll tell the story for myself first, and then publish, maybe in pieces or maybe all at once or maybe one post at a time. As it is a transition from other blogging I’ve done I don’t intend to be constrained by that. That is also part of the story.

As I sit here over looking Kalaepa’Akai from our recent “most favorite” eating spot (there’s always a new favorite) I’m reminded just how implausible this journey has been. Oddly, I think it was always possible. It is just very implausible that I am here. And in this way, the telling of the story is the retelling and the presencing of the possible.

And so, on with the story…

It had been spring and was moving into summer. My world was in quite a bit of disarray. I was in the midst of what could best be described as the most “uncharmed” stretch of my life. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I lead a charmed life.

Some of the highlights include my car being stolen, my sweet stereo (new technology CD player in dash, removable) which I took out a great consumer credit card out to buy placed “safely” in the trunk of the stolen car…