I've decided that Brent Everett may be the ultimate ponyboy. He's young, but not young enough to make lustful thoughts for him sick and disgusting. He's not a big, hulking guy, but he's definitely strong and fit and ready to be ridden. You guys hold him, and I'll get my saddle.
Hothouse Flowers The Older We Get Wes had a birthday yesterday. This is for him.
He's a bit sensitive about it, so I made no jokes and didn't send any over-the-hill cards.
But any kindness on my part had a selfish motive. My birthday comes two months and one day after his (a formula he and Tommy came up with because, otherwise, they never remembered the date. Aren't they sweet?), and I don't want any kind of retribution.
I talked to my friend Tommy (he's in Dallas) last night, and during the call he told me about seeing the DVD set of Supernatural for sale in some store in a suburb called Richardson. He seemed to think it was weird seeing it for sale in Jensen's hometown and wondered whether customers would point and say things like "Honey, that guy used to cheat off me in algebra."
For a long time I've thought that time spent alone with one's own thoughts -- even just a few minutes a day -- is vital to being a balanced person who knows themselves well. That's why I think prayer and meditation work for some people: because it gives them time to sort out their own thoughts. This clear, calm thinking, without background music or the like, brings on the feeling of calm refreshment that so many experience.
Prayer doesn't work because their imaginary friend is listening; it works because it's much needed time alone with themselves.
But over the past year, I begun to wonder if that's not exactly why most Americans don't spend quiet time with their own thoughts: because so many people are deeply unhappy with their own lives. But they don't have to realize that, not so long as they can fill their time with all sorts of distractions to keep from pondering their own existence.
That's why so many people learn to turn on the television the minute their feet hit the floor in the morning, or feel they have to have music playing in their ears every second of the day. And why some are so obsessed with the superficiality of American Idol or the lives of so-called celebrities; talking endlessly about the spitefulness of Simon Cowell or the latest humiliations for Britney, Lindsey, or Paris means they don't have to spend time considering the growing gulf between the lives they have and the lives they dreamed of.
Kris Rowley Back to Where I Started Once again, this guy is a singer/songwriter who records his songs -- always, curiously, hiding his face -- and puts them onto YouTube. This time, though, I can see that he's advertising a CD called Unequal Measures.
Please let me know if you like this. I think his voice is haunting -- very Nick Drake -- but I know this stuff isn't for everyone.
It's a very old idea that one should "find yourself." "Know who you really are." "Get in touch with yourself."
Truly knowing who one is, what kind of person one is, is not an easy thing. It requires a great deal of thought and introspection, of honest, unemotional analysis into actions and the motivations behind them and the emotions behind those.
And it requires time -- lots of time -- for all this work to be done.
Thanks to my year-off from work (which has expensively grown into almost two years now) I've had the time, and the combination of my personality and years of therapy I've had the ability and inclination to do this kind of thinking. One of the few good things to result from twenty months of unproductivity and idleness is that I now have really good understanding of what kind of man I am. I've dug into how I instinctively behave in given situations AND why I behave that way AND what in my history taught me to behave that way.
But this has presented me with another problem: What do I do if I get to know myself and find I don't like me very much?
Okay, "like" is not the right word. "Respect" is better. I don't respect myself very much. I believe we all carry in our heads an informal list of the behaviours that earn our respect, subconsciously comparing other's behaviour to what's on our list, deciding based on the comparison whether to respect someone we meet or not.
But if I compare myself to what's on my list, I can't respect myself.
I respect people who work hard, but I'm terribly lazy. I respect people who discipline themselves, but I'm very undisciplined. I respect active, decisive people, but I'm so afraid of taking chances that I don't do much at all. I respect people who temper their emotions with reason and stay in control, but I tend to react to stressful situations like a tempermental spoiled child. I respect truthful people who behave honourably, but I'm often dishonest, telling lies to get myself out of trouble or to make myself seem more important.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not completely down on myself. Part of being honest about one's self is seeing both the good and the bad, and I do see my good points too. I just hope that it's still possible to work on my bad points to change or eliminate them, to change some really fundamental things about myself to become someone I can truly respect. Is it too late? Is it like someone once told me, that if you haven't started doing something by a certain age then you never will? Old dogs and all that?
I don't want to believe that. I have to hope that I can still change the things that trouble me the most, that I can get past the Stage 3 block that stalls most people. Like Henry says in THE LION IN WINTER, "You and I are alive. For all I know that's what hope looks like."