Monthly Archives: March 2012

Yank

Want to know what kind of day I’m having?

Megan Fox sits down at a table with me and starts talking about her tits. And then the alarm clock goes off.

Stopped before it even started. And that was the high point of my day.

Snip

Recently, I made the judgment call to walk away from a group of people. These are otherwise decent folk, but I realized two weeks ago that I am not of their kind. After some time of sitting with them at the cafe, making smalltalk and trying to get involved, it became painfully apparent to me that, although my company was appreciated, I was an unnecessary appendix. Not anybody’s fault; they had their interests, and I had mine.

What is strange to observe is that after walking away I feel 50% less lonely. I mean, sure, I get lonesome sometimes, but do I feel down because I couldn’t make some sort of connection? Not at all. There’s no need to try and fail anymore. Isn’t that odd?

I wish these folks the best. No ill will, really. I hope nobody takes it personally.

Youth Misdirector

On Monday morning I stumbled across the photo stream of a man who I respected for a while twenty-three years ago. He was my youth minister at Beech Street FBC, back when I was an evangelical born-again. In his stream, he posted old photos of his time there, the years he was at the helm of the youth in his congregation, leading, teaching, preferring. Among the fuzzy-faced kids in those pictures, faces beaming with purpose, camaraderie, inclusion, there were a few of me, standing in the background.

For years I walked in his flock; I hung out with his sheep. They knew me, and I knew them. But even in the middle of things, I still felt like the outsider. As it went, my sister and I were the charitable causes of the church. We couldn’t afford the numerous trips and excursions the group went on, so the youth minister, seeing how fervent we were, made calls and found donors to sponsor our way. It was a good thing to have done. Good for a while. But charity cannot buy company.

After a few years of this, the flavor of my relationship with him changed. It became a relationship based on me asking for help, and he being the provider. He took interest in helping, because it was his mission and calling, but towards the end, when he talked to me, he wasn’t talking to Shawn the fellowship member, he was talking to Shawn the needy. He never sat me down and explained the rules of life, how I needed to step up and earn my keep. Instead, it was the same line of charity until I graduated out of the youth group.

Following my exit from the faith, it took me a while to reflect on this and understand what went on. I wasn’t among his friendly charges in the youth group; I was the obligation. All of my prior perceptions of his interest and genuity flew out the window. He did what he did, and it damaged my respect for him.

I saved a few of the pictures from his stream, most of the ones I’m in. Little low-res reflections to bolster my memories of what I used to be. The wide-eyed, pimply-faced kid from the wrong side of the tracks, surrounded by the well-heeled fresh faces of the kids who, save for a few, didn’t really know me. I’ll file the photos away and move on with my life. Everybody changes.

In some small way, I hope he tries to contact me. Maybe then I’ll tell him as much.

Creep

Every once in a while, my self-image gets a hard reset, and the positive, hopeful, well-adjusted facades I’ve built crumble to reveal the greasy machinery underneath. It takes a long, long time to build it back up.

So apologies to anybody I creep out, worry, or push away. I’m working on it.

Crumble, Fall, Break

It’s scary when we see our friends in long-term relationships splitting up.

We look up to them as the Lovers-Forever people. They are our rock, our hope. When they eventually call it quits on each other, that rock crumbles. It shakes us up, destroys our belief in love eternal. If they didn’t have it after all, even though they thought they did, then what chance do we have?

Most of the relationships I know fizzle out within weeks, sometimes months. It’s sad to see the relationship statuses go back to “Single”, but that’s a constant fact of life among people. The long-term relationships, though, the ones that go on for years, those are the ones we take as granted. Those two lovers, that love, that social unit, although we are not they who are in it, they are in our world. Their unity is woven into our social fabric. When they split, they rend the cloth. It’s our job, as their friends and support, to help them mend the rips and tears, but in the process we have to relearn the unsettling lesson that not everything in this world is permanent. In helping them pick up the pieces, we are left feeling socially awkward in how to approach the subject of “they” and “them”, with questions like “so, whose side do I take?”, “is it possible to stay friends with both of you?”, and “what about social functions where both of you happen to show up?”

I am not the same man I was 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago. I suspect a long-term partner would be the same way. To stick together that long requires a strange sort of tenacity, a dogged determination to make it work, a mutual need to keep at it (children, business, property). It also takes a blindness to the unsavory stuff and a bit of comfortable distance and space. But not everyone has those capabilities. Not everyone is consistent. Not everyone is persistent. I change. Everyone changes. Our relations change.

My sympathies go out to loves lost. I hope you find your peace.