I haven’t blogged in a few weeks. Not gonna beat myself up about it though. This is a relatively new approach for me in life. Not beating myself up about things, even those things where I fall short, and there are many. Sometimes I am moody, enigmatic, even downright rude and selfish. I can also be highly supportive, a great listener and strike a balance between that listening and providing sound advise on life on a macro and micro- level. Sometimes I change, how I act, and even what I say. At the end of the day though, what you get with me is honesty as best as I can provide based on who and where I am at that given point.
I chalk it up to my having to be so bold and aggressive in life up until this point in order to survive the many gross abuses I suffered from an early age. I remind myself daily that at any given point within the past ten+ years, I could have given up on trying to make life work for me. I could have given up on my pursuit to become exactly who I wanted to become. I didn’t though. I stuck with life, so life has stuck on me. My reward is being who I am, even when who I am is in a constant state of change. This past year, I lost and let go of many friendships. Some were lost to life and its cyclical and recycling nature, some were lost to the winds of change. I can now count all of it all joy, because I needed to thoroughly examine myself and examine the relationships I’ve formed, the value they bring to my life, and the value I bring to them and those I share them with.
So the past few weeks, really since the new year & new decade began, have carried many external and internal lessons on friendship and companionship for me. I have seen people make major sacrifices for true and fallacious companionship, and witnessed my own weaknesses with regards to managing my own friendships and relationships. I came into this new realm of existence with a focus on myself, not realizing that I have been poorly managing many of the key relationships in my life.
1) I thought it safe to let the lines between romantic and platonic relationships remain blurred in certain instances. This was not healthy for me, for the companion, nor for the dynamics of the relationship as a whole. Taken care of as of December 31, 2009. This principle is now simply in a state of application. For the most part. Lord help me. Actually, I’m cool for now. Always gotta have a glitch in the matrix. As long as the glitch is nice and sexy...HAHA.
2) I also thought it safe to mix my multiple circles of friendships without any hands on management by me. I have been blessed with very rich friendships from the many different phases and places life has taken me. Ironically, I think my enigmatic and constant changing nature has led some of my friends (past and present) to note that it’s difficult to really “know” me, but at the same time I end up with very dedicated and loyal friends, from coast-to-coast, and cities, hamlets and small towns in between. For this, I’m very thankful (both the loyalty AND my enigmatic nature). This past summer, a good friend I made here in DC mentioned at a party that he didn’t know very many people that kept connections dating back as far as I did (we were all at a party with friends of mine from junior high school all the way up to my last job which was where he and I met) and could have them all together at one time. It was a moment that I realized how blessed I’ve been to have the love and support of friends at every junction of my life. I loved having so many cherished friends, and my greatest challenge, until this point, was managing to enjoy them all. So it became easiest, so I thought, to bring them all together as often as possible, allowing them to mingle and mix and for me to indulge the ones I’ve grown to love and appreciate thus far in my life.
Hindsight is 20/20 and I was clearly blind in taking this approach. My circles of friends can’t be mixed. The mixing leads to volatile situations, where hearts wind up broken, and people end up envious of my time and how it is spent. Additionally, it sets the stage for one of my greatest fears in life, having unnecessary and unreasonable expectations placed on me without being clearly communicated (even if they were clearly communicated though, the expectations themselves would send me flying away. I can’t help being a bird. I don’t do cages). All these sentiments translate to situations I refuse to deal with as an adult. There’s a point where you just have to grow up.
3) My relationships are still extensions of myself. I am picky about who I spend my time with, and who I let into my world. Primarily because I have never considered relationships a necessity. I can do fine by myself. In fact, I didn’t have very many friends for a really long time. Even when I did have a solid network of friends, most of what I dealt with in my life was in a realm far beyond what they could help me carry. It’s still even strange to me that people would want to be my friend. There’s still a little isolated and ostracized kid inside me that’s a little too peculiar for all the other kids to be comfortable playing with. As an extension of me, they [my relationships] must change as I change. As I grow, they must grow. If they can’t grow, then they must go.
And that last principle, more than anything in my life, is where I’ve probably changed the most. Some time ago, I probably would not have been so resolute in what I was willing to easily sacrifice for my own sanity, and happiness. That day has passed. No one is more important to me than me. I am selfish, and will continue to be. This is not to say that I’ll walk in selfishness. I will always be a loving, caring person. My heart will always bleed for those suffering, whether that suffering is in front of my face or only accessible through a news camera. However, I want to be the best I can be for myself at this point in my life. This requires a strong will for what I want in life, who I want to be and what I want to give and take in life.
It matters not how strait the gate
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
I read some of my old posts from LiveJournal last night. I was specifically looking for a quote from one of Carnegie Mellon’s rooftop gardens. While searching for that I read some of my writing and realized that I am today exactly, EXACTLY who I wanted to be today. The dude from 5 or 6 years ago was in a wilderness, but had a vision of someone who was simply comfortable in his skin. I own this skin, the physical and proverbial forms. I take care of this body, and I choose not to at times. All in all though, I am happy and confident with who I am and where I am going. I’ve changed, for the better, and this is only the beginning. There’s so much more in store for me, so much more for me to become.
Sia has a new album coming out (WOOT WOOT! We LOVE SIA!!!). One of the first singles is “You’ve Changed”. Her voice frames every concept I deal with in life into a way that just fits. We must be soulmates on some level.
Mark, You’ve Changed…For the better…