Category Archives: personal

posts related to my personal life

Desultory II

Without fail, when I say I am going to do something with this blog, I will fail to do it.  That’s not really true, but I do often suggest that I am going to do something here and not follow through.  I was otherwise occupied last week.  But, I have a couple of ideas for things to write about, so hopefully I’ll get in a couple of posts with real content here tomorrow and Saturday.

I decided the other day that I am going to actually take a stab at doing a podcast or YouTube channel.  I’ve thought about it for a while, and about a year ago really decided what I would want to do with it if I ever committed to it.  Surprise, it would look a lot like the sort of things that I write about here… sort of an intersection of politics, culture, faith, and philosophy.  I’d like to focus on the interplay between all of those things, as well as examine some specific aspects of them all.  Obviously I will be coming at it all from my own political, cultural, religious, and philosophical perspectives, but I also want to consider some things that I do not hold to as well.  Anyway, I picked up a pretty decent microphone, and I created a YouTube channel (nothing is there yet).  At first it’s going to be all audio and I’ll probably just cut together some images to talk over.  Once I’m comfortable with the voice aspect I might capture some video as well… almost certainly I’ll just be using my iPhone’s camera for that, as it should do the job well enough and anything better would be a bit pricey.

In any case, I am probably weeks away from actually posting something, but I plan to start recording audio (you know, as trial runs) tomorrow.  Tomorrow might literally be just reading through the blog post I write, or maybe just talking off the cuff about the same subject.  In any case, it will literally be just for me, as I won’t be posting it anywhere.

Soon though!

Oh, I guess I should update my feelings on being disconnected from Facebook.  It’s still pretty great!  I don’t miss it at all really.  There’s been a couple of times when not having it was slightly inconvenient because a link on google was leading me to someone’s Facebook page, or some app I was using wanted to log in to Facebook, but I really don’t miss being on  there.  This COULD last indefinitely, though whenever I decide that it will, I will probably briefly activate it to pull down all my pictures and whatnot on there.  I’ve found that life feels less contentious, and I’m not feeling that obligation to stream through that flood of information.  I guess the one thing that I have felt is a bit weird is whenever I come across something that I think is great (a video, or an article, or whatever), I haven’t really known what to do with it.  But I think that’s good.  I can share it directly with someone who I think will appreciate it, or I can just absorb it and use the information when interacting with someone, instead of just randomly shooting it out there and hoping that people “like” it.

Ok, that’s enough rambling.

Real post coming within the next 24 hours!

Desultory I

I haven’t taken the time the past couple of days to sit down and write, but I’ve been thinking of occasionally just blasting out a post of whatever random, disconnected thoughts pop into my head.  So that’s what this is the first of (that’s a roman numeral 1 up there, so be prepared for a II at some point).  This is unlikely to be the most profound thing you’ve ever read or that I’ve ever written, but, take it or leave it… like I always say, what I write here is primarily for me in any case.

Abstaining from Facebook is going pretty well.  I was surprised to realize that my previous break from it was over 2 years ago.  Didn’t seem like it had been so long.  That time for the first week or so I experienced strong urges to log in and would catch myself starting to type in the address or looking for the tab in my browser.  This time around I’ve barely thought about it.  That time I had planned on staying away from it for at least a month, and I think it had worked out to that almost exactly in practice.  This time, I have no planned timeframe, but it will almost certainly be longer than that.  Especially if I continue to not miss it.

The job search continues.  I’m trying to expand my options but my hopes continue to be with BSW.  It took a good while before I heard back from them the first time around, so I’m hoping that’s all that is happening this time…  I think I submitted my application about 3 weeks ago now.  There’s no way to know for sure for the time being.  Otherwise, I have a contingent job offer, but it’s going to take a while for that to go through, so I at least need something temporary in the interim.

I’ve gotten back into playing Final Fantasy XIV after a fairly extensive break.  I’m really enjoying it again, much more so then when I had decided I needed to get away from it for a while.  MMOs can sometimes start to feel like a chore rather than being fun, and when that happens, it’s best to step back.  Expansion is coming in just a few months and I’m excited for it.

I’m hoping to dedicate some more time to writing over the next couple of weeks.  I still haven’t done much work on the novel that I’m wanting to write.  It’s just a matter of setting the time aside.

Now that the weather has been really nice, and I think is going to consistently be getting nicer than it has been overall, I’m looking to do some more active things outdoors as well…  mainly going on some bike rides and running… maybe mix some hikes in there as well.  I’ve done a couple of bike rides already, and went for a run which was enough to realize I need to get my endurance up all over again.  Oh well.  It will come.

Going forward with this blog, I’m going to try to write 2-3 thought out topical posts per week, and 1-2 of these random thought posts to pad it out.  For the first couple months it’ll probably be on the lower side of those ranges.  But, I think it should be doable.

So… look forward to it!  Or don’t.  You know, whatever you want to do.


Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.
-Isaac Asimov

“Transition isn’t pretty, but stagnation is hideous.”
-Nikki Rowe

“When our first parents were driven out of Paradise, Adam is believed to have remarked to Eve: “My dear, we live in an age of transition.””
-Dean William R. Inge

Many times in my life, I have found myself in states of massive transition.  I suspect that I have experienced more of them than most people my age, though, I would also wager there are many who have experienced more than me.  Unfortunately, the last couple times it has felt like my life has come to a screeching halt while the rest of the world moves on around me.  Suffice to say, it’s not a pleasurable state to be in.

I have definitely questioned a lot of the choices I’ve made, and I wonder how things would be different if I had decided different things, or if I had reacted to events differently.   I tend to think that I’d probably at least be in a more stable and established position if I had done so.  But really there’s no way to know what would have happened.  There are many people that I would never have met, and loads of experiences I would never have had.  I can’t help but come back to the Taoist parable that proclaims “Who knows what’s good and what’s bad?”  It may be pointless to even reflect upon, because at this stage, there’s no going back.

So again I am at this crossroads of trying to find somewhere I belong.  The most obvious aspect of this for anyone that I interact with is that of employment.  I need a job that pays decently and that is at least tolerable.  This one is probably also the simplest, while it’s taking long than I would have hoped, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until something works out.

Less obvious might be that I don’t really have a social group that I feel like I really belong in anymore.  Which isn’t to say that I don’t love and appreciate my friends here, it’s certainly not their fault that this is the case.  But I don’t have even one single (as in, not in a couple) friend here.  In the best of cases, it’s limiting.  This is where some of what I wrote about in my previous post comes in…  I need to be better at meeting people.  Even forging one connection with, say, another single dude, could help greatly in connecting with more people.  That said, I feel an itch to be elsewhere, which I suppose may or may not actually be scratched by actually being elsewhere.

All in all, I would say that at present I feel profoundly unfulfilled.  I have few local friendships, and virtually none of those are terribly active, I have no romantic prospects, ever since my contracted at BSW ended I’ve lacked fulfillment in a job as well, and now have plenty of time to think about all that lack of fulfillment.

I recently decided to start working on a novel.  It’s not a format that I’ve done very much writing in, but I want to give it a try at least.  It seems like a good creative outlet for me for the moment at least.  Hopefully it will provide at least a modicum of creative fulfillment once it really gets going.

Anyway, I have to figure things out and find my way to a point where I’m at least partially, and hopefully mostly, fulfilled.  It’ll probably take some time and some effort… but I’m sure I’ll get there.

Sorry for the depressing post, I promise it gets better from here!

There Isn’t Really A Word For It…

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
-Dr. Seuss

If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.
-Timothy Ferriss

It’s insecurity that is always chasing you and standing in the way of your dreams.
-Vin Diesel

I think we all have blocks between us and the best version of ourselves, whether it’s shyness, insecurity, anxiety, whether it’s a physical block, and the story of a person overcoming that block to their best self. It’s truly inspiring because I think all of us are engaged in that every day.
-Tom Hooper

I spent a while trying to come up with a word to describe what this post is about for the title in order to keep with usual modus operandi of simple one word titles, but I really couldn’t think of or find one, so it’s two posts in a row with multiple word titles.

If you’re reading this, chances are you are familiar with the fact that I recently decided I was going to deactivate my Facebook account and take a break for awhile, and then enacted that deactivation just prior to posting this.  I didn’t want to post about any of the reasons why on Facebook, but if you bothered to come here perhaps you are interested, and even if you aren’t, I consider this blog to be more for myself than for any of the very small number of people who read it.  Truthfully there are a lot of reasons, but I am only going to talk about one of them, at least for this post.  You’re probably not going to see the connection to Facebook at least at first…  but maybe you will by the time I’m done trying to explain it, if we’re lucky.

I’ve never been what I would describe as a self-confident person.  I would say that most if not all of the negative aspects of me probably derive from that fact.  One of the most negative aspects of me, in my opinion, is that I am dreadfully terrible at meeting new people.  The main reason for that is that I am terribly uncomfortable around people when I don’t know how they are going to react to me.  And for some reason, I tend to believe that they are going to react negatively to me.  I’m sure this is probably rooted in some childhood experience and is a behavior I’ve never managed to unlearn, but I would really like to.  But more so, I want to reach a point where it doesn’t matter as much to me whether they like me or not.  Not feeling that need to be validated (or really I guess not feeling the need to not be invalidated) would take the pressure off of me when dealing with people I don’t know.  If I am dealing with just one new person, or just a few among a group of friends, I can handle it much better than I can when thrown into a large group of unknowns.

The problem mostly dissipates on the individual level as I get to know a person.  I feel like I can safely assume that once I know someone really well, I don’t need to worry about that anymore.  Although I can’t give voice to why I should be worrying about it in the first place… not being liked/validated by someone shouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.  However, I often find myself moderating some of my thoughts around people who I know disagree with me about things because I have grown to like them, and I fear that they will not like me if I give voice to my contrary opinions.  This is one of the key areas where I feel like Facebook has been problematic for me.

Additionally, I think that for someone such as myself who struggles with many social situations, Facebook can become kind of a social crutch.  Although it might be more accurate to re-appropriate the immortal words of Mitch Hedberg and say that Facebook isn’t a crutch…  “a crutch helps you walk, [Facebook] is like a step I didn’t see.”  Facebook is all about the illusion of social connections and it makes you kind of sort of feel connected to people when you really aren’t.  That’s problematic for me.

Even as I write this, part of me feels that I shouldn’t post it.  Some part of my brain is telling me that I’m running the risk of being invalidated and that is something that should be avoided.  But that is why I need to post this.  Maybe someone will think it’s pathetic… I mean, hey, that’s cool, I actually think it’s kind of pathetic too.  Who goes through as much of life as I have and is still this bad at interacting with people?

If/When (I assume I probably will, but I’m not committed to the proposition) I return to Facebook, I want for 2 things to be true.  First, I don’t want it to be a social crutch any more, preventing me from obtaining and maintaining more real relationships.  Second, I want to no longer fear receiving invalidation or hope for validation based on whatever I decide to post.

So hopefully this is the start of a path to becoming a better human being.


I am pretty good at being persistent with following my desires and ambitions for limited stints of time… which is a very positive sounding  way of saying that I am really bad at being persistent.

As an example, in a period of about 8 months I went from never having done much running (discounting another roughly year-long period where I did so regularly in college), to running my first 5K, and 10K, and half marathon, in marathon.  Then I slowly became less and less persistent, until I stopped running regularly and only did it sort of occasionally.

I have also gone through time periods where I have been really committed to writing, and time periods where, despite a desire to write things, I just don’t seem to be able to bring myself to do it.  It’s easy to simply decide that one doesn’t feel inspired… just as easy as it is to tell oneself that one doesn’t feel like running in fact.  To paraphrase some comedian who I’m too lazy to look up who it is right now…  It’s really hard to find the time to do something when you really don’t want to.

That may be a bit contradictory, but if it is, then it is.  I can’t say that I know the experience of other people, but I often find that I am in conflict with myself on any number of matters all the time.  In fact, that is part of why it is important that I spend time writing my thoughts down… If I don’t do so, then I am not going to work out my inner conflicts.

Yesterday I picked up a book entitled “A Writer’s Guide to Persistence”.  I am several chapters in, and it has been quite helpful to me thus far.  You see, if there is one thing that I know I need to develop if I really want to write, it is a consistent writing practice.  As it stands, I write when I feel inspired.  That might mean every day for a few weeks, and then maybe once or twice a month for a couple of months, or anywhere in between.  The reality is that not feeling inspired is just an excuse to not have to face the difficulty of really working things out.  It can also be a way of shielding myself from writing something that I think may elicit negative feedback, or simply to save myself from experiencing criticism because I am quite certain that much of what I have to offer is quite regular and boring and inconsequential.

I think that sometimes we have to remind ourselves of the things that we already know.  Often the way that I do that is to watch something that I find particularly inspiring, and so when I really don’t feel like I have anything worth saying to anyone, I watch my favorite movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  If that movie strikes such a chord with me, then there is at least one other person in the world who is also resonates with, and there are likely many others. If someone (Charlie Kaufman) can write from a place that resonates with me, surely I can write from a place that would resonate with him… which is not to compare my writing ability to his in any way, or to say that my voice would be exactly the same.  But, just feeling that some sort of potential is there is enough to inspire me to write SOMETHING, even if I know it’s probably not going to be as good.  Especially when I hear him say things that sound like he doubts his own abilities as much as I doubt my own.

The obvious truth that I manage to keep myself from grasping is that while in one sense my experience is unique, that does not mean it is not relatable.  While no one comes from the exact same set of experiences that I do, there are many who can relate to many or most of them, and would identify with my own struggles and pains and joys.  Therefore, there is someone out there that I have something to offer to, and so it seems to me that I should.

I am not sure how to ensure that I become persistent in my efforts to continue writing, other than to keep trying to be persistent, and whenever I fail to do so, simply try again… and so that is what I will do.  I know that I am better off writing than not writing, and so if I can let that be enough, perhaps I won’t even need to worry about whether or not anyone else thinks that what I have to say is worthwhile.

You Are Partly Right

Lately I’ve been slowly reading through a book called “The Art of Communicating” by Thich Nhat Hanh.  Why would I read such a book?  Well, because I often feel like I’m pretty terrible at accurately communicating my thoughts to people.  When it comes to the written word, when I have time to think about exactly what I want to say, it comes out pretty good most of the time.  But, there are instances where I feel helpless to communicate exactly what I am trying to say even then.  I tend to write very haphazardly as well.  While I’m writing a post such as this one, I will go back and insert a new sentence or paragraph here or there, or decide a different order works better and copy and paste things around.  So when it comes to speaking, where I only have one shot at it, I just am not as good.  I tend to hang on to whatever I have to say perhaps a little bit too long as I think it over before I actually say it.  I think this certainly CAN be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing.  At the very least I rarely blurt out anything that I immediately regret.

Anyway, I saw this book and was interested as I had found the only other book of his I had read “Living Buddha, Living Christ” to be pretty interesting, and so I thought it might be beneficial.  And I was right… although I feel like it hasn’t really addressed things I was expecting it to (at least not yet, I’m only about half way through.)
I like the idea he expresses that the goal of all communication should be to cause the other person to suffer less.  I’m not sure this should be applied to literally all communication, but certainly in most of our personal conversations with friends. family, and acquaintances this seems like a pretty good goal.  At the very least, being mindful of how your words are effecting those hearing them is a valuable thing.
Last night I read through a chapter on “mantras”.  If you aren’t familiar with Thich Nhat Hanh, he is a Buddhist, and so much of the book comes from a Buddhist perspective, though he often invites or suggests you think of things in other terminology if that suits you better.  In any case, he refers to these mantras as “magic formulas”.  I don’t know if he really means it in a literal sense, but if he does, and I get the feeling that he does, I don’t really agree with that.  However, I can see the benefit of all of them, and I could see how they could be something akin to a magic formula in terms of their being extremely likely to bring about a desired effect if used appropriately.
All of these mantras are simple phrases that are meant to be said to another person.  He starts with things like “I am here for you” and then, “I know you are there, and I am very happy.”  They are mainly about acknowledging the value of the other person and their importance to you.  Now, they also strike me as things that would often seem quite weird if carried out exactly as he suggests.  But I think the principles behind them are quite worth learning from.
He gives a total of 6 of these mantras, and the one that I found to be the most striking is the 6th one.  “You are partly right.”  This one is a bit different than the others, as it is meant to be said in reply to praise or criticism.  It’s about a balance between false humility and hubris.  Depending on the person, it can be easy to think very highly of one self to the point of arrogance, and for others, and I must admit I fall into this camp, it can be very easy to think very little of themselves, to the point of self deprecation.  This mantra is about recognizing and admitting the truth to yourself in either circumstance.  Whether the person sees good or bad in us: “You are partly right.  You know that I have other things in me too.”  He goes on to write “So we accept ourselves with all our weaknesses, and then we have peace.  We don’t judge ourselves; we accept.  I have these qualities and these weaknesses, but I will try to improve slowly, at my speed.  If you can look at yourself like that, you can look at others like that too, without judgment.  Even if that person has many weaknesses, he also has many talents, many positive things.  No one is without positive qualities.  So when others judge you wrongly, you have to say that they are partly right but they have not seen the other parts of you.  The other person only sees part of you, not the totality, so you don’t have to be unhappy at all.”
For some reason, it’s hard (for me at least) to give yourself credit for your positive qualities.  There is only a focus on the things that you’re not good at.  Then any time someone points out one of those things, it stings all the more.  This is definitely something I want to work on… to be mindful of the good things about me as well as the bad.  And then especially to recognize when someone else only sees part of me…  and then with that hopefully I will realize that I “don’t have to be unhappy at all.”


A couple weeks ago I began studying Japanese.  I’m not sure why I suddenly got the motivation… I mean, I can point to reasons why I think it would be cool/useful to know, but there’s nothing particularly new.  In part I think it was because I was speaking with a friend on Facebook about it and he just sort of suggested “well why not learn it then?”, and I guess my thought was… “yeah… why not?”  And so I set about doing so.

My friend got me started a little bit and then I sought out some iphone apps to help in the process.  So fair I’ve been using Mirai Japanese and iStart Kana (which is also made by Mirai).  I feel like they’ve been pretty helpful thus far.

My only experience with other languages prior to this was a tiny bit of French (I switched schools and the school I switched to did not have a French class, so, I did not continue), and then Spanish.  Both of those languages use roman letters, so there is nothing new to learn in that regard, and it’s just vocabulary and grammar.  With Japanese, one must learn 2 syllaberies, hiragana (ひらがな) and katakana (カタカナ) and then also kanji (chinese characters), which I haven’t even really started on yet.  I can recognize a handful…  the main one being Japan (日本).  Kanji is rather intimidating as there are literally thousands of them… so I’m waiting until I have the kana down before I really make an effort to start learning it.

Since I started I have to say I have found it extremely interesting, if confusing.  Looking at a completely different language and thinking that to someone else your language is the strange foreign thing that is confusing and doesn’t make any sense is sort of fascinating.  It’s really sort of bizarre that these sounds and symbols are sort of intrinsically understood by us…  and in our native tongue, without us even thinking about it.

It’s also interesting to see the reasons why Japanese speakers have the accents they do when speaking english.  One of the things that I found interesting early on is that there is no tone change when asking a question in Japanese.  In english, consider the difference in how you would say “Follow me.” (a command) vs. “Follow me?” a question.  Japanese uses the question marker か to indicate a question… if I am speaking it to myself (I wouldn’t try to speak it to anyone else at this point.. haha) and I know I am asking a question, I find it very hard to NOT use the rising tone.  I don’t know if that changes the meaning at all in Japanese, but I know it’s not used to indicate that you’re asking a question.

Anyway, I don’t know how long it will take before I’m able to actually read or speak anything of use in Japanese, but for now I’m happy with the progress I’m making on learning hiragana.  I actually recognize most of the characters now.  Considering when I first looked at it I wasn’t convinced my brain would be able to remember any of them…  that gives me hope that I might actually be able to learn the rest of this stuff yet!

End of Day One

It’s been 24+ hours now from when I deactivated Facebook. I had an accidental reactivation briefly this morning when I logged in to Spotify… it seems my account is inseparably tied to Facebook, so, I had to create a new one. No big deal. I went into Facebook and immediately clicked the links needed to deactivate again. So there’s no need to restart the clock on it.

At the end of the first full day, I have to say I feel pretty good about the decision. I think I was generally more focused today on anything I was doing. I definitely kept having recurring urges to flip over to a Facebook tab in my browser that is now nonexistent, but after a while those urges made me start to think that it really is a good idea to cut it off. In addition to that, I would sometimes come across information that gave me that “I need to share this” feeling. For instance, some article debunking the whole iPhone bending issue thing. I started thinking about why I would want to share such things, and in all honesty I think it’s out of some need for validation

I thought about maybe using twitter or something else which provide part of what Facebook does with less of the negative impact I feel Facebook has on me, but, I decided against it. I also decided on a minimum timeframe to abstain from all of what I will define as “social media”. For the record, things like instant messengers and Reddit don’t fit in how I am choosing to define it, but anything approaching Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc, do. I guess the difference being things like Reddit aren’t primarily about me or interacting with people who I know. And with instant messengers, well, it’s a much more personal form of communication than Twitter or Facebook.

Additionally, I’m going to keep mum on the blog. I will keep updating it, but I’m not going to say anything to anyone about it. So, my guess is, the readership has dropped and will remain at an average of 1 (that 1 being myself). That’s good though, because I really just want to be writing this for me anyway.


I did it. I pulled the plug on my facebook account. It’s something I’ve pondered doing before, but never did before now. I don’t know how long I’ll stay away. Permanently? I’d say probably not, but who knows. It’s kind of an experiment.

So what would make me want to kick Facebook to the curb?

Well, let’s start with the reason I talked myself out of deactivating my account for such a long time. When the subject of Facebook came up in real world conversation, any time someone would speak of it in a sense such as “I don’t really use it,” I would generally say something like “Yeah, I probably wouldn’t use it at all if it weren’t for it letting me keep in touch with people I otherwise probably wouldn’t.” That was a true statement, that is what convinced me that I should stay on.

I kind of hate shallow relationships. I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. If I like you, I’m in it 100%. I’m not a big fan of small talk and the like. Now, since I’m in it 100%, but I’m all or nothing, it gets weird when it becomes difficult to maintain that 100% (say, you live on the opposite side of the country). Well, Facebook offered this neat little thing where I can be “in it” in the world of cyberspace, but not so much in the real world. And that is kind of OK in some circumstances.

However, I feel like in some situations Facebook has been stressing me out on an almost subconscious level for some time. That can be for various reasons. There’s that whole effect of seeing the best of one person’s life and comparing it with the worst of yours, which can definitely mess with your head. It’s certainly a kind of addiction because it makes you feel that you need to see what is going on with people. Certainly, I was far less addicted than many people are, and also probably the least I have been at any point in my own life. Still, it consumed time and attention… and I’d flick over to it randomly so often that it really feels weird that I can’t do that right now.

The biggest reason goes back to that staying in touch with people and my hatred of shallow relationships though. I sort of realized Facebook is just sort of fostering ultra-shallow, casual, passive, not really real relationships. There are some people who I just sort of felt like I was bothering them when I’d message them, and well, I don’t really need that. Sometimes I’d want to actually talk to the person and I’d just get a few minutes of sporadic messages of fluff and then nothing. But I’d still feel compelled to send messages to certain people if I noticed them on and hadn’t talked to them in some time.

And so, I decided to rid myself of it. No more stress. If you have my email address, you can email me. If you have my phone number, you can call me or text me. With the exception of a short list of people, I’m not likely to contact you more than once without you contacting me, because I’m tired of being more in it than you are.

So we’ll see how this goes. Maybe without Facebook in the mix I’ll be better at all of this.


It is safe to assume that everyone is familiar with the philosophical mandate to “know thyself.” What is seemingly a simplistic and easily achievable direction turns out to not be that way. Identifying who you are and why you are the way you are is a process that takes years. It may even take stepping aside from that mandate and answering another: “know thy kind”.

I find that my struggles have less to do with the reality of me than they do with my perception of others to include my perception of how they perceive me, which brings us back to me as the source of my own problems. Because in a certain sense self awareness *IS* easy. Conclusions can be drawn about things pertaining to one’s self comparatively easily because we have all the facts available. While we may delude ourselves for a time, if we’re seeking the truth about ourselves we will eventually come clean. But to know our kind, or to put it another way, to know others, is another proposition entirely.

One of the first conclusions that I can draw is that in many ways other people are exactly like me. It seems that most people probably assume that people are like them in most ways. As an example, people who lie generally have trouble trusting other people. Obviously, just because someone has trust issues that doesn’t mean you can simply assume they are a liar, but it is worth making such observations about people. So in a certain way the way that I see you is as a reflection of myself, just as you see me as a reflection of yourself. It would be nigh impossible for either of us to perceive the other as we are.

My thoughts on this were sparked by a talk given by Aaron Weiss. The thing that I like about his speaking, and also his lyrics, is that he has this ability to be so honest about who he is that it causes me to see who I am. He spoke of our perception of love versus I guess the reality of love… if you believe in God then you might say the sort of love that we believe God has. I’m too lazy to go back through the video to get the exact quote, but to paraphrase him, we treat love like a business transaction. You can watch it yourself if you want: (the audio is terrible, but I promise it’s worth it).

He further elaborates that to us love isn’t really something that is selfless and unconditional. The thing that we call love is almost entirely based on selfishness. This is the case in both the love you have for a friend as well as romantic love. If you are my friend, I love you because of the things you do for me, or because you are pleasurable to be around, or because you are nice for me. If you were mean to me, or if you were miserable to be around, I don’t think I would have love for you. And it’s the same with romantic love, and it’s why so many relationships end in crushing depression. We all want love but none of us seem to have any idea what in the hell that means.

And so there is this game that we play, where we use that part of which we know to try to make people love us. And, at least for me, I can only assume for you, it all based on this obsessive need to have this thing called love. But if it’s based on how that person makes me feel, and on how I make them feel, or on what we do for each other, or us generally being nice to each other, that’s not going to be enough. The thing is, when I heard Aaron Weiss say that, I thought what I have to assume you are thinking: “well that’s not love!” But then, as I tried to mentally formulate a rebuttal as to why he was wrong, nothing really came to mind. I can choose to love someone in the sense that I can choose to do 2/3 of that list, even when the first third, the feeling, isn’t there. But I’m just not sure that is real love. But I lack any other definition.

So I put expectations on people. If I buy you a drink I expect to be thanked. Perhaps if I go on a certain number of dates and do the right things I expect reciprocation. If I do something nice for you, I expect that you will later do something nice for me. I don’t think I’m saying anything here that isn’t true about everyone.

There are things that I do or don’t do based on how I believe that you see me. I probably act differently around you than I do around someone else. When I think about it, the anxiety I feel in large groups probably mostly has to do with me not being able to figure out how I should be when I’m around person x, person y, and person z. And none of this is conscious. I don’t intentionally act differently, but at the same time, I know that I *DO* act differently.

My next thought is of why I think that is. The answer is that I think you’re better than me. I really do, almost regardless of who you are (yeah, I could probably think of a few people who I don’t think that about). The reason why I think that is pretty simple… I know all the bad shit about me that I wouldn’t want anyone to know. And well, generally speaking, I don’t know any of that about you. Just like I put my best foot forward in social interactions, so, I must assume, do you. And yet I seem to assume that I am somehow special and I’m the only one with that going on as I interact with people.

There’s a line in the song “Messes of Men” that goes “I’d never want someone so crass as to want someone like me.” Now that is a line that I can connect with. But I guess the real truth is that we’re all a mess, we’re all crass.

And so I wonder if love really has something to do with truly understanding each other… with somehow overcoming any distance between us. One of Jesus’ prayers was for us to “become one”. And it’s my view that he was speaking of something a bit deeper than agreeing on theology, and I don’t think there’s any danger of complete theological agreement happening any time soon. Another Biblical usage of this idea of oneness is presented for a man and a woman in marriage, and so it does seem to be connected to love. Perhaps seeing each other as reflections isn’t quite right, perhaps the lines should be blurred just a bit more, until we can’t tell us apart.