I have started this thread just for interest, to shake things up, keep it all interesting and not solely focused our day to day concerns.
I have also started it to share my writing below and see what response it stirs in people? I wrote this for myself on the day it states, 5 months later I found out I have MS. Sorry its quite long but it is what it is….. enjoy
Tuesday, 4 October 2011 – Spring
REMEMBER THIS DAY FOREVER
Today was one of the most important days of my life, if not the most important. Today is the first day of my life I can look in the mirror and call myself a ‘real man’ by my own definition. Today is the day I became a man.
When I was younger I was taught that the general expectation as an acceptable standard is to go to school, study hard, get good grades and finish year 12 high school. That’s the basic aim. While at school, you are supposed to explore and identify what your interests and strengths are, focus on those areas and use them to develop an idea of what you would like to do for a job and as a career when you complete your education. I recall my parents expressing to me that I could finish year 12 and aim to achieve the required result to enter the university degree I had chosen as my desired profession or I could finish year 12 and if I decided that I didn’t want to go to university I could simply find a job and develop a career from there. At that time this sounded very reasonable and acceptable to me.
During high school, the school puts a definite emphasis on university planning. The message they delivered to me at high school from the very beginning of year 10 was it is essential to choose your classes based on your university desires. Are you kidding? I was a horny 15 year old more interested in chasing girls; I had no idea what I wanted to do after high school. Why would I? It’s absolutely ridiculous. And so by not making a decision at that time essentially you might as well consider yourself ‘behind the 8 ball’. There was no support given or accommodations made for anyone who wasn’t planning to attend uni.
By year 11 I had decided I was taking the finish year 12 and get a job option. I had no real desire to go to university, I was absolutely sick of studying and my only thought which I was absolutely sure of was that I was not committing a further 5 years and possibly up to $50,000.00 to get a degree for any career that I wasn’t even sure of; that’s stupid.
The aim in all of this, as I was led to believe, was to find a job and career path in which I was at least reasonably happy and one that could provide me an income to afford a respectable, comfortable life which could provide for all things life requires at a reasonable standard. So basically, the aim is a job I like which could earn me at some point up to approximately $80,000.00 – $100,000.00 relative to the times. I could consider that “success”.
What nobody told me is all of the above is probably about 1% of what my true options were and that everything I’ve said above is bullshit and a trap designed for fools.
So, on the basis of what had been instilled in me by family, school and society in general; when I finished year 12 high school I decided my best option was to find a job I considered a good starting job, start making some money and get some experience and take it from there. That way I got to hedge my bets. I could start making money and change my mind later if I wanted to and even go back to uni if that’s what I wanted. I really wasn’t that picky but I had no idea what to do although I also felt that when an opportunity came up I would know if it was the right one to take.
In around March 1999, after a 3 month break from year 12 I got a job working in the state mail room for Commonwealth Bank in Adelaide. It was only permanent part time and worked from 6:30am until 1:30pm each day sorting the bank mail for SA branches.
At the time I was pretty happy with this. I felt like I’d found my start and I would see what happened from here. I was probably earning something like $18,000.00 a year.
Since that time, between March 1999 and October 2011, for 12 years, I developed a career as a paralegal which has spanned 4 different law firms, an insurance company and the Commonwealth Government. In those roles I’ve gained all sorts of knowledge and skills in corporate affairs and operations, business, economics, finance, law, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. I now earn $72,500.00 per annum. Goody for me.
However during the years I absorbed the idea that a good job and career path is not enough on its own. What did I have to show for it? I needed something I could look at and refer people to and be able to say, “This is what I work hard for”. Again I took what was the logical option in my position, what everyone needs, I decided I needed to find a way to buy a house.
I lived with my mum and my parents had been divorced for a long time. I am her only child and so as a single mother we have always had a different relationship to what I imagine most kids in a standard family environment have with their parents. We have always been a team.
In April 2003, together with mum, we had the opportunity to buy a house but there was no way either of us could afford to have done it individually. The only way it could work was to do it together. It was also a good solution for our practical living requirements as I was then 22 and both of us wanted to be able to live separately. It was the time to take the next step of moving out of home as such. So we agreed to team up to buy a house and we agreed that I would live in the house, mum would live at West Beach, we would pay half the mortgage each and it would serve as an investment for both us of. Then one day we would sell the property and take half the proceeds each, whatever that worked out to be. And that’s exactly what we did.
So I succeeded? I didn’t feel like I had though and I couldn’t work out why. I had done everything right, hadn’t I? I finished year 12, got a job, bought a house, developed a career which I was very successful in . . . what was the problem? What did I want now? What was missing?
Part of what I had built for myself was to satisfy an expectation I had of myself to be a man. I wanted to put myself in a position where I had what I considered to be appropriate to be able to attract and provide for a partner, a wife and maybe a family. I had work, money and a nice home to offer in a relationship. I thought I could provide sensible stability? That’s right isn’t it? That’s what men do.
However there was something I had been ignoring because it was so vague and faint and nothing I could put my finger on. For around the last 6 – 7 years, from between 2005 and 2011, I’ve had this uncomfortable feeling about all of the above. Nothing specific, the situation just seemed a bit ‘empty’. There was something wrong. I didn’t feel like I should, I wasn’t content, I couldn’t be satisfied for any real length of time, I felt unsettled, what the fuck is wrong here I would think?
The equation wasn’t balancing for me. And even stranger to me was that my situation seemed to have the opposite effect of what I had expected. Girls were not interested in what I was offering I guess you could say. Where did I go wrong?
I started to resent and criticise everything I had and all the people around me, particularly at work. As I got older and smarter I began to see holes in the facade, I noticed inconsistencies, flaws and failures where popping up everywhere and it was far from the image which had been ‘sold’ to me. I started thinking this was a bit of a scam of some sort. I had bought into a lie, a falsehood.
But I was committed, I now had responsibilities, I had to live and pay the mortgage, and this is what everyone does and they seemed fine. What was wrong with me? Why did I have this feeling in my gut, this splinter in my mind, this background noise that would never shut up that was saying to me, this is not fucking right! Not by a long shot.
And what was next? What’s the next step? You can’t buy a wife and put a mortgage on her and then refinance for the kids later like a fucking extension on a house. I couldn’t make that happen. So what else, what was I supposed to do? No one had any answers now, no unquestionable advice, this is life, make the most of it. Fucking idiots were so quick and confident about what to tell me to do before.
So I was now in the unescapable prison of waking up, going to work, coming home, watching TV, going to bed, waking up. . . that is all I ever did for a long, long time. I hated everything. But what choice did I have? I was brainwashed into believing that this was it. I was depressed and nearly broken. I hated myself because I felt like a failure. I was squirming in my own skin. And the worst part of all of it, I still couldn’t see, I couldn’t bring together and formulate why this had happened to me. People just treat you like you’re the weird crazy one for not accepting the situation and being able to just get on with it. Maybe a lobotomised chimp could accept this and just get on with it but not me.
I only knew one thing, ICOULD NEVER ACCEPT THIS!!!!!!!
Then, around 3 months ago, a miracle was born in me. A single spark in my mind set an idea in motion and gave it life, and in turn, has given me my life back. It started with a single word, ENOUGH!
To continue on the existing path was not an option, so what was? To give up is not an answer. I had to dig deep and understand and be honest with myself about what I really wanted, what was getting in my way and why did I feel the way I did?
Today was the day that every answer to all of my questions became clear as day and all came together into a complete understanding.
Of the three questions above I needed to start with the third question first, like working through a maze backward is easier. Why do I feel this way? The answer is because I was not in control of my own life and I had allowed myself to be dominated, controlled, subject to and at the whim of other people who I consider to be weak, flawed and inferior people to myself. The image they present is a total illusion and behind the iron curtain they are sad, weird, damaged little people who are scared because they don’t, haven’t and probably won’t realise what I realise. I was not a ‘real man’. What makes a real man is one that is in complete control of his own destiny. A man takes charge of his life in every respect and he isn’t told when to wake up, when to work, when to eat, when to sleep (indirectly), what to wear, how to speak, how to act. A real man is respected and not controlled in every respect. A man never allows himself to be in a position where anyone has such an effect over every aspect of his life. If I can’t look in the mirror and feel like I control my own domain then I can’t respect myself. How could I? How could anyone? If I am not in control, taking action and making the choices I want freely, then simply, I am being controlled and my life is not my own. And when you are being controlled what are you? You are scared. I was scared. I was afraid. A man has no fear! I now have no fear! I now know that I’m not under threat from anyone. I know that if I’m smart, no matter what I choose to do, it will be ok! In reality I am free to make any choice I want and in doing so I start to become a man. Relating to this idea of what a man is, as a person, is the absolute core of what is essential for me. It is how I identify with myself and how I see myself fitting into the world. It’s also a natural instinct thing. For me, it is the foundation for every other aspect of my life. If you don’t see yourself as a man what are you? You’re just someone else’s bitch that’s what, a castrated king. It really comes down to confidence and self-respect.
Then the second question, what is getting in my way? The answer is me. And again, the answer can be traced back to a single word, ego. The hardest part of this awakening for me was about admitting something my ego would not previously allow me to admit. I made a mistake, a horrible mistake! One of the hardest things to ever have to do is admit to yourself is that the choices you made and the path you took, the very thing you invested your entire soul into for 12 years of your life was a mistake in many respects. It was the wrong choice for me. But it doesn’t end there, the only thing harder than admitting it to myself was forgiving myself for it and understanding that it is ok, it wasn’t actually a total waste, it wasn’t the right choice for me but it wasn’t a total fuck up either. I have many valuable things to take away from it but I must now get away from it and start doing what I need to do for myself and reinforce my regenerated confidence as a man. And that is go exploring and see some different places, see new things, meet new people, fuck as many chicks as I can and then come home and fuck as many more as I can and then, work for myself, my own business, my own domain suited for my life and what I want. Wisdom and strength are the by-products of suffering if you are strong at heart.
What else is getting in my way? When you start to feel positive about yourself and what you are doing you begin to notice how miserable the people around you are, almost all people. You have travel pretty far and wide to find someone who is truly ‘happy’ and it starts to dawn on you how sick and twisted the environment around you really is. The good part is you start to feel separated from it not part of it anymore. You can feel yourself being pulled up and away from it, and the further you get the stranger it seems that these people just carry on accepting their situation for being ‘the way it is’. There is no ‘the way it is’. The way it is, is how I say it is, period. Because of this, and being the bitter, jealous, tortured little souls that they are they will do everything they can to keep you with them, in their mindset. They can’t bear the thought that they are stupid and you were smart enough to find a way out, you solved the puzzle. Their egos’ have gripped them so tightly that they are prisoners forever and I feel sorry for them. If it is almost impossible for an individual like me to admit what I have said above imagine how hard it is for a large group of people to acknowledge it as a whole? They can’t, it will never happen. Imagine the embarrassment of looking around at every face at work in one room and all saying “We fucked up royally and we have been acting out a play, a joke and gritting our teeth at each other for 20, 30, 40 years!”. The embarrassment is their egos’ and they are bound by it.
But the truth is there is no embarrassment because as soon as you admit it, you are overwhelmed with a sense of joy, release, freedom, self-worth. I will never allow my own positive self-image to be affected by these pigeons ever again. They are just trying to keep me down.
Then lastly the first question; what do I really want? This is the easiest one for me. The truth for myself or anyone is all I really want is to feel good about myself each and every second as it ticks by and to know that I am completely in control of each of those seconds. Here is something to ponder:
The past has been and gone and in reality, therefore does not exist. The only thing of the past that exists is our ‘memory’ of it and our memory is 100% dictated by how we felt about ourselves at that time. The future has not yet come and therefore in reality does not exist. The only thing in the future that exists is our anticipated expectation for it which is 100% dictated by how we feel about ourselves from our ‘memory’ of the past. The present only happens one second at a time, like single frames of the flicker of an old cinema camera. Therefore time and reality do not exist but the single second you are in each moment, one second at a time and the key to all things is how you feel about yourself and whether you feel in control in each and every one of those seconds as they tick by. Everything else is an illusion you create.
I write this for myself so that as my seconds tick by, one after the other, I can refer back to this and always be able to immerse my senses in the feeling of the moment I started truly living.
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