In a word, compassion.
I'm experiencing a crisis of self. I'm aware of two factors. The first is that an increasing awareness of social justice issues is imploding my whole view of the world, and my place in it. The second is that Aly and I had a talk about the timing of children, which has forced me to realize how unready I am to be Dad, and how conflicted I feel about that label and all of its variants. Ostensibly this is about the Dad thing, but they're closely intertwined.
I have always seen humans as struggling between Good and Evil. I've imagined that this must be the same for others as it is for me, but I've begun to doubt that, to wonder if perhaps these storms rage in me with uncommon vigor. Do you agonize about these things?
I know how to be the monster, and the kind of immediate gratification it can yield. I was taught by the best. It pulls at me from time to time, that impulse to disregard others. It loses against the loftiness of my conscience, but wins over my flayed emotions with ease. Cartoonish devils that appear on people's shoulders with cute little tails and pitchforks might illustrate the trivial urge to steal a piece of pie, but the dark, whispering figure on my shoulder is a psychopath, and my Dad.
Technically a "malignant narcissist", and one that I loved and admired, hated and despised - all with such intensity that at any moment I can feel one of these things about him, but not both. Switching back and forth is easy, but I cannot resolve them. I had more than one parent, but really, there was just Him. I'm checkered inside.
I cosplay Sirius Black, but truly, I am Lupin. His Lycanthopy is a metaphor for abuse: a disease which renders us fearful of hurting our loved ones, of losing control of our actions and our selves; a disease which is communciable to those we wound when transformed. Isolation to some Shrieking Shack is a common response, but at the heart of this is the desperate need to be loved, so it is no solution. Love, which I do not feel I deserve but will pursue anyway by any means at any cost to anyone, and how DARE you...
And there it is. I'm still a little boy, crying for attention and refusing to eat my vegetables or clean my room. A boy in a man's body, with a man's power in the world. And my father? He was a fucking child, too. You can't parent like that. I want to be an adult for my babies, and I haven't learned how.
This is where my values are. Not simply in the assertion that there are no gods, but in secularism, humanism, social equality, skepticism.
There are two old houses on the property, and one of them desperately needs to be torn down. I'm going to host a trebuchet party, and lay siege to it with cinderblocks, bowling balls, etc. Then we'll have a huge bonfire for the wood bits and get drunk. I think I'm going to put up a cardboard tower and a cut out of this guy to get us going:
Our trebuchet will probably be less awesome than this one:
but still... we're going to destroy a house with trebuchets. How amazing is that?
Work has been slow, and we've slipped back into debt. With the wedding coming up I'm worried, but not overly so. A flurry of work could turn this around quickly.
I've stepped back into coding, and this time it has launched me further into C/C++ than I ever wanted to go.
( Geek speakCollapse )
Like moving from the city to the country, moving from C# to C/C++ makes me feel like I'm in the raw wilderness again. You can almost see the ASM moving just behind those bushes. It's fun, and exciting. It's a growth process for me. I do sometimes miss the Metropolis of .NET objects, the times when I could just call Computer.DoSomethingAmazingForMe(); and be done with it.
I'm headed for being in better physical shape. Not because I'm working out - I mostly refuse to simply "exercise" - but because maintaining land requires a fair bit of physical effort. I don't mind getting sweaty and exhausted if I'm actually trying to accomplish something. It's good for the soul™, and I've started to feel the smallest stirrings of fitness in my body.
The dogs have never smiled this much in their lives. I'm enjoying it too. Aly is starting to get bored, but she loves the place, and will be starting school soon enough. I think it all makes the hour drives to Asheville worthwhile.
Now if we could just figure out how to have this country life and good schools for the future kids. (People seem to leap to conclusions whenever I make vague references to children, so here it is explicitly: Aly is not pregnant. These "children" are hypothetical twinkles.)
We carry it in a heedless gallop,
all the while shunning
the transformative power of pain.
Our comforts are death,
lulling the mind beyond awakening.
Struggles define us,
and without definition
we are formless,
as you prefer.
Life is a full chalice.
and sometimes poisoned.
There is naught to do
but raise that cup to lips and,
boldly or trembling,
Does it help you too?