What does it say about me that I read something I wrote twenty years ago

What does it say about me that I read something I wrote twenty years ago and found it both hilarious and completely disgusting? I remember grossing out my friend K with the story, and he was someone who was hard to one up when it came to irreverence and disgusting literature. I didn’t have the balls back then to turn it in as a short story for a creative writing class, and I’m not sure I will have the balls to post it on my main blog as I go back in time and try to post almost everything I’ve written in one place. I suppose that now, it’s not so much about having the balls or not, but about shaming my son–I’d hate for him to walk through life under the shadow of a dad with a reputation for having once attempted to write in the splatterpunk genre.

Reading what I wrote ten years ago, I have a different sort of response–I was whiny and full of myself and paralyzed from getting out of so many mucky holes I’d dug for myself financially, relationship-wise, career-wise, etc. You might not have gotten the impression I would ever amount to anything at all, having read some of this stuff.

The silver lining in all of it is that there is proof that people can change throughout their adult lives, even after they’ve stopped growing physically and educationally, and their careers are more or less incrementally improving. People can change no matter what is said about their personality traits or so-called ingrained characteristics. People do change in spite of themselves, sometimes, not because of any dedicated effort on their parts.

I suppose after I am long dead and gone, it will hardly matter what of my writing gets published, but I am somewhat apprehensive that the representative sample will be skewed to something salacious, titillating or downright offensive to almost anyone who reads it–something I wrote at the age of 20 with the sole purpose of hoping to offend everyone, including my unflappable best friend.

Of course, I could delete it. I’ve tried to delete every instance of one particular story, but I’d apparently embedded it in a massive file that had a collection of all my unfinished short stories, and that file has continually been copied over and over again each time I back things up.

On the other hand, I could optimistically hope for a future generation of humanity that is more forgiving than this one is. People screw up, make mistakes, say stupid things when they are young and many times when they are not-so-young, and these things aren’t necessarily reflective of their core character. Sometimes they probably are, as in the case of a repeat offender–but, not always. Then again, the only real forgiveness that will matter comes from above.

Sure, I could just go through all copies of stuff I wrote in the late 90s, and delete it all. I mean, it’s not like anyone at this point cares who I am or what I’ve written. Or, I could just let Fate take it where it will after I’ve died.

It remains to be determined what will happen.

…still learning how to surf the cycle.

There is probably a running narrative that could be provided for your life that describes how you tend towards destruction of the very things that you had begun to successfully erect. Whether you are the unfortunate victim of some kind of dark matter entity, or whether you are just more attuned to the cyclical nature of existence but incapable of surfing it properly, you have a lifetime behind you now of stories filled with life getting good, only to see you screw it up in some way or another.

You can’t deny that some part of you still thrives on and thrills to the period of despair when you are convinced that the entire world has turned against you, and you have nothing good left to get out of this life. During these dark periods, you want very much for your calamities to be caused by someone else, and for you to be the victim. You want to feel the floodgates open up and the inrush of perverse catharsis when you find a few foolish friends to attend your pity party.

Some of this is simply fear of the unknown that comes with success. You get so used to being the loner, the outsider, the one who everyone congregates in cubicles or cafeteria tables to whisper about. It seems normal, and then when it all stops, and you realize that you are making progress with a group of individuals, becoming their friend, getting invited to parties, etc., you don’t know what to do with yourself. Sometimes its simply life itself, and not the socialization aspect of it, that scares you. You are suddenly on top of your debt and saving money, or being told by your boss that you’re doing a great job, or getting to travel to places you had resigned yourself to being merely fantasy places.

Such were the years after the first godawful attempt to be a rock n’ roll rebel, to be cool like your older brothers, to wear your hair in the mullet fashion and tell kids you did drugs. After several mostly lackluster months of being a nobody, you decided to join a few other fellows after school lifting weights, and go out for track. Susan Parker was down at the weight room a lot, and she ran track, of course–she did all the sports. Susan was there with you at every track meet, as they were all co-ed track meets. She wasn’t afraid to yell out at the end of the next summer, “damn, he’s looking good!” when you went to have your Junior class portrait taken.

It was easier to pursue again the self-destructive lifestyle, once you realized you were always going to be too shy to say anything other than a mumbled “hello” to Sue. You waited patiently for the next opportunity to be a victim, and sure enough, one came along in weightlifting class Senior year when a couple of the more redneck kids bullied you in the shower. After that, it was all mullets and smoking cigarettes in your pickup truck. To think, you’d had a summer where you’d helped out at three vacation Bible schools at various churches, and had toured the Yancy State University with your friends to get a taste of the coming collegiate life, and had such a bright, happy outlook on your future when Senior year started.

What you probably needed then was a mentor of some kind. Your father was finally taking an interest in your life again, and travelled with the family to Florida that summer. But, his efforts to guide or steer you in any sort of meaningful way were too little, too late. You were insistent on having excuses readymade to become a rebellious, redneck rebel with only an illusory sense of victimhood as your cause.

The faces and names changed, and so did the environments, but your cycling from creative to destructive behavior did not. Today, you can kind of prepare yourself for when your base self is insisting on seeing you crash and burn, but it still comes on pretty hard, and generally causes you to waste a lot of time getting angry about things that don’t matter, and trying with all your might to find someone in the workplace who can become your official persecutor, of whom you can run home and cry about to your wife.

Why don’t you pick up Tony Robbins again, and read some of his passages about how to deal with some of this stuff mentally? You could stand to read your Bible more, and spend less time obsessing over all that isn’t 100% perfect with life. There’s no reason why, even now as you go charging toward the age of 40, that you can’t learn to surf the cycles that wash over you, and know how to approach those downturns out with a much better style of management. When you’ve managed to successfully remove all of the learned patterns of behavior–your little kneejerk tendencies to seek out your persecutors, then you can see what’s left that is really just purely physio-chemical requests from your body to shut off all the world and just sleep.

This is an attempt to define the ideal E

This is an attempt to define the ideal E, in the sense of an E at 34 as envisioned by E at 24, but with the given that Real E at 34 isn’t quite there yet. It assumes no major world, self or familial catastrophes in the next ten years. It assumes a world essentially like the one E has been allowed to operate in for the past ten years. It doesn’t attempt to know what God wants E to look like–rather, it is an attempt to visualize an E of this world, free of the fetters of lifelong curses, stigmas, dogmas, unfounded assumptions–but balanced with a realistic outlook of what E is capable of (and really wants).

In other words, it is simply the E that E would like to be, given similar past opportunities.

The goal becomes composing a young man intent on growing up, acting his age, finding his footing in social areas where he is many years behind, and becoming all-around more well-developed.

1. E is free of the “pity party” mentality. E doesn’t seek friendships and relationships with any hidden expectations. What people see is what they get. E doesn’t create endless mini-crises for himself throughout the day in hopes that later others will commiserate with him, or that booze will assuage the pain of a million self-inflicted little wounds. E doesn’t hold grudges toward others when he is truly slighted. E resolves problems that are solvable, and gives the rest to God.

E doesn’t waste time in misery over those who do not want to be his friend. If a friendship/relationship connection just isn’t happening, it’s probably for the best.

E’s attitude toward women represents a fundamental shift that cannot be stated or meditated upon enough. While he has for years understood the basic patterns of behavior that most sane women find unacceptable, he’s only very recently come to the realization that many of his gambits for a relationship with the opposite sex are driven by subconscious urges to have them “come to his rescue” each time he has a little mini-life crisis.

2. E is free of the “sex weirdness.” E operates under the assumption that he is an average, straight white guy with average, not peculiar sexual desires.

3. E is free of the urge to drink to escape. E drinks socially, and only dares get drunk under circumstances where it is clearly acceptable to everyone in the room–and even then carefully considers whether it is in his own best interest or not to do so. E considers the choice between spending $25 a week on booze, and saving it for a vacation.

4. E isn’t sloppy in his displays of inner monologue. He approaches others with a full understanding of what they, the audience, do not find acceptable, or are expecting from him.

5. E cares about his appearance but not to obsession. E purchases new business casual clothing items, especially button down shirts, on a monthly basis. E keeps his clothes ironed, hung or in a drawer. He dresses as part of the overall New E Aesthetic, or way of being–not in anticipation of higher ups finding him capable of more responsibility due to the way he dresses, or in anticipation of young ladies wanting to date him based on the way he dresses.

E does pause to pay attention to what is fashionable to men, but doesn’t obsess over it, or attempt to own particular labels.

E does some type of physical activity every day beyond the basic dog walking. Ideally, E at least does 100 crunches in the morning and evening, and 25 pushups in the morning and evening. E also runs for at least 30 min each day. This is not to realize a particular “model body,” but to stay in all around peak fitness above average but below obsession.

6. E seeks out one social or cultural activity a week. He freely goes by himself, with the understanding that he is doing this to improve himself, not in desperate hopes of meeting a special someone.

7. E attends church twice a month. Same sort of thing here.

8. E spends his down time learning about the economy and financial markets. E does this to better understand the world he lives in, make something of his tendency to assimilate wide varieties of knowledge, and participate in a grown-up activity that is less licentious than straight gambling or strip clubs.

The other purpose of this exercise is for E to see himself less and less as a web guy, and more and more of a man of business. E will look toward being an investor, rather than an entrepreneur or wage slave.

E will NOT get caught up in the love and interest of money for its own sake. The focus is always on seeing the markets as a gauge for human activity, human progress, and always reflecting back on how anything taking place in the markets benefits the welfare and stability of society.

9. E enters the outside world with a clear-headed vision of the Ideal E, the New E Aesthetic. He relies on this vision to inform his behavior, rather than waiting for others to provide clues for him to react to and modify his behavior. E ignores those who are disappointed in or disapproving of the E aesthetic. E refuses to become enmired in conversations of petty arguing about politics, celebrities and local drama. E stays informed of these things, and participates by voting and making life decisions, but is circumspect in his choice of conversation partners and friends–attempting to maximize time spent among grown-ups sharing innovative, grown-up ideas, and minimize time spent discussing television shows and sports.

E avoids anyone who is especially rabid and with an agenda, be they on “his side” of politics and religion, or not. E appreciates open forums, inclusiveness, diversity, listeners, sharers of wide varieties of ideas and topics–those who carry on rich inner lives and have deeper, wiser appreciations for the world he lives in.

10. E continues to give of his time with new volunteering opportunities, but looks more and more outside of the United Way and charity dogmas for how to help others in his community.

11. E carries in his vision of the New E Aesthetic a world traveler, a man walking streets in major cities, appreciating museums, cafes, architecture, booksellers, wine bars, etc. E saves his money to travel once every six months. — Once a year to a major American city, once a year to a European city or country.

12. E stays on top of the value of his condo purchase. This is an investment to be sold when the time is right. E invests some of his tax credit in a high growth, no load mutual fund–like an Asian market one.