Keep Your Sanity, I Want To Be A Human

I'm going to forgo my planned entries detailing my transition to Seattle for two reasons. One: I am not motivated enough to remember all the details. Two: I would much rather write about things as they are happening, not as they happened. And here's what happened.

I realized today that everyone in the entire world is insane, myself included.

I keep looking up at the title of this silly little blogspace and noticing how completely accurate it is. I wasn't trying to be witty or anything. No, most of my 'wit' flies headlong into someone's brittle feelings so I mostly choose not subject them to that, seeing as how wit is just another word for douchebaggery and is often construed as such.

I was having a conversation with someone this morning that I haven't spoken to in five years or so. Since then, it's easy to understand that a lot has changed, just in our own lives. Both of us had finished college, dated around, discovered truths about ourselves - and we both found ourselves neck-deep in the cyclical postgraduate occurrences that plague people who aren't quite sure where life is taking them. All that to say that we are standing on the same level, just on different platforms.

During the course of this conversation, it was revealed to me by way of a story that this individual was telling me that every person I know is a coward. A no-holds-barred, truth-be-told, honest-to-goodness coward. Our friends are cowards, our parents are cowards, our teachers and classmates are cowards. All of us. Because we consistently find ourselves wrestling with this Herculean force called selfishness.

Now I'm not here to damn humanity to the pits (it can do that rather nicely on its own) or absolve myself from the blame. No, I wholeheartedly embrace and accept this universal truth and acknowledge my unabashed part in the mess. Besides some wonderful blessings and awkward left turns, it seems that everything I've ever done in my life is a product of some inner selfishness.

Disclaimer: the following is not a boast.

I've gone out on 10 dates with 10 different girls since I've moved to Seattle. That's exactly 11 more than I had gone on in years. I don't even understand the concept of dating. How do people do it? Is there a class or seminar I missed out on somewhere because it appears to me that humans aren't hard-wired for this type of stuff. It's like trying to sell yourself to a stranger - no wait, it is that. You have to say the just right combination of words and noises to capture their attention and then you have to go one step further and hold it. If that weren't enough, you have to convince this person through matters of subtle manipulation that they actually want to see you again. And then you repeat this process, except you have to go somewhere different and have less to talk about. What on earth is this?

Anyways, some of these dates were promising. Some of them I knew 10 minutes into it that they would never go anywhere. Some of them led to second dates. But several of them ended the same way. I would inevitably start spending time with them, getting to know them and whatnot - you know, what normal people are encouraged to do. But somewhere along the line I would realize that I'd much rather be somewhere else, or with someone else - than where I was at the moment.

Take a second to realize that that's awful and yes, I'm an awful person.

Literally, I couldn't not stop thinking about being with someone else entirely whenever I was out with some of these girls. Sometimes I didn't even want to go out and see them but a part of me couldn't say no because I thought what I was experiencing was normal and people just suppress those kinds of things.

Yeah, that's not normal, methinks.

I realize that I'm way too selfish of a person to care for someone in the way that I should normally be able to. I've done nothing but serve myself in this manner, unwittingly using people for some sort of comfort and just before they draw near I hit them with the truth that no, I can't handle this right now because I'm a goddamned coward.

This pattern is frustrating, and yet I don't see how to put an end to it other than just forcing myself to be with someone, which sounds even worse than the alternative. I really only picked up this self-destructive quality in the past few years, but man have I gotten good at it.

I'll take a minute to ignore my hand as it tries to pat me on the back while the other tries to strangle itself.

I'm not proud of a lot of things, and this blog isn't meant to be a beacon of hope or anything, nor is it meant to be a paragon of despair. Rather, it's a little window where I open up my cerebellum and let my Seattle-inflicted brain have it's way with the human language.

And it's telling me today that I am a coward. I am selfish. And I need to change.

So I forgive all of humanity its errors and woes because it has to tolerate walking shipwrecks like myself. It appears I gave up my sanity years ago when I decided to love someone other than myself and it's been missing ever since. But if that is what it means to be human, then I am among the most brazen and naked individuals to ever ruin this treacherous plot of land with the touch of my feet and the burn of my hands.


If You Are The Insane, Teach Me Your Ways

Take a good look at this masterpiece of a photograph. Yes, that is me making a fool out of myself and ruining a serious picture where the memo was to maintain a 'hard' look (whatever that means) with an eclectic mix of vagabonds, nomads, and ruffians. So in essence, all is well with the world. I'm still taking awful pictures and hanging out with frightening characters - and by frightening I mean better than you.

As an introvert, making friends has never been the easiest thing in the world (INFJs unite!). My parents thought there was something wrong with me when I was a baby because I was so utterly quiet. My case was probably helped by the fact that my older brother was a baby who screamed and cried all the time so when I came out in all my stoic and laconic austerity, I'm sure I seemed an anomaly. I hope I have a kid like that. I'd just put them in the corner with Legos and do whatever I felt like for the next 8 hours.

That quietness followed me most of my life and was broken sometime in 1998 when my family moved to El Paso and I made a friend who taught me that being loud and obnoxious was awesome. I was 10, don't blame me. Pokemon hadn't sunk its cerebral fangs in me yet. But still, even though I had broken out of my shell of introverted-ness (not a word) in a sense, I still maintained a quiet demeanor throughout my younger years. In high school, I always had small groups of close friends rather than droves of them. I prefer it that way and always have. To quote Robin Williams' character in Good Will Hunting, "We get to choose who we let into our weird little worlds."

And oh, how weird my world is.

I think the main reason it was hard for me to make friends that stuck around at an early age is because when it came down to it, most of them were too 'normal' for me. I didn't understand people who I understood perfectly. They were boring. Not that normalcy is boring, because the older I get the more convenient routines can be, but I was a kid and I wanted to form a collective with the weird, the ostracized, and the unusual. Because that was me. I had a forte for becoming fast friends with people who were usually rejected by society at large mostly because I was (and let's face it, I STILL am) used to being one of those people. I'm not saying I grew up oppressed by society and rebelled against socially accepted norms and was a goth or whatever. I'm saying I was friends with a kid named Jonathan Scher in 6th grade because he was obsessed with Bomberman 64 and could do a sweet Beavis & Butthead impression at the most inopportune times. His last name was Scher. Yes, like that one lady who used to do music with Pluto or whatever his name was.

How does one make friends in a new place? As mentioned in previous posts, I came to Seattle knowing 2 people. My friend Halye (as of this post, she is getting married tomorrow, woot!) was a buddy of mine from the old ACU days circa 2008-2009 and our families go way back. She had found herself up here after leaving (read: escaping) Texas. I also had a friend named Riley from my home church in Escondido who attended Seattle Pacific University. And that was it, all two of them. So how did I go from that to joining the ranks of the men above?

Take a good look at that picture again. The one guy who is obviously too cool for school (and he really is, trust me) in the middle of the picture, the guy wearing glasses - that's Dakota, Halye's fiance (also getting married tomorrow - coincidence??). I didn't know this guy or anything about him before I moved up here. But somehow, in the conversations with Halye that would stimulate my decision to make the move, it was brought up that I would need a place to stay. The conversation more or less went like this:

Me: "I would love to move there, but I'd need a place to stay."
Halye: "I can talk to my fiance, he has been saying he wants a roommate."
Me: "That's nice and all but I don't really know this guy and--"
Dakota: "Hey bro. Sleep in my room."

Next thing I knew he was texting me strange messages and emailing me and pretty much being as warm and inviting as a stranger 45 hours away from you who wants you to live with them can be. The deal was I could live with him in his house of six men as long as I cleaned up after myself (which let's be honest, is kind of like making sure the Bengals will miss the playoffs - always happens). And through Halye and Dakota, I was more or less pulled right into the crowd of people at Calvary Chapel, where I met most of the pictured above hooligans. It was kind one of those things where I didn't have a choice; I was pretty much enveloped by a tide of friendly people.

As the weeks went on, I found myself living, eating, and making music with most of the guys pictured above - those are just the civil things. Here a few vague highlights we've encountered:

- skating mishaps at parking garages
- really late night swims at Green Lake
- interesting things involving Icy Hot
- way, way too much How I Met Your Mother
- putting birds on parts of our bodies
- trips to retro video game stores
- instructions on how to play Yugioh

..and many more. In fact, that picture is the summation of Dakota's bachelor party weekend, which was a 3 day excursion into the outskirts of Washington at Shi Shi Beach, a place where you can camp within sight of Canada. I'll leave the more colorful details of that adventure out for now, but the fact is - in only 3 months I must say I am absolutely blessed to even have the opportunity to be able to do things like that with people I love already.

That was a fast chemical reaction because friends don't always happen like that.

Seeing as how God saw fit to give me a church home and a mobile group of loonies to spend my time with, I wondered how I would find the funds to keep up my oh-so-expensive life of dissipation and debauchery (I just wanted to say debauchery). That story is a little weirder - the one about finding a job. And I'll talk about that next time. But for now - Taylor, Austin, Nick C., Dakota, Matt R., Matt H., Nick W., Jordan Y., Dom, and PJ - thanks for that weekend.

Here's one last photo of the bird tattoos I got with some of the guys because why not:

PS congratulations to Halye & Dakota, soon to be Mr. and Mrs. Ford. You guys are way too awesome.