Winner of the ‘hottest redhead you can find on Google at short notice’ competition… [Photo credit to Jenna Rutter]

I met a friend for the first time in about twenty years this weekend, as part of a larger, somewhat annual trip to attend a family barbecue. The barbecue itself was superb; well prepared, lots of fun with an unconventional mix of otherwise good-hearted people. It was one of those events where you came out feeling better about humankind, with a belief in community & forgetting about all the hate about how terrible the world now is, spewed mostly for clicks & sales.

Meeting Imam was an interesting experience. Fortunately we’d had some contact in the aforementioned twenty year gap, but I was pleased to note his core attributes hadn’t really changed at all. He’d always been a well mannered & respectful person, & this remained. If anything, it had served him very well in his journey; basically discovering a passion for accounting (yes, such people do exist it seems), contending with supporting health issues with his mother, becoming a driving instructor pretty much solely for the money & again planning on going back into accountancy. A fairly solid plan all in all, for a guy who until the age of sixteen was being groomed to become a Muslim imam by his conservative father, & has resisted his attempts by the same to be married off via an arranged marriage. Not that I’m personally against arranged marriage as practically if both parties consent it’s effectively the same as a online dating service. In credit to Imam, he had resisted this as his father was trying to marry him off to an illiterate farmhand from the ‘homeland’ of Pakistan, & he’d refused by way of his own dignity & self respect.

What was very interesting, is that he noted even by way of an arranged marriage, the options presented to him locally were little more than the same those of us using conventional dating would come across; superficiality, consumerist mindset with no real practical skills such as being able to cook or so forth. While I’m not one to demand that a woman include cooking among her skill set, if I can do it so should my partner. Furthermore, I do still believe to this day that if a woman can cook or not is a major pointer as to her suitability for a relationship. Not the only indicator of course, but certainly an important one.

After I’d shared the equivalent of the last twenty years of my life with him, he looked at me a little shocked. I hadn’t pulled any punches as he’s obviously a trustworthy person. He looked at me a little longer before saying, ‘You’ve been through the grinder a bit haven’t you?‘. I thought about it & although I’m always remiss to take up the victim mantel on account of it being so commonplace nowadays, I compared my experiences to his own & had to admit, that except for the loss of his mother & his father’s cold factual approach to dealing with it only days later, he had not came close to experiencing what I had. I had recounted to him the lifestyle I had about three years ago now, where I’d had almost unlimited amounts of money, women & confidence. Then, everything I touched turned to gold. My conversion rate with women was extremely high. Approaching girls was no problem whatsoever. I don’t even remember putting that much effort in. Of course I’d meet girls but as soon as I’d got them into my place, I’d go for it & either back off if they clearly weren’t comfortable or convert if they were, which honestly most of the time they were.

Those days seem very far away now. Now I feel like I’ve been traumatised by something & am always living in fear of something happening. This past week for example, FilipinoHostess went from being very horny to having been crying via a quick bathroom trip. When I’d come back to Venezuelan after catching up with the Imam, she’d mentioned how she’d like to visit me again in the central European state. I scoured the bathroom after I’d smoothed things over with FilipinoHostess that day & dispatched her, only to find absolutely nothing that could have provoked such a reaction. Now all I think about is how if Venezuelan visits, she could see whatever this mysterious unidentifiable indicator is too, & then I have an awful dramatic situation once again. Avoiding that & not having yet another drama to deal with, will be in my eyes a successful weekend. I’ve had enough dramatic episodes for a lifetime.

After arriving for the barbecue the previous day, I had ended up spending two days & one night at home. I’d enjoyed having the whole family there. Everyone together, having fun, no one with serious health problems & no stupid tensions upheld by little more than ego’s pride. In light of people seemingly dropping like flies in the last couple of years, I was content to just have these moments with all the important people in my life around me. As I left with Venezuelan, I admittedly struggled massively, choking down a full set of tears. It was somewhat bizarre given that it had been a fully successful weekend, with no mishaps or underlying bad news. But for whatever reason, as with a lot of things recently, I have been feeling a sense of finality. Every time I’ve been around someone of worth to me recently, if I’ve been leaving them I’ve been feeling as though it’s the last time I’ll see them. It’s quite disconcerting. Is my mind subconsciously preparing me for something?

I saw the first flashes of something I strongly disliked this weekend with Venezuelan. We had been speaking about politics of all things (not usually a good idea). I had instigated it by losing my temper a little, although as she embarrassingly stormed off from the restaurant in response with me trailing behind, it was something I can’t stand. I apologised to keep the peace, but I packed all of my stuff in preparation which didn’t go unnoticed & when I raised that perhaps she could apologise for the way she’d responded, I was met with a incredulous response, which I quickly dodged out of. But although we have officially made up & apparently everything is fine, I haven’t forgotten that. There will no longer be a point in my life where I will tolerate behaviour like that & irrespective of how things pan out with us, I know I always have a choice.

Generally speaking, I feel like I’ve been looking in a lot of places & within a lot of people to find happiness recently. I had thought about two weeks ago I had reached that point, but now I’m not so sure. The way I felt when I’d left home again (that is, my real home) made me realise how I’d missed both the simplicity of my old life & also those people who sooner or later, just aren’t going to be there one day. Perhaps I’ve been looking for answers to questions that I’d only imagined myself, & in fact everything I’d ever really needed was within myself, but just needed to either fixed or satiated, or fixed by being satiated. I desire closeness & love, but am equally terrified of the vulnerability I have to expose in order to feel that. Even the concept of time passing & everyone constantly ageing; weakening, is awful. I now begin to think perhaps a bright life & dying earlier is somewhat merciful, rather than watching everyone you’ve ever loved disappearing one by one.

The Imam had told me some of the stories of some mutual friends also, which was interesting. One that had stuck out in particular was the story of Sonny as he liked to be called, who had aspired to work as a psychotherapist. He’d somewhat achieved his goal before having to get out after burnout. The Imam recounted to me an example of a situation that led him to this, as Sonny sat in front of a man whose son was critically ill & soon to unavoidably die, & who the same man’s wife had died giving birth to this critically ill child. The man sat there, saying how much pain he was in, that perhaps it’d be better if he died too, as he’d ‘failed at this life’ & if there was another life, he could try again. Understandably he was broken.

What can you say to someone like that, in that situation? Life can be brutal.

~ Unjaded

The Dream

This is the result of googling 'contentedness'. Hey, if it works for 'Super Pop', it works for me...

This is the result of googling ‘contentedness’. Hey, if it works for ‘Super Pop’, it works for me…

I had a vision of happiness last night, during a short (thanks to the spicy Indian food I ate the previous evening) but otherwise very good sleep.

Interestingly, I ‘awoke’ in my dream. As I opened my eyes, without even another action I immediately felt warm, rested & content, yet excitedly so – the type of feeling you have when you’re involved in something with a definite goal & purpose, with others who share exactly the same goal as yourself. No aches. No pains. No overbearing worries from your life landing on your brow seconds after waking. Just contentedness & genuine promise for the forthcoming day. A real optimistic desire.

As I began to turn my head, I started to look around. The room resembled a room I used to occasionally stay in as a kid on the bottom floor of my childhood home, before my mother rented it out to a lodger. It was my bedroom for a while & I always felt good there. It was always warm, deep within the house & quiet, with the slightest musty smell that became quite comforting due to it’s familiarity.

But instinctively, I knew it wasn’t there. I felt as though I was in a foreign country, among a group of other like minded people, all with the aforementioned common goal. The next thought vividly flashed into my head in an instant; I’d played in a football / soccer game the previous night. I’d come on as a substitute for an European game in the seventy sixth minute, playing on the right wing. I could even remember my performance as though it was seconds ago; in my relatively short time on the field I’d ran tirelessly, harried the opposition, showed some good touches & most of all, made some good passes. I remember being commended on my impact & more importantly, being satisfied with my own performance.

The door to this room opened & a man in his late forties or early fifties announced himself, telling us we had to get up. I looked to my left & saw two teammates who I’d be sharing the room with, the nearest one giving me a knowing smile about the guy who’d woke us.

Then, I woke up for real. I was still tired but couldn’t sleep again as it was near the time I’d set my alarm for. As in the dream, I felt good. There were no aches in my body from training the previous days or sleeping uncomfortably, & as I lay there with my eyes closed for some more minutes, I again felt the same feeling of contentedness again as I did in the dream.

I then had to rush downstairs as yesterday’s spicy Indian decided to begin to exit my body.

However, despite this unwanted & somewhat uncomfortable interruption, this dream has had a profound affect on me. It’s reiterated the importance of being self aware. I listen to funk music, I feel good & charged up. I listen to certain rap or trip hop, & I go deeper into the darker side of my personality. But personally I don’t realise this sometimes & I guess many others struggle with being able to observe yourself, particularly during these emotionally driven moments.

Furthermore, it’s reinforced & even demonstrated to me the notions of happiness; what I should be aiming for as a person. The fulfillment gained by working towards a tangible goal, other than the simple exchange of services for money. A reminder of what I should be feeling every day as I continue through life, actualising my goals & desires across the board, rather than the burdens of worry, self doubt & what I ‘should’ be doing; handicapped every innovation or urge that attempts to jolt me into living life. What I ‘should’ be doing, is exactly what I want, that will make me happy.

In the end, the race is only against ourselves’ – A song from long ago.

~ Unjaded