Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Call Me Ponyboy

‘Tis the season of stress and strain, financially and emotionally. With the holiday shopping season upon us—we just passed Black Friday – the days at the bookstore begin to whip by at a breakneck pace. I work like a dog in a retail environment during the time of the year when stores hope for their biggest sale days. It’s the end of the year. The last chance to catch up to, or surpass last year’s totals. Add to that mix the fact that I’m moving with my family to a new house in the next few weeks, and it becomes stress overload. At least for me it does. I’m just a man, not a superman, although kryptonite does not seem to bother me at all. Go figure.

I'm a celebrant of one.

Leave it to me. I must be addicted to feeling like an outsider. I’m an atheist and I married into a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I feel like a Fish out of water. A square peg in a round hole. Like a dog without a bone. There are no holiday celebrations. No Christmas lights or birthday cakes. On Christmas Eve our house is always the darkest on the block, while the rest of the neighborhood is aglow. Having grown up on holidays, and continuing that tradition until marrying my current wife, I can say without equivocation that I miss celebrating the holidays.

It doesn’t do any good to get mad at the world, because the world is indifferent. All that anger just raises my blood pressure, hardens my arteries and chaps my ass. I don’t fall in for phoofy terminology, but my inner child is pissed off. Day one – at birth – I was given up for adoption; something about the wrong eye color. I was then raised by wolves for six months before being adopted by the hillbillies from the hinterlands. I never truly felt like a vital part of my family, which made it all that much more difficult to fit into the greater society at large.

I need to pause and reflect for a moment. Kiss my son’s forehead, and remember my breathing. My son is so kind and empathetic. He inspires me to be a better person. My parents never said the words “I love you” to us until we were grown and started saying it to them. I guess then they felt that it was okay to respond in kind. It was one of those households, where you knew you were loved, because you were fed and clothed and had a roof over your head. Beyond that, what? You want hugs, or something? How does it feel to want?

"I forgot my mantra."

The holidays come and go, and I just get older. I’m not a lapsed Catholic, but I do qualify as an Angry Buddhist. I can’t seem to muster up enough Zen to release my thoughts to the idiot wind. Life is short and my mean little old heart could give out tomorrow. Is this really how I want to spend my last days? Mad at the world? I rather spend it loving my son, hearing the birds sing and the writing inane blog posts like this one. I’m not throwing in the towel just yet. I’ve still got some fight left in me, but more importantly, I still have a lot of love to give, and it would be a shame to die without having given it all away. What else is love for, but to offer it freely, and without infection?

Instead of feeling like a fish out of water, I want life to be like shooting fish in a barrel.

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