Doing Your Own Thing. Going Your Own Way.

I’ve felt alone most of my life, like a lone wolf. Here are some things I’ve learned about doing your own thing; going your own way.

You have to have confidence with the courage to understand yourself, for better or worse, hopefully for the better. Around the age of twenty-five, I decided to tackle my problems head on. I could have given in to drinking, smoking, drugs, and being a dick. I cared more about myself than hating others.

It required the confidence that I could do it and the courage to see myself as I was. I felt a lot of stress. Much was revealed on what was important to me. There were times I shut the world out because it seemed I was the only one who cared and wanted to make myself better. I couldn’t agree with the advice that said, “Just hide it away. Here, have a beer.”

You learn self-discipline. With nobody giving you guidance, you’ve got to know when and what to do to grow. I learned to draw, I learned to write, and best of all, I learned to understand much of the psychology that makes up human behavior and emotions. These skills and knowledge provided me the opportunity to learn empathy and expression, in a time and culture that’s focused on, “Look at me.”

You learn what’s important to you and what’s no longer important. At times I felt betrayed, others enlightened. You’ll lose harmful morals, ideas, and beliefs, in exchange for making room for what works best for you.

And here’s the toughest part to swallow about going on your own: you learn who is important in your life. I’ve reduced, or disconnected, my contact with some people in my life, because I found they were harming my pursuit of happiness. I’ve had friends who treated me like family, and people I once called friends, who didn’t even say hello once in a while.

Going your own way, doing your own thing, can be both challenging and exciting. However short or long your journey, be it a few days, a few months, or in my case, eight to nine years, there will be things that will surprise and shock you. The best thing you can do is have good friends around. Real friends. People who say hello, call you out, for better or worse, with the intention of telling you they want you in their life.

I hope you’ve learned something by reading this. I write often, and it’s usually quite personal. It takes a lot of confidence to put your thoughts and experiences out for others to read. You subject yourself to judgment, criticism, but hopefully, to getting closer to others. As friends, or lovers, whatever the case may be; they’re both welcoming.

Does Experience Matter in Dating?

I have limited dating experience: two dates, where both were set up without my knowledge, neither of which turned out well.

I have an anxiety of being with a woman with a bad attitude, who is resentful and handles frustration like a toddler. It’s the reason I don’t want to have children, which in turn makes dating a little more difficult. The difficulty being, most people date to find a mate, to potentially get married and start a family.

It’s been two years since I wanted to start dating and, “what are you waiting for, man up!” and all that shit. Sorry, it’s not easy. Here are the reasons I’ve been hesitant to dating, or if you want to be cynical, excuses.

The Bright Sides

But, before we get into that, I’m going to mix things up: let’s start with the good things! That way, we start off in a better mood.

I’m aging handsomely. I’ve never thought I was ugly, nor has anyone called me as such (except my brother, but w/e). I don’t obsess with how I look, but I know I haven’t always looked this good to me. I also got most of my dental work done, which was causing me real pain for a long, long time. (Ever have abscessed teeth? I did, for four years.)

I’m getting better at judging what works for me and what doesn’t. For one, I like when a woman dresses up nice. A little makeup, a form fitting dress (or a mini skirt/shorts). I’m over the kind of woman you’d take home to mom.

I actually have money to spend on dating. Go figure, I’m sure money is involved somewhere. Though I’d rather use it for starting a business / marketing a product, I can spare some of it for fun and to support this thing that is important to me.

Expected Experience

Ever look for a job, only to see they want someone with five years experience? You just graduated college and want to start your career, but the doors have been shut on you before they were open. Maybe there’s a window you can climb into! You feel you’re up against a wall of impossible requirements.

I feel similar about dating. It’s an irrational fear that a woman doesn’t care for a man’s dating experience. Yet, there’s the factor of subconscious choice: the feeling that something isn’t quite right because it’s not what you’re used to, so you make a decision to change things, or end them as it would be in dating.

I’ve been working since I was 12, and full-time since I was 19. Combined with my insatiable desire to learn and be productive, this has left little time to even socialize amongst friends. Honestly, I wouldn’t even know where to take a girl out. Something simple, like dinner for a night date, coffee/tea for lunch date, or, if it’s a holiday weekend, an event outdoors?
Being able to come up with these ideas probably isn’t difficult, and I’ve been told I’m a great gift giver. (That means I think of and remember details of others.) It’s just, at my age (29), people have expectations.

Immediate Entertainment

I don’t mind being the one to get things rolling. I could ask simple questions, but that gets me stuck in the process of being dishonestly polite. You know, that sort of politeness you have to have with strangers and (if you’re in an office) professionals from prospective clients.
It’s called small talk, and I know how it works. The problem is, I’m not comfortable with it. I’ve always felt small talk to be dishonest because it’s deliberate. It dodges the point of dating by covering things up with boring topics that don’t support the purpose of dating: to find a supportive partner, someone to love, someone to have sex with, whatever your goal is. If the goal of dating was to meet strangers and keep them as strangers then small talk would be the best form of communication.

It seems like a stretch, but I’d rather a woman be like a Bond Girl: straight to the point and doesn’t waste time with what she doesn’t want. Perhaps that’s fantasy and women like that don’t exist, but that sort of honesty makes romantic communication entertaining.
I get bored and find it difficult to further a conversation if there’s nothing to go on except for the weather, if I want children or not, and what my plans are for the future. I want stimulation.

Sexual Experience

I’m no fool when a woman is trying to seduce me. Here’s the problem: only married women have tried. That, and before high school, it was easy for me to get close to a girl. Mind you, I’ve never acted on the married women (nor would I), and nothing happened when I was still a kid.
I recall a few things: first girl I kissed was when I was eight, and I would sneak up to her bedroom and make out for a good long hour. While her dad was home. Before high school, a girl I met just thirty minutes earlier had already invited me up to her bedroom, but her parents came home before the doors were closed. Just as high school was ending, I was went from meeting a girl to making out with her in the back of her car in less than two hours.

I don’t have a problem with intimacy, I just only want sex with someone I’m sexually attracted to. Which begs the question: is it my experience that’s limiting, or the woman I’m interested in?
Yes, I do consider the woman’s sexual expectations. No, I don’t judge her experiences and experiments, unless she’s into bestiality, I can’t do that. That’s just sick.

If she’s had bad experiences, maybe she’s less trusting to have more partners. Maybe she’s disappointed with the lack of understanding. I get that, and that’s one of the reasons I read the occasional romance novel, and non-fiction sexuality books written by women.
I’m not ashamed of my lack of sexual experience. I have nothing to be ashamed of, both experience wise and physically. I won’t brag like some college boy with a GPA of two.

Judgement

I don’t like unfair judgement by others, specifically when compared to others. With this blog, people take the time to read my thoughts, and carry forth with a more knowledgeable assessment.

I don’t like being judged on the behavior of others. A woman I’m interested in, at least in looks, seems to most guys the kind of woman that’d be “up for anything and everything,” but I know she’s a respectable woman. She wasn’t quick to judge me, but I’m pointing her out as an example: there are guys out there who drop pick up lines and make assumptions of women based on how they look / dress.

This, unfortunately, can cause judgement on me to be pretty rash. A year ago I introduced myself to a different woman, because I knew who she was and she was standing right next to me. She thought I was trying to pick up on her, though I said nothing of the sort that would indicate interest. It illustrates my point that experience has an affect on my ability to show who I am.
I know it can be difficult for people to be open without judgement. I don’t expect people to be open to everyone. I know I’m not.


 

I’m still looking, hoping, wanting to love, date, and have fun.

Where I Was, Where I Am

Five years ago, I was different than I am today. I’ve changed on the outside, and on the inside a whole lot more. Most of what I’ve learned I learned on my own, which is a recurring theme in my life.

Five years ago, I felt neurotic. I had a negative view brought on by how I viewed life and how life was talked about from those before me. Today, that type of thinking is like a sneeze: there for a moment, but quickly gone.

Five years ago, I hated working. I felt surrounded by people who didn’t care, didn’t get what I was capable of. Today, regardless of the attitude of others, I am the one that must care for me, and understand what I am capable of.

Five years ago, I wasn’t open about myself. I feared hurtful criticism because of a bully in the home, and the bad attitudes of peers and adults in school. Today, I’m open to people who are happy to hear from me; I’m open to anyone, even strangers. When others just want to be critical, unsupportive, destructive, I ignore their disgruntled ramblings.

Five years ago, I wasn’t creative. I didn’t express myself through writing or illustrating. I didn’t care because nobody else cared. Today, I write, illustrate, bake, and program software to be creative. My wish is to have more experience with being creative socializing, while remaining honest, which works best for me (and can be entertaining to others).

Five years ago, I didn’t want to date. Ten years ago, I didn’t want to date. I didn’t care, because I didn’t believe anyone would be interested in me, and I don’t blame them. Today, I want to experience those things in life that people say is “no big deal,” but means a lot to me. “No big deal” to me says they don’t really care about their relationships. I don’t think that way.

Five years ago, I was emotionally wired like a Griswald Christmas tree. Bad examples and experience taught me to hold things in; to hide them because all people would do is say, “get over it,” like I shouldn’t care about how I felt. Today, I am better. I have improved that part of myself and aligned my thoughts, behavior, and emotions, in a compelling harmony. Emotions do matter in life; I know I am human, and others are, too.

Five years ago, I was different. Today, I’m still different. The only difference is, I’m happy to be different.

Five years ago, I was an introvert and unhappy about most things. Today, I’m happy, even if I’m not fluttering around like a social butterfly.

Five years from now, I will be better.

Five years from now, I’ll have known what it’s like to love someone.

Five years from now, I’ll think about this day, and be proud of myself, for I have truly something to be proud of.

Not Drinking is My Problem

Carl visits a shrink.Hi, my name is Carl, and I’m twenty-nine years sober. I’ve been able to abstain from partaking in the communal bonding fluid that assists in releasing inhibitions.

What was once judged a psychological malfunction of naivety is actually an ailment I refuse to experience again. I tried wine this past summer, and in five minutes a sharp pain moved into my forehead, renting the space for three days. This, from the amount you’d take of NyQuil to cure a cold.

My sobriety poses serious social risks, including: Crossing the line between refusing kind gestures and respecting my wishes; being sanctioned for committing a travesty upon a non-existent trust; severing ties that had not been sewn; and breaking bonds that were not bound.

Mixed reactions are expected when one learns I don’t drink. Typically, it is a question that screams I have crossed a moral boundary: “What, you don’t drink!?” I’ve suddenly become an anomaly in the social-acceptance-continuum. This reaction is inevitably followed by, “Why? What prohibits you from maintaining a balanced diet with a three-to-one ratio of fermented hopps-to-water?”

Coworkers don’t pressure me to drink at work and they enjoy my company. My family doesn’t pressure me to drink and they enjoy my company. In fact, anywhere that alcohol is not the central purpose for being there, I am accepted. I can hang out at parties of people I know who are drinking and have no problem. But bars? Forget it.

When someone points out that I don’t drink it puts me on the spot: I’m the poster they pinned on the wall, the center of discussion. Their pressure creates a sense of shame as others look on, waiting for me to give in and give up, or be the stick in the mud. I feel embarrassed because I have to expose myself to the judgement of others, when I didn’t ask for it.

It’s nice to be around people. To have friends. Real friends who accept who you want to be, who you are, what you do and don’t do. It’s okay to offer me a drink, and it’s okay for me to refuse.

I’ve lived with alcoholics. I’ve lived with people who don’t drink. I’ve been friends with people who have been on the wagon, off the wagon, and snarled up in its wheels. As they get older the pressure turns into advice and becomes, “No, you really shouldn’t drink.”

Maybe it’s shame that people are confusing with being offended when I refuse a drink. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’m not judging people who drink because they drink, or why they drink. I judge them for excluding me from being friends because I don’t drink. That’s the real problem here. My Not Drinking is Not My Problem, and it never was.

It’s good for me to get these thoughts out. I don’t dwell on them, it just sucks when the situation presents itself, and there’s little you can do but hope others will accept you. Women are more accepting than men, and that’s a good thing. Other guys just feel a need to pressure, but that’s for a subject of the ego and pride.

10 Things I’m Excited About

1. Being creative with my work, hobbies, and interests.

2. Making it a point to learn something new every day, that isn’t in the news.

3. Learning about, discussing human behavior, and helping others with that knowledge.

4. Challenging myself to improve my writing, illustrations, and programming.

5. Cooking something new, even if it’s just a little bit different than the last time.

6. Toning with yoga and a bit of dancing.

7. Seeing and hearing from people I love and admire.

8. I have a job where my innovations and creations are a major part of the company’s business.

9. When I better understand and know myself, through the help of writing and friends.

10. When I remind myself I’m not ashamed of honesty in the face of obscurity and criticism.

Expressing Yourself

I spent some time last night across the stroke of midnight and wrote nine and 1/4 pages by hand of some thoughts about my childhood. It taught me that, expressing myself was something I haven’t done much of. Without writing the full pages here, this is a summary:

Holding my emotions, thoughts, and actions in, to avoid ridicule and criticism. I never had the kind of environment that was healthy for expressing myself. Teachers, my eldest brother, kids and adults in the neighborhood, and almost anywhere else. Anxiety has been a long part of my life.

And so I’ve realized, in the past nine years I’ve worked in offices, and other jobs before that, is you can’t express your true self there. For the most part in nearly any job, even the creative ones — that I’ve tried, such as Graphic Design — you’re not projecting an extension of yourself. You’re told what to do, what to create, and even how to create it; it’s sad, and inhuman.

I think it’s important to live a healthy happy life to express yourself, especially in places and ways you won’t be attacked with harsh criticism and vitriol. As we go through adolescence we gain some self-consciousness, and if we don’t fight this and get rid of it, we can, like I have for pretty much all my 27 years, can’t truly he happy.

I’ve always been afraid of living a life wherein I was never known for anything but being a cog in the wheel. Lost in the race. What happened though is I ran myself into this race without taking time away from everything. Bombarded with constant work and constantly trying to improve my work, I never learned I have to blow it all off. And yet, this is what I’ve done time and time again; with the six jobs I’ve quit.

Each time, though, I was immediately jumping back in based on the fear that I wouldn’t have anything; a place to sleep, something to eat, and so on. Some of you may know, or not, but my mother spends much time with the youthful homeless. She takes them to the hospital, doctors, grocery shopping, and other places, to help them out.

Their spirit is strong; they have nothing, but they’re happy. They’re free from the bondage of being employed in a place wherein they can’t express themselves. Some may say this type of life is horrible; but let’s not forget how many people were free during the summer of love. True freedom, I believe, and happiness, only comes from ridding ourselves of the binds that make us an extension of someone else.

It’s making it difficult to want to return to work, and contemplating just giving up all these material goods. I have a library of more than 100 books; movies and video games. This pressure to jump back in, just doesn’t seem like something I want to do anymore so easily. I need to be able to express myself, and be listened to. I think we all do.

Anxiety Sucks

Anxiety has a way of affecting my work. It’s limiting, distracting, and damaging. It’s been more than a month since I wrote anything in the sequel to a work of fiction, and a week since I’ve drawn a comic strip about the characters.

I think in the coming couple of months, my roommate will want me to move out if I don’t find work. So it’s putting me into this really shitty position, with a lot of fear of the future hanging over my head. I’m tired of this cycle; I’ve been here before, and it sucked then, too.

Things did work out then, but only to get by – for five years. I don’t think I can stand doing that again; putting my own work on hold for another five years. And then another, and so on and so on, until I’m too old to work. Like where my mother is heading; she’s been working since she was fourteen, and now has some bone-related health problems at nearly fifty-two.

Something about just constantly getting by is ticking me off. I can’t stand that shit anymore; it seems to be the demand society wants to throw on me. There’s little, if any, interest of anyone in my family in the things I want to do: writing and stand up comedy.

My brother tells me I need to get a job, and I know he means well; I want an income – not another decade of bullshit. I’ve been through enough of that. I’ve been through that stuff for my entire life. It’s amazing how much of my life has gone by doing a lot of work, and how little of it I have got out of it.

Maybe I’m not shooting high enough. But then, the demands on the higher jobs expect my attitude to be adjusted to it, too. I’m sick of that nonsense where people expect me to be some perfect little gentleman. It’s not me. I’m not a dick to people; but I’m also not there to change my attitude to someone else’s expectations. I need to be able to remain honest in everything I do; integrity is important to me. More important than a dollar.

The little support from my family is annoying. I have relatives that haven’t even bothered to take a look at a comic strip – something that might take less than a minute of their time. It took six months to get my sister to read one of my works. I don’t know; everyone’s life seems so busy when I’m not busy, and when I had a job, they seemed welcome to having me help.

It’s irritating. Having done so much work, and then having to return to do the same thing, knowing neither has brought me closer to a more free life. I’ve felt trapped by this notion that I should have a boss; that someone else should take one-third of my day.

So I’m constantly reminded of this – staring at Craigslist, Monster (which sucks), and other job boards out there. What makes things worse, none of my friends seem to give a rat’s ass to help me find work. A lot of loneliness; and I have no professional contacts. It feels like I’ve been ripped away from any chance of finding work because of the obsessive compulsiveness of potential employers.

These minor inconveniences; you can’t even apply for a job in person anymore. Nobody wants a resume given to them at a front desk. It’s intrusive; some asshole turned it around to a negative thing. Initiative, once thought of as a great virtue, is now considered a sin in business. Everything needing to be quickly planned in some agile environment; yet, they can’t even consider just letting someone drop off a piece of paper or two.

That builds more anxiety. I know these mangers are using software to search through tons of resumes. I think it’s despicable; letting a computer determine if a human is capable of doing a job. What a sick twist of irony; being a software developer.

The Past 9 Months Have Been Revealing

It’s now been just one day past nine months since I quit my last job, and I have to tell you, the time I’ve spent away have been quite revealing.

I was never one to have respect for indifferent and apathetic authority, and it didn’t come clear to me until these past nine months. I have been expelled from three schools, all before I was ten years old; my mother let me home-school myself twice. I got in fights, arguments, yelling, and the like.

A part of me changed when I went to high school. You’d think that, a kid who didn’t get along in elementary, would have some real trouble in high school. But something changed; I think it was the first time I stopped giving a shit what the adults thought of me. I stopped caring about being a “good kid.” Up until I was 13, I attended church with my mother, even though my brothers and sisters didn’t, and I had the choice not to go.

It was in these four years that I began to realize that I have to stop caring about what people in authority want. Their objective was to get their pay; to get the good grades, to have someone approve of them — the same thing I was doing, and that was causing a constant uphill conflicting battle, of not giving a shit, and caring about what others think.

As you can guess, I didn’t date in high school. It wasn’t that big of an interest in mine, and even today, it isn’t. I’m not afraid to admit, I just want sex; but I’m also not willing to roll over on some girl and break her heart, get her hopes and dreams up. It’s not in my schedule to defile another person’s ambitions — the same thing that authority had constantly done to me.

I recall I cursed often — I still do, because language and meaning are subjective — and was sent to the principal with referrals in high school. The first, and each, time I did, I stood in front of the principal and tore the referral in half. I didn’t give a shit. I was even sent to detention one time, in the middle of class; I didn’t go — I just didn’t go. Nothing happened! Absolutely nothing happened!

This lesson was revealing to me that people in authority like to push their agenda for their own purposes, not mine. A fine lesson in being cooperative. I also got my second job in high school, and apparently, it was a requirement to get my work permit — because I was 16 — signed by the work experience teacher. So I brought it to him, and he was at lunch; I dropped it in his inbox, then came back to pick it up. He decided that he wasn’t going to sign it unless I was there when I gave it to him — as if I was acting like his boss, giving him paperwork to do his job, and he could say no. I basically told him to fuck off, and he can’t do anything about my employment. Once again, nothing happened because of it.

This taught me that, once authority knows they’re wrong about something, they’re less likely to punish those they threaten to punish. This really kicked in my mind that authority was full of shit — full of empty threats. That’s not to say I haven’t been punished for my indiscretions, but most of them are full of shit.

So, reflecting on this for the past nine months, and all the previous years of work, I’ve discovered I don’t care about authority figures — because they don’t care about me. Self-interest, without responsibility, while remaining indifferent and apathetic to the problems of those they’re supposed to care for. That is, until, their power is threatened; until they feel their position will be compromised.

This is who I am. My mother listened to and raised me on rock-n-roll, a music rooted in voicing opinions against the established order of bullshit. She taught me to not let people control you; don’t give them that power. At times I’ve found myself doing this, but I always end up getting out of it — taking away their power over me. Liberation and freedom.

I’ve also learned about myself that I’m not a fan of material possessions, but experiences. This is why I value writing, reading, and expressing one’s self with those who share a similar interest and life. It’s really difficult to find those people who share my interests; I’m usually surrounded by conservatives who grew up in a time that bigotry and media-molded minds are the norm. Bigger TVs, I bought one — 32 inch, but now, I have a 17 inch.

I’m generally not out-going. I spend much of my time indoors, and for the past nine months, in the same room. These nine months have revealed to me that I’m the kind of person that wants to be disconnected from this so-called fast-paced world, where everyone has to get everything they can get. It’s given me the realization that I don’t have the desire to constantly have messages, calls, and demands thrown at me; that I don’t care much for going out every weekend, or even more than once a month. I like my thoughts; they’re comforting, because I’m not arguing with myself based on some mindless reason, like something someone heard in the media, a politician, or in a religious authority that threatens humanity with doom and destruction.