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.

Adulthood: A 4th Grade Presentation

Hi, kids! It’s me, Uncle Carl from Carl’s Corner! That crevice where two walls meet where nobody else hangs out. Your teacher asked me to give you a presentation on the wonders of adult life today. If anyone needs to take a shit, now’s the time to do it.

Nobody? Good. I didn’t want to wait anyway.

Now sit there behind your state-issued, lifeless, cold desks with its inoffensive yellow smoothness, and plant your ass on the equally uncomfortable plastic chairs that will give you back problems for the rest of your lives. Uncle Carl is going to tell you what Mommy and Daddy do while you’re stuck here in this prison.

First, your parents told you this place would be fun. Sure, you believed them, when in kindergarten you ran around carelessly meeting friends, painting pictures, and drinking glue. Wasn’t that a special time of your life? I bet you miss it already. Now you’re frozen in line, quiet as a statue, studious and awaiting instructions, from an unbiased textbook written by some loser who couldn’t do anything meaningful with his knowledge.

For some of you, Daddy is at work, while Mommy is taking care of the home. She’s out shopping to buy you new clothes, cleaning up not only after you, but also your Dad. Picking up his beer cans, wiping his crumbs off the dinner table, because her drunk bastard of a husband never learned to eat with his mouth closed.

Don’t you just hate when your parents tell you how to eat? “Chew with your mouth closed!” What’s mom afraid of, having her son emulate his father? She’s already repulsed by one man, the last thing she wants is to see a miniature one, like a midget in a bad holiday movie. Chew with your mouth closed, kids. It just might get you laid.

The rest of you probably have a Mommy who does all the work. Daddy doesn’t have a job. When you get home, I bet the house looks like shit. Clothes and dishes are everywhere, and both mom and dad are too tired from work to clean. Except Daddy isn’t the one who’s really tired; he just acts that way because he wants people to feel sorry for his lazy ass.

Kids, your Mommy’s the real victim here.

You little girls here will learn one day how much men shit on women. You’ll be expected to have a career, be a full time mother, and still pick up the shit stained underwear mysteriously left in the halls of your once beautiful home. On top of that, you’re expected to have a perky attitude about all your contributions, unless you want to be called an ugly cunt.

There’s a word you girls will come to love: contribution. You’re expected not only to be the family mediator, while Daddy’s hot temper gets his fist within swinging distance of Mommy’s tits, others in your neighborhood will expect you to get involved in community activities, unless you want to be judged as a crazy old maid who hates everyone.

Boys, get an education, because these independent, career-minded women won’t deal with picking up after your shit for long. They’ll earn their own money, because in today’s world, women don’t have to submit to being beaten in the middle of dinner because they forgot to pay the electric bill. You know, between making lunch for everyone in the family, dressing the kids, and the father, then cleaning up that orange juice that just won’t come off the table, and somehow making it to work on time, where she’ll have to blow her boss just to keep her job.

Did I mention Mommy works harder than Daddy, and Daddy complains more than Mommy? I hope you boys learn who the real bitch in the relationship is, because I can tell you right now, she doesn’t have a pair of tits and vagina.

How’s the cafeteria food around here? Judging by the burgeoning waistline of 40% of you, it must be pretty good. What are they feeding the other 60%, broccoli and that celery stick with peanut butter and raisins? That’s called ants on a log, a nutritious and delicious snack for people who, later in life, will suffer from insecurity and depression because they’re worried about their body image. Especially you women, who will have those thoughts beaten into you from men and other women who think they’re prettier than you.

I like to think they feed you kids right, but I know they don’t. When I was a kid, they started taking milk out of a carton, and putting it into a bag. A shitty little pouch you punched a straw into and squeezed the milk out, like squeezing a girl’s tits. Some of you will experience that some day, the rest of you boys will just lie about it.

Moving along, don’t they give you some salad, in those tiny cups, already soaked in ranch dressing? It’s not enough. Salad itself is not enough for a kid. They should just give you kids a whole head of lettuce and a bottle of Creamy Caesar from Ken’s Kitchen. Now that I take another glance at you buckets of lard, might want to make it Lite Creamy Caesar.

I can tell by the depressed look on some of you that you’ve been bullied. I got news for you: it never ends. The bullies continue to be assholes well into adult life. Not that you’d notice. There is no Disney movie miracle that plays out where the kid getting his ass kicked today becomes the hero tomorrow.

Bullies just learn new tricks. They like to disguise themselves today as masters of the art of finance, economics, business management, and running technology start-ups funded by their bully friend investors, who earned their money from laundering and bully tactics. Bully tactics, like suing your best friend for five-billion dollars and fifteen years in prison, just for sharing one too many MP3s of Hannah Montana.

Alright, I think it’s time I covered the topic of sex, my 4th-graded individuals. Sex is a three-letter word that sells anything, especially to idiots. Sex is an act of love, lust, and something insecure women do when they’re shit-faced drunk, and some of you will find this out in college. The rest of you will never know what it’s like to have sex with a girl under the age they have to lie about.

That last one doesn’t include you little ladies, as you’ll learn that society has little problem with girls experimenting with girls, and a severe hatred of guys experimenting with guys. Part of that male dominance and double standard you’ll encounter: lesbians are hot, fags should be beaten.

Don’t forget disease, children! When you get to high school, you’ll be reminded by your teachers about how having sex can make you sick, disgusting, and need to lay on a hospital gurney, gripping your balls as you scream out in agony, shouting, “Why did I fuck that whore!?”

One message after the other will be thrown your way that sex, and wanting sex, is a sin. A terrible thing that can get you in trouble, ruin your finances, and turn that prom queen girlfriend into an old hag overnight. Some of you will have the confidence to not give a shit and fuck each other anyway; some of you will be so afraid that you’ll wait until you get drunk in college to wake up and find out you won’t remember your first time; still, others will fuck and fondle themselves, to the world’s freest source of sexual stimulation, the Internet.

Speaking of things that give you bad information, I have one final lesson to prepare you for the adult world: you will endure for the next eight years one terrible message after the other, rooted in a neurotic hatred of life from teachers, parents, and other authority figures.

You’ll be told you’re being prepared for the real world. That knowing the middle name of the sixth President of the United States, and who his favorite midnight mistress was, would help you keep that shitty job as a bar mitzvah clown.

You’ll be pressured to succeed, thereby pitting you against the fear of being impoverished. That if you don’t succeed, you’ll be a bum, wearing dirty clothes, getting drunk every night, and pissing on someone else’s lawn. Then again, a lot of you will be doing that in college anyway. The acts aren’t too far off from each other, just under different financial circumstances.

Most of you will be shown a dream of instant success, too. That tossing that cap and gown somehow guarantees you a job like your mom and dad’s. They didn’t tell you the truth, because they don’t want to kill your ambition, but Uncle Carl will: You’ll have to endure one shitty boss after the other. And the more you take it, the longer it will take you to be your own boss. Better get started now, because it’s a short road to complacency, and a long road to independence.

I hope I haven’t scared any of you little guys and gals from becoming an adult. Have a pleasant journey, and see you next year for 5th grade orientation, where I will introduce the wonders of a political landscape that has such a dramatic and meaningful presence in your otherwise insignificant lives.