Posts Tagged ‘boring

28
Feb
17

My Response to “Bored Life in Wisconsin” (Dear Abby)

*****
You can find my response to this and other letters on the designated page. But, while you’re here, have a read.

Bored Life is a fifteen year-old teenager suffering from a mix of social anxiety and depression. It’s uncertain if this person is a boy or girl. But, they are clearly at a crossroad in life, lacking friendship and comfortable chats with peers, questioning acceptance of their chosen hobbies, wanting desperately to improve their situation. [I didn’t know kids (or “young adults”) still play Dungeons and Dragons.]

Abby suggests joining some groups to stimulate social activity. And, that’s sound advice (even I have yet to follow). But, I suspect this teen is resistant to joining (as I was/am). And, that may be why he/she is having such difficulty. I will speak from experience and, hopefully, provide some reassurance. But, considering my ongoing struggles, I can’t promise much. Still, it may shed some light on the paid advisor for future cases.

————–

Bored Life? I’m going to give you more than something or “anything.” Not just advice but also some of my own experience with what you are facing.

Lesson number one. Don’t ever say you’re bored or boring. Because, to the people that matter in your life, you’re not.

As I read your letter, I am checking off all the points that may match not just my teenage years but also my adult life. Repetitive schedule (including the details you gave)? Check. Depressed? Check. Inability to drive? Check. Trouble talking to others–aka social anxiety–double check. Parents that don’t go anywhere/do anything to stimulate your mind…nor, apparently, your bond/relationship with them? [Which may be something we want to discuss, later.] Double check. No friends with whom you can hang out/feel at ease with in person? Double check and an exclamation point!

Right now–and for who knows how long–you don’t have a “crowd.” You don’t have your niche. You’re a rare purple song bird in a forest full of blue and pink ones. You could perch next to a group and give your two cents. But, that would leave your comfort zone. And, once out of that comfort zone, you fear you’ll get hurt. Right? Who or what will protect you when you are completely exposed to the public and responsible for your words/actions.

Let’s tackle those key notes separately.

1) Your comfort zone/crowd.
This is what suits your desires/interests. It’s what you feel most at ease doing. This includes those “boring” activities you indulge, homework and drawing. When you get older, people start associating this with a career and raising children. Those become zones into which people lock themselves and struggle to escape. Some run away, producing single parents and questionable resumes.

Here’s the first ray of light I’d like to shed your way. What may seem boring today could be seen as a sign of dedicated study and achievement, later. And, perhaps, in the future, your work will pay off with attracting the niche crowd you’ve wanted, allowing you to filter out those who are not what they appear. [And, there will be your share of those, as well.]

Surely, you are not the only person in your world who is focused on homework, drawing and video games. Quite likely, there are others who are just about as secluded as you. And, that is why you don’t see each other or pair up. You are in your own corners, feeling similar doubts and concerns. Yet, even though you may have the same interests, there’s also the matter of personality differences.

2) Fear of painful exposure.
When we aren’t naturally adept to or taught at an early age to socialize, it becomes more and more like a stiff joint we haven’t moved in a while. It’s painful and/or difficult to stretch. It feels alien and uncertain, scary, even. What if we make the wrong move and do more harm? Leaving one’s comfort zone, trying new things…these can become painful to imagine. And, who doesn’t want to avoid pain?…except maybe those who preach “No pain, no gain.”

There are those that seem to make life appear easy. Jocks flock with jocks and hide any emotional responses they may have. Glam queens gab with other glam queens, and one is usually prettier than the rest for a reason. But, just because these people hang out and/or play together doesn’t mean they’re good friends. They may be avoiding your discomfort simply by staying busy. When they go home, life may not be as fun as they appear in school. School becomes their escape from solitude, family troubles and responsibility. It’s a different sort of comfort zone that seems high risk to people like you and me. It’s the fast lane while we coast in the slow lane.

3) Responsibility and taking chances.
Even I will admit (though I’m genetically inclined to deny) I have moments when I don’t want to be responsible for what happens. Companies satisfy this fear by posting “disclaimers” and “warnings,” all manners of fine print to ward off punishment should their business fail to satisfy the consumer and/or do greater harm. There may be something in the human genetic matrix that detests responsibility. But, if you know anything about Spider-Man, you likely know what Uncle Ben taught him.

Our great power is being the dominant species of this planet. Our responsibility is how we wield that power. We cannot be entirely careless with our actions. What we say and do impacts others.

Yet, we cannot take NO action or risk, either. If we try nothing, we achieve nothing. [But, don’t be so quick to dismiss what you DO try. Sometimes and some people will think you do nothing when, in fact, you ARE doing something that just isn’t apparent.]

One of the hard lessons of adulthood is taking steps to make progress (or even maintain what already exists) and being responsible for what results. If something goes wrong and it’s genuinely our fault, we need to take what comes with this negative result or defend ourselves if the punishment seems unjust. There will be other times when what occurs is just coincidence or cosmic fate, an “accident” we may not have been able to prevent. And, we need to learn to “roll with the punches;” accept failure or lesser achievement, regroup and try, again.

As I say, I am in a similar rut as you and not adept to making improvements/changes. But, many years after being in your shoes, I’ve gathered various tidbits of insight, therapy and wisdom from various sources. Right now, you’re at the start space on the board game of adulthood. Or, maybe, three steps from the start. I took a bit of a detour along one of those chutes or ladders and am not much closer to the finish line. But, I feel “wiser” for the experience. And, every step outside my comfort zone I am able to make, I get a tiny bit less afraid…even if I sometimes meet with what might be seen as disaster.

If I may, I have a few questions I hope aren’t too bothersome.

1) Who got you interested in Dungeons and Dragons? As I said earlier, I didn’t think anyone (especially your age) still played such games. I thought that was reserved for people from my and older generations.

I myself never played but have studied maps and guides. They were sources of artistic inspiration in my youth. I can remember being about seven or eight when I drew a picture of a warrior fending off “yellow mold” (and “black pudding” in another drawing) with a spear or sword.

2) You’ve NEVER had a crush on anyone? I could see not kissing or dating. But, not even a strong feeling about another person?

I had those feelings as early as four years old. I was given some unpleasant labels in my youth and in my teens which did not help me make friends and made approaching the concept of a romantic relationship almost impossible. I knew I wanted more than friendship with at least one girl. But, neither my parents nor my peers were any help in making my wishes come true. Instead, they made life more difficult and made me curl up in my “corner.”

Granted, there was one kid in my class who seemed the sort you claim to be. He had no interest in girls. Nor was he admittedly gay. I’d call him asexual because he was obsessed with annoying details in everything and never once said anything flattering about a boy/man or girl/woman, never showed any interest. If you asked him about such feelings, he’d pick a verbal fight and insult you.

There may be a strange blessing in this absence of “passion.” You could be spared the trials others face because they cannot control their “lust.” You could avoid the distractions and penalties (unplanned parenthood, for one) and get ahead in other areas of living. Then, down the road, those feelings you’ve been without might surface (at “the right time”). Yet, you are feeling discomfort because this difference makes relating to others less likely.

You make a point of mentioning how having feelings for someone can be a big part of interacting/talking with peers. [Can I just say I have not known any teen your age to even use the word “peers” in a sentence? That strikes me as unusual, too. I’d say “classmates,” “fellow students” or “other kids in my school.” But, peers?]

And, I can relate to that, too. I am pretty sure that’s why I was given the labels I received; I didn’t feel comfortable talking about “banging” that girl/guy or how much I wanted to grab some girl’s breasts. [Nor could I gossip about past relationships I didn’t have.] I felt guys who did this were juvenile. I didn’t necessarily say or think I was better than them–as many would argue against me–but I didn’t want to be like them. I chose a different path and was humiliated for it.

My struggles were amplified by factors I never saw coming. I was outnumbered and overwhelmed. I was at war with family. And, all of that slowed down any progress I could make so badly that I could see everyone else walking away and getting ahead in life. I continue to question my decisions and why I had to fight those battles. Could I have avoided the conflicts somehow? Could I have ignored the “jerks” and focused better on those who mattered? Why did I make the decisions I made?

I seem to recall writing a letter like yours back when I was your age (except I made it clear I had feelings for a number of girls and was distraught for losing contact with at least one). I did not find or receive any response. Hopefully, you’ll find my words and get some good out of them.

10
Jul
14

It’s Still Just a T-Shirt (Problems with Modern Man’s Wardrobe Choices)

Here I go (again) griping about heterosexual men’s fashion. I think I go through one of these outbursts every few weeks or so after searching sales flyers/papers for replacements to my damaged/lacking wardrobe only to be presented with the usual options A, B and maybe C. The general points may be the same, but the humor tends to vary with each rant.

I have yet to see–in my life time–anything other than a sweatsuit that really appeals to me. And, even that limited niche of apparel tests my patience for covering my nakedness to appease modern mankind. The rest is just a tired, old assembly line of polos, suits, jeans and t-shirts. No matter what color or print you slap on them, they still “smell” the same.

While I can conform to liking a variety of t-shirts, I can only manage so many “whimsical expressions” before they blur together like too many flavors of ice cream consumed in one sitting. Eventually, they’re just something I put on to cover my body. And, if anyone thinks anything significant about what one displays, I have no enthusiastic response. [Sort of like some folks with tattoos who don’t know what to say anymore about what they had inked on them years ago.] The makers of these garments simply take advantage of mental impulses and faded memories to make a quick buck. Why do I need to own or discard dozens of these things when the interest fades, certain environments don’t approve of them or a lack of space requires the pressing of a button labelled EJECT? [And, considering the alternatives, how many red, blue, green, plaid, floral or striped polo/dress shirts can one guy purchase before he feels like he’s eating raisin bran every day of his ever-growing-longer/shorter life? If you happen to like wearing the same shirt (shape) or eating raisin bran every day, pretend you didn’t just read that.]

[“Gee, I could really go for that beverage I had when I was a kid. Oh, look. There’s a t-shirt displaying an image of that very drink. I must have it. Gee, now I am thirsty and out twenty bucks.” Three years later. “(Name of beverage)?” some observer mutters upon seeing the image on the shirt. “Hmm?” replies the one wearing the shirt. “Oh. Yea. I was a fan…once.”]

Men might as well buy their clothes from soda machines. You get as many (if not more) options picking a soft drink. I have a harder time choosing something from a snack vending machine than I do settling for something to wear. Usually, I need the clothes more than the snacks. The latter barely satisfy me, and the former eventually bore/discourage me.

So, why pay twice or three times the price some other “discount” or “poor man’s” store charges for the same product just because it carries a unique or “trending” name?

[“Oh, good. I see Jessamin Aljazirah, that famous actress, has put out a fashion line with her face and ‘signature’ on it. I liked her in (movie title). I wish I looked like her. She takes care of injured cats and makes diapers that sing my baby to sleep. I’ll buy that for a hundred bucks a piece.”

“I’m too good for THAT store where all the ‘riff raff’ shop. I’ll save myself the spread of germs if I spend a little more shopping at the quiet alternative.”]

What’s sad is when something as basic as a color we like can only be found in a particular store or clothing line while a less expensive store sits with heaps of the same garment in colors that do not appeal to us, at all. Do we spend twice the price or more for the color we like or try to settle for a color that makes us vomit a little inside? Do we feel as good about our expensive purchase when we get a stain that just won’t come out (or one that requires special cleaning) on it? Do we laugh, cry or feel indifferent when we or someone else finds dozens of the same item at a closeout/bargain basement store for a fraction of the price when the original retailer must dump its no-longer-in-season stock somewhere? And, what do we think/do when that bargain basement business no longer charges the cheaper prices after droves of customers dissatisfied elsewhere turn to their stores for help?

I think I’ll design my own line of all-purpose wraps, potato sacks or togas…whatever I decide to call them…dip them in vats of colors like Easter eggs and tell everyone I’m dressed “professcasual,” or “pro-fook-trendy,” should they bother to question my appearance. If I am lucky, I’ll start my own trend, amass a growing staff of computer handlers and become the next flash-in-the-pan rich person before someone else takes me down a peg and wears the crown for a while. At least, I’ll be wearing something that I can approve and adjust to my changing figure/mood. And, it will be cheaper than retail/catalog. But, where will all the PARTY LIKE IT’S 2099 items go?

28
Sep
13

I Just Can’t Get “Stupid”

Watching people do foolish things in the same movie I’ve seen almost a half-dozen times now, I am struck with a notion about my own life and the world around me. I think of countless lives going through the same paces: lame conversations, political and religious squabbles, lousy excuses for entertaining oneself with what’s considered popular or current entertainment, pathetic pick-up lines, drunken mishaps, online dating, blind dates, arranged dates, hours upon hours of casual sex, friends with benefits, one night stands, more lame conversations injected with comparisons of body parts and intimate activities taken way too leisurely (instead of seriously), drug use and abuse, dares and contests demanding impressive results, mistaken tattoos and painful piercings, bad relationships ended in all sorts of unpleasant ways, divorce, abortion, multiple marriages, single parenthood, forsaking one’s religion/faith from any number of the previous weighing too heavily on the conscience and essentially declaring oneself a lazy “spiritual” person or atheist, alimony, child support, “pre-nups”, “post-nups”, jobs that don’t pay emotionally and financially, unpredictable insurance and retirement plans, etc. etc.

All of the above are things “most” people do as part of “the norm”. Not one of them can I commit so casually without a heap of discomfort amassing in my gut. And, upon once more realizing this boundary that separates me from “most” people, I am–yet again–discouraged from “entering the game”.

If someone explained the rules of chess to you, and you decided they were too complicated; how would you feel if everyone you saw around you was suddenly playing that very game? Imagine being the only deaf or blind person in your city, state or country, not knowing how to convey the full nature of your life experience to another living soul without fear of misunderstanding, isolation/segregation or something far worse.

How many cases in history were resolved horribly or violently/lethally from misunderstanding? Do I really want to be one of those cases simply because I don’t “go with the flow”? Can you begin to–if not already–understand how difficult it can be to wake up every day with little to no interest in doing any of those things previously listed while the rest of the world around me expects me to do just that if I want to “belong”?

I imagine myself driving a stick-shift car and not being able to downshift to that lower gear everyone else on the road around me uses to “get by”. I see them all pass me by either hastily or leisurely. And, there I sit in the middle of traffic, being honked at and unable to get my vehicle moving. I am a heartbeat away from a horrible accident. And, it has me on edge to the Nth degree. If I lose another minute, I could be dead. I need to get myself in gear and merge with traffic. Wait. I just need another–

I’m more content being of service to people as I find them and utilizing my creativity to its fullest. But, presently, that’s not filling in all the necessary boxes of a “normal” life. It’s not “financially sound” or “relationship savvy”. And, that worries me.

If you see someone stuck on the side of the road with his “blinkers” on, it’s probably me, not going anywhere. I just can’t get “stupid”.

 

[Disclaimer:  I use the word “stupid” as a substitute for mistaken and/or erroneous.  No one wants to be called stupid.  But, we all should know when we’ve made a mistake. And, I am a stubborn perfectionist.]




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