Posts Tagged ‘companionship

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.

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12
Feb
16

Valentines, wave III

*****

Ay oh; like I got some more uh doz valentine thingies you might like.  Check ’em out.  Okayz?

 

First, a handful of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ones, featuring April O’Neil.  At least one is purely comical.

 

Then, a swarm of Spider-Woman (1979) valentines.  Two are designed for breakups/rejection, if anyone is in need of a negative/counter valentine.

 

A few variations on a Pokemon image.

 

And, lastly, more miscellaneous valentines.

Valentines2016_shehulk-laptop-recliner-me-sneaky-reward_comic-ap-1

SheRa-kissing-fullprofile-Me-steamyPolaroid-hearts-frame_ap-7J

She-Ra Polaroid, love achieved

WritingboltsAngels-jessicadrew-apriloneil-missswitch-cutouts_wallppr-ap-1J

31
Aug
15

New package, Same Product, Still Losers

********

That’s a quote (I think) from Megatron in the second season of Beast Wars.

********

It randomly comes to mind as I think about the concept of mail, letters, keeping in touch with those we care to converse but can’t quite reach by phone or in person for whatever reason.

I think back to a time when I first learned how to write a letter.  It was a very important matter that came in two varieties.  I wrote my first classmate as a pen pal, and we both laughed as if it was cute.  But, that didn’t last.  I wrote my first business letter and got one of the best surprises of my life.

The years roll by…and I would write letters in high school the way some kids pass notes in class.  No one really appreciated the effort.

More years roll by, and I see something in a magazine about pen pals.  I gave that a try.  And, lucky me, I met a gal who liked to doodle on envelopes the way I did.  We stayed in touch for a while.  But, I started to feel like I was back in grade school, only talking kid stuff and never really connecting with the person on what mattered at my “age.”  I needed more of a persona, mature connection, someone I could sit with and cry about adult matters.  Not a crazed toy and video game fan who only wanted to discuss the latest product as if she was working for the company.  So, I let that go.

Then came the age of the internet, and I learned the ropes of email and online chat.  I’ve approached countless strangers from around the globe and emailed a handful.  That handful comes and goes like the tide.  Faces change…heck, I don’t even get to see faces.  I didn’t see faces when I wrote on paper.  And, I don’t often see faces on the computer screen.  That much hasn’t changed.

But, what HAS changed is how–in this age of quick and easy responses–more time seems to escape me between contacts.  I go longer periods without hearing from someone I like and wonder if they haven’t just floated off into deep space or read something they didn’t care to read and took off like a scared gazelle.  I feel like I am stuck on an island sending out messages in a bottle.  And, how foolish I am to think I could keep speaking with any one who has the guts to respond just once.

Heck, it might even be my own fault sometimes….no, I do my part.  At least, until technology fails me.

How do I end this emotional rant?

How about…

Sincerely, the friend you haven’t met yet,

Writingbolt

15
Jul
14

No BODY Wants to Be Wrong

What’s wrong with a few curves? They just help you become a more WELL-ROUNDED person.

As for me, I’m a tad SQUARE. But, I brighten the room with my creativity and wit. I BRANCH out now and then. Just watch out for my ROUGH edges. They can be a little SHARP and result in CRITICAL injury. With faith and a trustworthy grip, you’ll prove a joyful MATCH and help keep the flame alive.

How do you hug a porcupine? You take a few pokes while disarming him with your charm and humbling honesty.

25
Feb
14

It’s So Sad When You Don’t Know Where to Turn

It’s nothing new, but, upon either going to bed last night or waking this morning, I had a low moment.  And, in this moment, I pondered the weight of discomfort from not having someone with whom I can feel completely comfortable and share my deepest thoughts in the same living space.

Now, for those of you with your heads wired to some digital gizmo like a PC or–more likely these days–a “pad” or “smart phone”, don’t get your brain coils in a pinch.  For some if not most of you, this space right here is where you turn to divulge your deepest thoughts.  This is your breathing room, your therapist couch, your venting space.  You probably have more (Fbook) friends than those you can actually pat on the back and visit with when you’re blue.  For you, this may be a living space.  But, not for me.  This is almost the equivalent of talking to someone through a styro-foam cup phone.  ‘Don’t know what that is?  Look it up.

While it may seem like I am venting, I am but scratching the surface of my brewing, stewing emotions, my volcano of internal conflict that cannot decide which way is up and who to trust.  When you can’t trust your own family and don’t have at least one friend you can sit down with for more than an hour a week, you may find yourself “spinning tires” and wondering what really is right from wrong.  Often I question myself along similar lines.

[I may have written some of this before.]  In my youth, I thought I was always doing right.  At least, I did my best to be good and make my parents proud.  But, beyond my consciousness, there were those who kept pointing at me and telling me what I did wrong.  And, no matter how I tried to remedy the situation, I couldn’t get it right.  Was I simply disobeying instructions?  Was I a rebellious child who needed to be disciplined?  I didn’t think so then.  And, I’d like to think there was/is more to it even now.  But, something denied and occasionally continues to deny me the right to be right in the eyes of others.

Starting probably in high school, I began to distrust people and shed my optimistic naivete.  I began to realize reputations were often lies cooked up to make/demand more money.  I stopped buying into brand names and started scrambling to find my own unique path.  Pretty soon, it seemed no one was left to trust.  Nearly everyone used the same words (I didn’t like) and didn’t seem to care if what they did or said upset me.  Some even snickered and chided me for reacting defensively.  I wasn’t about to trust people who snickered at me when I was upset. 
It’s probably gotten worse over time, the nagging question of trust.  What (commercials) do I believe and which do I just brush aside?  Who’s selling a scam, and who’s trying to offer genuine help?  [I know I’ve made my share of stupid financial decisions, already.  And, I don’t want to continue the trend.]

On top of all this, the judgement of others has influenced MY judgement of others.  I am fairly certain being critiqued and questioned much–if not most–of my life has made me a judge/critic o others.  It’s like carbon dioxide spewing from my mouth.  I don’t consciously take pleasure in it.  But, it happens like breathing.  And, only with aging and deep reflection do I comprehend the reactions of many I meet.  I wouldn’t be too comfortable around someone critiquing my decisions/choices every day.  If they don’t accept me as I am, I know I’ll be on guard/defensive.  However, I think I am possibly more tolerant than some I meet who are quick to turn silent and distance themselves.  I think.

I went through elementary school with a handful of those I’d call friends.  I was lucky if two stuck by me for more than two years.  One did stand by me for nearly ten years before we lost touch.  I went through high school lucky if I had one friend who stood by me for a year.  Every following year, it seemed people changed, and I once more found myself grasping for a life preserver.  As I got out of school and into the working world, making friends became even harder.  There might not have been as much gossip going around, but it was (and has been) difficult to socialize with anyone without some supervisor/boss finding fault with this.  Take it outside of work?  I’d sure like to do that.  But, I can’t seem to find the right words to convince anyone to try it.  No, I was lucky if I could talk at work.  Anything more was cutting into their time with other people.  Or, I didn’t/don’t fit their “circle” (age group).

So, here I sit, with a number of tasks stacked on my “to do” list and little to no “stamina” to see them through “simply” because I feel the need to have some…support (sort of like a small child counting on their parent/s to be there for them) and/or companionship.  And, every day I don’t tackle one of those items, I feel guilty.  I feel lousy.  I endure tension in my body which clamps a vice on my elbow and tightens my breath.  I look around me and tremble, wondering who I should chance speaking with about what’s bothering me.

Then, I look at the computer and think back to all the years I already spent on the thing hoping to make better connections with people far from home.  On top of paying an internet service bill, my eyes have paid for my time here.  And, what do I have to show for it?  Some foggy, bittersweet memories of people who would mean nothing to those I deal with on a daily basis face-to-face. 

I listen to/read/watch the local news and try not to absorb all of the negative, frightful and discouraging crap that goes on here and in other parts of the world.  [I don’t enjoy it but need to stay informed lest I be completely unaware when some important stranger knocks at my door over something I missed.  It’s better (for me) than trying to scan a tiny screen flooding my hands with battery “heat” and wireless transmissions and waiting for my eyes to cross.]

I worry–one of these days–someone is going to come along and pack my life up in a heap or stack of boxes, leaving what’s left of me in the dust with no redeeming sense of satisfaction.  I worry I’m either going to end up homeless, starving and mad…or locked away somewhere because I failed to follow some procedure which was intended to create order even though it upset my soul and the souls of so many others I may encounter.  I worry what the future may bring as stupid humans chase their whims with little to no respect for who is involved/affected by them.  It’s like watching two infants fight over a toy.

Part of me hopes everything will work out for the best (including my best), and that all my worries will be smoothed out by reassurances I simply had to age to find.  Another part of me anticipates some drastic disaster (or prolonged waste of time and resources) that will turn this world into one of those futuristic, dystopian movie settings with robots running amok and people fighting in filthy streets for the last scrap of food or clean water.  If you want my opinion on the possibilities of alien life/worlds and making contact with them, I’d say the aliens should–and probably do–keep their distance until Earth straightens itself out (unless they have the strategy/means humans fail continually to find/establish, the ideal road to mutually beneficial compromise and teamwork without competition over money and/or land).  Otherwise, they risk becoming the next batch of slaves (by feeding human greed) or starting another senseless war (by being viewed as a threat).  Just like those who get divorced struggle (well, some struggle while others jump right into another hot mess) to shed the baggage of the past and start anew, I am not sure the aliens could presently handle Earth’s baggage if they hope(d) to start a friendship.

Some of you out there (here) might come from “broken families” and find it “easy” to take command of your own lives…because you “have to” to survive.  You might not like it, but you see no other alternative to calling hotlines and consulting complete strangers for assistance.  But, for me, growing up with the confusion I did and feeling burned by those I “had to” trust early on, it’s excruciating (like an elderly person who can no longer stand with ease trying to go to the bathroom alone) for me to take those chances.  I don’t multi-task well.  I forget things and miss details when something unexpected suddenly overwhelms and preoccupies my mind.  I fight the forces that drive others to suicide almost daily.  [But, in the end, I may have no choice.  Yet, people say, “There’s always a choice.”  And, I wonder…]




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