Lower your standards

Do you ever recall a time when you were a kid and you were doing something goofy (I don’t know, dancing to some song, or making a funny voice) and suddenly a bunch of adults break out in laughter. Then, kid-you realizes you have an audience and you have the step up your game. Gotta keep up to momentum of laughter. And attention.

Look at me. Wait, don’t.

Though it’s a common and completely human thing to do, I always feel ashamed of myself when I think about the fact that I act differently when I’m being watched. 

I tell myself that I don’t need to have an audience to be myself nor do I have to change myself because of my audience.

Yet here I am, feeling somewhat paralyzed and at a loss for words.

What I’ve written here in the past has had real effects on people in my life. Some negative. Most positive.

But, now that I’m being watched, I feel like I’ve run out of good things to say.

Cue: Vanessa Jackson

I hear Dr. Jackson’s pithy British accent in my head nearly every time I sit down to write. She’d tell me to lower my standards if I find myself at a loss for words.

How low should I go?

Usually, what I write here is comparable to those preformed packaged hamburgers you get at the store. I try to serve it up nice and pretty, with cheese and condiments (that’s how most people like their burgers, right?). But right now, I feel like I’m a toddler tossing green beans at the wall, chuckling to myself when something sticks.

What do I want?

The surefire way I know I’ve crossed paths with the Black Dog is my complete lack of desire. For anything. 

You could walk up to me and ask me any of the following:

  • What do you want to eat right now? Nothing sounds good.
  • Are you looking forward to anything coming up? Not really.
  • What if I could give you a talisman that could allow you to use magic? I’d probably fuck it up.

How is it that this fucking condition of mine makes me feel scared when my kids laugh or unworthy when my wife tells me she loves me? 

What can I look forward to if this is the present? How can I get away?

The big man/woman/it/whatever that’s upstairs/out and about/in our hearts/whatever

I have tried to pray, with marginal results so far. Maybe I’m not trying hard enough. Maybe god isn’t listening hard enough. Maybe both.

One of my favorite former mentors told me there are three prayers: Help!, Thanks!, and Wow!

I’m still trying to have faith in something out there, but I feel lost. Abandoned, more like it. 

I decided a long time ago that I’d quit fighting amongst myself about deciding between creation and evolution. I told the two to shake hands and help me figure other shit out. More important issues, I told them. 

I think we make it work well enough.

I cannot deny some kind of spiritual existence is out there because of a few things (intangibles, sorry science):

  • The way I feel when I hear music (good, bad and indifferent)
  • The way I feel when I view natural scenery (e.g. the Rocky Mountains were an orgasmic feast for the eyes and “heart”)
  • The way I feel about my wife and children. It goes beyond survival of the species and preservation of my bloodline. 

A final nugget

We don’t know the future with any degree of accuracy (unless you figured it out and you’re holding out on the rest of us). Hell, I don’t even know what I want for my future. 

Is simply asking for joy from time to time too much to ask? I don’t wanna giggle and gaggle like an idiot all the time, but maybe a little more often than I do now.

And as I think on my lifelong yearning to get something of mine published, I recall another bit of wisdom Dr. Jackson passed along to me, “Keep writing!”

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