I cannot, for the life of me, think of anything to write this evening. I have looked around my room, thought back through my day, watched a good movie (which usually sparks some kind of creative thought), and still nothing.
It is a crippling feeling for a writer. The closest thing I can think to equate it to in the real world is the end of a relationship. You know that moment when you realize it is over? All these different feelings come rushing at you and you have no idea what to do with them. You just kind of sit there, numb, and try to ride out the storm. There are moments where you that you will be alone for the rest of your life, or that you will never find another person as good as that one.
Of course, all that bullshit fades after awhile. New relationships begin, and ideas start to flow again. It doesn’t stop those initial moments from crushing your spirit for a bit though. In the interim all you can do is have a little faith.
Last Night I went to Walmart. I needed to load some money onto a prepaid card so I walked in and went directly to ‘services’. I’ve made hundreds of trips to this particular Walmart. The only thing different was that this was the first time I’d done so since the mass murder at the Walmart in El Paso.
It was the end of a long day and my mind was pretty vacant. Thoughts bounced aimlessly around my head as I stood to wait my turn in line. The ‘services’ desk is right next to the main entrance so I was mindlessly people watching while I waited. Men and women, young and old, came and went through the sliding doors.
A middle-aged man walked in. He looked a little lost and stopped about five feet inside the door to look around. If I were to describe him in one word it would be ‘unkempt’. He was scruffy, looked like he’d had a much rougher day than me, and had something tucked under his right arm that I could not quite make out.
Mind On Fire
My mind jolted and my eyes danced around the space surrounding me. The following were my immediate thoughts:
The mother and her two children in front of me don’t see this guy at all. Tell them to run behind the counter and try to crawl into the storage room from there to hide. Tell the cashier to get down and tackle the older woman on her phone into the corner so her and I are out of the way. Then wait until his back is to you and throw one of the bikes that are sitting there to be returned at his head…
As these absurdities raced through my mind the man at the door turned towards a woman he seemed to recognize and started laughing. He took the oblong purse he had underneath his right arm and held it out to her. She hugged him, kissed him on the cheek, and said ‘thank you’ as he smiled and turned to walk out the door.
I snapped out of my delusion just as quickly as I had fallen into it. I felt like a fool. I also felt angry because, at that moment, I recognized the truth of the world we now live in; public safety is dead and those absurd thoughts need to be racing around all of our heads when we are out and about.
I cannot tell you why I did this today, but I did. I was standing in the shower trying to collect my thoughts for the day. It’s usually the most distraction-free block of time I get (I imagine that’s the same for most people) so I have been trying to take advantage of it as much as possible lately. There were a few things I knew I had to deal with during the day; things that slowly started to manifest into anxiety.
Lean Into It
Instead of letting the anxiety take over, I closed my eyes and leaned forward. I put my hands against the shower wall and let the water run over my head. I took a deep breath, exhaled, and immediately envisioned a ring of light around my heart. I focused my attention so I could see it clearly in my mind’s eye. As I did this the ring of light began to spin clockwise around the area where my heart is.
Commitment, and A Storm Of Light
I committed to the meditation and pictured the ring spinning faster and faster. As its speed grew so did its size. I threw all my creative energy into the beauty and power it represented. The ring spun and grew, and as it did I could see all the darkness being pushed out of me like carrion on the outskirts of a magnificent storm of light.
Love and gratitude were this maelstrom’s driving force and gave every ounce I could muster of both. The ring grew until engulfed me and the room and the house—and then I said ‘thank you’ and it disappeared.
I do not know if there is such a thing as spontaneous, and necessary, meditation. That is what it felt like though—like in that moment either my head exploded, or my heart shone. I am glad it was the latter.
I struggle with social anxiety daily. Some days are better than others, but it always there—right below the surface of my forced smile—struggling to strangle me.
It has been there my entire life. It has cost me friendships, stopped me from meeting nice girls, caused me to leave (or avoid) family functions, and played a major role in every social interaction I have ever had.
I took it all in stride and never talked about it with anyone. When I was younger it didn’t have a name and as I got older the sheer embarrassment kept me from speaking about it.
Now it is a problem though. Now I have a fifteen-year-old daughter (who has issues of her own) that I am desperately trying to connect with. That situation is hard in the best of circumstances but the anxiety interferes with how close I can be to her. She always thinks I am angry but I am not. She thinks I don’t find her funny because she tells a joke or acts playful and the fucking anxiety has me focused on a million things other than the moment I am sharing with her. I try to think of ways to spend time with her and the fear of being out in the world always forces me to the old standby—”want to watch a movie sweetie?”
It is not right. It is not okay. It is crippling and I need to find a way to fix it—for her.
I stopped going to church as soon as I was old enough to make that decision on my own.Back then I had questions (as most children do) about God and our church (as most churches are) was a place of instruction—not a place to ask questions.
Too Hell With You
At one point in my life, I was convinced that my mother believed that I was destined to go to hell because I did not go to church. If I am being honest I still think she believes that. I don’t judge her for it—That is the way she was programmed. I am, however, at peace with the fact that I cannot change her mind one way or the other. It used to bother me to no end. I used to try to explain my deep relationship with God to her in hopes that she would stop worrying and looking at me the way she does every Saturday when she asks me if I will be going to church Sunday. It does not bother me at all now—that is her cross to bear, not mine.
Bullshit, and All That Jazz
The heart of this website lies in those lost, and lonely, moments I spent feeling like God did not love me because I was not like everyone else who was sitting in those pews every Sunday. It’s bullshit—plain and simple. I have known many good people that have spent their entire lives shunning God because they have been constantly told that God shuns them. I have also known many good people who have treated others atrociously because they did not fit their programmed opinion of who God approves of.
A Change Is Gonna Come
Here’s the truth: I (and others) will never be approved of by organized religion. That does not matter anymore. The masses are—slowly, but surely—waking up. They are realizing that it is not what you do one day a week in front of others (that believe the same things you do), but rather what you do every day of the week FOR everyone else that matters.