Monday, April 28, 2008
No Story Ever Ends
So will I suffer? Or will I be alright? I look up into the stars Then I look down to count my scars And I know mercy --RCPM, "Never Thought" So I haven't put any new entries up in a week or so. I had one I was working on, but it was a bunch of really obvious stuff and I kind of felt like an idiot for writing it. I might be done with the Loco to Stay Sane project. I might also have one or two more good entries. It kind of depends on, y'know, stuff. Either way, I figured I'd write a follow-up to some earlier thoughts. I had a resolution of sorts to the events that led up to my entry on leaving an open door this week. I've had a friendship that was on the rocks for the last year or so. There's a neat little analogy I use to describe it. You know those dating relationships that just kind of go on for a while while they should be over, but the couple can't quite leave yet but can't quite stand each other enough to talk or anything? Eventually they hit that conversation, the, "Let's just be friends," conversation, the one that means, "Let's pretend we still give a rat's ass about each other, so we'll say we'll be friends but we'll never actually talk to each other intentionally ever again and that'll be a relief." I've had a friendship that was basically in the lead-up to the, "Let's be friends," talk. But we couldn't have the, "Let's be friends," talk because we weren't, y'know, dating. So it was awkward. I wanted out of the friendship and I know the feeling was mutual. But, at least on my side, I couldn't quite let go. I kept expecting that friend who had meant so much to me at one time to walk back in that door. Then, finally, I decided to find out what would happen if I turned away from the door. Since I wasn't trying any more, my friend assumed I was mad and we sat down to talk about it on Monday. It was weird. It was almost like I turned back, looked at that door I'd tried so hard to keep open and suddenly realized it didn't lead anywhere that I wanted to be. I ended up having one of those paradigm-laden dreams this past weekend. But, uh, it requires a little bit of set up first. I played chess in grade school and junior high. I was pretty good at it and have several trophies to prove the point, including my 10th in the state from 3rd grade and 13th in the state from 8th grade. Still, it's one of those things that I kind of wish I'd tried harder at and kept up longer. I also played BattleTech when I was younger. I have 40 or so mini figures, some of which I attempted to paint, most of which remained as they were. Of the dozen or so I tried to paint, five didn't look like utter crap. Last summer the power went out for three days and I decided to see if I was any better at it now than I was then. Over the course of a couple weeks I painted 15, re-touched two, and clear-coated the three that were in the best shape of the originals. I also stripped the paint off of a bunch of them and completely re-did my Axeman. It was once completely disgusting and is now one of my favorites. I've been doing some more to stave off cabin fever while unemployed for the last couple weeks. It's a rather pointless and nerdy exercise, but one that I enjoy and even the worst of my new paint jobs are way better than most of the originals. A couple of them are downright cool. Anyway, in my dream I was playing chess against a friend (who may or may not make comments here under the name Fiat Lex). I don't actually know whether or not Fiat Lex even knows how to play chess, so this was unexpected. Several of my pieces weren't standard chess pieces, but my BattleTech minifigs. At one point, Fiat Lex slid a bishop across the board to attack. My bishops had been replaced with my two Daishi minifigs, and the attacking bishop was in line with my favorite, the Ghost Bear Daishi. Rather than use the 'Mech like a regular bishop, I had it blast the attacker, which is apparently completely within the rules of BattleTech chess. I saw my dream chess opponent in real life on Saturday and said, "Hey, you were in a dream I had last night." We've discussed dreams on many occasions, so I proceeded to explain it. Now, I'm a big fan of dream interpretation. I don't think they tell us anything about the future, but I think they do tell us a lot about our current mental states, assuming we can figure out what the meaning of the various pieces of the dreams are. This one was actually pretty straightforward. The game of chess represented life, basically. The minifigs are pieces that are confusing and different, while the fact that I knew exactly how to use them in the dream means that they're new pieces, but that I'm comfortable with them. Fiat Lex pretty much pointed this out in about thirty seconds. I had left out the specific nature of the pieces in my explanation, since it didn't seem like it mattered. But I realized tonight that the attack was coming from a bishop. I didn't have any bishops at all. I had pieces that were (in my mind, at least) much cooler and more powerful. It's entirely possible that there was some kind of symbolism going on there... I also realized that the minifigs probably meant something else. I know that they're nerdy, but I think they're cool, as much because I painted them myself as anything. That friend I'd been leaving an open door for thinks they're stupid and the fact that I'm painting them is a sign that I really need a life. Believe you me, I know they're a sign of geekiness. I don't plan on buying a drink for a woman at a bar and saying, "I've got nearly a battalion of painted BattleTech minifigs," at any point in the near future. But I do have them lined up along my windowsill, on display like my Phi Alpha Theta National History Honors Society membership certificate, my chess and R.C. car racing trophies, my Frank Thomas, Mike Ditka, and Dwight Shrute bobbleheads, and my awesome Lego pirate ships. There's a reason I decided to call this little mental exercise of mine "Loco to Stay Sane." It's a Peacemaker's song, the chorus of which is: This ain't no joke (oh no!) Gotta know how to bend If you don't wanna get broke (oh no!) Keep your peace in the Big Bad Game You know you gotta go a little loco to stay sane --RCPM, "Loco to Stay Sane" One of the reasons I love storytelling is that I believe the story is a form of therapy. I've been telling my story for the last couple of weeks in order to find peace in what I was and what I have become. I swore last year when I decided to stop doing the whole Christianity thing that I wasn't going to become some sort of atheist zealot. I didn't want to start running around telling people how stupid they were for not getting that there is no god. For one thing, I can't actually say that and I think it would be cool if there were a god who wanted to bring us to a higher plane of consciousness and who loved us and whatnot. I just don't buy it any more. But I hadn't gotten around to making my peace with who I am now. I still see the people I used to go to church with and I've tried to not say anything about it because I didn't want to deal with it. I'd let myself stay in limbo just a little too long, though. I was holding on to bits of the past and I was angry that they wouldn't let me change. That wasn't anybody else's fault but mine. Things change for a reason. Relationships end, people leave, and stuff falls apart. And there's always a reason behind it. We make promises we can't keep or shout angry words in the heat of the moment, then expect to live our lives according to what was said. Sometimes people leave when we don't want them to and we try to keep that door open in the hopes that they'll return. Sometimes, though, a person tries to keep the door open without realizing that they're actually the one who left. In my case, I think that at some point we both left, but I didn't realize that I wanted out, too. I had to look away from the door to get the proper perspective on the whole thing. I'm thinking of getting a tattoo with my new motto: Raise a glass to that which never was, Set your sights on that which is to come, And savor the moment that lies between. What else is there to do?