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More on Happiness

Being as happy as possible is pretty hard in our society. There’s too many expectations on us, too many people to explain their judgement of another’s behaviour, too many whispered comments into people’s ears at family reunions and brunches with friends.

I’ve come to realize that I have the potential to be really powerful and that’s not in the least bit unique. Everyone is capable of being powerful. Just as powerful as I can be. Each person with an intelligent mind controls how they look at things. They make choices. They can choose to use their power or not. Just like I can choose to use my power or not. The power I’m talking about is the power over ourselves. Controlling our own happiness, our outlooks, our frame of reference. I used to think those things weren’t in my control. I used to think I had no choice over those things in my life.

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Happiness is what I want to focus on. I thought for a long time I deserved to be as happy as I could possibly be. I feel like I didn’t even realize what that actually meant for me for a large portion of my life. But being as happy as possible is pretty hard in our society. There’s too many expectations on us, too many people to explain their judgement of another’s behaviour, too many whispered comments into people’s ears at family reunions and brunches with friends. But being as happy as possible doesn’t have to be what I, or anyone else, aims for. In a lot of cases it’s impossible for some people, it’s simply not attainable. Think of someone with a celebrity obsession, a stalker. The happiest they will ever be is when they are with the object of their affection, and how many times has that ever played out? Not many, if ever. There are a lot more different situations that bar someone from being able to be the happiest they could ever be. Hence, why I feel this isn’t something I feel like I should strive to grasp. I feel like that happens for a few lucky people, I just hope those people are grateful.

Happiness is a state with a bunch of varying degrees. I was happy 10 years ago. I am happy today. Those two kinds of happy are really really different, for lots of reasons. I’m not sure if it’s better to slide to one side of the happiness scale or the other. I don’t know if one end is “more happy” and the other end is “less happy”. I just don’t know. I feel like the happiness can just be of a different type. This is where our power comes in as people. We can choose to be happy with what we can attain. Being happy doesn’t mean everything on a checklist has to be checked all at the same time. Be happy failing, be happy not reaching your goals, be happy alone, be happy with others, just choose whatever you want to be happy with.

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It’s possible, maybe even likely, that I am extremely wrong. That everyone else is just going around being elated about their life. Working 9-5, washing the car, cleaning the house, going to soccer practice, etc. (God, that all sounds awful to me). But this is me using my power. Making a choice to pursue the happiness I can attain. I’ve had a depressed outlook before. Thinking that things are shitty and I wasn’t going to be able to make them better. To see things getting much worse for myself before they got better, and not knowing if I would actually make it out of those situations alive, literally. But I can use the power I have to make choices for my own life. Recklessly move towards something and leaving behind the potential and eventual judgement of anyone around me. Just like everyone else owns this power over their own life. It feels hard to do, even impossible in some situations. Recently a friend had some relationship struggles and I found myself telling them they had power over their own life. A choice to make in their given situation. Live with or without their partner and face the shitty feelings that either situation would give them. Because both staying and going was going to hurt in their situation. I was “lucky” to be able to give them my personal perspective which was extremely similar. Knowing that leaving hurts and knowing that staying hurts too. But the power still falls in our own hands and we can choose where on the spectrum of happiness we want to move towards.

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I’m a Libra and I don’t know a lot about what that actually means but I do know the symbol that represents Libra is a set of scales. Now I think what the scales are supposed to represent is that I have a desire to see fairness and justice, and I will work towards that. I’m not really going to talk about whether or not that’s true, but what I see scales representing in my life is something different. It represents a process of decision making. Choices aren’t always ‘Option A’ and ‘Option B’, sometimes, often times, there are a bunch more options to choose from. It’s difficult to wade through different options in life and make a decision. Especially when you’re young and it seems that your whole life is decision after decision. As a Libra, as scales, I feel like I understand the many different options, and I can weigh them. I definitely don’t always make the best decisions, some people would say I rarely ever make the right one, and maybe I don’t but I see them all, I understand the impact. When it comes to happiness, it’s a weight on a scale, another kind of happiness is another size weight on another side of that scale. I won’t ever blame someone who doesn’t pick the heaviest weight, because maybe it’s the least painful, or maybe you prefer to make decisions for someone else, or maybe you don’t feel strong enough to make a particular choice. Choosing to use your power a little or to its fullest potential is a choice everyone has, and you can’t choose incorrectly.

At the end of the day, all of this is opinion. It’s a bunch of jumbled thoughts that I’ve tried to write down and find connections with real life events. What I know for sure is that life is hard, being happy is hard, shouldn’t we all just take what we can get?

-Ben

Best Friends

I find it interesting that we assign varying degrees of meaning to our friends. I think the vast majority of our western society, if asked individually will say that they have one best friend, or a small group of several best friends. I totally subscribe to this. I always have, in my head, had one or a few “best friends”. There’s a line in a song from a band I really like. It goes: “Best friends means: best friends to me”. Maybe you think that means absolutely nothing, to me it doesn’t, I’m gonna come back to this.

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I want to be a certain kind of person. I know I fail at being that person, a lot. But I still try, and I will always try to learn how I can be better at being that person. Near the top of the list of attributes of that person is being a good friend. Being a good friend to more than one person is incredibly hard because being a good friend isn’t about what you want, it’s about what your friends want/need. Being a good friend isn’t about changing yourself into something your friends want to be, that’s probably the opposite. But it does include doing things you don’t want to, putting up with small annoying things, being in places you don’t want to be, changing your own plans to accommodate someone else.

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My point of this isn’t to say that I’m a great friend and I do all those things I said above, that’s not for me to decide. These are things that people have done for me. I know that I wouldn’t be here without my friends. I am so grateful to the people who have sacrificed something for my benefit, for whatever reason or for no reason at all.

“Best friends means: best friends to me”. What I take from this lyric is that a ‘best friend’ is someone that is going to do the hard things no matter what. They are going to do what they don’t want to do if that means it’s what’s best for you. They are going to do it consistently and for as long as you need it. Becoming friends is far from the difficult process of staying friends. Becoming friends is more about sharing a similar worldview, or having similar interests, or sharing the same type of humour. Once you get to know a friend on a deeper level, you almost have an obligation or responsibility to be there for them, even to do something that make them upset, sometimes that’s what people need. To me, a ‘best friend’ will just always be the person that’s the best at being there.

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For me personally, I’ve had lots of best friends. Some know it because I’ve told them, some don’t because I didn’t even realize it myself until I started thinking about this topic a month or so ago. At different points in my life, different people have ignored the pleasantries of their own life to do something for or with me, because they thought I needed it. I don’t want to leave things unnoticed, I want to tell people when I recognize that they’ve done something for me. The past year has been crazy for me. I’ve been in a lot of situations where someone else stepped up for me and I am so grateful to my friends for doing it. For stuff that’s happened in the last year and in all the years before as well.

I want to personalize this and specifically say thank-you to the friends that I know have been there for me over the years. All of the people who have been my best friend for as little as a minute (whether you knew it or not) or as much as a decade or more. The order of this list is mostly chronological.

To all these people I owe a debt I cannot repay but please don’t be afraid to ask me to. I love you all. Thank you very much:

Siah
Matt
Bek
Stevie
Nicole
Shawny
Maddi
Kam
Amby
Seb
Tim
Hayden
Brett
Koz
Mikey
Lauren
Shelby
Dylly
Allie
Chris
Allysha

And finally and most of all, Melissa. Thanks for seeing my darkest sides and still loving me. Thanks for being there for me and thanks for understanding a very complicated and high maintenance little boy.

-Ben

Happiness

“Actual happiness looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesquness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.” – Brave New World

I’m a romantic, for whatever reason. I’ve always believed that real happiness is a feeling in your chest and in your gut. The feeling that if bad things started happening to you, it wouldn’t matter, you could handle absolutely anything with a smile on your face. When a person goes through relational problems and it comes down to happiness of one, or both individuals, those individuals will be told, ‘you have to ‘happy’ on your own before you can be ‘happy’ with someone else’. I’ve heard those words spoken to me and I’ve spoke those words to other people. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it, you can’t rely on anyone else to make you happy because their agenda will always be make themselves happy first, after all everyone is being told the same thing. So that’s why you should make yourself happy, so you’re not relying on someone else to do it, because they don’t have your happiness in mind. That’s not so romantic.

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When I first got married I can tell you I was absolutely not complete. I was not happy on my own. There’s no way I could have been. I was too young to know who I was and consequently unable to know what would make me happy. I used my wife to complete my happiness, for lots of different reasons; some good and some bad. Over the years as I’ve learned about myself I thought I understood happiness, but in the place I’m in right now, I have no idea if I learned what it was or not. Brave New World is one of my favourite novels. The quote I posted above is probably the most depressing quote about happiness that has ever existed for a romantic like me. But I’m not sure if Aldous Huxley is right or not. On first glance, he absolutely is. Compare what a couple feels after being married for 30 years to what they felt on the first date when they had to fight to impress their new potential partner. Or think of it like this: two people are at a party telling the story of how they got to be at the party. Person A was simply born here in Canada and works with the host of the party. Person B is a refugee, they fled a war in their home country and nearly was killed on several occasions, the host of the party works in a centre for new immigrants and that’s how they came to be at the party. Now this example has nothing to do with happiness but which one of the stories is interesting? Which person would you like to talk to more? Person A is not ‘grand’ just as Huxley suggests happiness isn’t. Person B has an interesting story. This produces problems for a romantic like me. The me that wants the ‘grand’, the ‘picturesque’, the ‘spectacular’, and the ‘glamour’. The me that also wants to be happy, but is not sure how to get it with along with everything else. Is this the definition of getting cake and eating it too? Am I cursed by a personality with goals that reality cannot facilitate?

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Well this is going to be a cyclical argument but I refuse to believe that it’s impossible. That real happiness has to squalid. Because I’m a romantic. I have to believe that feeling in my chest and in my gut isn’t just because I have a good story to tell or because my life is overcoming some type of negativity. I want the happiness that includes the glamour, the grand, and the spectacular. I don’t want this happiness to be fleeting. I want to wake up every day filled up with this kind of happiness, and I want to understand that if it doesn’t happen, it’s my own fault. I control everything I do. At the same time, to some degree, I choose what makes me happy. And that makes life seem difficult. I put responsibility on myself to make myself as happy as I can be.

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What happiness actually is can be hard to define. I can provide a list of small things that make me happy, certain activities or events where I get that happiness feeling. But do those things mean I am happy? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. And that’s what seems so elusive. That’s what is squalid according to Huxley. But what does that feel like? Do I have that and not even know it? Have I had that for a long time? Have I just gotten little tastes here and there? Did I have and it and lose it? Am I just too much into my own head and asking too many questions? I’m not really sure. Those are hard questions, they seem almost existential in the fact that if I was given an answer I would question how accurate it could be.

So I keep on living, really doing what ever I can, just to be. Trying my best to make the best out of each situation. Some of which I wish I wasn’t in at all because it feels like happiness wouldn’t have to be so complicated. But I put myself into all the situations I’m in. I’ve compensated for misery, I’ve chosen instability, I’ve fought misfortune, I’ve struggled with temptation, and I’ve been overthrown with passion. Here I am still questioning happiness.

-Ben

Forgiveness

The hardest thing to do.

The bullets at the end of this post may seem conceited and arrogant. Well, if you know me and you think that I am conceited and arrogant, then you just don’t really know me and I have the benefit of not caring what you think. I’ll take a second to briefly explain why these bullets are anything at all.

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I’ve made some pretty big mistakes in the past 8 months or so. The kind of mistakes that hurt some of the people that I care about the most. Luckily, for me, I believe I have received forgiveness from the people I have hurt (for the most part anyway, not everyone believes in forgiveness). But I’ve still been struggling internally. I have discovered that, for a person like me, forgiving myself is the hardest thing I have to do and I haven’t quite gotten there yet. I’ve seen counsellors, I’ve talked with the people I’ve hurt and I’ve been able to establish reasons, lots of reasons, stemming as far back as my childhood, for why I’ve acted the way I have. For why I made the decisions that I did. I am realizing that going through that process was actually terrible for my psyche. When it comes right down to it, those “reasons” are excuses. I did what I did and that’s it, I made decisions that hurt people, period. It’s like this. When a serial killer gets put away, psychologists and behavioural analysts will look into the persons history and will establish the warning signs or triggers that explain why this person went on a killing spree. Well, that person, unless outside their own mind, was under their own power, they made their own decisions. There was no puppeteer controlling their actions. In a similar example, when someone commits suicide these days, we immediately assume that person had a mental health issue. I recently watched a documentary where a woman said she had no idea her husband had a mental health condition until after he killed himself. Well that could very well have been true in that specific case, and I imagine that lots of suicides are the result of a mental health issue. However, there are people who just simply make that choice. Who look at their life and decide it’s better not to be a part of the world any longer. How do I know this?Because I’ve made those considerations, I’ve written a letter in my head saying goodbye to people I love because I feel that those people are just better off with my memory rather than anything else. For me, that’s a choice, I took an analytical approach, thinking about how other people would feel and what I want for myself and I made a choice not to take my own life. This choice is just the same as any other choice I’ve made in my life.

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My history has nothing to do with it, people go against what they’re ‘prone’ or ‘likely’ to do all the time. This realization is important for me. I don’t get to lean on any excuses. I don’t get to rest on an emotionally and sexually repressed childhood. I don’t get to rest on my personality and it’s propensity to do things that others don’t expect. I don’t get to rest on anything. So all of this to explain that, it’s hard to live with what I’ve done to people that I really truly love, and always will (see previous entry on not losing love). What now follows is an attempt to gain myself back. To make realizations I’ve made in the past, to not forget why people have fallen in love with me in the first place.

1. I am an encourager. It’s literally what my first name means. Whatever it is that you do that makes you happy, I am going to tell you to pursue it. If I have any knowledge or wisdom, I’m going to pass it on to help you. Not only that, I’ll support you in any way I can. Going to your show or exhibit, talking to you about a struggle, just being there to do dumb shit if that’s what you need. I want the people around me to be happy, and I will encourage those people to make it happen for themselves.
2. I am really interesting. I think more about daily events than most people think about big existential crises. And I think in a different way as well, my view on life is a direct result of an adapting worldview, and I’m not afraid to talk about it.
3. I will help. It doesn’t really matter who, what, when or where, I will try to help. If you need someone to talk to, I will. If you need someone to buy you a beer, I will. If you need someone to pay for dinner and forget about it, I will. If you hitchhike, I will pick you up (if my kids aren’t in the car).
4. I’m no comedian and I’m definitely not the funniest person among my friends but I am funny. Usually in action instead of word, but in word too. People sometimes think my humour is dorky but whatever gets you smiling right?
5. I’m 31 and still pretty attractive. I’m not turning any heads on the sidewalk but I mean if I was the last guy on earth I’m sure you wouldn’t be that broken up about it. But if you wanted to repopulate you would have to learn how to reverse a vasectomy. (You probably just smiled, see 4)
6. I am pretty damn intelligent. One of my past flaws is that I don’t work hard or really apply myself as much as I can. Not trying hard gave me a 79 average in high school after almost failing grade 9, and a Bachelors degree with a 3.4 (of 4) GPA. I was recently in a job interview and was asked a math question, not only did I finish the question in my head before the interviewer was done asking, he had to use a paper and pencil to confirm I was correct.
7. I’m a fucking whiz kid with the written word.
8. I have this innate ability to get people to do what I want. To convince people of things. I realized this in the later years of high school. I purposefully did not practice nor hone that skill because it’s just rude in my mind. So I don’t use it. (Sometimes it happens by accident because my awesome just can’t be reigned in all the time, but whaddya gonna do?)
9. I am marginally skilled at a lot of different things. Think of any activity: sports, canoeing, rock climbing, reading, photography, driving, swimming… I can do pretty much anything, some things not very well and some things really well, I mean I won’t win any awards but it makes me flexible if someone wants to do something and hang out.
10. I don’t hold grudges. Basically if I think you did something to wrong me, all I need is to tell you about it one time and then I’ll be good. I have an ability to understand everyone’s point of view and that includes their motives. Therefore, I’m not going to hold something against you unless I know you purposefully tried to hurt me, even then, I don’t know, forgiveness right?
11. Everyone likes someone that sings in the shower and the car right?
12. I’m the guy that when you think up something crazy that no one will do, and you say “I bet no one would do __________”. I’ll do it, at times only because you said no one would. I just might need tequila first.
13. I care. About a lot of people and a lot of things. Generally I have really pure intentions, I never want to be the cause of hurt or pain. This might seem basic, that everyone is like that. It’s just not true. Some people just want to watch the world burn.
14. I am annoyingly polite, don’t believe me? Introduce me to your mom.
15. I do belly flops in pools.

Thanks for reading about how awesome I am. Help me remember when it seems like I’ve forgotten.

-Ben

Doubt

Just a little bit about self-doubt

I’m at this really curious spot in my life. I feel like I’m on the precipice of cliff – not figuratively but you know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you look over a cliff or a building, I have that feeling – and I am so full of fear. What makes this curious is that most people when they stand over a cliff, a literal or figurative one, they know they can pull themselves back. They know they won’t go over. I’m exactly the opposite of that feeling, not so much as I know I can’t pull myself back, but I know I’m going to go over. I’ve already decided to throw myself into a valley of unpredictability and unknown paths. I’ve always been someone to embrace change, to even seek it out, I like letting life hit me with whatever it has and not planning out my future. But right now, this isn’t just about life hitting me, it’s me being whoever I am. Do I get to pick that? Am I already somebody that can’t be changed much? That will suck because there are parts of me that I definitely hate. In my own head I feel a need to define myself. I’m hung up, though. Hung up on the person I’ve been in the past, the person who I’ve always thought I should be, and the person I want to be. Those three people all have intersecting lines in some places, but it’s hard to determine if I can be anything I want to be, there’s a good chance I’m very limited in who I can be.

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I sometimes annoy myself. I’ll sit at home, or in the middle of a group of friends or strangers and I’ll think about these kinds of things. Is what I’m doing a reflection of the person I want to be? That’s annoying because I look at other people around me or think about other people not around me and wonder how much they think about themselves like that. It’s not that I think analyzing myself is a bad thing, but I feel like it’s such a complicated way to live life. I can see that some other people just aren’t capable of thinking of themselves that way. The choices they make in life reflect a desire to please themselves or a few close people around them, and they take whatever path offers the least resistance. They aren’t filled with existential or complicated questions about themselves, about who they are or who they want to be. They just live life. All of this type of thinking represents a feeling of doubt. Doubt of who I am. Doubt of the things I do. Doubt is a character trait that is probably the least attractive trait to other people. People like confidence. Doubt is the absence of that.

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I know a lot about confidence because I can tell you within a couple days of when I first felt it. I was 15 years old. I had just spent a summer being a camp counsellor. My big energy, weird mannerisms and desire to do just about anything someone wouldn’t expect was perfect for a summer camp filled with other teenage counsellors. Weird kids are cool kids at camp. Sadly, going from 5’8″ and 200 lbs to 6’2″ and 160 lbs in about six weeks that summer probably had a huge impact on people wanting to be my friend as well. People really took interest in me and thought I was funny and for the first time in my life I felt like I had friends that wanted to be my friends and not just because I forced myself into their life. Going back to school in September that year, people didn’t really recognize me. I don’t blame because even my parents walked right past me when they came to pick me up at the end of camp that year. Not recognizing me probably contributed to why I was treated differently at first. That first day back was really different than any other day I had at high school. People were saying ‘hi’ to me when I didn’t even think they knew my name. The second day back at school, I had this really strange feeling that I hadn’t really felt before. It wasn’t just like the absence of fear, I had that a lot because I learned to give zero fucks about what anyone thought of me from a pretty young age. If I cared what other people thought I might have committed suicide in grade 4. This feeling wasn’t just not giving a fuck, it was pretty foreign and I’d come to know that feeling was confidence. I was proud of myself and happy, and I thought I could pretty much just do what I thought I wanted to do. I have friends that I think have this feeling more often than they don’t. And I admire that about them. If I could create that feeling inside me, I would. There are lots of reasons why I don’t think that feeling can be created. Lots of reasons why I don’t have that feeling more often than I do.

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This lack of confidence affects pretty much everything I do. In my career I learned to have confidence because if you don’t, you’re worthless. In a busy restaurant or theatre you need to make a decision on the fly as a manager. You make your decision and stick to it no mater what. When things slow down, then you analyze your decision and learn from it if it was a poor choice. Life isn’t like a job, though. The stakes are much higher. Jobs at the end of day all just come down to money, and I couldn’t care less about that, it’s a fleeting material thing that is temporary. Life is all about people and the relationships you have with them. Feelings and emotions may be temporary too, but they are carried and remembered. The following example is not the only result of not having confidence, but it reflects my desire to treat everyone with the respect they deserve to make their own choices. Here’s what I mean by that. I was recently in Las Vegas and went to a couple pretty upscale clubs while I was there. Me being me, I didn’t just drink my weight in alcohol and do crazy shit. The first club I went to, I was so curious about how Vegas clubs differed from other ones, the answer is; they don’t a lot. But the one major difference is shitty dressed dudes don’t get in, they don’t even get in line. I was surrounded by a few hundred people who were all really attractive, guys and girls. What I saw the guys do there is something I see in every club, but I saw it happening on a much more massive scale. Guy walks up to a girl that he clearly doesn’t know, they talk and/or dance for a minute or two and then they guy just starts making out with her and the girl is into it. That’s confidence. Guys that can do that, which was most of them, are so confident with themselves that they can do that, and girls see the confidence and are attracted to it, even if they have no intention of ever seeing the guy after breakfast the next day. To me, those guys are douchebags. It represents a lack of respect for themselves and for the girl. I’m not one to judge and say they are bad people. For both the guy and girl, if doing that makes them both happy, go nuts and be happy. To me, I would have to disrespect myself a lot to do that. I would also have to disrespect the girl to do that. As I write this, I wonder if these people who do that are the same, they disrespect themselves and that’s why they do that too. For some I’m sure it’s the case, for most I doubt it is.

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That’s a really long way to link to my main point of standing at the edge of this cliff I’m on. My lack of confidence manifests itself in these big decisions in my life as well, as well as small ones. I think I know what’s good for me, 100%. But hey, what if I’m wrong and this is awful for me and turns out to be the worst thing ever? I can’t be sure about anything I decide to do and that drives people away from me (don’t tell me it doesn’t because I know for a fact that it does). I’m just not sure when I get to the point of figuring out the person that I want to be, if I’m going to be able to commit to that. Commit to myself. That’s probably the hardest commitment to make in life. You’re going to be the only person you let down, and you’re also the only person to keep yourself on track.

But at least I’m still standing, full of fear, void of any confidence in what falling means for me but I’m standing. I’m not hiding, there’s no camouflage here, I’m exposed and I’ll be exposed to those who care enough to get close enough to see.

Ben

 

International Women’s Day

Today is for all women. For women in hospital beds and nursing care facilities. For struggling women and women who feel successful. For women who put up with bullshit from other people, and women that don’t. For women who get hurt or taken advantage of intentionally by other people. For women who get hurt or taken advantage of unintentionally by other people. For women who stand up for themselves in the streets, in politics, in careers, and in their every day lives. For women who don’t speak up, whose strength is represented in a quiet but unrelenting way. For women with children, who fight every day to make sure someone else can live no matter what else they do. For women without children that either don’t want them, or desperately wish they could. For young women who think they need to be something they don’t need to be. For young women who know that exactly who they are is good enough and everyone that doesn’t think so can fuck off. For little girls being brought up in societies all over the world – may their world be better than what we’ve accomplished so far. For girls that are scared for their lives before they go to sleep, and the ones that aren’t. For the girls with healthy futures, and for the ones that wont live until dinner time. For women with privilege, and for women with nothing.

For my two daughters – may they understand that they never have to be anything other than what they want to be and what they are.

Celebrate today for who you are. Know you are wonderful for who you are, period.

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Mistakes

“And all our sins come back to haunt us in the end… to hang around and tap us on the shoulder.” – Straylight Run – Mistakes We Knew We Were Making

The reason why Christians come-off as superior and judgemental individuals is because Christians are taught that they are that. Every day at Sunday school, church, weeknight clubs, bible studies, concerts, events, in songs and books and basically everything else you can think of, Christians are taught that God made them special, not as a group per se, but as individuals. God loves a person like a father will love a daughter, or a mother will love a son. Well it’s really impossible for that to be true if you really think about it.

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I started off by explaining how Christians think about themselves because that’s how I thought about myself for awhile. I was special. I had something no one else had, I knew I was going to do something to change the world because I wasn’t like everyone else. I left my Christian faith probably a couple of years ago now. But I still kept that feeling. Not that I was better than anyone else as a person, but I never stopped thinking in my own head that I was a different kind of person. I didn’t really hurt people, like their souls, or psyches, or their emotions. I care a lot about other people and I always made an effort to put other people first. Lots of other people live selfishly and hurt lots of people just by living the way they want to, but I wasn’t one of those people, I wasn’t capable of something like that… I thought.

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I’m not entirely sure how much the 30 or so people that read this blog know about my recent history. I’ve hurt people in the exact way I thought I was never capable of. And I don’t say this lightly, I’ve deeply hurt these people; their emotions, maybe even their souls and their psyches too. I’ve broken a few hearts and a few promises as well. The very worst part is knowing that the hearts and promises I broke weren’t my own. I made promises to other people who fully expected me to keep them, and I simply didn’t. Those people have a choice, they don’t have to keep me around in their lives. They can choose to cease whatever contact they have with me and they never have to re-live the pain if they don’t really want to.

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The second worst part is that I broke my own heart and I broke promises I made to myself that I fully intended on keeping. The difference is that I don’t get to escape myself. (Suicide is always an option I guess, but I’m not brave enough for that.) I have to live with the mistakes I made, every day. I completely understand that I am not the mistakes I made, I wont let it define me. I know that I won’t repeat the same mistakes I’ve made, I’ll never break another heart ever again if I can help it. The problem here lies with that person I always thought I was. I thought I was special. I thought I could be something different, an example that humanity is inherently good. I’m not that person and I never can be now. I know that I have the rest of whatever is left of my life to be better, but I’ll never forget the things I did, the people I hurt, and the hearts I broke. I’ll never be special again, I will always know that I came back from something. I’ll remember that I have these lessons because I learned them the hard way, not because I am just that good of a person inherently. In my mind I was a certain kind of person, and I shattered that view. I’m living with a shattered view of who I am, and now I have to build a new one. One of the most unfortunate parts is that I have to do this on my own, and I typically don’t/cant do things on my own.

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I’m not sure where this leaves me and I’m not sure how long it takes for this kind of stuff to stop wearing on my heart. I’m functional, that’s for sure, if you met me on the street, you wouldn’t thing anything is really going on deep inside me. But there is lots churning in my brain, my heart and my stomach. If I hang out with you, you’re not the primary thing on my mind and the only thing that changes this is ingesting something that alters my my mind. I’m not an addict to anything by any means, but it’s the only time I know my brain turns everything else off.

I know what I can be going forward, and that’s what I’m going to be, something that’s good. Hopefully other people will see that too. But in my head there’s going to always be an asterisk indicating the potential I had. What I once was or what I could have been if I made better decisions. It doesn’t matter what I do from here on out, nothing makes up for the things you wish you hadn’t done.

– Ben