Let the Conq shed some light on the truth, yo.
Let the Conq shed some light on the truth, yo.
Something I wrote a while ago, when I was tired of feeling sorry for myself. Hopefully, this will bring you some peace as it has for me. I wrote this over a year ago, when I was thirty and feeling it. (Some parts are edited for content and surprise, as I fully intend to propose to whoever I wind up with at the location indicated in this piece, and I want it to be a surprise!)
Sad endings are easy. You don’t really have to do anything to get the worst possible ending. Here’s the worst possible ending: Everyone dies slow, in pain, alone. The end.
But what about a happy ending? What if everything goes right? What would that look like and how would I get there?
Conq worked very hard and managed to get his novel published within the next few months. He published a few short stories, and within the year, his reputation within the scifi/fantasy community was established. He earned enough money from his writing to quit his job at Walgreens and move out of his parents’ house. Towards the middle of 2014 [sic], he moved into his new home, an apartment in midtown Atlanta. As he began spending more time with his old church pals and other friends, he met a beautiful redhead with a penchant for spaceships and hard CANDY. She liked his writing, and he was pretty impressed with her own artistic endeavors. They both liked Doctor Who and lasagna. They went out for a year, after which William proposed to her at the CANDY STORE atop the CANDY STORE. She said yes, and they were wed as the ball dropped on 2016 [sic]. They honeymooned in Europe and had CANDY across several notable landmarks. Lots and lots of CANDY. It was pretty neat. Anyway, they had some kids and things got a bit more complicated. The pressures of family and work and their disparate artistic ventures threatened to drive them apart, but they got through it. Their kids went on to do great things. Conq and his wife got old and moved to Hawaii, where they died in their mid-120s. They were buried on the side of a volcano, like a pair of badasses. Because that’s who they were, who they’d always been, and who they’d always be..
I didn’t move out of my parents’ house in 2014. It’s 2016, and I’m still as single as ever. My journey is taking longer than I’d wished.
But I still hope to meet someone special who thinks I’m not so bad either.
And I still would like to be buried in the side of a volcano.
Here we go again. Time for everyone’s favorite type of post: The type that responds to a different post on a separate blog. (Yay!)
I have a friend who loves posting Catholic or Christian blog entries on Facebook, usually having to do with relationships. So now, here I am. Responding to one.
We good? Excellent.
As a young man with autism, I’ve often felt excluded, left out, isolated, and alone. Sometimes those feelings were justified. Other times they were only symptoms of underlying anxiety and insecurity. It’s tempting to think a relationship might fix that. For years, I thought that it might. Of course, I know it won’t. It can’t. It’s not fair to expect a mortal relationship to affect my neurological condition. Even God hasn’t fixed that.
In the meantime, I pray for healing and hope that one day I’ll feel comfortable enough in my own skin to be able to keep my anxiety to a manageable level. It’s not going away. Jesus isn’t going to cure my anxiety or my autism. It’d require a complete reformatting and rewiring of my brain, and I think He’s honestly busy with other stuff.
I’ve never been in a relationship. Barely even been kissed. That doesn’t bother me. Life isn’t a competition or a race, no matter how many cultural elements try to convince me otherwise. I think having a relationship might be a good experience. It seems like a fundamental part of the human condition. But if it doesn’t happen, I’ll still be ok. I guess the point I’m making is that I agree with this article, and I also understand how easy it is to fall into the “you complete me” trap. If only someone else could solve all our problems. The best God does is give us the strength to solve things ourselves, or at least work on them.
Still, being single since the days I knew what “single” even meant can be difficult. Especially during those three weeks in winter. You know the ones. We’re in them now. The weeks between Jan. 2 and Feb. 21. Those are the gloomiest, saddest, most gut-wrenching weeks of the year. I’d like to blame Valentine’s Day, but I honestly can’t. I think if I lived in Florida or the Caribbean, I wouldn’t mind those weeks as much. But I live in Georgia, where the rains and the wind keep streaming down from the heavens, and the sun is covered in a veil of gray for days and days. Being single can be tough. Ah, well. I’m a Jedi, like my father before me. Jedi are born tough.
Someday I’ll meet somebody and we’ll get married and have lots of adventures. Or maybe I won’t. I just hope I can get to a place where I can be happy with either outcome. At least for those three weeks in winter when my singleness irks me the most.
Hey, y’all. Sorry I haven’t had time to upload issue 2 of Bubblegum-Man yet. Will continue to update this space as regularly as I can, but grad school is soaking up about 85% of my time. That only leaves about 10% for sleep and 5% for watching Arrow, playing flash games, eating pasta, and general messing around.
Lately I’ve been feeling down. Normal, mid-January to mid-February blues. I’ll be back to my rosy self once we’re past President’s Day.
Anyway, rather than bore you with my problems, I thought I’d share with you a neat trick I’ve come up with to let out my negative emotions while simultaneously reinforcing positive thought patterns.
I call it a Reversible Diary. (Or “Reversible Journal,” if you’re more of a Doug Funnie fan.)
Basically, one side of the journal is labeled “Book of Lies.” Every time my mind gets stuffed full of insecurity, guilt, shame, self-doubt, self-loathing, or any other type of worthless emotion, I pour it in there. I write down all the lies I’ve believed about myself.
Then I flip the book upside down and open it from the other side. That side is the “Book of Truth.” Inside are Bible verses proclaiming God’s love for his children and all sorts of other spoken, written, reasoned, and observed proofs of my own worth as a human being.
As you begin to fill the book, try to make it so that the truths outnumber the lies. Most people have the same lies. Things like “I’m not good enough.” “I’m not smart enough.” “My ears are funny-shaped.”
But there are as many truths as there are people, though there are some eternal truths which resonate for all. But that’s a whole other blog post.
Anyway, at some point, it’s possible for your Books of Lies and Truth to meet in the middle. When that happens, go ahead and write over the lies with truth. You can white out the lies, if you prefer. Tear them out. Burn them. Whatever. They’re lies. Who cares what you do with them?
Now at this point, it’s important not to pay too much attention to any of the lies you put down in the past. Just write them down and forget them. They’re lies, so why would you want to study them? Their purpose is to mislead. We write them down to imprison them, to call them what they are, to take away their power.
But we must reread the truths. As many times as we can. The Truth is liberation. The Truth is empowerment. The Truth is Love and Grace and Hope and all that other stuff that can give you a toothache if you’re not careful.
In heaven, there are no toothaches.
Hey friends. Today, I’d like to respond to an article on Cracked.com. So go ahead and read it HERE, and we’ll begin when you get back.
Don’t worry. I’ll wait. I have to. I’m just text on a screen, where did you think I was going to go?
All done? Cool. Ok, let’s start with some areas of confusion. Maybe it has to do with my autism or maybe it has to do with my tendency to over-think everything, but for some reason I thought guys were supposed to make friends with a woman before we asked her out. I mean, otherwise we’re just asking out every woman we’re attracted to within seconds of meeting them. “Hello, Woman Number 9,587. You seem like a cool person. Want to go on a date?”
Plus, why would you want to go on a date with someone you’re not friends with? “Hello, Woman Number 9,588. I know we don’t know each other, and we’re only talking because we’re standing in the same Wendy’s checkout line, but do you want to go on a date knowing absolutely nothing about each other?”
You don’t know this person. They could be dangerous! Or boring!
But hey, maybe that stranger who pours your coffee at Starbucks isn’t secretly Bat-girl? Maybe she’s just a normal person who’s just aching for some honest, human interaction?
Hey, is that what you guys do? Just go around letting people know when you’re attracted to them, as soon as you can? Because that seems creepy. By creepy, I mean that I’ve had women tell me that seems creepy. Plus, from what I’ve seen at least, most women like to get to know a guy for a little while before going on a date. But then, what’s the appropriate quantity of time? Is it the three-day rule? Is a month too long? What if you were, like, really, really busy? Or just forgot?
And hey, don’t get me wrong. I totally agree with Mr. Gladstone’s points here. I’m just curious about the timing. Thankfully, I have gotten a bit better at it. Here’s a free tip: If you can’t tell whether she’s interested, she’s probably not. And that won’t change. Like, ever. There’s a woman I like right now. I’m about 98% sure she doesn’t feel the same way as I do, and that is ok. Everyone’s entitled to their own feelings. I’m not Emoto, Lord of Emotions. That said, I really enjoy our conversations and would be honored to continue being her friend because friendship is a good thing.
As for letting women know how you feel, well, I think most can tell. At least with me. I’m pretty easy to read. That said, it is always better to be upfront and honest. Do not fear the Awkwardness! Embrace Risk!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a phone call to put off making because I am a pretty nervous guy, all things considered.
…And Another Thing
Part of the problem comes from thinking of the Friend Zone as a trap. Just because it has the word “zone” in it, doesn’t make it a trap. Examples of zones that are not traps (or if they are, traps in which I would be content to stay trapped):
1. The Happy Puppy Zone (in which puppies run around in the sun, being happy and cute forever)
2. The Free Candy Zone (in which there is free candy)
3. The Forbidden Zone (because I am a rebel)
4. The Superhero Zone (where you get to be a superhero)
5. The Pony/Horse/Elephant/Pig/Battle-Cat Zone (where everyone gets a pony, horse, elephant, pig, or Battle-Cat to ride)
And yes, the Friend Zone. (Oh no! I’m trapped in the Friend Zone! I have no choice but to crack jokes and sing karaoke and drink hot cocoa and split the cost of a pizza and watch movies and argue about which color lightsaber Princess Leia would use! Whatever will I do?!)
Picture of Batgirl from “Batman: The Animated Series.” Copyright Warner Bros. 2016.
Photo of Battle-Cat figure from http://www.he-man.org/collecting/toy.php?id=541&image=1435
But aside from the gay marriage issue, which I’ve spoken about before, I’d like to talk today about the transgender community, a community which — as a straight, white, Christian man — I am in no way qualified to talk about.
You might be surprised to hear this from someone who has no problem with the government legalizing homosexual marriage and no problem with mosques being built in or around NYC, but I’m actually fairly conservative.
As a practicing Catholic, I subscribe to a binary sex system, which dictates that there are two sexes built for each other. I can’t help but believe that a person so uncomfortable in their own flesh as to necessitate identifying entirely with the opposite sex is by definition mentally-imbalanced.
Of course, that’s only my opinion. I’ve only taken one college-level psychology class, and it was an audited course, which means I’ve taken zero college-level psychology classes.
There’s a bit of a stigma attached to mental disease/disorder. As an autistic person, I can assure you there is nothing “wrong” or “broken” about anyone with mental illness. Bipolar disorder, ADD, OCD, and all the other anxiety-causing, hallucination-inducing what-have-you’s are no less shameful than the common cold or any physical handicap.
Likewise, there’s nothing to “cure” when it comes to certain forms of mental illness. Autism, Down Syndrome, and even bipolar disorder are not diseases in the sense that the only “cure” would be a complete rewiring and rebuilding of the patient’s brain.
If you “cured” me of my autism, I’d no longer be recognizable as “me.” That’s what happens when you mess too much with the brain. A scary thought, especially for folks like myself who believe in the existence of Spirit and the immaterial, immortal nature of the human soul.
That said, treatment is available and highly-desirable for most forms of mental illness. Some of us can’t function in any real sense without our medicine, and that’s ok. No one would be surprised that a paraplegic requires a wheelchair. No one should be shocked to discover that a man with paranoid schizophrenia requires a daily dose to keep the hallucinations down to a bare minimum.
But none of that really applies to transgender folks.
With what little research I’ve done into trans-related issues, I’ve discovered that the only reliable treatment for transgender folk is for them to go ahead and be the sex/gender they identify as being. Therapeutic attempts at helping them accept their birth-sex have met with mixed results, to say the least.
Of course, that’s assuming therapy is even an option. That’s assuming the person in question hasn’t already faced bullying on par with the Spanish Inquisition.
So what are we “normals” to do? How should we treat those who are different?
The answer should be obvious.
The idea of loving one’s neighbor is not a new one, although it may be too difficult for some of us to conceive of loving someone far different from ourselves. Perhaps it would be easier for us to start with politeness.
First: What NOT To Do
1. Don’t ask someone about the condition of their genitals. Not a stranger, not someone you just met, not even your friends. Seriously, it’s rude.
2. Don’t beat someone to death because they had a penis when you thought they’d have a vagina. Beating people to death is wrong. Seriously, I shouldn’t have to tell you this. It’s wrong to rape. It’s wrong to murder. How do you not know this already? Are you from the moon?
3. Don’t stare at odd-looking folks. Every so often, I see certain folks on the train or at a grocery store. At first glance, I can’t tell if these folks are women dressed as men, transgender folks, men dressed as women, or some other category I can’t be bothered to look up at the moment because I got other stuff to do today, and I’m running behind as it is. What do I do when faced with these people?
I smile and continue about my day. I don’t stare. I don’t ask them personal questions. I treat them like everyone else I happen to run into, with love and respect. This is not that difficult. It’s what your mother taught you. It’s what the Church teaches. This should not be new. It is not a new concept.
What To Do
Here’s a list of ways to interact with transgender folks, other members of the LGBTQ community, members of minority ethnic groups, people with different hair color or skin tone or eye color than you, people with different religious affiliations, and people who hate everything.
3. Interact as you would with anyone else.
Seriously, that’s all. Show a basic level of human empathy and politeness to others. If a Different Person asks you for the time, pull out your watch or phone or alarm clock and tell them what time it is. If a Different Person asks you for a haircut, give them one and charge them the right rate. Unless you’re not a hair-stylist or barber, in which case, you are free to refuse service.
Seriously, why would you ask me for a haircut? I don’t even own one of those squeaky barbershop chairs.
Update: My stance on the gay marriage issue has since changed, slightly. While as a Christian, I cannot vote for it, as an American, I will not vote against it. The government has no right to forbid the marriage of two consenting adults. I call shenanigans on that. Shenanigans, all around.
(...and some I have)
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