(Prime) M(in)ister Dressup

Friends,

Canada has an inferiority complex. If the nation could be anthropomorphized as a person, it would be a person who is incredibly jealous of its best friend and neighbour to the south, the United States of America.

And rightly so, as America is the best goddamn country in the world. And yes, I can support this claim.

But I digress.

While the character of a nation isn’t wholly the reflection of its head of state (if anything the reverse is true), the head of state does perhaps have more influence on said character than the average individual citizen. If we can accept this premise, all we need to know about Canada can be gleaned from studying its Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

I’m gonna be honest, I don’t like this guy. That said, I’m gonna try and give him (and the country) a fair shake herein.

As the son of a former Prime Minister, the argument could be made that a big part of Trudeau’s success was the strength of his name. While I think there is truth in that appraisal, it actually doesn’t bother me. I recognize the importsance of dynasties for political stability, even if they are interrupted by the span of a couple decades (it’s called an interregnum). And if I objected on any level Trudeau leveraging his name, it would strike me as inconsistent with my other view that Donald Trump was in the right when he promoted his children to positions of power in his administration. Properly bounded and advised, I think that an underqualified individual in a stable situation can keep an even keel much more easily than a qualified person can weather a storm. So, no: I don’t have a problem with dynastic continuity. Even nepotism -I get it! I have gotten jobs and positions based on who I know, and if it’s okay at my low level and the patterns of power repeat upward and and downward at all levels to infinity, then I can’t criticize it on principle.

The above photo. It lambasts our weiner-kid PM for his penchant for dress-up. Again, this doesn’t bother me. It does make me cringe insofar as wearing traditional cultural garb seems like blatant pandering, but it just makes me wish that he would use greater discretion, not refrain from trying.

On this penchant for dress-up, the following image came out today:

Yep, that’s him in blackface (well, brownface) at a theme party in 2001. Naturally, the memes have already been fire:

But here’s thing: While the internet is losing its shit, and while conservative friends whom I have a lot of political overlap with are lambasting him, I find myself not caring.

Two reason really:

1) Blackface has never bothered me. It’s overblown and stupid to consider “completing” a costume racist.
2) We need to stop diggind up a person’s past and sacrifing them in the present because of it.

I don’t like Trudeau. He is a sanctimonious, incompetent and a hypocrite. That should be the crux of objections against him. Instead his detractors look at this blast from the past and get excited, acting like they don’t cry ‘foul’ when their political opponents resort to this same shit. It’s equivocal and silly.

Trudeau did nothing wrong back in 2001. He did a lot wrong in subsequent years when he set himself up for a bigger fall by portraying a standard of virtue which was impossible to live up to. But sweet, young Justin in 2001 was well within the grounds of acceptability.

***********************

What does this have to do with Canada?

Like its PM, Canada has to decide who it wants to be because its obviously not working. We’ve successfully alienated our closest ally in the US and now instead of the US’s best friend, we are 5th or 6th somewhere after Brazil, Japan, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and the UK.

Canada has to decide what it wants to be known for. It’s a country of mediocrity; its never excelled at anything for a long enough time to be known for that thing. I know what I’m talking about here because I have fallen into the same rut in my own life. In my tim, I have been an okay soldier, an okay, student, and okay labourer, an okay home stager, an okay writer, an okay yoga teacher, an okay jeweler, an okay actor, etc. Okay isn’t good enough. Be bold. Pick something and focus on it. Stop keeping all of your costumes in your closet. Pick one and stick to it and throw all the rest out.

I am mad at my country but maybe I am more mad at me. We do tend to hate the things about others that we hate most about ourselves. Call it Canada Syndrome or whatever, but I need to mature and focus, and so does my stupid country.

And Justin Trudeau? I don’t hate this guy. I love this guy because I AM this guy.

Am I gonna vote for him in the next election? No…but then I wouldn’t vote for my own non-committal ass either.

And if I had to pick one country to be reborn in? Well, I wouldn’t pick Canada either.

I guess I picked a good time to return home and go back to school: I need it and evidently my country does too.

Best,
-Dre

 

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Weak Men

Friends,

Everything is relative, and in my experience, nowhere is this more true than in the realm of male-male friendships. There is something of a classic model of male relationships which classes men as either the Alpha or the Beta. Whatever you may think of this model and its applicability, I am going to be building upon it here.

You’ve been warned.

In theory, the Alpha-Beta (AB) model manifests in every male friend group; even a group of two, and it is the group of two I want to focus on. I/we can be part of many two person friendships, and our status as Alpha or Beta is subject to change depending on the friend we are hanging out with, and to a lesser extent, the specific circumstance we find ourselves in.

I have spent the last two months living with my friend, Archie, and I am the Alpha in the relationship…by a large margin. I want to focus less on why this is and the specific details of our friendship, and more on how it (frustratingly) manifests.

Before continuing, it must be said that my expertise derives from the fact that I have been both Alpha and Beta at various times, and I have been Beta by the same wide, crippling, pathetic margin (relative to more Alpha friends) that Archie currently is relative to me. I see now how I must have been a chore for my indulgent friends to deal with.

Scarcity Mentality

I have had and lost many women….definitely more of the latter. I don’t care. That’s the point. Stop caring! Archie cares too goddamn much. He tells me so. He wants to claim women, regardless of who they are more interested in. Lately he won’t go to a local coffee shop with me anymore because I flirt with the barista and she flirts back. He admits this but justifies it by saying that he is worried about it getting awkward and not being able to go there again. I asked him if he had designs on her. He said he didn’t know, but that since I started flirting with her I didn’t give him a chance to decide.
Here’s the thing: I would love for him to make a bold move with her and catch her interest. Play on, Playa! That’s my mentality; pure abundance But he doesn’t want to do that because then he would have to reciprocate my magnanimity. And he doesn’t want to do that because of Jenny.

Jenny
Jenny is….was Archie’s friend and I met her once in passing over a year ago in Berlin outside a bar I was at with Archie. They were talking. Jenny and I shared a look and a rapport, and when you know, you just know. But alas, I had a fiance (and so did Archie) and so nothing never happened [sic].  Fast forward a year to now and I have moved back to Berlin into a spare room in Archie’s flat for a temporary stay. Being newly-single, I asked Archie early on about Jenny. He clammed up and expressed doubt that I had this connection (yeah, okay…), then came out with the truth that he was into her. Recently divorced, he had designs on her and was being territorial.

Well, I had no access to her aside from him connecting us, and I didn’t even remember her name. These two facts coupled with the literal millions of fish in the sea gave me a play on, playa outlook on the whole situation, even though I was dubious about his ability to make it work.

So a few nights ago he gives me an update on Jenny (whose name I had forgotten again and which he took as further evidence of the absence of connection). He tells me he “fired her as a friend” (his exact words) due to numerous scheduling snafus (her blowing him off). He had reached a critical threshold I guess and told her he didn’t want to be her friend and then blocked her. He Scorched the Earth! He fucked it up and if he couldn’t have her, noone could (at least noone who would need him to make the introduction). I felt anger well up inside me (not sure yet if the anger is justifiable or not) but all I said was, “And nothing of value was lost.” He enthusiastically, unironically agreed.

Liat

Same aforementioned coffee shop. Last week we go out to the back patio for our (at that point, at least) daily coffee and smoke. I walked out there first and saw a cute girl, Liat, sitting with a friend. We made eye contact and when you know, you just know. Archie joined me shorly after at our table and I initiated conversation with Liat and her friend as they were seated next to us. She was really bubbly and regaled us with a story about her broken arm and the cast she was currently wearing. Liat’s friend left, then Archie left, and Liat and I walked out of the coffee shop together (which visibly intrigued and upset aforementioned barista). We walked back to mine and started playing some music in my room. Archie joined and we had a jam and sing-along. I eventually went back to Liat’s place nearby and we spent the afternoon together and made love.

Later I found out that Archie was a bit resentful about this because I had moved so quick that he hadn’t had a chance to decide of he was interested. This was doubly frustrating because the very next day he had some chick over whom I assume he didn’t introduce me to because he was worried I would, I don’t know –steal her or something.

Which brings me to Lana…

Lana

A couple nights later, me, George, Archie, and Archie’s black friend, Lana, all headed out to a local bar that had a weekly open jam. Lana seemed cold to me at first, which Archie later suggested was a possible result of my surplus multi-cam jacket with velcro flashers on the sleeves from my time in Afghanistan. In retrospect, I suspect that perhaps he had also told her unflattering things about me being a prejudiced person (more on that in the next section). In any event, I care a lot less these days about what a rando feels about me and so I just went back in the bar content to watch the jam without playing. In the dearth of a vocalist, Archie got on the mic and asked if I wanted to come up and freestyle. I enthusiastically obliged and proceeded to lyrically assassinate, dropping my trademark, “Rest in Peace, Tupac Shakur” at the end.

Lana gave me props when I rejoined them on the couch and seemed to have warmed up to me. Classic black chick!

On the walk home, I ushered George away toward our direction to give Archie a chance to close with Lana. He did not and instead rejoined me and George. Soon after George split off in his direction and me and Archie headed back the flat we were sharing. I asked him, “So what’s the deal with you and Lana?” -Big mistake.

“What do you mean by that?” he asked, suspiciously.

“Um, are into her? How’s it going?”

“Damn, man, do I gotta worry that you’re trying to go after her?”

Jesus Christ! This is the kind of insecurity I was living with. I explained that I wasn’t interested, but the damage was already done.

Ugh, it makes me mad just remembering it.

Racism/Sexism/Homophobia

I don’t know if I’m racist. I don’t know if Archie is. All I know is that if I say a slur, I’ll say it with deliberate intention or not at all. If I say a slur, there will be an elaborate, oblique set-up, well-wrought build, and an emphatic delivery for the purpose of shock and humour. Otherwise there is no point and I feel like a dishonest coward. My whole thing goes back to the Patrice O’Neal school of “Say it with belief!”
Archie does not subscribe to this school of thought and says slurs frivolously because he feels he can vent his latent racism to me while maintaining the outward appearance of being progressive. He has admittedly gotten better about this (saying things with belief or not at all), but at the outset…Jesus Christ. He would say some slur and then immediately laugh and show his teeth nervously to gauge my response. I felt put upon to laugh or respond in a very awkward, cringey way.
At one point early on in our two months of living together I called him out for this, encouraging him to make offensive jokes, but to mean it. He got so offended and said some shit like “I thought I could make jokes with you without you getting offended” (which is more fucked up the more you think about it), and I simply explained that I wasn’t offended, but I felt embarrassed for him.
Looking back, this conversation was a line in the sand that I drew early on, and I feel like I have been paying for it ever since. Thankfully, all things come to an end.

****************

Thanks for indulging my venting. Since writing this post a few weeks ago I have moved on to Portugal and found a happy place. My closest male friend here is a young kid from the UK named Charlie. With him, its how it should be: We big each other up and don’t let trifling shit like women get between us. Ditto for my other close male friend here Ricardo, but he’s a big, gay Portuguese body-builder so competition for women really isn’t so much of a thing. I was very frustrated when I wrote this post, and looking back brough up some of the old feelings, but the further it is in my rear-view, ther easier it gets.

Best,
-Dre

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Practice Makes Perfect

Friends,

Let me tell you a story:

Practice Makes Perfect

Early September 2009, I was a few months back from deploying to Afghanistan and was living in Hamilton. I had dropped out of McMaster University three years prior and in that three-year span I had partied, traveled and done aforementioned deployment. I had been scared to depoly, thinking I was going to die. I hadn’t died though. And now, on this overscast Sepetember morning, I walked back to school and tears came to me. I had made it. I had gone through hell (more emotional than physical) and was now returning to the promised land with the adventures I had sought now under my belt. Those last two years of my undergrad were not golden and idyllic like living in residence first year had been, nor fucking mental like getting a house with the bros in second year had been, but they were still better: I got more involved in the school, applied myself more to the work, met the love of my life (or at least the next fove years), and learned from professors who would make a great impact on my life.

Now, ten years later, I am poised to undertake another academic adventure and I am optimistic; I am capable at this juncture of not only integrating and incorportating everything I learned/did in the second half of my undergrad, but also incorportating/integraring everything I learned since in my years traveling working as an actor, etc.

This school doesn’t know what’s gonna hit it.

I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day: Doing the the same thing over and over until I get it right.

Practicing Without Expectation

It doesn’t always work out well though, and when it doesn’t, it’s my fault:

February/March 2016 was one of the best months of my life. I fell in love with the love of my life (I fall fast and I fall hard), Marijo at Carpe Diem Eco Project (CDEP) in Nicaragua. Those nights on the beach, lying under the stars, making love as the moon rose over the palms, were sublime and left an indelible impression on my psyche. The following year (January 2017), meeting back there, I tried to force things to be how they were the previous year. It was hell. We were on different pages and “the past I was trying to relive” was not the “experience I should have been doing over, but better.”  Let me explain:

It would have been fine for me to approach my time at CDEP in 2017 with a similar openness, enthusiasm and vigor to the previous year -but those qualities were tainted by an expectation of recreating the past perfectly -this kind of expectation had been absent from my 2009 return to school, where I had been truly open-minded.

During my 2017 return to CDEP I assumed I knew better than reality and reality humbled me.

This past year (2019) I returned to CDEP. Marijo wasn’t there, and I was a lot wiser and more open (for the most part). I ended up having an amazing, transformative time by allowing reality to dictate the terms. It wasn’t sublime the way my first time there had been, but that’s not important –sublimity will come when its ready to if I stay open to it and accept the reality as it is. This is the act of faith that all men, religious or not, must make. I never expected to find Marijo, so why should I expect anything else sublime?

I remember sitting on the beach one evening with my peoples this past year and wandering off to listen to mine and Marijo’s song, WIcked Game by Chris Isaak, and laughing at how I’d been pining in futility for a fluke month instead of fully utilizing the opportunities in front of me. Silly silly silly…

Openness to Submission: Do-Overs Done Right

I went back to Berlin this year. I re-experienced some things. Experienced them better this time now that I was there of my own accord and with the freedom of a young-ish bachelor, instead stuck in a relationship where someone else was subtly dictating my terms for existence. I did it better. I was more open.

My 2016/2017 travel documantary through Arizona, Nicaragua and Honduras, #worldwasonfire, was better than the previous year’s pilgrimage through Latin America for ayahuasca, #justmightbeok too; Even though the former was more painful for the reasons mentioned above regarding mine and Marijo’s fallout, I wasn’t married to the idea of filming a documentary in the traditional sense. Instead I used the tools I was more comfortable with the social media platforms I was more inclined toward using (instagram, youtube) and everything just flowed better. It was more fun and more honest.

Subsequent adventures such as #pimpingbutterflies, #livinginmydreams and the short-lived and misbegotten #migrantcrisis were more focused as a result, although it should be said that they had a less grand ambition.

This #prettycorpseblues thing though….it sounded pretentious to me when I first said it. Even now, it sounds weird to me. But it also sounds more right. It speaks to the resignation I feel regarding submission to the universe. I NEED to submit to something and my own longevity (not mortality) seems a good a thing as any. Needless to say, I am not posting as frequently on instagram as I did during the #worldwasonfire days (hitch-hiking and youthful recklessness just make for more things to post about), but this is also a longer-term project (namely, the rest of my life), and will be full of my largest under-takings yet, so there is no rush to punctuate it with small bursts.

Do it. Fail Spectacularly. Do it Better. Fail More Spectacularly. Repeat.

Openness to Submission: One Final, Lifelong Do-Over

There are people in my life who I have strained relationships with. There are people whom I haven’t met yet who are destined to have a great impact on my life. These are repeating constants; universal ones even. To the family and friends whom I have hurt, I will make good on the hurt I caused even if it is the next person and not you who receives the direct benefit of wisdom gleaned from my trespasses against you. Also, for those who have wronged me, I will refuse to hate you; I will take as much responsibility for not being better to you in your time of weakness.
To those I have yet to meet, destined to become friends and girlfriends: I will deal with you squarely and keep the focus on me, never basing my sense of worth and fulfilment on you. I have fucked up before in these regards. I have done okay before in these regards. I have excelled before in these regards. Either way, the future will be the best yet.

I am getting better, and I can prove it.

I love you all. Never be a afraid of a re-do. Never feel like you are stuck at a place you were in the past. “Do-over” is another name for “practice” and that’s how we get good. Sometimes I look at my life and see train-wreck; a culmination of unpulled triggers and impetuous, ill-advised actions. This is a truthful analysis, but there is a level of life mastery I aspire to, a highest ideal, and when I ballpark out how one might reach that ideal, I can’t see a way to it that looks appreciably different from my life thus far.

Looking back on yesterday and correcting for today and tomorrow is not mutually exclusive from being on track. Take it on faith

I have.

Best,
-Dre

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Recepticons…TERRORIZE!!

Friends,

I’m working at a hostel on the coast just west of Lisbon. I like hostel work and while I have to keep my head down the next two years and hit the books to become a massage therapist, I don’t intend to take my eyes off of the prize -I like this life and I want to do more in this domain.

That said, tonight has been….hilarious. I don’t know of a more diplomatic way to refer to a frustrating night full of guests who make me wonder how they are able to tie their own shoes, let alone book rooms online. Timothee for example and his compatriot called up unable to find their hostel building. Since I’m managing from offsite and a foreigner to boot, I was at a bit of a loss to navigate him to the location in Lisbon. More frustratingly, he wouldn’t listen. The whole exchange would have taken half the time if I could have had him shut-up and listen to my questions, but he was so flustered -THEY were so flustered- it was like being on the phone with two little French girls whose croissants had been taken away.

Frustration

I kept them on the line and got on my personal phone with my supervisor, Ricardo, a muscly, beautiful gay Portuguese man who unironically uses the term of endearment, bros when referring to me and Charlie. So I had two phones up to my ear: The voluminously frustrated French man in my right ear and the loud, gay, Francophobe, Ricardo on my left, and I was trying to relay the information back and forth but whenever I said something to one phone, the other phone piped up. Ricardo for all his good qualities can be a bit of a prattler himself and he was already frustrated with these dudes because they hadn’t been reading the emails all week leading up to their booking which told them that the hostel was self-check in and that we couldn’t give them their room codes until they provided us with credit card info.

Resignation

At length, I had Ricardo call them and they later got back to me with their CC and I gave them room codes. They had me stay on the line until they were past the vestibule and then abruptly hung up on me….wankers.

I was happy with myself that I managed to take it all in stride. A younger, dumber me might have been a little averse to this flaccid abuse, but honestly, it starts to wear less on you the more you remember that you are dealing with small children. Small, adult-sized children.

Fuck it, having a smoke!

Who am I kidding, Timothee and his friend are French, so they’re probably Napoleon-sized.

Best,
@dreguan

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Thinking on my Sins

Friends,

I quit smoking. I left Berlin, hotbed for smoking anywhere and everywhere that it is. I came to Lisboa to finish my third and final month before submitting….succumbing to the yoke.

I will get myself clean before going back to Canada. I will get myself clean before putting my head down and shutting up. I will get myself clean before I go pay back all that good karma of living so recklessly and “finding myself” these last post-Chelsea years.

And that’s what it is -post-Chelsea, not post-Marijo. Not post-Anne. I lost Chelsea,  who loved me unconditionally. I have been so fixated on Marijo but she never loved me unconditionally. Marijo was too wise for that, even though she got start-struck by me and my sole purpose and intentional focus. She wised up real quick when that focus and drive she fell in love with became disproportionately fixated on her.

God how I sinned against her.

And then spurned by her I attached myself to Anne like a parasite. A weak man attaching himself to a strong woman’s vain twilight hopes of having a family. I look back at my weakness and willingness to use those weaker than me and I feel disgust. I never want to be so weak again.

Buuuuut….

I think I am still willing to use people again if need be. I just want to make sure I use that malevolence and ….charm, in a more intentional way. I don’t want to use it against women. Or men. I want to use it against people who know we are in contest. And then only as a last resort. I competence rather than artifice and the naivete of others to be how I make my way in the world. I want my cunning and wiles (such as they are) to be the fruits reaped by contenders who will appreciate the artfulness and not be left stunned and in disarray at how their best –their pearls– were spit upon for selfish egoistic self advancement.

I look back and see human wreckage. I’ve taken what I want from women. From those women gullible, naive and/or idealistic enough to be duped at least.

No more. I will make sure their eyes are open. If I can’t open them then I will walk away.

And of course I realize wryly that it’s all well and good for me to repent and rehabilitate now that my ‘victims’ have endured/are enduring the brunt of wasted hopes and wasted years. I used to take pride at how I was on good terms with all of my exes. I can’t do that anymore. I look at the last few women in my life and I see indifference/getting on with life at best, and….something else at worst.

I sinned against Marijo. I have known this for a long time. A spiritual sin against someone so perfectly matched to my soul that I felt I might have to pay penance for several lifetimes before I might have her essence welcome me again.

And if that weren’t bad enough, my penance to her was at the “altar” of my relationship with Anne. I saw Anne as the fitting punishment for earlier transgressions. I spent a year self-flagellating with her, trying to conform my heart and soul to a new life that wasn’t my own and my health suffered. I felt like I couldn’t even stand up straight and I was scared that I was going to cripple myself by continuing down this road.

And then there’s the elephant in the room, Annie.

Annie, who loved me so purely and so dearly while I pined after Marijo, missing the latter with the vain goal of co-mingling my weakness and inadequacy with her optimism and idealism. I haven’t even addressed Annie. I have kept her compartmentalized out of a sense of respect. She loved me so dearly, so purely, and all I could think about was another woman.

Marijo. Annie. Anne. They all have names. They are all lives touched by my brutish, unrefined demands. Sodomized by my insecurities, they allowed themselves to be victimized by my emotional rapefulness [sic] because they didn’t know better; because as they were struggling to keep their own heads above water they only saw the polished tip of my iceberg and not what floated me -not the generational pain, narcissism, hurt and legacy of past impetuous, rash and calculated actions.

There’s an idea that I don’t like per se, but which is nonetheless salvational: “None of us get away with anything.”

I realized this when I cheated on Anne. Even though we might lay cuddled, there was always something between our tightly intertwined bodies which prevented ultimate closeness, and the only thing which ameliorated that distance was coming clean about my infidelity. Poor girl. Poor lovely, unassuming young girl who was five years my senior. She wanted so badly to believe that her investment in me would pay off that she forgave me.

No. That’s not true. Forgiveness implies an even playing field. She was DESPERATE. I knew this. I knew I could act a fool and get away with it. And still, when I came clean it was only because I found my conscience -atrophied, jelly-like invalid that it was- irksome. I wanted to hold her closer for my own selfish indulgence, and the last good thing in me was screaming at me in its weakened state, “NO!”

I told her. She forgave me…not like she had a choice and my cuddles were as close after that as I needed them to be, no longer impeded by that thing I had been neglecting to feed and nurture.

If we can shut a yappy creature up and get ourself some respite, very often we will settle for that instead of a proper solution.

What a horrible state of affairs if that yappy creature whom we wish to toss only the merest sustenance to is our conscience.

Oh ladies who have loved me, I am so so sorry. I have wronged you so egregiously. I took what you freely gave at your most idealistic, and demanded more with no recompense. I am disgusted with myself.

I am haunted too. I am haunted by a selfish thought. The thought that is haunting me is this idea of 3. Three. Three women in your life. Three loves. That’s all you get. That’s all anyone gets. I look back on the women in my life trying to piece together who I loved, and who I didn’t actually love but who I just saw as an idealized projection of what I wanted. I hope to God the count is less than three. I hope I meet the love that will be so redefining in its depth that it will shift the goal-post and make me realize that everything I experienced before was just a shadow of the immaculate now where I find myself in union with a hopeful, unjaded feminine sweetness that loves me like Chelsea loved me, unconditionally.

That future is uncertain. I have thought about becoming a priest or turning to homosexuality over the last year because honestly, what do I have to offer the women I want; the sweet young women that I want, aside from rapaciousness and plunder?

And so I have become a man of faith. Perhaps all men of faith are motivated by a self-awareness of the transcendental nature of their error. I see my transgressions -for better or worse- as arithmetic figures to be punched into the perpetually tabulating equation of human suffering and misery. My act of faith is to absorb as much of that suffering as I can without letting it pass to the weaker around me who fall in love with me because of token, gestural demonstrations of strength and poise.

No, from now on I will shoulder the burden instread of passing it to them; not because anyone is watching and I am trying to get laid, but because I have learned experientially that the only way to redeem my suffering, to redeem the hurt I have inherited, is to minimize the suffering around me. And I so dearly need that respite so that I can become.

And here is the faith: If I do this, I trust that whatever happens will be the right thing. If it turns out that it is three strikes and I am out for women to love me, then I will take satisfaction that this is but one life and there will be another to get where I’m going.

If it turns out -God willing- that it has only been two, then I swear by everything that is holy that I will have the wide open eyes to recognize that beauty and not take it for granted like I was wont to do in the past. I won’t coast, but will work every day to make it better until it kills me.

If it is three I have already had then there might be another way…

My wandering vagabond lifestyle up to this point has been a blessing and a curse, but whatever I can say about it, it has made me choosy and refined in how I go about suffering. I want so badly to suffer for something with my enlightened perspective of how deeply meaningful suffering can be and how to shoulder it for the benefit of myself and everyone around me. I want to have my back against the wall and have people depend on me.

And I will get it…if I’m meant to in this life.

Again, faith.

I have difficult years ahead of me. Lots of credit I have been living on that has to be paid back. I am going to pay it back with a smile on my face. And if I have to buy a pack of tobacco to bolster me now and then, then I burn away my health and beauty gladly.

#prettycorpseblues

Best,
-dreguan

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The Diary of Guantanamo the Bard(Lock) – 26 July 2019

Friends,

It started off a day like any other: I woke up outside, stoked the coals to boil water and make coffee, untethered Rocinante, and began stretching. I slept pretty well and my shoulder stiffness is abating. I played a few songs while I enjoyed my coffee and hacked a dart. Packed up camp at a deliberate though purposeful pace. Walking to the road with Rocinante, I noticed a large group of people in the distance on the move so I rode up to them.

There was lots of bawling and self-pity, and while they were utterly wretched and seemed to have come by their disposition honestly, I didn’t feel particularly up to the challenge of engaging them in conversation. Woulda harshed my mel’. Instead I nodded in greeting then rode alongside at a slight distance.

We came to a castle at length and they began trickling in. I was greeted by a paladin whom I later found out was named Emilio. He had two friends, Abel and Lynn, and the three of them seemed the only ones there who didn’t have a dark cloud above their heads, and this particular morning I had already had enough “rain.”

They seemed to be still in the middle of figuring out their next move. I offered my rapier to their cause they seemed nice enough and I suppose did my part in sussing out a plan. I am always a little wary about volunteering ideas to new adventurers whose parties I join because even though the group is often fluid, I am still a new and unproven outsider. Plus, I know how I tend toward thinking my ideas are the best, so I try and be very mindful about not being too obtrusive with suggestions.

We decided on a course of action after they over-estimated what I meant when I said my knowledge of spiders was “slighty above rudimentary.” Truth is, I don’t think I know a lot about spiders -but I hate saying “no” when I can give an “honest yes”, which I then trust people to decipher as “no” without me actually having to say “no”. I need to be a little more judicious about this approach and just say “no” when I don’t know. So many missed opportunities and so many tragic misunderstandings because my younger self tried to be “all things to all people”. Still we mustn’t waste days lamenting over wasted days…..

Long-story short, I ended up getting mandible shitf—ked in the chest by a giant spider. This was actually our second visit to the spiders, and incidentally the only one in which we got attacked. What does it all mean? 🤔

Anyways, I thought I could try and join their spider cult if I acted all spidery so I turned on the charm and started bouldering and balancing on a slack line. Some young shooter didn’t like getting stunted on and so he started to flex, hissing at me and shit. I was like “You don’t even know! I’m about to shit on this bitch!” I presti’d some fuego in both hands and began screaming from my perch on my “web” using my sacred beast speech ability, intimidating af. He got shook real quick. Then I started making eyes at the girl spider just to clown him. I wasn’t really even all that attracted to her, cause she’s like a giant spider, but I want that young one to think that the only reason I didn’t smash is cause I tried to show him mercy. If he knew I thought his girl was ugly it would break his spirit, and he already took an L today.

So making eyes at the spider-queen, I start playing Goldfinger for her on my guitar “…..the man with a Midas touch -A SPI-der’s TOUCH!!….”. I think in retrospect this is where everything went f—kup for me and the crew. The shooter got froggy again and attacked me. Thankfully I was wearing my breastplate, but I was fairly shocked because the queen was looking at me like things were “getting right” for her, all hungry-eyed and such, and nothing is more shocking than having some ruffian remove his glove and slap you with it when you a-courting. 

So there I am, on my slackline playing Goldfinger bleeding out my chest -all in all, not the worst date I’ve been on- and a battle ensues. Everyone seems to be making good account of themselves. I think Lynn might got bit too, but I think she got poisoned. Abel, a druid, summoned more spiders for some f—king reason and half of them were horny young bucks too who started white-knighting for the queen trying to get in her pants.

Thirsty. Bitches.

Then ….what’s his name? Emilio! Emilio is all like, “Guantanamo, you didn’t yell for help like you were supposed to!”

“Are you joking me?” I would have thought that getting bitten in the chest by a giant f—king spider counted as universal sign language for “Help”!

It takes all kinds I guess…

At this point, I (reluctantly) slung my guitar, shot an agonizing blast which knocked a spider from the ceiling and slashf—ked another one.

How did it feel? F—king awesome I guess.

I don’t know.

It’s not like a karma thing where I lament having to kill the spiders, but like, this problem should have never got to this level. I feel like there’s a proper place for spiders where we can coexist with them. It’s at the margins of our homes, or in the case of giant spiders, the margins of society. We shouldn’t be furnishing them with nests; they can’t help who they are, they are going to begin eating us at some point. It seemed like a no-brainer to me.

So whatever, we killed them and started heading to some amber door I think. -I don’t really pay as much attention as I should. One day into the two day journey we encountered some zombies in the woods. I was like, “Hell Yeah.” And tried to charge them, but they were more 

B A S E D than the little male spider and didn’t flinch.

I’ll be honest though, in that charge I experienced a moment of doubt which I think led to the ultimate failure of trying to rout them and scare them. I suppose I am still possessed of a fairly persistent idea which I read long ago in some archaic bestiary: “Zombies are formed from the corpses of men executed for committing the most depraved and DEGENERATIVE crimes against the innocent….”

DEGENERATIVE.

That word: It was seared into my brain.

I knew exactly what they were talking about even though I had no precise definition of the word. I look at them (zombies) as a special case in my sub-conscious quite possibly. It’s not that I have especial hatred for them because they were (probably) child-molestors, as the bestiary rather ham-fistedly implied, I mean, sure -it’s that too, but I am aware of the absolute darkness they saw and felt in life and now endure in undeath, and in that moment,

I. Felt. Doubt.

I doubted my ability to frighten them because they are the true embodiment of darkness; a darkness so deep that it isn’t simply satisfied with extinguishing light, but which seeks to make a mockery of the light’s very existence by snuffing out the fresh sparks which have yet to blossom into luminescence.

For a man to get to that point of darkness… For a creature to be possessed of that point of darkness… What can I possibly do to frighten it? Hence, I believe, my doubt.

Fortunately, my rapier and elven dagger demonstrated much greater self-confidence than their wielder. The battle seems won, but there are still some writhing limbs on the ground and we should clean them up. I mean, kids play here, right?

ONWARD TO THE AMBER DOOR!!

God bless!

-Guantanamo

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Evolution, Serotonin and the Future of Posture

Friends,

This is a message was sent to a friend, but you guys can read it too:

This is long. Read as much or as little as you like or skip right to the questions at the end. As long as I value your thoughts and opinions I may be inclined to periodically share ideas with you and some other people whose thoughts and opinions I value also. But I do it with no expectation of a response of similar length or by a certain time. People like you already help me by being a sounding board to write and vocalize complex ideas and I am grateful.

We get serotonin by dominance
But not dominance precisely -we get it by carving out a space -geographic/social/professional- which we defend and improve.
The serotonin we get inflates us, puffs us up, makes us stand taller. If we back down from a dominance display/not maintain our space/get encroached upon, we will have a relative deficit of serotonin and deflate.
When we inflate we rise up taller, walk more confidently and lift our shoulders and gaze.
When we deflate, we are scurrilous, scared and guarded.
Our early hominid ancestors walked on all fours and engaged in dominance displays (as did our much earlier crustacean and reptile ancestors). When they won they would make big puffed-up gestures and occupy more space.
Those big puffed-up gestures were the first fumbling overtures toward walking upright.
In very general terms, we can say that there is a correlation between standing upright and reproduction: the winners got the serotonin rush and also reproductive rights after all, and both flowed from the same cause: successfully occupying space, or ‘dominance’ if you prefer.
As the less dominant died off, the standards changed: the winners perpetually, habitually stood more upright more frequently, because statistically, a recent win will give you a courage advantage in the next stand-of.
Standing more and more upright even began to become a useful default posture because as we became more deadly and became hunters of animals, we also became hunters of each other, and one of the best ways to mitigate the problem of being hunted by other tribe is to not present yourself as a “target of opportunity” -walk upright so they know when they see you that you’re coming off of many battles and that they don’t want this problems. This marks when the standards began to change again: you can still win a dominance challenge with violence and threats but you can also broadcast that you’re not to be trifled with, avoid the acute challenge, and still win. This is a viable evolutionary strategy -think bright colouring on poisonous fish.
(*it’s important to note that broadcasting how much you’re not to be trifled with should be done in a similar manner as the poisonous fish 1) The fish can actually back up his claim 2) The fish isn’t aggressive because he trusts that you’re not that stupid -the result: calm cool, dominant coexistence)
Back to viable evolutionary strategy: as standing more and more upright became the norm for the pragmatic reason of warding off predators, the inevitable dominance challenges which still did present themselves would, when won, cause even greater upright posture, which over generations and a gradual cultural shift, created even more upright baseline standard for our ancestors.
***
At this moment, we are at a critical juncture: In an evolutionary history characterized by greater and greater ‘uprightness’ we are perpendicular to the land we stand upon. 90 degrees, the beginning of a square,
At least we should be. We look around the world and so many of our brothers and sisters walk like our earliest hominid ancestors, some even prefer to walk or crawl on all fours but are stopped from “bottoming out” evolutionarily by social norms. (Crawling and humiliation are fetishes which I think speak to a generalized fear of striving upward -but my views on sexuality are not as sophisticated as I’d like them to be so please take that example with a grain of salt.
(Note: I advocate quadrupedal movement for exercise and athletic purposes; not for insulating oneself against the challenges and dangers that the world will throw at us.)

So we see a world around us of bad posture, people slouching under the weight of a heavy world. What do?
Certainly, being the upright man in a world of slouchers would have an analagous benefit to being the “one eyed man in the land of the blind”. The same benefit actually: vision. Greater vision is now an even more effective way than fighting, threatening displays and a rough demeanour. If you have vision and a cultivated voice to communicate what you see you can look at the world around you see problems that will evolve into dominance challenges, threat displays and even violence while they’re still baby dragons. Then you can act accordingly and with much greater economy to squash those baby dragons and focus on higher order problems. The man with vision can much more economically and assuredly deal with threats to the space he is occupying and the people he loves within it, than can the brute with just fists. And the man with fists and vision? Nevermind…

Maybe this point about fists and vision is a good place to begin dovetailing into something approximating an elegant close: What I want I want to ask you (now that you understand how I formulated the idea) is this:

1)Do you think “upright” is the physical / postural limit of our evolution, or do you perhaps think as I do, based on everything talked about thus far, that our posture, better yet, “the lengthening and straightening of our spinal columns as a result of serotonin being released as a reward for successfully occupying space in the world” will continue to evolve? For example, will the open heart chakra position be the postural norm, where we incline our chins upward to survey the heavens and the man of greatest vision is the man who sees the threats and responds to the challenges of a larger multi-dimensional, multi-universe reality?

2) Do you think we can precipitate this evolution by “kick-starting it at the lower order and even younger level by correcting children (and adults) with a how and why for comporting themselves more upright (and beyond).

3) Do you think a critical threshold is necessary for this kind of evolution? Like if 500 million of 9 billion on the planet are walking upright and 8.5 billion are looking at their feet, I think makes it more difficult for the few to evolve to even further heights because so many people aren’t doing their duty and “occupying their space” as they should. We need the feedback of closely-matched people to contend with so we stay sharp. I think you are living this idea whether you know it or not -you’re someone who goes out in a incredibly focused manner searching for a “better set of problems to have”. I really respect that about you. You WANT to stay sharp. So yeah, what are your thoughts on a critical thresholds for evolution?

4) Hearkening back to fists and vision, do you think upright is the perfect equilibrium between the two? If we crouch too far forward in survival mode we miss the whole magical universe and perhaps more importantly, the dangers which aren’t immediate but are on the horizon and imminent?
If we exaggerate the strengthening / lengthening of the spine and focus our gaze upward toward the heavens only, perhaps only taking up abstract causes like ” saving the planet”, are we perhaps turning too much finite attention away from the world, and the comparatively small problems (which we are able to more efficiently and economically solve than the people whose “job” we feel it is to do so). Small problems which, if left unsolved, aggregate into huge problems which we can’t economically solve. I think something is lost here, even if we knowingly make a commitment to be a cloistered monk and focus solely on the abstract. Maybe the solution is as simple as “there’s a time to be more evolved and a time to be less evolved”? -I suspect the answer lies somewhere there, although at this juncture in human existence (as in all of them) I think we always want to keep “upward pressure” and so its not a 50/50 split. What say you?

5) If we can accept the idea that the man of vision:
a)sees problems while they are still small and distant (vision)
b)speaks the problems to the people who need to hear it (truth) c)wilfully takes on as much responsibility for the problem as he can bear (action)
d)is rewarded for his vision, speech and action by the tribe (serotonin)
e) inflates somewhat, stands more upright, becomes either more aware of higher order threats or able to see more distantly in the future how problems may develop (i dont know yet the actual mechanism by which his vision might improve beyond the fact that he sees something the rest of his tribe doesn’t -like a prophet or a seer)
f) this is what we want from everyone (shared ideal)
…we can undertake the solving of the problems in earnest.

This is what has occupied my mind as of late. I am doing so much healing. I am burning away so much of what is unnecessary. I see more clearly now and I’m excited to gain more clarity yet.

Best,

–Dre

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