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Pretty Corpse Blues

Pretty Corpse Blues

Live fast. Die young. Leave a pretty corpse.”

…well 2 out of 3 ain’t bad

Friends,.

Here’s a question for you? When you spend your 20s pursuing adventure, whimsy and danger, half-expecting to die young, but then suddenly find yourself in your mid-30s alive, under-educated, with no real specialization to speak of, what do you do?

This is the cross-roads I find myself at: What am I? What is it exactly I do? How long will I be staying in this place that I now found myself in?

I’ve taken to skirting these questions with cleverness: What am I? => What do you need me to be!; What do I do? => Whatever it takes!; How long will I be staying here? => As long as it takes! And while I have felt like a bit of an impostor boldly delivering these nonchalant responses when queried, they do carry more than a little truth. A lot actually, and that’s the problem: the inherent truth behind what I’m saying rather than the facade of bullshit. It’s like I haven’t declared a major. I haven’t tied myself down and committed to anything. Throw the fucking dice already, Dre!

I have been many things in my time but I never saw any of them through. I did them long and hard enough to get some validation and recognition and acclaim (I’m actually very good at whatever I put my mind to), and that was good insofar as it taught me how little fame/acclaim/validation actually means in the grand scheme of things. But there are a lot of unfinished books on my shelf.

My resume is fairly diverse: retail clerk, infantry rifleman, student, warehouse worker, waiter, actor/stunt performer/film-maker, home-stager, yoga instructor, jewelry-maker/silversmith, camp counselor, freelance translator and editor and most recently, musician. When I look back on that list it bothers me; a lot of those things I did because they were the path of least resistance, or because they seemed an expedient way to get something I didn’t want to work for, or even because they just sounded cool to do. I have been feeling for some time that I need to dig deeper and maximize my potential, to spend every waking hour more productively, to take bigger risks and to make greater/more focused efforts.

It’s funny to touch on these themes now, almost two years after writing a post entitled “…When I Learn to Fly” where I outlined a plan to travel the world learning, doing work-aways, etc. It didn’t go the way I thought it would, especially that year and a half I spent in Germany, in a relationship, getting engaged, etc., and looking back I see that when I wrote that post, I was still so fucked up from getting knocked off my path when things didn’t work out with me and my ex. I had no idea at that time that the other shoe was about to drop on me in a HUUUGE way. When I say things didn’t work out with me and my ex, I mean that for me, God died. My highest value, the crux of all my ambitions, the cornerstone of my future happiness and meaning -it got yanked out on some Jenga shit and I was left teetering thinking that I was just swaying.

Now two years later I find myself out of another relationship but its different. I don’t know that I was ever as wide open as I was in the previous one. I always had this feeling like I was living someone else’s life after having been knocked so catastrophically from my own. Well, now I seem to be back on track, not as skilled as that original post predicted I would be two years later but no worse for the wear. A lot of deadwood had to be burned away over the past two years since that original post was written.

Some of the chaos of the last two years. Do I need to integrate it all or is some of it just deadwood?

Most importantly I think I’m centered in myself in a way that I wasn’t before. I am no longer looking for the external validation that comes from women. I know that there is no salvation in the redemptive gaze of another. It is at best a distraction. I see the flames of my own personal hell in my rear-view in a way I never have before and truth be told, I kind of like it -I think the pressure is good for me. In the past I never really saw what was at stake but now I do and thankfully I feel up to the challenge.

When my “God” died and the whole structure collapsed I was adrift, but now I have a new highest value. I want to tell you what that is but its something like a block of marble that is still being carved, but its a beautiful, well-veined piece and its being carved deliberately and slowly by a master.

I can tell you that it has to do with embracing the role of the father -the bulwark against chaos providing habitable order for the ones I love, but it’s not just that either. It’s also the journey to that as well: the constant and never-ending self-improvement, the abandonment of destructive cycles of behaviour and their replacement with something productive. Doing the work essentially. Even if I never have my own family I want to keep that possibility open for myself because far too many times I have met the right woman but I have not been all that I could have been. I can remedy that.

There is something else too, like a joker in the deck that off-sets, complements and, when appropriate, supercedes the more methodical, logical and analytical approach: I have to keep trusting my intuition now as much as I ever did before -more even. (It’s hilarious because I was pretty adamant about that point in my post from two years ago and here I am still dwelling on it. Either I haven’t been pursuing that goal as intelligently/diligently as I otherwise might have or it is something which constantly needs work. Both I suspect…). In more esoteric terms, my throat chakra is still a little jammed up and I won’t be doing it any favours by simply just buckling down and colouring inside the lines. I have to speak my truth and pursuant to that, I know there are a few people who need to hear what I have to say. Perhaps in good time they will, but I won’t make their willingness to listen or lack thereof the defining criteria. Each day presents a myriad of opportunities for us to say “no” and set boundaries, to volunteer enthusiastically for something just outside of our wheelhouse, and even to make the risque joke that might divide the room. I’m taking these opportunities and getting out in front of the things I’m dreading rather than letting them find me.

One last point on my truth and my intuition: There is something I HAVE worked at consistently over the course of my adult life and never given up on, and that is wandering. I am good at it and the best day I’ve had over the last few months was my 24 hour layover in Panama City en route here to Nicaragua.

I was in a new place with everything I needed and only there for a short time. I don’t know if this is the type of way to live the rest of my life but for right now it speaks to me. So I’m going to pursue it, because I love it and because its what I’m good at.

I’m here. I’m alive. I hadn’t prepared for this, but fuck it, might as well make something out of the next 30 or 40 years. I hope you’ll join me for the ride.

Best,

-Andre Guantanamo

#prettycorpseblues

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“Where We’re Going We Don’t Need Bridges…”

Friends,

A lot of you didn’t know me back in 2012. It was a rough year for me and something of an awakening process. I was becoming aware of just how profoundly screwed up society is at a fundamental level, predicated as it is on the maintenance of artificial and unnecessary scarcity to maintain high levels of profit and a dependent, compliant workforce….but I digress. The upshot was that I was very argumentative both IRL and OL.

It was bad.

The benefit of such dissatisfaction is that it spurred my creativity and caused me to blog quite prolifically, albeit angrily, and I was never at a loss for what to rant about.

Fast forward four years and I am a much happier dude. My convictions haven’t changed, but I realize that rather than smashing my face against the keyboard to spur along the change I want to see, it’s better for me to become a living example of what I’d like to see. As such, I never get into heated arguments in-person anymore and only occasionally online, and even in those latter cases I am not so emotionally invested because I realize that if either party is saying anything truthful it will sink in and take root over time. Trying to FORCE someone to see your POV is like screaming at a seedling to make it grow faster.

******

So why this pre-amble? Well, a few weeks ago I had a cathartic relapse which even now, a month and a half later with a clear head, I struggle to feel remorse for. A (former) friend and colleague of mine went on a militant SJW rant basically declaring war on anyone who made off-color comments around her. I find such righteous indignation and vitriol on behalf of ostensibly progressive ideals ironic and all-too-common. I suppose the basic underlying premise is that the best remedy for misanthropy in the world is a great big helping of misanthropy. Who the fuck knows?

In any event, I wish I’d screen-capped the whole conversation (FORESHADOWING ALERT: She deleted fucking everything and unfriended me, cause ya know, that’s how adults roll) cause it was a pretty terrific example of…well, something. Not sure. But I laughed.

It basically unfolded with me calmly and respectfully explaining that when I read her post it made me want to spout off some horrible shit for a laugh then have a solid eight hours of sleep while she racked her brain putting together a thousand word diatribe of hatred which I would ultimately never read. I softly suggested that she might sway more people with calm and sober discussion. Naturally I was accused of tone-policing, which I guess is a new buzzword which means “suggesting that people don’t scream at you like assholes.”

*******On a related note, I swore in front of my dad once when I was a kid and he “tone-policed” me upside the head. I think we really water down the meaning of the word when we apply it all willy-nilly like she did, but I digress because as an adult who knows how to speak to people respectfully I have little chance of people telling me to modulate my tone so I really don’t have a vested stake in what constitutes tone-policing.

In any event, my gentle suggestions must have smelled like blood in the water to the lurking wolves…sharks….w/e, and they pounced. All of a sudden they were lighting me up left, right and center for being against the cause of human progress (I guess), telling me I had no right to tell aggrieved groups how they should talk, and jumping to my former friend’s defense, a defense which for the record was wholly unnecessary because up that point I had been nothing but civil.

Here’s where I made my only mistake: I remained calm and explained respectfully that I hadn’t told anybody what they had to do, only how they could more effectively reach me, and I suspect, many others. This was only perceived as further weakness and I was roasted for my level-headedness. I decided to just pull out of the conversation and let jackasses be jackasses. Even this was seen weakness:

Male SJW: “Oh what? No response? Is that cause a straight white male chimed in or because I’m right? Or are those two things the same to you?”

Me: “Actually its because I’m jerking off to pictures of the holocaust so can you fuck off while I get this nut?”

The beauty of this line was that they immediately realized that I no longer gave a fuck how I was perceived by them.

Me: “Oh what, no response? Is it because you have a problem with the extermination of millions or because you have a problem with the sexual gratification of a straight, white male? Or are those two things the same to you.”

You ever watch an MMA fight and one fighter gets punched square in the jaw and for the rest of the fight he’s just clinging to consciousness trying not to get hit instead of hitting? It was like that, and I’m not ashamed to say that I relished seeing these paper tigers fold. I had even endured so much abuse up to that point that I was like, “Fuck it; I’ll double down!”

Me: “Male SJW I bet you’re the kind of guy who apologizes to a girl after having sex with her. You fucking cuck!” (lol, “cuck” is one of my new favourite words)

Female SJW (Friend of OP): “I bet Male SJW only apologizes to women he has sex with for making them come too much.” (I wish I made this up but the twat actually said this. I don’t think I could cringe harder if my mom walked in on me masturbating and offered to help).

Me: “Relax Male SJW; just cause she’s jumping to your defense to show solidarity doesn’t mean she’s interested in sleeping with you.”

I don’t remember much of the details beyond these lines, but I remember how I felt when I decided that I didn’t care what these people thought of me. I felt FREE. I felt POWERFUL. And I felt UNENCUMBERED.

For the record I don’t advocate aggression for its own sake but when you are dealing with people of low-intelligence they won’t respect you unless you display some. Thankfully, I deal mostly with people of higher intelligence so I very often feel like my life is similar to floating on a cloud made of whimsy and good humor. But every once in a while a dumb motherfucker doesn’t appreciate such good-natured detachment and so I gotta flex nuts. C’est la vie. And I’m not even saying that these people are low-intelligence in any absolute terms, I’m simply saying that within the context and circumstances we conversed in they bore all the earmarks and behaviours of low-intelligence bullies and so I had to treat them like the retards they were being in order to shut them up.

But what does this whole encounter point to more broadly? Well, I wanna not give a fuck and I am actively working toward that level of serenity and enlightenment. It’s something of a process but I feel I am making good progress. The last four months of traveling have actually been very good for me in that regard because removed from the toxic, politically correct climate of where I live, I have been able to find my own voice and speak more freely with less care of repercussions. As well, coming into my own as a film-maker is helpful because not only does it allow me to tell the stories I want to tell, it also makes me less dependent upon others for work than I was when solely an actor. Let’s face it, actors though they may have the coveted autonomy of a self-employed contractor, are still dependent upon others for work, and these others may have feelings and get offended by realness.

Ultimately though, I don’t want to box myself in, whether career-wise or life-wise. I look back on old posts from like 2008 and cringe at the dumb, reckless shit I used to say but at the same time I smile at how little I gave a fuck. I wanna get back to that zero fucks level but this time be informed with the better taste and judgement I have accumulated over the subsequent years.

Some people may see this as a regression. Fuck them! Their path isn’t mine and what they eat doesn’t make me shit. I have attained a level of freedom, mobility and financial security that is the culmination of years of work, ongoing discipline and a reflection of righteous values. And the benchmark for how successful I am is how happy I am. So how happy am I?

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Note: “Shake ya Ass,” while a great tune is not actually on this playlist. I just happened to be listening to it causelike I said; great tune.
Note 2: I welcome suggestions for songs to add to this list.

That’s right: I actually have a whole playlist devoted to those times where I sit and reflect on how awesome life has been so far…UNHAPPY PEOPLE DON’T DO THAT!! So solipsistic as it may seem, that’s all I need to know to know that I am on a righteous path.

So in closing I am going to keep testing my own courage to say what’s on my mind and when someone calls me on it I am going to endeavour not to be fazed (I may even snap back) because my fear of other’s perceptions is and has been the great limiter and inhibitor of my adult life.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo
#justmightbeok @dreguan

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