The past few decades have been particularly stressful for me, for a variety of reasons.
I am not here to complain about any of it.
Instead, I am here in rare form to discuss a solution that I have found to the various problems that have been weighing on me during these times.
In today’s entry, I am going to go through the potential solutions, and then touch upon how this solution was presented to me. It’s the deepest dive into the most shallow of ponds, so let’s go!
THE ANSWER IS IN THIS PHOTOGRAPH
The photograph you see right here provided me with the answer. Well, sort of. To be more detailed and honest, it provided confirmation of the answer that I had received.
This photograph was taken in the Fall of 1982. In order to bring about a better understanding, I will provided some analysis of the photo.
What was going on during this time in my life?
The most obvious thing about this photo is that I’m drinking a cold Colt 45. This cannot be the answer, as most of us learned from Ozzy Osbourne’s song Suicide Solution. Drinking solves nothing, so this isn’t the key. Besides, it was the last one in the fridge, so I wasn’t wasted, either.
I’m wearing a Rush concert t-shirt, from their Signals tour. That was a great show! Remember when Geddy Lee changed the lyrics slightly to say, “one likes to believe in the freedom of baseball?” I was like, oh shit! They did something that isn’t on the record already. Rush is awesome and can make a bad day better, but the concert does not hold the key.
What else is going on here that cannot be seen?
I had recently lost my girlfriend, after her Marine Drill Sergeant dad tried to kill me with a wrench. Do I look broken up over it? At all? Anything? No, it seems that I am not phased by this turn of events at all. But we are getting warmer.
School had recently started, when my good friend Ted B. gave me a floppy disk and taught me Basic programming skills. I was in the school library, teaching myself how to program, on a computer that was meant to serve 1,200 students. Nobody used it but me. When they found out that I wasn’t using educational software, I got banned from the library for the entire year.
Do I seem upset about his? I was, until I decided that I’d be taking the disk with me to college to continue my interest in programming. So, no, being banned from the library wasn’t the answer to anything.
Let’s think about this picture some more, now that you have some additional information and perspective about it. I’ll post it here as well, for your convenience.
insert pondering noises here
Let’s see. A bunch of bad shit happened, and yet I am smiling. I appear to be relaxed and content.
Do you give up? Fear not, for the answer will be revealed.
When I choose to associate with someone, my hope is that they are more intelligent than I am. If they are, then I will give their words more weight.
The thing about friends who are good for me is that they will be around for a while. They might disappear, but they will eventually re-appear. Then we pick up where we left off.
One friend, who I know is reading this, encouraged me to get back on Facebook for social practice. I was having my usual doubts, fears, concerns, worries, and so on, about the whole thing. I stressed so much that I wrote three entires about it on here, which have since been deleted because they no longer reflect my attitude about any of it.
Not too long after doing this, I found one of those old friends whom I had not seen in a very long time. It’s one of those things where we met once at an event and the rest of it was online. There is nothing wrong with this. The friend who encouraged me to get back on Facebook is someone whom I have never met in-person. Maybe someday. And he doesn’t use Facebook, either.
That friend had some sage advice for me. It was very simple advice, too. Very easy to understand.
After I heard the advice, I was going through pictures, when I found the photo that is featured in this entry. With that advice fresh in my head, I saw it in the photograph immediately.
WHAT IT MEANS TO ME
What, exactly, does “not giving a fuck” mean, anyway? It starts with not caring about what others have to say, especially if they are negative and inconsequential in my life.
It means not caring about judgment or scorn that others might have.
It means not caring what the exes have to say. They had their chances to speak.
It means not lamenting the past, for it is all long gone. Nothing to get hung about, as John Lennon would say.
It means having my solid boundaries in place and trusting that they will protect me, so long as I actually respect them. I should respect them, since I created them.
It means moving about with unwavering confidence, so that people like the ones in the past who exploited my friendliness and generosity won’t view me as an easy target. Good thing, because I’m not an easy target anymore.
It means not sweating about the future.
Long ago, the Stoic philosophers suggested that there are two types of events in our lives. Those are the things we cannot control, and the things that we can control.
This hints at another aspect of my big problem, which was that I was sweating like a hooker on Nickel Night when it came to the things that I cannot control. Why? When it comes to things that I cannot control, it is essential to my mental health, emotional health, and survival that I not give a fuck. Not one.
Now, when it comes to the things that I can control, that’s where I care. I will brush my teeth, tend to other hygiene rituals, and do what is generally good and healthy in order to sustain my health. I will take care of myself.
But will I adopt the problems of someone else? In the past, I was very keen on being a helpful person. Indeed, I will refrain from adopting the problems of others. For those close friends, I will lend an ear, and speak if they ask me. However, for the average person who has contributed relatively little to my life, I will not break my back, or even a fingernail toward their plight.
This is MY time. I have to take care of myself. Nobody else will do it.
A MESSAGE TO MY ENEMIES
One of the things that used to scare me about social networking was all of the people who turned their backs on me, or turned against me. This happened between late 2013 and mid-2014, when I was being taken for a ride by a “friend” who told me that she had cancer.
While I was giving my all to her imaginary treatments, which was not real, another Narcissistic “friend” decided that he would poison the well by telling everyone on my friends list that I was in on the scam [at this point, I had no idea that I was being scammed], so that I could buy her [the cancer scammer] a plane ticket and give her a “red carpet tour of Hollywood.”
Basically, what he suggested was that I was scamming people for the cost of a plane ticket, which was under $300. He told all of these “friends” that I was a loser, I didn’t have a job, I didn’t work, that I was sponging off my girlfriend, and other nonsense.
And you know what? All of them believed his story. Funny how they demonized me and called me an idiot for believing someone I’d known for three years, who BEGGED FOR HER LIFE as she cried and asked for help, when they swallowed the shit that he fed them without even so much as a blink or whisper.
None of them talked to me about it. These “friends” didn’t realize that I had a combined household income of approximately $125,000 per year. None of them realized that, at this point in my life, I’d had my job for two years.
Instead of talking with their friend [me] and asking me about it, they chose to believe a complete stranger who had a big motive for telling this lie. He demonized me so that there would be no public outcry when he ripped me off, keeping my investment in the recording studio that we built together, and also keeping all of my personal music gear.
He got away with over $10,000 worth of my life’s efforts, and everyone was okay with it. Not ONCE did they question his motives.
And to be clear, the worst part was that they believed a complete stranger over me, their supposed “friend.”
IN THE END
Remembering how to not care is as easy as riding a bicycle. What it took was for a friend to take this VERY obvious and simple advice, and rub my nose in it ever so slightly. It was in my face and in my heart the entire time, and I couldn’t see it for all of my worry, concern, and cheap hooker sweat.
I have spent years worrying. Literally, years! What is clear to me now is that even one moment of worry is one moment too much. There is no reason or practical use for it!
I worried about the past and the future. Not anymore.
I worried about what people might say or think. Not anymore.
I worried about those people out there who hate my guts. Not anymore. And to put a fine point on it, what they or anyone else thinks about me is none of my business.
I worried about people misunderstand me, as is often the case. Not anymore.
I worried about rumors being spread that would cause people to hate me. Anyone who knows and cares about me will be able to instantly spot the bullshit. Worst case, if they are a true friend, then they will ask me about something and take my word over that of a stranger.
It feels invigorating to have my confidence back, and to not give a fuck. It feels like a very heavy weight was lifted off my shoulders. After spending years holding it on my shoulders, my arms now swing with mighty strength that was built up from the years I spent carrying that burden.
I will not go back into that shithole.
At this time, I would like to thank my friend [AA] who encouraged me to get back on Facebook, even though he does not use it himself. I would also like to thank my friend [Syn] for reminding me of this sage advice that I had long forgotten about.
These two friends cleared a fog that was nearly impossible to see through.
Additionally, I would like to thank the handful of friends on Facebook who actually took the time to interact with me via comments, chat, and even phone calls! All of you helped crack the door open so that it could be swung off the hinges.
Finally, I’ll close this out with a message for those who were once friends, but who chose to believe a stranger over their own “friend.” You know what that makes you.