out out damn spot

I’m breaking up with Fear. We’ve dated exclusively for a long time. Fear is all consuming and keeps other relationships at bay. Fear dominates. Fear controls. Fear manipulates. Oh sure, we will cross paths from time to time. We might even see each other across a crowded room. The reality is that running from Fear or hiding from Fear sacrifices your power. I won’t deny its existence. It has served me well in the past. It kept me away from Fearlessness. Whenever I date Fearlessness, I end up in a manage-a-trois with Impulsivity. Its not love either, but the thrill is intoxicating.

Fear and I are done being exclusive. Fear kept me from love and friendship. Instead, Its’ companions, Fear of, and Fear response, and Fear denial became my friends. I was afraid of rejection, afraid of inadequacy. I feared judgement. I ran and hid. I isolate. I pretended it didn’t matter. However, I seemed to enjoy the company of Fear of rejection Id set up circumstances that could only lead to rejection and isolation. I didn’t really like them, but I knew them well. I pretended I wasn’t afraid as much as I was. Each rejection, each fear response, each reminder. Fear told me was Truth. Truth never spoke up loud enough for me to hear.

What Fear did was convince me that I wasn’t ok. I needed to be large or tiny. Fear created the extremes. I couldn’t measure up to the ideals I had created as Truth. I felt inadequate and rejected myself. The goal was then to isolate further. The sweetness of feeling the comfort of rejection moved in. Once again. I invited It in. I requested its presence. I was told, by Fear, that rejection was a gift. IT felt normal and was comfortable.

So, Fear and I are broken up. I am not niave enough to believe Fear will not be around, lurking. We will cross paths. I have known Fear for a lifetime. Im just not going to carry Its’ books from class anymore. I’m going to recognize the lies. Ill address the absence of truth. I will see the Pain I invite in. I will not seek companionship with rejection and isolation.

Im going to Be OK.

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Posted by on January 1, 2023 in faith, growth, introspection, journey, life, pain, rejection, trudge


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Growing Pains

There is a death, a trauma. There was a moment in time that the fade to black was indeed black. The bottom was rock. The darkness was complete. In the middle of the darkness was complete absence. The echo was silent, only the silence echoed. The cry was piercing. The pain excrutiating. The lashes severe, the humiliation, the torture was complete.

There was the beginning of life. The darkness had begun to lift. The oppression continued like humidity in August. The snide comments, the shunning persisted. Inside, the growth had begun. The toddler huddled around the flower. The clumsy walk. The blinking as the sun rose. Dim light, silence replaced by stillness. Renewed self. The boy understanding nothing is real. Self is imagination. Protect the flower. The sunrise glows, the cold is bitter. God touches the flower. The soul awakens. The cry was revealing. The pain was full of awe and wonder.

The boy learns to run. The truth becomes real. The truth becomes the rule. The truth hurts. The truth is turned back as a weapon. Again, the lashes and wounds are complete. Again, the growth continues. Protect the flower, live in the soul. Follow the sunlight. The darkness fades. The boy grows. Turn down the dim of death, raise the noise of love. The cry is relief. The pain is growth.

The adolescent learns to love. Love rejects. Love hurts. The love is a weapon. Unfamiliar. Confusing. The flower shirks. The soul shrinks back. The wounds are remembered. The rejection is loud. The cry clamors. The pain is cacophony. Fear returns

The young man looks old. He long for love. He moves through life cautious and concerned. He feels unseen. The image is regarded as a ghost, as a spector. The energy is drained but never restored. He fights the darkness. He pushes the silence. The fight drains more energy. The wind whistles through the soul. The cry is hollow, the pain is moot.

The man moves through with simple direction. He is predictable and yet mysterious. There is a depth that is untouched. There is a pain that is evident and unexplained. The cry is wanting.

The flower grows, the soul glows. Life is there. The cry is relief, joy, pain, exquisite. The pain is present. A gift of lessons, of growth. The boy smiles

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Posted by on April 20, 2022 in faith, growth


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I am not Blob

Ive been reading about the Blob Tree. The Blob tree is a tool to help explore your emotional condition. Basically, there are 21 blobs on a tree and you pick one that represents you. They are in an array of circumstances. From that, you can determine your emotional condition. I always find these things fascinating. Yes I am the guy who does the quizzes on Facebook that tell me the name of my soul mate. Her name is Blob. I generally approach it with feigned skepticism. I figure if I debunk it preemptively than if I don’t like what it says, I can point to its’ inaccuracies. As I read to the descriptions of each blob, I imagine myself as each one. Basically, I try on a blob suit. I have an image of a blob in a well and me saying, “Blob puts on the lotion.”

The blob suit is never comfortable. The arms are too long, or it is too heavy for the weather. However, I try and change the way I carry myself so the suit fits. Most never do. There are some suits that I really want to fit. The sporty Blob who is successful and surrounded by adoring fans, a blond Blob on his arm. The computer nerd blob, while picked on in Blob High School, invents a Magically blob licious app and runs sporty Blob off the road. Those suits never fit.

There are those times that I am the blob on the end of the limbs. Perhaps, falling from great heights, or huddled to myself, the pain of Blob existence screaming at my face. I have been tormented by angry Blob, or malintent Blob. Usually, it was that I wanted to trust a Blob, not realizing that, by its very nature, Blob is just Blob.

Today was my first exposure to the Blob world. It was fairly accurate. I was Blob #10. Ambitious, but cautious. I felt good about that. I do just want a happy life. However, as I said, I do these tests often. I was Cheater Blob. It is where I would like to be, but not where I really am. I am adaptable to a degree, but getting more rigid as I get older. I am comfortable in my profession, but not socially. I want a happy life, but no idea what that looks like. I have some Blob 21 stuff for sure. I isolate and call it introspection. I can be bitter and brooding. I also have some #20 in me, I can have exaggerated self-importance. I am certainly in a period of #14 lately. I am exhausted emotionally and mentally. I have surfed the #8 and been lost in my own world. However, I also am a #7, strong sense of duty, enjoying work that has meaning. I have been #5, lacking in “life force” or even a #4, dreaming of success but not really wanting to do anything about it.

Mostly, I think I am #1, driven, ready to overcome obstacles. Occasionally overwhelmed and needing to remember to ask for help.

The Blob world is amorphous. IT lacks in shape and definition. To me they look like amoeba. As I studied the tree and looked at the smiling Blobs, I saw that video in 8th grade science class. That video where the amoeba split into two amoeba. As an aside, I am a bit pissed that an Amoeba can suddenly have a friend nearby and humans have to join a gym or something to meet people. I digress.

I think the blobs represent a spectrum that we all have the possibility of being. It represents how we are living into self, rather than identifying self. There are moments that I have shown various Blob like characteristics. I have tried on all of those suits. Some fit better than others. None are perfect because that would mean that is all I am. I am not a blob. OK, that’s not true, during “Dexter”, I might well be called a blob.

Blob on.

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Posted by on November 28, 2021 in growth, introspection, life, pain, rejection, trudge, Uncategorized


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torments and bricks

torments and bricks

Its been awhile since I wrote. Im not sure if it will wax eloquent or sound of an old crazy man lost in the wilderness. Probably both. Maybe neither. I have been lost for a long time in this wilderness. Almost 10 years ago, a mistake ended my life as I knew it. I made the mistake, I blew it. I suffered the consequences. Frequently, on this new path, travelers pass by and try and rub my nose in it like an abused puppy. For a long time, I almost welcomed it. It echoed the shame and torment I had inside.

Slowly, I began to see that it wasn’t my shame they were angry about, but theirs. IT didn’t alleviate my hurt inside. It didn’t even stop the influx of shame I let in. It did help me to see we were all suffering in some way.

Slowly, I kept trudging. My heart yearned for acceptance. MY fatal flaw has always been rejection of who I am. I have been told I am askew from the world at large. That is a polite way of saying that I don’t fit. As that feeling became so pronounced as the rejection from family, friends, and self, that I began to live it, quietly. I have pre-rejected myself. I knew that no one would ever want to see the dark insides and would automatically scream and run like a cheesy horror movie. My soul cried out to the weary travelers, “Don’t open that door!” I continue to implode. Each rejection a little more ammo to aim at myself. An arsenal of pain. I dated a woman who rejected me because I don’t drink (one of our first dates was to an AA meeting). She predicted that I would marry the first woman who treated me like shit. I didn’t point out that would have been her.

Slowly, I trudge on. I began to understand that even the close relationships I had left (not many), didn’t speak truth about my soul. The truth had little to do with what was coming from the outside in, but only what was coming from the inside out. I had successfully walled off this little light of mine. I had hidden from the world. I was alone inside. Still hurting, still afraid, still rejected. The pain echoed off the walls. The torment clobbered me. The cacophony of insults, criticisms, deprivation bounced off the walls of my fortress, gaining power and volume with each strike. The breeze of pain became a wind, then a tornado. I kept trying to open the walls, to sneak a peak in hopes the enemy was gone. Each time resulted in me accepting more pain, more criticism. I dated a series of unloving women. More accurately, damaged souls lost in their own fortress. Our fortresses looked good next to each other and it felt like companionship to the lost. However, the walls stood. The emotions didn’t. I had set myself up to be rejected in the same way over and over. It hit me, I always had. Every relationship I had ever been in was based on recognition of some aspect of the masks I wore. It wasn’t me, it was the mask. MY ex-wife married me because she thought Id make a good Christian. (I still don’t know what that means). I have dated where it was about my money, my kids, revenge, generosity, convinence, even to protect business interests. The rejection became manipulation. The manipulation from the outside and the manipulation from the inside. I convinced myself I had become better. I lied to myself that this was ok. I lied to myself that I was healing. I kept making the same mistake, confusing love for texting, confusing love for words, confusing love for attention.

Slowly, I trudge on. I walk with the purpose of life. I take one more step, remove one more brick. Each brick I remove hurts like hell. The wind rushes in. The cold hits my lungs and feels like icicles on my soul. The ice pierces my heart, rips at the fabric of my being. I can see its one less brick for the torments to bounce off on. Its a subtle decrease in the echoes. I smile. I laugh. I emerge a bit more. I try and trust despite the voices screaming of past pain, past offenses. I remove another brick, wondering if the darkness inside will try and swallow me again. I get told I am loved, and then it was a lie. I get told that I am the go to guy, then left holding the bag. Plans are made, not to follow, but too torment. After each brick, I am exhausted. I slide back into the pit. The torment screams. The pain echoes. I am alone again. I climb back up, remove another brick.

Slowly, I trudge. I begin to see that the bricks are not real. The torment is self. The pain is inflicted by my mind, by my acceptance. I have been deceived. The deception wasn’t just by you, heck, maybe not from you at all. The deception was my own. I believed the mask. I believed the lies, I believed the shame. I believed the rejection. I believed the manipulation. I doubted the attachment, I doubted the love. I doubted the connection.

I find myself typing this. I intended a completely different post. My dog, Dexter, pulls on the end of the rope for tug of war. He wags his nubbin and tries to look fierce. I pick up another brick, ponder why I thought I needed it. I examine it to recognize it was an old treasure. I honor it and put it down to stand on to reach the next brick.

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Posted by on November 27, 2021 in divorce, journey, life, life, pain, rejection, trudge


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dating me

Im sick. OK, I am man sick. I have a cold. But, In my defense, this cold is the kind of cold that, if used maliciously, could deplete armies (if they were men), decimate populations, and be a general nuisance for millions of drippy noses everywhere.

When I am sick, I become very nostalgic. I run through the events of my past and consider my path. I think it is like life flashing before my eyes, but in slow motion. I get the opportunity to see how things have changed and the threads of existence that have played such a factor in weaving through my life.

This cold, being a decimator and depletor, has me considering advice I have gotten. I think that, in general, advice is meant to be helpful. At a minimum, it is to help avoid negative consequences. However, no matter what decision we make, there will always be a negative consequence. If I decide to now jump off a cliff, I miss out on that feeling of free falling, which if Tom Petty is accurate, sounds delightful. I have gotten some pretty bad and some pretty good advice in my life. I cannot think of any advice that didn’t have negative ramifications, however.

After my divorce, I dated as often as I could. Dating is a liberal term in this circumstance. I was a bit of a whore. A troll, if you will. The advice I originally got was to go out and experience life. Unfortunately, it was advice I gave myself. There were benefits, obviously. The drawback is that there was no real relationship involved. There was no emotions. I had left a love free marriage to experience even worse. I was left depressed. OK, after a year or so, I was a tad bummed. However, I wasn’t fulfilled. I felt lonely. I wanted someone to complete me, a soul partner. I wanted a reason to live.

The advice I got was to date myself for a year. My first response was that at least I knew Id put out. (It had been a long year). He went on to explain that the unhealthy thing we do is to look to be completed by another person. ?He said that isn’t a partnership, it is parasitic. He described it as me inviting a tape worm into my limbic system. Naegleria Fowleri is an amoeba  that lives in hot springs, it worms it way into the nose and eats brain material, like a mono cellular zombie. I think that is a more apt analogy, but I didn’t say so at the time. He described that until I knew what I was like, what I liked, I had little to share. I had little value to someone else. Basically, my tape worm girlfriend, would decide what I absorbed from life. Or the prehistoric zombie would decide which thoughts I could keep, Either way, I was no longer in charge of my direction. If I dated myself, and honored the differences and changes in myself, I could be in a partnership later.

Well, that sounded just lovely. I get to spend a year just hanging out with myself and trying to figure out who I am. And, I had to be alone. I have no idea how I could ever be left alone. The noise of silence is deafening. I watched allot of TV just to keep things quiet at first. I had just gotten a house and decided I was going to paint it. I spent hours trying to decide what colors I liked. My house, in Colorado, looked a little like a tourist spot in the Caribbean. There were some funky colors. I loved it. The agent who sold it, didn’t agree. His advice was to paint it back before I sold it. My second house went through the same changes, twice. My third house did not get painted. My current house has seen three different colors in two years. They are much more neutral that the Caribbean whore house. I am now decorating on a theme instead of individual things I like. I called it eclectic, but it was really just narrow visioned.

That advice was good advice. I have a better understanding of who I am and how I change. I can see the history I have been through and how it affects me in moments. I can see the pain that causes avoidance, I can see the joy that causes longing. I can be alone without being lonely. I can even be alone without the radio and TV on. I enjoy being alone for the most part. Now, there is the rub. The negative consequence. I have avoidant-dependent tendencies. I want to alone and with someone at the same time. Someone told me once its a Taurus thing, but I don’t know much about that. My fear is that I am always going to be alone or never be alone. What if this self dating experiment resulted in a long term monogamous relationship? What if I can only be with me perpetually? Wont I get tired of my stories? Wont I bore myself? What if I know everything there is to know about me, and it is lacking? What if I withhold from myself, or lie about stuff to me? What if I squeeze the toothpaste wrong or put the toilet paper on backwards? (I have dated a woman who turns my toilet paper around each time she was over.) What if I am not enough? What if I am no longer capable of being whole? What if no one wants to be in a mutual partnership?

Sure, everyone I have ever dated says that is what they want. I say everyone, but that’s not true, one wanted my money, and one wanted sex. I might be the only guy I know who was jilted because I wouldn’t put out. Most, say they want a true relationship. They want to be whole, and encourage each others wholeness. And then, the expectations get started. If you were into me, this is how that would look. I have explained that is how that would look if they were dating themselves, but to no avail. People talk about being free and together. Not in the “open relationship” kinda garbage, but truly encouraging each other to grow whether that means together or apart. It sounds great, but impractical and seemingly improbable. I have no idea how anyone does that all the time. I have my doubts that anyone really does. However, it would be nice to be in a relationship that was the target. When I was dating myself, I allowed for growth and change. I let myself be wrong and right. I let myself learn. I let myself struggle and succeed. I was nice to myself. I learned to encourage rather than discourage. I learned to be real rather than dogmatic. I generally, learned to like my journey more than who I was at the moment. The empowerment of wanting to be with someone for how they grow and experience life was tremendous. Thats what I want. Does it exist?

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Posted by on January 12, 2020 in divorce, journey, life


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a whole new set of beer goggles

Hindsight is 20/20.  Load of crap. Who came up with that? Even if you weren’t drinking heavily for 20 years, the past is always tainted by perception. IT always looks better or worse than it actually was. History belongs to the victor. And usually, if it was worth remembering, you are the victor. Then add in the fog of which all time is seen when you have put on your beer goggles and it is likely to be very different than reality. If that 2 am hook up looked like a super model, your past might look like nirvana.

I have been chased by fear for last two weeks. About two weeks ago, it was decided that I should go into private practice again. Ive done this twice before. It is in a different discipline. It is 20 years later. It is as a hospitalists. I thought it was all of those factors that was plaguing me. I thought it was simply enjoying knowing where the paycheck was coming from. It wasn’t. The fog of the future is much denser without the beer goggles on. Beer goggles have the same effect on the future as red lenses do on water. Everything seems clearer. The goggles eliminate the what ifs. It tells you that the world wants you to succeed. When you look back, it tells you everything turned out great because you are made of steel and as handsome as Remington Steele. The past is rosie, the future clear and lavender.

This is the first time I will be starting my own venture sober. Ive been sober almost 13 years, so going through things isn’t that new for me, but this is. I didn’t recognize it. I ran from the fear, thinking that the fog was better than the idea of watching the fog. My hindsight said that I was doomed. It had worked out because I was younger, more confident, hadn’t had a checkered past. Fear whispered in my ear, taunting me. It reminded me of failure. It reminded me of darkness. It reminded me of years. It whispered maliciously.

I whispered back. I saw the beer goggles covered with dust. I saw them for the fantasy they were. I saw them for the lies they told. I also saw them for the truth. They reminded me I could do things. They reminded me that I persevere. They reminded me that I have strength. They reminded me I have weaknesses. They reminded me to be real and take things as they are. They reminded me of the idea to keep trying and be prepared. I whispered that this is a gift. It is like getting new boxer briefs for Christmas, but it is a gift. It is uncomfortable and a change. It will fit, but differently than it was before. It’ll take getting used to. It is a gift of seeing that I can do it sober. It wasn’t the beer goggles that showed up to work every day (well, not every day). IT wasn’t the beer goggles that did the work. It was me.

It a whole new set of goggles. Fog or not, Trudge one more step. (Walk with Purpose.)

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Posted by on October 13, 2019 in journey, life


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Hey, wait, I might be sicilian

I was having a conversation about online dating with a friend recently. A preliminary note to those of you who have not had to take the step into the horror of online dating, it is not nifty. I no longer fear clowns, heights, spiders, or children with freaky adult masks because I have dated online. OK, that’s not true about clowns. The dating horror that is online dating is more of a psychological thriller than a gore movie. From what I can tell, the goal is to find a way to lie well enough to attract someone who is lying in the same way you do. It is awkward when you have lied about your height and she about her weight. You cant really be mad at the lie. Fortunately, there is the universal out clause, “you seem different than your pictures.: If you do have to venture into this forest of terror, borrow a car, walk, or park two blocks away on the first date, Also use a false name. I prefer Buck, Ted, or Armando. I tried Huey, Dewey, and Louie but it didn’t work out. I think she told me to “duck off.”

I was trying to describe to my friend what online dating is like. I decided it is like the Princess Bride. In our youth, we started out with relationships that were kinda sappy. We said things like, “As You wish,” instead of “Duck off.” We thought this was love when it was really just dependence and manipulation. IT felt good and it felt like love. At the time, it was. Over time, we vanish and are replaced with the stark reality that the other person is gone. The paths of life have separated. We long for the time next to the water pot. We crave the simple phrases of, “As you wish.” Eventually, some friend decides you would be better off with someone else. They force this Prince of a guy on you. He has a nice transportation, he is rich, and many women find him alluring. He is great except he has a weird friend and is a psychopath.

From what I can tell, we guys fall into the categories represented by the cast of the movie. We all want to be the Dred Pirate Roberts. However, remember there is no Dred Pirate Roberts, its just a borrowed name to induce respect. However, we still want to be him. IT would be easier to use someone else’s name and reputation than to have to admit we once said, “As you wish” to a woman who saw us as pond scum. As I am told the vast majority of online dating is like dating that Prince. Except for manly adventures and an entourage of weirdly fingered friends, it is dead animals and shirtless bathroom pics. I am amazed how many women say they love to camp, fish, hunt, and fart during football games. As far as I can tell, it is the woman’s dead animal call. If you wonder to yourself if you could be this kind of person, you are likely not.

The other kind is the big brute. The big brute has the tender heart and has a great personality. IT is true, he does not have the fancy transportation. He is not super smart. He likes the simple pleasures. However, he is fiercely loyal. he is a great friend and will defend you. He never gives up. He might not be much of a show pony, but a good solid choice. I am not that guy. There are many times I wish I could be that guy, but I am not that guy.

Another is the man bent on proving his manhood. Heart crushed as a child, he has tilted at windmills for his entire life. He seeks only revenge. He will not die without getting revenge. Miraculously, getting revenge actually gives him a new life. Although very gallant, very loyal and headstrong, and gifted at swordplay, he is much more interested in proving he is a man rather than being one. I’m not gallant. .

Finally, there is the Sicilian. This is not the best looking guy in the bunch. He is balding and can only be called in shape because round is a shape. He thinks highly of himself and enjoys the fantasy of lofty thoughts. H loves a puzzle. He thinks about overriding concepts. When on target, he could be a great ally. If on a tangent, he is to be dismayed. Notice that of the three would be kidnappers, he is the only one to die. The search for real relationship, real victory is worth dying for. He would rather sacrifice than settle. he knows his limitations as far as dead animals, shirtless pics, and false bravado goes. Sure, he is a bit different than the average Wesley, but he is unique. I think I am a Sicilian.

In the end, frequently, the fairy tale wins. The dream wins. The allure of avoiding reality and floating to a white horse transplants the idea that relationship is the time in the fire swamp.


Posted by on October 12, 2019 in divorce, journey, life


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I think my Dad just called me a blockhead. Certainly, it is not a criminal act. At least that is what I gather from social media and through the giggles of my lawyer friends. I doubt he will feel any remorse, serve any time, or make any restitution. However, he called me a blockhead! It all started when we were having a nice text together. He has gotten a little hard of hearing and “these new fangled phones” don’t get loud enough. So, we text. He is having some medical stuff done and I am getting ready to go solo practice and we chat. IT is not uncommon for us to text back and forth for about ten minutes and he will say he is done texting and the conversation stops. This time we had gotten about two minutes into the conversation and I was talking about how out of place I feel in many different situations. This is not new for me, nor particularly interesting. I’ve always felt that way. I have a great family of mostly extroverts. I had lived as an extrovert for many years before discovering that people wear me out. I needed time to be alone to get energized. I am a true introvert. I am the only divorced sibling. I live in Idaho. I don’t drink. I have had difficulties legally. And the list goes on. Currently, I am the only medical doctor in a hospital full of psychiatrists. By the way, if you ever really want a reality check, get several psychiatrists in a room. It is surreal. Oh and it does really only take one to change a lightbulb. I am the only addictionologist in Idaho practicing inpatient rehab. I am single.

Anyway, I was talking about how I am both scared and relieved to be going solo again. There are pros and cons for sure. My Dad then said you cant stick a square block into a round hole! There is was, he was calling me a blockhead. I decided to practice from the book, The Four Agreements, and have the courage to ask the question:

ME: Am I the block or the hole?:

Dad: You decide.

See? Can you feel the cruelty? IT was a sad moment until I realized it is genetic.

I thought about how he has been widowed for almost 20 years. He doesn’t drink or smoke. He cant hear. He keeps getting older as I stay the same age I’ve always been. Blockheadedness is either genetic or contagious. It pervades all aspects of my life. In work, I am generally an oddity. Frankly, I prefer it that way. I do things in a unique way. It is fun to get to be my real self when at work. I dont really fit in with social groups. I dont drink or party. Most people my age are married or want to go drinking. ITs not bad, and I enjoy hanging out (in case anyone who reads this thinks I am a recluse), but I am different. Dating is the worst. I am an introvert, remember? Most women have gotten out of marriages because they were bored in some way or hurt. They want fireworks, travel, ski diving, etc. I want relationship. I left because I didnt exist as a real person when I was married. I want to be a real boy, Pinnoccio. I go on occasional dates. We have a good time. But it isnt enough. Maybe I lost my mojo. Maybe some obese scottish guard went back and stole my mojo!  Thats it! Its not that I an genetically a block head, it was induced by removing the mojo. It caused the corners of my scalp to extrude. Maybe, the rounded head is really formed by mojo holding in the corners, like tension ropes. My Dad was not picking on me, he was warning me about my mojo.

Nah, its genetic.


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Posted by on October 9, 2019 in journey, life


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the G is for Gangsta

I have a thought. I know that doesn’t sound as eloquent as Martin Luther King,,” I have a dream,” but I had to be honest about it. It is just a thought. I wasn’t asleep when I had it, so its not really a dream. It is fantasy like and might be considered a dream with the definition of it being a hope, a wish. But really, its just a thought. I have been thinking about boundaries and being able to state needs and wants directly. I work in addiction. I talk about boundaries and “staying on your side of the street” often. I have practiced the phrases. I have given talks to large groups of people. I have joked about it, cried about it, discussed it, and generally preached it ad nauseum. And yet, it is a fantasy, a dream, a curious thought.

I have a puppy at my house, Dexter G Smalls. “You are killing me Smalls,” is a phrase that I say often. Dexter is not known for his boundaries. He is the canine version of a close talker. He licks. He jumps, He hugs your arm with his paws until you rub his belly. His attention span is somewhat akin to the long abundant life of a fruit fly. However, as far as his side of the street is concerned, he states his needs and wants. The buckin bronco imitation style dance means I am hungry. The covering look and following you around the house means I am sorry that I got so excited I peed on the couch again. The arm hug means, “umm pet me dufus.” But boundaries by social norms are really not in his wheelhouse.

My thought is I wonder what it would be like if I was more like Dexter G. Smalls. Not the licking part. I mean, not specifically like Dexter, but more generally. I did try and dance when the waiter brought my food to the table yesterday. IT was largely misunderstood. I did make a few dollar bills. The people I was with really never got the hint to scratch my belly as I hugged their arms, but I think the certainly paid attention to me. Im reminded of a previous post where I talked about my youngest daughters giraffe like tongue. She is one of those people that can touch the tip of her nose with her tongue. I mentioned it because during communion she would tongue out every last drop of the grape juice. I mentioned how cool I found it that she was “slurping grace.” It seems like I should be able to embrace life and slurp it up like grape juice with a giraffe tongue. Imbibing every minute of the miracles life has to offer. Asking for connection and touch from those nearest to me. Celebrating the basic needs,: food, water, shelter. I think it would be wonderful to be able to play at life. To laugh and dance at the background music.

The boundaries I am learning over and over to set are both outside and inside. Outside, I am learning that nothing outside of me has anything to do with who I am. That is a bizarre thought process for me. Nothing outside of me defines me. Not my job, not my loves, not actions, not my impressions, nothing. I grew up with that external locus and so that is a very foreign thought process. ITs a work in process. Inside, I am learning that I am not my thoughts or emotions. My brain and heart (yes I know the heart doesn’t really house emotions, I am a doctor) are reflex organs. They are responding to the outside stimuli that are also not me. I am that Dexter within. I am my daughter slurping Grace. I am so much more and simply me. My needs and wants have value and can be expressed. I probably wont dance at that restaurant again, but I will on the inside.

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Posted by on September 30, 2019 in journey, life, Uncategorized


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Fear the Buzz

I really love the Fall weather. No matter where I have lived it has been my favorite season. I’m not sure why it is: the chill in the air in the morning, the leaves changing color, the balloon fiesta in Albuquerque, it just is. I dislike October. Not al of October, just anything to do with Halloween. It really makes no sense to me why I dislike Halloween. I just do. In high school, I was in drama. I even lettered, twice. The character thing never bothered me. But there is something about being in a group of people pretending to be something they are not that gets to me. Its like being in a locker room. Everyone scared to death they aren’t as manly as they should be. As a kid, I did see IT and it terrified me so bad, I haven’t watched much in the way of horror since then. I saw Jaws and was afraid to swim in a pool after dark for a few weeks. Perhaps I am “on the spectrum” (by definition a spectrum includes everyone, so we are all on the spectrum. This is a really poor way to describe this problem, but I digress). I need to see faces and try and understand the real person I talk to. I just know I don’t like to be distant or afraid.

All that to say, I am afraid and feel distant. Its different than Nixon masks and being faked out. I am afraid of taking an inevitable next step. I have been in addiction medicine for the last few years. I am much better at it than I thought I would be. The first week they gave me the nickname of, “Dr. Buzzkill.” I talk to people and cajole them to honesty with themselves and maybe with me. I insist on working on introspection. I insist on motivation from the inside. I can be a real ass, I know. However, in my heart, I believe in recovery and that recovery is for those that want it. I get teased a lot that I am too harsh sometimes. One of my close friends reminds me that precontemplation is a stage. I remind him that if someone doesn’t want what recover has to offer, if I force it by keeping them there, I might ruin the next opportunity they have to change their mind.

Again, I digress. I’ve been suggested strongly, that it is time to start my own business again and not be an employee. ITs been a long time coming. The time I spend with people and the work I do isn’t necessarily as billable. There have been changes that will further limit what the hospital could bill for my services. I was given the option of eventually being unemployed or currently being unemployed with some preservation of what I do. I will open Buzzkill, LLC in October.

OK that was the longest preamble I have ever written. I am afraid and isolated. That is the whole point to this post. Let us continue. I am isolated. Its not good enough isolation that anyone would make a movie out of it. I don’t own a volleyball to talk to. My puppy is to hyper to really listen. He doesn’t seem to care anyway. I grew up being isolated. We had this pencil machine at my elementary school. It had the names and colors of every football team on pencils. So boys would save their ten cents, scrounge couches and washing machines to buy pencils, with the hopes of having them all. They’d proudly display their knob turning acumen joined together with a rubber band. They traded and discussed which teams were better and which pencils the most difficult to hunt down. My pencil was yellow and chewed. I still don’t care about sports. I never felt quite right around groups. I truly didn’t fit in. I thought I fit in AA when I started. I did in that first group. And then several people told me that I shouldn’t be at a group, but should go to the medical group. IT took me a minute to realize they were focused on their pencils.

I am afraid. I have spent a lifetime without identity. CS Lewis describes Men without chests. I was that boy. No heart, no life force, no soul. I didn’t have self esteem, I had reflective esteem. I only knew who I was by what you told me. I needed to perform to convince you I was worth it, so you could tell me I was. Id like to say the pencil debacle taught me it was ok to be myself. I lied, I had ten team pencils. I told everyone we couldn’t afford even the dime so I could get more. The chiefs were my favorite because the colors were the coolest. I hid. Drama was an obvious choice for me. I could try on different personalities. The costumes came off, and the support was for the empty costume not for me. The fear worsened as I grew. It was harder and harder to convince people to cheer me on. So, I drank. A lot. I traded me for the illusion of a chest, a heart, a life, a soul. It wasn’t mine, it wasn’t real, but it had great colors. Unfortunately, the fear got worse. What if people didn’t believe I couldn’t afford the dime? What if they saw through the façade? IT rode me around like a dark passenger. The same alcohol I had sold out to, whispered in my ear about how diminutive I was. It taunted me. It screamed in my face like the gym coaches of old. It scared me like only rage in a mask can do. I vanished as the rage screamed and my ex grew weary of having to connect with me. The fear won. I thought it was the alcohol, but even after that was gone, the fear loomed and whispered on. It defeated me at the age of 44. I ceased to exist. I couldn’t fake it anymore.

Fear leaves a dead body. As I rose from the chestless, heartless existence I once thought of as life, I began to see me. I met me and I was ok. I understood me. I generally liked me. When I would stray from being me and reach for a mask, I could see why I feared the unreal. I could be honest. I enjoyed, but didn’t need the support that was my backbone before. I walked. I returned to medicine, doing addiction. I didn’t have to perform in a certain way. I just had to be who I am . I didn’t have any idea how to do this job, nor did anyone else. I was making it up as I went, And it went well. I didn’t notice until right now that I had started to slide into the idea of becoming Buzzkill to please everyone. I am very straight forward and I care about people in addiction who are suffering. But, I had begun to transform to what people said about me. The reason for my fear is that I will only have me to trust on what is my identity. I fear because I am unsure. I have let myself become Dr. Buzzkill as a costume. I wear it proudly, all the time knowing that people don’t really know me. In many circumstances, have no desire to know the real me. But I am named. Not from others, not even from me, but from God, the higher power, cosmos, Universe, whatever. I had forgotten that me is not defined by what I do. If this practice works, fantastic. I do this job well. If it doesn’t, ok I don’t have this color pencil in my pile, move on. I will still be me.

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Posted by on September 29, 2019 in faith, journey, life


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