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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.

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

 

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Blockhead

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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neuter

Im thinking that might be a cringe worthy word. You can almost not say it without grimacing. I had my dog neutered this week. I have this inflatable cone thing on him and he is still stoned. I took him to a discount place and it was a little like a fast food restaurant. The cattle call to bring them in was interesting. The dogs all trying to bark with dominance. The throaty barks turning to a whine as they are lead to the genitalia guillotine. They have the dogs come in one by one, and each one does the same thing. You are expected to return exactly on time. They give discharge instructions en masse. So, 30 of us standing around trying not to look guilty. We all know we have eliminated any chance of procreation in our pets. We have paid a masked person to yank off parts that each of us hold dear. Eye contact is help to a minimum. Each pet is brought out one by one. I am second to last.  I was 2 minutes late and almost had to wear the cone of shame. Each pet came out. Each owner looked apologetic at their pet. The tech showed the owner the surgical site and a tattoo indicating the procedure. In her mind, I am sure, she screamed, “look at what you paid for! See this tattoo, it is the permanent mark of your shame.”

We are given the instructions. In the distance, there is high pitched barking and puppy horror as they realize they have no balls. I commented on the high pitched barking, no one got it. That or they didn’t realize how funny that is. Dexter G. Smalls (that’s my dog’s name) trotted out, ears folded back. He peed on the floor and flashed his tattoo like it was a naked mud flap woman. He trotted to the truck, jumped in and sat in his seat.  I got in, started the car and started to drive home. As soon as we pulled out of the parking lot, he glanced back to make sure no one could see him, I assume, and whined the whole way home.

Ive spent the day pondering my life. Ive looked at the successes, like two wonderful children. Ive looked at my failures, like staying in a loveless marriage way to long. I spent time thinking about the last few years since the divorce. It has been some of the greatest ups and downs of my life. I was neutered by my ex. She made sure the kids despised me. She hid money, tried to starve me out. She pushed away my family from her and my kids. It was a brutal time for me. I had made serious mistakes. I had blown it, but no one deserves that. The friends and family we had, shied their eyes from me. They stopped talking to me. They said some of the most horrendous things. It was a game for her. She tried to sell my deceased mother’s wedding dress for one dollar. She then exposed my underside. “See this tattoo” I looked back and made sure no one could see and cried. I did it again today. I cried about the missing time. I cried about losing myself and not feeling like I was enough to get out rather than screw up the marriage. I cried because I couldn’t figure out how to defend myself. I dried thinking of friends that couldn’t stay. I cried. I also cried in celebration. I celebrated that I had kept moving forward. I cried because I stayed sober. I cried because I persevered. I cried because I never stooped to the mean and petty actions I thought about. I cried because I maintained my integrity. I cried because I never lied about my culpability.

Both Dexter and I will be ok. We just have to know that those testicles that we thought were so important don’t define us.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2019 in divorce, life, Uncategorized

 

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but, I have the suit

There are times I have been accused of being able to see into another persons soul. Ive had people turn away from my gaze feeling it is too intense. I have been told I am an empath or super intuitive. I have had people tell me that I get them. I was told that I understand and have great insight..

So, how come with all of that in my ego bonnet, I thought I might be ready to do relationship better. I was sure I was armed with a heart and mind that could navigate connection. I carried my super powers with me and set off to find me a connection.

I have no idea how to use those super powers. I feel a little bit like The Great American Hero. I have this great suit and some really cool powers and no idea how to use them. In that 70s TV show, he tries to fly and crashes frequently and each show he learns a new thing the suit can do for him. He learns and tries and falters. 

I am that guy. I tra la la’d into the land of dating, wearing this new suit that had the capacity to be wonderful. I tried to fly and be mindful and open and crash landed. I flew crooked and waved my arms in a comical fashion. All the great tools I had and I couldn’t figure out how to use them in relationship. I tried again and again and each time, I learned new things but they never added up to much. The suit and powers never made me a super hero. No matter how much I wanted to be.

After crash after crash and tending to my wounds and bruised heart, I rested. I evaluated the suit and the tools and the powers. As I counted them and sorted and regarded, I came to realize that none of them were really me. I was trying to love from a place of façade. I was trying to fake and bluster into love. I had nothing but being honest. I had to be emotionally honest with myself before I could be with anyone else. I had to be me. 

I’m going to miss that suit, stretchy pants rule.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2017 in journey, life

 

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dance of the walking dead

I want a vacation. I want to totally rest. I think it is a fools errand to take vacation to go do stuff. I want to do nothing. I want to expel no energy whatsoever.

Here is my plan for a restful vacation. I have saved up some money and I am going to admit myself to a hospital. I am going to demand tube feeding because it is a suckers game to spend all that time chewing and tasting. I would forego food all together but I think that dying would take more energy then just maintaining a caloric intake. Originally, I thought I would want to be on a ventilator so I didn’t have to breath on my own, but It looks rather uncomfortable. I decided on an iron lung. That way I don’t have to use muscles to expand or deflate my lungs. Again, I had an errant thought that perhaps I could retrofit one to also be a suntan booth, but I don’t even want my melanocytes to have to work that hard. There could be a TV in there playing movies that I didn’t have to think too hard, but all the energy of keeping my eyes open seems exhausting. There was one flaw to my plan, yep my heart. That silly thing just keeps pumping, it speeds up and slows down but it seems to be more reliable then any Timex I ever had. When I was an intern working in the ER, I was disimpacting a bowel (hmm another thought) when this horrific plunging noise came from the trauma area. IT repeated every 8 seconds or so and I had to see what was making the racket. “Hold everything,” I said to the constipated patron. In the other room was a huge machine with a plunger like apparatus. IT was shaped like a c-clamp and the plunger dove down the middle pinching to the gurney. Beneath the gurney was an enormous blue limp fellow. The only movement was the reflex movement or his arms and legs as “the thumper” performed CPR. The ER attending explained that the man was so big that no one could compress his chest well enough to perform CPR I asked how well it worked, and he replied, “only slightly better than not doing it at all.” My over active imagination immediately saw it as a garbage disposal for damaged hearts. I’m going to need “the thumper” please. I think 5 days will be refreshing and give me enough time to be ready to return to work, pale, thumped, and well rested.

I have lived a life on life support. The reality I am facing is that I spent time just surviving and not really living. I didn’t let my melanocytes work and it stopped the glow of joy. I feared life and it dulled my experience and my participation. I hid in the darkness, shutting myself off from the Sunlight. I refused to be inspired or to inspire. I longed to breath but held my breath wanting to keep what I had at the cost of not letting anything else in. I begged for the thumper, my heart is broken and damaged and instead of letting it heal, I covered it in layers of inert thought living it on like fatty tissue. I kept longing for the old familiar beat of every 8 seconds instead of letting the changes occur naturally and living into them instead o running away. I help on to the waste and garbage. I retained all the pain and despair .I was the walking dead.

There is a moment in time that all life began. Regardless of world view, at one point nothing, in the next everything. I have had 2 such moments. One I don’t remember except for some masked man spanking my cold butt. The other was nothing more than a whisper. It said, “Trudge.” For me the definition of trudge is “walk with purpose.” Slowly, I listened. The word echoes in my brain and in my heart (now beating on its own, thank you). I knew I was not completely sane if I was choosing death over life and I made a decision to follow that voice. I began by looking at and eliminating the waste I had accumulated. There would always be residual and more would appear, but I can deal with that when it happens. I asked the voice to remove the thumper and teach me to mend my broken and misguided heart. As that happened, I began to be inspired by others who have begun to dance the dance of the living rather than the walking dead. I joined in the mainstream of life. I took a deep breath, letting the wind dwell inside. The Ruah (wind or Holy Spirit) danced inside. It was gasping and choking breath at the start. It felt foreign and unnatural. It burned like when it is hot and humid outside. The Spirit inspired.

There are times that I still want a vacation. It isn’t always easy. I am still mending a broken heart and will breath short rapid breaths that do little to fully inspire. I long for easy. I long for love. I strive to Trudge.

 

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2017 in journey, life

 

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