Hi Bloggers, it has been a year since I started this crazy, occasionally scary, daring, stupid, emotional, regrettable, fun, inspiring, embarrassing, arousing, and sometimes baring roller coaster called “The Random Blog of Irreverent Thoughts.”
Ok, so the blogging itself wasn’t so scary etc. but life, during that time has had enormous ups and downs. There is no doubt about it, my life looks completely different today from when I started my blog.
For this piece, I’m going to interview myself, as there is no one here to interview me, and in any case they aren’t about to write in my blog, so please, bear with me!
Mr Random: So why did you start?
Moi: Great question, thank you. I think I’ve always enjoyed writing. I read a book about a guy who started a blog – he was into building a fitness empire or whatever, that was never my thing. I just wanted to write and reach out to people. Also, it provided a kind of chronology, a semi public journal if you will, and in this I documented a lot of my most personal experiences.
Mr Random: What motivates you?
Moi: Well, I have been inspired by a lot of great photo blogs, but for me, that would not have floated my boat on its own, I wanted a photographic, travel meets residential collection of stories, an erotic literary playground, a fitness room, relationship clinic, etc. Really, I just want to be me, and to be accepted by the world.
Mr Random: What have you learned?
Moi: Nothing. No, wait, um. For me, its a realisation that your blog can affect people, even if you didn’t ask them to read it, or preferred that they didn’t. I mean people close to you. If you are writing shit about latest handbags and your resort stay in Thailand, no one is going to be upset by that. If you write about stuff you’ve done and feelings that you have, and that doesn’t jive with those closest to you, be prepared to take some shit!
Mr Random: All those pictures – what was that about?
Moi: Ok, this interview is getting sticky, who made up the questions, anyway? Ok, honestly, I’m an open book. That kind of means that I am proud of my body and a bit of a poser. I enjoy showing it off. There. It’s just the human body. People have enjoyed it in sculptures, film, theater, strip clubs and other seedy places. Let’s just celebrate being human.
Mr Random: What’s your favourite thing to blog about?
Moi: Well I like writing about everything. Photography, travel, sexuality, emotions, experience, animals, cooking. I’m a bit all over the shop.
Mr Random: Do you worry that your readership (as small as it is!) might be confused or even alienated by your apparent ability to genre jump?
Moi: Yes, sometimes, but also I find one dimensional blogs a bit sort of, one dimensional.
Mr Random: Any regrets?
Moi: No. This is me. It’s take it or leave it. Hopefully someone out there can appreciate the craziness and beauty in what I do. If not, then it’s a great outlet for me.
Je suis apprends le Francais. C’est mon numero une blog en Francais. Pardon moi pour la errors. Je ecrite mot en Francais, je utlize google translate pour correct la errors, mais, c’est moi ecrite en Francais.
Vivre c’est mettre au defi (to live is to challenge oneself). Je apprends Francais pour duex mois. Ce soir, Je suis alle au l’epicerie. Une femme cashier assist moi achete la groceries. Je parle Francais avec la femme. Elle est Anglophone mais elle parle Francais bonne. Nous parle Francais dans l’epicerie. Je suis tout excite!
Je n’ai jamais pense que je parlerais Francais; mais ici je est.
Tres bien. Je demande vous – encore plus blog en Francais? Dit moi. Merci.
A friend of mine spoke to me about letting go. This is a very powerful life skill. Without doubt, letting go allows us to be free-er, less burdened, more agile, and less resentful.
But it’s not that easy, is it? Why? Because perhaps, we have good reason to cling on. Such examples would be if we were thrown overboard and had a life bouy to keep us afloat, or if we are holding our mother’s hand on a busy city street when we were young children. But typically, for adults, the ‘letting go’ takes on a whole new dimension.
So what sort of stuff do we ‘hold on’ to? Well, hopefully, we hold on tight to the things that are most dear to us – perhaps our family relationships, our treasured memories, or our dwindling and ever-threatened bank balances? But that’s not always the way. Sometimes we hold on to bad habits, jobs that are demeaning and soul sapping, or relationships that are toxic.
Sometimes we hold on to resentment, because our ego tells us we are right – that ‘those fuckers’ did us wrong, and someone has to be held accountable for making this situation shitty, at least in our minds. Sometimes, is possessiveness, or jealousy. We hold on to a person, or a set of expectations that seem totally legitimate to us.
What happens if we let go?
That’s scary, because we are giving up apparent control. It’s apparent control because it’s not real control, its just the control that we construct in our mind that boxes in what ever we are trying to control, because we are holding on, to expectations.
Now, I’m going to suggest something. In the universe, there is equilibrium. All things are in a constant state of force, reaction, and adjustment, with the end result being equilibrium. When equilibrium is found in our personal relationships and situations, the tension decreases, and things settle to where they will be, naturally.
But that’s not straightforward either, because life is a series of negotiations, occasional disappointments, and some glorious moments too.
I’m going to suggest that letting go a bit – of expectations, of resentment, of control, might just be the answer to reducing a lot of turmoil in our lives. I’m not saying let everyone and everything off the hook, there has to be balance, but allow things to be, and see what happens.
Bit of a random mixed bag for you today. I wanted to share some good things, simple things and some inspiration.
So I work out at the Y. I noticed when I got there that there was a group of maybe 6 or so Arabic speaking guys. I thought they were loud. I honestly found them a bit intimidating. In a moment of tired crankiness I found myself getting annoyed at they way they spoke.
I chided myself for being so intolerant. I am an immigrant, in this country of immigrants. Canada is known for its kindness and willingness to take in people from all nations. Especially those in need.
About 3 years ago, when the crisis in Syria was at its height, we saw images of bomb-shelled buildings and men, women and children fatally injured and others bandaged, and bleeding. From the comfort of a computer screen I flicked through headlines, then got on with my day.
Canada, via PM Justin Trudeau announced that we were going to take in refugees from Syria. At one stage, Saskatoon had taken in about 450 of them. It was on the radio a lot, especially in the first year of their repatriation, and of course I would see them around the city.
I told myself, a couple of weeks ago, that I was going to make a point of shaking hands with the young Arab men at my gym. I was going to get past any awkwardness, and say ‘hi.’ I did that the other night.
I was quite impressed. One of the guys told me that he had only been talking English for a year, and he spoke quite well. They are in high school here. He plans to study engineering. It was really nice to break down the barriers and just be friendly. I will always say hi when I see them now. He told me that they went from Syria, to Turkey for a year, then came to Canada.
Ok, craft beer. This is like some sort of East Coast obsession. I’ve been visiting some of the local breweries here. There are some really nice taps for sure. Its nice to ride my bike around town and park up and get a pint. There’s one brewery/bar that is about 2 blocks from my house, and they have a fire place, and let people bring their dogs in. Its a really nice atmosphere, but it does get noisy.
I stopped at the Cider House bar last night. There was a couple of girls serving at the bar, and of course they spoke French (parle francais), so I got the opportunity to have a mini conversation in French. That was cool.
Tonight I Skyped my daughter. It was the first decent conversation that we’ve had in many, many months. I was very glad and grateful that she gave me the time to talk to her ‘ole dad. I plan to do that regularly. She’s a gorgeous young lady. Hopefully this will be a new direction in daddy-daughter relations, but we will see.
Tonight, there was an attempt to make ANZAC cookies. These are the recipe that most Aussie kids grow up on. Famous for being baked back in Australia for the troops on the front lines of Gallipoli or France – because they would be put in tins and stay well preserved by the time they made it to the troops. The cookies went kinda flat, so rather than ANZAC cookies, they were more pancake like. Nice effort though.
That’s about all I have to say at the moment. A good day. Bless you all. I hope this blog finds you well. Thanks for taking the time to read.
Ok, hi Bloggers. I hope you are all well. Today, I want to talk about marriage, and divorce. When we are married, and much in love, the mere concept of being divorced, and all that it entails scares the living shit out of us…. Yoda says it right:
Wait, I’m not actually divorced. I’m legally separated. Separated in space (two continents with the Pacific Ocean between us). Yet, connected. Financially, biologically with children, in name, with 23 years of in-erasable history between us. That stuff is never going to wash out. It’s in the past. It’s done.
But is it really all that bad? Well, yes, and erm, no.
So where I was some months ago – if you troll my blog history you can see it all laid out in technicolor detail, was not a good place. That was when I was married. I had been married for about 18 years, and with my marriage partner since 1993. If you don’t remember 1993 its either because you weren’t born yet, or it was so long ago.
1993, hmmm. Nirvana were killing it. Paul Keating returned in a second term as Aussie Prime Minister, Bill Clinton got his sax out to celebrate taking the reins from the first George Dubya Bush, and a bunch of other way-back stuff was happening. I was a young buck of 19. There was no internet, cell phones were like bricks, and technology was pretty simple compared to where we are today.
So where am I going with this?
There’s so much judgement and puritanical shit about marriage as an institution, and to go against the grain, to challenge that institution, depending on the tolerance of your community, family and partner can be perceived as the worst thing in the world, ever. Ever!
From the dark side, I give you, the divorced guy’s state of the nation:
It’s really not that bad!
I’m broke, lol. But who cares, because I didn’t have any money when I was married, and at least I get to control my bank account now, lol.
I run my own schedule. It’s like being an adult, but now you have to actually plan your own shit, like bills and things. Previously, I just earned the money, and she spent it, or stressed about how we were going to pay bills.
I go where I want to go, when I want to go, and generally don’t have to check if that’s like ok, with everyone else. Awesome!
I don’t have anyone to blame if my apartment isn’t clean, and I’m not stepping over anyone else’s crap. Pure bliss.
I have my own place. My. Own. Place. OMG what an awesome concept!
It’s quiet. Can you imagine?
But its not all beer and skittles. No, no, no!
I miss my kids. I don’t get to see them, and I talk to them maybe once a week, for a few sentences on the phone. They are on the other side of the world. They couldn’t be any further away. I don’t know when I will see them next.
The relationship with my children is extremely strained. Due to my biological disposition as a man, thus being the breadwinner etc, I went to work, while my ex stayed home. This meant that she got to be with them to get them ready for school, pick them up, and was there while I travelled for work. During this time she had their ear, and of course they were influenced by the tone of her perspective. So when she chose to leave, she took the kids.
I want to repair the damage, and I hope that the passage of time allows us all to come to terms with each other.
Lawyers. A necessary evil. A weapon of mass expense. I dare not say the hourly price my lawyer charges to quibble about who-owes-who-what. It’s scary, and stupid. It’s not that I don’t like my lawyer as a person, but I just hate the thought of burning through hundred dollar bills to establish BASIC SHIT. Spending money I don’t have. Dumbest concept ever.
Real estate: complete shambles. Losses deeper than the Mariana’s Trench.
Other than that, life is grand! Really, I am content. Happy. Doing ok!
Just to finish off, I have identified two camps of people in the world. Those who have been through divorce, and those who have not. I have found that those who have been through it are typically more balanced in their judgements, more empathetic, and accepting. Not to say that non-divorced people are not open minded or prejudice (some are for sure!), but divorced people have a broader perspective on the hundreds of possible iterations that could lead a person to choose divorce over remaining married.
I’m not going to say that you should jump into something like this, because the implications are major – like monumental and the biggest type of decision that you might make. Having said that, if fear is holding you back, you might benefit from knowing that it’s not so bad, on the ‘dark side’ of divorce.
Some randomness for you today. I have internet at home now, so I will be able to get on line and blog a bit more again, but having said that, I find myself busy/preoccupied with life, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
So driving home from work yesterday afternoon, I stopped at the gas station in Harvey, New Brunswick. I saw a snow man, in a pick up truck. A couple of local lads got creative and mildly inappropriate, but it is only a snowman, so whatever. This snowman had a big hard woody! Yep, a snowman boner!
I’ve never seen anything like it and I had a good laugh. Of course, I had to get a picture. I reckon that’s pretty fucking funny!
It is calm. I am feeling composed, relaxed, balanced and happy.
Previously, it was as if I were a boat on the ocean, battling heavy seas.
Now, the clouds have parted, some welcome sunshine has filtered through, and the morning light is gently caressing calm seas once again.
Relief, that’s the main feeling. Contentment. Happy in my own space, happy to make new work colleagues, to be able to contribute without shadows of speculation and resentment being cast over my contributions.
I am free to engage, to enjoy, to rejoice in the simple things. To pat a friend or colleague on the back, to give some good feedback to others, to say thanks, and to let people know that I really care about them. Because, I really do!
I’ve let go, but in a good way. Let go of resentment. Let go of shame. Let go of the negativity that seemed to surround me and I was trapped like a shopping bag being blown around in a vortex of shit.
I realise that I was just hanging on. Using all my strength to tell myself that I could continue. Some days were really good in spite of the situation, and some days felt absolutely fucking desperate. It was like the rug had been pulled. I was angry. I was frustrated. I kept a positive outlook as much as possible in the situation and I did my best to not get dragged into the whole shit-pile, but in reality, that shit-pile was – my life! I don’t and haven’t blamed anyone else. Like I’ve said before, I was the architect of my own demise!
Life still has its challenges. Things will never be perfect. I can accept that. I watched a Ted talk recently that said that people affected by serious hardship, like a debilitating injury, and those who experience good fortune such as winning the lottery end up at the same place, after a few months, in terms of acceptance and who is happiest. This is counterintuitive because we all think that of course, winning the lottery would just about assure happiness – with all our ‘real’ problems put aside by having lots of money. Right?
Without getting into pop-psychology, the evidence would suggest that those who go through challenging and life altering events do adjust, and are generally content to accept, perhaps even find happiness in their apparent misfortune. I’m not suggesting I’ve suffered misfortune, just saying that the recent events of my life have certainly been challenging and life altering.
For a rough a journey as it has been, I am better for it. Stronger, more self assured, more independent and less resentful of the situation that surrounded me. What I learned is that people will accept you. Ok, some won’t that’s ok. But people will, if you open your heart and be genuine and sincere, no matter who you are.
Hi Bloggers, Sometimes I like to put a musical theme to my blogs. Today, it is ‘More Than’ by East Coast indi rockers from Nova Scotia Wintersleep.
Ok, lets get down to some catch-up blogging. So, living in Fredericton now. Crazy amounts of snow. It’s somewhere between really beautiful and serene, slushy and can be a pain in the arse. I was last living in Saskatchewan, and out there, it often got too cold to snow for extended periods, as well as being in the middle of the continent, it just got a bit less snow. But New Brunswick is coastal. All that ocean moisture is sucked up and dumped along the coastal parts on a regular basis here.
How am I doing? Glad you asked. I had a birthday this week, now I’m 43 (eek!). Work is going well – a great bunch of people. I am learning French. That is a steady process and I’m determined to stick with it until I can string at least a few sentences together. I’ve met some really nice people. NB people seem to be quite friendly which is nice. I joined a gym, I have kept up my work out routine and I swim once or twice a week which is a nice change.
I can feel comfortable in my hot shorts working out too – its always a bit scary going to a new place when you put it out there like I do. I’ve also gotten used to wearing my ergowear mens swimmer tight boxers. They are um, what’s the word… contoured, no. Um, accommodating, yes, made for the male form, yes, aerodymamic (they offer ZERO resistance in the water because there is no loose material to ‘flap around etc). They are basically a boxer tight with a package sock (that protrudes rather than is covered up – hope that makes sense!). Imagine swimming naked. That’s what it feels like! Its like someone took a can of blue lycra and sprayed it on my arse and package. Viola! I love them 😉 I realise that paragraph might appear out of context for new readers to my blog – forgive me, I’m human, and very sensual!
I have an apartment down town. I can walk out my door, and be at a small but well stocked grocery two blocks away, the cafe’s are about 3 blocks away. The library is about a 20 minute walk away. My gym is 1.4 km from where I live.
I rode my bike to gym today (uptown girl – I blogged about her here: Uptown Girl). The temperature was about -8 C. A light snowfall of fast falling light snowflakes was coming from the sky. On the ground there is maybe 5 cm. My bike handles pretty well with the studded snow tires, but occasional (actually, all the time in fresh snow), I find my front tire doing a sideways thing while I wobble the handlebars in what must look like an impromptu bicycle dance routine (complete with long black tights, cause, its me!).
I am yet to eat the pavement but I’m sure at some time I will. Just hoping I don’t dislocate a jaw or fracture and elbow. Geez I’m making it sound bad, but really, riding on ice and snow with good tires is surprisingly easy. It’s just the sandy snow mixture that is a couple of inches deep that gets a bit sketchy.
I walked to the library. I put in my powerbeats3 headphones in (thank you J) and stepped (strutted/shashaid/worked-the-sidewalk???) on out of the apartment. I had Wintersleep in my ears. Feeling good. I was doing some hand movements along with the beat. My hands were doing things. It was like an autistic expression of movement (no disrespect, I am not autistic but my son is so I sometimes like to emulate the gestures, it actually makes me feel good sometimes – kinda like its instinctual, and helps me connect with him on some level (bless you my son, I love you special man!). I felt like doing a little dance at the cross walk, but the sensible adult person inside me said ‘don’t do a fucking dance!’
The library is one of those new modern designs. I thank the city for developing such a wonderful community space. The second floor windows are large – almost the full floor to ceiling is glass for much of the side of the building, and the view is of the Saint John river. An old bridge crossing, built of what looks like granite blocks extends in a series of pylons across the river, with the deck long since subject to demolition.
Large flakes of snow are falling. Cars go by on the road by the river. The soundproofing is such that you don’t hear them at all. There are a few people at the library today, it being Saturday. It is well patronised, but big enough to spread out in. Its not hard to find yourself a quiet spot and not feel crowded here.
possession of the qualities traditionally associated with men:
“handsome, muscled, and driven, he’s a prime example of masculinity”
synonyms: virility · manliness · maleness · machismo · vigor · strength · muscularity · ruggedness · robustness · testosterone
*** It’s all good, but, where is the sensitive, caring, open hearted, kind, loving, sensual part of the masculine description? Oh, that’s right, its not. Kinda the point, right? ***
So I just watched this Ted Talk – It’s Justin Baldoni, an actor who has been portrayed in lots of shirtless and sexy-man kind of roles. Good for him, right? Ok, so the topic of today’s blog is to explore masculinity, and what it means to me personally, and especially in light of the current media climate, and my own personal experiences.
It should be noted, that the Ted Talk was given in a room full of women. That’s relevant because the speech addressed women. Nothing wrong with that, it was a really good speech. Where I differ in my approach is that I am probably less ‘apologetic’ on behalf of all men for whatever has transpired through history. I can only be accountable for my own actions and I can only speak for myself.
I will say, that while I’m not a card carrying feminist, I do believe in equality and all people should be treated with respect and dignity. All people. That includes men, and women, and the undecided.
Ok, so, in today’s society, the term ‘masculinity’ conjures up many meanings, and I’m guessing survey says its not all-good. But I’m here to take affirmative action, to balance the ledger so to speak. A few of the general connotations of perception of men these days might include:
Violent against women.
Unmentionable and questionable conduct in relation to children – especially those in positions of power or authority with access to children.
Disproportionally remunerated in relation to women.
Consumer and supporter of porn.
etc. I think you get the gist of what I’m saying.
Well, here’s what I’ll say about it. Its a bit like shark attacks or bears in the woods – both are much feared but really the actual instance of shark and bear attacks are wayyyyyy fewer than one would expect based on our fear level and cultural expectations around shark and bear attacks.
But, (bear with me ladies), that doesn’t jive, because, I have people close to me in my life who have been (will be, and are being) subject to harassment, and have been abused in the past. Therefore, it could be argued that to dismiss these realities is not reflective of other’s experience.
What I’m saying is, the media reports, and the 1% of men who provide these experiences, cannon fodder for the media and feminist crowd, do not represent the 99% of decent guys out there. Or, maybe I’m in denial, maybe I’m kidding myself, and maybe 99% of men are inherently bad, and 1% have no balls? There I go perpetuating the current media storm.
Ok, I realise that this is going to bring and avalanche of feedback from the #metoo crowd. I understand that, as women, these things happen, and are real.
I have a daughter, and female friends. I don’t want them to be victimized or harassed, period.
Further, I, me, moi, have been perceived as a harasser, a creep, a sleaze, even though, maybe I was not aware, and maybe I was niave, and maybe I was nonchalant. On occasion my actions may have been totally benign, and misinterpreted, while on other occasions, you can bet that I wanted to get something from an interaction from a female, because, guess what? I’m a man. Duh.
If men never pursued women, the species would discontinue, which kinda suggests that harassment on some level is a biological instrument of reproduction. If you have ever seen a stallion go nuts about a mare you know what I am talking about. Again, clarification, there are obvious cases that are just inappropriate. Goes without saying.
To be honest, I’m not even sure what constitutes a general male/female conversation, where flirting starts and ends, and what constitutes harassment. In a confusing sort of twist, the rules seem to be it’s harassment, when a woman says it is. The definition would probably be something like ‘if the attention is unwanted…’ etc. Fair enough.
Ok, you can say its obvious, but really, it’s not. I don’t grab anything I shouldn’t, and I don’t hassle females for the sake of gaining anything, so I think my activities are quite respectful. In fact, I know they are, but its been a learning curve. I guess based on the modern media shit storm, and my own personal experience, I err on the side of caution.
So, what’s the implication of that? What is the effect of that on individual men, and boys in our society? From my perspective, it adds up to a whole lot of guilt and shame. I think that is a kind of sad indictment for how a man or young man should feel.
Here’s a news flash. While we are men, we aren’t all bad. Really.
You don’t have to go far to get sensational news, and feminist propaganda, though.
Enough #metoo already! Please.
Here’s what I’ll say. I like being a man. I like feeling sexy. I like to engage with other people – men and women, and for the vast majority of times, if you are respectful and polite people will respond in turn with equal favour.
For the men out there, here’s what I want to communicate:
Be a proud man. Whatever you are.
It’s ok to be gay, if that’s what you are.
It’s ok to cry, when you need to.
It’s ok to talk to other men – time and a place of course, about what is important to you. Open you mind and open your heart. You will be rewarded.
It’s ok to feel sexy. In fact, I enjoy it and encourage it!
It’s ok to be sensual, in whatever way makes you feel good.
Dress the way you want.
Do the things you want – cast off the shackles of traditional masculinity. If you want to take a sewing class, write poetry, become an aerobics instructor, you go, boy!
It’s ok if sometimes you feel like you are crumbling under the weight of expectations as a man – the protector, the provider, the strong one. We all have our weak moments, and that’s ok.
So in the process of moving, I found a picture of me! This must have been about 1978, or so. I was born in 75 so I figure I was about 3 or 4 years old here. So it got me thinking, if I had to ‘write a letter to my young self’ what would it say? Here’s my attempt…
Hey little man, what’s up? You have no idea of the shit storm you are in for! No, I’m kidding really, you’re gonna have a lot of fun out there. One day, you’ll be approaching 43, sitting in a café in eastern Canada, typing a letter to yourself, which is going to be posted on a blog – It’s an internet thing, don’t worry you’ll figure it out.
So, um, what can I say? Good luck out there. Go with an open heart, and an open mind. Be kind to yourself, and others. Stand up for what you believe in. You’re going to go through a lot of stress and anxiety, but please, let it go, it will not serve you well.
Be true to yourself. Be who you want to be. Travel wide. Love with all your ‘lil heart. You will drift from your family, but don’t drift too far. Family is very important to your identity and even if you are frustrated at times, know that they mean well.
Sometimes, you are going to have to tow the line, to fit in, to just do things because others say you should. Often this is due to social norms that are developed over many generations and sometimes there are very good reasons for these and sometimes they are just stupid conventions that you are going to have to accept.
Don’t be afraid. Be cautious, be aware, but don’t let fear hold you back. Some of your best life experiences will come when you just let go, of fear. Step out of your comfort zone, and be brave, be bold.
Remember that while what others think of you is important, it does not define you, and you will never please everyone. Do your best to be the best you that you can be and allow others to accept you as you are, or leave you be.
Live without regrets, but take heed of your learnings. Its a fool’s endeavour to make the same dumb mistakes more than a few times! You will make plenty, it’s all part of the experience.
Take care, young man, one day, you’re going to be me!!!!