Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

My Brain Keeps Hanging Upside Down

I’m really feeling like my motivations are without a rudder, though my ambitions are buoyant in a sea of possibilities. That is to say, I’m full of un-channelled passion, seeking someplace to focus and flourish. Intensity is probably both my strongest and detrimental characteristics. It’s a strength insofar as when I find a focus I am committed and totally wrap myself within that particular pursuit. It is detrimental in that I often border on obsession and become either burnt out or disillusioned. My days of playing Rugby are a testament to this. I went from being a fat kid to a player at the international and professional level over a few years. Added to this was publishing regular contributions to a couple magazines overseas, eating and training seven days per week for Rugby, reading about Rugby and talking about Rugby. Then, one day, I got injured and my Rugby days came to an end, leaving me with an emptiness that has never been truly filled.

A few years ago I thought that perhaps the Martial Arts would take spotlight in regards to my passions. It originated with an intense interest in Eastern philosophy, Yoga and meditation. My first Martial Arts experience, aside from a couple of Kendo classes that I took while studying French in Quebec, was in Koga during my core training as a Correctional Officer. I was brutal, but wanted to learn more as I found the physics of it all fascinating. This lead to brief sojourns into Judo, Kali Ilustrisimo, Taekwondo and one class in Aikido where I separated my shoulder. I think that I might have been getting on the right road with Aikido in regards to my desire to experience a more holistic dimension of Martial Culture. The other Arts seemed to be more sport oriented which, in my opinion, completely contradicts the “martial” in “Martial Arts”. Kali was an exception, but, because of the weapons focus and the fact that I never carry a knife or stick with me, it just didn’t strike that vein feeding my heart’s passion. Anyway, Aikido looked like it might have something to offer, I got sidelined by injuries (shoulder followed by a torn hamstring at the gym), then my wife found a group who plays Netball, which is her passion, and their training night’s are the same as the Aikido club I was trying out. So, shift work and a shortage of a babysitter for our daughter, I’d rather my missus takes advantage of her passion than me pursue a vague possibility.

It’s hard to make commitments at this stage of life as well. Money isn’t overflowing in our account, I am a shift worker, my wife works 8-4 Monday-Friday, our daughter is enrolled in swimming and gymnastics and it’s pretty hard to slide in a regular activity at a specified time and place. I go to the gym when it suits me, as do I sit down with my guitar and books. But to, say, attend such-and-such session at 7pm Tuesday and Thursday evenings is not realistic.

As I mentioned money, that too is a factor as nothing is cheap these days. When I took Taekwondo, it was just over $100/month. In contrast, Judo and Aikido were non-profit groups and cost only $200/year, but didn’t have the flexibility in classes. I look at the stockpile of gear I have from past attempts, including a complete batsman’s equipment for Cricket, Taekwondo sparring gear, endless books on Freemasonry, etc., and shake my head. It almost makes one afraid to start something new!

Recent injuries supporting my final point, I’m not getting any younger! I honestly thought that there would be this epiphany of a day when my brain would become that of an adult. I am now 37, but honestly don’t think any differently than I did when I was in my 20’s. I still want to play hard at sport, form a band, backpack around the globe and have an overall bohemian existence. It’s the old punk rocker in me, I know. But a family, a house in the suburbs and a career as a gaoler – man, I sure as hell ain’t in Kansas any more! When I pick my daughter up at day home and the caregiver tells her that her “Dad” is here, I have to stop myself from looking and saying “where?” I mean, isn’t being a Dad meaning that you’re supposed to know a hell of a lot more than I do? I couldn’t fix a dripping tap or successfully build anything if my life depended upon it! Who ever hear of their Dad listening to Sonic Youth and jammin’ out Lowest of the Low tunes on their guitar? I never had a Dad growing up, so my impressions of Fatherhood were Ward Clever and Bill Cosby! My god, I can’t possibly be qualified to raise children! I remember bantering in High School about the old age homes for my generation (which of course would never exist because the USSR and USA would’ve nuked the shit out of the planet long before I lost my virginity), where you’d have all these seniors blaring DOA and Ozzy at mega-high decibels to compensate for our hearing losses suffered in our youth (unless bionic ears really became reality), with the underlying theme really being: yeah, we’ll mellow and that thing will happen so that we become the pipe smoking, cardigan wearing, classical music aficionados of the elderly of our day.

…but I’ve digressed as I am apt to do.

Perhaps I’m different, or perhaps I’m just like everyone else in that we never really get to see the world or ourselves from any perspective other than our own. So, perhaps we tend to measure life by standards that we don’t totally understand or believe in, though feel that we should because it’s what we think. I know I’ve got a lot of energy flowing about my head, a lot of passion, but just can’t seem to get a handle on it.



  • At 8:04 a.m. , Blogger auntiegrav said...

    Advice question: I would like to get my son (8) interested in eastern arts for a means of building confidence, control, and strength and balance. Suggestions where to start, and how to go about it? (we homeschool, so plenty of time to integrate into a daily routine) send me an email if you want to dconine2000_at_yahoo_dot_com

  • At 8:09 a.m. , Blogger auntiegrav said...

    Fatherhood: You already do it every day. Children are just small adults who need guarding and conversation with the world. As soon as you treat a 6 year old like a 6 year old, they stay that way. The worst thing that goes on in our schools is putting them into a room with their age group and an immature teacher to babysit them.
    Kids WILL grow up, and they will figure out how to do it as long as we don't screw them up. Have you read "Freakonomics" yet?

    P.S. Not just pumping your comments here, I actually wanted to send you a link: (farmers that are so far right, they are left)

  • At 9:13 a.m. , Blogger Real-E said...

    Will check out the link (sent you an email).

    I'll have to read "Freakonomics". I know my rant sounds a bit daft, but I honestly believed that there was some kind of gene that would be sparked into action at one point in live to make one a proverbial adult!

  • At 11:37 a.m. , Blogger auntiegrav said...

    The 'spark' is why many cultures have a ritual. Here in N.America, we used to have more of a transition when we joined the adult world, began doing things that involved hard labor or interaction with local business and community leaders who were doing 'great' things to build cities, factories, farms, etc. When we got our own land to take care of, we knew we were now the breadwinner/maker. Now that everything has become 'marketing', there is little phase transition between childhood and adulthood. Children play at being adults while adults play at being consumers of entertainment while spending as little time as possible in productive work, but ending up in longer and longer workdays to pay for their extended puberty. When I was in the military, I realized that the military culture extends puberty from the teen age until someone is discharged into the 'real' world. You have 40 yearold guys spending time with a group whose average age is 19. Our maturity is generally who we hang with and how we respond to things, not what our emotional desires are. Maturity is wisdom and courage to do what needs to be done, and not to do what we realize is wasteful (causes more harm than good). Some people are born that way, so there isn't really a threshold to cross. Compared to the people I've known, I feel I was never a child, or that I will always be one. Depends on the circumstance of the moment, and what I ate that day. (HoHo's and Yogurt anyone?) P.S. Good music is good music. At one time, Mozart was 'alternative'....

  • At 12:32 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    archie the nodroganon-cockroach thinks you are VERY YOUNG, in good health, have beautiful and smart wife and daughter, look up and read pearls before swine and be happy you are not old and fined like me. back in the walls i go to whine and dine mehitabel

  • At 12:39 p.m. , Blogger Real-E said...

    The "cultural ritual" idea really makes sense - I hadn't really thought about that. I know some cultures (from watching the Pilot Guide nee Lonely Planet programmes) have fascinating (and some painful as seen on the BBC series Tribe) rites of passage. Here in the West, we simply float the ether of one day to the next, never really marking any particular events, aside from a 30th or 40th birthday...

    I was watching a documentary on Stalingrad last night, and, thought back to my Grandfather's helmet from WWI, overwhelmed by what boys of 18 and 19 years old underwent, and not even coming close to understanding it or how such young men could have endured such a horrible ordeal. I suppose that has been a rite of passage - war - for so many generations. In the modern day, it seems only a select few are subjected to such horrors.

  • At 4:57 p.m. , Blogger Jetting Through Life said...

    You are a great writer. I really enjoy reading your posts.

    I wish I could play tennis again... Can't play all by myself!! *sigh*


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