Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Dead ends and dysfunction

Somedays, life just conspires to knock you down. Lately though, life has been knocking me down often enough that I'm not sure I should bother to stand back up.

This time last year, everything started to fall apart. My wife and I had been married for seven years, and I thought that things were pretty okay between us. Unfortunately, I was blind to the fact that she wasn't happy. To make matters worse she wasn't telling me how she felt. I was pretty shocked when everything came out, but true to my personal form, I did what she thought would make her happy, and we separated. I hoped that we were going to be able to work things out, but apparently, that wasn't in the bigger plan. Now its all over except for the final formalities (we have the final hearing in May).

I hate the idea of being divorced. My biological parents got divorced when I was very young and my father more or less completely abandoned my brother and me. I never wanted my son to go through that part of life. I never wanted him to experience some of the things I want through. Even though I will never abandon my son the way my father did me, I worry that I'm going to mess him up as badly as I got messed up by my folks. But I guess it's just too late to do anything else but ride this out and hope that he understands someday what happened. Hell, I hope that someday I'll understand what really happened.

So I'm single again now, for the first time in years. And I have no idea what I'm doing. I don't think I ever really dated in the traditional sense of things. When I met my ex-wife she was dating my best friend from high school (and roommate) at the time, and once things started to settle down from all the uproar (yes, she was still dating him when she and I started sleeping together) died down, we got engaged and married. We never really dated in the non-exclusive sense once everything was out in the open.

It gets a bit worse though. You see, I don't have any friends around anymore. The only friend I have a somewhat regular contact with is an old Army buddy of mine who lives several hours drive away from me. (I think it should go without saying that my one-time best-friend and I don't get along anymore after he found out I was sleeping with his girlfriend.) So, I am very much alone in the grand scheme of things right now. This makes it really tough (for me) to go out and meet people.

So, after a couple of abortive attempts to go out to local nightclubs and see what happens, I did something that was probably a bad idea in the grand scheme of things, I went up to the stripclub in town (there's only one that's reputable where I live). Now, no I am not delusional. I knew that the only women I was going meet in there would be the ones who worked there and that they would feign all sorts of interest in my in order to make money from me. By and large this isn't any different then the way most of my bar experiences were when I was in the Army and stationed overseas. The bars there employed girls to entertain (in a fully clothed, not directly sexual sense) the GI's. Men would buy them drinks, they'd pay attention to the men, spend time sitting, talking and even dancing with them. It was just part of how the bars there worked. Now, admittedly, most of the bar-girls in the places were also prostitutes on the side, but that's a different subject.

So, I got exactly what I expected. The experience of going into the stripclub in question was very much like going to the bars I got used to in the Army. I went in and a beautiful girl was happy to act interested in getting to know me and talking with me and all it took was me buying her drinks (knowing full-well that she got half of the money for every drink I bought). I knew that they really could care less about me and that they were just there to earn some money. The thing was, that the whole point of going there was COMPANY. It was just nice to spend time with another human being and have them at least act like they are enjoying spending time with me, even if it was just an act. I could deal with this because it was easy, there was no pressure to be anything that I'm not. The money didn't mean anything to me, I can always make more money and I make a point never to take money that I can't afford to spend with me, so it's not like it's hurting anything.

Over the past month now, I've been back a few times, averaging about once a week or every other week. I know a handful of the girls by name and 2 or 3 of them remember me and 1 or 2 know me by name. I enjoy going up there, the same way that I used to enjoy going to a couple of bars in Korea that I frequented. There's one girl that I usually end up hanging out with and it's alot of fun, and I really need something fun in my life right now. But let's face it, I know this is a dead end.

I guess I should take this as good indication of just how messed up and dysfunctional I am, the closest I seem to be able to get to a comfortable relationship with a woman, is hanging out with a stripper in a stripclub.

I think my life my have just hit a new all-time low point.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Life is Pain..

Repeatitive? Cliche? Depressing?

Maybe, but it's one of those lessons learned that you should never forget. The problem is that it's easy to forget it. Happiness happens, and you get so caught up in it that you forget that being happy, I mean really, truly happy, is the exception not the rule. And then later, when life takes that happiness away from you (and it almost invariably does).. well, that's when you remember that life is pain. The ones who are the most hurt by this cycle are the ones who forget. The ones who, for whatever unfathomable reason, believe that life is about being happy. That life is supposed to be all sunshine and rainbows, singing birds and playing children. That human's are basically good at heart (which seems completely laughable sometimes). For some reason, these shiny happy people are able to delude themselves and see the possibility of a world without pain and suffering.

And yes, that world is a delusion. People are not good at heart, not for the most part anyway. People are all about their own happiness, their own escape from the miserable drudgery of their existence. They don't care if it makes other people miserable, just as long as it makes them happy. Almost everyone on this planet is all about looking out for number one. Taking care of themself and to hell with everyone else. There's another line in a movie, one that really struck home with me when I heard it. "..as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery." (Agent Smith, The Matrix) Frankly, I think that whoever wrote that line hit the nail right on the head.

Cynical? Yeah, I hear that alot, but I've got my reasons for believing what I believe. I am not, however, completely pessimistic. While I do believe that anyone who thinks they can be happy all the time is delusional, I think it's possible to be content with your life. And the first step to that contentment is accepting that Life is a painful experience. The fact is, though, that pain and misery is what makes happiness so damn important. It's the bad experiences of life that give us a basis of comparison to understand what it means to be happy.

You see, I believe that a good life, one that will let you retain your sanity (or some semblance of it any rate) is just a simple series of moments, a few of those moments are wonderful, happy times, a few are colored with the most abject shades of despair, misery and pain, but most fall somewhere in-between. The key is to treasure the happy moments and use the memories of them to make it through the hellish ones.

And whatever you do, don't try to look for meaning in it all..but that's a discussion for another time..