Mike Davis

My former teacher, Mike Davis, wants us to get out of our cages.

Another Year Over

I took a couple of courses with Mike Davis, and we were on good terms. I enjoyed our interactions, and I learned a lot. The classes were online, so all of the interactions were online. We kept up for a short while after the classes were over, via facebook, or via the comment section on his blog, and I still read his blog, as you can see.

But I imagine that Mike Davis doesn’t like me. 

More likely, he doesn’t think about me at all, cause I don’t mean anything to him. I’m fine with that.  I know I am irrelevant. I should be. We’re not friends, and I don’t want to be.

I admire the guy.  He taught me, and he was a good teacher.  He was actually the best writing teacher I ever had, which, ok, admittedly, isn’t saying much.  But it’s something. 

And I like what he’s trying to do.

I imagine that he doesn’t like me, only because I am the kind of person, I imagine he doesn’t like.

(Yes, I’m making it all up. That’s what writers do – but it could be true, because we have gifted insight).

A person who won’t get out of his fucking cage.

Why should I bother saying that I want to be a writer, that this is my aspiration, that someday, yes, algun dia, I will visit America. If it’s just a dream that will never happen, then you’re full of shit. You either do it or you don’t. You get no credit for saying you want to.

This is why I think he doesn’t like me. How can I be inspiring, in a cage? Why would you want to surround yourselves with people like that? 

I want to be a writer but I am an accountant. I want to be a writer, but I travel a lot, and have a nice house and cars and fine dining experiences and furniture, and an under-funded pension, and a lot of other expenses. I want to be a writer but I am a husband.

And I eat too much.

You know, whatever.

I am in a cage. 

I can’t make different choices (except maybe that I could eat less).

I can’t sell our house and all our stuff, so I don’t even have to pay to store it, and move only what we need into a cheap apartment. I can’t decide we don’t need cars, because we won’t work, and we can uber if we really need to get somewhere or rent a car twice a year for a trip, and walk everywhere else, or ride a bike.

I can’t live frugally enough to retire, now, or even in three years. I can’t change careers, or move to another country.

I don’t have that freedom.  

Not that I would want any of that.

But I want to be a writer. I’ve pretty much always said, effectively always, that I want to be a writer. And doing some or all of those things would help.

I know I’m not going to do them, but can I write from my prison cell?

That’s a kind of freedom.  To write the truth.  Can I do that? I would need to free myself from another cage.  I have to escape the past. No simpler way to say it. I think that’s what Mike Davis is talking about.

I mean what that means for you, escaping the past, may be different than what it would means to me, but it is a very broad all encompassing statement.  So, probably it’s true for everyone.

Maybe for her it’s a trauma, maybe for him regrets, maybe for me it’s just the expectation that I will stay the same as I have always been. How do I escape from the expectations people have of me that I, myself, have nurtured and established?

I don’t know. But this is why I write now. Whether I post it anywhere or not, writing is, for me, the means by which I am going to attempt an escape from prison. I don’t know if I’ll be successful. We can never know.  But I believe I can prevail. So, I’m working on the locks.



I’m still young. Young enough that if I dropped dead people would be surprised.

These days you probably have to be in your 80s for people to think that it was your time to go. In your 70s, people would probably shake their heads and think it was a shame. 60s people wouldn’t say, “so young,” but they would say, ”too young.” And 50s, which is where I sit, would  just suck. …but it happens to some at that age.

In your 90s people would celebrate your long life. In your 100s everyone would want to party like they were 20 again, but they wouldn’t be able to because even the grandchildren would be 60. You would be celebrating like you were 20 again though, in Valhalla.  Eating with your enemies.

I have been obsessing about retirement lately.  It’s not because I’m looking forward to it, it’s more like I hate my job, and can’t wait to start figuring out who I am again. I never finished that. It was never the career I wanted. So, I go through periods, like now, where I instinctively resist it, as if I am refusing to accept what earlier me, forced upon us. Like I was asleep when it happened.  And periodically I awake and protest, which is ironic because it also depresses me and that makes me want to literally sleep.

I make good money. There are plenty of people making more than me. But it’s good enough to feel like a lot, if I lived a certain way. And that alone could motivate me, but we spend too much of it on things that are less important to me than my time.  If I’m going to forsake what I really want to do for something that isn’t even going to bank time, then I end up wasting my life.

Now, I have to qualify something. I have a family. I don’t think that was a waste. What I have done for other people, like my kids, I am happy about. I do not regret anything I have ever done to help others live their lives. We should help each other and take joy in each other’s successes. When I say I am wasting my life, it is because there are certain things we, as individuals might feel like we are here to do, that fulfill us, for us. To the extent we don’t do them by the time we die, it’s a waste.

You can, after all, maybe, take it with you. You can take with you what you learned. You can’t take a couch.  You can’t even take a stereo, but you might could take the music.

So, I am obsessing about retirement. I’ve been doing this a long time. Enough already. The problem is, I’m not quite there yet and I have to work in the meantime.


Alternatively I have these two epiphanies that contradict each other. One is that I need to be more aware of how I look. Because I often feel different than I am, younger, thinner, but also immature and insecure, as if I expect to be perceived as green. And I look in the mirror and suddenly realize I have no idea how I come off to people. Who is that old guy? And I conclude, in an epiphany, that I should look in the mirror more, get to know myself, and learn how to work this body to control what I express to people.

Then at other times, I seem to divine that I should act as I feel, believe even more in what I think I look like. Forget about the mirror. People will see the real me, and only then I can I express who I am.

Let me tell you why I think the latter is the better option.

I wanted to be an actor. I liked it a lot, like when I was 12. I regret everything right? Not pursuing that has always been one. I was not overly fond of being on stage in front of people, at least that wasn’t what I liked about acting. I approached it from the inside out. I wanted to live the character’s life. And I believed that if I felt it on the inside, the outside would follow suit. More fun, and more effective.


I regret, that’s what I do. That doesn’t mean I wish I could give up everything that I have for what could have been. It just means I wish I had known better, and that I was happier.

So I regret everything, or at least it seems like it.

But of all the things I waste time thinking about, the thing I regret the most is that I didn’t acknowledge early, in my 20s for example, that waking and baking every day would have fixed everything.

One toke in the morning, starts the day off right. If I did that consistently, especially when there was still time to set the path of my life, I believe I would be happy, would have been in touch with what I wanted, would have kept my eyes on the prize.

I believe that I would have less to regret, because I would have made choices that were right for me, acted with insight. It gives me perspective. It sets me in a “matter of fact” mood about what needs to be done. It helps me to feel good about who I am, which I typically don’t.
mean, do you know what it feels like to go through life wishing you were someone else? And then to be able to feel content with who you are?

It is the difference between unhappy and happy. Simply put.

Happy People

I don’t even know

My own name

It makes me jealous

Of all the happy people

I’ve seen waterfalls

Canyons and Craters

The Aurora Borealis?

Not yet

But on my bucket list

Is only happiness

And I yearn to be real

Even though everyone lies

I am the same

As I’ve always been

It will all

Make sense to you at once

What I Want

I am jealous of women. They look happier than men to me, except for the men who I don’t like because they are so damned proud of themselves, smug and egotistical. I can’t relate to those men. I never wanted to be one. 

This is what I’ve been writing about, for the first time, just to myself, trying to see what if feels like to say “I am transgender,” without cloaking it in other language. Do the words hold true? Is it enough that I always wished I had been a girl, even though I don’t (almost always never) act on it. Saying these words after feeling this way almost my entire life, feels liberating, like it helps to just say them, making me wonder whether all I really need is to be honest about it.

I feel a bit more balanced. Maybe I have always wanted to be a woman because I was socially inhibited from being myself when it seemed effeminate, and I therefore craved what I didn’t have in a male body, the freedom to act like a girl. Maybe I just need to feel free. Maybe if I feel like I don’t have to hide, I can like myself more.  I think there’s something to that, but it’s not everything.

I’m old enough that I should know by now that people who are ostracized as kids don’t have to expect that from people in adulthood. Bill Gates might have been a nerd in high school, but now he’s a very rich and respected nerd. And the popular athlete, if that’s all he was, is probably an ordinary salesman or accountant working for a living, and trying, maybe unsuccessfully, to keep in shape. But childhood trauma stays with you and you still react to it emotionally even when you should know better.

So writing about it honestly has helped me to realize that I can embrace what I think is effeminate about myself, and who even knows if it is? I can be myself and not everyone will judge me, or even recognize something as effeminate, and whoever does, can go fuck themselves. Is it possible that by admitting that I always wished I were a girl, that I can turn out to be happy with who I am? That would be ironic. But there’s some sense to the process. If you hold onto things that don’t come out into the light, you never work through them nor come out the other side, nor change.

Is it offensive to think I can change? Does the suggestion that there is a way to become more “normal,” hurt people who might consequently be inclined to struggle against something that is, maybe impossible for them? Is it like the notion that you can change a gay person straight?

The difference is, it seems to me, that a gay person can live a happy life with another gay person. He, or she, can be happy with herself. They actually may be better positioned to like themselves, because they are actually attracted to their own gender and they can appreciate what makes them attractive to others. A transgender person, especially one who is also attracted to the sex he isn’t, so like, a lesbian in a man’s body, would find it hard to understand how anyone can be attracted to him.

He or she isn’t just pressured by society to be normal. He or she doesn’t like him or herself and would have to go to extreme measures to live as he or she wants whether people accept it or not. Is it any more extreme to try to change your self view than it is to change your body? And if you think that one cannot change your self view, I would ask, can you really change your physical gender? You can think that an operation will fix things, and if you do, then go for it. I have no stake in dissuading you if you think you can believe it, and good for you, if it makes you happy, but to me, it wouldn’t be real, and I would still have missed out on the experiences that shape women.

I am American, the way I am a New Yorker, the way I am white, the way I am male. I might want to be something else, but I have been forged by the experiences that this reality afforded me, good and bad.

And I have also always wanted to be different, and am forged by the experience of feeling out of place. That’s who I am. This is what I want to accept. I want to be happy with that.

Can I rise above the physical, accept that I am a spiritual being? I might have another chance to be something different, in another life. It doesn’t help me to be impatient about it or to wish for something I can’t have. What do I really want now, anyway? I just want to be happy. 

Feliz Año Nuevo!

So here it is, my only New Year’s resolution.  It’s not to write more.  It’s not to blog every week, or to write stories for Kindle’s Singles, like it has been in prior years. It’s not to save the world, I think that’s what I wanted to do last year.

I was speaking to a co-worker from Bogota, Colombia and she said that they write down their resolutions and don’t tell anyone, and she usually gets them done.  Kind of like when we wish on our birthday and  blow out the candles and think that if we tell anyone it won’t come true.

I told her that en los Estados Unidos, we tell everyone our resolutions and then we don’t do them. Maybe that’s the reason we don’t do them. And then I went on to tell her mine.  But I only have one, because I want to increase my chances of doing it. Everything else that I want to do, I may still do, I may write more, I may blog more, I may save the world. But if I get this one thing done, and even if everything else falls by the wayside, I will feel a great sense of accomplishment for having finally achieving one of my long time goals.

That is, to learn Spanish.  Now, “learn” is subjective. Specifically I intend to complete Rosetta Stone’s five levels in Latin American Spanish by year’s end.  Towards that end I subscribed to their online version only for a year. Sure you can keep the desktop version forever, but if you don’t do it in a year, you’re probably not going to, that’s what I think.  And I think that compressing the study will help me recall what I learned and build upon it for the later lessons. I also intend to do extra, with Duolingo and whatever else I can find time for (I have Pimsler CDs that I’ve owned for a decade that I listen to in the car sometimes). And I plan to take opportunities to speak to people I know who speak Spanish, like mi compañera de trabajo de Colombia, because I think Rosetta stone is a great tool, but won’t be enough just by itself.

And I just got the opportunity to join a group at work that over the next 3 months will meet once a week for lunch to speak Spanish. So, I may even try hard to get through as much Rosetta Stone as I can in the next three months.

I’m been trying to learn Spanish (off and on, of course) for 35 years.

Esta tiempo.

That’s all.