I hate people.

(sometimes is implied, but now is one of those sometimes, so….. )

Is there any reason I really need to deal with people? Is there a law? Can I just be a hermit?

I know I’m not the only one. People are complaining about having to learn online, as if the way we taught before was ideal. People learn in different ways. So, the way it was couldn’t have been working for everyone. Some might like online better, but the ones who don’t are screaming the loudest. “So some people die,” they think or say, “but my child can’t adapt. He or she will fall behind. And also, I don’t know how to teach.” First, yes, we do have to put together some of that ingenuity we brag about in the US to solve the problem. There may be better ways to do online learning. But let’s also acknowledge that children are more resilient than adults. Kids can adapt. They weren’t learning the old way because it was best or because they like it better, they were doing it because that’s how adults told them to. They didn’t have a choice.

Socializing is important. Unless you want to be a hermit, like I do, but school isn’t the only place to socialize people, and certainly not the safest place, these days, and not everyone’s socialization experience in school is positive. What if they aren’t popular? What if they don’t have friends?

I’m reminded of that Lewis Black routine where he’s talking about this lifesized Barbie doll they were selling that was designed so that your kid could wear Barbie’s clothes.  “That is,” he says, “Unless your kid is too fat!”

Or what if they’re bullied? What if they just hate school for any other reason?

They are trapped in something they didn’t design. Now they’re trapped in something different that they didn’t design. What’s the big deal? Can we just go with the flow. The pandemic has thrown us a curve.

It could work better for some that’s all I’m saying.  And the others can adjust their swing.

We could stand to re-evaluate how we teach and learn, and maybe this is just the push that we need.

Why complain about having to learn online, when often we weren’t even learning in person (and spending a hell of a lot of time in school to not learn). We push STEM on people who are going to quit it at the first opportunity, and meanwhile those with potential in STEM have to suffer through classes with those who couldn’t care less.

I hate school too. School sucks. It sucked when I was in it, and it sucked up until this pandemic. We spend too much time learning things we could learn in less time and that we often don’t need. By the time we’re done, we go get a job that 73 times out of 100 doesn’t relate to what we studied.

I don’t know why all this means I hate people. I guess it’s cause most people don’t see it that way.

And that’s just one example of things that I see differently than other people. I’m tired of it.

I’m not saying people need to agree with me, I’m just saying I hate them if they don’t.

Kidding.

I’m sure some of the two of you who read my blog agree with me, or at least see my point or accept it without judgment*. And if you don’t, if you like me, for some reason, then I like you too. Especially when you’re out there in the cloud and I can’t be sure you’re real. That makes it easier.

 

*that said, it just occurs to me that one of my recent two readers used to teach in the NYC system – I read your posted bio. Please don’t take offense, I’m generalizing. I had some great teachers. Teachers are beautiful people. Mostly. I will say that the schools I liked the best were the ones with the worst reputations. Those were the schools where the teachers had more freedom to be innovative, I guess, because they had to. Necessity is the mother of invention don’t you know?

Low Standards

I’m setting low standards for myself these days, but so far keeping to it. I got out of bed, for instance. That’s not asking much.

“Get out of bed, A Lawrence.”

“I can do this.”

“I know you can.”

Me talking to myself.

And look at me, I’m posting…. Something…..

I did one Spanish lesson on duolingo, extending my streak to 9 days. Gotta keep that streak. 

I have started a couple more shows on netflix, and I will probably spend some time today watching. At least I am not setting any expectations to the contrary. It’s allowed.

I guess there’s nothing else that I HAVE to do. 

Because the Sky is Blue

A lot of cultural attention is focused around gender these days. It is a unique time in which people are more and more courageous to live authentically in this respect, to tell people how they feel, who they are, what gender they relate to most, to put it one way. 

But I want more than that. I don’t just want to acknowledge a dual nature in regards to gender, I want to do that, but when I yearn to live authentically, to be who I am, to be unafraid in the face of societal expectations or judgments or norms, it is about so much more than gender. It is about the freedom to be different. It is about the freedom to be crazy. To accept things that may not have any logic behind them. What do I like? what do I need? I know. If I listen to myself, I know. I’ve always known. And why I am like this, doesn’t matter. 

There may be a why.  Or a because. But you can’t wait for it. You can’t even know it until you first recognize the what. You can’t justify who you are to yourself or anyone, until you live it and feel it. And if you do that, you don’t ever have to know why. You don’t need why to be happy. 

Because. That’s why.

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.

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

The Brutal Truth

It is an effort to write these days, and I am not good with effort.

I have never been good with effort. It’s why I didn’t become an actor or a drummer or a writer (in that order). It’s why I couldn’t effectively do all three. It’s why I switched my major from lit to math. It’s why I left Bard College.  It’s why I quit the band I was in because I was overwhelmed with the prospect of doing more than one thing at a time.

It’s why I still don’t speak Spanish, or any other language. 

It’s why I settled for a career in accounting (quitting math too). Accounting takes an effort, but not more than I can muster as long as I’m getting paid for it, and when it’s the only thing I do well.

But this is what I need to remember.  “The nuts always win.”

This is when you’re playing cards and you tell yourself that in order to win, you have to have the best possible hand.

Now, maybe sometimes you decide to take a chance on the 2nd or 3rd best possible hand, or maybe less if you feel like bullshitting your way through a situation, but the goal, the path to success, is to expect the best.

Our goal should always be to have everything we want. We don’t have to figure out what our limit is, it is our limit. We can’t go beyond it.

But we should pursue everything we want to have. The more we try, the more we achieve.

We should do it because we are happy when we have achieved something, even if we are not happy when we are working towards it. We are not happy when we don’t try, so we might as well try. We’d just be doing something, instead of nothing, while we are unhappy. Something, at least, can lead to that miracle of all miracles.  

Happiness.

Do you ever find that you say to yourself, “how wonderful life is?”

“I’m glad to be alive.”

“Never in my wildest dreams….”

I don’t.

Sometimes I avoid bread to be happy. I could eat right, exercise, lose weight, compensate in many ways for the fact that I am not proud of myself, and it may work to some degree, I may have moments where I feel good. But when I achieve things, if I were to achieve anything, I can eat bread, and I still feel good about myself, even if I feel physically sick. There is no substitute for doing

I don’t believe that I’m the only one who has accepted that being “so happy” is just an unrealistic fairy tale. But why? Because it’s impossible? 

It takes effort. It takes effort whether you’ve eaten bread or not (or whatever is your habitual nemesis). 

To be happy, we have to achieve our potential. Except we think of potential as something we don’t have to achieve, never guaranteed, a long shot. We give ourselves excuses, let ourselves off the hook. Kids are loaded with it, of course, and we know how few realize theirs as adults. We have no reasonable expectation, I tell myself now, that we achieve our dreams.

Bullshit.

Our potential is what we can do, it is, by definition, what is within our abilities. We have an obligation to ourselves, and to society and to God, if you believe in God (I don’t, really), to fulfill it. What we shouldn’t hold ourselves accountable to do, is that which is beyond our abilities. But if we don’t do what we can, that’s a sin, if there ever was sin, a crime, at least, maybe the birth parent of all crime. 

If you do everything you can do, that you dream of doing, that should be done, you will be proud of yourself and you will be happy.

I haven’t proven this theory, mind you.

I have a family. I work and make decent money. I have friends. I meet the standard for success. If I tell people that I consider myself a failure, they argue with me. Most people pretend at least to be happy with as much. If we aren’t satisfied, and say so, then oftentimes people feign as if they do not understand why you are so ungrateful, or at least you fear that this will be their reaction. At best, they don’t know how to help you, so you keep it to yourself. But there is nothing wrong with expecting to be the best you can be. And those of us who enjoy the luxury of being able to complain about not being happy, we have an obligation to challenge ourselves and lead. It is not ungrateful to want more. We owe it to society to expect more from life, and to give what we can give, because we are in the position to do so.

It is failure to settle. There’s no shame in it. No one wants to fail. It’s not about judgement. But that’s just the brutal truth.

What Scares Us

Something happened

A long time ago

To make me feel unsafe

 

Probably

A very minor thing

I can’t remember

 

Maybe it was when

The other boys

Told me I looked like a girl

 

And laughed at me

Though it was

Just the truth

 

Sometimes I think

It would be easier

To have been a girl


And not so a
fraid

Like men are

Of being laughed at