“The Powers that Be”

The rain tonight has made a curtain

Of which I’d love to hide behind;

Turn my face up to the Heavens,

Let it wash away my mind;

This thing that’s caused me so much pain

And left me feeling broke inside;

Consumed the outside world to fix it,

But nothing seems to satisfy.

Confide

In the powers that be;

Is this really all that’s meant to be?

There must be more

Than just the daily mundane;

But every time I try

Life just gets in the way;

So tell me how to rise…

I have a tendency to read

Way too damn deep into things;

Receive that text message from God

Inside that stale fortune cookie.

You laugh, but that’s just how I cope;

When by all appearances

There is no hope.

If faith is the evidence of things unseen,

Then how shall I define reality?

Confide

In the powers that be;

Is this really all that’s meant to be?

For I must have more

Than just the daily mundane;

But every time I try

Life just gets in the way;

So tell me how to rise…

Hey there, long time, no write. Life, right?

When I first started this whole website thing and made the decision to follow the advice of other aspiring writers and do a blog, I had no idea what to write. In all honesty, I still don’t, but here I am, doing it anyway. My first blog post was done just after starting the website, which was just after moving out here from Georgia, and it was called Up From Here, with good reason. I felt – no, I knew, that I was starting over completely, beginning a new life, and I was scared, and overwhelmed, and I really just needed a pep talk.

So I gave myself one, and decided to publish it.

Then I started Dog Walk Epiphanies. That was pretty much exactly what it sounds like – I would be out walking my dog Kipper, and be pondering and ruminating and introspecting and all other kinds of just plain over thinking about all my problems, and all of a sudden, I would have this… epiphany… where, through the simple act of walking my dog, my head would clear, and the answers I was seeking would come through. So I wrote about it. I wrote about it, and shared it, in the hopes that maybe I could help someone else.  

I did that twice, total, and they were months apart. My life had literally changed completely from on to the next.

And unfortunately, for all the times I’ve walked the dogs, and all the problems I still face in my life, I just don’t seem to ever have an epiphany.

Or, maybe I do, and I just can’t formulate it into words.

Then the pandemic hit, and 2020 was… well, you saw. You were there, too. America’s deep-seated mental illness and racism floated to the surface like that turd that just won’t flush. Between the exponentially rising death toll and the anti-maskers and the Karens and the Black Lives Matter protests that turned into riots and Trump just being his regular self, suddenly I had too much to write about.

I’ve never been one for politics. I just didn’t pay attention. As John Mulaney said, I didn’t really have to pay attention. Whoever was in charge just always seemed like they knew what they were doing, so I didn’t have to pay attention.

And honestly, had it not been for the lockdown, I probably would have just gone on not really giving a shit about how incompetent that man was. I mean, he’d already been president for 3 years by that point, and while I heard all the crazy nonsense, I just sort of wrote it off as another form of entertainment.

But I was on lockdown, like everyone else, out of a job, staying at home literally 24/7, going out only for the essentials then coming right back home, so it was pretty hard to not pay attention anymore.

I used the time wisely, of course. I decided to take advantage of the situation and go back to school to change careers, and of course, finished another novel, and published it. Naturally, that’s where most of my writing went – either polishing off my final draft of The Light Through the Cracks, getting the second draft of my next novel knocked out, starting the first draft of yet another novel, or doing the homework writing assignments for my university classes. Any responses I had to what was going on around me was immediately posted straight to either my Facebook or my Twitter.

I was angry, and disgusted, and fed up just like everyone else. And I, like everyone else, chose a side, and voiced my opinion.

What was weird was realizing that I was actually in opposition to most of my friends and family. That was perhaps the most disconcerting thing about 2020, at least for me. I’d remembered reading about the Civil War, and how entire families were torn apart over it; friendships dissolved, marriages ruined, siblings falling out with each other – and I felt like I was starting to see it again. I’m sure you heard the talks about civil war. A lot of people were calling for it. That is how divided this country has become.

So it was almost in response to the animosity online that I created The Misfit Philosopher. I realized that a lot of people who were seeing my posts were definitely not going to like them, because they contradicted what they themselves believed in. At the time, I was taking a philosophy class for college, so it just made sense. I pointed out stuff that actually managed to not just piss off the Republicans, but even the Democrats as well.

So then my blog went from a sort of introspective, self-help page, to a social and political activism page. It was perfect timing, too, because I was already writing papers for college that were in response to the current events going on in the country.

But there was just something… unappealing about it for me.

Don’t get me wrong – I see so fucking much in this country that’s broken and needs to either be fixed, or just demolished and rebuilt completely. And I’m all about sharing my ideas with you. But I’m actually going to school for the sole purpose of just simply doing my part to actually make the changes that I want to see in this country – if it’s not too late by the time I get there. Social and political activism is something that I’m still very passionate about, but there’s a difference between writing about what essentially amounts to nothing more than my perspective and opinion, and actually getting out there and doing something about it.

Besides – it’s just too hard for me to write a blog as a social and political activist and not sound like one of those angry ranting extremists I like to make fun of.

And if I were gonna do that, wouldn’t I just be The Misfit Activist?

Doesn’t have the same ring to it.

I remember as a kid growing up, my schizophrenic uncle would have a smart ass remark to make every time he heard the term “philosophy.” He’d say, “Full of what?

Maybe you’d have to have a schizophrenic uncle to really get the joke, but if you’ve ever tried to read Kant, or Mill, or Locke, or any of the other historical greats, you’d probably have to reread them at least a few more times chipping away at the mountain of intellectuality, before you began to grasp what it was they were trying to say… and even then, it would only be your interpretation of it. Ever met someone who was so intellectually superior that the poor sap didn’t even know how to socialize?

And I mean, what is any of this but just an expression of opinion?

And as they’ve said before, opinions are like assholes… and I have a tendency of being one.

The term “philosophy” literally means, “love of wisdom.” It’s an activity people undertake when they seek to understand fundamental truths about themselves, the world in which they live, and their relationships to the world and to each other.

Now that’s something I’ve been doing my entire life anyway, so I guess I was born for this. It’s not limiting, either, in the sense that sticking to political and social activism was going to be. So maybe I was on to something I didn’t even realize at the time when I decided to brand myself as The Misfit Philosopher.

I can still hear my schizophrenic uncle saying, “Full of what?”

Full of shit, dude. Obviously.

And I mean, he ain’t wrong.

One thing I’ve always known about people is we see the world though pre-programmed filters that most of the time we aren’t even aware are there. I know I’ve got them. I’m currently going through trauma therapy to uncover, discover, and discard them. Because they no longer work for me.

Something 2020 really showed me is just how vehemently people cling to their beliefs – even if they aren’t serving them anymore. I think that’s why I backed off the political posts, and changed my mind altogether about making this blog of mine about social and political activism. It’s like one of my mentors in Alcoholics anonymous once said to me:

“Who’s crazier: the drunk guy? Or the man who’s trying to reason with him?”

99% of our belief system was handed down to us by our parents and our teachers. To challenge that is something people take rather personally. Some of these people react with violence when their belief systems are challenged.

And some of us are so stuck in our belief systems that we’ll discount anything that goes against it. And when asked why we believe what we do, we can’t even come up with a solid answer.

“Why are they wrong?”

“Because we are right. And if we are right, well, they must be wrong.”

“Why do you think that’s a stupid idea?”

“Because they came up with it.”

It’s gonna be hard to do this without at least bringing up politics, but I’m going to stay as objective as I can. I can’t say how many times I’ve heard a valid point made by a Republican, or a Republican come up with an actual good idea, and the Democrats shit all over it for no other reason than it came from a Republican viewpoint.

To subscribe to a set of beliefs or principles does not mean we have to make all other beliefs or principles wrong in the process. Life is about learning, and growing, and evolving. Sometimes what used to work, doesn’t anymore. And if it’s not working anymore, why hold onto it? Fear of change?

I’m still learning and figuring out my place in this world. And I’m 40. I’ve recently become more social, better able to make new friends, and that’s because I’ve gotten rid of the belief that I don’t have anything in common with other people. That’s a belief that, for 35 years, served me very well. It protected me from harm. All while missing out on some very good conversations, conversations that could have turned into friendships.

What else is not working anymore?

What am I full of?

Because I can tell you, from bitter, hard, ugly experience, that, whatever I’ve got inside of me is how I’m going to see the world, and is going to be the basis of how I interact with it. Ever hear of the saying “Garbage in, garbage out?”

What’s your operating system based on? Who’s it made by? Are there any glitches? Any bugs? Maybe a virus?

Or are you even aware?

Are you woke, or do you just think you are?

If you’re offended, it’s probably because you’ve been pointed to a truth about yourself that you’d rather not look at.

And how many people are offended these days?

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