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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

My 60 Second Psyche - Unabridged Version

I've no particular desire to be a good man. Or a bad man for that matter. I don't define myself this way because I'm really not wanting to pigeonhole myself. For me life is too complex to allow for such easy (lazy) classifications. But if I was going to have a crack at summing myself up it would probably go something like this. Generally speaking I try to make people's bad days better. Unless you're a bad person, in which case I might try harder to make yours worse. I'd rather make people smile than frown, and would prefer to make the lives of others easier rather than harder. I'm honest to the point of offensive, which is to say that I'm probably not going to mince my words to appease your ego. I'm drawn to unconventional intimacy and creativity, and your opinion about me on this front is white sound. Boredom to me is a fiend to be beaten into submission, where it can fester with the many dull people of the world with whom I don't really wish to engage. And if I ever hear you say you're bored I'll challenge you to explain how that's even possible. Bored? On this planet? During these times? No hope for you. I love to consider issues of sexuality, of human morality, of societies big and taxing questions. I loathe the regressive left and despise the piety and moral aloofness of the far right. We’re all used goods, bruised and sullied, and I've never met a single person whom I'd put on a moral pedestal. And My God I love the company of interesting people; love it when I hear people say things I haven't heard before. As a species we're chronic recyclers of ideas, many of which I don't need reminding of. I'm absolutely convinced that to empower women is to give society the best possible chance of flourishing. I adore women who have standards, who consistently apply them, and whom explore their own creativity and who can beguile using their intellect without having to rely on aesthetics. Caveat; most of the really attractive women I've met are really boring. Why is that? Having good genes doesn't mean you don't have to try. I also reject traditional monikers of masculinity, in particular physical violence. Whilst not a pacifist I regard violence as a tacit admission of defeat, a failure of imagination. Actually speaking of imagination; do try to use yours. It's really quite something to step into a space, psychological or otherwise, that you haven't inhabited before. All kinds of strange shit happens. And now for the obligatory contradiction; I'm not as adverse to the traditional as you might think. I just draw clear lines between tradition and dogma. On the subject of God; it's probably all in your mind. Regular readers will note I've covered this already. In depth. On death; I'm not a fan, but I accept that I need to make way at some point. On dreams unfulfilled I don't have any; nailed the lot before I hit 40. Wrote a book, saw the world, married and made little people. I'm on bonus time; it's all just surplus coolness. On sex, I'm having more fun in my forties than I could have hoped for, and I'm all in for continued discovery and exploration. I do wish more people would open up to this massive, wonderful part of whom they are and allow themselves permission to experiment and innovate. And the future? Well I can't wait. For me the future is tomorrow. And tomorrow is an unopened box choc full of the weird and the cool. Bring it on.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

When The Past Stares Back

I find looking at old photo albums a good way of regaining perspective. I don't do it often. Probably not as often as I should. It's like glancing back down a railroad, seeing how far I've journeyed, and it leaves me melancholy as I'm reminded that I cannot go back. Seeing my daughters as young children, joyous and full of wonder is both a delight and a sadness all at once. As they grow I can see how the world begins to place additional burdens upon them, squeezing out the childlike wonder and seeking to make them conform. I hope they find the courage and resolve to be the women they want to be and not simply a generic cut and paste of how they think they should be. I'm reminded of what a beautiful, joyous thing a happy and secure childhood is. I was fortunate enough to have this; I hope when they look back they will feel similar. As for me, these old images, these snapshots of my past exist to remind me that I've much to be proud of. Much to be thankful for. I've been so fortunate to have met an amazing lady who's commitment and dignity has given our home stability and safety. In my work I see relationships flounder and oftentimes witness the ensuing destruction. Families torn apart, childhood innocence shattered. It angers and saddens me at the same time. Now I don't know whether I'm a good dad; in fact I'm sure I could be a better one. But I love my family and consider it my duty and privilege to provide for them, shelter them, and create a safe space in which my girls can discover who they are. When I'm old I hope they laugh with me as well as at me. I hope they'll smile and hug me when they come visit, and perhaps they can tell funny stories to their children. I'd love that. It'd make me happy in my heart. I'm not the wisest of men and I'll never be the font of all knowledge. But I hope they'll understand that I wanted to give them stability and safety and a harbour when the storms came. Should add that I'm not really trying to say anything particular today; I just wanted to splurge my thoughts down in the moment so to speak. I have no great wisdom to venture other than to encourage the dads reading this to have some sense of what a privilege it is to raise daughters and son's, to see them grow from tiny acorns into mighty oaks. And if I was to measure my success when I reach my final days, a big part of my estimation would be based on how I did as a parent. Was I steadfast? Did I communicate just how much I loved them? Was I consistent and generous and affirming? If they can answer in the affirmative, then I know that I've done something of which I can be proud.