New Years and what it means to me


The party at Phil’s house was quite fun. Got to get together with friends and chat and play Apples to Apples finally. It went over even better than I expected it would. I’ll have to find a few more card games ppl will enjoy, maybe stop over at the UB office and ask around. There’s Civilization, but I was never a huge fan of that one. We walked to the square and got to watch the ball drop, something I’ve never done before, and I enjoyed that quite a bit. I do love fireworks, although I prefer to be sitting while watching them.

I’m not a huge fan of New Years Eve to be honest…I don’t know, it just seems more of a time to reflect on what I DIDN’T accomplish last year, and what never changes over time. Resolutions rarely work out, and to set yourself up for dissapointment seems just plain dumb. Either way I still make resolutions, so I should just shut up.

Resolutions for the New Year:

– To finish school

– To reach a level of fitness I’m comfortable with. I’m not saying I’m not fit; I don’t expect to die of a cholesterol-blocked artery, but I would like to be fitter than I am and once I reach that level I can simply maintain.

– To celebrate New Years Eve next year from a different city, state, or country. Or just spend some significant time traveling. Buffalo is so stagnant…

– To realize that people are far more resilient than I believe. That if I don’t agree with something someone says, they should know my view on the matter. That it’s ok to speak your mind and rip into ppl when they annoy you instead of letting it go uncontested. Why? Because of the block I’ve placed in my head ages ago. Not like an actual object, mind you, but a mental one. It’s an odd story, one that I’ve never bothered to discuss with ANYBODY, but to fulfill yet another pointless resolution (opening myself up more to my friends), I shall think and type about the one thing I hate about myself above everything else.

When I was far younger, I was free. I never obscessed about the things that I do now. If something went wrong, I bitched about it. If someone annoyed me, I told them. Or worse (or better?), I’d make sure they didn’t do it again. That was then. Somewhere along the way, however, I developed the idea that showing negative emotions was absoluetly anathema to my very being, and sought to bring complete control upon myself and my surroundings. The exact date is…fuzzy because there is no exact date. Whenever I think about it however, I always come back to one day. Exact date, I cannot recall. Annapolis, MD early 1990’s. The day my family sundered and my parents went their seperate ways. My father wanted one of us to change the cat’s litter box and my mother wanted us in bed for school the next day. I only remember the shouting and when they fought over my brother and myself and how terrified and confused we were. Or at least I was. Greg’s account is probably radically different, however I recall it taking place in our bedroom and him being physically tugged apon by both parties. Or maybe it was me, but I don’t think so. That wasn’t the defining point however. It was a gradual change leading up to there. I recall many times of stress in the family, people (mostly my father) leaving for long peroids of time inexplicably. We were a military family, so it was hardly unusual. Dad would be overseas for months at a time, however we were told when he was. Usually. Odd conversations, arguements, looks…All of this absolutely dominates my childhood memories (and I remember suprisingly little about my past, now that I’m rifling through my mind).

My early teens are no better. Visitations with my father. The thing I loathed doing above all else, but something I could never admit to myself until I turned 18. Every visit was an emotional roller-coaster. Routine yelling and crying. Each visit we simply had to have a discussion about the divorce and Mom. In the early years he was particularly bitter. It was a lesson in right and wrong. If we listened to her lies, we were going to hell. That’s a direct quote taken out of a photo album he had given us some years ago. And given his temper, I was not about to try and argue for either case. I shouldn’t make it sound so bad…We did do normal things like go to the zoo, go fishing, play ball, hang out. But it was never felt as genuine as it used to be. In the later years it simply became “dropping the boys off at the mall, or the fishing hole.” The physical interaction simply dissolved and it was just a series of uncomfortable car rides, emails and phone calls home telling everyone how much I missed them (which were spied apon regularly) and long times spent in our room playing video games or outside simply avoiding my father.

Looking back, it’s simply amazing to me that writing the letter (email) I did telling him I’d seen the light and never wanted to see him again was the hardest thing I’d ever done. Especially considering what had happened during the last visit. It was our second to last week visiting for about a month during the Spring Break, early 2001, I want to say…Wow, it’s really been that long. It was a normal dinner. Me, Greg, my father, and Mrs. Stella, his wife. I can’t even begin to recall how it started. My father had become very religious in recent years, and was telling us about lies and such, and how bad they were. I consider myself quite sharp when it comes to reading emotions but I missed out on the sinister undercurrents this time. Then he simply exploded on us. A verbal beating of our sins and how disgusted he was with us. He concentrated on my brother at first. who had immediately begun crying from the shock of it all. I was teetering on the edge of crying as well, simply dumbfounded, but trying to maintain the illusion of control even as my vision got blurry. I don’t remember words, just him slamming his fist on the table and me turning to look at Mrs. Stella, who simply stared into space away from my gaze, feeling bad for us but supporting her husband. And the look he gave when he turned to me…Simply inhuman. Like I had just shot his wife. I cried even before he started lashing me for my “half-truths” and sins.

We went to the batting cage the next day. Ice cream and baseballs makes up for the worst day of my life, let me tell you. And it was business as usual from there. We eventually came home after a visit extended by choice of my father to amend our sins, and we boarded the train home. That was the last time I saw my father. A few months after that, 8 years too late, I wrote him the letter telling him I wanted nothing to do with him. And even that letter was written to spare his feelings. Of all the people who deserved my wrath. I somtimes wonder why I didn’t become fucked up in the head like so many people who become murderers or suicide cases, or worse. I suppose it’s because physical beatings never happened. Emotional duress is important, but had he beaten me on a regular basis, I could see myself as a psycho. But then, I say to myself, “You’ve gotten off comparatively lucky. Why get so angry about it?” That was my exact thought just now transposed onto this page. I just tried to talk myself out of feeling anger for what happened, knowing full well that I have every right to be. It’s like a thought-virus, or something.

Last New Years, I had written a similar Livejournal post because I was feeling quite annoyed and needed to vent. I deleted it to spare people’s feelings. I made the same resolution last year secretly, however. And what changed? Absolutely nothing. I am as I was then, simply spineless. I don’t like causing others insult. I can’t stand the idea, even when I’m right to do so. I consciously alter my words so that they’re taken in the most favorable light possible and spend endless time thinking about how I may have offended a person, even when I KNOW without a single doubt in my mind they were only kidding about a comment or joke. It’s really amazing to me; it’s almost like having two personalities. The side of me that does whatever he can to please people, and the other side that simply watches in disbelief, chuckling at the scrambling other, but not powerful enough to bring about change on his own. Ok, now I DO sound psycho, and I’ve already typed enough uncomfortable material that I want to simply bury back into my past by erasing all of this and painting on a smile. But this is part of an experiment. I’ve always felt that I could never trust people with my inner thoughts and worries. I simply could not stand the idea of people thinking less of me because of them, or worse, sharing what I had told them in utter confidence to those who might find amusement from it all. My parents were never stable enough to talk to, my brother was too young to understand, and my friends changed all too often for me to ever build a lasting friendship. It wasn’t until relatively late in my life, when I moved here to Buffalo 9 years ago, that I found stability in that regard, and it wasn’t until 3 years ago that I started to wonder why should I care what everyone else thinks.

The whole post sounds like one-big father-bash, but it’s really not. The events that led up to my current state revolve around the age I had to deal with these issues, I think, and not having a figure I could work through some of my more troublesome psychological issues with. I was 10 or 11 when my parents divorced. I know myself better than anyone, after all; I’ve psychoanalyzed myself quite well over they years. It’s as much my own fault as it is other people’s, if not more. Interestingly enough, I did succeed in my goal of self-control. I think that I am far more likeable than most people. I make friends very easily, and generally maintain the ones I make by being respectful and adaptable. But balance is what I did not achieve. I wanted to try and achieve stability in my surroundings by the one means I did have some control over; mediating other people’s emotions. So I did whatvever I could to become likeable. Because when you’re a good child, you give your parents far less to stress over. That’s less ammo to fight over. And then there’s your friends, relatives, and random ppl you meet on the street. A favorable disposition gets you places with them as well. Perhaps my choices were not nearly as out of my control as I’d like to believe. Being in a constantly favorable position eliminates as much stress and conflict as possible, which is precisely where I prefer being when it comes to dealing with other people.

Re-reading this post, I realize that it’s a confusing bundle of random thoughts, but realize that I’m not typing everything I’m thinking, so naturally, many interconnections are not apparent. But I really wrote this more for my benefit than for yours. Please don’t call me up wanting to talk, I’m not manic-depressive, or anything. These are thoughts I’ve dealt with for years, except I haven’t gotten anywhere, so I’m trying something new. A step on a new path, for the new year. December 31st, 2006 should be interesting.

My Prime Resolution: To free myself from the shackles of worry I’ve created over the course of my life.

Wow, that was a long one. Could have been worded quite a bit more succinctly, but whatever. I’m going to go play some Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

Categories: Uncategorized

12 comments

  1. I’m honored that you feel comfortable enough to open up in this way. Thank you.

  2. I completely understand what you mean about not wanting to share inner thoughts with others. Growing up, I really didn’t have anyone to talk to about those sorts of things either, and it’s only been the last couple of years that I’ve started to open up more. And I think that Eric, the good friends I’ve made through Dagorhir, and even LJ have been largely responsible.

    And you are a very likeable person. One of the nicest people I know, in fact. πŸ™‚

    • I appreciate the kind words. I’m only hoping I don’t come to regret my choices. I feel bad and yet quite justified in keeping so many emotions and thoughts from people…I mean I even live with good friends I’ve known a long while yet the idea of discussing anything even remotely sensitive makes me quail.

      It hurts to stay likeable.

  3. – To finish school
    ~This is probably a good goal to have. Do you have any idea what you’re going into once you’re done with school? You might want to talk with Steve (Mr. Tobias) if you’re still interested in working field work. I know he has a few suggestions.

    – To reach a level of fitness I’m comfortable with. I’m not saying I’m not fit; I don’t expect to die of a cholesterol-blocked artery, but I would like to be fitter than I am and once I reach that level I can simply maintain.
    ~It seems that this is the most-often-made resolution, fitness and weight. If you’re interested in a health club/gym/whatever, the BAC has a really nice 3 month program going on right now for $99 as kind of a trial. It’s what I’m doing, and meeting with the trainers is really helping me gain the confidence and knowledge I think I most need in order to meet the same goal you’re trying to meet.

    – To celebrate New Years Eve next year from a different city, state, or country. Or just spend some significant time traveling. Buffalo is so stagnant…
    ~Now, are you hoping to celebrate from a different city/state/country that you live in, or just kind of a visiting thing? I agree that Buffalo is stagnant, and we’ll probably be moving out of state in a few years, but I’m just curious about how you mean this.

    – To realize that people are far more resilient than I believe.
    ~It’s definately a fine balance that I know I haven’t found yet. I really have to improve this, myself. That and just learn to straight-out tell people when they’re doing something that’s really pissing me off. *nods sagely*

    There. That’s my comments on the resolutions. Umm…time to go eat now…food takes the importance, sorry! πŸ™‚

    • I’ve considered athletic club memberships, but to be honest, I’m seeking more a change in mindset than body. If I can get to the point where it becomes simply a part of life than a chore, I’ll be happy. When I first moved out, for about 3 months, I exercised once a day, almost without fail. I achieved results that have lasted; I’d definitely be further along had I not lost that spark instead of simply maintaining that 3 month peak I’ve hit. Exercize motivation is tricky…
      “~Now, are you hoping to celebrate from a different city/state/country that you live in, or just kind of a visiting thing?”

      Either or. I don’t plan on moving anytime soon however (one of my post-college plans would necessitate this). By stagnant, I meant dull. Poor choice of words. I’ve lived in quite a few states. It lacks the cultural flair (and weather) of Charleston, SC, the multitudes of FREE out-door excursions of Monterrey, CA (boardwalks, beaches and so forth), and even the less-than-free ones (and family members) Annapolis had (nationally recognized aquarium, excellent fishing, beautiful natural scenery everywhere).

      Now I’m not about to say NOTHING ever goes on in Buffalo; that would be just wrong. But, especially during the winter, it’s like a tangible grey blanket just settles over the city. Everything except essential activities cease. No huge Winter Festival, no influx of tourists seeking some easily accessable winter wonder. If you want nature you have to go out to Orchard Park, or even the Adirondacks. If you want a big city excursion…You COULD go downtown…Or you could go to Toronto. It’s just…Blah.

      • The change in mindset will come when you think “Hey, won’t it be fun to go with Miah to the gym and work out today? Yay gym with Miah!”

        Okay, maybe not. I see where you’re coming from on that one, and it’s what I’m working on too. Once it becomes more a part of my life and less a chore to do it’ll be that much better for me.

        Yeah, Buffalo is dull.

        Oh, by the way – I thought I’d mention that Maria and I weren’t actually insulted that you bought the gift the day when you said you had to buy gifts for “non-friend list” people. We just found it funny and slightly confusing. Hope my “calling you out” on the subject was taken as it was meant, light-hearted ribbing, and nothing more?

        You don’t have to say that nothing ever goes on in Buffalo, I’ll do that. Nothing ever goes on in Buffalo. πŸ™‚

      • “Hope my “calling you out” on the subject was taken as it was meant, light-hearted ribbing, and nothing more?”

        Yes, I’m well aware. Although I have to be honest, opening up and all that, I did think about that for quite a bit afterwards. I knew full well you were only kidding, but still I kept worrying I had actually offended you two. Just goes to show I have some work to do.

        For the record, your gift was simply a matter of convenience. I happened to be at the mall and while I was getting everyone else’s gift certs, I saw the place and thought “wow, that’s perfect I don’t have their gift yet!” You and Maria are definitely on my friends list, LJ or otherwise.

  4. “I only remember the shouting and when they fought over my brother and myself and how terrified and confused we were. Or at least I was. Greg’s account is probably radically different”

    you have no fucking idea how torn i became at that precise moment, i can still feel the tugging sometimes. It’s one of those things i play back in my head, and wonder what the fuck led to that? I think it was that moment where i felt that our parents were seriously ARGUING and flipping their shit about stupid, immature crap like cleaning a litterbox (even though i always knew there was a deeper undertone to their irrational banter.)

    “Then he simply exploded on us. A verbal beating of our sins and how disgusted he was with us. He concentrated on my brother at first. who had immediately begun crying from the shock of it all.”

    Hey, we do agree on most things, it seems. This was pretty much the worst day of my life, up to date, as well. Hell i could think of all the bad crap that has happened to me, and it pretty much leads to this. I remember that day clearer than crystal. He hit the table, and then put his finger an inch away from my face and proceeded to scowl and start his sacreligious bullshit rant. I wanted to yell back and tell him to practice what he preaches, but i was too busy picturing him punching me and you in the face and beating us senseless, with Ms. Stella just looking away into space.

    You know, in retrospect, we are really lucky to not have been severely fucked up by these events. I really consider us to be more mentally stable than our parents were.

    • From an outsider’s perspective, you both seem like rather well adjusted individuals. Just so you know.

      • For me, i think it’s because i see no use for continuing to be depressed about something that happened years ago. I mean sure it’ll always be there in my head, and it’s a really unfortunate thing, but it isn’t my style to emit negative emotions.

        I’d rather be happy over melancholy and depressing any day.

      • I try to follow the same basics, but it’s kind of difficult sometimes, especially since I’m still in contact with the source(s) of the bad feelings.

        Still, I like your attitude, and wish that more people had it. You’re a pretty good kid. (Yeah, that’s right, I called you a kid. Deal.) πŸ˜‰

  5. I hope your right that it will always be in your head zombie, I hope i never forget anything especially hardship. I never realized your parents had split when you were 10, thats the same age I was and its strange how so many other memories of that time are glazed over but the ones that circle that subject are crystal clear. Dont think you got off any easier than most who go through a similar childhood, or that you would be different if things had been more physical. Beatings dont change much, and you actually remember them less than the other stuff. I still get the “dont listen to your mothers/fathers lies like you always do” and “YOUR GOING TO HELL” speaches, eventually you just dont listen to that shit anymore as long as they really do show you that they love you other times. Youve always been one of the cooliest people Ive ever known, everybodies got a past and Im glad you had yours. Without it you may have never become so strong.
    -Ari

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