And my life over the past year
(A quick note to those who aren’t in the know, I disappeared a bit there for a while. But disappearing from those around me and from the activities that keep me sane has never been a good idea, and I'm working on getting myself back into a functional workflow.)
Life For Me
You'd think that with the advent of globally utilized communication and social networks I'd be better at this.
By this I mean learning to connect with people, to continually be inspired by other artists and writers, to find new topics to write about and musicians to create more music with. I'm not. I've spent years flipping back and forth between two states of being: From being able to participate in social activities and having a regular group of people that I spend time with and bands that I join and jam in; to these extended periods of time wherein I hole myself away from the majority of those around me and become unresponsive to friends, family, and coworkers. In fact, an impending hermitage used to be foreseeable via Facebook: At the beginning of a hermit stage I'd get rid of half of my friendlist on Facebook with the idea in my head that I wasn't talking to them anyways, that nothing they ever posted was relevant or interesting to me, or that I just don't want to see them in any capacity. I still stand by that to a certain extent, since all of those points are valid in some fashion, and sometimes these people were friended for reasons that became pointless to me. But even if a handful of points may be validated there is more likely a deeper discussion to be had about the emotions I'm feeling and the point that I have to get to that leads me to cut off those around me and those that I willingly interacted with on a social network. The idea that I'm clearing out dead connections, ignoring what caused those connections to die, not learning form past mistakes or poor social interactions; may be more detrimental than the hermitage itself.
What is the point of being social?
One of my earliest memories is trying to be social and then kind of failing. There was a girl in my preschool that I was in love with. (I was like four at the time, fuck off!) She was gone for a day, and I spent the rest of the day hiding in the playground's Snoopy house, refusing to talk to any of the other children. And as seemingly embarrasing as this story may sound (I have no shame, so I can not be embarrased. Take that!) it may go to show that I've dealt with social issues my entire life and that they're engrained in more than just the way that I learned social cues throughout my learning and growing years. And in a certain way, it makes me feel as though I've never felt good about being social. Since I was a small child all that I remember is being upset, or rejected, or cut off. I was never bullied, I was never singled out or picked on, never even forcefully pushed away from those around me. There's just always been a poor connection between me and them. And that poor connection always ends up with me being uncomfortable, hurt, left wondering why I even try to interact with people in the first place. The argument of nature versus nurture is usually a good discussion at this point. Asking whether it's my inherient nature, my genetic makeup, the way that I'm wired; that causes the disconnect. Or was I a blank slate at the beginning and the initial interactions I had with others were more influential than could be expected, leaving me a poor foundation for creating and maintaining social bonds? Lovely how the irony is that if I had a better emotional understanding of all of this I may not be talking about this right now.
First person that says I should go to a psychiatrist gets their IP blocked.
So, the fact that for the past two months I've excluded myself from those close to me, and for the past nine months I've excluded even more than that, isn't too much of a surprise to myself. I've always done this. I've always blocked off people. I've always booted people out of my life with little to no regard for the consequences and rarely have I asked why I felt it was necessary. It just always was. I've described this multiple times to a friend of mine as adding bricks to a wall. (There's an obvious reference in there right? I don't have to explain that one?) Every time I cut myself off from someone it's as though I'm just closing off another hole in the wall I'm slowly building around myself. If you think about it statistically, it's really not all that bad. There are 7 billion people in the world today, so I'd need 7 billion bricks to completely shut off everyone. It would take me roughly 222 years to build a 7 billion brick wall if I was quick enough to give the middle finger to one person each second. That's not an exaggeration, I did the math. that's a whole lotta bricks. I guess if I could do two at a time (I do have two middle fingers, ya know) it would only be 111 years. That's almost a life time. I'll stop myself there before I attempt to create a middle finger equation ala Silicon Valley. (Mean Jerk TIme)
Just another brick. . . in the wall. . .
And how many people I can alienate is probably not the point. The point is that the energy put into the brick laying is not only a negative energy, but it's a wasteful energy. Not saying that there aren't people I should be closed off from; cause there are defintiely a handful of those people. More than a handful. But the majority of people aren't. There was a great xkcd that recently got me thinking on the matter. (xkcd) It's not touching on exactly the same issue; people being stupid is not the exclusive reason for me separating myself from them. But it does illustrate how we sometimes tend to generalize those around us and when I hide away I'm usually blanketing the people I know with the "You're not allowed inside cause of X" blanket. And this is detremental in both cutting off avenues of communication that could have otherwise been beneficial for myself and also stunting what little of the proper social interaction skills I've garnered and reversing any progress I've ever made with these skills.
All while telling myself that the bridges I burn and the isolation I recede into is just a part of who I am.
And I guess it is. I mean, it's always been there. A never ending climb. I'm pretty sure that there are quite a few individuals in my family who aren't that different. In fact, compared to most of them, I probably don't have it as bad as they do. At least I'm talking, some may say. At least I'm vocal, even in the slightest. We've all got issues, but how we deal with those issues is what sets us apart from those that share these issues with us. There are those that vomit them all over, causing everyone in the vicinity to become sick and tired of the constant whining. I personally find that these individuals are also seeking out attention in the only way they know how. There are those that can't speak to themselves about their own issues and slowly corode themselves away from the inside. Every time someone tries to reach out and help them they dig deeper into themselves, believing the only thing better than dealing with the issue is ignoring it. And then there are those that the extroverts and introverts view as normal. The people that seemingly can just make friends without trying, the ones that always seem to be doing just fine. But really they're all just like the others. They're doing a better job coping, they've found solutions, or they're the best at hiding it. But we've all still got these issues. These are who we are, and you can either evolve or stagnate. You either cope, you learn, or fail. If I was Yoda I'd say you only really had one choice.
I've been coping for such a long time now. If I fuck something up, I just push it out of my life. I said something wrong to someone? If I never speak to them again it'll never be a problem. Started something that I shouldn't have? Just run away. I've been out of the loop for a lot of people for a long time because of this coping. There were reasons, as there always are; some valid, some idiotic, some kind of unavoidable from my own standpoint. None of this was ever meant to upset anyone or make anyone uncomfortable or angry. It's just me coping. It's always funny to me when people get upset about things that would never even register to me. I almost don't get it at all and just let it slide. Sometimes I stop and try to figure it out. I usually end up at the same conclusion, in which I don't really care too much. I don't understand why someone would ever be upset that I didn't talk to them, or why someone would ever miss me. I feel as though I function pretty well doing what I do the majority of the time, and sometimes it offends and sometimes people don't care. It's always surprising seeing who falls into which category. I was surprised to hear people tell me that they read these posts and that they were wondering why I didn't post anymore. And the answer is cause I'm apparently nuts. The statement at the origin of this blog was that there was no rhyme or reason; I believe that still holds true. As enjoyable as this is for a few to read, a lot of this is still an irregular emotional release for me. And it is not a consistent work of love, it's a random shit storm of feelings. I hope that everyone understands that this doesn't lessen my respect for them. I love so many of you, and respect so many more, and am glad that some of you are out there listening. I'm not perfect in any sort of way, but at least I may be entertaining every now and then. And that I'm trying to finally learn, and not just cope. I'm trying to be more effective in how I deal with others. Hopefully that gets conveyed in more positive interactions with people, and of course with more content on my site.
Where my emotional struggles have felt like a never ending climb for so long, the last year I have quite literally been climbing. Funny how one of my most positive experiences when I was a kid was visiting the indoor rock climbing gym on a field trip during 4th grade. Climbing anything has always been satisfying for me, whether it be trees or rocks or indoor gym walls. Almost a year and a half ago my friend Dan (Shout out from the Movement blog post, remember?) started rock climbing. Cool thing about the gym we go to is that with a membership you get one free day pass for a guest once a month. So for a few months I'd go once a month with Dan, slowly falling back in love with climbing. There's so much more to it that my nine year old self couldn't quite grasp.
Starting with technique. Holy shit, if I'd gotten a few more tips on technique when I first started I would have saved myself a lot of struggling. I guess I should also point out that there were multiple times where I got tips and advice on gym technique and my usual reaction was, "Pfft, you're fucking kidding, right? Fuck you. Go away." (I'm not usually very subtle) But just coming to terms with the idea that the general rule of thumb is to get your right foot set first, and then right hand, repeat for the left side... well, it saved me a lot of dismay and wasted energy. It makes sense if you think about it: Stand on a step with your left foot, and then reach for something with your right hand. Unless you're using your right leg as a coutner balance or to stabalize, you will do what we call "barn door". You'll swing as though your left hand and left foot are hinges, bringing all of your weight away from your center and usually ruining any chance of making a controlled, stable grab. This is obviously not conducive to a successful climb, and was one of the more important beginner's lessons that I had learned when I started climbing.
The cool thing about technique is that it can take an otherwise impossible or resource intensive move and renders it simple and intuitive.
Strength is next. I can count on two hands the times that I've really done a great workout in my life. I've never been an incredibly physical person, or at least I've never really made any effort to stay physically fit. I've naturally been a large strong guy, but there's never really been any effort put into it. And I want it known right here and now that I'm still a billion times stronger than Dan, hands down. I'm a beast of a man compared to him. There's no denying that. (HEAR ME DAN?? NO DENYNG THAT!!) And so it's not THAT surprising to me that I can't climb a lot of what is at our gym. The rating system for bouldering goes from VB/V0-10, making it a twelve step rating system. I can currently climb up to a V2. This puts me somewhere in the bottom 33%, if you're looking at it strictly based off of the rating system. You should of course not do this, since it seems that only 10% of the people in these gyms can do anything above V5 or V6. There's one V10 that popped the last time they redid a wall and 1 person has completed it that I've seen, and there's not a whole lot of chalk on the top holds, indicating that it's not commonly tackled. It requires a lot of strength, wherein you are making the little bit of grip you have enough to hold yourself; a lot of technique wherein you take your body mass and hold it where it matters and then make it move in your favor. It requires an important balance of both strength and technique, but there's also one very important thing (And the most enjoyable part for myself) that you need to really enjoy climbing.
Or whatever you want to call it. Synergy, mindmeld, weird relationship with an inanimate object. They all work in the same fashion as what I'm attempting to describe. You're going to get up on that wall with confidence in your abilities, the know-how of the course and the holds and yourself. And then?
You'll fail hard. You're gonna reach for a hold that you've grabbed a hundred times and you're going to miss it like you've never seen the damned thing in your life. Then you'll jump back up the wall and find that you didn't switch feet at the right time and you're back on the ground. Oh, so you thought that you had enough control to make that left over hand? You thought that flagging your right leg out was gonna be the perfect counter balance? You thought that rolling up on your heel would be just as easy as standing up out of a chair, eh? It becomes a different kind of interaction than just, "There's a wall, I need to go up it." It becomes a puzzle, a course, the perfect combination of body movements in regards to where the hold and the wall is during any point during the climb. I'll find myself sitting at the bottom of a course, staring at the holds, imagining where my hands need to be when my feet are there, how my weight needs to lower in order to then reach for that hold, how the grip on the little nub I'll have my toe up against is better if I toe down instead of flush my toe to the top of the nub. (Nub is of course the official term. Duh.) It sounds ridiculous to say it, so full disclosure, I get that this sounds stupid. Becoming one with the wall is the goal. Once you can inherently guess the next muscle movement to naturally grab the right hold around the corner, to naturally move your right hip to the wall so your hand falls right onto the next hold, when you can let your body lay casually on the grip while you contemplate the slide to the top of the course. It slowly becomes inherent and natural. You know the course, you own it. It just works.
And then you make the last grip, and in total control, slide your hand up to the top of the course
You grasp the top and let your arm lock
You look down and realize that you're nearly 18 feet up off the floor, and the crash pad looks incredibly unsupportive
But you just mastered this course
Sometimes it takes hours
But there you are with a sense of completion that's been lacking since you started this course
It feels better than the fist pumps flyin' when you hit the floor
It's completely satisfying
Now get back on the fucking wall. Do it again.
So! What I promised! Two unreleased tracks from INTELLIGI!! A few people have heard these; the drum recordings were done around the same time as New Life and Feel It. As I'd mentioned before in the Fuck It blog post I try to find these perfect times to get things done. I waste time looking for the right times instead of just getting stuff done. I'd hoped that I'd have another four tracks with live drums done by now, but I've been hiding away and Dustin's been busy with other projects. I'm also moving into the next phase of the album, which I'd hoped to offload to another musician, but in a recent discussion I've found that there are some valid points for taking care of it myself.
And what that means is that I'm going to be writing all of the lyrics for the album as well. A few tracks already had their lyrics written for them. And there is a flow to the album, an underlying theme. The best example of this being the track Calm Before Crazy. I'll not say what it's purpose is, although the title gives a bit of it away. But it's the tipping point of the album, so to speak. It's a long, complicated track that's been difficult to not only record but also to properly convey. Hopefully this does it some justice. Dustin brought so much to the track that it was a huge step in the right direction for getting this song's message across. Turdmoil, a strange conglomeration of metal, funk, and rock is more or less a crazy raucus, and should just be enjoyed as such.
I won't talk too much about them just let you listen, you can tell me what you think.
So, this may have been a bit long winded. There was a lot to say after not posting for so long. It's strange that I never, ever shut up in my day to day; I'm sure that Paul T. or Dan D. can attest to that. But when it comes to posts I really really don't want to be that jackass that just throws up every day nonsense into the internet's gaping receptacle for blog posts.
But that doesn't mean there isn't more stuff coming up soon. In just a few weeks I should have a new batch of beer that I'm brewing, another batch that I'm prepping for that is gonna take some time to finish, there should be some out door climbing shots coming soon, and of course more music. Not sure how much I'll be talking about my feelings, but that shit's long winded and boring anyways. I would never do that to you.
Anyways. Good to be posting again, taking photos of my adventures (or lack thereof), letting people listen to what's happening with INTELLIGI. Hopefully no one missed me too much and I should be back soon. Before I leave, here's a hint as to the upcoming brews.
This is an awkward shout out for me.
There are so many different people that deserve recognition for the positive effects they have in my life. There's one person that stands above the rest, but unfortuantely for few personal reasons I can't really give a proper public shout out. It wouldn't really make sense for many of you, and it probably wouldn't sit right with the rest. All of this is justified and understandable. So, rest assured that I'll make sure that this very important and very good person will get their shout out, just not here and now.
Hope everyone understands.