Slowly expanding towards the song of renewal

I feel like I am a problem without a solution.

I feel like a parasite to family and society.

I am usually too numb to be angry, but my anger is rising.

Usually that’s a good sign. My anger has often been an impetus for change.

I do not know what to do with my anger this time. How to channel it. How to move forward.

It’s difficult to imagine, to visualize, actually moving forward. Move forth to where? Where can I go? What can I do?

I am as lost as I have ever been. If I have ever been more lost than this, it did not matter then as much to me as it does now. Because the clock of my life is ticking. I can feel myself aging. Acutely, I sense that time is running out.

I remember in late 2013, when I started blogging. Well, I had a LiveJournal before that. But in 2013, my idea of blogging expanded beyond what it used to mean to me. Before, it was just a diary that anyone could read. In 2013, I saw blogging as a platform for my life. My way of giving some value back to the world. To publically transcend my problems, and let people know they are not alone. That there is hope.

On some levels, I have succeeded. My honesty has touched people. They told me. There were a few times, when someone would say, “Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re making a difference.”

Which is wonderful. But in these past three years, I have personally gotten worse. Unhealthier. More isolated. Less connected.

A couple years ago, I was teaching yoga. Since then, I have gained over one hundred pounds and even basic yoga is very difficult and physically painful.

I published my first book last year, and have since written another. People say nice things about my books. Some people say I have inspired them.

Which again, is wonderful. But I am dying. My world is small.

Let me tell you about how small it is. The only regular people in my life right now, are my mother and stepdad, who I live with. Their two geriatric miniature pinschers, Peanut and Dex. I live in their garden-level floor, with my two cats, Turbo and Cinnamon.

I went over six months in 2016 without seeing any friends. Not once. It’s been an extremely lonely time for me. I have one friend who I hang out with sometimes. We go to the gym, or play Mario Kart, or talk about our lives. He’d be there more for me if I’d let him. But I keep collapsing into the shadows. The other people I consider friends, are just out there doing their thing. We’ll probably go through seasons of spending more time together in the future. Of making time for each other. But right now, I am mostly alone and afraid.

Writing books and blog posts in a bubble, on an island. Cut off from the mainland.

My habits are atrocious. Right now, my lungs hurt from smoking cigarettes. A habit I kicked for over five years and could not imagine ever doing it again. I eat a lot. Don’t move very much.

Once in a while, I’ll fantasize about something that excites me for a moment. Like earlier tonight. I visualized myself on a stage, performing live music. I felt alive for a second. Then I remembered that I don’t have much to offer in terms of musical ability.

Developing more competence with music could be a worthy goal, yes? To have a focal point. An area to improve, and see measurable results over time. To develop confidence and self-efficacy, to channel creativity (and anger). Maybe eventually, perform on a stage and fulfill a dream I’ve had in my heart since the late 1990’s.

Committing to learning more about music intimidates me right now. Maybe I do not have to commit. Maybe I could just watch a few instructional videos on YouTube and see how it affects me. Just take one little step, and notice how it feels. Not to be a rock star. Just to expand my world, even a little bit.

Or, I could be more bold. Give this guy I know a call. His name is Dave.

Let me tell you about Dave.

I first met Dave in 2008. I was driving, and I saw him waiting at a bus stop. For some reason, I felt compelled to ask if he wanted a ride. He graciously accepted.

Dave is a trip. He’s in his 60’s. A tall, slender, talkative fellow. Always in a long overcoat and old-fashioned dress clothes.

That day in 2008, I gave him a ride to a church in East Lansing. We exchanged contact information. He seemed like someone I wanted to know.

We went a while without talking. Maybe a year or two. Then one day, I recognized him on the bus.

A few days before then, I fleetingly thought about taking some music lessons. Then on the bus, Dave blurts out, “Andrew, I just started giving free music lessons. Something tells me you would make a great student.”

Wow, okay. That got my attention. I told him I’d call him sometime.

“I’ll call you sometime,” from me means, “Don’t hold your breath.”

I didn’t call.

Several months later, I was up late reading a book about prayer and fasting. That must have been 2010. I decided I wanted to try water fasting. So around 5AM, I walked up to the store to buy a few gallons of distilled water.

That night, my mind wandered back to the prospect of learning music. What instrument would I learn? I decided on piano.

At the store. Bought the water. Carried it outside. Started walking home.

There was a dense fog. Guess who walked out of the fog right towards me outside the store, at 5:30 in the morning.

“Andrew!” he said. I like how Dave says my name. He almost sings it.

We talked for a few minutes. I asked him if he was still doing those free music lessons. He lit up, and said, “Certainly. You know, I was thinking. Tell me what you think about this. It seems to me like the perfect instrument for you to learn would be…”

Guess. It’s not hard. It’s weird, but not hard.

Piano, of course.

My mind was blown. I felt connected to the magic of the universe. Everything made sense. Of course, there was only one thing I could do at that point.

“I’ll call you sometime,” I said.

I didn’t call.

But then, I started running into Dave. All the time. Everywhere. On the bus. At school and work (I worked and studied at the college, and Dave was a student there). One day, I ran into him at the gym. He was on the rowing machine, in his overcoat and dress shoes.

Another time, I was taking a shower after working out. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of the overcoat. “No way.” Yes way… He proceeded to converse with me while I scrubbed all my sweat off.

Sometimes, I wondered if he was stalking me. I also wondered if he thought I was stalking him.

There was no stalking. It’s too weird to be like that.

Once, in 2012 maybe, I went through a training seminar for work. Met a couple there, who I ran into a week later at a raw vegan potluck. I felt like it was fortuitous to see them again so soon. Then one of them said to the other, “Hey, do you know if Dave is coming?” And I said, “Wait a second… Dave? You don’t mean…”

Then Dave walked through the door. Not just any Dave. My Dave.

Events like these are why I do not believe that the universe is a totally random and impersonal void. Dave taught me that magic is real.

One thing he did not teach me? To play piano.

It was 2010 when he offered. Over seven damn years ago. He has reminded me several times since then (most recently, just a couple weeks ago, after another incredibly unlikely encounter in a courtroom of all places). The universe has reminded me even more.

What’s stopping me?

I do not know. I am scared.

Scared of what? Scared to be more than I am. I have a need to be more, to expand. But I am terrified. Terrified to expand into new frontiers of myself. And I am not sure why, other than that I am just so used to being small.

Life keeps throwing me ropes. I feel too timid to grab on and see where they lead. I feel too restless to stay where I am.

I’ve often felt like Jonah, from the bible. Running away from my calling, until there is nowhere left to go but overboard.

I wish I had a brilliant point. Something to take away. This time, I don’t.

I don’t want to drag anyone down with my misery, uncertainty, and fear.

All I want, is to be real. And to get better.

To improve just 1% tomorrow.

And to call Dave about those piano lessons.

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  • earthloveland

    I love talking about and reading about parasites. While there tends to be a negative connotation about parasites, I don’t think they need to be demonized. Something parasites love to eat is iron. Could it be that they sometimes exist because they’ve been summoned into existence for the sole purpose of eating excess iron, thereby preventing one’s liver from turning into rust? I think it’s very possible!

    If you’re a parasite, it’s because you’re helping to keep people’s hearts from turning into rust.

    “I am just so used to being small.”

    As for me, I am just so used to being jealous.

    I am tired of feeling jealous, and not [insert adjective] enough.

    The other night, I did the opposite of what I felt like I should do. It was such a small, seemingly insignificant gesture, and I didn’t realize what it would do.

    It turned my feelings of jealousy and fear and insecurity right around.

    I felt love and expansion.

    You’ve helped me get there. I couldn’t do it without you. I also couldn’t do it without the desire to grow. I sank right into my discomfort, fears, and insecurities, and dove right in. I didn’t bleed at all, like I thought I might.

    Sometimes we just have to dive in.

    As Kamal Ravikant said: On the other side of fear, is magic. I look forward to seeing what magic you experience on the other side of fear.

    And you know that magic is real, because Dave has shown you that it is.

    • This is a very insightful and creative comment. Thank you.

      The way I feel like a parasite is with money. I don’t know how to be self-sufficient, so I have to depend on people who are. And it strains/drains them. The main thing I keep thinking is, I am too old to be clueless about self-sufficiency. What’s going to happen if everyone who supports me goes away? I’m already at a point when there are fewer people available in my life to help than ever before, and they are getting tired. It’s frightening.

      But I’ll keep doing my best, and moving towards the light.

      What was your small, seemingly insignificant gesture?

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