People’s perceptions are amazing things. They can be extremely strong motivators. They fascinate me not only from a human behavior standpoint but because they matter so much in life. Not necessarily to me, mind you, but in life they do.
Perceptions are what mainly help us form opinions and cast judgment about situations and other people. That’s why they’re important. They also are what help us shape ourselves and determine who we are as people. All that is is pretty important stuff.
But they all are different, and they all are formed differently and they matter in different ways, and even the way we perceive perceptions makes a big difference. That sounds confusing, but if someone thinks others perceive them some way, even if it’s accurate or not, that will determine behavior and future thought.
Some people are capable of looking at others and situations from different perspectives, which is a valuable skill. Some people can’t ever change their perception, and some people consciously make their perception a certain way just so they can live with themselves.
I used to say perceptions are all that matter, but I’ve changed that stance. Of course, things matter more than perceptions, but they’re still crucial to how we live our lives. Perceptions are a two-way phenomenon. They matter in how we perceive others, and they matter, sometimes more to some than others, to how we perceive ourselves. And the different angles and accuracies of those perceptions vary greatly, which is where things get interesting.
Our perceptions change through life and depend on what stage of life we’re in, and who we live among, and where our priorities lie, which also shift all the time. Despite how dynamic perceptions are they seem to maintain a pretty strong steady linear direction through life, even with all the variance, give or take 5% either way. If I had to guess, I’d imagine they are formed during our most malleable years, which are through childhood, teen years, and early twenties. That’s when it seems people get their set of lenses through which they view the remainder of life. Like going to the optometrist and being given a set of glasses and sent on our way to navigate, cope with, judge and behold the world around us and those in it.
More often than not I see people judge books by their covers, instead of waking a mile in their shoes. Those are two ways of saying that some people have a narrow perspective view, and others have experience, wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge enough to try and view others from different angles. This ability is what places people in different political camps, different socio-economic strata, and different levels in life.
When I look around I’m not sure I’d be wrong to state that most people worry about how others perceive them more than how they perceive themselves. Meaning, the concern about perceptions is disproportionately placed outwardly and how total strangers and meaningless people, or just a very small subset of people that really don’t care one way or another, perceive us. It’s why people buy cars that are so over the top luxurious the King of Prussia would be embarrassed to drive them, or people worry about what neighborhood they live in, or how big their house is or what kind of clothes they wear, and so on. Some people actually pay money to designers to advertise the designer on themselves to make sure people’s perception is something they’ve crafted in their heads to mean something other than what they are. And that seems to be what perceptions are most about. People trying to manipulate other people’s perceptions to be something dreamt up in the person’s head that isn’t even real.
That has more to do with integrity, self -respect, self-esteem, maturity, accountability and a list of traits that some people concern themselves with and others don’t. It has to do with character and what a person does when no one’s watching. When no one knows or will ever know your behavior. If the whole world were blind, how would you dress? How would you act? My guess here is that if surveyed and linear regression was applied, you’d see an effect where there are two camps: One that holds themselves to a higher standard, or aspires to a higher standard, even if not achievable, and those that don’t. In other words, a group of people that have no standards, don’t worry about them and don’t care, but they DO care about perceptions. That’s how strong perceptions are.
Some people simply rely on stereotypes to form their perceptions. Lots of people do that, including much of Hollywood. That aligns with people that have equally narrow perceptions. I don’t know about others, but I’ve had people have the wrong perceptions about me since I can ever remember. Being a Southerner. Going to prep school. Being a deadhead. Having an MBA. You name it, people will form judgments about me knowing nothing more about me than what they can perceive from a label.
And personally, I don’t care about any of those things. Because they alone don’t shape my character. Having a three-year-old child and setting an example for her is what dictates how I want to be perceived. I am concerned about how my daughter perceives me, but I don’t worry about it, because I behave just as I would if she were around even when she isn’t. I have standards for myself, and aspire to higher standards, even if I can’t achieve them. It’s (just one) a reason why I keep a clean, neat home, from top to bottom. I don’t have many visitors, but when people stop by, they’ll leave with a perception that I can manage my life and home and surroundings well. And I care about the environment I raise my daughter in, and set a good example for her. It’s why I make my bed every morning and I make sure Cecelia sees me do it. I’m teaching her how to manage her life and maintain personal control over her environment. Not everyone can do something as simple, but important, as that.
On the other hand, some people spend all their time creating what they want others to see, as best as they can. They stage themselves and use lies, deceit, omissions of fact, and any manipulative tool at hand (but usually reach for the two or three they’ve honed and are comfortable with over their lifetime) and are only worried about how they believe others perceive them. They’re superficial and transparent usually, and devoid of integrity and meaning. People’s perceptions are their own reality can be quite true, and some people, who don’t mind lying to themselves(and others), will change perceptions to create their own reality. And that reality can be wildly different from actual reality, believe me.
That seems to be where a lot of the trouble lies. When you have one group who cares about the accuracy of perceptions, and another who is indifferent and self-absorbed.
“Truth” doesn’t seem to be a central point to thought anymore. My ex-wife told me she doesn’t care about the truth. No kidding. Our freshman congresswoman from NYC, AOC also doesn’t care about the truth. So how do we manage perceptions when no one cares about the truth, which is the foundation of discourse?
I’d imagine most Americans know the term “Arrested Development” from the TV show, rather than the diagnosis that it revolves around. But I get to experience it on a regular basis, and I would guess a lot of people do, and either doesn’t realize it or don’t bother to think about it. But when you’re slapped in the face with it like I was today, you tend to think about it and marvel at it.
The grandmother of my child, whose name is Cecelia Musgrove, was supposed to drop my daughter off to me today at noon. She was sent to the wrong place and left me waiting over 30 minutes and set off a lot of excited texting, with me being accused of not knowing where the regular exchange point is over someone who regularly screws things up, screwing things up. I was called a liar, and my ex declared she was going to call her lawyer for some idiotic reason and no one in their camp could remotely fathom being wrong. It’s simply impossible and beyond all factual reasoning. That’s how things work these days. They don’t. That involves reflection on someone’s part by not believing anything anyone says or does because everything they say or do is untrue. And no one can unknot that mess. To no one’s surprise, I was in the right but still received the usual spears and arrows of intemperate, ignorant hysteria.
I’ve learned there are two ways to hand a child over to another person. One way is to carry them over, set them on their feet, and allow them to walk over to the other person. That’s generally the preferred method for several good reasons. The other way is to carry the child over to the other person and have the new person pry the child away from the person carrying them and climb onto the new host. That is an awkward, unpreferred way to exchange a child, for everyone except someone who has given no thought or consideration for what’s going on and for the child, much less the other person. The first method is what I had to explain how my daughter should to be given to me at exchanges, because at the beginning of our custody exchanges, it wasn’t happening that way, and as any astute parent would know, it caused emotional turmoil for the child.
So today, I was once again made to pry my child from another person, unthoughtfully. But what came next was what prompted this post. What should have happened was Cecelia should have been released to me, and the other person turn around and go on her way without incident. But the following is the level I’m left contending with these days which is easily dissected so that maybe somewhere, someone may take pity.
As my child’s sixty-something age grandmother turned to get into her car after creating a giant mess of an exchange, she blurted out ” Goodbye, Sara Celia!” across the neighborhood.
So let’s break this idiocy down. That wasn’t meant to be a bittersweet farewell to her grandchild, which she could and should have tenderly whispered to her before letting her down to come to her father. It was shouted for no one but me to hear. Why, may you ask?
Because this is the mental strength we’re dealing with: It was intended for me to hear to hurt my feelings. How would that hurt my feelings? It doesn’t, but here are the microsteps of thought behind it: She was trying to create an emotional wedge between me and my daughter by exclaiming Cecelia’s first name, “Sara” which isn’t even her family’s name, but the other twisty dysfunctional limb that was my ex-wife’s grandmother’s name. Then, to add some salt to that “wound,” she truncated my mother’s name to “Celia” as her mother does, to disrespect the very person their child and grandchild is named after. That is, it means more to try and zing me, who is of no consequence to either of them, below the most infantile level than it does to respect their very own child and grandchild. Pathetic? You decide. Trying to change the name of your child to disrespect the family of the chosen name of the child. Can it get any more egregious and wretched? I’m sure it can and will, unfortunately for Cecelia and me.
So, does this strategy work? Hardly. What it does is tamp them back down onto the bottom of the pit of idiots where they dwell. It’s not everyday pettiness. It’s an adult living in arrested development in that of maybe a twelve-year-old. And it’s what I have to grapple with on a regular basis these days.
Why, you ask? Why would a grandmother want to hurt the feelings of her grandchild’s father? What could have turned her against the person who helped raise her other grandchild? A manipulative and selfish force that lies and betrays in order to create a comfortable little den that sits atop a foundation of nothing more than words? Yes.
Reading and writing are crucial to maintaining a healthy brain. Even a feeble brain can be sustained by both or even one activity. But higher thought surely requires it, and being emotionally level and able to cope with living as a human among other humans at this time on planet Earth should make it an everyday exercise.
I read and write a lot. Consume, process, sort away, rearrange, connect different lines of thought to another and spit out in some comprehensible linear way, and the goal is always to regurgitate it in an easier to comprehend and more thoughtful if not colorful way. The latter being more to do with liking the language than clear robotic communication and having somewhat the nature of an artist within.
Creativity is fun. It helps keep whoever reads it engaged as well, hopefully, to keep reading to absorb the final thought and consume it the way just outlaid. Sometimes on different, artistic, abstract levels for the more astute at playing with mentally, if discovered. If not, the material should still be enough to stand on its own two feet, or whichever meter is prescribed by the author, iambic pentameter or otherwise.
I used to write wherever. But lately, I’ve been trying to keep it narrowed down to this website, for, if nothing else, my daughter to one day read and try to get a glimpse of how her old man thought and what he was about. There naturally, hopefully, should be a lot of material at hand, as my feeble brain rarely shuts off entirely. She’ll remember what she can, but now at age three, probably not much from these early years, unfortunately. I can’t remember much now before age five, which is just as well from what I’ve been told. I wish I could remember more of my late mother, but what I do remember and what photos I have are all positive and serve well enough I suppose. My daughter will have copious media at hand – more than ever considered possible when I was her age – to pore through whenever she has a few free years by the time I’m all done with it. Which is hopefully later than sooner. We never know when our time is up, so I’m trying to get it all preserved now, lest it is washed away by the sands of time like my childhood has largely been. I can still rehash hat I remember of it here or there, but the hard artifacts become increasingly rare. Especially as much as I have had to move around over my life. Each move removes part of what I was before, I’ve discovered, and lately, in very, very large parts to which there seems to be a life not even my own.
So in that spirit, I write down a lot of seemingly incoherent thoughts, opinions, perspectives, memories or whatever I think may be of some value to someone one day. No promise has ever been made, of course, My audience has never been set really, except for a few times when I have been made by a court of law to remove my thoughts, to spare a person once intimate with me her ample specific embarrassments and misdeeds she chooses to live her life to constantly hide. But they will emerge, as they always do, usually in the most inopportune moments, for the ones most carefully shielded to be presented to. Karma, in most ways. As I often explain, words can’t cover up our actions, and our actions are what create perceptions in the long run. The truth always wins, even if it takes a long time in human years to emerge. Judgments take care of themselves, and they aren’t for us as mortals to dictate. As painted on many sidewalk preachers’ sandwich boards and loonies’ van sides. Crazy doesn’t always mean wrong.
Writing is a cathartic exercise, which soothes the soul, as much as playing an instrument or painting a picture does. And the more competent one becomes at each endeavor, the more fulfilling it becomes. And not that painting or playing an instrument isn’t a form of communication on an artistic level, as poetry and well-written verse is, written words are vital to communicating feeling, thought, desire, regret, goals, or anything else we have pass through our grey matter, and the competency with which we’re able is equally as important. It’s why babies cry. It’s why the illiterate burst into outrage. It’s why criminals defeat themselves. Not being able to communicate our thoughts coherently leads to emotional havoc. Having a vocabulary and being able to use it effortlessly leads to a viscous ability to explain ourselves. And that eases frustration. I make no small effort to communicate to my daughter on her level and bring her up to a more mature communication level because it affords her the ability to communicate her thoughts, need and wants without a temper tantrum. I don’t use baby talk. I speak to her as I speak to an adult. She’s smart enough to know what I mean, and when doesn’t understand, she’s smart enough to ask me to reword and explain a term I use or phrase that is confusing. And we move on. It works incredibly well. I never have to discipline my daughter, because she doesn’t act out in emotional turmoil, spurned on by the frustration of not being able to communicate to me what she needs or wants, and what I, in turn, communicate to her. And I explain to her that fact, of what is going on when we do that, which she understands. She knows being fussy isn’t going to get her what she wants. Communication will. Many adults never figure this out their whole angry, problematic, negative lives.
So, aside from being a cathartic resource for my child to reference, a tool to hone my communication skills, and a fun, fulfilling endeavor, it also helps pay the bills. Not everyone can communicate well, as I’ve just covered to some degree. People have a hard time putting a price on effective, persuasive communication, but ask anyone in business or law, and they’ll tell you it’s one of the most, if not the most valuable skill to have. Ironically, it’s the most underpaid and underutilized because it’s so abstract and hard to nail down in a measurable way like mathematics or statistics or programming. Input is easily converted to output with stable metrics, but not always so with communication. It’s too dynamic, which is why it’s so powerful.
I have pages and pages of writing I never publish here or anywhere for that matter. I, and most everyone else I presume, consider it mostly blather. Sometimes I come back and edit what I wrote because I made a grammatical mistake or I have something that will add tvalue to the original. But usually once I write something I don’t revisit it ulness someone makes a reference to it, which occasionally happens.
I used to write at Medium(and I have what I post here auto sent over to musgrove.blog, which is hosted by Medium for me for free, along with a few other domains. They used to do that, but don’t any longer. Excpet for people who pay for it and the few that are grandfathered in like me.) for no real reason other than the ease and hipness of it. Which are no real reasons. But here I own my words and control the content. That’s not true anywhere else on the web. I’ve been censored on Medium before because the editors didn’t agree with my thought if you can believe that. It’s true. Someone actually read it (a robot probably flagged it, to be more accurate) and then some lefties in San Francisco said I was over the line and zapped my content from the world. Same with a judge zapping my content and censoring it. Freedom of speech isn’t exactly what people in America think it is. As long as you don’t shine light onto people with personal shortcomings to hide, then feel free to write away. So writing to keep others honest shouldn’t be a goal, mind you. But I do write to keep myself honest and accountable, so there’s that as well. Write down your goals and plans, and what you know you should do, and you’re more likely to do them. Talk is cheap. Writing is more expensive because it often leads to action. The reason the pen is mightier than the sword is because it incites people to use a sword. Most people only talk about swords, but write what your plans are to do with a sword, and then see what happens.
People will eventually and more and more often, find themselves in situations where emotions and stakes are high and you’re in a position to do two things. Continue to engage with your adversary as they try to drag you down the low road into the gutter, or walk upwards and way from them politely and with humility and as much grace as you can muster. It’s harder than it should be sometimes, but in the end, it’s always worth it. There is nothing to gain by going low, and a lot to lose, which will be difficult to regain in time. Often it’s respect, peace of mind, and dignity which takes time and effort to build. Not to mention respect and dignity are traits that are relative to the people you choose to associate with or aspire to.
That said, taking the high road is more for personal betterment than something that should be done to impress or even require an audience. It has to do with integrity, which is how you carry yourself and make decisions when no one is around, and you know you are choosing the right path versus the wrong one. Always take the right path, and you’ll have nothing to regret or worry about. There should be reasonable and justifiable reasons for choosing the right path of course, should anyone ever ask. No one should, but if you can’t defend the reason for making the choice made with solid, prudent, sound, intelligent, honest, truth-based responses, then you may want to sleep on it some more or give it some more time before responding or deciding. As you get older, your gut will be able to tell you what’s right a lot of the time, but your gut should always have reasons you can write down to support it.
I’m starting things off in no particular order, but this first being a lesson I found myself teaching Cecelia the other day when playing Legos.
We have no lack of legos and Lego people around here, and we enact play situations by building buildings, restaurants, hospitals, playgrounds, or whatever is needed in our Lego village to create a world for our 100+ actors and they can live out their imaginary lives, directed and put into play by my daughter Cecelia.
We have a bucket full of Lego people of all sorts of professions and walks of life, some being obvious as to what gender and role they are, and others not so much. But we do have a policeman. And he was called upon the other day for help.
This made me pause and ask Cecelia what do Policemen do? Her answer, as I suspected, and pass no judgment on, was a typical one, but an incorrect one, and one that should be learned now. I’ve asked some adults related to her the same question and gotten the same ignorant answer. So I wanted to make sure she was provided the correct information so she could approach police correctly and without doubt as to what their purpose is.
Her answer was: “To put people in jail.” which is wrong on every level. Our society today has no small number of adults who believe the same thing. Of course, it firstly depends on whose side of the law you’re on. But even then, that’s a technically incorrect answer.
Judges and the judicial system decide who and for how long people are incarcerated. Not police. And that’s only part of their jobs. This is all supposed to be taught in school and from parents, but the ball has been dropped hard and by many people for a long time on this area, as well as a lot of very serious others that used to exist. That’s why I’m writing this now for my child.
But police exist, in America at least, to help, serve and protect our citizens, and it should be pointed out, usually not asking for a fair amount in exchange a lot of the time, depending on the precinct.
I have friends who were, and still are, police. We have a lot of them in America, and need them. And when you have so many individuals in such a huge group that has to be managed so wildly in scale and scope and style across this land, you are going to have some pop up that aren’t there for the right reasons, some that do their jobs better than others, and some that do it all for reasons all their own. It’s usually a thankless job, and depending who is in the White House, it can even make your job overly deadly and reviled, which isn’t the best perspective to have on people that are just that: people, who stake their lives on protecting strangers from harm day in and day our for no or little thanks or pay or respect in some circumstances.
But when someone has a problem, or trouble comes calling, the first thing they do is call the police to help. And they respond, to manage the situation as they’ve been trained. They are there because they want to help, and have a job to do which is a job you can’t provide yourself, on your own. They show up when trouble is brewing, not to make trouble. And the people that see them as adversaries see them that way because they are on the wrong side of the law. Simple as that. Same as firefighters and doctors and nurses. They are around to help solve your problems when they become out of your control. That’s why we have police.
Andy Griffith was a Sherrif and is more like I perceive the police in general. The person I found myself in trouble with growing up all the time ended up becoming a Sherrif’s deputy. Police are humans, and they want to help. They aren’t infallible, just as I or you aren’t. And maybe out of the hundreds of thousands of officers that are out there, there are a few that aren’t the best people, just as in any large group of any people. But to consider them adversarial means you have been raised on the wrong side of the law. And if you have a problem with them, it usually means you did something wrong, otherwise they usually wouldn’t be there. But they do come around to help when called just as much as when they’re called to intervene. They have hard jobs to do, so the best thing to do is respect that, understand that and appreciate the fact they keep peace and try to keep you and me safe from harm.
Similar to previous lessons but entirely different, is what to do when it comes time to judge people, and circumstances when making decisions.
No one should go around being judgemental, but there are times when it’s necessary in order to size up things and make choices. Usually, three options should be made: The best possible outcome, the most likely outcome, and the worst outcome. You want to be prepared for all three so that you’ll have options. You always want to have options, and the worst place to find yourself is painted into a corner. Preparation is key to this. It involves training your self to think differently sometimes, but it’s for the best. Such as attacking the hardest problems first, acting quickly so as not to lose out, and asking yourself “if not now, when?”
Everyone in this world is facing a crisis of some type. It might not be a crisis to you, but in scope and scale to them, it certainly is. Crises are relevant to the people who find themselves having to manage them, and what their experience and skill level is handling such problems. As you get older, you go through growing exercises that aren’t fun at all, but they make you stronger and better suited to make hard decisions. The right decisions. They mettle your steel in other words.
I’ve had to handle some hard-core situations, to me. And later I learn about someone else that has just had to handle even worse situations than I did, which helps keep things in perspective. Everyone is fighting some type of personal battle at all times, and you have to keep that in mind. That might be an addiction, going through a divorce, being indicted on criminal charges by people you once trusted and held closely, or whatever. What seems simple to one person might seem insurmountable to another. The case is different for every single person on Earth, and when you consider there are over 7 billion people on Earth right now, that’s a lot of worry and problems at once.
But until you’ve walked a mile in the other person’s shoes, you really don’t have the ability to judge them. People end up homeless for circumstances that may or may not be out of their control, but you have to consider that almost no one strives to wind up in that situation. However, it happens. That doesn’t make them a bad person, or a good person, or any type of person, other than one who may need a helping hand. Everyone needs help at some point in life, and to declare that you don’t can’t possibly be true. No one has survived any length of time on this planet without the help of another person at some point. And that doesn’t make anyone weaker or stronger than the other, it just means someone was thankfully around to help when needed. Asking for that help is something people have a hard time doing, but that might be another post. That tends to have to do with humility, pride, embarrassment, or other factors, but nothing so superficial should put a person in a place they could have avoided.
Humans are full of flaws. One big one is being able to even admit that. But once you accept the fact that no one is perfect and humility is a characteristic to be sought and respected, it makes life easier.
This lesson has to do with standards, which you yourself set. Don’t let others set them for you or tell you what they should be. That said, set them higher than you believe you can achieve but are realistically attainable. That’s the trick. Only you will know where your horizon lies, and you have to gauge that yourself with accurate measuring tools, markers and milestones. This is where experience and help from experienced individuals such as parents can be useful. Learn from their mistakes and let them help with setting your sights on target.
When confronted with a decision that’s serious and has meaningful, long-lasting implications and consequences, if you can, give yourself some time to process it. Often your first thought is the right one, but better to be sure by evaluating the choices and the possible outcomes and consequences before making these types of decisions. These often involve others that aren’t even aware they’re in your radius of thought and have ripple effects that have to be contemplated thoroughly. We are in a time now where mind-mapping software can be helpful, to ensure all outcomes are taken into account and plan out what might happen in best most-likely- and worst case scenarios. Doing this arduous, rigorous, but necessary task will help remove regretful decisions later and eliminate hurting others that might not even be involved.
I used to do crossword puzzles a lot. The NYT in particular, which I recommend for building a nice vocabulary and learning some trivia and stretching your brain some, but overall the NYT should be regarded as mostly birdcage liner. One thing I found helpful to complete them was to walk away for a while and take a walk with a dog and get some fresh air and exercise. When I returned to the puzzle, I often found I could solve the remaining boxes with a refreshed perspective. That same is true with small and big problems that arise in life. Walk away for a while and regroup if possible.
Throughout my life, I’ve been a misfit. Didn’t quite fit in with this crowd, didn’t form with that crowd. It’s a search I think every person undertakes whether they want to admit or not, but it’s obvious when you just have a look around. People are always wanting to be different but conform to some crowd. It’s a lizard brain instinct that has to do with birds forming and flying in flocks and moving as one unit I think as fish do in tightly formed schools to feel safe en masse, but ultimately makes them just as exposed as their neighbors are to danger and their other imaginary fears.
Growing up, it’s a nonstop pursuit, to “fit in” but at the same time not relinquish what is ours as individuals and give up what we still cherish, whatever that may be. People try to dress like others, make their har look like others, and go through all sorts of lengths, unsuccessfully always, to become something they aren’t. People buy Harley Davidson motorcycles, and make huge life choices that perplex their spouses and neighbors and family as to what they’re thinking. What they’re thinking is that should they pretend to be something else by adorning themselves with artificial and temporary accessories, it will transform them into something better. That’s my amateur psychological take on it, at least.
The obsession with tattoos is something I’ve watched from the sidelines with utter disbelief. Our whole county, or at least region I inhabit here in the midwest/southern/crossroads/nowheresville area named Louisville, KY, has embraced tattoos and physical mutilation as something that makes sense on some financial and aesthetic level.
I’m not judging others for any reason whatsoever, as I have no right or reason to. I just like people watching and human behavior interests me, individually and collectively. I’m one of the most exotic people in Jefferson County, Kentucky, however, because I have no permanent stains on or under my skin and have no plans to put them there. Slowly, though the entire population has marked themselves with a graphic, or a dozen, that they’ve seen somewhere that under no duress or influence of narcotics presumably, they’ve spent scare resources on to carefully embellish themselves with stain to show the world….something. Each indelible mark surely has it’s own motive and tale, which must be presented by the holder, but is made visible when each time and moment is just right.
I’ve hired creative employees who have sleeves of tattoos and symbols around their head and ears of Harry Potter reason, and it makes no difference to me. Their work is what I’m interested in, and they did good work. Male and female, all tattooed, of different generations, with different impulses that made them obtain their body art. To each their own. Just as now, I hope the majority of the people I am around don’t perceive me in some imaginary light because I choose to not make myself graffiti.
What might seem like a great idea at one time must be thought through with some foresight. Are you going to look back at yourself in 60 years and possibly not think maybe that is an idea that should be given more thought? Same with the reason I choose to wear conservative clothing and dress in a manner that sets time and fads aside. I can look at photos of myself when I was a child, a teenager, a young man, and now an older man and there’s usually nothing outlandish that stares back at me. I don’t follow trends or fads and tend to hold onto stable, foundational, time-tested, structurally sound, reasonable ideas, fashions, music, cars, and everything that surrounds me that I utilize day to day. I don’t give thought to what the media, associates, friends, celebrities or politicians or others that simply have shallow, personal, superficial agendas at stake tell me to.
Listen to your inner voice. Listen to your gut. Listen to your instinct. That usually is what’s right and will carry you the length though life. Not silly fads, distractions, or things that someone else thinks is “cool.” It’s not. Being yourself is what’s cool.
Since I’m around my daughter 50%, or less, of her life these days, there are things which I’ll always feel are important to have her learn, with or without my assistance. The opportunities for these lessons aren’t always evident, and usually, are quick moments when a parenting trigger is flipped and the chance has to be taken immediately or else it loses context and meaning.
These events happen when my daughter is with me or with other people of course. They revolve around her life and are meant to provide guidance as to how to make strategic and important decisions through her life and shape the path she follows, hopefully, more towards personal fulfillment, success, and happiness, and not what lies along so many treacherous but tempting offshoots along that path. The details and shiny things present themselves endlessly through life, and as a parent, I feel it’s part of my job to teach her how to decide hot to approach, engage, or walk away from such distractions or opportunities, and how to distinguish between the two at the very least.
As I embark down this trail with her by my side, apart from her mother and others that inject themselves into her life along the way, I have to be careful and conscious of how they are presented on many levels. But at the core, my will is to have something she can always use to learn from and help her navigate herself through life, which becomes more intrepid with every tick of the clock, I’ve found.
I’ve approached her mother with concerning situations Cecelia has mentioned to me out of the blue, which was not only tossed to the wayside when retold as folly, but taken steps further and turned into serious accusations, again, against me about creating imaginary situations involving people I don’t even know and planting harmful and strange violent scenarios into our daughter’s head for reasons I can’t even fathom and don’t even want to try to imagine. It renders me as a malicious sociopath, which if were the case, I don’t believe I’d be free to walk the streets, much less have joint custody of our daughter. So the challenges I have before me to help Cecelia hopefully are apparent and real to anyone who ever reads this. It’s a situation akin to having someone drive straight into your car, and then call foul when the situation realistically and by necessity, evaluates their driving and the incidental consequences. You want to help those that are the most exposed by the accident, but the other driver is more concerned about getting out of the situation as best as they see themselves entitled to, no matter what steps must be taken.
Since I take the time to craft deliberate and thoughtful approaches to help Cecelia, and then have them tossed into the trash, that’s not the result I aim for. So I’ve decided to write down my advice to her and maintain them here and in digital storage for her or anyone to use as they see fit. It’s not for my benefit, inasmuch as seeing my daughter grow up to be healthy and happy is my benefit, and not to harm anyone, since I have no enemies of my own I’ve made. Others may see me as theirs, but that’s the situation they’ve created in their own world and something I can’t or don’t want to be involved in. People’s perceptions are their own. I write things down here for the world to read and see because I try to live my life as an open book for others to judge. I have nothing to hide and all I want to be remembered for, or at least one thing is to have been a helpful person, especially as it relates to my daughter and raising her. I’m open to any ideas and suggestions that are available that might be beneficial at any time, which I have stated here, there and everywhere.
So with that preface, I’m going to begin assembling some life lessons for her here that can be utilized and not hidden and thrown away never to be considered or discussed as they normally would between two parents about their child. They are lessons I’ve learned through my near half-century life, and should be regarded as something to think about, act upon, discuss, wisdom to heed, or even dismissed, but at least not without the same diligence I’m using to present them. They are lessons I’ve learned by trial and fire, as I was raised, and certainly aren’t a one-size-fits-all toolbox of remedies. But if I can provide an ounce of prevention to avoid a pound of cure, then it’s working.
I’m taking the opportunity tonight to try and organize my massive media library comprised of photos and videos I’ve taken over the past decade or so, and in doing so, of course, have come across some that are simply remarkable.
One, in particular, is a video of my daughter taking her very first steps. I managed to capture it on video in our home one afternoon upstairs while I was watching her. It brings tears to my eyes to watch it now as she’s presently demanding for me to watch her run back and forth through our rooms in our house now and laps all through the basement. Again and again, which I cheer on as if leaning in by the poles by the very finish line of the Tour le France. She knows she’s fast and loves to run, clothed or not. But what’s the most moving thing is that I have so much footage of her from way before she was even born, up until this present day. I’ve always been around her a lot, and took care of her during the nights, giving her bottles while my then wife slept, and I’d work down in the basement through the night and watch Cecelia. And I often watch her through the day and much more, which is why I have a million hours worth of photos and videos of her, her and me, and her and her mother and her and her half-sister. I took her to parks and to farms and we have been side by side every single second we’re able to be (which is a stipulated situation I will never become comfortable with), which I cherish, so I have tons of footage of it all. So that’s what I’m working with tonight.
I take a lot of care, pride and joy in the memories I have with my daughter, and even our family back when it was intact. Cecelia seems to love being able to go back and see herself sprouting up from the very Saturday we went to the hospital to have her, to the next day and each day, week, night, weekend, month, and year we’ve been together and I’ve been by her side every single moment I’ve been able. And hopefully, I can give these assets to her to show her family one day and look back on with as much pride and love as I have for them.