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.