Alligators in the moat

Self-preservation is an instinctual thing. Especially to those of us who have been hurt the most. We finally make the decision that we’re not going to let that happen again. So we deploy every protection method available to ourselves. We even create protection devices. Our own weaponry. Something that automatically fires when we don’t even realize it is happening.

As children, we experience hurt often. I remember a dream I used to have often as a child. I was in a meadow. A clearing in the forest. It was warm there. Surrounded by trees on all sides and beautiful blades of tall grass that were gently swaying back and forth in the summers breeze. It was comfortable and peaceful in the center. Trees that surrounded me represented the unknown. After a time, I wanted to wander towards the forest. Every time I would make my way to the edge of the meadow, a large hideous Beast would swiftly go to the area I was walking towards. I couldn’t see anything but I felt its presence. I would make my way to the other side of the clearing. And the Beast again swooped in. I was trapped in this Meadow. I couldn’t leave. The fear of something I couldn’t actually see, kept me from leaving my comfort area. In my dreams I never left that clearing. And the beauty of the meadow became dreary and cold. I would never know if in fact that hideous Beast I had imagined wasn’t something else stuck in the dark, seeking comfort from something in the light. Fear kept me from seeing that. The fear that the beast intended to hurt me, kept me to the confines of that meadow.

In my adult life, I have only opened myself to others a handful of times. I have built my castle. Surrounded it with a moat. Loaded it with alligators so that only the people I want in can come in. Ironically the only way in is the drawbridge that I can drop. This drawbridge is full of landmines, spikes, darts and many, many obstacles, that they unknowingly encounter. This is not something I do with intent.

Enter pre-determine self-sabotage.

I am a gregarious person, I really enjoy the company of people. The more the merrier. I actually prefer groups to one on one interaction. One on one is for select few people. I used to be a very trusting person, assumed the best of everyone. Over time, some have shown me their true colors, that and the accumulation of skeletons in my closet, leads me to be distrusting of others.

Well let’s not look in there okay?

While I am fully aware that my feelings towards others is a reflection of how I see myself, I know that I am actually a very trustworthy person. I’m not a gossip. I don’t share other people’s business with anyone else. when I choose to love somebody I am faithful, loyal, determined and fierce. There is nothing I won’t do for the other person. Still, there is something I don’t trust within myself.

One of the experiences that had the most impact on my opinion of people was involving my second ex-wife. At a point in our relationship she felt unhappy and uncared-for, she chose to have a textual emotional affair with out feeling one bit bad. She was completely unapologetic. And even admitted it. What’s worse is it was with an ex-boyfriend that she would regularly flaunt in front of me when she felt I was not giving her the right amount of attention..

She would actually lay in bed next to me texting this guy until 3 or 4 in the morning at times. I’m pretty sure that is the point where I completely checked out of the relationship. I made half-hearted attempts after that, but I never really trusted her again. Then there were rumors. And while we were married, her own mother wanted her date several other people. The ferrier, other trainers, to say the least I wasted my love on a fucked situation. Compile that with the fact that her work took her out of town for weeks at a time. And I would go 5 or 6 days without hearing from her, not so much a text or call. “Too busy”, she always told me. If i called or text her it was only met with a stern chastened tone. Given the information that I had. It was quite a mind-fuck. To this day she still maintains she never cheated on me.

That is, if you don’t count the hot tub kiss she had while out of town, but she was just “testing” him.

Whether that is true or not, I’m not quite sure. But in my head she probably did. The core of the sin lays in the heart, or the intent. The deed is merely follow through.

Love they say is truly blind, so my blinders were removed September of 2013. That’s the final time we filed for divorce and I stuck to it.

So now the challenge for me moving forward in my life. Is learning to trust again. That is a difficult thing to do. On any level. I know for sure I will not get suckered like that ever again.

This sucker was born May 31st 1969.

Never again.

Dear God, your irony is not lost on me.

Pastor Dan, youth minister. 

My life has been a folly. 

(but not a Matt Foley)
Recently, on a Saturday afternoon, post Thanksgiving, on a long drive, alone again, I began considering things spiritual. My spirituality, other peoples  spirituality,  and how that all intermingled. I stumbled into one of my favorite coffee shops in the Ashburn area. As I order my coffee, the Barista smiles and said this is going to be an odd question. I told her to fire away, and then she asked me if I was a youth pastor. She said you seem cool, like a youth pastor, lots of energy ..like a youth pastor and, well, just the face of a youth pastor.

What does a youth pastor look like?

Maybe she is just into youth pastors.

I chuckled a little bit, as I thought to myself how far away I was from a youth pastor. The first thought in my head was the Apostle Paul. He once stated, and I paraphrase, that I am the sinner of sinners. I thought of that, as I totally relate. As far away as I am from the youth pastor, her guess was not that far off.

Not to say that I am Pious like a youth pastor, or deeply rooted in Scripture. But she spoke to my heart. Or maybe she saw my heart. When I was an “on fire Christian”….. I wanted to become involved in Ministry. And the two areas were youth pastor, or marriage ministry. On both fronts, I completely failed in my personal life. Many of my frequent prayers have been, stated in a minimalist manner, “Lord, show me my greatest weakness.”

3 agnostic children and 2 failed marriages later, here I sit.

Those are glaring side effects of the underlying causes. 

Trust. Follow-through. Compromise. Greed. Lust. Weakness. This list could go on and on and I could rip myself to shreds. I could write a riveting tell-all of How Not To….. well you can fill in the blanks of subjects ad nauseum .

Why today? Why after my thoughts drifted off to God? Why Me? And why has that conversation ran through my mind over and over. Dear God, it’s me, Daniel….

Two and a half years on the “Boom-Boom” wagon, schlepping my way from bed to bed and lying my way from woman to woman… whiskey stiffled my conscience enough to feel ok about it (only till the drink or feeling faded away) so that i could keep up my game of “port bingo”. It all stiffled my spirituality as well. Kinked the God conduit if you will. 

I used to hear Him.. not so much in the audible sense, but in murmurs to my soul, a gentle guiding hand. Answers to questions.  Those lines have gone silent. Not so much as busy signal or dial tone. Matters of the flesh has overtaken that. Concerns of worldy clammerings have superseded my spiritual pursuits. And man, it’s fucking loud in my head.

https://youtu.be/yV21TcbeAfY

I still talk to God however. and I no longer play Beach Blanket Bingo. Meaningless sex has lost its luster. It’s difficult to pretend you’re somebody else for long periods of time. It becomes exhausting and even more so, expensive as hell.  It took its toll on me physically, mentally, financially and spiritually. 

It was something I had done to hide the pain. I used to keep track of the numbers as a badge of honor. It was a joke amongst my circles of friends. A bragging right for myself, and endless locker room stories. 

The numbers have faded away. I really have to sit down and think it through to come up with an approximate number. I have a lot of shame regarding those conquests I used to relay to my colleagues and friends in lewd graphic detail. 

Youth pastor…. I think not. Fallen angel, wayward wanderer. Maybe. Think I’ll go to church today. Well on second thought I have a lot of driving to do. I’ll do it later

When scars are all that remain

My hand was hurting today. Maybe it was the cold. Along the outside of my left hand is a scar. It’s directly down from my pinky. No-one else would recognize it as a scar, it blends in with the rest of the lines in my palm. A few months ago it was a cut, severed my nerves, but spared my tendon.

The pain brought attention to it. As I looked at it, I looked up towards my pinky to see if there was any discoloration, anything that would show signs of poor circulation or whatnot. As I looked at the back of my hand, I noticed on the finger that used to carry my wedding ring, there’s no longer an indentation. Something that was familiar to me for several years. All that remains where my wedding ring used to sit, is a scar, where I once welded my ring and my watch to the positive post on my alternator and a motor mount of my Suzuki Samurai. There is also a scar where I used to wear my metal watch on my left hand.

It brought back memories when I used to stare down at that ring and spin it around my finger with my thumb. It was something that was always there, something that always brought to mind my wife. Well ex-wife now of nearly 4 yrs. Where no longer is there a callous from a ring, only scar remains.

I remember the pain that was there before the scar ever came to be. And it’s not even as vivid as it once was. It’s a fleeting memory.

It brought to mind the pain I would experience when I looked at that finger and see that wedding ring was gone. There was a time it was almost unbearable. It was excruciating to me. And now only a fleeting memory. I would recall the love the ring once serve as a reminder of. That memory too, has faded.

One I fought so long to hold on to, has simply dissipated. So too, has the scar on my finger faded. It’s over 10 years old. It was way more pronounced than it is now. I rarely think of the day that happened. And I can’t quite remember the pain I actually felt from that wound.

Much the same way as old hurts, wounds, and scars. They seem to fade away with time. You think less and less of them. I guess that just bears proof that our hearts and minds heal much the same way as our body does. As the memory of that pain slips away, the less cautious I become….

I’m not quite certain that is a good thing. I guess, perhaps, I dont learn very good.

Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore..

I met her in a hotel parking lot, not very romantic I know. But when you travel, and live life in a Hilton property (destination unknown), it is as close to inviting someone to your house as it gets.

 WE had linked up days earlier… one of those meet up and no-holds-barred dating sites… we maintain it was farmers only….. dot com. But for the purpose of this story, TINDER (meet and fuck if you can’t run away with a good excuse… ie. My car got hit by lightning). She had her out people.. exhibit A. States defense… I rest my case.

She was charming to say the least. And her profile contained pictures of her fishing on the beach, mountian landscapes, and one of her in a t-shirt with the phrase “Biscuits and Porn”. Well sign me the fuck up!!

 I was quite hesitant to meet, initially. Our banter via text and the dating website was amazing, hysterical, and addictive. I found myself checking my phone often to see if maybe she dropped a line. I definitely was not in search of a relationship. I was set on living my jet-set, playboy, man-whore lifestyle. So this caught me off guard.
  

We had finally decided to meet. She was coming to me. Smart choice because she could run. As she well should have…. I was veritable shitshow at that point. Still aching from my divorce, licking my wounds, extremely hurt, and still in love. 

She texts me to inform me she has pulled into the parking lot. So I light another smoke and try to compose myself. Now mind you, 20 minutes earlier, I was trying to pet a possum thinking it was a cat.. 

I have since got glasses.

 I mentioned before that she had an out, her car had been hit by lightning. It was a sign. She drove down in a white Toyota Camry. It was a rental. She was wearing a badass pleather jacket. We were both nervous, so we stood outside of the hotel, smoking, giggling a little bit, and sharing in nervous laughter. It was raining outside. And it was kind of cold. But every time I looked into her pools of blue, I was enchanted, and forgot all about the cold.

After 15 minutes I couldn’t take anymore, I placed my right hand on her left cheek and said, “I need to see something”. 

I kissed her…. 

Wow..

Fuck!

That kiss was something, I definately felt a connection. Instead of putting me at ease, which I thought it would, I became twice as nervous. My hands trembled and I had a hard time catching my breath. On the exterior, I am sure I radiated pure confidence, charm, charisma and nerves of steel. I am usually exemplorary in the well taylored art of keeping emotions caged.

We laughed alot that night, we sat on the floor eating pizza we had ordered out………. Amongst other things. It was definitely not my usual date. 

(This actually comes later.)

She kept me engaged, far beyond the sex. I fell asleep that night with her laying beside me. I was content, happy, and at peace with my inner demons for the first time in a long time. When I woke the next morning she was gone. What usually would have had me relieved, had me somewhat disappointed. Usually I shrug it off, that saves me the awkward goodbye and walking her out to her car. 
I waited a good 15-20 minutes before I would send her a casual text. I AM fucking cool like that. 

Thankfully she did not leave, planning ahead, she got a room in the same hotel. We went out for lunch. Our next date we went fishing. After that we went to a bird preserve. Then we went kayaking. Every date seemed easier than the other. I wanted to learn everything about her. She was a great distraction from the pain I was still feeling from my divorce.

I felt very at ease with this gorgeous, intelligent woman. She was a smart ass like me. We could walk into a room full of stranger’s and walk out with a room full of friends. We were so much alike in so many ways. Intimacy was very easy, that is until July 4th. 

In the throws of passion during an “afternoon delight”, she had said something I’d mistaken as I love you. Not even sure to this day what she said, but it was spoke softly, and sweet, whispered right into my ear.
“I love you too” 😲😲😲😱😱

 (nooooooooooooooo!!)

I couldn’t believe I was hearing the words coming out of my mouth. You dumbass!  And of course I immediately lost my erection. Something that would not return for the rest of the evening, even though she tried.

Did I feel that way? Yes. Absolutely yes. But way too soon for both of us. Needless to say the afternoon’s  hibbity bibbity came to an abrupt halt. We talked about it for a little bit. I frightened her, I absolutely terrified myself. We agreed to drop it for the time being….

Our next few outings together we tried to brush that incident aside. Speaking of it very little. And things went kind of back to normal. As normal as things can be when two people are around each other and pretend there’s not a huge giant fucking Elephant in the middle of the room.

Our next date was Disney World. Florida with my daughter and her friend for my daughters birthday…… and my new friend. An opportunity for her to have a glympse into my life. It was alot of fun, except next time I am picking the park that serves booze!! 

(I am so much more entertaining with a few drinks)

I found myself enjoying doing things with this woman. I could also see myself getting use to sharing my life with her… shortly after that I started to do things to push her away. SHE SCARES ME!!

See ya!!!!!

There has been alot of ups and downs in the last year and a half, mostly me, being a complete prick (largely out of fear of commitment,  or rather fear of hurt). I still find myself recoiling now and then. I can’t help it completely. 

There is so much to add here, as a matter of fact, the amount of details I have spared is alarming. To be truthful, I have been working on this little blog for a few months.

Writers block?

Nah! Well, maybe a little. I think subconsciously, I don’t want this story to end.

Fuck me! I am in unfamiliar territory, a stranger in a strange land. A land that on good days, the colors are even more brilliant and landscapes are breathtaking. Nearly surreal. 

Bad days, well, everything is in just slightly varying shades of grey, no real contrast, no real color, and everything runs together.

Surprising how just a few heart-felt sweet words from her can change the grey almost instantaneously.  And THAT scares the absolute fuck out of me!

I need a brain, I need a heart, and I need a little courage. 

Where the fuck is Dorothy and them fucking red slippers!?!?! Get to clicking bitch, I wanna go home.

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