12/06/2010

Two years on...

The wind evaporates my heat on these cold nights, but I'm not sure any of it goes anywhere. Maybe it stays within, my energy waiting around for the next time it is needed. Wearing clothes helps at least keep the spark alive.

This is the two year anniversary of the end of my marriage, and likely a time to take stock publicly for a moment about where I am and who I am. Writing here is not always advised, as a writer friend told me early on in the process when I was much more likely to let slip one of the details that painted me in a less than favorable light.

You can't control the way you look in the world, not unless you're really talented and you have a passel of handlers advising you on everything from how to hold your head up to which hand should hold the coffee mug. But you can choose to project a positive image of yourself in order that others may regard you as being confident.

"Fake it til you make it" is the common refrain that makes this possible.

I went to the gym for the first time in two months today. I joined Gold's two years ago this week because I was told it would be a good stress reliever. I weighed a lot more than I do now, and I did not have a mindset for exercise. But, I soon poured my energy into myself and I learned to run.

Lately, I've not been running nearly as much. I haven't needed to. I've more or less come to terms with the end of the marriage, realizing it was necessary for both of us. I've also been blessed with a former partner with whom I share the same essential philosophy of parenting.

You run into people in this town quite often, especially if you spend half of your time in the same downtown area. Eventually everyone comes through, and it's hard to avoid the people you don't want to see. But, of course, you do see them, and you have to figure out a way to respond.

Recently I saw my ex with her new partner, and I was genuinely happy for them. Sure, I was nervous as heck because I've had a hard time coming to terms with that aspect of the process. I didn't want to have a hard time, but I did anyway, and I've had to work very hard to try to understand that process. When I saw them, it was the same day I had a dream in which I had a very pleasant Christmas with them.

***

Those first few months, I was at the gym five or six days a week. I was dedicated to transforming my body. I poured all of my negativity into my body in order to burn it off. I was too tired to think a lot of times.

Even though I've cut back significantly in the past five months or so, I must admit that I definitely have transformed my metabolism. I've learned to seriously enjoy pushing myself, though I've certainly lost a sense of urgency.

Today, I was on the treadmill because it was far too cold and windy outside for my tastes. Also, I realized that I'd not actually used my membership for a while. So I went in and ran.

But the treadmill is so boring. Even though I had music to listen to, and television to watch, I didn't actually go anywhere. Running has become about taking ownership of my space. I've learned so many of the wonderful details of this wonderful place in which I live.

I am so glad to be in Charlottesville, and to be living this life. Two years on, I realize I'm in the middle of this great adventure. I have so much to learn about the world, about myself, about how I fit into the world, and about how I can do more to help others.

I'm kind of sad today about something I will keep private. But I can deal with it. In a way, the situation mirrors the end of my marriage. I don't want something to end, but it's ended, or at least transformed, and you can't go back and make it work again. Time moves in one direction.

It is cold today, and again I face another winter alone. But of course, I'm not alone. I'm a member of this community. I write knowing at least some will read what I have to say. Writing cleanses me, transforms sadness into something that can inform the future.

I believe in some ways I have learned to redirect myself in a positive direction when things are at their worst.

"Sean Tubbs, you're getting all tizzyfied. Stop it," said my friend tonight while we had a quick drink after work. This person has become a great friend to me in the past few months.

She was right to calm me down. Talking to her pushed me towards working myself into a frenzy of sorts, but I knew I didn't want to dwell on the past, so I calmed down. We parted ways, and I came home. I put a Neil Young tape on and began to write. I've begun an obsession with him, in part because of a treasure trove of cassettes I picked up last week.

I don't have my guitar tonight. Along with running, learning to play again has opened up whole doors of possibility. I feel much more confident in my abilities, and I'm working towards learning how to express some of that publicly, if only to meet others who play. Music puts me in touch with myself, makes me feel at home on this planet of ours.

My guitar is being restrung at Heinz Musitronics. A guy I know Court Square Tavern did it for me, but I didn't know he worked there. Another example of this town, and the possibility to build connections with people. That's what we need as people.

We're a country of over 300 million people. All of us are in the middle of this awful recession, and I certainly have no solutions. I'm somewhat disengaged from the political system, as I tend not to talk about things with people.

The direction forward has to lie in positive thinking writ large, expecting the best of people, and being as generous as you can. Things get better, but they only do so if the individual or organization focuses on the big picture.

What is that big picture? Can that even be answered in a way we can all agree on?

I'm afraid we live in a time when the collective us does not has enough training in abstract thinking. It is so easy for people to believe whatever they hear, each of us prone to emotional manipulation. I am worried right now that people of different political beliefs are demonizing each other to the point where society could break down if it goes unchecked.

And here I call private again, and say I can't say anything else beyond that trite statement.

But I can offer this perspective.

In this past year, I've seen music bring people together. I've attended so many live shows, both at the Pavilion, and in little clubs all over town. I've been moved by so many great performances.

My hero, Dan Deacon, appeared before my very eyes for a show at the Southern. I learned about the brilliant LCD Soundsystem, and the music soundtracked my summer, only to see them two months later.

(It's important to me as I wrote this to note that "I'm not in love" was playing just before they took the stage. A little detail serving as an important detail in the historical geology of my life.)

I learned about Gogol Bordello from a good friend when I took her to see the show at the Pavilion. I look forward to seeing them in a few weeks.

***

Two years on, I find myself looking back at two years of a journey to where I am at this moment. I've left trails for myself in the form of music and journal entries, all to document the experience. Some might call this self-absorbed, but I call it living my life, training myself to become an observer in the hopes of capturing these times in which we live.

I don't really know philosophy except what I can learn in five minute explorations, but I've always tried to live my life according to Socrates' directive that "the unexamined life is not worth living."

However, I focus far too much on myself, and the examination can sometimes lead to the tizzyfying dance I do in my head, wrestling over things I can't control. But if I let go, I have learned I can almost always see a bigger picture.

I am much happier when I'm doing something for others, which is why working the tavern on a busy Friday night makes me feel so fulfilled. Making others happy makes me happy.

I don't need to fake it anymore. Life is good, and I am happy to be alive and I wouldn't change very much. I can only change the future by making good decisions along the way there. Looking back, I can see so many places where I have erred. Who among us can't?

***

The wind fuels me on these nights, as I remember that our comfortable existence on
this planet depends on quite a good bit of preparation. I imagine our most ancient ancestors learning to control fire, and I'm comforted by the thought that each of carries that initial spark within.

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