Stuck

Slow-Turtle

You know what I hate?

I hate working my ass off doing everything I think I should do to “get to the next level”. The problem is I never make it to the next level. Whether it’s work or music or writing, I always seem to be stuck in the same place. I just don’t have what it takes to propel myself upward. Some people have it. They post one video on YouTube and within minutes they have a thousand followers, post two more and they have a million followers. I work for years posting videos and I still only have a dozen. I never get there. I never break through whatever wall is holding me back. This is true at work as well. At first I climbed up the ladder getting promoted quickly. I was a rock star and everyone loved me. But then I stalled out. Now I can’t get past it. Somehow I’ve been labeled as mediocre and I can’t peal it off. Is this where I’m going to stay until I retire? I also tried building something with writing but it always flounders. Why is it some people can post shit and it goes viral while my shit goes down the drain? There is no building blocks for me, no blogs that generate interest, no music that causes a sensation, no writing that garners following, no niche I can call my own that makes me special. I am not a leader. Like I said previously. I’m Alfred. I am the loyal dutiful butler that stays invisible to the world with nothing to contribute of my own. No one knows my name. I am the work horse that gets no recognition or glory. So how can I build a future for myself when my future is being a nobody?

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Moments I Regret – Introduction

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This is the intro I wrote years ago for my book called “Moments I Regret” (which I am still writing – over 100,000 words and growing every day). Reading this reminds me that I do have talent as a writer, even if it seldom appears.

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It’s funny how some memories hang around for a lifetime while others are quickly forgotten, tucked away in some file cabinet in your mind where you’ll never run across them again. Unless, of course, it has a smell associated with it. Then, one day, out of the blue, you get a whiff of that smell and the memory comes flooding back like it happened twenty minutes ago. It’s wild how a smell is such a powerful thing especially since smelling is becoming so much less important in our world.

But going back to memories. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and all of us realize the mistakes we’ve have made after we’ve made them. Some are huge and life-altering, others not so much. It’s kinda like choosing a line at the grocery store only to find out it’s the slowest or the fastest. No, it probably won’t change the course of your life, but then again, it might.

Sometimes we think about what we would do differently if we had the chance to do it over again. But, of course, we can’t do it over again. So, we sit and dwell on the mistakes we made that are forever living on our memories. Maybe that is the true meaning of life – learning how to live with your mistakes.

Oh, I know.  I hear the advice you are all giving me “But it’s those mistakes that shape the person you are today” or “You learn more from your mistakes that you do your successes” or “There’s nothing you can do about it, so just move on”….

To that I say “Wow. Thank you very much! I’d never thought of that stuff before! Those quick one-liners makes everything all better. I’m now the happiest fucking person alive. Thank you so very much for those great words of wisdom!”

Funny thing about advice; Most of it is total shit. Hello? Do you think I’m that stupid? These people think that uttering some simple cliché will make all the years of pain and regret go away? Shit. I’ve been dwelling on my mistakes for years … analyzing them, agonizing over them, inflating them, deflating them. And here you think you can come along and you got just the thing to cure it all?.

“If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen!” “For every door you close, a window opens!” AHHHHH! I know everybody means well and they are really trying to help. But we live in a “Take a pill” society. We all think that every problem can be miraculously fixed with the flick of a switch. “There. All better. All I had to do was flick that switch. I wondered what the hell it was. Now I see, It’s the ‘all better’ switch”.

Here’s my advice for people who like to give advice: “The best advice you can give is to shut the hell up!”

I’m sorry, I just get pissed with people who give those stupid one-line cliché’s. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Not all advice is bad. After all, most of the advice I give to other people is extremely valuable. The problem is they just don’t want to listen to it. Or their little minds can’t comprehend it. Usually I have to put it into easy terms that their simple minds will understand. I try to come up with a simple line that is easy for them to remember. Something like, er, well, like a cliché, I guess.…

Uh… yeah, so anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, memories.

There are many I have stuck in my mind that I dwell on from time to time. Most, well actually, all of them are regrets that make me go “Why the hell did I do that?” And, of course, I can’t change the past, so I have to be content with just letting them haunt me.

The funny thing is, for the most part, some of these events are actually pretty minor in the big course of things. Were they life-altering events that changed the course of my life? Well… no. Were they huge events that affected many people? Uh… again, no. So, why the hell do I even remember them? Why the hell do I have so much regret over them?

The appropriate answer here is: I don’t know. My only guess is that these memories were stored in the part of my brain that is like the corner display in a department store. You know the ones where they show off the hot new merchandise or an enticing sale item. So, every time my thoughts pass by this spot, I can’t help but stop and notice the memory that was stored there and then I dwell on it all over again.

So, here they are. I call them the ‘moments I regret’. I thought if I write them down, maybe then I can remove them from the display case and throw them out with the rest of the garbage.

 

Is This Who I Am Supposed To Be?

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You know what I hate?

I hate that this is who I am supposed to be.

I hate where I ended up in life. I hate that every day I wake up with regret and sorrow with who and what I have become. I played it too safe growing up. I never took chances. I was too afraid. I never pushed myself. I never tried new things. I never allowed myself to fail. And with that I also never allowed myself to succeed. When something came up, I let it go by. I can’t do that, I would tell myself. I don’t have the talent for that. Everyone would think that idea is dumb. They would laugh at me. So I stayed on the sidelined. I figured eventually things would fall into place. I figured like in the movies something would happen and all the pieces would fit together and I would wake up one day and be right with the world. But by the time I realized that real life wasn’t like that, it was too late. By the time I realized what I should have done differently, too much time had passed. I can’t go back and make those decisions over now. I missed the bus. I took the wrong road. I should have been smarter. I read somewhere that failure is not the opposite of success, failure is a part of success. I wish I would have known that then. But I didn’t and now I live a life of regret. That’s the worst pain of all. To know that had I had a second chance I could be someone different. But I’m too hard on myself. I only knew what I knew. Had I the chance to go back I would made all the same mistakes over again. How can I do any differently? That means I was meant to be exactly who and where I am. I was meant to be full of regret and sorrow. This is apparently who I am supposed to be. And that’s what I hate.

 

My Place In This World

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I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out where I fit in this world.

Like everyone else on the planet, I’ve daydreamed about being a superhero or a rock star. Whether it’s using a towel like a cape or donning a hairbrush for a microphone, we’ve all fantasized about being in the limelight. And I would say most if not of us have tried it is real life as well. Whether it’s acting in a school play, singing for the talent show, or aiming for the fences in baseball, we’ve all tried to be that amazing actor/ singer/ athlete / comedian/ dancer/ or whatever to secure the attention and adoration from the crowd. Some succeed, and go on to live glory-filled lives, but the rest of us fail to break through the wall of mediocre. Maybe we try something else to see if that’s the hidden jewel, but chances are we are destined to be just another face in the crowd.

I tried to be one of those singer \ songwriters who plays guitar in a coffeehouse with visions of breaking into the music biz. But when I played, people would just stare at me like I was a car accident. My songs may have been decent and my voice acceptable, but I didn’t have the ‘it’ factor is. I was just an eyesore. Fine. I get it. Being a star isn’t me. I’d known it all along anyway. I don’t perform well in front of people. I can’t think straight and get all stupid. But I thought  I would try.

But I didn’t give up. If I can’t be the star, then maybe my place is the sidekick, right? If I’m not Batman, I can be Robin. If I’m not Sherlock, I can be Watson. I can be the trusted / smart / funny half of the hero team. But nope. That’s not me either. Why? Cause every sidekick needs a talent – something to either offset the hero’s weakness or to compliment his style. Otherwise he wouldn’t need a sidekick. Whether it’s being an acrobat like Robin, or smart like Spock, or strong like Chewbacca, a sidekick needs a thing. And I have none. Besides, the sidekick also has to come through in a pinch and save the hero from time to time. And that is definitely not me.

So fine. Skip that. Maybe I’m just a sideman. I’m the supporting character in a movie like the neighbor next door. I may have a few lines but otherwise I’m just part of the plot.  I’m like the bass player in the band. No one notices me or even remembers my name but I’m still important.  The second I stop playing the song sounds weak and empty. So, yes, I’m needed even if I’m stuck in the shadows. In fact, I’ve identified with the bass player most of my life. I even play bass in the band I’m in.  And you know what? And I am okay with that. I’m not the hero, but I’m happy knowing that I am important even though someone else gets all the glory.

But still… something doesn’t feel right. I may play bass in the band, but I still feel like an outsider. When the songs are done and everyone is hanging out having a good time, I feel like a misfit. Oh sure, I put on a happy face trying too hard to fit in. But I still feel awkward. I don’t have the skills to socialize. It’s like a foreign language to me. The more I try to fit in, the more I feel left out. In the end it’s too much work and I’m better off letting them have their fun while I go home alone.

So I guess I’m not the sideman either. So what’s left? Only one thing. I’m like the sound guy. I’m nowhere near the stage. I’m in the back, still contributing but just doing my job and completely ignored. Yes, I make the band sound good but I get no credit for it. I’m not even introduced or acknowledged because I’m just doing my job.

That’s a better fit for me. I’m not the hero like Batman. I’m not the sidekick like Robin. I’m not even a member of the team like Batgirl. In the end, I’m Alfred. I’m the loyal butler who keep things humming along in the background while the hero is out saving the world. It’s a thankless job. Oh sure, he has the respect and perhaps even the love of the hero he is serving, but he has no life and no identity outside of that.  No one else knows he exists. No one cares for Alfred. No one falls in love with Alfred. He never saves the day. He never gets the girl. And he never has his own happy ending.

That’s me. I’m Alfred.