For the last couple days I've had the joy of doing a custom backsplash in a kitchen I'm remodeling. Because I don't like the sound of the saw, I'm plugged into music, sometimes louder than needed, all to offset the loudness. I can't listen to a podcast or a book on Audible because the cuts and layout take a lot of focus and my ADHD ass can't think and listen at the same time. This one in particular has been a four day'er... it's 80 square feet - the largest single one I've had the opportunity to do... the math on this bitch has to be dialed in! A miss calc on the centerline could affect the overall feeling of what you're looking at. ... it's short of perfect - dimensionally speaking.
I haven't even started grouting yet. lol. There's more pictures, but this helps process the undertaking. The challenge I sometimes find myself having with such a task is that I'm grossly plugged into my head... quiet wandering thoughts. No one is bothering me other than myself and the music I'm listening to. When the tunes are playing inside your ear, rather than your car or living room, you can really hear what the people are saying. What they are feeling... why they do what they do to cope, respond... you know how all the shit is affecting them. Unprovokingly so, the feelings of the tunes, accompanied with the focused efforts of dimensional exactness, roped up into the quietly-loud moments of the week, has dredged up a spiritual infection I have held deep inside my soul. My heart feels them as self-inflicted wounds.. Whereas my brain sees them as defensive wounds... Because of the logically lead, emotionally influenced outcome these two have, it's my body (sometimes liver) that takes the toll of punishment like a working horse pushed to the limits of a frustrated handler... all leaving my soul to filter through the bullshit so I can live authentically. One would think that someone with this perspective had grown up in an abusive home... or lived a life of intention while everyone around them said they'd fail, not succeed, and become a nobody.. That being said... I feel like a bitch clarifying the reality of where I came from... I grew up in a home where, for the most part, I felt like the favorite. I was rarely grounded, I could effectively ask for things that I wanted, I could do what I wanted, I could become whoever I wanted to become, I was allowed to fail, I was encouraged to do things that I have never done... I was shown love, I felt loved.. that gave me courage that I could, I could... and, and, and... so I did. I know without a doubt in my everything, I am who I am because of how I was raised. I give all that credit to my parents and grandparents. And in a playful cocky delivery (like I did when I was a kid) I'm damn ass proud of who I am, who I've become, all of which gives me the confidence to contribute to the world through genuinely authentic intentions. So why the long face? As soon as became a young adult, living on my own (as best as I could).. somewhere things would progressively go sideways with my parents... ironically starting around/on my wedding day, almost losing the marriage before year one due to my family and lack of my understanding what it meant to become married. The cycle of parental / sibling challenges would go off and on, off and on, off and on for years. I know that families will have their challenges, just like a good marriage, so I'm not being naïve to that, however, each challenge would escalate to a new level of manipulated toxicity. The difficulty for me was processing how I came into this world, growing up the way I did, and now dealing with this mess.. the two didn't make sense.. Rather than having an ass beating, it's death by a thousand cuts.. Much like the devil and angel on one's shoulders, my heart and brain are strong personalities... I'm sure I could make a story about them all together. ha!.. The dance with all decisions is knowing how to listen to each.. its' a dichotomy of emotion and logic and believe it takes years to mix the two effectively. Three years ago they clicked. It only took me damn near 37/38 years of my life to figure it out, but they did. Three years ago I told my mom that I would not be having Thanksgiving dinner with the entire family. I said in kind words, but direct enough that this was happening and this was not happening. It had taken me 17-18 years of my life, on my own, to find the courage to make a choice against the imposed expectations the family had of me. Reflecting on my upbringing, knowing what I know today, this kind of choice was incredibly courageous of me to say no... especially saying so to the family's matriarch. Over time the fallout of that choice would trickle into every fiber of the family. The timing of that decision came just before the life and death shit-show my little family had to endure over the coming years. I'm not sure if that's what the universe intended to happen or what, however, I do not believe I would have been able to grow in the way I did from that very difficult time had I not made the conscious decision to ultimately secede from the family. Nothing ever turned into a blazing inferno - surprisingly. The quiet confidence of a voice I always had, but suddenly found was more like smoldering embers.. one that takes years of time and pressure. Intense heat, constant heat, terrifyingly hot... of which preceded me to living more intentionally than ever before.
...but such a thing did have a cost.
Here we are on the week's eve of one of the largest most meaningful holidays our American culture has created. A day of giving thanks, being with loved ones, remembering the little things. I think the reason why the music and quietly-loud moments dredged this up is that it's been pretty much four years since I spent an honest time with my family. The fallout of my decision essentially cut all ties to them.. which has sadly trickled down to my boys.. our boys. I didn't ever once say no more, nothing ever again... however, that's just how the other side handled it. Remembering the last four years?!.. man. shit... Avin was in 7th grade the last TG... Tristan, damn... he was in 2nd. Now, Avin is in 11th, Tristan in 6th.. of all the things that I have built and created, ALL of them! none of which hold a candle to the young men, I, we, have had the grateful fortune of leading into the world. The four years of where they were to where they are now, are only known to Chas and I. It just fucking rips my heart out, largely our boys, that the people who brought me into this world do not know them - in any regard - and that hurts. Might as well be strangers in the grocery store. The people who were there, for the most part, have been called off to heaven.. yet mine are still sharing the same air on this planet.. but have no regard.
Do I regret my choice to stand up and say no? No, no I don't. Do I feel bad that I made that choice? Yes, I feel bad. But...
I know why I made that choice.
The irony of this outcome is that I believe... I believe that the only reason why I have that kind of courage is because I grew up in a household that allowed me to be courageous. I just never thought I would exercise such courage. Courage can be a lonely place sometimes...but the effort of having not done so could cost more than the struggles it sometimes brings. Looking around at the life me and my bride have created, I'm stupid proud of it. Not the success, that's opinion.. It's the impact and creation of "good humans" that have come from these four walls. It is my hope that our boys have the same understanding of what it means to be courageous... I will just work my shit off, by always being there, judgement free, toxic free, "____________" whatever, to hope like shit they never, ever, need the same kind of courage that was required of me. I didn't mean to shit on your grateful Friday if I did. I almost wrote this last night when I got home... I almost got up at 1:30AM this morning to put these thoughts down... I'm just happy I did even though I strongly entertained not doing so once the day got started. Thanksgiving is a gift. A day packed with moments in time that you cannot get back, so embrace them to the fullest. This year it will be just the four of us along with Uncle Ryan. It will be quiet, and that's ok. Even though the boys will be plugged into their phones, consuls, whichever, we will be there to embrace them, being them, to the fullest. :) We hope you do just the same :) Love your babies if you've got them! Be kind to a stranger! and have a Grateful Friday! :)
PS. It's my buddy Chris Pike's birthday today. I believe he would have been 40 today. I hope that he's raising as much hell in Heaven as he did here on earth. I'm a better person for having known him. Thank you for your sacrifice Chris, RIP good buddy.