I'm frustrated that I keep going deeper and deeper into my learning, but have no way of expressing to anyone else. I keep hearing that what I've learned will come out in the way in which I live, which I believe, but that doesn't really comfort me all that much. Mainly, this is because I don't think people are all that affected by my life.
I've observed that the people I know tend to only remember me when I'm present enough to stimulate it. Unless something happens between now and then, I doubt many people will ever manage to say the I had a significant impact on their lives, twenty or so years on down the road. The way it usually seems is that, unless I choose to be noticed, I'm pretty consistantly overlooked.
At the same time, I have to wonder about the origin of my feelings concerning all this. In the last week of Psychology of Religion - the course title barely scratches the dust on the surface of what all we cover in that class - the book The Meaning of Persons by Paul Tournier. One of the things that he talks about is the difference between "person" and "personage" and how by making your personage more transparent, you allow your person to shine through, so to speak. Best I can say, right now, is just go read it. I'm still trying to process a lot of that class myself.
Anyway, the point of that was that, perhaps, I have to readjust the way I view these things. Compared to a lot of people, I take a lot of responsibility for who I am and who I will be. But, to some degree, I still hold that things happen to me. I don't know of anyone who purely doesn't, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't explore this.
Take friendship, for example. I am really frustrated that I can't seem to find very many people that want to invest in me and pursue friendship. There are two sides to this in my perception. One side is that no one is pursuing friendship and the other is that I am not taking the steps to persue friendship. Which one is true? Yes. Which one do I focus on? The former, mostly. While I would defend the idea that I am simply not able to blame anyone - and, logically, I can't - I might as well be placing the blame on those outside that fail to pursue. I'll argue tooth and nail that I'm not blaming anyone, but the function is just the same. At the same rate, I am fully capable of blaming myself and do so unabashedly. It's the same on both ends. It's only that I refuse to use the word "blame" on one end and use it blatently on the other. The function remains the same.
Naturally, blame doesn't really achieve anything. This is something I know very well - then again, things that we know best are those which we need to be reminded of the most. I'm not one to leave things at a simple game of blame. I've spent most of my adulthood - which has, granted, still quite some time left - trying to adjust my perceptions and change the ways I went about things. I've probably made more changes in my thought and behavior over the last several years than many make in their lifetimes. All in the hopes that I can find that magical balance that will attract friendship and companionship - a balance that I see so often in those around me.
One example of that balance can be found in my friend Lance. He has those qualities that I've been trying so despirately to work on. He's not perfect, but that doesn't diminish it any. I hate that I feel this way, but on some levels, I very much envy him. At the same time, I'm incredibly proud of him. People will remember him for ages to come. It's almost as if they'll have no choice but to remember him. If he decides to continue with his composition as a career, it's very likely that I will, at best, be a footnote in his chapter in music history books. People remember him. People only remember me when I'm around. From my perspective it seems like magic, but I know it's simply the balance that he's found.
It frustrates me that I don't even know what that balance is. I don't know what kind of work it takes or where to even begin. I'm frustrated that I know all this shit, but I can't make a friendship lasting. Now, I realize that I'm generalizing and not taking into account those that I do consider my friends and those that actually do try. Those people, I often feel, I could count on one hand.
But, of course, I still have the age-old counter-argument that floats to the surface ever time I go down this road. Who am I to assume that I am more important that any of these other people's other friends? They all have their friends that they invest in already. Who am I to say that they should waste time on me instead of them? And the truth is that I have no response to this. I have no reason why I should be preferred over someone else. I have no reason why people should invest in me rather that focus on their prior investments. I have no reason to say that you should be my friend. This is part of my logic behind not being able to blame other people. I can't blame people for having friends other than me. Does that mean that they can only have one friend? No. Can a person invest in more than one friend? Yes. It's just that I have no right to dictate who they invest in. I can't force people to be my friend. It kind of defeats the purpose.
Now, a very typical response to all of this is, "why don't you be the one who invests?" Truth is, I do. Want to know why I'm so tired and exhausted all the time? It's because I invest so damn much. I attempt with all that I am to invest in people and I rarely get a return. If I were to view this as a business enterprise, I'd have long since filed for bankrupcy and would be cautiously turning corners to make sure no one with a bucket of cement and a grin would be waiting for me. It's like owning the one piece of land in a Texas oilfield that won't spring a leak.
Yet, all of this still comes from a viewpoint of I. This kind egocentricity - which is what all humans start out with and some spend the rest of their lives with - is subtle and I do everything in my power to try to avoid it, but it's still there. Notice the context of all that I've been saying. "I am really frustrated that I can't seem to find very many people that want to invest in me and pursue friendship." The source of this comes from an egocentric desire: I want to be invested in. "I want to be loved," is another way of putting it. It's an egocentric desire for something that is not egocentric. At the same time, I simply assume that I will invest, or love, in return. I assume that without question.
And now, I have to bring up the questions of my assumptions. Am I assuming something which is not true? Is it possible that there are those that investing in me, to whom I am not returning the investment? I can't answer no. To say that I have always returned on investments would be a lie. I then have to ask, if I am not always faithful to return on investments, why should anyone else be? I have no answer.
In all honesty, I have no right to complain about anything. All pain, frustrations, loss, etc. that I could ever claim has all been experienced by someone else and has been experienced to unimaginably greater extents than I. I am as much of a hypocrite as everyone I call one. Maybe not for the same reasons, but why should that matter? My complaints are useless and often they cause more harm than good. Yet, here I am. I could simply bottle it all away, but I've seen what happens when I do that. I could try taking it out on something else, but, yet again, I know what happens when I do that. In truth, I have to deal with it. And, for most of it, I don't know how.
The usual question I get when I say I have to deal with stuff is, "do you have support?" No. I don't. That's kind of the problem. I don't have people I can take anything to. Those that I might feel comfortable with are usally invested elsewhere and often we can't get our busy schedules to line up. And, thus, more and more piles up, which means more time to go through it. Which means more difficulty trying to schedule time.
"Why not talk to a counselor?" Bless counselors, but they aren't going to help me at this point. Counselors are good for processing things, but when it comes down to it, the core issue isn't being affected in sessions. That, and one of the things that I need most is someone who will invest of their freewill. Counselors are paid to be there. I very much want someone who wants to be there by no other attachment than friendship.
"Why not talk to some of your other friends?" First off, scheduling. Secondly, I am extremely particular about who I discuss my problems with. There are a lot things about my life that don't make sense out of context. Actually, I'd be willing to say that most of my life doesn't make sense out of context. I need someone who knows me - not just about me. I need someone who can understand the context. Catch-22. They have to know the meaning to know the meaning. Lev Vygotski's Thought and Language, if anyone is interested.
So, what I have is a deceptively complex loop. I want that which I can't have. I want people to truly know me, but they need to truly know me before they can. I want friends, but they need to be friends first. It's rediculous, in all honestly. It's frustrating and annoying and tearing me apart. I'm a grown man, who should've picked up these things in pre-school. Yet, little children know how to do it better than I. I missed a step somewhere and it's killing me now.
Another problem is that people - and I reluctantly fall into this a lot as well - view friendship as something you can have. To say that I have friends is to say that I possess them. Friendship is not a noun. Grammatically, maybe, but not in practice. Friendship is an action. It is a verb. Friends cannot be possessed. Friendship can not be held. Friends are people that you do friendship with. Friends are only friends when they participate in doing friendship. Just because you've made a friend doesn't mean you can do nothing now that you've acquired them. At best, all that is just being acquaintences. I have a lot of acquaintances. Most of whom I wish had engaged in friendship as a verb with me.
Truth is, I could keep going, but it's late and I'm tired and I'm going to bed. Good night.