That’s an interesting question these days.
The honest answer is that I don’t know. At least, I don’t know completely. That’s not to say that I’m particularly complicated or mysterious, because I don’t think I am any more complicated than anyone else. As a modern member of the human race, though, I’ve come to accept that I am often a walking contradiction.
Sometimes, I wonder if I’m the man my father hoped I would be when I was born. Have I lived up to his expectations for me? Exceeded them, perhaps? I worry that I am a dissapointment to him. Too arty, too flowery, too sensitive and not hard enough, not tough enough, not, well, not man enough for him. I think that’s why I got my tattoos. To prove to my father, who once told me that nothing I could do would shock or surprise him, that I was a tough enough man to wear a dragon. I got the second to balance the first. And, I suppose, to prove to myself that I was brave enough to go back, knowing how much it would hurt. Oddly enough, after the second, my father at 60-something, went and got his first tattoo. I think so that he could prove to me that he was as tough as I was!
Somewhere along the way, I’ve become even more unflappable than my old man. Friday night, Steve the Zookeeper was telling me something that was meant to shock me. I could tell by the way he looked at my face afterward, searching for a reaction. I smiled at him and said, “oh, hmm, that’s not something most folks know, I guess”, or something like that. He started laughing and said,”oh, yeah, I forgot who I was talking to! You’ve pretty well seen it all, haven’t you?” And, I had to agree, I have. And, if I haven’t seen it, I know someone who has, or I’ve read a book about it. I just don’t shock easy any more. After the cast of characters that has populated my life, to one degree or another, little bothers me about people. So, I’ve become truly what my father told me he was, unshockable. Hell, even my therapist asks me questions about sub-cultures that I’ve participated in. Areas of expertise that help him gauge a couple of his other clients. I think he’s even impressed at how easily I talk about it, without shame, guilt or remorse. Just something I did once, but don’t do anymore.
Still, I search out the edges of who I am. Right now, I’m reading two books, which is a bit unusual for me. I usually stick to one until I’m all the way through. But, when I started Jesus in Blue Jeans, the little sections were so dense with eye-opening information and thoughts that I couldn’t read more than a few pages at a time. So, in between, I started reading Numbered Account, about mystery and intrigue in the exciting, fast-paced world of Swiss banking. It’s actually better than it sounds, though very much outside my normal genres of reading. I try to do that more these days. Push outside my normal, comfortable life. To find out who I am. New music, too. Or, sometimes, back to old. Everything from Lord of Acid to Frank Sinatra to Morrissey to Dar Williams to Foghat to Gorillaz. I just grab whatever seems appealing at the time. I guess, I’m trying to rediscover who I am alone, without a partner. So much of who I was got tied up into that relationship that part of me got lost.
So, like an explorer without a map or even a native guide, I stumble blindly into the unknown. Seeking for that person I was supposed to be. For the man my father wanted me to become. For the man I’d hoped to be. For the man I really am.
What is this all about? I don’t know. Maybe it’s that time of year, or maybe it’s just something in the water. I’m lost and confused and I want to know what this all means. I want answers! But, there are none. Ambiquity is just how the world works, whether I like it or not. I wonder if anyone reading this cares besides me. I just want to understand myself and find someone who wants to understand me, too. In that special way that only one other can. I wonder if I’ll ever find her… Or, if she’ll find me.