The Boring Terror of Normal Problems

I’m starting my blog, but I’m also starting Bleach Watch.  The difficult person should be here anyyyy moment.  

Nick thinks I’m becoming a better writer, via this blog.  I can’t identity movement on that front, because if I’m moving, everything else is moving in my line of view.  But I am less and less likely to “take a tone”, it seems.  I hope?  I know some people think that’s what writers are literally supposed to do, but it’s anathema to me.  And I can look back through the years and see that I used to do it more, not yet aware of it.  

Writing and thought moves through all shades and tones, and is supposed to, so it’s not some kind of static homogeneity I’m going for.  Movement, of course, always movement.  But some writing feels to me like having a conversation with someone who, instead of talking to me, employs the use of a hand puppet.  And the hand puppet talks to me.  And I’m like, ‘you know *I* know that’s just you, with a hand puppet, right?’

Also I think there’s some truth to my totally unfounded sense that, so long as I involve myself in what represent my favorite sorts of problems — wresting authenticity from the jaws of format, for purposes of new creation; pleasing, at least, myself — the universe is like a mid-level manager doing a sales floor sweep, satisfied that I’m busy enough.  It’s when you “become available” that the problems are distributed to you, from the bottom of some barrel.  Oh, you went seven days without writing a blog, keeping your head up in that elevation?  Here’s some car problems, or a twisted ankle.  God save me from the boring terror of normal problems.

Brief IRL update — still peaceful, or it would be, but I have been careful to not only address but aggress each of the customers, forcibly air traffic controlling them in what is an entirely intuitive process.  They’ve each reacted with a vaguely alarmed sense of, “Bitch, it’s five o clock in the morning.”  Yeah I know.  The predator could be watching.  No one is safe until everyone feels unsafe, permanently.  

So yeah, it seems like astrophysicists have astrophysicist problems, and homeless beggars have homeless beggar problems.  I’m going to keep reverse engineering that process by populating my own experience with as many problems as possible, of the brand I prefer, to crowd out the check engine lights and twisted ankles.  

I’m actually experiencing some fantastic problems on most fronts, right now, when I stop to think about it.  I’ve been paying a song shopping service in Nashville to pitch my music to artists and labels, for about the last year.  I keep having a conversation with this guy saying, “look man, this is my last month for a while, I gotta pay for all this Hawaii shit,” and he keeps saying, “I totally understand but I wanna give you one more month for free — the whole industry is in the studio right now because tours are all cancelled and I really feel like something’s on the horizon, and your catalogue is so good.”  So then I’m like, goddammit, and I pay him for another month, because he’s going to give it to me for free anyway and that’s just amazing customer service.  I have a wonderful relationship with him.  I mean, he could be playing me like the excellent salesman he is, in which case that’s fine too, since he’s in charge of selling my songs.  So this has happened a couple times now, and I’m pretty determined to actually cancel or at least suspend service for a bit, because the dollars really count right now.  But, I just looked at my September pitch report last night before bed.  They floated two of mine out to Carly Pearce!  I was like, omgggggg I love Carly Pearce so much it hurts.  I would freak out if she recorded one of my songs.  

There’s this duet with her and Lee Brice called “I Hope You’re Happy Now” that I fell in love with last winter, and I figured it out on my guitar and like forcibly taught Nick to harmonize just so we could sing it together.  He’s a very good singer in terms of raw talent but he’s shy, but interested, and it was fun.  We would do this on snowy nights when I didn’t have to work in the morning, and then go to the country bar because we were learning how to 2-step.  Or he was learning how to 2-step; I’ve been country dancing since I was fourteen (you’d think I’d be better at it but I’m merely competent, never having had the benefit of one consistent dance partner).  There were a lot of other fraught things going on with us, and some other snowy nights that were really fucked up, but this interlude of singing and music and country dancing was…just a time I’ll never forget.  It’s crazy to have a partner that, in every scenario and setting, would be the one guy I’d lock onto, and try to figure out how to approach.  I’m not just saying that.  If I didn’t know him but saw him at the grocery store, on the elevator, at the car wash, on the sidewalk — I’d throw my shoe at him or something, I don’t know.  

So for me, having been in and out of country dancehalls all my adult life and some of my juvenile life (the Reservation is dry so even young people can go dance at the Community Center on Saturday nights), having been a musician on the stage playing the songs, off and on through the years, and a happy member of the clientele otherwise, and perma-single as a chronic state of affairs,  it was so…profound…to experience that environment with him.  It’s magic on magic, and a sense of overlapping environmental and emotional satisfaction.  Like a flyer for an event that says “Die and Go to Heaven!  This Saturday.  BYoU.”  Bring your own unicorn.  So I show up with my own fucking unicorn and I’m like SUCK ON THAT, WORLD.  I’m telling you, being with someone you’re 100% into is such a flex.  

Back to this Carly Pearce duet, though, I also can’t say enough about Lee Brice.  I’d heard some of his stuff before and was like ‘yeah that’s fine’ but this SONG.  Female country vocalists tend towards passionate heroics while males just hold it down, George Strait style, and I respect it.  That’s the tradition.  I think my YouTube music app was just on country autopilot one day at home while I was epilating my legs, which is loud so I had headphones on, and I literally stopped what I was doing to see what this song was called and who this male vocalist was, after the second verse.  It’s crazy when someone, particularly a male, has range without breaking vocal character, and delivers the lyrics like a Mortal Kombat avatar delivering the final, killing spin kick, straight to the throat.  I was like, what is happening?  

Needless to say, I’ve listened to that duet an embarrassing number of times and so I just about shit a brick when Carly Pearce came up on my pitch report.  In terms of desirable problems to have, stressing that Carly Pearce might not choose to record a song I wrote is way, way up there.  Way up there.  

Three of my songs got pitched to REBA, too.  I guess she’s not “Reba McEntire” anymore, my report said REBA in all caps.  That seems a little extra, right?  I’ve regarded her as the John Wayne of female country vocalists for a while now — John Wayne didn’t really “act” per se, he just did his John Wayne thing.  And every now and then, the stars would align and the role was perfect for him, not the other way around.  Like in The Quiet Man.  So she’s had some great songs because the song was right, but the rest of the time she just Reba-fies songs that are better left alone in my opinion.  Obviously I wouldn’t complain if she picked one of mine up.  I have a special place in my heart for the artists out of Oklahoma, a state no one respects.  I grew up there, mostly, til I was nine and we moved to the Rez, so I’m like ‘props on forcing the world to acknowledge that Oklahoma actually exists’.  

I should probably pay for another month of song pitching ughhh, I don’t know.  It’s a dilemma.  What I need to do is infuse the song catalogue with new material but in all this 2020 madness, getting into a studio just hasn’t happened.  I need more money towards it, because I’ve written some great stuff this last year.  My Nashville contact said I can sing into a phone and just text it to him because, for $575 he can get a really good demo made with Nashville musicians on their off-times, and he emailed me some examples.  The production was fantastic; the songs themselves were hit or miss with me.  Like, I’d kill myself if I was writing songs at the level of a few of those examples but hey, works for somebody maybe.  Good studio production is like adding abs, biceps, hair, makeup, a tan, and industrial strength air brushing on what might be a 10, or what might be a 2.  And I really can’t judge, as someone who has yet to place a song.

Brief IRL update — the predator never manifested.  I guess I harassed half a dozen people this morning for nothing.  Unbelievable.  

Back to the question of having the best problems possible, getting us and the little dogs moved to Hawaii in a month obviously ranks real high.  Having a blog I personally adore creating is another.  Helping Nick get his CDL before we move is another — double trouble with a trucking connect on the Big Island already eager to float us some work.  

Having a couple weeks off from lifting, perforce, is a great problem — we lifted *hard*, all winter, all spring, all summer, and frankly I don’t mind the break.  I’ve put on a little fire camp weight but it’s just no big deal.  I don’t look like a person with a lot of muscle mass, but the ratio of what I do have, on my frame, is plenty to keep nutrient partitioning pretty fierce, frankly.  

I was just shaking my head a bit, yesterday, privately, about conversations I was overhearing and/or unwittingly involved in.  The central theme is always losing weight, losing weight, losing weight.  Rule number one seems to be that anyone talking about losing weight, isn’t.  Anyone talking about ‘getting healthy’, isn’t.  Anyone talking about overcoming obstacles, isn’t.  Anyone talking about being empowered, isn’t.  It extends to everything.  And I totally get how it works, even though I blow it sometimes too.  

The real quantum leap is not in framing the problem with ever-increasing specificity, necessitating x y z solution; it’s in framing a personal reality above and beyond the problem.  Or as Abraham Hicks puts it, “You can’t rendezvous with the vibration of the solution when you’re vibrating at the level of the problem.”  There is some gray zone here — of course our problems launch solutions as a natural reflex, but we have to be willing to then follow that trail of breadcrumbs, NOT simply accumulate more and more breadcrumbs while remaining committed to our original breadless state.  

So any presentation of body problems along the lines of, “Well, I take this for my that, and that for my this”, might sound to the speaker like a litany of solutions, but it sounds to me like a practiced recital of problems.  

Now, I do have one big caveat.  One reason I was so not helpful to Nick in times past was that I tended to reject the 12-Step based framing of himself as an addict, knowing basically nothing about it.  To me, that felt like practicing the identity of pathology, and deeply internalizing it.  For instance, I’ve tended to reaffirm to myself and the world, “I’m an introvert.  I’m an introvert,” which may be true, how helpful is that framing?  No one is preventing me from behaving like an introvert (indeed, no one can) but there are rendezvous and co-creations I might easily miss, from my internalized and defensive fortress of solitude.  It’s okay to come out and play — I can always retreat to my fortress of solitude, thank god.  Well, honestly that can be the tricky part.  People get some attention from me and then expect it all the time, which is obviously exhausting, and then I do retreat to my fortress of solitude, and then they get passive aggressive with me because they feel abandoned and angry, and the whole thing could have been prevented if I kept them at arm’s length to begin with.  That is actually a huge problem.  My social gas tank holds like two ounces of jet fuel.  Unless it’s just the right person.  

Whatever, anyway — I originally dissuaded Nick from self-identifying as an addict and that’s a mistake I’ll never make again.  I saw only the bad and none of the good.  The word “addict” sounds so ugly, but in reality it’s like…a really beautiful woman with an unfortunate name.  Someone who looks like Halle Berry but whose goes by Prudence.  And the thing with the universe, vibrational countenance, all of that, is that the words and the names don’t matter — we’re not fooling anyone with our yippee skippy affirmations, when we deliver them in white knuckled fashion.  We’re not fooling anyone with our gruff monosyllables, when we’re really cuddly teddy bears inside.  Rule of thumb is, if you can’t fool a dog with it, you’re probably not fooling God either.  

So an addict identifying as an addict sounds so ugly, but it’s actually this miraculous thing.  It’s the sound of someone on the other side.  It’s the last word you’d ever hear from the lips of a person in active, unresolved addiction, just like a hoarder would never introduce themselves as a hoarder.  You just go to their house and think HO-ly shit you’re a hoarder.  

It kind of goes back to the original point of choosing the best possible set of problems.  Anyone who goes to a meeting and says, “Hi, I’m John Doe and I’m an addict” is actually choosing a set of problems light years from what they could be, otherwise.  I’m more and more seeing that the best case trajectory of addiction to recovery isn’t properly about “becoming normal,” ever.  Addicts in recovery don’t want to become “normal” — they want to pass as normal, sure, but what they want is to become old addicts in recovery.  As opposed to dead.  

So I’m still reconciling that with what I know about Law of Attraction, and frankly it’s not that hard, now that I understand more.  Point-blank, we have the freedom to frame ourselves *to* ourselves however we want, and however serves us.  Maybe there’s someone out there saying, “I’m trying to lose weight” and that’s really serving them because of their particular vibrational stance.  Again, it’s not the words that matter, except to the extent they activate or de-activate the emotions and beliefs.  The way I feel about weight and body composition, personally, is that it’s like Joe Vs. the Volcano.  “The volcano” in this case is the accumulated momentum of my powerful alignment, and its manifestation in the form of a plant-based diet, strength training, a good feeling body, and quick recovery from any illnesses or hiccups along the way.  I don’t have to hope that that’s true; I’ve proved it to myself, I’ve put so many deposits into that account it feels good to check my balance.  “Joe” in this analogy is, like, the 2 Snickers bars I ate yesterday, or any other singular choice.  My boat doesn’t rise or fall on a cup of water less or more; I’m floating on an ocean of wellbeing.  

It seems like most people feel this way except unfortunately the polar opposite.  “Joe” is the curtailment of a desire — I want this food but I shouldn’t; I don’t feel like jogging but I will — whereas “the volcano” is the accumulated momentum of their body not looking how they want, not improving despite all these painful, isolated curtailments.  That sucks.

Our solutions are always accomplished vibrationally first, but honestly it’s tough for me not to add, YOU CAN’T GO WRONG WITH PLANT BASED DIET AND HEAVY BARBELL.  The world is really, really, really not interested in that solution, so it falls on deaf ears whether I say it out loud or just think it.  Nick is so good at getting in the fucking trenches with people and helping them dig themselves out and giving them the next little ray of hope, and the next little ray of hope, low enough down that they can see it and move towards it.  He can do that with fitness and with sobriety stuff, both representing *immense* projects that I get pre-exhausted just thinking about, on others’ behalf I mean.  I know the solution and I know you’re not gonna do it so I’m just gonna sit here and be regaled with the insolubility of your chronic x y z.  I kind of suck, I guess.  I wouldn’t be where I’m at without a lot of people having been extremely patient with me.

Oh FYI quick plug, Nick has realized he can actually strength coach people remotely, to great effect.  He wasn’t sure, but his brother hit him up to help him get a 400 pound squat by his next birthday (Nick’s whole family can’t *not* be raging on athleticism, my god), and the method he evolved with videos and email/phone feedback about form and programming turned out to be highly effective.  He’s got a couple online clients going now but would like to have two or three more, probably $250/mo or so.  Feel free to message me or comment if you want to get in the crosshairs of the world’s best strength coach, regardless of your level.  He still keeps in touch with his deadlifting grannies.  They’re still raging too, despite their own original misgivings about barbell, the most vilified form of training because it’s actually effective and so doesn’t generate near the level of income and confusion of the “functional training” conspiracy.  Finding out that you can train for life movements by incrementally weighting those same life movements is a total revelation, for a population that’s been convinced by its doctors it needs to just lay down and die.

Okay, the day is occurring around me and I can feel my magical blog-time bubble slipping away.  Always a sad moment but full of other good things 🙂                                                                                             

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