Maturing to the point where one says,”Screw it.”

I try to be genuine to myself. I try to be true to who I am, and to my beliefs. This wasn’t always the case.

When I was younger, I wanted to be accepted and fit in (I think a lot of us did). As a person with a dis-ability, I think this was doubly so. Although my friends in the project, never excluded me; I may not have been first chosen, but I was included (Reflecting back on this time, I only ever felt bad about being picked last, or almost last, but I shrugged it off).

This need for acceptance and to fit in only worsened as I hit my teens, but it became more subconscious; more ingrained, so much so that I never gave it a second thought.

I finally shook it in my forties (I know, that’s a long time, but I am pig-headed and, obviously, slow to learn – I guess some behaviours are slow to change even the self-destruction ones). It’s strange, how as one ages one cares less about what other people think. I still want to feel accepted, but I won’t be bought, I won’t be used, and I won’t lessen myself, or change myself in order to be accepted by another person. It has taken me a long time, and a lot of hard lessons, to reach a place where I can live an authentic life where I can be who I am just as I am and be true to my beliefs.

I wish to be accepted by everyone I meet, but now I know that isn’t going to happen. I take it as the other person’s lost and not mine (This is probably not the best attitude to take, but it serves me, and helps me not fall back on the needy person I was). My attitude today is either accept me as I am, or not at all; the greatest “Screw it” attitude. I realize I am a decent and good person. I like to believe I treat others well, or at least I try to treat others well. I like to believe I am a good friend to my friends with each providing mutual support and love.

So yeah, I have reached a part of my life where I like who I am, where I want others to respect me for me, and where I don’t give a hoot what others think (for the most part, I still listen to advice from friends), and where I pick my friends more carefully and where that friendship provides mural support and love.

My friends are the best part of me. They always have my back and I hope they know I have their back.
—Robert Confiant 28 August 2018

I no longer do religion

I grew up strict Roman Catholic. I was pretty “goody, goody” as a kid growing up. The first time I swore was when I was in Grade 7, and I did so on a dare. I remember it clearly. There were only a handful of boys in the classroom with me and they kept promoting me to swear, which I did. I said, “Fuck off,” but it was merely stated. There was no emotion behind it.

In my late teens and early twenties, I thought of entering the seminary. I attended church numerous times a week. After I hit thirty and then completed university, this desire to attend the seminary only intensified. I started to attend church daily and sought to complete the two philosophy courses I required in order to apply for the seminary. I even started researching and corresponding with religious orders and the diocese of Toronto. Around this time my brother had died, my dad was dying, another family member was fighting cancer. My father passed away and then my mother got sick; this was the first of my doubts in God. Also, I began to question my religious education and teachings. I began to disagree with the church on its stance on homosexuality, women’s issues – their role within the church (priesthood opt), abortion teachings, and its stance on married priest and celibacy (I believe they should make this optional). I guess the final straw that broke, which caused me to question my faith, were the horrendous reports of sexual abuse by priests coming out of Ireland, some states in the US, and Newfoundland. I ceased going to church.

Losing my religion

Funny thing though, I never stopped believing in God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit. I continued to pray.

At the age of 40, I came out, and with the churches stance on gays, church was history. I attempted to go back. First, I attended the United Church, and then Presbyterian Church. I am not sure why I ceased attending church altogether, nor have I really quested why. Perhaps this was because I had my faith. I realized I did not need to attend church.

I was watching online some of the victims of child molestation by priest from the latest report coming from Pennsylvania when a Bible verse came to mind:

“No longer will they teach neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,”
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.”
Heb 8:11 (NIV)

Actually, the recall was from the previous verse:

“… I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”
Heb 8:10 (NIV)

I believe the abuse and the residential school issues are indications that the institution of the church is dead. The church is done (The residential school issue, in case you are not familiar, was a series of boarding schools for indigenous peoples founded by the Canadian government and ran by churches for assimilating indigenous children into Canadian culture. Many children attending these schools were physically, emotionally and spiritually abused). It’s leaders no longer have the moral authority to guide or teach people. Does this mean that the spiritual body, which is the true church, is likewise decease? Of course not, I believe we the church, it’s people, have arrived at the moment where the church, as an institution, has concluded and we are the cusp where Christ will be found from within in our contemplation and from within our hearts.

I for one believe and I don’t require attending a building to prove it.
—Robert Confiant 25 August 2018

Footnotes:
1) Canadian Indian residential school system, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Indian_residential_school_system
2) Catholic Church sexual abuse cases, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_sexual_abuse_cases
3) Bible verses, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+8-10&version=NIV

Some of the saddest people in the world are those one would never suspect

Some of the saddest people in the world are those one would never suspect.

faces

Marc Maron and Jim Norton have spoken of their depression. Marilyn Monroe, John Belushi, Chris Farley and Greg Giraldo all died of drug overdoses. Robin Williams, Kurt Cobain, and, more recently, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain committed suicide.

One can never really know what a person is feeling, how one is doing. We are all good at presenting ourselves to others. The ‘me’ I show others is what I wish to portrait. No one wants to know our real selves. One does not express their deep secrets to strangers. One would scare others away if you told of your demons on first contact. No, one waits until others have accepted one.

I suffer from depression from time to time. These periods are few and getting fewer. Depression is no longer the prevailing aspect of my life. I only have my bouts with depression, and thankfully, it is not too longer encompassing to me as it once had. I can deal with them. I have learnt how to overcome these dark phases (I do the opposite of what I feel to help me pass through these periods. For example, I go out instead of staying in, socializing instead of isolating myself, I stay in the now and try not to fret about the past or the future, I don’t bottle things in but write or talk about how I am feeling or doing. I have come to accept myself both the good and the bad. I remind myself that no one is perfect, that everyone has something they are battling. These help me to cope.

I cannot judge others. No one know the struggles someone is dealing with. The one thing about depression that those who have never experienced it is that it can be all consuming. The darkness and despair are real – in the moment – they are real. It is everything. It is all consuming. It is difficult for one experiencing depression to see hope; all one feels is despair and loneliness.

If you are suffering, I plead you to seek help.
—Robert Confiant 10 June 2018

 

Perusing bookstores – a dying art form

I am reading a real book – a paperback. I haven’t read a real book for quite a while. The book feels good between my fingers. As I turn each page, listening to the page flip, smelling the tangy, slightly mildew scent of the paper bring me back to those younger days of yesteryear when I would shop in second-hand bookstores.

cat on book

Once, a long time ago, I spent many an hour perusing old bookstores sometimes I still do. There was never any particular book I was searching for. I went there simply because I happened to walk by the old bookstore.

I will miss them when they are no more.
—Robert Confiant 4 June 2018

I could ride transit all day

I must be strange, but I could ride transit all day., so that I may write.

translink bus

I can write on transit. It doesn’t matter how loud, or how crowded it gets. I can still write. I am not too sure how I accomplish this feat. One would think that transit would be the worst place to try to write.
When I wrote my first book, I wrote the outline while travelling on transit. I also write these many blog posts, short story outlines, some poetry and verse, all while navigating the streets either on the bus, or SkyTrain.

Somehow, I get into this zone where all I concentrate on is writing in Evernote. I manage to ignore what is happening around me.

Perhaps it’s because I am stuck in one place with nothing to do. Maybe it’s because I don’t have anything else to distract me from my writing. I am sure this is the reason why I write so well on transit.

At home, there are lots of distractions: There is Terra (my cat), reading, watching the news, surfing the web on YouTube, Facebook, Google, or Mah-jongg, or Solitaire gaming.

Other Sudoku, and my headphones, there is not much to distract me from my writing. So yeah, I can write on the bus. Maybe the next few transit trips I will try to complete the outline of the next book. Yeah, maybe I will try to complete the next outline. Yes, I believe I will.

If that works out, then I think I’ll take to riding transit all day.
—Robert Confiant 9 May 2018

Every other Monday

Every fort Monday is hell. One co-worker is off and the other is out on inspections, while I am left to hold the fort: I have to answer the phones, answer questions from the clerk’s at the front, and handle email and fax (I know right) enquiries. It can get stressful.
I no longer drink alcohol at home (new rule), but this week is going to be extremely busy, and in the past, I would have a drink or two after work to help me unwind. I am not feeling too stressed out currently, so I don’t need to have a drink. It’s getting easier to leave stuff behind when I exit the building.
I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. For the most part, work isn’t too bad. We have a decent team where everyone works hard, and actually has the “team thing” down pact. It’s just an insanely busy period with special projects and the regular day-to-day chores to complete.
It could be worst.
-Robert Confiant 8 May 2018

Keep moving

Keep moving

A little over two years ago, when I was experiencing a lot of pain in my legs, I went to visit Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia to discuss the topic: Aging and Cerebral Palsy (there wasn’t a lot of information about growing old with CP, and there wasn’t a lot of research on the topic). I figured CPABC would probably be a good place to start.

While there, I spoke with a woman who once was mobile like myself, but who now found herself wheelchair bound (she must have been about ten years younger than myself). She gave me some advice, “Keep moving,” she said, “Always keep moving.”
At the time, I said, “I take transit; I have no other options than to ‘keep moving.’”

What I said was true to a point, but it was not the complete truth. Because of the pain I was experiencing, and because I was falling down a lot, I only walked as much as I needed to in my everyday life activities. I stopped moving regularly. I stopped working out at the gym, I stopped walking (I would hop on the bus just to go a few stops). I wasn’t moving.

This winter was no exception. I pretty much hibernated this winter. I rarely went outside other than to work and back. I never pushed myself to move more. I used the weather as an excuse to not go out. I was pathetic (and this is the truth). As a result, I gained all the weight back, which I had previously lost). It wasn’t until I got disgusted with myself that I finally acted on it.

I gave up drinking beer at home, and I am cutting down on junk food at work (and somewhat at home, if I am truly being honest). I have also started to walk more. This isn’t easy. I am terribly out of shape and I require to stop half-way to my destination just to catch my breath. It’s pathetic really, but it is a start, and this is what I need to focus on that it’s a clean start. I am not walking fast, so when friends asked to walk with me; I turn them down, because I either can’t keep pace, or I need to rest.

My goal this week, I plan on walking home from the Skytrain. I told my other half that I would be home later than usual because I plan to walk from the station. I won’t be doing my “Toronto walk.” If I did that, then the walk would kill me; New Westminster has a lot of hills and from the station most of the trip is uphill, or on a rising slant, so I will be taking things nice and easy.

It’s a new plan. It’s about change, and I am all about changing if I improve myself: Never stop learning, and never stop self-improvement.
—Robert Confiant 6 May 2018 Continue reading “Keep moving”