Who Dares, Wins

Today was a day. I’ve tried keeping a friendship with my ex. I’ve sent a few articles for her perusal. Today I sent an article about the story of Freya and the Brisingamen necklace. Part of me is bothered by Freya allowing herself to be touched, abused, by the dwarfs. I know there are deeper meanings here and I asked my ex for insight. In less than ten messages on the app she gets to the following point: You’re 45 and alone. I’m sure your Dad has put it together that you’re gay. (paraphrased)

An argument ensued. I wasn’t heard. In the end I decided that I couldn’t keep this friendship. So I said my farewell and blocked her. I wish her well.

The rest of the day had me in a funk. I’ve had a pretty good track record with amazing women that I’ve dated, and many of them are now dear friends of mine. They are the sort that I call when I need someone to talk to. They love me still (as friends) and I am grateful for them. But the last two women that I’ve dated have been quite intense. QUITE intense. I’ve opened up much for them. And in the end? They are people that I cannot associate with and do not trust. I question myself. Not only with, how could I have been so blind, but also, am I the one that is to blame?

I feel burnt. I feel foolish. I feel like not trusting anyone. I feel that nobody can truly be trusted. But there is worse…

Tonight I went to Panda Express. My fortune cookie was “Be daring, try something new”. I texted it to a friend who has been supportive of my bad days lately. She texted “how can we make that a tattoo?”, to which I replied “My life has been a dare”.

This is the crux of what has been bothering me for the past few weeks. I’ve dared, but so what. I’ve told people that the universe is indifferent, that it matters not that ill befalls anyone. Yet deep down, like everyone else, I want happiness. Tonight, as I drove home, I reflected on my life of dares.

I joined the Marines out of high school and travelled the world.

I got out in California, owned a 66 mustang, but had to go back to Arkansas due to poor adjustment to civilian life.

I dropped out of college in Arkansas to chase a woman I loved to Texas. It lasted less than two weeks. I was too different.

I dropped out of college in Houston to move to the Pacific Northwest to live closer to forests and environmental purpose. Months later I was hungry and left the cause to work jobs to pay bills. Years later I was still struggling to pick up the pieces.

I quit dropped out of college in Oregon to join the National Guard and deploy to Iraq. It took me years to readjust to life in a normal way and learn how to interact with people, particularly in relationships, again.

I completed my degrees in psychology and philosophy at Portland State, but years of travel, work stress, and readjustment of memory and attention after Iraq, all affected my GPA. I’m finding it difficult to get into grad school.

I work various jobs that at first seem like important callings (resilience program, veteran services) but in the end I can’t really say what good I did. Well, there are a few people that I’ve helped from being suicidal. But overall, it isn’t a career and employment has, again, had its ups and downs.

I don’t date people for the sake of dating, to fill a spot. But if I meet someone where there is a spark I go all in. This, it seems, has been a mistake lately.

There are other dares, but those are some of the highlights. The end result? I am 45. I am alone. When I have work I am vigilant on paying all of my bills and obligations. When I don’t have work, I can’t. Result? Currently shit for credit after spending years building it back up. I let my cats be neglected (one was killed) by one recent ex. The other I had to give away. I was unable to protect them from her. I look around me and all I have to show for a life are some shelves of books.

Who dares, wins. What have I won? I’ve always had a solid faith that in the end things will work out, just keep pushing forward, keep leaning into it. But currently I’m drinking a whiskey in a solitary apartment. I don’t want to call my friends because I’ve pestered them enough the past few weeks. I’m sure they’re tired of the bullshit.

My optimism, right now, is near empty. It is a sobering thought to know that one is a waste.

I’ve got one lifeline that I’m holding onto. I tell myself that I’m not the first, last, only person to feel this way. This area of no hope, no feeling of control, of futility. This is the area that I had hoped to address in the book that I’m writing. What is it that matters here? What affects changes within? What fosters this tiny, dying spark of hope?

Spem semper habemus



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