Goodbye mind shoes

THERE’S a shoe on my roof. Who knows when it was, presumably, thrown there. But it sits atop the spouting looking out to the driveway and the units at the back. I noticed it a while ago, but I’d forgotten and as the dried work shirts were collected from the clothesline again I thought ‘there’s a shoe on my roof.

Sometimes it feels like random shoes inhabit my mind; thinking patterns and beliefs that I accept and don’t question. Then one day something changes or happens and it’s as if the shoe had been dislodged months ago. But my mind was still thinking as if it was there and so I was living in a shoe infested reality. I won’t mention the shoe again…promise.

On February 23 my blog included a few sentences about a guy who I thought was suck in my head. For the next month any contemplations of him were shut down. Then to see if I still cared I played with a little fire as it were and to my surprise there was a low care level. It was as if my habit of thinking about him, and my interest in him, was actually only on the mind’s surface and there was no deep desire feeding it. Here was me getting down because it seemed like an intense infatuation like those ones of old was afflicting me when most of it was a fabrication of my mind. Deep down stuff has happened and changed, but my mind hadn’t caught up with this yet.

A couple of weeks later there was a girl mentioned on here. At the time my thoughts were, ‘she would be great, I’m not ready…maybe I’ll never be ready’. So I was talking about it with a mate on the drive back to the country from my SSA group and he said ‘go for it’. ‘what?’ ‘I say go for it’. What he said was given some consideration by myself and it turned out that deep down I wasn’t as unready as I thought. Where the idea of romance would have scared me, perhaps an inkling of excitement was uncovered and a slight feeling of capability as a man. Again my mind was saying to me one thing, but by digging under the surface with a little prompting it turned out that wasn’t the full story. There’s still things I need to sort out within myself before I’m ready to pursue a woman, but a little bit of hope is inside me that I could, and succeed.

A week after this at the same table as me for a wedding reception was a lovely lady. Honestly I did look at her and think ‘nice’ not just for physical attractiveness, but also the way she carried herself. Then through her constant looking at me it seemed she was interested in me too. And that was kind of exciting when not so long ago it would have been frustrating. As I said, I’m not ready, so I tried not to reciprocate interest and hopefully didn’t seem like a prick.

All this was a week, two weeks ago. There’s been some porn and unhelpful thinking since, but it was a nice reminder that I’m changing and being changed. Not who I was; closer to who I’m becoming.

I feel like I’m not conveying this very well. These were almost profound realizations for me that sometimes my mind misleads me and tells me that I haven’t changed when I have. It’s reminded me again how important it is to think about my thinking and to ensure what my mind is telling me is correct. To make sure my thoughts and actions aren’t just thinking patterns of old that haven’t been destroyed by a new reality.

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These are the crazy times

I RODE over a snake on my pushbike on Tuesday; literally tyre rubber on black evil animal. I thought it was a twig until I zoomed over it. Luckily the 40cm long snake wasn’t in a chasing or striking mood. It just slithered its way into the grass after the altercation. In the past two years I have never seen a snake on that bike track, but in the past month I’ve seen two.

We had another earthquake yesterday. I was sitting in the office about 4.28pm and the walls shook for a few seconds and that was it. The first one was about three weeks ago and I was home alone. Same kind of thing with the house shaking. I thought that one was a big truck smashing into the big brick fence or something. But this time we all knew exactly what was happening. It’s different when your with other people. You all look at each other and your eyes say ‘what should we be doing?’ Both of the earthquakes were 4.6 on the Richter scale, so no damage, but plenty of frayed nerves. Everyone wonders if there’s going to be a massive one soon. Until a month ago I had never felt an earthquake in my life; now I’ve experienced two.

Also yesterday I went to a big national park, which forms the southernmost tip of mainland Australia. It’s about an hour and a bit from the office and I had to take some pictures of burnt trees as more than 25,000 hectares have been touched by fire in the last month and a half. I hadn’t been there since Year 9 camp. It’s a beautiful place and the fire has burnt quite randomly so there is green here and there as well as black and brown. In some places the whole area has been blackened; in others only the understory of bush is gone. I missed out on a helicopter ride to see the burnt areas from the air, but it looked pretty good from the ground as well. Nothing really crazy happened here, but it was different, and further away, to the kind of stories I usually do.

Undecided; then the girl

I’M not jealous of all the people going to Exodus in Obamaland later this year as Australia will have its very own take on the concept come June. It will be a retreat-style weekend somewhere around Sydney with “upwards of 30” guys from around Australia and possibly a couple from New Zealand according to an initial email I received last week.

So do I go? Or do I not? I was planning on flying up there mid-year anyway to see a mate, so I was thinking of just including the retreat dates in that holiday and then I could decide later about whether I attend. It will be another deferred decision among many that fit into the “maybe I will make a choice tomorrow” category. I looked at flights last week and if I had have booked then it would only cost about $200 return, which is $128.86 in American dollars. Not too bad at all. So money will have nothing to do with my decision; I mean I spent a few hundred on counselling.

When I first got the invite my thought was ‘okay, I’ll most likely be there barring unforeseen circumstances,’ but now I’m more undecided. Last September I went to another same sex attraction retreat weekend in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and overall I would say it was a good experience. My reflections straight afterwards, which I typed up for a forum as part of this group, were positive about it and well written – if I do say so myself. Even today, half a year later, I chew over the events of the weekend and what I learnt about myself and this issue. But it was weird as well. Not an unpleasant weird more an out of my depth kind of experience.

Do I ‘need’ to go? I’m not sure. I probably wouldn’t learn anything new from what was taught. But it would be an encouragement and a challenge. I would meet people I had never seen before and hear there stories and feel, again, like there was a brotherhood of fighters in this country. Do I ‘want’ to go? Yeah. It’s not going to cost much and its only three days. I think I would enjoy it and definitely the memories afterwards would be worth the effort. If it was a bad experience it would be a scratch not a scar. Flying for the first time in an aeroplane would be scary.

Change of topic. I met the girl. If I was straight I’m pretty sure it would have been instant love the moment, when we were discussing our favourite internet preachers, I said ‘I mainly listen to Matt Chandler’ and she said ‘the Village church.’ We then went to a bakery and she had a shepherd’s pie and I had an apple strudel and we chatted about life and theology. How awesome is it when you ask a chick what are her beliefs and she describes the gospel? I saw her on my way back from bike riding today and, yeah, she’s it. Chatty, happy, warm, friendly, intelligent and feminine. As a guy with high levels of same sex attraction I can see all this. From the look in her eyes I bet she’d be up for a date if I asked.

Dealing with SSA hurts in moments like this. ‘Cause there she is, And here I am feeling excited I met a cool person, but it’s mainly platonic. In the two weeks or so between talking to her I didn’t really think about her. Then I’m annoyed cause we could be good friends yet there is the issue it would no doubt go bad if she had feelings for me I couldn’t reciprocate. I know as well I should be seeking guy friends, because that is where real healing would happen. Yah yah yah.  

My happy place

IT’S weird how you can have something that has been a moderate part of your life you’ve never told anyone about. What I’m about to share I don’t think I have ever told anybody. There’s no good reason really; it’s just one of those things that doesn’t come up in conversation and due to its slightly embarrassing nature I don’t bring it up.

I have created a world in my head. Some people might play Civilization on their PC and preside over the creating and falling of nations, but for me the game is in my mind. (If you don’t get through the next 400 words my analysis is down the bottom.)

My world centres around the state of Albany in Australia. Australia in my head is a land of 20 states and a population of about 160 million. Albany is on the south-west tip of the nation and 10 years ago when I started this little world it had a population of 5.2 million. Today it has reached about 6.7 million I would guess, but it’s been a while since I actually did the calculations.

Albany is a great place. There are two main cities: Tuggeranong and Bright. Smaller cities include the beachside retirement haven of Lincoln, the boutique tourist town of Hinkler and the industrial mountain city of Atherton. More than half of the state is forested and the rest is fertile dairy cattle country. It has lots and lots of black coal and lots of power stations, which provide energy for other states that have been heavily influenced by the environmental movement and therefore have lots of useless wind turbines.

Tuggeranong is a city of around 2.9million. It is really a metropolitan area that is made up of about 15 mini-cities that exist between one of the world’s most impressive freeway systems. These little cities have names: West Tuggeranong, Anderson, Taylor’s Hill, Amberly, Camden, Lewis, Sanders etc. I had to look at a little map I made when I was bored a couple of years ago as my world has had a lot less attention recently then it used to get. In West Tuggeranong is the world renowned Albany State University and it includes a skyscraper city, called Chandler, for its thousands of students. Among the businesses headquartered in Tuggeranong are Australia West airlines, Tuggeranong Times newspaper, Channel Seven television network, Western Foods and their supermarket chain, Purity. The 100 member ‘house of the people’ and the State Government also meet in Tuggeranong.

When I have been interested in different things I have expressed it through this fantasy. When I was interested in television news I imagined that Channel Seven began a one hour newscast, which had a set format, and two anchors who set the world of television ratings alight. When it was politics I imagined a State Government that secured prosperity through development and moral leadership. If I liked aeroplanes I thought about Australia West or if supermarkets took my fancy I channeled it through Purity. Or if it was Christianity, Albany became a strongly evangelical place with thousands of churches and the main freeway was called “Christ our King Expressway”.

When I was at high school I would sometimes spend an hour or so after school riding my bike and thinking about stuff to do with this. Now occasionally I will think about an element of “Albany,” but it’s been a while as I was forgetting some of my names, which I used to know so well. Back in the early days I had to watch myself as my escapism was becoming a bit obsessive, but that hasn’t been the case in years.

Does this ‘world in my head’ make me a tad crazy? Was it just an escape during tough times? A way to create some happiness and control in a world that wasn’t my friend? Is it a sign of a mild autism spectrum disorder like aspergers? As I’ve never really examined it or talked about it with anyone I’m not sure.

My suggestion would probably be someone with a good imagination needed something more intensive then everyday life to use all his brain power and this was a good vehicle. It also tapped into some of his obsessive interests in different aspects of the world. This was my happy place as well. After a tough day of school it was a good escape. I’ve enjoyed thinking about this ‘world,’ but in five years time I’m pretty sure I will hardly ever think of Albany. My mind is full of other things now and that’s probably a good sign.