Human Relationships: The Crowd and The Individual

Here’s to my latest encounter with inter-sex relationships. It’s a new year for me and I’m already off to an interesting start. The latest thing that I have done to increase my chances of being called weird is send a girl named Lily, whom I’ve never met, pearls. For those of you who have become familiar with my weirdness (from my book and other writings), it probably does not come to you as much of a surprise (if it is “surprising” at all). You  already know the things I can do to break boundaries and stimulate thought. I’ve done it before and will do it again. Just a reminder: I’m the guy who sent a girl, after like 2 weeks of talking to her, roses with the French phrase “C’est la vie et l’amour”; I’m also the guy who sent bouquets to a girl before meeting her (and then some). I like to do things my way.

In all of this, I have taken as my mantra “choose yourself” rather seriously. You see, most people today allow society or somebody else to create their version of reality. I’m not fond of that and so I “rebel” in a nice way against “the herd” (Nietzsche) and I stand in opposition to “the crowd” (Kierkegaard)–which merely serve five-course meals of “untruth.” People, as a whole, have been getting brain washed for years now. Especially in post-modern America. From the gibberish music people listen to, to the stupid videos people watch, there are only a select few individuals expressing their “will to power” (Nietzsche) through such “mass media” efforts. In other words, only a limited few people (those who control media) are expressing and “choosing” themselves. They want porn in PG movies, so be it; they want sex in every song on radio, so be it; they want homosexuality to be approved by society, so be it. They run the world and most people participate in “the crowd” mentality: brainwashed, not thinking for themselves, supporting others, ignoring their own unique souls, forgetting the superiority of “the individual,” etc. Such is the state of modern society.

Oh well.

I’ve chosen to write my own version of my life. And it’s quite strange, really. For all of you coming to my writings from this modern perspective (saturated in “the herd” mentality), I doubt you’ll understand my emphasis on “the individual.” So go back to watching Oprah and eating Bon-Bons–stop reading gibberish you will never understand! My main concern with my life has been to live the unique life. Of course society had left its mark on me (I cannot deny that). But my life stands in opposition to those who want to control my ability to choose freely. I believe in the unique status of every human being. I reject all categories and all attempts at synchronizing people to the drumbeat of modern culture (which is a denigration of humanity). All that matters in this life is personal responsibility. It doesn’t matter what Obama says or what Americans think. So much of our people have been fed nothing but gibberish ideas. The scientific had become the humane. What a paradox! People have sold their souls to worship some elite group of individuals spreading their “individuality” and imposing their ideals on others. The scientific method, with all of its emphasis on “the elite” and “democracy” has become implanted into our minds as the “norm” for human interactions. In science, scientists don’t care about “the individual”; all they care about is whether their “findings” coincide with others’ findings (democracy). All they care about is what “the mass” says. If scientists in Israel discover that a certain antibiotic destroys a certain bacteria, and such research is empirically confirmed in the United States, that becomes “the truth.” Such scientific reasoning had been transposed upon us, the people. We have been duped into thinking that what works for science must work for human relationships. We have been willfully deceived into thinking that democracy and outside confirmation must also work for human relationships. How so? For example, if I am planning to send a girl flowers on the first date–let us suppose that there are 50 deep red Russian roses–I am forced to ask myself the democratically scientific question: what would the “crowd” think? I lose my own identity and sell my soul to the devil in this wild transaction. Instead of asking myself what I think and what the girl thinks, I think about what “the crowd” thinks. How foolish! Science cannot but endanger our species when it comes to relationships.

Out of this mess must arise that single individual.

That single individual must submit to him/herself. That single individual, with all of his or her raw emotions, must submit to no one else but him/herself. All that matters for human existence is the subjective world. The scientific objective world is not meant for human beings. We are not rational creatures in our human relations. We are far from that. We are covenantal creatures. We are bound by faith and by chance. We don’t know anything objectively about “the other” (i.e., the spouse or close friend). We only create constructs of other human beings that may or may not reflect the actual historical individual. Most constructs are subjective and therefore outside the claws of science. Most constructs are built upon emotions and faith.

The reason why Americans are some of the most depressed individuals in the world is because they are not “individuals.” Americans have long lost their individuality. They have substituted true individuality with a false individuality so-called. What they have done is lost their individual status and have become mere socially-controlled narcissists (which many perceive as a form of “individuality”). We, as a people, have allowed the elite few to dupe the masses. We were served songs written by people like Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears and have allowed them to speak to us and have allowed them to take away pieces of our individuality. Instead of creating ourselves in relationship to God, we have created ourselves in relationship to some human being (Spears, Cyrus, etc.). The only thing “individualistic” about American people is that we were raised to ignore family. That’s not “individuality”; that’s selfishness and carelessness. There is nothing existentially grand about caring only about yourself and not about others. By individuality, I mean something along the lines of “authenticity.” If a human being feels like writing a song about God, they should not be forced by “the media” to write a song about sex (Britney Spears recently said in an interview that her song’s”Work Bitch” music video was sexual because the producers wanted it to be sexual/lewd; she allegedly wanted it to be less so, but couldn’t assert her individuality [i.e., be authentic to herself] because of the pressure from the elite idiots).

Now, back to my story. I, as a subjective human being, bound by time and rendered helpless and weak by faith, have decided to assert myself and live a life rather authentic. I predicted that human beings tend to fall into two categories: “the individual” and “the crowd.” People lean towards one or the other, generally speaking. Most women I have dealt with tend to be a part of “the crowd.” I believe it is because women tend to act more socially acceptable than men. This is not necessarily an outright “bad” thing, it is merely my own anecdotal observation, and it is merely the way things appear to be. Being a part of the majority gives a lot of women a sense that they are “interdependent.” I would argue that it is a false sense of interdependence, but I will do that some time later. Being a part of the crowd makes people feel like they belong. This makes sense. Most people, along with women in general, fall into this rhythm and rhyme. Feminist philosophers and ethicists have rightly argued that women generally observe an “ethics of care” philosophy which is built upon human interdependence. Human interdependence is a good thing. The problem that I am seeing in it is actually a corruption of interdependence. What many think is interdependence is actually not. A woman who loses her individuality in order to please the crowd and feel welcomed and “interdependent” is participating in what I would label “hypocritical interdependence.” Thus this would mean that I am not against interdependence, I am against humans who have sold their individuality in order to appear interdependent. Most “bad” people fall into this hypocritical category and try as much as possible to lose themselves in order to assimilate to society. A true “ethics of care” should accept human beings for who they are. People who care about others should care about others as they really are. This is my argument. But what does it mean to be “as we really are”? We have now come full-circle. We need to assert our individuality. If we want to be interdependent (contra American narcissistic so-called “individualism”), we must first begin by authenticating ourselves by asserting our own selves in relationship to God. After this can we only begin integrating with others in meaningful relationships. Once we have exposed our souls, so to speak, then can other people love us and relate to us for who we really are. This is the beauty of existential human relationships.

And, once more, we are back to me.

I’ve sent Lily pearls because I like to be true to myself. I don’t really care what the crowd thinks. Neither am I concerned about interpretations of my actions. I must be taken on my own terms. I, as a human being, must be encountered on my own terms. For those who wish to understand me, they must first encounter me. If they impose societal restraints upon my actions and reinterpret my individuality in light of what society as a whole thinks, I (the individual) would have been lost and obscured by “the crowd.” I don’t want that. Neither do I want myself to treat others in such a fashion. What is important for me is to be a good person and to be true and authentic. Instead of serving platters of false lies, I’d rather give you the uncontaminated subjective truth.

I do  not think that Lily will understand any of my actions (and I could never expect someone I’ve never met to do so). All that must be said is that I, the individual, must never detach myself from myself. I must always remain true and authentic. She probably did not like the pearls and that is okay with me. So long as I was being myself. If she doesn’t like me for me, then she doesn’t like me. In all my relationships, I have remained true to myself. I do not wish to be assimilated neither do I wish to be called a hypocrite. I doubt she will ever write back but, as I have already written elsewhere, all is an act of faith and all of our actions must be sacrificed to God. Only in the Abrahamic leap of faith, can a man truly live freely. Yes, we most certainly will be hurt along the way, but we will never regret our lives nor our actions.

by Moses Y. Mikheyev

author of Rants on Love: Philosophical Fragments of a Dying Romance

Why I Will Not Write Back: An Exploration of Faith in Relationships

This is going to be a horribly honest writing, and I am not sure what the results will be. People will either think I’m crazy or they will think I’m crazy. Either/or, I will be crazy. So why not? Here I am offering up myself to the public again. I really don’t like making myself vulnerable, but it is what it is. Whether the girl—or should I call her my muse?—reads this or not probably will not matter, since most women with whom I have any sort of correspondence with lose their interest in me after (usually) two weeks. Okay, so this one is for her—that girl who will never read my writings. That girl whom I will make famous one day when I’m dead and people read this. Well, they won’t know her name but I have my ways. I am encoding it into this paper as I write this. Her name in its entirety. I’ll let future generations decipher this.

Like most men, I am normally heavily invested in my ladies. Very much so. I like to know everything about them before I approach them. At first, all my initial attractions are very reason-driven: does she enjoy things you enjoy? is she interested in your pursuits? are you interested in helping her in her pursuits? So much of my initial love is logically coherent. There is no “faith” involved—I give it no room. Most relationships are like that—actually, all are like that: we start from reason and move towards faith. A husband who lives with a wife for a number of years will first use reason to establish that his wife is not committing adultery. Then he will move into faith as he holds on to that which he first knew and/or experienced. A woman who reasonably could not commit adultery will not leave a man faithless in the end. So I, too, move from reason to faith in my relationships.

I have always been somewhat of a “clingy” guy in virtually all of my relationships. Like most men, I focus my energies on the object of my pursuit. Moreover, I also have a one-track mind when it comes to initial attraction. I waste no time in trying to absorb as much information as I can about a particular girl that has caught my eye. I normally spend several weeks trying to talk to her and figure her out. I will usually try to be interesting and stay interested in her. I have trouble sometimes with making other people sound interesting in comparison to me simply because my personality is one that is weird and interesting enough that it makes all other personalities look uninteresting and rather boring. That’s not to say that I am a bad guy when it comes to relationships, it’s just that you realize really fast that not everyone can do what you’re doing. When talking to a girl, for example, it may be hard for a girl to sound interesting to me—in her own eyes—by telling me she likes to sing when I could reply that I’m recording my next album with Taylor Swift. In some ways, what you accomplish in life is actually going to (potentially) destroy you and work against you. I have recently talked to one girl who later confessed to me. She said that in her dialogue with me, anything she did, I did better. I didn’t take that as a compliment—and she hardly meant it to be taken in that way—but as a critical statement. She felt that my presence was a threat to her survival in some ways. Instead of seeing intelligence as an asset (or whatever you want to call it), she viewed me as a threat. And, frankly, I felt bad for myself but more for her: she was the one who was making other people look bad for no practical reason! (All this time I never pontificated my accomplishments or anything like that, so she had no real ground to build her case on.) I was, in her eyes, “the enemy” simply because she thought that I was “better” (whatever that means). I learned not to take such things personally.

Learning to live with yourself is quite a difficult process—one spends an entire lifetime doing it. I have tried my best to live with myself and I have tried to accommodate to others whenever possible. Despite all that, most people do not see me as a threat to them. I, personally, am terrified of threatening anybody simply with my personality! On the contrary, I have a personality that generally inclines me towards helping others whenever I can. I prefer to be the helping hand in society—whether that is done by writing essays on improving marriage and romance or simply by physically helping someone does not matter to me. (I try to do all.) Now, back to my original point: when I meet a girl I like, I normally spend days reciting potential dates with her. I mean, I’ve just met the girl and am in the process of figuring out if I like her, but in that very moment, I am entertaining the idea of courting her, potentially.

You see, people like me are strange for a number of reasons, but most importantly, I am way too future-oriented. I live in the future. I may be here with you now, but my thoughts are 10 years from now. And I believe that is both a good thing and a bad thing. It is good because it allows me to see my life as a narrative (which allows me to focus on the “big picture” in life). The bad thing is that it steals so much of my time and steals away my actual life. Moreover, most of that which I dream about and create never happens. Like the things I am imagining right now. I am sitting at a café and in walks this gorgeous girl. She looks at the title of the book that I am reading and is immediately interested in the man reading the book. Moments later, she finds out that the man reading the book is the author himself, so she is momentarily swept off her feet and wants to know what inspired me to write certain passages. We fall into a passionate discussion and before long it seems that we have really understood each other. Well, that’s just one of my many fantasies. I could go on and on with them…

People realize at some point that life is to be lived moving forward and to be understood by looking backward, to paraphrase Kierkegaard. You see, I have trouble with always focusing ahead of me. Light years ahead, I should say. I meet someone and am immediately analyzing, logically, whether or not she and I would be compatible 5 years from now on when I’m writing my dissertation. Would she put up with a husband who is in school full-time? People like me are sometimes stuck living a life that doesn’t exist outside of our heads. But that’s not what this paper is about.

On the contrary, this paper is about faith. Once your rationality stops; once that girl that you like—and really sense you “get”—has been over-analyzed, you come to a halt in your research. We all do.

Like it or not, you are no longer operating according to reason. Love is not reason. It may be initiated by reason, but nothing more.

You see, I have this horrible habit of writing people letters and messages and stuff. Don’t we all? I do this and hope for the best. I always do. I have this uncanny ability of being content with all that I do, in some strange way. I am content when I talk to a girl and later find out that she was a horrible person. I just am content with my decisions. Whether I talk to a certain girl or not does not matter; either/or, I probably will regret both decisions. (Thus far I have “regretted” all my previous relations to the opposite sex.) But I don’t spend days mulling over things like that. I spend my days fantasizing the future. If I am in the process of ending a relationship, I look at all the things I had learned about the girl, I look at all of the things I had taught the girl (whether or not they were of any existential value), I look at life in its entirety. Then I tell myself: This too shall pass. Whether I marry this person or not does not matter, what matters is what I do to this person in this single act of my life and whether I learn more about myself from this other person. That’s all.

Virtually all of my relations had revolved around my gibberish words. I have a habit of using words a lot. I write lyrics for songs (with hidden messages—aimed at certain women of course!), I write essays, I write books, I write an awful lot. All of this writing revolves around my ability to use words. I like words. Moreover, I try to communicate as much as I can with words. I don’t like to do things super personally, only with very close friends. An intimate lover may get a whole lot of my personal words too!

Anyhow, the point is this: I use language/words as a tool to communicate. I have also obtained this horrible habit, from Kierkegaard, for basing my life and works and actions on faith. A whole lot of faith. I am as you, my dear readers, already know, quite fond of faith. I believe virtually everything is an act of faith. Love is an example of faith at its best.

You see, once you figure out whether you and another girl are compatible with each other, you pretty much go into the flames of faith. I have become quite fond of this girl that I have recently been communicating with. She is a very interesting person on several levels. Now, to keep her identity safe, I will not dissertate much about her life and goals. Needless to say, she is quite lovely. I have spent several weeks now talking to her off and on and I think our characters may have something in common; that is, she may be able to tolerate me as a human being in intimacy. We have, in some respects, much common ground to stand on.

And it is for this reason that I have chosen to take an Abrahamic leap of faith. I have this awful tendency to write people. I can’t help myself. And so, because I knew that I kinda-sorta liked this girl, I decided to take a leap of faith and give her completely up. I deleted all of my connections to her—burned all of my bridges, so to speak—and have erased all information tying me to her. I am, currently, unable to reach her in any way. I’ve done this to myself for several reasons, some which I can make public but probably will not—at least not at this very moment. I did this because I believe in faith. In giving everything up to chance. Kierkegaard suggested via the pseudonym “A” that in order to find pleasure, people should receive letters and leave them unopened for three days. During the three-day-period people should imagine what the letters contain. Why? Because there is more pleasure to be found in imagining the contents of the letter than in the letter itself.

I have received this “letter.” It has come from her. I have deleted all access to her so that, now, I could not remain anxiously restless about what could be in reality. While I sit and wait for her to write me—wait, but I am not waiting for her to write me. I have done away with that. What I am doing is simply imagining the contents of our letter: what we could say to each other if we meet, what we could like about each other or dislike… Everything is possible right now. It can all turn out well or it can all end up nowhere. Having my sort of obsessive personality is not good for the average human being; one has to learn how to deal with it somehow. I deal with it by burning bridges. I burn everything and let go. Why? Because I have a tendency to care and worry too much about what could be. I worry about other people and this is why I do not become attached. Attachment was not made for me. Well, in theory, too many attachments are detrimental to my health, to say the least. By letting go, I make it easier for me to continue existing. This does not make me perfect, it only points out my flaws. However, it can be useful, too.  With my personality, this means that I am a relatively “loyal” person; I tend to have few close friends, since they consume so much of my time. I am a quality versus quantity type of person—I focus on the quality. I don’t have many relations, neither do I seek out a multitude of meaningless and superficial so-called (modern) friendships. I am too covenantal for that. I like contractual friendships and love. Something that is more existentially appealing. Everything is in the hands of faith right now. You may believe that I am the only one that is relying on faith—but all acts of love rely on faith.

It takes faith to believe that the person you love will, in some ways, love you back. It takes faith to believe you will share another day with the person you love. It takes faith to believe that you will not divorce. It takes faith to wake up every day and claim to love another human being who is constantly changing and growing as an individual (in communal relationship to you, of course). It takes faith to believe that you will someday have children together. It takes faith to believe that love between you and your spouse exists; only eyes that have faith in love can actually see and believe in love. As Isaiah  once remarked, “Unless you believe, you will not understand” (7:9), so it is with those who love. Unless they themselves love (and believe faithfully in it), they will never “see” love. All of my life has been an act of faith. I am alive today and typing because, whether God willed it or not, of faith. Chance. I am one heart attack, one car accident, away from death. And yet, I walk in faith. I have faith that love exists and this is my tale told faithfully.

12/1/2013

Where Art Thou, Humanity?

Life asks of us at least two things: we must seek to understand ourselves and we must seek to understand others. As an existentialist, who writes most of his writings from a thoroughly subjectivist perspective, I have a lot to say about what I think of others. However, what I think of others is almost always wrong and is merely a construct of my subjective worldview. I’ve been dealing with other people for a while now and I have had the pleasure of seeing relationships come and relationships go. What never ceases to amaze me is my subjectivity. But even here, I recognize what others think and what others most likely are from an objectivist perspective. Nonetheless, I choose my own subjective worldview and look at people how I truly see them. Objectively speaking, many of us could hate or love one another. But most relationships aren’t objective. That’s the problem with human existence. When a father raises a daughter, she is the apple of his eye. What he sees in her nobody else sees. His love for her is multitudes stronger than his love for virtually anything else; it pails in comparison. The father doesn’t objectively evaluate his daughter and then determines how to respond to her in existential relationships. He looks at her from his holistic subjective worldview and chooses to love her. He sees all that is good in her and hopes that all that is bad would soon be eradicated and fixed. Such is the subjectivist perspective on relationships.

From a subjective perspective, a girl that I’ve recently communicated with hurt me. She doesn’t know about it and she never will. But she has. And I don’t blame her. At all.

You see, she isn’t an existentialist, so she is not under our ethical obligations. She is not forced to see her subjectivity in relationship to others. She is free, so to speak, to think whatever she may think, be it right or wrong. Apparently, she is an avid lover of football. Now, in and of itself, this means nothing. It is an objective fact and people can do whatever they want with facts. But she loves football nonetheless. She values it more than she values her relationship to me. She, of course, is completely unaware of anything and she never will be – since I keep to myself and do not like to expose my subjective feelings and impose my own thoughts upon others. This is why I prefer to write about my thoughts rather than express them directly. I almost always use indirect communication in relationships. Except in my most intimate ones. She is under no obligation to write me at all. She is free to do whatever she wants. From her own perspective, she could even deny my existence. But that would do nothing to my subjective worldview. It would still exist. My feelings about our modest relationship would still exist and my thoughts about her would still be very much present in the aches and pains of my daily life.

She has chosen football over me.

For me, this is quite a horrible thing to do. For me. However, even I recognize that for her it means nothing. She is not obligated to place herself in a relationship with me. From a subjectivist point of view, I recognize that she is a good person. Neither do I attribute these actions to her objective existence. These actions of “hers” are mine and mine alone. They belong to me. My construct of her belongs to me.

I cannot ever blame her for anything. The fact that she ignores me at times or the fact that she values football over time spent with me never crosses her naive mind.

But it is in this very moment – this subjective existential crisis – that she loses me. She loses me as an individual. And I, too, sadly lose her.

All this time, as I’ve stated before, I do not in any way impose these subjective feelings upon her. She is upright and remains free of blemish. The blemish itself is I.

I don’t blame her for spending her Sundays watching football instead of with me.

I don’t blame her at all.

What I do is merely ponder my own feelings. Oh well, such is life.

It’s been several weeks now and I understand her trying to maintain her distance.

I respect it as an objectivist.

But the real I – the real subjective human being – is broken and crushed.

Of Kisses, Roses, and Pearls: “Anticipation of the Event Exceeds the Pleasure of the Event Itself”

I remember a time when I was nineteen years old. I fell madly in love with this girl whom I met only twice before. I met her once at a friend’s house, where she listened to me play Romanza on my Spanish guitar; I also met her once at a New Year’s party. She sat right next to me and listened carefully to the movement of every finger against every string on that guitar. When I finished playing for the night–in that dark and cozy corner of the dim-lit room–she leaned in closer and told me how beautiful the guitar playing was and how much she enjoyed it.
A few months later I would see this same girl at a New Year’s party that our church held and I would fall in love at first (err, second) sight with her. It was instant.
One of my professors, Jerry Sittser, told me about his first wife (he lost her along with his mother and baby daughter in a tragic car accident). He recalled a time when he and his friends were gathered around in a circle and talking about something mundane at the college campus. His future wife was standing in the crowd too. Jerry recalled how somebody shouted from a distance “Sittser!” He looked up in the direction of the shout and along the way his eyes caught a hold ofher. And everything changed. He recalls how in that particular moment, she was no longer just a somebody. He knew she was going to be his wife.
I probably had a similar moment–though it was not to be.
We began writing each other letters back and forth. We would talk on the phone sometimes too. She ended up going on a missionary trip to the Ukraine and I was at home running my father’s repair shop (as he was in jail at the time due to his alcoholism and DUIs). During the time she was there, I spent my days working, writing her and daydreaming about what could be. I envisioned everything. More than I can put to paper right now or even recollect. We spent eight long months writing one another while she was away. They were eight very long months.
You see, I am a very restless person by nature. I simply cannot sit still and wait around for life to occur. I am a very active person in my life. Those eight months nearly killed me. I remember restless nights hoping for a response if there wasn’t one. I wanted so much and I got so little.
At some point I became disillusioned with our relationship and I did something stupid. I can no longer remember what it was, but it wasn’t anything grand–just something minor, as far as I can recall.
So on her eighteenth birthday, I decided to do something romantic as a sign of appreciation of her and as a request at reconciliation.
I bought Hershey’s Kisses and I took eighteen of them apart. I then replaced all of their white strips of paper with my own on which I wrote out “eighteen reasons to forgive me on your eighteenth birthday.” It was cute and that’s how I wanted it to be.
She responded positively–though I later learned that she only did so because her mother liked me too much and pressured her to do so.
That was when I was nineteen. That was the season of the kisses, if you will.
Later in life I met a girl who loved philosophy and Soren Kierkegaard. We met in Portland and I was instantly drawn to her. We immediately fell into a good conversation about whether Kierkegaard was right in leaving Regine Olsen. We talked about Kantian ethics. We talked about Jesus. Gosh, we talked about virtually everything important in my life. I spent several weeks talking to her and at some point I realized that she was no longer interested in me. So I decided to do something quite interesting. I figured that she knew about my love for Kierkegaard, so I thought that if I joked around with her romantically, she would understand my jokes. She didn’t. I sent her flowers with a note reading “C’est la vie et l’amour.” Of course, she knew French better than I did and she should have understood my rather obnoxious and joking intentions. Oh well.
Still later, I was recommended a girl that was tall and beautiful. One of my friends said she would be a good match for me, so I decided I would do something memorable. I obtained her address prior to meeting her and sent her a large bouquet of flowers. (I sent them anonymously, and I am sure she was dying to find out who had sent them!) I then appeared about a week later at her best friend’s wedding and performed an acoustic set where I sung “You and Me” by Lifehouse. My intention was to approach her and see if I liked her after the wedding. I was thinking that if I liked her and if she liked me I would be able to play it cool and then announce that I had sent the flowers. Unfortunately, I chickened out and never did it. So that didn’t go well. She later found out that I, the “tall guy who sang,” was the one who sent her the bouquet and so that was the talk of the season. Simply put: it didn’t float her boat.
Needless to say, I was working long shifts that summer and so I was making a lot of money and I had no one to spend it on other than my sisters. So I sent her bouquets for a week straight.
She didn’t enjoy that either and eventually told me to stop sending them. So I did.
That was my season of roses. (I’m not sure if it’s over yet–I’m planning something grand for this upcoming Valentine’s Day [I have yet to choose the girl!].)
And now we come to my season of pearls. I have never sent anyone pearls before. I don’t know why, but pearls are beautiful and I’m not sure why I never sent them to anyone.
You see, I have this theory about love and romance. If I send you simple dark red roses, then you should know that I am seriously, by all means, in love with you. (I have yet to send those.)
There is a reason why I have always sent women colored roses or other flowers. I never loved them. It’s as simple as that.
Now, coming to pearls, they are white (the ones that I sent) and they remind me of nothing but purity and simple beauty. I really like pearls. As I write this, I think I am falling more and more in amour with them.
I was recently in Hawaii and I purchased several sets of pearl necklaces and earrings. I don’t know what got into me, but they looked so lonely just hanging there, and I felt like being generous. So I purchased pearls. Without really thinking much, I went on a whim and decided that I would figure out later whom to send them to. (When sending flowers, my rule of thumb is to send them and to find reasons for sending them later.)
I sent pearls to my sisters and to one other girl.
I sent them because it was a nice thing to do and because I had no use for them. But once I had sent them, I had to look for a reason. I don’t send pearls to girls. I never have. So why now?
Maybe because I think she’s a sweet girl. Or maybe because I am wrong. I don’t know. I live in the subjunctive mood. Almost always undecided about these sort of things.
But there is always more than meets the eye with me. Always.
You see, I have this tendency to push boundaries and watch responses. I don’t mean that I go and commit sins and then look to see if people notice; no, I like to live my life uniquely and in an eccentric fashion (which raises eyebrows sometimes).
I am now lost in the subjunctive. What could be and what will be, those are my questions.
Like Kierkegaard, I have “received” a “letter” and am sitting around leaving it unopened for three days. I am walking around that letter and imagining all of its romantic contents. All the things which that letter may contain. All the excitement and all of the life. Then I will open the letter. And find an unpaid phone bill awaiting me.
I have decided to play a game and guess what she will do with them.  I have previously wrote in my first book about this guessing game with roses–this time it is with pearls. Though it is unfair to call this a game because it takes away all of the emotions involved. Calling it a game makes me a criminal and inhuman. It is only a “game” in the sense that I know not what to expect and that that which I expect will probably turn out wrong anyways. Usually girls tend to reject gifts. That is the norm. So, for one, she could receive the pearls and send them back to me (which is understandable). She could receive the pearls and write me a thank you card (which would be doing more than the usual [maybe a good thing]). She could receive the pearls and send me a nasty letter (which would be understandable but rude). She could receive the pearls and donate them to a local charity (which would be understandable but inconsiderate). She could receive the pearls and think that they imply some sort of romance (which would be understandable but hasty). She could receive the pearls and put them away and think nothing of them. This would be understandable too–but it would also be tragic.
Receiving a gift and giving no response is a crime in my subjective world. At least send them back and tell me you hate me.
All of the possibilities that my world is full of. It is no wonder that I am an introvert on most days–look at how fascinating my life is!
One could spend centuries in the mazes of my mind.
As strange as it all sounds, I actually think I am done pouring out my thoughts to the public.
But beware: I have saved the best for last (and for myself only!).

written by Moses Y. Mikheyev
author of Rants on Love: Philosophical Fragments of a Dying Romance

How To Commit Suicide: Instructions, Examples, and Scientific Methods

Today was a wonderful day. Yes, I think I had a good day (platitude here). I even went to Olive Garden to celebrate. I had no job, no money (well, not counting savings), unpaid bills, tuition, and one thousand pages of nursing homework. I came into Olive Garden with an uncommonly depressed look. The waitress told me to sit down and wait five minutes. I took a seat in a brown, wooden chair near the entrance. It so happened that a large fellow came in and asked for seating for four, “Yes, the wait would be about ten minutes,” the waitress replied. “Oh,” he added, “I want drinks with that.” “Sure,” she responded. After a minute or so, she looked at me and asked me if I was twenty-one and whether I wanted to drink. I told her no.

It was a few minutes later, me and my depressed look were brought to a single, small table hidden off to the side. I took a seat and within seconds the server came and brought a jug of vodka and made sure that I did not want any. Wow. By this time I realized that I must look really depressed. “No, thanks,” I told him. As I settled into my soft seat, I realized how far back I was; they really did not want me drinking and slobbering all over some waitress. Ah, I was literally isolated! I sat there for a few minutes and kept looking around; I wanted to figure out why I was here. I thought about my day and kept coming upon some heap of thoughts that lay waste in a state of absolute disarray. I was flabbergasted. Why in the heavens was I here?!

Earlier today I wanted to go sit by the river and think about what I was going to do next: Should I quit the nursing program and go pursue theology? Or maybe I should become a bum and play rock music for crazy near-the-river-people like me. I didn’t know. Gosh, being all lost in my thoughts, the server came and asked me if I wanted soup or salad. “Salad,” I replied with a hoarse voice. I needed the lettuce and the tomatoes; I did not want to become fat as my next door neighbor. While sitting there and reminiscing, I was knocked out. Yes, I was hit with a thought that knocked me out! Well, it was not really a thought; it was a most romantic memory.

It was summer and I was sitting with a girl in Olive Garden. I had chicken alfredo pizza and she had raspberry lemonade. We sat across from each other. I remember sitting there and thinking how great life was. You know, you have a girlfriend and the world revolved around her. It was a great feeling. I remember how I was talking with her about everything and it seemed that nothing would ever take that away; we would always remain together, happy and forever. We sat in the same section that I sat in today; it was the ‘right wing’ as I called it. I think we talked for about four hours before I realized how tired I was. So she came and sat with me and massaged my temples. Somewhere along the lines I may have drifted to sleep. I do remember waking up and leaving thirty minutes after Olive Garden had closed; they had the decency not to remind us that they had long closed. I remember how we could not figure out why the waiters were staring at us! They were, apparently, waiting for the love birds to finish up.  Yes, I remember…

“What would you like to order, Sir?” the server asked me. “Chicken scampi. No bell peppers, with extra mushrooms,” I replied.  “We’ll have that right out for you.”

I looked across the table to a couple kissing. Yes, I think I know why I was in such a state. I was lonely like the rest of the world. You know, when you study for eight hours a day, you slowly lose your mind. I was going through Phase Two of social suicide: eternal damnation with text books being your only friends. I must have thought that too loud; the couple stopped and looked at me. I was only gaping. I must have had too much raspberry lemonade (that stuff works miracles!). The server came to me and brought me my food and hurried off (I must have looked like a depressed philosopher).  I took my first bite of the warm chicken and I was struck by more memories.

I was sitting at Dockside Café on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene. It was summer and I was dating some crazy girl from the desert. I think we sat near each other and tried each other’s food (it was a marvelous experience. You should try it!). I cannot remember the exact details of everything but I do remember one thing: I loved the sunset and the warm summer feeling. 

As I sat there in Olive Garden, I was brought back to reality: it was not summer and I was not with a girlfriend. I was single status and I was taking myself out. I do not know why, but I was in a horrible mood. I was carrying the weight of the world (whatever that means). I thought about all of the lonely, single people out there and I was scared. I was frightened to death. If only they had experienced love, they would have a chance. But as for the ones that were lost, they had nothing but this cold world to hold on to.  I began to think about my friends that were all single and I was worried. They would confess to me their worst nightmare and it would remind me of my own dreams:  me sitting all alone, two-hundred-years-old, with nobody but a black cat and thrash music. I think I began to shiver (no wonder the crowd around me thought I was an end-times prophet!). I looked outside and seen the cold, gray clouds. It was all so depressing.

As I sat there lost in thought, I realized how much people need each other. So what if you had that Mercedes and that new house in that new suburb? Did it really give you anything? Nope. It only locked you away from the cold storms that were raging outside. Nothing more. Nada. I stared at some drunken people that were now laughing. Wow. Maybe people just try to cover up everything with that superficial laughter and mind numbing drink. Heck, yes, they were all, deep inside, depressed. Or maybe not?

The food was getting cold and my thoughts were getting colder; I chose to remain. I began thinking about all of the love that I used to have; all of that young passion. It was all gone now. I had nothing left to give. There was no use lying. Nada. You know, the world makes you cold and you only make it colder. “Wow, Moses,” I thought, “You were the guy wearing the ‘Jesus Loves This Guy’ t-shirt a while back!” Yes, I must have forgotten that Jesus loved me. You know how that goes? Oh please, don’t tell me you don’t.

That lemonade must have had something in it. Yes, it must have. Why else would I be thinking like this? Boy, I was going mad! I leaned in my chair and shuffled my cold feet. Ah, marriage was a commitment, was it not? Somehow my thoughts drifted into that marriage cellar of mine. I had just finished reading a Christian view of marriage and remember that awful, overstated, statement:  Nearly half of all marriages now end in divorce. Really? Half? And what about the other half? What were they doing staying together? I don’t know. Maybe I should not lead myself to believe that marriage helps people. Maybe I should just become a monk and preach celibacy? Yes, that has been on my mind lately. Often, actually, very often.

I think that a situation that occurred yesterday had to do with my being depressed: I had discovered that one of my friends was an abusive husband. I felt utterly disgusted. Him? Really? I asked myself all night those questions.  I could not find solace. I could not find a way to help. I was helpless. She seemed like such a happy young girl. But she ended up with a controlling monster; a beast with absolutely no self-worth. What was going on with the world today? When was Jesus returning?

The server brought me my bill and I paid in cash. He was sort of shocked to see me pay and not escape. By the looks of it, I should have busted through the great windows and committed suicide by having a bus run me over. I think they may have been expecting that. But, as you already know, nobody does that these days. We sit around and talk about romance as if it exists. You know, just like we talk about Heaven (though none of us have ever been there). We do commit suicide but it’s more formal, legal, professional, and civilized: social suicide (no bombs included, just lock yourself up and “boom”!). Ai, that lemonade must have been tainted.

I think I was going to pray, but I felt sorry more for myself than for those around me. I usually don’t feel that way. But today, for some strange, odd reason, I did. I could not say thanks when I felt like I needed to be that chicken on the plate. Yes, I felt like being someone’s meal today. Wow, the world was coming to an end and none of us knew it. None.

I left Olive Garden and was told to have a nice day. I told the waitress that I would. I think I may have smiled because she blushed and I hit a chair and ended up on the floor. I told you that lemonade was tainted!

Wait a second. How do I commit suicide? Well, I take it that you already did! If you are reading this from Facebook or MySpace or you found this via Google, you already are semi-dead. Consider yourself socially dead and virtually alive. You are no better than that kid that got run over by a school bus while eating at Olive Garden and talking about summers past. Yep, like me, you’ll be soon in nursing school studying pharmacology and totally killing yourself to the outside world (though, unless you are lucky, you may end up dating the young nursing professor!). Best wishes, my friends, and, for my sake, get off of Facebook and go have some hot sex with your beautiful spouse after reading the Song of Songs. As for me, I have to go read half a textbook and drink coffee for a multitude of days!

Nostalgia: Summer Nights, Kiddie Pools, and Undoing our Growing Up

I still remember everything quite vividly. Whether I see us by a campfire on a warm summer night, playing guitar and singing ad hoc lyrics, or in a lake on a burning July noon, what I reminisce about remains the same: we will never share similar moments again.
We won’t have those awkward moments where your mom and my mom start fighting over mundane things like whether we should play this song or that. We won’t have those moments where we are gathered together—all of us—around a campfire strumming noisily on our cheap guitars. We won’t ever be seen again together, walking hand-in-hand on a virgin beach. There will never be another shooting star witnessed by the two of us, by the all of us.
What has been, has been. It will never be again.
We won’t ever be seen again playing hide-and-seek until 2 in the morning—no, we have become too “grown up” for that. We won’t attempt to go skinny dipping in a private lake where only the rich kids are allowed to pervert the waters. There will never be another day where we are stuck in our old Marlin 1977 boat finding ways to get it working again. We won’t be getting chased down by the park rangers for fishing without a license. There will be none of that. We have grown up.
There won’t be another time where we are all piling up into an old Oldsmobile, seven in the car and four in the trunk. We won’t have to ever turn up the music really loud in a Wal-Mart parking lot, hoping that those passing by will not hear the kids in the trunk shouting “When are you going to let us out?!” We have become too mature for such a thing.
We will never again experience what it feels like to drive with all of our friends, for the first time, on a wild road trip. You know, the ones where everybody sings at the top of their lungs to songs without worrying about what someone else may think. That kind of road trip.
We will no longer share the joy of spending twenty bucks on a two week vacation; we have become too civil for that.
Whatever one may think, we will surely never sleep like bums in sleeping bags in an upper-class neighborhood in Southern California. If hotels couldn’t take us at 3 in the morning, the parks were always available. Those were the days.
We’d wake up playing tunes on guitars, watching rich kids get up for their daily dose of self-serving epicureanism. We’d put on our shades—rolling our eyes beneath them—and get to busting out melodies. And then we’d leave (ain’t no rich kid getting a free concert from us!).
Gosh. I doubt we’ll ever experience what it’s like to go fishing whenever the hell one feels like going fishing. You’d call me up at twelve at night and I’d be ready by one to hit the forbidden, late night shores. Give me an energy drink of death and I’m ready to stay up all night, spitting sunflower seeds, cracking miserable jokes coming straight out of hell, whatever, we’d do it all. We could talk about girls or we could talk about what it’d be like to have sex for the first time.
And yet, whenever the time seemed ripe, we could talk about life and death. We could even reflect theologically upon the nature of the gospel. In fact, we were pretty good kids. What happened?
There probably won’t ever be another road trip to California, where the shores of Pacific Beach find our surf boards licking the sand. There won’t be another walk around San Diego, in the middle of the night, passing out sandwiches to the bums there. We won’t have a philosophical discussion about the meaning of life from a fellow friend, that is, a beach bum. We won’t ever be the same again.
Will we ever date our friends just because we feel like it’s the right thing to do? Will we ever hold hands for the first time because “Well, your other friend is doing it, so we should too.” God, those were the days. And, heck, we never thought it would happen to us, did we? Remember us? Remember when we were kids and all we thought about was the neurotic depression of adulthood. Those adults—those party-killers—were out to ruin life and blessed childhood. We swore we would never become like them. Ever. We made pacts, even in blood, vowing with a bitter vengeance to never let anything come in between us and our love of life. Have we failed so soon?
Gosh, you do realize we’ve barely hit our mid-twenties? We’ve barely dropped our balls; we’ve barely learned to swim. I, honestly, hope that childhood never leaves me. Didn’t Jesus say that we should be “like children”? What happened to that version of the gospel?
I’m not sure we’ll ever be together again. It simply won’ t be the same. Even if we saw each other now, we’d probably walk like two boring couples on a sidewalk in downtown Manhattan that is plastered with newspapers, soda cans, and cigarette butts. We’d never dig our toes into forbidden shores again. We’d never leave the world and say “Go to hell!” We would lead another menial existence.
But does it really have to end that way? I thought at twenty-five you figure out life, you figure out whom you love and whom you like. Why have we created categories we’ve never imagined. Could you ever really hate me? I mean, we used to swim naked in a kiddie pool together, doesn’t that count for something? Maybe not. In today’s economy of grace, we’ve lost grace itself.
Despite everything adulthood cast upon us, I know one thing: I’m still a kid. I’m still barely old enough to walk around in diapers, contemplating whether I should go with breast milk for dessert or Similac baby formula. I’m still stuck in traffic, thinking about what all this means. I’m still hungry for life. I still want us all to gather around a table and talk about girls who have cooties and boys who are gross.
When we were kids, we never really got hurt by arguments or disagreements. We could even throw punches, leave the ring bruised up, and still get back together for a game of freeze tag by the end of one summer evening. Heck, arguments were seen as a joke. We weren’t adults, we couldn’t really fight like mom and dad fought. We weren’t grown up yet.
We never planned what we would say; we would simply say what we felt or what was on our minds. We never would premeditate anything. That would have been stupid. Imagine a two-year-old walking in circles beneath a wooden dinner table thinking, “What will I tell mom about the pacifier that I flushed down the toilet? Should I answer her question with a question like Socrates the philosopher or should I go with the good old ‘I don’t know’ or ‘Whaaaaaaaat?’”
We’ve all developed our critical thinking skills, it’s what school was for anyways. Now we could lie and not feel guilty about it; it has all become so logical and reasonable and rational to do so.
We have grown up.
But I could never really forget everything that has been. Despite my ability to use Kantian imperatives and analytical philosophy, I’m still weighed down by my love for my memories. Memories of days gone by.
In the middle of reading Soren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling I still get images flash across my mind like a bolt of lightening on a hot summer day. Impossible, you may say, but oh-so-real. I still have a mind that does things of its own accord. I remember us, our times together, our lives together. I remember. In the act of remembering, I find not only who I was, but who I am—and who I will try to be. I like myself now. But I like my old self more.
Like right now, I see us lying on a beach, Liberty Lake, and we’re planning on flirting with the gorgeous lifeguards. We throw around the idea of whether we should approach the girls and ask them what time it is or whether we should fake a drowning. Drowning sounds better, for then they may end up doing CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
You see, we’d throw around all of those ideas, act on them, and then later find out that mouth-to-mouth is out and mouth-to-plastic-face-mask is in. Oh well. Such is life.
We were kids. The beautiful truth that I want all of us—all of you—to remember is that we are still those same kids. Our bodies have changed, sure, but we still have the same set of eyes, the same set of ears. We are still able to play tag, even if it’s on a phone application. We are still able to speak truth to one another. We are still able, as far as I know, to go skinny dipping in Liberty Lake (when it’s dark, of course). We can still rent peddle boats and attempt to actually move anywhere with them! We can still call one another up, having our best friends’ numbers all memorized by heart, and anxiously ask, “Are you coming over, it’s like 30 seconds since school got out?!” We can still have our doors always open, waiting for our friends to show up. We can still write one another letters. Those letters could still be written with Crayons in second-grade handwriting. Who cares? So long as I have something to hang on my “grown-up wall” (to be honest, it’s empty now). We can still call one another up and talk about going fishing at, well, right now. We can. In fact, I think we will. I have hope for us. We haven’t changed much; we’ve simply become a little rusty. I am writing this letter to remind myself—and all of you—that I still love you all. You are all my friends, people I’ve become quite used to. I can talk about stupid things with you and I can talk about serious things with you—and you accept me for who I am. I’m still that kid who’s dying to grow up. But now that I’ve grown up, I think I want to grow up differently. I want to grow up in such a way where the older version of me isn’t as nasty as it now is. I want to grow up in a such a way where I can still call you up and hear you call me back in less than five seconds. I do miss how we used to be excited, even breathless, to announce to each other that we would play hide-and-seek.
When we were kids, we would hide and we would seek. We knew that there was always a way to find that which was hidden. Maybe our inner-child is something that we have hidden inside ourselves. We bury it behind mundane office work, professional societies, legalistic church services, you-name-it, we bury it. But beneath all of the social encrustation, I think the real you is on the verge of bursting out.
I thought about us today.
I thought about us today because it seemed like some of us have died. Quite literally. I feel like my friends, who are getting married and who are “growing up,” have all died—to me and to those around them. They died and nobody noticed. I read no obituary. I got no invitation to go to a memorial service. They died and nobody seemed to care. Life shouldn’t be like that. You shouldn’t have to bury your friends, family, and loved ones before their time. It’s not even a humane thing to do. You simply can’t do that to people. Just because you’re still breathing doesn’t mean you’re still alive.
I’ve thought about us because we still have a chance. We still have time to make our (future) obituaries better. We still can go back to being three-year-olds in five-year-old skin pissing under trees and seeing who pisses further. We still can attempt stuffing a toaster with dough to make “bread.” We still can love one another despite our weird differences. We still can date friends. We still can go hit up a beach and care not about our weight status. In fact, I kind of like this beer-belly. I’m getting used to it. It’s better than a teddy bear. I go to sleep and wrap my arms around it and dream of us…

Newspaper Thoughts from a Newspaper Mind

Why is it that love for some of us humans is almost always unrequited? It seems like no matter what we do, no matter our generosity, we never seem to get it. You grow up telling yourself that something is going to happen at some point; things aren’t working out now because of such-and-such a state. It happens to you once. It happens to you twice. Then, like a steady April rain, you find that no matter what your approach is, you’re actually in for the long haul. You’re that girl or guy who does everything right and gets it all wrong anyways. No matter your own sincere thoughts, you fall into the hum-drum of steady and consistent rejection. Eventually, you ask someone out for a cup of coffee and you have that mundane and expected response (which, believe me, I did not too long ago receive!): “No I will not have coffee with you—not now, not ever!” And so it goes on. Life continues and you grudgingly trudge along with it. More recently, I’ve attempted another try at something romantic—romance addict that I am—and, lo and behold, I was relegated to the dustbin of useless existence again. Unsurprisingly, I was not surprised. And the next time I meet someone I’m interested in—which doesn’t happen but once or twice a year—I’ll be quite certain what her response will be: not now, not ever.
Reading me is like reading the newspaper: it’s always bad news no matter which day of the week it is. You want the Sunday special? Guess what? I have that too.
In my mind, I’m going on strike; I’m gunning down guilty victims; there’s a poll being taken about what I should wear today; there’s a kid in the corner asking for donations; there’s an advertisement for free psychology counseling; there’s an ad placed in the “Men seeking Women” section; there’s a… I could go on and on about my newspaper thoughts. And you know what, nobody cares. Just like that newspaper, it’ll be used to wipe someone’s a** when the day is over. Or, better yet, a bum will lay his head upon it and snore himself to sleep—on my paper!
Yes, I admit it, I have my bad days. Like today. It’s a usual bad day. I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about her. I woke up at 2:33 AM only to find out that Benadryl doesn’t cure love sickness. I ate half a ton of chocolate only to find out that I’m losing weight nonetheless. I’m sitting here writing this essay about how emotionally unstable I am and it’s not helping me either! God da**!
My thoughts are always all over the place. I read Adversus Marcionem by Tertullian of Carthage yesterday. It’s a five-volume work written against an arch-heretic of orthodox Christianity who lived in the second-century named Marcion. I tried to write a bunch of stuff about that man—I stayed up most of the night writing and was about to write some more when I figured that writing about Marcion would probably not soothe me much—she’ll still be on the front page news of my newspaper mind. She’ll still be advertising herself for my entire subjective world to see.
The problem with me is that I cannot focus when I am in love. I cannot think clearly—or maybe it is only then that I think at all? I can write poetry and maybe some worthwhile lyrics, but that’s about it. The buck stops here. The moment my thoughts drift to you, I know that it’s a battle I have lost. I can pretend all I want but I know myself too well. And I know that, in the end, this too shall pass. I’ll look back at it all and laugh about how miserable I was and how I should not have attempted anything with her at all. It’s always like that for me.
You see, some of us exaggerate our problems, I really don’t. When I say that this is going to end bad, I really do mean bad. As in b-a-d. I should probably get back to writing my massive paper on Marcion—it’ll make me forget her for a while.
Just long enough to forget that I care—but I won’t.
The problem with me is that I cannot focus when she is on my mind. I can’t. I probably will make a mistake when writing that paper and will start writing everything I feel about her—the professor will be very happy with that, I am sure. Oh well, such is my life. I guess I’ve been attempting my best to forget her for several weeks now. But even in that act of forgetting her, I am remembering her. I am recollecting her and recreating her in my mind. And that’s where everything falls apart. In remembering her, I remember her goodness. In remembering her, I remember her weaknesses and my own. In remembering her, I am remembering myself. Out of that dark cave of mine, I call myself out. And then all of the remembering starts again. I doodle, I twitch, I aim restlessly for some unseen goal. And then my thoughts drift to you.
I’ll let them stay there for now. Just for a minute.
Or two.