Tag Archives: life

Happy four year anniversary of The Godless Paladin blog.

13 Dec

Turns out I’m actually a day late. I started this blog four years ago yesterday. Damn a lot’s changed in four years, but then again, a lot hasn’t. This blog is my oldest friend, a mirror, my space to breathe. It’s changed and evolved over the years as I’ve changed and evolved. Since starting this blog I’ve finished college, lived in four new locations, had friendships and romances come and go, traveled, worked several jobs, and had my share of triumphs and failures. This entire journey has been one of self-discovery. I’ve been constantly examining who I thought I was and what I wanted to become. My view of myself and my goals have changed quite a bit over the years.

When I started this blog I was a fiery, freshly deconverted atheist. My hobbies were video games, medieval living history, and politics. I wanted to be an archaeologist living in Europe and to settle down with a successful woman. I envisioned my life as one spent unearthing the past and discerning what life was like for people long ago.

Well I’m still that fiery atheist, though my eagerness to engage in confrontation over religion is practically non-existent. I tend to try and avoid confrontation in real life, or even simply getting into long, protracted debates on the internet because I no longer feel it is a worth-wild use of my time. I’ve since shed medieval living history as my hobby, though video games remain. Instead my hobbies nowadays revolve around travel. I’ve also changed quite a bit politically. At the start of this blog I was already fairly left wing and progressive, but I’ve since drifted out of the political spectrum into anarchism as I’ve steadily refined my views on politics and humanity. My life goals no longer revolve around digging up the past in Europe. Instead I now want to travel the world and build a beautiful woodland home by a river. I really don’t have any more extensive plans beyond that. I have no idea where life will take me, so worrying over planning particulars is pointless.

Despite writing for four years, I still don’t really feel like I’ve found my voice. I’m not done evolving. I don’t expect I ever will be, but I’m very happy with the progress I’ve made thus far. I’m excited to see where I’ll go on future journeys, physically and interpersonally. This blog will remain my companion on those journeys, and a record of where I’ve been.

Going through life backwards

2 Dec

Sometimes I feel like I’m going through life backwards, in relationships, responsibility, and goals. In my head I imagine “normal” as something like a pyramid. The normal narrative goes something like this: Before a boy grows up to be a man, he starts off fairly irresponsible, inconsiderate of others. He shirks responsibility, seriousness, his studies, and jumps has many relationships with various women. As the boy gets older, he learns to be more responsible, taking on duties and jobs in which others depend upon him, his tastes start to narrow as he figures out who he is, and he settles down with a partner.

That’s how I image the typical story goes. Someone is considered “immature” if they aren’t where they’re supposed to be at a given age along this path. If someone is where they’re supposed to be at a given age, you would say “they’re acting their age.”

Well I feel that I’m going along this path backwards in a way. As a teenager I never rebelled, I was extremely responsible for my age, I limited my relationships to serious ones, I never did anything overly dangerous or illegal, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do in life. Among my friends I was always the responsible one, and always happy to take on more responsibility. I never drank, I was always prepared for any situation, I almost always knew what to do, and I always cleaned up the mess.

Now that I’m older I’m sick of it.

Lately I’ve really been stressing out about a few things I really don’t want to do. I stopped to take stock of those things that were making me miserable and they were all responsibilities I had to other people. I don’t want any more responsibilities, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of having other people depend on me, I’m tired of being held down by those responsibilities. I’m fully aware that people are going to give me a ton of shit for saying this because “responsibility is good” is practically axiomatic in our society, but fuck em.

Look, I realize that many people have responsibilities that they did not enter into freely. For example, a family member gets sick or dies and suddenly you’re the only one around to look after the children. I get that. I’m not talking about those types of responsibilities.  I’m talking about responsibilities the way a free market capitalist would talk about employment: voluntarily entering into an obligation in return for some benefit. Why else do we voluntarily take on more responsibilities and obligations if not because we believe it will somehow be worth it? Maybe what makes it worth it is a pay increase, or a higher/more reputable standing in society. Whatever it is, I don’t want it.

I know that at this point in my life, almost 25, that I should be honing in on what I want to do for a career, I should start looking for someone to settle down with and have a family, and I should be striving to take on more responsibilities. However, all I want to do is cut all my chains and fly away. Perhaps I’m living life backwards.

Learning not to give a damn.

20 Nov

All throughout my life I’ve struggled with how to deal with destructive criticism. Several years ago I realized that, no matter what I did in life, I was inevitably going to upset one person or another. At this point most people would just go “so what?” and move on, but I couldn’t. I always took every negative remark personally, even if the person attacking me didn’t know me. I first came into contact with reality when I discovered online forums around the age of 12. (Early 2000’s) I posted something someone didn’t like, and that person said mean things about me. The anger someone could express while hiding behind anonymity shocked 12 year old me.

That turned me off to forums for a long time. I ran into the same problem when I started this blog. I naturally accrued a variety of nasty comments on my posts over the years. I had a hard time trying not to take them personally since this blog is a digital embodiment of my person to an extent. A nasty comment on the blog was a nasty comment on myself as a person, and it would often ruin the rest of my day.

Worrying about what other people think has become an issue again for me recently in a couple of ways, but one example is a post I made on reddit. I took a funny photo and posted it up on reddit. At the time of writing this, 1,480 people said they liked my photo. 549 said they didn’t. (72% approval rating) I was thrilled that so many people liked it, but there were two comments that were particularly nasty and hurt my feelings. Why I focus on these two and ignore the almost 1,500 people who liked it, I don’t know, but I do.

It’s funny that I’d even bother posting on a site like reddit, given my hang-ups about mean people on the internet. Indeed, most of the things I do post get downvoted (disliked) so often that I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t some malicious bot someone has programmed to automatically downvote everything I post. It’s easy to just tell someone to not take it personally, but I’m starting to get the feeling that many things in life are impossible to fully understand until you’ve learned the lessons first hand. It’s easy to tell someone “Don’t make the same mistake I did”, but while they can try and remember your instruction, it will never resonate with them the way it does with you. In the same way it’s hard to give someone advice about how to not mind what others say about you, but that person has to work it out in their own head before it will sink in.

Concurrently, all throughout my life I’ve struggled with what I can only describe as feeling like you’re a character in someone else’s story. I never really put this and my inability to deal with criticism together until now.

Who is my audience? Who am I trying to please?

If I am a character in a story, who’s watching? Who am I performing for? I really only just recently started to dawn on me that I’m my own audience. I’m doing this for me, and thus only my opinion really matters. I posted that funny picture up there because I thought it was funny and it made me laugh. That’s all that matters. Sure people are going to criticize and nit pick, but I’m not doing it for them, so they don’t matter. I’m doing it for me. It’s my story and I’m the only audience that truly counts.

That might sound harsh, and I’m not saying it’s never a good idea to take into consideration what other people thing, especially those people whom you respect, but the sentiment I’m trying to convey is in the same vein as “Everyone dies alone.” It’s not that everyone dies alone in a room but that, even if you die with other people in the same incident or with others standing around you, you can only experience your own death by yourself. In the same way you ultimately have to live with yourself. You are ultimately responsible to yourself for your actions.

Someone could have tried to tell me this, perhaps even on r/howtonotgiveafuck, but it would not have sunk in until I put the pieces together myself. This is still something I’m going to have to work on. I imagine I’ll have to try and train myself to some degree not to care what others think of me. At least now I’m starting to formulate a way to do that.

So to all the people unhappy with my right now, tough shit. You’re not my audience, I’m not performing for you, your opinion is irrelevant. ^_^

Goodnight.

Self respect

17 Nov

I just walked away from my best friend for over a year. I did it because it became a matter of self respect. The relationship had turned toxic and one sided, and a while back I promised myself to try harder not to put up with such things.

I don’t want to go into the particulars of what happened, but suffice to say he was extremely needy, whiny, and manipulative. I tried to be the best friend possible. I tried to help him with his problems, or at least listen. All I got in return was more complaining. No matter what the topic of conversation, it would inevitably turn back to him and his problems. Despite all the effort I put into the relationship, if we hit a bump or had an argument he would automatically assume it was over, that I was leaving him, and make subtle hints at suicide. He had no confidence in me as a friend, regardless of everything I tried to do to be a good one.

And so I’ve said goodbye, blocked communications, and cut him out of my life. It sucks. Losing friends always sucks, but I’m trying to keep perspective on what I’m actually losing. When I weigh everything I see that I’m actually gaining something rather than losing; self respect.

Toxic relationships do nothing but drain you. It turns into a case of sunk costs. The main argument I have with myself when considering cutting someone out of my life is “Well I’ve already put this much time and energy into the person. I’d hate to lose it all.” But it’s already lost. The hard part is finally realizing and accepting that. The best thing you can do is just move on.

I’ve always had a difficult time with friendships. At just shy of 25 I’m still trying to figure out what constitutes a good friendship, what’s realistic, and what I should expect. Earlier in the year I deleted my facebook. I did so for a variety of reasons, but mainly because I realized that almost nobody on there was actually my friend. I wagered that I would never hear from them again if I got rid of my profile and the hollow interactions that pass as friendship. I was right.

And so now I’m effectively friendless again. I say “effectively” because I still have my girlfriend and about three people I talk to now and then (but rarely see), yet I don’t have anybody to hang out with. You know what? I’m ok with that. As I’ve grown up I’ve come to realize that zero is still higher than any negative number. I’m better off with no relationships than having relationships where the other person takes advantage of me. Walking away is never easy, but I take solace in that I’m starting to learn to respect myself.

Changing my mind

2 Nov

There have a been a few times in my life when I’ve had large shifts in my position on various ideas and ideologies. I remember back in 11th grade AP US history reading about atheists in the context of their attempts to remove “under God” from the pledge and thinking how silly and stupid they sounded. I was a Christian at the time, but starting to have trouble with my faith. Slowly I was moving into Buddhism and I comforted myself by thinking “well at least I’m not an atheist.”

I remember doing the same thing with politics. The earliest political memory I have is from 2000, sitting on my mom’s bed late at night watching the election results of Bush v Gore, and rooting for Bush to win. Everyone around me wanted Bush to win, and I remember seeing some political cartoon about how Gore sounded like a robot. That was enough for me at the time.”

Later, as I started to begin my slow but steady drift left I remember defending myself to other people by attacking anarchists. I guess I wanted to appear still mainstream by calling out a group of people with a position I perceived as more radical than my own.

“I could never be an anarchist, that’s just ridiculous. You need order and government.”

Of course at the time I was attacking anarchists I was doing so without knowing anything about them except what was common societal knowledge on them; namely that they were violent punk teenagers that threw bricks through store windows and wanted absolute chaos.

I knew nothing about anarchists. I feel a lot of people make judgements on a groups based off of this type of common societal knowledge, aka ignorance.

Now that I’ve been reading anarchist essays I see myself starting to change. I’m at a crossroads in my life right now. I’m on the verge of making large, life changing commitments like moving to another country and lately I’ve been feeling a little lost and overwhelmed.

I’ve been struggling with what I want to do with my life, unsure if my current plan is really what I want. To be honest, I’m still not entirely certain what I would like to do in life. I’m afraid of walking away from something good, but I’m  know I can’t stay still.

In the midst of all this I’m also struggling to define myself and the society I exist in. Developing and solidifying a new concept of society is important because it’s the framework for how I examine and adjust my life priorities.

Anarchism has been very attractive because it provides the framework for I’ve been looking for. I’m finding many of the ideas very compelling and satisfying, even if I’m not overly sure of the practicality.

In an effort to be intellectually honest I’m trying to approach the ideas I’m finding in anarchism with skepticism. I want them to try and convince me, though I will admit, I am eager to be convinced.

Far from the brick throwing chaos punks of my previous understanding, I’m finding anarchism to be a life affirming philosophy focused on building healthy and beneficial relationships between individuals and society.

The wonderful thing is that there is just a wide variety of anarchist philosophy to explore. For example, there’s mutualism, anarco-collectivism, anarco-capitalism, anarcho-syndicalism,  anarcho-primitivism, and anarco-feminism, just to name a few.

I’m in the process of listening to arguments from all the various subsets and trying to decide which align the most with my views on reality. So far, the one underlying principle I’ve identified is simply “Coercing another individual into doing something they would not freely do is wrong.” From this everything follows. This principle informs how anarchists look at governments, laws, violence, sex, employment, etc. It’s really quite fascinating. Just about every aspect of life and interaction is affected by this axiom.

I’ve been viewing this experience, of changing my mind, a bit in the third person. I’m aware that it’s happening and I just find it really interesting to watch, even as I’m actively participating in it.

Life goes on…

21 Sep

Forgive me, it’s been way too long since my last confession post. A few new things have happened in my life and I’ve been pretty busy/exhausted. My job is going alright.  I’ve apparently developed a reputation around the school as being the “go to” guy if you actually get something done. The teachers love me because I’m usually quick to respond to their pleas for help, am empathetic, and follow through till their issues are taken care of.

The most surprising thing about the job is how little time I have in the rest of the day. I get home around 4:30 every day, but I have to be up by 6am, so I’m usually in bed by 10-11, which makes me feel old. I’ve tried to create a schedule for myself when I get home, but I’m really bad about actually following it.

I was really hoping to move in to an apartment with my friend now that I got a job, and I honestly thought I could, but my math was wrong and I couldn’t swing it AND meet my goal of saving $1000 a month in order to leave by February. On the bright side though I can now save $1500/mo and reach my goal of saving up $10,000 faster.

Very few people I’ve talked to have been supportive of what I’m trying to do with moving, at least when I tell them why I’m moving.

My biggest news besides the new job is the new girlfriend. I’ve been dating this one girl for a about a month. Met her online, then for drinks at a bar and we hit it off. She’s pretty techie. She’s actually fixing my wifi on my laptop she put linux on as I write this.

My last blog post was about me realizing I needed to avoid politics. This has been extremely difficult, but I’ve been doing it. It’s like avoiding some food on a diet and then it’s everywhere. It’s especially bad since there are 45 days left till the next presidential election. Whenever I catch myself thinking about politics I’ve been trying to quickly think about traveling or something else. Honestly that’s been a major reason why I haven’t posted anything recently. When I’m trying to avoid news, it’s been a little hard to write about anything.

I have some things in mind, but I’ll get to that in a bit. In the meantime I gotta go for a walk with my girlfriend and her dog before a play.
tl;dr still alive.

My passion never left, it just changed forms.

3 Aug

Back around the time I was graduating college I started to lose my passion for history, archaeology, and everything I loved. Why? Well I think there were a variety of factors, but I haven’t got that all sorted out yet. What followed was this period of listlessness, of being adrift with no idea what to do. For the 2+ years following my graduation I had no idea what I wanted to do, no idea where my passion had gone.

But then I had an epiphany the other day: My passion never left, it just changed forms.

This occurred to me when I realized how my passion used to manifest itself. Back when I was in love with history, archaeology, etc, those were the things I constantly thought about. When I wasn’t actively talking to someone, or focused on completing a task my mind would inevitably wander back to those subjects. That’s how I knew I was passionate about them, I would always be thinking about those subjects.

Well after my personal collapse in 2010 I stopped thinking about those things by default. Instead my thoughts shifted to religion and politics. I had always been interested in these things, but they had previously taken a back seat to history and archaeology. I created this blog a long time ago as a way to nurture those thoughts that manifested themselves from time to time, and to give them a home, yet history was still my main focus.

Why did I feel my passion had disappeared? It took me two years to figure it out: Rage.

My passion for history and archaeology was built on love. I genuinely enjoyed talking about those things. I got excited to discuss them with others and they made me happy.

As things in my personal life started to fall apart, the happiness was replaced with this rage. I stopped thinking about things that made me happy and started thinking about things that infuriated me. It was not something I could consciously control, it was a byproduct of what was going on in my life.

Religion and politics were two issues I had always cared about, but now they had become toxic. I was consumed by them. I was constantly furious as my idle thoughts always returned to these poisonous subjects.

I felt lost and adrift because, unlike history and archaeology, religion and politics did not have a productive goal.

Back when I was in love with history I had the goal of becoming an archaeologist. It was something I was working towards, something to achieve. I had direction. When that mindset was replaced with rage, I lost that direction. There is nothing productive for me in religion or politics. I’m not about to become a religious figure since I think the whole thing’s bullshit, and I’m not about to go into politics because I have no faith in our system or the possibility of changing it through legal means.

So where does that leave me now?

I don’t know. I obviously need to replace the rage with love. I want so desperately to do that. I want to be happy again. I want to be somebody who’s excited about something, something positive. I just don’t know how to make that happen. I still have to figure that bit out, but this has been an amazing leap forward for me!

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