A is for adamant. I have a certain view of how my life should function and I refuse to relinquish it. It’s how I’ve survived all these years without going crazy and killing myself. I don’t impose my ideals on others, though. I’ve had that done to me and sometimes I’d obey; thinking if I did what others thought I should do, they’d like me. It never worked! So I stopped doing that shit. Other people’s rules don’t apply to me.
B is for barrier. I’ve placed too many barriers in front of me; impediments of my own making; excuses to prevent me from taking unnecessary risks and possibly hurting myself. I’ve told myself I can’t do X because of Y. Or worst, because someone else told me I can’t or shouldn’t do it. So, I’ve finally learned to knock down those barriers.
C is for curious. I’ve always been curious about the world around me, even if I feared it most of the time. I’ve wondered why hurricanes form and why dogs move in circles several times before laying down. I wonder why most people are assholes and refuse to get along, when the alternative is constant yelling and fighting. When I get curious about human nature, I become frustrated. So, I start thinking about dogs and hurricanes. At least they have a reason for being the way they are.
D is for depression. It’s one of the ugliest words in the English language. It’s been a constant, demonic companion in my life. It’s robbed me of life’s simple pleasures more times than I can count. It’s held me back from taking the chances I needed to move forward. It’s kept me in bed or drunk, when I should be out doing something good for myself. It’s almost killed me – several times. It’s still there; lurking in the back of my psyche like a dormant flu virus. But I finally stood up to it and beat the fucker back down into the gutter where it belongs.
E is for education. I feel this is the single most important factor in any civilized society. Odd, considering I dropped out of college in the late 1980s and didn’t return until almost 20 years later to earn my college degree. But, I did it. And, my education didn’t end when I finished that last class. It continues. I’m still learning. I’ll always keep my mind open to new experiences and different things.
F is for fear. There it is again – fear of the unknown; fear of people; fear of taking chances. Fear has been the other unwanted companion that just won’t leave me alone. It’s taken almost my entire life to learn to smack that thing down into oblivion. Still, on occasion, it extends a grimy finger upwards and points at me. It still tries to intimidate me. But now, it’s all been turned upside down. Fear is scared of me.
G is for glaring. The truth about people and things is often glaringly obvious to me. Why don’t others see the various and sundry colors of the world, instead of just the grays? Some folks look at me like I’m crazy. But I just have my own unique view of my surroundings and the people who occupy it. More importantly, I no longer expect people to think and feel exactly as I do.
H is for health. After seeing an aunt battle with cancer in the late 1980s and a friend ravaged by AIDS just a few years later, my physical and mental health became paramount. Few other things matter as much. For years, however, I had a handle on my physical health. I lifted weights, jogged regularly and did some basic calisthenics almost every weekday morning before heading out to work. It took a while longer, though, to get a grip on my psychological welfare. I know my body will grow tired, as I continue to age. But I refuse to get “old.” That’s more a state of mind.
I is for introvert. It used to upset me so much. I had such a hard time making friends. I just couldn’t get too many people to like me. I felt, for so many years, that I was defective. Something was wrong, I kept telling myself; something wrong with me. But now, I embrace that attribute. It’s me; it’s who I am. I am just quiet and insulated. I’m a reader and a thinker; not a showman. I don’t have to make a spectacle of myself anymore to feel important. That introverted attribute generates a slew of story ideas and compels me to write and to read.
J is for jaded – as in cynical. You get that way after a half century of experiencing life’s bullshit; enduring years of being shoved around because you won’t conform to others’ expectations. I’m jaded as in bitter; bitter that it took me so long to realize I’m important and have much to offer this world. But, at this point in time, that jaded personality has given me a more clear view of life.
K is for kill. If I killed everybody who pissed me off, I’d be the world’s worst serial murderer. Then again, who wouldn’t? Part of being introverted and jaded is that I don’t like people much. I’ve always said the more I get to know people, the more I like my dog. Animals are cool; most people are assholes. But, I couldn’t waste my time killing anyone. I don’t want to spend that much gas money driving out to secluded locations to bury the bodies. I have stories to write!
L is for lost. Growing up so shy and timid I often felt lost in a world of bullies and cool kids. Now, I feel lost in a world of idiots. So I get lost in my world of reading, writing, music and good wine.
M is for meticulous. I’m a very detail-oriented person. Some people like that about me, especially at work; others find it annoying. People don’t have a certain place in society, but objects do.
N is for nearby. I keep the memory of long-gone loved ones close to me. People who helped raise me and had an impact on my life reside in my heart and my soul. I won’t let them drift away. I can’t. I can’t turn my back on them just because they’re no longer physically present on Earth. They’ll be the ones to come get me when my own life expires.
O is for ordinary. As difficult as I am to get to know – this, according to my own parents – I consider myself rather ordinary. I’m not handsome and I don’t have the perfect physique. I certainly no a genius, but I’m intelligent and well-educated. I do consider myself a very good writer, so on that level, I’m somewhat extraordinary. Writing is the one part about me in which I’m 100% confident. Otherwise, I’m an ordinary individual trying to live a relatively ordinary life.
P is for past. I’ve dwelled on it too often. I always wanted to make things better – things that happened a while back and can’t be altered now. I’d spend – waste – so much time thinking about the past. You do that a lot, when you grow up shy. People always seemed to take advantage of me and get the best of my mind and soul. So, even though I finally stopped doing that to myself, I occasionally have trouble breaking free of the past. Pulling my mind away from way back there and keeping it in the here and now.
Q is for quiet. Teachers and other adults always said I was quiet as a child. I’m still somewhat quiet. Now, it depends more on the situation than on my desire to stay out of trouble. If I’m quiet, that usually means I’m listening; sometimes plotting. What’s wrong with that? No one needs to be loud and obnoxious. Those who feel the need to be that way actually need to be smacked. As a writer, I relish the quiet; the solitude; the isolation. I’m quiet because I’m observing the people around me – and trying to figure out how their personas would fit into one of my stories.
R is for rebellious. Yes, I’ve always been quiet. But, I’m also rebellious. Quietly rebellious – as oxymoronic as that sounds. I don’t like to make a scene, unless I become enraged. It always startles the crap out of people when that happens. But I’m generally a silent rebel. My parents wanted me to study computer science, or anything related to computers. I wanted to be a writer. They equated that with being a bum; thus I started studying computer programming in college – just to please them. But my inner self said no; that’s not who you are. You’re a writer. Now, I’m a technical writer by day and a creative writer by night. Ironically, I’ve had to become a computer aficionado to engage in both tasks. Either way I’m still a writer. I rebelled against my parents’ desired plans for my future – quietly.
S is for smart. I’m smarter than I look. I like to read, so I know a lot; a lot of different things. Things like arctic hurricane is the formal name for a blizzard. Things like Polynesians in the South Pacific sometimes have blond hair, not because some European sailor got shipwrecked on an island 300 years ago and then got lonely, but because there’s a genetic trait among them that produces fair-colored locks. I’m smart because I understand human nature, even if I don’t like people that much. I’m smart because I know the environment is worth saving and not from a politically correct standpoint. I’m smart because I’ve been around and listen and observe more than I talk.
T is for tender. I have a good heart – physically and emotionally. My disdain for human beings notwithstanding, I still have compassion for people in general; mainly children and the disabled. I certainly have a tender spot for animals. Yes, that’s kind of odd to hear from someone with a leather fetish and a taste for vodka.
U is for underappreciated. Once more, growing up in a cocoon of timidity, I always felt underappreciated. It also means underpaid, and the two are usually interconnected. Showing someone respect is showing your appreciation for them. For example, I always try to remember people on their birthdays. To hell with Christmas or Valentine’s Day! Those are easy to recall. But, if you really want to show someone you care about them, or at least acknowledge their presence on Earth, wish them a ‘Happy Birthday.’ They’ll appreciate that more than ‘Merry Christmas.’
V is for various. I like a variety of things. My blog, as well as my writings, reflect that. I like different foods, different genres of literature and different styles of music. I have definite opinions on various subjects; some of which seem contradictory. I urge people to vote, for example, but I despise most politicians.
W is for weird. I’m a writer. I’m just weird. They’re symbiotic elements – ying and yang. They just go together. Only other writers will understand. But, whereas I once cringed at the mere hint of being dubbed weird, I now celebrate it. Actually, it’s pretty normal for me. Other people are the ones who think I’m weird. They just don’t understand. And, that’s fine.
X is for X-ray. Sometimes, I’ll expose my true self to people, so they can see who I really am. Those who think I’m weak will see the strength deep inside me. Others who think I’m cold and calculating will see the clown figure that lies beneath the rigid exterior. That’s not a common occurrence, though. I rarely let people get inside me like that.
Y is for yes – as in a restrained yes. I won’t say yes to just anything. I’m too cautious. I’ll say yes to saving an injured animal; yes to good vodka; yes to dancing to my favorite music. I reserve my yeses for the most important elements of life.
Z is for zeal – a zest for reading and writing. Well, I guess that’s two words for this one letter. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, though, my passion for the written word is boundless. We writers have to possess such an innate desire to sit down and drop words onto paper or a computer. It can be exciting and rewarding, but quite often, it’s frustrating and disappointing.