What can I do to help the world? Well, for starters, I can stop listening to music with words when I'm writing. For some reason, I can't hear my own thoughts because half of my attention is going into what the artist I'm listening to is saying, so I kind of struggle to type the sentence you're reading. I will say, the song I'm listening to, Call 911 by former Strange Music Artist, Rittz, is a tremendously realized story told through the medium of hip-hop music. Click the song title to peep it.
Given the musically thematic elements I add to my writings, I will say it has nothing to do with today's article. It's a wonderful song that came on my Spotify playlist and is so catchy and distracting. You may enjoy it. Peep, if thine feels the need. Cold open over, let's talk about influence and care for others. I'll probably talk about farts, too. But, this is mainly about caring for others.
My cousin contacted me today to ask for my perspective on some things he'd been thinking and feeling. He wanted me to give him my understanding of what he felt, and looked to me to assess his feelings adequately and independently of my own feelings. So, I gave him my perspective. I won't go into the nature of the issue he was having. It's not as important as the overall lesson is to the narrative of my life. I have so much gas right now. Super Bowl Sunday egg rolls will do that to you.
My cousin and I share the same brain. We are essentially yolked similarly. We're both damn handsome bald guys with beards, and we share in the same perspective about life and its big questions. Now, not all things we share in belief with each other, but the important stuff, we sure do. He's a man I turn to when I'm feeling foggy on something, or, full transparency, when I'm at a low point dealing with depression and need guidance and reassurance. He is a man whom I trust deeply. I am fully invested in every conversation we have.
My cousin has recently seen his relationships with friends dwindle to a point where he's had to reevaluate who he gives his time to. It is more specifically targeted on a particular group of people, but that's a basic understanding of what's been bugging him, and is the backbone of this article today. So, you can imagine my surprise when I was confronted with this topic by someone else who saw me as part of their existential problem, only a couple of hours later in the day.
I contacted a good friend about an unrelated topic and the conversation quickly dwindled in a way I didn't expect. Now, in text form, meaning is very difficult to decipher, but you can sometimes tell when a friend doesn't sound as right as they normally do. He seemed kind of out of tune with the way I was conversing. I haven't been fully involved with meaningful conversation with him in the last few months, but I reached out because he and I often share new music with each other. This was one such instance. I was bubbling about a story regarding Tech N9ne I happened to remember after watching a music video dissing the emcee, and was relating back to my friend how I felt about what the artist said.
The conversation went from casual to very serious after I asked him if he was doing okay. He wasn't. My stomach's growling. The more we talked, the more I realized he had been building up resentment for me, and I for him. Why? Because we were both busy and couldn't spend time with each other. Silly, right? Yes, but a valid response to feeling left out, it is. I am often unmotivated to hang out with friends. It's part of feeling bad about life. I shelter myself away from others. It works. It doesn't. I can change.
Right now, I'm in full-swing preproduction for Sun, a short I'm shooting as cinematographer, and my attention is really grounded toward my workplace and my computer when I get home. It'll be much like that for the next month. But, that's no excuse for closing off to someone who's not as responsive as I'd like. The low hum of a fly buzzes from right to left in my headphones (thirty seconds into this song HERE). I've since changed to (mostly) wordless music. Shpongle, to be specific. It's acid trip music. I recommend them to calm your weary bones after a stressful day. My sister hates the band. She's often tense. Not saying there's any correlation to her back aches and not listening to Shpongle, but damn, there might just be.
My friend's issue was that he felt undervalued by people he'd put his trust in. If I argue with that, what am I? Say it with me, "part of the problem". Great, you've nailed it. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the common theme of two unrelated people, unrelatedly relating to me in two vastly different ways. How did I handle my friend? By confronting him and telling him any time we'd talked, he was so distant that I gave up trying. We reconciled, thankfully, and in the moments I turned the conversation around to him, he asked for forgiveness, and I the same. We chose the route of cleanup because we love each other. The sum of our collective problems isn't greater than the benefits we give to each other by being friends. There's a bowling ball sitting inside my body, just below my belly button.
In the case of my cousin, I was the confidant, the keeper and bestower of wisdom and perspective. With my friend, I was the cause, and victim, of harbored resentment. I was my cousin and his transgressors at the same time. How I managed these two interactions were directly correlative. One informed the other. First, I was given the perspective of a man who had been used by others, people who were perceived to have the best interests of my cousin at heart, but to my cousin, lacked that very compassion.
Secondly, my friend confronted me and reminded me what it was to be the wayward friend, the grifter on the highway of relationships, thumbing a ride from the next convenient driver. Because I had been seeing his attitude as a problem, I stopped considering him my confidant, one of only a few keepers of my most visceral emotional states of being. I had lost touch with the ride I'd been on with him and gotten off the bus, abandoning our route. It didn't lead to anywhere other than a difficult conversation that somehow intersected with a greater theme than I'd expected to have to deal with on a Monday.
I think I handled the situation well. I gave perspective that quelled the thunder in my cousin's mind. I helped him feel validated about his feelings of inadequacy and being used. And, I had to confront myself as being that same user in another relationship completely unrelated to my bloodline. I felt big feelings today, and I go to bed feeling good. I send my love to anyone reading this. Know and take comfort in understanding I feel what it's like to be both the used and the user. Let us grow and become more adequate for each other. Don't eat 8 egg rolls full of cabbage at a Super Bowl party. I've found out I don't have a very super bowel. Toilet humor.