Letters For My Sons

Month: March 2018

Saucepan As Trucker Cap

If you’ve never worn a saucepan on your head for any length of time, I don’t greatly recommend it as a headpiece of comfort.  When I wore a small gravy pan into town many years ago, it kept slipping down the back of my head, and the handle would occasionally hit my shoulder, producing a not-altogether-unpleasant “bong” through my skull.  I’m reasonably sure it didn’t have any gravy still in it, because it probably would have remained more stationary on my pate.

What is interesting about wearing an item of cookware however, is the instant sense of self-awareness it produces.  On this particular occasion I became acutely aware of myself and everyone around me, and let me say… it was not altogether pleasant.  Many pairs of eyes warily rested upon my own, searching deeply, no doubt, for a murderous penchant or some other recalcitrant sign of insanity.

In the meantime, I was highly adrenalised.  This behaviour was obviously threatening to many people, not least to my own sense of self.  All my normal, beige, behavioural scripts were jumping up and down, screaming.  A simple metal pot on my head was turning my world upside down.

If I’ve raised you boys correctly, both of you will have a sense of awareness of yourselves.  One thing you should realise is that most people are not self-aware.  That’s not being nasty or pompous.  It is the truth.  Most people do what they do robotically, as if they have a computer script that they run for each activity.

COMPUTER BOOT-UP…

RUN: INTERACTING WITH WORK COLLEAGUES SCRIPT

RUN: BITCHING ABOUT FRIENDS SCRIPT

RUN: ARGUING WITH SPOUSE SCRIPT

RUN: TRYING SOMETHING NEW SCRIPT

We all have these scripts.  They make life simpler, with less mental overhead.  They also make life dull and predictable.  Scripts are the primary reason many people are bored with their little boxy lives.

Self awareness is important because it gives you a choice.  You can choose to run a script or not.  You can choose to run part or all of a script.  When I chose to walk into town wearing a saucepan, I was ditching many scripts I held dear, and the world was suddenly a very bright and very real place to inhabit.

I walked up to the counter to buy the items I wanted, balancing my headwear so as not to drop it on some unlucky toddler’s scalp.  The lady behind the counter examined me closely.

“Are you a pothead or something?” she asked.

Maybe I was.

The Greatest Detective Story Never Told

I’m a man who likes to be solitary.  I love to be alone with my body and my mind, exploring both.  I ran into trouble early with your mum, as she comes from a family where no one is ever alone, ever.  No one from her family does anything solo, or quietly for that matter.

Walk into my family’s house at Christmas time and you’re likely to find everyone with their faces in a book.

I had a realisation last night.  To really learn about myself, I have to truly be alone.  When I say truly alone, I don’t just mean on my own without other people.  I mean alone without distractions.  No devices, no books, no shows, no chores.  They are all colourful and entertaining noise that prevent me from touching that deep place where the boundless lies.

It’s tough to be truly alone.

It’s difficult to not distract myself with all this novel and wonderful noise, these nostalgically photographed cookbooks, those five-star self-development books,  some new and shiny techniques for saving time and achieving… stuff.

However, after years of practice, I’ve observed within myself a personal trend towards entertainment boredom.  I can’t watch shows or movies without a deep sense of boredom.  They all seem so infantile, so shallow.  Not one of them touches on what it means to be a human alone.  No show discusses the pain within and the way to heal it.  No one talks of the ocean of creativity that lies deep beneath the surface where monsters and beauties and the most incredible creations lie.  No one seems to know of the greatest detective story never told – the uncovering of your history, past, present and future.

If more people knew about it, Netflix would be out of business.

Letters For My Sons

Hello boys.

Life is a beautiful thing.  We are so lucky to be experiencing it, with all its happiness, joy, satisfactions and pain.  All of it is beautiful in its own way.

The most beautiful, and yet the most terrible part, is that we have to die.  It is beautiful because it forces us to take notice of life.  We have to be a part of life, whether we want to or not, and when we find death, we start to take notice.  Weirdly, I didn’t find death until I was blessed with new life: you boys.

Before Tay was born I was a couch-sitter.  I had my adventures, but most of my time was taken up with simply dreaming and wishing while I was sitting and blobbing. When you were born, something changed.

This was absolutely NOT me.  Far too active.

Firstly, I had far, far, far less time for myself.  With so little time, I made the most of what I had.   I had no more time for doing nothing, only for creating something.

Secondly, I wanted to be a dad to be proud of.  I wanted to be a man you two could emulate.  This meant I had to recreate myself as a man worth emulating.  It’s a work in progress, one that will continue until my last day.

Being a parent brings into stark relief one of the silliest results of evolution – my kids have to learn all my lessons over again.  All the hard work I’ve put into learning about myself and the world, all that knowledge, it will disappear when I die, as it did when my ancestors passed away.  There is no download button as yet directly into your brain from mine.

Thus I’ve made this blog.  I want you to know what I know.  Of course you won’t know it until you’ve experienced it… but there is a time and a place for all knowledge, and I hope that occasionally the right phrase will be there for you at the right time and the right place.

I love you both of you boys, more than anything on the planet.  Let’s get this party started!

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