Trust

The downfall of all relationships fundamentally, is lack of trust or unrequited trust. Are any of us to blame to not trust someone else with ourselves when we are most exposed? Throughout human history and our own personal histories, there are a plethora of examples to why trusting someone is a stupid idea. Most recently an example that sticks out in my mind is Michelle Carter convincing her vulnerable boyfriend to kill himself. Let’s look at the bigger picture and take a look at Jeremy Corbyn who alluded to quashing student debt only to U-turn on breakfast television. It’s the constant battle between committing to people or person versus self-serving desires. In the case of Jeremy Corbyn, it’s saving his own skin and, in the case of Michelle Carter it’s quite probably an underlying control issue with a splash of psychopathy.

You can’t enter a relationship or elevate a relationship without first trusting someone but doing that you have to be accepting of the fact that trust is not unbreakable. I know someone who is wrestling with the words ‘love’ and ‘trust’ because they are both not mutually exclusive but intrinsically connected as ‘love’ can’t flourish without a solid foundation of ‘trust’. Personally, every time they say it, it makes me cringe and roll my eyes because the very concept of love is in itself, a fallacy created by romantic poets and perpetuated by greetings card companies. Unfortunately, until you can work out at least one of those concepts and whether you buy into it for the object of your affection, there can be no foundation.

As someone who spends their time as the beleaguered side-character in someone else’s movie, I find myself spending most of my time now, clearing up the shit made by words like ‘trust’ and ‘love’ or both. What I find is that people don’t understand that you can’t trust someone else until you start to trust yourself – look at me go, like RuPaul – with the things you expect of others. Yet, maybe there’s people out there who need someone to lean on to be able to begin to trust themselves with even the smallest things like making sure they haven’t lost their phone or are wearing trousers before they leave the house. Personally, I don’t see that as a good start to any relationship, romantic or otherwise, because that’s just parenting plain and simple. As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of children yet more and more it’s like the world is just an enormous play group. Everyone is just scrabbling about for the best pens in the box and desperately trying to pair up with someone to hold hands with because that’s how it works in fucking Disney movies. Then, the dream of magic carpet rides collapses when you find out that the kid you’re holding hands with has secretly been helping themselves to your favourite crayons.

It’s an unfortunate shit sandwich that we all need to accept to both spare ourselves and my nights awake going around in circles with people. Most of the time, trust isn’t based in truth but irrationality and the pedestal we put others on rather than the lines we set for ourselves. Fundamentally, now and always, to prevent constant repeats of history, we need to first set our own standards of trust and – fuck it – love to hold others and ourselves to the mark. Obviously, it’d be easier for humans to be inherently trustworthy and self-less creatures in the first place, but that’s just wishful thinking.

Trust

‘Family, In Italics’

Once again, the family – notice italics, obviously courtesy of mafia movies and for the gratuitous nod to Dan Harmon’s Community -, seems to be fractal. By family, I’m referring to my old group of friends from back home and being the natural alarmist that I am, the slightest shift in status quo has sent me into a bit of an unwarranted panic. It’s not like they haven’t or we haven’t argued or fought in the past but now, as we all drift into our own lives, I worry that perhaps that each fight is the last. Growing up in an Italian family (definitely not a family), where grudges are held onto for dear life like footholds in free-climbing, it seems to be my curse to notice the changing winds. In all fairness, it’s probable my recent avoidance of their birthdays isn’t helping.

It was always going to be a natural part of life to lose touch with friends from school and sixth form and happens all the time. Just today I was talking to someone who is only in contact with one person who went to their college back home which is something that seems somewhat alien to me. Obviously, there were people I didn’t like and haven’t bothered speaking to since leaving home and there are people I’m still unsure about nine years on within the family. We all bonded over things like Community – which by the way, is a comedy institution –  but the cracks in the foundations could and can never be fixed up. Yet, even though these people sometimes infuriate and irritate me, the troubled waters make me very fucking uneasy indeed.

Maybe it’s time I realise the unfortunate fact of life that so many have come to understand that most friends don’t stay friends forever. Hell, even Justice League Unlimited was cancelled which I’m still bitter about some eleven years on. While that insert may seem random, the point is that example, like the eventual death of what I have come to know as, The Group, is totally out of my control and will finally kill my childhood; much like Warner Bros. Animation did all those years ago. Yet, we’ve all got to grow up at some point, I get that, and I’ll just have to be happy with Ben Affleck rather than Kevin Conroy as Batman.

The fact of the matter is, all it will take is a rough night out to kick start an avalanche. We’ve already had three or so this year out of the five times we’ve all got together and to quote Ensign Kim of Star Trek: Voyager: ‘hull integrity is failing!’. This problem is definitely universal and a quite the gut punch. The nests we once knew are suddenly becoming too small for our lives and our dreams which is a reality no one takes into account until our bundle of twigs is an empty husk. Is it futile to try to keep everyone together, or is it just cruel to clip our wings for the sake of ourselves?

No matter what happens, based on all the slices of pizza I bought the family at break-times over the years, I better at least get an invite to a wedding or two. I sincerely believe that the world would be crushed under the sheer weight of all the passive aggression if not.

‘Family, In Italics’

A Vengeful Jack Russell

When stuck with a problem in our surroundings there have and always will be three options. They are: defiance, ignorance or apathy and finally, find pastures new. Unfortunately, all require some level of effort; even being ambivalent to it all since the problem will stick around like herpes and it’ll still kill the mood  – again, like herpes. I’m facing a problem right now and my fair adopted city of York seems like cross between a fish bowl and a prison cell. The company I used to keep has definitely come back to bite me in the arse like a vengeful Jack Russell.

The feeling of being totally trapped and spooked by shadows is something that’s universal through history and the uncomfortable air of it all marks the difference between existing and being allowed to live. That’s what it comes down to for me and perhaps others considering the unnecessary crushing cruelty of reality that seems to shit on you at every turn. It’s like reading an expensive academic textbook that has no good information in it, but you have to read it to make the most of your investment. Thinking about it, that analogy is a bit wishy-washy but the point stands. To make matters worse, in some cases, people who find themselves at the shit end of the stick will inadvertently create more problems for themselves trying to find that cure for their particular herpes, accidentally spreading it like peanut-butter in the shit sandwich of life.

A prime example of this is perhaps my own fuck up. In an attempt to ignore and be apathetic towards my situation, I’m realising that I have inadvertently alienated a good portion of the support network that I had which could have had helped me out of this grave that I’ve seemed to dug for myself. It’s probably too late to do anything about it and I’m going to have to take responsibility for that level of destruction. I can even trace back this whole situation to a poor decision back in October when I got myself into a relationship more toxic than the atmosphere on Venus. Self-realisation and responsibility for that is, in my opinion, a good first step and maybe that’s something for everyone to take away. Looking back and retracing your steps to the root of whatever problem is perhaps, the only true meaningful way of moving forward.

Admittedly, moving forward is always going to be an uphill battle where you’ll have shit raining from the heavens upon you but at least the first effort would have been made. Finding the motivation for the climb up the hill, or out of the grave, or whatever analogy you like is unfortunately, perhaps, the hardest part. Being miserable becomes habit and almost ritual, which is something you don’t learn about in those PSHE lessons in school. Thinking about it, maybe they did teach us but I couldn’t tell you the name of a single person who paid attention.

A Vengeful Jack Russell

Running

I missed a close friend’s birthday today. The excuse was being financially bankrupt yet perhaps the truth is that I’m more morally bankrupt as it wouldn’t have been a stretch to be there. It’s the second time in a month I’ve missed a birthday of a close friend for no reason at all other than perhaps selfishness or laziness or a fear of nostalgia. It’s also the second time the person has made efforts to make sure I was there. The party is ongoing right now and looking at Snapchat is like punching myself in a gut and I don’t know how I got here.

It makes me wonder do we lose touch with people by accident or accidentally on purpose? I mean I like these people and have a strange history with one of them but I find myself making less and less of an effort with them. It’s almost the same way people who promise to always remain friends after a relationship ends amicably (as rare or fictional as that may be) and they always drift apart despite good intentions. Still, I’m trying to work out how that applies to me considering it’s as almost as if I’m actively being apathetic. Which perhaps defeats the point of apathy entirely.

Perhaps I’m overthinking it and I’m just another cliché being protectionist and cagey with all that feelings bullshit and I’m too scared to look back. To look back and to go to these gatherings and make an effort would be to be confronted by the fact that I need these people as over the eight years I’ve known them they’ve become more family than friends. Obviously, it’s a dysfunctional and somewhat incestuous family like the cast of The Brady Bunch but family none the less. As I type these words I feel a reeling sense of nausea at this uncharacteristic exposé yet maybe my own very raw nerve is just damn typical.

Running from things that didn’t happen or did happen is incredibly tiring and I’m low on the number of excuses to throw around, maybe we all are. Yet for the first time in my life and perhaps, this is the same for everyone else, to stop is more difficult than keep moving. Hell, I moved one-hundred miles north to a place where I don’t know anyone just to prove a point to myself that I could. Now, I’m sat here alone in a shell of a house rather than actually enjoying myself with people I care about because I’m far too chicken shit to confront those goddamn roads not taken or those I did. Or perhaps it’s more than that and it’s a level of unwanted exposure being around people who know what I’m going to say before I say it.

Our entire society is driven towards moving on whether it be from a relationship or being turned down by an employer. It’s all about looking forward rather than back because constant self-analyses and mental exploration of what-ifs would drive anyone insane. I’m being driven insane right now and every time I sit down and think about the good old days that I failed to recognise and appreciate at the time. Yet maybe I and every other person with this uncomfortable feeling should grow some fucking balls and get that train to the birthday party.

Running

London Film and Comic Con, 2017

I was at comic con at the weekend in London and learnt two things in particular: I never want to live there and that conventions are quite literally impulse-buy markets. Seriously, I spent so much money on things that I neither really want or need. The most telling part of this is the fact that you have to pay for the privilege of meeting another human being. Don’t get me wrong I’m sure Natalie Dormer is a lovely person but no-one’s that nice that a donation of sixty-pounds is necessary for her to write some hollow bullshit on a picture of herself.

In the aftermath, I am making the mistake of analysing the day and my purchases which is slowly ruining the memory considering it was over a fiver for a very mediocre hotdog. As I glance over to the fifteen-pounds bobble head I panic a little over the money I have and don’t have. Yet despite the obvious financial costs, comic con is worth it just for the sense of atmosphere and a strange unity that you might get from being at a football match, for instance. Everyone there had come to show support for something or someone whether it be a celebrity or an anime. Of course, if the words ‘I think Game of Thrones is over-hyped’ slips your lips then expect swift and righteous crucifixion.

Oddly enough, like a football match, I witnessed a small fight break out between a man running a stall and an oblivious selfie-taker. There was a large bust of Arnold Schwarzenegger that someone had touched and it all took a sour turn which was quickly dealt with by security. Yet unlike in normal circumstances, people turned away and made a point to avoid the confrontation rather than actively spectate. Maybe it highlights the fallacy of comic con: being absorbed in the fiction all around, actively trying to avoid the reality. Much like buying for the sake of buying, we do it because it’s all a part of the comic con experience and deviation is totally avoided. Just spent seventy-five-pounds to get a picture with Mads Mikkelsen? Worth every penny, pal.

The best moments from my experience this year came not from spending money at all but from – for lack of a better phrase – sitcom humour. It started around eleven in the morning when my friend bought some naturally overpriced nachos and a cola which ended up down him and the floor when he held back a sneeze. Honestly, I have never cried from laughter until that moment and his panicked words ‘what do I do?’ made it even worse. The whole frame of the somewhat stunned nineteen-year-old standing atop a mess of salsa and Pepsi, while the workers at the food cart all muttered ‘what the fuck’, was perhaps better than the last four seasons of The Big Bang Theory.

The second was perhaps the best and it happened some time later while we were sat waiting for another friend to get his picture taken with Natalie Dormer – again sixty-pounds is definitely worth it, why would anyone question if it was a waste? We were there for a long time and the only free element of the day being the Wi-Fi was spotty at best and required a field of personal details to be filled in, odd for ‘free’ connection. It was my same salsa-stained friend who, to pass the time, began singing ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ by John Denver and began to rock to the tune. At the very same time, the person that he wanted to meet the most of all the guests there, Alyson Hannigan walked past. The face she pulled was similar to that of the food sellers – ‘what the fuck’ – and so, confused by his performance she quickly moved on by. My friend let out a little whimper and seemed to die.

Naturally I pulled out the classic: ‘it’s just nacho day’.

London Film and Comic Con, 2017

Making Friends

I got talking for the first time with a new housemate who perhaps, I should have gotten to know better before I moved in with him. He’s five years older than me and the oldest in the house and strangely I got along better with him than perhaps I thought I would or so far, how I have been with housemates my own age. What he said made a lot of sense to me, in that being you never know who people truly are until you have to live with them in a student house. For the first time in a while, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not sure whether it was that he was genuinely good conversation or that the lack of reliable internet or company that made his presence that much more meaningful – despite this being the second conversation we’ve actually had in person.

The hours of conversation have made me think about what we all expect from life and that ours differ so dramatically considering like me, he is going into his second year of university yet at twenty-four. He was speaking to me about children and how he’d like to settle down in ten years and start a family with a wife, a few kids and a white picket fence. Naturally, this made me think about my future as a family man and the thought of doing the school-run makes me want to hang myself. Yet despite fundamental differences in our envisions for the future, I’m feeling once again a sense of déjà vu: finding common ground amongst the things we both say ‘what the fuck’ at. This common theme with how I seem to bond with people makes me wonder if this is how we as humans, generally connect with people.

I know it’s strange since in the 21st Century we typically see and hear through various forms that love (whatever the fuck that means) brings us together whether it be to find common ground on political issues or humanitarian issues. Is the reality of it all far more cynical? I’m not particularly bothered if so, considering a good complain about people I don’t like or the current state of the political climate is becoming a pastime for me. Perhaps that is the greatest downfall of the modern world – our core belief that love will win the day and singing songs in unison at charity gigs will unite us all forever more. I’m not disputing the feel-good-factor and the buzz from those sorts of things but I don’t suppose the light bulb was invented because we loved candle. Complaining about things and being united in our shared annoyance or how put out we are has led to some of the greatest human advancements. Whinging about horses and how it takes too long to get from place to place led to the combustion engine and in turn, complaining about pollution has led to the UK banning the sale of diesel and petrol cars from 2040.

True, not all our advancements have come from healthy complaining considering a level of unhealthy complaining has led to many a war or skirmish stemming from the very fundamental line: ‘I don’t like that they believe in something different to us’. In a world of expanding atheism and nihilism that phrase is changing quickly to: ‘I don’t like that they believe’. Perhaps that’s a completely other rabbit hole to fall down some other time but my point is, whether we accept it or not, the foundation of human cooperation is based on bitching about things.

I for one, have never made a friend on holiday with a conversation not starting with a moan about the lack of available sun loungers or that the salad is off. Maybe this is just me and once again, I’m over generalising by a few thousand miles but today is a testament to the theory and I’d like to say, I’ve made a new friend.

Hooray for bitching.

Making Friends

The Ban

I’ve just been scrolling through the onslaught of comments about Donald Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from the military. My first thought was primarily: how the hell does what someone has in their trousers impact on their patriotism or desire to serve in the armed forces? Surely anyone who’s willing to go to places where their legs could get blown off is a feat in itself and whether you’re a man, woman or neither, it warrants respect. I saw a comment which of course came from a balding man with a red face that said: ‘it’s a mental illness, good to get rid’. In my opinion knowing full well that you could die in a war over oil or a religion you don’t believe in or have any stake in is the red flag, not someone wanting to be who they are. Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for those who serve in the military both in the UK and elsewhere; with family members serving in the RAF but the thought of it to me, is something I just don’t understand and probably never will – unless of course, I’m conscripted or something. It’s an equation I can’t work out which is ironic as I’m not very good at maths anyway. So, anyone who stands up and proclaims a love for their country so strongly that they’re willing to possibly die for it is deserved of our admiration not persecution.

There’s the argument that medical treatment is costly on the military which surely, coming from the US government is entirely hypocritical considering how badly they failed soldiers in the past by getting them addicted to morphine. That’s another argument entirely but isn’t the whole point of America that it’s an idealistic nation founded on egalitarianism and liberty to do what you want and be who you are? Or I could just be missing the point of ‘land of the free’ entirely.

This whole announcement and reactions to it – which themselves are a real kick in the teeth for anyone with any faith left in humanity – really stirs up the larger question to why everyone is so concerned with what other people do and who other people are. Why are we, as human beings seemingly constantly outraged about people who are different or do things differently to the rest, especially when these people are doing nothing to encroach upon anyone else’s way of life? It’s not a typical conservative issue as seen here in the UK with Scottish Conservatives being openly gay and advocate for all LGBTQ+ rights so I can’t work out what it is. In all fairness to those hoping to pray the gay away from their kids or co-workers, the hot and heavy change of the 21st Century of people no longer being afraid to say might be daunting.

I was in a play in sixth form about transitioning called Pronoun by Evan Placey. There’s a great line that says that the idea of being tolerant is bullshit as to tolerate is something you do when ‘people’s music plays too loudly on the bus’. It’s true, we live currently in an emerging tolerance culture where we are coming out of the era of shame and repression. We’re not at normalising yet apparently because of the amount of unsubstantiated hate I’ve seen in comment sections alone today. It was Frank Underwood in House of Cards who said ‘you can’t get from a no to a yes without a maybe in between’ and as simplistic as it sounds we’re into ‘maybe’ as a global society regarding equal rights for everyone considering how progressive some nations are and how backwards others are – looking at you, Chechnya.

Personally, I think that everyone cares far too much about who or what people are. I honestly couldn’t care if someone was transgender or cisgender or straight or gay or anywhere on the Kinsey Scale. It was in Batman Begins that Rachel said to Bruce: ‘it’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you’. People in general need to take that on board a lot and stop caring about things that will never actually affect their day-to-day lives. I’ve quoted a lot in this but it really goes to show the sorry fucking state of it all when fiction makes more logical sense than our reality featuring Donald Trump.

The Ban