Category: Musings

If you Really want to be a Rebel, Practice Kindness.

One of the features of our times is that everyone wants to be a rebel. Wanting to be unconventional and opiniated is a sign of the times. Valuing independence is part of survival, after all. It’s considered cool to be a rebel and rebellion has become a part of everyone’s life. But the thing is that it is often being misperceived with being bold and free, whereas to a certain extent it is more an indication of feeling fragile.

When you row against the current for something that is important to you, it can be that you are just fighting for what you believe in, which is a good thing, and it is rooted in a strong personality. When you rebel just for the sake of rebellion, however, with no apparent reason, you are very likely feeling vulnerable and isolated, which is sad and deplorable.

I’m a member of that last club. My whole life I was a rebel, thinking that I was establishing a pleasurable life for myself, that I was challenging the status quo, while I was just trying to survive spiritually. I went against the grain and broke established rules, only to compensate for an inner weakness.

Certain rebel personalities are merely about asserting power and control over others, which in my view is even more shameful than doing it because you are trying to conceal your sensitivity. Rather than resisting the impulse to fight, to judge, to complain, this kind of rebel will always find a reason to revolt.

True rebels, however, are very different from the above variations. They are not against rules or what others say, simply for the sake of causing conflict. They will protest things because they believe in a cause, and can communicate about it with confidence. They fight injustice, and question accepted standards or customs, because they are smart enough to know how these came about, and how little sense they often make.

Because there is logic to the seeming insanity of true rebels. They know the value of independent thinking and are not afraid to stand alone, as they believe the group is usually wrong. They don’t accept the status quo without question. They are kind and intelligent, besides being very passionate, compassionate, and determined. Sometimes they may come across as arrogant, but they are in fact faithfully working for the general interest of the population as a whole. They are original thinkers, have an unlimited enthusiasm, and they show great courage when facing overwhelming opposition. They are heroes, to me, as they can provide a powerful force for positive change in the world. Our world would also be less colorful without them.

My entire life I thought that I was a member of that last group of rebels, but I wasn’t. Unfortunately I was one of the rebels who were trying to veil their inner weakness. Where did this weakness come from? I’d say most likely it derived from my upbringing, at home and at school. When I was young it was believed that parents needed to be very authoritarian and that teachers needed to be strict, if children were to grow up to be responsible adults. That this tough love often translated into mental and physical cruelty, was covered with the cloak of charity, because that was how it had always been, and it supposedly hadn’t done anybody harm. Today I am certain that my sense of powerlessness is stemming from those horrendous childhood experiences. My unruliness was nothing else than a compensatory system.

So, next time you meet a rebellious person, consider the idea that he or she might be somebody with a heavy past. Show some compassion for them. As for the true rebels, we have to value them for what they do and how they are, as they are humbly doing a dirty job for the rest of us, by healing the world one small deed at a time.

Happiness is a Temporary Emotion

Permanent happiness is marketed as the most important life goal. Companies try to convince us that we can only achieve steadfast happiness if we acquire more stuff to make our lives pleasing and fun. And – as it is fairly easy to accomplish – we willingly rely on this mantra of a purchasable everlasting happiness.

Happy People

They make us believe that, in order to fight the inevitable gloom of an ordinary life, we have to work hard at our self-confidence and ambition. We need to keep our focus on a number of productive and constructive targets, that will make our lives successful and stand out from other people’s miserable existences.

It seems that, in order to be happy, we primarily need a lot of money. If we don’t have money, our biggest pursuit should be to make money. Lots of it. Enough to make all our dreams come true. Still, just as you cannot buy happiness, you cannot achieve it either. It will come to you, sooner or later, or it will never come at all. And when it comes, it never lasts.

Enjoying the simple pleasures in life, however, is not only within our grasp, it also improves our well-being and makes life more enjoyable. While the fanatical pursuit of a lifelong happiness ironically leaves us less happy, having a mindful existence brings us more joy.

Whether it is making brief eye contact with someone of the opposite sex, or we enjoy the first sip of a drink when we are thirsty, or we wake up and realize we have a lot more time to sleep, or we get an unexpected compliment from somebody that we hold dear… These are the things we actually live for. Holding hands with someone we love also ranks high on the pyramid of pleasure. The awareness of how much someone means to us can be quite overwhelming. It may seem obvious when we say it out loud, but love truly is all that matters.

So, to put it mildly, the pursuit of individual happiness by acquiring ‘more’ (as in more things, more status, more money…) is rather silly. The search for happiness is in itself a bit absurd. It is the same like the senseless desire to be taller, or smarter, or more talented. You are, or you aren’t, no matter how hard you try.

We are supposed to view a happy life as the norm, because that will make us buy more stuff and consume more, but the truth is that experiencing deep sadness should be accepted as an important part of life. Without it, true happiness is unattainable.

There is a clear link between the media-overwhelmed world we live in, and the way we perceive our personal growth. There are so many advertisers and retailers fighting for our attention, that we get showered with motivational suggestions to become more happy, and to become excellent as human beings, to make other people envious of the lives we are living.

Salespersons deliberately exploit our most primary insecurities and increase our self-loathing. They make us want to wear trendy shoes and clothes, get our hands on a fabulous car, a beautiful house, an amazing holiday destination… They aspire to make us go to beauty parlors, tanning salons, fitness clubs, and so on. They paint a picture what happiness is supposed to look like, and then they sell us the components of that picture.

And so most people have a bizarre approach towards happiness. Instead of simply accepting a happy life, and trying to make something of it through self-actualization and meaningful fulfilment, we tend to care more about giving ‘the impression to be happy’ than to actually being happy. We worry more about how our lives look on social media, than how they are in reality. That is where most of our joy in life comes from: of the idea that others are conscious of our marvelous life, no matter how fake it actually is.

By hiding our real emotions, we refuse to accept that life can be sad as well as happy, and the more we try to become more happy, the less happy we will feel, since trying to be happy increases the idea that we aren’t happy to begin with.

Wasting time dwelling on the things we don’t have is… well… a waste of time. When we appreciate what we have, we will automatically be more happy. That is why we need to try to live a life of true awareness. We should change the way we look at people, and find the good and beauty in them. We need to see the world in a totally different way, and appreciate and treasure it more, because how we perceive things, is ultimately what defines our level of happiness.

So, as Charles Bukowski’s gravestone says: “DON’T TRY”… Because if you try to do something, you’re actually not doing it…

DLK

© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

The Flaws That Make Us Fall In Love

We are all born with the idea that our life will go a certain way and that we will be fortunate enough to find someone exceptional to love. We have an indestructible faith that we will meet someone that is our soulmate, and with whom we will spend our entire life with. Even when the odds and statistics contradict us, we keep on having that same dream.

Gradually, however, we learn that not everything lasts forever and that people might leave us, at some point. So, after some disappointments, we start to feel unsettled and insecure and – out of a need to protect ourselves – we begin to find fault in every partner and walk out on the people who come into our life, long before they have a chance to leave us.


Art by Wouter Vandevoorde

Out of the anxiety to be heartbroken another time, we subconsciously create pointless drama to push people away. While we might be under the impression that people always leave us, it is much more likely that we are self-sabotaging every relationship we take part in, simply to protect ourselves from being hurt again.

If no one is ever good enough for us, it is clear that we may have unrealistic notions about what a relationship is like, because being in a relationship is not all roses and fairy dust. We will need the courage to step out of our comfort zone, if we want to find something special and worthwhile, and not something common or boring.

Fighting with your lover is expected. You cannot avoid it. The only thing you can avoid is negative patterns with regards to arguing without a real reason. Having someone in your life who holds you accountable is fantastic. Having someone in your life who is only blaming you for things, it becomes an unbearable burden. The fights you do have, should make you come out stronger. You have to deal with what the other does or says, because you don’t want them to hide for you, and you always want to know where you stand.

If you consistently point out shortcomings in the other, and will find fault in everything they think or do, you will never be happy with that person, as you can’t feel attached to someone if you are always seeing them in a bad light. If you expect them to be perfect, the downfall of your relationship will be unavoidable, because if you look for a reason why you shouldn’t be with somebody, you will surely find one.

The lovey-dovey couples depicted in romantic novels are a figment of our imagination. In the real world we have to keep our jobs, make time for friends and family, and get through the daily grind, which doesn’t always makes us fun to be with. We are not always available for our partner, and this fact alone causes couples to break up, far more often than it should.

It is the unrealistic expectations that ruin our love life. The lesson in reality is often in finding the determination to see that our partners are not only there to please us, and that their world doesn’t revolve around us, but that they need time for themselves, for other people and things, and that this does not automatically mean that they are neglecting us.

When there isn’t enough room in a relationship to just be yourself, to have your quirks accepted, the relationship won’t stand the test of time. So, try not to go against the other for what he or she is and what he or she believes. Don’t try to change them into that perfect lover that you had in mind, as it is very unlikely that you yourself will be the perfect lover to them.

If you believe that – for some reason – someone is not made for you, eventually you are – beyond a doubt – going to end up without them, maybe end up with someone fake, and that is the opposite of what you actually want and need.

It is better to not want somebody perfect, as love isn’t perfect, and people are not perfect. It is not achievable to have a perfect love, just as it is not attainable to be a flawless person.

In a way, it is the flaws that make us fall in love.

DLK

© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

 

 

Want to be alone? Tell people the truth.

In our hearts we all care too much about offending people. We don’t speak the truth, ever, for fear of pushing people away.

So we hide our satirical hearts under a shell of thoughtless niceness. We put up a façade and water down our sentiments, sugarcoat our ideas, and weaken our standpoints. We talk about people as if they are gifted, and witty, and lovely, in the hope that we might fit in, that people will like us, that a company will hire us and give us that big fat paycheck.

Everybody does it, by the way. Yes, you do it too. You’re not the bohemian you think you are. And, by the way, hippies do it as well. They are not better than us. Just look at Steve Jobs. He was basically an asshole who blatantly lied to us, so he could entice us into buying his fancy phones we don’t need, so we’d be seen as ‘cool’ by people we don’t even care about.

When people say they don’t lie, they are lying. We all follow our social contracts, whether we want to admit it, or not. You tell me I’m clever, I tell you you’re charming and amusing. If I secretly think you are a hypocrite, I will tell you that you are ‘diplomatic’. We develop our people pleasing talents to avoid conflict. That’s how we manage to get along. That’s how pathetic we are.

But that is not the only reason we lie. We need to deceive ourselves a little, just as much as we want to mislead others about how we truly are. We in fact want to come across as ‘nice’. We know what the alternative is, and nobody choses to openly be an asshole or a bitch.

Being impertinent could render us to become very lonely. So, we are polite to people, as that is how we secretly want them to treat us. We are wimps, and we’d better accept it. We would do everything not to be lonely. We cannot say what we think, as loneliness could be our punishment.

Think about your lies. I mean, your life. What does it amount to? Are you cautious with offending people? Have you been able to lie enough to yourself, to make yourself believe that all is going well? That you love your family, that you love your friends? That you love your job, even?

You hate your job. Admit it. You might even hate your family, albeit that this will be harder for you to admit.

We work hard to not tell the truth, or to keep our mouths shut, because we don’t want to drive away everyone who might care for us. That is because we have this delusion that there is anyone out there that truly appreciates us. It is just a survival instinct, because we can’t deal with the idea that there is nobody in the whole wide world who gives a damn about us. I will recap for the slow people: there is nobody out there that gives a shit about you. Better learn to accept it.

We want people to tell us that ‘all is going to be fine’, when things look gloomy. We actually want to be lied to, because the truth disheartens us and a lie is more comforting. These platitudes are killing us. But we want to be killed. Everything is better than being alive and knowing the truth.

That is why we rather have people say “Have a nice day!”, while they don’t actually care, than them being sincere, and look right through us.

The funny thing is that it becomes a knee-jerk reaction. As kids we often tell the truth, calling other children ugly, or stupid, or uncool. Soon we start to notice that this is not taken very well by the one that we say it to. So slowly – ever so slowly – most of us ‘adapt’ and after a while we acquire the skill to say what we want to say in a more subtle way. We fake our entire adult lives, as natural born liars.

That said, I believe we should try to find some balance in the tactfulness. In my experience people do not like it very much, when you treat them like they’re stupid. Basically that is what lying to people is; you deem the person you tell stories to, to be stupid enough to get away with whatever dishonesty you throw at them.

But how can we stop it? How are we going to put an end to this habit of politeness? It has become an inbuilt feature to lie to everyone and to invite others to lie to us. We so much hate the truth, that we have replaced harsh realities with comforting white lies.

Still, would you not expect that in a grown-up society we can be more honest to one another? That we should not need to sweet-talk people, just to get things done or to get some positive attention?

That doesn’t mean that we actively have to strive to offend people. It just means that we should be able to be sincere, to speak the truth, without having to apologize all the time.

Not trying to please everyone should not be seen as a crime against humanity. It should be seen as the greatest compliment, actually.

Because since I’m being sincere and outspoken towards you, it means I respect you and validate your intelligence.

Simple as that.

DLK

© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

The Stupidity of a Lap Dance

I know there is randomness and chaos in the universe, but some things should be straightforward, no? Shouldn’t it be common sense to steer clear of unsatisfactory things like a lap dance?

Men only have so many erections in a lifetime. Why waste one on a lap dance? I mean; you can look, but you cannot touch? I mean; you can touch, but that’s it? How can that be satisfying? It seems to me that strippers are only there to get men all excited and then they send them home with a pocket rocket the size of an eggplant.

Okay, I know that people get what they get, they don’t get what they actually deserve or want, but a fucking lap dance? Really? Who deserves one of those?

I must admit that I have never understood the concept. You pay quite a lot of money for someone to dance half naked for you. To ride your horse. Through your pants. Not staying on the horse until you finish. But it should in some weird parallel universe be gratifying? I can tell you this. The only thing a man feels after a lap dance is utterly disappointed.

So. We had the degrading thing about ‘women being seen as an object’. How would you describe a man who pays good money to have him all aroused but not satisfied? Do you see how he is treated like an object? How he basically is emasculated commercially? Not to mention he is not getting the best deal? Why would anyone be happy with this agreement? Do you understand what it means to have blue balls and to have to walk around with them?

Maybe I won’t win the “feminist of the year” award with my remarks, but let’s be honest. A lap dance is something only idiots would agree to. And yes, the idiots are the men. So, good for you, women! You have dealt with the masculine exploitation in a very effectual way. These ‘lap danced men’ are being sent back onto the street completely unfulfilled, which of course makes this world a far safer place. Especially to women.

DLK

© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

I’m Too Fucking Old For This…

My mind refuses to understand that I’m 50+. It will feel like it is 27 forever. Yet my body is fully aware of my age. People tend to lie to themselves and say that they are cool growing older. I’m not. It sucks to get older. My body is aching all the time.

Sparkles of Energy
Sparkles

The one good thing about getting older is that there are an increasingly number of things that I can’t bother about anymore.

Like accepting invitations to venues I don’t want to go to. Years ago I used this “convenient excuses list”, when now I just tell people flat-out that I don’t feel like going. After a while they start to admire this kind of blunt response. They realize I am getting older and grumpier every day and understand my inbuilt reluctance to come to their festivities. Often, as a sign of their deep respect for my honesty, they don’t even invite me.

Aside from my underwear, changing my clothes every day isn’t important, anymore. Shirts will be worn two days in the summer and three days in the winter, before washing them. Jeans will be okay until they start to cause a rash on the legs or it is starting to show that they are dirty. Except, jeans never really get dirty, do they? They do start to smell after a while, though, so when people start to behave as if I am dragging a dead animal around, it is usually my cue to put jeans in the laundry. Lately I tend to avoid laundry altogether by embracing a nudist lifestyle.

Life’s too short to read bad books. Sometimes it is clear from page one that a book will not be able to entice me. When a book is boring, poorly written and pretentious, it is basically not worthwhile to be read beyond page 20. Depending on the font that was used, the letter spacing and the amount of dialogue, it is downright mind-numbing to keep on reading a mediocre book past page 20. Especially when the prose is repetitive or repetitive.

As much as I hate reading bad books, I love watching killer TV shows from morning to night. To watch episode after episode of a favourite TV show makes me happy, and you won’t catch me being ashamed about it. Yes, it has happened that I have spent an entire weekend lounging naked on the couch, with Chinese take-away, bags of potato chips and a big carton of red wine, watching for the nth time all five seasons of Breaking Bad. Binge watching might be considered an asocial activity, but becoming more asocial is not a big worry of mine.

I’m no longer willing to act like someone has a valid point, just to make them feel good. Even if their point is valid, I will fire all kinds of irrelevant phrases at them, like “You are being very defensive” or “Did you get this information on Facebook?”, just to shut them up. Another technique I often use is to compare them to Hitler. When somebody is obviously right and I cannot come up with an immediate response that makes sense, I will reply with “That sounds almost like something Hitler would have said.”

My house is a mess. When you get older you are able to tolerate that not everything is squeaky clean. Since I’m not having many guests over, there’s really no need to keep my home clean and organized. Yes, I guess I’m a bit of a slob, but voluntarily wasting my precious time on cleaning the house is really not my thing. When drinking some more gin & tonics, the house looks a lot cleaner.

I’m fed up with people telling me that my ‘positive attitude’ is going to save the day. It won’t. Positive thinking had kamikaze pilots wearing helmets, while it was obvious that wearing a helmet while crashing your plane into a cast iron ship, would not be very effective. A serious illness is not going to heal by itself, just by having an optimistic stance. At the end of the day we are all floating around in this cosmic soup called life, and it won’t matter how convinced we are that things will turn out fine: they will, or they won’t.

Usually it doesn’t take me very long to realize if I like people. I used to give the insupportable people a second chance, considering that my first impression of them might have been wrong. It turned out that first impressions are seldom wrong. And even if they were, I wasn’t going to spend time finding out. Sometimes people are just assholes. Sure, if you dig deep enough, you’ll find something good in everybody. That said I have not the ambition nor the time to look for the hidden charm in people.

What are you too old for?

DLK

© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg