the stroke. It happened in a different lifetime to a different man, a guy who lived in a fog of hope and misplaced belief that fairy tales can come true.
I have come out of that coma — I jarred myself awake and shook the dust and cobwebs from my brain — and in this post-delusional existence I have learned a few things:
I'm not a good date. I've done my share of it, I thoroughly love women and their charms, I'm interesting enough to attract some attention, I'm more than willing to hang out and party and polish nails. But I have no business wasting someone's time with a relationship. My mind and my heart are not in it. I know where I belong.
I have been too willing to be stepped on and used. It's cool to be solicitous, cool to be a gentleman. It's not cool when I let someone use me and shit on me. Maybe it's karma for the way I've treated other people in my life; if so, I beseech the karma gods to let up, goddamn it, I've learned my lesson.
I'm tougher than I think I am, and much tougher than most people think I am. Even when I'm doing something sappy, like walking four miles to deliver soup to someone who's sick. My life may have its share of crises but I've weathered them and come out with a thicker hide. Woe to those who think I'm frail or pale. Unhappy? You bet your ass. Tired of the shitstorm? Fuck, yes. Ready for the winding shroud? Come try to put one on me and see how frail I am.
(In that same vein, I recently wrote in half-jest a series of posts about being a badass. I take back the half-jest part. Use whatever word you want — iconoclast, heretic, individualist, separatist. I am a badass, and proud of it. Let the lightweights cluck and the conformists shake their heads as they live their little lives and worry what other people think of their friendships and associations (ohmigod, you're friends on Facebook with him?). They should be ashamed of themselves for being so shallow.)
Most of all, I've learned that giving power to someone else is a loser's game. I'm done playing. I'm too good for that game.