Rambling confession; I am human, I am fragile

Over this past weekend I acquired a 24 hour fever. I seldom get sick but when I do I despise it.

Being sick is part of being human, but it’s ultimately a leveling ground of our fragility. No immune system is strong enough to ward off being sick, and I honestly wish mine was.
Sickness leaves me tired and restless; I want the solace of my bed but sleeping away the hours is hardly my idea of a good time. Sickness makes my skin crawl, my body’s hot one second and freezing the next, this flux sucks. Sickness drains my appetite; I’m hungry for food, a nice cold beer would hit the spot, but I’m left to eating soft foods and staying hydrated solely by water really chaps my ass.
As if the fever wasn’t bad enough, I had a pounding headache and a ringing in my ears. While I slept I had all the above and nightmares, making my possible relief impossible.

***

And after the fever broke, my bones and joints felt brittle and lined with glass. I walked slowly, timidly, haphazardly. Hell, despitefully this lumbering disposition I managed to fall down my stairs in my apartment. This heaped a bit insult to injury because I stayed there a while, I didn’t bounce back up from that and I was reminded to take things slowly. I hate taking things slowly.
The eating solid foods curve post-sickness is a sharp one. I’m glad I have no major appetite, but still the body needs sustenance. Soup and sandwich, delicious when I’m well nausea-inducing when I’m recovering.
The nightmares returned, this time a tormenting “everyone dies alone” was played on repeat for 3 hours. When it had ended, I awoke to the fact that as I was subconscious, I shit myself- need I continue on how vulnerable and helpless I feel?

I will get better, but it’s an exasperating process that I would rather skip. And yet in my vulnerable state I’m surprisingly mindful to what’s around me and what I’ll going through. I am also aware that God is present to my suffering, and despite horrific nightmares I know I will not die alone (whenever that day might occur).

Here’s to recovery, here’s to vulnerability.
– Nathanael –

I’m not a fan of liars (and here’s why) – 18/28

I think that the only person who likes liars are liars themselves; whether they’re happy for their ability to dupe others or just the nature of lying makes you an outcast and who else can you surround yourself with but other liars (though they might be hypocritical and dislike liars despite being one themselves).

I think what gets me the most when people lie is that sometimes the ramifications of one’s lying isn’t fully realized then and there. Words, whether good ones or bad ones, honest ones and dishonest ones, have ripple effects we might not truly see. There’s also the nature that some liars who have honed their craft will make their target out to be the one who’s at fault! That’s some twisted fucked up shit right there!

***

When I was younger I was a constant liar; I think it had to do with the fact that the appearance my family (myself included) gave off to those around us was much different than what was really going on. Simply put, life was tough, but we all grinned-and-beared-it to those around us, there was lying by omission but there was also me lying to cover my parents asses for what they did and didn’t do.
I didn’t like this about myself, but I was taught indirectly not to bare one’s wounds to the world otherwise you’ll get fucked over. Yet over the course of my lifetime I find that isn’t true, there are good people who in the world who really want to know what’s going on. 🙂 It is because of these good people that I have faith in the goodness of humanity, sure we screw it up for each other and our world sometimes, but I have hope that things will get better for everyone someday. It was the goodness of others that got me on the path of being honest.

So be honest, promote honesty, don’t even let the proverbial “little white lies” exist because even they can be detrimental to a relationship.

~Nathanael~

I give it to you straight, no chaser – 2/28

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…It was no accident that you heard the truth and subsequently are rather pissed off with what I have to say…

(preface and back story)

I have in the last few years resolved to be a more honest person. There was a time in my life where I lied perpetually; I did this to cover my ass, as well as my parent’s asses. When an abused individual doesn’t have anyone to trust, truth is fabricated as needed be and in my lifetime I have bullshitted a LOT of people as to what was going on in my life.

With that being said, I give people I know the truth, no punches pulled, no sugarcoating it, just simply the truth straight with no chaser. In a way it has served me well, more often than not people are glad I put it out there, but then there’s family, in particular my parents…this kind of approach doesn’t go well with them. Granted I didn’t learn honesty from them, if anything, I learned that you hide away what hurts you the most and never bring it to light because no one gives a damn. But, BUT! I have found people who care about what hurts me, I have found people who give a damn about what’s going on in my life…so that’s where I’m coming from.
With a bit of prayer, a bit of luck, a bit of psychology & sociology rolled into one I have realized I have the power to speak into people’s lives. I am able to give direction and put out the existential here-is-the-door-but-you-have-to-choose-to-enter-or-not perspectives, and while I cannot change anyone but myself I am still able to level straight no chaser with people. Still, people are people, even when logic and reasoning is smack dab right in front of them, some will still veer towards the most detrimental path.

So that’s where I’m at in life, it’s off-putting to some but I am not about to lessen my standards for another person. Granted this happens with people I know; if I don’t have a relationship with you, I’m not going to let you have it in a way that might come across as abrasive. I realize that this might be perceived as talking out of two sides of my mouth, but I’ll level with you, I do NOT respond well to criticism and critique from individuals I DON’T KNOW. I learned in my early years of youth ministry this; “rules without relationship leads to rebellion“. I have a fighters spirit within me, so you better believe I have it within me to fight back against authority who calls the shots without me having a say in the matter. If I know you, I come from a place of love and not chastisement, I want the best for you and so that’s why I am not going to mislead you how dire a set of circumstances might be.

It’s no accident that this has given me the upper hand (in a good way) a lot of the time, but it starts first and foremost with relationship.

~Nathanael~

I don’t have many friends, but – 4/28

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Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one. – C.S. Lewis

I don’t have many friends, but, I never intended to be the social butterfly, the “popular” one, or any other descriptive term to describe the person who has a lot of friends.

Thing is, I rather have a good group of friends that I can put out there what’s really going on as to what’s going on in my life, in transparency, in honesty, that have less of that with more individuals.  I am not saying you can’t do that when you have a lot of friends, but I do find that having less friends helps me more especially since I want to keep track of what’s going on in the lives of my friends as well.

I cannot force my friends to give of themselves (time or otherwise), I cannot coerce them into revealing what’s going on their lives. Yet over time, WE have gotten to that place for better or worse. It is realistic to believe that not every time a “fine/good” answer is given that everything is fine or good; I think as a culture sometimes we accept this answer, not so much for the sake of our friends, but our sake and the ownership of actually figuring out what’s going on and sometimes that can be painful.

I rather be fighting side-by-side with my friends than hiding in my own foxhole, I rather be transparent about what hurts me and cuts me deep, than keep up a facade that states life is hunky-dory and I’m okay…because, well, I’m not okay.

For too long in my life I thought I wouldn’t be liked if I revealed the REAL me. Growing up in a household where everyone wore the fake smile, laughed off the pain, never resolved their own issues and dwelt on the issues, it was my norm, but when I went off to college I realized I could be ME despite being a broken individual, and I actually started making friends who encouraged me to be myself.

Now does that mean I wear my heart on my sleeve, by no means, but when I get to know someone, those layers that aren’t me become removed over time. I remove these layers because it’s healthy, provided the relationship’s conducive to that kind of thing, and it helps others get there as well. I like to say, because I know from experience, Transparency begets transparency – I don’t reveal the me as a manipulative tool to get someone to stand and deliver their own issues, if it happens it happens, so much of it begins with me. If I can get to that point in any friendship, that’s great! I just hope and pray that the person believes that I can trust them with their personal junk as I can trust them with my own personal junk. It takes time but it’s a worthwhile endeavor and it has yet to backfire in my face.

~Nathanael

Reaching melancholic transcendence; Life and Death in community

2 Thursdays ago I was helping out at the local soup kitchen, to my surprise my most favorite helper was there! Arlene’s an older Irish lassie whom I and care for deeply, our relationship is one of lovingly putting each other down in a playful manner, our words aren’t aimed at one another in a mean way, we just thrive at being kinda snarky and clever word-wise to one another.

Being an older woman, she has a hard time getting around, and winters in IL aren’t good for her and so when it gets cold out I hardly see her during this time of the year. She and I talked casually/snarky to one another for a while, but then she dropped the ball; due to a lot of doctor appointments, blood tests, et al. she may have cancer…and due to how old she is, it doesn’t seem like it’s a battle she wants to fight and she’s ready to go.

We continued laughing and enjoying one another company, but in my mind and in my heart I recognized the impermanence of our time together, and I thought about there will come a time when Arlene’s no longer here and I will cry alone…

***

Recognizing community, and being in community, and living in community, I have re-realized that death is also a part of living in community. Every individual and spectrum of life in community needs to be honored as needed be, and there needs to be honor even in the death of those who live among us. Arlene has a good support system of 2 kids and 5 grandsons who live rather close to her, so I know that if it is her time to go she will be taken care of.

She’s had a good and rich life, I am simply enamored by her stories and her willingness to serve others in a loving manner. She hasn’t revealed every facet of her life, but I sense her compassion for the homeless and downtrodden comes from some place personal, I don’t know for sure but I know that some of the best volunteers seem to understand it better than those who may consider (or at least reflect an attitude) the people who come in week after week as “freeloaders” or “they’re abusing the system”.
These homeless and downtrodden people are my friends, and some of them I’ve gotten to know really well and we don’t bullshit each other, we’re intentional in our words and quite honest with our circumstances…I get it and Arlene does as well.

I am blessed to know Arlene, and I am glad she gave me her digits before she left so I can check up on her, she tells me I’m her angel, and if that’s what I am in loving on this woman, so be it, I will be her angel.

I will enjoy her life while she’s still here, and when her time comes I will celebrate her life in her death, and honor her, and I think that’s the best thing I can do given my circumstances living in community.

~Nathanael~