Family in Reality and Delusion (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 226)

My dad has told me several times over the recent past that he can’t talk to my brother like he talks to me. My brother is a highly intelligent and professionally successful forty six year old man and what my dad means specifically by his statement is that he can’t speak truth or have a genuinely open conversation with my brother about anything. If my dad were to attempt to do so, my brother would have a temper tantrum and yell abusively at him or withdraw immediately from the conversation and my dad’s presence or somehow punish my father in a retaliation like ostracizing him from his grandson forevermore.

This isn’t an overstatement or a paranoid delusion. It is a reality and I know that my father is speaking truth when he makes the statement. I believe he has reminded me of this reality as of late for two primary reasons.

I think it saddens him to know that he can never actually engage in a profoundly genuine interaction with my brother. He can’t speak his real mind or thoughts to his own son or be a father who can offer hard truths and external insight in the hope of helping his direct offspring slay his demons.

I also believe that my dad reminds me of this fact to let me know how happy he is that I allow him to express his core feelings, emotions, expressions, and reflections with me, without imparting a reflexive guilt, admonishment, or brandishing judgement upon him. He grew up in a family situation where less parental involvement occurred and tender heartfelt discussion was avoided. I find it to be very sad when families focus more upon pretending to be a family than actually behaving like one. To this day, I still have to remind him that it is okay for him to give me his opinion or advice. I remind him that I know he means only the best for me and that I don’t consider his recommendations an intrusive behavior or bully move. I tell him that it is okay to be my father in word and deed, that such is dearly appreciated, and that debates and disagreements do not have to cause pain, fear, withdrawal, guilt, or an end to any conversation or relationship. Those unfortunate endings, we can avoid together.

It is odd that I have spent my entire life trying to figure how to end the suffering of my mother and her “replacements” which I have always migrated towards in my relationships, without any significant success, and yet, I have been able to extract a man from the numbing collective matrix of deindividualized superficiality whom I once so falsely and so tragically perceived as the cause of every bit of all of that suffering. I have seen the transformation of my father. I have witnessed the person, the human, once lost completely within the suppressed and homogenized herd, once also nothing more than a sacrificial lamb of excuse for my mother, find his way. I have witnessed my dad’s rebirth and I believe his epiphany that real talk, real conversation, is the good stuff, the priceless tough love of the soul, that life is not made to do without.

My brother doesn’t realize that psychologically he is only a reverse imprint of my mother. Basically, he saw my mom treat my dad a certain way all of his life and his response was to then declare that no woman would ever treat him like my mom treated my dad. He suffers from severe insecurity, just like mom did and he continues to avoid any check or correction from reality that comes too close to making him face that fear. That’s why he chooses to control his reality by avoiding real conversation. That is why he is so terrified of such an interaction.

My dad expressed some guilt to me the other day for maybe not doing enough to push or convince or nurture my brother into facing his fears so that he might engage in objective reality. He felt he had let my brother down.

I had to remind my father that he had done nothing wrong. I admitted that my brother’s condition was sad and unfortunate, and potentially tragic, but that his life and his choices were solely up to him. His life and choices could not be forced upon him by someone else, even his own father. I told my dad that he had done all that he might and that he must let the issue rest until my brother decided it was time to help himself.

I said “Dad, as crazy and insane and confused as I have been, I never stopped asking the questions, never. I still remember mom asking me why, why I always asked such silly questions. I may have been mad or foolish or lost, but I always wanted to figure a way out of the trap. I wanted to overcome all of the endless shit and anxiety and anger that I felt and that I saw others experiencing. I could never dismiss the fact that such an achievement wasn’t possible. The joy and beauty I had felt in part could not be sacrificed or even balanced with all of the pain and suffering. It only made sense to figure out a path that would allow that joy and beauty to reign. I know I got lucky in many ways and I know I still make mistakes, but I figured it out. I got there because I never stopped asking questions and seeking the truths present within reality. I think you have done the same, dad, in your own way. Unfortunately, mom’s fear paralyzed her to the point where she decided to retreat within her own mind and never ask another legitimate question of the outside world ever again. She folded. That was her decision. Your other son, has proceeded in the same manner as mom. He isn’t asking any real questions of you or me because he is too fearful of where it might lead, the truths he would have to face if he did. We can’t do anything else for him until he decides he is ready to ask those real questions for himself. I wish it were different, but it’s not. I promise you that’s the truth.”

Cribb          2018

Make Love, Not Waste (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 225)

We should all be making more love to one another.

Define it as you will.

We waste so much time

that is then

lost forever

on

being pitiful, broken, and invulnerable.

Why do such a thing?

Why squander such opportunity?

Why self destruct in isolation, when such love and beauty and union begs for our participation?

Cribb

2018

The Giant Screeching Metal Crayon Amalgamation (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 224)

A child comes into the restaurant with her grandmother and they both sit down together besides me. The child appears to be maybe three to five years old and she immediately displays a knee jerk response of inappropriate social shyness towards me (an unknown authority figure) when I say hello and wave at her in a goofy but amicable manner.

A moment later, the girl has changed positions and sits kneeling and prone across two seats with her butt pointed towards her grandmother. The child has now figured out that I am being silly to everyone around me and that I am not flexing my authority over anyone, including her. She becomes much more relaxed and begins smiling at me while making some silly and somewhat indecipherable noises that I know to be indications of her nervous or excitable energy. She is “playing” with me or “charming” me because she still doesn’t know for sure where she stands with me. In other words, she doesn’t know how much she can manipulate me or get away with around me, because I am a foreign authority figure to her normal existence. Her behavior is subtle enough not to threaten or upset me in any hostile manner while she gently ramps up her “dominance” or willful behavior to whatever level she can successfully achieve. This is extremely normal social behavior for a child who is highly aware and extremely intelligent, but who has not been taught appropriate structure, boundaries, and respect at home.

Meanwhile, the grandmother is rubbing and massaging the girl’s lower back. She does this as she tells me along with an sympathetic grin that “She makes me do this every night before she goes to bed.”

I smile back, because this isn’t my fight and there is absolutely nothing that I can do to help the situation even though I can accurately predict the next forty to fifty years of this little girl’s life. I slay my rational thoughts and focus on smiling like a blubbering idiot as I reply “And why wouldn’t she? I suppose that’s to be expected. Everyone loves to be massaged or get a good back and butt rub! That’s good stuff for the body and soul no matter who you happen to be.”

A brief period of time passes. I go back to being more focused on my book and eating my mid day breakfast. In the periphery of my mind and senses though, I do notice the little girl is proceeding behaviorally in the exact manner that I would normally expect for this dynamic. The child has grown louder with her nervous and excitable noises, and she has further ramped up her “assertive influence” on the environment by picking up her metal silverware in her hand, making a giant screeching metal crayon amalgamation of that silverware, and then drawing creatively with her new “instrument of attention” all over the table in front of her. This behavior continues for a few minutes, during which her grandmother appears completely obvious or perhaps satially content at the “creativeness” and/or “innocent adorable playfulness” of her granddaughter’s actions, but for anyone truly paying attention to the reality of the situation, the child’s antics are factually more disrespectful and rude in nature than anything else.

Again, I slay my thoughts as much as possible and shift all remaining unutilized reserve power to “Full Shields” on my starboard side.

The server, who happens to know this grandmother and grandchild by name, and who has been friendly and jovial with both since they came into the restaurant, walks over to the counter directly in front of them, and begins to try and take their food order from the grandmother. After a second or two, it is apparent that the noise of the giant screeching metal crayon amalgamation being wielded upon the table is making any reasonable communication and thinking, along with the order taking, nearly impossible. The server in a stable and steady firm voice says “Darling, you gotta stop that. You are scratching up the whole table top doing that. That’s not good. You can’t do be doing that. Okay?”

The little girl immediately and appropriately stopped, but then the grandmother now reflexively displaying hissyfit features and gesticulations of her face, neck, and arms, replied to the caught-off-guard server something along the lines of “Well, I guess we just won’t order then! We’ll go eat somewhere else!”, getting up and marching out the door before a further rational thought or comment might even register to anyone else.

The server had a reflexive, agonal, trailing off of “what. . . I. .what did she. . .huh. . . . . did she just. . .oh. . okay.”

Behavioral Summary:

This little girl would typically be a child of high awareness, intelligence, and drive. She is borne into a family environment that is not stable enough and/or aware enough to understand how to provide her with proper structure, boundaries, and balanced objective perception. Thus, such a child is inappropriately and pathologically addressed either through manipulative spoiling (over-nurturing) or induction of fear (overdominance). Neither leads to stability, accurate perception, or respect for others. Instead, it leads to the behavior noted by the little girl in the story above.

The grandmother displayed typical over-nurturing behavior towards her granddaughter, which unfortunately encourages the repetitive cyclical indoctrination of bad behavior and confusion of the child to “appear completely normal” to the child.

The server issued a stable and appropriate correction to the child. The correction was not over-the-top and it did not produce a fear response. It was and is precisely the type of “correction” and “tough love” that that little girl needs to develop properly in mind, body, soul, and spirit.

The grandmother ran (flight) because she knows she is too weak (or unstable) to be an effective authority figure or parent, even to an itty bitty little girl, who really needs her help. The server brought that reality into the grandmother’s focus, so the grandmother took her “victim” and her awareness and exchanged it, quite eagerly, for the anger and victim card of distraction and delusion.

Waffle House Conversations

Cribb          2018

T’was Christmas Day at the Waffle House; a Time for such Connections, Discoveries, and Eventual Ponderings (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 222)

I went to the Waffle House (WH) for brunch on X-mas Day and ended up sitting at the highbar. Normally, I read while caffeinating and ingesting my scattered, smothered, diced, peppered, and capped, along with my meat choice du jour, but on this day I happened to make a joke with a couple as they sat down next to me, and that easily lead to our conversation over the next hour.

Though the conversation rotated between the three of us, I spoke more often and more directly with the man because he was seated adjacent to me, while his wife sat on the other side of him. I cannot say for sure, but it seemed to me like we were all in the same general age range.

They had heard an indirect comment that I had made with a good friend who happens to be a WH staff member, which intrigued them to ask me about my vocation. (Under normal circumstances, I tend to guard that info from casual public knowledge for multiple reasons.) After I had explained that I was a veterinarian, the other man responded that pre-vet had been his first love, his first focus in school, but that after he had been seriously advised on how hard it was to get in and then through such a program, he had given up on it and gone in another direction. I believe that direction was a business degree, but I cannot state so definitely. We talked for a little while after that about being animal lovers, and then, about some of the challenges currently bombarding independent veterinarians and the whole spectrum of veterinary medicine.

Our conversation moved on naturally and comfortably towards the principle of retaining independence in our lives, living in less populated areas while still appreciating Atlanta for what it does offer, and a passionate love for all outdoor activities, including mountain biking, hiking, and backpacking.

At some point mutually agreed upon about also appreciating the outside in warmer weather, it came up that this couple, was headed down to their beach house, which they had personally built on some island in the vicinity of Gulf Shores and/or Orange beach. From the way they described it, it sounded glorious and heavenly in regard to my beach preferences. I was happy for them and felt that they deserved to be so successful to be able to afford and enjoy such a piece of property.

Soon, the conversation turned around a switchback once more and together we stumbled into the wilderness area of the Cohutta (GA), home of Jacks River Trail, the Conasauga River Trail, and Bear Creek MTN Bike Trail, amongst other treasures. Our knowledge rivaled one another about the entire area, but his definitely bested mine a bit. We talked about the trails, hiking and biking, the crashes, getting lost miles off of the map, unknowingly stumbling into the Mountaintown floodplain basin, and the bigass Poplar tree that serves as a sentinel for those riding on the Bear Creek Trail.

Eventually, my new friend(s) revealed that he actually owned a cabin in the Cohutta in an area that I am familiar with and truthfully very fond of. And then, he revealed that he also owned a second cabin that stood in a different, more remote and secluded region of that wilderness area. The second cabin is harder to get to than the first and its location does not even allow him access to an electrical connection, but nonetheless, it is still a second cabin and land that he happens to own in one of the most beautiful and feral areas of Georgia. He more than graciously offered to let me use either of the cabins and before parting, we exchanged numbers and emails. They seem like very genuine, extremely cool people, who just get it. We even discussed maybe getting together to force ourselves to ride our mountain bikes again. I like the idea. I like their spirit. I loved the conversation and the happenstance of spontaneously meeting people like that in one improbable moment or strand of theoretical time, space, and reality. T’was Christmas Day and a time for such connections, discoveries, and eventual ponderings.

I would be lying though, if I didn’t also say that I did experience a smidgen of irony and jealousy in this communion and our shared tale of choices and the consequences those choices had brought about. A lifetime ago, my newfound friend turned away from veterinary school because it was too hard and difficult to gain admittance and then to survive the tribulation associated with earning such a degree, but it would appear his financial gains related to such a decision, have far, far surpassed anything that comes even remotely close to my own. I can barely take a vacation and I am essentially homeless, while he (and his wife) owns a primary house with considerable acreage, a beach house, and at least two other cabins in a pristine Wilderness Area.

I accept the choices and the associated consequences related to such that I have made. I also do not wish ill will upon these new friends of mine. I am happy for them. If I had to hedge a bet, I would guess the world is better with them in it. But I wonder, I really do wonder, about our world and the reward system of business that people have fostered and caused to thrive.

I imagined once I was accepted into veterinary school, I would be the one making a little extra money, the one having a little extra family time, the one with maybe an extra house or two, both modest of course. I never imagined or conceived in my wildest dreams, that financial reward could work inversely upon someone who competed and survived in a challenging professional atmosphere, and who also just wanted to put his vocational expertise and responsibility foremost over revenue and salary. I never imagined that was a real possibility for the longest time.

I wonder if I was presented with the real option of switching places with my newfound friends what I might do. I have to admit that I’m very tired of suffering for trying to honorable, noble, and skillful in my profession. Those houses and getaways are quite alluring to me. I also wonder if they might switch places with me? Would that first love of interest and desired accomplishment hold over the material assets and accumulations that resulted from less of a challenge, if he knew, knew, he could attain the title of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and the associated responsibility of such?

Jeff Cribb , Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Lover of the Great Outdoors

2017

The Energy of Interaction (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 220)

The energy that flows back and forth in a genuine interaction between two souls is much different that the nervous energy of delusion, distraction, and pretend, which spins, flutters, flies, and reels, awkwardly and uncomfortably, between those who are too fearfully embedded within their own projected personas to even consider the genuine cores that exist within themselves and within others. The numbed avatars playing their assumed roles of acceptance, comradery, and understanding, as if on stage in a poorly directed play, continuously falter, stamer, and miss their ques of expressive devout attentive interest, perceptual awareness, and empathetic and contemplative exchange. It’s more like two dogs barking at each other, sometimes in competition, sometimes in alternation, and sometimes in seeming unison, but all the while, each dog only barking and barking and barking his own reflexive deafening distraction of avoidance, never actually listening, never actually perceiving, never actually contemplating, only barking relentlessly like everyone else, like everyone else, like everyone else. And woe be unto whomever strays from such noise and barking, because non-conformity to such collective delusional herd behavior cannot be tolerated. It’s a threat to the bosom of non-contemplative barking and the satiating numbness of an unquestioned pseudo-plausible existence. The nervous energy erupts and writhes from the instability of the illusion which centrally governs all such behavior. Negation of the individual souls, of their core interactive existence, is what I perceive as the product of that infectious and unstable nervous energy of illusion. That negation yields a unified imperceptive herd which can only effectively serve one purpose. That is its own destruction.

The energy of a genuine interaction is composed of an unmistakably different nature.

Cribb          2017

Judge Others Lest You Might Judge Yourself (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 219)

 

If you believe

the alcoholic,

the pill popper,

the meth head,

the cigarette smoker,

and

the sex addict,

all to be

intolerable, insufferable, and pitiful,

in their contribution

to all of humanity

due to their inability

to function in any meaningful way

without their “god-crutch” obsession,

try putting down your wallet for an hour or a day;

stop spending money and purchasing shit relentlessly;

take a good hard clear look at what,

if anything,

contentedly remains of yourself and your relationship with those you supposedly love,

after you remove your “god-crutch” obsession from your routine.

Cribb

2017

The Difference Between Bandaged and Unbandaged Reality (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 214)

Pretext: I am a veterinarian and this piece relates to the practice of veterinary medicine, but its greater purpose and message is in its complete metaphorical potential.

I recently performed a skin graft on one of my patients because I did not have enough surrounding tissue remaining to close the incision after removing a tumor off of the dog’s lower leg. This surgery is almost always done at specialty hospitals and associated with a much higher cost that what I charged the client. My opportunity to perform this procedure in this manner and have the fortunate results so far experienced is also highly attributable to the clients/owners for being exceptionally attentive and observant in the post-op aftercare of their dog and in complying with all of my instructions and requests.

Today is post-op day 14 and the graft has done exceptionally well. It appears that 80-90% of it will take. That’s a pretty high ratio of expectation especially given the conservative manner in which the wound has been managed.

I was very excited about the results when I performed the recheck exam today and I almost took a picture so that I might share the level of skill and success my team/hospital has been able to achieve for the patient. But then, as I was talking with my staff, we collectively realized that anyone in the general public that viewed a picture of the wound in its current state would not be able to appreciate or understand what they were looking at. Most likely, they would think that a butcher had performed the surgery and was displaying a sick picture of his gore.

That is such a hard concept for me. To know, to profoundly know, and objectively see the exceptional product or change that you can bring about doing things the right way and yet, be unable to share it with others so that they might see, appreciate, and accept the truth of the matter. So, explicit truth must be tamed down or covered up with a bandage until it might become subtle enough in appearance for someone to not even appreciate its presence or the significant difference in effort and skill that it brought about.

Taming things down seems to make everything look the same. It collectively homogenizes outliers and noteworthy differences. In part, I think that’s why such a tolerance has been allowed to foster, or maybe I should say fester.

Maybe we should be looking at the raw unfiltered and unbandaged truth more; looking at the flesh, the ooze, the scabbing, the inflammation, the blood supply, and the compromised tissue, which are all involved and relevant towards the final outcome. That might tell the true tale; the difference between what works and what does not; the difference between what we are capable of and what we settle for; the difference between the illusion of proclaimed reality via lip service and the reality experienced through witnessing the healing of a very challenging and complicated wound.

Jeff Cribb DVM          2017