Bubblegum and kicking ass - Blaine Hummel
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Bubblegum and kicking ass

The first noble truth of Buddhism is generally translated as “life is suffering.” The Sanskrit term is actually dukkha, which does not have a direct analog in English. The term encapsulates a vast array of emotions, everything from happiness to despair. The point of this post is not to elucidate Buddhist teachings, but simply to say there is no shame in admitting the fact that life is, at its core, difficult and painful. Yet, we are constantly bombarded with images of others ostensibly enjoying the shit out of life which only compounds our own insecurities about failure.

In my last post, I described how I was taking the leap to refocus my career and go to school to become a mental health counselor. I have always been in awe of those who drop the pretense and say “fuck it, I’m going to be me!” Because, you know, everyone else is taken, except unicorns. If I were to read the same content from my last post written by another person, I would praise the author for his or her courage and tenacity. And, I have received plenty of compliments from others about my decision. But, the truth is, I don’t readily accept those compliments.  While it takes great courage to make these types of leaps, there was really no alternative for me.

I wish I were writing to you to say that I am filled with the warm fuzzies, being fanned by beautiful women feeding me strawberries (no uvas!), and breezing down the path of life. However, when I stripped down my life to its essence, I found a deep and profound sadness. I have filled that emptiness with unworkable relationships, overeating, sloth, isolation and most other forms of general avoidance you can conjure. I’ve reflected this sadness in my own actions and projected it on others. I take full responsibility for my choices. I’m not sure why it has taken 40 plus years to begin to recognize this and to start full-on grappling with existential angst, but here I am.

The most difficult aspect of this fight for me is that it is inescapable. I’ve run out of defenses and stand face-to-face with my deepest fears. That I am not worthy. That I am not lovable. That I am a fraud and will be discovered as such. That I am failing as a father. That I failed all of those with whom I have had relationships. That I am on my own.   And, for those of you who are at this juncture in life, you understand the visceral nature of that fear.

I feel blessed that I have tools for this combat and have come a long way preparing for this battle. I believe in magic, the divine course of the Universe, and my own core sense of self. But, I am stucka in the dhukka. Life is suffering and really hard now.  I am here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. But I’m a lover and not a fighter, so I’m fresh outta ass-kicking right now.  I think I am going to sit here and blow bubbles while I figure this shit out and slog forward. Namaste.

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