A Hero's Journey, and Old Relationships

Mandatory apology1

Howdy y’all. Sorry for not updating my blog recently, I’ve been struggling with sleeplessness, work, and nausea. Although I’ve had some posts planned out that I want to write, I ended up reflecting on the past instead. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with bitterness, or sadness, I’ve found that I have a lot more to be thankful for than I might’ve previously recognized. Although, it feels like I’m a very fragile/ephemeral state. It would take very little for me to become unemployed or homeless, methinks.

長い付き合い (Old Relationships)

You have this song to thank for this half of the post. The translated lyrics are in the link.

I think I remember just about every friend I’ve ever had. My pals from elementary school, my mates from middle school, my comrades from high school, the folks I met in college, and especially my compatriots from the #foxears community. Anyone I’ve ever spoken to about anything vaguely personal is still with me in my heart. There’s nothing more valuable to me than friendship. A woman I respect a lot once told me, that “Providence lives in the bonds between people,” and I can’t help but agree.

Recently I’ve been thinking about my oathbrothers2 back home, and just how we’ve gone in the past 10 years. The currents we’ve been swept away are so fierce and so fast that it’s almost sickening to think about. Even my friend Ducky’s3 reached a breaking point and is becoming a man. Frankly, it makes me really upset that he decided to man up /after/ I left. He didn’t even come to see me off before I left the country, lol. He’s getting his own blog post soon though, お楽しみに4.

The unfortunate reality, is that people don’t last, and they especially don’t last together. I don’t really eat beef these days, but it’s like my favourite burger joint always said:

“a good friend is hard to find.”

I’m not too concerned with those who’ve gone. This post is about those who’ve stayed.

I have a wonderful maternal family waiting for me back home, probably dying to hear from me (Okay, maybe I’m giving myself too much credit), a number of extremely close friends in Dallas5, and there are those in my extended community who have gone above and beyond to help me.

Ultimately, when I think about the lot of you I can’t help but swell up with gratitude/appreciation. I’ve said this a few Thanksgivings ago, but it stands: it’s inconceivable that a wretch of a wastrel like me could have met so many wonderful people. To have been able to travel and meet so many of you myself. It’s unbelievable.

I pray that this chapter of my life permits me to return to you, and grants us a lot more time together.

Before the dread/anguish from reading about the legacy of a good people being extinguished6 drove me mad, and I impulsively jumped ship to India, there was something amazing that I’d realized.

A Hero’s Journey

This is the most apropos BGM I could come up with

I’m a simple man, and not extraodinarily well-adjusted or talented. In fact, my nick SandwichChef was partially a reference to the fact that I couldn’t cook. That being said, I graduated from high school exerting little to no effort, and with no idea of what I wanted to do with my life aside from “maybe I’ll become a programmer, lol.”

My mother died around the same time I started college (2011), and it really fucked me up. For that reason, most of the last decade is kind of blur to me. But last year after talking to another crew I don’t interact with much and recounting some of the shit I’ve been through, a mate said something that stuck with me— He said:

You’re done a hero’s journey. You’re back where you started, but better

Maybe that wasn’t an unusual thing to say, given the circumstances, but to me it was a notably profound utterance. It really contextualized what I’d done.

In the early 10s, I was a mourning wastrel pissing away time and resources trying to forget myself by going along with someone else’s hedonism, and on my own time, watching cartoons for little girls. Somehow along the way I ended up making the weeb pilgrimage to Akihabara (and later Fushimi Inari), and meeting some of my online mates at the same time, and later visiting the Canadian branch of /ai/ and /a/toronto. I wish I were a better person back then.

By 2015 or so, I’d gotten my first job— as a janitor at a megachurch, the commute was really long, and after I requested to be relocated to someplace nearer, they just let me go. Although I was unemployed, at that point something in me was beginning to change. I could no longer walk among my friends in good conscience, I had to somehow earn some justification for my existence so I could walk upright among other men.

So a bit later (although I don’t remember how much later) I ended up enlisting in the Navy. I failed the duck walk in MEPS like 5 times before they finally accepted me. My uncle actually coached me and helped me get into decent enough shape to handle basic, although my running speed was still pathetic, lol. I think my uncle’s guidance, and the sage wisdom of my division’s Chief Petty Officer in basic training are what granted me the werewithal to turn my life around. Basically, I think they taught me how to apply all of the things that my older friends had been trying to tell me.

It was at that point in life, that I’d begun to develop some semblance of discipline. Additionally, I found that I’d been steadily becoming more spiritual7, and more Conservative8.

Unfortunately, I got medically disqualified from service because of nasal polyps, which my recruiter told me was totally a non-issue. Meh.

I don’t really remember when I came back home. But I do remember that Ducky let me live in his house for a while until I found a job. I started out as a delivery driver for a shady as fuck Italian joint in Mesquite. Then I moved to Denton, and continued working there. Then I moved to Mesquite and lived with Vaporub. Then I was in-between houses for a bit, until I ended up at a different place in Mesquite with a bunch of my oldest friends from middle school. That house was affectionately referred to as The Penetrada because it made the rest of town look like a church. I think that was my longest permanent residence as an adult.

I was there for two leases, after the second one expired, instead of renewing or looking for another place with the rest of the remaining tenants, I found a cheaper spot to live in that was much closer to my job at the time (and my current job). I ended up staying there for about 6-7 months or so before emigrating to India. It was then I when I reconnected with some of the oldguard from /ai/, and found myself watching little girl cartoons with them to try and cope with the stress from work and existential dread6.

And then it clicked, just like the good man said, I’d done a hero’s journey!

And then I emigrated to India. Man, what the fuck was I thinking?9

Well, I’ll tell you what I was thinking, but that’s a post for another day. Thanks for reading.

From nothing but love and milk10 - Chef out o/

  1. It’s customary for bloggers to do more apologizing for not writing, than actual writing. ↩︎

  2. It’s not clear to me exactly when or how we swore our oath, but my two best mates, Vaporub, Kenji and I swore an oath of fraternity along the same lines of The Oath of the Peach Garden↩︎

  3. Will link to his blog once I get a link from him ↩︎

  4. It’ll be fun, or look forward to it. ↩︎

  5. Especially the Prince of Punctuality ↩︎

  6. I will be elaborating on this soon, お楽しみに4 ↩︎

  7. My spirituality is very eclectic, and my belief system is my own. Although I love theology and reading about various religions and religious texts I try to avoid bringing it into the public sphere. ↩︎

  8. That’s a scary word to use on the Internet, especially displayed blazenly next to my personal information. Pray forgive my recklessness. ↩︎

  9. Just for context, it’s not that I regret coming to India, per se. I quite like it here. I just dislike some of the particulars of my situation. Particularly, the ephemerality/fragility of it all. ↩︎

  10. EX NIHIL NISI AMORE ATQUE LACTE is my personal motto, I came up with it near the end of my adventures in boot camp. It serves to summarize what’s important to me. ↩︎