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The Mountain Dragon Man (1)

The Mountain Dragon Man is the title I bestow on my future husband. It sounds quite intimidating, surely, for anyone who does not even call themselves a man in their head, but I assure you that any boy can grow into a mountain, a dragon, or a man. And if he’s a very diligent boy, he’ll become all three.

Perhaps Mountain Dragon Man doesn’t tickle your fancy, though, O reader. Perhaps you’d like to be the Forest Basilisk Man or the Mountain Manticore Man. The formula is as follows:

  1. Are you a man, a gentleman, a lady, or a gentle lady? This is where you begin to climb your own mountain, so to speak.
  2. What creature do you wish to be like? Perhaps you are a kitsune at heart, a phoenix, a basilisk, or even just a Horse. There is no need to chase mythology when we have lovely animals just as they be now. I adore skunks, for instance, so I wouldn’t mind using that in my own title.
  3. What natural feature do you wish to be most like? Plains, mountains, forests, seas, oceans, and so on. Feel free to give yourself your own title, but you have to understand one thing…

A Mountain Dragon Man (or an Ocean Phoenix Lady, or a whatever you are) is always in progress on a sacred quest. The quest is to find your most ideal self. It is, for sure, a long and arduous road. It is full of traps and digressions and distractions. It will most assuredly knock you off the path over and over again.

Yet, you should not despair! It is the danger of your journey that forges you. It is your persistence to reach the top of that mountain, the bottom of that ocean, the heart of that forest, that sets you apart from the next person. It is your grit, your determination, your story. Nobody can have exactly the same story as you have. So long as you nurse your wounds back to full health, so long as you take care of yourself and learn to take care of those around you who struggle like you used to, so long as you continue to trudge forward against all odds… you will achieve your goals, no matter how far fetched they seem the day you set them.

Life is a series of tiny steps — baby steps, if you will — in the direction we wish to grow. If you don’t know how you wish to grow, then look at the celebrity in your life that inspires you (even if it’s grandma or grandpa) and tell yourself why you admire them. Figure out what about them makes you go soft inside. Determine what moves you. That is what you need to cultivate for yourself. It’s going to take decades to get even close to being your ideal self, but it’s never too late to start.

Not to mention, perhaps you are closer than you ever imagined and you simply need someone else to put a new spin on your perspective. Maybe you’ve been struggling for years and you seem to be getting nowhere.

Let me give you a new perspective now.

You did it. You succeeded. You woke up today. It might not have been the most ideal day you’ve ever had, yet here you are. You haven’t given up. I gave up… so many times… but I was set back on my path by a gracious hand unseen; a meaningful compliment here, an inspiring movie there, a story that struck awe in my heart and told me that not everything around me is a shit hole. Some days it feels like it is, I tell you that.

You did it, though. You woke up again. And again. And again. No matter what the odds were, no matter what you were fighting. You’re still here. You’re still here. You could have ended it ages ago; it’s the one thing we have control over, at least when we determine to end it prematurely. Suicide. But you didn’t do it. Maybe it never even crossed your mind — that’s great. But if it did cross your mind, know this: you won that day.

You’re a winner, no matter what’s happening. You win every day by going to bed and getting back up again, even if it’s just to lie there, nearly comatose, and whine about how much life sucks. You’re still trying, even though the odds seem impossible. I admire that.

I admire you for never giving up. It doesn’t matter if it’s day 3,000 of SSDD. You are still here. You’re making a difference in the lives around you. Everything you do, big or small, has an impact on somebody. You know, sometimes I take a rogue cart back to the store or cart return because somebody else couldn’t make those extra fifty steps themselves. It’s such a small deed, but I guarantee you it does not go completely unnoticed. I just think it does because I’m in my own little world of “I’m going to get some extra steps!”

But what does that one action look like from the outside? With no explanation? What does it look like when someone who is obviously a patron of a venue fix something that, technically, an employee was hired to do? One small drop of their bucket, fixed for them. What does it mean, at large?

I have no idea and I hope no one is studying me under a magnifying glass, to be quite honest. That doesn’t mean that nobody out there is studying me, though. Just because I hope to go unnoticed, shy girl that I am, does not guarantee that I go unnoticed. (In fact, I know I am noticed, since a random man made a comment to me about my car once. I put stickers all over it in a moment of insanity… but you know what? Countless kids stop and stare at all the stickers. Hell, countless adults do it, too. They want to see what they’ll recognize. Nothing, now, as they’re all faded… but I’m going to get some bumper stickers this time. They should take longer to fade out…)

The point is that we are all noticed. It might even be the hottie at the mall, or another shopper in a grocery store, or a woman who is having a bad day seeing another woman embrace her WTF kind of messy hair and just put her chin up and go to the store. (Here’s looking at you, Self.)

When I dye my hair preposterously colorful things, it does a very interesting thing to this world. It’s a simple action, right? Purple, pink, green, blue, et cetera… You can do it, too. Especially retirees! This is what happens: it causes a ripple of positivity. The mere action of having something so attractively bright (and it could just be a shirt, by the way) causes everyone around me to want to smile just a little bit more.

Yeah, I know. “Black is so chic.” You know what? So is royal purple and cobalt blue and lemon yellow and lime green and magenta. Stop pushing your narrow-minded views on everyone around you, wearing such serious colors and putting your serious face on. I’m going to tell you right now, being too serious is the death of us all. (On the other hand, I’m dead serious about saving the ocean. I just have to get enough donations to actually pull it off. Or mint a fortune in a niche market. Or whatever it is God has in mind for me.)

There she goes. She used it! The G word. ZOMG, we forgot what the G in that phrase stood for. For just a moment, reality was totally real. Now it’s not! She’s in La La Land.

Or you can step back and think of God as all of nature, the rules of the universe, and The Universe(TM) itself. A completely impersonal entity that just is. That’s what I do. What’s the point of having a personalized entity that heaps misery on me? “God doesn’t give me challenges I can’t handle” is poetry for people who resign themselves to misery and try to step up out of it, honestly.

Shit happens. Then you die. The End.

“Time… it’s what keeps everything from happening at once!” (Mark Twain, and maybe even Rincewind.)

You’re still here. I’m so glad you made it. You’re doing a wonderful job today, I hope you know that. It doesn’t matter how much shit got heaped onto you today; you handled it magnificently. Right now, I’m combating a plague of flies trying to land upon me because it’s night time and the glow of the monitor reminds them of the sun and I haven’t retrieved the fly swatter just yet. It would be my fourth round of “KILL THEM ALL!” today and I still haven’t won yet.

But I will. Or they’ll die of old age, maybe. Either way, I won’t always have to shoo flies away from me. I’ll figure out how to win against them, my spiders will eat them, or they will simply expire, their life force exhausted by time. We all expire some day, our life force exhausted by time. Lord Entropy does not skip anyone’s door step, no matter how much we wish Altered Carbon were a true story. (When do we get to know more about Quellcrest Falconer, by the way, Netflix? Are you going to let some assholes tear down the whole thing just because they’re not romantics like me?)

Did you know when you got out of bed today, Gary, that you set into start a chain of reactions based on your mere existence? Delia, your smile brightens a room and ripples healing energy through it. Candace, you make hearts lighter by being you. Thomas, you are a wonderful inspiration to a kindergartner near you!

Didn’t name you? Doesn’t matter. We are all just one piece of a giant puzzle. A universe-sized puzzle. (That means we’re seriously tiny pieces, might I add.) However, we were first pieces of the Gaia (Earth) puzzle, you know, which makes us a bit bigger. We all fit together in some way, meant to work together toward common goals. That’s what we agreed to when we created the idea of a city (town, hamlet, village, etc.) By coming together, we were able to specialize, allowing some of us to do one thing better than someone else and share our services.

Idiots that we are, we dreamt up a way to allow others to manipulate and control us. I call it the “dollar bill.” Instead of trading each other goods and services, we are now beholden to an inanimate object that is full of hatred, if you ask me. Absolutely full of it. And anxiety. I never want to hold “real money” again, honestly. Not only is it disgusting from sharing germs, it’s rarely full of five year old dreams and ten year old hopes. Instead, it’s full of nastygrams that have nothing to do with germs. It’s full of vitriol, dissent, and rape.

When’s the last time you enjoyed going to work? If it was today, good on you! If it wasn’t, you need to re-evaluate what you’re doing. If you’re in it for a specific goal, are you at least satisfied with being properly productive? I went through a job like that once. It was the first baby step in my career. I honestly probably should have left a lot sooner, but before I knew it, six years went by. I did the needful for the role for six stinkin’ years. And at the end, I was asked if I wanted to become full time or not, and then by year end I was axed to pad the bottom line. (Here’s looking at you, Thomson Reuters. You assholes.) The year was 2012. Did all that help you achieve your !(@*&#!@ing objective? Did your stakeholders cheer you for cutting corners to make it look like you were doing great?

You lost a woman who helped earn a million dollar income yearly. I don’t know what was in your head, but it’s your loss. I moved on to much greener pastures, so thanks for letting me go! It was the only way I was going to grow, as it turned out.

I could have given up that day. I was separated from my husband and struggling as it was. I could have thrown in the towel and gone home and said, “Well, I tried!” I didn’t. I stayed the course. I grew my career. I grew in every way I could, until I found the people around me holding me back from growing the way I wanted to.

It’s a funny thing, how you can love somebody and just let them go for holding you back. They don’t encourage you to try to be your best self. They just observe you, day in and day out, making fun of you in their head for your daily grind because it’s so much less cool than their own. They don’t cheer lead for you, trying to tell you that you can do it! Not unless they’re me.

I have yet to find someone like me, someone who will tell you the sky’s the limit! Try it, see what you find out! Did you learn anything from your mistake? Did your faux pas embarrass you? It’s okay, you did your best! I still love you.

That’s the part that dies first. The L word. It becomes some sadistic ritual in their mouths. Heaven forbid you do something they don’t approve of. They’ll scold you, give you the cold shoulder, or otherwise hurt you. At least, if you’re as emotionally sensitive as I am, that’s what it comes out to. They stop looking you in the eyes, ashamed of themselves (or worse, you) and start on a downward spiral of negative self-talk. But why? I was right there, cheering them on. Or was I? Maybe I got caught up in my own shit for a while because nobody was looking out for me while I was waiting on them hand and foot.

I’m not doing that anymore. The Mountain Dragon Man must do his own fucking chores, sorry. We’re going to divide them down the middle. You do half, I do half. If I’m working and you’re also working, that’s fair. However, I’ll do all of them (or maybe just hire a maid) if you’ll work and let me be a cat. MEOW.

I will no longer take ineptitude as an excuse not to do something. You better learn how to do it right, or you’re redoing it until it’s right. It sounds so harsh, I know. It might actually be harsh… but it’s how I learned. I remember my sister making me scrub nicotine off the walls because they were dirty and she didn’t want to see it. (She was right, but I was also twelve, so she was wrong in addition to being right.)

I ended up washing along behind my brother. She watched me do this for a little while, being the “foreman” instead of actually doing the dirty work herself. I was a slave and that was all I was ever good for as a kid. If I wasn’t doing something she commanded of me, she was a rotten bitch. Rotten to the core. (Sorry, bitch.)

She noted my brother wasn’t getting nearly as much nicotine off the walls as I was, and I was making it two shades lighter simply by scrubbing along behind him. In retrospect, that was the best thing to do anyway. We were giving about the same amount of effort that way.

My brother was ten at the time, so it was wrong to conscript him for this forced labor, too. She was great at that. “I’m important, I cook dinner, so you do as I say.” I wonder who died and made her boss? Oh, right. My mother.

Anyway, shall we move right along? That is just one bump off the road to eternal greatness and it got less interesting the more I talked about it… at least, to me, it did. Now, I will say, I’m thankful to her for teaching me some cleaning standards. However, don’t go hunting a dark wood that I’m also hunting in. I think there will be an “accident.”

I could sit and stew about the injustice of having to clean in my free time as a child, or I can just appreciate that being cleanly is half the reason I’m still alive today. I think I’ll take the latter because, honestly, who wants to listen to a bitch-fest?

That reminds me, I was in a WalMart yesterday and I saw this exceptionally pretty girl bitching up a storm as her man followed behind her. I was wondering why he bothered to stay. She absolutely was not against spreading her incessant negativity around WalMart — which is probably why I absolutely hate that store. That’s why I abandoned a cart with a graham cracker pie crust and two vanilla Jello puddings. (To the employee that took care of that: I love you, thank you.) I couldn’t handle it anymore, so I just left. (Also, why don’t you have frozen raspberries, you jerks? That’s the other reason I just left.)

I spent maybe 60 cents more to get all of those ingredients elsewhere. In retrospect, I should have bought what I put in the cart at WalMart. (I’m sorry to make you restock the shelves… at least the initial pandemic scare is over, amirite?) (Can you imagine trying to sanitize cardboard?)

What does this have to do with anything? I am a meandering kind of road. And I’m still here. So are you! You’re doing beautifully, by the way.

Did I mention I’m autistic? I do this a lot. I see squirrels, I chase squirrels. I am squirrels.

To be continued…

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