Of Motivation

Today marks the third birthday of this blog. As I mentioned in the comments to last year's post on March 8th, I tried referring to this as an anniversary once, but my blog said "WTF?! Bitch, we ain't married!"

So, a birthday it is.

Happy birthday Jalpuna!

The truth of the matter is, I'm a shitty blogger. I rarely write about my day or dwell on what's going on in my life. It's probably hard to follow along here, because there is no plot - no structure - no progression of events. The timeline is a mess since I often write about things long after the fact, but I'm fine with that.

I just write.

I write whatever.

And I do this for me.

* * * A Bet - And Yet * * *

Fifty dollars was offered as a bet to make a life better - yet - it didn't.

Two brothers. One, my uncle and the other, my father. Both gave up smoking over a wager. Years later, on this very day in March of 1983, my father gave up his life. His suicide had nothing to do with the bet, or the smoking, and yet, it did. It had everything to do with the choices he made and the consequences that came with them. To be fair, smoking was the least of his problems. I mention it only because it serves as a simple example of his misguided motivation.

Do what you do for a reason, and let it be the right one.

Don't do it to save face.
Don't do it for your brother.
Don't do it for a god.
Don't do it for your therapist, or to look good in front of a girl.

Do it for yourself - because you hold yourself up to the standard of being a person who does what you think is right, and let that reason be enough.

Let it be enough.

* * * Of Misguided Motivation * * *

I moved to Portland in August of 2002.

I'd spent some time here in the late 90's, and had completely fallen in love with the city. As I settled into my new apartment, for the first time in my life, I felt like I was finally really going to have a home.

I hung my art on the walls and bought a rug for the living room floor. I found a thrift store love seat and a new bed on eBay.

As I continued to furnish my home, I realized my motivation had shifted. Instead of buying things I enjoyed, I'd started buying things I thought I should own.

My goal was to become a gentleman. I wanted to be the man of someone's dreams, and I knew that appearances matter, so I wanted my home to look the part.

"A gentleman would own cloth napkins" I told myself. "And a wine rack." So, among my many purchases were cloth napkins and a small wine rack. This led to a trip to Trader Joes for wine, where I walked up and down the isles of wine, judging each bottle for its date-worthiness.

I'm not saying cloth napkins aren't nice. And wine sure is tasty... but I wasn't buying these things because I wanted them. I was buying them to impress a date - a date I didn't even have yet, I might add.

* * * Hi, I'm Rob * * *

We met on a Tuesday. We shared a few drinks and an order of hideous fries, but even the oldest of oil for cooking french fries couldn't begin to ruin our evening. There was magic in the air. We could feel it.

After the drinks, we went for a short walk which turned out to be a few miles long. We talked and laughed while trekking through Portland's west hills.


Rather than bring her back to my place and continue the evening, I walked her to her car, where we shared a short yet wonderful kiss.

As I opened the door to my apartment, I thought "What the hell? You put all this effort into turning the place into home to share with a date, and then you manage to get a date - a spectacular date - and you don't even try to bring her up?"

It would take me another year to realize that it didn't matter. The things that I'd bought - the home that I'd furnished... when it came to finding love, it didn't matter.

In the weeks that followed, I fell in love with a woman who was attracted to the man I am. That's what mattered.

* * * To Be A Man * * *

March, 1983.

"You're the man of the house now" said my uncle as we stood in the funeral home where my father laid in a casket on the far side of the room. No one really knows what to say to a child who's lost a parent, but my uncle's words were quite appropriate.

I was eleven years old and no longer had a father, but luckily, I no longer had his mistakes to guide my way through life. My father took his problems with him.

The ways in which I could not measure up to his hopes and dreams for his son have no bearing on whether or not I measure up to my own. The man he was has no bearing on the man I am, and that brings me back to where this post began.

March 8th.

* * * Ah, Jalpuna * * *

On March 8th, 2004, I registered the domain name jalpuna.com, named after a fake word I'd created, and I wrote my first blog post. Later, I wrote another that seemed to make a better 'first post', which explains why there's something posted a day before the blog even had a domain name registered (though, I'm probably the only one who'd notice such a trivial detail).

I didn't realize until two years into this blog that I'd created Jalpuna on the same day as the anniversary of my father's death. I used to dread March 8th because it led to reflecting on my father's suicide and its affect on my family. Now I find that I look forward to March 8th. It's become an excuse to look back on my writing, which is fun because I often forget some of the things I've posted here.

I created this site for several reasons, but the most important were that I wanted to become a better writer, and I wanted a to improve my web design skills. In doing so, I taught myself to think through my problems - often surprising myself with the thoughts that lurk in this head of mine.

That's why I write these stories, poems, thoughts.... and whatever else. I do this for the sake of personal growth. I probably share a few too many private details along the way, but that's fine.

I do this for me, and for me, that is enough - however... that being said....

...I'm thrilled and flattered by the number of people who drop by. I appreciate every hit my blog gets. Every comment, every email, every friend made along the way... I am thankful.

I am thankful for your time - more so than you could possibly know.

::::: | Thursday, Mar 08 2007 at 11:32 PM
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Jack Bog said:

Happy birthday.

::::: | March 9, 2007 4:44 AM

Michael J. West said:

Glad we can help. Happy birthday!

::::: | March 9, 2007 5:37 AM

slick said:

Happy birthday, Jalpuna! What a great way to turn something sad (your dad's death) into something for personal growth. Even if you didn't realize the coincidence of the two events, the cosmos certainly did. Keep on writing, Rob, I enjoy dropping by.

::::: | March 9, 2007 10:39 AM

Jen said:

Happy birthday Jalpuna! You don't look a day past two! Are web years like dog years? Does that mean Jalpuna is really a middle aged man?

::::: | March 9, 2007 11:48 AM

Hydra said:

Bappy Hirthday Jalpuna!

::::: | March 9, 2007 6:05 PM

Shawnte said:

Happy Birthday. I keep coming back because of the way you write. I appreciate your blog because you really do do this for yourself. And frankly, who is more important?

Now, if only we were in the same city, I'd take you out for drinks to celebrate!

::::: | March 11, 2007 8:45 PM

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