The Pains Of Puberty At The Age Of Thirty-Eight

“Better late than never,” my Bubi always used to say but I think “better never than late,” sometimes. Going through puberty at the age of thirty-eight is not easy on a grown man- it takes a toll on his body. The chest hairs growing through my flesh are painful and sore. The chronic pulsation in my muscles are driving me mad. When I was young I always wondered where my puberty was. My friends were growing hair on their chest and legs (and other regions) and their voices were changing like string sections in an orchestra. I instead maintained my childish ways and never had the satisfaction of knowing that I was growing into a man. Girls were attracted to me because I reminded them of a little boy. When most of my friends started to shave and get laid I was looking in the mirror at a bare, virginal face wondering what went wrong. Even though the discovery of a few miniscule hairs on my back helped me to feel more apart of the “growing trend”  little did I know then that I would have to wait until I was thirty-eight to become a full-grown man.

It started a few months ago with a scratch in my voice that I thought was a symptom of a coming cold. While in the middle of a conversation my voice crescendoed into a high-pitched squeak that made me sound like a car with bad brakes. This was embarrassing because I am man and most of my conversations are serious. When my voice squeaks I know I appear less confident about the things I say. People question me, think I am insecure and wonder if I know what I am talking about. I have to squeakely assure them that I do. The squeaks of puberty are manageable because realistically I am the first to admit that I know very little about anything. What is most difficult about puberty is the intensity of feeling that seems to be flowing around just beneath my soul.

To deal with this intensity of feeling I have been doing a host of unreasonable things. I run my bike into piles of leaves jeopardizing my life. I knock on strangers doors and then run away at high speeds. I play in the mud trying to get as dirty as I can and I climb trees so that I can feel on top of the world. The longing, the expectation and fear of disappointment that comes along with puberty is so intense that at times I feel like I am going to lose it completely. I cry, scream at walls and beg for attention from my wife by wearing cologne (something I never did before) and by acting sad and wounded. I wear tighter pants than I ever have in my life and I notice that the music I am listening to seems to embody a teenage angst. One of the advantages of going through puberty as an adult rather than as a young man is that now I have some control over my impulses, since I have learned to respond rather than to react.

In the adult onset of my puberty, I have been inspired to find out “who I am” behind the thick prison walls that have been erected all around me. I always believed the Descartian lie that says “I think, therefore I am.” I have spent my life thinking but have little clue about who I really am. Now that I am finally starting to grow the chest hairs, the feeling muscles and the self-approval that has eluded me until this date- I am having faith that I can break free from the prison walls that have impeded my emotional growth for so long. I now can see that becoming a man means that I need to reclaim the lost self that wandered off somewhere in childhood, so that I can live a life that is healthy and free from the repressed dysfunctional emotional stains that have been stuck on me for so long.

The squeaky voice, the chest hairs, the intensity of feeling and the persistent erection (that I need not go into) are all aspects of puberty that every young man must face. I imagine it is easier to go through this when one is young enough to not really understand what is going on. When young, a person has the reckless abandon, the naive idealism and the health to helplessly become a victim of biological impulses. They can follow these impulses and desires wherever they may lead, without worry for repercussions. But after three decades of feeling the harsh side effects of painful repercussions, my puberty has to be navigated with the skill of a master. So I am being judicious, wise and allowing myself to feel every hair that bursts onto my chest and every emotion that inflames my mind and soul- without losing myself in the pain. I could be mad that I am finally experiencing puberty at the unfair age of thirty-eight. Instead, I am riding my bike more and turning my attention to the fact that something deep in me is finally being expressed that was not ready to come out before. Even though this is hard and I envy those who go through puberty when young, finally I can cut the hairless umbilical cord of my youth, come out from behind the prison walls and inhabit the space of a fully realized man with a chest filled with hair.

In A Pile Of Leaves

I have a rather embarrassing confession to make, one that I hope you will not hold against me. I enjoy riding my bike into piles of leaves. I often ride my bike around town so that I can digest some fresh air into my lungs. On my twenty year old ten speed- I ride to the store, the park, the post office, the library, wherever I need to go. It’s a kind of two-wheeled meditation for me. When I am on my bike I return to a child like state of awe and wonder. I become a man on a magic carpet escaping from the quagmires of my marriage, the heavy expectations of my aging parents and the constant negative jabs of my self-destructive mind.

In the town where I live it is common practice to leave piles of leaves in the street. Every Monday there is a free city service that comes and picks up these leaves but all week they sit there, loitering in the streets. I often see children playing in the piles or squirrels picking through them searching for a few delectable treats. At times the dried leaves will blow back into the streets or back onto peoples lawns, which is a source of frustration for many who live in my town.

My life is not going as according to planned. I am almost forty years of age and unemployed. My marriage is in total disarray, my cat and I are no longer getting along and I have enough money in my bank account to keep food in my stomach and a roof over my head until the end of the month. It would be fair to assume that the head space I occupy has a tendency to get dark and distressed. While I was riding my bike around town last week after yet another fight with my wife- I had the sudden impulse to drive my bike directly into one of these piles of leaves. I don’t know why I did it, but I don’t think it was a botched suicide attempt. I managed not to crash and my bike sliced through the pile of leaves like a large cutting knife. From that day on I became fascinated with what could happen if I rode my bike into piles of leaves.

I started running my bike into piles of leaves every day. There is no better feeling than riding a bike fast through a pile of leaves especially when you are dealing with the weight of stress. Some of the piles were higher than two feet and they were hard, molded together by water and dirt. When I rode my bike into these it was like going over a small hill. Suddenly I found myself in the air, a man with a ten speed bike for wings, and I would land hard on the unforgiving ground. I often found myself with a scratch or two or a patch of blood someplace on my flesh- but the feeling of flying high gave me a rush that reminded me of how lucky I was to be alive.

If the pile of leaves looked really large (four feet or higher) I would pedal with as much speed as I could and go directly into it- hoping that I would be able to glide right through rather than go over it. It is the element of uncertainty or risk that I enjoy. It’s a healthy way for me to express my rage and it helps me to forgive the people that I am angry at- even though it is taking a physical toll on my bike, nerves, hands and knees.

Yesterday I had a terrible fight with my wife. Our fifth fight this week. Even though I was expressing myself openly and honestly, in the politest way I could- she still felt like I was not supporting her and once again got mad. I left the house feeling unfairly treated and got on my ten speed that was rusted from the previous nights hard rain. The brakes squeaked but all the piles of leaves where still out there on the street. I decided to find the largest pile in town and ride my bike directly into it.

It all happened so fast. It was as if some self destruct lever was pulled inside of me that suddenly set me off. I no longer cared. There was a family hard at work shoveling all the fallen fall leaves from their front yard. When I saw the pile I could not believe my eyes. It must have been over seven feet high- towering on the side of the street like a monolith pointing towards heaven. I peddled as hard as I could and felt the wind telling me to stop. Upon impact I must have been going twenty miles an hour but I had no idea what the outcome would be. For once in my life I had completely let go.

The pile of leaves was so condensed, so tightly packed that I heard a loud “shzippppp” sound as if I had just entered inside a zip locked bag. Less than half a second after impact my bike and I came to a complete unintended halt. As far as I could tell I was still seated on my bike but now I was shrouded in a separate reality constructed out of a foreign material. It took me a few seconds to realize that not only was I still alive, but like a skier trapped in snow- I was stuck in a pile of leaves.

Leaves marched into my nostrils and mouth like a million tiny soldiers running for shelter. I was having difficulty breathing and seeing. I was disoriented- unable to decipher which way was up or down, left or right. I thought to myself that I was not ready to die. I wanted a chance to fix things with my wife, to start a family and show the world that I could get a job and work my way out of my financial mess. I saw the headlines in the morning paper “Middle Aged Man Suffocates After Running His Bike Into A Pile Of Leaves.” This is not how I wanted to go- not the kind of legacy I wanted to leave behind. I would become a tragic clown/martyr to family and friends. a man who was never quite able to escape his demons and figure out how to successfully live his life. No, this was not the way. I wanted to change, to grow, to love, to forgive and to figure things out and find my way into that promised land that I often heard referred to as “living a happy life.” I was not going to die. Not yet at least.

I started to frantically move my arms around like a man trying to swim. I did my best to scream out for help but this caused me to ingest a pile of leaves. I coughed, which reminded me that I still had air. Then I heard it. Distant sounds of frantic digging and muffled shouts. I got more and more excited as the sounds got closer, and closer. I did all I could to let the rescue team know exactly where I was. “Here!! Here!! Here!!” I yelled which probably sounded more like, “Hrr!! Hrr!! Hrr!!.” Then, suddenly my fate shifted. I was met with the bright blue eyes of a ten-year old angel (eyes I will never forget) who was yelling “dad, dad!! he is over!! here I found him!!!” And then, once I realized that I had survived, that I was going to have another chance to rebuild my life on planet earth I was reminded that first I was going to have to explain to many people why I drove my bike into a large pile of leaves.

The Girl Of My Dreams.

Lately I have been horny. More so than is normal. Out of the corner of my wondering eye I watch women when they pass. Even though I do not suffer from a guilt complex- I notice my glances can contain elements of perversion. I wonder what these women would look like naked, I store that image in my mind and wish that I could see.

When one is unemployed there is a lot of spare time for wishful thinking and perverted explorations. If I had the money I may spend my time in strip clubs or massage parlors hanging out with the real thing. In fact, recently, more of my time is spent covered in trace elements of lust rather than absorbed in active job searching efforts. Nothing pacifies the mind away from a dwindling economic and professional reality like the pursuit of sex. I am only a completely happy man when this pursuit finds me in my dreams.

Last night, after a rough take-off I flew away into a deep, alcohol induced sleep. Through the retina of my dream lense, I saw a beautiful blond girl approaching me. Her perfect body made the hair on my sleeping arms stand up. She took me by the hand and with a careless whisper said “follow me.” I allowed her to escort me off into my fantastic dream.

I followed her around in her school, through a field and a high school football game. I made myself at home on her couch. We laughed together. When she walked into the kitchen I admired her rear end with the reverie of a man who has found exactly what he has been looking for. How lucky I was- an older man no longer in his prime, being sexually pursued by this young girl who was half my age. She performed all kinds of kinky magic tricks on me, the details of which have disappeared- but my erection, that has been with me since the morning, testifies to the fact that whatever happened between us- was fun.

When I woke up this morning I hung around in bed for an hour or so. I did not want to let the blankets go. I turned away from the light so that I could keep the dream projecting on my movie screen. I tried to hold my dream down. But despite my efforts it floated further and further away until it was nothing but an outline. All morning I slumbered around nostalgic for that dream I had left behind in sleep. Where could I find it? I wondered. In the afternoon, when I went on-line, you can only imagine how startled/surprised I was to find a girl who looked very familiar, requesting to add me as a friend on Facebook.

Immediately when I saw her Facebook picture I thought that it could be the girl in my dream. They both had long blond hair, they both had a similar wan complexion, they both were around the same age and they both had that look in their eye that triggered my lust. Not knowing for certain if this was the girl in my dream- I added her as a friend simply so I could search through her profile.

Her profile page was as vague as the memories that I have from last nights dream. An empty closet with nothing but a single picture, a birth date and a name- Brittney Amber, born 1989 (the year I graduated high school). I did find one other piece of intriguing information about her. Listed alongside her interests were two words in bold print- men and dreams.

I have always suspected that our dreams occur in another dimension, another time and space, which is just as real as the waking reality that we exist in. I have often heard it said that when we fall asleep our soul ascends out from our bodies and resumes its soul life in another realm. The dream I had last night left traces in my mind and on my skin- of a reality just as corporeal and tactile as the one I am writing in now. I am almost certain that I was there. If this is the case, then that allows me to conclude one thing………Britney is the girl in my dream.

I have sent Britney a message in which I asked her how she knows me, and why she added me as a friend. I told her about my dream and asked her if she remembers being in it. I am yet to hear from her and maybe I never will if she exists in that world where souls meet (but how do they have access to Facebook there?). For hours today I have stared at Britney’s Facebook photo studying here blue eyes, arched nose and mouth, longing to once again be with her. I have imagined her naked so many times that I can feel her breasts in my hands. All day today I have had a child like quality of excitement that comes with seeing someone whom you thought was long gone. “Could this really be her?” I have been asking myself hoping that the answer is “yes.” Could it be true, that the girl of my dreams has found me on Facebook?

Dear Readers

photoI just wanted to write you a note to explain why I pulled the entry “Tree Hugger” off of my blog. Lately I have been noticing that some of my blog entries are being copied and pasted to other sites- upon which “the copier” claims the entries as his/her own. I do not mind this so much and even find it a bit flattering- but I would like to keep “Tree Hugger” as my own.

One of my dear readers suggested that I turn the entry into a child’s book and I think that is good idea. Why not? Just need to find someone who can draw and then I will be up and running with the idea. So I hope you understand that I need to protect “Tree Hugger” as if it was a heirloom that I could never get back….just in case I choose to move forward with the child book idea.

I am grateful for all the wonderful comments that I received. Even though they now exist in that mysterious void into which we all return- I benefited from what you had to say greatly and the comments still linger in my slumbering mind. Thank you for your continual support of the stories I need to tell…. and stay tuned in for my next blog entry which is about how I have lost my English.

P.S. If you are a reader that I know, I would be more than happy to send you a copy of “Tree Hugger.” If you are interested feel free to drop me an email at with your address.

Free Bird?

imagesI decided to open the bird-cage and let my two yellow parakeets fly freely around the room. After spending so much time confined in their cage I thought this would be a delectable treat. I did not want to help them out- but rather gave them the autonomy to come out by their own volition. As the long time, faithful and concerned owner of these two birds- I felt as if I fulfilled my duty by opening the cage door. The rest was up to them.

After opening the door to the bird-cage, I sat back down in my comfortable chair and continued to climb the steep hill of the book I was reading. I had just read the lines, “When I see I am nothing that is wisdom. When I see I am everything that is love. My life is a movement between these two-” when one of my birds began making a clanging sound in the cage. He was yanking the lever used to open and lock the cage, in an up and down motion with his beak (he normally did this when the cage door was locked in what I assumed was an attempt to open the door and fly free). I yelled out,”the cage is already open Dali (the bird’s name) and there is no need for such obnoxious behavior. Can’t you see that you can fly free!!”

I continued to read and occasionally looked up from my book to see if the birds were making their way out of the cage. They were not. Instead, they sat on one of the synthetic branches and in a dumbfounded state they stared out into the big wide open space as if they were looking into a black hole. “There is nothing to be afraid of!!” I yelled out a little frustrated at their resistance. Neither of my birds quite new what to do with this option to fly free- so they sat there, made some chirping sounds, poked at one another and refused to spread their wings.

I could see that the birds were curious about flying free but overwhelmed by the fact that they were going to have to do it on their own. No human finger to shuttle them out of the door. After a few hours of giving them the potential to be free- frustrated, I got up from my chair and shut the bird-cage door. I must admit that I said “stupid birds,” as I locked the cage. It was then that I wondered how often I had refused to fly out of my cage when the door was left wide open? The thought pestered me. “How many times had I been presented with an opportunity to love, to dance, to travel, to sing, to work, to let go, to grow- but was too afraid to flap my wings and fly?” I said out loud. How often am I more comfortable sitting in a chair with a book than I am stepping out my front door and trying to grab a hold of the sun?

Determined to finish the book I was reading by the end of the night I sat back down and buried my thoughts beneath someone else’s words. I had the house all to myself- minus the two birds and a whining black cat. My interest in breaking for dinner was minimal, so I ignored the biological alarm clock that was sounding off in the depths of my stomach. As I climbed my way towards the book’s ending- I kept glancing out the corner of my eyes at the birds who seemed happy in their cage. They were cleaning one another, eating and playing what looked like a game of bird tag. “Two dumb birds as happy as can be, locked away in their safe cage,” I thought to myself and then I continued to climb.