Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I had an epiphany today.
You can't love just one person unconditionally. If you love someone so long as they stay the same, you're putting a condition on it. If you love someone so long as they steer clear of one crucial attribute, you're putting a condition on it. If you love someone, you love everyone.

If you love someone unconditionally, you are not saying: "I will love you under all probable circumstances." You are not even saying "I will love you under all possible circumstances." You are saying "I will love you under ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. It doesn't matter what. Think of someone you love. Imagine they changed in every way until they resembled someone you absolutely despise in every way. Do you still love them? Imagine they have changed, not only to resemble, but to actually become that person you despise. It doesn't matter whether this is possible or not, just imagine it. Now: do you still love this person? If so, why do you despise this other person? If you truly love any one person unconditionally, you must love everyone. Nothing else makes sense.

It may seem corny, but this epiphany has had a big impact on me. I realized this, and I began to think of those people I don't show love. People, mostly from my past, who represent to me things I fear and despise. A bully I never forgave. An enemy who still harms those I consider friends. Everyone I ever thought I hated. Each time, I summoned up the image of them in my mind. I tied to it everything about them that I hated. And I gave them everything I could of love. I tried to see things from their perspectives—not only putting myself in their places, as I had in the past, but thinking of all the possible reasons I might treat someone else as they treated me. I saw, and I felt pity, sadness, and the beginnings of love.

I don't love unconditionally. Not yet. But today, I took a step in that direction.

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Name

I was writing an email to a new acquaintance explaining my email including "William" but my preferred name being "Liam," and I though its contents might be helpful for those other people who have wondered why I go by the name that I do: a lot of people have asked why I switched.

Yes, "William" is my legal name. Liam is the Gaelic form of William, and my preferred variant, but if you prefer William, I don't mind that either. There's actually something of a story behind my name:

When I was a kid, my family called me Willy (some of my older relatives still do). When I was being registered for kindergarten I was asked what I wanted to go by and I opted to drop the "y" and just be Will. At some point, I stopped caring what I was called, so long as it wasn't Bill (it's a perfectly fine name, but it's what my grandpa goes by, and that was enough to keep me from wanting to go by it). No one ever called me Billy, so far as I know.

As time went on, I started to dislike the way Will looked when written. For a while, I stopped this by saying it was "Spelled 'William' but pronounced 'Will,' the I-A-M is silent." I even briefly modified it to "The 'I Am' is silent, in reverence to Our Lord," but then realized that since I was actually doing it out of vanity, to claim it was out of reverence was irreverent at best, and possibly blasphemous, so I stopped.

I also disliked how easy it was to think someone was saying my name when they in fact had said "I will do such-and-thus" or "well..." the final straw was being a Philosophy major and all the jokes a out me being "the Good Will" or "a human Will" et cetera. At this point I decided I genuinely disliked being called "Will" but had no alternative - I didn't want to be the guy who insists on being called by his full name when so many variants are available. At some point, I thought of switching to "Liam." Since I was planning on moving to LA for a film studies program my senior year of college, I decided that my last semester of college would be a good time to switch. Unfortunately, events transpired that stopped me from going to LA. All the same, I stuck to that schedule, started going by "Liam" and have gone by it ever since. Many people still call me "Will," but I don't call myself by that name anymore.

In addition to this "story," I also like to acknowledge the fact that I've changed. "Will" to me reflects the way I was growing up and in high school. "Liam" to me is the sum of my experiences to date, especially the growth I experienced in college. It's a much shorter explanation, but also a part of why I prefer Liam.

Is this more information than you needed? Probably. Still, I prefer giving too much information over too little.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Want to Write

I want to write, but I keep getting ideas that are only half-ready as I'm about to start. So now I've got a few dozen half-ideas in my head, all vying for attention, and no clue where to start.

Ok, not NO clue. I'm starting by writing this and hoping it gets the ball rolling.

On a totally separate note, this iPhone app is none too shabby for blogging, if one couldn't get to a computer. Still not as good as my laptop, though.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


So, I've been thinking. I have had way too many crushes that never went anywhere. Maybe by some people's standards, it's a much more normal number, but to me, it's downright sad. The worst part is that about half the time, I've found out after the fact that the girls liked me at one time or another (though I rarely know if it is at the same time I liked them). Some people would say to be happy for friendships that those crushes have grown into, and I am, sort of, but there's also this nagging feeling of "Dammit, why didn't I say anything?" I think Randall Monroe illustrated the sentiment of my fears best. Apparently, he also illustrated what is ultimately the situation on both sides, though that prospect still baffles me.

Now, in real life, I know that things don't work like this comic implies. The Neurotic Little Stick Figure imagines a worst-case scenario. But real life is bad enough. Because for some reason, I seem to get up the nerve with girls who aren't interested (I can still say "girls" because I was still in college last time it happened - from here on out I think I'm culturally obligated to call any new crush a "woman.") When I tell these particular girls that I am interested, they typically "let me down easy." The first time was the worst. I told this girl, Kim, that I had liked her for some time, and I asked her to come to my highschool homecoming with me. She told me she had already made plans with friends. This pattern repeated a couple times, with me asking for a date and her dodging it by already having plans. Finally, I asked her to be my girlfriend on, fool-that-I-was, the day before Valentine's day. She asked if she could get back to me, and again, being a dope, I told her that was fine, genuinely hoping for a good outcome. She did get back to me the next day, and explained that she just wasn't attracted to me. This would have been fine if she had stopped there - I have never considered myself to be terribly physically attractive. I had just always hoped my personality would overcome that. But she didn't stop there. Rather, she went on "but it's not a physical thing. It's more of a personality issue." I'm pretty sure she went on, but the thundercrack of those words and the balm of the intervening years have faded anything beyond that sentiment to total obscurity.

As I say, that was the worst. Since then, rejection has just been a polite "I just don't think of you that way" or "I don't have time for a boyfriend, and don't expect to anytime soon." Still not the best responses in the world, but those were infinitely better than to say that the thing I expected to overcome my difficulties was my difficulty all along.