About Me — Lyndon
Wannabe writer, history nerd, martial artist, depressive
So I was asked to write an introduction about myself but for the life of me I can’t figure out why. What can I say about myself? I’m a poor kid from Appalachia, descended from coal miners and railroad workers, with unfulfilled dreams of making it as a writer.
Writing has been the only thing I am half-way good at. I’ve been writing since I was about seven or eight years old, typing up stupid little stories on my mom’s typewriter (yes, I’m old enough to remember typewriters, blessed instruments that they were) and despite people telling me that they enjoy my writing and find it interesting for all my years of scribbling, typing, proofreading, and editing I’ve gotten next to nothing to show for it.
I enjoy studying and writing about art and history — two subjects that most people could care less for. I’d like to visit all the great art museums of the world and, thankfully, while stationed in Germany I was able to visit the Louvre in Paris. It was breathtaking. Sadly, I was unable to visit the Musée d’Orsay. I’d like to visit the Prado in Madrid, the Tate in London, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, but, like most things in life, poverty prevents these dreams from becoming realized.
Fun fact: I struggle with depression and believe that I’m cursed.
In my younger years I traveled across a sizeable chunk of the United States, parts of Central America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and some of the Middle East. I’ve been to the top of the Eiffel Tower and to the base of a Mayan pyramid in my travels. Instead of hopefulness for the future I have instead these memories from the past. Go figure.
I was deployed to Iraq during the the height of the second Iraq War, “Operation Iraqi Freedom” as it was called — though it had nothing to do with freedom. I had the unique job of working in a mortuary during the war, and saw my share of soldiers who had been shot, blown apart, and burnt alive.
War is terrible, there is no glory in it, and it isn’t like what you see in the movies.
Some of my writing was published in the literary journal of the Veteran’s Writing Project, “0-Dark Thirty.” While it was nice to see something I had written in print, it’d be nicer to actually earn some coin for my work. I was paid nothing. My writing on Medium has netted me enough to buy a cappuccino — just one.
I’ve studied Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo, but have no talent for it or modicum of athletic ability. At present I am a purple belt, who should be a black belt, but again, poverty prevents it. Life gets in the way of training, and one has to have reliable transportation (a rare luxury in my life), a sound body (injuries happen, waylaying your progress) time (college got in the way) and money to pay for training dues. I know more than your average bear, but at 40 years of age I get absolutely wrecked on the grappling mat by other students half my age and with twice my athleticism. That being said, I know how to defend myself.
The history and culture of Japan has long fascinated me. I’ve read most of the works on bushido and the samurai, and have also studied Zen Buddhism. I’m a fan of Ancient Roman Stoicism — Marcus Aurelius holds a special place in my heart — but I am no stoic. I’m a pessimist by nature and by circumstance.
What does the future hold for me? Nothing good. I feel as doomed as the protagonist of some Grecian tragedy, and like Sisyphus I can’t help but push that old boulder up the hill before it comes crashing down, demanding to be rolled uphill, again. The things that other people seem able to achieve and take for granted elude me. Despite my age I have achieved no real markers of adulthood (house, spouse, family, or meaningful career) except for that most quintessential of all American traits: a mountain of student loan debt.