The other day I was in a conversation where the topic became the lazy boyfriend and his frustrated girlfriend.  You know—the middle-aged boy drifting about, unable to get their life together.  Talk about another one of the huge challenges of today’s un-modern, devolutionary society.

I don’t have my former teacher’s gift for words when addressing all possibilities.  So I’m going to trust those of you who don’t fall within the dominant cultural identities to queer the text if necessary.

Ambition isn’t whipping someone else’s fanny to achieve your goals; it’s whipping your own fanny to achieve your goals.  You can’t rely on someone else to hold the world up for you and manifest your dreams.  This is the road of dependency, of giving away your power to someone else.

People are always looking for someone else to show them how to get power or tell them they have power.  In comes the popular pastime of stealing it from others—there are plenty of people who will pretend to embody the qualities you imagine your partner in crime ought to have.  These people are looking to exploit your power for themselves, to live off your dependency for their own ends.

There are also a lot of people looking for dependent heaps they think they can mold into a programmable automaton who will do their bidding.  I see relationships that run on just this sort of weird symbiotic puppetry.

The thing is, no one can give you power.  That is, the ability to live your life as a human being, with the understanding of being alive.  It has to be seized from within by your own action.  People can help you along the way, give you the tools to work it out yourself, but the final step always has to be yours.

Getting down to the bum, the person who is unformed and dependent, the boy who refuses to “cowboy up” and get serious.  “Be a man,” “grow up” and “do something with your life” are common mantras from observers.  I think this sort of blame waving, while legitimate, tends to reinforce this kind of behavior.  Yes, ultimately we have to do the last important task ourselves.  We are responsible for our lives at the crossroads, wherever that is.

But too often what the person hears is “You’re not a cowboy.  You’re not a man.  You haven’t grown up.  You’re doing nothing with your life.”  Who’s stealing power from whom, I wonder.

A boy has to willingly and deliberately choose to “sacrifice the son”.  Meaning their dependence on their mother and insistence that every woman he will ever meet gratify his needs.  A willingness to relinquish that part of us we associate with boyish qualities—vitality, creativity, joy.  In effect, a psychological castration.  Who would ever want to do that?  That’s crazy talk.

Girls too.  Both must relinquish their need for a counterpart to embody the providing force of love and affection.  The other person is not the doctor.  Withdraw and reclaim your projections so you can see the other person as they really are.

Life spirals on.  So if you do not willingly accomplish this task you will find yourself dragged along.  Often painfully.

The question is, how does one find it in them to make the sacrifice?  Not from the admonitions of others who wish they’d “get it together”.

A person must be blessed.  They must be recognized for their weaknesses and limits, as well as their legitimate talents.

The first step is to acknowledge that you need an audience, to be seen and acknowledged.  There’s a royal force within us, an ordering principle that builds structure out of the dysfunction of our lives.  You don’t need to “cowboy up”, you only need to say “yes”.