Delusional Reality


Well I got a one track mind, when I see you from behind”….wait wait, that was a kind of a rude thing to say. Let me try again.
“I was the bad boy of my neighborhood, I use to lift the girls skirts just to show I could”. Wait, that’s not right either. Why is it every time I try to say something nice about the opposite sex it comes out in the form of a Dave Meniketti song lyric? Maybe I have been brain washed, or hypnotized. Or maybe it’s just Human nature, animal magnetism, a cosmic magnetic direction. Maybe I just do have a one track mind. No that can’t be it, after all I love a fine ale as well, and loud guitars and long walks off of short piers. Hey what can I say, “My heart is a lion, that no one can tame. I dream with the heart of a thief and I feel no shame”. Wow that sounds kind of shallow, I should work on that.

Tommy Lee on Motorcycle

Long hair, tattoos, ear rings. Motorcycles, leather jackets, sun glasses in the middle of the night. Drink, smoke, never sleep. Cool meant everything. If you weren’t cool in Hollywood in the eighties than you might as well have moved to Minnesota. We were detached, unemotional and fearless. We were out of control and insane.


It wasn’t so much the hunger that got to me. I could handle that. It was the cold. I could never seem to get warm enough. Food you could steal, showers you could find. But warmth was something you would kill for. Living on the street was never easy. The stares from people looking down on you. The living day-to-day, hour by hour. Hoping for a better life to come along and save you.

Jail Voting

Shaved head, orange jump suit, no laces in your shoes. I remember my first day in jail. The first of a very long stretch. I wondered how I got to that point in my life. But in a way it brought me a certain comfort. I no longer had to think for myself. I was told what to do on a daily basis. No eye contact. No unnecessary conversations. Just do your job and go unnoticed. Become a shadow.


Camouflage, drab green ruck sacks and shinny black combat boots. Sparkling brass belt buckles and M16 rifles. Army life may not have been all I signed up for, but it did have something I was in desperate need of, a test of will. I fought every day to remain unbroken. But in the end, I would not emerge undamaged.


Two cars parked in the driveway. Four kids running around the house. Quiet street lined with maple trees in a small New England town. Wife, job, mortgage. Stockings over the fireplace on Christmas morning. A dog and long hikes through the colorful Autumn leaves.

Life has a way of changing in an instant. Your mind can do remarkable things. It can create whole new worlds. By simply changing the way you see things or the way your perception of things are you can change everything around you. People tend to get caught up in the way others see them. Yet in reality they should be caught up in the way they see themselves. I have been recently reconnecting with people from my past and in very in-depth conversations I have come to realize that even though you are sharing time and space with others, two people rarely ever see the same things.

When I was in middle school there was only one thing on my mind, Ginger Swenson. I was completely and utterly in love. My Pee-Che folder was covered with different versions of her name. I followed her around campus, road my bike by her house after school, day dreamed about her in class. When she smiled at me I floated. We would talk in-between classes and at lunch time. I can still see her in that white sundress she wore on graduation. I had a picture of her and I together that hung on my wall for years. I never did have the nerve to ask her out. She was way out of my league. But I always thought there was something special between us. But that was the world I created in my head. If you ask her now about me she won’t have any recollection. She can remember all my friends and events from those years, but I am nowhere in her memory. I never existed.


I was talking with an old roommate of mine and we had a discussion about the good old days. But it was like we lived in two different countries. Events and experiences were so varied that one would wonder if we ever even really knew each other at all. I think that’s why a lot of marriages fail. One person creates a world separate from the others. One person thinks life is great while the other one is just waiting for a door to blow open so they can run out.

The point I guess I am trying to make is that this life we are living in is nothing more then a pattern of thoughts and points of perception. It’s make-believe in a sense. We have the power to change everything. It’s all in how you look at it. Some people call it faith, some call it delusional. Maybe it’s a little of both. Insanity just means of not the same perception. Distortion of reality.

You see I was never the bad boy of my neighborhood. That was Big Man Dave’s job. I just thought I was. I was never really cool. I was never fearless or a shadow or anything really. The reality is I saw myself as one thing yet it wasn’t what others might have seen me as. Ginger never saw me at all. Maybe if I saw myself in her league than she would have. It was all a series of events that happened to me, and to me alone. Even though it appeared at the time to be shared with others. Okay I’m confusing myself now.

Happiness comes from the ability to rethink the world in which we live in. When we finally see things for what they truly are than we can free ourselves from conventional reality and progress. It’s not about changing the world or the minds of the people who live in it. It’s about changing the way we see the world and awakening to the fact that we are not in a world of many, but a world of one. Or something like that.



About paulsdahlman

Born in Southern California, raised on the road and now growing roots in New England. I am on the journey of my lifetime. May the footprints I leave behind form the words to my story.
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