Monthly Archives: June 2011

no matter how life gets today

Hey Hey Hey by Michael Franti & Spearhead

I’ve been reading a good bit recently, partially because I want to, but mostly because I need an escape. When I begin reading something new, I always wonder how it will be. The first few pages of the chosen book will make it or break it in my mind and I either read on, or move on. So much of this is dependent on my mood. The other day, I finally began reading something a friend had told me read months ago. The moment I began, I couldn’t stop. Everything that was written, each word and each pounding phrase hit me. It was a true moment of feeling as if this author knew exactly how I felt. Here is the puzzle for you.

1. “While there’s no real enemy to be identified, the pain exists nonetheless…”

2. “An intelligent man cannot seriously become anything and that only a fool can become something…a man possessing character, a man of action, is fundamentally a limited character…being overly conscious is a disease”

3. “To reach, by using the most inevitable logical combinations, the most revolting conclusions on the eternal theme that you are somehow or other to blame even for the stone wall, even though it’s absolutely clear once again that you’re in no way to blame, and, as a result of all of this, while silently and impotently gnashing your teeth, you sink voluptuously into inertia, musing on the fact, that as it turns out, there’s no one to be angry with; that an object cannot be found, and perhaps never will be…”

The stone wall we are speaking of acts like a chameleon changing in appearance, but still a chameleon nonetheless. That wall that was there a few months ago is still here now, with different hurdles ahead.

I’ve thought so much about my life, about other people’s lives and where they find their way to get by. I’ve thought about people who absolutely love what they do, and people who dread going to work in the morning. And I’ve been trying to decide where those people that love their jobs succeed. How do they get to where they are?

In no way did school make me feel prepared or as if I truly knew what I wanted to do. I think for now, I have a better idea of what I don’t want to do. What I know is that part of this is attitude and part of it is just straightforward fact. To wake up with the wrong attitude can magnify, can project, can exasperate what is already there.

I have been trying to decide what is worthwhile. Is it worth it to stay where I am? To keep doing what I am doing and constantly feel at odds with myself? So much of how I feel conflicts. I hold guilt for things that are not my fault and stumble in these decisions when I know there will be people that are hurt or harmed or people that will have to work a lot harder than they do now..

Here is my honesty: I allow others to undervalue me because I undervalue myself. I don’t believe anyone to be deserving of anything necessarily because it’s of a mentality that the world revolves around me. Something David Foster Wallace references in his “This is Water” speech (you should read this by the way). Something I try to remind myself of time to time because the world does not revolve around me, my happiness or unhappiness, my job, my life. And while that is the case, it doesn’t make it unfair to seek opportunities that make me happier, but it makes it wrong to constantly dwell on these feelings, this situation.

One thing I have been trying to learn is to not dwell. While many of you may hate “Eat, Pray, Love,” I found something in it that embodied a mindset I have been trying to take on for so long. To think about something, acknowledge the hurt, the pain, the feeling, but to “drop it.”

While people are incredibly resilient, always bouncing back and falling down, do they ever really lick the pain? Do they ever really leave it behind? I wake up with pain in my shoulders and neck. I do it because I carry that pain with me everyday. I might not think about it every second of the day, but it’s there. And I think that more people than none would say the same presence exists in their life in some way. People are broken. I believe that with every bone of my body, every nerve, every ounce in me. But that belief brings nothing, but an acknowledgment that we are somehow the same, somehow connected in this all.

There is no real answer is there. Question or statement, I think the answer varies person to person. We all have some remedy, some way that we make it easier. The days that I come home and feel terrible, I have to make myself forget it somehow. It is much easier, for whatever reason, to just sit there and think about it over and over again. Maybe it’s a character trait mostly, but I know it is much easier to dwell on these negative thoughts, nervousness and discomfort than it is to hold on to the realistic, the positive and the beneficial. Maybe it’s the human condition..

We are so used to being down that it seems an abnormality to be up sometimes. A couple weeks ago, it felt like every single thing was going right. I was on the ball at work, it was doable, and things just seemed like they would work out. Then all of the sudden, it started to go downhill, and, of course, when it did, I began feeling like nothing could ever go right naturally gravitating toward this negative train of thought.

The funny thing is, I was reading the personal statement that I wrote to for school applications and it addressed exactly this. It put me on the spot with myself because the very characteristic that I used to pride myself in is currently waning in this situation.

I wrote about my childhood, which consisted of random and constant sickness. I am beginning to believe that I blocked a majority of it out, but it truly did define much of who I am: my hardheadedness, my hatred for being babied, and my unfailing need to prove everyone wrong.

I was severely allergic to walnut trees, but continued to play in the leaves despite this. That is the way of a child of course. Constantly doing something, taking a chance despite the negative consequences that would ensue. The point of course being that those negative feelings do not outweigh the reward.

I told colleges this about myself and playing in leaves:

“We would make little progress this way, but it allowed us to enjoy things that were normally dreary. Our games were hardly original, but they are something that I still value today as a life philosophy. After spending a day playing tiring games, I would go home feeling sick. However, my short-term illness was incomparable to the day that had just passed. Every day spent playing in the walnut trees was a risk. My allergies were unpredictable and playing in such a dangerous field seems as if I was begging for illness, but my constant experience with sickness allowed me to build an optimistic view of life. I did not spend my time worrying about the hours I would spend tending to my stuffy nose later. I didn’t worry because I recognized that in all choices there are unpredictable outcomes. Since we are unable to control what happens to us, it is our job to take those situations and make the best of them. Playing in leaves, despite the pain it caused later, was one of the best decisions I made as a child. Reflecting on it now, I find a lesson that I hope to utilize in the coming years. As a person and a student, raking leaves and odd sicknesses have taught me to live with optimism and the belief that I can make the best of any situation as well as allow those situations to better me as a person.”

It’s funny, the timing of my going and reading this. I am at an exact point where I am afraid to take a chance because of the consequences. I am exactly in a place where that decision I terrifying and not an easy out, like I wish I had.

Something I have always been amazed by is the way in which poignant moments and realizations are eventually lost or fade. I had so many moments as a child where I realized something immense and of huge gravity to my life, but slowly that information, that change just became a memory and no longer affected me. This moment, reading this, it is proof of that experience and how it will continue to repeat itself throughout my life.

Tell me how, in 12th grade, I had better insight into what I need to do than I do now? The answer I can provide is merely that the decisions you make are harder to make when so close to the situation. The myopic view I have is so hindered by guilt, by inconvenience, by other people, but mostly by myself. I set standards in my mind that are in no rational or beneficial in times like these. While they have made me into a sort of perfectionist, they also allow me to be extremely hard on myself and make me indecisive in times like these.

This is the first time I’ve written in weeks it seems. I told myself when I took this job that I would write, I would find a way, but as things go, the way to write becomes harder to find, harder to maneuver and make the time.

There is no resolution. There is no definite answer because everyone seems to have a different one. I come to that point frequently because to me, if I waited until some universal truth came about, or was found, I may be waiting too long. I am 20. I am 20 years old and this is what my life consists of. Sometimes I forget that I am younger than most people in the same situation as myself.

I think what I need is to take time to give myself some credit, since I have yet to do that so far. I know what I need is to take a chance here. I need to take steps toward making things change. I can’t count how many poems, stories and articles I’ve read encouraging me to seize the day and also how few times I think I’ve truly listened. Here is where I go from here: I make a change. Sometimes a change in attitude is not enough and sometimes being hardheaded to stick a position out just because you said you would is not the best answer.

And, yes, I am still talking myself into my decision. Probably because I never thought I would be here. There is such a glorified picture of what a career is in my head. I don’t know exactly how it got there, but it is there. While I know I may not find that picture, I want to get close. I want to do something I love. In the mean time, I’ll do as the 12th grade me would do. I’ll make the best of what I have because there is no point dwelling on it. I just have to let it go.

Try it some time. It’s worth it.

“Notes From the Underground” by Fyodor Dostoevskey

“Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

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And hold us at the center while the spiral unwinds

Four Winds by Bright Eyes

There’s much to say, but there never seems to be the time to take and say it. Where have I been these past few weeks? Where have I been. It’s hard to say. The places you travel in a day’s time are more than just the physical locations on a map. They’re the things that become home in your mind.

I haven’t felt at home, or at least I haven’t wanted to. There’s always an edge that I’m just barely on and I’ve come to believe a few things as I continually teeter to and fro. What I’m between or leaning to, I never really know and that shouldn’t surprise a person like you. Thank you for taking the time to read.

I think in times like this I wonder what I could have done different. I think we all do. A time where someone is gone that you forget to reach out to from time to time. The thing about life is that you never seem to know when someone will really be gone. So you are gone and I am left with my feverish goodbyes.

Two weeks time and still I don’t know how to compose these thoughts, these words, these ideas I have about my life. I am in this high stress job constantly feeling as if what I do is never good enough. And that is mostly due to my own standards I hold myself to. No one can be as hard on me as I already am on myself. But that is no matter to this. That is just a factor in the work week that I like to forget by the time the clock runs out.

The clock is an imminent theme today. Isn’t it always? Living in fear of it, living in hope that it will pass, living because that is all we can really do. There is so often only one solution when it comes to unsolvable problems: go on.

Jack Johnson’s song is playing in my head now.

“In my rear viewI watch you
And I gave you your life
But you give me mine
I see you slowly swim away
As the light is leaving town
To a place that I can’t be
But there’s no apologies

Just go on
Just go on
There’re still so many things
I want to say to you
But go on
Just go on
We’re bound by blood that’s moving
From the moment that we start”

And maybe I should leave it at that because he’s said everything I feel. In life, we are always struggling with dealing and making due. Yes, we do have joyful moments of time, but behind the joy, somewhere along the way, there is pain. And here is the pain. The pain is excruciating. It makes you doubtful, it makes you disappointed. To think you don’t miss a person until you know they are gone. To think that you’re capable of caring about someone still who has been missing from your life for over a year.

I have no awesome words of wisdom. In fact, I have something to say that I myself hate to hear. Time. That is all we have sometimes. I’ve prayed a thousand times to be lifted of pain, but if you can’t trust in the thing you pray to, then what is the point? What is the point in sitting here constantly unhappy and never feeling a change in the wind, a swift movement in the wind. Sometimes, I honestly believe that the only thing you have to make things better is time.

There is the cliche you hear and know. When something terrible happens, there is this odd feeling that someone has to have the answer. And maybe someone out there does. But for me, a sceptic to say the least, I think the only thing that is always at my back and my front is time. It makes us helpless and morose, but sometimes I want it so badly to just continue as it is. I want it to pass with no hindrance. I want the work week to be over. I want to stop the undying feeling of sadness that throbs in my chest at times. I want there to be a way to help someone, to help myself. I’m not dwelling on some negative energy. What I’m trying is to be sincere and honest about the way in which I’ve learned to go on.

The truth is, that is the only answer. The funeral is on thursday, and guess what- come Monday, you have to be ready to work. We’ll forgive your lack of productively for a week, but beyond that, we have to just move. It’s the way of our world. And while at times we want to dwell a bit longer, get cut a break, and just wander, it’s sometimes better to try to pick up and continue. There will be days where there seems no way to see through this fog of insecurity, pain and ill-happenings. Yes, there will be days where you just want to sit on the bed and stare at that turquoise wall for hours. But just know, that it will get better, it will get easier, and you will be able to go on.

I try to always see hope on that horizon. It seems this blog has become just that, my hope on the horizon. My hope for myself, for others, for life. I have this uncanny need to help people. No, I am not patting myself on the back. What I mean is that when someone is lost, I feel like it is my duty to help. In this off beat time of weirdness, death, and just trying to get by, I’ve learned that maybe there is something in me I am not using as I should. Maybe I have the ability to do things I refuse to try out of fear, or lack of time. Time is a terribly discomforting thing. While I love that it is a healer, it’s always running away from me. Never allowing me to do exactly what I want.

Here I am, working, getting beat down. Hey, it’s been a month and I am already that tired old working person. I’m trying to learn how to appreciate those breaths of fresh air. Trying to learn that stress is not a necessary component to doing well.

What I know is this, life is a balancing act. We are on that edge for so long. Sometimes, it feels like there is no one that truly understands. But what I know is that there is no one to understand as long as I can’t put trust in them. And I hope that at some point, I can help someone see that differentiation before it is too late. I miss the people that have gone from this life, but I have to believe, I have to hope that things are better where they are. And while I am still here, I have to change what I can, do what I can and make what I am doing worth someone’s while.

There’s too much to say and I feel I never say it well. But this is what I believe and this is where I go on.

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