Tag Archives: dreams

Throw me out of the side of a plane and I’ll just see where I land

Pandora is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I spend most of my days at work listening to music on it and I stumble upon song after song that I love.

If you haven’t caught the drift yet, the songs are the inspiration and the backbone to anything I ever end up writing on here. The lines play over again and again in my mind like these concepts and ideas about life that fester in the back of this brain of mine. Fester…what a terrible word that sounds exactly like what it describes.

The best parts of my work day are when I can just coast through words about random companies and government agencies and just bob my head. Yeah, this song is a head bobber for me. I wonder what kind of sign that is when it is the highlight of your day…

All I know is change is coming. It is coming in big, big ways. And guess what, I am not as ready for it as I want to be.

These topics I come to seem so repetitive after a while, but that may be because the issues we face on a regular basis are incredibly unoriginal and more similar to other peoples than we would like to admit.

But, change is coming and I feel myself unsteady, unsure, not because I am caught off guard. In fact, I almost think it is worse that I realize what is coming far before it will arrive. You see, there is this thing called security. And when you don’t have it, things begin to deteriorate.

It’s hard to say if surprise changes are any better really. You would think that when you know about something so far in advance, change then becomes a plan instead of a surprise. It could be something you embrace. Embrace it for the spontaneity, the newness and for your own braveness in searching out the unknown.

I know that in life, we are in search of these moments of security. They seem far and few most of the time. It is at the root of every search we have. Jobs, relationships, futures and the like.

I scarcely let myself believe that anything is secure and when I do, I find my feet are gone from beneath me. It’s a sort of unwilling vulnerability.

There are moments when we are just begging and begging that something will come our way. That something will be different from it was before, different in the way we want it be. But I guess that is the point. More often than not, we are dealing with the different that wasn’t what we wanted.

Let’s not be so negative, now. There are times when change comes in the form we most wanted. Those are the moments in life we so shortly applaud and quickly forget as soon as the next bump in the road rises high before our path. Oh and what a pain to have to reach your legs higher, a pain to stride, to sweat, to pant and to gasp for air.

There are times when I have begged for change so religiously that it became unbearable to deal with the present. If there is anything I know, it’s that life is far too short and far too abundant with opportunity to turn yourself into someone always sweating the little things.

So often, I cheesily think about life as I do running. Those of you who run may understand why.

A run never starts and finishes the same way. There are days when the first steps send throbbing pain through every muscle in my legs and then days were there could not be an easier thing to do. Sometimes that hill in the middle of my run seems a lot bigger than it was the day before and it never ever fails that the day you plan to run six miles, you feel like two is a serious stretch.

There is never a day that turns out as I thought it would. And it is incredibly easy to get caught in the currents of the what ifs and the I have nots, but then again, there is reassurance in the fact that both things will change again and that life is not so predictable as you thought.

Let’s be honest here, it is so very easy to get so entrenched in the negativity following dashed hopes and misshapen dreams, but come tomorrow, there will be a new hill, a new course, a new obstacle to lead yourself through and then there is no time to pay attention to the worries of yesterday or worse, tomorrow.

So maybe instead you dwell on these things. You dwell on the change, you dwell on the outcome and you dwell on what you want. Sometimes I think dreams are so very inhibitive. You are forever worried about tomorrow instead of enjoying the right here and right now. At the same time, you have to have that thing guiding you toward making the best of the right now. It is this ever changing (yes, change) and ever evolving thing. It’s a loaded question, a topic on repeat, a sentence without an ending.

We so often have this tendency of crippling ourselves. Sometimes it is because of the mistakes we have made, sometimes it is fear of the future and sometimes it is just because we don’t know who else to pick on.

I think I am done with the crippling for now, the worrying and over analyzing. I think sometimes you just have to let life happen and sometimes you have to just throw yourself into the mess it is.

We can’t be crippled by the past. We can’t be overly concerned for the future. There is hardly sense in worrying over something there is little control in.

At the end of the day, you just have to take comfort in the fact that the only secure thing is that this all will soon change. That should be secure enough.

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Voices calling from a yellow road

Come Downstairs and Say Hello by Guster
 
 
 

 Someone, someone could tell me
Where I belong
Be calm, be brave, it’ll be okay

I went for a run last night right before the storm. It was the first time in weeks that I ran more than a mile and felt like stopping because I was tired, not because I was in pain. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to wheeze and feel like I wanted to fall over.

The whole time I kept thinking about this place. It seems hard to describe existing now only as a memory. A beach house on the marsh. The night air is stuffy, humid and mosquito infested. It’s dangerous to walk out on the porch without bug spray or maybe a death wish. But the sky was clear with so many stars, it was hard to focus on one place. So many stars spanning out over the marsh and toward an open ocean. In the distance there are muffled voices and music, but they don’t stifle the air. No, they make it feel more crisp, more real. And beneath the sky there are miles of tall grasses infested with insects and creatures, teeming with life. The lightning bugs are so many that they mirror the open night sky. They blink on and off ceremoniously. And there is nothing but dimly lit houses and just space.

I’d like to be there now. I’d like to feel that freedom. I’d like many things that are unlike what is turning out. What is so often the case. At times, the things I hear myself say seem dramatic. It seems everyone is making due. And how many times have I been told I won’t get my dream job right away? How many times have you taken a job that you have to convince yourself more into than you can out of?

The way of the world frustrates me beyond explaining. When I applied to school, it wasn’t really seeking out some dream and making it real. It was applying where I could afford and where I could get in. Honestly, I feel angry with the ideas so ingrained in me that I should dream big and search out these huge ideas. I think it could be more simple. I think people could be more honest.

So, here I am. Almost employed by a job I can’t quite find a reason to feel happy about other than it’s a job. And I’m ashamed to feel the way I do. I know so many people don’t have a job at all.  But the fact that I have to take a job simply because it’s a job makes me feel like I’m succumbing to something I don’t want to.

But one run can make me calm down, can make me forget that I haven’t been able to sleep for nights. It’s a rhythm I’ve been missing more than anything else. Mostly because it is the most free thing I have. There is nothing inhibiting my actions except the muscles and bones I drag along with me. And sometimes I have to even forget what they tell me. When my knee is aching on every step. When the pain puts a constant grimace on my face. I have to push through the last mile because I have the freedom to do so. And perhaps that pushing will only make things worse. It will make the pain grow and swallow my knee, shoot up my thigh and leave me hobbled. But at least it was my doing that made it that way. The air is abnormally humid and despite the tightness in my chest, it felt easier to breathe than ever before. Running in the calm before the inevitable storm. It felt nice to forget that there is nothing simple about the lifestyle I’ve stumbled into. And I yearn for a time where I may feel free to do what I really want to do. A liberty I’ve never truly had, but I miss it like I miss dark, humid nights watching distant lights turn on and off. I want to remember dreams and hopes like I remember that night on the deck. I want them to feel real, touchable, and innumerable.

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Have I found you, flightless bird

 Flightless Bird, American Mouth by Iron and Wine                                                        …diving too deep for coins…

There are certain things that I keep forgetting, certain things I keep being too scared to own up to and just do. I have this terrible problem where I get incredibly embarrassed anytime someone reads or sees something I’ve created. In fact, sitting in the living room watching my dad read my post the other week was an incredibly uncomfortable moment for me (sorry Dad). It’s been the case for so long.

When I took guitar lessons, my teacher would ask me to show her what I’d just learned. I would begin to giggle uncontrollably and just stall as long as possible. My first guitar performance was for one person, quite the audience. I made him go to the other side of the room and look the other way. Yes, I am that bashful, embarrassed person when it comes to these things. It’s derived from this terrible problem of perfectionism. This random doodle above probably took me close to two hours and I can still find flaws in it. Two years ago, I stayed up all night doing this project called a digital narrative. I had to create a video and voice over explaining why writing was important to me. I created a still shot video for a digital narrative on my website ( I sound like I know what I am talking about. Don’t be fooled..) I cringed while I watched it..the timing was off, this shot is too close, this is too fast. My friends kept saying they thought it was good and I spent the entire time nitpicking for every error I could find. I guess you could say it’s a good thing, but it’s a hinderance. Instead of being excited or proud of this creative process, I am afraid to own these things I love to do.

I spent all afternoon looking through old doodles and my IB art book. If you don’t know what “IB” is, it’s unimportant. Just know that it’s what allowed me to graduate early and also where I learned to “b.s.” We had a sketch book where we were supposed to brainstorm ideas for projects. It was supposed to be completely research and planning. My teacher was generous in her grading since my five pages a week rarely consisted of that. More often they looked like this… 

Each page turned into a project of its own, similar to how this blog is unfolding. While looking through all the pages, I realized that what I write and create has changed and matured much more than I thought it had. The thing is, I have this little knack, this thing that I love. It’s where I just take a phrase, a concept and write it down. I start to trace the letters, again and again. The key has always been in how you form your lines, the thickness, the curliness, the short, staccato, jagged edges. That’s where the words come alive. Then they turn into these images, these corresponding shapes and colors. It turns into something totally different from when I began. That’s what my art book is filled with. Pages of these words I couldn’t get out of my head. Pages of word-art. Word-watercolor-art. I guess I’ll call it my style. We all have one, right?

So this word-art thing has become a hobby, an obsession of sorts. Every holiday is an excuse to use it.

I honestly love every second of it. I spent twelve hours painting a water-color for a birthday present last year. Maybe you’re thinking, “twelve hours, really? That’s a little much.” Despite how odd it sounds, there is something seductively calming about the entire process. It’s absolutely mindless and pure, devoid of stress. The way my hands follow a line, tracing it, making it thicker until it reaches this state of near perfection in my eye. If I stare close enough, I always find an imperfection, a place where the line meanders from the path I wanted. The thing is, I love this. And it has taken me an incredibly long time to say that. An even longer time to actually consider doing something with it. Looking through all of these random pages in notebooks in my room, I don’t see how I ever considered just forgetting this. Just making it a thing to do when I was bored, when there were holidays near.

So, are you asking, “now what?” Because I sure am.

There are lines, right. And you learn to walk them. Well, I think sometimes, you have to learn to cross that line. It’s the sort of thing you have to own, as they say. You have to want it. So this is me, trying to figure out what I want. I’ve got these pieces, but I’m not too sure how to make them work. There are so many venues, so many opportunities. It’s a nice feeling, but it’s the type of thing that’s made me want to play it safe in the past. What I’m supposed to do is get a job. What I’m supposed to do is find a way to pay some bills. It’s always been what I’m supposed to do, right. I think maybe I’m supposed to do a little something else. Remember that list I mentioned? The one that I said was next to my bed? Well, this will be a part of it. And this will be one of those things that I will check. Dreams are supposed to be unrealistic and hard to reach, right? These random little things I call word-watercolor-art, they’re part of this dream I’m formulating. America is the place where dreams come true..or is that Disney..either way I think it’s about time I stop walking this line.

 

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get over your hill and see

“After the Storm” by Mumford and Sons

Have you ever felt like you are responsible for stifling your own dreams? That perhaps the only thing stopping you from doing what it is you really want, is the person you see in the mirror.

Recently,  I have been stagnating. The list of things I want to do or should do is growing, but nothing seems to be checked or crossed out. The irony is that in a time where I have the most freedom to do all of this, I find myself not wanting to do a single thing.

This has carried over into most categories of my life. Running is probably the worst of them all. Running has been therapeutic to me in the past, but in the past month that feeling has been dwindling. It’s become a chore that I find more reasons to not do than to do.

Running is chalked full with variables. A single run can be such a feat. Because of wind, because of sleep, because of anything really. The amount of injuries, the tally of days I wanted to quit, the reasons to run, the reasons to not run, the time neglected to be found. To think I’ve been training for several months and all of that could be for nothing just by making one wrong move. One tiny injury.

For running being such a big part of who I am right now, I find it hard to say much about it. Maybe because it is not worth talking about at all, but there is always something to say I suppose. What I don’t want to admit is that I find an obscene amount of parallels between running and this stage in my life.

All of my injuries in running have been completely due to the way in which I run. I find that to be utterly profound. The fact that my ankles roll in on every step, the way in which my hips ache on ten milers, the over rotating, pronating, cramps, trips and falls. My own form cripples me. Certain shoes can fix parts of it, strengthening muscles, reducing miles, but the fact of the matter is that these problems are slightly unfixable. You’re body creates a step that you commit to as long as you walk. A step to break or build.

The trick when you run is to never look too far ahead. You want to focus on something nearby, a mailbox, light post, or house. You stare at it until you pass it, then focus your eyes on the next upcoming landmark. You never let your eyes stray too far from the dark tar beneath your feet because if you watch the horizon, you might not make it.

In Blacksburg, there was this awful hill near my house. It was hidden in some forgotten neighborhood two blocks away. If you haven’t been to Blacksburg, you should know that the are countless hills, the kind worth avoiding when running or riding bikes. Despite the steepness, I found myself mapping runs around  this one hill. Every time, a slacken pace, shallow breathes, and burning legs. But the top, the top made it worthwhile. Sometimes it feels like the hills encase you in Blacksburg, as if these walls were placed around the entire town. You can rarely see much more than the mile in front of you. But, there, at the top of that hill, you could see everything.

Sometimes it helps to look just two steps ahead. It helps to focus on the present, the next two miles, the upcoming hours. But it is so easy to become consumed with this mindset where you can never see anything, but the immediate. So much so that you forget what it’s like to see the whole thing.

All I can see is this hill in front of me, these things I should have done or should be doing. And it makes things seem so impossible, just like the way it feels when I get to the last mile of a run with cramps and aching legs. I would give anything to give up and walk sometimes. I would give anything to have a clear mind and the right view. But those things take time and instead of staring at this hill, dreading it, maybe I should push through it. Maybe I should find the time to do what I love and not forget what it’s like to see the whole view. That list that’s sitting next to my bed. I want to check the things off. I want to look back and think that I did something right.

It’s hard to get it right sometimes. Just like it’s hard to find the words to write or the motivation for that last ten miler before the big race. Sometimes, all you can help to see is those few feet in front of your thumping feet. And maybe there is nothing wrong with that at all, but when you forget. When you forget how to do those things you used to love, when it becomes a chore, when it seems like there is nothing but a list always in front of you. When you find it is just your own weaknesses that allow these things to never be done. It’s a terribly hopeless feeling.

The difference lies in the changes you make and the path you take. My path is structureless and out of focus. Sometimes, all it takes is one good run to reignite the fervor for training. To forget that these injuries are self-induced and that there is more strength in my own stride than I often believe. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

And while I’m struggling to find the words to keep this project afloat, find solace in this song. It’s a hope-builder.

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