The Fire Within That Burns The World

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At times it’s hard to so optimistic. Day in and day out, bright. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sunny disposition, it’s what I default back to when I am in new situations.  It’s not even just because of the amount of energy I expend, the cost is negligible because at the end of the day it makes me and others happy.   What the main problem is, that people take it as being disingenuous or too much all the time. Like opening the blinds in a darkened room, the suns rays being to burn your eyes as you squint to see.  It’s a good moment every now and again, but eventually, people will be seeing me through sunglasses or create blinders so that the light stops bothering them.  I become a special case, no longer seeing me for who I am, but a dimmer version of myself.  It gets lost, and though at times I am aware of this light and make motion to try and dampen it, I can’t help but burn within.

I don’t really understand why, but part of me feels this passion for life all the time. It dwells right there within my chest, like a ignited ember, a fire ready to take hold of many exciting things this world has to offer.  Life has a funny way of being able to make things incredibly fascinating.  Like Alice in Wonderland, each little piece has a whole world to it if you’re willing to go down the rabbit hole.  It all acts as kindling for me, and as long as I am moving forward, there is an inexhaustible supply of it.  It keeps me knowing I’m alive sometimes, like breathing and in its absence, it feels like I am suffocating.

But fire burns, and growing up with it makes it, so I am resistant to the heat and the light, but not everyone is or wants to be subjected to it. It radiates out, and sometimes it feels like those around me will eventually get burned unless the light and heat is scattered.  Like I have to continue moving just enough that people will be able to handle it.   I’m learning, of course, each day observing the reactions of others so that I know how much is enough and when to keep my mouth shut. It’s a trail littered with mistakes but at least its progress.

Fire burns hot and requires a lot to burn.  I need to find places where this fire will sit last, a slow burn that warms the spirit and doesn’t burn the soul.  It’s like finding where you belong, and the people you belong with, I want to find both, but there’s really no easy way to look, just keep following your feet. Hopefully, I can find that place where the fire will able to sit for a while and create a fixed light. A light that you can count on light the warms people instead of burning the world.

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past.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
The Great Gatsby

The past
I laugh to keep from crying
It trails me from afar
In a way I can never predict
It bites me when I’m tired
It hovers when I’m sick
I have given all I have to fight it
Or I may never win

It sits there haunting me
Like a regret but more subtle.
It’s not that I haven’t gotten over it
It’s because I am worried it isn’t done with me

Maybe it’s my fault
Thinking it might shatter my grand illusion
But I shouldn’t be worried
As long as I who I say I am
Maybe that’s my sin
That I may just fall apart
and all I will be left with is him.

The Project

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Over 400 hours at this point, over the last 2 years.  400 hours of research that I have been doing since I got back from my trip after my graduation.  Every week, once a week going out to the lab and sitting down in front of a computer to do some sort of work towards my project.  Over 10,000 miles driven to and from home to Lab, adding up to hundreds of hours in the car.  I’ve never really questioned why I was doing it, I just knew I had to for both myself and my future. Hours now for a better life later.

It started as a project in my senior year of college, having gotten a fellowship I was allotted money to help fund my endeavors. Truth be told, it was more of a validation than a necessity to get the project off the ground.  That year flew by as I worked 12 hours a week to get it done and I did finish the preliminary project.

The real journey began after I graduated.  Expanding the project was a hassle, multiplying the work from 3 participants to 56 was no small thing.  I got help though, got to share the burden of this project with others as I both learned and fooled around with the numbers.  I didn’t realize how much of a novice I was until I was sitting in front of a computer, looking at a bunch of figures I didn’t know what to do with with a bunch of results that didn’t make sense except that I knew that I had to do them.

Wrapping my mind around these things, doing all this work outside of school, I’ve never really thought about what I would be doing instead of research.  I just knew I had to do it and so I did. I learned to ask for help. To admit when I was stuck and to bounce ideas off of others.  To stay positive even when things look bleak.

There has been a lot of self-learning, growing in ways along with frustration from lack of understanding.  Delving into areas unknown. I know that I have learned a lot from just being there, and it’s kept me going forward towards my dream.

I am nearing the end soon, the end of my time in this lab.  4 years in totality, 3 on my own project.  It will feel weird when I have gone and left, it been such a staple in my life. I’ve gone through a whole breadth of emotions there, kept coming even through depression because it was something I knew I had to do.  It will be strange when it was gone, and it feels weird now that I am reaching the finale.  I hope I leave on a high note, but at the very least I want to leave knowing that I at least did something.

My last day I imagine will be a quiet one, nothing big going on, with groups of Research Assistants working quietly in the lab.  They won’t know a thing about who I am, my generation has passed, and I will simply walk out that door, walk to my car, and drive away and maybe be remembered for what I did there one day.

I don’t know what the future holds, I just know not to waste it.

The Eventual Death Of The Universe

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Do you ever think about the heat death of the universe?
From the moment I learned about it in high school chemistry class, I reflect on it and what it means.  The heat death of the universe happens when all energy is expended when all matter has reached its equilibrium, and there is nothing left to do. It’s the ultimate end of everything because there’s nothing left, just the cold and the still.

Life and nature curve its way toward entropy, a chaotic system, without any help something that is orderly will slowly break down over time to little bits and pieces.  This happens until there is nothing left to do, and it will move on to something else. Nothing is immune to this effect, and if we want to build something or maintain it, we have to put an effort in, use up the energy to do so. This lost energy we can never get back and slowly it ticks us ever closer to the end.

I think about how this relates to people, the idea that our relationships or lives are these massive towers we build for ourselves.  To create these monuments in our lives we spend time and energy, and without time and energy, they simply wither away.  We try and sometimes maintain order in our lives, but all it takes is a little bit of disorder to throw us off our game.  Life is effortful, it takes a lot of energy to live the life we want to live.

Our bodies are made to conserve energy, to ration it properly, as if it were always in scarcity.  The truth of it is that people will always skew to doing the easier thing.  It’s within our nature to figure out the pattern to something and learn to cut down the process to its most essential.  That’s why patience and discipline, for the most part, are learned traits, not inate.  That’s also why when you hear about great peoples and their great actions, it’s not about what the result was, a lot of the time what they did was nothing more than a series of small, doable things, it’s more that they did it.  They pushed themselves beyond what peoples see as natural or the doable.  The push themselves to new heights because they are willing to continue to put in the energy to do so.
They are not afraid of building towers and having them fall willing in spite of that.

I think about the heat death of the universe and wonder if I can fight against it, even if by just a little for a little while.  To build a life that I expend this energy to create something more than what was there before.  To build and maintain relationships and a life that is in spite of the constant pull toward the comfortable and the easy.  I want to try at least, to become something more than this scarcity.

If I’m constantly worried about where my energy is going, I never am able to use it all for what really matters to me, living a good life the best way I can.

short style.

Be it as it may
I don’t want to live a life
of illusion
a contrived life
built on sand castles in the sand
that only stands tall because the tide is low

what is the point of being the highest point in the depth of a valley
it makes mountains look impossibly tall
unclimbable
I also don’t want to be the mountain
standing above others alone at the summit

I want to be the wind,
the thing that can fly as the sky
and as low as the floor
but touches everything
and comes in contact even with the loneliest stone
I want a life on the wind

The World In The Life Of A Guy – Part 8 -Growing Pains

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I’ve been told my entire life that guys mature much slower than girls, that we as a couple steps behind in growth and willingness to accept responsibility for things.  I’m tired of hearing it as often as I do but maybe it’s true, that we don’t mature like girls do.

I think part of the problem is the level of expectation for men to mature tends to be a bit delayed in general.  Girls, by the time they are teenagers and already going through puberty, are expected to bear the responsibility that growing up female entails, both body and mind wise.  Where as guys, even though we grow and go through puberty later, they are treated as if the changes are only sometimes cosmetic. Through our actions carry more weight we are not treated to the same standard, partially because what I had brought up last month about the level of fear for men and women deal with and the need for girls protect themselves from the dangers of the world. I think it’s this lack of responsibility for oneself creates a situation where men fall behind women in this area.

If you learn anything from these posts is that I believe that there really shouldn’t be a huge difference between men and women in how they are treated and are accountable for.  There is though a sort of necessity for women that doesn’t appear in men. The need to settle down. By far, I am not saying this is something intrinsic to women, there are a lot of social and cultural pressures for women to marry earlier than men, to have children sooner than men, and to generally have their life together sooner than men. Why is that a burden placed on only one of the sexes? Why can’t both either worry or not worry? Be told they are too old or their clock is ticking.
I am figuring part of the reason being is because of the timing of it all. For men, they still have the ability to have children later, and in some ways are suppose to be established before doing so. This doesn’t necessarily happen but once children are involved, people, for the most part, turn their attention to providing or settling down.

There is also the idea that is a bit ingrained into the minds of young men to sow their wild oats before settling down.  To let all the craziness out before deciding on something. This isn’t a bad philosophy, I think people should really try and live the life they want especially when the amount of responsibility is negligible.  Girls don’t get that message though, they are always told to be protective, not to go wild by to stay in control.  They are told that they need to be looking for that next step, working towards it because they only have a limited time. Both have their own benefits and drawbacks, but again they should be closer together, a balance of both.

Ultimately, people will learn to meet the expectations that are set for them, and as a culture, if boys are treated as if they should be just as responsible and mature as girls from a young age they will meet that standard.  For now, I just have to deal with the stereotype that I am a few years behind the maturity of girls and hope I am doing my part to prove it wrong.

That Warm Feeling

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I was recently listening to a story on a podcast about two people falling in love.  It pulled at the heartstrings of mine and even though I don’t like to admit it, it actually made me crave that loving feeling in my life again. Almost as if it was a chink in the armor that I wasn’t aware of, or at least I was ignoring.  It made me feel like if I had a romantic relationship around again, it really wouldn’t be so bad. That I wanted it, that’s how compelling the story was,  it made me feel like love is something I needed because at least from what I heard, it can make you feel like anything before that was not a really the height of the feelings.  My memories tell me that the heights achieved when love is in the air are almost exclusively reserved for love and high achievement.  Now I was thinking, may I need love to make me feel whole.

I know that’s not a right way to think, but I got lost in the habit of doing so anyway.  I learned the lesson on this a long time ago when my good friends (now my ex) laid it out for me. You can’t get into a relationship if you feel like it’s what you need to fulfill you.  If you are doing this because you find some part of your life lacking, then it’s probably not a good reason to.  Relationships should be a complementary influence, not a supplementary one.  If the relationship only fills a particular void or is the missing piece make yourself feel whole then your really only creating one thing, but if you had two whole people, people who may have their problems but are at least working towards fixing them, then you might actually create something more than what you started with.
I’ve honestly taken those word to heart in more ways than one and even though it’s an important lesson it does come with a bittersweet price tag of remembering the one who gave me the advice in the first place.

With each love high comes a love low and with it creates a situation where two wholes might deteriorate into halves.  When you try to multiply anything by a fraction, you get less than before, which is not okay for anyone.  That’s the price of admission to this love game, that if your team isn’t working together or if someone gets hurt you will lose your ability to play as well as you used to.

Anyways, the story continued as the realization of love came much before the confession of it.  I think that was the part of the story that intrigued me the most.  That their love began to grow well before they thought they were able to express it to one another. That each one in their own way was inching closer to that point where their heart couldn’t stand it but they would take small consolations through it all. Small battles as their friendship formed.  I don’t know why that sounds so appealing.  I understand that in this situation you feel like a supernova ready to explode inside of you at all times. The immense weight of it all bearing down on you as you hope and pray for the opportunity to speak but hold off so that you can maintain the peace.

It’s obvious where their story went, the final confession followed by many years of happiness. You usually don’t hear about the alternative, but at least this one gives me hope. The reason behind why these two worked out and that the time they spent forming this relationship outside the confines of romance probably made this work for them.  Who knows really what works, I don’t really think anyone knows with absolute certainty.   Each person needs and wants something different. I can say it is beautiful in that way.

All and all, I’m not looking, I have enough on my plate that I can barely take care of myself let alone a relationship. I’m also not the kind of guy who does this whole relationship thing half-assed. What I do say though is that I’m okay with life taking its own way, I’m not in any rush, and there really is no reason to be.

Stupid Thoughts

I have a bleeding yearning
A picturesque promise of pain
My heart bounds at the notion
That makes me feel all but lame

The stench of love wafts by me
In now the season of death
When our impulse should be to find shelter
And try to eliminate threats

What timing do I have
That these feelings start to well
With no home to anchor
And no way to quell
So they feel like they want to fester
To grow fat in the absence of purpose
It is dangerous
For feelings that were spurned without purpose
Look for a place to attach
Then it is love without meaning
Like a well in a swamp

I hope that in my troubles
That I am able to let this feeling pass
To move towards a future without sorrow
Or chance of relapse

I want to change but to change requires discipline
Discipline to say not to what pains me
To think, measure, and act
I want to strike this balance within me
And not worry about what I may lack

I hope I am busy tomorrow and the next
I hope that I will be stressed
That way when I come across it tomorrow
I don’t have time for it even on my breath 

my breath

Help And Aid All Day

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A world made up of heroes and villains, a world of fantasy that over lays itself on our own.  People far and wide look up to heroes and want to be like them. I think the world loves its heroes not because of the flashy way they go about their lives but the idea that someone of an almost mythical quality can come an take you away from the problems you have.  I’ve always wanted to be a hero in someway, someone who can save people, change their lived in an instant, and inspire other to carry on doing great things.  Its not exactly that straight forward though, it doesn’t just happen in a moment.

I just want to help others, lessen as much of their suffering as much as I can, but it doesn’t always work out the way I want.  I can’t save everyone on my own, but does that mean I should stop trying. Never. It’s a matter of understanding what I can and can’t do at the moment. The limitations that I have, and what powers I can use to lessen a problem not create new ones.

Situations may arise where it turns out I am simply not the right person to help, that in no small way am I the hero in their story, not the right person to be telling people advice or helping them along the way.  That there is someone more meaningful or impactful that in their heart of hearts they hope they see. Do I keep at it then, it’s a bit of a slog over time. Perhaps I should help find the person that would be most impactful for them, being an intermediary hero. Maybe I need to maximize my impact by excelling in my own way so that people can look up to me, perhaps they will listen then. Then maybe I can become this right person to help them along the way.

There is also the saying of “healthy neglect” the idea that people in some way have to struggle on their own through situations so they can learn the lessons and get stronger.  I have a hard time with this because I see somebody struggling and my first instinct is to extend my hand in aid.

Furthermore, I hate that the world has its own plans.  It’s the hard part about psychology, even if you know the problem and answer, it doesn’t mean it will happen or that you can do anything about it.  Each person had to make their own choices because they are the ones who have to deal with the feeling afterward.   Each step they take they have to take on their own.

Who really knows though, I will keep fighting because that is who I am.  I might get saddened by peoples sadness, hope to god that I can just make their life better even if it’s not by much. To create that positive impact that follows you like a trail blazed through a forest.

Chasing Dreams Before They Die

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I think all of us deep down inside have a part of ourselves that calls out to us, calls out to follow down the path we have honestly hoped we were destined for.  A part of ourselves that leaves us deeply unsettled by the continued nature of reality that doesn’t align itself with where our heart truly lies.

I constantly wonder, does the path we travel down require us to sacrifice part of our soul to keep afloat or is it a test to see if we are willing to devote ourselves to our dreams properly.  I regularly ask the question whether I am sacrificing enough or is there more I can give.  Can we strip ourselves down to such a fundamental level that we can devote ourselves so singularly to a cause that it becomes apparent that we no longer are a person but the living manifestation to a singular purpose or ideology?

I find that within these thoughts, in some way contains greatness.  It is the ability to focus on the one thing in front of you that it becomes your entire being for the time being that you exist within it focus until you have accomplished whatever you initially set out to do.  

That’s what I need, that laser focus, something I have never really fostered through my life. Instead, I let my mind wander endlessly from place to place stringing thoughts together like party decorations.  Though I might get to the destination, and it might bring me from place to place by the time I get there I will have all but run out of string.  It’s about using what I have wisely. Picking and choosing all that I do so that at the end of it all I have something that I can look back to and say I have built.

I am though greedy, I want to experience everything so choosing one seems almost unfathomable even though in my heart I know it’s not enough. Variety may be the spice of life, but I can’t sustain myself on spices alone, I need substance.  Where to cut and prune is the question, what to give up and slough off the tree of life so the branches can grow tall instead of being forced down by the weight of barren tree that never go anywhere.

Aside from that, I think what we spend most of our time on actually dictates how we feel.  In that, for us, it becomes then our jobs, a place where we spend most of our days that rule over our existence.  It has the greatest effect and even though in some ways we take every opportunity to spend the time we are freed from our time at work decompressing. In those moments we end up not really ever doing anything at all.

So it is up to us to make the life we want, the life we will sustain.  Our life is what we do and accept having done to us.  My biggest fear is becoming used to these feelings of my soul asking me to change and never doing anything about them. Slowly letting my dream die and dying along with them. Living a life that will never really feel satisfying because in the back of my mind I know that there could have been something more for me to do.  I want to chase the dream, but maybe it would be better to also be reminded that it can die and with it so would my soul.

Live life, and if your not, change it.  In the same way that the world will keep spinning if you are not around, we have no excuse not to at least try to make something new.