Over the last several weeks I’ve been working towards a degree, a degree which I have spent the better part of the previous two years working to obtain. Through a lot of long sleepless night, stresses, and work I have at least on paper achieved this goal, a Masters degree. It was in looking back though, I find I do not feel satisfied or proud of my ”accomplishments.”
Hindsight is 20/20 but to see clearly is not always a blessing. It was in recollecting in what I have done, the research I proposed that an unsettling feeling set in. An abject look as the lack of importance or substance to the projects I have creates and carried out. They seem silly, so unimportant on the grand scale that the rationale for why these things seemed so important to carry precedence in my life has fallen away. What I am left with is aa lesson in humility and a detailing of a path forward which I will need to change if I want to avoid an unsatisfying future.
To be honest, I feel like a child, but not even a child, like teenage who still engaged in making bad decisions but at least has the wherewithal to understand that these decisions were bad in the first place. At least a child will give into the silliness, not allow it to bother him, still able to go through life unlimited by the ramifications of the action. It’s in knowing myself and seeing this reflection for the first time that pains me. What have I been doing? Is there anything I should really be proud of at this moment. There is a culmination of experience but with this experience what I see is what I am lacking. I have underestimated the science and overestimated my understanding of it, to which I apologize to the craft.
It’s fear and frustration that fills me. Seeing where I could be if I had been more diligent or had more self-awareness. I see this self, one I seek to avoid, an expert of a craft but a wasted talent doomed to settle for obscurity. It’s so clear to me but each year that passes the path thins, to that of an edge of a knife, which to be had will require adjustment early and swift or throw myself down upon it as the cost of dreaming.
I see the path ahead, the choices and growth reflected behind me. My future is bright, and here I stand on the lessons of yesterday, not wasted but reflected in my journey. As I learn I find I know less and realize more that there is a long way to go. In growing through these experiences, I know what I want, how to get it, and not it’s up to me to make the change to do it.
When we are younger we always dream about the possibilities of what age will bring, the idea that growing up was kind of a mystical force that allowed for us the possibility of infinite things and the attainability of more than we could know. Looking back I don’t feel jaded or pity for my younger self, I don’t think it’s wrong to dream that way, or that my life is so terrible with bills, loans, school, and work that I should think to dash those dreams of a younger self. No, I just think the reality is quite strange you actually experience those things, experience these wonders just dreamed about, a lot of which are more overwhelming in practice but underwhelming in scope.
I think most of this feeling derives itself with cultivated expectations that are never substantiated because of the unrealistic outcome that everything would feel entirely different and new because of the milestone or event having occurred in the first place. I mean, it’s kind of naive to think that we would become substantially different people each time we cross some sort of threshold, change is a slow and meticulous thing that grows with time. Before we know it, everything has changed, but unless we are constantly self-aware, we never notice these small minute influences shifting our lives. That’s not to say that things can’t be amazing, or beyond what we expected, I am in no way advocating for getting rid of expectations, I think moreso what I want to say is that for most things we won’t know how we feel until we get there.
Let me explain it this way, in could weeks from now my sister is getting married, which is very exciting, but ultimately isn’t really strange as she been with here soon-to-be-husband for about 9 years now. It’s almost strange that it hadn’t happened sooner. Now she will be the first of my siblings to get married, though I am sure that my oldest sister would have liked that honor (her turn will come, probably sooner than we all will expect), the feelings toward it are a bit muddled. It’s weird to think that in a few weeks her last name will change, she will be legally bound to another person, she will be moving away, and that who life will inherently be different. But with how are you supposed to feel about that like it’s doesn’t really change who she is in the moment, or how will act. Sure over time I think these things will set in, but I don’t imagine that when the kiss at the alter some mystical force will come down and give them some sort of power up. Or all of us in the crowd will suddenly have this feeling of acknowledgment but I’m sure a couple weeks from then I will have a sense about how weird it is that my sister is now married.
It’s the same for this, in a couple short weeks I’m going to be walking on stage to receive a degree that marks me a master of psychology. I’ll get a ceremonial hood and short speech and lots of pictures, but when I wake up the next day I won’t be feeling like a master, I won’t make breakfast as a master, or even think just like a master just because of it. It’s more because of this two-year process that has already made given me this sense of expertise and accomplishment. A process that has made me understand things I didn’t even know existed and put me through experiences I never thought possible. The hooding itself is just a representation of that, an acknowledgment to everyone else that something has happened. A proof or verification of that effort and time, just as a marriage just ceremonial coalesce and public promise of love between two people.
My point is being that we never really know, life changes in unexpected ways, with experiences never really going exactly as we planned but I think that’s the whole point of dreaming. It’s a desire put out there in the universe, a curiosity wanting to be filled. We chase these things because they’re new and exciting, and though things like graduation won’t make me feel like any different, the experience as a whole has gone far beyond my wildest expectations. So just keep dreaming.
It’s moving forward, beyond this accident, beyond these feelings, and parsing apart the new me from this accidental self that only erupted from the flowing rain. A slow set of moments that have started to collect speed, a set of days that travel faster as the momentum in my legs finally can carry me forward. It’s not the end but it’s the goodbye for now, a small bow before the curtain call, before the encore, before the exit, knowing that the show is mostly over and real life will resume again. Things have happened, and will continue to happen like the lingering flash of memories that still persists within my sleep-deprived mind. I keep on seeing the past and the future split between my eyes like hands in front of my face, ready to be pulled in any which direction that the wind blows. As the horizon nears, I look back at where I came realizing it now part of me now, but must move ahead just the same, a bitter sweet moment as life moves on.
The accident is coming to a close, though its ripple will be felt for months and perhaps years afterwards. This through this experience that I am able to get a clearer picture of the world, an image that is more directed and more focused on this recovery. It has allowed me to know exactly who I am in these most dire of situations and for that I am grateful. There really isn’t much to say about how I feel about this coming to a close, these things don’t happen abruptly but slowly and almost imperceptibly across time so that as I have gotten here I know where I was and where I am but have no idea all the steps taken for me to get to where I am.
As it draws to an end, and turn that corner onto something new, I realize that I may intersect with this road again, this place where I spent so many days moving through and taking in the world in a different way. A scenic route found on an incidental detour, the road will always be there as I have traveled down upon it part of my journey to where I need to go. I may look back at it with fond memories of the twist and turns but it’s time to depart and get back on my journey toward my dream.
Thank you for coming with me this far, I’m sure this isn’t the end of my recovery but it is at least it the point where I can start on something new. Stronger Every Day.
Originally I was going to do a slight digression from my more moody posts to talk about the fact I have gotten back into reading more but before I got to crafting said post my Internet died. Now I know that the period of time that I was writing was a bit later than when I usually do, and maybe this is just some sick sense of universal karma here to exact it’s revenge for not writing sooner but I think more just highlights how reliant I am on the internet. Without it, I twiddle my thumbs and play that silly dinosaur game on chrome hoping for the Internet to return.
It’s in that I find this reflection of me in the empty
screen somewhat humorous, this 21st century man who is simply stopped by a technology that has been birthed within the last 50 years. I mean there are millennia before this amazing invention and my ancestors did just fine on their own for me to have made it this far.
What is there to do except think of a world where the Internet just disappeared, where technology reduced itself to that of the Stone Age and for us to start all over. How would people manage? How would I manage? Let’s be honest, my training in Psychology doesn’t exactly make me the most useful person in the skills department. I am pretty scrappy, and easy on the uptake but it’s that first part I would really need to get through, when everyone is scrambling around trying to figure things out. Maybe I’ll be drafted into a tribe, never really been part of those before, or maybe I’ll just be a lone wanderer, going from settlement to settlement trying to looking for my true home out there in the post-internet wastes.
But back to the point, I think this also a lesson in humility, that my life is so reliant on these tools to work that I am pushed to this standstill without it. I don’t know if this is a good lesson at the end of the day or one that I should just get more reliable Internet but it’s a lesson just the same.
Maybe I should take this time away from my devices and allow myself to really delve back into my imagination. Create something unaided with my mind as the only resource. It always feels good to be able to imagine different worlds and scenarios, something pure from all of the muses I have come across in my lifetime. What do I have time for though, will I just drop it once it becomes inconvenient to continue because my technologies have come back online? I mean I still do have work to do, so maybe I won’t go too deep or I might just never find a reason to come back out.
What can I say though; I have become accustomed to these conveniences so that not having them just feels strange. Maybe it’s okay to rely on these things because they are so cool. What I think to leave you with during this unexpected posts is that if there is a will there is a way so there are really no excuses unless you really have put yourself out there and tried everything… or maybe that’s the lack of internet talking.
It’s the combination of past inadequacies and current tribulations that I found myself needing a breath of fresh air. I couldn’t hold it in, the rooms were too stifling for the emotions that threatened to boil over and I didn’t want the image of me to be tainted by the small weaknesses that plague my heart. It was a dumb thought that needed to be felt. Almost an inevitable feeling that was to be faced. Something that I knew was coming and maybe was perpetuated by my lack of emotional healing. This idea of blame, a responsibility of my current situation and the continued avoidance of my failure as part of it. Eventually it would catch up to me, I just didn’t know when. It was there, on the roof of my school building when I broke down for a second and it all came flooding out.
I didn’t realize it was there, sitting in the back of my mind. A little voice blaming me for this accident and all the changes because of it. The opportunities lost, the failures I felt both personally and productively. I had been guarded against it but was secretly hoping it would eventually erupted in my face. Like a child waiting for his punishment that appears to never come, ultimately sabotaging the happiness he could attain as guilt of a deed gone unpunished.
I knew it would come to this, I had felt if for months waiting for what would fall into place, hoping my life would just explode into a million little pieces. It’s almost easier that way, you don’t have to face the blame because your life reflected what was already felt inside. I avoided it, which made me avoid the things I hold dear, as sick sense of self punishment that perpetuates only disaster.
It’s a feeling of undeservedness to all the kindness I received, why was no one seeing what I was seeing. Why did no one blame me like I blamed myself? Why could no one see the idiot behind the crippled body who didn’t avoid the chaos to come?
It’s just a bad mix of feelings, that feeds on the past trauma and feelings of inadequacy, multiplying in size until something happens and my self breaks down and falls like rocks unable to support this personal image I had been propping up. Reliving this unresolved conflict that I believed went away only makes me realize that even when you fight your demons that doesn’t mean they disappear.
I was and haven’t been my best self, relying too heavily on the comfort to ease the burden of my failures. Hiding way and subconsciously waiting for this day to come. Even then, having accomplished something great but not entirely what I wanted was all it took to me realize that daze I had been living in. A soft blow pushing me over shows me how fragile I may have already been.
I strongly believe that knowing and understanding of ourselves will give us strength and power overcome the long road ahead. It’s though my naivety that that it made me believe that maybe by knowing I could avoid the trauma in it’s entity. I have taken the stance since my accident, with these emotions that come, to go ahead and feel them, embrace them as they are part of who I am and where I’m at. To realize them, process them, understand them, and let them go. It’s then in this small part of me that I hate, that makes me know I’m healing. It’s then in this small part of myself that I hate, that makes me know I’m human. It’s a process, and it doesn’t come all at once, but now because I acknowledge these feelings I can finally do something about them.
It was a soft silence that pulled me close and asked me to not to break it. Sounds of a rustling comforter, a prodding of some pillows, the small breeze passing through the opening in my window. It’s been a long week, but a good one. One that felt slightly closer to where I want to to be then where I have been. It’s in these small considerations of the morning, the seemingly lazed drifting to and from sleep that really reveal how far I’ve come. It a good feeling, one that tells me that my body is working on something that’s worthwhile.
It’s a different type of tired, a soreness, one that comes from moving instead of the lack of staying still. My injury have taken time and patience and now I have come to a point where my body can finally make up for the period spent lying still in chairs and beds. A semblance of what is on the other side of the road I failed to cross on that fateful night.
It’s a rush of things, a movement within myself trying to reach out and recalibrate my senses to the point where I can really see again. It’s a process of understanding that comes slow at first and then all at once. Like a flicking of switched in a large stations sending electricity throughout to power me on.
In this contemplative silence of the morning halfway between wakefulness and sleep I enjoy the day for all that it gives and hope that tomorrow’s adventure will be as good at yesterdays.
As my recovery is speeding up, and a sense of normalcy is on the horizon but there is a bit of confusion. I don’t know whether this normalcy is the sunset of my recovery or the sunrise for all that comes after.
You see I have been announcing all week my big news, first that will be attending a PhD program in the fall and second that I am finally able to wear a pair of normal shoes and walk semi-normally. Walking seemed the more pressing event, the one that every morning is a clear reminder of my once lack of ability to do so. That was until today, when I was walking around talking with a friend that it hit me…I’m leaving… In less than half a year I will have relocated to a place about 3,000 miles away from where I have lived my entire life. I knew this feeling would come, and I am sure the simple pang that I felt was only a precursor to what will be a treasure trove of tumult in the coming months. I knew this would come, but I have never felt this way in my whole life.
It was a moment where I wanted to grab whole of the idea of home and take it with me. Take it’s essence and throw on wall in my future room. What is my home to me, what is a representation of what this place means to me? It’s like a child holding on a toy for dear life because they are afraid to lose the memory of having had the toy in the first place. Not enough object permanence to think that it won’t be gone once it’s time to close my eyes and go to bed.
That’s the weird thing about the whole situation, it’s not like I won’t see it again, or that I won’t be back semi-regularly but it’s more of the sentimental. I understand now why people get tattoos that represent where they came from. Like a happy scar to show everyone and yourself what you’ve been through. To represent a people that you belong to. What is that though, is home a mug, or a spoon? A picture on a wall, or a book on the shelf? Is it the way I walk, or an attitude I walk with. I don’t understand at all but I do understand this feeling of wanting to grab it with all my strength and take it as far as I can go.
What this recovery has taught me is that anything can be taken in one rainy night, except memories and the feelings that we have. This slightly strange bump on my ankle is only the physical manifestation of what was. The scar left is just a reminder, but what is most salient is the people in my life that have come with me on my journey and… it sucks because just as I have gotten up to walk it feels like I am going to be leaving this all behind. Like I have finally got back on my feet from nasty fall to have to go charging ahead. The race isn’t over but I will be leaving a place I am comfortable, a place that I know, a place with all of you.
To come back you have to leave, and I will be taking some part of everyone I know as I go. So maybe home will be a picture on a wall, or book on the shelf because they remind me of what was and what is waiting on the other side of the sea. Maybe these scars on my body and metal plate in my leg are just there to remind me of who I am and my identity can’t be taken from me. I may be recovering but it doesn’t mean that things will back to the way they were.
I am a sentimentalist at heart but it’s hard to say how I feel. I will miss it all when I go, but even if I had the power to stop time I wouldn’t. The road may be changing but it doesn’t mean the time I had and have haven’t been worth the ride. There may be things I leave undone, or feeling left unexpressed but I want to make sure everyone knows that these times mean so much to me and thank you all for coming along, willingly or unwillingly. This new direction I am starting was always where I wanted to go. A new adventure to be had and like all things it’s worth while it will take a lot of effort. I think I’ll be okay though because you all have helped me along the way.
To end, I have favorite quote from one of my favorite movies Gattaca. It’s corny, sentimental, and truly how I feel.
For someone who was never meant for this world, I must confess I’m suddenly having a hard time leaving it. Of course, they say every atom in our bodies was once part of a star. Maybe I’m not leaving… maybe I’m going home.
There is a great dichotomy in being, both through injury and in life generally. It’s a give and take that calls to control us and creates the unique experience that is paramount to living as people.
It’s hard though to deal with this, just as the act of being industrious, the desire to build and do works in direct opposition to desire to rest and laze about. Both of these things are essential though, working in tandem to create a reality of balance. Take for instance walking , something I have sought to do since the moment I laid flat on my back on one of those hospital gurneys for the first time. Walking is something I have to avoid and yet it something that comes so natural. The want of putting my foot down and placing weight upon it sits there in the back of my mind as I know that walking could break me. It’s so strange, I am told to rest but in resting I want to get out and be free. A lot of my life has been playing out this way causing this division within myself.
It’s just like what I’ve mentioned before with my lack of motivation, that inability to act causes both stress and anxiety about all that has not been done. I want to do, so the desire itself make manifest when I sit down at the keys and act upon that desire, the problem is the distraction that comes along with that feeling. Back and forth, it’s a fight for balance in my life and each day has to establish its own place on the teeter-totter. It’s this passé-ness that I have trouble with, flowing with the wind of emotion leaves no room for accomplishing dreams.
I think that’s why I have also had so much trouble with visions of myself and what I can and should do. It’s hard to recognsize because the only way inside to reflect and to reflect beings about the pain of what the accident and these last several months have been. These forces that ultimately settle in a true love-hate relationship with the man within bemuddles the rigidly established norms that I had fought so hard to impliment in the first place. It’s not a matter of blame but a desire for order. With everything in flux, and it being not of my own volition, I am left to try and establish something with the piece I have left.
I don’t know when I will feel the normalcy again, and I know I can never go back to the way things were but its the balance within that dicotomy that I desire. The unceasing differences from day to day though are beautiful and fantastic leave me with, for lack of a better term, with no leg to stand on.
I just got back from a conference in another city, which in it of itself demarcated the another step in the recovery process both in the ability to move about social space without feeling like a total burden and being once again able to fly with the worry of impending death. It was there though that I came across these two concepts, recollection and reminiscence. Now, I think most of us understand what these words mean but in a psychological context these constructs are different. Recollection is the act of recalling past information. Reminiscence is the when remember of add in a little bit of flavor or emotion the memory. Each one plays a different roll in our lives, but as they do they end up shaping our perspective on the world.
You see, the interesting thing about memory is that’s not complete. It’s like a picture seen through a filter, it’s only a portion of what was because of our limited purview. There are two problems with this, first that as time passes the memory fades from view ultimately becoming smaller and more less detailed as time goes on. The second is that a memory remembered after the first time is just a memory of that memory, corrupting itself upon the context of the reason of remembrance.
This means that the memories of what has happened to me up to this point are slowly fading from view. That each time I hope to recapture those moments will ultimately play into how I see this event and which filters will be used this time to change its color.
This happens though with happen with all the things in my life, that ultimately the times that I’ve had will never remain perfectly pristine in my memory palace regardless of how much I hope to safe guard them. Things will change as things have been changing with this recovery. There was a hope in me that things wouldn’t, at least not too much. Sure I always want to fixed those things that I find inadequate in my life but things were going just fine before all of this.
I can’t stop the change just like I can’t stop the memory, all I can do is choose how I view it. Is my reminiscence going to be about a time that I had fallen down or a time that I got back up? Will these part of me that felt pain persist in the hereafter when all my injuries have gone away and all I feel is the ache in my heart for a time long past?
It’s in reminiscence that my world has changed as the color of my memory is taking on a different tone and hue. I am not scared of the scenes that plague me because they too are fading slowly. What I fear is what will happen with these memories when I am all done. What will be the view of myself and what has happened when recovery is over and I have to live with what happened? I don’t know, but I will find out.
We all change, we all grow, and life has to adapt with it, no matter how much we want things to stay the same. Recovery sucks, but maybe tomorrow I will remember it sucking just a little less.