The memory of days and nights over the longest weeks of my life – Part 2

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The memory of days and nights over the longest weeks of my life – Part 1

“Keep an open mind and open heart, you are here to attack the problem” I told myself. There I found myself once again on the other side of the screen waiting for this cataclysm to be lifted. For me to take the pain and the punishment that needed to be dished out as was a natural part of the learning process. It was there though, staring at me with its red eye that I knew this was no longer ab,out listening and understanding, this was about commanding and accusing. I sat there, listening until there was nothing left to say, and talking when words needed to be spoken but no more. The sentencing for my supposed crimes came crashing down and washed over me. These words were fatalistic, having already given up the hope of a future, or the respect once held.

No sooner had it started did it finish, but this time, these words left me not in a place of sadness and despair, but utter fru, station. A fuse was lit as the arguments and comments made echoed through my mind. What was clear is that this wasn’t over, but I didn’t know where to go. After it all, I sat there on my front porch calling the people I knew I could trust, trying to figure out what my next steps were.

The long days and long nights continued with finals making it all the worse. My eyes continue to burn as I pieced together all I could to make my life work. Even when the weekend hit, if I wasn’t resting I was working trying to find shelter in this hailstorm. I found solace in the voices of my friends but the music of the night was one of discord and difficulty. Those late-nigh,t hours were there for contemplating my circumstances, and that early morning sun to question my existence.

By the time Monday hit, I was ready for what was to come and what I had to do. It was in those moments that the final piece of validation came through, that all of this pain and anguish was not the result of a normal sequence of events but from a downpour of extracurricular madness. I spent the next few days organizing myself, working, and steeling myself for what might come. Tests and papers kept me busy, and life kept moving. Soon enough the day had come for a second reckoning, a moment to face the music once more. I walked in there the best I could, as brave as I could because I found my reason to keep on fighting.

Life hardly ever gives us clear cut beginnings or ends, and though things continue beyond when we would like what is important is finding the reasons to keep moving forward. I can’t say that I’ve recovered fully from my experiences or that they are truly over but I can say that I will keep fighting. Lessons are not always easy but with an open mind they will never be wasted.

Here are to the long days and nights to come, and the fighting spirit we all hold inside.

The memory of days and nights over the longest weeks of my life – Part 1

I had that reoccurring dream again.
The one where I just disappear.
A quiet evaporation leaving no traces behind.
Gone. Poof. No More. The many years and memories dissipating along with me.
It’s not the disappearance that makes this vision unsettling. It’s the quiet moment that descends on the world as the dust of my existence falls into the sky. The subtle light of my existence goes out, but the world keeps moving forward. No mountains shattered, no storms called, and no seas calmed. Just the world as it’s always been, just simply without me. As if nothing had changed and that mark I meant to leave simply faded away like water in the sun.
I had that reoccurring dream today, but where do I go from here.


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It started with words, sent to me with the intent to punish and harm. A morning shattered in a moment from reading the keys of someone else’s keystrokes. The reality I thought I had been building so fervently had crumbled from just a look.

It’s was hard to keep composure, confusion was my first response than fear and sadness. An inner turmoil began to build the pit of my stomach, like a black hole sucking in everything and making my life feel so heavy. What had I done to deserve all of these feelings flooding in?  My mind unraveled looking for answers, but as I traveled down the rabbit hole, all I found was more darkness. It had been months worth of work, late-night hours, and early morning suns that seemed all but wasted by the comments of another. What was it all worth? These feelings of tire, sadness, and grief that I had been putting off were unrecognized by the perceived enormity of a slight which I had never sent.

My heart burned, my head felt heavy, my hands already tired and spent. I had been slowly drowning over weeks, trying to keep my head above the water, and this pushed me under the waves. Why now? We were almost to the finish line, and yet it all fell apart before we arrived.

I reach out as I could, trying to understand what brought me here to this place. Was I crazy in all of this? Is all that was happening a reckoning I had simply put off for many years, a reckoning that would finally come to take me to the place back down to the place I truly belonged. That long day turned into a long night, and I was sad when the morning came as it meant that what had just happened wasn’t just simply a nightmare of my own creation but the reality that would not go away.

The dissonance got worse, and so did these feelings inside. I needed to keep strong and productive, but the feeling of kissing the front end of a fender grew slowly. Heavy thoughts and feelings thrived on the shattering of the pillars of glass I had been standing on, falling among the shards of broken confidence and self-respect. I had to deal with these feelings, these circumstances, while also trying to hobble together projects and work. Finals that I could not put off were simply the weight to ensure I could not move and adequately deal with the circumstances I found myself. Each prod and poke, however benign, felt like daggers in my side. It used all my strength to keep myself from imploding at any given second. So much energy to keep my composure as much as I could.

It was then I found myself in the forest. Contemplating the value of my existence and ability. It was among the trees and leaves that I broke down, someplace no one could see. Why was I here if all of this would explode in my face at the drop of a pin? Was I so bad as to warrant all of this heartache? Many questions came but not many answers, aside from the ones whose voice was that of pain. I talked and talked with those around me, which lifted these weights enough to breathe. For that, I am truly grateful. If I had found myself truly alone, I do not know what would have come to be.

Day became night, and when I rose in the morning it was to a sweet song of sympathy. Echoing the voice of my friend and family, it put my heart at ease to know that the circumstances I found myself were unusual if not problematic but not from the way I had originally known. It had given me types of solace to know that perhaps this may turn out well.

So many scenarios had played through my head, but perhaps there was a light at the end of the tunnel. As the day pressed on, so did my desire to face these things head-on. In the evening, I head more voices telling me that things will be okay. I was nervous, heartbroken, but nothing else persistent. I was ready to work on myself, and on the problem. All I wanted was to be better and to learn as much as I could. That is what I am here for.

I planned and thought. I considered all of this and opened myself up to feedback. Soon enough, the day had come. The day where I would have to face the music came, and I meticulously prepared everything I could so that when I tuned in, I was ready to work on whatever I needed to do going forward.

That day, which I thought would be the end of all of this turned out to be only moving to another chapter in this long and arduous process. That day when I arrived, sparked the start of something else entirely. These long weeks had just begun.

To Be Continued…

 

The Amorphous Day

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Days and nights move through the sky as if they are both everything and nothing. Time itself may keep its count has become meaningless against the amorphous quarantine period. Dates fly by but hours take forever to pass, I am never sure where I should be or how I should feel through it all, but all I know is that muddle mixture of emotions have meaning even if the world seems to be falling apart around us.

It, in a way, reminds me of how time passes used to pass in videogames when I was younger. Days and night seemed to blend, and events and happenings would change depending on the sun, but the protagonists never cared whether it was day or night just that they were moving forward.

It’s been hard, I’ve sorted through my own troubles in this time we are all stuck inside. Needing to work through those moments and memories that I’ve hadn’t had time for. Work keeps me busy and stressed, though, at times, my body and mind fail me at the altar of the screen.  I think the answers to most of my questions is I don’t know, and maybe eventually.

It’s given me time to reflect more on what I see for myself in the future. The ways I want to go forward and be treated. What I should expect from the world and how I should go about pursuing it. It’s a quiet existence until I fill with thoughts and music.

It doesn’t help that I am tired all the time, though the occasional sun does help. I sit waiting for the world to pass me by moving forward slowly and surely until I can get enough done so that I can say that I am proud of myself and go to sleep.

I do appreciate all those voices I hear over the phone. Those sounds keep me sane when stuck at home away from it all.

I am fighting back, fighting back against all that craziness. I fight against the formless days and nights. Those thoughts of letting myself drift away into the abyss, hoping to return once this is all said and done. We must fight together, holding each other accountable and giving support so that when things are finished,and we can return, we know we still have the foundation of ourselves and our network to rely on.

I will keep this brief, as the day has taken a lot out of me. It may not be over, and the darkness still lingers, but we together can make this work. It’s who we say we want to be in this time that matters. How do I want to look back at myself and remember this time, stuck at home? Will I be the one who lost to the amorphous days or one who made something out of them.

A Dreamless Sleep

 

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Isolations – Felicia Chiao

 

The past few weeks I haven’t been able to write, at least not for this blog. Work, homework, work, global pandemic, and more work have kept me from being able to sit down and put words on the page, to spread my thoughts across digital space in any meaningful way.

So what has happened in the course of several weeks deep into a quarantine?

Me sitting at my dining room table, on my computer, having to act as if the world wasn’t falling apart. Seeing fewer and fewer people as the streets become barren, all except those people delivering those much-needed packages to our mandatory hermits. The quiet returning to the city as the people stay situated in their homes. A silent panic that is not communicated in case it may carry the disease along with it. I’ve been watching the world pass by from that chair, day and night as I slowly lose sleep over all the work I’ve been saddled with. Spending my days in a with my eyes burning with no dreams to be found.

I can’t avoid the reality of my situation, but in the same way, I also can’t fully process it. The world is happening but it doesn’t totally fee,l like anything is really moving. Like a world in stasis, waiting for someone to call out surprise, just kidding, it was all just a ruse. But it’s not, none of it is, it’s not some illusion that will be ripped away with time. No, this is real, the damages are real, the people are real, the hurt is real.

I’ve been sitting here, staring at this screen, counting the pixels as the clock strikes 4 and 5am, knowing I should be sleeping but knowing I just can’t. It’s these dreamless nights that I’ve been experiencing because I have not time for dreaming. Life is going too fast and too slow all at once. Nothing is moving but I am still drowning in the work and the things going on. Coming up for air whenever I can but swallowing water just the same. People are scared and for good reason. Not just for themselves but for their family. It hurts, just for me but the people I know, not able to hug or to mend, not able to console or to grieve. It’s not just breaking apart society, it’s breaking apart community and thats the hardest part.

We fight hard against these waves that will keep us away from one another. Soon enough it will all be just a piece, of history we will tell our children. But here I am, at home, for another day, wishing for the world outside, knowing always it can kill me, just a little bit more efficiently this time around.

 

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Shelter In Place – GroundedSpaceMan

It was some time ago, when listening to a podcast about the intricacies of emotion, I came to a deeper understanding of how about how the words shape the experience we have. The ability to describe how we feel goes a long way for how we treat these experiences and the process in how we cope with these experiences.

It’s then I have a word problem, an inability to describe how I feel simply. Maybe it’s because it’s a multitude of many things that are happening right, now but my feelings are stunted and unresolved because of my inability to put my finger on exactly what I am going through.

It mixture, a muddle of things to be honest. A sadness, an unease, an accomplishment, but also a sense nihilism. A confused sort of thing that comes together more like a grey cloud than anything clear cut. I don’t know what to do or what the right thing is, my body and brain are in incongruency trying to get a grip on myself as the world seems to be falling apart. It is then I had wished for the guise of routine to save me from the confusion only to be thrown to the lions, unrooted and left to hoist myself up the best I can.

For now, I used just a place holder of _______, a blank space that will have to do in the meantime as I have to continue moving forward. It doesn’t make the nights easier or the mornings shorter. What it does do is let me acknowledge it exists and to keep moving forward. I may not find the word, but I at least need to spend time healing.

AutoCorrect

 

 

It’s both a strength and a weakness, to look inside oneself and continually tinker with what is found inside. That is because we will never find satiation with whatever configuration we end up on, just a slow and arduous process of trying to make myself more resilient, more efficient, and generally better as a result of continually opening myself to self-improvement and critique, at times though feeling like I need to scrap the whole thing.

It brings up to a couple issues though, continuing to be malleable does lend itself to being able to adapt and change based on my needs for the moment and knowledge I’ve managed to ascertain, still, it doesn’t allow for a strict continuity of self. This leads to problems of identity down the line as I have a hard time knowing who I am, and what exactly makes me… me.

It’s a great question which can’t be answered simply.

As a psychologist, I have to concede these external factors that we constantly contend with will continually contour who we are to ultimately are. There is a sense of automaticity to it, an unknown force that will pull strings to move our arms and legs, leaving us only to make sense of what we’ve done only after we have done it. We defend it so harshly only to come to find no rhyme or reason for our actions or why we spent so much time defending it so fervently.

I found myself here, looking back at my actions, my words as I was dead tired listening to someone else speak. It was the culmination of many conversations that I have had part of in preceding months that surfaced finally in my brain. Moments before I could not tell you what that person was talking about, but everything began to resonate as the words they spoke on a topic I was only half interested became the most engrossing thing in the world. Not for what they were saying but simply because, for that moment, I had a realization about myself, my action, and my history.

I have too many of these moments, which downplays the vibrant and special nature of them. My whole life had come into crystal clear clarity, and moments in memory were highlighting like beaconing these behaviors that I have been doing my whole life. It’s when I finally can see through the fog and smoke that I  understand a new perspective, get away from myself for a moment, and look critically at my actions. It’s taking in that new perspective and see myself and the world from a different place. It feels like expanding.

It’s about choice at the end of the day, to be able to choose which parts of myself to keep and which ones to tinker away. Finding the bright parts of my parents, my friends, and my role models within myself, and taking those unsavory bits and tinker them away into something so much better. I am not perfect but I continue to be better and that quality that makes me, me. The eternal striving.

It’s a pursuit of greater space that I find also the answer to this continuity question with the ever-changing self. I do not matter where their piece of me comes, only that I make them my own as I have them. To move away from the autocorrection in my nature to something much more deliberate in craft and character. To build myself so when the machine runs, it runs smoothly and in the right way.  It’s wanting to move away from allowing things to happen and making them happen. To cut the strings and move on my own, even if automatically, to know it was a choice.

That what it comes down to, that my autocorrect is at least speaking the same language as me, so when I do find fault I know it’s me and not someone else.

A Quiet Courageous Deliberate Distance

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An Excuse to Do Nothing – Pascal Campion

It’s what I want to say that seems to get caught up in my mouth like feet among vines and brambles. A problem that speaks to my apparent lack of the ability to directly speak about anything with anyone. It’s become so problematic that words seem to drop out of sentences and the examples given are only an abstraction of an abstraction. Language seems to be leaving me in such ways that I lose all semblance of what appears to be reasonable and just. It time to reassess this small moment, this difficulty and give myself the opportunity to grow.

I find myself in a pattern of need. One that speaks to a desire to better myself. In the reflection and expansion into this world, I find it troubling as though it seems that there is so much farther to go. As if I require multiple lifetimes to truly understand a single moment of the infinite and the eternal. What is this truth and am I blinding from this reality? There is always room to grow and change with every passing day and I need to take the opportunity afforded by the morning sun to change the path of the oncoming twilight.

A quiet courageous deliberate distance is what I need. To take the words I so hastily speak and transform them instead into ones that are introspective and meaningful. I fill the air to prevent the discomfort with the silence around me which does me no favor as the words them become just a new type of air I have to breathe to survive. To brave the storm and the stressors and cut through both my anxieties and my barriers to seeking what I want instead of what may be easy. It’s to be deliberate about when I speak. Adding value to them with each utterance or abstaining from them otherwise. It’s finding the purpose of each step taken, the weight and drive forward for each action done. It’s to restrict to doing what is then not a grasp into the ever flowing chaos but a reach for the next string in the reality I seek to bring into existence. It’s the need to move back from myself and my circumstances, to be able to look critically at what is going on and determine what I should go from now on. This distance, for which I speak, one which requires me to step back for a moment instead of pushing my way through. To give my self space to consider what those quiet courageous deliberate distances can bring.

I am learning and realizing that again I have so much farther to go. I am seeing myself and rehashing my history and my behavior I see that there are these things that are buried down deep and are hard to reach. That there are things that I haven’t finished or even attempted to fix. I need to spend time to understand how to become better, to find closure, and settle within myself. If I don’t seek this knowledge and face these harder truths I will become fixed and rigid, unable to grow anymore. It’s difficult and uncomfortable but necessary. It all needs to start with the question “why” and ends with the statement “I can do better”.

Its in these times I spend reflecting, 40 days and 40 nights, to bring myself closer and become a better person at the end. The time is an excuse, one made in the pursuit of bitterness.

Get Away From Pain

 

 I’m trying to parse apart the parts of me that are fact and fiction. It’s because I realize how much of what I see is actually just an illusion through a prism filled with many colors.  I want to know what is real and what is imagined so I can guide myself closer to that truth I so seek to find. It’s in the pain of the moment that I realize that the pain I feel, may not be a pain I need or require to move forward. If it’s not what I need, then it is superfluous, as lingers within my head and heart. What does this pain mean, and why does it seems that I seek to surround myself with it over and over again.

It makes me think back to how I used to be. Just a kid who wanted love so badly but was always looking in the wrong places. Wanting in some way to show my devotion, settling on the act of martyrdom and sacrifice that nobody asked for. An empty measure for boy who didn’t care about himself. It was that pain and anguish that I felt comfortable. At least through it all I could scrape by some sort of semblance of worth.

I would throw myself through hell and back, make my heart feel like its been crushed under the weight of the sky, dream and dream until my dreams started to distort my reality. Moments coming and going riding that roller coaster because in my mind that was the way things worked right. The more effort, time, and pain I put into it anything the more likely things will turn my way. I was a fool back then, and it’s in having realized these bad habits that things turned my way.

Old habits die hard though, as lay myself down to feel that pain as proxy for caring. It’s how I deal with these unsettling feelings of the unknown. I feel that pain becomes a place of comfort over the uneasiness and the unknown. An alias for the inability to act but wanting to feel. It’s my tolerance of this pain that is the problem of sorts. It makes me much more willing to put myself through this unnecessary hardship when most people would just let go. Willing to break my hands upon the stone, wanting in some way to break down the walls without weapons or tools. Standing there in the rain, racking my hands against the pavement because at least it’s something.

That’s not to say that there isn’t any merit in the pain. Of course, there is. There are some fights you have to keep pushing through the pain and perceiver until the end. The problem is that at times I don’t know which fights those are. I throw myself headfirst into situations because of wanting and caring that I stick with them for too long. I beat myself bloody because I need to make sense of the effort. Should I let go, let guide me away when I first sense its stings or stick it out and see if there is something on the other side?

It’s my misinterpretation of teachings I received when I was young. That pain was right because if you feel the pain, maybe you can save others from it. This does not mean I should create suffering for myself and disguise it as pain for other people. It’s a process of learning that I am contending with this difference. Determine which situation is which. Learning to treat me better and let myself know when to let go because the pain isn’t worth it. I shouldn’t go through hell because I can tolerate it, I should go through hell only when I know it’s worth it and that’s the difference.

Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should. Just because it hurts doesn’t mean it’s good.

Lion’s Song

You always told me about the fantasy land I live, that tomorrow reality would come and I would understand. You told me that “Soon you’ll wake up and you’ll be able to feel realities sting and realize what you’ve known from the start but weren’t willing to accept”. Reality doesn’t do what you want just because you want it to, it’s doesn’t warp to our whims or our fancy. That even in being unreasonable and fighting against it, at the end of the day there are some distances you can’t overcome.

You’ve always been more tempered than I, in both action and emotion. Skeptical of what could be because you don’t want to hurt or be hurt. A mechanism that kept you from going to far into the land Oz and Eden, from straying too far without a rope to pull you home. “So much is there!” I always claim, “A world that could be not just the one that is”. You assured me that even if I find something sweet inside doesn’t mean it can be real, at least in the way we want it regardless of how much we try. “What am I to do?” is my question to you “When I can go to fantasy land and find you?”. What am I to do if I want to hold on to that fantasy for one more moment and dream a little longer so that I can see the future I can’t have but want.

Like a dream I don’t want to wake up from, it’s a story of close encounters and missed opportunities. Like to lines growing infinitely close but never to touching. No wonder I want to stay where I am here in this fantasy because, for a moment, I can forget the world and enjoy the time I am left standing with you.

It’s not fair that we can laugh so easily and so often together. That we have fun just by talking and sharing. It’s not fair of all the things that work so well between us that we never get to realize what is so evidently possible. It’s hard to see the strain and reserve in your eyes when you are having so much fun but pull yourself back because you are afraid of being too happy with a dream that, at least for the moment, cannot be.

It’s no fault of anyone, which makes it so hard. It’s the truth that at times when chasing your dreams that you come to realize that the pursuit will tear you away from things you like and love because the world persists not in black and white but shades of uneasy grey. That there are no pure right and wrong choices, and that all things come at a price. That reality is what I can feel so strongly for someone which fate has deemed infinitely unavailable not through means but through circumstance.

So allow me these moments, these fantasies with you for just a little longer. Come dream with me because I know you feel it too. Close your eyes and dream of us because soon the sun will rise and that dream will need to fade.

I wish, and I want to say so much more. To be so unreasonable and try but both of us care too much to let the other go through that sort of pain. At the end of the day, we are still here together, wandering through life like we always have. I might not have all that I want but I still have you. Reality might strip away those rose-colored glasses but it doesn’t change what I see. We are in this thing together even if we can’t be all that we can be.