Words, My Eternal Struggle With Language: Revisited 4

image

It’s been 4 years since I started this blog, a blog meant in a lot of ways not just for words but for thoughts, feelings, and ideas. A blog representative of who I am and my progress as both a writer and a person. It’s so strange to think of who I am compared to the person I was 4 years ago. How much has changed each time I sit down to write this post, a post about the progress and the frustration I have with writing. Things are so different, and yet so very much of the same. If I were to look through time and see myself right there on the keys, would I recognize him?  Are we different people now, through things not just beholden to experience but through, in a way linguistic transformation. Have I come to another place beyond which I could foresee back then. Even in the matter of words, I can not tell you if I have achieved anything. Though try as I might to shorten the distance between them and me, there is one thing I have yet to achieve, the one thing I see as the ultimate goal, total synchrony. This being the 5th time I’ve come to this, where exactly am I?

It’s hard to gauge whether I’ve gotten better or worse at writing up til now, progress is hard to measure without a tool of measurement. Do my words come more fluidly? In a lot of ways, yes, though at times too quickly for my hand or lips to keep track of. Am I any more intelligible than I was then? I’m unsure, though I’m a lot more honest and open.  Why is it that continue then? Knowledge, knowledge of that it does help, that I am a better person because of this writing that I’ve been doing.

Here in this place, who I am is always called into question. Not in a way that is strictly adverse, but in a way that world I currently live in is not filled will constant reminders what pushed me forward in the first place. New spaces can be places for significant growth and triumph but not so far from the cradle of despair as the paths set out before us are not ones that have been tread. No, they are the ones waiting to be walked and built with tireless conviction to keep pushing forward and find the right path. I, at times, lose my way. Opting still to continue walking when I don’t even know the destination. Maybe it’s wisdom from above or just perpetual foolishness, those motivations long gone leaving me with a pattern and mold to fill in my own way until I find myself again.

Maybe in some ways these words are descending into ether, trying in some strange way to fill this void empty spaces with a cacophony of letters and prose.  Who knows how many are required before it is full,  but the task itself, though on the surface fruitless, is never wasted as one day, maybe far in the future, I will get there.

It is then to reflect upon my year, the year of unyielding trials and broken triumphs. I can honestly say that it was unexpected, though grow was not measured I am certain that growth was achieved. I feel as though I am starting to understand the world a little bit better, though in saying this I am almost assured to be proven wrong by the world soon enough. I have more scars, more memories, and more metal in me than I had before but the doesn’t change the fact that I am still a firm believer in the beauty beholden to this world and my desire to be someone important within it.

In looking to the future now, what is it that I want? Comprehension I would say. To ease both myself and other’s effort in trying to understand my thoughts and words.  Part of that comes from slowing down a bit and thinking a bit more before I speak. It’s in this though that I am grateful to have this mechanism to self reflect so that the me in the future can know where all this change may have begun.

I hope you all have a great next year, thank you all for reading, there is still much more to come.

Year One | Year Two | Year Three | Year Four

A Degree of Discordant Disorganization

 

 

You know the celebration and recognition of having written this blog consistently for the last 5 years should be a joyous one. One that comes with a sense of accomplishment to it, as that would mean for the last 260 weeks I have posted at least once a week. It’s though a bit bittersweet, as I am happy about the accomplishment but saddened by the inability to write the last week. This perfect streak of Saturdays was broken because of a lack of time and energy to write for such an integral thing in my life. My life has been getting busier but not in a good way, one that I know will pay off in the end, but I am finding the difficulty with the amount of work I have to do now, but that’s what I signed up for, and that’s what I will see through to the end. I can’t blame that for all of it though, part of me can’t keep it all together, all the things I need to do.  I am doing so much more work than I need to for the sake of moving forward. My life feels messy and undisciplined, disorderly, to say the least, so it’s time to start picking up the pieces once again.

It’s the pieces, broken and scatted like the shards of window from my car on that fateful night. One of those things I lost were the habits and discipline that I had built up for many years. One I learned and built up through the fires of frustration. Without that pilot light and the time to build that spark, all I am left are smoldering coals of once was that raging fire.

I want it to return, with me going through those all those motions trying to maintain that streak I previously had. It’s that tire that stands between me and it, that need to keep pushing forward through these unsettled months haven’t allowed me to catch my breath, and find that part of my soul I feel like I am missing.

The work keeps stacking, and I will get through it, but the difficulty I have with it directly relates to my ability to build those habits into this trying time. I may not have the moments, but I have the will to change. A will built into knowing if I can accomplish this, then I can continue stepping towards that dream I so dearly want, but without it, I will flounder and fall short of what my heart sets me out to do.

In Beautiful Discordant Colors

IMG_0881

Regardless of much introspection we do, we will always miss things, things when made obvious make everything start to make sense.

It was a small observation a visiting professor made, a question about the words that I use, which made me think about my life here. It’s a simple us and them problem, words delineating those lines which I feel in my hearts. Their use can be so deliberate and at the same time, sub-conscious that your ticks and mannerisms become tells for something greater. It might not seem substantial when referring to a building on campus as “their” building, but when you know a little bit more about the way we use our words, it can mean a whole lot.

The second lab I was ever apart of was back in my undergrad did just that. They studied words in the context of relationships. How couples speaking to each other became the basis for determining the quality and connection those two people had. It was based on a long literature about word use and how depending on the circumstance can be a good indicator of your feelings. You might think this is obvious, of course, words would be a good indicator for how we are doing, what other way can we so easily express ourselves to another human being other than words.

Then my question is to you, what words are the most telling?

Are they the ones that are positively covered in emotional content, words like love, heartache, sadness, and misery. Sure these words are telling, but they never give you the full picture because by the time you get to them it’s already become clear something may be amiss. No, it’s theses simple words we use on a regular basis that expose us. Us and Them, Ours and Theirs, Me and We.

It’s simple then, among the things I am struggling with is the identity as a student here at this school.  My school. I don’t yet feel like it’s mine. It’s this feeling of being apart as if this place is a collage of many colors, and in adding my own, it becomes discordant. That my piece just doesn’t fit as I don’t know where it is to fit.  It’s being surrounded by people and coated in a kind of personal silence.

I’m trying, I really am. It’s hard not to miss my friends and that place I felt like I belonged. These places haven’t come to me easily, and so maybe I am feeling the burden of being away from it. What price do I have to pay to take place need from me to feel like my own?  What piece of me do I need to give it to save myself from this isolation?  It would be so much easier I didn’t need other people, need that substantial connection. That’s not how we work though, all my wishing will get me nothing except a painful absence in my chest.

It’s a slow and arduous process, so different than what I knew before. I think about this, deliberate as to where my role is in the lives of those people around me. Do I forsake myself to fit in, or do I endure and hope tomorrow shines anew? Is it I who am the strange one?

Things will get better as long as we work for it. I have to believe that or else I would lose hope and give into that despair that waits for me to fall at any given moment.

Fighting Against The Wall Of Inactivity

 

 

It’s a desire to write, one that comes not paired with the muse of what to write about.  Maybe it’s because my emotions are a bit muddled, confused as they have no form or purpose. This always happens, especially when coming off a few busy weeks. My body and are geared up to act but nothing to work towards. My desire gets all twisted, and I can’t figure out what to do with myself. I’ve have been sitting at this screen for hours, and yet the words haven’t been appetizing.

Maybe it’s my mind and body’s way of telling me to rest, to relax for a moment before the next wave comes to shore. I can’t do that, I refuse. There is so much that I still need to do that I haven’t gotten to in the meantime, the things that I want to have done because they are the things that bring me joy, and yet I feel so depleted at weeks end what am I to do.

I try, fight this current, give it form so I can do what I need to get through this. I want to do great things, and great things require action, so I must snap out of this punch drunk state and keep moving forward.

I think there is merit to resisting this urge to curl up in a ball give myself away to this catatonic hedonism. To throw myself at the wall over and over again, knowing at least I tried instead talked about it. It hurts as my mind strains to find the keys and symbols but at least it’s something.

I don’t have many words left, even now I am scraping the bottom of the barrel. Maybe after a nice night and good sleep, they will return to me, but until then, I will just keep writing on my own. To struggle is to live, it’s the only way to find lasting happiness, so now are the moments that will seek to define me in this long and short life of mine.

A Warm Umbridaled Feeling Of Nothing

IMG_0826

It was a memory the spurred this conversation with myself.  A memory fished from far back in my brain, when coping with the disaster of my life led a realization of myself, a realization that still holds true today

It’s a paradox, rationalized over many years, I have a resistance to people touching me and a yearning to be touched.

I think this became apparent in middle school when I was still a very weird kid – wearing jackets into the heat of California summers. If you asked why a kid would do something like that would probably put on some bravado about being able to withstand the heat.  I liked the warmth, the cloth wrapping my body in a gentle embrace, reflecting the heat I generated back at me. In some way, it felt like being held, being saved from the world and all its evils. It was a proxy for touch, a segregate for being hugged, not that I didn’t get attention from my parents but I just became so wrapped up in these walls I built so high that I wanted someone to come in and break them down.

I don’t know what would have changed someone had intervened at that stage but even to this point, you’ll hardly ever see me wearing shorts as they make me feel uncomfortable. I love touch though, at least from the people I feel comfortable enough to touch me. Almost to the point of fetishism, I obsess over it, derive so much meaning out of it, to the point that the meaning becomes so distorted that it doesn’t even resemble the intention behind it.

What does touch feel like to me?  Well if done right, it feels like the moment of creation, where everything comes into being and life is born.  It feels like a transference of soul and sharing of self. Like spring of sweet serenity that washes over me. It’s so singular and yet so poignant, so particularly focused on the beauty of the moment that lasts forever and yet dissipates so quickly. With these feelings so concentrated on the experience of touch, touches that are unwelcome become equally horrendous to an experience.

I am not saying these things are good, I know they are not but it’s where I am at.  With that realization years ago, about the sensitivity of being in my own skin, I found that I needed to change. Acclimate to a space where I don’t place so much emphasis on touch and being touched. I have made progress but have yet to solve the problem.

I am sure in the future I will come much closer to my goal, but for now, I will appreciate that magic touch can bring and use all my strength to make the miraculous ultimately mundane.

Aimless

 

 

There has been this growing feeling of unease inside me, these past couple months have felt different than all those years before.  Something has shifted, aside from the accident and the mourning, it feels like something is missing.  This precious fuel source that drove me wild with want and need after all these years seemed to just dissipate after the accident.  Like ease or contentment has made me run on empty, slowed down my gears, made it feel like the tin man whose run out of oil, frozen. I had started to believe it was all because of these changes, but I realize there is something more going on.

Like a person in a field told to throw a ball at a target he can’t see, how can you possibly move forward in a meaningful way if you don’t know where you’re going? I realized recently that I’ve spent so much time on the goal of getting into a Ph.D. program that now that I am there, I have felt a bit aimless. I mean other than the small goals I have what else is driving me forward?

I need to reassess where I am and what I am doing. I have other wants and dreams, but they are much less clear to me. Like my desire to become a professor at a university and do research, but what type of university and where? Or how I want my life to look like after these five short and long years.

With no clear direction, how can I shoot for what I want?

I’ve spent time meditating over this, this idea of what I want and need out of life.  I asked the world to give me something reflect on, to show me the path and listened. Through my experiences, I was given the answer I was looking for.

First, I listened to a man speak about teaching, with much wonder and zeal.  He spoke of giving kids a chance to learn, believing in their ability to become greater than what they initially thought. That resonated with me, gave me a piece of that want I was so looking for.

Second I found myself to words of those around me speaking out about all these opportunities to work beyond the walls of research and educations. The ability to have rhythm and rhyme set by a schedule every day of the week.  These words tied knots in my stomach making me realize that a least, for now, it was not for me.

Lastly, I found myself talking so pleasantly with others about all these questions we still have left in the world, and I become excited and energized about the possibility of answering them. Finding those truths that will enlighten those who need them has always been the thing that empowers me most.

In the end, I did not come away with a clear goal but at least an idea of what I want.

I want to work in academia, researching people and technology. I want to get the chance to teach the next generation and give my passion for the subject to all those who listen. I want to be able to live life flexibly, throwing myself into my project with no time or place needed to contain me.

I wrote smaller goals to myself in place I will always be reminded, knowing full well things will change as time goes on, but for now I have a direction. A target. A place that all the world wants me to go.

And So It Begins – The Golden Boy, Now Stateless

Just as a digression before I begin. A few years ago (when I was going through the Ph.D. interview process for the first time) there was a prospect of me moving to Dallas to attend school.  Though this opportunity didn’t end up bearing fruit there was a beautiful thought of being able to name a series of blog posts – The Golden Body in The Lone Star State – which other than being descriptive of both where I’ve been (growing up in California, and it being the Golden State) and where I was going (Texas is the Lone Star State) would have been a catchy title for process of moving away from home and being in a lonely state of mind.  Though reality ultimately it turned out for the better I did hope that wherever state I ended up in had a nice nickname to make a catch title. Low and behold I went to the one place in the United States that doesn’t have a state nickname… because it’s not a state at all, Washington D.C.  Maybe it was the world’s way of telling me that I need to try a bit harder on the naming scheme, but as it stands now, I’m Stateless.


 

 

I’ve been here for almost a month now, trying to find a home in a new place. Transforming these open spaces into homelike traces wanting so much to find where I belong.

All new things take time, the question is how much time should I take.  It’s easy of course when you have a place you’ve established, it’s easy when the reality is that you are only so far away. Everything is so new, and so different but walks around with the false facsimile of something familiar. You know, it’s a lot of effort to have the chance to find where I could possible stand. It has caused me to lay awake at night, unable to find a comfortable place to lay my head, yearning so much for what I’ve known. There is no break from that reality for me, I am here, and they are there. With thousands of miles of land between us, there is no illusion like there is with the sea, that you might just be there on the other side of the waves. Though we can edge that distance, the truth is that you or I can’t cross it completely.

It’s trying to find that place that is comfortable, which is hard for someone who at times doesn’t even like his own skin.  It was easier last time, I had a group of people that I was thrust into on an extremely regular basis, a community already established, and a community of many who wanted to connect just as much as I. Joined by as shared vision brought on by this beautifully temporary space, connecting not only in dream but in heart.

I didn’t need to prove anything to them, I came in with a much-warranted humility that I need to start from scratch. Start building up from where I was, though experiences not learned. I think my two years have given me a slight complex about wanting to show I’ve learned, to prove that I know, and to know that I am respected.  Respect takes time, it’s not handed out like candy but built like cake. Layer by layer. It’s partially because I’m scared that I use this knowledge to defend myself, to make it seem like I am competent and confident when in reality, I don’t know what the next step it. I’m shaking inside, retreating into my head, thankfully I’ve made friends there since last time, so it isn’t too detrimental.

It’s lonesome, though. I thrive when I am known, and here nobody knows me. I can’t say it’s all that bad, people are friendly here, living their lives to the fullest. Going from place to place with a mission and purpose, and all I’m trying to do is find where I fit in all this. Of course, if I would stop thinking and just do, then I would eliminate most of my troubles. If I were to reach out, and make reality what I want it to be, then I wouldn’t have this problem.  I need not regress to this shy person I was before, the one who didn’t know up from down and didn’t understand anyone including himself. Maybe it’s premature for all this talk now, but it’s hard not to the I’ve awake at night wondering where everyone else in the world is.

It’s a bit troubling, but I have to be resilient to myself. Now is the perfect time to become who I want to be and stand firm who I have been.  It’s that belief in myself that I need to renew and learn to power forward. If I am true to myself, then people will naturally gather. There will be some bumps on the road, but this is an excellent chance to reaffirm what I know and grow even more.

I can’t say it’s been easy, but who really want life to be easy. It’s too dull that way anyways.

A small pledge.

…it’s happening again. The constant call of conflicting events has been keeping me from sitting down to write. It’s a matter of settling. Setting in a new place with new people while also trying to keep strong the threads connecting me to the people I have known. I wouldn’t say it’s easy, something new to me. The maintenance of the past and the cultivation of the future are effortful endeavors edifying the path forward.

But it’s not enough; I want more silence, more noise, more time. It is doing a disservice to myself and this form to not allow the time to write. I want to reaffirm my dedication to writing in the next coming weeks, but I need time and the discipline to do so. So in the next couple weeks, I might be posting a bit shorter posts, but this is a pledge to write and fill these pixels with prose that I can be proud of.

I want the writing to move me as well as you until then I need to spend time to figure out what that means.

Until the next time, Good Night and Good Luck

March Towards Matriculations – Ninth March – A Stumble With The Starter Pistol

“Not as I imagined it” is what I thought getting on the plane to fly to my new home “This isn’t exactly as picturesque as it is in the movies.”

The morning was rough, waking up to the question “Hey, it’s 6am, aren’t we suppose to already be at the airport?”.  From that moment forward, my body was tensed, my head went into a panic, and I moved as faster than I even knew I could. Grabbing everything I could think of and shoving them into the last bag as my sister started carrying my suitcases out to the car.  It wasn’t supposed to be this way, sure I knew would have been sleep deprived, but by the time I was on the road to the airport, my whole body felt like acid was poured my muscles as the tenseness tore at my soul. Thankfully, I had gotten there at the right moment, any later and I would have missed my flight. It’s an unusual thing when they are calling your name over the intercom, and from my youth of running away from my mother in the store, I knew it is never a good thing. But I did it, got on my plane with my last moments of home being a brief glance into the beautiful California Sunrise before entering the plane and taking off.

You might ask, why did this happen? Well, I have been spending the last several weeks trying to meet and hang out with as many people as possible.  Pressing every last ounce of these experiences, I can’t readily export to my new home into my memory, hoping I store enough of it up to give me strength in my journey across the country. This all culminated in a party last night, where people from all across the different stages of my life convened for the first time. People from childhood, high school, college, and graduate school all showed up and mingled. It’s hard playing host to these events because I want to spend so much time with each an every one of them, but my attention is split and torn between all conversations and friend circled around. It was nice though to see the common thread between all of them. They are just good people. People who are fun to be around, who love stories and conversation. Who are polite but opinionated. Who are delightful, intelligent, and capable in their own ways.

As you might understand, if I have all these great people around me, I would never want the night to end. So it went on, but as the clocked ticked by slowly each and every one of them trickled out of the party, going home to their soft comfortable beds. I could have called it earlier, my alarm was to be set for 4:30am regardless of what time I went to bed, but I didn’t. How am I suppose to say no to being with all these people in my life whom I love?  It was almost scripted, each person leaving one after the other, giving me time to say goodbye to each one of them individually. It was sad, but I love them, and part of them will always be with me. Promises I intend to keep were made, but one thing was for sure, something was at its end.

I think that’s why getting to the house I am going to be living in the next year was so hard. Everything finally became real. This hiatus on my emotions dealing with this change have finally begun to move again. Pardon my French, but this scared the shit out of me. I had this feeling before, when before I chose not to leave for San Jose State right out of high school. This impending doom that feels like someone has their hand wrapped tightly around my heart. A tenseness that feels like life itself is trying to squeeze the years out of me. It’s an anxiety that took me aback as I was setting things up in my new home. Even with this feeling of wanting to run back home, I know I must live here and face it. This is because the possibilities moving forward are too great to pass up without eternal regret following me. Tomorrow will be easier, and same with the next, I just have to get through it.

But it’s important to remember, I am not going to be gone forever, just for a little while. Well, for 5 years actually. I’m not dying though, and since I can’t imagine the people I love not being in my life, I will continue forward any way I know how. It will be a lot of effort, but I’m a hard worker and expending effort it what I do. Though it was a rough start to this grand adventure, doesn’t mean I won’t get through the race. I will keep moving forward with the strength of those around me like the wind at my back. I am greedy so I will keep those friends whom I have while trying to make more.

It’s not goodbye forever, just goodbye for now. There are more memories to be made, and more people to meet, but I’m glad I at least had these final moments with my friends and family up until the very end.

March Towards Matriculation: Eight March – Behind The Starting Line

 

G6015iA.jpg

Before Light by げみ

 

It’s not lost on me that a week from now I’m going to be in a new place, surrounded by new people, starting a new stage of my life. It’s surreal, how my supposed to understand and react to this thing I’ve never done before. As time slips the issue of not being able to see or respond the coming changes is mounting.

So let me try to be as honest as possible. Explain how I’m feeling to the best of my ability. A lot is going on in my head, too much, so much so yet it feels like I’m running around without it, frantically trying to find my way without knowing where exactly that is. I don’t know how to feel, what to do, going through the motions and yet nothing seems real, just a whole lot of effort for what I hope will pan out.

Is this is what adult life is like?  The part that of experience most people say is terrible. I realize that being an adult is being made to do things that really I don’t want to do, making me confront things I don’t want to feel, and experience things I want to avoid. It’s effortful, and not a fun effort, just effort for efforts sake. It’s just so confusing, navigating the halls and structures set by men and women I never knew.

It’s hard because I want to be a beacon that lights the way for others. Show how it’s very possible to follow through without issue or at least with a certain sense of grace. I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time. I’m making it up as I go. There are worries manifesting, leaving my mind at ease but my soul in torment.

I have these two incredible forces pushing and pulling. One of them being my past, this part of my life that I feel is going so well and in some parts don’t want to leave also hasn’t given me enough closure to say “I’ve done enough.” The second, the future, this amazing thing that has never happened yet. The alure makes me want to keep it as perfect as possible as long as possible because the possibility of everything that could happen will happen is exciting. These two forces with swirling around, like a hurricane with me sitting in the middle waiting to be consumed by the rain.

It’s going to hurt, and of course, I’m scared. If possible, I would want to bring everyone with me. Unfortunately, that’s not how this works, one has to leave to come home. I do, though, find solace in the great stories of old, where great men and women who go to long journeys facing the rising of the unknown of monsters, mayhem, mysteries, magic. Without stepping beyond the where comfort, I could never return with stories of my own. My life would just be a story about someone who never left, never went out into the world, and never knew what life had to offer. For me, it was inevitable. I was going to leave at some point, I knew in my heart of hearts down to my very soul. All I can do is brave the storm, and be honest and open to the change along the way

By the time next week rolls around, who knows, maybe I will feel different.