The End of Madness And The Return Of The Soul

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Here is the second part of the story, the story about the boy with the mask.

Once the summer ended, and his new arrangement secured he entered a strange place, a high school he never planned on.  He had gone from the familiar and  “safe” place for himself to place that acted in a notorious but mythical way.  It was a place that a symbol of all that could go wrong, all that had but this was also his chance to start himself anew. There was a problem, he was lost to who he was at the outset.  All that flooded to him was to act and to copy.  The mask knew that well, how to change his face and make it look like anything he wanted.  So he did, he copied his way through, empty as he could be but appearances are everything so he maintained those as much as he could. He was learning and growing in his own way, without his knowledge things were changing.

For a while, the void grew larger, and he felt emptier than before. The emptiness had started to tear apart his being.  He lost understanding, and motion became all he knew.  Going through the day correctly so no one would ask questions became his objective. Before long he had forgotten how it felt to feel that anguish that drove towards his current lifestyle. He started to forget sadness, happiness, anger, and that pain. It was just a void and him now, and he couldn’t care either way.

The boy eventually grew tired of tired of the emptiness. He looked around and wondered why everyone was so different. The boy wanted to know what it felt like to be like everyone else instead of just a passive observer.  He wanted to know what made people smile, laugh, and cry again. He wanted to feel real again, and not some sort of husk.
Through the motivation this new entrenched desire he made his play. He would take the time to change, take the time to fix this hole in his soul.  The only way he figured that he could remove the emptiness was to fill it with something. So inch by inch and day by day the boy rediscovered the emotions he had forgotten, to learn what it was to be the human he wanted to be.  He had to learn all these lessons all over again like a child, but he grew to understand them.  Happiness, sadness, love, and a sense adventure, with each one he had learned he grew stronger than before.  It may have taken the boy a lot of time, but eventually, he started to act on the feeling in his heart rather than the ideas in his head.

As the void began to fill, within his heart and soul and he started to feel human again. The boy filled his emptiness with the new life he had set for himself.  He filled it with memory, filled it with friends, love, and learning.  The boy became fascinated by what people do and learned to enjoy life. The wounds began to heal, and the scars began to form, but he learned to live with the scars and wear them proudly. He had survived and learned to thrive, escaped the hell of the void and made it out on top. He understood how easy it is to throw your emotions away because they hurt, but sometimes it’s just simpler to face them.  So the boy lived on, heart and soul hoping that through his tragedy, he would create something better and help others avoid the fate he had faced.

The reason I tell this story is that I realized it has been ten years since the start of those darker days and my first real struggle with depression.  I had it for about 2 years in total, before the cloud began to lift and I felt normal again, even then I felt its effects for many years. Now, I know that I can look forward to the future because of the boy with the mask and having learned how to retake control of my life.  Though it may have been hard, I know at the end of the day I am a stronger person because of it (not that anyone should experience that). I hope that this gives people hope in their own struggles out there, and to let them know that though darkness may fall, the dawn will eventually come.

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The World In The Life Of A Guy: Part 4 – Hair

In a way to stray from the normally serious and at times heavy nature of this blog I decided to cover something a little bit lighter this month. Hair, and it’s not just because I have beautiful flowing locks of brown/black hair, but its just something that people honestly don’t think about all too often and yet it takes up so much of our lives.

You see, just like for girls, puberty is a very strange time for us.  Other the hormonal cocktail coursing through our veins, hair, and body growth are two things we have to face.  Now growing taller, getting deeper voices was never something I felt self-conscious over, quite the opposite, I enjoyed every second of it.  The hair, on the other hand, was a very different issue.  For guys, hair becomes thicker and more noticeable. This is usually when things start to change depending on your genes and a bit of luck. I still remember vividly when this began to happen.  Changing in a locker room and looking down at my chest to see darker more pronounced hairs take root.  Before I knew it, it was everywhere, and for the most part, I was the only one who had it in spades. It was very strange, and for a while I was a bit embarrassed of it.  Even now, its at times a very funny thing to me.  If I wanted to go through the regular effor to remove it (which I have done with shaving and an attempt with my friends at some amature waxing (don’t ask, and yes it was as painful as it sounds)) it seems as time goes on it gets more difficult and time consuming.  It took a while not to feel uncomfortable with my shirt off, and its not like hollywood is known for having hairy actors.

But that’s not even the half of it. Learning to shave my face at first was a very exciting time, though it was nothing more than peach fuzz, by the time I was a junior in high school I was doing it regularly enough for it to become an inconvenience. This is given the fact that since it comes in patches, its like a jigsaw puzzle of epic purportions hoping the right pieces come together so you can actually make something cool out of it. I was lucky, I had more complete hair than guys my age but it also came with the price of having to shave more. So I grew out a goatee, and like all the other subsequent times I have grown out my facial hair, more guys comment on it then women.  Not to say that it isn’t nice to hear you have nice facial hair from a dude, but it isn’t exactly what I was going for when I decided to stop shaving for a while.  Doing it regularly is bothersome but necessary, but I count the minutes as I take in front of the mirror doing this repeatative task.

Lastly, its always strange, how many different styles of hair guys can have, depending on how the hair on their head compliments the hair on their face. A stereotype is that guy can have one hair style that lasts him a lifetime. Now the current generation has a little bit more fluidity of hair style but the traditional cuts are seen as more professional or clean.   I have to say though it really comes into perspective when there is a chance you could lose your hair, hair becomes very important.  Now, it’s something I have thought about, my dad is partially bald, and no matter how much I look I can never get a definitive answer as to which side of the family tree that gene comes from and to be honest, unless its good news I don’t want to know.  So I take the time to have a variety of different types of hair styles and types to make the most of what I have.  Who knows where it will end up but I realized that embracing what you have is really the way to go.

A lot of our lives are devoted to some form of hair management, and it show when there isn’t a lot of effort we put in.  I know guys don’t take as long or use as much product as girls but there is still there is a lot of hair in being a man, trust me, a little too much sometimes.

Limit of Words

I find myself in a situation where words don’t seem to be enough. The sentences that I have strung are a falling short.  What more can I do, this text is my specialty, the expression of emotion and feeling, and yet it’s stopped short by the stream of consciousness. Broken apart by simple things like time and situation. I’m a conversationalist and yet if I can’t talk then how will I get my point across.

Is there some other way, some way beyond my skillset to demonstrate the feelings and ideas.  Is this how a modern dancer feels when trying to invoke emotion from an audience who is uninterested.  Can I detail out all the way the heart can pour onto a page and be heard? It’s this almost disconnectedness from the words that tells me that I need to double down. The author’s experience of bringing reality to the reader, drawing them into the world in which they have never been, making people feel like the text on a page is little more than a portal to a new universe.  How do I draw people in, how do I so express myself that people want to read? These are words to be heard, these are expressions that I want to be felt.

I can paint a picture with words the smell as sweet as spring. I can pull my heart out of my chest and place down on a page and yet there is such a limitation to it.  There must be an another way to reach you, and maybe it’s just a challenge to do so.

Smile Of The Heart.

The light’s incandescent glow reaches out across the room. There it finds bright grinning faces of those who are hearts are smiling. A joyous evening where we concern ourselves only with wonderful conversation to be had. With laughter and stories that drift through the air, a warm night filled with love is really want I look forward to during the Christmas time of year.

In the days we get lost in food and gifts, we should focus on what this season can actually give us, a warmth of spirit.  It’s the season of giving because of the joy we get when someone opens a gift, and for a split second, you know that it’s exactly what they wanted and it warms your heart. As I get older, it’s these memories that I carry with me into the future. Each gift I have received is a treasure, but the memories I make with the gifts are what matter.

I love the smiles and pleasant conversations I can have with people, those by far are more exciting to me than most gifts in this world.  Maybe it’s because I am blessed that I have this point of view, but to be honest, I’m okay with that.

This Christmas lets give something that only we can give, the gift of ourselves. Be aware and be present as your present. We might be able to share the spark of life with one another and ignite a smile in our hearts. To give of ourselves might seem cheesy but that’s what we remember down the line, memories made in the sands of time.

I hope you all have a great and fantastic holiday season, filled with love, joy, and smiles.

 

A Superman State Of Mind

I have a problem. It’s not a huge problem, and for the most part, it may sound like I am complaining about nothing but its a problem just the same.  It started when I was younger, and as an off-hand joke.  Being a tall, dark haired white guy in a group of mostly Asians lead to one of my friend’s parents calling me Superman.  Now I have never taken this seriously; I find it endearing more than anything, but then it happened again, and again… and again from various people. I don’t like this designation, and it’s not because I can’t take a compliment.  It’s because I don’t like the idea that what I do is super human, it discounts all the work I did to get to where I am

I don’t understand why but I would like to believe it’s because of my overactive conscious.  I blame my parents for that one. My mind and body just hate it when I not following the high road or attempting to do something that might be considered wrong.  Now over the years, I was able to calm down, so it wasn’t as daunting, but it doesn’t change the fact that my default is to try and help people the best I can, even if I fall short of that. I work hard to have the ability to help people whenever I can.

It’s a mentality that I am both proud of and drives me crazy.  Whenever I see someone suffering or a person in need, I react.  I have a deep disdain for suffering in other people, in my ideal world, people would be happy more often than anything else.  It’s burdensome; there are times when I want to rush in and save the day, but I realize that people are sometimes better off having learned the lesson for themselves.  Sometimes I need to step back and let people struggle and grow on their own. It’s the responsibility of the people who know how to help, to know when to give it.

I am fortunate to have been able to have these types of feelings.  I am lucky to have the ability to help.  At points, my thoughts and interests on the matter can be a bit idealistic, but it’s that I believe in the goodness of humanity, and our capability to do good things for one another.   It’s with these thoughts that I hold myself to a high standard.  I do this to prove the point that an average person can do extraordinary things not because I am more capable but because I believe that I can and am willing to do the work.

I don’t mind becoming Superman if it means that I could represent all the things we could all do, all the things we can be. I will always believe in people; that’s just who I am. Every day I work a little bit harder towards my dreams and to making the world I want to see.  If it means I can help people, then I’ll be whoever I need to be, Superman or just me.

The Election and What Matters

I was initially going to spend my time to write about something other than the results of this election, but like many of you, I have been drawn into the whirlwind of reporting my thoughts and feelings.

This election has taken a lot of us by surprise. We are left with a country divided. This election has been one of the most derisive on record.  I can honestly say that the world won’t end in the next coming months, though things will change. What is most important is learning a lesson from the results of this election.

Some might be angry or sad, frustrated or uneasy, anxious or all of the above.  Others will be happy, excited, jubilant, and hopeful for the future. What matters is that we come together after this election.  We have to learn to understand our fellow American’s point of view. We can’t stay as a country so divided through any longer. I know it may not be your favorite thing to do, but we are a country together, we had the opportunity to vote for a leader, and we chose.  Why, and how it happened are confusing and puzzling. We can get into a flurry about it, throw up our arms, and never accept reality. It is here, and we have another choice to make. What do we do now?

My choice is to understand, to love, and to learn what it is that brought us here, so as to make my time-honored duty as a citizen possible. We need to fight the hate with love, and we fight the intolerance with understanding.  There are some battles that require us to do more than just talk but to stand up together as the country and speak with one voice.  We need to unite under a notion of the democratic system in which we live.

I hope that in the next coming months we can at least learn to become a country and work together once again.

Armchair Kind Of Love

Can I just love from afar?
Never actually having to go through with it all.
Just to watch the world run on love, without having to participate.

I can tell you the in and outs of love.
The way it works.
The way it will make me feel.
I love my friends and my family, but that other kind of love is the worst.
I’ve known love already, so why does it ask me to get more familiar with it.

Is it a need, or just a want?
If I fast for long enough will the feelings just go away?
Because then I can enjoy just being on the outside of it all.

I can really do without all these feelings.
All these programmed things in my brain and body that call to me.
It screws with intentions.
It doesn’t let things just be as they are, calm and straightforward.
I just want to go on knowing what they the impulses are without them getting in the way.

Why are they having so much fun?
Those people in love over there?
Is that how its suppose to work?

Maybe I am missing something.
Maybe I have forgotten something.
Maybe I am getting something wrong about love.
Maybe I have to get out of my armchair.
To learn from love again.

The Happy Button

One of the greatest and worst things about being human is happiness. Happiness is both straightforward and complex. Something that we spend our whole lives devoted to procuring without a second thought. It is easy to obtain but difficult to hold on to, just like the polish on a mirror.  We are ultimately afraid to lose it, and all that comes with it being lost.

Happiness is an amazing thing; I can be happy about getting a new book or watching a new movie but with time the joy I gain from it diminishes.  The temporary fix of happiness will only hold us for so long, and when we are looking up from the bottom of a well of emotion, it’s these small bursts that give us hope of getting free.

Perhaps it’s because I was at the bottom of one of these wells recently that I have gained perspective about what role happiness plays in my life. I tried to hit the happiness button as often as possible; I think we all do when we are feeling down or just want to forget about the life we are leading.  Never wanting to leave the things that keep the storming emotions at bay.  Life begins to revolve around the button, never straying too far from it for fear you could lose it.

Happiness keeps us moving, growing, and adapting since pleasure will start to diminish each time go to flip the switch.  Each time not as powerful as before, the only solution is to either throw ourselves headlong as to suck up all the happiness from this particular activity or change where we get the joy.   It becomes a search for happiness switches, to the point of obsession, thinking that the accumulation of these powers will free us from the darkness within.

I can attest that that is where my mind jumped to, wanting to preserve the things in my life that made me happy. A simple demand of sorts, a never ceasing vacuum to deposit the happiness quota was unsustainable.  I found achieving happiness just as stressful as the negative feelings that hung over me.  I knew could move forward with feeding this monster for so long. I knew there had to be another way to be okay.

I began to build a foundation for myself, a raft to stand on in the tumultuous sea of emotion.  It is when I was pushing myself in other ways when my foundation took hold.  I found that happiness wasn’t necessarily what I wanted, just a byproduct of doing other things.  Ironically by foregoing my hunt for happiness and working on myself, I found happiness.  This lead me to a revelation.

Happiness is just a byproduct, a reaction to life.  It is one of the best feelings to experience along with love and achievement, but along with those two it can only be found as a byproduct or given as a gift. What I found was much more sustainable, being content.  Now, I am by no means saying that I found it by looking at my situation and accepting it, I found it by working at making my life better.  Each step I took the weight off before I knew it, I was free.  I realized that it wasn’t just negative emotions that were drowning me but emotions in general and with all things, too much of it can hinder us more than it helps.

Happiness is a great thing because it’s fleeting, something that we can get accustomed. Happiness is both tragic and beautiful; we can appreciate when it’s around and miss it when it’s gone.  I leave my happiness button at home because I know I will find small joys throughout the day.  It is in working towards something bigger that I am able to be okay. At the end, I am not devoted to happiness, but I will always smile when I find it.

The Awkward Sense Of Curiosity

Ever wonder why curiosity killed the cat? I frequently do. Part of me thinks it found out something it shouldn’t and a gang of shady cats had to silence him. Or perhaps the reason could be tragic, like learning that everyone had been living a lie just to appease the cat. I know there is no answer, but it doesn’t stop me from asking the question.

It’s questions that get me into trouble, a trouble that I both love and hate. Constantly forming them in my mind, questions have a need for an answered. That is when the hunt begins, where will I find the answers?  Ordinarily this type of hunting is encouraged, accumulating knowledge is a good thing. Tracking down and capturing the answers has always been a joy of mine, one I hope to keep the duration of my life. There are road blocks, places I am not permitted to hunt.  As always that makes these places all the more appealing.  Hunting the questions that lay deep within the human heart. These answers I can’t find with a quick google search are the ones that are the most worthwhile to me. Of course, those are the ones that adults teach children not to ask.  If you have talked to me, you may think I missed that day in class. That’s where the trouble begins.

The unknown taunts me. When an event I don’t understand happens, I must know why.  People are full of these wonderful events.  That makes me want to know this history of people, what makes them tick.  All the little events that drive them motivate them to act. Their secrets form the missing pieces to the puzzle.  I start asking questions, simple ones at first, then they get more intrusive.  I have frequently apologized for prying, but I can’t help myself. It’s like a dangling candy in front of my eyes; I will reach for it.  I am curious by nature and in that respect a glutton for knowledge. A lot of the time,  I just want to know.

I went on an information diet, becoming satiated with smaller amounts of answers.  Learning about people has helped with this process. Allowing me to connect open pieces of people’s lives creating a portrait of who they are. Seeing how different colors set the tones of life.  A painting that will only finish when there is no more time to paint.

I think about people all day, asking why.  I have come to grips with the fact that I am a psychology nut, but it is my great passion, the great hunt of my life, one I will pursue to the ends of the earth and that makes me happy.