Ive been on break but still working.
Dealing with all the changes on campus.
Not writing today but will try this week.
Good luck and stay healthy
Ive been on break but still working.
Dealing with all the changes on campus.
Not writing today but will try this week.
Good luck and stay healthy
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.
Another delay because of schedule but i hope to address that in tomorrows post.
It was there, gazing out the window at the world as I realized that I couldn’t really appreciate what laid beyond the glass. It felt like a violet sunset on the horizon, and my emotions were setting like the sun only to give way to the cold and dark. Dissatisfaction is what rings out; dissatisfaction with where I am, with what I do, and how much I am able to do. If you have ever read my past blog posts this should be a familiar theme that persists through the paragraphs. Why should this be such a big problem now of all times when it hasn’t been a problem before?
My problem lies as there is no reason to be dissatisfied, in fact, I should be elated and yet it feels as if my body and soul are hesitant to this. Waiting for the day when all can be right. The unknown keeping me from really feeling happy because I know happiness may lead to more sorrow in the future.
It’s a lack of control with all these forces whirling around me sucking the oxygen out of the air as I feel my breath trying to choke me. There are too many things up there in the sky above so when I get a moment to catch my breath all it feels like is that I’m wheezing. I tossed them all there when I had the energy to fight but now I am trying to catch them as they fall, hoping nothing breaks,
Days after days I keep on with this lingering mood, attempting to break free of it’s hold but as look above it appears the clouds are following me and that I should prepare for rain.
It’s when it gets cold that it I really seem to notice things. The chill of the relationships around me as I push them away for space and a supposed peace. All I want to do is sleep, even when opening up my eyes in the morning, it seems all I want to do is rest which I can’t seem to get.
This dissatisfaction is pulling me down with all its might. Like ice below my feet, I am getting stuck within its waters. I don’t know why I feel this way or made it happen so I’m waiting for the sun to rise to regain my strength… or maybe I’m just waiting for something to distract me long enough to make me forget that I am freezing.
A couple weeks ago I came downstairs to find that my bike was stolen. All that was left was my cut lock and a sense of bewilderment as to why someone would steal a 12-year-old bicycle. It was strange, I wasn’t upset about it at all even though I spent the last two years using my bike almost every day. It just was what it was, and I knew I would be able to deal with it.
I was worried it was a great sense of apathy that had befallen me. It wouldn’t have been the first time this had happened, in the years I had depression I became intimately acquainted with this feeling that nothing mattered. I was worried that all the stress from my work, school, and applications had fried my brains and my nerves taking me to this state of nothingness.
It felt like something different though, it was more of an acceptance and moving on. A quick coping with these things that were coming up and threatened to destroy my day. Even after I got sick and bedridden missing events and scrambling my schedule I felt alright.
I just have been happy with life, I had gotten through these difficult moments, have the opportunity be with the people who I love, and enjoy these smaller moments. I know that the future will hold more trails and tribulations but I want to make the most of this time when I feel like I can take on the world.
I think all I really wanted to write is that I am doing okay, and I hope you are doing okay. If you are not, things will be okay eventually, sometimes it is just persisting long enough.
More posts are to come, more thoughts and changes come the in the new year. My next post will be saying goodbye to this last one.
I will post soon but I have been bed ridden the last several days so I am going to take this time to rest.
Stay safe and healthy for the holidays
I had a dream recently, a waking dream that felt so real but so distant at the same time.
I was floating there, through the darkness, in the infinite darkness that can be. It reminded me of a calm night without stars, sitting there floating through entropy. I sat there for a while, in a sense of wallow, what had brought me there I do not know, but all I knew is I was there floating. Floating, but not moving, frozen there in the darkness.
Before I knew right from left a wave a pure bright light washed over this world and exposed my floating. I could see myself, whole and untouched in the great vacuum of just light and self. A feeling of who I am awoke within this light, in the realization that it had been sleeping. You see darkness has a way of clouding us, and making us lose ourselves because there is no reflection if there is not enough light to see.
In getting my bearings, I looked out into the light that I was now able to see. The world was just as it changed before a void of light before it changed again. The light and darkness began to spin in a great vortex, like night and day, flipping from place to place, circling me and casting shadow on my skin. It sped up and slowed down, and thought came to me that could control this light, this balance, this ebb and flow. I spun the light around me, filled the world with darkness, then back again to light. This is when I woke up and knew what my heart had revealed to me in the guise of a dream. It’s up to us it said. It’s up to us how we want to fill our world and see it. That is the one thing we have power over when all seems to be falling down around us.
It’s been a long couple months, and it’s so easy to get caught up in my head. I’ve always maintained that my mind is the most dangerous place for me, especially if I have too much time to think. I think a lot of us do that, get caught up in that moment, and can’t see the forest from the trees. It’s ultimately up to us though, how we want to view the world and what we want to put out into it.
That’s not to say that everything has to be light, and beautiful, darkness itself has it’s own place in this world. Without darkness we would not know light, and without light we would not know darkness. It’s when these things seem not to be equal and when our view of the world gets skewed so much. The light itself will begin to hurt us because we can’t obtain it, it will be too bright what would be a world of darkness. This though works in a world of light, if some small darkness is found, we fixate on it and don’t realize that focusing on this small blip in our bright world, we welcome more of this darkness into ourselves. It all seems so far off, especially in a world of darkness, because that’s all you can see, a small star in a field of space. We need to realize, there is a dichotomy in that, and that truthfully we can create that light that within ourselves. If we are open, we allow ourselves to be touched by this light it will make us vulnerable to all forces in the world that may hurt us. If we are closed, we cast shadows upon ourselves but protect ourselves from the onslaught of the world and all its evils. Neither is wrong, but for me I need to trust my heart is strong, that way even if the world seems to be shrouded and darkness, I will at least have the light from within to guide the way home.
I want to be the light, out there in the darkness because I know what it is, to be alone. I want to guide people because I know what it is to be without a guide. It’s up to me how I want to live my life, whether it’s in light or in darkness. And I know for myself that living in the light is the place I would much rather be.
I can see a field of flowers in my mind. Strung across a vast expanse, blooming fields flowers lead the way on an accompanying path that only speaks of life. The path extends outwards toward the horizon, but as I leave the path, the flowers seem to struggle to press on. Less and less they grow, and the healthy bloom gives way to fallow land. This dirt is just as robust as the others, but its empty. Why is this field empty, flowers are able to grow. This field was empty because no one took the time to sow.
I’ve never been especially stellar at relationships. It’s certainly not from a lack of feeling. My problem lies within the action. Like a burning flame, the father I get from them, the harder it is to remember the warmth. The fire is always there, burning red hot, flickering in the darkness, it’s just about stoking the fire even though I might not close to it. I feel at times like I become a ghost, a piece of fiction until I am seen. I grew up this way because the relationships around me felt largely part-time. As if my existence required me not to get too close, because too close can cause pain, and energy and I needed all the energy I had to keep me from the pain. I know it sounds dramatic but when you’re not involved with anything you had now way of being let down. It’s not a great way of thinking, a personal flaw I never intended to have but one I have to contend with regularly. What troubles me though is this growing bud, resting within my heart that calls out to tend the garden of good relationships I have the great fortune to have. Allow them to take root and grow. Grow so that it can bear fruit and transist itself into something much more than the sum of its parts. There are so many people around me who bring light into my life, and it’s shameful that I do not put more effort into cultivating these beautiful relationships. So now comes the time to do away with the ghost and shed light on the myth, to come out from hiding and be accountable for my inaction.
I am growing up slowly and I look around to realize that there are some things I have always wanted, somethings money cannot simply buy or find. I will chase these things, and do better than the me of yesterday as it always comes down to where we invest our time because most of the work in relationships is just showing up. There is a saying “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, and the next best time is today.” So here’s my pledge, to sow the seeds of the future, let the fields of flowers bloom, tend the gardens of relationships, so that the path might not simply be gilded but shine brightly with the sight of a full life.
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.
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.