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.

Sky Cities

It was during high school that I found myself looking up more. This was particularly the case when I was leaving at 6:45 in the morning with my father and my mind felt like it wasn’t even on yet.  The drive made frequently let me imagine all the world above. Here is what I saw.

The reaching tendrils of light would always struggle to do the climb over the mountains in the distance. The sun pulled itself up using the giant floating white hand holds.  You can tell that it had to warm up because it would start off with fresh red and pinks before settling on yellow for the day.  Climbing slowly over the horizon, every day it had to do this, and every morning was a struggle.

The morning light woke up the clouds too, floating lifeless during the night.  When the sun illuminated the inner crevices, it was as if it powered on.  Whole cloud civilizations would awaken to resume the business it had before.

In some cloud, I could see the procession of the newly crowned monarch climb the brightened steps to become a representative to the gods above. The whole cloud embossed in gold in an uproar of celebrations, exploding as the lavish party carried on. There was a sense of joyousness and hope as the cloud grew larger and out of control as the festival went on.  The cloud would grow taller and move quickly across the sky to spread the great news of their empire.

In other clouds, I could see debris.  The clouds had the mighty heroes of old clashing. On the backs of mystical creatures, their swords would collide and scatter.  Warriors spread about fighting and dying in the cloud as it painted with both white and red lights.  Pieces of cloud coming apart as chaos ensued.  The battlefield would stretch for miles, and with each clash, another page to the story written. The conflict unknown but no hopes of ending this clash until one or both becomes nothing.

Small clouds sometimes would paint small portraits of snapshots in time.  Things like a man sitting in a comfy chair during the middle of the day while not wanting to go outside. Or a rabbit finding delicious grass to eat as it keeps its eyes out for predators.  Small scenes from the life that projected themselves into the skies above.

My favorite type of clouds looked as if they painted the sky.  Beautiful landscapes and scenes of nature. Fantastic rolling hill-scapes covered with grass and beautiful forests untouched by man. Seas and waves crashing on open shores, beating against the soft sand. Waterfalls and mountains were breaking free of their usual form to grow into even more spectacular forms. Speaking of peace which is unattainable within a city.  It’s as if using emotion as the medium to create.

These giant floating worlds, all unique, dwarf me in scale bringing the whole world into perspective. I remember going to school and imagine all the great things that are happening among the clouds. The sun would fight against the clouds, some were steadfast and kept their ground, but others faded away never to be seen again.  That’s why I like looking at the sky; I know I will always find something new.

The Good Son

Before I begin, I want to clarify; I am not perfect nor do I claim to be. My history is fraught with lots of mistakes from which I try to learn.  I try my best to be the person I can to be and follow the best path.  This post is about the trouble with the high road that I try to take.

The prodigal son is a parable I know well, not for the traditional reason such as my Catholic upbringing. I have a different connection with the story.  When I was growing up, my sister in all of her gloriousness started to refer to me as the prodigal son.  To her, I could do no wrong in the eyes of my parents.  I avoided their punishment and seemingly was always treated better by them.  Of course, this was untrue, just as I don’t pick a favorite parent, my parents didn’t pick favorite children.  This didn’t deter her, making me feel like I was separate from the rest of my siblings like I didn’t belong with the rest of them like my struggle was somehow void and lesser in the face of everything.  Now I can not speak to how it was, all I can say is how I feel, and I saw it as equal treatment.  The story evolved for me when I grew older.  First, my dad started referring to the story as the forgiving father rather than the prodigal son because that was the take away from the parable and I think he was hinting at something. Second, even though in colloquial language the prodigal son refers to the child who can do no wrong, what prodigal means is wasteful or spends money unwisely. A description that fits me even less than I less than the previous meaning.  Even through it all, I tried to live up to being that shining spectacle of this good son.

When I had gotten into high school and went through the customary process of receiving the Rite of Confirmation. Right before we are to receive it,  we are told to reflect on which of the seven gifts of the holy spirit. One of the gifts was wisdom, being that I was already pretty good with knowledge, and had known that King Solomon had asked God for wisdom before he became king, I thought it would be a good idea to choose wisdom. From then I wanted to be one of those old sages on a hill that everyone came to for advice.

What does this have to do with anything? What’s the point in me writing this?

Well, truth be told, it’s because it helped send me down a strange path in life, this is not about faith or religion, it’s about morality.

I have always been one to follow my conscience, or try to.  Be it the fun path or not, the voice in my head directing me towards what I should do rather than what I feel like doing has been loud and clear. I always wanted to live up to being noble, polite, and a good person.  A man of virtue so to speak.  Let me tell you; it is frustrating. When something comes up, and I know it’s probably ill-advised but sounds fun, I am compelled to say no.  I know how I should approach a situation and how to act around people. How to keep out of trouble, and how to perform correctly.  It keeps me out of bad situations, but the other problem is that it keeps me out of life.

When people tell stories, they talk about how something went awry. It usually beings with something out of the ordinary, and a lot of the time not well thought out plan by at least one person.  Knowing and taking the path where I have listened to others and about their mistakes and missteps and how they solved the problem has given me a wealth of knowledge but a lack of experiences.  That voice in my head that keeps me from trouble also makes me away from living.  It’s like when one kid burns and knowing not to touch, it makes me want to know what it feels like to get burned even though I am aware it’s a bad thing.  I know how to live correctly, but the path that I end up walking on is lonely.  I know to take the high road, but sometimes I just want to take the same route as everyone.

Though this right way doesn’t guarantee success, what it does give me is the ability to look at myself in the mirror for the choices I have made.  The problem is, I just want to be young and make silly decisions.  My conscience bears down on me, though, making sure that I stay tried and true.  I feel like sometimes it would be easier to be freed of this constant badgering, allowed to make these decisions based on feelings at the time.  The problem with knowing where to go makes taking the wrong path becomes a purposeful decision to hinder me, which is illogical. It’s like a slow insanity because when I know something is wrong, it immediately becomes undoable.

This doesn’t seem like a huge issue and even as I am writing this I feel a bit silly, but it’s frustrating as hell.  Trying to be this virtuous person all the time is tiring, and all I want to do is take a break from it.  Take a break from caring, from doing the right thing. Go off the deep end.  One of the things I had imagined when I was younger was escaping into the night without anyone’s notice to walk the empty streets. The thing that kept me from doing it other than the fact I would have been in trouble if caught that it would be cold and lonely so not as much fun my romanticizing of it would be. Now I could be very wrong, and I am missing this hot new trend of midnight walking, but it’s those kinds of thoughts that drive me crazy. I just want to do these things that people my age could get away with because we are young instead of never doing it and missing my chance.

I have been trying to free myself of these binds I have kept myself, allowing me to live more. Exploring these decisions and allowing myself to move out of the proverbial good choices. I am trying to live differently and to make decisions that I would both enjoy and be proud of. Gain these experience that I crave.  Live the life that I want; I will always act according to my conscience but I can least widen what is consider as a good result.  I will keep moving forward and learning more from others but I can at least try to live some of these things for myself, because sometimes kids have to get burned by the stove to really understand the reason to not touch it.