Mind Blank

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I couldn’t think, or write. I had used my resources up and hadn’t recovered.  All it felt like was like mind went blank.

It was like working out too hard, each time I tried to use it my brain all I felt was how tired I was. Over the last month, I have been moving from place to place, activity to activity, going to weddings, conferences, getting sick, and turning in final papers and my head just had enough.  It’s honestly the first time I have ever felt this way, so brain drained that I needed just to sit and do nothing for a while. The first time in months I picked a video game because I needed the sweet relief on not having to process anything, just to work on doing something mindless as I recovered. Sure I have been tired but never like this. It’s worse than when we are around people too long because all that takes is being alone, or resting from the working out when you just avoid the activity. Have you ever tried to avoid thinking, especially if you are a chronic overthinker?
It felt like putting keys into an old car and trying to turn on the engine. The repeated attempts to turn the car over as you hear the revving over and over, sure it will start but doesn’t sound like it wants to.

I had to keep at it, needed to delay this rest as long as possible. Stuff was still due (it still is) and so much was pouring on my head. Maybe it was from the lack of breathing from all the work I’ve been trying to finish or the lack of sleep I have been getting. It wasn’t even like a zen emptiness or a meditative state, just uncomfortable blank.

Either way, it weird feeling, when your brain needs a break.  Maybe it will get bigger after this, though I think with all I am doing, its probably more harm than good.

 

One Day Of Rest

 

IMGP4183.jpgOne day, I finally found one day.  One day free of alarm clocks, things to do, people to see. One day of rest that my body so needs.

Thes black lines on a page that I so diligently have written are starting to move away from me.  I keep a schedule, writing in it all I have to do and all I plan to do, but with each passing day it becomes harder and harder to write into it.

Why?

Because of the incessantness of it.  My hands ache when I hold that pen to the paper because it means that there is no end. I need time, space in my book to rejuvenate, to allow these moments of rest come. Day after day, like raindrops in a forest I feel this showering of duties up me.  I know this rain will end eventually but I want at the moment is an old tree to shelter me so I have a place to lay my head.

I know I ask for this, I overbook myself to the point where I can’t breathe.  Where my mind goes blank, my body gets tired, and I get sick. It’s something I have to do to keep moving forward in this grand festival of life.  What I do today is all for tomorrow, this place where I finally achieve what I want. I’m told I am almost there, a place where I can grab it, just make it through these moments and it will all be over soon.

I will rest today so when tomorrow comes I can be strong and free. I will rest today so when the future comes I will be ready to fight for it with all of me.

3 Year Research Aniversary

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I didn’t realize until notified by Facebook that three years ago today I presented my first academic poster.  Interestingly enough, today was also the first time I gave a research talk in front of an audience.  The strange part is the difference between who I was back then, and who I am now.  It was a world of change, and the journey is the most interesting part.

I was in my final year of my undergrad, conducting my own research project under the tutelage of a professor who gave me the opportunity to work for them.  There I was, at the culmination of a year’s worth of work, standing in front of a poster, presenting all that could. The time I spent, over and over crafting that paper and ink was extreme. I wanted it to be the best thing it could be. I had undercut myself, didn’t think big.  I did a poster, and yet through it all was unsatisfied because it felt like it wasn’t enough.

I’m here now, having gone through this journey and come out the other side realizing that I didn’t do enough. I didn’t strive hard enough, like a chicken with its head cut off, I didn’t know which way was up or down, just that I needed to keep moving. I am a man fortunate enough to have second chances and recognize when I have the opportunity to correct something. To do more than I thought I could before.

But today I gave a talk and though I still feel that hunger from wanting to do more, I know where my next step is, and where to put in the effort. Today is like the second chance, a change and proof of growth.  I like the sound of that.

A Thousands Not Enough

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It’s like drugs I think, working towards something you love.  Each and every day I feel consumed by it, consumed by wanting it, always pushing for it. From dawn til dusk and from dusk til dawn  I work or think about working all the time which I know isn’t the most balanced way to live but if I wanted a balanced life I wouldn’t have chosen academia as a goal.  But it reminds me of a saying from high school when they made us do drug prevention education.  One’s too much, a thousand not enough.

It’s hard sometimes because it always feels like I’m behind. When I am sitting alone with my thoughts, it comes up. I should be productive right now, the better me would be productive.  My imagined competition doesn’t have these problems or worries, they simply work.  They are a machine and by the time we both apply, their long grocery list of accomplishments dwarfs the lines on my applications I managed to throw together. These thoughts have started to peek into my normal life, my social life, my relaxation.

I know I should keep many of these things in life separate, but I can’t, or more like I won’t.  It flows through me, and in some ways is me. To be so intertwined is ultimately detrimental for my wellbeing, for I will live and die in this small world that has no reason or recourse to reciprocate my feelings.  It’s a dangerous thing, dreaming, not because of what happens when you’re doing it but what happens after you wake up.  So I must tear myself away from it kicking and screaming, enjoy the world around me while it lasts, invest in other things knowing full well that each moment I spend away is a moment deprived from my goal.  I should think of it as an investment, it’s always good to diversify my portfolio, but I found the one thing I want to be the best at, so it’s hard to pull away from feeding this monster.

I have to turn off at some point. Let go and drift for a while to rest. Other people deserve my attention, and I should give it to them.  It’s what they deserve, and it’s with them that I will make it through.

These restless moments, this forlorn daydreaming keeps me going and pushing forward into the day where everything is always slightly out of reach.

The Long Straight Ahead

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Here I am, driving along this desert road with the smooth rumble of the wheels under my car along a highway acts as a lullaby.  Miles in each direction there is nothing but open expanse.  Hours ago I saw those lights slunk away, the views of my previous life. Now it’s just me and this road in the darkness. I want to squeeze down on the gas, speed towards where I am going, I feel stuck on this road, and it feels regardless of how fast I am going, I won’t make it to my destination any quicker. I know the roads and streets at my destination aren’t going anywhere. I want to see the lights out on the horizon before the lights go out. I want to look at the lights before the sun comes up and washes out the night.

I’ve been getting really excited recently, about my future. The science fiction of my childhood is finally becoming a reality.  The problem I am having is that I want part of that future. I want one of the hands who help shape it.  Each moment that passes by it feels like I am missing out on being able to dive head first into the water and make waves.  My journey is still has a long way to go.  Probably about 6 years before I start to have a little more control over my destiny.  I work at it every day, and yet I want to be there already.

I mean I’m nervous for the next transition, and maybe it is the instability of not knowing where the next step of my future will be.  The next couple months feel like that will help put on the correct path for my future and that weight bearing down on me is starting to crack me.  It’s hard because it’s all about chasing the right opportunities.  Go down this path but avoid that other one.  Make sure to do this, but also do that. It’s so confusing, and even though I’m supposed to be on a track, it feels more like climbing a tree.  With each limb I grab onto will change the next branch I can reach.  Hopefully, when push comes to shove, I will be tall enough to bridge the gap between branches.

It’s easy to forget that the journey makes the destination worthwhile. I need to take a second and evaluate my journey because I am so focused on this next point that I do not see the world around me. I need to breathe. I need to enjoy the endless road ahead because if I don’t, I’ll never make it to my destination and know to keep moving. The world is an endless adventure and the sun will rise soon enough, I don’t need to rush it.

Recharge

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I think people believe that I can be around people all day. Not an unsubstantiated belief because for most of the day, you will find me around and talking to others.  I do though run out of steam, and in those moments I need to draw back and fold into myself.

I’ve just been feeling tired lately, and it’s not just because of the atrocious sleeping schedule that I have adopted but because I haven’t had that time to recharge and be by myself.  I haven’t made this time and with the coming and going of projects and events the last day I had to myself was over a month ago.  I have a high tolerance, but eventually, I do run out of steam. This is a massive problem because it causes me to fall behind, not be involved like I could. I am not able to give 100% because my batteries are only partially recharged. So my health, my work, and those around me I need this time to just be me. There are only so many days that I can follow this intense routine before the routine itself starts to break down, and I start to resent all that holds me together

 

What do I do, write, read, sleep, nothing really spectacular. Sometimes I watch shows, but there is a hesitation because what if I get too involved. I used to play video games, but with my schedule, I am worried I will become too immersed in it.  It’s almost not fair or healthy that I keep giving these things up for my degree.  What I do narrows, to the point where I find myself staring out of windows, losing myself in the horizon.  I know it’s about balance, but I have to do what I can to survive.

This though presupposes a problem.  That what I doing, resisting these urges to play will ultimately catch up to me.  It’s like when the people in your life make you choose between two things that you love, even though you will still end up with what you want, the cost of the other weights down on your decision.  If you do this enough, it will eat away at you, just like it’s starting to eat away at me.  To the point where I get so drained that my mind can’t move forward unless I stop.

I need these moments because they are like precious nutrients to keep my days from becoming carbon copies of each other.  To keep me inspired and moving forward. I had a day earlier this week that I got these nutrients, and the whole next day it felt like I was on top of the world.  It didn’t last long, that night I had to spend my night working long hours to get my work done. This day gave me something though, hope. Hope for what could be if I figure this thing out.  So like the scientist I aspire to be, I will test this, and make it work.  Find out where I can recharge these batteries so when the time comes, I will have the energy to be the all of me that I want to be.

 

Meta Self Contemplation

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I started this blog a long time ago with the intended purpose to think and put into writing aspects of my life.  It was always something I had wanted to do, keep a record of things as I go from place to place.  The record of my life as it is for both people to read and to go back on to find the steps I have taken on this journey. The motivation came from different sources, the deterioration of my personal relationships, the darkening of my outlook, my desire to change and be open with the world.  It has been what fueled me, but I have fallen short of my goals in some ways, though I keep at it, hoping to find the light out in the darkness.

I write because I like to write and think about my life.  It’s what I am good at, or at least thats what people tell me. I have been thinking about my life since I began to think, always wondering if those insignificant moments that pass me by would mean anything to me, if the person who lived through those moments would be remembered or evaporate like the morning dew from the onset of the heat of the day. I have largely kept these thoughts a secret,  for the scars on my heart seal up words within as a way to protect my being from the onslaught of unwanted spotlights.

This perspective changed though in my recollection of a midnight reflection, suffering in the silence over the lady I loved.  I sat there under the starlight in the quiet stillness of the early hours breaking down, unable or maybe unwilling to change.  I needed to do something, both for myself and for those around me, I needed to win and break out of this tumultuous cycle of inability.  So what did I do, the last thing most people would think I would do, write. I wrote because I could. I wrote because needed to. I wrote because every ounce of my being told me to.

So I fought towards the light, and though I lost much, I learned a lot.  In this journey, I ripped and sewed together pieces of myself in the hopes of righting all that I am, so in the future, I could walk taller than I did that day.  Each word I wrote was a struggle, years of grammatical challenges don’t bode well for self-confidence. But here I am and here I think, I have I really laid myself bare upon the page? Have really reconstructed myself from within.  Old problems still arise and each time I am given an opportunity to change, and truth be told, I fail more than I would like but I keep walking.

What is the point of this message then, what have I learned.  I have talked about being open and honest and yet at the keys I avoid or soften these truths about myself in fear and loathing, in pride and “protection”.  I know this keeps me from truth, and liberty of these thoughts and feelings.  It keeps me from really pouring my heart onto a page.  You can’t filter out your soul and expect people to feel it.

I will change that though, now:

I am a mixture of self-confident, and self-depreciating, never letting me fly too high because I am worried about the fall, but also crushed when I miss my opportunity in be in the sky
I am afraid of my scars and memories, I flinch when coming across old moments and triggers. I reminds me of who I was and I fear if I stay to long I will return to this powerless younger self. I spend time moving through to heal but I still feel the marks on my soul.
I try to be a good friend and family member, and it is a work in progress. Years of trying to distance yourself from other people has that affect on you.
I love from the bottom of my heart everyone one in my life.  I could be from the shattered self-esteem of my youth but in growing into who I am has taught me to appreciate those moments I have with other people because in my eyes they are you are your own personal miracle.
I am bad at telling people how I feel about them.
I just want to help people, know what it’s like to suffer and struggle, know you are not alone and I am here to give what I can.
I am bad at asking for help.
I am afraid I am not enough great things, that I am destined for mediocrity.
Whenever I think I am smart, the universe seems to want to remind me that I am not as smart as I think I am.
I have been through major depression twice in my life.
I have been through major depression twice in my life.
For a long time, I was afraid to love because of a worry that it will never be as deep and full as the love I had before.
I don’t understand why people like more or want to be around me.
I don’t believe people when they tell me I look nice.
I honestly just like being a nice person, no strings attached.
I sincerely believe that anyone is capable of pretty much anything, the bad, and the great alike, you just need to find your way of doing it.
I am religious (Catholic), and I don’t really know why I just like it and I am still trying to figure it out.
I like to learn about politics and listen to new opinions, but to be honest, I think most of what people are saying is kinda stupid, nothing is black and white and yet most of politics treats the world that way.
I believe most people want to do good out there in the world and are innately good.
I do have common sense.
I want to be one of the great minds of the twenty-first century.
My greatest fear is to be forgotten.

In laying this out, I hope to clear this veneer that lays between me and my thoughts.  I want to be better, so I will do it, one step at a time.

 

To Touch The Sun

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Always so close, I reach out and try and touch that perfect ball in the sky, but as it seems, it still slightly out of reach.  When will I be able to grab it and make it mine, when will I touch it and finally obtain perfection? Will these waxwings hold up long enough to reach, or will the sun always be meant for those who were born to touch it?

I know the notion of perfection is more of a novel pursuit than an achievable goal.  Even when I get there, I will always think about how I could have done it better or where the next bar is.  Then again this type of thinking might be keeping me from achieving my elusive desire.
It confuses me, in my humanity, I find the varied levels of flaws that make us beautiful but see the skill and determination to overcome these flaws to achieve something real.  Watching practiced experts and driven people accomplish these feats of seeming perfection only to fall short constantly myself and fall into frustration.  Like the analogous frog at the bottom of the well, wondering how much to jump before I learn to fly.

Truth is, I screw up way more than I would like.  Fall short, and never entirely getting there, this repeated failure is starting to gripe on me.  It’s frustrating me to no end that I can never get through anything without making a mistake.
Maybe it’s practice I need or patience.  Maybe it’s confidence or talent.  Maybe there is something inside of me that keeps me from achieving this ridiculous goal, and that something was embedded in my very soul. I just don’t know, and it shouldn’t bother me, but it does.  Why can’t it just be 100% right, why must there be cracks and nicks in these foundations?  How can I build if I know that at any given moment it can fall because of my mistakes?

I feel fractured, weathered, and worn, like a forgotten statue beat by the sands of times, eroding and missing pieces so its once true self is lost and all you can see is a resemblance of what could have been.  I know this is dramatic, but this seeping frustration kneads itself into my heart.

It is an unrealistic standard that will only play as a detriment to my future. If I am only worried about perfection, then the mountain of work will become sheer and unclimbable because each move will be individually meticulous. It’s always about that balance because the sky is not only filled with the sun but also the cloud. Clouds which are formless and beautiful in their own right.  I want things to be perfect but choosing where to put this effort to reach out, and where to let the wind take me is all part of life.

 

To St. Patrick’s Day (Late)

Dear St. Patricks Day,

You know I have always loved you. You’ve been the representation of a culture that has always opened the door for me. From the generation of my grandmother, you have shown me nothing but acceptance, even in the days of my darkest identity crisis. St. Patrick, though I know your history, you represent so much more. Each and every year you come in the midsts of the season of Fasting, but an indulgence in you feels nothing like a sin. It’s an acceptance, a proving grounds of blood ties that I know flows through my veins. It’s the unquestioning nature of this aspect of myself that I find serenity, like a cornerstone on which I can build a future.  It’s in knowing you that I know the lack of my other identities, from their sliding and uneasy nature fall away and I reach that small serenity.
Oh St. Patrick, you are called so well, the holiday of a people’s who live across the sea.  We share in that connection, we share in that praise because we know that we will be together with you at the end of our days.  We can connect, and be free, it’s what this holiday represents to me.
And here are my final words for such an important day, it doesn’t matter where you come from, or where you might be going, it doesn’t matter how much money you make, or how you might be born, as long as we celebrate together, you can become a little Irish too.

Most Sincerely,
Me

How To Cultivate A Thought Parasite

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It’s happened again, these crises of the mind and spirit.  I feel it in my bones, fear. What am I to do. The rising tide of anxiety washes over me, drowning me it’s dense waters. Leaving me gasping for air in the cold abyss of failure. Grasping for air, and hoping to get out.

This past week I was confronted by the smallest of the invasive thoughts that fed and grew in the back of my mind quickly.  It’s the lack of sleep I said, or perhaps the hunger.  I’ve just been pushing myself too hard, but that’s it’s breeding grounds.  When my mental defenses are lowered, it strikes at me, claiming more and more of my brain, consuming me and my thoughts.  There I am, battling against the creature who uses the voice in my head to try and convince me that I am no good. Trying to convince me to lay down again and begin to die.

It often follows those highs of experience, I know mine does. This one came after a let a small daydream free, and it became a nightmare.  The thoughts in my mind surging after this mental parasite to stop the spread but it was already too late, it implanted itself in my insecurities of the past, fertile ground for a thought so sweet. A feeling of grandeur turns to ash as my capability comes into question.  “You will never be good enough to get this far,” it says,  “Turn back, collapse, you know your just setting yourself up to fail.” I don’t know what to do, the foundation I build for myself feels more and more like a house of cards teetering on the precipice of collapse.  What is this, will it be good enough. My path once more becomes obscured and dark.  How far will I be able to go, and even if I give it my all, will that be enough?

I realize I’ve invested now, that was my mistake.  I am invested in a future I want so bad that my heart cries out to me as I speak it.  This is where I went wrong, didn’t your childhood teach you not to do this. Not to invest in one way or another because you will be let down again and again. I can’t help myself, I want it so bad that I am willing to give all away for a second in that world.  A passion that erupts and drives me forward, that want’s to turn into the crazed obsession of a madman with a purpose and a goal.

“You just are strong enough” it retorts, “You never have been, and you never will be.”  This thought, drawing back blow after blow to strike at me is right.  I feel like I’ve had so many chances and through these chances I have successfully squandered my dream in the pretense of comfort and mediocrity.  I just hope, time after time, hour after hour, that I will wash away these inadequacies and show the world that I am someone. I don’t know though, my guard is down, and my weakness is revealed, my self-esteem takes a blow. All I am is human, and maybe I am not enough.

Truth is I am weak.  I am weak and at times incapable.  I am an emotional creature who waxes and wanes on the mood of the day. At times unable because of the wall of inability that rises up ahead of me. I’m loud and think before I speak.  I sometimes say some funny things and do even weirder ones. My brain fills up sometimes, and I feel like an idiot because I don’t understand what is going on.  I know this, this is just what it’s like to be human. I know this limitation, and that’s okay because that’s all we all are. Being human, and together we can actually do some good and make life beautiful. As long as I know that, I will be okay. As as I know that, I can get rid of the parasitic thought in my brain.