A Dreamless Sleep

 

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Isolations – Felicia Chiao

 

The past few weeks I haven’t been able to write, at least not for this blog. Work, homework, work, global pandemic, and more work have kept me from being able to sit down and put words on the page, to spread my thoughts across digital space in any meaningful way.

So what has happened in the course of several weeks deep into a quarantine?

Me sitting at my dining room table, on my computer, having to act as if the world wasn’t falling apart. Seeing fewer and fewer people as the streets become barren, all except those people delivering those much-needed packages to our mandatory hermits. The quiet returning to the city as the people stay situated in their homes. A silent panic that is not communicated in case it may carry the disease along with it. I’ve been watching the world pass by from that chair, day and night as I slowly lose sleep over all the work I’ve been saddled with. Spending my days in a with my eyes burning with no dreams to be found.

I can’t avoid the reality of my situation, but in the same way, I also can’t fully process it. The world is happening but it doesn’t totally fee,l like anything is really moving. Like a world in stasis, waiting for someone to call out surprise, just kidding, it was all just a ruse. But it’s not, none of it is, it’s not some illusion that will be ripped away with time. No, this is real, the damages are real, the people are real, the hurt is real.

I’ve been sitting here, staring at this screen, counting the pixels as the clock strikes 4 and 5am, knowing I should be sleeping but knowing I just can’t. It’s these dreamless nights that I’ve been experiencing because I have not time for dreaming. Life is going too fast and too slow all at once. Nothing is moving but I am still drowning in the work and the things going on. Coming up for air whenever I can but swallowing water just the same. People are scared and for good reason. Not just for themselves but for their family. It hurts, just for me but the people I know, not able to hug or to mend, not able to console or to grieve. It’s not just breaking apart society, it’s breaking apart community and thats the hardest part.

We fight hard against these waves that will keep us away from one another. Soon enough it will all be just a piece, of history we will tell our children. But here I am, at home, for another day, wishing for the world outside, knowing always it can kill me, just a little bit more efficiently this time around.

 

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Shelter In Place – GroundedSpaceMan

It was some time ago, when listening to a podcast about the intricacies of emotion, I came to a deeper understanding of how about how the words shape the experience we have. The ability to describe how we feel goes a long way for how we treat these experiences and the process in how we cope with these experiences.

It’s then I have a word problem, an inability to describe how I feel simply. Maybe it’s because it’s a multitude of many things that are happening right, now but my feelings are stunted and unresolved because of my inability to put my finger on exactly what I am going through.

It mixture, a muddle of things to be honest. A sadness, an unease, an accomplishment, but also a sense nihilism. A confused sort of thing that comes together more like a grey cloud than anything clear cut. I don’t know what to do or what the right thing is, my body and brain are in incongruency trying to get a grip on myself as the world seems to be falling apart. It is then I had wished for the guise of routine to save me from the confusion only to be thrown to the lions, unrooted and left to hoist myself up the best I can.

For now, I used just a place holder of _______, a blank space that will have to do in the meantime as I have to continue moving forward. It doesn’t make the nights easier or the mornings shorter. What it does do is let me acknowledge it exists and to keep moving forward. I may not find the word, but I at least need to spend time healing.

A Quiet Courageous Deliberate Distance

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An Excuse to Do Nothing – Pascal Campion

It’s what I want to say that seems to get caught up in my mouth like feet among vines and brambles. A problem that speaks to my apparent lack of the ability to directly speak about anything with anyone. It’s become so problematic that words seem to drop out of sentences and the examples given are only an abstraction of an abstraction. Language seems to be leaving me in such ways that I lose all semblance of what appears to be reasonable and just. It time to reassess this small moment, this difficulty and give myself the opportunity to grow.

I find myself in a pattern of need. One that speaks to a desire to better myself. In the reflection and expansion into this world, I find it troubling as though it seems that there is so much farther to go. As if I require multiple lifetimes to truly understand a single moment of the infinite and the eternal. What is this truth and am I blinding from this reality? There is always room to grow and change with every passing day and I need to take the opportunity afforded by the morning sun to change the path of the oncoming twilight.

A quiet courageous deliberate distance is what I need. To take the words I so hastily speak and transform them instead into ones that are introspective and meaningful. I fill the air to prevent the discomfort with the silence around me which does me no favor as the words them become just a new type of air I have to breathe to survive. To brave the storm and the stressors and cut through both my anxieties and my barriers to seeking what I want instead of what may be easy. It’s to be deliberate about when I speak. Adding value to them with each utterance or abstaining from them otherwise. It’s finding the purpose of each step taken, the weight and drive forward for each action done. It’s to restrict to doing what is then not a grasp into the ever flowing chaos but a reach for the next string in the reality I seek to bring into existence. It’s the need to move back from myself and my circumstances, to be able to look critically at what is going on and determine what I should go from now on. This distance, for which I speak, one which requires me to step back for a moment instead of pushing my way through. To give my self space to consider what those quiet courageous deliberate distances can bring.

I am learning and realizing that again I have so much farther to go. I am seeing myself and rehashing my history and my behavior I see that there are these things that are buried down deep and are hard to reach. That there are things that I haven’t finished or even attempted to fix. I need to spend time to understand how to become better, to find closure, and settle within myself. If I don’t seek this knowledge and face these harder truths I will become fixed and rigid, unable to grow anymore. It’s difficult and uncomfortable but necessary. It all needs to start with the question “why” and ends with the statement “I can do better”.

Its in these times I spend reflecting, 40 days and 40 nights, to bring myself closer and become a better person at the end. The time is an excuse, one made in the pursuit of bitterness.

Get Away From Pain

 

 I’m trying to parse apart the parts of me that are fact and fiction. It’s because I realize how much of what I see is actually just an illusion through a prism filled with many colors.  I want to know what is real and what is imagined so I can guide myself closer to that truth I so seek to find. It’s in the pain of the moment that I realize that the pain I feel, may not be a pain I need or require to move forward. If it’s not what I need, then it is superfluous, as lingers within my head and heart. What does this pain mean, and why does it seems that I seek to surround myself with it over and over again.

It makes me think back to how I used to be. Just a kid who wanted love so badly but was always looking in the wrong places. Wanting in some way to show my devotion, settling on the act of martyrdom and sacrifice that nobody asked for. An empty measure for boy who didn’t care about himself. It was that pain and anguish that I felt comfortable. At least through it all I could scrape by some sort of semblance of worth.

I would throw myself through hell and back, make my heart feel like its been crushed under the weight of the sky, dream and dream until my dreams started to distort my reality. Moments coming and going riding that roller coaster because in my mind that was the way things worked right. The more effort, time, and pain I put into it anything the more likely things will turn my way. I was a fool back then, and it’s in having realized these bad habits that things turned my way.

Old habits die hard though, as lay myself down to feel that pain as proxy for caring. It’s how I deal with these unsettling feelings of the unknown. I feel that pain becomes a place of comfort over the uneasiness and the unknown. An alias for the inability to act but wanting to feel. It’s my tolerance of this pain that is the problem of sorts. It makes me much more willing to put myself through this unnecessary hardship when most people would just let go. Willing to break my hands upon the stone, wanting in some way to break down the walls without weapons or tools. Standing there in the rain, racking my hands against the pavement because at least it’s something.

That’s not to say that there isn’t any merit in the pain. Of course, there is. There are some fights you have to keep pushing through the pain and perceiver until the end. The problem is that at times I don’t know which fights those are. I throw myself headfirst into situations because of wanting and caring that I stick with them for too long. I beat myself bloody because I need to make sense of the effort. Should I let go, let guide me away when I first sense its stings or stick it out and see if there is something on the other side?

It’s my misinterpretation of teachings I received when I was young. That pain was right because if you feel the pain, maybe you can save others from it. This does not mean I should create suffering for myself and disguise it as pain for other people. It’s a process of learning that I am contending with this difference. Determine which situation is which. Learning to treat me better and let myself know when to let go because the pain isn’t worth it. I shouldn’t go through hell because I can tolerate it, I should go through hell only when I know it’s worth it and that’s the difference.

Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should. Just because it hurts doesn’t mean it’s good.

Lion’s Song

You always told me about the fantasy land I live, that tomorrow reality would come and I would understand. You told me that “Soon you’ll wake up and you’ll be able to feel realities sting and realize what you’ve known from the start but weren’t willing to accept”. Reality doesn’t do what you want just because you want it to, it’s doesn’t warp to our whims or our fancy. That even in being unreasonable and fighting against it, at the end of the day there are some distances you can’t overcome.

You’ve always been more tempered than I, in both action and emotion. Skeptical of what could be because you don’t want to hurt or be hurt. A mechanism that kept you from going to far into the land Oz and Eden, from straying too far without a rope to pull you home. “So much is there!” I always claim, “A world that could be not just the one that is”. You assured me that even if I find something sweet inside doesn’t mean it can be real, at least in the way we want it regardless of how much we try. “What am I to do?” is my question to you “When I can go to fantasy land and find you?”. What am I to do if I want to hold on to that fantasy for one more moment and dream a little longer so that I can see the future I can’t have but want.

Like a dream I don’t want to wake up from, it’s a story of close encounters and missed opportunities. Like to lines growing infinitely close but never to touching. No wonder I want to stay where I am here in this fantasy because, for a moment, I can forget the world and enjoy the time I am left standing with you.

It’s not fair that we can laugh so easily and so often together. That we have fun just by talking and sharing. It’s not fair of all the things that work so well between us that we never get to realize what is so evidently possible. It’s hard to see the strain and reserve in your eyes when you are having so much fun but pull yourself back because you are afraid of being too happy with a dream that, at least for the moment, cannot be.

It’s no fault of anyone, which makes it so hard. It’s the truth that at times when chasing your dreams that you come to realize that the pursuit will tear you away from things you like and love because the world persists not in black and white but shades of uneasy grey. That there are no pure right and wrong choices, and that all things come at a price. That reality is what I can feel so strongly for someone which fate has deemed infinitely unavailable not through means but through circumstance.

So allow me these moments, these fantasies with you for just a little longer. Come dream with me because I know you feel it too. Close your eyes and dream of us because soon the sun will rise and that dream will need to fade.

I wish, and I want to say so much more. To be so unreasonable and try but both of us care too much to let the other go through that sort of pain. At the end of the day, we are still here together, wandering through life like we always have. I might not have all that I want but I still have you. Reality might strip away those rose-colored glasses but it doesn’t change what I see. We are in this thing together even if we can’t be all that we can be.

 

 

Hope, rings, eternal.

 

If I haven’t made it perfectly evident by the continued writings of this blog, life gives us a continued opportunity to reflect on our past and thought about how we want to spend our future.

Almost limitless in the sheer amount of time we can turn from the way our life has been going and turn differently toward a new horizon. It is then on us, the responsibility to rectify these moments and memories which we find ourselves in a state of dissatisfaction. What do these moments mean to us? Where is there value other than teach us to live in a way we would not prefer. 

It is our mind that smooths these processes and makes us satiated by the substandard way we continue to pursue the mounting insanity of monotony. It makes us defend the processes we should then so despise as a way to escape a reality that may have been different if we had made other choices. 

We only progress if we allow these systems that have held up so sweetly for those who had time to buy into the system to fall away for a better way to protect and serve more than ourselves at the cost of ourselves.

A selflessness that pervades to lay down the pursuit of personal hedonistic value and private personal precepts to understand that progression calls for us to examine and be ever vigilant of the problems others face. To move away from scarcity and believe that together we can do more and so we protect that togetherness.

Its in my reflection that I have to reaffirm the values and judgments, not because it’s easy or comfortable, but because it’s necessary. I find this process in some ways cathartic, being able to continue to dismantle my beliefs to ensure that I still have all the pieces to put them back together again. Belief is a powerful thing so I will not take it lightly.

With all these moments, seconds ticking away that indifferent to our existence, we afforded many places to make mistakes and to live the life we so choose. We only break the cycle if we allow ourselves to act differently from how we have previously. It’s in this great fight against the forces of our minds desire continue the patterns we have we have become so accustomed that we can truly grow. The perfecting of the self requires an unceasing willingness to adjust and make better.

I make that promise, like a ring worn upon a finger, that life is a choice made continually and should be lived as such. Each failure a place to learn, each missed opportunity a building block towards understanding the value of life. We are who we think ourselves to be, and our mark is left not by the scars on our bodies but the ability to help the world through action. Our memory can only be maintained by the voice of others and not one spoken by ourselves. Life finds a way, and so shall we.

In A Search For Optimal.

 

 

I keep searching for this imaginary space where all work will get done, and distraction won’t follow. I look for this place, but as most fantasy, it lives in my mind away from any tangible space or time to fall back on. Knowing it’s ephemeral nature doesn’t prevent me from superstitiously try to align the stars to make miracles happen and work to get done. The thing about miracles is that most of the time, they require a lot of work and dedication for them to happen. Most of the time they don’t wait for the opportune moment, we work, and then they happen. The problem is, I waiting for a miracle to work.

It’s not a lack of tools or instruments. I have all the technology I need to run an army, truth be told, even if given the network of people I still wouldn’t get work done as I would like.  There is something to it, a piece I am missing, or at least that’s what I tell myself to keep validating the distractions I experience.  There is a simplicity to staying on task, a quiet I can’t seem to find. As I ease myself into doing one thing, a myriad of different tasks pop into my mind like a sea of red notifications on my phone.

It’s just to easy to avoid or be distracted. Too easy to take myself away from what I am doing because what I am doing is hard and distraction is easy. It’s easy to just pick up my phone an run away to some far off place where there is a lot less work and a lot fewer things to worry about.

It might be a crisis on decision, the ambiguity of what I should accomplish first as the tidal wave of ToDo’s crash down over my head and wash over me like hail on a cold winter’s day. It’s this threat of indecisions that drives the desire not to do anything at all. To continue to meander about, unable to accomplish the things I want to accomplish because I don’t have a plan or a means to understand the problem to begin with.

I need those quiet spaces for my mind to process all of which is going on. Problem being is that my mind continues to wander endlessly, intent on capturing all it can and never let it go. Like a net full of water and fish, one unable to distinguish between the two.

I know these are small problems in the grand scheme of things, but it plagues me because my body and mind are not working in the way I would like, disregarding my needs to favor of what is easy. It’s back to basics. Do the simple thing and maintain it. Cut down my problem into manageable bites.  I know how to recover from this, it’s just that it’s taken so long to realize it has been happening in the first place.

Progress sometimes is two steps forward and one step back. As long as I keep moving forward everything should turn out okay in the end.

 

My Ugly and Beautiful Daughter

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Princess Mononoke – Hayao Miyazaki

I have these moments, these wonderfully terrible and beautiful moments being crushed by the humility of my weaknesses. It’s when I am tired that it becomes more apparent, when everything taught simply refuses to be retained. These fantastically tragic thoughts lead to one amazingly cataclysmic conclusion, one I come to often. I am simply human.

I’ve talked about this before, this empowerment of being human. It’s the knowledge of the human legacy that gives us strength. We stand on the shoulders of giants but we ourselves all have the makings of a human colossus. This time though, I can see the amazingness of those around me, feeling the strain of their strength against my inability and weakness. It’s bittersweet but motivating as part of me needs to do tough things, things no one thinks possible, all so I know anyone can. I’m not special in design or function. I am a bit strange in operation, but outside of my experiences, I really am like anyone else.  That’s why the power I give in the words of advice is not talking in any way to distance myself or make it seems that I stand above. No, it’s the simple fact that I want people realize too that this idiotic smart person managed to stumble his way through life and found an answer on the other side. An answer which given may at the allow you to struggle much less than I have.

It’s in this constant contradiction of wanting to both eviscerate myself and all that I am and desiring unrefutable immortality that life’s absurdity and our place within it become perfectly crystal clear. The looking for purpose but living in an uncaring universe, divining of our own lives but being tied inexplicably to the forces beyond our control. The culmination of all things and thoughts up to this point have happened before and are purely original. When accepting these things that I find peace within our humanity. The struggle of those who are much greater than I could ever be fighting against this constant onslaught of unknown chaos, edging out a sense of peace and order in this crazy world we live. It’s these unceremonious baby steps that allow us to make large leaps. These conversations that only a few experience that send waves through history. It’s the quiet moments that pass by that resonate within our soul, allowing for the cacophony of spirit to arise.

It’s the existence of the duality of man, the ability to be capable of all things that drives me. We are peace and destruction. We are savior and sinner. Within all of us lies that history of all things and a blank slate to begin anew.  We can be anything, darkness, and light. It’s then our choice as to which side of the coin, which hand to extend. Our lives are long, and millions of choices are made, each one with the opportunity for any answer. We are all human, and there is nothing simple about it, but there can be simplicity within it. This brings me peace as it means all of us are capable of anything and nothing at all.

Home (Bitter)Sweet Home

3 weeks, I was given 3 weeks to make good all on all the things I left behind. So for those few precious weeks, I haven’t stopped, not even for a moment, trying to jam in all that I can so that by the time I return home to DC, I feel full enough to make it those next several months without all their presence. From the moment I touched down, I have kept moving, to the point of tire, to the point that my eyes burn and my head’s gone fuzzy, sprinting, trying reach, touch, and hold onto anything and everything I have so longingly missed in my days across this vast land. It’s my days, counting them down like the New Years’ clock, moving desperately to try to hold off that zero-hour tic before the clock resets and, I start again.

I only have a limited time left here, cobbling together all that I can do, filling days with people, and unfortunately not a lot of work. Each day moving so quickly that it feels as if days are racing to the end along with me. A feeling emerged that this trip is both too long and too short.  That I am always counting down the moments, knowing that there is not enough time to settle myself, especially with no room to return to or a familiar place to lay my head. It’s been trying, both emotionally and physically, though I hope to find solace and closure within it. Ending the strife and getting the answers regardless of how hard it might be to hear them.

All in all, I am happy to be home but I just never realized how hard it could be to return. I’m battling time and emotions, but it’s a learning process, doing something that I have never done before. Never time will be easier as progress is made, and routine is established.

Soon I will go back to my home in DC. Reiterating that I have no problems with where I live now, in some ways I rather do like the space. It’s been hard, though, transition, as leaving the familiar, is no easy task.  Even then, I recognize that part of me was left here, under the grey and clouded sky of Los Angeles, a part left unresolved and wanting.  That’s what I am here to clear up so that when I go back I feel like it will be different, easier. The space will be more familiar as more who I am transitions with me. I am not starting from scratch anymore, I have friends and spaces I know to belong. More of me will go, and less will stay, but that’s life, and it keeps moving along with me.

For now, I will keep racing the clock, filling my time and making the most of the moments I have while I’m here no matter how hard they may become.

Happy New Year.

 

 

 

 

At The Sight Of A Familiar Face

 

 

I… didn’t know how all this change would affect me, living so far from home, in a new place that, though it is growing on me, can be hard at times.  I think that’s why Thanksgiving was such a catalytic moment, both for my past and for my future.  It highlighted what could be and wasn’t, what should be, and what isn’t, how I am and who I thought I was.

Writing about this reminds me of a lesson I had long ago, one about the brain. You see, human beings are born with a special area in our brain devoted exclusively to identifying other faces. Lighting up beautifully when we see someone who is familiar, familiar eyes, nose, and mouth. Just as with anything we have been conditioned to, seeing a face can bring all these emotions to the forefront of our minds.  An inescapable subconscious reaction built upon years of experience and circumstance, so that when seeing it, emotions bloom into beasts and flowers beyond our control.

It was the happiness then of when I saw my family and friend who had all descended upon this weird stateless place for a visit. One connected to a weird set of circumstances where we all had reason to be at the same place at the same time. To see each other, to see the city, and refresh ourselves with something warm and familiar. A relief in this place that has had me going non-stop since I touched down, relief at the sight of a face, and all those worries melted away. Change is inevitable, and as the moments’ tick by fate plays it’s hand, after which it falls upon us to cope with there changes, adapt to this new world we find ourselves, sometimes surrounded by people and in others devoid of them. Either way, as circumstances presented themselves we ended up here together, and I can say that life would be a lot harder if that wasn’t true. It made me happy to see them, it made me remember who I am, and how this place sometimes makes me forget that. I was only a couple short days, but I appreciated them with all my heart. Though it marked a change in my life for my favorite holiday, it doesn’t mean that the change was bad, it just means that it’s something new.

We hold these new moments with the old which come together with a create a life.

Now as to why I might be mentioning this now of all times since it’s a lot closer to Christmas than Thanksgiving. This is because, in the last several weeks, I have been counting the days until I get to my home again, the one I left several months ago and seen since. A place filled to the plethora of familiar faces that I am excited to see. The relief of the return, even if just for a short while, will heal those wounds and worried faces, so when I come back, I can be strong once again.

I know it will be hard all around, but I’m ready. I am getting to understand the value of it all, piece by piece. I might be a fool because sometimes I have to go through hell to learn lessons, but I’m growing wiser with each passing day.