In Beautiful Discordant Colors

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Regardless of much introspection we do, we will always miss things, things when made obvious make everything start to make sense.

It was a small observation a visiting professor made, a question about the words that I use, which made me think about my life here. It’s a simple us and them problem, words delineating those lines which I feel in my hearts. Their use can be so deliberate and at the same time, sub-conscious that your ticks and mannerisms become tells for something greater. It might not seem substantial when referring to a building on campus as “their” building, but when you know a little bit more about the way we use our words, it can mean a whole lot.

The second lab I was ever apart of was back in my undergrad did just that. They studied words in the context of relationships. How couples speaking to each other became the basis for determining the quality and connection those two people had. It was based on a long literature about word use and how depending on the circumstance can be a good indicator of your feelings. You might think this is obvious, of course, words would be a good indicator for how we are doing, what other way can we so easily express ourselves to another human being other than words.

Then my question is to you, what words are the most telling?

Are they the ones that are positively covered in emotional content, words like love, heartache, sadness, and misery. Sure these words are telling, but they never give you the full picture because by the time you get to them it’s already become clear something may be amiss. No, it’s theses simple words we use on a regular basis that expose us. Us and Them, Ours and Theirs, Me and We.

It’s simple then, among the things I am struggling with is the identity as a student here at this school.  My school. I don’t yet feel like it’s mine. It’s this feeling of being apart as if this place is a collage of many colors, and in adding my own, it becomes discordant. That my piece just doesn’t fit as I don’t know where it is to fit.  It’s being surrounded by people and coated in a kind of personal silence.

I’m trying, I really am. It’s hard not to miss my friends and that place I felt like I belonged. These places haven’t come to me easily, and so maybe I am feeling the burden of being away from it. What price do I have to pay to take place need from me to feel like my own?  What piece of me do I need to give it to save myself from this isolation?  It would be so much easier I didn’t need other people, need that substantial connection. That’s not how we work though, all my wishing will get me nothing except a painful absence in my chest.

It’s a slow and arduous process, so different than what I knew before. I think about this, deliberate as to where my role is in the lives of those people around me. Do I forsake myself to fit in, or do I endure and hope tomorrow shines anew? Is it I who am the strange one?

Things will get better as long as we work for it. I have to believe that or else I would lose hope and give into that despair that waits for me to fall at any given moment.

Will I Get Fat If I Eat Chocolates In My Dreams

You know I have been dreading to write this post, not because It would be especially hard to write but because I knew it would be wouldn’t be on the day I had intended on writing it. It’s been a long few weeks with a lot of classes and work that has taken me away from these essential extracurriculars. This writing is more than an exercise to me now; it’s a way to realign myself and capture my thoughts relegated to the time at which I had them. I feel bad when I don’t post, hence why I left this post blank for a while, as a means of a place holder, to give me no excuse not to write as it would tarnish the consistency of the blog. A work left undone that can only be rectified by finishing it. That being said, the inspiration for this post has come out of the collective struggle of those around me, whose of whom I love and hope the best for.


It’s the spirit of change that brings wanton heartache.  The long nights of unease and restlessness propagate this feeling of not knowing where I belong.  It’s in this realization that most places in this world believe that after a certain age, you are not to be taken care of anymore. Perhaps it’s the truth, that through all this supposed hand holding I am soft to the quality of needing other people, a reluctant truth I fight so hard against. No man is an island, so be it as it may, regardless of whether or not I feel strong enough to go it on my own that with other people, I will prosper.

But it was just so easy last time, a great fortune that with its absence, I feel unprepared. It’s left a hunger, one that has gone for the most part unsatiated in this new world of mine.  This is no fault of the place I find myself but more so the barrier of entry required to be given accessed the sweet social nector that is needed to sustain me is higher than I remember. Walls built in my mind that make reaching out and touching the tangable all the harder. Life is effortful so the experiences I have in it is in large part my responsibility, but the factors for my success are not as easily obtainable this time around.

I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like if I wasn’t able to lean on the relationships, I have cultivated over my lifetime. Talking with familiar faces and hearing nostalgic voices makes me feel that maybe, just maybe I can do this. It has restored me some semblance of normalcy, allowing me to get to work. To be all I can be.  I can tell you how humbling it is to realize how fragile we are, that eventually we will be weathered away to nothing if we don’t allow find protection in the raging storm.  I found a place to rest my head and find my bearings, only taking months of trying to find that balance, knowing full well how easy it would be tip me over and watch me fall.

That’s why it makes me so sad to see the suffering of my friends. Those of whom have embarked on their own journey outside my reach. I cannot cure all the ills of the world for the people I care about but to see them suffering from afar plagues me. Though I love the encroaching presence of technology’s ability to free us from the need of other people’s help, we have lost something though it, that ability to fulfill that human need to connect. Pushing it away like chocolate on a diet, we try to go through our lives seeing the indifference of our personal universes and proclaiming god to be dead the world to be terrible.  Quietness becomes that enemy when a few months prior, it was a trusted friend.   We find then, in introspection, we must be weak because of our inability to cope with this change. Weakness for needing other people. I dare say, that is not weakness, that is human. It is a calling out there that in your heart you want to connect, want to believe, and part of something more.

I tell you, you are not alone in this. You are not the only one feeling that way. We are not the first ones, we won’t be the last ones but together, it gets easier.  We are all hurting, struggling with this transition into a new world, separate from everything we’ve known, and that’s okay, it’s expected.  What we can do, by knowing this we is fight for ourselves, fight to reach out and build a foundation for ourselves and place to weather the storm.

If we need it, we need not wait to get it, we have to get out there and reach for it. We need to act against those little thoughts that tell us not to, that tells us that it’s bothersome to others. We have so many people that have chosen to be in our lives because they want to be.  Worrying about whether or not you should is like wondering if you will get fat by eating chocolate in your dreams, without action, it’s meaningless, who cares what those little thoughts say, what matters is you will be okay and we are all in this together.

Mono No Aware

 

 

“Mono-no aware: the ephemeral nature of life – the quietly elated, bittersweet feeling of having been witness to the dazzling circus of life – knowing that none of it can last…” – Wiki

It’s a melancholy appreciation for the transience of life, the love of the fleetingness of a single moment that, once occurring, can never truly happen again. That people grow, change, and as such, nothing is permanent. It’s a word derived from Japanese culture that speaks in large part to the appreciation that nothing last’s forever. Even their buildings and culture are created around the idea that there is something more than a simple structure, that there is a greater spirit that carries on a legacy even after the wood has warped, or the stone has crumbled. When this happens, there will come a day when a “hello” will be the last “hello” and a “goodbye” will be the last “goodbye”.

We all have knowledge of these things, coming to us from bittersweet memories that cling like spiky seed pods to clothing.  We face these conflicts and decide what we want to do with them as arise. This state of happy it happened but sad it’s over.  It’s so easy to avoid these emotions, to distance ourselves from any given event, to deny the permanence of forward leaping time but the moment will come nonetheless.

There is something beautiful about these ephemeral things. Would clouds be as wonderous if they never changed shape, or snowflake as magnificent if they didn’t melt when landing on your skin? We can appreciate them because we know what it was like before we had them and eventually learn what it’s like when they are gone.

It takes a lot of courage to face these moments head-on, to recognize there will be an end and keep going through the heartache that is likely to come.  A beautiful pain built on the temporary, with each person having to decide whether or not it was worth it in the end.

It’s only in accepting these feelings that we grow and change as people. If we try to hold to something long gone our knuckles will turn white by grasping at air and dust.  It’s not to forget but appreciate that sometimes some things have to end even if we aren’t ready. It’s death and disappearance,  two things we fight so hard against, are inevitable, but in learning to embrace them we glimpse the beautiful bittersweet appreciation of what can happen after.

March Toward Matriculation: Sixth March – A Call For Closure

 

When faced with the dramatic inevitability of monumental change, the necessity for closure becomes tied directly to the ticking of the clock. Life’s scale becomes a tangible, finite figure asking for motion or silence, telling you that whatever happens is in some way, locking itself into a certain state of being. Not that life works that way, but it feels like there is a sort of stasis, a checkpoint reached. It’s when the world takes a picture to capture a moment, a being of self that can look back readily without provocation and not wonder but know where we were during that period of time. Life has an inevitability of change, but as moments pass and memories are made comes the realization that opportunities are fleeting and those we hope but wait to capture fly beyond our reach. It’s then our responsibility to capture these moments when the opportunity arises or forgo them forever coping with the unquenchable curiosity of a question that lives in our hearts.

It’s in this change that I am looking back on the memories that I’ve had, the moments that have shaped my existence with the realization that the things I haven’t done have shaped me just as much as the things I have. I’d like to say that I’ve lived without regret, but that would be untrue in some ways, living without them is so hard, especially when learning to live a proper life. It takes courage and tenacity to do so, traits only tempered in the memories that can so scar us like a moment not captured. Regret may not be the right word, as I have come to terms with these moments, having realized that they are essential to my very present being. No, it’s more like reflecting on an old scar or wound, wondering then if it is possible for them to heal fully without losing what they represent.

Maybe it’s a sense of nostalgia, one that is tugging so tightly against my heartstrings hoping that things would change and wondering where all those moments went. I have found myself dreaming about that time machine that we all envision, one that lets us go back to moments in our lives allowing us to relive them, retry them with the memories and lessons we have learned since then.  To go back to a time with the self that knows better, or at least is stronger than the person we were. We would see anything different with the power of perspective gained from a hard-fought self-awareness? Would we allow ourselves to go farther, stretch out longer, or perhaps utter those words unspoken?

Like an old friend, I walk with these moments in a comfortable silence knowing that though life has passed, and there are somethings lost, there is more ahead than there is behind me. A journey is only as sweet as the challenges we experience needing these bumps and bruises to mark our growth. What hero could ever return home triumphant without overcoming something?  I look back so I can look forward, knowing I will change.  I hold these little questions in my heart, filling it up so that there is already too much in there to let these moments pass me by again.

In the end with Coping or Closure, when given the choice it’s always better to do something than nothing at all.

March Towards Matriculation – Third March – Heavied Breath and Lungs On Fire

 

A setting night, the pounding of shoes against the cold pavement, a hoarse heavied breathing of the lone runner gives life to this quiet night.  Running around that track without an end in sight, just another lap going round and round over and over again. Their breath on fire, bellowing slowly from tired lungs working to sustain their body and keep it from collapsing. Why does the runner keep running? What are they running too? Or what are they running from?

 

It has come with time, a busied schedule that has not allowed me to sit and process these comings and goings, just enough time to do what is placed right out in front of me and that is all.  It’s not a strict weariness that throws me, but a lack of standing to even know where I am or how long I have been running.

It’s of several major events, important tasks, priorities that make my head feel like it’s in a spin, always trying to take in as much air as possible to calm my straining self. It’s even in sleep that I have suffered, jumping from sleeping well because of my accident to sleeping poorly because of the work that had mounted in the interim. Slowly breaking down like I used to but without having regained my full strength to fight the onslaught of these immediate side effects.

That’s not to say that time will not march on, and reality will not continue to move forward.  It is what happens, an inevitability of change that comes with age and progress. It is in that change that a small flame has been born.  Lit by this most recent trip to the school I will be spending my next five year attending. A spark that makes me excited to follow through, to really enjoy the journey, to keep on running. I want to see this journey to the end because I know wherever it lead will be a beautiful sight to behold, I just have to keep at it.

Soon I hope I will like this runner, be able to stop, rest, and take in all of where I’ve gone but until then, all I can keep doing is run, run until my body stops, because at least through running I know I am still alive.

 

An Inevitable Change That Comes With Growing Up

NIK – https://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=66314130

When we are younger we always dream about the possibilities of what age will bring, the idea that growing up was kind of a mystical force that allowed for us the possibility of infinite things and the attainability of more than we could know. Looking back I don’t feel jaded or pity for my younger self, I don’t think it’s wrong to dream that way, or that my life is so terrible with bills, loans, school, and work that I should think to dash those dreams of a younger self. No, I just think the reality is quite strange you actually experience those things, experience these wonders just dreamed about, a lot of which are more overwhelming in practice but underwhelming in scope.

I think most of this feeling derives itself with cultivated expectations that are never substantiated because of the unrealistic outcome that everything would feel entirely different and new because of the milestone or event having occurred in the first place. I mean, it’s kind of naive to think that we would become substantially different people each time we cross some sort of threshold, change is a slow and meticulous thing that grows with time. Before we know it, everything has changed, but unless we are constantly self-aware, we never notice these small minute influences shifting our lives. That’s not to say that things can’t be amazing, or beyond what we expected, I am in no way advocating for getting rid of expectations, I think moreso what I want to say is that for most things we won’t know how we feel until we get there.

Let me explain it this way, in could weeks from now my sister is getting married, which is very exciting, but ultimately isn’t really strange as she been with here soon-to-be-husband for about 9 years now. It’s almost strange that it hadn’t happened sooner. Now she will be the first of my siblings to get married, though I am sure that my oldest sister would have liked that honor (her turn will come, probably sooner than we all will expect), the feelings toward it are a bit muddled. It’s weird to think that in a few weeks her last name will change, she will be legally bound to another person, she will be moving away, and that who life will inherently be different. But with how are you supposed to feel about that like it’s doesn’t really change who she is in the moment, or how will act. Sure over time I think these things will set in, but I don’t imagine that when the kiss at the alter some mystical force will come down and give them some sort of power up. Or all of us in the crowd will suddenly have this feeling of acknowledgment but I’m sure a couple weeks from then I will have a sense about how weird it is that my sister is now married.

It’s the same for this, in a couple short weeks I’m going to be walking on stage to receive a degree that marks me a master of psychology. I’ll get a ceremonial hood and short speech and lots of pictures, but when I wake up the next day I won’t be feeling like a master, I won’t make breakfast as a master, or even think just like a master just because of it. It’s more because of this two-year process that has already made given me this sense of expertise and accomplishment. A process that has made me understand things I didn’t even know existed and put me through experiences I never thought possible. The hooding itself is just a representation of that, an acknowledgment to everyone else that something has happened. A proof or verification of that effort and time, just as a marriage just ceremonial coalesce and public promise of love between two people.

My point is being that we never really know, life changes in unexpected ways, with experiences never really going exactly as we planned but I think that’s the whole point of dreaming. It’s a desire put out there in the universe, a curiosity wanting to be filled. We chase these things because they’re new and exciting, and though things like graduation won’t make me feel like any different, the experience as a whole has gone far beyond my wildest expectations. So just keep dreaming.

A Strange Thing About Death

I’m sorry I missed my post last week, I don’t write because my grandmother had died so I decided to take people’s advice and rest to process all that was going on.

I’m really happy that I did, it gave me time to really sit and think about the relationships in our lives and how the dynamics will change with the loss of our families matriarch and give me a much-needed respite from the stress of my everyday life.

Now, I had been fortunate up to this point in my life not to have lost anyone close me, some family but not a grandparent. This though meant that I really didn’t know how exactly this news would hit me. It had be several weeks preparing for the what would become the “inevitable”. The waiting I think was the worst part, knowing it was going to happen but never knowing when. The conclusion I came to after all of this is that death, quite frankly, is…strange.

It’s not a gradual thing, even when it process happens over the course of a lifetime. Despite the metaphor of being ‘half dead’ there is no halfway with death, it’s one moment that you are living, and the next you are gone. Even when death comes with a slow weakening it only at the moment when the body finally shuts down when living gives way that death comes.

Death to me is just a fact, though one that sends ripples through the family and friends centered around it. To know that death has come is weird, because it doesn’t hit you all at once, at least not for me. It just is, or was when it happened. Life has to carry on for the rest of us still here but this new fact carries a cloud that follows overhead.

It makes you ruminate on memory, reminisces of the times with that person but like with the end of many relationships you think about all the missed opportunities the future will never bring. That there are things you did with that person that you never knew would be the last time you did them. An unfulfilled see you later or next time hold this weight make you wonder of how many of these we have in our lives.

Ultimately our relationships will change as the pillar that we derive some of these relationships from is now gone. The stings the bind us to each other become lax waiting to be pulled taught. Some of these relationships will fade away, others will strengthen but there is no doubt in my mind that they will change. Without that person, they will have to learn to carry on, without that person, we will have to learn to do it on our own.

What I thought of last is legacy, when someone dies their ability to manipulate the world personally falls away and so those around them must become the arbiters of their will. Even outside of the thoughts of heaven comes a true death, at least in this world. It is when someone is forgotten, their name uttered for the final time, or when the will becomes waves and then ripples and then still. She lives within me because I carry a part of her within and I am much stronger for it.

What is left is what is what I will carry with me, the words that she always spoke and resounded in my heart of hearts.

“Remember you are loved”

Thank you for the memories, the lessons and the love, both of you.

The Great Wind Down

I don’t think it would be a surprise to anyone to say I have been stressed the last several months.  I think it’s been apparent in my writings and my actions outside of them.  Like a candle burning slowly through the night, I feel exhausted now that everything is said and done.  I have finally finished all I have to do before the holidays,  but now that things are over I feel.. well… not as I expected.

Everything is over, sure I have lingering projects that I have to do over the break and my job is still going to be there on Monday but I’m done, I made it through the end of this section. I thought I would be happy, overjoyed at this accomplishment and yet I just feel so… empty about it all.  Like I have been putting so much of myself into this endeavor that when it came time to submit I forgot to put anything back in.

This emptiness has been manifesting itself throughout my everyday. Things like sitting in chairs listlessly staring into the white of the walls around me, sleeping like a madman who found the meaning of his life in dreams,  and a general sense of apathy.  These feelings have been following me for days now, and maybe it’s part of the recovery process, but it bothers me.  For someone who has been depressed multiple times in his life, these symptoms are worrisome, and if they persist I feel like it will spell trouble. I might be overly sensitive to these things but I can tell you being depresses is something to be wary of.

I think this is all part of a great wind down, this recovery from fried nerves, long nights, and so much worrying.  It’s hard to stop after so much frenzied activity, to the point where I am almost more comfortable working at hurried pace than the silence that comes after.  There is no gradual tapering off in this season, it’s just all and then nothing.

It’s in recognizing these feelings that start the process of healing, knowing that it’s okay to be not okay for a little while as my spirit returns to me. These feelings of anxiety and lack of productivity will be fine for some time, as long as they aren’t keeping me from what I enjoy.  That I have to express my frustration and emotions as they come and be content with the things that I have. To know that things will return in time, and I have to keep pushing forward. In recognition, I have the ability to fight against this and rise above.

Today marks the day to start to recover from this crazy rollercoaster I have been on for the last 6 months, which is a coincidence because it is my birthday too. 

A Place for Shattered Dreams and Far Off Memories

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It’s a few weeks away now is a deadline which I have been building towards these last two years. I know I’m in a much better place than I was before but I feel vastly unprepared for the applications I must have done in a few short weeks. The applications that will act as a bridge to the place I want to go, the place where my dreams lie.
I am beginning to wonder if that’s on purpose, that my mind keeps me so busy that I have an excuse not to delve deep into the minutia of what could be a pivotal moment in my life.  Maybe that’s why I’m having such a hard time saying no to all these things that come my way. These things that take me away from what I should be doing for myself. It’s easy to make excuses if I am doing it for someone else.  I am not taking time to concentrate on what I want, what I need. I’m resistant to it because I am scared of it, this whole process because I have been burned by it twice before. I’m afraid of falling and wondering where I’ll end up.

I’ve had these vivid daydreams of all of us standing upon a hill, a hill made of broken glass.  Shards everywhere dangerously looming as we climb this hill we trying not to fall. Upon this hill, we climb and climb until we reach a place to stand atop it. Those willing to reach the summit are bathed in this light them and from their heart comes a dream in the shape of an orb as offering to this light.  This dream can carry them high up into the sky, but if the dream is not strong enough or the person two weak the both come crashing down to earth, to be cut by these hills of glass.  It’s for there we find out where we are, as some dreams fall and shatter upon the ground making that hill a little higher with pieces of its broken self.  I have fallen twice now, with a dream still intact, it’s my body which I’m worried about breaking because this time I will have the chance to fly higher than ever before, but that means I also have the change of falling father than I could ever imagine.  I know I shouldn’t be entertaining it but what could happen if I don’t make it if I don’t succeed. How will life find a way, and which part of me will break first my dream or me.

It’s here that I see myself, young and naive of the world I have strived to live.  I see this young apparition unphased by the fear and anxiety that experience brings with it. He is a different person than I but same in ambition. To be something great is always what he dreamed up. This resounding dream is something I carried with me, through time, shaping it to what it is now with experience.  It’s stronger and more well formed but still the same dream at the heart of it.  This young apparition gives me solace as it reminds me that at least I know that if no one else, the kid who I was years and years ago would believe in me. I carry it with because it is me, so soon enough we see how high my dreams will fly, and remember it’s always my choice to get back up again.

A little bit of failure.

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It’s finally come, the moment where the cascade of everything that was slowly stacking up finally came made me lose something. Now, it’s partially due to a series of unfortunate events that led to the personal failure that in some way may have been avoided if only I had taken a moment to consider the world.  In having already reflected on these events what I come away with is something different than I thought I would in the first place. A sense of understanding and realization of maturity in myself.

Some things can’t be avoided, but most things can be tracked back with the realization that it’s usually a set of multiple failures that go unheeded before things like this happen. For me, it was just a bit of consideration.  I keep my most of my life pretty prepared for the inevitable unexpected things that may happen to me.  This is shown best through the weight of the bag I carry with me through my day-to-day.  It’s heavy, full of all things I may or may not need during the course of my day.  This preparation is something I am going to reflect on another time but for this moment, that preparation and routine broke down.  I had been rushing from the moment I woke up because of the fact that I had woken up late and was practically running the rest of the day.  In an attempt to be productive and feel on top of things I decided to upgrade my personal computer while at work, something I’ve never done. This lead to my computer crashing and ultimately losing a months worth of work.  I didn’t remind people enough about running the study in my lab so I ended up having to fill in missing a lecture I wanted to hear.  I spent about 5 hours dealing with the problem with my computer ultimately settling on the only option of resetting everything and starting over from a back up I had made a month ago. This back up should have been more recent but because I decided not to back up before I upgraded, I lost.

I never got mad though, a little exasperated by dominoes falling into place as they did but I felt like I handled it well. I just did what I needed to do and kept moving forward.  The final straw with all the loss of time and files came with an application I was supposed to submit the next day. Of all my time in Graduate School, I’ve managed to claw together everything I’ve needed, maybe sometimes at the last second but it’s always has worked out. This time though, this time I couldn’t scrape by. I wrote and wrote but by I realized several hours before it was due that I had to make a choice. Turn something I was not proud of and blow off some of my other responsibilities or admit defeat. and continue forward.  This time I conceded.  It’s not something I’m proud of but it was necessary I feel for my growth.  I push myself and have reached the limit not of what I can do with talents but with time.  I have too much going on and not enough time to do everything.  This means, something’s got to give and I don’t choose for myself, then my choices will be made for me.  It’s hard for someone who wants to do everything because if I had the ability to I would but I can’t so choices have to be made. Kind of like triage, save what is savable, do what’s important and try all that you might to use the hours that we have to accomplish the things that we need.  Failure is part of that growth.  It allows me to see that there see where I still need to keep going.  I think it’s gonna come to a head soon I think, me or it. Perhaps a month from now we will see who wins and where we will go from there but until then, I’ll keep moving forward.