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.

Chasing A Dream, Where Ever It May Go

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“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I know recently, I have been complaining a lot about the fact the I’ve been tired, but I want to take a moment to reflect on the reason I am exhausted in the first place.

I’ve been busy, busy with various new experiences life as seen to throw my way.  Mostly work, to be honest, but its weird, this is never the type of working experience that I have ever had.  It’s this thing where I almost crave it.  I work and act as if all myself want and needs to.  I’ve had a lot of jobs and been through a lot of schooling, and this is the first time I’ve really felt this way about all the things sitting in front of me. It’s like a high mountain to climb, and I’m mountain climber trying to traverse it.

My days have been filled with staying at school for more than 12 hours at a time.  I check each day what my home door to door time is and each day I realize its extending.  At these points, I would find that I would be tired of going, tired of continually having to push myself more to get done everything I want to do. Each opportunity feels as if it is a whetstone, sharpening my the tools I will use to push forward in my life.  It feels as if this moment, my body feels live so that it wants to keep pushing farther and further than I ever had before.

Maybe its perspective, the two years away from school has definitely changed how I approach education.  Though I always knew I would continue down this path, I feel more passionate about my choice to do so.  Unrestricted, more sure-footed about where I want to go and what I want to do.   It keeps me vigilant about my opportunities, keeps me actively striving for more, until I find myself staying up late, working long hours to complete something.

My body needs rest as it starts to ache all over.  My eyes begin to burn from all the monitors and from being awake so long during the day.  My mind sits in a fog by the time I get home, just trying to digest everything that just happened. I have no time, and yet I keep going in the hopes that I will catch up in the long run.  My belly runs empty, and I have to remind myself to eat enough for the amount I expend. And yet, I love these moments, because it feels like I am finally pushing myself to do something great.

There a danger to it, with the new feeling comes cautionary tales of both burn out and breaking.  If I push too hard too fast, I can break down my body and my health to the point where my body refuses me, and I have to stop the obsession. The second is set this fire for much for too long runs the risk of turning the subject I have fallen in love with into a bastion of resentment.  Begining to internalize the little things and grow tired of the subject and the place I am to work.  As always, it’s about the balance of these things, to keep my mind healthy and my ridiculous actions in check.

I want to push myself so I can grow strong under the opportunities that I have been presented. By the end of this short two years, I want to have the strength to tackle the next five and the knowledge of how to get stronger for the next 60 and beyond. Every day is a new challenged and all I want to do is live up to it.

A Community of Musketeers

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I’ve recently join now a collective referred to as a cohort which is something I have been working towards for a while. What it is, is a simple name for a group of graduate students which come into a department or program the same year you do. In essence, these people are people with whom you’ll be traveling with on the part of your journey to the ultimate goal of the degree.

I have, as always, been thinking a lot about that means.  One of the functions of higher learning is to find a place you both you fit, and that fits you. Though in doing masters, it’s the process is a bit simplified because of the supposed two-year time clock that is ticking away until the end.  Either way, the people I came in with will still be people who I share this experience with one way or another.

This is not to downplay everyone’s personal intentions for coming to this particular program, but it does beg the question. How do we want our relationship with each other to be and how will that shape the future of our time together? I feel this is extremely important because there are so few of us, that the decision we make individually will affect the group collectively.

My dearest hope is that in some way or another we ban together. As reminiscent of the title I chose, the musketeers,  it would be nice to form some sort of bond in which we can really help each other out in our times of need. All for one, and one for all.  I know this sounds a bit idealistic, but I think that’s the spirit needed to actually accomplish something great.  I’m not saying that we have to hang out with each other all the time or even really become close. What I am saying is that in our times of need or weakness someone is there to help and lend a hand.  We will act as both colleagues and rivals. We can set the obstacles and help people overcome them so when the actual danger comes, we will be ready.  Even though we go to the end on our own merit and alone, it doesn’t mean that our strength has to only come from within, you are always much stronger with others are helping you.

I think it all comes down to wanting to leave this place a lot better than where I found it.  The act of giving is one few things we can do where we end up with more than what we started out with.  I honestly believe that if we want this experience to be the most successful, it can be then we must give and not just take. We must utilize what we can and blaze a path for our future. This doesn’t have to be the worst experience of our lives, and even with the difficulties that come with grad school, we will be able to look back and remember something great. It is the beginning of our future.