A Tense Stretch

 

 

There are sometimes when you can’t catch a break. That the world requires much from you, and you just can’t seem to give it all it needs.  I’ve found myself here, looking at the horizon both with for tomorrow to come but also dreading the loss of today. Here where my body tenses up with stress, not knowing where I should go.

I intend to keep this post short, having broken my streak in writing because of work and a conference, I need to return to the other tasks laid out for me.  I just find it so hard to do anything, the list of things to do has grown so large that each subsequent item makes my whole body feel as if it’s pushing hard against gravity. A feeling as if the world itself is turning in on me and attempting to make me implode. It’s then that I stall, feel like I can’t do it all, and that is when I know I must act. Must beat these feelings back.

This list has been made worse by life, needing me to take moments away from work. Though it’s my lack of strength to blame, I can’t help feeling like comfort has genuinely become my enemy.  I enjoy it, those moments away, but they make looking back at the multitude that lays before me all the worse. So there I sit, basking in that comfort, ruminating in that stress, building it up to this vicious monster it doesn’t need to be. It’s as large as my fears and as tough as my imagination, how can I defeat something like that? Piece by piece.

I just need to keep moving forward, keep working towards my goal, working to outrun these feelings because soon enough, I will get to a point where I can manage. If not now, I will grow strong enough eventually to make it, but for now, I have to keep moving. Whittling away at it until there is nothing more but rock and rubble. Even the mountains become rocks and rubble when coming in contact with the wind and the sea.

My tense body needs some stretching, my mind needs a break, but I have to keep on working to make it to the end of where I want to be. This tension will end, and I will be stronger for it, but to get there will be harder than I would hope. For now, I will end, knowing that with this, I have done one more thing that I had hoped to do. Good luck out there, we all have our monsters to fight, but as long as we are resilient and accept help, no beast can beat us.

 

 

A Long And Winding Road

 

 

Its one of those – be careful what you wish for – moments. Where you look back and wonder why your thoughts something would be easier than what it actually is. All signs pointed to me being wrong, but how could I not be blinded by the excitement of learning something new.

I have an anecdote that I end up repeating when explaining what I do and why I sometimes miss the mark in conversations. It comes from an observation made when I spend too long in my in the weeds of my profession.  My world appears to shift, and the things that would be generally seen as abnormal or esoteric become humdrum. It’s like I live existing in a bubble, causing me to care about only was seems to be relevant to that bubble and nothing else.
I didn’t say it was a good thing, it’s merely what happens.
But when talking to other people, outside of work and my field, I can finally see how far I’ve strayed.  It’s a career that requires me to understand both inside and outside of the bubble but in word and in practice are different.

So why bother telling you this, what was it that I wasn’t prepared for? Well, my new program has been dishing heapings of humility. Showing me how much I don’t know about other fields and how tunneled I’ve gotten within own. It’s a good thing, having wanted to experience different things and have a chance at exploring new areas. It’s hard, though, stepping outside of what I know and being a beginner again.  It’ was something I was envious of others for, those who had learned one thing and did another. It’s a different perspective on life and work.

I don’t know exactly how this new knowledge will help me, but I find solitude in Steve Job’s old story about learning calligraphy.  Noting that as long as we are learning and making the most of the lessons, we can never know when you can bring something unexpected and new to the equation. It doesn’t make it not hurt less but it at least it keeps me on the path, one where I can’t see around the end to the next corner but ultimately knows it will end with achieving my dreams.

March Towards Matriculation – Second March – To March Forward and Look Back

Over the last several weeks I’ve been working towards a degree, a degree which I have spent the better part of the previous two years working to obtain. Through a lot of long sleepless night, stresses, and work I have at least on paper achieved this goal, a Masters degree. It was in looking back though, I find I do not feel satisfied or proud of my ”accomplishments.”

Hindsight is 20/20 but to see clearly is not always a blessing. It was in recollecting in what I have done, the research I proposed that an unsettling feeling set in.  An abject look as the lack of importance or substance to the projects I have creates and carried out.  They seem silly, so unimportant on the grand scale that the rationale for why these things seemed so important to carry precedence in my life has fallen away.  What I am left with is aa lesson in humility and a detailing of a path forward which I will need to change if I want to avoid an unsatisfying future.

To be honest, I feel like a child, but not even a child, like teenage who still engaged in making bad decisions but at least has the wherewithal to understand that these decisions were bad in the first place.  At least a child will give into the silliness, not allow it to bother him, still able to go through life unlimited by the ramifications of the action. It’s in knowing myself and seeing this reflection for the first time that pains me. What have I been doing? Is there anything I should really be proud of at this moment. There is a culmination of experience but with this experience what I see is what I am lacking. I have underestimated the science and overestimated my understanding of it, to which I apologize to the craft.

It’s fear and frustration that fills me. Seeing where I could be if I had been more diligent or had more self-awareness. I see this self, one I seek to avoid, an expert of a craft but a wasted talent doomed to settle for obscurity. It’s so clear to me but each year that passes the path thins, to that of an edge of a knife, which to be had will require adjustment early and swift or throw myself down upon it as the cost of dreaming.

I see the path ahead, the choices and growth reflected behind me. My future is bright, and here I stand on the lessons of yesterday, not wasted but reflected in my journey. As I learn I find I know less and realize more that there is a long way to go. In growing through these experiences, I know what I want, how to get it, and not it’s up to me to make the change to do it.

Road To Recovery / March Towards Matriculation – Road 8 – Coming And Going

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As my recovery is speeding up, and a sense of normalcy is on the horizon but there is a bit of confusion. I don’t know whether this normalcy is the sunset of my recovery or the sunrise for all that comes after.

You see I have been announcing all week my big news, first that will be attending a PhD program in the fall and second that I am finally able to wear a pair of normal shoes and walk semi-normally. Walking seemed the more pressing event, the one that every morning is a clear reminder of my once lack of ability to do so. That was until today, when I was walking around talking with a friend that it hit me…I’m leaving… In less than half a year I will have relocated to a place about 3,000 miles away from where I have lived my entire life. I knew this feeling would come, and I am sure the simple pang that I felt was only a precursor to what will be a treasure trove of tumult in the coming months. I knew this would come, but I have never felt this way in my whole life.

It was a moment where I wanted to grab whole of the idea of home and take it with me. Take it’s essence and throw on wall in my future room. What is my home to me, what is a representation of what this place means to me? It’s like a child holding on a toy for dear life because they are afraid to lose the memory of having had the toy in the first place. Not enough object permanence to think that it won’t be gone once it’s time to close my eyes and go to bed.

That’s the weird thing about the whole situation, it’s not like I won’t see it again, or that I won’t be back semi-regularly but it’s more of the sentimental. I understand now why people get tattoos that represent where they came from. Like a happy scar to show everyone and yourself what you’ve been through. To represent a people that you belong to. What is that though, is home a mug, or a spoon? A picture on a wall, or a book on the shelf? Is it the way I walk, or an attitude I walk with. I don’t understand at all but I do understand this feeling of wanting to grab it with all my strength and take it as far as I can go.

What this recovery has taught me is that anything can be taken in one rainy night, except memories and the feelings that we have. This slightly strange bump on my ankle is only the physical manifestation of what was. The scar left is just a reminder, but what is most salient is the people in my life that have come with me on my journey and… it sucks because just as I have gotten up to walk it feels like I am going to be leaving this all behind. Like I have finally got back on my feet from nasty fall to have to go charging ahead. The race isn’t over but I will be leaving a place I am comfortable, a place that I know, a place with all of you.

To come back you have to leave, and I will be taking some part of everyone I know as I go. So maybe home will be a picture on a wall, or book on the shelf because they remind me of what was and what is waiting on the other side of the sea. Maybe these scars on my body and metal plate in my leg are just there to remind me of who I am and my identity can’t be taken from me. I may be recovering but it doesn’t mean that things will back to the way they were.

I am a sentimentalist at heart but it’s hard to say how I feel. I will miss it all when I go, but even if I had the power to stop time I wouldn’t. The road may be changing but it doesn’t mean the time I had and have haven’t been worth the ride. There may be things I leave undone, or feeling left unexpressed but I want to make sure everyone knows that these times mean so much to me and thank you all for coming along, willingly or unwillingly. This new direction I am starting was always where I wanted to go. A new adventure to be had and like all things it’s worth while it will take a lot of effort. I think I’ll be okay though because you all have helped me along the way.

To end, I have favorite quote from one of my favorite movies Gattaca. It’s corny, sentimental, and truly how I feel.

For someone who was never meant for this world, I must confess I’m suddenly having a hard time leaving it. Of course, they say every atom in our bodies was once part of a star. Maybe I’m not leaving… maybe I’m going home.

Vincent – Gattaca

A Hope In The Moment

I think it’s a simple sense of hope that spurs it, or perhaps fear, but I find myself looking in my mailbox for a letter that may never come.

It’s the season of new hope and change, one caused by the artifice of new numbers and shifting times. We all push forth with that hope and desire to take this new time and alter the reality that our past has wrought for us. Even the most reluctant hear whispers of things that could be. But the the only promise that hold true is the promise from the sun to return ever brighter at the fall of each day until the moment words have become actions or regrets, and for some a whole new world awaits.

I have found myself developing a tick, one grounded in the uncertainty of my future. I waiting to hear back from these large institutions that hold the keys to a personally envisioned future, and all I can do right now is wait for an email of yes, no, nor maybe later. I usually really good at waiting, putting the worry out of my mind until it becomes pressing or relevant. This time though, with each pick up of my phone or use of my computer I end up sifting through my emails unproductively, waiting for that response.

The combination of hope and fear is what befalls me, knowing that any news doesn’t necessitate good news. I want to know, but not knowing also means that there is still the potential for something grand in my future. It’s a confusing feeling, but ultimately checking alleviates uncertainty so that I can resume my life.

I think a lot of us are like that, waiting for the outcome of our investments, whether it be in jobs, relationships, or personal growth. We just want to see that end result that blooms from our efforts. This outcome may take longer than expected, or ever be less than what we were expecting and yet it’s part of that big gamble at the end of the day. One we all take part in some time without even knowing the risks involved. We always get back into the game and play because that’s how life is lived, though it is uncomfortable. We all want to push forward knowing that nothing may return because the prospect of not advancing become so atrocious that it drives us mad.

I think what I want to leave on is this, there is hope in the future, whether it be where we expect it or someplace surprising. As someone who has spent the last several years learning to fail gracefully forward, the bumps and bruises on my body have always proven to be beneficial. Time is changing, every moment of every day so I choose hope and push forward knowing that things will happen in the time they need to and not a moment sooner. I think what matters most is spending the time making of the most moment rather than hoping and praying better moment comes along soon. Knowing I can put down my phone because the an email will come regardless of whether I am looking for it or not.

On The Edge Of Uncertainty

There is really no way to know the future for certain. Even within statistics, the study of whether or not something may happen, the probability of certainty will never reach one-hundred percent. Yet we try failingly to see out the world in front of us.
We try and try again to predict, control, and pursue the fixed outcome but in this world, there are too many variables to take in account, too many lives and experiences to know anything honestly for certain.  In this world when we are shrouded in the fog of the future, it easy for us to break down and lose ourselves in all of the unknown.  

I had trouble this week because something that should have been made certain a long time ago was made uncertain for me again.  You see if nothing else I am persistent in my pursuit in higher education so in having gone through this process of applying for schools I should know by now exactly where the best place for me would be. But just like like a mirage in the desert, I saw what would be an oasis give way to only more sand.   I’ve come to this place where I must find my future in a sea of unknowns and yet once again before my eyes it seemed like that I knew evaporated before me.   It’s hard to act when I don’t know where I am going, it’s hard to push forward when I don’t know where forward is.  It was starting to twist my heart and bog me down. It is hard and stressful and I didn’t know where to go.

Now I don’t know if I am lucky or unlucky but I’ve been in these situations before and each time it doesn’t feel any better.  This crippling feeling of unresolved anxiety starts to consume all my thoughts and feelings. I get up in the morning and it’s right there sitting in my chest feeling like the whole world weight is concentrated in my heart. Throughout the day it feels been cast a bleak shade of grey to emphasize the hopelessness I feel.  Finally, at night it stirs in my brain keeping me up only to finally give me some reprieve when I eventually get to sleep.  I’ve realized that the for the most part, the reason all of this is happening is that a decision is left to be made. That through this indecision I freeze up and because I freeze up I stay trapped in this prison of uncertainty.

After much time like this, I was finally able to able to see the light and choose for myself how the path would go. It’s hard because we never know if we are making the right decision, or if we have all the informaiton.  We get trapped in the prospect of something new coming along that may change how we feel about everything.  All it takes is to make a decision about which way to go forward. To know that it’s okay to make a decision and change my mind later. Though I can’t say that all this anxiety and worry is gone, I can say that I am moving forward in a way that works and is functional.

I think what kills us about this uncertainty is that standing on the edge keeps us stuck between places.  This life in-between doesn’t work because we dont know where to go. It’s like dangling our feet off a cliff, the fear comes from what might happen and not what is happening. Sometimes just making a decision to jump to the waters below will allow us to be free of this suffering, instead of always worrying about whether or not we will fall in the first place.

Drowning In The Storm

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There is a sense of unease, too many I don’t knows, a perfect dash of insecurity, and a lot of bad experience to create this perfect storm that’s raging through my life right now.  It’s got me held up, frozen in place with no end in sight. Hunkered down, I’m scared of this storm and the destruction it may bring as I hope these walls I’ve built will be strong enough to weather the winds and the rains.  I am trying to hold myself together but I can’t, it feels like I’m coming apart at the seams, not even able to cry out this frustration I feel.  My hands are failing, my head if failing, I try to carry on, but I fold back into myself with every step. I try to collect that power within that I have been honing the last several years, but there is a scar there, a scar that has built up over many years of perceived personal failure.  This fear of failing again holds on tight as I ponder what that failure would mean.  I know it’s not fair to myself that I spend so much time worrying about what may never come to pass, but experience has got me trained on the idea that maybe all I am striving for won’t become anything. This part of me feels that I am not specific enough about what I want so I can never obtain it, that I am not worthy of it because there are so many better candidates for the position.  I worry because I see myself in the mirror sabotaging my future, destroying the very opportunity I am trying to create.  Part of me doesn’t want to know, it just wants to sleep until it’s all over with, push off this burden until this insanity ends, but I know it won’t, not unless I give up my dreams.

I keep coming back to this story, one I have told a lot recently as more as a funny anecdote from my life than anything really substantial.  This is back when I used to ride a motorcycle.   During the cold dark nights of the winter months, I use to drive from my parent’s house back to college in the early hours of the morning much to the chagrin of my mother.  There was this freeway I would ride on my way back that was a perfect kind of empty that time of night. With is more than a gentle slope, it would be the perfect place to pick up speed.  At times I would ride down that hill quickly accelerating, opening up the throttle to see how far it would go. Sixty, seventy, eighty the speedometer would quickly rise until I would hit speeds of well over a one-hundred miles per hour.  When you get to that speed on a motorcycle all you can really think of is, if I fell now, chances are I would die.  Nothing frightening about it, in some ways calming for all the wrong reasons as this was just the fact of things as I whizzed by, some kind of truth that gave kept me in the moment.  A thought that made all the other thoughts disappear because that’s all there was, just a fact.

I am missing that clarity, that straightforward feeling.  I just don’t know, and yet I have to push forward somehow.  It bothers me because I don’t want to be stuck in a place I know I won’t be happy but what does that mean for the alternative. I feel like I am slowly breaking down, dissolving piece by piece wanting to destroy this world around me and myself to give this pain I feel in my heart a physical presence.  I wish it were just a cut or a bruise, something that I can point to and see but this pain is permeating through to my core, unreachable and untouchable sitting deep with my chest making my whole body ache. It feels like I’m underwater gasping for air, with this burning in my lungs as I slowly lose the the air I need.  The piles of water above pushing me further into the deep, and all I want to reach the surface and see the sun.  I keep swimming as a way of fighting through just like I fight through everything else.   I know things will be okay in the end if I keep pushing to reach the surface, but it’s just hard to feel that way right now.