A Break Of A Break Of A Break

I have been hard-pressed to write during my break. Really longing to do anything from my normal life, but in coming back and trying to make the most of my time I have, found that time has been slipping through my fingertips. It hurts me to say that I haven’t been writing though the itch has been there. So much has happened that I want to reflect on and write about.

It will come soon, messaged about family, Christmas, friends, and my place in the world. Just be patient with me, and it will come. Just be patient, and more words will come.

Until then, here is some nice art.

March Towards Matriculation: Eight March – Behind The Starting Line

 

G6015iA.jpg

Before Light by げみ

 

It’s not lost on me that a week from now I’m going to be in a new place, surrounded by new people, starting a new stage of my life. It’s surreal, how my supposed to understand and react to this thing I’ve never done before. As time slips the issue of not being able to see or respond the coming changes is mounting.

So let me try to be as honest as possible. Explain how I’m feeling to the best of my ability. A lot is going on in my head, too much, so much so yet it feels like I’m running around without it, frantically trying to find my way without knowing where exactly that is. I don’t know how to feel, what to do, going through the motions and yet nothing seems real, just a whole lot of effort for what I hope will pan out.

Is this is what adult life is like?  The part that of experience most people say is terrible. I realize that being an adult is being made to do things that really I don’t want to do, making me confront things I don’t want to feel, and experience things I want to avoid. It’s effortful, and not a fun effort, just effort for efforts sake. It’s just so confusing, navigating the halls and structures set by men and women I never knew.

It’s hard because I want to be a beacon that lights the way for others. Show how it’s very possible to follow through without issue or at least with a certain sense of grace. I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time. I’m making it up as I go. There are worries manifesting, leaving my mind at ease but my soul in torment.

I have these two incredible forces pushing and pulling. One of them being my past, this part of my life that I feel is going so well and in some parts don’t want to leave also hasn’t given me enough closure to say “I’ve done enough.” The second, the future, this amazing thing that has never happened yet. The alure makes me want to keep it as perfect as possible as long as possible because the possibility of everything that could happen will happen is exciting. These two forces with swirling around, like a hurricane with me sitting in the middle waiting to be consumed by the rain.

It’s going to hurt, and of course, I’m scared. If possible, I would want to bring everyone with me. Unfortunately, that’s not how this works, one has to leave to come home. I do, though, find solace in the great stories of old, where great men and women who go to long journeys facing the rising of the unknown of monsters, mayhem, mysteries, magic. Without stepping beyond the where comfort, I could never return with stories of my own. My life would just be a story about someone who never left, never went out into the world, and never knew what life had to offer. For me, it was inevitable. I was going to leave at some point, I knew in my heart of hearts down to my very soul. All I can do is brave the storm, and be honest and open to the change along the way

By the time next week rolls around, who knows, maybe I will feel different.

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.

Let’s Go To The Stone Age: A Slight Digression Because Of Internet Problems

Originally I was going to do a slight digression from my more moody posts to talk about the fact I have gotten back into reading more but before I got to crafting said post my Internet died. Now I know that the period of time that I was writing was a bit later than when I usually do, and maybe this is just some sick sense of universal karma here to exact it’s revenge for not writing sooner but I think more just highlights how reliant I am on the internet. Without it, I twiddle my thumbs and play that silly dinosaur game on chrome hoping for the Internet to return.

It’s in that I find this reflection of me in the empty

screen somewhat humorous, this 21st century man who is simply stopped by a technology that has been birthed within the last 50 years. I mean there are millennia before this amazing invention and my ancestors did just fine on their own for me to have made it this far.

What is there to do except think of a world where the Internet just disappeared, where technology reduced itself to that of the Stone Age and for us to start all over. How would people manage? How would I manage? Let’s be honest, my training in Psychology doesn’t exactly make me the most useful person in the skills department. I am pretty scrappy, and easy on the uptake but it’s that first part I would really need to get through, when everyone is scrambling around trying to figure things out. Maybe I’ll be drafted into a tribe, never really been part of those before, or maybe I’ll just be a lone wanderer, going from settlement to settlement trying to looking for my true home out there in the post-internet wastes.

But back to the point, I think this also a lesson in humility, that my life is so reliant on these tools to work that I am pushed to this standstill without it. I don’t know if this is a good lesson at the end of the day or one that I should just get more reliable Internet but it’s a lesson just the same.

Maybe I should take this time away from my devices and allow myself to really delve back into my imagination. Create something unaided with my mind as the only resource. It always feels good to be able to imagine different worlds and scenarios, something pure from all of the muses I have come across in my lifetime. What do I have time for though, will I just drop it once it becomes inconvenient to continue because my technologies have come back online? I mean I still do have work to do, so maybe I won’t go too deep or I might just never find a reason to come back out.

What can I say though; I have become accustomed to these conveniences so that not having them just feels strange. Maybe it’s okay to rely on these things because they are so cool. What I think to leave you with during this unexpected posts is that if there is a will there is a way so there are really no excuses unless you really have put yourself out there and tried everything… or maybe that’s the lack of internet talking.

Clench.

I feel tense, my whole body feels as though it is still holding on to stress from this application season.  Most of what I need to do is behind me, but I don’t have the feeling of being complete or relaxed. I am stuck holding everything rigid, like a ghost is still there haunting me.

This feeling is like when I used to ride my motorcycle long distances through traffic.  Though it looks like motorcycles taking it easy and passing between cars it just the opposite, during traffic we are most tense. Going in between cars we have to watch for any little indicator of a potential of trouble that is to say it’s hard being invisible when there thousand pound vehicles that wouldn’t think twice to roll over you. It’s after these especially tense trips that I feel it. I would peel my hands off the handlebars of my bike and no matter what I did it would still feel like I was there, riding between the cars.  

I’m trying to let go, relax and feel alright, but I feel like this will be a process of recovery.  I have been going non-stop since the beginning of summer culminating to these past couple weeks.  My body doesn’t even know what to do now that the stress is technically over.  

Maybe I’ll take it easy, but not likely, I am sure after a couple days that feeling of needing to work will come over me again. I just hope that by the time that comes, I will be okay again.

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.

A little bit of failure.

IMG_3458

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.

 

Inside Pandora’s Box

IMG_0011

I’ve always been fascinated with ancient myths and legends, not just for their tales of magic and adventure but with each myth comes with it a belief about how we see humanity and human nature. Tales of valor and weakness, people, overcoming challenges and succumbing to temptation highlight these beliefs. These stories really give us insight in the best and worst of us and what we believe humans are ultimately capable of. I’ve been thinking about them a lot recently, but each time I do I seem to always come back to the story of Pandora’s box.  The story, for the most part, is meant to explain all the evil and terrible things in the world and why humanity is expected to struggle against these terrible evils.  In thinking though, the story shows us something else entirely, the only thing we have to push forward.  Without it, we have been lost long ago.

You see, Pandora herself was created by Zeus as recompense for Prometheus giving humanity the power of fire. The gods were angry that humans could wield this awesome power customarily reserved just for the greater beings that Zeus had a box forged and placed within it all the evils that humanity had never known. The like the evils of war, discord, famine, and sickness.  Zeus gave this box to his new human creation and sent her out into the world with only one command “Never open the box.”  Being human, she was naturally curious, but a while she left the box alone, even at some point burying it in the ground. Day after day, she found herself thinking about the box, “What was inside?” she wondered. That’s when she found herself, overcome with a single desire to uncover this great mystery that was shrouded inside.  She unlatched the box and opened it up to discover she set free all these great evils to forever torment humanity.  Before all of the evils were released, she slammed closed the box saving humanity from the greatest of these evils, total despair – the opposite of hope.

The reason I like this story so much it that it speaks to this belief we have, that as long as we have hope, not all is lost.  I mean sure, I would love not to get sick, or to have arguments, but the one thing that pushes us forward is that belief that things can be better, that a better outcome can come to us if we persist.  Sometimes this hope is misleading or causes us to behave naively, but ultimately it allows us to see a future that is better than the past.  It allows us to see a tragedy in a new light,  to implement change and not accept things as they are. Where there is evil, we have hope, and hope is the catalyst for the change we need to make this world a better place. Without hope, we are nothing.

The reason I keep coming to this story is that I’ve been running a study for my thesis, one I really love and want to work. But pilot study after pilot study, I can’t seem to make my paradigm do what it needs to.   Some sort of unpredictable element exists within it, and I simply don’t understand yet what is keeping it from functioning properly.  I have hope though, that if I keep trying I will make this work, and have something serious to show for my efforts.  Even if I doesn’t, all I learn today will help me for tomorrow, as long as I am persistent enough something will happen.  I have hope and that’s what makes make me strong because I have hope I can keep pushing forward into the deep.

Stuck In A Daze Like Dream

IMGP2989

It’s when I push too hard that my body starts to deteriorate.  It takes what would normally be my fast-paced and busy lifestyle and grinds it to a halt.  It’s frustrating, but for current it’s a blessing.   It makes me take a second to reflect on all the trouble.

The is a lack of direction again, an unclear path unfolds before.  In this period of time, leading up the eventual application season again, I feel by far only prepared for the process, not prepared for where the process may lead. I search names, I search places but all that comes back is memories of years ago when the process brought me down and crushed me.  This trouble persists in part because of this inability to put a finger on exactly what I want to be doing for the next five years.  Sure, I want to spend it in a school, pursuing a degree in psychology and technology but that’s as far as that goes. This fuzzy outline with no tangible or actionable itinerary drives me mad in the middle of the night because it stirs confusion within me. If I can’t even put into words what I want to do, then how I am supposed to find someone who is doing it?

Second, as mentioned before in previous posts, I feel this futility in what I do.  My motivations, though initially pure are becoming clouded by a distinct lack of self-efficacy about the world I am about to enter.  Even with everything I am doing, I feel that it is all too little too late and that ultimately I will be passed up for someone much more capable than myself.  It’s hard because people believe in me but in my experience, this belief seems to not persist into action.  I want to make people proud but there is a fear that I will continue to come up short. I keep pushing, hoping that I will bring myself to the level  warranted by their belief, hoping to guide the way and show people that it was worth the effort, but I don’t know, I have to convince a room of strangers that I am worth investing in and the excuse of, well if you only got to know him really doesn’t cut it.

Lastly, I feel this pressure from above and below.  It’s more of jealousy that turned my eyes green.  I see people doing so many cool things and despise myself for not coming up with it first. I feel like I just a child in this great research game, playing with toys and trying to show others how cool the land of make-believe can be while others putting in the work and the time to really push the world forward.  Maybe I’m old enough to finally put away childish things, but it feels like I’ve clung to this conception of what I want that I don’t realize that no one really cares about it. Like I’ve been living in the sky but it’s the ones down on earth who are sending people to the moon.

I want to stop this.

I will stop this. Stop looking out in the world and seeing what I am missing within. No one is perfect and being like this has done more harm than good.  What I really need it eyes up. Looking forward to the future I want, instead of at the ground commenting on how close I am to always falling.  So if you’ve seen me recently fade in and out of dreaming it’s because of this, these feelings that attempting to bore holes in my heart. This process is revealing and the only thing I can say thank you for showing me my demons because now I can learn to make friends with them.

Mind Blank

IMGP4199

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.