AutoCorrect

 

 

It’s both a strength and a weakness, to look inside oneself and continually tinker with what is found inside. That is because we will never find satiation with whatever configuration we end up on, just a slow and arduous process of trying to make myself more resilient, more efficient, and generally better as a result of continually opening myself to self-improvement and critique, at times though feeling like I need to scrap the whole thing.

It brings up to a couple issues though, continuing to be malleable does lend itself to being able to adapt and change based on my needs for the moment and knowledge I’ve managed to ascertain, still, it doesn’t allow for a strict continuity of self. This leads to problems of identity down the line as I have a hard time knowing who I am, and what exactly makes me… me.

It’s a great question which can’t be answered simply.

As a psychologist, I have to concede these external factors that we constantly contend with will continually contour who we are to ultimately are. There is a sense of automaticity to it, an unknown force that will pull strings to move our arms and legs, leaving us only to make sense of what we’ve done only after we have done it. We defend it so harshly only to come to find no rhyme or reason for our actions or why we spent so much time defending it so fervently.

I found myself here, looking back at my actions, my words as I was dead tired listening to someone else speak. It was the culmination of many conversations that I have had part of in preceding months that surfaced finally in my brain. Moments before I could not tell you what that person was talking about, but everything began to resonate as the words they spoke on a topic I was only half interested became the most engrossing thing in the world. Not for what they were saying but simply because, for that moment, I had a realization about myself, my action, and my history.

I have too many of these moments, which downplays the vibrant and special nature of them. My whole life had come into crystal clear clarity, and moments in memory were highlighting like beaconing these behaviors that I have been doing my whole life. It’s when I finally can see through the fog and smoke that I  understand a new perspective, get away from myself for a moment, and look critically at my actions. It’s taking in that new perspective and see myself and the world from a different place. It feels like expanding.

It’s about choice at the end of the day, to be able to choose which parts of myself to keep and which ones to tinker away. Finding the bright parts of my parents, my friends, and my role models within myself, and taking those unsavory bits and tinker them away into something so much better. I am not perfect but I continue to be better and that quality that makes me, me. The eternal striving.

It’s a pursuit of greater space that I find also the answer to this continuity question with the ever-changing self. I do not matter where their piece of me comes, only that I make them my own as I have them. To move away from the autocorrection in my nature to something much more deliberate in craft and character. To build myself so when the machine runs, it runs smoothly and in the right way.  It’s wanting to move away from allowing things to happen and making them happen. To cut the strings and move on my own, even if automatically, to know it was a choice.

That what it comes down to, that my autocorrect is at least speaking the same language as me, so when I do find fault I know it’s me and not someone else.

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.

Road To Recovery: A Reflection On Broken Streets and Highways

It seems as I get older, I have more anniversaries filling up the calendar. More days that have taken on some sort of meaning or symbolism. Deaths, birthdays, marriages, and breakups. All these things begin to fill these seemingly arbitrary dates of the year with represent a life lived.

The reason I think about this is that I’ve been acutely aware of the anniversary of the day I found my self laid out on the concrete. Of the moment I ended up learning more than I wanted to about the processes of our medical system and what it means to be hurt. It’s been almost a year since those moments carved scars onto my body and brain, placed metal on my bones, and began the process of making memories of pain and resilience.

This is what an anniversary means to me, a quiet time to reflect the advancement of a moment in my life that shines out like a beacon on a dark night. A way to categorize and quantify change and progress.  It’s unfortunate that most of these anniversaries are ultimately painted in dark and moody colors. Though that’s what makes the reflection of a spring renewed so stark in its differences.

I learned a lot from all of this. I’ve grown and changed from the experience that no one would readily ask for. My body is healed and moving better than before. My mind has recovered slowly but surely.  It’s through all of the pain that I sitting here, directing my life a new and different way. I now know something that most I hope would never get the chance to know. I was lucky to learn it in a way that didn’t leave me more broken. I find myself thankful for the moments that came after that accident, as they reaffirmed and reformed some fundamental beliefs I had and would have carried with me through all of my days.

It’s in this recollection, this moment in silent thought, that I can appreciate the moments that I now have and experiences that have come from it. It’s been a year away from twisted metal, smells of prosperous, glass, metal, and concrete. I am thankful to have the opportunity to have an anniversary because it ended up not being the end but just the beginning.

A Partially Quantified Life: (Hawthorne) Effecting Myself

 

The journey of self-improvement leads me to this, a task is given then expanded, accountability beyond refutability, what I have begun to do is track, and quantify as many moments of my life as possible.

In the 20th century, with psychology in its infancy so much wanted to be learned about the world and the workforce. Factories and manual labor were at an all-time high and factory owners and managers wanted to boost the efficiency of their workers to maximize the bottom line. Thus began a series of studies to monitor and record how much time it took for workers to complete certain tasks in telephone equipment production facilities. A strange thing occurred though, as the workers were being recorded by these new researchers their productivity went up. Initially thought to be the result of changes in the lighting conditions but when the researchers left so did this new boost in productivity. By simply recording what the workers were doing they become more productive. This was phenomenon was eventually named the Hawthorne Effect.

XXX years late I found myself speaking with my mentor about productivity. The conversation started as he wanted me to start tracking how much time a week I spend working on research as a mechanism to ramp up the productivity in the lab. Now through my struggles as of late it donned on me that I could even take this a step further.  I could track my whole life and how I spend my time to see where my inefficiencies are and why it seems that I can spend hours at work but never get done as much as I would like. Where were these distractions coming from, what was keeping me from fulfilling my purpose? Was I really doing as much as I thought I was doing in the first place?

Information is my tool, my mechanism for work and play but without data, I have no place to start and nothing to learn. I think we all feel that way, we seek out patterns in ourselves and others to understand our world and figure out what makes us happy (or at least figure out what keeps us from hurting). It’s in the investigation of those patterns that we come to a certain truth of which way to live optimally.  I’ve heard about life tracking before but never took the step to actually step into the void and allow myself to see the potentially uncomfortable truth about my life. I’ve been told doing this is akin to eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, that I will become aware myself and the unsettling prospect of hours of my life I’ve been wasting. Of course, that is a bit hyperbolic but imagine the insight about these ugly moments of our lives we spend letting us by, making ourselves accountable to them. Those moments we spend scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter knowing full well that we shouldn’t be. Taking all those moments we take to watch, read, work, and play and putting them on a calendar for everyone to see.

These might be extreme measures in some regard as it requires a lot of extra effort to continue to plug away the activities in my life as they are happening but for the potential results I can put up with the extra unease and effort. My hope is that I can be both the researcher and worker in this situation, watching over myself so that I too can increase my productivity. See where I have time and where I don’t.  It will be a learning process but it’s the step I need to take to understand where I can be better. It’s another gaze into the mirror but one I hope will do me some good.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

A Warm Umbridaled Feeling Of Nothing

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It was a memory the spurred this conversation with myself.  A memory fished from far back in my brain, when coping with the disaster of my life led a realization of myself, a realization that still holds true today

It’s a paradox, rationalized over many years, I have a resistance to people touching me and a yearning to be touched.

I think this became apparent in middle school when I was still a very weird kid – wearing jackets into the heat of California summers. If you asked why a kid would do something like that would probably put on some bravado about being able to withstand the heat.  I liked the warmth, the cloth wrapping my body in a gentle embrace, reflecting the heat I generated back at me. In some way, it felt like being held, being saved from the world and all its evils. It was a proxy for touch, a segregate for being hugged, not that I didn’t get attention from my parents but I just became so wrapped up in these walls I built so high that I wanted someone to come in and break them down.

I don’t know what would have changed someone had intervened at that stage but even to this point, you’ll hardly ever see me wearing shorts as they make me feel uncomfortable. I love touch though, at least from the people I feel comfortable enough to touch me. Almost to the point of fetishism, I obsess over it, derive so much meaning out of it, to the point that the meaning becomes so distorted that it doesn’t even resemble the intention behind it.

What does touch feel like to me?  Well if done right, it feels like the moment of creation, where everything comes into being and life is born.  It feels like a transference of soul and sharing of self. Like spring of sweet serenity that washes over me. It’s so singular and yet so poignant, so particularly focused on the beauty of the moment that lasts forever and yet dissipates so quickly. With these feelings so concentrated on the experience of touch, touches that are unwelcome become equally horrendous to an experience.

I am not saying these things are good, I know they are not but it’s where I am at.  With that realization years ago, about the sensitivity of being in my own skin, I found that I needed to change. Acclimate to a space where I don’t place so much emphasis on touch and being touched. I have made progress but have yet to solve the problem.

I am sure in the future I will come much closer to my goal, but for now, I will appreciate that magic touch can bring and use all my strength to make the miraculous ultimately mundane.

Aimless

 

 

There has been this growing feeling of unease inside me, these past couple months have felt different than all those years before.  Something has shifted, aside from the accident and the mourning, it feels like something is missing.  This precious fuel source that drove me wild with want and need after all these years seemed to just dissipate after the accident.  Like ease or contentment has made me run on empty, slowed down my gears, made it feel like the tin man whose run out of oil, frozen. I had started to believe it was all because of these changes, but I realize there is something more going on.

Like a person in a field told to throw a ball at a target he can’t see, how can you possibly move forward in a meaningful way if you don’t know where you’re going? I realized recently that I’ve spent so much time on the goal of getting into a Ph.D. program that now that I am there, I have felt a bit aimless. I mean other than the small goals I have what else is driving me forward?

I need to reassess where I am and what I am doing. I have other wants and dreams, but they are much less clear to me. Like my desire to become a professor at a university and do research, but what type of university and where? Or how I want my life to look like after these five short and long years.

With no clear direction, how can I shoot for what I want?

I’ve spent time meditating over this, this idea of what I want and need out of life.  I asked the world to give me something reflect on, to show me the path and listened. Through my experiences, I was given the answer I was looking for.

First, I listened to a man speak about teaching, with much wonder and zeal.  He spoke of giving kids a chance to learn, believing in their ability to become greater than what they initially thought. That resonated with me, gave me a piece of that want I was so looking for.

Second I found myself to words of those around me speaking out about all these opportunities to work beyond the walls of research and educations. The ability to have rhythm and rhyme set by a schedule every day of the week.  These words tied knots in my stomach making me realize that a least, for now, it was not for me.

Lastly, I found myself talking so pleasantly with others about all these questions we still have left in the world, and I become excited and energized about the possibility of answering them. Finding those truths that will enlighten those who need them has always been the thing that empowers me most.

In the end, I did not come away with a clear goal but at least an idea of what I want.

I want to work in academia, researching people and technology. I want to get the chance to teach the next generation and give my passion for the subject to all those who listen. I want to be able to live life flexibly, throwing myself into my project with no time or place needed to contain me.

I wrote smaller goals to myself in place I will always be reminded, knowing full well things will change as time goes on, but for now I have a direction. A target. A place that all the world wants me to go.

And So It Begins – The Golden Boy, Now Stateless

Just as a digression before I begin. A few years ago (when I was going through the Ph.D. interview process for the first time) there was a prospect of me moving to Dallas to attend school.  Though this opportunity didn’t end up bearing fruit there was a beautiful thought of being able to name a series of blog posts – The Golden Body in The Lone Star State – which other than being descriptive of both where I’ve been (growing up in California, and it being the Golden State) and where I was going (Texas is the Lone Star State) would have been a catchy title for process of moving away from home and being in a lonely state of mind.  Though reality ultimately it turned out for the better I did hope that wherever state I ended up in had a nice nickname to make a catch title. Low and behold I went to the one place in the United States that doesn’t have a state nickname… because it’s not a state at all, Washington D.C.  Maybe it was the world’s way of telling me that I need to try a bit harder on the naming scheme, but as it stands now, I’m Stateless.


 

 

I’ve been here for almost a month now, trying to find a home in a new place. Transforming these open spaces into homelike traces wanting so much to find where I belong.

All new things take time, the question is how much time should I take.  It’s easy of course when you have a place you’ve established, it’s easy when the reality is that you are only so far away. Everything is so new, and so different but walks around with the false facsimile of something familiar. You know, it’s a lot of effort to have the chance to find where I could possible stand. It has caused me to lay awake at night, unable to find a comfortable place to lay my head, yearning so much for what I’ve known. There is no break from that reality for me, I am here, and they are there. With thousands of miles of land between us, there is no illusion like there is with the sea, that you might just be there on the other side of the waves. Though we can edge that distance, the truth is that you or I can’t cross it completely.

It’s trying to find that place that is comfortable, which is hard for someone who at times doesn’t even like his own skin.  It was easier last time, I had a group of people that I was thrust into on an extremely regular basis, a community already established, and a community of many who wanted to connect just as much as I. Joined by as shared vision brought on by this beautifully temporary space, connecting not only in dream but in heart.

I didn’t need to prove anything to them, I came in with a much-warranted humility that I need to start from scratch. Start building up from where I was, though experiences not learned. I think my two years have given me a slight complex about wanting to show I’ve learned, to prove that I know, and to know that I am respected.  Respect takes time, it’s not handed out like candy but built like cake. Layer by layer. It’s partially because I’m scared that I use this knowledge to defend myself, to make it seem like I am competent and confident when in reality, I don’t know what the next step it. I’m shaking inside, retreating into my head, thankfully I’ve made friends there since last time, so it isn’t too detrimental.

It’s lonesome, though. I thrive when I am known, and here nobody knows me. I can’t say it’s all that bad, people are friendly here, living their lives to the fullest. Going from place to place with a mission and purpose, and all I’m trying to do is find where I fit in all this. Of course, if I would stop thinking and just do, then I would eliminate most of my troubles. If I were to reach out, and make reality what I want it to be, then I wouldn’t have this problem.  I need not regress to this shy person I was before, the one who didn’t know up from down and didn’t understand anyone including himself. Maybe it’s premature for all this talk now, but it’s hard not to the I’ve awake at night wondering where everyone else in the world is.

It’s a bit troubling, but I have to be resilient to myself. Now is the perfect time to become who I want to be and stand firm who I have been.  It’s that belief in myself that I need to renew and learn to power forward. If I am true to myself, then people will naturally gather. There will be some bumps on the road, but this is an excellent chance to reaffirm what I know and grow even more.

I can’t say it’s been easy, but who really want life to be easy. It’s too dull that way anyways.