Animated Change

wallup.netPhoto From: 5 Centimeters per second.

It was the 1980’s, a time of great change in music, movies, and media. You see, up to that point, this small art style coming out of Japan was starting to make headway with western audiences.  An older generation appreciating the art from the 50’s and 60’s huddled together at small expos and cons to collect as much of this foreign delicacy as they could. What they didn’t know is that a few short years this would all change, and change quickly.

The first change came fast, a new popular show called Sailor moon came out with a roar, bringing young girls flocking for more from animators across the sea. It was such a hit that the transition period between the old and the new felt more like a crash than a movement. Gradually as the 90’s pressed on Americans were introduced to a variety of styles, artists, genres, and stories never seen on home TVs.  These pieces of Anime as is was called presented new ideas and spun the idea of exactly what show could be like. Shows that weren’t afraid to tell a story where the hero dies at the end, where the send-off is bittersweet, and you’re forced to think about yourself and the world around you a little bit differently. Masters of their craft illuminate the halls of an art form that continues to shift and changes with each passing year. New stories are being told, new artforms being discovered, and new people finding this glorious cacophony of beautiful minutes shared across millions around the world.

Why am I telling you all this?

I discovered Anime a little over 12 years ago.  One night, sitting quietly in a room watching a marathon of a show I have never seen before got me hooked.  A show about a soul reaper and a boy with the power to see the dead.  It was easy enough to pick up, even read, and that’s saying something from a boy who never read.  It consumed me and held me it’s magical embrace, so when the opportunity arose I went to my first convention and I hadn’t looked back since. It has a staple of my early July, more regular than my schooling and in some way connects me to the craft I grew to love.

This year demarks my tenth year of going to Anime Expo, and something is different this time.  Year after year, as I’ve gotten older a little less comes with me each time enter those grand halls.
Sometimes it’s friends, I’ve seen my fair share move forward and on from the con.
Sometimes it shows, I’ll feel a little more out of touch with what people are excited about.
Recently it’s been the focus,  what everyone seems to want and buy there doesn’t interest me as much anymore.  It could be from the familiarity from many years attending but it all feels repetitive, distant.

It’s a combination of all these things that makes going back a little bit harder each year. This by no means is it a bad convention. It’s a great convention, with some growing pains but people still get excited about all the new and wonderful things they are experiencing. It’s just me, I’m changing, and my relationship to the fandom is different now.  Like an old man coming back to a schoolyard years after he graduated, it’s more reminiscent of times past than times present.  Things have changed, people have changed, places have changed as they should. It has to adapt to the people it’s still serving, long after we make use of it.  But is it my time to graduate, to move forward onto something new? It’s this conflict that weighs heavy in my heart. When I leave, it may not be forever, but if I ever return it will be different, for different reasons and a different me.

This fight with my personal obsolescence hits me because this con is part of me, my childhood and adolescence.  Giving it up means part of me has changed, that young kid inside though always with me is pushing me forward beyond him.  He’s telling me to let go and find my next adventure.  Let go and choose a new path beyond, whatever it may be. Live life with these memories as wings on my back, not as a tether around my neck.

It’s hard to give up and put away these things.  Truthfully, I will always read manga, and watch anime as its part of who I am now. But I have to pursue my next adventure.

Thank you Anime Expo, for all that you are. You helped introduce me to the heroes who showed me how to give it all I got, no matter the odds.

 

Time Slip

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The only wasted experience is one you don’t learn from.

I have been saying that to myself a lot lately, especially because of the constant chiming of “what is your purpose” keeps me thinking in during the quiet moments. It’s summer now, but an adult summer, where the illusion of more free time is in conflict with the persistent regular work schedule.  I have fallen prey to this belief, that since I am back in school, I would reclaim those precious summer moments that I adore.  This has lead to this drop in motivation and drive in the hopes of a chance to breathe from the incredulous amount of work required for this program. So what happens, time slips away from me as I meander through the day, hoping for lightning to strike and feel okay again.

So again, what is my purpose right now? What is it that will fuel me to walk up that hill over and over again like the Sisyphusian task it is.  The drive forward is like a marathon, the road stretches outward, and the mile markers are there but until I get close enough to see finish line my legs will still ache for home.

It feels like a promise from my past to my future self, one I know I will be thankful for keeping but ultimately my present self is doing all the work.  So I find myself, sitting, losing this time because my mind needs a break but needing to push forward to prove that I can do it. That my time here is worthwhile. That at the end of the day I have something to speak for.

That’s harder said than done.  Some mornings I wake up in a daze, as if I have pushed to the end and my mind is empty. I can’t do anything at all because everything just seems too distracting.  I sit in my chair, the empty keyboard taunting me, hoping and praying that my fingers find the key and I can keep moving forward.

I’m slipping through time, losing it as a move forward. I need it though because time is the only thing that will save me from this era of discontent. What will I learn from this, and will it all be worth it?

Brothers and Sisters

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I am by no means an only child, my parents saw fit to provide me with a sibling from before I was even born, such forethought was reconsidered each and every time my sister and I would fight.  I have been fortunate enough to have many siblings, one by blood, two by law, and all others through experience. I am by no means an only child, I don’t think it suits me.

When I was young, prepubescent. I developed a desire to be left alone most of the time.  I wanted to leave this world and go to another because this one was painful and hard.  It had felt like I had already messed up and I wasn’t good enough to do be special.  It’s a hard thing, special because everyone wants to be it, but only in the way that’s popular or right.  So I spent time trying to create this image (with little success) to aspire to be something I was not, and that’s where siblings burst in. You see siblings are there to keep your head from getting too big or save you from smoothing out all the edges of your personality.  To keep you real, even when that’s the furthest from what you want to be. I think a lot of us have this type of experience with our siblings. We hate listening to them when we know they are right, we fight them over the stupidest things, know how to get under each other’s skin.  But all part of the process of growing up, a kind of practice for the real world with people who are willing to stand up for you because deep down you respect them.

I’m lucky though, aside from the ones tied to me, I have friends who are willing to set me straight. Keep me real, be there when I need them to be.  They are my family too because they are people I would give my life for if they needed it.  They are part of my life regardless of how long it takes between phone calls because they know we will always be there for them.

I know this isn’t deep, or as long as my usual musings but I wanted to take a moment to appreciate all those people in my life I feel like are family. My brothers and sisters who always have my back, thank you. And to my sister, know I appreciate what you have done even when you are fighting for a relationship with your resistant little brother.

Word Bleed

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I talk. I talk too much. This habit of mine of continuing to fill the air with mindlessness is killing me. I don’t know how to stop, all I want to do is listen, but I can’t help myself, I just talk and talk.

It’s getting worse, and I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s lack of sleep or nerves.  This is becoming a bad habit, one I want to break before it even it even starts.  It doesn’t help that I regain this composure in the middle of conversations, too late, even as I try to backtrack the words keep coming, and I can’t stop them from spilling out

It’s not like word vomit, it’s not something I am shoving down within me coming back up, it feels like words bleeding past my lips. An open wound with no bandage spilling from within to without onto the world.  This blood of words revealing everything wrong and inadequate about myself, slowly exposing more with every drop. These words falling meaninglessly onto the floor along with my being, answering questions nobody asks and reporting things people don’t want to know.

I’m starting to feel like all the random facts I accumulated in my head is just a means to cope with this excessiveness.  To always have something to say in even the most obscure situations. But what does that say about me, that  I need to speak, am I afraid of the silence, or am worried at what the silence might reveal, that I am just a man with a dream that he doesn’t feel good enough for.

With each word, I lose a little of that calm demeanor, class, and poise. I shed off these preconceptions hoping that what is left is something worthwhile. Sometimes I just want to stay quiet, slink back and let the silence rest upon me for a while.  Maybe things would change then, maybe people will see something more without the discord. All I want is freedom from this feeling so I can be alright with who I am inside let my actions shine brighter.

How do I stop this bleeding? How do I stop these word’s from pouring out, how do I keep these words from spilling from my lips?

Why do I even speak in the first place?

Graduating Sweet

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May through June many eager students finish their credits and classes to finally break free the holds of a school and receive a diploma verifying their achievements and training that they spent years trying to obtain.  It’s a very happy time, though can be bittersweet because in it’s nature it represents an inevitable change in the world for a great many people.

This was how this year’s graduation felt, bittersweet. Never have I ever been so invested in the wellbeing of my upperclassmen as I have this past year.  I have been to a great many graduations, but this one was a send-off to many people who I have spoken to, connected to, and love. I sat there thinking about this as one after one, each of my friends got up to be honored for their great achievements of which they all should be extremely proud.  For a moment sitting there, I want them all to just stick around, for nothing to change, for next week just to be next week and not a path to something new.

I’m not an emotional person, I am extremely passionate but I am not one to tear up during these events. Why should I? I am so happy for these people to move forward with their lives, to find their new adventures and get on with their journeys. We still have our memories together right, they won’t forget these times together.  Yeah sure, a couple months or years from now they might get busy but it won’t change our relationship, regardless of how much longer it takes them to reply. They will all be meeting new people, learning new things, and being great in their own way and staying will only hold them back, and they need to fly in their own way because there so much for them in the skies ahead.

Maybe it hasn’t hit me yet, and if it hasn’t it won’t for a while. Probably not until after everything settles down and I recognize how much I have gotten used to their presence. Maybe after not being able to hear their laugh in the hall,  or being able to wander into the lab and talk about some far off idea, Maybe after starting to miss these strange conversations we would have, and missing the familiar faces I no longer see. I will miss them all in their own ways because they all mattered to me.

I am lucky, during graduation sat next to my friends who I have spent the last year with, working, growing, and laughing together. I will have them this next year as this stressful program continues to push us to the moment we are standing on stage graduating together. I am happy I still have them with me because if everyone left, I don’t know what I would do.

We will all see each other again, but my hope is when it comes time and I get up on that stage, that I am at least half as great as any of my friends I saw graduating today.

3 Year Research Aniversary

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I didn’t realize until notified by Facebook that three years ago today I presented my first academic poster.  Interestingly enough, today was also the first time I gave a research talk in front of an audience.  The strange part is the difference between who I was back then, and who I am now.  It was a world of change, and the journey is the most interesting part.

I was in my final year of my undergrad, conducting my own research project under the tutelage of a professor who gave me the opportunity to work for them.  There I was, at the culmination of a year’s worth of work, standing in front of a poster, presenting all that could. The time I spent, over and over crafting that paper and ink was extreme. I wanted it to be the best thing it could be. I had undercut myself, didn’t think big.  I did a poster, and yet through it all was unsatisfied because it felt like it wasn’t enough.

I’m here now, having gone through this journey and come out the other side realizing that I didn’t do enough. I didn’t strive hard enough, like a chicken with its head cut off, I didn’t know which way was up or down, just that I needed to keep moving. I am a man fortunate enough to have second chances and recognize when I have the opportunity to correct something. To do more than I thought I could before.

But today I gave a talk and though I still feel that hunger from wanting to do more, I know where my next step is, and where to put in the effort. Today is like the second chance, a change and proof of growth.  I like the sound of that.

A Thousands Not Enough

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It’s like drugs I think, working towards something you love.  Each and every day I feel consumed by it, consumed by wanting it, always pushing for it. From dawn til dusk and from dusk til dawn  I work or think about working all the time which I know isn’t the most balanced way to live but if I wanted a balanced life I wouldn’t have chosen academia as a goal.  But it reminds me of a saying from high school when they made us do drug prevention education.  One’s too much, a thousand not enough.

It’s hard sometimes because it always feels like I’m behind. When I am sitting alone with my thoughts, it comes up. I should be productive right now, the better me would be productive.  My imagined competition doesn’t have these problems or worries, they simply work.  They are a machine and by the time we both apply, their long grocery list of accomplishments dwarfs the lines on my applications I managed to throw together. These thoughts have started to peek into my normal life, my social life, my relaxation.

I know I should keep many of these things in life separate, but I can’t, or more like I won’t.  It flows through me, and in some ways is me. To be so intertwined is ultimately detrimental for my wellbeing, for I will live and die in this small world that has no reason or recourse to reciprocate my feelings.  It’s a dangerous thing, dreaming, not because of what happens when you’re doing it but what happens after you wake up.  So I must tear myself away from it kicking and screaming, enjoy the world around me while it lasts, invest in other things knowing full well that each moment I spend away is a moment deprived from my goal.  I should think of it as an investment, it’s always good to diversify my portfolio, but I found the one thing I want to be the best at, so it’s hard to pull away from feeding this monster.

I have to turn off at some point. Let go and drift for a while to rest. Other people deserve my attention, and I should give it to them.  It’s what they deserve, and it’s with them that I will make it through.

These restless moments, this forlorn daydreaming keeps me going and pushing forward into the day where everything is always slightly out of reach.

The Long Straight Ahead

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Here I am, driving along this desert road with the smooth rumble of the wheels under my car along a highway acts as a lullaby.  Miles in each direction there is nothing but open expanse.  Hours ago I saw those lights slunk away, the views of my previous life. Now it’s just me and this road in the darkness. I want to squeeze down on the gas, speed towards where I am going, I feel stuck on this road, and it feels regardless of how fast I am going, I won’t make it to my destination any quicker. I know the roads and streets at my destination aren’t going anywhere. I want to see the lights out on the horizon before the lights go out. I want to look at the lights before the sun comes up and washes out the night.

I’ve been getting really excited recently, about my future. The science fiction of my childhood is finally becoming a reality.  The problem I am having is that I want part of that future. I want one of the hands who help shape it.  Each moment that passes by it feels like I am missing out on being able to dive head first into the water and make waves.  My journey is still has a long way to go.  Probably about 6 years before I start to have a little more control over my destiny.  I work at it every day, and yet I want to be there already.

I mean I’m nervous for the next transition, and maybe it is the instability of not knowing where the next step of my future will be.  The next couple months feel like that will help put on the correct path for my future and that weight bearing down on me is starting to crack me.  It’s hard because it’s all about chasing the right opportunities.  Go down this path but avoid that other one.  Make sure to do this, but also do that. It’s so confusing, and even though I’m supposed to be on a track, it feels more like climbing a tree.  With each limb I grab onto will change the next branch I can reach.  Hopefully, when push comes to shove, I will be tall enough to bridge the gap between branches.

It’s easy to forget that the journey makes the destination worthwhile. I need to take a second and evaluate my journey because I am so focused on this next point that I do not see the world around me. I need to breathe. I need to enjoy the endless road ahead because if I don’t, I’ll never make it to my destination and know to keep moving. The world is an endless adventure and the sun will rise soon enough, I don’t need to rush it.

Recharge

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I think people believe that I can be around people all day. Not an unsubstantiated belief because for most of the day, you will find me around and talking to others.  I do though run out of steam, and in those moments I need to draw back and fold into myself.

I’ve just been feeling tired lately, and it’s not just because of the atrocious sleeping schedule that I have adopted but because I haven’t had that time to recharge and be by myself.  I haven’t made this time and with the coming and going of projects and events the last day I had to myself was over a month ago.  I have a high tolerance, but eventually, I do run out of steam. This is a massive problem because it causes me to fall behind, not be involved like I could. I am not able to give 100% because my batteries are only partially recharged. So my health, my work, and those around me I need this time to just be me. There are only so many days that I can follow this intense routine before the routine itself starts to break down, and I start to resent all that holds me together

 

What do I do, write, read, sleep, nothing really spectacular. Sometimes I watch shows, but there is a hesitation because what if I get too involved. I used to play video games, but with my schedule, I am worried I will become too immersed in it.  It’s almost not fair or healthy that I keep giving these things up for my degree.  What I do narrows, to the point where I find myself staring out of windows, losing myself in the horizon.  I know it’s about balance, but I have to do what I can to survive.

This though presupposes a problem.  That what I doing, resisting these urges to play will ultimately catch up to me.  It’s like when the people in your life make you choose between two things that you love, even though you will still end up with what you want, the cost of the other weights down on your decision.  If you do this enough, it will eat away at you, just like it’s starting to eat away at me.  To the point where I get so drained that my mind can’t move forward unless I stop.

I need these moments because they are like precious nutrients to keep my days from becoming carbon copies of each other.  To keep me inspired and moving forward. I had a day earlier this week that I got these nutrients, and the whole next day it felt like I was on top of the world.  It didn’t last long, that night I had to spend my night working long hours to get my work done. This day gave me something though, hope. Hope for what could be if I figure this thing out.  So like the scientist I aspire to be, I will test this, and make it work.  Find out where I can recharge these batteries so when the time comes, I will have the energy to be the all of me that I want to be.

 

Meta Self Contemplation

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I started this blog a long time ago with the intended purpose to think and put into writing aspects of my life.  It was always something I had wanted to do, keep a record of things as I go from place to place.  The record of my life as it is for both people to read and to go back on to find the steps I have taken on this journey. The motivation came from different sources, the deterioration of my personal relationships, the darkening of my outlook, my desire to change and be open with the world.  It has been what fueled me, but I have fallen short of my goals in some ways, though I keep at it, hoping to find the light out in the darkness.

I write because I like to write and think about my life.  It’s what I am good at, or at least thats what people tell me. I have been thinking about my life since I began to think, always wondering if those insignificant moments that pass me by would mean anything to me, if the person who lived through those moments would be remembered or evaporate like the morning dew from the onset of the heat of the day. I have largely kept these thoughts a secret,  for the scars on my heart seal up words within as a way to protect my being from the onslaught of unwanted spotlights.

This perspective changed though in my recollection of a midnight reflection, suffering in the silence over the lady I loved.  I sat there under the starlight in the quiet stillness of the early hours breaking down, unable or maybe unwilling to change.  I needed to do something, both for myself and for those around me, I needed to win and break out of this tumultuous cycle of inability.  So what did I do, the last thing most people would think I would do, write. I wrote because I could. I wrote because needed to. I wrote because every ounce of my being told me to.

So I fought towards the light, and though I lost much, I learned a lot.  In this journey, I ripped and sewed together pieces of myself in the hopes of righting all that I am, so in the future, I could walk taller than I did that day.  Each word I wrote was a struggle, years of grammatical challenges don’t bode well for self-confidence. But here I am and here I think, I have I really laid myself bare upon the page? Have really reconstructed myself from within.  Old problems still arise and each time I am given an opportunity to change, and truth be told, I fail more than I would like but I keep walking.

What is the point of this message then, what have I learned.  I have talked about being open and honest and yet at the keys I avoid or soften these truths about myself in fear and loathing, in pride and “protection”.  I know this keeps me from truth, and liberty of these thoughts and feelings.  It keeps me from really pouring my heart onto a page.  You can’t filter out your soul and expect people to feel it.

I will change that though, now:

I am a mixture of self-confident, and self-depreciating, never letting me fly too high because I am worried about the fall, but also crushed when I miss my opportunity in be in the sky
I am afraid of my scars and memories, I flinch when coming across old moments and triggers. I reminds me of who I was and I fear if I stay to long I will return to this powerless younger self. I spend time moving through to heal but I still feel the marks on my soul.
I try to be a good friend and family member, and it is a work in progress. Years of trying to distance yourself from other people has that affect on you.
I love from the bottom of my heart everyone one in my life.  I could be from the shattered self-esteem of my youth but in growing into who I am has taught me to appreciate those moments I have with other people because in my eyes they are you are your own personal miracle.
I am bad at telling people how I feel about them.
I just want to help people, know what it’s like to suffer and struggle, know you are not alone and I am here to give what I can.
I am bad at asking for help.
I am afraid I am not enough great things, that I am destined for mediocrity.
Whenever I think I am smart, the universe seems to want to remind me that I am not as smart as I think I am.
I have been through major depression twice in my life.
I have been through major depression twice in my life.
For a long time, I was afraid to love because of a worry that it will never be as deep and full as the love I had before.
I don’t understand why people like more or want to be around me.
I don’t believe people when they tell me I look nice.
I honestly just like being a nice person, no strings attached.
I sincerely believe that anyone is capable of pretty much anything, the bad, and the great alike, you just need to find your way of doing it.
I am religious (Catholic), and I don’t really know why I just like it and I am still trying to figure it out.
I like to learn about politics and listen to new opinions, but to be honest, I think most of what people are saying is kinda stupid, nothing is black and white and yet most of politics treats the world that way.
I believe most people want to do good out there in the world and are innately good.
I do have common sense.
I want to be one of the great minds of the twenty-first century.
My greatest fear is to be forgotten.

In laying this out, I hope to clear this veneer that lays between me and my thoughts.  I want to be better, so I will do it, one step at a time.