March Towards Matriculations – Ninth March – A Stumble With The Starter Pistol

“Not as I imagined it” is what I thought getting on the plane to fly to my new home “This isn’t exactly as picturesque as it is in the movies.”

The morning was rough, waking up to the question “Hey, it’s 6am, aren’t we suppose to already be at the airport?”.  From that moment forward, my body was tensed, my head went into a panic, and I moved as faster than I even knew I could. Grabbing everything I could think of and shoving them into the last bag as my sister started carrying my suitcases out to the car.  It wasn’t supposed to be this way, sure I knew would have been sleep deprived, but by the time I was on the road to the airport, my whole body felt like acid was poured my muscles as the tenseness tore at my soul. Thankfully, I had gotten there at the right moment, any later and I would have missed my flight. It’s an unusual thing when they are calling your name over the intercom, and from my youth of running away from my mother in the store, I knew it is never a good thing. But I did it, got on my plane with my last moments of home being a brief glance into the beautiful California Sunrise before entering the plane and taking off.

You might ask, why did this happen? Well, I have been spending the last several weeks trying to meet and hang out with as many people as possible.  Pressing every last ounce of these experiences, I can’t readily export to my new home into my memory, hoping I store enough of it up to give me strength in my journey across the country. This all culminated in a party last night, where people from all across the different stages of my life convened for the first time. People from childhood, high school, college, and graduate school all showed up and mingled. It’s hard playing host to these events because I want to spend so much time with each an every one of them, but my attention is split and torn between all conversations and friend circled around. It was nice though to see the common thread between all of them. They are just good people. People who are fun to be around, who love stories and conversation. Who are polite but opinionated. Who are delightful, intelligent, and capable in their own ways.

As you might understand, if I have all these great people around me, I would never want the night to end. So it went on, but as the clocked ticked by slowly each and every one of them trickled out of the party, going home to their soft comfortable beds. I could have called it earlier, my alarm was to be set for 4:30am regardless of what time I went to bed, but I didn’t. How am I suppose to say no to being with all these people in my life whom I love?  It was almost scripted, each person leaving one after the other, giving me time to say goodbye to each one of them individually. It was sad, but I love them, and part of them will always be with me. Promises I intend to keep were made, but one thing was for sure, something was at its end.

I think that’s why getting to the house I am going to be living in the next year was so hard. Everything finally became real. This hiatus on my emotions dealing with this change have finally begun to move again. Pardon my French, but this scared the shit out of me. I had this feeling before, when before I chose not to leave for San Jose State right out of high school. This impending doom that feels like someone has their hand wrapped tightly around my heart. A tenseness that feels like life itself is trying to squeeze the years out of me. It’s an anxiety that took me aback as I was setting things up in my new home. Even with this feeling of wanting to run back home, I know I must live here and face it. This is because the possibilities moving forward are too great to pass up without eternal regret following me. Tomorrow will be easier, and same with the next, I just have to get through it.

But it’s important to remember, I am not going to be gone forever, just for a little while. Well, for 5 years actually. I’m not dying though, and since I can’t imagine the people I love not being in my life, I will continue forward any way I know how. It will be a lot of effort, but I’m a hard worker and expending effort it what I do. Though it was a rough start to this grand adventure, doesn’t mean I won’t get through the race. I will keep moving forward with the strength of those around me like the wind at my back. I am greedy so I will keep those friends whom I have while trying to make more.

It’s not goodbye forever, just goodbye for now. There are more memories to be made, and more people to meet, but I’m glad I at least had these final moments with my friends and family up until the very end.

March Towards Matriculation: Eight March – Behind The Starting Line

 

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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 Towards Matriculation: Seventh March – Numbered Steps

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Numbered days and long nights, I push forward trying to squeeze in what I can into these finite moments before I leave. Things are real now, wanting me to act soon, start to pack away the memory of these two years I’ve accumulated that have manifested themselves into physical objects on my desk.  I don’t know where to start, not because I haven’t moved before but my heart wishes that I could pack up things up so subtly that I don’t even notice the boxes piling up in my room.

I delay, find a distraction, like a child foolheartedly trying to keep their parents from knowing its time for them to go to bed. Time will come eventually and me shying away from this only takes away from the time I could utilize for other things. I keep a careful watch on the time because it seems to be sprinting from me, losing minutes, hours, and even days to the ever-increasing current that is my departure.

I’ve been busy, making my steps count in a way that both tires me out and uplifts me at the same time. I’ve been fortunate in having the opportunity to see those around me with their busy lives take the time to meet with me to send me off with a fond farewell.  It’s hard to try to synthesize all that needs to be said for closure. It feels like when you have your favorite meal in front of you, knowing full well you won’t be eating it for a while,  so bite after bite you try to savor the taste of hoping it sticks with you and fills that craving you might have in the future.

I don’t think it makes me sad to think about these things, it’s more just a reality. I am leaving to grasp the opportunity which I had been working towards for a while. I think what I’m most troubling is that I fear that with me leaving I will be as warm handprint on a cold rainy window, doom to fade into memory until there is nothing left.

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.

March Towards Matriculation – Fifth March – Finding My Footing

Undoubtedly a great experience, filled with fear, adventure, and a promise for tomorrow. It’s when staring down our future all we can do is lean in and work for a better tomorrow today.

I am thankful that with an easing of the semester, I see a building of excitement for the future life I worked so hard to achieve. There was a worry several months back that these feelings would never manifest but thankfully now that that school been made more tangible to me there is now a place to link my hope and excitement.  It’s a weird experience having committed myself to a place for so long without the knowledge of what life there is like. I knew that my ambitions called for me to take such a leap, especially with the recent accident that held me up for so long.  It’s the faith that I’m happy with, faith in a type of plan or destiny that at times I so despise. Faith in fate as it were that everything would turn out okay. Now for most things, I knew I would make it work regardless of what happened and where I ended up, and I cannot discount that someplace were always better than others but there is an easing of grief and burden when you find that you at least made the choice that will come easy and is right.

I find great difficulty expressing the feeling that comes with this knowledge. It’s analogous to putting everything on the table you’re holding a hand you hope will win, knowing full well that where we end up is some part skill and another part luck but as the last card falls and the final bets are made you realize that the round has gone to you. That you played well and you are being rewarded. This is because there is something beyond the statues and stone halls, the concrete and the history; there is an ease in it all, one that does not come lightly with every place we find ourselves.  Am I scared, of course, I am terrified beyond belief, but in this fear I can thrive, in this transition lies a future of growth, change, and understanding one I am ready to make of.

It’s then in this last trip to my future home, where I got to see the people and place that my forward path lies that I find myself excited for what is to come. I know there is so much more for me to learn from these places and people that it scares me. I decided though, that this time around I must approach it with a greater humility and understanding that I am to be guided, molded, and shaped into a better version of myself. It’s only though this great humility that I can be successful. It’s in this great humility that I can absorb, adapt, and prosper beyond where I know is possible now. I leave this saying that I am thrilled with the prospect of the future, but torn with how to feel about how soon it will come.

March Towards Matriculation – Third March – Heavied Breath and Lungs On Fire

 

A setting night, the pounding of shoes against the cold pavement, a hoarse heavied breathing of the lone runner gives life to this quiet night.  Running around that track without an end in sight, just another lap going round and round over and over again. Their breath on fire, bellowing slowly from tired lungs working to sustain their body and keep it from collapsing. Why does the runner keep running? What are they running too? Or what are they running from?

 

It has come with time, a busied schedule that has not allowed me to sit and process these comings and goings, just enough time to do what is placed right out in front of me and that is all.  It’s not a strict weariness that throws me, but a lack of standing to even know where I am or how long I have been running.

It’s of several major events, important tasks, priorities that make my head feel like it’s in a spin, always trying to take in as much air as possible to calm my straining self. It’s even in sleep that I have suffered, jumping from sleeping well because of my accident to sleeping poorly because of the work that had mounted in the interim. Slowly breaking down like I used to but without having regained my full strength to fight the onslaught of these immediate side effects.

That’s not to say that time will not march on, and reality will not continue to move forward.  It is what happens, an inevitability of change that comes with age and progress. It is in that change that a small flame has been born.  Lit by this most recent trip to the school I will be spending my next five year attending. A spark that makes me excited to follow through, to really enjoy the journey, to keep on running. I want to see this journey to the end because I know wherever it lead will be a beautiful sight to behold, I just have to keep at it.

Soon I hope I will like this runner, be able to stop, rest, and take in all of where I’ve gone but until then, all I can keep doing is run, run until my body stops, because at least through running I know I am still alive.

 

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

Logoboom – Website

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