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.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, Would If I Could

 

“The clouds are beautiful,” I think to myself looking up at that soft blue sky outside my window.  The moment though is brief as my brain can only resist the urge to work for so long before the guilt sets in. It’s sad to me that no matter what I do, I never capture these serene scenes for long enough. My mind prevents loitering on anything for too long, wanting to move on or delve deeper, so the appreciation of a moment is only that, a moment before I find myself moving my personal perpetual motion machine once again.

If it isn’t apparent at this point, I will state it plainly – I am terrible at resting – lingering only long enough for my brain to process and move on to the next thing.  I even tested last night with now avail, listening to some soft music in the darkness of my room only to find I was restless. Even with nothing to do but stare at the ceiling, my brain won’t just stop.  Instead though the desire to try and put a pause on my mind, I end up being filled with the meta-thought, “I just need to relax now.” That’s why sometimes I appreciate those things that make me lose myself for a moment. Those events or objects that have an incredible implicit draw to them that I can’t help but be swayed by their influence. The ones where I lose hours without realizing. Maybe what I need is someone to bash me over the head every so often to let me sit still for a while. Even then though I am sure, I would feel guilty after waking up.

After my accident, I made friends with the thoughts, working in tandem towards a speedy recovery. The thing is, if you thought I was talkative, you should hear my brain. It prattles on nonstop about everything.  It keeps me on task, and remembering all the details but even when I am supposed to stop thinking it keeps going. Maybe that’s just me and how I am built, but it makes me wonder if that is at all healthy. It can’t be good for it to keep running all day nonstop. Though I am sure it has the stamina of a marathon runner at this point, it doesn’t change the fact that it shouldn’t be running marathons all day.

Either way, soon I will be thrown into the thick of it again, working day and night for my dream.  With all this work, I hope I have enough time to stop and rest so that I may not become burnt out from all this effort. Sometimes I wish that my brain would take a break, not for me, but for itself.

 

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.

Soon Enough.

As with all the time I haven’t had to write, this week particularly I have my mother’s wedding so I won’t have time to put together a full post. So what I want to lead with now is that as with all this change I am going through I want to spend some time on some of the change I want to bring. Changing things like my writing style, putting a little more time into my posts, and what I want the next couple years to bring.

That being said I am going to write a post a little later this week to make up for this gap in posting so look forward to that. For now, just enjoy the nice art.

 

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.

Heat And No Sleep

So much is going on, tasks, work, all the things culminating in my eventual departure to the east coast, I seem frozen in all this heat, hoping to slowly to melt away and feel whole again.

I’ve come upon this tire, one I can’t seem to shake with any matter of sleep or rest.  Part of me knows that it’s not all physical. I am coming against these feelings that I am not dealing with.  It just seems like it’s too much, that if I put them off for a bit longer than maybe I can stretch time into infinity and leave behind these feelings that I need to face. That’s the thing with finite things, as you get closer to the end of them we try to save each piece we have, using them so sparingly that by the time we run out we have become so satisfied with so little. Time kind of feels like the end of the bottle, sipping where I used to gulp, savoring the drops as they hit my tongue hoping to go that I won’t get thirsty again.

It’s in this heat that perpetuates this feeling of stiffness, a desire not to move or do anything. Just to rest quietly in the shade waiting for the world to turn and the cool weather to come but I feel this aching like a sword in my brain keeping me from really finding a comfortable place to rest my head.

I have less than a month left now but so much to do. Falling by the wayside are things I wish could have happened once summer began but time and life have sung a different tune moving me away from what I have so fervently agreed to because of a desire built on wishes made before the heat had come. I will find my peace, the cool that will bring me back to where I want to be but for now all I wish for is to lay down and wait for the breeze to come.

A Sudden Sense of Urgency

As with most things in my life ,I have only moments of rest before the rise of work comes to greet me. It’s a bit tiring with just a hope that I will have a significant rest and renewal before my life steps onto it’s new journey. Though this is mostly my fault for always wanting to be involved in the cool things going around me. A moment of awesome usually is the culmination of many hours of hard work and preparation, and right now that’s where were at, in that preparation for something greater.  I leave this short and sweet because the night calls and I require rest, though I complain about the work I do enjoy it because it in some small way it makes me feel like a hero fighting against the torrent of evil to come out at the end of the day victoriously once again saving the world in my way.

Rest Well.

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.