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

A Song of Celebration and Sadness

Looking back the last several months, there is a theme of my posts getting a bit darker, and less hopeful which isn’t usually what I like to write about especially since the words come directly from what I am feeling earlier in the week. It’s because there’s a feeling following me around which I haven’t been to identify, like a cloud not quite raining. I was afraid I might have been getting depressed but it was only until a few days ago when I was catching up with a friend telling her about everything that has been going on the last several weeks that it made sense. She mentioned that all the stuff that’s been going on just seems ‘heavy’. I knew it when I heard it, that’s exactly how it’s been – heavy.

You see I’ve been mixed up with a lot of things, school, life, work but everything that’s been happening hasn’t had a wistfulness to it. Each thing, serious and demanding attention, requiring one more thing to rest upon my shoulders and carry on. Good news comes with stress, and bad news comes with emotions to the point where everything seems to just level out and carry on in a way that makes sense.

I am happy, but I’m not too happy, I’m sad but not too sad, each time I receive bad news good news isn’t far behind leaving me confused and having this muddled mix of mild coursing through me making it hard to really enjoy anything. It’s frustrating because I can’t give the time proper time for my emotions to cultivate and sing. I want to celebrate all the great things that are going on, the amazing things that are happening and I doesn’t feel right. I want to sulk and mourn for the sad things happening around me and yet I don’t feel in the proper place or mindset. My emotions aren’t swinging, they are balancing and it’s hurting me.

I just keep moving, somewhere between the heavens and the earth, both flying high and sinking low all at once. I want to rest my this pack hold my life on a rock somewhere and have time to process all the things riding on my shoulders. At least now I know what I’m feeling and with that I can start doing something about it.

Year Two’s End

 

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Its been two years from when I started this blog, and here I find myself in a very different place than where I started. I feel as almost my life completely changes in this increment of two years.
Two years ago, I was staring down a path left unilluminated by the confusion and turmoil of transitioning from college. Left bare and in need of change, what came about was was a need, a need to change. So this blog, devoted to cataloging and compelling progress within my life, became the bastion of that change. It has been a soundboard for my frustrations and the safe haven of for my thoughts as I move along the path toward a future that was all too uncertain.
As things changed, so have I, learning and growing from all the new memories I have made along the way.  Two years, though it feels like a world away to me, I know that I am still only at the beginning.  There is a long way to go, much more to do, and many more lessons to learn but I am ready and willing to step out on the path, one foot in front of the other, and find my way home.

So what has happened in these two years?
Love and loss. A lot failure and measured success. A realization that the life I had been living was not as full as it should be.  The understanding the problems I had left unresolved needed facing before I could move forward. These two years have felt like a lifetime, and I’m sure the next two years will feel the same.

What has changed though, between this year and the one before?
I’m back at school which has been a godsend, I am around people who are like-mindedly moving forward to a future.  I’m excited to learn, and I feel like the place I am at is where I am meant to be.  There are still I have yet to fully resolve and am still learning every day, but I feel like I am more receptive to this change now,

I feel alive, more so than I had been.  It’s like waking up from a slumber, realizing you have the whole day ahead of you and all the energy in the world. I had a friend who had been struggling for a long time come out of the haze of that struggle and start to see the world in as vivid and beautiful.  Like the veil being removed from your eyes, to see the world again.  I know this is a bit wax-poetic, but it gets to the point. I am happy, struggling out there in the world, making mistakes at every turn but happy to be alive which is the best thing I could ask for.  Things have changed and will continue to evolve on this journey of mine, all the feelings I have put to the page have been an adventure. If you would, indulge me in another year of words because my journey is not yet done.

Thank you for reading.

-End of Year Two-

The World In The Life Of A Guy: Part 1 -Sex

Written on my wall since high school is a simple question printed on a label maker. “What Makes A Man?” it says.  This ambiguous question, with no clear answer, is something that I come back to regularly as I contend with realities of the world. Hearing stories about what men are capable of both good and bad makes me question what type of person I want to be. Over the last several months I’ve been posing questions to people around me about their interactions with men. The answers I received were confusing and at points horrifying. I want to show you what it’s like for a regular guy out there in the world, one who doesn’t necessarily know if he is an outlier or the rule.

Sex, it always starts with sex. A stupid place to start but a grand motivator for most men.  Guys will usually have a story about something they do or have done because of girl. I among them found my love of running because of a girl in high school telling me she liked guys with runners bodies. As I get older, this departs from the much more innocent motivations of young; a desire to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible is found. Guys are motivated by sex.  I can’t honestly deny this, what changes is willingness fight against this all-consuming emotion to find a higher ground to stand on.  In our mind, sex it presses up against us, invading our thoughts and without strong mental fortitude it wins out the day. It whispers fantasies and delusions into our ear, denying that reality in which we are for one that could possibly be if you were to play the game right. That is no way to condemn us to being sex fiends, but something we must contend with.  That inner strength is what I find as being the man is all about.  The ability to put these thoughts and feelings aside for something that is much greater than the hedonistic vices of sex can provide me.

It’s that relationship, though, between guys and gals that so intertwined with this dynamic that it becomes bogged down but the tension between friendship and sexuality.  From When Harry Met Sally, a movie about a man and woman attempting to have a friendship that eventually turns into a romantic relationship, even the one of the protagonists clearly states that he doesn’t believe men and women can be friends because sex will get in the way. This idea was foreign to me, why can’t we foster and hold relationships with people of the opposite gender?  It’s within the expectations that are held, the way we picture things when I say I have a relationship with a guy friend versus a girl friend. Not to mention the amount of narratives I’ve heard from women of always having to be wary of ulterior motives when entering a friendship with a guy.  With all I’ve heard, the hesitation is warranted.  Love is a drug, and we are addicts, so if you need a fix, you’ll try to get it from anywhere. 

Do I believe we different from the previous generations of human beings in such a way that we can deviate from this cycle of sexual magnetism?
No, but I do believe in the human spirit, which can look create the world we want and I do believe in values and the ability to motivate ourselves to relationships that go beyond sexual attraction.

In this regard, I find to be the best way to end this conversation about being a guy in this sexual environment is talking about what I strive for. This comes from many hours thinking about the kinds of relationships I want to foster along with listening to troubled tales of the lost souls out there in the world. My truest goal is to find a place and strength to be able to say no to sex.  With the ability to wait and find a sense of truth beyond the physicality of it all. Don’t get me wrong intimacy has a place in every adult relationship, but I don’t want to be under the control of these feelings. It’s not to deny them,  but to find a way to curb them appropriately. The world does not revolve around sex and I shouldn’t either, I want to enjoy the world and people for who they are and not have this lingering thought in the back of my mind. It’s what I am working towards, and something I want for my relationships in the future…but hey, at the end of the day I’m “just a guy” right.

Invasion Of Thoughts

I noticing myself drifting off again, drifting into space where thoughts pervade my consciousness. Sitting there staring into the distance, imagining the horrors of existence.

It happened again, once my mind is tired from the day, or just don’t seem to have enough energy to fight off the coming storm.  It starts with a small “You can’t” and builds from there. These invasive thoughts that cross my mind like floodwater during a storm, I am helplessly trying to block the current as it drowns everything in touches.  I start to think negatively, working to fight back against this onslaught of thoughts and feelings I don’t want.  Once the gates are open, I just have to wait for the storm to end because I don’t have the endurance to fight against these persistent waves.  All I can do is watch and know that it will let up eventually.

It takes me the dark alleys of my mind and makes me deals with all the backhanded things that have ever popped up.  These are the things that don’t even come up on my radar normally but are apparent deeply seeded in my brain. Things like my fear about never amounting to anything, my hesitation with not knowing if I am on the right path, a constant stream of thoughts about not being good enough.  As a whole, these ideas throw me for a loop and even though they are not truthful, the ideas have already taken root and tied themselves to my very being. Will they go away, probably not, but will become easier to manage if I continue to work at it.

These thoughts are something I can’t avoid but at times are remedied simply by a good meal.  Makes me confused about the validity of the ideas.  I wonder if I should take them seriously and if there might be some small truth to it all aside from highlighting my insecurities. I don’t know if I should follow them down the rabbit hole or I should be weary that it might just lead me to a sewer.  The thoughts can poison a day or a make a good moment sour. Like with weeds, if unattended they multiply. Is my mind giving me a dose of reality or just some sick fantasy I never knew I had?

I snap out of it, only a moment has passed but it leaves a mark on me.  A smile that was once there disappears along with the gleam in my eyes.  It will be a little while before they truly return.  I keep at it, moving forward knowing there could be another storm waiting for me right around the corner.

A Resolute Resolution

What will I become in this new year?

I see a vividly a version of myself standing upon a hill with back faced to me.  A much larger more powerful person stands before me, confronted with the future, ready to take on the challenges of tomorrow.  He has a grin as if he knows what the future hold and how to move about it. This man standing at the other end of the year is challenging me to catch up.

Resolutions don’t work, at least no the majority of the time.  Trying to change yourself in so many ways all at once and expecting result immediately is only setting yourself up for failure. Anticipating the arrival of the new year to have some sort of bearing on how well you are able to do something is a bit silly. Moments should be grasped when the motivation is at hand, not when we feel like the motivation should come.

This is why I don’t have a resolution but a resolve. I want to be better, stronger, more compassionate and helpful. I want to be that man on the mountain I see before me, not just stuck staring at the back of what I could be.  I want to the one who is more of a man of action, one who is less hesitant and less likely to be paralyzed by fear and indecision. This might seem vague but what I am to do is eliminate the feeling of being able to do more by actually doing it.

In learning all I can, I came upon a concept of deliberate practice. The practice that you do to continue to push your ability and skills to the next level. This is the way you become an expert at something. This is something I must learn to do, deliberate practice of life.  To make it so I am constantly pushing the boundaries of what I can and can’t do. Learning how to get to each of the next stages in my own life.

This is my promise to myself that I will be that man I see on the hill, that man who is challenging me now, so by the time next year comes around, I will be able to challenge my past self too and welcome the next challenge with a smile.

This is my resolution, this is my resolve. I hope to all of you that we are all successful in our pursuits, but I have a back to catch up to, and I have to get started now!

To: The End Of The Year

I wanted to try a new mode of writing because I feel like my ability to express how I feel and my message are severely lacking. One thing I am good at is articulating how I feel in the form of a letter.

Dear 2016,

Hey, I thought I would squeeze this in right at the end of the year. We’ve known each other for a while now, and I wanted to get the chance to bridge out beyond our professional relationship before it’s too late (I am not known for my timing but bear with me).

We started off a bit sour, I had just been broken up with by 2015 and wasn’t in the place to accept new years into my life, especially after such an emotional roller coaster that the previous one was.

You took me under your wing and showed me how to pick myself up after it all. I would be more thankful, but you did kinda slap me senseless along the way. You took me back to my roots to show me all that I had and pointed out all the things I had to work on. Kept me grounded in reality, almost too much.

We had to get through loss and failure together, but somehow you just kept marching forward triumphantly.  I never understood your spirit, through all the chaos you kept moving.  I followed behind you, running to keep up, never wanting to fall behind again. 2016 you might have not been the best for me, but you did help me a great deal.

I got stronger during our time together, learned discipline and how to work hard for the things I want.  Made me understand the difference between doing and trying to do. You did make me feel uncomfortable with all the change you brought about, but you said change was inevitable and you have to learn to live with it.

I know I wasn’t the best at times, and I still have a long way to go, but through all of our time together you really wanted me to become a better person. Truth be told, I felt more human with you, more vulnerable because you don’t take my shit and you constantly ask me for more and more. I opened myself up this year to the world and people around me, because you showed me how much more I could lose if I didn’t.

It might have been wrong of me to make plans for you at the beginning, all those ideas that never panned out. You took care of me, though, created times and situations where I could genuinely laugh and smile.  Let me see my friends, made me feel like I wasn’t some broken cog in a machine. I saw that I had some purpose here and that people wanted me around. Gave me perspective, and a chance to expand my view beyond myself.

I know we didn’t agree at times, and at others, we were busy with our own goings on, but I always knew you were watching over me.
I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to say this earlier and only now that you are leaving that I have the courage to speak, Thank you 2016 for all the love, pain, and discovery we shared together.  Without you, I would still be in that hole looking up at the sky hoping to be saved instead of learning to climb out of it myself.

2016, at the end of it all with you going away we both know you weren’t the greatest thing to happen to me. You’ll go on your way knowing you made a difference, it’s up to me now to greet the new year and start working towards my future. So have a nice trip, I know we may never see each other again, but the memories we shared are irreplaceable. 2016, I love you.

Most Sincerely,
Me

One Small Jump Around The Sun

Ahh… It’s been a year since this began, one hell of one to be honest.  At year’s end, it always brings us back to the beginning.  I stand now next to the person I was 12 short months ago and measure, hoping I have come far enough.

Things have changed, and the more they change, the more they stay the same.  Am I where I want to be? No. Is there more that I can do? Yes. In the seemingly infinite finite time I have, I never get to where I want to go.  I work and work, but the work seems to pile up more and more. It’s inescapable – or rather I can’t find a way to escape it without giving up too much.

How far have I come, how far have I gone? Questions that a loaded with no clear answer to them. Tangibly, there is only but small differences in my life. From the outset, my status may not look at all like it has changed. I still working a minimum wage job, living at home, working on getting into grad school. It frustrates me, these were three things I was attempting to change through the year, three points of contention, there losses.

Of course, it wasn’t all losses.  Socially I am surrounded by good people with whom I love and adore. Emotionally I pulled myself out of the depression episode and am better than I was before it started. Physically I am a lot more fit, eating healthier and working out whenever I get the chance. These are things I look to when I days get dark or time runs out.

There are still things I want, still things I am working on and don’t get me wrong, I am supremely grateful for all that I have. A year is not a long time but also an eternity. Whenever I need time, it passes too quickly, and whenever I need time to pass it seems to trudge on begrudgingly.  Time inevitably changes everything, moves us along without our consent, and make the most of it is to flow with it, accept we have less control than what we may want or would like and keep at it.

I continue to work on myself, making goals and plans.  If anything I learned a little bit more about tenacity and grit. I know what I want, and I know what I need. I set these goals to never return to the place I came, to rise above.

As a conclusion, I want to say that I have a lot more to go, the journey has yet to come to an end and I am still growing.  My memories and motivations may have changed with time, but my passion and spirit have only grown. This year last year was filled with dark days and even darker nights, and I was able to reignite my life and see the dawn. I may be filled with frustration, but I am better for it all.

This year beat me up, but I keep getting up for another round. I will win this fight and get to where I want to go because I am willing to do what needs to be done.

Thank you for reading, here’s to a new year. If you ever want to talk, I am here to listen.

 

WORDS, MY ETERNAL STRUGGLE WITH LANGUAGE : Revisited

My father was a lector, and a good one. While I was in middle school, I always admired my dad each and every time he went up during mass to say the readings.  I saw the crowds of people so attentively listening to every word he said. I wanted that; I wanted for people to listen to me as they listened to him. I wanted to be that person whom people looked to whenever they needed something said.
It was during this time that the opportunity arose for my classmates and me to be lectors during the weekly student masses. At every opportunity they gave us I would attempt to volunteer, hoping in some ways to capture some of my dad’s ability.  Zeal, unfortunately, did not translate to talent, and I struggled each and every time I went up to speak. For reading was not my strong suit, and I can tell you that even in the low-pressure classroom setting  I would stumble over every word, piecing together phrases and seeming disconnected thoughts hoping no one noticed my trouble. For some reason I saw letters that weren’t there, always nervously mispronouncing words and inventing phrases that didn’t belong; even I knew I wasn’t good. That didn’t keep me from wanting it; it didn’t’ keep me from trying.
Eventually, I stopped being called on, and when no one wanted to volunteer except for me, they would assign the job to someone else. I got the message loud and clear, I wasn’t the one that they were looking for, my words were not good enough.  I could only watch others as they got to go up there and speak, go up there and do what it seemed I couldn’t, patiently waiting for my time to come.
Even to this day, it’s my dream to give a great speech to a stadium full of people. To speak words that touch the heart of everyone in the room, to have them listen to me as they did for my father before me.

A year is an awfully long time. In the span of a year, I started this blog to begin working on a lot of aspects of myself, first and foremost, to find my voice.  Twelve months, fifty-two weekly posts later, I want to demonstrate how far I’ve come and let you know that I still have a long to go.
My story hasn’t ended; my journey is still ongoing. My words flow faster and better than before but there is always more I want to say, and I find myself wanting to fall into the bad habits of yesterday.  I sit at the keys of my computer often now, contemplating the sentence structure, the way I want something to be phrased, how long it takes me to convey my message.  I look at words differently than I did before, and like learning to swim, I don’t feel like I am at risk to drowning in a sea of language anymore.

I realized this is going to be a life long journey.  As I develop my style, the prose doesn’t feel so distant from me anymore.  The words don’t feel cold and unfamiliar and each time I write they seem to take a life of their own and flow out of me as if they want to be said. Each character carries a little of myself with it, a little of my heart, a little of my mind. The strange thing is that no matter how much of myself I pour onto the page I never seem to run out. There is fulfillment I find from writing, and I don’t think I will ever find myself empty from it.

I have spent a lot of time now writing about the reflection I see in the mirror.  I want to continue this but also set my sights on things are beyond me. So for the next coming year, I want to expand my reach to the world around me, to writing about what I see and how I see it.  My hope is that I can learn to get closer to language and the words I write so that they will become a direct translation of what I mean to say.
So to everyone who has taken the time to read my posts, it means a lot to me that you have come on this adventure with me.
There is still a long way to grow and much more to say. So to all those who have been with me, let’s be on our way.
Thank you for reading all the words I’ve written, here’s to future, one that is smitten.

thank you.

P.s.
Here is a link to my first post, if you have time I would like to see how it compares to how I write now.
WORDS, MY ETERNAL STRUGGLE WITH LANGUAGE