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.

Drowning In The Storm

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There is a sense of unease, too many I don’t knows, a perfect dash of insecurity, and a lot of bad experience to create this perfect storm that’s raging through my life right now.  It’s got me held up, frozen in place with no end in sight. Hunkered down, I’m scared of this storm and the destruction it may bring as I hope these walls I’ve built will be strong enough to weather the winds and the rains.  I am trying to hold myself together but I can’t, it feels like I’m coming apart at the seams, not even able to cry out this frustration I feel.  My hands are failing, my head if failing, I try to carry on, but I fold back into myself with every step. I try to collect that power within that I have been honing the last several years, but there is a scar there, a scar that has built up over many years of perceived personal failure.  This fear of failing again holds on tight as I ponder what that failure would mean.  I know it’s not fair to myself that I spend so much time worrying about what may never come to pass, but experience has got me trained on the idea that maybe all I am striving for won’t become anything. This part of me feels that I am not specific enough about what I want so I can never obtain it, that I am not worthy of it because there are so many better candidates for the position.  I worry because I see myself in the mirror sabotaging my future, destroying the very opportunity I am trying to create.  Part of me doesn’t want to know, it just wants to sleep until it’s all over with, push off this burden until this insanity ends, but I know it won’t, not unless I give up my dreams.

I keep coming back to this story, one I have told a lot recently as more as a funny anecdote from my life than anything really substantial.  This is back when I used to ride a motorcycle.   During the cold dark nights of the winter months, I use to drive from my parent’s house back to college in the early hours of the morning much to the chagrin of my mother.  There was this freeway I would ride on my way back that was a perfect kind of empty that time of night. With is more than a gentle slope, it would be the perfect place to pick up speed.  At times I would ride down that hill quickly accelerating, opening up the throttle to see how far it would go. Sixty, seventy, eighty the speedometer would quickly rise until I would hit speeds of well over a one-hundred miles per hour.  When you get to that speed on a motorcycle all you can really think of is, if I fell now, chances are I would die.  Nothing frightening about it, in some ways calming for all the wrong reasons as this was just the fact of things as I whizzed by, some kind of truth that gave kept me in the moment.  A thought that made all the other thoughts disappear because that’s all there was, just a fact.

I am missing that clarity, that straightforward feeling.  I just don’t know, and yet I have to push forward somehow.  It bothers me because I don’t want to be stuck in a place I know I won’t be happy but what does that mean for the alternative. I feel like I am slowly breaking down, dissolving piece by piece wanting to destroy this world around me and myself to give this pain I feel in my heart a physical presence.  I wish it were just a cut or a bruise, something that I can point to and see but this pain is permeating through to my core, unreachable and untouchable sitting deep with my chest making my whole body ache. It feels like I’m underwater gasping for air, with this burning in my lungs as I slowly lose the the air I need.  The piles of water above pushing me further into the deep, and all I want to reach the surface and see the sun.  I keep swimming as a way of fighting through just like I fight through everything else.   I know things will be okay in the end if I keep pushing to reach the surface, but it’s just hard to feel that way right now.

The World In The Life Of A Guy – Part 8 -Growing Pains

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I’ve been told my entire life that guys mature much slower than girls, that we as a couple steps behind in growth and willingness to accept responsibility for things.  I’m tired of hearing it as often as I do but maybe it’s true, that we don’t mature like girls do.

I think part of the problem is the level of expectation for men to mature tends to be a bit delayed in general.  Girls, by the time they are teenagers and already going through puberty, are expected to bear the responsibility that growing up female entails, both body and mind wise.  Where as guys, even though we grow and go through puberty later, they are treated as if the changes are only sometimes cosmetic. Through our actions carry more weight we are not treated to the same standard, partially because what I had brought up last month about the level of fear for men and women deal with and the need for girls protect themselves from the dangers of the world. I think it’s this lack of responsibility for oneself creates a situation where men fall behind women in this area.

If you learn anything from these posts is that I believe that there really shouldn’t be a huge difference between men and women in how they are treated and are accountable for.  There is though a sort of necessity for women that doesn’t appear in men. The need to settle down. By far, I am not saying this is something intrinsic to women, there are a lot of social and cultural pressures for women to marry earlier than men, to have children sooner than men, and to generally have their life together sooner than men. Why is that a burden placed on only one of the sexes? Why can’t both either worry or not worry? Be told they are too old or their clock is ticking.
I am figuring part of the reason being is because of the timing of it all. For men, they still have the ability to have children later, and in some ways are suppose to be established before doing so. This doesn’t necessarily happen but once children are involved, people, for the most part, turn their attention to providing or settling down.

There is also the idea that is a bit ingrained into the minds of young men to sow their wild oats before settling down.  To let all the craziness out before deciding on something. This isn’t a bad philosophy, I think people should really try and live the life they want especially when the amount of responsibility is negligible.  Girls don’t get that message though, they are always told to be protective, not to go wild by to stay in control.  They are told that they need to be looking for that next step, working towards it because they only have a limited time. Both have their own benefits and drawbacks, but again they should be closer together, a balance of both.

Ultimately, people will learn to meet the expectations that are set for them, and as a culture, if boys are treated as if they should be just as responsible and mature as girls from a young age they will meet that standard.  For now, I just have to deal with the stereotype that I am a few years behind the maturity of girls and hope I am doing my part to prove it wrong.

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!

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 

 

 

 

 

Thread and Binding

Do you believe in fate or destiny? Do you believe that the world has some grand plan or all of what will happen is written in some book somewhere?  Do you believe that something is turning the cogs in the great machine of life, or do you perhaps we are all here by chance and change alone.

I can’t refute fate, it is something that I fight against frequently.  What is my fate and how does that reflect on the world. Does fate exist or does this grand narrative fall short because it’s what I want from the universe? That’s not what I want to talk about now. I want to speak of the fate that connects me unknowingly to those who are around me.

I have been fortunate to have great people surrounding me in my life.  Friends, family, peers, and acquaintances.  I have had the chance to develop relationships with people from all different backgrounds, creeds, cultures, nationalities, and ideologies. Each one is connecting to my personal story, each one helping to shape the narrative of my life.

Each chapter is filled with different interconnected strings, ones that may go off in strange directions but is all connected to me in some way. We are all an odd mix of connections for whom we are the catalyst. As my relationships grow so does the strength of the string, and eventually I find myself covered with them, which keeps me warm when the world is cold.

It’s the thread that I feel pulls me towards people in my life.  It connects me to them, sometimes by the hand, and other times by the heart.  These interconnected threads weave together the pages of my book of life, creating a coherent message from start to finish.

The threads always are pushing me to expand myself into a different area, and I wonder why these threads pull me from one place to another.  Each place I go I find out some more about the world, about others, and about myself.  This is what makes my relationships always worthwhile. Are these strings the ones I create or was the thread pulling me there beforehand. Was my book already written in or are these chapters something of my creation? What matters is that I have these relationships and I don’t take them for granted. Each one is important, and I should treat them as such.

Truth be told, everyone has these relationships in their lives, for better or for worse. Where would we be without them? I wanted to take this first week of December to highlight something I find much more valuable than any present in the world, my relationships.  Thank you for existing, each and every friendship and a familial relation have shaped me in some way, so you are all partially responsible for why I am the way I am. If that’s a good thing, thank you. If you feel it’s a bad thing, then it’s all your fault.

I want to continue to work at my relationships into the future, but I do need help, I am not perfect. I am always happy to talk with you, so feel free to reach out to me and remember in this holiday season how much these relationships mean to you.  Letting people know can make all the difference.

 

 

Love.

I wanted to make a post about love, about the love in the world and how it accents the moments around us to make life beautiful.  I wanted to do this by sitting in front of a computer and thinking about all the way I think I feel about love, and in which way I can remember love.  Inspiration didn’t come to me, stuck with the blinking line after a bad opening paragraph and a couple catchy sentences I figured that maybe if I wait the words would come to me.  It didn’t make sense, though, the idea of thinking about feelings to express how they are leads us nowhere. I could no better explain a sunset to someone who has never seen one, the only way to understand love is to experience it. So I wanted to try my hand at describing how I experience love, maybe then it will make sense.

I have no control over love, of all the emotions that I can deny, put off, it’s the one that’s loudest in my heart. It shouts if I am ignoring it, so loud that until I take the time to recognize it, I can’t think of anything else. It’s a feeling that extends through me, electrifies me, and gives me strength to tackle anything the world throws at me.

Love keeps the light on in my soul. A light which illuminates the dark and the sometimes cruel world. It allows me to see what the creatures are in the darkness; hurt souls looking for closure.
Love is the part of me that provides a safe haven from the dark.

Love is in the hand I extend, the one that bandages the wounds, guides the way, and offers aid.  It’s cut, scarred, and bruised but is always is extended waiting for someone who needs it.
Love is the part of me that feels compassion and wants to raise the world up.

Love is the well settling in my chest, one that’s full to the brim with pure water on the cusp of spilling over.  All it takes is an ounce of love, and the water will pour out onto the world around me.  It’s the smiles, laughs, and tender moments between people that have filled it to the brim, and wants to help share it with the world.
Love is the part of me that wants to share the wonders of the world.

Love is my eyes that see the world and its beauty. It sees the clouds coalesce in the sky making magnificent portraits that last for a moment. It sees the smiles on people faces, the light in their eyes, the silent moments between two that can only be expressed if you know what it is like for the whole world to disappear.
Love is the part of me that sees all that is good and holds out hope.

Love is in my grin, the one that I can’t help to have. It forms without me knowing or against my stern demeanor. It’s the smile that extends out from me touching the world around it. It’s love that gives me boundless energy to live life to the fullest.
Love is the part of me that is happy and spreads joy and zeal.

Love is in the wrenching feeling that I get in my gut when I see someone in pain or having a hard time.
Love is the voice that calls out and wants to know if they are okay. It’s in the words that speak the truth in that I would do anything to stop their pain, even if just for a moment to reignite the flame in their heart.
Love is the part of me that feels empathy for others and drives me to action.

Love is the intense feeling of wanting to connect, to wash away the pains of the world, to start each moment anew.
Love is what crushes me, compels me, and cages me.  It’s a feeling that is complex, with each iteration of it feeling slightly different than the last.  Of all my feelings its the one that wants to walk beside me.
It hurts, and it heals, that is love, a contradiction.I think about love.

I reflect on love; I consider whether or not it is real, or just some organic byproduct or if that even matters.
I know love is great and horrible. I know love is a catalyst for these intense feelings, and crazy notions.  It’s a big part of me; I can’t explain what compels me to love.

I love the world and people in it and I would do anything for love.

grit.

Sometimes all I can do is sigh in the intervening days between where I am and where I want to be. I sigh in frustration, and in exhaustion, because these days seem to be spiced with flavors I don’t like.

My life is in no counts bad, quite honestly I count my blessings daily.  The problem lies with the issue I have of when my plans will finally gain some traction, and I can move to the next level in life.  I work towards my goals, in my way, though a lot of the time I don’t feel like I am doing enough because I am not getting the results I want.  I am attempting to see the big picture in it all; it’s still difficult to see the forest for the trees.

I find that perseverance is the only way to deal with the hand I have. Again it’s not a bad hand; it’s just not a winning one.  I lay somewhere in the middle, having a hand that if no one at the table has anything I have nothing to worry about, but it wouldn’t take much to top.  In these types of games, it’s about waiting for the opportune moment.  Looking at my bets and investments, hoping my card come up but having a plan for when it doesn’t.  I have to keep playing, know the table, make strategic moves and know that even I lose in a round the game is not over.

This is my the great lesson of this year, grit. The ability to keep at something no matter what comes my way. Its to get an understanding of the bitter flavors the world has to offer but not losing heart.

It’s hard, bouncing back after each blow, luckily after I’ve taken a lot of them I’ve gotten used to it.  Standing up after each hit is hard work, at points I want to break down, forget it all, and leave what I have accomplished at the table.  I keep going until it becomes more habit than thought.   I know what I want, and at the moment,  I need to keep working at it if I even hope to stand a chance.  Life is a tough opponent, but I am fighting back.

Grit is something that I am learning, and I will keep at it. Changing my life is about doing, not talking about what I should do. I will make sure that my blood, sweat, and tears are working toward the future I want and towards shaping the person I will become.   It’s hard work, but sometimes the best thing to do is to grit your teeth. It will get better, I’ll make sure of it.

A Touch of Solitary

Dark nights, blank walls, and quiet rooms. I find myself here frequently. It’s a yearning for interaction, a desire to connect that settles within my heart like snow in a snow globe, just waiting for me to shake things up.

I grew up learning not to rely on people. I learned that all I needed were the worlds that I created for myself as a barrier to keep out the chill. I chose not to involve people with the goings on in my life, and it made things simple.
As I’ve grown older, I realized that it was unsustainable. Eventually, I had to venture out and face the world.  This is partly because of my aspirations, and partly because I, unfortunately, was exposed to the alternative to my fantasy, reality; given experiences that provided me then unknown satisfaction.

It’s been ramping up, my desire to connect with people, with each year that passes. I am a mixed breed of one part introvert and one part extrovert which makes things complex. I want to stay home and work, but I crave the adventure of conversation that awaits around every corner.
People are important in my life; it’s a fundamental part of myself that seeks out these relationships. Each one is providing me a key ingredient for getting through the week. It’s within them that I get to enjoy deep conversation, talking about controversial issues, conversing about the basic building blocks of the human condition

I don’t know how much is enough, or when I will be satiated with interaction but when I am not purposefully alone that I feel the chill and pull to going out and connecting.  I do take time for myself when I need it,  but it’s like going to a cafe; when you are there alone on purpose, it can be a sweet relief but when you are waiting for someone to come it can be awkward and nerve-wracking.

Life has taught me something; I can’t expect these relationships to appear out of thin air either.  If I want something I have to ask for it; people won’t simply know I need it. Last year I had expected it all to come together without any effort, which leads me down a lonesome road.  This year I know that I want to work for what I want and how important these relationships are to me.

So, to end this, I want to say that thank you all for the conversations we’ve had, the stories that we’ve told, and the experiences we’ve shared. You all are important to me in different ways, so know that you make a difference. I hope to see you soon.
And to all the people I haven’t met and talked to yet, I am thrilled to make your acquaintance.

Mixed Messages

A message is only as good as its delivery.
If given a message that is negative or critical it’s important that you include a methodology of how to fix the problem, or the message falls flat. It’s then only half a message, an incomplete phase that unfortunately can resonate within someone. It’s these messages that we receive that make a difference in how we perceive the world.

I am a critical person, not on those around me but myself. I am infinitely hard on myself, because of my belief that if I want something to change I have to be the catalyst for it.  I found that I have been giving myself these unfinished messages, these incomplete statements of criticism.   Stopping at the what I am doing wrong, and never getting to how to fix it.

In this state, life just gets heavier and becomes hard to be productive.  Things that I have been working on for months become more involved when I can’t reach the expectation I desire.  Habits I have form become weights that bind me.  It’s in these times that I have to recollect the purpose which I am working.  Positive changes shouldn’t feel like punishment, but when with a crossed message, it can feel grueling.

I realize that my posts have been concentrating on this negative aspect. These lessons I have been learning through blood, sweat, and tears are what spend the time to write.  It’s then when I continue to struggle, that I give no closure to the problem, and the weight is placed once more on my shoulders.  I continue to take the time to look inwardly to find other lessons I can learn, consequently never finishing the lessons that came before.

One or two of these things is something I can handle, but as the weight stacks I become lethargic. It’s this closure, a focus on the solution, rather than the problem that I need.  The lesson the weight is to come to terms with the issues that I face, and allow myself leeway to finish what I have started.

What I need most is to finish my messages, allow myself to end on a high note.  Giving myself a path to travel allows me some relief.  So I will give myself these words, finish the day on a high note, and give myself closure to the problems that I face.
So I will end this with the message that I can make things better, change the way the messages comes across and continue to push forward into making these messages to create a brighter future for myself and those around me.  After all, I am the catalyst of changing my fate.