Monday, March 22, 2010

Facing Reality, Days 79, 80, 81, and 82

A lot has happened in the past few days. Perhaps not in the social activity department and they aren't exactly recordable moments. But the environment I've been exposed to and the proper mindset I've been in to be receptive to things has allowed me to experience and understand things at a deeper level. It's been a while since I've felt this way.

I made a new friend, and he seems genuinely interested in my opinions and viewpoints. I told him about this blog, and he's really interested in reading it. It makes me wish that this entry will be meaningful, powerful, and well-written. But I feel enslaved to fulfill my systematic desires and project that into my writing. I jotted down some notes about what I'd like to write about:

Paradox of Choice
Not Looking Forward to It
My OCD Relapse
Baring Your Soul
Where's My Community?
A Friend Interested in this Blog
The Need to Witness Growth

Something's happened in my life that I'm not ready to fully accept. I'm hurt and I feel betrayed by it when I'm not emotionally-dead inside. I'm saddened by how things turned out, but how I'm reacting or responding to it is what's so unsettling. I thought it'd be more difficult for me to deal with this. In some ways it's more painful, the idea that I'm able to resume my life so flowingly without choppy breakdowns. Is it that recoverable? How little must have it meant to me for me to be able to continue on this way? So managing this in such a collective way is tormenting. I thought I'd be paralyzed by the emotion intensity. I thought I'd cry myself to dehydration. But, in fact, I'm leading a mundane life. That's a little odd.

I've had the worst OCD relapse in two years! Experts say that people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder engage in repetitive tasks as a way to avoid or soothe themselves from emotions that are otherwise burdensome. I used to do repetitive tasks all the time. I lived and breathed that crap. It was a part of me. I would be talking and in the background, I'm making a list in my head. I'm listening to someone talk and I "see" a list I'm creating in my mind. Every step I took represented a symbol of a list I was reciting in my head. Cast ir-on, as I take three steps.

I never realized how disruptive and time-consuming it was. I had to work twice as hard to concentrate on whatever task I was occupied by and it took so much out of me to focus, but I developed the discipline necessary to endure such circumstances. I didn't choose to give up the very source of what was taxing for me. In a twisted way, it helped me cope with matters. It was an effective preventive measure for feeling and becoming burdened by the strains of human emotions and stressful times to come. What I didn't know was that once those feelings come rushing in, I'd feel suffocated by the very emotions I've spent my entire life avoiding. It would drown me, and I'd be helpless. No wonder why I was so dependent on my compulsive habits.

The fact that it seems "easy" for me isn't a sign that I'm handling it; it's quite the opposite. I should be a wreck, but I'm not allowing myself to. All of a sudden, my OCD just surfaced again and at an alarming rate. I don't exactly know when it started. I know what triggered it, but it feels like I'm on repeat mode that I don't have a clear idea of how long it's lasted, when it began, and if it ever turns off. I find myself reciting lists every hour! I feel the need to count and acknowledge each block I pass. But it isn't the frequency which is disconcerting in it of itself that's most alarming; I find myself waking up to list making! Sleep is when your subconscious deals with emotions we aren't ready or able to face in our waking state. And during those crucial times I'm engaged in repetitive tasks that suppress emotional processes! Is it so bad that I won't even allow myself the chance to deal with this?

Even my day to day activities and how I go about them has becoming increasingly compulsive and repetitive. I went to Michael's and made unplanned purchases. I bought nine things for 50 cents a pop, so it was a welcome splurge. But I didn't buy everything at once. I systematically viewed everything, extremely thoroughly. I selected only a few things to buy and then returned to complete the remaining purchases. I went back three times in a single day! And everything was 50 cents each! What, did I have shopping anxiety or something? Did I need to undergo an evaluation of careful shopping purchases? I doubt it. I just hungered for repetition, just as I do now.

I bought a recipe box that I'm going to fill with delicious recipes, and then I'm going to give it to my sister. With it, I'm going to provide her with a fat, short cute pen. I even bought myself one, too. I figure I'd give my sister a "Package Gift", so I also included a notepad that has yellow flowers on it. They're bright and sunny like her. There's a magnet attached to the back, so it'd be a cute way for her to communicate with her roommates. (Corkscrew bulletin boards are so male)!

I also got a collection of Thank You cards, and I've already used one to thank my parents for a generous birthday present. There's also a magnet that says BEAUTY on it, very decorative and pretty. I have it hanging on my kitchen above one of my favorite pictures. HOPE and BELIEVE, two things I really need in my life right now. I got those inspirational words on a magnet in pink and purple. Lastly, I bought a Michaels reusable bag in black. I've been meaning to buy myself one for quite some time now. I like the idea of being environmentally conscious, but I haven't made the investment. I have a couple bags already, but I'm not sure where they are. This one is black, so it goes with everything. But I have to exchange it because it's already starting to tear. -____- How unfortunate.

I may not be ready to be emotionally real with myself, but there's something about being so helpless that drives me to re-channel my energy elsewhere and my ability to help others spike up. It must be my way of helping myself. I'm not ready to help myself, but I have this desperation to solve something, to make something better. I won't do it for myself, so I substitute someone else for the job.

This time it's a friend who's the male version of me. He's extremely analytical, a high functioning intelligent to a fault. He has this facade of mellowness that I can see right through, but it's still an illusion that many people are deceived by. Underneath it all, the outwardly logical, critically driven, calculating, overly detailed way of our processing, thinking, and proceeding which has penetrated to the core of who we are, we’re psychologically corrupted and emotionally distorted in a way that most people can’t even possibly imagine. We’ve learned to develop this method of concealing it from both others and ourselves, diverting attention elsewhere and allowing ourselves to redirect our energies into something else. For me it’s my OCD. For him, it’s portraying an oppositional force of easy-goingness.

When I first met him at work, we both executed our one-dimensional work personality. Neither of us had no idea how similar we are to each other. I hadn't seen him in years when I learned that he moved into my apartment complex. I was glad, relieved, and disappointed all at the same time to see him here because I understood what it meant to be here, how bad things have to be for a person to resort to this place. But in a twisted way, I felt better because I didn't feel so alone.

This is a place people go to when there's nowhere else to go. No one really wants to be here, but we don't have much of a choice. We're all stuck here for different reasons. My roommates, as unsatisfied as they are to be here, still choose to be here because this is the better choice for them. While the opportunities presented to them aren't very favorable, they have choices. We don't. This is all there is for us unless we count the streets. And that's a place neither of us are going back to.

We're the same age. We worked at the same place. We have similar work experience. We had a twisted childhood that still haunts us and affects us to this day. We've developed the ability to cope with difficulty in an effective but unhealthy way. We had a somewhat similar upbringing, the prominence and family dynamics anyways and the experience of it all being stripped away from us. We got through it and became adults. Fast forward to here and the now. We got laid-off, we lost our apartment, and somewhere along the way we lost our livelihood and our coping skills became compromised when it became polluted with human emotions we've turned ourselves off to for so long.

I can't relate to others who live here in the same way. They don't understand especially my roommates, as great as they are, they just don't get it. For most of them, this is their first experience with independence. They're exploring it here, so as much as they dislike this place, it's a great stepping stone for them because no matter where they go, they'll be moving up. He and I got thrown on our ass. We're used to having our own place, our privacy. Now we share everything and with everyone.

It wasn't so much misery loves company. It's far more complex than that. There's something comforting knowing that someone is going through what you're going through, to know that you aren't alone. Maybe that is misery loves company. Whatever it was, the dynamics of it changed for me recently when life challenged him with the paradox of choice. He had an opportunity stay where he is now or start fresh with advantages and securities he wouldn't be offered elsewhere.

As sad as it would be to see him leave, as his friend I want to see him succeed. As a desperate person, I need to have hope that it is possible to not just escape this place but to leave it, to be removed of the toxic crutches this place contaminates a person's soul with. But, alas, he chose to stay here, which doesn't necessarily mean he's staying behind if he doesn't self-sabotage himself. And I have faith in me.

His perspective seems clearer than it has been in a long time. I'm receptive to his energy because it's so much like mine. I understand it in some ways as though it were my own. Feeling such a refreshed and revised outlook had an affect on me, too. I created this blog focusing on the Earth-Air-Fire-Water philosophy because these are elements that exist in all of us. It's a universal understanding and struggle. Most of us experience imbalance within these elements. It's my hope to work towards creating harmony among them.

For most of my life until very recently, I domineered a firey essence. Fire is associated with anger and power. As emotionally-detached as I am, anger is the emotion I'm most intimate with, probably because it's the "safest" (least vulnerable) of them all. Power further shields me from emotional vulnerability. But fire can also symbolize passion and strength, which I possess an adequate amount of.

Water is flowing, sometimes calm and peaceful but just as such, unpredictably wild and uncontrollable. The unpredictability and fluidity of water movements represent human emotions. It's usually referring to dramatic feelings, but the water element reflected the strength of my passion and what it can drive me to. Nowadays, though, the water element reflects my emotional variabilities.

I barely grazed the air element, the floaty essence that allow people to be still themselves until outside forces move them from place to place, just drifting along with the wind. The earth element has a grounding and much more stabilizing presence, something I've possessed little to none of until recently. I'm weighed down by the earth element. I feel stuck, trapped where I am, and it's left me stagnant. When you become a victim of the earth element, you inevitably become a hostage of air. When the air moves, you move with it because there isn't something forcefully powerful and oppositional like water challenging it. There's no fire suffocating the oxygen, leaving no air behind.

There's something I haven't looked forward to in a while. When I'm not interested in something, I'm not known to yield to the desires of others unless there's a mutual interest involved. There's none here, and yet I voicelessly agreed. Maybe it's because I've become so firm in the earth element and so floaty from the air element. But talking to my friend about this gave me clarity. If I don't want to do something, I shouldn't do it. He usually advises others to proceed if they're indifferent because the fluctuations are so slight between interest and disinterest. But when it comes to people like us, he said that the variations are too extreme to balance out. It's so true. He said if I participate in something my heart's not into, I'll ruin the experience for others, too, and not necessarily because others do anything wrong, but because the presence of my energy will poison everyone else's. I'll just fuck it up somehow, and it's true. This is all assuming that all goes well on everyone else's end, which is questionable, as well. Maybe the reason why I don't want to go is because my intuition trying to communicate with me, but I've been deliberately emotionally detached that the message is being received too weakly to make sense of it. I have to release myself from the heavy air and earth elements.

Then again, maybe that's why I fell upon the musical "society" that's been here all along. Music isn't a part of my world. It's something I understand little of and have almost no connection to. I admire people with musical talents and I envy them for the depths they can reach. I feel isolated and alone when I see them bond. All I see is the paralleled realities we live in, mine where music has no meaning because of my ability to grasp it and theirs where music nourishes their soul.

I don't harbor any resentment towards them, but I'm confused by their humbleness. Who has the real talent and who doesn't? I don't really know. They all amaze me. One guy has a band and a record label, without a doubt talented. Another guy developed his vocal skills in a year, which means that he was a musical talent all along because of how naturally it came to him. This other guy has an incredible story to tell. He was playing a guitar at a music store when a random customer was so impressed by his skills that this stranger bought him a $100 guitar! How insane is that? Can you imagine being so incredible at something that you can move a stranger to such generosity? His brother has musical talent, too. I guess it runs in the family? There's this other guy who describes himself as he "dabbles." But the same guy who developed his singing abilities in a year said that this guy has a really good ear for music and picks up on it quickly. The one with the record label was the first one to recognize how swiftly his fingers move along the strings. He's certainly qualified to make such an assessment. How is that these random strangers came together and found each other so that they can bond over a common interest? And they're all so adept at it.

I'm happy that they formed a community, but it makes me feel even more alone. Where's my community of writers? Where are they? Where do they live? Does a community of writers even exist? Is the fact that I'm asking some sign that I'm not a true writer? Because writers are introverted by nature, they seclude themselves from community-based lifestyles that I'm desperately seeking. Or does a community of writers exist and have I just not found it because I don't belong with the writers? Why not? Am I not good enough?

Am I not good enough? That's not the right question. It seems that virtually anyone is good enough to be a writer. You just need adversity and life experiences that people can relate to. As one of the guys put it, "Going on stage and performing your music is frightening because you're baring your soul." That was really a powerful message. It really spoke to me. I've always been afraid of baring my soul to anyone. As if that doesn't hinder my writing.

Poor writers are rising everyday. So, I'm certainly "good enough." But the real question is do I deserve it? And how exactly does one measure that anyways? Is it a relative scale? If so, how significant is a relative scale? Sometimes I'm proud to call myself a writer. Other times I feel that I can only call myself a writer because so many people are so bad at it that by default, it raises my status. I have to believe that I'm better than that. I identify myself as a writer. Take that away from me, and what do I have left?

Answer: A desire for growth. That's what I'm left with. Whenever I feel undeserving or inadequate, I'm left with this desire for growth. I have this desperation for change. But a lot of times I'm not ready or I don't know how to make that happen. That's when I re-channel my energy into something else.

Since I've been feeling so stagnant, I've been desiring change and growth in me. I think that's why I bought myself a strawberry plant at the farmer's market. There's something that quietly stirs within me when I leave the market with a living, breathing plant. I'm overcome with this calm pleasure as I enter the farmer's market, walking by tent after tent offering fresh seasonal produce, waiting to be re-invented in the kitchen or just enjoyed as is. I leave as the market closes or when I'm finished with my purchases. I'm satisfied with the experience and ready to go home, but the excitement that I was bursting with in the beginning fades except when I bring home a plant. That's when I feel like I'm cheating and I bring back a part of the farmer's market home. I believe that the strawberry plant symbolizes my desire not just for growth but for transformation. It's as though I'm manifesting it through a separate entity. I feel connected to it in some way.

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