Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Smallest of Things Can Trigger Our Greatest Fears

It's going to be my birthday this month. The new year just began. Valentine's day passed. And now my birthday's coming up. Each are Holidays that make people think of the future and reflect on our lives. I don't usually give attention to days people associate with significance but I spent the Holidays in my hometown, so I was exposed to an undeniable contrast between my old life and my new one. I've conditioned my friends to remember my birthday is 6 days after Valentine's, so it's closely associated to change. Not to mention since I'm single and 27, my mother can't resist criticizing my waning youth that's apparently being suffocated by enlarged pores. Even my father's joined in on the condescending territory my mother has more than adequately fulfilled by beginning and ending sentences with "you're not getting an younger." I understand how time works. Thank you.

I've thought about how much I've changed, how many people are still in my life, and which ones matter the most to me. I don't often worry about being able to maintain the friendships I've developed with local friends because I'm more connected to them. I see them regularly. I feel like if the friendship begins to slip away, I sense it and can work towards tethering to it or let it go because it's the right thing to do. My newer friends are also my adult friends. Life takes over and we lose touch, but we reconnect. That's our friendship works. But it's different with friends from my hometown.

I knew them since I was a teenager. I hang on to them more because while I want them to change, encourage them to, and even assist them with it, I don't want those changes to occur without my presence because I fear I won't recognize them. What if we drift away? By presence I don't mean physically. I just don't want to wake up one day and feel that they're nothing more than strangers. It's interesting that the things I fear are usually the things I should worry the least about and yet they matter the most to me, so I fret. When these friends change, even slightly, I'll feel it and it immediately brings me to a state of panic and desperate reassurance I impose on myself.

It's nearing a decade since I've left my hometown and I still talk to my friends from there regularly. I feel like we've survived the test of time, but the thing about time is that it's always moving forward. It never stops. What if one day we fail the test of time? That's my fear.

I should celebrate the growing years we've managed to stay friends, but instead it feeds my insecurity that we're coming closer to the demise of our friendships. We know each other so well that sometimes we send the most random and seemingly meaningless texts for each other. Other times we'll talk for six hours. So when I found that a close friend of mine was going out with another friend instead of talking to me for countless hours, the pang of being replaced took over. I never told him because these feelings are pathetic and embarrassing to have as it is. And I can understand why people think my feelings for him are more than platonic and I'm tired of repeating myself, but I'll do it in writing. I don't like him; sadly I'm just that insecure.

There are a few close people in my life I feel this way about, but I'm fond of certain systems and ours was being drastically altered from what I've become accustomed to. It's not just him. I have another friend who I texted if he's still alive cuz I felt like he's been MIA and I asked him if I'm just paranoid. He admitted that he's been preoccupied but I realized it was only two days that we hadn't communicated. Two days! Who the fuck trips off of two freaking days? And I swear I'm not usually obsessive like this, only when I worry that our friendship is compromised and I'm not used to these ordinary changes.

And my birthday rolling around made me think about where they'd be 10 years from now. But the truth is I have to stop worrying because we'll find out eventually. And no matter how much I fear and resist, what's going to happen will happen with or without my consent. I can't waste my time stressing when I could be living because our time here is indefinite and can be more brief than we think it'll be. So it's time to celebrate!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Trying to Snap the Uninspiration Out of Me

I know "uninspiration" isn't a real word but it's a real feeling. Writing has always come naturally from me. But lately I've been feeling dangerously unmotivated and a ton of other adjectives I resisted from posting on fb, not out of discretion but out of my own fear that these feelings I wish didn' exist would become more real. Then I realized that these feelings that are leading to a sense of indifference in my own life are more real than what can be seen or touched; it's becoming a part of me and I want to change that. So I thought it best to just start writing even if I have no major epiphany or deep insight to offer.

In the back of my mind I'm aware that people are reading this or I hope so, and that affects my writing but I stopped doing it for an audience a long time ago but the bad habits that restricted me still linger. They just manifest during different moments of struggles. I used to hesitate writing when I felt that it wasn't good enough for the readers, not because your time was important to me but because I couldn't stand the idea of someone hating my entry. Now I don't give a fuck!

And that's great because I write for myself now. But when I don't consciously feel like I have nothing of value to express, write, or read myself, I forfeit the attempt altogether and that's detrimental to my self-growth because our subconscious minds understand far more than our conscious minds. So I shouldn't be afraid to write just because I feel I have nothing to say. How much information am I holding back from myself? This place is my sanctuary. I shouldn't only visit it when I'm on the run. What a symptom management oriented approach.

Imbalance has always been a struggle of mine, but I didn't become aware of it until recently. I used to be overfilled with poison and my body was so polluted in this state that I never knew what it was to be free of it. So I never recognized the damages. When something becomes a part of you, even if it's something horrible, trying to separate from it is one of the most painful experiences you can ever go through. I was bludgeoned and beaten. Because so much of me was infused in this poison, a part of me was extracted during the separation process. So I had to rebuild a new me. I wish it wouldn't have taken such an extreme and necessary force to snap me out of it, but I'm grateful for the results and who it shaped me into.

Once I recognized the damage it was doing to me, my body naturally tried to expel and reject the poison surrounding me. I've gotten receptive to keeping those things at a distance but what I failed to realize is that now I'm an empty vessel. I'm no longer filled with poison, but I have to be filled with something. I should be nourished, but I'm not used to feeding myself anything. I'm used to crap just being crammed into me that I have left myself spiritually malnourished and that's why I've been feeling uninspired and indifferent. I have to be filled with something whether it's negative or positive. An absence of either is still a form of imbalance. Negativity inspired me to not be the failure I was suspected to become. Without such discouragement to fight against, I became blind to the fact that I was failing myself.

As I found myself becoming dangerously unmotivated about the fact that I have no job and could get evicted if I can't make rent and slowly digressing into a state of indifference about it, I started becoming detached. I memorize phone numbers. I don't rely on my cell phone to be my memory, but I forgot so many of my friends phone numbers and it's not because I'm becoming 27 in 7 days that in the past month I began forgetting phone numbers I've known for well over at least six months, if not years. It's because I began detaching in general with myself, the people around me, and with reality.

I've been going to sleep early. I'm tired throughout the day. I'm unmotivated. I'm losing touch with people. My diet isn't what it was. I'm stagnant. I'm beginning to develop the symptoms that constitute depression. Don't get me wrong. I don't think I'm depressed, but it's frightening to think that I'm not too sure how I feel because feelings are starting to become absent in me and these symptoms are so close to what depressed people do experience.

But here's something new. Throughout all of this indifference as the lack of employment is about ready to swallow my life hole and shit out nothing but crap, the only thing that's managed to make me feel anything is empathy. When my friends got sick. When my friend started developing breathing difficulties. When my friend expressed sadness about Valentine's coming up. When a friend I hadn't spoken to in a while confided in me that she's been seeing a counselor and battling depression, that's when it hit me.

It was at that moment I realized I'm not far from that path but without having talking to her, I may not have known because I've been so emotionally detached until it was too late. People, even new people in my life, just naturally open up to me and sometimes it trips them out that they do and feel they can share so much with me and I love it. I realized that when I help others, I help myself. Altruism.

Not having a job. Being bored. Uninspired to write, the one constant in my life that I felt I needed and without it, I believed I'd fall apart. Feeling helpless. Feeling unwanted and worthless in society. Forgotten. At the brink of losing my apartment and losing all of my beautiful pretty things. The freedom I've come to enjoy and recently acquired was at risk of being snatched away from me and all of this left me apathetic. I've been homeless before. I know how difficult it is to not have a roof over my head, so it isn't like I'm just not properly frightened that's keeping me from caring. And yet what made my heart turn was another person in pain.

Small but significant moments like these have been making me feel like lately I've been wanting to go into an altruistic field. I've contemplated counseling but also something more expansive like a charity organization. I want to be part of the team that makes the changes happen. I don't want to just push the paperwork. I have to know and see that my actions, whatever they are, are helping people in need. I want to talk directly with people who are struggling and both feel and see their progress. I have to sense and know that my contributions are making a difference. With some things, I need more than faith; I need evidence.

I'm not sure what this means but I plan to find out. This isn't at all the entry I had in mind. I've had some powerful experiences. I missed one job fair, so I went to a recent one that was pretty incredible. It gave me hope and left me with some sense of wisdom I wanted to express, but that moment has passed. While the experience resonates in me, I'm no longer compelled to express it the way I desired when it first happened.

It's tragic but I have to accept that moments pass, one of the most difficult realities to grasp in life. Lately I've been wondering what I'd do with my life if I didn't want to write as though I'd have to find the answer to that question, but I've been too afraid to face it. Now with each growing day of indifference and the only thing that's able to spark me is empathy, I think I need to stop feeling selfish for wanting to help people cuz it helps me and just be a part of the conducive process.

I can no longer be the way I am now. I feel like I failed my friends. One friend who always came to me when he struggled said he doesn't want to burden me with his problems because he knows what sadness does to me. It wasn't always that way because I wasn't always that way. And I know he's struggling. He knows I'll sense it from him, so he's staying away. I don't want that from my friends. I can understand why he does that, but it's also hurtful to feel like he wants to detach himself from me. That's not what friendship is about. Well it is from his perspective and I'd do the exact same thing if I were in his situation, but I'm in my mine and this is how I feel.

The scary thing about being indifferent and detached is that I don't know what's going on or that this is even happening. I'm at risk of becoming who I was before and I don't want that. I still feel like premonitions plague me, but it's also a sign that I'm connected, connected to myself, connected to the universe, connected to my friends, connected to feelings, connected to what makes me human. I didn't even realize it was missing and I channeled the very little emotional energy I did have on worrying about my friends who were visibly in trouble, but the ones that really need help are the ones who are silently suffering and that's what I became blind to.

They're the ones who are lost like I am and often times unaware of what they're going through. They never ask for help. You have to be one of them to recognize them. Blind leading the blind is often mocked and trashed, but the ones who know where they are don't know where to find where the lost people are, nor will they recognize them. So many of us put on fake smiles, go out into the world appearing not at a lost or confused and severely struggling the way we are, and people buy into our ability to put our problems behind curtains. When I lose myself, I lose the ability to help others.

As it turns out, writing is a smaller priority than part of me wishes it were. I wanted to become a writer when I was a child because I wanted to be heard. I thought it was the only way people would pay attention to me. Then as I became older I wanted to become a writer, so I wouldn't be forgotten. I didn't want children. That was sincere then. I feared that without a legacy I'd be erased from history and I thought having my name printed would be my mark in the world, but that was the detached me talking. Now I realize that to truly be remembered, you have to make an impact in peoples' lives. Authors are forgotten all the time. A record isn't a memory. I want to be remembered and with significance. I believe I will be because I can feel what I have done for my friends, and it isn't always through my writing. I want to be remembered and I'm realizing that being a writer isn't the best way to achieve that. Plus I wanted to become a journalist to help people. Then when I lost my desire to become a journalist but clung onto writing, I've been sort of aimlessly floating.

I can't continue to deny how I feel or . I wanted to be a writer and maybe I still can be, but that only appeals to a smaller side of me as I continue to grow and evolve. My self growth and embracing who I am has led me to my premonitions. It leaves me more connected to others than some. I have a friend who I should've never lost touch with. It wasn't too long but long enough. As my indifference was building in me and my intuition was suffocating, it manifested itself as a voice in my head taking on a friend's voice asking me to check up on my boy and I ignored it/me with the rationalization that I'm worried about friends who are really struggling like with breathing. As it turns out, I should've listened because he's been sick and as I'm returning to my intuitively receptive state I keep getting this, "How long have you been out of sync?"

If blind leading the blind is beneficial because it's having a mirroring effect, it's a two way street. How long have I been out of sync? Long enough that I wasn't able to see my friend's downfall. And I don't like feeling like I failed them. It's not my responsibility to keep them from falling, but it's also not my desire to lose myself as my friends struggle. I wanted to write because that was my way of wanting to give back. The detached me was more than satisfied to give back to society, but as I became a more intimate person, I want to give back in a more personal way.

The truth is that writing isn't as satisfying to me as it once was, although this is very therapeutic. What led me to finally do this was that when I realized I'm in emotional trouble, too, I instinctively looked up ways to combat depression naturally through food, vitamins, and exercises, the healthier way to combat depression and what my friend prefers. I wanted to compile a list of choices she can reference at her own time, when she's receptive to it rather than to heal myself. My priorities and habits definitely have to change, but I'm beginning to realize what my desires are, to help people.

I also want to end this by thanking a long time friend of mine who surprised me with an encouraging email. We don't keep in touch as much as I'd like, but every so often he checks up on me and his timing couldn't even be better. And the advice you gave me, you were right. I mean look at this never ending entry. I'm at a friend's place and he asked if I'm writing a novel. LOL! But seriously thank you!