dear diary: pointless, undeveloped thoughts

12 03 2014

I am a very good observer of people.  Women I have dated have loved me because I could understand them, oftentimes better than they could, which leads to crowning insight or indignant rejection.  You know how good it feels to believe that someone really understands you?  I think that’s an addictive feeling.  It feels so good that people lose sight of the fact that they need to really understand their partner that way too.  I don’t know if I can imagine it really going both ways.  Maybe I can.  Maybe I’ve experienced that once.  For a while.  But some things aren’t meant to last.  And the problem with having that with someone is that it is incredibly painful to lose it. 

I like to understand myself as well.  But most people don’t really want to understand me.  To be fair, it’s not just me.  People don’t usually want to understand other people—everyone’s in it to understand themselves, which is reasonable.  It’s a full-time occupation.  But I don’t have patience for people who want help understanding themselves and aren’t willing to help me in unraveling the mystery of myself. 

I don’t think anyone’s a mystery.  It’s pretty easy to see them outside of their time and space, because everyone is born wanting the exact same thing.  It’s usually pretty simple to recognize the events in their lives that helped them learn to react certain ways to things.  It’s usually to fit in, or to revolt against something they find negative, or to gain something they’re convinced they need. 

I used to write and come to conclusions.  Now I just write because I don’t really understand.  I don’t really understand how we could all want the same thing but all feel so separate and alone.  I don’t understand how I have an instinct to objectify people and see how doing so would gain me things I think I want, but really it’s not in my heart to act on those instincts, because I know better than to treat someone else in a way that I wouldn’t want to be.  I don’t understand how others do it.  I pity them and I envy their gain.  I don’t understand how I can do both.  I don’t understand why I have to be in two different pieces but in the same wrapper. 

I think I’m better than many people.  I wish I didn’t.  In my heart, I know we’re all equally pitiful and wonderful.  I think I see it all better, and I think I’m better than people who don’t.  But really, I don’t see myself as anything that great.  I lack willpower and the creativity of my younger days.  I’m folding my arms and letting what’s left slip through my fingers because I’m bitter that it’s not as much as it used to be.  I’m disappointed that the promise has been replaced with memory of having promise, also energy, also time.  I’m hardening into whatever I am these days.  When I could have been anything, I explored.  I never chose.  Now I’m becoming, still never have chosen.  I don’t regret never having chosen though.  There’s still nothing in particular I would choose for myself. 

Maybe just to understand, and to accept, and to do. 

Billions of Rooms

16 02 2014

I dreamt a long, winding dream this morning just before waking.  I was frequenting a series of rooms in what seemed to be a single large building, but I recognized different rooms as being from different buildings I’ve known or imagined before, and my tasks, desires, and what seems to be my primary attractions in life were represented by the different rooms.  And when I say attractions, I don’t mean the things to which I am attracted—I mean the things that seem to be attracted to me.

I felt like I was visiting, like there was a finite amount of time remaining before I was to leave, and I was trying to take care of before it was time to go.  The earliest I remember is being in a nursing home portion of the building, where I was taking care of things for my grandfather, whom I never saw, and I don’t think I was sure whether I was tying loose ends after his passing or addressing issues with his being there.  I feel like there was paperwork, and belongings of his, and reporting back to my mother, and making decisions about uncertainties.  I was also talking to attendants and trying to make myself welcome as well as understood in our needs—there was certainly that element of a need to be sure things would continue as I requested once I was gone.  I didn’t feel any urgency beyond the floating need to finish in time, but there seemed to be enough of it. 

This was my “tasks” portion of the dream.  It seemed less personal than my familial purpose would imply; I was there to take care of business, to be sure that all parties were satisfied, so that I could leave and be sure we were all on the same page.  I feel like I do a good deal of that.  Certainly my job is like that.  Certainly much of my life, or anyone’s life, is like that.  There are things that you have to take care of to a satisfactory conclusion, and there may not be much passion involved in this part of life, but you know that if you don’t handle them properly, there will be future consequences, and you take care of what needs to be done to smooth out the ensuing time, to be sure there isn’t a stressful time dealing with fallout in the future.  It’s dewrinkling your future.  It’s putting the train on the reliable track.  It’s unwelcome surprise control. 

My work ostensibly done, I apparently had time to devote to myself before I had to leave, and I began going to communal areas of the building.  TVs were on, people were milling about, not doing much.  I was not interested in meeting anyone; I only wanted some time to myself, and so I was searching out an unoccupied space so that I could murder my time until I was supposed to leave, but I couldn’t find one.  I forget how I ended up occupying myself, but it eventually got to be late at night—it felt like 2 in the morning or so—and I finally felt confident that I would have one of the community lounges to myself.  I walked the darkened hallways until I found my target, and was happy to see that it was dark and unoccupied.  I walked in.  The TV was wall-mounted and off, the couches were unoccupied, and there was a chill to the room that you always seem to find in unoccupied public spaces.  Did they turn the heat down for the night, or do all the warm bodies actually warm a space to a temperature we like? 

This felt like the desire part of my dream.  Now that I wasn’t performing needed tasks, my wish was to be alone, which it often is nowadays.  While I couldn’t be alone, I floated inconspicuously around the building, patiently waiting for my opportunity to come.  This does seem like my life these days.  I do get lonely and I do seek out people and I remain somewhat social, but when it’s over, I am happy to get back to the spaces where I know I will not have to talk to anyone.  Where I may not do anything of value, to myself or to others, but where I don’t have to answer for anything, either.  Where I am unwatched—not that I am doing anything terrible, mind you—and can loaf around, where the only judgment comes from myself.  It seems silly to write this down, that I’m avoiding the eyes of others’ judgment, because I don’t think anyone really judges anything i do poorly, but there seems to be something to the feeling in my dream of simply wanting to be apart, and the relief I felt when I found it.

Before I get around to deciding anything in the community room—which couch to lie down on, where to put my bag down, whether to look out the window—I am followed in by two people, who do not notice me at first in the dim moonlit glow of the room.  It is a couple, and the guy is doing all of the talking.  It’s kind but nervous. He says before he leaves in the morning, she has to take him to the student store so he can finally get a memento of her school, something to remember this chapter of their life.  She’s smiling with teary eyes.  They’re trying to normalize a difficult time between them.  I notice my grandfather’s bed nearby, and I gather things up, rearrange things, making sure they notice my presence, and I go to leave.

I am not sure if they stopped me with a word, or if I offered a word to them, but in a moment, she is telling me that she knew their relationship was over, but she had to get him. “What kind of woman would drive 6 hours to bring her boyfriend back to her place knowing that it was all for the break-up?” she asks rhetorically, laughing a little at the end.  I say something about the importance of thoughtful, peaceful endings, and surely she just wanted to be able to lay it out so that they could say a proper goodbye and have only warm feelings toward one another and the venture they had together.  I say that not many end long relationships so well, and that I appreciate their maturity and emotional intelligence.  They thank me, but as I am walking past them, I feel her intense pull on me.  It is not physical, but she isn’t going to let me go now.  The next thing I know, I am in her dorm room with her—it has become Granville Towers at UNC-CH—and she and her roommate are talking while I stand at the door.  I recognize that there is a comfort she finds in me, and that this is why I am not able to go.  Her roommate is telling her she has to get to Sky (a class building name, I think), because that is her favorite class, where she does great work, and she’ll enjoy it.  And she’s agreeing.  And I know that I am going to Sky too.  I am on her train now, for a while.

This was, of course, the primary attractions part of my dream.  That crazy psychic Charlie told me all those years ago that my energy was such so that the people attracted to me, to my presence, were essentially wounded birds.  People who needed help in a difficult time.  She reminded me that just because I am happy to be helpful and enjoy helping people see the larger picture and to give them support as they need it didn’t mean that it was good for me.  She said that after a certain time, the energy flow is usually invariably decidedly away from me, because most people don’t know how to take assistance to remember how to stand, but would instead lean against it so they wouldn’t fall down. 

In the end, this huge building or series of buildings I was in during this dream served as this metaphysical reminder upon waking; life is pretty much an infinitude of choices, but we as people keep electing to re-enter the same few rooms over and over again.  Because that’s what’s expected of us, because we’re afraid to enter rooms we don’t know, because we’ve become the kind of person who serves a particular purpose to others in our world. 

The thing is, this is nothing more than a stark reminder of what I think I’ve known for a while now.  There have been times in my life when I’ve been aware that I’ve ceased progressing and have had the strength to choose new rooms to enter, and have usually been better off for it.  And it’s been on my mind plenty these days that I am habituating strongly again; that my old feelings about money, about space, and about myself have slowly been creeping back into my habits after I had banished some of them years ago.  It’s strange to me, how I can change, appreciate the change and think it an improvement, and then find myself going back to conceptualizations that didn’t work for me. 

These days I feel like I am taking care of business as expected, I am generally seeking the relative peace of solitude for various reasons, and probably my wounded bird energy is as unchanged as ever. I am in a world with billions of rooms, and I spend time in twenty of them, and I want to try the other rooms.  The punctuation, the reminder that this dream has provided for me is that, astoundingly, I still don’t seem to know how.

The Orange and the Coffee Mug

7 04 2013

This morning, I was holding my favorite coffee mug.  There was nothing in it; I was holding it with my pinky finger, hands full of other things, and I was concentrating on putting these other things down one at a time, full of the intention of getting to the point that I could safely transport the mug to the safety of the counter.  As I began, however, an orange that was balanced upon the rest of the sundries rolled—just a bit—across the top of my load.  And though I was concerned, and I mean fully invested, only with my mug at the time, I reacted to stop the orange’s roll by shifting my balance, my hands beneath the pile, to keep the orange atop it all.  Consequently, even though the only thing I wanted to not drop was the mug, the mug was the only thing I dropped.  Luckily, I’m good with my feet, and I was able to cradle the falling mug enough that it didn’t break.

But I had dropped it.  The only thing I was focused upon not dropping dropped. 

And this was the perfect anecdote to illustrate something I’ve been feeling a lot lately: though I think that I am making decisions and focusing my energy on doing things of my choosing, something in my nature, something I do not choose, is betraying me. Something inside of me, or within the world, compels me to do something different, making me feel entirely like an observer of life rather than a liver of it.

I hate to get all Matrix on you, but it put me in mind of something the Oracle said, and which has always resonated with me: “You’re not here to make the choice. You’ve already made it. You’re just here to understand why.”

Maybe it’s because I’ve felt so busy lately, or so unable to slow down and really get a sense of what I’m doing with my life to appreciate where I am and where I’m trying to go, but I’ve felt increasingly as though I am not making any decisions. Not really. I feel like I’ve hit that jet stream of the “productive” years of life—the ones everyone wistfully remarks are gone in the blink of an eye (which is actually a blink, unless you only have one eye). I feel like I’m allowed inadequate time to reflect, to think, to plan, to change course if I’d like. I’m not saying I feel like I want to change course. I’m just saying I probably wouldn’t know it if I did.

This is a question of freedom to me. I am learning to teach within the educational system. I decided to do it, knowing there would be frustrations and a constant heap of work. That doesn’t bother me. But—and here is where I cut this short so I can have time to grade everything and make lesson plans for tomorrow—my life is a coffee mug dangling from my pinky finger, and there is an orange demanding my attention. If I had time to think about it, my life and how I live it is that to which I’d choose to pay the most attention. But that orange is immediate, and it is moving, and I’m balancing it, I’m saving it, and that’s where my mind is. In this instant.

the worst thing that ever happened to you

10 11 2012

i was once in an atv accident with no helmet on. i split my head open on a steel pole and then the atv landed on top of me. i had my ankle shattered playing soccer. i had a girl i was in love with run off to australia for months only to come back and tell me that she had left expecting to come back engaged to a boy she knew from before, and about whom she’d neglected to tell me before. once, i was chopping wood, and a shard of wood rebounded from my split straight into my eye. i went to the hospital after about 30 minutes of flushing blood out of my eye in the kitchen sink; my mother wanted to find the wood. i don’t even remember how long it took the doctors to get it out. all i really remember is that i don’t like people putting metal things into my eye. most people probably don’t, but i do suspect that there was a time that i loved it. not after that.

once i was caught making out with my ladyfriend by her father. you know, after both of us were shirtless. i thought my dad and i were really close until he left when i was 13 and only saw me once in his life after that. i had a disturbed neighbor when i was 10 who took all of his mother’s kitchen knifes and chased me all around my yard, throwing them at me. i had this girlfriend i wanted to leave because of her lack of basic kindness and her willingness to try to coerce me to bend to her will by hurting me where she knew i wasn’t strong. and when i finally left her, she stole much of my stuff, including my cat, whom she knew i loved more than anything.

there—maybe that’s something i could say was one of the worst things that ever happened to me. that was an unresolved understanding and a needless pain suffered. i couldn’t make her understand that the way she treated me was unacceptable to me, and that’s why i had to end it. because if i didn’t, it meant that i was saying the way she treated me was okay, and it wasn’t. it’s hard to be close to someone and not understand one another. because i did love her, and i know she loved me, but her love was too angry, too jealous for me. and when you’re so close to someone who can’t understand it when you tell them that they’re hurting you, it’s sad. and either that’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, or the fact that she stole my awesome cat friend wesley as a result. i really do miss him.

so, this posting began simply as me trying to think of something “terrible” that happened to me, because as i sat here thinking about it tonight, nothing really qualified. everything that happened to me that was “bad,” i ended up learning from it—learning about myself, or about the world—but always learning, and even the memory of how awful some of those experiences were to get through reminded me that i still got through them. knowing that you get through things is nice. am i crazy to not think of the night i had such terrible food poisoning that i passed out from exhaustion and dehydration naked in a cold sweat in a 40-degree bathroom overnight as being one of the worst things that ever happened to me? it happened, and i did not enjoy it.

but to be the worst thing that has ever happened to you, it has to affect you for the rest of your life. and for it to affect you for the rest of your life, you have to never be able to get over it. because if you’ve got something you’ve never gotten over, then i understand why you’ve got something you consider as the worst thing that ever happened to you.

but really, it’s in the past, and your inability to get over it is what’s happening to you. i guess it is still happening to me every time i think about and miss my relationship with wesley. though it’s hard for me to be angry with myself over missing that guy. we had the best times together.

so really… what’s the worst thing that ever happened to you?

the universal

25 03 2012

My ski vest has buttons like convenience store mirrors and they help me see
That everything in this room right now is a part of me

The only thing to remember, every moment you can, is that you have a choice before you. Everything you sense—see, hear, smell, taste, feel—is a part of you. You’ll have an emotional reaction, however slight, to anything you encounter, and these reactions tell you everything you need to know about becoming the person you are meant to become. You need only pay close attention and prepare to be brave.


late and early

5 07 2011

I was standing in a shower this morning at 5 am, lit by streetlamp-through-4-inch-thick-glass bricks.  In the dim, I saw before me that the 6-inch midnight blue tiles of the shower wall spanned no farther than the bulk of my human senses:  my eyes, nose, mouth, and ears all could all fit, diagonally, within the six-inch squares before me.  And I remembered that I know nothing, but I couldn’t hold myself responsible for knowing nothing, couldn’t blame myself for being so utterly clueless, because the blunt tools given me for understanding this world could fit into an unemptied 10-ounce bag of M&Ms.


16 06 2011

Purpose is the only thing there is.

Sometimes I think that creativity exists in people as their only tool to uncover the secrets to their lives.  That is, whatever you’re driven to do is the correct path for you to take because the unknowable force that binds it all together is the source of creativity, and it reveals itself to you in tiny increments that you can take up only as quickly as you can create at a wholly intuitive level.  So when something resonates for you, let loose and give yourself to it as best you can.  Conversely, I suppose, if something isn’t your cup of tea, it’s just as well that you avoid it, because it’s nothing you need to propel yourself forward at this moment.

Other times, I take stock of what this philosophy has gotten me and I become a little disheartened.  It’s not that I don’t appreciate the exploration or think that my life should be better (or worse).  It’s that it still seems to fill my life up with stuff and one thing I am not so great at is organization—so I’m left with all kinds of attempts strewn at my feet and I can hardly imagine what must be in there.  I’ve got a lot of musical instruments, all of which I know how to play a little.  I’ve always been very drawn to music, but there’s always a point where I am flustered by it and put it all away for months at a time.  And I’ve got loads of photographs now, and I still can’t really think of a reasonable filing system by which I can keep track of what I’m trying to do.  Of course, the fact that I don’t know what I’m trying to do probably makes it difficult to devise a reasonable filing system.

And there’s the writing.  I’ve been awful at writing lately—both prolifically and qualitatively—but when I write, I want to keep the things in some kind of order so I can revisit and rehash as is appropriate.  But I have so many categories, and so many folders now.  This is partially why I started this blog.  I wanted a place where tags and categories would help me keep track of my mind as well as give me a platform to improve as a writer.  But I stopped tagging or categorizing long ago, and I’ve been fearful more than once that I’m writing on a topic I’ve visited before and just don’t remember.  So I’m probably annoying any readers this blog may have, but that’s neither here nor there.  It’s the nature of the mind, to visit and revisit topics of interest to it, changing its ideas about them slowly over time.

So I’m just trying to do what I should be doing, but it’s not doing anything too constructive, I don’t think.  I don’t see it becoming constructive, either—it’s all just stuff lying around me, being there, no monuments, no signposts, just a mess.  And it makes me think about purpose.

Because in the end, you aren’t really anything but your function.  What you do is all that you are.  Even though you’re an absolutely unbelievable organization of atoms working together to give you an opportunity to be alive, you’re actually nothing but what you make this organization do.  These atoms will disorganize, and they’ll go on to be other things, and they’ll change their own natures along the way, and the control that you once thought you had will disintegrate along with them.  And that’s fine.  But what did you accomplish while you still had them working with you?

What’s a broom for?  If you think it’s for sweeping, then what if you are trapped in a room with a broom and you use the handle to break the window, to give you freedom?  Function shifts, and you can change your function.  You just have to use your will and your creativity.

I don’t know what I am, and I don’t know what you are.

I don’t feel right when I’m making money and I don’t feel right when I’m not.  I don’t feel right when I’m avoiding being sociable and I don’t feel right trying to have fun.  I like talking to people about their fears or their thoughts about life.  I like doing little things that people appreciate.  Otherwise, I feel useless.  It’s strange to know that you only feel good when you’re choosing to be a tool.  That you feel best when you accept that you don’t have a real drive in life and that you don’t really function unless you’re making it a little better or easier for someone else.  I have to admit that I still really wish I envisioned a function I really desired to become.

That last paragraph was for me, obviously.  I’m leaving it in there.  Just because I hope to come back across it one day, lack of organization be damned, and realize that things have changed for the better.