I was never sure how this began. I looked back at my life to see if I could figure this out. I looked back as if it were an old movie I saw, in which, I know what happened. I know who the characters were, but to me, this was the same thing as sitting in a movie with subtitles I couldn’t understand.
I looked back at the things I had done and the situations I created. I looked back at my self-inflicted wounds and the internal battle scars, which refused to fade.
I was moving deeper into my journals and detailing the days of my youth and my young adulthood. It was not long before this when I lived in a life that was clearly not meant for me.
I was stuck in a pattern of living and thinking and more to the point; I simply could not see me in any other way than I was.
There were times when I looked around and wondered how I ended up where I was. How does this happen to people? How do people fall into their life this way?
Perhaps I should set the stage to give a better picture of where I came from. I grew up in a normal, somewhat small, and close-knit town in Long Island. The name of my town is East Meadow. No one among us was overly rich or excessively poor. We were the middle class. We had our little town features, the movie theaters, the town pool, which was over on Prospect, and Eisenhower Park, which was on the other side of town on Hempstead Turnpike. There was a bowling alley on Front Street. There used to be an arcade called The Wizard of Oz, which we in the town called “The Wiz.”
The deeper I went into my journals, the more I learned about me. The more I wrote and the more I reveled, the more I notice a sense of freedom, which came over me. I felt a sense of personal understanding, which is what I needed.
I began this journey to feel better, which was successful but not easy. There were times when I broke into tears. There were times when I looked at the people within my circle of influence and saw them with contempt and regret.
There had to be more. There had to be something I was missing. There had to be a reason why I was uncomfortable. Could this have come from the awkwardness of my youth? Could this have been as simple as age appropriate hazing and bullying that happens amongst kids?
I began my journals to better understand myself. Therefore, to save myself, I figured it would be best to go back to see where this began.
I figured the only way to understand my depression was to go back to the beginning. I had to begin with the basics to create a timeline to see the birth of my anxiety.
I was young, small, very thin, and basically weak. I was never much of an athlete. I looked younger than the other kids. I felt different, which was painful to me because all I wanted to do was fit in.
I was sitting in a small, two-bedroom apartment that was situated in the upstairs of a private home.
I had just moved back to my old neighborhood. I went back to where I began and where I grew up. Perhaps I went here for comfort. Maybe I went here because there was a part of me that felt I had nowhere else to go.
We have all found ourselves here, at the bottom, and everything hurts. Everything seems lost and there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel.
We have all found ourselves, hopeless in the ideas of the bottomless pit of failures and letdowns. And we have all asked ourselves the question, “Why me?”
These things are strong: man, woman, mother and father. This is where life comes from. This is where birth begins. This is our family, which we are to be thankful for. This has created us and the generations before us to lead us up to now; our family, our history, our future. Good, bad, troubled or otherwise, this is where we come from.
I sit by window in the morning to watch the sunrise. This takes place in the loft of my home, which is small, but quaint, and perfectly secluded in a quiet mountain town approximately an hour away from the city.
Truth is I am always up early., which I don’t mind. I like to watch the sunrise. I like the view of the clouds and the sky. I love the seasonal versions of dawn, winter, spring, summer, and fall.
Closer to the point, I like when the sun emerges and breaks into the palm of the horizon. Suddenly, the sky begins to take on color. It’s a new day, but to me, I choose to see this as a vision of hope.
I come to this moment to find a sense of peace and quiet. This is my time to unplug from the troublesome thoughts and the problematic symptoms, which we face on a daily basis.
More importantly, I come here for you. I come to find this thing we have together, the empty page, the keys I type on, and of course, my trusty cup of coffee that sits next to me.
Please forgive me. This is me being honest for a minute. This is me opening up instead of the usual norm or talking about the best foot forward or positive affirmation ideas that I usually try to convey. Instead, this is me giving an old side of my personality a voice.
So for now, I will let my words go to replace thought with action and openly show the truth in my heart.
After a while, it comes to the point where we can’t bang our heads against the same wall anymore. Eventually, there comes a moment when we face the realization that no matter how hard we try, certain things will always be out of our control.
Take the idea of approval, for example. Think about the energy we spend in effort to seek approval. Think about the effort we put into outside validation.
Think about the effort behind people pleasing the and outcomes, which will often come up short.
I think there needs to be a new way to address our oppositions. In fairness to us and in fairness to those around us, I think we have to understand what our opposition is.
Is this really a threat?
We need to understand how our opposition affects us. More importantly, we have to understand why our opposition affects us. Is this real, or, is this something more internal with a deeper meaning?
There will come a time when your youngest child is no longer young. And you will look back and wonder where the time went.
You will see them, grown and maturing, graduated with a cap and gown (or at least, hopefully) and they will be on their own,—they’ll be on their way into an entirely new life without the need for parental consent or supervision.
Maybe they’ll live close or maybe they’ll move away. Perhaps they will be married. Maybe they will become parents. If not married or acting as parents, maybe our children will move forward and find their way along a path which they have chosen for themselves.
Eventually, a time will come when our children are no longer children. And no matter how we see them; no matter what the memories are of the day when they came into the world, alas, a day will come when our children will be fully grown.
Of all I have ever wanted, no matter where I was, I have always wanted to be free. To feel it. Know what I mean?
I want freedom but first I had to learn what freedom means. How can freedom exist, and, furthermore, is it possible to live and be free but still feel confined somehow, as if there was something or some kind of invisible restraint that only I can see or feel?
There is nothing more beautiful than a smile. And I swear this has to be true. It just has to be. There is nothing more warm or inviting than a genuine, wholesome smile.
I have a record of smiles in my memory. I think of them sometimes, like say, when a friend of mine offered me a pair of new blue jeans. He smiled at me in a brotherly way. I had never seen anything like this before. As a matter of fact, I had never truly seen what it means to be charitable until him.
I was thinking about the use of our words and the things we say. I was thinking about what our words mean and how words will often mean different things in different occasions. A word is a unit of language; it is a version of expression or a means of communication.
There are times when I think of you and the things we said but more importantly, there are times when I think of you and the things I wished I told you.
I think about the things I wish I could have said to you. There are things I wish I had the words to explain or the patience to express myself.
always be life, in which case, life comes with circumstances that are beyond
our control and in the face of personal changes; life also comes with personal
obstacles that stand in our way. I think if all fairness, before facing a
personal life change; it makes good sense to understand what the obstacles are.
This way we can have and a strategy to navigate our way around whatever
obstacles we face.
I agree when people say there are obstacles in front of us. I agree when people say life is difficult. In fact, I even agree when people tell me life sucks.
There are times when the feelings turn inward. The thinking doesn’t stop. Everything adds up to this unfixable thing that only gets worse.
I was midway through a class to gain a state recognized certification. The area was familiar to me.
We were uptown near 116th St and Park Avenue to be exact. I used to go here when I was different person and for a much different reasons. However, times have changed for the better and so has the neighborhood. I was attending a school to achieve something and better myself, which, in fairness, years back, I used to go to 116th to better myself too.
Only, now my intentions have changed. My reason for taking this class was to help people get away from the same reason I used to go the spot up on the corner.
One would think that a happy life and good living is enough incentive to make a change or bring people together. However, there is an old saying that comes to mind which goes, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”
The thing about our feelings is no one else feels them. Others can relate but still, this is us. I am me. You are you. It’s just that simple.
I don’t know what 10lbs. feels like in your arms. I don’t know what it feels like to lift something heavy with your strength. I only know what weight feels like to me. And sometimes life just feels too heavy.
Am I right?
We have our ideas and our opinions, which have been trained by our the perception of our experience.
But beware of your thoughts. They are not always real.
Be mindful that feelings are not fact and neither are expectations.
I see you know. You are young and everything is new. You are on the verge of a new chapter, which is great.
In fact now, these days are the best days. You and I are living in amazing times. No, really. It’s the truth.
This is the beginning. This is where you make your start. This is where you get ready to make your mark on the world. We go back to the old saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!” because it is, regardless to how old you are.
I want to be helpful to you. But the best way to be helpful is to be honest.
This is life.
There will be good times and bad. There will be disappointments and letdowns but there will be moments that are so astounding, no words I can write will match how amazing you will feel.
There is a word for this. it’s called “Victory.”
It’s a feeling known as “Victorious,” and you will have this; perhaps not in your time or in your perfect ways, but this will be here for you.
I must never
lend myself to the ideas that just because I am hurt or tired, or just because
something did not (or will not) go my way, and just because something I invested
deeply, heart and soul in, but yet the outcome fell to pieces before I reached
my goal, I cannot lend myself to the idea that, “This is it!” and it’s over.
I am not sure what today means to you anymore. I am not saying today is not important to you, because I know it is. What I means is I am not sure what we’ve done here.
I am not sure where the pressure began. I can say in all honesty, looking all the way back (like most people) I could create a timeline and see where the major changes occurred that led to the standards I have created for myself. In some cases, the standards I have for myself are as usual and as common as normal, everyday life.
In other instances, however, there are standards which I have created for myself that are based from the fears of my past.
There were boundaries created —or better yet, these were barriers set in place, like a line drawn in the sand, which was my statement to be read, loud and clear, and to be heard and aggressively interpreted as, “This will never happen again.”
I have this feeling, which is love, which is mixed with so many things, which makes it difficult for me to speak sometimes, which is why I come here to write, because when I write, there is no stutter, and when you read, I believe you can hear me clearly.
(At least I hope so.)
There has to be a time when the excuses are no excuse at all. This is when accountability changes. This is when it becomes personal. The dedication changes. The mindset changes. More accurately, this is when we change.
There is a quote I think about from Charles Bukowski that says, “Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”
I think about this quote sometimes.
I think about the times I’ve gone crazy. Then I think about the times when I felt crazy. I think about the hard times and the desperate times. I think about the times I found myself on the poor end of bad decisions.
I think about the times I found myself in the worst places. I think about the jail cells. I think about the office visits of authority figures and the jobs I lost as a result to my behavior or performance. I think about being a divorced dad.
The idea is to overcome adversity,
which is something I understand.
But to overcome adversity,
I must first understand
what adversity means.
There are times when the world turns and for the minute, everything is still. The moment could be crucial or even simple but either way, in the moment, thoughts can be heavy or even gentle. The sky is a large, overhead screen, like a portal to an inestimable version of what we call Heaven. The clouds drift. The wind blows and the sunlight filters down from the sky.
Years ago, we were sitting in the waiting area at an airport and the flight was hours late. I was listening to the nearby passengers on their cell phones. They were arguing out loud about the delay. I was delayed as well —only, the delay was not so bad for me.
Of all things, first and foremost, then first and foremost, I cannot be afraid to step up and rise to the occasion. I cannot afraid or too intimidated to try. I cannot be held down or “held in,” in the sense that I give in to my fears or my doubts, which essentially turns inward, against me, and causes me to shut down or emotionally implode.
I cannot be afraid to fail. I cannot give in to fear. In fact, i cannot even regard these things because of all things, if I am to do anything then I have to do everything I can to be sure that I have done my best.
I have to lay everything out there. Risk it. Do it. By any means necessary.
I am part of a Monday—Friday life in which, come Monday, I am on a bus from a street near my home and heading into New York City to earn my living and pay my bills. I do this for the same reason as most people. I want to have a certain kind of life. I want nice things. I have to drive so I need a car. I need insurance. I need to invest and spend wisely; otherwise, it becomes hard to have financial stability I hope to achieve.
I think there needs to be a new approach in the way we deal with things. I think we need to change our way of questioning the world and trying to find answers to questions that make no sense.
Many ask the question, “Why?” as if there could be a simple answer to life’s complex things. People ask “Why?’ about the tragedies that have no explanation and could never be explained. We ask why but oftentimes the answers have nothing to do with logic. And yet, there we are, all of us are still asking the question, “Why?”
There is not much we can really say about the seeable or the unforeseeable future. Everything is subject to change, which it can and it does.
Take now, for example. I am sitting in a seat, flying more than 32,000 miles above the ground and heading from one side of the country to the other. I am not new to this kind of trip, but yet somehow, each time the trip seems to change. Then again, each trip I took was taken for a different reason. Each time I flew out west, I flew with a different intention.
Of all things I know, I know for sure that life is an eventual and an inevitable process. Life happens. Things begin and also, things end at a time when we least expect them to.
Life is always changing. This happens every day, even when we don’t want it to. Life is unavoidable. Trust me on this because sometimes we learn this lesson the hard way.
I know what it means to sit across from someone that “Knows it all,” and needs to show that they “Know it all.” And I know that I know this is about them. Not me. However, the way I see it is this is part of the problem.
Whether this is religion, economics, politics, or even if it is as simple as my doctor is better than yours; everyone has this strange need to be validated as being right. But to what avail?
Is this helpful? Or, how does this look to the browbeaten and tired? How does this interact with someone looking to change or better themselves?
Is this going to help someone come out from behind a problem and say, “Hey, can you please help me?”
I don’t think so . . .
Before moving forward,
I think it is only fair to realize
that success is a relative idea.
This one will run a little deep. So, fair warning, there will be emotion in this entry. What I mean is this one might seem a little too emotional, or too deep, only, not in a bad way.
This is more in a truthful way, which can hurt because after all; it’s like the old saying. “The truth hurts.”
See, if you are anything like me or if you are anything like most of the population, it you find yourself lost but trying to find your way, or if you are anything like me in the case that we feel too much, too often, and that life happens on a regular basis without our concern or consent; and, or, if you are anything like me and all you really want is to find your best road to happiness, or to live successfully without the constant hindrance of underlying fears of disappointment (or rejection,) then you are like me in the sense that we have to find some kind of inspiration to keep moving.
We are approaching the holiday season and soon enough, the Halloween decorations will give way to Thanksgiving. Next, it will be Christmas and then New Year’s.
Like many others, this time of year can be weighty for me. My family is mostly gone. Some have moved away. Some are not on speaking terms. Others have passed and all that remain is their loving memory. However, I have this memory, which I would like to share with you.
I believe with all my heart in the personal trinity. However, before I move forward, I would like to be clear that in this sense, the word “Trinity” in not used in the same sense as the Holy Trinity or in the Biblical sense.
This is not about religion at all. Instead, this is about personal balance and stability.
For this entry, the idea is to see us as a unison of three. We are mind, body, and soul. We are thought, emotion, and behavior. This is our trinity.
We are the threefold of memory, experience, and opinion. We are also the three combined, which are the hindbrain, midbrain, and the forebrain.
How many times have you been your own worst critic? How many times have you heard someone tell you that you have to stop beating yourself up? Out of all the times, how often did you listen and how often did you continue to do what they said, “Not to,” and continued to beat yourself up?
I have been
thinking about the ideas of ours. I was thinking about the assumptions we have,
which to assume, means to take on, to own or invest in. To assume something is to
take for granted or come to an opinion without fact.
I like to look up simple words in the dictionary. I look up simple, everyday words and break them down to their true meaning.
Because I use these words so often that I overlook the actual meaning.
Like the word “If.”
Every month I pay this thing we call a mortgage. This means I own a home. I have other payments as well, like my two car payments. One of which I own and the other is a lease.
The lease is like a temporary partnership. I am happy to report my other car payment ends in about a month or two. This means the car is all mine. I own the above items (except for the lease.)
I have some clothes too. I own some tools. I have a small tractor that I keep in my shed. At the moment, the tractor is in need of repair but it is still mine, which reminds me; I have a snowblower that needs my attention too. So does my main generator. I have an older generator but it has not run for quite some time. Either way, these things are mine.
I am not sure where the intensity comes from. I have never been so clear on why we overthink or over-analyze. More to the point, I am not sure why we relive conversations in our head, which are painful, yet we revisit them frequently, like the plague of an unwanted guest that refuses to leave.None finds this helpful. At least, not really. but yet, most people can relate to rehashing a conversation in their mind and wishing they had said things differently
I see myself as a searcher. I suppose I always have been. Then again, I suppose we all are.
We’re the same when it comes to this. We’re all searching, —even when we find what we want, we still look, we still question, and we still wonder.
Life is evolving. It never stops. Like it or not, life keeps moving regardless to the plans we make. Either way, it’s true. Life is a journey. It’s a quest. I believe this with all my heart and so should you.
There is one fact that is often overlooked when discussing the behaviors of an addict, drinker, or users of different kinds. First and foremost, the fact that anyone expects logic to take place is inaccurate. Logic does not live here. Logic and compulsion do not speak or interact in this case at all.
In fact, compulsion is the counteraction of logic. Although, intellectually, the user or the drinker may understand this, below this understanding is the drive and the need to overcome a feeling, a want, an idea, or an opinion that does nothing else but linger in the mind. Beneath the intellectual and logical understanding is the seemingly unchangeable belief system that cannot see life in any other way.