Sunday, July 13, 2014

Separation Anxiety

A few years ago, I diagnosed myself with "separation anxiety." Granted, it was one of those half-joking moments of admission. With that said, it was also one of those half-serious moments of confession. Admittedly, I probably never had a clinical case of separation anxiety, but I did know that I had always had trouble letting go of things because the idea of separation simply did not sit well with me. To delve further into my subconscious, my separation anxiety is likely due to the great ease at which I emotionally attach myself to the things and people nearby. Of equally reasonable consideration, it is also likely to due to some degree of narcissism in that I do not want, post-separation, for the other person to let go of--and worse--forget me (I mean, really. I'm me!) even though letting go is precisely the purpose, if not definition, of separation.

Between platonic, romantic, and professional relationships, I often ended up in debates with myself. One part of my mind would say, "You gotta just up and leave." Another would counter, "But you have it so good. And how would (insert name here) feel?" Still another would add, "Yeah, it's been so long already. Might as well stay put." Then reality would intrude and declare, "Exactly. It's been so long already. Here's a chance--time to move on." And on most occasions, I would just stay put and leave things exactly the way they had been, albeit the nudging urge that I might be more content otherwise. I think it fair to infer that I feared deviating from established comfort zones and habits, and subsequently feared heading toward unexplored territory and openness. On a smaller scale, I know that I also worried how others involved would feel and what they would think; parallel to that was the fear of my disappointing them and thereby disappointing myself. Alongside those various fears was also the deep concern that separation wouldn't necessarily lead to something good or better or anything at all--the potential to leave behind something that was perfectly good and better and everything altogether.

And of course, separation and transition come hand in hand. Despite my half-joking exclamations of separation anxiety, I always dealt with transition periods relatively well. That isn't to say that I never had moments of doubt or grief (take that word with a grain of salt--or pepper, whatever you're into), but the initial anxiety almost never prolonged itself. And that would, understandably, lead one to highly question my self-diagnosis, however jokingly or seriously I may have presented it.

Regardless, I mention transitions because the last few months have been nothing short of them. And I have been speaking of separation anxiety in the past tense because I noticed just today how much easier it has been for me to separate myself from the aforementioned established comfort zones and habits surrounding familiar people and situations. Although still uncertain about future prospects and analytic of opportunity costs, I implement and accept separation with more ease and poise than I used to, and I suspect that is primarily due to a statement I have been hearing increasingly frequently: You gotta do you. To each his own, no hard feelings; no hard feelings, to each his own. In whichever order, I have finally come to learn that separation is a necessary part of life, and there is no need to be particularly anxious about it, because it happens to everybody, and therefore people are, for the most part, understanding about it. Separation is necessary also because that is the point where you reflect on what you have learned from the past experience, and look forward to what you will learn from the next one.

And with that, I shall separate myself from this long overdue post and move on to a daily essential: sleep. Good night, all.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Song-Induced Ramble


Don't make plans, 'cause that's just hoping
Don't make promises, 'cause they get broken
Let's just take it one day at a time
And live our lives
'Cause hearts fall harder from higher places
Love gets lost in expectations
Let's just take it one day at a time
And live our lives
...
'Cause all I've ever known
Is being in the moment
Suddenly you're here with me
I want to say forever
But I know it's better
If we don't say a thing
_______________________________________________

I heard this song a short while ago on Pandora's Jason Reeves station, and since then have put it on repeat. I wish I could say that I do exactly what the lyrics prescribe, but I often can't help but end up wanting to--or at least talking about--make plans and promises. Don't get me wrong--I love the whole one day at a time thing, but eventually, one has to make plans, methinks. Without the expectation of a future or any expectations at all, it's hard to do so many things, because you never know whether the time and effort you invest now will yield anything fruitful. Arguably, such expectations are the very factor that inhibits the pure enjoyment of each day. While love--among other things--gets lost in expectations, I can't help but establish them and maybe even, perversely enough, hope that my heart falls harder from higher places (and rebounds, of course), because that means I will have given myself the opportunity to try new heights, to trust new people. Sometimes, I think that "taking it one day at a time" is an excuse to be lazy and to keep things simple so as to avoid thinking about the future or making a commitment. Other times, I acknowledge that that truly is all one can say with regards to the future. You never know what will suddenly come up, and what will suddenly change. Scarily enough, people themselves can change just as suddenly--seemingly, anyway. I suppose, then, that taking it one day at a time is a sort of precaution which aims to prevent disappointment or hurt. In that sense, doesn't it seem like walking on eggshells, knowing that there are certain limits to what you can do one day because you don't want that to lead to an expectation or promise? So what then?

The only lyric that I wholeheartedly agree with is:
I want to say forever
But I know it's better
If we don't say a thing

Frankly, until a moment ago, I thought I had long since resolved all commitment issues, but the fact that I can't say--much less promise--forever to anyone about anything led me to reconsider that. Or perhaps I can't be blamed for that, because forever, despite being only three syllables and seven letters, is an enormous word which comes with all the more enormous expectations.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Transitions

At one point, I was eager--frantic, really--to replace every memory and every memento with someone and something else, so that I would forget. But lately, I find that I no longer want to replace. Rather, I want to just add to every past memory and memento, in a stratified manner, with most recent on top but less recent still ever present. It isn't necessarily that I'm not willing to let go--it simply is that I don't want to forget anymore. Yes, stratification will be my (temporarily) solution.

Let's go back to replacements. Fortunately, many things are easily replaceable. And it's amazing that, because of that, you can so quickly achieve satisfaction. But of course alongside that are the abstract matters, feelings, and people that aren't immediately--if at all--replaceable. What then? Is there a difference between replacement and substitution? If the connotation of "substitution" is that of impermanence or instability, then a substitution for an abstract matter, feeling, or person just won't do. But then, who's to say that a replacement will do much more good than a substitution? Perhaps you don't think them dissimilar.

It's also astonishing what opportunities come about when you are most unsuspecting. And when you have multiple opportunities, you have to seriously consider what it is you truly want to do and invest in, and think about the time frame and people surrounding it, then decide what you want to surround yourself with.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Seven Minutes

A friend recently told me that people spend an average of seven minutes prior to falling asleep reflecting on that day and planning for the next. I told him that was a bunch of phooey for me, because I spend every other unoccupied minute of the day thinking about such things--among many others--and once my head hits the pillow, I fall asleep immediately. Hubris. The last two weeks were terrible falling-asleep sessions in that I actually spent well over seven minutes thinking and planning for the next day and the rest of the week. I also had a heavy heart which kept me unfocused during the day. It's amazing how much even the smallest matter that you tell yourself doesn't matter, does matter and pervade your mind for days on end. But the burdened and heavy heart has at last been relieved.

I'm currently reading Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of My Name for my LGBT Issues in Education class, and am very much enjoying it. It almost feels as though I'm reading for pleasure, but with a deadline and an assignment at the end of the week. Ha, so much for pleasure.

On that note, I was glancing at my last few posts and read at the end of one that constantly not writing feels like I'm slowly losing a significant part of myself. And yesterday, I realized how much of myself I have lost over the years. Or maybe it's not so much losing myself as it is changing myself. Sometimes, I miss the drive, ambition, and certainty I had and exercised throughout my K-12 years. Sometimes, I miss the energy I had prior to working and studying simultaneously. But if it's change instead of loss, then maybe all that has simply transformed into something that I don't recognize because I am in deficit mode. Is it just me? I sure hope not.

That will abruptly conclude my brief post for the day. Time to resume Zami, yay!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

There

You're right there, and yet
I'm too stubborn--
Okay, afraid--to initiate 

What if you don't think of me
What I think you think of me
And I think of you what
You don't think of me
Too much thinking, methinks
I ought to just do it, so
I did--and nothing

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The People You Meet

I met someone at The Misfit earlier who asked me what I would do if I were paid $1 million a year to do it. My answer was automatic: write. And throughout the remainder of the conversation, he repeatedly encouraged me to write my poetry and to publish it, because that might be the thing that I one day make a living out of. More importantly, it's the one thing that I know I love to do. Additionally, he reiterated the importance of relationships. In order to establish relationships with people who have the potential to change your life for the better, though, you must first be nice. After about 15 minutes of conversation, he left, turning back to remind me, "Write and publish!"

Fortunate are those who do what they love for a living. Fortunate, too, are those who love what they do for a living. Of course, there lies a difference between the two. Those who do what they love love what they do, and, per something I'm sure you've read or heard before, if you do what you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life. Contrarily, those who love what they do do work, but can find enjoyment in it, even if said enjoyment takes some time to find.
On this note, why does doing something for a living or making a living out of something necessarily imply making money? Can't we simply make a living out of or live off of something we want to do without worrying about money? The contentment and happiness we achieve from doing something we love should be enough motivation to live and keep living, no? Ideally, yes. Realistically, no. Money, and the need for it, ruin so many things for us by leading us to believe that we have to put aside what we really want to do in order to pragmatically "make a living." And eventually, this results in such heavy investment of time into working that we forget our true passions. I wonder, for those who come to love what they do for a living, how much freedom and time they have to tend to what they want to do. But then again, who's to say that their work hasn't become the sole object of their ambitions and goals?

Tonight was certainly not the first time I have heard from strangers about the importance of establishing relationships and networking. It was, however, the first time that somebody emphasized the importance of being nice. It makes sense: the stranger you're being nice to might end up being your employer, or vice versa. I am nice to everyone I meet, but I certainly don't pre-contemplate the importance of doing so. In any case, it is nice to be nice and to have people reciprocate it. And I think from there comes mutual respect--and maybe even trust!--that constructs the foundation of any given solid relationship.

The people you meet will be numerous and various, and they will come and go. But if you're lucky, you'll encounter a stranger every once a while who will remind you of the important things in life that you may have lost sight of while working hard to make a living. And if that stranger is lucky, you'll be nice and do the same for him or the next stranger you meet. I think we all need such reminders every now and then from the people we meet.