talk to me about fear.

There is no mistake, and let there be no confusion, I can do anything I desire in this world. 

The doubt that has existed in my mind has many origins, and there is so much sincerity in my efforts to handle these doubts in the humblest manner possible, showing care and concern for the feelings of others and the impressions I will make on their lives. However, it is now clear to me that the origins are nothing but fear-based parasitical thoughts that have nurtured themselves on my own doubts and lack of confidence.

I was bullied as a child, sexually abused, raised in a single-mother household, and exposed to a world of crime and disillusionment, drugs, and lying. But I am not a victim. 

I have been lied to in relationships, deceived, and thought to feel like I was not good enough. The one that made me chuckle was when I was told I would never find someone as good as that person. Here I am, though, and I am not a victim. 

I am a hero, having overcome the sirens who have wailed to bring me down, I stand heroic. I am not afraid, and I am convinced that I can really do anything I want in this world. I am a great leader despite all of the circumstances I mentioned, but also because of them. And nobody will trust a leader without a limp. 

That is the difference, and I see it all clear now, that I am not afraid to die in order to do what is right and serve in the highest capacity. I have gaps in my resume because I prefer to not have something given to me if it requires lying in order to obtain it. In all of my fear-based actions, I found courage. 

I committed myself to box, 4-5 hours daily, 6 days a week, for 2 years. Each session included thousands of sit-ups, sweat dripping from my forehead, blows shaking my face, taunting my consciousness, and bringing me closer to myself.

In my room, I found myself addicted to pornography. There was no escape, as I found the opportunity to search for something in the smallest moments of silence. I did not want to face myself. I did not want to come to know this addiction because I was a coward. I lacked confidence. 

I ran away from relationships and judged people who are now away and apart from me, but I am grateful for their presence and relieved for their absence. I have seen that I can do anything I put my mind to, and I will devour books even if it takes me twice or three times as long to read them. I will show up early at my workspace to learn how to code in Python or R, and I will stay long after everyone is gone.

I am relentless. I will not stop. I will not lose because I am not afraid to lose. When everyone gives up, wants to switch teams, and wants better opportunities and the culture sucks, and the job is too hard, and the hours are too long, I stand calm. Because I have trained for this my whole life.

I let go of material possessions, all of what I had worked for. I didn’t need it. Then I fell into the trap of materialism again, and now I teeter back to what I know. I am best when the weight of life approaches zero. I am limitless as the weight of my belongings approaches zero.

I will not be stopped. Never. 

On the subject of child sexual abuse – it happened to me. I pray for anyone else who has gone through these sorts of violations. As a man, it is hard to speak of these things, to acknowledge them, to come to terms with them. Because you feel weak and afraid. But there is nothing in the past that I will give the power to haunt me. And now, I have the power, be very afraid. 

losing…

They are all crusted into my heart like plaque that’s settled long onto teeth, a layer of sediment. These emotions are not easy to bear. I need help, and I don’t know who or how to ask. But I am up again tonight, wandering, pacing the hallways, the solitude haunts me. I download instagram, and then I erase it, and a few minutes later its on my phone again. My phone is a source for this disconnection I feel with myself. How ironic, but also, how unavoidable. 

I am hurting deeply inside. My conversations with my mother are so inconsistent, and they are not much better with my sister, with Johanly. The feeling that I may have passed away, and knowing that their life continued without me. All there is is maybe a few miles between us. But between me and me there is only time. What happened, why it happened, and how? The story unfolded in its own way. 

Recall the excitement of new jobs, new adventures, and before things got heavy how I smiled. Writing about the depression doesn’t help, and in some way it may reinforce it because it reminds me that I am not fixed. The feeling of brokenness, like a sound coming from an engine that used to purr, and now you hear it struggle to perform its basic functions. I feel a cough, beyond the sleep deprivation. I feel tears, I miss mom. I miss them all, and I don’t know how to get it back. 

It all ends. The women in my life, they’re not checking in on me. Remember those good morning texts? Remember, but how could you forget? All you can do is remember. Remember the time Natasha laid in your arms, and you felt close like friends, like the secrets you had shared were safe. Spend the rest of your life trying to convince someone to love you, when it’s you. Answer! Wake up, and say that you love yourself. Jump high off the ground! Run fast! Please don’t get old and tired. Please don’t get old and tired. Please. 

I urge you, write a book. Who cares if it sucks, but you have to. If you want any chance at the next decade being one that you’re proud of, please start writing. Make time for your studies. Start saving away your money. Don’t stray from your goals. Set goals again. You used to set goals every month, and now you don’t. Did you forget how meaningful that process was for you? Please don’t forget it.

I’m pleading with you, Ledimir. I am the voice inside, and we need to wake up. Don’t waste your time. Be intentional about every moment. Live out your dreams. Become intensely focused because that’s all you have. So forget instagram, forget facebook. Forget the junk food. Stay away from it at all costs. Save your money. Don’t spend it wrecklessly. Stop with the sugar. Stop with the late nights. Write for you. Write because it is your only salvation. 

Forget her. Forget all of them. Let them go. The best thing you can do is let them go. Let them all go. Please. Let them all go. 

You can change the story, but you have to commit to it. Only you can commit to it, to building your own program and going your own distance. You have to make the choice and no one can make it for you. 

What are you going to be sad for? For what happened with Ivan. He doesn’t care about you. Jeremy doesn’t care about you. Even Wascar, he cares, but not like he did. And this is your fault. Your fault entirely, and why you will end up alone. Who will love you? Who? 

They say everything you write is sad. Who cares? Life is sad, but I will fight. I mean, you will fight. The problem of consciousness, it’s like a mirror that’s absorbed its reflection. We both stand on one side now. You and I both, searching for something. Searching, always searching. Life is an endless search.

Do you understand what it feels like to feel complete? To no longer need to search? I didn’t think you did. But you need to find out.

I owe this much to you. I owe that much. Stopppppppppp. Shut up! Let me please just breathe, because I can’t anymore. I simply cannot, and I don’t know how it will go. 

Kim, what did I do wrong? All I did was show love, but it was never going to be enough. I don’t make money like you. It was hard for me to afford our dinners, lunches. I am not established in my career, and I am barely sure of this one. What did I do wrong? Why should I care what you think? You don’t really care about me either. 

I said I love you on like the 10th day. Fucking idiot… It just slipped or something. I wish I didn’t mean it, but I did. Caroline said the same things. Are you a person who truly loves or are you just one to catch feelings. The times with her were the worst. Even the good ones. Who am I to judge the past? 

Caroline… when you gave that guy your number… I still remember how much I hated that moment, and then you called me someone else’ name. Sheesh. Fucking – what did I do wrong? Where did I go wrong?

Diana, Bryant? Fuck… And then it’s like what about me though… What was I supposed to do? I am the one that moves on quick, but now its too much to bear. I needed to process things, and they are all in there. Cementing into graver problems. Writing. Writing is your salvation. 

Write. Write. Write. Write.

Homeless. I see it. But Goddamn, I want to avoid it. I cannot manage my money. I am struggling to manage my money and time. I am struggling to manage my time, and I am afraid. I am deeply afraid of the future. 

Oh Kim, I thought we had a good time at the aquarium. We left it on a good note, but it’s not good right now. There is too much, so it’s not your fault. There are tears that are too afraid to leave my eye right now. So they stay seated where they are at, and I cannot cry. I cannot force a tear no matter how hard I try. 

I left Boston, and I should have stayed because I was learning how to process it all back there. Until I slowly started to disintegrate. Could that be what is happening now? I am withdrawing again, avoid all people. The conversations are superficial, and I have so much to do. So much, but I cannot. Cannot focus. 

Leave the instagram alone. Close the tabs on your phone. Make it basic again. You don’t need all those features and apps. Make it just so its the minimum. 

Remember when that was ok for you. Now you have added more and more, but leave it to a minimum. Don’t worry, what is important will find its way to you. Maybe leave Strava and that’s all. You don’t need the others. 

feeling vocabulary

It is difficult to express yourself with a narrow feeling vocabulary. The expressive vagueness creates blind spots, areas of unexplored emotional territory that can become hazardous over time. These form the basis for triggered responses and subconscious reactions to external stimuli. 

When these blind spots go unobserved, they become uglier and more dangerous. But it is hard to become aware that this is happening, that’s why they’re called blind spots. If my friend asks me how I am getting along, I respond with updates on running, cycling, and photography. I place a focus on the things that give my life meaning, but I hardly provide an accurate assessment of my feelings. 

What am I feeling? Am I anxious about some future event? Am I worried about what someone thinks of me? What are my own perceptions about myself?

If you’re not in the habit of targeting emotional blind spots, it will take some time to become well-versed in the task. But with practice, concerted effort, and by writing and reflecting you can start to pinpoint the origins of your joy and of your tension.

The ultimate truth is that the stories you tell are the ones people know, and without a proper feeling vocabulary even you may be in the dark as to what is going on with you.

As for gratitude, I write these pages, I read books I enjoy, and I lay my head on my pillow.

evading sadness impending gloom

All of life summarized, the rush to get to somewhere unknown will consume your peace. 

Every moment seems to bear an equal weight of importance. When I tell the story, I stop at every sign and open every door. I am seeking a truth that may have gone hiding away. The past is a labyrinth in which I sit down and weep. 

Today we talked about past lives and permanent dispositions. Can a child be born sad? Can sadness be inherited? I had always believed that it could be cultivated, and after so many years of attention and nurturing in that manner, become that way. But a sadness in-grown, and not merely adopted, that is a hard pill to … you know the saying.

Where do our thoughts come from? How do we crack the puzzle of our mind, eliminating intrusive thoughts? How do I move forward from where I am and open myself to something new? I need to give myself space and time to relax – somehow, someway, into the space within myself. I need to relax. I need to ease back. 

Have I processed enough of the past to make living in the present bearable? Now, when my writing becomes more question than answer, I start to think that something is terribly wrong. But here is my theory, it will get fixed, but not today nor tomorrow. But where do I place these hopes?

I sat at the book store, and I was able to get some work done. But I drank my Chai Tea with the expediency of a New Yorker. The weight of the world builds knots of tension in my body. I only want to do what I need to do to make progress, but I look back and all I have been pleading for is a moment of rest. A moment to put my phone down, close my computer screen, and return to me. 

I missed you, Natasha. I didn’t know that I did so much, and then tears formed in my eyes. My eyes, which grow tired and worn, but not from seeing, from not closing enough. From too much of it. 

I always thought I cried too much for a guy. Somehow, not being able to speak led to more of that. I cry when I think about hugging my mom again. I wonder, with honest concern, whether that will happen again. I used to be able to stroll to her room in my apartment and lay down beside her. She would place her arm around me, or I would just snuggle underneath her. That warmness, love. 

We are too often buried in minutiae. When nothing really matters, and here I go tip-toeing towards nihilism. Everything matters. The two bitter extremes. 

I wish I was on good terms with all the people that said they loved me. I need all of the love right now. I need it from people I don’t believe it to hear it from anymore. I need it from my mom. I need it from dad. I need it from myself. Not in the form of a text, or a phone call. I need a hug, a handhold, a head rub. 

I let the day sleep, but I was too tired to reach for it anyway. Tomorrow will begin a new week, I will be renewed soon. 

the tuesday before we give thanks

I find myself preoccupied wondering where to begin the deconstruction of this seemingly long life. Could I begin at the moment of consciousness? When I experienced thought for the first time, what was the world like for me? I have to imagine that the separation of my parents was a particularly narrative-shifting event. Even as I am haunted by the thoughts of their coexistence, I wonder what actually happened. I can figure out the timeline mathematically, there are documents with dates, marriage licenses, divorce papers. But I can’t figure out the in-between. Day 1, they were presumably happy, what newlywed couple isn’t? But by year 10, they were at the doors of disaster, friendly goodbyes were not going to happen. Instead, we’d get decades-long alienation and grudges. For me, I inherited confusion and mystery, and aside from that a heavy feeling of incompleteness.

What I think I am missing the most is closure, but the roots of my low self-esteem could not have originated there? Sure, I am curious about their decision. How much thought did they give it? Was it impulsive? Did it take others by surprise? Did they sit at a table to talk, to weigh the pros and cons? I cannot figure that out, but much worse is the understanding that they will probably never admit their wrong-doing, or right-doing. But here is a confession, as much as I cannot come to terms with the absence of my father during my upbringing, I cannot imagine what life would have been like to have him present, caring, supporting me as I came of age.

My identity was crafted on my lack of a male role model. In response to his absence, I became dedicated, enamored with the idea that I would be a good man (my mom had painted him as a bad man, though there are disputes to her claims and evidence to the contrary). I would treat others well, speak honestly, engage with the world in a positive manner. There were male figures that inspired me to be better, but no one to have dinner with me, or take me to a ball game or a museum. No one was around to share enthusiasm in my interests, to spark my curiosity. And in that sense, having no dad provided certain freedoms – that I wouldn’t be exposed to his interests. I could make myself my own version, and lay a grand foundation upon this empty canvas. Because dad, as I know him now, doesn’t really go to museums, he’s not into basketball, he doesn’t know about competitive swimming, doesn’t read philosophy, isn’t versed in mathematics, has no curiosity about speaking German, or German people, nor about any book, or activity I’ve shown interest in. It is entirely possible, that just like the other members of my family to whom I feel alienated and apart from, he would just be one more person I could not relate to.

But am I supposed to be thankful these holidays? If so, for what? The world seems so arbitrary. Everything that is could have been another way, and what meaning would that have? What I think about when I say is that life goes on when you are gone, right? But what it would have been if you had never been is just the same, Life. But perhaps that’s the thing to be thankful for, that no matter the outcome, the happenings and circumstances, I got to experience a unique version of life where I didn’t win all the time, and I didn’t get more attention than I needed.

I don’t know, to be honest, where to begin the work that I have to do to discover who I am. At this age, I am afraid I will never find that out. Another conversation, of how I went from where I am at back to square one, because I got far out enough to see this isn’t the right path either.

another sunday

Weeks, they go by way too fast. As the final hours of a sunday come, surely they will go, and I am not the more rested nor invested into the coming week.

Thanksgiving approaches. I don’t remember many great thanksgivings, but there have been 2 or 3 where I’ve had great food and a decent time. The difficulty for me was feeling like I didn’t fit in amongst family. Everyone there was happy to see someone else, conversations were born, had their life cycle, and birthed another one before they died. There was dancing, footprints, and sole marks all over grandma’s linoleum tile. Some were there jovial, drunken, and then slowly they’d find a place and fall asleep, like at the kitchen counter or the couch, while the music played on. Loud, loud music. That’s what I remember, and I would be quiet.

I sometimes think, if I bring my kids around to places like that, I have to remember to check in with them from time to time. I want to make sure they’re ok, because sometimes environments like that are too hard to handle. But maybe I was just the black sheep. My cousins and sister all learned to drink at these occasions, they learned to dance, they learned to move around and socialize, and they played the roles of family better than I could even dream. Whenever I tried anything, I felt awkward and upset. These weren’t people I just met, these were people I’d known my whole life.

Anyway, now I am alone, and it’s hard here. But I am not necessarily missing home at these times, because for me, it was hard there too. As tough as it is to be alone, sometimes I think it’s the best possible world for me. Given my knack for finding unhappiness and defects, my life has become just that. Finding the most acceptable path, and moving forward. Like shopping at a thrift store, sometimes you’ll find a good thing, and it won’t even cost you that much.

remembering a third grade day

The 9/11 documentaries I have been watching recently have brought up sharp and painful memories from a day that I was too young to understand. As a third-grader in New York City, I had no clue what was happening when kids in my class were being picked up from school early. I just know that I was in a private school that day, that my mom was in Brooklyn, and that she couldn’t pick me up until later in the afternoon. 

I felt abandonment, but my mom, as a single mom, was probably feeling panic. All my friends were gone, even my teacher who had left to get her own child, and I waited, left behind. Something about the energy of that day felt off, and watching this documentary, 9/11: One Day In America, I can see and sort of understand why.

The horror. My God. The images of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children, running for their lives or clinging to the side of a building. Somee waved their white shirts hoping for respite, to no avail. The nightmare of having to choose between jumping to your death or burning to your death on a morning where you were probably just getting into work. It’s frightening, harrowing to imagine.

So I wanted to send kisses and hugs to my mom, my sister, the family I still have – that narrowly escaped the disastrous effects of a horrendous event in national history. Documentaries like this provide stories and perspective. I never understood what led to the 20 years of war activity that we just ended in Afghanistan. People say that it’s a lot like Vietnam, but it doesn’t seem like it at all. I wasn’t alive for Vietnam. I reference another documentary to make this point: Ken Burns’ Vietnam War. But we had national interest in Vietnam, our deployments to Afghanistan were fueled by revenge and anger, by grief and hopelessness, by vengeance.

We wanted to get back. Some of us still do, and feeling like we’ve lost doesn’t really sit right. We’ll soon commemorate a 20th anniversary to this event. I hope it never goes forgotten, but I also hope that we have learned lessons from the past to avoid plunging into another war-time scenario in a quest for vengeance. 

Dear September

Dear September,

Thank you for granting me two beautiful days so far. After a brutal August where I experienced emotional lows, I feel balanced, renewed, ready to begin to pick up where I left off in the journey towards happyness. 

The recipe is very simple, and it only gets complicated a little bit when I try to do more and balance too much. But here it is, for reference. 

Happyness = read + swim + write

That’s the internal happyness criteria. How much of each depends entirely on me, but I like how I have allowed myself the fluidity to dance with each parameter. Some days I’ll read more. Some days I’ll have a lot to communicate through my writing. If I could swim every day, I would. So I’ll work to craft a life where that’s possible. 

How else will I be seeking to express myself in the next 28 days? Financially, I’d like to be more mindful of my spending. Today, I felt an urge to order food from Dairy Queen. A craving for sugar zapped my attention, and I felt I needed to act on that need. Thankfully, I didn’t. I saved my money, and I ate food that I had already purchased. So I had my first zero-spend day in a long time. A long string of those will lead me to the path away from negative-income months. 

Then there is the habit of tea. My first cup in the morning made me feel relaxed, at ease. The yogi green tea antioxidant with a touch of caffeine helped to keep me focused on the day’s tasks. 

This month I am committed to learning about statistics and readin a book on mental health issues. It’s called Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents. It’s allowing me to learn about the trauma that my parents may have endured in their life, but also about some of the emotional responses I’ve developed as a mirror of their behavior. Needless to say, this can be traumatic. But I am grateful for the opportunity to introspect and reflect so that I can maybe one day be more happy. A happy person. 

I’ve felt better being alone, and maybe changing to this new room was a good thing. I feel that it served as a reminder that no situation is changeless, and we should keep that in mind. A movie I watched this weekend had a very powerful message. Just float. A metaphor about swimming too! 

How I struggled so much to float when I swam. I feel I’ve never let myself fully trust the water. I love the water, I love being with it, but I realize it’s ultimate power over me and I am cautious still. Will I let myself go, trusting it to carry me?

Who knows… I am looking forward to you September. 

Ledimir

am i disintegrating

i can hardly feel in touch with myself anymore, as it feels that what was once a thing is dissolving into many things. And it’s happening all at once like little marbles dropping from a sack and bouncing in all directions and heights. I can barely stand to be alone for longer than 5 minutes.

I cannot say that it is fair to put it on you to listen. You are fighting your own battles, and we journey together always at the risk of becoming too co-dependent. Why? I seek the love of the one who nurtures me, but never the love of my self. Does the sun also seek the warmth of other stars? Or does it feel entirely alone in it’s vast expanse? 

I wonder, and then I cry. Because some truths turn out to be gargantuan, large enough that they’re inpronouncible, hard to pronounce. But I don’t denounce the fears, I am just aware of the dangers of choosing to go there by your own will. Because some people can be thrill-seekers like that, and to go to the cave of pain is something of a craving. But I can’t take more right now. I need a good night of sleep, a moment of respite, a feeling and reassurance that everything is going to be alright. Even while I disintegrate. 

For some reason this outcome has felt inevitable. The universe only knows entropy, and all life will cease at some point. Which begs the question, what’s the point anyway? Why suffer for a suffering that will soon end? Why feel the pain that will flee away later anyway? But we’re not as logical as we think. Even me, all I do is think and ask questions. I’m hardly qualified to meditate on life’s deeper truths, or to sit in a room quietly by myself. When I encounter pain, I like to walk slower, but also on the other side of the street. 

Why not run away from it as fast as you can? Or why not charge towards it and eliminate it on sight? That’s what I mean. Some people are thrill-seekers. I, on the other other hand, find it hard to run away because if it spots me it will catch me faster and come with vindication. And should I confront this monster, who knows what the outcome will be? Probably just more pain and suffering. Interminable doubt. 

Today, I am writing, and tomorrow morning I will be swimming. That’s the only hope I have left. 

the mind’s addict

Shel Silverstein writes poems for kids like me,
to tickle the brain, with a wait-what did he say?

that there’s different ways to see the world,
that those differences are all inside

of the mind’s addict, a user, abuser – 
a buser, I mean… 
the one who drive the bus!
from city street to city street,
and welcome all of us, 
who board, and swipe, and have places to go.

like work, with water coolers, whiteboards, and memopads
and co-workers, who come and go because turnover
and managers who tell you what and sometimes how
and want the urgent done yesterday, the important now.

but some just go down to the government’s office
to see if they could just get some help…
not help picking restaurants, 
for those are suggestion
and they mainly go find them on Yelp… 
but help like just help me please find me a place,
where I go to, and do things for work, 
or please give me money for food, 
or a place just to live… or a reason at least…

and some you see tired, and they’re headed back home, 
to their lonely abodes and their comfortable couch…
so they hop on the bus, and grab on the pole, 
and listen to tunes just to mellow them out.

oh back to ab users, abdominal users, 
the ones who go crunch with their tummies,
or drop on the floor, when meaning to thanks,
and prop on their forearm for minute-long planks.

The ab users have hardened their abs.
they use them so much, they have no more flabs.
flabs, flobs, flip, flops, 
bus comes – don’t stop.

the addict who waits, the addict appears, 
he wants to solve boredom
it’s brought him to tears. 

Oh boredom, please go, enough of you now. 
cause you and anxiety ruined the child.
ruined, ruined, ruined the child.
ruined, ruined, ruined the child.

Upside down – that’s how it all feels, 
but how do we make it feel right?