Where you can never return

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Oh, hello. It’s been a minute. As promised, I’ve come here less often – with less to say and less to process.

Time shifted today. But my body only obeys its own rhythms. I am slowly losing connection with time. I have no use for it; it rarely matters. It seems I just don’t know what day it is and I find that it’s all so inconsequential anyway. It’s a construct we invented for the purpose of laboring away and perhaps setup the entire ‘Cup half-empty’ mentality to always be aware that this intangible thing called time is slipping away from us.

Fuck it. It just doesn’t matter. Why bother keeping track. Being true to your biology seems so much more keen.

New breathing now. Better breathing. Better sleeping. All good. And bless those who surrounded the crunchy, bloody ordeal – however brief it ’twas.

“No going back” keeps being repeated to me. And maybe there’s good reason. That instead of looking at the card catalog of where I’ve been, I should be more focused on the future and the present state of my feet.

There are moments where I realize how cruel I am to myself. How much I beat myself up over food, diet, body, relationships, work, etc. Could I be a bit more sensitive to my own delicate nature, which I’ve always known was there. The exoskeleton rose from this and now has overpowered the rest of me. It’s time to just shift my own self. To give myself a break. To be a bit more self-preserving, self-loving.

And no going back means relying on the present state of myself and no longer lingering on the past as a crutch toward a future that is not guaranteed or promised or even likely.

I have a hard time not being alone. I revel in it. But it is sad. It does make me a bit lonely at times and it’s hard for me to overcome it for the sake of being around people. Again, delicate like broken glass that no one wants to clean up. That’s how I’ve made myself. And those with the balls to do so, I become as loyal as a dog and will protect forever. Because I am grateful and thankful and humbled and loved. When others can love me a bit better than I can love myself – I have to allow these folks in and let them teach me how to be better at this myself and see what they see.

Don’t get so worried that I’m down on myself. It’s just a lot of thinking that’s happened. My life is blissful in how simple, in how peaceful, in how easy and in how transparent I have become with myself.

I had the reason to believe today that I may never have the love of another man but that absence doesn’t negate or overpower the other love that’s swirling around me and propelling me and keeping me smiling. It’s just a reality. I no longer have the expectation it’s coming. I’m no longer looking. I’m no longer hopeful or hopeless. I’m just here. Me. Solitary but not alone.

Always resilient and always flawed. Like a model with a defect. But is there such a thing as a the ideal? No. It’s a farce.

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpLx0qw3TsM

After a trip to Atlanta and a conversation in a hotel room that was soul-baring for many, we came to this concept of bucket-fillers. And the truth of the matter was you have those who are filling your bucket and you are filling theirs – mutual beneficial relationships. Then there are those that just take, take, take, take. And you give, give, give, give. And those are the relationships that will suck you dry. Will leave you crying alone at night. Leave you questioning your worth. Leave you wondering why you’ll never be loved.

And I’ve become more protective about my bucket-filling tendencies. Because for those that I flutter to, I give so easily and freely. Sometimes without return and to the detriment of myself. And I see it now. It’s all so clear.

…you just can’t go backwards. I’m going to stop trying.

Chaos.

I sit here writing this, short of breath. Anxiety compressing my chest to feel as if I cannot fully inhale and signaling the alarm to my brain that something physically is WRONG and that I MUST go seek medical treatment.

However, the logic in my brain says, “Discomfort or Pain?” And now I’m able to tell the difference between a broken alarm system and a major body malfunction. Well, most of the time that is.

The last few weeks have been nothing but fuel for my hypochondriacal fire. Health scares, death, disappointments have all just kicked my anxiety up to 2011 levels – manageable, but also preventing me from getting any good sleep or doing my tactile OCD check-ins.

It just seems to be a lot of stuff that I cannot control. And I totally understand that the crux of all this anxiety is the total lack of control over life and the observance and reaction to fear itself.

However, on the plus, I do find myself more aware of the present. More aware of just letting go of ticky-tacky stuff. Being less ‘these are the warts’-centric and seeing the good in everything or finding that silver lining.

Forgiveness and appreciation do seem to have their day in the sun around this time of year, when we become a little kinder to one another in the light of our holiday decor, the communal desire to celebrate life and family and our choice to perpetuate kindness toward our loved ones and strangers.

Even outside of my own narrative and the familial health worries that are in the air, we also had to grieve for those children that were lost in Newtown. Like most tragic events, it just doesn’t even make sense to me. It’s surreal to believe that it’s not something out of movie, out of fiction. One more reminder that kindness is something we all can afford to give to our children, our family, our friends, our parents, our co-workers, our bosses, our companions on the train, our cab drivers, etc. It’s sad that as a nation, we become only aware of this when such terrible things unfold in front of our eyes.

It’s always a wake up call. But I fear we’re always hitting snooze, too.

Again, my immediate reaction was to realize how precious and how non-precious life is. In therapy this past week, I talked about my anxiety and we discussed how having a concept of what happens after death impacts your relationship to death. For me, I believe we’re all little drops from the ether bucket and we get to shine for a moment and once our rentals are broken-down, we go back into the bucket. That’s the soul of not only individuality but of humanity. It’s the giant blueprint of what existence is.

So I’m comforted a bit more knowing that if this body of mine just gives out, or randomly it becomes my time to exit, my existence continues and goes back to the ether. And I like that. I love the communal swarm cloud of souls we float about in.

Sure, you can think that’s silly and trivial. It can be less focused on redemption, grace and self-fulfillment, but it works to satisfy my feelings and my thoughts.

Life is precious – because we don’t know what we have or how long we have. And yet, I feel it’s not precious – for the reason that once you identify what happens upon dying, you get pulled back into this communal knowledge that none of us gets the ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card. We all face the same end.

And only in death do you begin to value life.

I’m heartbroken for those children and those parents and those families and that community. But I’m also heartbroken for all of us. To think that we’ve created this kind of world for ourselves. That we have the choice to make this all so different and it’s so hard for us to set aside petty beliefs and selfish behavior in order to improve our existence for all.

We make life so hard. So challenging. So full of menial tasks and trivial competition and unnecessary hardship. What for?

As you can see, I tend to get very futile about these types of things and back to my other point about forgiveness…

Today, I got an email from someone that I really didn’t think I’d ever hear from again. Or I assumed we’d have a weird run in at a bar or the grocery store, as you typically do.

This email was sincere, heartfelt and it left me feeling somewhat vindicated, relieved and appreciative all at the same time. Forgiveness happened before I even opened it, I realized. Because as I read it, it no longer carried the same weight.

Of course, my one question that always remains still lingers today and it will be a question that neither of us can answer. But I’m okay with that.

I could forgive myself, I could forgive him, I could forgive our inexperience and youth. And I appreciated everything about that time and the time that has passed since.

So whether it’s a physical death, or an emotional death, time seems to be able to help you move on. You grieve as needed and reflect and remember the positive moments and the bad times just don’t seem so traumatic after all. You have to make your own kind of peace with the chaos that life throws at you. You just must.

Minutes slip by.

Here we are, now fully in the holiday swing. Basically, every year becomes a blur after Halloween. It just escalates to the point of people going, “What do I need to achieve by the end of the year?” whether in regards to aspirations for their career/personal/emotional/physical self. Or all of the above. Thanksgiving comes and we then really bear down for “‘Tis the season” mode.

I’m not yet going to reflect upon the year. Not yet. It’s not time.

But this post previously sat in draft with this thought:

There are times when you realize the only one holding you back is yourself – it’s not money, it’s not the job, it’s not your location. Mostly it’s your own fear. And my fear has held me back.

That seems appropriate for end-of-year/end-of-days kinda stuff, right?

What if the Mayans were right and this all comes to an end? Ho-hum.

What if the Mayans were right and what we know ends but we’re led to a new beginning? What if we focused less on endings and more on beginnings of new chapters?

Recently, a very joyous and boisterous spirit was lost. I knew this person not very well, but knew his impact upon my own life to be someone who was unbridled with laughter, joy and took nothing for granted. His loss is upsetting, more so for his family and close friends – all of whom I extend energy and prayer to.

I keep coming back to this concept or belief that I’m just not a good friend. But I’ve come to realize, not just with the very black and white example of a death, but in many ways this phrase rings true:

Life is made up of meetings and partings.

Guilt creeps in because I know I should be a better friend, I should stay in touch, I should try harder to be present, I should invest more into the people who want to invest in me. But for me, that’s always been a challenge. Because I’ve been so self-sufficient (and somewhat comfortable as an isolationist). So my challenge is to not to STOP being who I am but to be more present in the stories of other people’s lives.

Less concern to be shed over the fact that some people just won’t stick and we won’t jive. But to be elated in the thought that there are just as many people out there who will stick and we will jive.

But also, this: other people live their own lives accordingly and sometimes we  no longer play parts or we become secondary players, which feels like a blow to our ego. The key is to be less precious about your identity as it relates to another. You cannot define yourself by the role you play in other people’s lives.  

I had to bold that so I’d read it again and make it true for myself. (Swallow).

Ok.

Something has happened with the holiday season approaching. I’m allowing myself to revel in the spirit. In the love. In the forgiveness. To be more forgiving. To see the joy within other people and to celebrate there. To stop pinpointing faults, flaws and putting up walls that keep people out.

Again, it’s always a challenge. But as minutes slip by, you realize that our time is finite, but the amount of love or joy we bring to the table is infinite, only limited by our own choice to be as such.

There are far less deal-breakers now. It’s more about seeing all these quirky, granular nuances as a second skin of blessings, rather than scars/hurt/pain/baggage.

My own attitude has needed a shift and I have to continue to force myself through it. And I’m not interested in being bogged down in the same repetitive behavior that has put me there.

I have no answers. I’m just going to follow my heart and use my head as the navigator.

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keU7tMt0bpA

at that particular time

Weird when some songs just return to you when you need them. There hasn’t been a day that’s gone by where I don’t think about him. Miss him. Want to call him. Want to send a letter.

But I know that this space is crucial for everyone. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. And if it’s not, then I’m still thrilled for the opportunity to feel the way I felt.

Check out more amazing photography by Robby Cavanaugh.

A decade of emotional aftermath.

Your turn with God by Alex StoddardThis post isn’t linear. Life isn’t linear. As much as we’d like to think it is, it’s not. It’s this mish-mash of events and revelations and facts and half-truths that are jumbled together to make a story, which is what an individual life is. A tale. Not a true historical account, but a narrative full of embellishment and subjectivity that makes it dramatic, entertaining and interesting.

10 years since we all lost a part of ourselves. Some might say it was a day we just had our feet knocked out from under us. I would have to agree. There is no going back to who we were as individuals or who we were as a world/culture/story on September 10, 2011. Someone asked if we’ve grown less afraid.

I don’t think some people want us to ever stop feeling afraid. Fear is power. Despite the story that’s been unraveling in the last decade, some people in some places that are closer to us than we think revel in this collective fear.

Continue reading A decade of emotional aftermath.