Tag Archives: Self-Discovery

Personal Flaws or Personal Strengths?

I see my therapist every two weeks now. It happened by accident a few months ago when she was off on vacation but we’ve kept to a biweekly schedule since. I think this is the plan all along, although I’m still new to all of this stuff. It makes sense if they think you’re improving that they ween you off of their support. As you grow stronger you don’t need them anymore and can function all on your own.

(Fun Fact: ‘biweekly’ can mean either twice a week, or every two weeks. I guess rely on context clues to figure out which one is being implied!)

I was surprised when I was able to stick to this biweekly schedule after the past two weeks. When I was picked up by the cops and hauled to talk to a counselor two weeks ago, they suggested I make an appointment with my therapist to help me work through my current predicament. I agreed to this but mostly so I could get the hell out of there. Not like they had any leverage over me once I left. After I hauled my camping supplies back home and started to drink heavily, I did think about scheduling another appointment. But no. Something in me was stubborn and wanted to face reality and my problems on my own, even if I was limping along in life with alcoholism. Maybe that says something good about my mindset; even in the depths of feeling like total shit I still had confidence that I’d get through it and I could talk to the therapist about it in a week and a half. That’s what I did and I saw her last Friday.

The thing I like most about therapy is how she doesn’t bark commands at me or tell me exactly what I’m doing wrong. It’s easier to get people to listen to you if you feel like they’re learning shit on their own. This is why arguing on social media never works; calling someone out on their flaws, even if true, won’t make them very receptive to your views or opinions. The therapist does this wonderfully and I wish everyone would someone adopt this technique. She guides me along and kinda hints at solutions but never tells me exactly what I’m doing wrong. She allows me to realize things on my own which really helps a person interalize their realizations.

This post is about one of these realization friday. Something about one of my flaws. About how I’m never happy and at peace. This is most relevant with relationships in this case, but it applies everywhere. I’m not happy at work; I think I can be happier elsewhere. I’m not happy writing because I think I could do a better job at it. Take this blog and my views over the past few months for another perfect example. One of my goals this year was to have 1,000 monthly views which I finally cracked last month. I think I ended with 1,200 or so. I was happy for a few days but then it disappeared. I did it, sure, but now what should I do? This month has over 2,000 views already, and think about that. I doubled my goal for this year and how do I feel about it? Perfectly fucking blah. I’m so happy and thankful, but I know it’s a temporary feeling. Those two writing awards I received years ago in college? Cool at the time, but so what? I haven’t won any awards recently so it seems silly to still feel good about them. Oooo, I finally got my commercial pilot’s license last July? Same thing as always; I felt good for a few days and then stressed out and wondered what my next step should be. As soon as I achieve something the happiness wanes and I need to do something else. I’m seriously never happy.

Now that I think of it, a friend at work asked a question that most people seemed to find very enlightening to think about. It went something like this. “Imagine you are 50. You’ve made all the money you’ve wanted to make. You’re happily married or in whatever situation you hope to be in. You’re drinking your favorite beverage on the porch in your dream home watching the sun either set or rise, whatever. Life is perfect. You’ve made it. What music are you listening to? What are you feeling at the time? What are your current thoughts?” I think there was more to it but this was a month ago so I forgotten about the details. The general gist should be fine.

The few people I heard answer the question actually answered it. I kinda frowned thinking about it and when asked said the premise was totally off for me. I knew I’d never have that singular moment where life was totally complete, finished, and I was content and happy. If I was in this spot I’d still be antsy always looking for some other project or goal to work towards. I’ve basically accepted this fact about myself: I’ll never be happy because I need goals to chase and such. Or maybe since I’m never satisfied I need goals to chase. I don’t know which one drives the other really, which one is the carrot and which one is the horse.

Enter the therapist appointment. I don’t know if she said anything, but I’m sure she did, and I came to the realization that, hey, wait, what if this major flaw of mine is a good thing? Something bothers me when I see people totally stagnant in life with no goals, dreams, or hobbies. I wonder if this bothers them. Do people really sit around and enjoy the weather? Do others really rest, relax, and chill? Really? You can even view it in a darker way as well. Think of hopeless alcoholics who drink daily working a job they hate and they just exist in that environment for literal decades. Does this bother them? And does it bother them enough where they want to change it? For some people this answer is certainly “no,” and this is frightening to me. It sounds like someone whose soul is dead and they’re only physically alive. Honestly, this was myself last week, but it wore me down. Something seemed off. Something within me didn’t like the entire affair. I was giving in to being lazy, giving into my current situation, giving up on life, and content with just existing as a drunkard with no dreams or goals. And I don’t want to be that way.

This flaw I have about always needing something else, if viewed correctly, or as the therapist mentioned “directed,” it’s an amazing gift to have. It keeps me from giving into the dreariness of life, or the blandness of not moving forward. It manifests in negative ways in relationships obviously, but knowing my tendencies could help me redirect the energy into a positive way. What I always thought was a flaw — maybe I just had to learn to be happy with where I am — also can manifest as a drive for more that if used right is an amazing gift that many others might not have. Sure this causes me a great deal of suffering, but so what?

Usually we view our traits as totally positives or totally negatives with little thought about the contexts we apply to them. Being “giving” is usually viewed as a good trait, but it can also be a flaw. If you’re so giving to others that you gladly give money away to bums at the expense of yourself or your family, this is bad. “Greedy” sounds bad, but it might also allow you to save money and have a large safety net of cash on hand. This might be old information for those wiser than myself, but I’m pretty happy I stumbled upon this little gem. So think about the traits you have, whether positive or negative, and try to see them from a slightly less biased perspective. Many of the negative ones might be awesome traits that can be used to benefit yourself and others. One of my flaws, always needing more, might be a blessing in disguise that I only thought was a flaw. It’s all on how you view and use your traits I guess.

Now the question is how to use this apparent gift of mine? Well, I have this blog post to show for my efforts. That’s a start…

Living in the Woods Sucks (Part Two of One)

Yes, I’m well aware that there wasn’t a part one yet, but I’m getting around to it. Or probably not.

I’m in the woods right now. Yes. In the fucking woods. A park to be exact, a park about three miles away from my home. Or used to be home. I don’t really know what’s going on. But it’s 11:18 p.m. and I have my laptop tethering off my phone’s data via a USB cable; thanks to Corona, Verizon is giving everyone free mobile hotspots and tethering meaning I can live in the woods like a homeless man and still have the internet, blogs, YouTube and whatever else I want in the comfort of my candle-lit tent. Hell, I could even play Flight Simulator if I wanted to right now. Or Kerbal Space Program. I might be able to get a small TV and my PlayStation 4 and play Dark Souls, not that I’ll go that far. It really helps the strangeness of being in the woods having these comforts I’m used to. And boy do I need comfort right now.

All of this trash is powered by my solar panel, battery, and inverter setup. I’m really proud of myself that I was able to pull this off as successfully as I did. Tonight is only the second night and the battery is still holding strong at 12.3 Volts. It was also cloudy today so despite that it seems to be doing fine.

Home for now…

As for why I’m in the woods, well, it’s going to get bleak here very quickly. I was drunk yesterday and decided to tell my wife that I had feelings for another female. Yeah. Stupid. Pointless. Reckless. It’s something that’s been fermenting in my head for a few months, and I can say it does feel good to get it off my chest and be totally honest with your partner, but besides that, it’s terrible. I just nuked my marriage, my wife isn’t even talking to me or texting me back, and I hope we can work through it. It sounds cliche to even mention, but yes, you don’t realize what you have and appreciate it until it’s gone. And I’m hurting and appreciating all of it so much that my heart is breaking. It’s only been 24-hours since I saw our two kids, a four- and five-year-old, and all I want to do is hug them and give them a kiss. I miss them so much already and who knows how long I’ll be in the woods.

I asked if she wanted me to move out or stay and she said it was up to me. I ran away like a coward, maybe making the wrong choice again, but I didn’t want to be a scummy reminder of how shitty I was by lurking around the house. No, it’s better if I just remove myself from everyone’s lives and do them all a favor. I grabbed the tent, sleeping bag, my backpack, a solar panel, a battery, the inverter, and my laptop and set out around midnight. And…and I don’t remember much else. Birds chirping in the morning — my new neighbors — and the wind, and the light rain, and the crickets, and the slight chill in the air. It’s actually peaceful if I didn’t have this terrible dread over me and it’s a feeling I just can’t seem to shake.

So this is night two. I’m feeling slightly better from earlier today. I’m having a beer and taking it easy. Writing. Trying to reflect and make sense of this mess called life. Wondering how I can get my wife back, if I can get her back: maybe I’ve wasted all the trust she had left. To be clear I didn’t cheat, and I don’t intend to, not that this makes the situation much better. I’m a douche, just not that big of a douche.

That’s it. All of the vague threads I’ve been hinting at and dealing with the past few months all kinda lead here. The big realization. The main problem I need to confront and deal with. The pinnacle of all my deep personal flaws that have been around since childhood. The seeking approval and love from others, probably because my mom was so absent emotionally. Not that I put blame on her, just trying to understand why I am the way I am. And I search for it still. And when I find a certain type of person, I get attached. It’s not love, not real love; it’s a parasitic attachment and some twisted leftover of childhood that I want to kill. I want to make peace with my problems and move forwards. If you guys like raw and honest blog posts, good. This place is about to get a lot darker and more depressing than it has ever been.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all which I deactivated and the link doesn’t go anywhere now. Check back later though!

Self-Hatred Sucks: How to Move Forward?

The past week and a half has sucked. My mood and motivation has cratered. I didn’t write my Morrowind story last weekend. I tried and only wrote on singular uninspired sentence: “And in the doorway stood an average Argonian.” Poignant, huh? I haven’t wrote anything for this week either. I’ve been silent on this blog despite writing two drafts that I didn’t think were good enough to post. I wrote another short story but didn’t think that was good enough to post either. There’re two other story ideas floating around in my head as well, but nothing that I feel is good enough to even start writing. I bought an entire 1.5 Litre bottle of vodka last Sunday — a mistake to be sure — because I was hell-bent on having vodka/juice cocktails and that’s the only bottle they had in stock. Four days of drunkenness ensued. “But don’t you only drink on Sunday? Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are not Sunday!” Yeah. I know. I’m a fuckup in multiple areas of life.

But when a friend at work was shitting on herself about eating a quart of icecream on the first day of her diet I promptly pointed out, “No one is perfect, everyone fucks up. Just acknowledge you goofed up and get back to your goals when you can.” It’s easy to tell other people that than believe it yourself. I do believe it, I just don’t think it applies to me. I actually am a fuckup.

At least I think I am. I know I’m not, but I can’t stop from viewing myself that way. People occasionally like to toss out the line that “everything happens for a reason” and I usually have a dim view of it. I take it meaning something like there is someone or something actually in control of everything forcing us to places so we can learn and grow. If anything I think people are just very flexible and can deal with anything that happens to them. If you’re happy, you feel good and get shit done, and if you’re depressed you introspect and naturally try to “learn” something from your shitty mood so it wasn’t for naught. Even if I’m not a big fan of the hard “everything happens for a reason” outlook, it does seem to be partly true. Even if depressive moods are shitty, they give you a prime opportunity to examine why the hell you even feel that way in the first place.

I’ve known for awhile that I’m a stupidly insecure person. I always feel like I’m “not enough” or “a problem” or whatever other negative adjective/adverbs I like to use for myself. I’m constantly over analyzing the smallest and most insignificant social cues always searching for signs that I’m either appreciated and loved or really despised and hated. I also have zero self-esteem and confidence. Like myself not being good enough, the things I do are also not good enough. The shit I write? Good, but not great; there’s always someone more creative, more descriptive, or more whatever. I’m constantly measuring my own self-worth against others. And others are always better than myself. Logically it’s wrong — you weigh yourself against the best you see in others while shit on yourself for your worst aspects — but that doesn’t stop it from occurring. I’m always searching for approval that I’m worth something, that my work is worth something, that my life is worth something, and am constantly searching and asking others to approve of me. My happiness is always based on the opinions of others — how I’m perceived — and I have nothing to offer myself.

I did the writing exercises that I was procrastinating for two weeks from the book It Didn’t Start With You. I was dreading them greatly because I realized before I started (from just thinking about the topics) that there would be some uncomfortable shit to uncover; just the though of working on them nearly gave me a crisis. And I wasn’t wrong. I suppose I did learn something though: I hate myself. It’s like the knot that ties everything together, all of these individual strands of self-esteem issues, self-confidence issues, and my constant seeking of social approval all stem from the fact that I really, truly, and deeply despise myself. That’s where it all comes from. I want others to appreciate me because I don’t appreciate myself. The people I hate and the traits I despise: they’re all projected aspects of myself that I hate. I hate people like me. I hate people that do the same things I do. It’s like a key puzzle piece has found it’s home.

Knowing you hate yourself makes you hate yourself more in a way. I’ve hated myself for most of my life and only in tiny flashes here or there do I actually feel happy and comfortable with myself. But if I haven’t learned to truly love myself over the past thirty years, how am I supposed to learn now? People are hopelessly stubborn and unwilling to change. Take my dad for example. Overweight and diabetic with severe sciatica and sky-rocketing blood sugar. His life is literally in danger yet he still tells me about the potato chips he bought from the store and hasn’t made any serious effort to lower his weight. His bones and joints are literally wearing away from the weight he totes around yet he cannot change his habits to literally save his life. How the fuck am I supposed to learn to love myself if he can’t learn to eat better and exercise?

It’s a form of helplessness that has many layers. I don’t like myself. I don’t want to be this way. But I am. But I am unwilling to change this fact. I’ll always feel this way. And what do I do about it? How do I move forward? Given the realization I think, “So now what?”

Frustrated I asked my therapist this question, “What do you do? Do I try my hardest to change myself or just give in and accept who I am?” She gave the typically vague answers that I had to really think about on my own to make sense of. I don’t even recall what she said exactly. I think the answer is probably somewhere in the middle, like most things are. You probably can’t wage a war against yourself desperately trying to change who you are at the core level. I’m a quiet and reserved person and I doubt no matter how hard I try I could ever become outgoing and talkative; the shyness is at the core of who I am. But by acknowledging the traits you have you can learn to deal with them. Just because you are shy doesn’t mean you can’t talk to people, you only have to make a dedicated effort to work with yourself, acknowledge you’re shy, that you’d like to say something, and do what you must do. So maybe the way forward is acknowledging that I do fundamentally hate myself and trying to work with that fact. Not force myself to love me, but work on not hating myself as much.

Maybe I do have something to offer the world, or maybe I don’t need to offer the world anything in the first place. Maybe I shouldn’t hate on myself quite as much. Maybe whatever I do try to do I have a good chance at succeeding. My computer is currently being powered by solar power, as well as the WiFi router. Isn’t that something to be proud of myself for? Isn’t that something that I don’t need to tell people about and have them clap their hands over how proud they are for me? And isn’t it something that after binge drinking for four days I’ve realized I fucked up and am only going to drink on Sundays again? Can’t I feel better about myself that despite not writing for a week or two I’m finally creating this post? Can’t I feel better about this blog and how I actually got off my ass and did something when I could’ve sat around and did nothing the past five years? Despite my slow progress in nearly every aspect of life, can’t I feel good about making progress at all?

I feel somewhat better now. Not confident in any way, but feeling like I should just get off my ass and do what I want/need to do and stop moping around so much. “Is this thought useful to have?” The therapist said I should try to notice things without an emotional attachment to them; if someone says or does something maybe acknowledge it without any connotation that it is somehow “bad” or “good” and that makes some sense. I don’t know why I put that there because it doesn’t seem related to this post at all, but maybe someone can get something from it. Or maybe that’s what the entire post was about in some vague way. Fuck if I know. I’m ignorant about nearly everything, especially this entire “self-growth” bullshit, but let’s not pretend that’s good or bad. Being ignorant (“bad”) is the first step towards learning something new (“good”), and maybe that’s something to be proud of. To close with that bullshit explanation that I’m skeptical of from earlier: EvErYtHiNg HaPpEnS fOr A rEaSoN.

“It Didn’t Start With You” Is Depressing

Upon the recommendation from a friend, I’ve been reading the book It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle by Mark Wolynn. And if the subtitle doesn’t give you enough information about how depressing this book has the potential to be then I don’t know what will. Just from the title I knew I was getting myself into some shit with the book, and a few chapters in I don’t seem to be wrong with that assumption.

I wrote here about some ‘breakthrough’ I had where I realized how my mom’s lack of love while I was growing up most likely fucked me up in a way that I wasn’t even aware of for 98% of my life. I thought I had a normal childhood — as average as anyone else’s — but no; tiny scars are still scars and are they even tiny when you have nothing to compare them to? I’d realized that I always feel lacking, like I always have something to prove, as if my self-worth is based on the approval of others. It seems my entire motivation in life is to gain approval from others; I’m a directionless mess until I have someone to seek approval from. This is the wrong mindset to have — you need to get happiness and approval from yourself — but I seem to be unable to change it. Only making a few tiny steps in progress here or there but never seeming to actually get anywhere. It’s like I’m trying to do a marathon but am crawling. Ten feet done and 138,000 more to go. I’m getting nowhere.

Anyways, I thought this book would go along similar lines, and it has been, if not to a more extreme degree than I imagined. The basis of the book in the first two or three chapters seems to be that hardly any of us know how much shit we actually inherit from our fucked up families. Making matters even bleaker is the author’s insistence that it isn’t only how we are raised that fucks us up (obviously being raised in an abusive home is going to fuck you up) but how things transmit from generation to generation through DNA and genetics. Once again don’t take this to mean that if you have a family history of cancer that, duh, you might get cancer; it’s much more subtle than that. Depression, stress, anxiety, and substance abuse all seemed to be transmitted to offspring somehow even if there isn’t a direct genetic reason for it doing so.

In the first few chapters Wolynn talks about studies on mice and stress in offspring. Baby mice were removed from their parents which caused depression in them, but most surprisingly, their own children — the grandchildren of the original mice — also suffered from stress and depression. Even though the third generation of mice weren’t separated from their parents, because their parents were traumatized this transmitted to them. The author also talks about how grandchildren of Holocaust survivors also seem to suffer from greater stress and anxiety than others. Despite not suffering themselves, or their parents suffering, somehow their bodies and genes “remember” the hell their grandparents went through to where they also suffer negative consequences.

And this is depressing as fuck.

We all like to think of ourselves as unique and separate individual beings not affected by anything but our own life and experiences. Sure you might’ve had a shitty childhood, but you’re still you and have free will, so you can always break the negative traits with sheer might, right? It doesn’t seem so. Even if your childhood was great, you could still be fucked up somehow from your grandparents shitty lives and upbringings. Plus there are four grandparents; more chance to get something fucked up given to you. And it almost seems inevitable.

Reading these first few chapters my mental state took a nosedive. Not trying to be the victim, I did keep thinking, “I didn’t ask for any of this. Why me? Why did my family have to fuck me up in this way?” It’s not so much feeling sorry for myself and more like feeling totally stuck with no actual ability to fix anything. It’s like being dealt a shitty hand in poker or something; sure you might be able to find a winning hand, but the smart bet is to give up and fold. Hope for something better to be dealt to you in the future. Except in life we’re only dealt a single hand and I’ll let you guys think about what “folding your hand” in life might mean.

I’m sure the book will take a more uplifting turn midway as most books do: there isn’t any point in explaining a problem unless the author has a solution. It’d be a poor self-help book if it didn’t give you a way to, well, help yourself. I think it’s the same with every problem. You first need to discover the problem before you can fix it. Trying to be positive here, the human brain is a magnificent piece of machinery even if it is flawed in countless ways. Think of learning a new language or learning an instrument. With each practice session your brain connects new neurons and pathways that allow you to really learn a new skill through physically changing the structure of your brain and how it works. I’m pretty sure the same thing is true with Big Problems like depression and anxiety. Maybe if you practice facing anxiety and having Happy Thoughts you can rewire your brain to not be as fucked up as it typically is?

I’m only 25% through the book but it is interesting and eye-opening; I’m sure I’ll have more to write about it later. One thing that does bother me is trying to even discover my family history. I only have one living grandparent. Sure I can analyze my parents in depth, but it seems the deeper part of my family history has been more or less erased. Did my grandparents grow up during the Great Depression? Is that why I’m so insecure with how much money I have? Is that why I hoard money for ‘safety’? Am I as detached emotionally as my father? Am I as crazy as my mom? Did she have a shitty upbringing that led her to be angry and detached with my sister and I growing up? Who gave me my fondness for alcohol? And what about my sister? Why does she date very controlling and borderline abusive people? Where did that come from? Even if it’s not me, I still think it could shine some light on our mutual upbringing and give reason to some of my own flaws. More questions than answers. Always more questions than answers…

Streak Day #32 Sucks: A Values Checklist

Sunday, the last day of the WordPress week, and what do I write? I’m feeling some pressure now; I need about 25 more views today (in the remaining eight hours…) to have another record week. I don’t think it’ll happen. And if I pull off about 45 or 50 a day I can crack that 1,000 views in a month goal I’ve had. I don’t think that’ll happen either. I didn’t even have much hope for it the past week but the past few days has (once again somehow and I don’t know why) had quite a bit more views than usual, giving me just enough hope to have it totally crushed by Wednesday.

I’m tempted to try to write another “masterpiece” blog post but don’t have it in me. I haven’t made any progress on the Morrowind story this week and finally got around to a rough draft about two hours ago. That must be edited and posted and has priority over any bullshit I want to write here.

So what to write? I don’t know. Let me sit here and think about it. I’ve already talked plenty about this stupid coronavirus and don’t want to do it anymore. Work? Work sucks. I hate being at work but I hate being anywhere else. You trade work for boredom mostly. Any projects at home? Well, I bought a massive 100 Watt solar panel from Amazon that arrived today; not that I can do anything with it because it’s been perpetually cloudy. I think I’ll rig up some extension cords to make the system “plug-and-play” or something like that. I’m just sick of soldering shit, using alligator clips, or whatever else I can conjure up to connect wires. My last panel was a tiny 10 Watt panel; this boi is ten times the power! I can’t wait to get started.

But the Morrowind story hangs over me like these damn clouds in the sky. That’s the goal for today and as much as I want to fuck with this blog, Dark Souls, or my new big boi solar panel, I can’t until that is finished. Or at least finished enough that I can put it together before midnight or before I’m too drunk to edit, whichever comes first. That’s why I’m doing this now, to get it out of the way.

Drinking today means a trip to the store. I need extension cords for my project. I can’t believe I bought a 2 x 4 foot solar panel for $100 so I can charge my phone with solar power. It’s such a simple goal but one that is taking on a life of its own. I’m dreading a trip to the store. Last week was pretty comfy — Meijer was all but deserted — but I’m starting to have anxiety about being around people in public. Who is infected and who isn’t? Has this box of tomatoes been handled by someone with The Disease and by picking up the box I’m going to get myself and my family killed? Every person that drives by or walks by, I wonder if they’re infected or not. Everyone is a hazard, every object outside of the house is a hazard, and if you let yourself think too much about it in a careless way it’s nearly impossible not to feel frightened by the world. Remember I think I’m doing well with the COVID anxiety too. How is everyone else doing if I’m becoming this way?

I suppose there is that paper the therapist gave me from Thursday, something about discovering your values that I haven’t even looked at yet, so maybe I can check that out. Fuck, let’s do it together. I’ll type it out here and if that takes too much effort I’ll take a picture of it.

Exercise: A Values Checklist

Below are some common values. (They are not ‘the right one’; merely common ones.) Please read through the list and write a letter next to each value based on how important it is to you. Of course, some values will be more important in one area of life (e.g. parenting) than in another area (e.g. work) — so this is just to get a general sense of the values that tend to matter to you the most.

  • Acceptance/self-acceptance: to be accepting of myself, others, life, etc.
  • Adventure: to be adventurous; to actively explore novel or stimulating experiences
  • Assertiveness: to respectfully stand up for my rights and request what I want
  • Authenticity: to be authentic, genuine, and real; to be true to myself
  • Caring/self-care: to be caring towards myself, others, the environment, etc.
  • Compassion/self-compassion: to act kindly toward myself and others in pain
  • Connection: to engage fully in whatever I’m doing and be fully present with others
  • Contribution and generosity: to contribute, give, help, assist, or share
  • Cooperation: to be cooperative and collaborative with others
  • Courage: to be courageous or brave; to persist in the face of fear, threat, or difficulty
  • Creativity: to be creative or innovative
  • Curiosity: to be curious, open-minded, and interested; to explore and discover

Okay well this list is forty items long, so I’ll just put the values and omit the explanation. If you need them defined: Google them.

  • Encouragement
  • Engagement
  • Fairness and justice
  • Fitness
  • Flexibility
  • Freedom and independence
  • Friendliness
  • Forgiveness/self-forgiveness
  • Fun and humor
  • Gratitude
  • Honesty
  • Industry
  • Intimacy
  • Kindness
  • Love
  • Mindfulness
  • Order
  • Persistence
  • Respect/self-respect
  • Responsibility
  • Safety and protection
  • Sexuality
  • Skillfulness
  • Supportiveness
  • Trust
  • Other:________
  • Other:________

Apparently the list is from Russ Harris at this website right here. So I didn’t steal it, okay?

Hopefully you guys got something out of that. It sure does seem like something you really need to sit down and think about that’s for sure.

So as I was typing that, I realized all sound really good and I think I hold nearly everything as a value somewhat. There aren’t any that I noped away from: everything sounds great! Maybe fairness and justice can get the axe: life simply isn’t fair. I think we should strive for fairness but claiming something is unfair doesn’t mean shit. Anyways, this only complicates the matter. I think it’d be easier to ask what values you don’t hold than to ask what values you do hold. Trim the paper until you’re left with a shape that is actually you, in a way.

Basically on Thursday the therapist said that maybe if I had a clear value system it might be easier to define my actions, to uphold my values in a way that gives my life some integrity and meaning. Not that I don’t have integrity or am a total heathen, I’m just lost and confused to where I’m aimless. She said to give myself some goals to give myself direction, and when asking about what goals I should set because I don’t know what the fuck I want to do she said to figure out my values. What I hold dear in life. The shit that I think is important. So basically values -> goals -> direction, something like that. More layers to the onion, I suppose.

Now my issue is I’m not sure how to live according to values exactly. An obvious one I have is curiosity; I’m always surprised that some people, maybe most people, simply don’t seem to give a shit about anything around them. Is anyone curious? Given the COVID-19 example you’d think maybe a large chunk of the population are reading about viruses, immunity, ventilators, exponential growth, RNA sequences, the flu, or vaccines, but most are probably reading questionable articles from Facebook (and spam-sharing them) about how maybe shoving some herbal supplements up your ass might make you immune to the disease. I don’t know this for a fact — luckily most of my friends don’t seem to be raging dumbfucks — but in the 2020 post-information/disinformation age curiosity and critical thinking in general appear to not be a huge priority to people.

Rant aside, how do I live according to having curiosity as a value? Just be curious? That’s it? I think another value I have is “helping people” or “spreading knowledge” but how the fuck do you help people be curious if they aren’t already? How do I leave by example? And even if I figure this out, how does it apply to a life goal? What job can I get that values curiosity and teaching people? A teacher? Is that what I’m supposed to do? What about that minor dream of being a flight instructor? Well, shit, maybe all of this therapy bullshit does make some sense if you think about it enough.

And that’s enough thinking about it for now. Onto the store, a six/twelve-pack of Claws, and editing that damn Morrowind story. Maybe perseverance is one of my values as well…

Streak Day #30: Untitled

“So, how have you been the past two weeks?”

Perfect. Happy. Depression was a thing of the past. Totally conquered. I had finally discovered myself. A toolkit of ways to fend off the bad vibes and thoughts. Perfectly comfortable in my skin. Cool, confident, and quiet. Problem solved! Problem solved…Problem solved?

Two days ago. Spiraling. Pointlessness. Anxiety. Depression. Dread. More sleeplessness. 5 a.m. with the sun coming up wondering what exactly life is. Benadryl to sleep; a drug to crutch along. Sleep at any cost. Where’s the purpose? The point? What am I meant to do here? Wasn’t I out of the woods? Wasn’t I happy? Weren’t those damn pills magical and finally fixed me?

“Where do you see yourself in the future.”

I shrug. “I don’t know. I feel like I’m floating through life too scared to make any choice.”

“Sometimes it helps to visualize where you want to be in the future. This will give you purpose and something to work towards.”

Every path is miserable, only changing certain pros for cons. More money, less happiness. More possessions, more responsibilities, less freedom. More attachment. More stuff. More freedom, less security. The grass is always greener everywhere else. Not knowing what I’m meant to do. Knowing there is nothing I’m meant to do and it’s up for me to decide. Being unable to decide anything for fear of what misery each path holds. And all paths hold misery; I always make the wrong choice. Is floating such a bad thing? Is pointlessness such a bad thing? Is there anyone that knows what the hell they’re meant to do, even if there is nothing we’re meant to do? Is anyone as blindly confident that they know where to go? Is this another form of blindness? Is blindness happiness?

Five steps forward and six steps backwards. Seven, perhaps. No progress. No sense of empowerment. No moving forward. Self-discovery? No. Self-confusion and self-loss. When I think I find myself it disappears. Too much effort, too much work. The tools in the kit take too much work to use. Constantly being on-edge, looking for the next crisis. Playing chess with your own brain, trying to bring up thoughts as pawns to try to stop yourself from checkmating yourself. And the opponent is so much more motivated than you, the bad vibes are effortless. The chess grandmaster in your head; checkmated in less than ten moves. When are all my pawns gone? When do I run out of motivation to fight? When does it become easier to give in?

Awake after twelve hours of sleep: still tired. Still groggy. Still sleepy. Five cups of coffee, eight cups of coffee: still tired. But shaky. Just enough semblance of being awake to function. Nicotine, caffeine, give me any -ine you can find, maybe I’ll eventually wake up. Constantly shaking and tired. Constantly anxious. Enough awakeness to write low-quality posts. Not enough motivation to work on a story. Writer’s block that never ends. The constant fight towards some goal you don’t even have. And the tiredness. And time always moving forward. And you not moving anywhere at all except towards old age, failing mind, and death. Float along the river until it’s too late to change your course.

And sleeplessness at 5 a.m. once again. Still tired but awake.

“Is it possible that I like being miserable? Is that a thing?”

“Yes. Misery is easier than working to be happy. It takes less effort.”

The comfort of depression. Not caring. Knowing you don’t care. Knowing you’re functioning as a basic animal just staying alive. Food not for enjoyment but so you don’t feel more miserable. Water because your mouth is dry. Work because of bills and money. Write because there is nothing else better to do. Silence around people — you’re a piece of shit and are miserable to be around — why make everyone else miserable by being a piece of shit? Blaming your mood for being a failure. The comfort of depression. The comfort of giving up. Thirty years of nothing. Thirty years of zero progress. Thirty years of depression. Of never knowing yourself. Of never knowing anything. Of being totally lost, blind, and stumbling through life. How many more years?

“I woudn’t say this if it wasn’t true: you are making progress. I can see it. You just need to keep discovering yourself and moving forward.”

Values. What are my values? I don’t know. Blank slate once again. I am a nobody. The blank whiteboard waiting to have a purpose. The blank piece of paper waiting for a story, a picture, or spilled ink: waiting for anything.

I’m not cut out for self-discovery. I’m an idiot hiding under a mask of being smart. Maybe I shouldn’t know myself. Maybe I should stay blind to everything. The trivial defines me. Deep down? I don’t know. Why do I do the things I do? No clue. Ram through another wall and find another. The wall is well-constructed this time. Smash through this to find an iron gate. And another taller iron-gate. On and on from one problem to the next.

“Self-discovery is like an onion; it has many layers.”

Infinite layers. The radius never shrinks, the circle never gets smaller. One layer leads to another layer. There is no core. There is no bright and shiny center. So much goddamn effort to peel anything away. Years of grime and dirt that doesn’t make any sense. If it does makes sense you can’t do anything with the sense it does make. One more layer down and onto the next. More confusion than before. More paralysis than before. More dread then before. Why am I this way? I hate myself for being this way. Helplessness knowing I can’t be anything else. This is me, and I hate it.

“Bring yourself to the source — whatever that is — and bask in it. Recharge.”

“Think of the love you hold in other peoples’ lives. Think happy thoughts. Think how you’re part of the whole.”

“Decide where you want to be in the future. It’ll help give you something to work towards.”

“Break a large goal down into smaller goals. Take small steps towards the goals.”

“Decide what your values are.”

“Think, ‘Is this thought useful to have right now?'”

“Maybe set boundaries with yourself in your interactions.”

It’s Friday. March 27th, 2020. 5:09 p.m. Now what? Always: Now What?

Who Am I?

“Well it’s a hard road to ride, when you sit right back and realize what you’re not.”

“Realize” by You Won’t

This is a continuation of this post. In that post, I mentioned I was going through a quiet phase, a phase of introspection trying to find myself, whatever that means. In the post I mentioned the word ‘nothing’ in the context of “This is me: nothing.” It sounds depressing and dismal in a way but the more I think about it the more I feel that it’s the most accurate way to describe myself and maybe even everyone else. Nothing.

I think we all have the urge to define ourselves by labels. I have this blog, so one of the labels I’ve defining myself with is ‘a blogger.’ Sometimes I write stories (or try to) and I’ll label myself as ‘a writer.’ Sometimes I draw/paint and call myself ‘an artist.’ The labels for myself are nearly endless: pilot, musician, guitarist, introvert, type 4 or 5, INTJ, quiet, reserved, thoughtful, emotional, creative, and so on. And others might do the same thing, deriving and adding meaning to their lives by calling themselves by their own unique labels. Another label I define myself with is ‘ignorant’ and ‘stuck in my own head’ so maybe others don’t do this and I’m wrong. I’ll always be the first to admit if I’m wrong. It’s a great way to learn things about life.

These labels aren’t really us though. I guess I’m saying while myself as a person is pretty introverted this actually isn’t who I am fundamentally. A shitty analogy: just because a flower is red does not mean the color red has anything to do with the flower itself; red is just a trait of the flower and not the flower itself. While a true descriptor, it doesn’t say anything definitive or fundamental about it; it’s not the state of being of the flower. I hope that somewhat made sense. Forgive the analogy if it falls short. Add a few other labels to the list perhaps: ‘not-very-good blogger’ or ‘bad at analogies’?

So last week while stuck inside my little bubble, silent, trying to figure out who the fuck I was as a person yielded a surprising lack of information. Once again the word ‘nothing’ comes up. That’s what seemed to be there for me as a person, fundamentally, and it was frustrating. I didn’t stumble upon another label — a more accurate or hidden label, some label that was truer than the rest, more ‘me’ than the rest — I came upon a lack of labels altogether. At the time it was depressing and I was rethinking the entire process; am I this bland of a person who has nothing to define who they are? Was there nothing deep down within my soul that was actually me? As a certain Liturgist podcast episode potently said, “Give me something to rely on.” Give me some aspect of myself that is there and that defines me. Something I can live up to and fall back in if I need to do so. Just give me something that is me.

It’s also interesting to note that in this podcast the thing saying “Give me something to rely on” is Fear.

But I think that might be it, the core ‘me-ness’ and maybe the core ‘you-ness’: nothing. The underlying truth. The realization of yourself, the blank entity that exists as is without any concrete labels to define it. Maybe I don’t have any actual desires, wants, or needs outside of survival. Love, companionship, food, water, shelter, and nicotine are all that I require as a human being. That’s who I am and that’s who you are, maybe minus the nicotine: a glorious nothing without labels that simply exists.

Now I realize that what I’ve written sounds eerily familiar to things I’ve been told/read/listened to many times in the past. I think I’ve hinted at it here on this blog many times. Like this is what everyone has been saying this entire time and I was just too dumb or ignorant to really ‘get it’. Alan Watts, in the first chapter of his book The Wisdom of Insecurity talks about placing water into a box and mailing it to people. It sounds silly, and he acknowledges this, but the chapter partly talks about how defining something might represent the object but isn’t the object itself — people sometimes forget this fact — pointedly stating it by saying, “If you try to capture running water in a bucket, it is clear that you do not understand it and that you will always be disappointed…To have running water you must let go of it and let it run.” And maybe you can’t package yourself into a ‘bucket’ as a list of words and have that be you. Aspects of you, sure, but not you. Maybe you have to let yourself go, let yourself flow, to really appreciate who you are.

And there’s plenty more. Here’s this text I received in a moment of crisis from a friend months ago:

“When I tell you I love you, I hope you know that it’s you I love. It’s not your exceptional writing. It’s not your witticisms of penchant for the quantitative. It’s Jeremy. With or without any or all of those things.”

And these few lines from The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment by Thaddeus Golas:

“Here are some lines that made me feel good, both in times of emotional turmoil and in meditation: I am nothing, I am empty, I am silent.

Or:

“Anything that really frightens you may contain a clue to enlightenment. It may indicate to you how deeply you are attached to structure, whether mental, physical, or social.”

And I’ll toss out the “You are Safe” podcast episode once more with its:

“Fear says, ‘Give me symbols, give me frozen images, give me something I can rely on. Loving Truth says, ‘Only give me this moment.’

Holy shit, it’s been there all along and I’ve been too stupid to figure it out. But let me not be too hard on myself; let’s go with I wasn’t at the right moment in my life to realize this before, but here I am. I’m scared, scared of not having something fundamental about myself to grasp and hold onto. I put up walls and define myself with words instead of being me, which is nothing. And it’s the Fear that causes me to do these things.

Once again, being ‘nothing’ sounds very negative as it’s a lack of something concrete. But I feel lighter now that I’ve realized it. I have no titles to live up to, nothing to uphold because there is nothing about me that requires upholding. I’m here and that’s about all there is to it.

As every realization I stumble blindly upon, I’m not sure what to do with the new information. There’s always the question of how to move forward. My working idea is that seeing as I am really nothing, I’m open to any and all possibilities. If I am nothing — like a blank canvas that doesn’t have any inherent colors — then I’m free to paint myself however I feel. It’s like a game, you can pretend to play whatever part you’d like to play, as long as you’re aware that you’re playing a game in the first place. I’m free to define myself as an author or a writer or whatever I damn well please as long as I realize I’m the one doing the defining. That it’s all a game. There is no universal me that is an author — just a blank canvas — no potential to live up to. No title to carry around. Maybe I’m an author because I choose to call myself one. I play guitar not because I’m inherently a guitarist, I just feel like calling myself one because I enjoy doing so. And that this power to choose comes from being a Nothing in the first place. By being Nothing you can become Something.

And I even subconsciously ripped that off from Lazy Man’s Guide (un)surprisngly:

“There isn’t anything “wrong” with using negative events to define your ego, as long as you do it consciously, because you want to. The only wrongness in any activity is being withdrawn from awareness of what you are doing. We can play these silly games with a lot more pleasure when we are aware of what we are really doing.”