December 1st

When people ask me what I do, it’s sad that writer has grown more and more distant from my identity in the past few years.

I’ve been stuck. I have been so stuck. Writing is such an extension of yourself. To put your mind garble into words and publish it takes a good amount of knowing yourself. A sureness in what you’re saying. Well, I’m starting to realize that I’m not sure if I know what my point is anymore. I’ve lost that sureness within myself.

And how unfortunate. You can’t just get it back. I can’t read over my past writings and hit a resurgence. That’s a version of me stuck in time. We don’t relate anymore. I can’t borrow old confidence. I have to find new confidence in who I am now. But like…where?

I’ve come a long way as far as character development over the past few years. I used to be very closed off from people, the world, and my own emotions. And today has become one of those times where I’m reminded of a big catalyst of that development for me. Today, December 1st, marks the day one of my best friends died two years ago. He meant more to me than I completely understood until I lost him. And without that friendship, I’m not sure when I would have shed my defenses. It’s possible I’d be that same hurting, boarded-up-heart to this day.

I like the person I’ve come into. I wouldn’t wish to go back to who I was before. But, this is where I find my thoughts at odds. Lost in between 1.) being proud of the progress I’ve made in love, managing and expressing emotions, sympathizing and empathizing with others, and 2.) setting myself up to be constantly hurt and disappointed because the world functions on another selfish, inconsiderate, and hostile axis. I feel like I was happier being an asshole. People didn’t take my kindness for weakness. There was little to no risk of losing people and things because I poured very little of myself into anything. I considered friends more like human resources for whatever worth I gave them, and they were dispensable. I was comfortable. I was in control, but it was so empty.

Now here I am in all my personal growth from that emptiness, trying to love unconditionally in a cancel culture. To put it simply, I’m facing some serious discouragement and defeat right now. I posted about it before, how 2018 felt hopeless and miserable because the progress I was making was more loss and clearing my life of things that weren’t good for me, and fewer gains. I felt 2019 was a big turn around. I thought I was finally seeing my future coming into place and I was getting excited to step into it. Now I’m hitting some changes that have killed that excitement and left me in the same small, crushed, and questioning state I was in two years ago.

My friend Mateo was such a dynamic individual, I struggle a little sometimes thinking y’know, I wish we traded fates because he would’ve done so much more with this time than I have.

I know that’s no way to think. I’m trying to not let that be the stopping point in my streams of consciousness. So what is next?

I first heard this song on an airplane heading from Morocco to France for a layover before heading home. Anderson .Paak wrote it as a tribute to Mac Miller, who’s death occured within the same year I was mouring Mateo’s death. The moment just stuck with me as I was looking out of the window from the sky and hearing the lyrics,

I’m workin’ on a world premiere
And I could see the world from here
They ask me where I’m going from here
Shit, anywhere long as the runway is clear

It was so fitting. I had it on repeat for the whole flight. And I’ve gotta realign my mind to think like that, I’m working on a world premiere. And I’m rebuilding that confidence to share it, even when I’m shaky on the delivery.

 

 

 

Nobody’s Immune

No one is impervious to life slapping them upside the head.

Hard.

 

I’ve experienced so many examples of this in recent days. It’s been a recurring theme, and I’m working much harder on being patient with people. Even when they’re being complete and total wads. Notice I said ‘even when they’re being’ and not ‘even if they are.’ See? I’m already making progress.

 

That difference is apparently pretty crucial. I remember when I took Psychology in school. We were given an assignment one day that had a list of scenarios. Each question was either you doing something or someone else doing something. For instance: You’re running late to an appointment and as you enter the doctor’s office, you see someone approaching the door, you don’t hold the door for them.

And you had to check at the end whether the behavior was based on character or circumstance. We discuss what everyone checked and it’s shown that the questions in which you were the subject, the actions were marked circumstance, and the questions in which someone else was the subject, their behaviors were marked character. The assignment was meant to show how people will justify their actions and continue to think they are good people, but when the same behaviors are expressed by others, we perceive it as just being part of their nature.

 

I reconnected with an old friend recently. I’ve always admired her for her heart towards others and genuine kindness. We were catching up and she opened up to me about this past year in school being pretty trying for her, and how she lost touch with herself through the struggle. It shocked me to hear her say that. Not shocking in the sense that life is hard for everyone, I get that much. But it was just that I realized, wow, everybody truly needs a firm support base. Every last person. It might be in one’s nature to be kind, patient, generous, and what-have-you, but that doesn’t stop the surrounding negativity to take a toll. A serious toll. That hit me like a brick and broke me down for a minute. I know exactly where she was coming from. I know that place. That rut in your think space you sometimes find yourself stuck in from time to time. Where thoughts don’t stop coming at you, and progressively get darker the longer you dwell. It’s a debilitating weight hidden away in your head like a personal jail. And when you’re everyone else’s go-to for support, what are you supposed to do? It’s a silent suffering you have to endure with a smile. And the fact that my friend was going through that kind of mental strain really upset me. She, of all people, just…wow.

 

Then I was reminded of a talk I had with my uncle once.

Backstory! When I was a little kid, my aunt passed away suddenly, leaving behind my uncle and two cousins. It was a typical day, but she felt odd on the way home from picking up my little cousin, Julie, from daycare. She stopped at a friend’s house, and asked if her friend could hold Julie because something wasn’t right. Just as she handed my little cousin over, she dropped to the ground. My aunt was pronounced dead at the scene, and doctors were never able to provide a solid reasoning behind her sudden passing.

My uncle was called by authorities and told the news of his wife, and was asked to come identify her body. He told me about that time period between leaving the coroner’s office, and going to pick up my cousins. I mean, life is still calling for you. There was no time for grieving when there were children that needed to be taken care of, a job to manage, and other matters that needed his immediate attention.

Feeling numb and in a near catatonic state, but needing groceries for dinner, my uncle went to the store. He recounts every interaction he had with people in the store. Employees, fellow patrons. Frustrated and short of patience with him, as he failed to return smiles and was unresponsive to questions directed at him unless asked multiple times. They never could have known that he just came from identifying his deceased wife’s corpse, sure. But that’s exactly the point. You never know what somebody is dealing with. And we’re all dealing with something.

Everyone has heard this at least a million and one times, but here’s reminder #1,000,002. Let things go. Don’t return a mean spirit with more negativity. Could that person legitimately be an inconsiderate jerk or what-have-you? Sure! But it’s more likely circumstance. And who are you to decide that anyway? And what’s it worth when ‘giving them some of their own medicine’ would only justify their negative behaviors towards people? I can recall a number of times where a simple smile or gesture of kindness would have halted my belligerence when I was in a funky mood. But everyone has a point to prove. You know what? Screw your point. The real point is that every person on this earth responds to kindness exponentially faster than they would to negativity. So yeah, that was heavy on my mind lately.