Thursday, September 25, 2014

Flying Saucer Dream

I had a dream last night. Aliens had invaded and people were completely overwhelmed. Every time a treaty was going to be signed, there was a betrayal. The scenes I remember are as follows. I was in a large museum type of building. Lots of political officials had surrounded the president (He was sort of non-descript looking, and certainly did not look like the man in office today.) They were panicking in a sort of half-controlled manner, pleading with him to do one thing or another. The only choice that seemed clear to them was that the president should retreat to his underground bunker, which was accessed through the fake presidential oval office, which was in the theatre auditorium. Me and a handful of other tourists, naturally couldn't follow.

Just as he and his men and officials disappeared behind some stage props, the aliens marched into building from every side. They were menacing in their troop formations but they did not attack. Escape seemed impossible. Speaking in an incomprehensible manner, they pointed this way and that, before laughing and leaving behind a small white safe on a dolly. A smarter man among us, a professor of some kind, with his glasses askew on his face, realized it was a bomb. He lay over the bomb, frantically working at the combination before it exploded. Even though he died in the resulting explosion, his heroic act saved at least half of the people in the museum, including myself.

I rushed outside, only to see the havoc of flying saucers everywhere shooting laser beams at a panicking crowd. A police officer, helping to get people out of the back of a station wagon, was caught in the beam and turned into ash. I rushed around him into the street. And then I woke up.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Good Enough Day

Today, I was wakened by the sound of dad shooting water into a metal barrel for the chickens to drink. I was groggy, and took about half and hour to become fully awake. However, for a change, I was glad I was up. I needed to be in Salem for the service I had planned on attending. I am not sure if it happens to most men my age and circumstance, but I find I need this sort of thing as a hope life line that my life has not completely gone off of the rails. Even if I am judged to be unsuccessful in my public life, at least I can try to be a good person in my personal life: develop virtue and all of that.

I was the last person in the building after it was over, and was politely ushered out. I hadn't realized that I was keeping the gentleman who was tasked with locking the building away from the rest of his day. I had been in the library selecting a book that I thought might help me get my daily life in order.

At this point, I drove downtown and after depositing my check for two weeks work, went looking for a place to take lunch. The exercise from walking was sorely needed, but I didn't find a suitable place. The new place did not have the menu items I wanted to eat, and the prices were too high. I figured that my best course of action was to eat lunch in a coffee shop, where I had the most delicious bagel sandwich and a hibiscus iced tea. I should have had it lightly sweetened, but as it was, it was a much better meal than I had hoped for. I considered working on personal projects, like organizing healthy meals for the week, but instead I watched videos on my laptop and glanced occasionally at the youthful, energetic people coming and going trying not to feel too envious. It is, admittedly, a bigger struggle than I would like. I could write essays of regret, but I am choosing not to indulge in too many negative reinforcements on my attitude. Like I said, it's a stuggle.

I had planned on going to the shop and working on my video projects, but the combination of the sun, food, and poor sleep made me feel very tired, so I drove home for a three hour nap. I didn't necessarily want to sleep for that long, but I think I needed it. I am developing a problem with my breathing while I sleep. I suspect sleep apnea, which means that I really need to get my health in control before I suffer greater consequences. I am working on it.

Night brought a trip to walmart (an accomplishment for me) so I could purchase some much needed sheets. I also bought cat food for the cat, and contemplated buying more junk food, but talked myself out of it. I met my biological father there. He's nearly completely deaf, so I listened and pantomimed responses that I hoped were understood, but I suspect weren't. I think he could probably use a hearing aid, but I don't think his pride will let him. I do not know how to feel about him, since I do not really know him very well. What I do know of his beliefs and opinions, I likely disagree, but I give him respect and attention. It seems right to do so. I then spent the rest of the evening at the shop watching videos, and playing video games. The one bright spot of accomplishment came with some figure sketching that I did. I want to keep up on my art as best as I am able. I am hoping it will help.

Now, I must leave for a trip to the grocery store to buy some breakfast items, and then I will watch a little TV at home before returning to bed. I think I did okay for this day doing some of the things that needed doing. Perhaps I could have worked on more necessary items more, and not indulged in too much distractions, but I am not going to call this a bad day. It was a good day. A stepping stone on the path of doing better.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Restlessly Worrying

One of these days I going to change the layout of this blog. It is not abandoned as much as it is neglected. I hope to write more and communicate more of what I am thinking with this silly thing, but tonight is not the the night. It seems that I need to have an outlet, even if it is online for to everyone to scrutinize. We'll see what the future holds with this thing.

Briefly, and with some specifics, I am up late. I do not sleep as well as I used to do. Thoughts about my youth tinged with melancholy occur more frequently than I would like. My future seems to be cramped because of my previous bad decisions combined with a growing awareness of my own limited opportunities. Part of me wishes I had made more of life by now, but another part of me sees I didn't have as much as a chance as I thought I did. I should have gotten my Master's Degree. One thing is excruciatingly true right now: it is 1:30 a.m., dark, and quiet. I need to go home and sleep, but feel anxious and restless. I'm avoiding doing it for some reason. I wish I had a clearer idea about what I wanted out of life, and where I want to take it from here, but all I know now is that, now, I need to stop writing. I will go home and sleep, but mostly because I don't know what else to do.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Coming to the point

There is an idea floating through our contemporary world, of which most who are not scientists don't fully understand, myself included. However, the idea posits (as near as I can grasp the current cultural zeitgeist of it) that time may not actually exist as we understand it. In brief, Time is an illusion of perspective. Of course, my personal experience (or perspective, if you will) of time is that I can accrete experience so that my experience grows and I become a slightly different person, either good or bad. In the objective sense, if I learn math or another language, I can use that learning at a later period.

However, the accumulation of experience and its ability to coalesce into learning, is something that I think about in the philosophical sense. Do I, or can I, become a better person by struggling with experiences that are difficult. Pain, as a physical mechanism, teaches us to avoid things that are harmful to us. However, pain also occurs when we have experienced damage to our systems. Is there a point in which damage has occurred, causes pain, and repair is no possible. Is there a difficult experience that damages us as people rather than teaches us how to become better by avoiding that damage in the first place? I am not sure.

It's been too long since I have written here. Seven months? I am no longer in the depths of despair about my being, but I do feel damaged in a way—like my difficult experiences of the recent past will have consequences that extend beyond my time to try and repair the damage, considering that repair may not even be possible. I have hope that I can be guided to a better path, but I feel a lot of regret for not managing my time better in the past. There were so many lost opportunities for something else that it is challenging for me to try and not dwell on them. Part of me feels like I have ignored some internal warnings much to my own peril.

From here on out, I think that what I will be trying to concentrate on is accumulating the virtues that I feel I should acquire, and trying to endure the experiences that are left to me, ones that I do not want, cannot avoid, but will be forced to face regardless of anything I could do to mitigate them. Yes, I will face difficult experiences ahead, but my focus is no longer on making all of the "right" moves to avoid those experiences, but on making the right changes in attitude and behavior to be able to withstand what I cannot avoid and to adapt to the things as best I can.

I have felt attached to someone specific for a very long period of time. Someone with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Someone with whom I wanted to build a future with. However, she does not really want to be with me, even with (or because of) our past together. We have been interacting with each other, with degrees of intensity, for over ten years. Recently (like a few days), I have come to feel that it never be possible to repair that relationship, and not because I haven't tried. I am a man of many faults, but now I fully understand some of our obstacles were not ones I placed in our path. I have tremendous sympathy for the challenges that we faced, and intellectually, I place blame with no-one. Emotionally, I feel burned by the differences in our beings that made reconciliation impossible. I have been sad, seeking a compromise along any route that would not require me to abandon my healthy sense of self. I may have been able to make it work for awhile longer if I forced myself to accept the notion that I was the center of all our problems, that I was focus of all the blame, that my choices alone forced us down this road. But, even after seriously searching long and hard for a way to accept all of the mistakes, I found I could not do it. I may experience bouts of low self-esteem, but at least intellectually, I know while I accept responsibility for my previous poor choices, I cannot accept blame for things that I did not cause, nor endure the misery of anger that I am not the source of. It is possible for someone to be unconsciously affected by tragedy, and for the effects of that to spill out into other areas of their lives without them recognizing that source. In essence, another person's actions have traveled through time to disrupt my attempts at closeness. The person I was seeking to make a life with is still echoing the earthquake of pain that another person caused.

Of course, to be truly honest, I believe that if she could heal from all of that, I might have a chance at building that life with her. The change this time is that I do not have much hope of that happening anymore. My cajoling, attempts to seek closeness, efforts at being sensitive and communicative were all rejected. I have done all I know how to do.

Now, I face a future that no longer includes her. I experience regret and remorse for that loss of a potential relationship. Perhaps I always will. But, I now know that I cannot be chained to a future that may not be. I have to move on and try and be a better person in the future.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Trying to Lift My Vision

Another late night: almost 1:00 am now. The issue with today was that I slept for a couple of hours in the middle of the evening (6–9pm), which made trying to go to sleep at a decent hour pretty much impossible. I hardly got any sleep the night before, and my head has throbbed with a sort of pressure headache. I've interacted with everyone politely, even amiably, just as they may have avoided me due to a subtle vibe of alienation that radiates away from me like a silent radio signal.

I continue to wrangle with my negative emotions as much as always, but I think I have been dealing with them a bit better today. Even though today was a short workday, I got a few projects done and feel pretty good about catching up on them by the end of the week. I still have two projects for other people that I must complete very soon, but they can wait for the time being. The summer is my busiest as far as work goes. I grapple with motivation when it comes to my individual designs. That will be my next career/personal challenge.

And, speaking more broadly about how I feel about life and my place in it, I think I can see a certain kind of emotional acceptance about my current situation that makes the inevitability of the future more easy to grapple with. Poverty and struggle may be my lot in life, despite my ambitions for more outward successes. These last few years have really clarified for me how focusing on my inward successes, and trying to develop into a better person, is my true and most important goal anyway. The outer successes would have been nice, but I always knew that it wasn't the most important. And as the prospect for that outward acclaim or achievement falls away, the inward self-directed enrichment process gains some momentum. Of course, I truly hope that no one thinks that I am saying I am perfect, or even that I am a slightly better person than most.

In fact, most of the intense depression that I felt these last few months has arisen out of a painful recognition that, even a year ago, I was a better person than I am now. Through a combination of actions and inactions, I have fallen backwards into a trap that holds me tight within the frozen grip of regret and churned up frustrations. All my good intentions were transmuted into foolishness, and even then, I ignored most of what I should have been doing in the search of another distraction. I have learned the hard lessons of dissipations and lethargy. I still try to come to terms with compromises that have cost me more than I would have wanted them to.

Of course, there are all sorts of signs and signifiers during the day that leads me to one of these thoughts or another, and I realize that it all sounds so very vague. So, I will leave it for now to discuss my day.

Like I said earlier, I had not gotten much sleep. After informing my "boss" that I was tired and that I may not be in to work right away, I ate a small bowl of cereal and went back to bed. I probably dreamed about something, which was frightening in its limitations, but I do not remember it. I do not have nightmares in the traditional sense. My nightmares arise out of the limitations that the dreams show me, out of the possibility of a life circumscribed by poverty, chance, and fate bought through earlier actions. I wish I could tell you how I am haunted by some of them, but most people wouldn't understand the implications. And, honestly, I am glad that I dreaming again. My dreams had left me for a few weeks, and it scared me in the way that adults can be scared without showing it on their surfaces.

I approached work in a workman way and probably did more than I thought I would get done. I feel a little wistful frustration about this job because there are always deadlines that are too close to do any real research or exploration of the themes, symbols, or possibilities. But, I don't dare feel too much frustration because I recognize that I have much more flexibility in this job than I would have anywhere else. I am lucky to have this job, and I know it. In the back of my mind, I am deeply worried that I may lose it in the future, but I do not think that it will be something that I have caused. I feel relatively assured that I did the best I could to prevent that outcome.

After work, I went home and had dinner with my parents before drifting off in that nap. When I awoke at 8:30ish, I talked with them briefly, and discovered that my sister had asked my Dad to purchase her something from the store that she claimed she needed. Perhaps she does, but her needs are always immediate and transcendent above everyone else's. It would be easy to tell another person no, but my sister cannot help who she is or how she thinks. And so the order of the day is compassion.

I drove into town and went to Walmart. I called my parents on my cell phone, and asked them what kind of thing it was that my sister needed. My dad told me, but I couldn't find it there. Therefore, I went to Safeway, and after a lot of searching found, it.

I went back to work and made another gameplay movie for youtube, but I think my heart is going out of it. It takes a lot of work, and the initial returns that I imagined I might be able to achieve appear as elusive as ever. I could do more research over the issue, but that would require even more work.

I've been thinking that I need to return to all of the other interests that I have fostered throughout my life, and continue to develop those. I could go back to writing and drawing. I could read more, take time for myself and photography. Worry less, and allow other people to take personal responsibility for their own lives. I may be an irrelevant person in the grand scheme of history, and I may have harmed inner and outer self and damaged both, but I still have time left. Perhaps, through perseverance and more effort, there is a chance to claim some small amount of personal dignity so I can arise as a person who was given wisdom through some occasional and self-inflicted hard knocks. I wish to hear the voice of wisdom speaking to me, and guiding me through a life of difficulty. To feel the rays of the sun of wisdom and assurance shining on me once more. To be washed in the seas of forgiveness for those actions and inactions. And, to ascend to a wholesome place of truth, insulated from the cold winds of sorrows and pains that are always reflected in the downward glances towards an earthly life. I want to lift my vision towards a broad and warm horizon of better internal possibilities and confirmations that I can personally achieve.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Uncertain about Writing

I am really uncertain about whether or not I should write a book. It seems like it is something that I have put off for a very long time. There has always been an internal prompting for me to write one. However, as I get older, I think to myself that almost everything I thought was important really is not. Every pop-culture reference, joke, effort to improve myself, vocation, avocation, etc. was simply another distraction away from something else I should have been focused on. Maybe that other thing was to express myself and my views with a novel, especially since my writing is one of the few things that I have gotten the most positive feedback from other people about, but then again, maybe not. All I know for sure is that the "one thing" that I should be working for always seems to escape me. I know it is there, but I don't know what it is.

I'll be really honest at the moment. I am solidly middle-aged. I have no money for retirement, a part-time job that I can barely do regularly and probably should have been fired from a year ago, and tens of thousands of dollars in student debt. I never managed to find a companion to share my life with despite my efforts to try, and I have no tangible assets like a house of my own, savings, or a decent car. It is hard not to feel like the world's biggest failure.

I wish there was another word for jealousy. Jealousy implies that there is a passion inside the person afflicted with it, a drive that keeps the fires of emotion burning hot. The jealousy I feel is very cold. It is a sad recognition that many things that I dared to hope for are somehow impossible, so daring to hope feels dangerous. If I had allowed myself to feel the hot jealousy for the average achievements of a common person (ie. a steady and successful job, a loving family, a pleasant relationship with a wife, etc.) then I would be consumed by pain. Instead, whenever I feel the first twinge of wanting more than I can apparently achieve, I avert my inner and outer gaze as quickly as possible. Too much focus on those things will be dangerous. I can't do it.

I keep hearing from everyone around me that the economy really is difficult right now, but I have to say that, when looked at globally, it hardly seems like our economic problems will be solved soon enough for me to benefit from. I need about a hundred miracles for these troubles to go away, but I doubt they'll be arriving any time soon. I don't want to sound so negative, but I have to say that the whole world is in a real fix, and that, while I didn't personally cause the troubles it has, they will affect me more than I would like and more than I can change. Writing, a broad and non-specific avenue towards a fantasy of redemption, whispers into my heart and suggests that it is the only hope I would ever have at climbing out of my current mess. It has been done before, but I also know I'd have to be very lucky and have a better plan than I do now.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Grinding my way towards Discipline

I still end up hurting myself in these weird internal ways that I feel that I should be better able to control. It's those small moments of choice, where the gust of a impulse or whim blows quickly upon you, and then, ignoring a reflective thought, you allow yourself to be pushed in a direction you would rather not go. It's the later recognition of these small moments that grind on me more than I want.

Is it in my personality to foster discipline, to choose the more difficult paths, to accept the many failures and move forward towards hope? I believe, when I am truly honest with myself, the answer is yes. But, I am equally bewildered when I try to describe how I might go about acquiring that discipline—the regulatory control over my choices brought about by detachment—and applying it to my life.

My inner voice says, "I know I can do this. It is within my ability. I must persevere. I must continue despite the emotional consequence of actions or inactions." I know that voice is right. The only path is the path forward. Still, the difficulty that this internal project holds disturbs me in a powerful way.