Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Preoccupations and lies.

Again, many things have changed emotionally since my last post.

I'm fine now. In fact, I started to get a lot better only shortly after my last post. Why? Honestly, I think it was all the video games. Video games, for reasons I can't explain, seem to numb all my social senses, including loneliness. I should probably elaborate, but that's a subject for another post.

Lately I've noticed that my thoughts haven't been moving from one thing to another as I would like but recurring over the same thoughts over and over. It's become more of a preoccupation rather than a "thought stream" if you will. Mostly, I seem to be preoccupied with thoughts of my family, and a person.

A conversation with a friend today led me to understand that I do hide things from time to time. I typically characterize myself as someone who is very open and honest, but during conversation with this friend I realized that I was hiding something - for a good reason, and I was quick to explain why I had to not reveal something. Still, I couldn't help but notice that I almost didn't catch that was what I was doing...I was so sure that I was an open person that I didn't realize I actually don't share everything...just most things. Anything that is convenient for me to share, I do. And that is the vast majority of things I want to share...but I do have secrets. And I also have things that I shouldn't share, because they would damage myself or another person, or can't, because they are other people's secrets...but I digress.

This knowledge of my preoccupations coupled with my realization about my secrets led me to think about lying.  Lying, I believe, is less about making up a convincing story or creating something that isn't true but more about concealing what is true. When you lie your goal is not to create a fine tale but to do whatever possible to hide the truth. Should you tell a lie, you care less about what they believe so long as it's not the truth that you seek to hide. For instance, you don't care if your parents believe the dog knocked over the lamp or the tooth fairy, so long as they don't know it is you who actually broke the lamp.

Well, I sometimes forget about this, but I'm a really good liar. You kind of need to be a good liar to even hope to be a counselor...not because you lie to your patients (never, ever) but because sometimes you must conceal a truth that would be harmful for your client to hear (such as, you not liking them). I used to lie a lot, before following God a little more closely. At one time I was so good at it, I hid something very obvious for an entire summer without getting caught.

These days there is not much use for that skill, besides keeping a poker face from time to time and "picking my battles" when I would really like to say a truth that the world is not quite ready for.

Getting back to preoccupations, in a roundabout way (as you can see by the lengthy explanation above) I discovered that even though I can lie/conceal truth to other people I simply cannot do so to myself. My preoccupations reveal something to me I do not wish to believe. What that is...I am concealing for now. Sorry, but it's not really all that important to this blog post anyway. What I mean to say is, I have tried to lie even to myself, but failed...and I doubt it will ever be possible to lie to myself without regressing to a less self-aware state.

Anyone who reads these posts will notice I am a holistic person. My solitary boast: I have done a really good job of learning about myself and how my mind works. That said, such self-knowledge has made it impossible for me to not know something about myself of which I'd rather remain unaware. Like I said, I've been preoccupied with my family and with a person. At this point, my actions on these thoughts are all up to me, but I cannot avoid what these preoccupations reveal to me about my feelings...revelations that would be more helpful if they were least, at this point, I believe they would. Maybe I would be more susceptible to doing something stupid if they were there and I was unaware of them.

Time will tell.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for truth of thought.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Aftermath.

Much has changed emotionally since my last post.

The pleasantness of slowness and my patience in general has dwindled. I'm not sure what happened, but loneliness, it seems, has finallyeasily caught up to me. I'm disappointed in myself, to be sure, as I thought that I had finally escaped many of my old tendencies. I thought I'd finally gotten emotional independence.

In one respect, at least, I am better in that I still have avoided indulging my old desires to draw attention to myself for the sake of simply feeling better. I know better now.

Still, it seems like writing this blog is really the only outlet for attention-seeking I allow anymore. That's what it must be, isn't it? I don't see any other reason to write it other than to put my thoughts were others can see it, otherwise, I would just write it in a journal and show no one. I'm not often sure who reads these blog posts, only the ones who reveal themselves, I suppose...but sometimes I post knowing I wish certain people would read it. That worries me. You see, I don't wish to allow any credence to desires that lead to me acting out again.

I've been looking over Facebook's timeline feature. It's nice in many ways, but that's not the reason I'm talking about it now. I had to go through my timeline and remember all of the times I was most lonely and depressed...and start hiding the worst of my old statuses before people could read them! It's embarrassing how obviously desperate for someone's - anyone's - attention I I would target specific people I would "hint" at things related to love, loss...anger. Nothing I want to relive. But I did.

It's funny how you can get a sort of "link" to your past self in ways. Sometimes you can look at a certain photo and remember how you felt and what you were thinking when it was taken...or read an old journal entry, or something. That was what happened to me looking over these old writings of sad, so pathetic. I kinda lost grip on myself while I was reading/hiding those old statuses. It was too easy to remember and over-empathize. I had been wondering what it felt like to be my old 2009 self or something...well, suddenly my 2009 self possessed me for a short time! Ahhhh!

Well, once I snapped back to reality, it was so much easier to realize how imperative it is that I avoid using others to relieve my negative emotions. Especially women. It's easier when I'm tempted to, oh, text somebody something to try and initiate emotional contact to just look inside and shout "FOOL!" That's my only lifeline at this point.

Another thing I noticed about my old self is that a lot of the things I've noticed about the young folks (freshman) around here also applied to myself. I think I would totally become friends with my 2007 self - if the Facebook posts help me get an idea of what I was like, I'm pretty sure my old self was just in his own little world all of the time. I was so innocent and possessed by the geeky side of myself that I'm sure I would really enjoy meeting that person that was me - because he was so untouched by the world it's amusing. That's why I became so immature only two years later - once that mask was torn off, I looked around at my real world - and realized who I really was - and hated it. The momentary glimpses that I hid from in 2007 became ever present in 2009/2010, so since I couldn't hide from it anymore, I tried to rebuild myself...which manifested itself much of the time in depressing Facebook posts. Yikes.

Lest I say too much in this post and start getting tempted to disclose too much about what or who is on my mind, I will just say that I hope people will pray that I build more patience. Someone told me the other day that wisdom and patience go hand in hand - and I believe them! I wish to build up my relationship with God and ignore the rest of me that is demanding human's a lot harder than I thought, even though rationally I have provided myself with many excellent reasons why I should be wholly desiring the single life for the moment.  For some reason the conflict doesn't want to go away that easily.

That's all for now.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for emotional peace.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Blissful serenity.

I find that much of the time I feel very happy to just be mellow.

Today was a slow day. I can't be happier that it was. I must be getting old, or something, because my personality has utterly changed in this regard - I no longer crave adventure and excitement in the same way as I once did.

Once upon a time, I would be very disappointed if a day passed where I did not experience some sort of excitement, or at least, some kind of tug at my emotions.  Now I find that people often tell me I look tired or upset - the reality is, I often feel very content. Peaceful, even.  And this is without any excitement necessary.

I take pleasure in finding that things are moving along at a leisurely pace. I find comfort in slowing down. Well, certain things anyway, I'm still impatient sometimes...but other things, like conversations, relationships, reading books, my thoughts...I like it slow now.

That's the new adventure and excitement. Watching the world move by slowly, rather than quickly. Wondering what will happen next passively rather than actively. No longer finding it necessary to anticipate the future. I'm not worried, I'm here, and I can only do what I can in the moment: the NOW.

I think perhaps part of this is that I have gained some measure of emotional independence. I more or less choose how I wish to feel, now. I don't need to confide in anyone, although I still enjoy doing so. Any outstanding emotions on my horizon I acknowledge, feel, but let them pass through me. It's really nice. I don't miss the frantic excitement and/or anxiety of always wondering and waiting - because now I can enjoy the moment more.

This is wonderful, you see. There are so many other people out there who always need someone. Now, I certainly don't. And this will set me free to love people more - and better.

I haven't made reference to God in this blog in a while, but I suppose this is a prime opportunity. I really don't know as I write this if I've grown in virtue or not, but I do know that my prayer has been much more productive than usual. Maybe this peace is from God, and maybe it is the change in my personality.

Either way, this is the most interesting development of my personality in over a year, and I must say it's a welcome change.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for blissful serenity.

Monday, November 28, 2011

What you need to know.

Are you serious men?
Are you serious women?

So, I've been thinking.

An Internet argument and a youtube video have both been getting me thinking about the men vs. women mentality when it comes to relationships. Kinda lame, but I promise I've thought about it a lot before now.

I think it's about time I wrote a blog post explaining my thoughts on some of these men and women issues, instead of just trying to talk about it and getting interrupted by people who are rude when they're upset.

This is what is near and dear to my heart at the moment: interactions between men and women when at least one of them is romantically interested in the other. All that heartbreak, he-said-she-said, flirting stuff.

I'm not the expert, but here is what I've learned on this subject.

Men, here's what you need to know:
  • Yes, I'm going to talk about the friend zone. In my opinion, the friend zone is nothing to be feared. This is going to stink for some guys out there, but some women simply like having a male friend to enjoy and confide in without having to worry about the messiness of being in a relationship with them. It's comforting. That's the way some women are. If you're a nice person, there are going to be lots of women like this. And that's OK! They may not really be right for you, and if they are right for you, you need to trust that they'll see it, too. But worrying about it might end up ruining a friendship that would never be a relationship. I've made that mistake enough to know that some male-female friendships would not work as relationships even if it seems so much like it would.
  • If she's not into you, she's not into you. If you're asking yourself "Does she like me?" a lot, she probably doesn't. If girls like you, they will find a way into your life. You will notice them. Some of them even follow you around, a bit. Some of the more mature ones will be more subtle, but you'll still notice the change in behavior. Unless you're really dense. Chances are, if talking to them is definitely not a one-sided endeavor (they start conversation with you as much as you start conversation with them), and you're not in the friend zone (see above), they might, might like you.
  • In the name of King Elessar II, if a woman hurts your feelings, grow up and move on. Getting angry and blaming women for "making you a jerk" is a sorry excuse for throwing away your manhood. Yes, that's what you're doing if you retaliate in any way other than throwing up your hands and saying "Oh well!" and moving on. You're becoming a little boy. Grow up so the rest of us real men don't look so stupid.
  • May I reiterate - don't get mad and don't push anything. Most women who put men in the friend zone don't know it. And if they do know, they may like this friend so much that they don't know what to do and just want to save the friendship. If you push her, though, she will either break off the friendship, or she will give in and you will end up in a relationship that is doomed to fail.
Women, here's what you need to know:
  • Men aren't complicated. In fact, they're very simple. That's why they confuse you! Because you are such a complicated creature, you expect men to be complicated too...and they're not.
  • Every time you confide in a man emotionally, you are running the risk of sending him the wrong messages. Most men like this and see it as an intentional deepening of the relationship. You, on the other hand, may just really want a friend to talk to. If you are worried about sending a male friend the wrong message, suck it up and be quiet, and wait until you can talk to a girlfriend. Do the right thing for the both of you.
  • Most men aren't impressed with a woman who tries to be what she is not. I find that most often the women who attract lots of men are women who are radically themselves. In my experience men like a "multi-faceted" woman who doesn't have just one side to herself, and is also willing to share them.
  • If he doesn't like you, he'll probably avoid you if you're being aggressive/sending strong messages. Unless you're a friend. Even then, he might still avoid you. If he's brave, maybe he'll tell you...very plainly. Maybe. Hopefully he's not rude, but if he is, he won't be the first.
That's what I know, so far. Others may disagree, but this is the truth as far as I can tell. Hope it helps.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for peace in knowledge of one another.

Friday, November 25, 2011

On changing my mind.

Reflect on this: if you were perfect, you would never change your mind.

Past posts have been getting a lot of views these past few weeks, and because of the subject matter, I believe I know why.

I've expressed strong opinions about the stages of my life, but yet as I go on I find that although many of my ideas remain the same, some of them I change. I do this because I grow. I'm imperfect.

A year ago, I would have told you that I am often ruled by my emotions. These days, though, I find I've relaxed in that matter. I am in touch with my emotions...I feel them, I experience them, I know them intimately. But instead of acting on them, or letting them affect me, I can choose to let them flow through me. I've mellowed out.

In the same way, I look back on the things I've said about "where I am" and "what I'm doing" and think less seriously of my opinions at those times than I once did. I've learned since then. I am not quite so sure of myself.

Knowledge is how much you know. Wisdom, I believe, is knowing what you don't know. And I've gotten a little more wise.

I find now that I recognize more and more how little I really know and can know. Case in point: my last post about crushes. A year ago I would have never written such a post. I took crushes far too seriously to write such a thing. Now I know them for what they really are: the body's way of pointing out to you interesting women (and also, for those like me who are interested in being single for a while, at least, a damned nuisance).

People who never make assumptions and ask lots of questions are, in my opinion, the wisest people you will ever meet. If you ever make friends with such a person, don't ever take them for granted. I find they are rarer and rarer in our world these days. I hope to be one someday, and I think I'm headed in that direction.

Now, to take my own advice...

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for a wiser world.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On crushes.

I told someone the other day that I don't like having secrets and I have very few of them, and these sorts of blog posts are further evidence.

It seems despite my reasonable and genuine desire to remain single for a while, I can't avoid having the singular nuisance of "getting crushes." Before you waste time reading this post to find out who, keep in mind that I wish to ignore these feelings, rather than give them credit. Disclosing who they are will get me no further towards that goal. (Also, if you try to guess who they are, you will most likely be wrong. My true emotions are a lot more discrete these days.)

I like to remind myself that there is actually a hormone released by the brain when you "get crushes" that leads you to feel like someone is more similar to you than they actually are. Fascinating, isn't it?

I also like to remind myself of the amazingly frequent deception caused by my feelings/emotions. Responding to those now would be like buying something from the same conman who's tricked you into buying junk for the hundredth time!

I'm not often good at following my own advice, and I know what I would tell myself at this point. Still, sometimes it's hard to judge the line between doing what I would normally do and responding to a feeling. To simply avoid all women would be a bit drastic as most of my friends, because of the demographics around here, are women. That would be pretty lonely.

Another obstacle here is the fact that I can't control other people having crushes on me. Not only that, but if they're not aggressive like some women *cough cough*, I can't really tell if they do. The obvious ones are easy because I can just avoid them, but the others just appear to me as if they really like me as a friend. I'm oblivious!!

I think it would be unwise for me to not develop friendships with women at all for the next two-three+ months that I won't be dating anyone, since after that I'm quite sure if I did pursue someone it would be someone I've already been good friends with for a long time, to avoid past mistakes.

Pray for me that I may pursue my vocation as a single man until I'm ready to date again.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for good judgement of the heart.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The levels of self-awareness.

I have a theory about people. Well, I have lots of those, but here is one of them.

One thing I've noticed about college-aged folks is that there is a wide variety of maturity among them. I do not wish to speak of vices and poor habits, but particularly the part of maturity I call "self-awareness."

To be "self-aware" in the particular sense that I refer to it is not the same as sentience, the difference between humans and other animals, but the amount someone is aware of their true self.

I believe this manifests itself in a few levels: the amount someone is in touch with their own feelings. Feelings, in this sense, goes beyond just emotions, but also opinions and thoughts about the nature of who they are and what they do. If you're confused, just keep reading.

The first level of self-awareness is "I feel." At this level, the person is just self-aware enough to express something. You begin at this level as a baby.

The second level of self-awareness is "I am feeling." At this level, the person expresses feelings and is aware of them. Usually some time after a person starts talking they are able to reach this level.

The third level of self-awareness is "I am feeling because." At this level, the person is aware of their feelings and is aware of their source. Much like the second level, some time after a person starts talking they are able to work at this level, perhaps less frequently.

The fourth level of self-awareness is "I have felt." At this level, the person is able to reflect on past feelings and see how they have felt certain ways over time and see some level of a pattern.

 The fifth level of self-awareness is "I have felt because." At this level, the person is able to reflect on past feelings, see how they have felt over time, see a clear pattern and understand their feelings in a larger context.

The sixth level of self-awareness is "I feel because." This is the highest level of self-awareness in which the person is able to achieve all of the aspects of the fifth level but also integrate this awareness in every day life and relate it easily and clearly to him or herself and others.

If this idea is confusing, let's make an example. Let's say a person were asked about being bullied at a young age. Someone in "I feel" would simply cry. Someone in "I am feeling" would tell you they feel sad. Someone in "I am feeling because" would tell you they feel sad because you brought up that memory. Someone in "I have felt" would tell you that being bullied made them sad but they eventually got out of it and it only upsets them when people bring it up. Someone in "I have felt because" would tell you that being bullied made them sad, that they eventually got over it, that it upsets them when people bring it up, that they are sometimes insecure because of it, and this causes them to sometimes react very strongly to gossip. Someone in "I feel because" would tell you everything in the previous sentence without having to think about it for very long.

People with higher levels of self-awareness don't wear masks very much. They are more genuine, more real, more in touch with themselves. People on lower levels of self-awareness wear masks a lot...even lower, they may not even realize they're wearing one. People of higher levels of self-awareness are better able to understand others with lower levels. Ever watch a little kid do or say something and think "I know what he's thinking, and furthermore, I know he doesn't realize I know what he's thinking." That's what I mean.

Most people I meet that are a little younger than me are functioning somewhere between the third and fourth level of self-awareness. Sometimes I wonder if they realize how obvious it is to others functioning on a higher level of self-awareness how much about themselves they're hiding, and how unaware they are of how they are acting. They're pretty easy to manipulate, too.

I can always tell when I meet someone who's on the fifth or sixth level. They're very interesting people and fun to talk to about living life and talking about "deeper things." I feel like when I'm talking to someone on the sixth level, we just sort of "connect" in such a knowing way.

All of this is really hard to describe. I'm pretty sure this blog post doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Oh well.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for greater self-awareness.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I know myself.

I think Aristotle was right on when he said that the happiest man is the virtuous man. To know what is right and good, and be in the habit of doing it.

There are so many things I don't know. I don't know what the right thing to do is, sometimes. Sometimes it seems like the only thing I can do is to just make a decision. And that's what I've had to do. If I am not satisfied with the same decision I make over and over, I must try the other, no matter how hard it is. I have to believe I can make a decision I can eventually accept.

But I don't know, and perhaps can't know, if it's really the right thing to do...There are so many things I don't know.

People sometimes tell me really nice things about myself. I never tell them they're right. If I'm feeling good I tell them thanks. But really, I don't ever agree...this is not me being humble. I know myself. I know who I am. It is perhaps one of the only things I do know, is who I really am. It is my greatest gift.

Out of all the things to know, I am blessed to know who I really am. I can't say I always like myself. Sometimes I really, really don't. I know that deep down, I really am a selfish jerk. The worst part of that is not knowing when I am acting on that quality. I have always tried to take a position of skepticism of "things that I want" to avoid it, at all costs. And that's what I've done...for so long now...

Well, I've made my choice. Now I have to live with it.

There was a dream that I dreamed...a dream of knowing the right thing to do.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The lost virtues.

"Might have to go where they don't know my name...Float all over the world...just to see her again! And I won't show or fear any pain, even though all my armor might rust in the rain! A simple plot...but I know one day...good things are coming our way."
-Coldplay, "Up With the Birds"

I have been wanting to write about something for a long time.

I have a friend I've known since high school. Often when I think of this friend I regress emotionally to the level of a little girl. It's embarrassing to admit but I say this for a reason.

I've spent my entire life doing a lot of things. I think the most profound of these is my own quest for power - Power over myself.

I have lived a life lacking integrity. I've lived in fear and despair.  I was brought up to hate myself and to fear those I lived with. I never thought anything would get better.

My mother was the only person in my family I could really talk to. I lost her at 16. I really didn't appreciate her as I should...she really let me take a lot out on her. The guilt of it stayed with me for a long time. I'm still getting over it.

My friend in high school...well, she has had some kind of strange affect on me. I haven't seen her in years, but I've never been able to forget about her. I still worry about her, and I don't know why.

A long time ago, she shared a lot about her life with me. She has had a very hard life. She had a lot of trust issues with males, but for whatever reason she gave me hers. I blew it. I was impatient with her and said some stupid things I really wish I could take back. We're still friends, technically. But it's been so hard to stay in touch with her. There have been periods many months long where I lost all contact.

She's not the only friend I've betrayed either. With my year and a half long hermitage lasting over my sophomore and junior year of college, I really lost a lot of friendships that I've never really been able to get back.

Trouble is, I never really wanted to do any of these things. I knew what I was doing was stupid and I did it anyway. I lacked integrity.

What's more is, I lacked courage to do what was right. There are so many people in my life who could have benefited from me having the courage to say something they really needed to hear...or, I could have benefited from saying or doing something to make a change in my life.

And over all, my lack of hope for change made me unable to develop any of these virtues.

I have so much regret. I could have made it clear to my mother how much I loved her. I could have made a difference in my friend's life. I could have matched my thoughts to my actions and been responsible with my time...and not been a bad friend.

On a cold November night in 2009, I got a phone call that made me snap. I totally lost it. It took me three months to really get over what I heard on that phone. What I was told made me realize all at once how lost I really was. I'm not really even sure if it was all due to that phone call, but I have to place the start of my change somewhere, and I guess that's it. Maybe I'll never know how or when, but somehow, it happened. My lost virtues...just sort of came.

I know a lot of people probably feel the same way, but the band Coldplay seems to write songs about me. The songs...just get it. How I feel.

How I "Might have to go where they don't know my name...

How I would love to just "Float all over the world...just to see her again!"

How I'm determined not to "show or fear any pain, even though all my armor might rust in the rain!"

It's "A simple plot...but I know one day...good things are coming our way."

I only hope that maybe someday, I can look back on my life and really believe that I made up for what I failed to do because of who I was. That I can say I lived a life of integrity, courage, and hope.

I hope.
Seagulls, my favorite animal, in a picture particularly applicable to this post

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for hope, courage, and integrity to be renewed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A mysterious silence.

I've actually written two blog posts since my last one, but I've deleted both of them. They were just not material for sharing.

Since then my mind has quieted a bit. The anger and personal issues I'd expressed in those writings are now mysteriously quiet. Usually I'm very well in-touch with my feelings and have lots of opinions about them. Now, I mostly feel numb.

"Then darkness took me; and I strayed out of thought and time, and I wandered far on roads that I will not tell," says Gandalf of his apparent death at the hands of the Balrog. I suppose even the strongest of us have only so much they can take before everything sort of...resets. And that's what I feel has happened to me.

I seem to be accepting or at least resigned to my friendship/relationship difficulties. I seem to be not thinking about my issues with Counseling ethics. I move on...I just go. And that's not like me. I live life actively, meaning, I think about it and consider where I'm going. I don't just...endure like this.

But that's what I'm doing now. I'm just going on.

Life goes on as I see people I love slip through my hands, people feign my friendship and those who seek to understand me understand less and less of me.

I suppose the best thing I can do for myself now is reflect on what I don't understand. I suppose when you're not reflecting on what's going on, the only way to not be stagnant is to reflect on your reflections. These are mine:

Things I don't understand
  1. How a good friend whom I love a lot can so easily avoid my honest attempts to reach out and help
  2. How people I've known who are so good and pure could be corrupted so completely
  3. How people can seek pleasure so adamantly without realizing this means they obviously haven't found it
  4. How so many of my friendships could have looked to last forever when they really only lasted a short time
  5. How so many people can ignore what I'm trying to say because they'd rather remain the same than face the truth
  6. How tolerance can be taught to be a higher value than human dignity
  7. How people can seek something so strongly and reject it when it shows itself
  8. How manhood can go from something so wonderful as courage, dignity, honor, and integrity, to being an ideal based on physical characteristics and sexual promiscuity
  9. How women can be so easily seduced by an ideal based on seeing themselves as only free if they love anyone but themselves
  10. How fallacies and false ideals can become true when they become fashionable, and the truth can be equated with hatred as soon as it becomes unpopular
An image of courage and dignity

 There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream to think and understand.