Crying is Just Puking for the Soul

You don’t want to do it, you know it’s going to hurt. The gag reflex hits. Crying is like puking for the soul. When it’s all over, you’re glad you did it. There’s a feeling of cleansing. The residue is still there, of course. But you’re glad you did it.

Sometimes there’s no reason. My mother once told me that our emotional self does not process experiences at the same rate as our rational self. Thus, the emotional self will grieve over pain that is long past. When the rational self is least expecting it. When the rational self has all but forgotten the origin.

Other times, the reason is right before us. It is insurmountable. There is no going around it. And just before we collide headfirst into it, the walls crumble and our ego is humbled at the expression of it’s own grief. All we can do is tag along for the ride. We can train our minds to perform great feats,have mastery over all of our senses – but it would be a mistake to assume that the soul is owned by the body. The body is merely occupied by it.

There are moments when I listen. It takes a minute or two to realize that the whispers are attempting to maintain control. Be patient. Eventually they fade. Be present. The stillness will come.

When I Became Willing to Admit

I met up with my mother on Saturday morning. We connected at my aunt’s apartment, and from there drove separately to a breakfast joint up the road. Neither of us had eaten at this restaurant before, the food ended up being awful. This didn’t bother either of us, it was only a side-note. We were deep in conversation. The kind of conversation that had the waitress fidgeting nervously as she approached the table. I imagine she could see it a mile away – those customers. The one’s that ask for water, instead of a real beverage, and order small meal items, like a side salad, which means only a small tip, and engage quietly in extremely personal matters, while those around them try not to eavesdrop. I have to admit that we probably should have had this conversation in more private location.

My mother knew exactly what was happening in my soul. Let me be clear: she cannot read my mind and she does not know many of the things I’ve done in this life. Yet she can sense the currents, both the deep and the shallows,  navigating with a care and precision found only between the bond of mother and son. According to her, she had simply noticed a willingness in me to let someone else in, and she bravely took the opportunity. I applaud her for this. Not many people have tread in these waters, and those that did walked in circles and on eggshells.She was entirely correct; I was ready to talk about it; I opened up to her immediately. It has been many years since I’ve cried in front of my mother. I used to vent to her as a child, and she saw me cry a lot during that time. I remember being wounded by the workings of the world, her listening, my refuge. It took a number of years and experiences for that habit to develop into a process of quiet internalization. On this particular day, all defenses were down. I don’t know exactly what caused that, but I suspect that I was just tired enough for it all to come out.

I don’t want to go into specifics. Let me simply state that about a year ago, I took a journey down the wrong path. I used to believe that there is no such thing as a wrong path, that all decisions are based entirely on what we need in that specific moment the decision was made, and we would not be capable of making any other choice were we given the chance to do it all over. I used to believe that. It’s not even that I made a bad choice, per se – but I stepped into the lives of people that I did not really belong in. I got caught up in the glimpse of a world that I desperately wanted. The timing was premature. I was too impatient. It felt good to skip ahead a couple steps, to become involved in something truly grand. I could have stayed there. I could have settled for areas of mediocrity, and gained other areas of grandiose. But it would have only led to regret and pain, and years of a hidden, smoldering anguish.

And during the course of our conversation, my mother never once told me what I should do, only asked me how I felt about each individual aspect. I revealed it all to myself. To give credit where credit is due, these were all things I’d been dwelling on for months and months. But when faced with the choice of calling it all off or continuing, I’d not been strong enough to make the hard decision. But this time was different. It was no longer private. I was being held accountable. It took every ounce of me to tell her. I almost couldn’t do it, even after just previously admitting that my life needed to change, for me, because that was my right move, the move I should had made long before.

It’s not something you can explain to another person who isn’t right there with you on a connected, personal level. It’s deeper than a matter of likes and dislikes, frustrations and observations, it’s at the very core of my being, on the most spiritual level I possess, that I know beyond any shadow of doubt, that I was going to have to break this girl’s heart in half in order to live my life to it’s fullest capability. I am capable of much more, and I will never be held back again.

Communication

There is a stark imbalance in the world of communication
unrestricted by age or gender. It is divided
by those who communicate with emotions
and those who communicate with reason.
I do not claim to know which – if either – is the right or wrong method,
only that there are times when one is the most appropriate.

The act of feeling is not right or wrong in-and-of itself,
but what you do with that feeling can become your very definition.

Understanding the social cues takes a tact
so lacking in the ignorant and unpracticed,
they cannot begin to fathom how others perceive them.
If societal awareness is the key, our process
of internalization is most certainly the door. There are those who spend days and weeks
ceaselessly thinking
and analyzing
and calculating. Their door has been built with many locks, the hinges have rusted shut.
Others do not have a process.
Their door has no lock, no handle. It’s hinges are broken,
it swings open at the weakest draft.

Long Term, Greater Good

I stick like resin to specific core values. Such as respect. An overall respect for one’s self and those we must live with. It’s the axis upon everything revolves.For myself, I hold it as the highest regarded attribute in all of humanity.

But it does not have to be. What if it were something else? It is the epicenter of who I know that I am. It is as much of my identity as the calloused soles of my feet. If I changed this piece of me, who would I be? Would I even recognize the man in the mirror?

On the other hand, I’ve spent the majority of my young life searching for identity, and only recently have I become even remotely sure of myself. However, if I were to alter this one, pivotal aspect of my value system, it would not be the worst thing that ever happened to me–it would not be the death of me. Perhaps I could even improve myself. Besides, who am I even displaying this for? Do I put on the show for myself? To sleep better at night? Do I play the part for the audience? Those around me. Both the strangers and the friends. All for the image.

If I simply do it for the roar of the crowd, then why not change the part at will? Ah, but there’s the catch: who would trust such a man? Would you want to depend on a person that takes their identity so lightly? If he cares not for his own life, why should he care for yours? A valid question. But just in having this dialogue, I have given away the secret that I hide as well as possible: that I do, in fact, care.

Honestly, it’s not that I want to change or even that I will change. But I recognize that I cannot continue on my current path unless I either adjust my actions to fit my values, or my values to fit my actions. It does not help that I am inexplicably drawn towards this doorway. It seems to be my best option for the long run, out of all present possibilities. I will undoubtedly remain on this course. But there will always be that doubt. The ‘however’ of my mind. I fear that it may break me down the road. This is why I must change my heart. For the greater good.

 

Thoughts on Change

There is something I have noticed lately, a pattern that occurs in and around my life. It is a process involving change. It should be noted that I have understood the beginning of this process for some time, but just recently did I become in tune with the complexities. I should be honest with myself, and admit that I have understood these subtleties for some time. But in coming to terms with this behavior, it means I could no longer hide behind it. You can see the conundrum.

It begins with an awakening. My eyes slowly open, and I am aware of some aspect of my life that is causing harm or has the potential to. Many people experience this, and it is certainly nothing new to me. Next, I prepare myself for the change. This can take months or years. Where things become interesting is when the behavior is modified, but not completely changed. It is a place in which I have convinced myself I have the behavior managed. That I can make the complete, full transformation at a moment’s notice. It is a disgusting lie.

I know now: the moment I think I’m in control, I need to take careful stock of my life. I am never in control, and I am beginning to understand the wisdom in accepting that. Even in the events I am able to manipulate, there is always an independent variable, the unaccounted factor, the wildcard. What I’ve found to be most terrifying, is that when the behavior has become caged, when it is under the false illusion of my control–it begins to speak to me, whispering sweet nothings in my ear.

There was a time when I thought this was my voice. After all, I had initially created it: I gave it a platform, I built it a cage, I allotted a time for when I would be finished with it, while I made my final preparations. Oh, the intentions were pure, they always are. But in letting it live for any length of time beyond what was absolutely essential, it took on a life of its own, and took the voice I had created for itself. It did this quietly, without preamble or fuss. There was not even sign of a struggle. And now, it exists and thrives, as real as this room.

Base Desires

“The student as boxer, not fencer. The fencer’s weapon is picked up and put down again. The boxer’s is part of him. All he has to do is clench his fist.”

The ability to use learned information is a beautiful gift. I am astounded when I think of the compounding knowledge each generation passes on to the next. To take an idea and add yet another layer on top of the previous–this is the foundation upon which we build all advancement as a civilization or as a human race.

I think of this notion, and wonder what – if anything – I will add to this legacy. There are people out there who are contributing to the continuation of technology. I am not one of them. Honestly, I don’t think I want to be one of them. But I’m not sure if I am OK with being just another consumer, either. It’s complicated.

I feel as though I have the makings of a person who could impact the world in a significant way. However, I recognize the probability that this is most likely a product of all the You-Can-Be-Whatever-You-Want-To-Be crap I was fed as a child. I will occasionally have the vague sense that somewhere along the way, something went wrong. Like the majority of people, I have the potential to use information as Aurelius suggests: always at the ready, constantly at the forefront of my brain, the hours spent studying never going to waste. I am ashamed to say that I often squander this gift.

At the root of the issue, I am conflicted in nature. I would like nothing more than to float steadily through life, never rising, never falling, always comfortable. That would be nice, warm, and cozy. But at the end of it all, I would look back on my life and wonder why it was such a waste. I just need to remind myself that I don’t have to give in to my base desires. I can be more than electrical impulses, responding with only primal instincts. I know I can. I just need to remind myself.

Let’s Weed Out the Idiots from the Intellects

“The student as boxer, not fencer. The fencer’s weapon is picked up and put down again. The boxer’s is part of him. All he has to do is clench his fist.”

This is such a great metaphor, easy to understand in its concept and execution. As students, we train with and are in constant possession of knowledge. However, let us keep in mind the simple fact that each person is a student. If we are not students of a standardized, formalized education, then we are all at least students of life. Therefore, one should not go about their life as if they are walking without weapon; keep your experiences and your wisdom always at the ready.

The reality of this hits hard–the moment when you realize that you have nothing to show from X class or Y book. It’s upsetting. How could I, as the most wonderful and amazing person on the face of this planet, not be able to transform auditory or visual information into long-term memory? The ego does not like this.

The positive out this scenario is that I might walk away from the experience with a sense of shame. Because, when shamed, there’s a chance that I might respond with an I’ll-show-them mentality. But, how do I process said shame at this specific moment? What determines this? Do I move on, forget about it, tell myself it was a fluke? I believe that this only works so many times. Instead, perhaps I will actually admit to my failure and ensure that next time I am doubly prepared (please ignore the product of zero multiplied by two…it’s a figure of speech, dammit!)

I digress; the importance of wearing your knowledge on your sleeve is so that we, as a society, can weed out the idiots from the intellects. Or something to that extent.