This week’s post will be about a lot and about a little. A lot like our lives.
We are made up of a lot, and a little.
I’ll be the first to admit that I spend a great deal of time watching television, specifically anime. I also spend a lot of my time listening to music. Playing games. All around, my life is just a bunch of premeditated horsin’ around. When I’m watching anime I point out things I notice or thoughts I have about where the story is going. It’s become a habit. Whether you think that’s bad is up for you to decide.
Currently, I’m catching up in an anime called “Fairy Tail.” Now, I love the story for this show. It’s become one of my favorites, if not my favorite for sure. This show relies heavily on the “power of friendship” trope, wherein the characters are faced with an obstacle and are too weak by themselves to overcome it so they have to rely on each other to solve their problem. In shows this usually comes down to winning the last fight against the bad guy/monster/scary thing. I see it all the time, and generally it cheapens the story. However, as a story teller myself I know that tropes exist for a reason.
We exist for a reason.
Lately I’ve been feeling caught up in life and overwhelmed by the work I’ve set out for myself and the things that have to be done and the money I don’t have and the cigarettes in my hand. All of these things have become burdens on my heart and mind. That being said, it has altered my mood. I noticed it clearly when I was called yesterday and told that I owed a sum of money to someone that I did not owe a sum of money to. That I was being called to notify me of a collection of that money, which right now I just don’t have. For the first time in a long time I actually acted out my anger. Throwing things, yelling, swearing because I was so upset. I acted in a way that I do not encourage myself (or anyone else) to act. I was childish, and immature. Shortly after that call I had to go to work. I popped in for three hours and while I was there I stewed on my thoughts. I considered my life and where I have allowed myself to go. Like usual, when I stop racing and think about where I’m going I realize I’ve gotten off track and need to be realigned.
I’ve noticed my anger getting out of control and my disdain to even speak to people has become a real problem. Which is pretty much shit considering that I have to talk to people 24/7. If I’m at home, I can’t reasonably ignore my roommate for days at a time and when I’m at work I am forced to talk and be cheery with people so that they will be enticed to buy things. It’s part of my routine now.
I’ve grown mold. My brain has stopped working as it should be.
The other day, I was listening to a favorite song of mine by a band called “The Wonder Years.” This song ends with important lines from each song on the album and top it off with a line that always gets to me… (Pardon the language.)
“Two blackbirds on a highway sign
Are laughing at me here with my wings clipped.
I’m staring up at the sky
But the bombs keep fucking falling.
There’s no devil on my shoulder;
He’s got a rocking chair on my front porch
But I won’t let him in.
No, I won’t let him in.
‘Cause I’m sick of seeing ghosts
And I know how it’s all gonna end.
There’s no triumph waiting.
There’s no sunset to ride off in.
We all want to be great men
And there’s nothing romantic about it.
I just want to know that I did all I could with what I was given.”
These two verses always cut me deep, because they remind me that I’m not doing what I should as an employee, as a son, as a friend.
I’ve been struggling a lot lately.
I’m not where I want to be, I’m not doing what I want to do, I’m not acting the way I know I should be acting. I constantly feel like I’m wasting time when I’m not working on my projects, and when I am I feel like they aren’t good enough to spend my time working on. I’m just racing, trying to get to the next step of something permanent.
When I do something, I search myself to see if I will feel a permanence of any kind. If I don’t, I know that I need to work harder or rework it or make it better. I will try and do whatever it takes to give everything when I’m doing anything. It’s part of who I am. As of the last few weeks, I’ve been too apathetic to care. I’ve gotten into the inner workings of my heart and stirred up feelings that don’t need to be stirred up. I have begun tampering with things that should be left well enough alone because I have simply stopped caring about everything else. The problem with being so careless about everything is that I get into my head. I begin thinking about things and making mountains everywhere I go.
I play Magic: The Gathering. I don’t like red decks, I don’t like mountains. So I should stop making them, right?
I’ve been focused on my own problems so much that I seem to have forgotten my two best friends. Well, not so much forgotten them, I think about them constantly. I think of how they must be disappointed that I’m still smoking. How they either think I work too hard or I’m too lazy. How I don’t want to be around them for any length of time and how I have been slipping. Of course, I don’t know most of these things for certain. I’m sure they’re disappointed because I still smoke. They know it’s killing me. I know it’s killing me, yet every couple of days I go buy a new pack because I’ve grown weak. I’ve grown careless. I don’t know how they feel about the rest of the things, save for the last one. I know that they know I’ve been slipping backwards. Becoming the opposite of what I am supposed to be. I know they see it because I can see it. As much as I’d like to think I’m the first one to evaluate myself, I’m not. I only look at myself when someone mentions something about it to me. I’m not self-aware, you know what happens when someone becomes self-aware.
So, last night I was watching some more of that show, and they played the power of friendship card in a scene. Again. For the millionth time. I finished the episode in awe. (Big reveal about my favorite character.) I stepped out to smoke and it was almost like I had a vision. Somewhere in the midst of the smoke screen, I saw myself in a perfect mirror. I realized that I have put too much of my weight in places it doesn’t belong. I have grown attached to the sadness and anger that had manifested in me. I have let them overstay their welcome and it has begun affecting me long term. Worst of all…
I have gotten lazy.
I am not lazy. I do not ever want to be lazy.
A few days back, one of my best friends, Travis, returned home from college to visit for the summer. I was excited for this, but didn’t show it. On the 9th, my friend Preston returns from his mission. My friend Lukas is coming to town to visit with us. We are all coming back. This weekend is my friend Chase’s birthday. There are so many opportunities in this next week for me to be filled with joy.
Instead, I’m still apathetic. I’m still racing myself.
A few weeks ago I went to Reno to visit some friends. The whole way down there and back was rainy and wet. There was standing water on the road and I didn’t feel safe driving as fast as I would have liked, so I forced myself to keep my speed in check so that I didn’t hydroplane and get myself into an accident.
I think that I should begin that same practice in my everyday life. It’s a series of steps. Brake slowly. Don’t slam on the brakes. Keep your wheel steady. Allow others to pass you, you will arrive where you need to be when you need to be there. No point in racing birds. They’ll always win. Sometimes, when it’s terrible on the road and you don’t feel comfortable driving at all you just need to stop, get out of your damn truck and enjoy the view. That’s what I did on my way down there. That’s what I did on my way back, that’s what I need to do now.
It isn’t a race. No one has challenged me to anything, and if they had it would be a fruitless race because no one is on my road. I’m the only one here. There is no prize for getting to the end first in life. As a matter of fact, life is much the opposite. People fight and bicker for a chance to come in last. To be in this race for as long as possible.
I have been slamming on the brakes, trying to avoid skidding across the water as best I can but it’s a knee jerk reaction and I didn’t think it through. I can feel my tires popping up. If I were to jerk my wheel right now I would flip.
The rain is going to come down whether I want it to or not. I just need to let it fall. It would make as much sense to fight the bad thoughts and feelings that drop into my head as it would to go out into a rain storm and try to empty a puddle with a plastic cup. The rain will always fill it back up.
There is good news though, eventually it will dry. It will leave your head. It will leave mine. If you’re really lucky, it will soak up into the ground and nourish you. It will slip into the cracks of your mind and bring you new lessons learned or new reminders of things you or I have forgotten.
Finally, the last step, for goodness sakes. Get out of your damn car and look at the sky. It is the most beautiful thing in all of creation. So complex, so many other things out there that we can’t even quantify it all. It is endless. It should be appreciated and celebrated. Even the thick storm clouds bring us beauty simply because of their size. The problems in life are something to be admired, not ignored. Because if you quit paying attention when you’re on the road in a storm it’s that much easier to lose control.
Never let yourself lose control. If you do, dammit you get it back.
I need to get it back.
Writing this, I’ve been able to point out the things I need to work on immediately and the things that I need to seriously dedicate my time to. Namely, that would be my two best friends. I have been snapping at Jess at a moment’s notice, I owe him money because he graciously picked up food for me and I haven’t been capable of paying him back. I have become even lazier around the house. I have grown to complain about everything inside my head. Travis has come to town and I have hardly acknowledged that. I realized that I’ve only been able to talk about things that directly involve me. It has been months since I told either of them that I love them. Everything I do feels jaded and empty.
I am not empty.
I am full of rainwater and I am going to be happy, over everything.
If you liked this, consider picking up one of my LINMTBA Compilations, this one is from Year Two + It was a good year. Check them out on my website!