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Just a Boy & His Subaru

On a Journey to Find Themselves

Tag Archives: My Life

The simple action of sitting down to write this piece makes me feel exhausted. It makes me feel crazy, out of it; I’m nothing like myself anymore. But it has to be done, it has to come out or I’ll implode like every other member of my bloodline.

I’m tired.

As long as I’ve avoided admitting that to myself or anyone else, the reality is that life has me beat down right now. And to be even more correct, it has me beat down further than it ever has before. Even though I know deep down that life is a series of peaks and valleys, I’ve also never seen a valley so low and so never-ending.

But you know that a king is only a man
With flesh and bones, he bleeds just like you do

Four months ago things were better. And worse. There were things I didn’t know, but also things I did, each balancing the other to maintain a sense of normal. For instance, I didn’t exactly love my job, and I knew that, but I was becoming content in the fact that it paid the bills without much worry. On the other hand, it’s not like I was wishing stage four metastatic lung cancer on my mother.

After leaving to be with my mother and almost immediately losing my job at a company that cared about function over family, I thought our blood family was stepping up to the plate. My mother’s brother elected to step up to the plate and get her back and forth to appointments; to make sure she didn’t want while I went back to Denver to figure out what to do with my belongings, my cat, etc. It didn’t take long until the ‘burden’ of that was passed along to his wife, and her discontentment was obnoxiously clear right out of the gate.

In the short time that I was back, I found a job as a server with some amazing coworkers who quickly became the support system (and distraction) I so desperately needed. I was working as much as possible to make enough money to allow for my extended absences as I anticipated traveling back and forth to help mom. Being 14 hours away makes it difficult to drop everything and rush back, and it goes without saying that there is some planning involved.

When the time came, my mom’s brother and his wife (I’d call them my uncle and aunt, but then again it’s clear we’re not family) insisted I return right away. Someone needed to be with my mother 24/7, she was slipping away before their eyes, and they, “couldn’t do this alone.” Once I arrived I realized that they had stretched the truth, lied, filled in the blanks, whatever it took for them to be done and not feel guilt that they decided they were too burdened; if they couldn’t do it alone, apparently I could, because I’m the golden the child; everything hinges on me, and it is all my responsibility.

So here we are today. Many mornings I wake up feeling bitter, then immediately following comes the feeling of guilt for feeling bitter. I suppose I’d have liked if everyone was a bit more upfront about things. I’m happy I can be with my mother and help ease her mind, but I’m also pissed off that it wasn’t her choice or my choice for it to happen right now. It hurts that grown men and women (reference to age, not maturity) feel the need to lie instead of just laying it all out. It’s frustrating to me to that ‘family’ lives in the same town as my mother (a town of 400 people, 30 minutes away from the nearest gas station and 14 hours away from my home), but simply cannot be bothered. Even if I use the excuse for them that it’s the only way they know how to process, I still can’t come to peace with it.

I find myself with an outlook on life that feels like there is no way it’s coming from inside of me, as if I’ve been possessed. This, the process of writing, as I knew it would, has helped me to feel a little less crazy as I align my thoughts and feelings, but I know my work is cut out for me if I’m to shake these feelings of anger.

At the end of the day, my mother is dying, and that’s the real root here. She’s too weak to start chemotherapy, too stubborn to ask for more help throughout the day, and too proud to tell people that she’s feeling as terrible as her face and body language tell me she is. But to say it’s not all about perception would be a lie; this situation is ultimately as I choose to see it.

Be weary of the ways of the world.

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What a difference a year can make. Unforeseen loss, unforeseen gain and bountiful adventures.

It has been a little over a year since I started this blog as a mode of expression and reflection, and Thanksgiving seems like the perfect time to stop and jot down a few takeaways.

Not often enough do we stop to reflect on a year passed and the growth that has taken place. If someone would have mentioned to me that I would lose two of the closest people in my life a year ago, I would have actually taken it into consideration; I would have never guessed it would be the two people it was.

Everything is different, everything is the same, and everything is better. It’s a feeling I would equate to losing massive amounts of weight; what I lost has no value going forward, it has already depreciated, and what I found underneath was the original core I had distanced myself from.

There is a deep feeling of gratitude and appreciation for the partner that taught me so much, and the best friend that played the role of my sister when it was needed most. It is as if I struck gold, and as I kept digging, I only felt richer; now the mine is dry and the time to dig elsewhere has come. To say I would live out my life never thinking of these people again would be false, immature and nothing more than a destructive lie I’m ultimately telling myself.

There is only so much deviation one can impose on a script when he succumbs to the understanding that life truly is a stage. Each person coming into your life has a role to play. For some, the role is recurring and purposeful. For others, it’s a short lived flash in the pan, and they must move on to play another role. No matter the length of stay, their role is no less important. And, while you may think the leads in this production are here to stay, respect the fact that the script may have been written for another, more fitting player.

This last year was a much needed reality check, and while I didn’t write about it as much as I should have, I’m so grateful I wrote what I did. My pieces serve as a reminder of where I’ve been, what I’ve done and where I’m going.

I keep telling myself that it’ll be fine, you can’t make everybody happy all of the time.

Frequently I remind myself that everything I did was exactly what I wanted to do (with some exceptions, of course). Essentially, no regrets; there aren’t enough hours in the day to waste your time dwelling over decisions you made in the past. Each decision, in some tiny, maybe indirect way, has lead me to where I am today, and that makes me happy.

But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.

In the last year, I relearned what it means to, “live for yourself.” Each day I try to focus solely on myself and what will make me happy. Selfish? Certainly. Healthy? Without a doubt.

You’re the only person in your entire life who will be there beginning to end, so make sure you’re checking in on you.

Oh, and as for your role in this production, don’t take it too seriously. The director, life, has a funny way of making sure you don’t get out alive.

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It becomes increasingly more difficult to sit down and write regularly.

Or such is my excuse.

Realistically, there’s no one reason I’ve not taken my time to sit down and write. Actually, so much has happened in the past month that I’ve wanted to write about, it’s a little embarrassing I haven’t already.

To touch on a previous post, sometimes life just gets away from you like that.

Here’s the really big stuff: a very close friend of mine came out to Colorado to find a place in Denver and ended up taking shelter with me. It’s been reaffirming. Then, as if she was a good luck charm (disregarding my persistence), I was offered a position with an amazing nonprofit organization granting me the opportunity to use my education and acquired skill set to give back to the community.

To touch on a previous post, seize opportunities that allow you to give back to your community, paid or unpaid. Put energy out into the universe that you want to come back to you; it always will. It won’t always be when you expect it or when you want it, but it will come.

Work hard to spend your time making a difference.

Aside:

Many times I find that these posts get a bit bossy in a sense. “Do this,” I say, “do that,” I say. Mainly it’s because I want to remind myself of what I need to do. It’s positive affirmation, if you will. So don’t take it as bossy, unless you want to (clearly I know what’s best).

Since starting this job, and it’s only been one month, I’ve felt more fulfilled than I think I’ve ever felt. I’m so satisfied at the end of my day, that I’ve been able to really dive into and explore things that excite me. I’m running more and am training for an obstacle course in August, I’m reading again and I’m spending time with myself that is (for the most part) stress free.

Here’s possibly the best thing about my recent life developments: my job inspires me, it makes me want to do better things and be a better person, especially for my community.

Stay tuned to upcoming posts for a bit of a shift in this blog. Not a fundamental shift, but a trial shift. I began this blog as a way to express my thoughts and emotions, and to have something to reflect back upon as a measurement of growth. As I continue to grow, so to will this blog.

If you hate something, lets talk.

If you love something, lets talk.

Lets talk.

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When you’re not careful, life gets away from you.

The things that you enjoy doing, the things that make you happy, take a back seat to stress, worry and other very similar unproductive attitudes. You fall into bad habits and your mind travels to deep corners of obsession.

In this sense, I’m accident prone.

It’s not that I don’t know what makes me happy, I know exactly what gives me a sense of balance and accomplishment. That’s not to say I can efficiently tune out the world at all times to refocus, and, to be honest, with the way the last seven months of my life have gone, the world sometimes gets pretty damn loud.

This last month has been rough. Not the kind of rough where you sigh in relief that it has ended, the kind of rough where you’re scraping your knees to get to the end, wondering how it will ever end.

When I first got to Colorado, I was riding a massive life high. There had been so many changes and developments that I never once had to truly think about what was actually happening in my life. Everything felt so normal and natural that a large part of me naively thought the worst was over. I mean, I had already cried over leaving my partner, I penciled in time to not leave the bed and sulk over the things in life I no longer had control over, so surely the worst was behind me. Hell, I had even successfully moved more than half way across the continent, so as far as I was concerned it was all smooth sailing from here.

Then there was this one Wednesday when I was washing the dishes, windows open and feeling great after a much-needed yoga session and protein shake, that I broke.

If there were any better way to describe that day, it would be through audio. (Maybe I should consider podcasts)

There was no rhyme or reason, no obvious precursor for the events that were about to take place, just a little itch in the back of my throat right before the dam burst open. When I use that metaphor I intend for it represent the (very literally) hours of crying that ensued that Wednesday. Nothing could hold it back. At one point, in a state of desperation, I ran a bath with “stress-fix” salts, only to find myself sobbing after the first deep breath. It was a dam.

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In the past couple of weeks, I’ve done quite a bit of hand-shaking.

I love meeting new people.

That’s honestly one of the best parts of moving to a new place, every person you see is someone to meet. And everyone has a different story, which makes meeting new people the chance to tell your story.

That leads me to what I’ve been thinking about endlessly: you have to have a story.

Maybe I’m full of myself and I’m crazy for thinking my life should be remembered, but should it not be? Everyone’s life is worth remembering. When I’m old and gray, I want to look back and feel filled to the brim with stories.

In the process of jotting down ideas on what essays I would draft, I started thinking about why I’ve made some of the decisions I’ve made in life. After some serious consideration, I  noticed that most times I made a decision based solely around the story it would produce. There are exceptions, of course, but is there a better reason to live life?

The idea of story telling is becoming a lost art, and I still consider myself an artist. It’s something people avoid at all costs. It’s as if no one cares what their great grandfather says because, well, what would he know?

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Over the years many of my peers, and even some of my professors and mentors, have suggested I write a book about my life.

Doesn’t that sound incredibly pretentious? The majority of people who sit down to write a book about their life are entirely too into themselves. (They have too much money.) So the book is really about how they had a decent childhood, lived a full high school and college-existence playing varsity sports and landed their dream career as someone who is allowed to be out of touch with reality. I’m not sure who buys these books, but I can tell you right now I’m not the only person who feels this way; I can’t be.

But then I thought, what if that’s the point? What if what everyone was trying to tell me was that I should write about my life because it’s actually quite fucked up?

You can’t honestly realize how entertaining your life is to someone else unless you’re a story teller. It just so happens that I love a good story, especially if I’m involved. (Make me the main character and I’ll pour your drink myself just to get your ear). A large part of it is my love of talking. The other, larger part, is making people laugh while I revisit my favorite memories. If I don’t revisit them, I’ll forget them, so the more I tell them, the better!

“Stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

I’m in a very good place in my life right now. It hasn’t been without a few difficult months, some unexpected twists and turns, but that’s life.

As I’ve been settling into Colorado, the main question is, “What brought you here?” There’s a short answer to this that sometimes sticks and sometimes doesn’t: “I was unhappy with my life back east, so I decided to move west and start over.” Every once in awhile, naturally, people want to ask, “What was making you so unhappy out east?”

Now at first, I loathed these people. Obviously if I was unhappy, there are details I wish to skip over by generalizing my life. The problem with going into details, was that one linked to another and it wasn’t a simple singular reason. It required me to go all the way back to July when I was hit by that drunk driver (for the second time in a year and half), then my job loss, then my relationship ending.

Think about those words coming out of your mouth as you’re talking to someone you’ve just met.

“Well, I was hit by a drunk driver doing 50 mph, then I was laid off from my job, and then my partner of three years and I split up, so I just figured now was as good a time as any to pack up the car I bought right before I lost my job and start over somewhere fresh.”

Wait for the look. It always comes. They think, “Is he fucking with me right now? That kind of shit only happens in Lifetime movies.”

It’s the truth. My life is a Lifetime movie without the estrogen. (There’s some, lets be honest, just not enough to actually get picked up.)

The most common response? “Oh.. Wow. Welcome to Colorado!” That’s why I like it here.

Sometimes I get an attempt at consolation, which I do not need and have not needed since my life started to become humorous. My consolation comes from finding the laughter in my life; it comes from thinking as each twisted event as a well-written story developing right in front of me. Why not? Do you know how broken I’d be if I didn’t laugh at the stuff in my life that I’ve had no control over?

There’s no possible way someone would buy a chronological publishing of my life. What if, I said to myself in my best Jessica Fletcher voice, I wrote short little essays about events in my life that I found the most obscurely entertaining?

Yes, I admit that this is bordering on Girls material, but the sexuality of it would be a subset. And plus that bitch isn’t original. All artists steal. (Just like I stole those last two sentences.)

I don’t plan on attempting to have my stories published. I’m no English major, and really the only thing that qualifies me is my inherent ability to lead a life of twisted, dark humor.

I do, however, plan on making a little collection for myself. It will likely be put on here, so if you’re following me you’ll get a good taste of my life as I see it. In the last week, as I’ve been glued to the couch awaiting the arrival of my root canal, popping Percocet, I’ve made a short list of starting stories.

It’s not like I don’t have the time.

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When something is right, it feels right.

You don’t have to question it.

It’s as if the universe is continually giving you blatant signs that it’s right.

In the last two weeks I’ve been happier than I can remember being in at least the last year and a half.

And I can’t exactly explain it, there’s just this feeling in my gut that I’m where I’m supposed to be right now. In every aspect, it’s the exact opposite feeling I had about being in Pittsburgh. At no time in while living there did I feel like it was where I was supposed to be. Of course I appreciate my time spent there and the life lessons that I learned, but I knew from day one that it wasn’t home.

So I apologize for not updating more, but I’ve been busy enjoying this new life I’m making for myself. I’m not sure I’ve stopped smiling since the first morning I walked out to the bluest, sunny sky I’ve seen. No joke, I started laughing as soon as I took a deep breath. Everything felt right.

People are friendly here, they talk to you and make you feel welcome. It’s an amazing thing to meet all of your neighbors without having to go out of your way to know who you’re living next to. Better yet, to have them offer to move your couch in. Better still is having people help you connect with those in a position to hire.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m beginning to feel like myself again. I’ve laughed, hard, everyday. I’ve danced even harder. Life just feels right. And I don’t want to seem like I’m gloating, but I suppose I am. Why not? Everyone deserves to find happiness. Am I fully pieced back together? Unlikely. But I can say that I most certainly feel it happening.

Last night I got on Facebook to see pictures of my ex with his new guy. Initially my heart sank, and for approximately 45 seconds after, I was a bit a sad. Then I remembered how much I love my life and the decision I made for myself, and it seemed insane to even feel a shred of sadness. So I smiled. I even began to chuckle a bit.

I’m not broken. I’m far from it. And I realize it’s going to take a lot more to actually break me.

Over the holiday my mother and I had a chat about the last couple of months and my decision to leave my ex and move to Fort Collins. It started with her asking about what restaurants were out here and how I liked them (she always wants to know the oddest things), and led to my realization that in one week of living here, I’ve fallen in love; I’m happy.

Now, if I’ve not mentioned it before, my mother is a recovering alcoholic and has been sober for two years. When she decided to get better for herself, I stepped in and helped her get her life back in order. There’s never been a day in my life that I doubted my mother’s pride for me; she is most definitely my biggest fan. What I doubted, naïvely, was her ability to see how unhappy I had been. So when she smiled at me and told me how good it made her feel to see me happy, yeah, I started to tear up a little.

I’ve opened myself to the universe. And as a wise friend of mine helped me realize, when you open yourself to the universe and the idea that everything will work just the way it’s supposed to, you will find peace and happiness and your true self.

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

So far, all of the signs have let me know I’m heading the right way.

 

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When you heavily study a subject, say it’s your major in college, it changes you. Mostly in subtle ways, but sometimes in not so subtle ways.

Thanks to my [insightful] father, I jumped from major to major a few times. Nothing really felt right, and when it did feel right, someone was right there to convince me not to stay in that major.

My acceptance came as a Broadcast Communication major. The school had an excellent program, amazing facilities and on top of that I was convinced I’d be famous. It was perfect.

Before I even showed up for my first day, I had been talked into changing my major. Mrs. Riggins, my high school guidance counselor, tried to assure me that it was completely normal, but I was embarrassed; I was sure I should know by now what I wanted to do. My father was sure I should be in the medical field, and I couldn’t exactly say I had no interest in it, so I chose Athletic Training. In high school I had developed a close relationship with the athletic trainer and she was really the reason I had such a fascination with the field.

Life always has that way of working out though, and after my first semester in the ATEP program, I knew it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t that I didn’t love sports medicine, the program and faculty just didn’t make me feel welcome and wanted. In fact, one professor told me after getting in a car accident that, “college just isn’t for everyone, you should consider all of your options.” The next day I left the program.

That left me ill-advised in the College of Business. Why? Because now my father was sure that I belonged in a corporate setting.

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One thing I learned very quickly in life is that when it rains, it pours. With that in mind, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I came down with a wicked case of strep throat last Monday.

In the middle of job hunting, packing and constructing my itinerary, my body shut down. It was so awful; I can count on one hand the number of times I had the energy to sit upright last week. Plus, if I’m being completely truthful with myself, I forgot that it really is nice to have someone taking care of you when you’re sick. That’s not to say I wasn’t fully capable of nursing myself back to health, I can take care of myself, it’s to say that there’s an added factor of comfort when someone is making sure you get well.

That brings me to the epiphany I had while I was in bed-lock: my ex is not the guy for me; I am not making a mistake. The fact that I could barely drink my water or break my fever didn’t seem to weigh on his decision to go out. Should it have? Should he have been here taking care of me? That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that I’ve realized we are two very, very different people. And while previously I felt that living here with him until I left town was a mistake, I feel now that it has helped solidify my decision to move on with my life.

I still love him, very much, but I can no longer hold him in the same esteem as I previously have. With a full understanding that I see life with a different paradigm, the man that he is displaying himself as now is not a man I would like to be close to me. My goal in life is to surround myself with people who love me unconditionally and care about my feelings and my emotions. There must be a mutual respect. And while I spent some time being angry over how he has acted, I’ve let it go. It serves no purpose in my life. Each time I catch myself feeling angry or sad about the situation or his decisions, I remind myself that we are no longer together and it is no longer my responsibility to worry about him.

I’ll always care, but I can no longer waste my time and energy being sad or upset over someone that doesn’t have a mutual feeling for me.

Don’t take that as a promise that I won’t still have demons to sort out about this whole ordeal when I hit the road, because I’m sure I will, but right now I’m feeling good. So good, in fact, that I’ve officially made my itinerary:

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This week has been one hell of a ride.

Not the ride where you want off right away, either. It was the kind of ride that leaves you thirsty for more, and unable to remove yourself from the coaster seat. Then, just as I’m about to peel myself out of place and exit, I’ve been granted another go around.

Monday was my first day job hunting. Nothing about me was looking forward to how real it all would seem once I began actually plotting my leave. I used my list of favorite things, which, just as I’ve previously mentioned in past posts, was precisely what I needed. Later that day, I talked to my best friend, my sister and future roommate, and I was really amazed at how right making plans was feeling. Just days before, I was feeling useless and broken, like I shouldn’t have made so many big decisions at once and now, how will I deal with them?

But Monday. How often do people talk about loving Mondays? I’ll never forget this past Monday; it serves as the day I understood fully the good I was doing for myself.

Then, to sweeten the deal, I got a call yesterday and had an impromptu interview on the phone. It was great. I hate patting myself on the back too hard, but I was really impressed with my ability to switch to, “I’m so charming and well-spoken, you just have to love me!” mode. And it went well (I think)! We are set to have another phone interview this afternoon. He was even comfortable with the fact that I wasn’t in Denver yet, letting me know that they completely understand. Plus, they’re a small startup doing great things in the world of higher education. I’m all about being a part of something small and impactful.

Plus, my ex, whom I am still residing with until employment falls in line, has been staying out at night, leaving the apartment to me and my thoughts (plus whiskey, Dave and dancing alone). It’s given me time to enjoy the moment without feeling like we need to be speaking. Not that I don’t want to speak to him, but it seems as though it always leads to a conversation about us. And there just isn’t a reason to go there anymore.

I sleep through the night on occasion now when he is not home. At first, him not coming home would just liquify my insides. I was still so attached, and knowing that he was out enjoying himself without me was tough. Now that I’m detaching, and spending enough time away from him to understand that this is just who he is and there isn’t a thing I can do about it, I only feel better about the decision we’ve made.

Some how, I’m learning how to dance. I want to be realistic and understand that I still have to physically pack the car and drive away. I’m in touch enough with my emotions to understand that there are still bumps to come. What I’m finding recently, to my pleasant surprise, is that my overall excitement and desire to be happy are out-weighing the bad.

I’ll take it for now.

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