Saturday June 9th, 2018

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep rolling under the stars.”

And that I am. I think back to the time when I arrived here in California. Back to when I felt the “why” that pulled me here. I knew I needed to go. I knew I needed something more. I know that I will always need something more. I know that I will never find it. But here I am. I came here because I wanted to. I came here because I dreamt of a better life for myself. A life full of value. Not necessarily of purpose. But a life I held accountable for myself. A life I lived authentically. A life I chose. I chose this life. I think that might be what’s most important.

And here we are at 3:30am sitting on the living room couch home alone. Happy. Truly happy. Maybe this is the moment I think of when I think of what I live for. Sometimes I want to die. Sometimes I think the “why” is out there. Sometimes it’s too much. Sometimes I am too tired. Sometimes I wonder why I choose to live in a world full of such pain. Such agony. Such heart-wrenching beauty,

So yes, I am here. Yes, I went home by myself after the bar where I watched everybody leave as a couple. And yes, I am content. Truly content.

Will this feeling last? No. Will I remember this? Yes. But soon I will wake up in darkness. In true despair about our lives and the world around us. About the pain of the past and the inevitable pain of the future. Maybe it will be worse. Maybe I don’t know what to prepare myself for. All I know is that it will be hard. All I know is that I might not be able to handle it. Handle a relationship. Handle a family. Handle the changes, the heartbreak, the hellos, the goodbyes, the disappointment of life. How could I do that to myself again?

So I choose to live. At least today I do. Tomorrow I might not. Tomorrow I might be back at square one. There’s no way to know. And I hate my mind for it. I hate the complexity, the analyzation, the depths it falls to. But I also love it. I love the complexity. I love the beauty that comes after the dark. I love the contrast between the two. I love the moments of clarity and the moments we realize what minuscule lives we live. I love the experience I have gained. I love the mindset I build and the perspective I gain and lose and gain again. Constant growth. Constant change. Sometimes heartbreaking. Sometimes unexpected. Sometimes challenging even when you think you’re ready.

Is everybody okay? No, they’re not. But I will still ask the question. I will still search for truth. For authenticity. For someone who understands. It is rare, but it exists.

I will probably never find anyone who truly understands. And that is okay. For now, all that matters is this moment. I am sitting on the couch in the living room of my new amazing house. I am home alone and blasting Dave Matthews Band. I am hopeful for the beauty that tomorrow will bring. I am grateful for the beauty tonight brought. I am thankful for it all. The fighting, the screaming, the slamming, the hurting, the cutting, the saving, the saving, the saving, the foundation of a life that I call my own.

So be authentic. Be whoever you want to be. Do whatever you want to do, as long as you don’t intentionally harm others. This world is too cruel of a place. Our minds might adapt to pain over time but I don’t think we will ever escape it. Maybe that’s the point sometimes. Trying to escape it. Even achieving it. We know it won’t last but we also know that these moments create a life. These moments we can’t explain. These moments embody a feeling found in the stars, in music, in mountains. The only real truth.

So the search continues. And how beautiful it will be when I find it.

 

 

 

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March 20th, 2018

The sound of guitar strings. The orange glow of light. The cold glass of wine resting. The voice that fills the empty air. The lights across, shutting off. The end of a day. A day full of life. The life I have dreamt of. The life that is a work in progress. Tonight I am fulfilled. Tonight I remember to be patient. Tonight I believe that it really does get better. It does, and it won’t last, but it will come again. And again and again and again.

November 19th, 2017

I love staring into the windows of strangers. Peeking into their lives.

What are they like? What are their lives like?

Do they have the same ache? The constant state of wonder? Of awe?

I don’t think they do.

What is it like, without this ache? Do they see how it is all a game? A speck in the midst of nothing?

But they continue with their dishes and their laundry and they watch the same TV show every night before bed.

I wonder.

Belonging To Yourself

I’ve been thinking about the idea of solitude. Take a minute to think about that word and the image it brings to mind. What does it look like? How does it make you feel?

For me, solitude is the image of a person standing alone in a deserted area; usually outdoors. I have yet to understand the direct connotation of this, being that it is usually a reflection of how I feel in the moment. However, this past year, that feeling has shifted. The word “solitude” is a word I have actually grown quite comfortable with, though it took some work. These past few months have consisted of getting to know myself on a deeper level. By “getting to know myself” I mean re-discovering, exploring, pursuing my passions and creative nature, understanding the layers of my personality, and acknowledging the struggles and setbacks I have yet to conquer.

We tend to underestimate the importance of our passions. When you think about it, these are the things that bring the most joy and fulfillment into our lives, no matter how small. It is important to make time for these. For me, this involved reprioritization. I had to actively take time out of the day to do at least one thing I enjoyed doing. Whether it was getting outside, writing, playing the guitar, or merely sitting in bed with all of my candles lit, I made time for it. And day by day, I slowly began to notice a change. I became more comfortable with myself. I discovered parts of myself that I hadn’t known. I embraced these. I became friends with them. And I can honestly say that today, 1 year later, I am in a much more beautiful place.

However, beautiful does not necessarily mean “happy” or “good”. Another critical element I have learned thus far is that there is no “arrival” in life. There is no point in time in which we can say that we’ve really made it. At least not in the greater sense of it all. There are always going to be ups and downs. Dark and light. We cannot know one without the other, right? That is what makes something beautiful. And the inevitability of this is something we must come to terms with if we are going to continue. The journey towards the great light, as I like to think. And in order to endure this we must acknowledge the dark places we have been. We must accept them. And maybe once we have done these things, we can then try to understand them. So what do you struggle with? What are your setbacks? Who are you when you are in these low places? Yes, honesty is hard. Honesty with yourself is even harder. But how will you grow if you can’t face these deeper parts of yourself? With understanding comes healing. When we try to heal these pieces, we bring them into our journey. Our great, beautiful journey. One that may only begin with ourselves, and more importantly, by ourselves.

So we arrive at a place of solitude. Though at times it may be lonely, it is the best way to get into your own mind. Sometimes this may not be the best thing. We strive so much for acceptance, belonging and even conformity that when we are alone we don’t know how to handle it. We don’t know what to do with it. Sometimes we panic. We look for the next day, the next plan, the next moment. The next something where we can prove to ourselves that our lives have meaning and fulfillment through external connections. The next thing that we can hang on to. Soon enough we find ourselves tangled in the expectations we hold about our relationships with others. How they should treat us, how we treat them; how those two answers are never quite identical. We become lost, thinking that if we don’t have others we are alone. Or that if we don’t have a significant other, it means we aren’t good enough. We aren’t wanted. The kind of solitude that eats away at you until you can actually feel the gaping hole it has created.

This is why I call it a journey. A journey with no destination, but merely a pathway into the light of your self. Your inner-most being. Here, we may find fulfillment. We may find what makes us tick. What lights that spark in our eyes again. Spending time alone is crucial to this process. It’s how we find and befriend the light and the dark within. It’s how we understand these parts of ourselves. It’s a place of beginning. A place of birth and death and rebirth. The steel foundation on which we build upon. How can we expect to grow without a stable platform? What happens when the inevitable hits? We cannot ensure stability, but we can put forth our best effort. We can try to create a sense of self so strong that even the roughest winds won’t budge it. I think that is the most we can ask from ourselves.

But far too often, we build this foundation and still do not feel satisfied. We do not necessarily feel “met” in the expectations and thresholds that we set for ourselves and others. We ask ourselves if it is our fault for setting these too high or others’ fault for not working hard enough to meet them. We fall into the spiral of doubt and insecurity. Sometimes, we stay there. We question parts of ourselves that should never be questioned. If you have been here, you know that this feeling likes to stick around. However, this is where the magic starts to happen. We begin to entertain the idea of solidarity. Of belonging to yourself. We let go of expectations. We let go of attachment. We don’t have much of a choice, honestly. It’s like being thrown into the water when you haven’t learned how to swim. Only when you are forced do you truly see how far you can go. It is our intrinsic nature. And it is only when you are forced to walk the path alone that you find answers you never knew you were looking for in the first place.

So be your own best friend. Be not only content with being alone, but become fulfilled by it. I’m not saying that you should isolate yourself from others and the outside world, but rather find gratification in your relationship with yourself before you build a life with someone else. Ironically (and I can confirm this from experience), good things seem to happen when you are not actively searching for them. Trust that these times will come, but do not undermine the potential of the in-between. Sit in it. Embrace it.

And in the meantime, buy yourself some flowers.

Night Drives

Sometimes you can’t find the words. You sit in them. They swirl in you. But you can’t grasp them. This feeling…it swirls in me. It settles and unsettles. It twists and turns, trying to find its place. Not sadness, not anger. Maybe a madness trying to get out. Trying to take over. Trying to consume. To envelop. I am tired of fighting.

But without it, who would I be?

Chapter 3

At first, moving to California felt like the ground had been ripped out from beneath me. There isn’t a word I could choose to describe what it felt like waking up the morning of August 5th, 2017. Most of the 5 hour drive from Phoenix to San Diego was spent biting my nails and anxiously trying to figure out which song I should play, but nothing could ease the anticipation of entering a city I’ve never been to before knowing there was no turning back. This was it. I had committed before even seeing the place. I barely even knew where it was on the map. When I arrived, though, it was beautiful. Just like I’d imagined.
I remember sitting in my car for the first few days crying, wondering if I should pay another $25 for parking or drive around aimlessly. The answer was almost always found in feeding myself. Actually, that’s how I started to make progress. After the crying, I took myself out to lunch. I sat down on a stool near the window and applied to jobs for hours. Eventually I heard back, and that’s how I made it to where I am now. A routine, as much as I hate the word.
I spent the next few weeks buying furniture, finding affordable parking, fixing my car, taking the train, hiking, reading books, and making friends. I went to my first Padres game and swam in the freezing Pacific ocean. I got drunk at the bars downtown and walked home to my apartment.  I even got a tattoo and stripped off my bathing suit at the nude beach. I did these things, and San Diego started to feel like the right choice.
I realized that this is what you try to do. When you feel lost, you ground yourself. When you feel unsure, you find a reason. You can even make one up. I spent so many of my first few weeks wondering what I was doing and why I was here. I brought myself here, so why am I upset? I made this choice, so why am I questioning it? The thing is, things are never exactly as we imagine them. I didn’t expect an easy, peaceful move across the country to a place I’d never even visited before. I didn’t expect things to magically “work out” in the way everyone imagines it’ll be. But I did, however, expect to feel at home right away. And looking back at my life I understand why I had that expectation. It’s what I’ve been looking for all my life. I think it’s why I came here. And so what if that doesn’t make sense to anyone else?
Now, I find myself in a cycle of progress. Some days are great. Some days I wake up before sunrise, make myself coffee, do a quick yoga flow, listen to music, drive myself to work, eat, run, and go to bed content and fulfilled. Other days I wake up exhausted, drained, depressed and questioning things I never thought I’d question. It’s a process, but it’s one that I’m proud of. I’m sick of thinking, “someday I’ll get there” because someday is now. Don’t look forward to what is ahead. This moment is what the “looking forward” previously was. I will embrace every part of it.