Wow, what a small world this is that I live in! So many crazy things have happened to me over the past few days that, if I refuse to stop and really appreciate every experience, would not seem very “crazy” at all.
I never realized that I use that word, “crazy,” quite often, but it never had occurred to me until recently that some might take it in a negative connotation, so I want to first explain that I don’t mean crazy to be anything bad. Crazy, in my connotation, reflects a similarity to words like random, incredible, beautiful, peculiar, or one of the literal definitions “appearing absurdly out of place or in an unlikely position,” except, I’m not referring to an angle, which is what I think that textbook definition is implying. The word crazy I see as spontaneous, surprising, and beautiful wrapped up in a short spunky word. 🙂
That being said, the past few days have included things like running into the right people at the right times with no plan or intent whatsoever, whether I know them, have never met them until this moment, or if I knew them 20 years ago. Simple situations that I ended up in from going places at random times because I needed to.
Life is crazy (there’s that word again. Ha!). And I really should write more, but I always tell myself something similar to “I don’t have enough time for that,” “I’ve already done too much writing for work,” or even, “I want to do something for me.”
That last one is probably the most insane justification I try to throw at myself regularly.
See, it’s kind of like exercise… Exercise is that one thing that is my worst thing as far as life strengtheners or “coping strategies” as we therapists call them. I know this well because very literally it’s part of what I do- I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with years of counseling experience and schooling blah blah,…
But also I know this as well as anyone else because it’s something I’ve learned, like you too, through not just growing up, but by experiencing it personally.
Exercise is a scientifically proven way to decrease negative symptoms of depression, anxiety, etc. It literally releases dopamine and serotonin which are chemicals in our brains that when combined with releasing endorphins and adrenaline, this literally makes us feel good. This is more than an opinion or belief, it’s backed up by science and research (which I will trust those with left-brain aptitude and talent for mathematics and science in this, as I am 99% right brain and lack left-side talents.) The point? Look it up if you’re skeptical- trust the numbers and the science if you don’t believe me. It’s what I was taught in life, in school–it’s what I often share with others who see me for counseling/therapy as a tool,… but I’ve also experienced this as being true myself. If I can push myself past my laziness and my manipulation battle against myself, I know for a fact that getting my fat-ass outside and actually walking/jogging for even just 15 minutes minimum, that I will feel SO MUCH BETTER. The hilariously most difficult part for me personally, is getting myself ready and out there and actually doing it. Once I get started I’m usually good to go and can stay motivated throughout the exercise…. it’s the most simple part of getting out there and starting that I struggle with the most. How insane!? The top thing I know that will make me feel the best I can feel is the last thing I want to do. And if feeling good wasn’t already enough incentive, EXERCISE is also the answer to what will personally project me toward obtaining even more self-worth and confidence as I worked toward losing the weight that contributes to my self-consciousness and depression. Not to mention, this one little thing, this single solution to seemingly the majority of my own personal problems, it also promotes my physical and mental well-being and increases my natural lifespan. I know all of this…. I know this answer– yet explain to me why I struggle, more than I struggle with anything else probably, with getting myself out there and actually beginning. I wish you guys could see me literally shaking my head back and forth at myself in a humorous shame. Tisk tisk, Resa.
Oh life, you are too hilarious.
That is exactly the same thing I do with writing too. I make excuses and reasons and fight against myself to justify exactly why I should not write right now or why I don’t need to write and will seriously convince myself that I am correct in my justification for not writing. PURE INSANITY!!! Writing is yet another one of my personal coping skills that I have discovered helps me.
Unlike exercising, I actually have the ability to write, and I honestly enjoy it, almost always, whenever I get into my writing groove.
Part of my justification and issue I guess is that when I write I want to really write or else I see it as a waste of time. When I write I feel like the underlying meaning of the entire experience is a purpose that is found in the journey. When I really write, I often get lost in the exploration, wander places that I had no intention of going because I typically have no absolute destination in mind when I begin the journey. And this is such a very personal, healing, and a movement toward self-actualization for me throughout my journey of exploration and composition, it truly is.
So explain how often times still, after pouring ridiculous time, energy, and spirit into this, do I many times feel a sense of almost regret or shame? I reflect within myself that I spent way much longer that I should spend in the process and almost regret in a sense, having “wasted” so much time that I should’ve spent doing something worthwhile.
Yes, I am hilariously pretty self-aware and can point out to you all of the negative self-talk and irrational beliefs that came out of my own mouth (or actually it’d be my own actual fingers in this example-haha).
My own insecurities and fears are exactly what stand in the way of sharing these writings. I know this.
So then the question becomes, if I’m not writing for myself, why am I writing?
And a tricky answer follows: The process of writing is what helps me more than anything. I write as a means of exploring who I am and figuring out the hidden alleyways and doors of my mind/soul that I never noticed before. I learn the most about myself through writing entries, just like this one.
TRUTH: I am not the individual who writes and goes back to reread my composition. In fact, I don’t even read over my writing even once before posting it or putting a hand-written journal away. I was the same way throughout school, college, and graduate school. I would write, all in one sitting, an entire paper and submit it without me, myself, reading it again.
Most would think I’m lying or absolutely insane.
I have no purpose in telling this lie, as it has no benefit for me whatsoever to tell… so if you must think one of these two, I suggest choosing the latter, because I understand why most people think that’s insane— because it is. Logically speaking, you would do, as well as recommend to others to do the most intelligent thing,–hell, I EVEN RECOMMEND IT, it’s pure common sense guys,…. and that is to proofread and check over yourself to ensure that you’ve done your very possible best. This is what smart and sane individuals who care about their project(s) would/should do. This is how you leave little room for error– it’s what effects your grade, what might get you that job, what could have a tremendous impact on the outcome of your future.
I will say that I will check myself and “reread” any mathematical problems, anything involving organization, alphabetizing, etc…. I know what you might be thinking, I’ve explored the thought too, is this an arrogant impulsive behavior on my behalf? I thought so at first, but then I realized the majority of everything I write I never allow others to see. I hide most things away, never reread them, only to either forget entirely, or years later accidentally stumble upon and go reminiscing if in the right mood.
A wise person once told me, “Resa, never write down anything you wouldn’t want someone reading someday.”
While back then this was heard, I don’t think I truly processed and/or applied this to me personally until probably my mid-college years.
And that’s when I realized and learned something about myself– not in regards to writing then, no, through doing ART.
I’d been doing and was interested in art long before I discovered my ability and passion for using this art in painting more than a physical picture, but that I could capture and create something to share and be interpreted by others just as they might do examining artwork,… I found photography and writing as a perfect means of screaming exactly what I needed to in that moment,… I was able to FEEL SO STRONGLY whatever I needed to in however much excess or exaggeration I desired and release it into something that, usually, was so seemingly simple. That’s what is so beautiful about art, photography, and writing for me you see: I am able to express and explore exactly what I need to and find just what I need in order to move on, all while leaving something behind that anyone and everyone can see but wouldn’t truly find my personal truth. That’s a beautiful thing, to be able to take the rawest pieces of yourself and create a beautiful solution for your soul that becomes to others, exactly what their own souls need to find.
I could line you up beside 100 others and ask you to each look at/read/reflect on a random painting/drawing/photograph/writing from your own personal opinions, views, beliefs, understanding, knowledge, etc. and every one of you could see, feel, and/or think something completely different than the other. Eliminate the “art history” and “education” regarding fancy proper terms for the techniques or what the purpose behind symbols or brushstrokes mean,… That’s not the point. The point would be me asking for you to experience a personal response to a form of artwork. I don’t care if you’ve got a doctorate in Art Meanings (if that is such a degree? That’d be a bad ass degree, just saying)– despite your knowledge of what you’ve been taught,… initially, every person, even you Dr. Intimidating, has a connection of some sort–a personal feeling. That feeling might be ridicule, disgust, sadness, anxiety, emptiness, joy, confusion, lust, fear, hatred, love,… literally anything- any reaction…. the point is that whether you are aware of it or not, you initially respond to stimuli on a daily basis without even realizing it.
So 100 people all experience the same “thing” but all have different experiences.
WHAT?! Yeah, it seems absurd when you really think about how so many people could all stare at the exact same thing but each recall a different depiction.
👆 That sentence up there seems like a fun and quirky little sentence one might carry a while.
We do this as humans every single day. We choose, like a smooth stone, to pick up or give our acknowledgment to something, without really even paying attention probably the majority of the time.
You just pick up this stone, maybe you’re talking to someone, maybe you’re just on a solo walk, regardless you pick it up— It’s just something to carry around for a brief period of time without even realizing you needed to carry something for that moment at all.
And in this lost and unnoticed moment you probably run your fingers over this stone to experience and feel the smooth cool surface — maybe even pick off specs of dried dirt with a fingernail without realizing. It isn’t as cool to touch as initially when you picked it up, it’s absorbed your warmth. And then you probably just toss it back out there into a sea of other rocks, or skip it across the body of water nearby.
And that moment is gone, probably without you even acknowledging that it was a moment at all. Tomorrow you likely won’t remember picking up a stone at all. Hell, you might have never even realized you did it, seems like such a trivial thing, right?
But just for that moment, for this little stone you chose,… you allowed it to shine up on a stage high above the rest. You let it dance between your fingers, dusted away the wear and tear, and allowed it to soar onto a different place upon releasing it. It never was “just another rock” and even moreso it isn’t now. You changed it… you altered the world literally and probably didn’t even know .
So why exaggerate and fluff up a simple seemingly inconsequential?
I could go so many different directions with that… the metaphor.
Was that simply a story of a rock? Was it really about the sentence prior?
Maybe it reflects you personally as the one who is holding that stone….
Perhaps you’re the stone?
Could the stone represent someone else for you?
The experience you had reading it,.. was the feeling good/bad? Guilt? Inspiration?
It literally was exactly what you needed to experience in this moment. Fight against that buried truth all you want, but you’d not have felt whatever it was you felt had there been “no reaction.” My challenge, of course, would be to explore why you relate to that simple story of the rock…. How did you feel upon reading it in that moment? What are you feeling in this moment now? You can ignore all of that or you can explore it and discover something about yourself for your own benefit.
I’d love to hear about how you relate personally to it and what you needed to find, if anything. Feel free to share with me, I’d love to hear of your exploration of thoughts and what you find/think/feel.
I think overall, if you don’t want to relate on a personal level, that’s completely fine too… But the overwhelmingly obvious part is that regardless, it mattered.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide what .
I relate to this story as the individual picking up the rock, as the rock, as one of the rocks left behind, etc etc etc. I can place myself in different places and connect and relate in so many ways.
As far as everyday life and experiences we have in each moment, or if using that rock example, it mattered.
You wouldn’t have subconsciously bent down or reached for it in the first place had it not. There was some reason you needed to do that.
There was some reason we did that
I wonder if you’ll catch yourself doing things like this for at least a little while now.
I hope so.
We lose sight of being present and how incredibly important this is.
Is it not terrifying to you to realize something like those moments that you’ve been driving for goodness knows how long but you “zoned out” in your thoughts or the music, wherever you went, you weren’t fully “there.” You probably passed by so many familiar signs and/or landmarks but can’t recall doing so… maybe you’re even a little disoriented for a moment because you can’t figure out exactly where you are. I mean, rationalize and make yourself feel better by knowing that you KNOW you’re on the right road, hell, perhaps you’ve been on this road more times than you can count, right?
But that brief sense of almost panic-like disorientation you can’t ignore.
Any experienced driver who has driven many times and distances can deny this all they want to, and justify their safe driving.
Calm down, I’m impressed if you’re the safest driver of anyone who knows you. I think you SHOULD BE. And I hope you’re being rewarded somehow for being that safe, I really do. I think that’s important and well earned for anyone and everyone who goes over and beyond to change the world and protect others and self by being responsible.
If you tell me that you’ve never once zoned out at some point as an experienced driver, I will say I challenge you to explore that, really, but I’m not here to argue—Ever.
Personally speaking, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been safely driving, fully abiding speed limit and laws and could respond to whatever stimuli might appear without warning. This being true, still, countless times I’ve had that almost “head shaking” pinch of panic realizing I’ve become fully present as I quickly recover from a sense of disorientation. My personal disorientation is mostly a physical pang of “Where the fuck am I?” or “Did I already pass (insert landmark here)?” And again, most times I know I’m not yet to my destination, and I am not at all lost,…No, it’s more like I have a lapse in ability to fully judge how long I’ve traveled or how long I have left.
I guess really pointing it out and seeing it written out in front of my face, reading it as that person, that’s just astonishing and at times even horrifying for me personally when I realize (again and again) that I drift from the present moment.
We all do.
The scary part for me is when I don’t realize I’ve done it. That’s when I am terrified by the fact that I don’t know how much time have I lost?
Like really lost, not meaning that I don’t remember or have lapses in time or blackouts necessarily… but at the same time, while I might can recall the entire day, I might not be able to recall every single experience that mattered. Can I honestly tell you what my steering wheel feels like without going out there and recapping?
Well, that’s not entirely fair, because I’ve worked a long time and still on a daily basis snap myself back into the present moment. The scary part is that I went decades without even knowing I had lost my ability to do that. I had no idea.
So yes, I can tell you my steering wheel of my car is light gray, tiny little bumps in it, grooves in the backside of some portions for finger gripping, and on the left backside there’s a little line that I can only describe as a “rip” or it feels like I accidentally ran something sharp over it to create a rough scrape that probably looks similar to dashes like so: – – — — – – only it runs vertically upward.
The beginning of this mindfulness journey began before I realized I was missing it, when someone, a masseuse actually,… one of 4 total massages I’ve ever received in my lifetime (sad I know). She said something simple like, “Yeah, a lot of times I don’t even realize that I’m driving gripping the steering wheel like it’s going to fall off or something.”
That one statement began my journey, guys.
It occurred to me that I didn’t know if I gripped the steering wheel tight, I didn’t know how I gripped it at all…. and this simple thing blew my fucking mind.
This simple reflection that a sweet older woman was sharing with me about her own personal story opened my mind to realizing how blindly I often live my life.
There I was assuming I was having all these great experiences and living life to the fullest– I had all these photos, these memories,….
Don’t mishear me here, I had/have had a TON of wonderful experiences, that’s not what I’m saying….
But in time I began to wonder about the last memory I remember “feeling something.” Yes, emotionally feeling, but even further than that,… when’s the last actual true memory I have that included the way something physically felt against my skin? My answer was overwhelmingly heartbreaking for me personally, because very few memories, true memories that I have on my own without others telling me about or sharing… my own personal experiences….
I think the last real time I can recall really paying attention to specifically the feel of something physically, would probably be at a young age. Feeling moss for the first times, realizing how soft it was…. learning that different types of grass felt different under my bare feet– some kinds were soft and pleasant, others hurt a little, and the time of year affected the way it felt too!
I hear so many people say so often something along the lines of “Oh to be young and innocent again– we were so happy because we didn’t know how terrible the world was.”
Or something similar….
I have this theory that sure, we do learn more as we get older, and we understand the good and bad that comes along with life experience….
But I think that we forget what we knew at this young age. We forget how to live…how to be truly present. We forget what’s important and to notice it… the feel of the sun on our skin, the rewarding coolness that the breeze has dancing across our faces, the way the ground feels under our feet, how our feet feel in shoes, how clothes feel on our bodies,…. to notice shadows, colors, the sky, clouds, …. to hear the birds, the insects,…. to want to do these things, to be curious and explore each moment you have as if you’ll never get the chance again, because realistically, you won’t. No matter how many times you may do that same thing, it will never again be exactly the same as right now. Ever. This is your one chance,…each and every chance, I hope that you constantly work to challenge yourself to catch when you slip away from being fully present.
Life has had more challenges as we’ve grown older, but that’s because we’ve experienced more days alive today than we ever have before. Hard times come,… lessons are learned and the best ones happen to be those that are the most difficult to experience….
But I don’t believe entirely that we can’t be “free” or full of wonder and amazement anymore simply because we’ve grown older— that’s a cop out and easy excuse to blame your personal life frustration on. The majority of the rest of the world would likely agree with you too, if you word it in a way that includes truth within…
We have grown older. We have experienced hard things. We have a better understanding of ups and downs of life/the world….
This is not at all a reason we cannot be like we were as children.
We find what we look for.
I think the real question is really more about where your motivation is for wanting to look for and feel/experience that childlike wonder again. Do you see this as silly and pointless? I can justify a list of reasons in no time at all that would go against this.
But I don’t at all want to justify a reason against that.
I’m proud to say I look at the world and every little thing with a sense of childlike wonder and curiosity. I choose to search for these things on a daily basis. I want to try as hard as I can to fully experience each moment that I am blessed enough to be fully aware in,… I want to challenge myself to recognize and notice when I slip away from the present and fully experiencing the moment and learn how to go right back there again….
I want to feel. I want to experience.
I want to find beauty in every situation, person, and thing.
I choose to continue to challenge myself each day, and push myself to grow into a more self-aware and better person every opportunity I get.
This often means calling myself out on my character defects, admitting to my weaknesses, and sharing my defense mechanisms— I can’t challenge or change what I pretend doesn’t exist.
I realize that I carried this entry far into a different direction and got lost in my own exploration after the “stone” symbolism I used. It’s realizations like this very one now, that makes me feel shameful for going so far off into something I never intended to bring about.
At the same time, I understand myself and my writing style and anticipate this to happen every time I write at lengths. This brings me to my original thought, which I never actually acknowledged way up there before I wandered off entirely….
If I understand and know that this is something I do, always, when I write in this “freewriting” journal-like style, then why on earth would I feel any sense of shame? Ah,… see, that’s where this goes back as far as I can recall. Like I meant to say before, if I already didn’t mention, even at a young age, every art project I created I gave away…. I really noticed this after college– I started out in graphic design and took art courses and had to create many projects. I didn’t realize I gave away every single one until years later when someone inquired about if I had a “portfolio” of my work. I’d never even considered keeping my own art…. that almost seemed silly or bizarre for me.
Then I realized that I was actually bizarre for this. All true blue professional artists had portfolios and kept their work across the years…. right?
I realized that I had this way of thinking that it seemed like a waste if I held onto my work,… I knew I’d toss it somewhere or lose it whereas whoever I decided to give each piece of art to, or whoever asked, I knew they’d appreciate, display, and really use that art…that it might mean something for them, it might help them, it would have a purpose— and for me, it had no purpose.
I realized again, another decade and some later, that this also likely had to do with a lack of confidence thing too. I wouldn’t keep my own work because also I didn’t truly think it was good enough, and knew I’d throw out/destroy it. If I impulsively gave away whatever I had, I couldn’t obsess over the flaws that probably only I would’ve noticed anyway. Every artist is his/her own worst critic, including myself..
I’ve since then held on to some of my artwork… Mostly in the past 3 years… Actual pieces of artwork that I have even hung up and decorated my home with. Proudly displaying my work in my home, because I’m proud these days. I don’t create for the need to impress others by being “good enough” but rather create from true feeling for myself initially. I realize that I get from the experience what I need, and no matter what it turns into being, it’s what was right for me in the moment I created. I also realize that whoever is drawn to that particular piece of art has his/her own response for why it speaks to him/her. And today, this is my goal– I create for me… I share with others with hope that an audience, you, are able to take something, exactly what you need in order to best help you wherever, whenever, and however you exist in that moment. I know that this also can change over time, and expect the reflections to alter just as the person also changes who sees it.
So my goal is to just post more of these writings of mine with the same goal as that I have found with my reasons for art and sharing it today.
It’s my personal journey….
I hope the reader is able to find something within taking the journey through the words with me. I know that through composing I have discovered what I needed to in my moment, I just hope that the eyes that follow these words now, that they don’t feel weary. I hope that they feel quenched and inquisitive…. hopefully inspired even.
This is my wish.
The reality is that if someone is curious enough they’ll read this far, and if they’re searching for something, I hope they find it. And those who don’t have any interest, well, they wouldn’t even read far enough for any of it to matter anyway. Right?
I may never know the truth, and that’s okay too I think….
But I also know I’ll never even offer an opportunity for something good to come to anyone through sharing my writings if they don’t have an opportunity to read them.
If I don’t face my own insecurities and fears and actually do what makes me uncomfortable, I will always live wondering without being able to say I’ve even really tried.
I cannot grow if I am unwilling to be uncomfortable.
I am uncomfortable.