Like a girl taking her earrings off because she knows a fight is about to get real, I’ve taken off my heavy bracelets in anticipation of this writing session getting really real. I can’t remember a time when I had so many emotions from polar opposite sides of the spectrum simultaneously as I do now. In my conflict and reconciliation class we were asked to create a visual representation of what conflict looks like to us. My drawing was an elementary-level conglomeration of color, all clashing and splaying around one tiny point on the page; a seemingly simple dot that appeared miniscule in comparison to the explosion of color and energy around it. But that’s exactly what conflict represents to me: momentum from two opposing sides that appears powerful and full of gusto, able to accomplish just about anything, but the two sides stop at the same point, they are unable to move past something that may be small but also completely prevents resolve or merging. They cannot get past that point. Everything stops and becomes frustrated. As in my class, I am consciously trying to see conflict in a different, not so deconstructive way. At this point in my life that ability is becoming increasingly important if I want to maintain my happiness and (debatably) more important sanity.

I find myself in a place of clashing sides. In the right corner we have the person I largely became and grew into this summer. Happy, independent, confident, and energized are some of her greatest strengths, many of which still feel pleasantly new and revitalizing. In the left corner are the emotions that are fairly new, though foreseeable to a certain point. These emotions are the cause of the cog I’m currently experiencing. They’re painful. It’s a process I knew would come at some point when my spoiled life of distraction would have to shift away. The effort of reconciliation is an inevitable one that is as uncontrollable and difficult as it is necessary. It is a conscious movement of accepting that some things no longer continue on in your life, regardless of how much you do or don’t want them to continue. Sometimes your desire for the change switches daily depending on how painfully perfect the memories seem that day. That’s how my weeks have been looking like lately. I grow frustrated when I feel sadness blanket my day because I remember the uninterrupted happiness I experienced over the summer and my demands for its return yield no reply beyond, “This is life now. Figure it out.” I see now that my distractions were deliciously deceptive and there is so much to work through and resolve. I wonder how many things, big or small, we allow ourselves to emotionally procrastinate reconciling.

I’m trying to find the purpose in my current conflict rather than shut down and become unable to move past a particular point, as illustrated in my initial depiction of conflict. Many people may use phrases like, “everything happens for a reason” or “closing chapters” but all those do for me is feel like I’m trying to abruptly abandon something that meant the world to me when it deserves such better and more meaningful treatment than that. I think if I tried to just close chapters on my life I’d die from emotional bleed-out. It’s not a clean break unless it’s treated correctly by doing right by my past. Life transitions cannot be handled with the “rip it off like a band aid approach,” though in theory it would be much faster and potentially involve less time for grieving. It is hard to think about letting a period of time end when it represented largely happy and love-filled times. C.S. Lewis wrote something that has been a cornerstone that I continue to come back to when I want to throw my hands up in the air and complain about the places life takes us. “A pleasure is full grown when it is remembered. You are speaking, Human, as if a pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing.” Lewis is getting at the importance of memories and remembrance as an integral part of experiences. I don’t have to shut the door and fear that things could creep back in through the panels. Embracing all phases during and after their legacy is of equal importance if we truly value them. There are no redemptive qualities in trying to forget, only torturous feelings of nostalgia. Though it will look very different now, I can learn to enjoy past times as fully as when they were current. I can laugh with the same people and share a similar level of friendship, care, and love– just in an adjusted context. The hardest part of thinking about people or times as being in the past is that we feel like we must turn away from them altogether, but with the appropriate treatment of emotions there is much to be salvaged and re-worked in a way that can maintain the same level of appreciation. It’s an “easier-said-than-done” type of process and one that requires immense honesty and maturity but if successful only further blessings are to be uncovered. 

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Why does God allow suffering? How is it that some still cling to Him during those times? It’s those people that confound and impact me the most. I’m so moved to see people giving every last amount of effort or energy to God though they are in so much pain- emotionally, physically, or otherwise. I am so blessed to know these types of people so that I can be moved by and learn from them. They ask “Why me?” but continue to praise with or without answers. 

I am blessed to be surrounded and close to people who believe in God’s will and ultimate plan so deeply. I am blessed to hear commands and reminders from God so clearly at times. I’m blessed to be humbled by God. But why me?

We are asking the same question for so many different reasons. “Why me?”

This post is originating for two reasons. First, I haven’t written in a long time and I feel guilty and slightly confused for that. But secondly and most importantly, because I have some questions and no one else to present them to at the moment. But I know if I wait ’til morning it won’t be as real anymore, and I want to capture these thoughts and feelings before that happens.

So my question(s):

Do any of you seek out ways through music or other mediums to bring yourself to a place or time that may or may not even be real? Music is used to meet emotions, but what about completely creating them? 

For me it’s a search for nostalgia, usually aimed toward a particular time in my life that I want to experience again. I want to feel and live in that mental space again, even if just for a little while. What confounds me is why I always go back to that place? It wasn’t particularly a “good” time in my life, so why to I seek to re-create it? Is it unresolved emotions that haven’t been reconciled? Am I looking for some answers and hope that I may find them on a journey back? It’s hard to say. It was such a formative, defining time in my life.

I still feel the pulsating pain everyday of my eyes being forced open to the life I created. It may seem masochistic in the way I bring myself back to those times and feel that pain again, but I think it may not be so simple. Much of the pain and confusion came after I escaped that place, but I was happily unaware until I got out. I think that’s where my confusion stems from. My mind tells me those times were bad. Destructive. Wrong. But my emotions and heart remember the blissful blindness that allowed me to feel powerful. Desired. Limitless. I recreate those feelings, only to be confronted by my scolding mind telling me to leave them in the past where they belong.  

All I’m left with is confusion, mental chaos. Why do I ask all the “what if’s?” It’s as if I enjoy tempting myself with ideas that aren’t real. I thought they were very real at one point, but now I know about the lies that I was fed and the ones I fed to myself to maintain the blinders to reality. Maybe I’m trying to bring back the blinders. They gave me a world I’ve never experienced before. Passion and impulse ruled my world, who wouldn’t lust for that feeling of freedom again if they had felt it before. I write these words as they flow from my heart, trying to deafen the broken record in my mind: it wasn’t real, it wasn’t real, it wasn’t real… 

Will this ever stop? Does it have to? Are these thoughts wrong? I lost a lot of who I could become during those years, never to be recovered. Maybe I transport myself back to try to find what I lost. Perhaps I need to allow myself to put that part of me to rest, like letting go of a ghost that haunts me. I know without going through that time I wouldn’t be who I am today. It’s hard to label those times as a “regret.” I don’t regret them. I don’t understand them enough to be able to make such a definitive choice as to regret them.

Curiosity keeps me coming back. What I’m searching for exactly I don’t know, but its pull is great. It is a seductive pull, tempting me to revisit a time of infinite feelings. Maybe I go back to protect my formor-self, to be looking out in a way I couldn’t have before. Do I bury the past or allow its memory to live on? All I know is the aching truth of my heart as it reaches and grasps desperately to clasp those feelings again, to let them flood in, even for just one euphoric moment

Perhaps I’ll never resolve this habit, perhaps I don’t want to.

A few days ago I posted a quote from Dominic LaRusso, “The way you speak is a measure of the grip of entropy on your life.” I intended to publish this post much earlier so I apologize for the tardiness! When I first heard this quote my mind went into panic. Like me, when you hear the word “entropy” your mind may go to something like this: \Delta S = \int \frac {dQ^{rev}}T  

Don’t. Panic. I don’t know what that really means either. What entropy in this case means is the tendency for our world to err towards disorder and chaos. Essentially, we all know that if we aren’t conscientious about maintaining our relationships, homes, careers, etc. they will naturally gravitate towards disfunction. Easy enough to understand, right? So what LaRusso is communicating is that the way we speak, a large contributing factor in how we are perceived, reflects our ability to resist this chaotic tendency in our lives, how well we are able to carry and represent ourselves. Since going to school I’ve noticed myself being increasingly aware and, at times, judgmental of how people speak. These observations have naturally affected the way I perceive them, particularly relating to the amount of effort they put into how they come across to others. Though you may consider “judgment” to be a harsh word, and at times I feel I may be becoming a bit of an elitist, I believe the observation of others’ speech habits often illuminates strengths or weaknesses in my own rhetorical choices. This type of refinement ultimately benefits those around you, perhaps even motivating others to do the same. What goes around comes around, right? So perhaps that’s a semi-redeeming factor for my judgments…perhaps.

Speech is such a powerful tool. I don’t think anyone could argue that the way you speak largely influences how you come off to others, but it’s also about much more than just appearances. I’ve personally experienced a stronger sense of self and confidence when I am better at articulating my thoughts, privately and publicly. When I find myself grasping for a word I’m frustrated with myself (writer’s block anyone?). But when I know that I do my thoughts justice when translating them into words or when I put the proper name to something, I feel liberated and in control: I’m resisting entropy. That’s something equally seen by others and felt inwardly, each providing respect and credibility. How have you guys experienced this, if at all? Advice? Questions? Jokes? 🙂       

“The way you speak is a measure of the grip of entropy on your life.” – LaRusso

More on this later

decisions decisions...

decisions decisions…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my plans for the future…what college student doesn’t?! Through this pondering I’ve found out lots of exciting things about myself over the years, information I’ve slowly gathered since I left home for school three years ago. Though I’m grateful to have discovered as much as I have I’m now faced with the dilemma of having too many avenues of interest to direct my life. Of course I’d rather have too many ideas than none at all (I’ve been there before, not fun), but determining a hierarchy for my interests has certainly been a process. I went through something similar when I first came to school. Everyone always asked what my major was and I really never had an answer or my answer would change (try 6 times). Each possibility, from Psychology to Philosophy to English to Business, contained something I was excited about. Psychology was great because I could study group dynamics and interpersonal relations, Philosophy was an excuse to have deep conversations, English allowed me to write as much as I wanted (and promised few exams), and Business would open the door to opening my own restaurant someday. All of these possibilities were appealing in some way, but, as you may have guessed, eventually I found that the majority of the classes were actually not interesting to me. Psychology involved too much theory and not enough practical application in my opinion, Philosophy was ruined because my roommate laughed when I brought up that idea (I took that as a bad sign), English was quickly tarnished by a British literature class at 8 am, and Business was dry and frustrating and I realized I’d be spending my remaining time at college slaving over work I didn’t find engaging. Though having direction for a period of time was comforting, I always sensed that I was justifying each choice and I believed choosing a major could be so much more than that; it’s college after all! Fortunately, after tenacious prodding from my Communication Studies boyfriend, I found myself in my first Comm class and my life literally changed forever. All the qualities I had enjoyed about the previous majors were found in Communications and even more so. I had finally figured it out! I reflect on that process a lot lately, since now I find myself beginning it all over again in a much more serious realm: real life! What am I going to do with myself? I know my interests (fashion, writing, networking, etc) but what should I hone in on? My true skill lies in my interpersonal abilities, connecting with people and truly understanding how to relate and gain trust and comfort (props to being an INTJ). I see myself implementing those skills in so many different areas, I’m open to so many options. I’ve considered the restaurant business because I love the idea of creating an atmosphere. Most of my fondest memories or inspiration have occurred at restaurants. I can’t get enough of them. But I could also see myself in the fashion world, opening a boutique similar to the one I’ve worked at for a while. It wouldn’t even feel like I job. I also am interested in the professional world, working in PR or event coordination. There are endless possibilities to where my talents can be utilized, which is very reassuring. It’s a difficult skill set to market though. On paper, probably in a blog also, it doesn’t say much; it needs to be experienced and how can I get that opportunity in the first place? I desire so much to have a fulfilling career in a couple years, one that allows me the chance to put those skills into use by doing something I can really excel at and leave work everyday feeling like I’ve left it better than when I walked in that morning. I know that’s possible, but getting there is the tricky part. I truly believe it will be a matter of meeting the right people, and I perform well once I get that chance. There is an equal amount of excitement and discomfort with that reality. Excitement because I know I will do well once I find the right person or opportunity (are they any different?), but also discomfort because there is so little I can do to set myself up for those moments. I just have to be in the right place at the right time. I’m working at that. My introverted self tempts me to stay home rather than go out and meet someone new, but I know once I do get out good things always manage to appear and I am fulfilled and enthusiastic by the end. Great people have come into my life lately, maybe even you reading this, and it energizes my search. So while I am hesitant at this seemingly unconventional approach to navigating the real world in a year, I believe in myself and that things will always work out for the best so long as I don’t try to rule them myself. I’d love to hear other stories of peoples’ approaches to navigating life and implementing what you love into career, relationships, etc. I believe we can all learn something from anyone, so long as we open ourselves up to that possibility. I admit I am not always humble enough to do that, but it is something I want to work on. It has always paid off in the end, and I would encourage you to consider doing the same!

I think the best way to begin this is to be honest, like all good relationships. I have never blogged before, though I’m somewhat surprised that I’ve held off for so long. It’s just that blogging can seem so narcissistic and even now I wonder if it’s a great idea. See, I’ve always been a writer, primarily for writing’s sake, which is, according to Brenda Ueland, the best reason to write. So I’ve got that going for me. I’ve always enjoyed sharing my writing with others and maybe that’s my egotism already showing and this is just kicking it up a notch. But the carefree side of me has gone ahead and created this blog and we’ll see what, if anything, comes of it. So my best guess is that I will be posting whatever is on my mind that I deem worth sharing. To emphasize, I will try my hardest not to make this a place for pointless rants without substance, because no one likes hearing those in real life so why would they spend their time reading one? That being said, I would love feedback and conversation about what I write because I feel that discourse is what may make this blog redeemable in some way. I may also post poems, anecdotes, excerpts, sentences, etc. either by me or other people whose thoughts I wish were my own. Perhaps adding them to my blog will make me feel less narcissistic, or at least distract me from such feelings. In all seriousness though, I want this blog to be a constructive resource to both me and whomever chooses to read it, by which I am flattered. I hope it is fun, enlightening, therapeutic, challenging, and inspiring– and then it will be a success.