I’m leaving my home today to fly home for the weekend. It’s odd to state that. It is hard to call a place I moved away from, home. I am flying back for good reason, spending time with family and perhaps even seeing a friend or two. Things haven’t been very steady here as you can easily gather from my previous posts. I say that and must immediately follow with a ‘but,’. At the moment I feel a soothing sense of ease as I leave. Things that have happened recently here have given me a shred of hope that’s thick enough to grip and hold. The fear of it unraveling and slipping from my hands is all too real, but it takes a leap of faith sometimes. A leap of faith with an expectation of needs being met feels safer than just diving headlong into a gamble. I think perhaps the best thing for me to do will be to simply cast off anything happening here and not worry about it until I touch back down on my return flight. Much the same as I have left the negative voices in the garage on my bike rides recently. We will see how successful I am.
So many things transpire in a typical day for each of us, and all we have most of the time is the way we as ourselves perceive them. Even empathy is hard to relate to when you’ve got your ego screaming and throwing a tantrum in your skull as you try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. I bring this up because even though we all have an ego, some of us tend to cage that thing up and muffle its cries even in poor situations. Muffling the ego in that respect is a bad thing as this to me is evidence that we don’t feel ourselves worthy enough to be heard or respected.
Raise your hand if you’re like this…
(Slowly raising my hand)
I was alerted today that some of my unhappiness is likely related to not setting boundaries for how I will and won’t be treated. I kinda feel like complete and utter crap about myself on a fairly regular basis and here I am being told it’s my fault, awesome. In a sense I am giving people the silent go ahead to walk all over me. That was hard to hear but as soon as I heard it I knew it immediately to be true. So at least I got the whole acceptance part outta the way! The weirdest part about it is that I’ve been known to cast a pretty long shadow and exhibit almost delusional confidence at times. Lately and for a while though that’s not been the case. So then came the challenge to me to figure out what they are and where those boundary lines need to be placed. That’s something I’m still working on. I don’t necessarily think the ego is a bad thing, I think when utilized effectively it drives us toward success. Hubris is a quality however that makes me root for the demise of its possessor when I am exposed to that sort of individual.
My new task for the near future is to entrench better boundaries into my day to day life and also into my personal life. It is a challenge I don’t take lightly, but one that gives me some confidence at the outset as I know it will be a healthy thing to bring back into the persona I project to the world.
I want to say that since becoming a father my view of ‘grand’ or ‘epic’ has altered significantly. I find myself lost in the minutiae of small moments when it comes to my child or other tiny tots in the family. I suppose it’s because I see the lightning storm that is their little minds taking in every single shred of stimuli in their immediate surroundings. Little sponges as they are sometimes called. They miss nothing, and for better or worse on that one! I have been exposed to the necessity and need for grand adventures, I’m almost always up for something new and love novel personal experience. From the outside looking in many would probably say that is what my life resembles lately. I took a big giant jump into the unknown about 6 months ago and to say it has been anything but a rather huge endeavor would not be proper. Fraught with ups and downs which is typical but lately many more downs than ups. Growth is never easy, evenly paced, or comfortable. I am trying to embrace that aspect even as tectonic shifts seem to move parts of my world daily.
Lately I find myself missing the epic moments on the scale of that of a child learning, or small moments with another that the world at large will never be privy to nor would the world at large even bat an eye. The shoulder shrugging moments we take for granted all the time are what I find myself pining for lately. I realize the vacuous space where those things used to pile up and overflow. I also realize the toll it takes on one when one sees the empty place where warmth used to reside. Big happenings, magnificent goals and grand achievements are always noteworthy and fulfilling, but at the end of the day it helps to have the little things to turn to for some epic-ness of a different and just as rewarding kind.
Here is an an age old question. Which is the best to trust? On paper it’s about as simple as it gets, always actions. Words written or printed on paper don’t tend to overwhelm sense and reason like the spoken word does. The spoken word, with it’s whispered intention, crumbles even the sturdiest of walls we build around our hearts and minds. The problem only tends to lie when the actions being done to us dig away at our sense of worth as the words lift us up in what feels like an almost opiate induced euphoria. The kind of thing that sends alarm bells sounding far and wide to everyone but you. That sort of dissonance of intent and action do a mighty good job of destroying us as we sip evermore on the saltwater of good intentions trying to quench the thirst brought about by nonexistent actions. I find myself wrestling with such an issue lately. To dive in to possibility and risk being dragged to the bottom and drowned. Or do I stay on land, high and dry, wondering ‘what if’. It reminds me of a great song from the lead singer of incubus. It’s a song called ‘lady black’ where he emphatically sings ‘should I stay dry, or should I get wet, do I hang on, or should I let go? Should I let go?’. Beautiful simplicity that captures my present conundrum almost perfectly. I still don’t know. It feels like drowning at times then coming up and drinking in the sweetest air at other times. I’ll enjoy my final glass of wine before turning in and hopefully finding that answer sooner than later. But then again an answer always comes to us eventually. Hopefully it doesn’t involve lungs full of water.
The day of rest is seldom that for me. As a cyclist it’s one of the coveted days during the seven that we can exert ourselves for longer than normal, given our hectic work and life schedules during the week. The time for group rides or a long solo trek. I took a long solo ride. The ritual of a ride prep is something I’ve begun to enjoy. Breakfast and coffee to fuel you up, filling bottles, checking tire pressure, picking out and donning outlandishly colored kit, and looking forward to the sensations on the road. As I’ve alluded to lately, the day to day fight through the days is tough. But I’ve struggled mentally on the bike as well. After all the ritualistic stuff was taken care of I got on the bike. I got a rather early start today, and was able to leave the negative voices in the garage, what a relief! At the urging of the counselor a few weeks ago I was told verbatim to say to the voices, ‘I’m gonna leave you guys here for a while, I need a break, I’ll get back to you when I return’. He said even if that means saying it out loud, to just tell them that’s what I was going to do. It sounded a little off the wall at the time but as I am diving all in on the depression counseling I figured what the hell why not start. I started that practice last week, and the voices hang with me for about a mile of the ride but lately they’ve disappeared during my rides. I rode for half the day today, and the stream of thoughts and things going through my head were surprisingly positive. As the sun sets here and I take in the last rays of the day, I feel the creep of that black cloud but it’s a much slower approach tonight. Closing my eyes and feeling the breeze on my face and the sound of the wind in my ears, I feel more calm today. Perhaps it’s due to the intensity of my ride, perhaps it’s leaving the voices in the garage when I left. It’s a bit of everything I suppose. I am tired but the ache in the pit of my stomach and my heart is not there at the moment and I do hope that it doesn’t set in this evening. I am so happy to be able to sit down and write about a small ‘win’ in terms of my mental and emotional states.
It’s a nourishing morsel to my inner hope. Wait wait, wasn’t I just half-griping about hope? 🙂
Today hasn’t been what I would consider a good day so far. A few bright spots but it’s been shrouded in a fair amount of darkness and I feel as though I’m being pulled into the abyss again. The dark lenses do not want to be removed from my minds eye, try as I might to pull them free. Expectation is to blame I would think. The expectation of how things should be, and how they are. The dissonance is enough to make me tear up even as I type this. To say that things are not as I had ever hoped or expected them to be is putting it very lightly. A lot of blessings have been counted today and a few bright spots have been identified, but I feel like I’m subsisting on bread crumb sized portions of positivity. I’ve read in more than a few places that giving up expectation is the only way to true happiness. While I can see that that would probably be the case in a perfect world, in the real world it seems like a load of bullshit to me. Bullshit or not it still jumps out at me today. Mostly because I’d prefer to be expectationless, but given that for the most part expectation is a normal and healthy thing, I am unable to buy into that completely. I feel both spoiled and cursed at my present plight. My ‘bed’ is soft and for the most part comfortable, I go to sleep in a warm place and have all the amenities one could want in the western world. My family and friends are all healthy for the most part. I see these things, I do see them. Blame the western world, we are a society that craves the discovery of the self, I very much feel a product of that view lately. I have a hatred for it today. I’m not sure what’s reflecting what, the world reflecting what I am projecting, or the world projecting on me and me reflecting what is wrought upon me, who the hell knows today. Tomorrow is a new day, this one has taken a fair amount of time so far, and many hours remain. I know everything can change in an instant. I’m cleaning and straightening my living space at the moment. It’s a sense of control I can appreciate seeing as else feels like a tailspin. The ups and downs are atrocious lately. I will persevere as best I can, I say that to myself and you reader, as no one wants to be constantly barraged by pessimism. Tomorrow is a new day and another chance to change life’s arc, even the waning hours of today hold that promise. I’ll cling to that possibility, but not expect it.
I hear frequently these days, ‘you have to know when to quit.’ Perhaps that’s true, but the iron willed stalwart in me doesn’t seem to understand that, and it’s not always for poor reasoning. At least that’s what I tell myself!
I feel like lately I’m fighting a cynicism that I used to possess as a strong character trait. It’s not a good thing to look at the world as if it’s all bad and everyone is out to get you. I was raised hearing that a lot as I grew up and it took a long time to get out from under that feeling. The remedy to that view is hope. However hope can make torture all the worse. You are getting beaten with a proverbial hammer, and you hear a voice say ‘it’s over now’, a short pause, you take a breath, and to your horror the hammering begins again. It’s hard to keep that hope up sometimes, the hope that things will improve. The thing I am starting to realize is my will is becoming fused with my hope, but in a sense they are very similar to one another. I think the stubborn ability not to quit, despite all odds, can either be called Hope or Willpower.
I feel like I am rambling and I likely am. I’ll find the point I was trying to make here soon, maybe.
I bought flowers last night, in a state of furious angry emotion, I’m not completely sure why I bought them. It turns out they were a great purchase as my day unfolded today. They were given to someone, but it wasn’t the flowers that improved the day I found it, it was simply my presence, which reeks of hope! Part of me shakes my head as I walk up to the proverbial Boulder and begin to push it up the hill that seemingly has no top. I’m unsure if I will lose grip and it will roll over me as it tumbles back to flatter ground. I have no idea.
I also still have no idea where this post was going….
On my ride tonight I had a small SUV come past me from behind and miss me by about an inch. When it happens you’re so in the moment of ‘oh my god’ that you don’t really realize the underlying thoughts you had until you’re either free of the issue or later on down the line after you’ve recovered from said hit or crash. I’ve never been hit by a vehicle on my bike, thank goodness, and I hope that never comes to pass. Tonight scared me. Scared me because of what lay on the shoulder next to the road, a not so nice landing pad of concrete rubble and metal, and the thoughts that came with the near hit. The hardest part was knowing I was riding alone and it would’ve been quite some time I imagine before anyone of note that values me would know of my plight. Also with that feeling of loneliness was that the loneliness was unwanted on my part. Riding solo is great because I don’t need a group to push me hard. I have an ability to destroy myself during a workout at my own urging. This was simply a recovery ride, a ride on which I’d have loved to have had company. A few other thoughts followed that, but for the sake of my own privacy I will refrain from sharing further. Regardless, they weren’t the happiest of thoughts and realizations. I turned around and headed back to the garage shortly after the close call, I had had enough. I got to see my child via FaceTime shortly after returning and it caused quite a few tears. Mostly because I realize I may not have gotten to do this, FaceTime that is, or perhaps ever again had things gone a different way. I also felt how quiet I became internally whilst watching a Disney umbrella be spun, play-doh be rolled into balls, and hearing ‘don’t cry daddy, I love you’. Watching my world on a screen enjoy themselves and be a toddler was the best part of my whole day, and I am thankful it was able to happen.
I’ll be on my bike again tomorrow, I hope. It helps to have a short memory with these sorts of ordeals and not think every vehicle is piloted by an imbecile. I have to say, the negative voice has been quiet tonight. It’s refreshing, but the gravity of the other thoughts has been a bit burdensome. However, I can’t complain about FaceTime or any waterworks on my part it invoked. The gravity of thoughts that feel productive is a nice burden to bear, if I can even call it a burden.
What a shakeup.
I woke up with my alarm this morning, decided to hit snooze twice. The extra 18 minutes had to have in it the restorative power of the last 7 hours I spent sleeping. Tony Robbins, the motivational dynamo is someone I’ve listened to a lot. He has a routine he calls ‘priming’. His routine takes the better part of an hour as he described it, but he said as little as a few minutes can reshape the day. I decided to give it a go. I started the day saying out loud numerous things for which I am thankful. The nice part is I didn’t have to repeat any of the things for which I am thankful. I am thankful for the number of names of those who are supporting me that I said in those minutes. I said it all aloud despite feeling a bit odd at first. I’m unsure if it has helped yet. Sporadic practice does not make one a master. I also keep hearing ‘the world is your mirror, project what you wish it to reflect’. Mr. Robbins also mentions if you go looking for the color brown, you will always find it, and he encouraged his audience to see the browns, greens, blues, and all the other spectrum of colors. See the beauty in the present. If I am talking in circles during these recent posts it is my belief that I am walking a wider arc of the same topics. If I am appearing to ruminate, call me out!
Have a great day, reader.
I am in the midst of fighting some very severe depression. There, I said it.
I feel that I have always dealt with it in some form or fashion, as we all have. I gave it a name in college ‘the black cloud’. It was as real a vision as that of a storm rolling in off of the ocean. Oddly enough I never really looked at it as depression, just always wrote it off as something else. Regardless, it has always been around, or over me. My old coping mechanisms were the old standbys that we tend to run toward when we are young and think we are invincible. You stare back down that timeline, at least I do, and I’m horrified by some of those behaviors I used to escape. Granted hindsight is 20/20, and the birth of my child caused a tectonic shift in me. In so many ways in fact it’d likely take a few days to describe the breadth of those changes. Today I can say I’m very proud of who I am and what I stand for.
‘Well why the hell are you depressed then!?’ You may ask, honestly it feels as though it’s grown into me almost like a cancer of peace of mind. I’m the first to admit I am hard on myself and demand a lot of myself, I don’t tolerate mistakes on my part very well, especially if they affect anyone I care about. This self flagellating behavior is only good when it is constructive. This shit lately is not. Part of the reason I’ve decided to finally get help is due to the fact that I feel almost devoid of the ability to be content lately. I can list blessings that would fill a notebook and yet it feels as though I’ve talked myself out of the ability to be pleased with them as soon as I write them. I find myself constantly questioning every mundane action as though it’s completion or incompletion has potential cataclysmic effects on the whole of my life, which is STUPID. It’s not only stupid but it’s just not true. We all have choices we make to determine our happiness or undermine it. I am facing up to those choices that I have made and/or continue to make. Lately, just due to the fear of ‘what if I make the wrong call on this?’ It borders on an almost total paralysis of the ability to choose. I’m very much a heart and belly kind of guy. When I do that in life, I feel fairly good. When I do it in a race I am damn near lethal. Even knowing those two things, I’m all up in my head damn near constantly these days. It is exhausting and is enough to age you twice as fast I swear.
Admitting a problem is a mark of maturity, it is also a mark of humility and self love. The blog itself stems from the need to unload some of this constant dam-breaking type overwhelming feeling of darkness rolling over me sometimes. I feel as though I view the world with darkly tinted lenses lately. I recognize the beautiful colors and realize that I live in one of the most beautiful places in the country, it feels like I am not actually here. I function with what feels like a brain running at 150% but only delivering 30% to the world around me. Perhaps anyone that has experienced these symptoms can attest to just how ‘off’ you feel. It’s incredibly frustrating to feel like I’m well over a half step off the beat these days. I continue to push like hell through each day as best I can, it’s just tiring.
I had a wonderful walk today, it began with ‘hey, let’s just unhook the rail cars for just a little while, let’s just enjoy this, enjoy us, then we can hook them all back up when we are done. Be here.’ It was that obvious. Granted I had just come from a counseling session, which explains the outward storminess in my demeanor, but still. So I bought in, fully, I unhooked the rail cars for that walk. Crazily enough I didn’t feel them hook back up through most of the afternoon. As the night progresses I feel them again, which always seems to be the case as I have experienced in the past.
I’m turning over stones and looking in all directions in order to get a handle on this thing. If not only for me, for my child and those around me I love and cherish. A friend recently suggested I look within, as icky as that may feel. I have been and it’s been quite icky, but I’ve gotten myself a little more out of my head in the process. It’s a start. They are all tiny starts, which will hopefully aggregate and become a nice bit of momentum soon.