Originally Written: 2019-04-23
Word Count: ### / ## minutes
We try to measure everything, to make sense of the word, to generate meaning from context. Our minds are constantly measuring our environments for anything that stands out among the noise as relevant to us, to our survival. In our first years of life we are handed scales of context to measure the world as our caregivers understand it as they work to pass on the tools most relevant to their own survival. It is a natural upkeeping of a species itself to tend to and look out for its own and in so doing we humans are the same. The world is filled with boundless ways of being, but history is what teaches you the ways of being that are not what lead to your survival.
Caregivers naturally do their best to pass along their language, basic concepts of self-regulation, self-care, basic instincts in certain social settings, how to perceive others as right or wrong, how to determine what is fair. Unless it has to do with us, then it probably isn’t.
Who we declare as our caregivers in life are those that seemingly brought us abundance from heaven. Therefore, to do anything to compromise such a relationship would be foolhardy and ridiculous to anyone. When we first come into the world we do not come with a global mindset, we come with needs, needs that ought to be met. Whoever meets those needs is writing the table of contents for a rulebook a child will follow into adulthood for two reasons:
1) To satisfy the narcissism every parent has.
2) They literally know nothing else and are a product of their experience.
You can never really truly throw out what you have learned, it is plastic in your mind’s most luxurious of shores and it’s not going away any time soon. The most you can do is unlearn what you have learned to be untrue so you’re not recycling the same crap to get more of the same and are planting more holistic gardens of thought in your mind that cultivate the kind of perspectives you want to have.
But before you can have such opportunities to languish in your own trivialities, you have to survive. Not just that, but thrive.
The cumulative sum of caregiving is like a layered jacket for us to put on before we unwittingly leave our homes for the last time as children and the first time as adults. We take and wear that jacket to brave the winds of life because, at least if your parents have told you the world was as cold as ours did, you’d have wish you even brought a couple even though you knew you were headed to the beach!
And that jacket gets worn. As it should. It’s been walked in, danced in, cried in. It kept us comfort when we felt backed into the corners of a billiard hall playing chance in life. We pin badges of honor to these jackets as a token of our manifesto as unique, nuanced, and worth aspiring to have. We shame it when we have nothing else to give. It is our perspective, ladies and gentlemen.
But what then are you when you take the jacket off?
What are you when you are not what you think of life? What are you beyond your ideas of yourself?
Are you something you like? If that sounds cold then you are fresh without a jacket on a hike in San Francisco in July and that’s all you can think of right now. But it’s important to distill that, what are you then without your thoughts? Without everything around you to measure your life as meaningful and important to you, all you are is feeling.
Feeling like I have to go the bathroom but the housemaid me and my roommates have is currently cleaning it and this is the only thing I can do to distract me.
Feeling like I’m making a point. When I’m not focused on my ideas about myself or others, I’m feeling life, and so are you. When we get caught up in our ideas and what we build in our minds, we often fail to see ourselves as the very architects to the skyscrapers of feeling in our mind that we see for ourselves but struggle to communicate to others. We struggle because these skyscrapers are built on a world of feeling no one has ventured to but ourselves in what is an otherwise vast universe of conformity. But the true reality exists not within our fantasy land, but outside ourselves, and so the means for translating feeling into understanding cause things to get lost in translation along the way.
Needless to say, the jacket helped me survive life enough to get through school as I needed, but the entire time I was wearing a jacket that didn’t belong to me. Gay boys don’t like jackets when life’s a pool party for them, so I took mine off because I’m a Cali boy and a jacket is not what I’m about when I got guns to show. I’m about that fresh perspective, which means I’m always looking to understand what are the latest and greatest trends of thought that mankind has to offer and ultimately obsessed with the scales at which we approach life in order to deem what is truly ‘best’ for ourselves.
What I have found for myself is a lot of trouble, and boy did I get in it! I was a downright mess in all the best ways and all the worst ways. I found context in places I didn’t expect, nothing where you’d think you’d think was the motherlode, and eventually so much so that I realized the point of measuring any of it was stupid. I experienced pure feelings of love, had dark moments of betrayal, experienced anguish, writhed in my own sadness and despair on the floor alone. Whoa. How did we get here?
Life turned on its head for me when I had a moment of clarity for the first time. It was then that I realized that I am always wearing the jacket, finding myself was really just me in a wardrobe trying on any jacket but my own before leaving home with any perspective I thought was better instead of representing where I came from proudly, recognizing my perspective as something that got me through the harsh winds of life to join others at the table and being okay, gracious even, in reliving some of my greatest travesties in life as amusing banter. It’s a big ass jacket and is magical as fuck because right now we’re talking about mine, and if it were my way I’d have Hermione’s extension charm working in one of my pockets. You name it. It’s multilayered with patented projection technology to prevent any potential breach of cold perspective when I bundle it right. It’s great, it’s amazing.
Your jacket is not just a perspective if you wear it all the time, it is your brand. It’s called your ego. And no matter what perspective you have, your ego is always satisfying your needs as a human being to take action at the very cross-cuts of life it finds most opportune for you to get that which you believe yourself to be both capable of and what you think is realistic for yourself to have for the effort you exert. Having a big ego means that you have a big ass jacket and sometimes it’s better to just acknowledge you have it on so you don’t look stupid when you come to the dinner tables of life to share your perspective when that they really want is your feeling.
Your ego is what will yield to you what you really value through time and experience. Whenever you look back on times in life where you have seen yourself get led astray from your True North and acted against your worst intentions, it all shows what you care about when you choose to wear a jacket to the contexts of life that ought to invite more of a sense of feeling. Wearing a jacket when it isn’t cold shows fear of the weather changing for the worse, otherwise why change? Our ability to tell the weather in life can dictate whether we are prepared or not, but at some point you need to chill the fuck out and realize life’s a damn ocean and the boat’s gonna get rocked more often than nought. So keeping balance amidst all the noise out there is the least you can ask of yourself as you navigate the seas of life.
My ego kept my head down and showed to me what I cared about more than most anything is actually myself, even when I try to delude myself into thinking I’m not, which is literally my trap. Through my experiences, I witness myself to be a person who was outwardly caring, optimistic, helpful, and positive. But when I reconcile such outward positivity with the universe of context within my own mind, that is when things get horribly lost in translation. I cannot greet the watering holes of life after so much preparation for a hard journey because I am too afraid to be witnessed as a person who wants anything for themselves. I feel selfish about calling in sick. I feel selfish about using my sick day to write about how I feel instead of working on some damn assignment that will be waiting for me when I’m better anyway. I feel worse even writing it, knowing I’m doing what I want. Oh my god it’s annoying.
One thing I have learned my ego helps me most with is putting me on the opposite side of a context that would otherwise make the rest of the world feel certain about everything before them as guaranteed. I don’t feel certain about anything and that my friends is called an ‘anxiety disorder’ since the current measures of society would label a person who experiences uncertainty as someone with a disorder. Now if you ask me? I think there is just a collective disorder that I find myself not wanting to participate in, but find myself trapped by them in order to get what I want in life: connection from others.
I’ve grown to become quite the stubborn individual, no matter what is put in front of me. It’s a jacket I can wear very fucking well and will represent out of sheer spite at times because I have a huge sense of pride. My jacket is as big as my pride and the content of my pride comes from the context of feeling I know I have had to experience along the way. I show up to the dinner tables of life with a story to tell, even if you don’t want to hear it, and even if you didn’t ask about it. Each time with context to give as I show myself as a person who feels very unadjusted to whatever the weather is, the room is, who is the room, what we’re doing next, what just happened, who just touched my shoulder, okay now they’re asking about what I’ve been up to and if I have plans, okay I need to get out of here. Alert, alert. Commitment with people you care about. Making promises you have to keep that prevent you from regressing into your worst intentions.
I arrive just long enough with people at times to give my story and I am out the door. I’ve been taught so long to make sure I have the right coat for the weather outside that I never learned what to do when you finally took it off and opened yourself up to others and just experienced life instead of seeking to explain everything along the way. What I had been trained for, my perceptions, are clashing with my experience of reality and what I feel as a result is anxiety, nervous. Nervous because I do not know if I am being tricked, as I have learned to look for in the past so many times, or if this is all some joke being played on me to let my guard down. At times it is hard to tell what I am giving proper leniences to or when I am being too harsh to myself because my rulebook for myself is all messed up. I know it’s messed up because it prevents me from getting close with anyone anymore as I stay trapped and surrounded by my own ideas instead of connecting and relating with others to help bridge the gap of feeling. At its core, I have learned, my own rulebook compels me to deny myself of pursuing my own biological imperative so much so that I shame myself from feeling anything at all. With much of anyone. I stay closed to the idea of being open with another person because I’m still healing and just see myself as a burden at this point because I can at least see that any pain in my life is self-induced. But for how long?
I hold myself prisoner sometimes in my own home playing mental mind games just to self-reinforce the same bad habits that keep me away from what I want most because it is also where my fears lie - which is to show myself as needy and be rejected.
What I have learned about people who give into their fears is that their actions look far more intentional than what they’re actually going for while they’re ‘going through it’. When you’re going through it, you can’t really see yourself, which is why observation from others helps in such points to help you see you’re actually being a bad friend when you’re too busy staying stuck in your own bullshit all the time. You’re not spending time with the people you say you care about and creating more meaningful experiences to draw context from later in life and are squeezing whatever nostalgia you have dry to get you over to the next binge of feeling.
But when you’re going through it, it’s a totally different experience. How you decide you’re going to feel for the day before you leave the door is one thing, but if you feel like you don’t belong at times, you stay more caught up in the dialog in your head instead of spending time trying to ease the tension that comes with self-expressing. Sometimes it’s just easier finding a recliner in my head and relaxing as I surf through whatever trivialities of life I can chew on instead of giving and getting direct feedback from someone I care about to find out how I’m really being to them and myself, which can be without compassion at times, I find.
All we ever are is feeling, and I just want to feel the way I want to feel, which is at peace with the world. Unfortunately I’m probably never going to get what I want because then it would unfortunately not make me me. The reason for this is because I’m a warrior. I am a warrior in my own mind and if I measure my success within my own delusion I would have to say I’ve got a thing or two to tell ya, but also know that means I got a lot more I need to figure out for myself. If I have learned myself to be anything in life it is to be a fighter, a warrior at times gone rogue. I am valiant in my victories and many people in life have watched me approach problems just so they could see me take a whack at it. But when I make a mistake, wow do I come down hard on myself. If I were in feudal Japan, I would submit myself to performing seppuku, ritualistic suicide, so many times at this point it’s not even honorable at this point. There comes a point where you need to seek forgiveness from yourself, which is first and foremost and not contingent on how others feel about you.
And so here I am. Sick in writing this mess, but much better during editing*, finding myself wanting to rewrite the rulebook of life from a context that measured your value in what you had to offer someone into something more reasonable: measuring value from the scales of compassion, especially self-compassion. I want to redefine what we think is ‘right’ in this world and place it into the context of our own thoughts instead of what others will do with our perspectives once we speak our minds. To inspire you to think the ‘best’ perspective to bring to the table is your own and to please leave that jacket at the door. To show your best self so others you encounter in life do not need to feel so bundled up in their comfort zones and can reveal themselves as feeling the same things you do from time to time.
If you focus on one thing long enough, it can unfold into its own universe if it had the time. The constant churning of the word context in my head for the last six months has been unfolding into what is becoming new context for me to create meaning for myself in life. Meaning for me during a time when I felt utterly lost at where to go next in life as the final dawns of my twenties greeted me each morning to remind me I hadn’t achieved what I really wanted most for myself: a feeling of inner harmony in my sober thoughts.
the rules I have been following for survival.
. If you take a single idea and tend to it day by day, it will grow if you allow it to weather time. One day that idea could be what provides you with everlasting shade on the hottest of days. What seeds you plant therefore dictate what will one day benefit you. However, if you’re not willing to put in the work, then you garden of your mind will be fraught with weeds for you to pick when everything you were
The idea I’d like to tend to:
You’re not a better person for what you do, you’re a person who does the things you do.
You are not a ‘worse’ person for what you haven’t done, you are the person who has survived the ideas about yourself that came from having such experiences.
You are not your ideas.
You are how you feel.
I am scared, but hopeful. Cautiously optimistic, but first to conscript in, at least in this context, to a war many are already fighting in various ways to heal from what truly unites us more than anything: pain. Pain is something we all experience, swear to have endured the most of at times, and are taught to hide because it shows we are weak. Yeah, maybe to a bunch of vultures who would peck at each other’s wounds if left with nothing else to scrape at because they can’t be bothered to tend their own wounds they are denying. Bloodletting is not a means for healing by any means and making a mess of your pain is no way to get stitched up at the end of the day. However, we all tend to forget this at times when our egos are
For me, if I can get outside my head enough to connect with a human being directly that isn’t about my ideas but about me, then that is when I’m truly living.
, with pain being the only true enemy worth waging war against in life
But that that I used to forge the perspective I had yielded something I need to craft into something more fit for the weather.
walk back after so many years of realizing I was letting so many what was otherwise an open plain of feeling
because most of the time I just think everyone else is insane following rules we all know suck after we’ve had a chance to try on a perspective or two.
when I’m really just throwing enthusiasm against dismay and hoping it’ll land peacefully.
to get to a point where I could make use of all the context society had to give me in order to create meaning and it comes with humble recognition after years of searching every context I could in life
You cannot put a scale to feeling.