Los Angeles Chronicles: Ever Finding Myself

I think I’ve been at war with myself since I was 14. I’ve finally learned and come to the realization that I don’t have to be. What a concept right?

Leaving my hometown this last time and taking the ultimate risk of pursuing a dream I wanted since I was 10, was a big deal for me. I’ve spent the summer attempting to hold on to it so tight for fear of losing it, I almost forgot why I wanted it in the first place. It was a dream, a fantasy, something as an adult I never thought I’d have and now I do – because I actually took the chance. Not only did I make it here, I get to stay. Not only do I get to stay but I get to work in the industry I was hoping to become a part of as an eager 10 year old. While it may not be my dream job, I’m a lot farther ahead than I ever thought I would actually be. And yet still so far behind – but semantics.

Over the last year and a half or so I’ve become an entirely different person. One I also never thought I’d be (in a lot of both good and bad ways). I’ve let a lot of the hurt and pain from the past go – to the point where it no longer has anything to do with defining me. I’ve learned to be okay in the present, mentally and emotionally; while at the same time accepting that I am a certain way when it comes to things and ya know what  – that’s okay. Hell it’s more than okay.

I let myself be myself. I let myself figure out who – me – is. I get to define and figure out all the details based on anything I want because I can. It may not be as simple as just letting go or just doing it, surely for me it’s been a process and one that still inherently kicks my ass every so often, but I think that’s part of being a human. And if none of that makes sense to you, then honestly – good for you. But my life and my head and my world have been a mess for far longer than I ever realized they could be and in a lot of ways I did it to myself.

We as people are the worst to ourselves. Our own inner monologue ruins half of the things we could do with life because we don’t believe we’re capable. Or on the other side we’re so flattened with fears of letting go of what we have, we don’t seek that which we say we want. Or on even another side we’re so hellbent that we’re the best, we bring out that self deprecating hero flaw – ego. Either way, we’re cheating ourselves. Personally I’ve elected to try to stop.

I have goals and dreams and other things I’d like to take on in my life in the present and the future, but when you recognize that everything is temporary and everything is a flux of in progress living… you realize that things like anxiety and depression aren’t necessarily a way to live and that you won’t have to do it forever. You just have to do something else. And keep trying something else until something works.

I’ve dealt with depression, anxiety, PTSD and chemical imbalances. Yet I’ve had moments of life where I’ve felt so alive and so happy. I know those things exist for me. Whether I get down because I can’t be insanely incandescently happy all the time or I just have a bad day or I feel like the world is crashing around me, I know I have a choice to do something new or different tomorrow or even later today. Sometimes I make the attempt to change but no matter what I do I’m stuck on repeat. Maybe I need more practice or maybe I’m too much of a theatre kid and I’m just being dramatic. The things is my reality is my own as is yours.

I’m not asking those that are in pain to just think happy thoughts. It’s not that simple and believe me I get it. But you get but one life and you only get to live it one direction when it comes to time. Time moves forward whether you’re ready or not. It can hold you back or propel you forward. Being kind to yourself and allowing yourself at even a chance at a dream is worth it. Taking a risk in hopes of flying is worth it. If you hate the decision you made then after two weeks go back home. But I assure you “back” does not exist.

All you can do is keep going. If you’re stuck.. keep pushing back. If you’re flailing keep flapping maybe you’ll fly. Honestly, this is more advice to myself when I’ve had enough but this is not the end. You might as well take the risk and spend your life and your time in the way you absolutely want. And just because you want it today, doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind. Collect the experiences and hope that most of them are good ones. You’re never going to fully define who you are because you are constantly growing. Instead of trying to box yourself in, learn to build a house. Add more boxes to the pile and see where life takes you.

 

 

 

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Stop wishing and make change

In a world where everyone is waiting for 5pm on Friday… be the one who revels in 9am Monday morning. Learn to live your life and value the worth you have. Learn to think outside the box. Learn to pursue your passions. Please pursue your joys and arts and passion and loves. You can have more than one. You can learn from so many things. You can learn to be yourself.

The world is full of heart wrenching, hurtful bullshit. It can always get worse. It will get worse if you believe it won’t or if you believe it will. When you dwell on the “worse” it comes to you. When you stay open to what could be, despite doubt you will find what it is you’re looking for.

Life and society today thrives on conformity and people going through the motions. It thrives on depression, suppression, oppression, anxiety and fear. Break the mould.

Do and seek what it is that you love. Be the forger of your own life. Be the one who gives up the norm for the things that are worth so much more. Live outside the box and learn that things will and can get better if you actually let and allow yourself to be your true self. Not the self that it has become and been told that it is. Not the self that everyone else sees, but the one that you desire to be. The one you seek. The person you want to be.

It may not be the easiest road because it is unknown and it seems to be the road less taken. But let me ask you, if we lived in a world where we all pursued our greatest loves and greatest passions, what do you think the world might look like? What do you think it would hold for you? What about the rest of us? If the world was driven by love rather than anger or hatred or fear, where would we be?

Better yet, where would you be? Wouldn’t you like to find out?

Time comes and goes so quickly here

I’ve been out of work for a few months now. To say that I have unlimited freedom and majorly limited funds is an understatement. It’s a concept I’ve never experienced in life this way until now. As this summer has progressed I’ve learned a lot of things, mostly about myself but about people too. I’ve changed a lot in the last few months alone. I’ve run in circles, I’ve made mistakes, I’ve hid from the world, I’ve screamed for attention – yes almost literally. But I keep coming to the same point – everything is temporary and is only so for the time being. Time.

Life is made up of time and time only goes one way. Memories, feelings, reactions, who we are, who we might want to be, are all things that seem to come from the past (if you ask me). So to know where you’re going you have to know where you’ve been, but you don’t have to be defined by where you’ve been. Time is a fickle friend, once spent cannot be earned back. Once held cannot stand still. That being said, I can assume that the majority of people in the world all want similar things; well similar concepts. Let’s call those things: love, happiness, and success. That is what they hope to achieve with their time. If you’re a dreamer you may want whimsy. If you’re an idealist maybe you’re more in search for peace or equality. But I’d say despite differing personalities people need people to achieve love, happiness, and success (right?).

So why do we live in a world where we’re all fighting against each other, when we are in fact all working towards a similar goal? Well perception of these concepts comes into play, but somehow I doubt one can define happiness as armageddon or the end of the world. Then again I’m not going to assume that at all because I don’t need anyone to prove me wrong in this case. But you get the point.

Why spend your entire life competing with someone who may intimidate you, or may be better than you, or may be different than you, or may be an equal to you, when you most likely have something to learn from that person and that person probably has something to learn from you. That is kind of how society works in a nutshell is it not? We’re given a moral compass and a set of rules so to speak and we construct society within those realms. We grow and learn and adapt as society changes and grows and succeeds or fails.

At risk of sounding like a crazy hippy where’s the love man? I’ve been in love a few times. I have moments I still miss those I had such love for, not because I miss them as a person necessarily but I miss the role they held in my world. Who they were to me at that point in time. Every person you ever meet shapes you. People are inherently negative and we have to work daily to overcome that. We let others dictate our feelings whether they’re a complete stranger or not. Yet we don’t pay enough attention to the feel good, loving, happy go lucky mentality long enough for it to work for us as a whole; as a society. If we did I’d spend a lot less time writing about anxiety and depression. I’d also spend a lot less time feeling that way, but I digress.

We so easily lose track of time in our own heads, in our own world of feelings and thus do the opposite of what we need. Almost to the point of having to force ourselves back into the world of the living.

The reason I started this post was because earlier today I was missing the life I had 5 years ago. I had fun. I lived. I did what I wanted. I loved. I had someone in my life that I loved with all I had. I had friends and those around me that I could have fun with and enjoy their company. I wasn’t happy back there, due to a handful of things that have since changed, but I was happy in ways I never understood until now. Now time has been kind to me in the ways I lacked, but cruel in the ways that I once had.

I’ve competed with hundreds of thousands of people in my life without even knowing it. I’ve been competing with people for jobs through interviews this entire summer. I’ve been gaining and losing love in more ways than I knew existed. I’m actually learning how to really and truly love myself. But everything in a few short months has changed. My world 5 years ago only exists in my memory, as does my world 5 months ago, and my world 5 minutes ago.

Time changes everything. Sometimes it’s for the better. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you need others in your life to help you, have fun, hold your hand, hug you, talk to you, interact with you, smack you awake, change your perspective or teach you something. Sometimes you have to go back and visit those memories to realize the lessons you actually have to teach yourself. Sometimes you have to leave those things behind you and keep moving forward with time holding your hand and leading the way.

Time moves fast. We lose track of it constantly. Time can only be spent. It cannot be earned. So why waste another minute doing something that doesn’t set your soul on fire? Why waste your time doing something you hate? Being with someone you don’t love? Not being with someone you do love? If you’re stuck because it is a means to an end, great, keep on keepin’ on. If it is something you believe you have to do, to get to the next step, then hey we all need to eat and pay rent. But if it is something that doesn’t bring you joy, doesn’t make you happy, doesn’t involve love or the pursuit of success, then why do it? Learn to be kind to yourself. Learn to be kind to those around you. Spend your time wisely, it’s all that you’ve got to lose.

Los Angeles Chronicles: Figuring Myself Out – More

I found it! That Eureka moment that everything clicked. And ironically it was while reading someone else’s blog. I’ve been on a journey unlike that which I’ve known in the past. I’ve been allowing myself to feel when I feel and “be” when I need to be. I’ve actually been listening to my own intuition of sorts when it comes to where I want to go next or where I want to go at all. I’ve dealt with so many different things and I almost forget how far I’ve come. How many lives I’ve actually lived. Each part of my life I’ve become a different person. Not in a schizophrenic kind of way, but more in a different phase of life, yet still completely different persons at times.

Who I was at 5 wasn’t who I was at 15, at 20, at 25. I’ve believed in myself and not. I’ve taken leaps of faith and typical risks to get where I’ve been. I’ve gained friends and loves and family along the way. I’ve lost friends and loves and family along the way. I’m not the same person I was 10 minutes ago and time keeps moving me forward.

I’ve finally been realizing that even though I lost my job and I didn’t think I could stay in California, that I’m going to no matter what. Because I had to admit to myself that it was something I still wanted. I had to admit my own feelings. I had to get to where I got and I had to be lost along the way. I’ve been lost for the last 6+ years and it isn’t anyone’s fault. I lived life into the unknown and that’s where I’ve stayed because the next step isn’t one that is already decided for me. Nor could it be.

I’ve always hated the saying “everything happens for a reason.” I do however like the saying “there are no such things as coincidences.” Everything happens for a reason makes it sound like life is living me rather than me living my life. No such thing as a coincidence feels more real to me, more forgiving and even a little less harsh, but still more real. We all make mistakes. For some it’s a haircut that signifies the end of the world and for others it’s a divorce or the loss of a close relative or friend. Some of us have crazy amounts of student loan debt and others are already at the top of their careers ready to buy a house for their dog.

But we all go through phases. We all have to learn how to feel what we feel or at least admit to ourselves that we can feel. The aha moment I had has come after two really good weeks for me mentally and physically. It was while I was reading “4 questions Google can never answer for you.” Little to say it talked about us searching for – information – when in reality what we’re trying to figure out are – feelings -.

I spent most of my life denying I had feelings. I spent most of my life pushing them down in misery or in pain. I’ve been doing a lot of searching lately and I’ve been seeking a lot of knowledge in general. I’ve already built a life for myself in a place of my choosing. Not being ideal quite yet I still have a ways to go I did it nonetheless. I’ve made a few friends and had a few crushes, dated someone, switched jobs, made, spent, earned, lost and wished for money.

I’ve found my own world. I’ve made it one I can be proud to be a part of and one that I will continue to choose despite anything else. The time may come where I’ve grown or changed again and my location or my personal needs change as well and that’s okay.

The other thing I’ve realized is that as a kid we all look at adults like we have the answers to life’s problems. The problem is when we get there no one has a clue. Well no one but you has a clue or a key to unlock your life but you. It’s amazing to have people to enjoy the ride along the way, but you’re the one who has to choose your own fate.

If I spent half as much time fighting myself as I did just doing what I thought I wanted or needed or both, I’d be a completely different person. But right now I am who I choose to be and I will change again. So what comes next? Well hopefully a job and a bigger foundation on the life that I want.

Revisiting Expectations: 5 years later

For those following along this is the 10th and final chapter of what would be a book of sorts.

Expectations are a tricky thing. Whether you think something will go poorly or stunningly you are usually right. If you put time and effort into something and hope it goes well there’s a chance it will but you never know. We all had a vision of what we thought our lives would be when we were in our teens. We all found out that what we thought would happen.. probably didn’t. We all got kicked by the so called real world and realized that things are always harder than they seem. No strings attached is hardly ever something that actually exists in reality.

We all go through life in an attempt to achieve happiness. We all live in our own ways. We are all versions of our own experiences and perspectives. Due to our outlooks we change and adapt to things and those around us. We grow and change because of the relationships and events in our lives. We find happiness and lose it. We hope to find what we’re passionate about and make it more than just a small piece of us. Our memories are the stories that make a life personal. Our family are those that have surrounded us on the way. They are our history our origin. I may have repeated myself quite a bit, but if that is the case it is because I believe the repetition to be of importance.

I am who I choose to be, but I still believe that there is somewhat of a fate at hand. The energies of the world conspire to bring you who and what you need and also seem to shift your perspective. When you seem to lose your way it is because you were meant to. Struggle happens. Joy happens. We do things in life that we’ve never expected. We’ve become people in life we’ve never expected. We’ve endured things in life that we never expected. Expectations are a cruel trick that bring our hopes up or tear us down amidst the journey.

I started writing this piece about four years ago. I haven’t finished and I’ve started a few other projects. When thinking back to beginning this book I should have put more effort into finishing it. I expected to have this done before 2012. Well it’s now 2014 – yeah now it’s 2017- and its still not what I expected but it is what it is. My journey has shifted, my “self” has changed. My path deterred and my life is still not what I wanted it to be at this point. I never expected to be where I am and I’ve never expected to live out what I did. But sitting here and rereading what I’ve written gives me solace that at the point of my life that I was much more critical I was still that dreamer that saw the potential of what life can become.

Things never go as expected but they definitely continue onward. We have one chance at life and we all make mistakes along the way. The chapters of this pick at pieces of things that I have found that not only shape someone as a person but shape a life as I know it. The life I have lead is far from the course I thought I would take. Right now it is not more nor less; it just is. I am still seeking my happiness and I am still finding my passions. Life is a journey in progress and I intend on savoring my moments, stories, adventures and happiness. We all seem to lose our way at some point, but the point is to endure and move forward. Take what you can from what you’ve lived. Love who and what you can at any moment and find a way to be truly happy with the life you’ve made for yourself and the person you’ve become and have the potential to be. For nothing ever happens as expected and nothing ever will.

Revisiting Happiness: 5 years later

For those following along: Chapter 9.

Happiness is a weird thing. We as people have dreams and wishes we wish to accomplish throughout our lives in attempt to find happiness. However happiness is a fleeting friend and can also be a mortal enemy. Once it is found you are always in a constant struggle to get it back. And once you get it back you don’t know how long it will stay around. Sometimes you don’t even recognize it until something jolts you and you realize what you have and truly appreciate it all.

You walk through life thinking, knowing that you are one person at this point in time. Until one day when the world as you once knew it comes crashing down around you because of a single word, phrase, sentence, event, moment in time, or realization. Then you wake up the next day to find your life altered in a way you never deemed possible and it’s a long road to acceptance but you eventually get there. You accept that this is now your life and whatever alternate reality you once knew no longer exists. You have to move forward with high hopes and uneasiness because you no longer know who you are nor do you know what you want anymore, nor does it matter. You take each day as it comes and eventually you will figure out that dreams do change, people do change, life happens, life gets in the way. Life goes on and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. For maybe one day you’ll know what you want and achieve beyond your hopes and dreams. You’ll find out all those things you thought were so monumental, made you who you are as much as they didn’t affect you at all. Life is made up of many things. Take what you can get and make the most out of your circumstances. Relish in the good moments. Learn from the bad. Make mistakes. Make friends, gain family. Have adventures. Explore the world. Take chances. Don’t fear. Don’t regret. Just live.

Everyone has their own path to choose and everyone makes their own destiny. It may not seem like it but nothing is set in stone and you are the one in control – for the most part. Happiness seems like the one thing everyone wants, and the one thing no one can hold onto. But happiness is what you make it to be. If you wake up in the morning and decide today is going to be a good day, it probably will be. If you go out for a night on the town or something of the like, and you tell yourself you are going to have fun and be happy and enjoy your night, you most likely (if not definitely) will have a good time. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you’re the one holding the beauty of your own life. Find what it is that makes you happy and take it. Find someone who makes you happy and make them a part of your life. Find a place that makes you happy and go there. Make a plan or don’t make a plan. Just don’t sit around thinking that destiny and fate are in control and you are a mere pawn in the chess game of reality. At the end of the day you are in control of your own life. There may seem times where your life seems to spiral out of your control, but those are times you can learn and grow and change to find yourself or a new life. Everyone is on a path through their own life and everyone has their own obstacles. At the same time everyone can choose to succumb to their hard times or you can overcome them. Life isn’t fair but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the best of it. For the world is at your fingertips and all you have to do is reach out and grab it.

Sometimes you just have to turn the page on what you once believed in and move forward with no regrets. You don’t start where you left off but at a new beginning with new people and adventures and with anyone who is willing to go along for the ride. You leave your once jaded self behind you in the ashes and the memories and embark on a new path to be explored. Awaken the sleeping giant. Do what you love and love what you do. What is the point of life if not happiness? Or at least the pursuit thereof. People are going to judge you and try to hold you back regardless of what they truly know about you. There will always be turmoil for it is so much easier to end the day in despair. Seek what it is that makes you happy. Enjoy the time you have and make the life you see for yourself or at least try. No plan ever works as expected but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a go.

Revisiting Passion: 5 years later

For those following along, or those new to the blog this is Chapter 7. To read from the beginning start with “Revisiting Perspective.”

Passion can be applied to almost anything in any form. You can for instance be a passionate lover or friend. You can be passionate about a sport, working out, or a hobby like collecting. You can be passionate about certain causes such as To Write Love on Her Arms or the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. You can be passionate about life itself. You can show passion in almost anything you do because even when you just automatically do something there is still some type of driving force behind why you are doing it in the first place. Not everything is done in the name of passion but not everything is just done because it has to be. For example I’m pretty sure no one is passionate about paying their bills, but they have to pay them if they want to keep living in that way.

Passion, like anything else is not always a good thing; it is a constant obsession with something. When thinking about passion it isn’t as black and white as good and bad. Passion can result in many good things for others or for yourself. Passion can also cause harm. Passion has the potential to make people do crazy things. It has the potential for greatness as well as the potential for mass destruction. Passion has flaws and potential. It can be energetic or dormant. It can be the driving force behind all you believe to be good and have faith in this world; faith of any kind. Faith in other humans, in family, in friends, in yourself, in an action, in a story, in a love you just don’t understand enough yourself to be able to explain. Your reason for really living or not. Your reason for doing anything, everything, or nothing. The reason you are the way you are. With passion or the lack of passion, you can understand the events, choices and decisions you’ve made in your life. Passion isn’t unintelligent nor is it pure intelligence. It can be a gut reaction or thorough planning. It can be completely thought out or left to chance.

I’ve come across a few people in my life that show passion in almost everything they do. They live, breathe and feel for others. They do things with full force and attention 100 percent of the time. They live their lives by and through their relationships with others. If something happens to you, they not only try to relate to your pain but they experience it or seem to, just as you would yourself. This may not be easy to understand, or sound as if anyone in their right mind or anyone at all would in fact act this way, but you’d be surprised. Ghandi or Mother Theresa for example would be real life people who lived this way. People that devote their lives to a cause can be people that live their lives with passion as their driving force. Firm beliefs that any little bit that they do, can and will change the world and any attempt to make the world a better place can be an instance of passion. People with firm beliefs that their way is the best way and attempt to force them on society despite anyone else’s opinions or any facts are also people that live through passion.

Passion is like happiness. It is always there in some form whether you realize it or not. Whether you accept it or not. Like mentioned before you can be passionate about anything. Whether you’re a writer, an artist, a sports fan, a model car enthusiast, the richest man alive, the poorest man on the street, anyone, there is still passion within you. Passion can be applied to the things you do and it can make you who you are. You can form your life around the passion and devotion of others or you can devote passion to yourself. Neither is wrong, for life is what you make of it. But know that, no you did not get out of bed this morning out of passion, but maybe you watched your child’s sports game or school play. Maybe you had an argument with someone where you voiced your opinion. Maybe you went to the gym to try and stay or get into shape. Maybe you painted a picture. There are millions of things you can do that include passion.

Music also can evoke passion. Music can create a passion that you feel deep in your soul. Have you ever heard a song that just strikes you to the point where you just feel something that makes you want to belt out the lyrics at the top of your lungs? Whether it’d be for the sake of a single specific person or everyone you’ve ever known (I know I have)? Have you ever heard a song that moves you to tears or laughter or such joy and emotional lightness that you experience it, every time you hear that song? Music like many things is something that is thought provoking. Music isn’t always just a bunch of witless words being sung about all the time. You may not have written the song but it can still evoke emotion. You may not know what the writer of the song meant when they wrote it but it can still make you feel a certain way. Whether it is the actual words that touch you or the melody behind it, music is a powerful force.

In these senses it doesn’t seem that passion is by itself one single entity. It seems that it can be a plethora of things to anyone. Passion can be lost for things and found again. It can be stumbled upon when you least expect it. It can drive you to do things you may have never thought possible. But can you entirely and completely define it? It is more than pure emotion and it can exist and go along with other emotions as well. Personally, dance has been something I’ve done all my life and for the first time I find myself completely without what I’ve known and learned for almost two decades. Dance when I was younger was something I liked doing. But it wasn’t until I “lost” what I had that I realized I had a passion for it. Dance makes me feel in a way that other things just don’t. The adrenaline rush of being on stage, of hearing the music and feeling the movement within yourself is unlike anything else I’ve really experienced. But when I was in the midst of my dancing years I never looked at it that way. It was just something I did, something I liked. Now that I don’t get to dance like I used to and the reasons I dance aren’t entirely the same, I can honestly say I’m passionate about it.

With passion comes many things. It’s the emotion that drives us with intensity because of our deep desire to want and achieve – something.  Anger, lust, happiness, devotion, love, the list continues. Passion is an interesting thing because like happiness, sometimes you have it and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you find it, sometimes you lose it, sometimes you didn’t know it was there. Sometimes it drives you and sometimes it propels you in another direction. I’m sure that at some point of your life you’ve felt this way about something. You probably had something in mind the entire time you read this chapter. Something or maybe someone. Where does your passion start and end? Where do you find yours?