Monday, October 31, 2011

Weening Myself Off the Safety Net

Recently, I've had 3 instances that caused to question how reliant I was on external circumstances to guide me where I want to go. The 1st came when I used my phone to help me find an out of the way PC repair place, only to find that it lead to a spot blocks before the actual location, which lead to a ½ hour of searching to determine where it was. The 2nd was heading to take the last bus home, but finding that the service's website said there were no more coming; after a few minutes of the bus not coming at the appropriate time, I was getting ready to ride my scooter 4 miles home when it finally came in. The 3rd came during a chat with one of my classmates, where I learned that at the age of 18, he left home with only his bike and a bag of clothes and built himself up to point where he, with a help of some roommates, got a  job, a car & a decent sized house they collectively pay $2K on a month by the age of 20.

Aside from feeling like I was going a bit too slow, I began to examine how much I put it on things I couldn't really control to get what I wanted, especially over the course of my life when I felt limited in how I could rise up in the world. It was thanks to some friends that I got to experience life changing events, events that I would've surely given up on if they didn't talk me into it. For example, if my artist friend didn't convince me to give Americorps a try, I would've convinced myself I wasn't cut out to be a tutor at that level(and before that, I almost did).

On the romantic side of life, I've always prided myself on taking risks and doing things I never would've done otherwise, like riding 8 miles over a hill, inches away from traffic and through narrow, craggy sidewalks to reach the murky green waters of Long Beach. On the practical side, however, I always thought I didn't have the right stuff to do whatever job was at hand and couldn't summon the courage to even try in most cases.

I know it's because of this my life isn't as rich and fulfilling as it could be (which is saying a lot, considering how much life I've lived and how much I gained over the years), and that if I could overcome it, so much was waiting out here for me. As I see it, a big step towards that is doing what my classmate did at the age of 18 and move forward regardless of if I have the means then and there to lead the kind of life I desire.

Personally, I hate to fail at anything, and this goes double for when it involves people relying on me to get things done, so I'm always weary of anything that sends me into situations far beyond what I  thought I could do-as I've done so before and fell just short of getting it finished.  Perhaps when I accept failure as another part of life, I'll be able to deal with it quickly and let it strengthen me for the road ahead, so I may help others do the same.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Learning to Rise by Letting Myself Fall

When life gets hard and the people around you only seem to make it harder, it's easy to let hatred seep in and steer you towards negativity-I should know, I've let it happen on multiple occasions, including when I couldn't do class work for a month because I waited for my sister to get the computer screen she promised me, which she never did. I can't even count how many times people have let me down by making a promise, then forgetting about it, nor have I forgot how much it pissed me off, but in all honesty, for all the stuff I can make happen on my own, I really should be mad at myself-and I am. For years I blamed the crap I went through on other or people and felt like life was out of my control, specifically when it went to crap, like when I rolled my ankle and was never taken to the hospital, instead dipping it in ice water and hoping it healed properly.

The bitterness from all that colored my perception in drastic ways and made me hesitant to ever fully take on the great unknown. I didn't think my heart could take that kind crushing disappointment and failure, so I never let myself be open to that even  being a possibility. However, as I work towards being a proper adult, I'm finding that to grow greatly, one must accept falling well short as one of many things there to help them grow how they wish. More and more I'm seeing that when I let this become part of my life, I'll unearth the thing I've been on the edge of for a long, long time.

I say edge because I've been a lazy, structureless slacker for quite some time, getting an intense amount of knowledge and growth in short bursts, and never with the will and stubbornness needed to set up and stick to a certain schedule. Despite all that, I've become knowledgeable in a bunch of different fields, the years bringing my focus to writing, English and the Japanese language. When I began teaching the language, I was how I imagine many beginning students are: an insufferable prick.

As I learned more about the language and the culture that powers it, I discovered that not only did it give me a place to direct my energy, but it, along with writing, became my savior-the thing that lifted me up when I fell deep into the emotional darkness. Because of that, I worked to use my skills to help others gain the knowledge I struggled and scratched for all these years in as relate-able a way as I can manage.

Now, I’ve reached the point where in order to take the next big step, I'll need to find the guts to form a routine and stick to it so I can learn to evolve from it, the box from which to think out of, so to speak. Will I become a another brick in the wall? At this point, with all the crap I've managed to get over, I'd just be happy living a fairly regular life that fulfills me where I need to be, with any success I hit on as result being a nice bonus. If I fail, so what? As long as I'm still kicking, I still have a chance to make something positive and leave something wonderful behind when my time comes.

Really, that's been at the heart of a lot of stuff I do, even something as small as giving someone a quarter so they can pay their bus fare. Yes, there's a ton of messed up stuff going on under our noses each day, but I don't like just moaning and groaning about it, I want to see some solutions, however flawed they may be. This is the standard I've held both myself and others to over the years, 'cause to me, there's plenty of hot air going around and not enough stuff to put that air to work, which I want to correct however possible.

Even now, where I've become significantly saltier about how the world works, I've never believed in solely spreading around negativity and sought to live a life of balance, both emotionally and financially. If one only lets themselves see what goes wrong, they can never see what goes right, a way of life I wish no one would willingly subject themselves to.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Behind the Pen: A Peek into my Younger Days

What were you like when you were young(er)?

In my elementary days I was quite a bookworm(and given I was tutored by Hooked on Phonics at a young age, that much should be expected), voraciously reading any and everything I could get my mitts on-a trait still strong within me to this day. I also had quite the acting bug, and did a few school plays, including one where I played a dim footballer not only for my school, but also for one who's own couldn't make it that night.

It was around the end of 6th grade that I entered what I like to call The Smartass phase of my personal growth. I was so irritating in my general 'Did you know (x)?' behavior and did very little to endear myself to my school's society, even getting into a few fights here and there(that didn't last very long, mind you, one only going to one punch before I wept *laughs*). As it is with many boys of that age, I was also very awkward around females and found myself incapable of speech around those I found strongly appealing, including when I was threading my way through a crowd during the school festival and emerged on the other side hands first, those same hands landing on the warm and firm backside of a female classmate-one I was very attracted to then, and thankfully had the where-with-all not to squeeze *laughs*

One thing I'll always remember about my time then, though, would definitely be how dependent and needy I was on others to get what I wanted and needed, growing quite volatile when those I turned to flaked and did not fulfill what I expected of them. That neediness made me quite unfit for many kinds of meaningful relationships, and in fact ended two of them when things went south(one I ended when the girl wanted a 3 way with her male companion, and the other she ended when she no could longer financially maintain it).

Had my most recent beloved not perished doing what she loved, that neediness would've placed great strain on her, as well, as it did when she was out of contact for months at a time and left me wondering what had happened to her and if she still thought me worth the effort-one incident I remember her telling me being her encounter with a fellow drifter who wanted her to give it up and be one with him instead, who she turned down and left on the roadside.

Her passion and burning intensity for her craft instilled a lot of new feelings within me, spurring me to become stronger and more strong on my own so that I, in a day that would never come, would meet her and show her the kind of man she deserved to have as her beloved. I've grown greatly since her passing and was able to realize that if I wanted to be a lover who would fortify the one my next beloved instead of weakening, I had to be strong and capable by my own hand with my own motivation.

I certainly can't say the process has been easy, as almost every woman I've held interest in- and even those I don't!- either had a beloved of their own or had their own issues and concerns to work out. I would love to say I've left all those flaws in the dust, but they're still a part of who I am today, a fact I've come to accept more and more with the passage of time as I grow into a proper man. Still a bit of a smartass, still a bookworm, still a bit more reliant on others for what I need than I should be, but those traits let me realize I'm still human and still have room to grow and improve, both for my sake and the sake of those I care for. I know I'll gain employ and know I'll make the future I desire regardless of obstacles, and I'm without doubt when someone is there beside me, we will make each other a better individual and a strong unit. I would only hope she can endure some of my more unusual traits and fancies, though *laughs*