“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” – Carl Sagan
We are so minuscule in the big picture, but somehow we feel that our own problems are somehow significant and life altering ordeals. We convince ourselves that our choices and feelings matter but the truth is, the universe doesn’t care. It goes right on being the way it will be whether there are lives that hang in the balance or not. It makes you feel kind of helpless when you think of all the things that our very existence depends on are out of our control. We truly are feeble in our abilities to stop or change any act of the universe that could destroy us in one swift moment.
Feeling helpless. That’s not a feeling I like. I like having a plan of action, a goal to work towards. I have a short attention span and I’m impatient which makes monotony feel overwhelmingly unappealing. I spend too much time over-analyzing simple things. I read too much into people’s actions. I jump to conclusions, or sometimes I can’t accept when people tell me things that go against what they actually do. But what’s the point. The purpose of coming to all these conclusions about the people you surround yourself with? We think ourselves so clever when we make up our mind about something. Thinking someday there may be some quiz on our opinions and we’ll know all the answers as to what we think. None of it matters. We are not precious little beings being watched and judged by an almighty authority, we are ants.
But the colony is sick. We are self-absorbed to the point that we can’t even see that we are drowning in solipsism (a theory in philosophy that your own existence is the only thing that is real or that can be known). The fact that I write my thoughts down for other people to read is really quite egotistical. To most of you, I am a flat, two-dimensional character who sometimes appears as you’re scrolling through Facebook and that’s all you are to me. All the people you know are wrapped up in little boxes made up of the adjectives you’ve applied to them and when you aren’t actively involved in their lives, they seem to sit on pause in the background, posting status updates occasionally.
I guess it comes down to doing what you do because you like doing it. Being with people you like being with. Experiencing things you want to experience. Because at the end of the day, the only legacy you are leaving is the memories you have while you’re still alive.
I’ve always felt quite alone and I wonder if that’s how everyone feels or if it’s just me who’s not been blessed with whatever receptors in our brains make us feel connected with other humans. I’ve always had a very distinct line of where myself ends and where other people begin. I’ve never felt like part of a “we” or an “us”. I always gave myself boundaries of how much of myself other people were allowed to see or know and the rest was a secret for only me to know. I carefully chose my interactions to reflect the person that I wanted people to think I was. It gave me a sense of control sometimes, but other times it made me feel totally isolated when I longed to feel like a part of something.
I’ve spent so much time keeping my distance from people but feeling betrayed that I never had that best friend that everyone else seemed to have one of. I convinced myself that people wouldn’t want to be friends with me before I gave them a chance to get to know me. I never gave anyone a chance to get close to me. Instead of talking to anyone, I began having a lifelong inner monologue with myself. I can easily drift back into it at any time, tuning out the rest of the world and getting lost in my own head.
Sometimes I forget that it’s myself that put up all these imaginary walls and that they only exist because I choose not to let anyone in. I forget that it’s me keeping myself so alone all the time. Keeping myself in the role of playing a part for the people around me. Confining myself to my comfort zone. Convincing myself that everyone around me was somehow unworthy or, conversely, too cool for me to let my guard down and be myself.
The funny thing is, now that I’ve torn down some of those walls and lowered the amount of letting my insecurities dictate how I behave around people, I seem to like myself a lot more. I see that glimmer of a person that I’ve always wanted to be slip out every once in a while and it seems possible to let go of some of that tension I create. It’s certainly less stressful, but on the other hand, it’s quite scary. I’m terrified to ruin relationships by being who I really am and not becoming whatever it is they want me to be. I’ve spent my whole life trying to please people by pretending to be whatever it was they decided I should be.
There’s something to be said about the idiom of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. I’ve spent a lot of my life in someone else’s shoes, shoes of the fictional person that I created for the outside world. I’m naturally a chronic people pleaser, letting outside influences dictate who I’ve become. I’ve been so hard on myself when my flaws have been pointed out. Been so willing to change myself to be who the important people in my life want me to be. Suppressed doing things I like when they don’t like them.
I know this about myself but I still find it extremely difficult to change and let the façade down. I feel so worthless as a human being sometimes that I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be around me if I don’t find an ample amount of common ground with them. I take the pieces of myself that fit into what they want and I become that person for them but then I get secretly offended when I remind them of someone else. It makes no sense.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to tear my walls all the way down with someone. To voice an opinion without that moment of hesitation hoping that they agree with me or deciding to keep my mouth shut. I’ll probably always retreat into my mind at the end of the day and regret decisions that I’ve made. Play conversations and scenarios over and over again trying to rationalize my submission as genuine desires.
I want so much to be confident and sure of who I am. To feel that someone cares about me even when they know that deep down there I’m a little bit weird and have less than popular opinions about things. That I am a hopeless believer in improbable things and need constant reassurance that who I am is not only okay, but good.
So, I may not fit in those shoes you want me to wear anymore, but my shoes aren’t too shabby. I’ve been trying to wear them out more often but I’m painfully aware of anyone who stares at them and I’ll quickly change to something more neutral until I feel courageous enough to try again.
Do you think that’s true? It’s nice to believe when good things happen, that they were supposed to happen because of fate/destiny/karma/etc. But what about when bad things happen? Are they just a predestined? Are they tribulations we must face to learn something about the world or ourselves?
It seems like some people just have it so easy. They have the looks, the talent, the money. Did they just win the cosmic lottery and the rest of us drew the short sticks? Maybe it has more to do with luck. Maybe nothing means anything other than coincidence. There was a while that I firmly believed that nothing in my life happened for a reason. It was just a byproduct of choices I made and choices others made influenced by the things that had happened in our lives. That we truly had free will and that we really could do anything we wanted. Live the American dream and be a CEO of a billion dollar company if we tried.
I feel much less like that now and I don’t think that it’s because it’s not true. It very well may be achievable for me to apply myself to an interest and become talented at it. It may not be that I have no aptitude for math, but rather, I labeled myself as being bad at it from an early age and don’t put effort into trying to master it. When a difficult math problem is facing me, I just throw up my hands and say “sorry, I’m terrible at math” without ever trying.
Trying to find the meaning behind things gives me a sense of comfort. That I had to go through certain hardships to get to the place I am today. That I must have been entitled to the good things that have happened to me because I’m a good person. But then I see how not so great people just seem to get everything they want. It just isn’t fair sometimes when you try so hard for something and just can’t make it happen.
Every day is a struggle for me. I have a hard time making myself get out of bed and face another day. I’m always dreading what bad news the day will bring. I’m a worst case scenario type of person. If there is something that can go wrong, it probably will and I will spend every moment leading up to it worrying that it will. And even if things do happen to turn out right, I have still spent all this time and energy worrying that they weren’t, that I can’t even really be that happy when they do turn around. I shortchange myself from a lot of happiness by focusing on the negative.
I should really be more optimistic. It’s just so hard to keep being denied the things you try for.
I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to determine what the point of life is. If there is a purpose to it, the meaning has been lost on me. My surmise on the purpose of human existence is bleak and unsatisfying. I have no hope of afterlife or greater scheme to rely on for my emotional fulfillment.
Having faith is something I’ve never been able to quite grasp. I spent a great deal of my life going to a Pentecostal church while I was growing up. I was never comfortable there, I typically sat by myself and observed the services and other people. Now, if you’re not familiar with Pentecostal churches, the one I attended was not a long-skirt wearing, snake-handling type of church, however, they did believe in speaking in tongues and being “slain in the spirit” which consists of falling lifeless on the ground for an undetermined amount of time which usually ended conveniently when the music started to fade away, right on cue.
I saw how the ebb and flow of the worship music gradually took the congregation on a self induced emotional roller coaster. Lyrics embedded with suggestive themes of painful memories that Jesus would take away for you. I could tear apart every person in there and see where their emotional damage was based on what broke them down.
I’ve read books about what exactly happens in your brain when you engage in a so-called spiritual experience and I do believe there are legitimate feelings of relief and euphoria that can happen for a person in that setting. The same feelings that can be invoked through meditation without relying on an invisible being to make you feel better.
Maybe I’m jaded. I’ve seen behind the scenes of what happens in those churches when the doors are locked (I worked there for a few years as a secretary right after high school). I saw too many “Sunday Christians” and hypocrites. There were some genuinely good people there as well, but I feel like they are the type of people that would be good-natured with or without a god watching over their shoulders.
So, without faith, I’m left to determine my own purpose in my life. I choose a life of decency and simple joys. I can’t think of a better way to spend my life than to live it.
There’s something magical about the night time. It’s the time when creative expression flows most freely. I love staying up late and spending hours looking at the stars. When I lived near Chicago, there were a few stars visible. You could see the big dipper and a few constellations in the sky. When I moved down to Kentucky, I saw billions of stars. I could see the milky way. I didn’t even know that it was visible with the naked eye. I could see planets. It was really amazing, it looked like a Discovery Channel special.
I’ve been going outside a lot at night and it’s pretty far in the country down here, so all you hear are nature sounds. Crickets, frogs, owls, coyotes. I never thought I’d enjoy being out in the country, but it’s pretty amazing to be able to go outside and have a little fire and do nothing for a while.
I think as I get older, my main goal in life has changed to be ‘do as much nothing as possible’. I’m so unmotivated to be a “productive member of society” and work a 9-5 job that I really don’t like. I want to make things with my hands and sell them online or something. I want to create.
Anyway, back to night time. As I’ve spent all this extra time lately out in nature at night, I’ve noticed something kind of amazing: there is an energy at night in the atmosphere. It feels like there is something hidden just beneath the surface that you just can’t see. A buzz, almost electric.
As to what it is, I can only speculate, but the night sky has been an important part of almost every religion ever documented. What is it about the night that invokes a spiritual feeling in some people?
I want to believe that energy continues to manifest itself after a person has died. I think that is not only because I have had experiences that are unexplainable, but because I want to believe in a consciousness posthumous. I don’t necessarily believe that there are full blown apparitions walking around, but there are definitely things that can be felt that are unexplainable by science and that people have varying degrees of sensitivity to their existence.
I continue to search for my own degree of understanding of this life and the point of existence, but my ever-skeptical nature usually brings me back to questioning things and dismissing anything that would be more hopeful than rational. And that’s a shame, because believing in magic is much harder now than it was when I was a teenager. It’s sad how the life we choose deadens us to the every day miracle that is our existence and level of consciousness.
I’ve always had an interest in learning about other religions and the answers they try to suggest for the afterlife. None of it has ever struck me as being anything other than wishful thinking. I guess it’s best just to make the most out of what we know there is and to never stop asking questions.
Bff’s! bf&me, Horus, “One-eyed Kitty” (she really only has one eye), and Harley the Adventure Kitty. Side note: Cats are not nice to each other as pictured even though Harley is the other one’s mom.
I wasn’t looking for it and that made it all the more compelling when I found it. I had decided that love was this overly glamorized notion in chick flicks that was never really obtainable. Something you convince yourself you are in while things are new and exciting, before you really know the nuances of the person you’re with. A thing that slowly fades from being adrenaline inducing to being something mundane.
I was not prepared for what happened. It hit me like a ton of bricks the night I met him. I just knew that I loved him, there was no denying it. Although I didn’t know many actual facts about him, I could feel that his soul was beautiful and good and that I was drawn to him by something indescribable. I knew that if I never spoke to him again, I would be crushed.
We met again and again, seeing each other every single day even though it was a substantial drive for either of us. Things moved so quickly but I never once questioned it. I knew it was what I wanted, it just felt right. Like it was supposed to be and we were just catching up to where we should be by now.
Suffice it to say that I am still, two-thirds of a year later, ridiculously in love with him. Something I’ve never felt with another person. Now, it’s not been all romantic nights under the stars. In fact, We’ve had to go through some pretty rough things, both externally and internally. Things that would normally have been enough for such a new relationship to end. We both have had bad days and each other’s emotional baggage to deal with, but it’s never been questioned whether it was worth it. Of course it was.
It’s never been so effortless to stay in that euphoric state of mind when you’re with somebody for me. I see cheesy love quotes scattered around Facebook and when I read them, I get a big smile and have that moment of feeling like I’m in on the secret and I know exactly what they are talking about.
Well, I’m in deep as they say. That’s definitely something I’m happy about.
I try believe in things that seem impossible to believe. I want to be that girl who has her stuff together and living her ideal life. I want to believe that everything will work out fine if I’m patient. I want to believe in two people staying in love for a lifetime. These things are not really impossible, but they seem like such a far away thing to obtain for me.
Love has been a tricky thing for me to define. There’s the love that you have for family, which should be deep as we are told to believe, but I really feel neutral towards most of my family. There’s the love of your child or your pet, I like this type of love the most because it is unconditional and without expectation. There’s loving a friend, which always felt fake to me because I’ve never had a real connection with any of my so called best friends. Not to say that I don’t care about them, I just think “love” isn’t the right word.
Then there’s the most traditional type of love, the relationship love. When you meet someone who you don’t hate and agree to go out with more than once, you develop these feelings for whether you truly know them yet or not. You take some liberties by filling in the places you don’t know how they are about things and you fill them in with whatever good qualities you see in that person often telling yourself that they are a better person than they are.
I’ve been the girl who responded “I love you, too” to boyfriends when I didn’t mean it and I wish I could take it back as soon as I’ve said it. If I told them that I really felt nothing towards them but didn’t want to be alone, it may have been a little awkward. I’ve spent most of the time I’ve been in relationships going through the motions of what people are supposed to do when they are in love.
I thought that those two old people in love were really just good at tolerating each other for a long time and that there was nothing that special about it. Just when I had finished my divorce, had my few girl’s nights out and a slew of terrible first dates with people from dating websites and had pretty much given up on finding something better that what I had found so far, something amazing happened…
I have a habit of getting lost in my own thoughts. I could literally spend hours on end doing absolutely nothing. Sometimes, I couldn’t even tell you what I was thinking about because I just feel thoughts with no english words constricting them to definitions. Other times, I just think in random chains of thoughts and end up wondering what it would be like if I could talk to animals.
I tend, more often than not, to go to dark places when I daydream. I’ve had my fair share of difficult experiences in my life and as many years that have passed, I’m still waiting for time to heal all wounds. What a load of crap. Some scars never fade away and you can try to not look at them, but when you do, you can feel that pain again, just as real feeling as the time it happened.
I suppose, at the end of the day, it’s those experiences that shape who we are. So maybe I should be grateful that I have a unique perspective on life. It took me over a quarter of a century to really understand who I am. I’ve never been able to fit myself neatly into one little category of social cliques and that has always made it difficult for me to feel like part of a group. There are things I have in common with or interests that span a wide array of social groups. That might have made me more of a social butterfly, but I’m painfully introverted, so it often left me feeling insufficient.
Maybe it’s because I haven’t had much practice talking to people that I have such a hard time doing it now. I feel more comfortable sending a text than calling a friend and I never leave voice mails. Luckily, I happen to have been born in a time that the Internet and texting is socially acceptable or I would have to be a recluse.
I have had better friendships with people I have never met and keep in touch with via outlets like Facebook or Snapchat than people I would have to interact with in person. I find it easier to express myself through written word than verbally. I usually find myself stumbling over words and unsure of how to keep conversations going. Even with people I’m relatively comfortable with, I’ve always tried to put on my game face and act cooler than I really am.
I over-analyze everything. Somehow, in my head, I can turn a simple off-the-cuff remark into an insult. It’s quite the talent, really. I have to understand what it is that a person wants from me before I can let my guard down, even a little. I want to believe that people are mostly good, but my experience has been that most people are selfish, vindictive hedonists with no regard for others.
So, that leaves me with the question of how to move forward and open myself to new ideas and experiences without keeping myself so guarded and unable to learn and grow. I can’t continue to anticipate the past and expect a different future. I realize that keeping myself so distant from everything kept me from being able to experience a lot of good things, not just shielding myself from the bad.
So, here’s to finding the good in life. It would be a shame if this life is all there is and I ended up spending the majority of it feeling isolated and depressed. I’d much rather be the girl that I am when no one else is around.