Category Archives: Habits

On Overcoming Rivals

On Overcoming Rivals

I never thought of myself as a competitive person because I saw how much more competitive many others were than me.  I never cared to win much at sports or other “see who is best” events.  Maybe it was because the effects of losing didn’t last long or I’d just rather not dive to the ground just to keep a ball in the air.  Regardless, I did engaged in my own competitions from time to time, but they weren’t always so sportly structured.

Often my rivals were simply my friends in school.  We were all trying our best to get good grades and we were all in the same boat when it came to intelligence, so it was often a close call.  I only had to win by a few inches, not cram for a whole mile.

Other rivals were family members of a similar age vying for attention or adoration from the adults, which we were never actually starved for.

These competitions were constant throughout childhood.  As I got older and became aware of these behaviors, I realized that the scars I was accumulating and causing were not longer a result of healthy competition.  It was down right mean.

Though all of this I always thought of myself as a nice person.  I was at heart a people pleaser to the point where I put other people’s wants above my own.  But I wasn’t fully a nice person.  I inflicted social pain on others when they didn’t even know there was a competition.  I felt triumphant when I finally felt better than a specific person.

Then I looked back and realized that they were just being themselves, reacting to the world, looking for a friend.  Here I was jealous of their natural advantages, needing to prove myself when my friend just stood there defeated by my behavior.

Its been over 10 years since I had this realization.  I’ve since made new friends who were so beyond my own situation in life that I felt no need to compete.  We are simply not comparable because we play life in completely different arenas with completely different rules.  We can simply talk about life and try to understand each other without one-upping.

I still encounter my old rivals, often with compassion and guilt over having “beat” them when they were already too far down to fight.  Others, I just avoid, having never settled the score.

The bad friend

The bad friend

I am a bad friend.

All her friends have always said so.

When she was nine, her best friend told her she was a bad friend because she wore glasses.

When she was 12, a friend told her she was bad because her braces and mouth retainer made her breath smell.

When she was 15, she was a bad friend for standing up for her boyfriend.

When she was 18, she was a bad friend for not being friends with a girl she hadn’t spoken to in two years.

When she was 21, she was a bad friend for not saying hello to a friend of a friend who really needed people to be nice to her.

When she was 24, she was a bad friend for not keeping in contact for the few weeks she went home to help her dad recover from heart surgery.

When she was 27, she wasn’t a bad friend because she had given up on having friends.

When she was 30 she was a bad friend for always calling another friend in the evening after a few drinks.

At least she’s got a few years before someone blames her for trying to be friends with them.

On being alone in the world

On being alone in the world

No matter how much we surround ourselves with people, animals, and thoughts of religious deities who validate our existence, we are indeed alone in life.  We rationalize the opposite instinctively.

It is a survival mechanism to utilize the imagination.  Without imagination we’d all be in loony bins because it is a shock to the system to see that no help is coming and there is far more to fall before we hit bottom.  Once we’ve reached the limits of our capabilities and related control over our life situation, there is nothing more than hope that Fortuna, the goddess of fortune and luck, will cruise in and sway her tiller in more a fortunate direction for us.

The fortune of humans.  Being in the right place at the right time does require showing up, but no guarantee that you’ll ever actually get there.

“When your prospects for the future solely depend on luck, you know you’ve screwed up.”  I quote myself.  I believe it to be true that luck lies in the realm of the gods, those mystical creatures who never show themselves to us in their true form. People pry and worship because they are at our lowest of lows and have exhausted all capabilities within ourselves to further our self-created cause.  If this is you, you are low.

Failure is a harsh term at times because it is usually attributed to personal failure as if it was someone’s fault.  In reality, failure is the world’s fault.  This person, a creation of this world, somehow was genetically programed to pursue a dead end cause.

There is a parasite in the Amazon jungle that reproduces by attaching itself to a specific ant specie.  These ants typically fallow along normal army ant (get food, build ant hill, attack enemy) behavior on the ground. Once this parasite attaches itself to the ant, suddenly the ant (for no genetic reason of its own) climbs a specific type of leaf growing off the Amazon floor and dies.  The parasite lays its eggs inside the ant’s body and when the eggs hatch, they eat the leaf before finding ants of their own to commandeer.

It would be great if my failed career attempts could so easily be attributed to a parasitic demon that drives me on adventures all over the world that consequentially spiral me into years of debt repayment AKA indentured servitude, but in reality, it is just me, in my head doing whatever it takes to make myself feel good, alone.

 

On shooting yourself in the foot

On shooting yourself in the foot

Yesterday I faced myself as a loser, today I’ve accepted that I’m actually not very smart.  When I go at my own pace and can sort through dilemmas and problems in my own logical order, I make good decisions.  Toss in time constraints and add some pressure and my decision making skills leave me flat on my ass.

The heat suddenly turned up and I started seeing a mirage.  The devil showed me an image of everything I ever wanted and by pointing myself toward his smoke and mirrors, I shot myself in the foot.

The devil is gone and with him went the perfectly good opportunity I tricked myself into not wanting.  So I sit here no further along in my search than when I started just more bored and pissed at my situation.

Yes there are things to do and ways to pass time and keep busy.  But after a few credentials I’ve realized that there is no golden ticket.  All my work has gotten me no where more than to a place where I still make bad decisions under pressure.

 

 

 

On mediocre talent

On mediocre talent

Most of us have it.  There are many things we are all good at, or rather, good enough at.  I don’t know if it is better to not be interested in anything, or constantly know enough to know how much more there is to know.  Knowing is a great burden on the curious.  A catch-22.  To not know carries just as heavy of a darkness as knowing what you don’t know or can’t do.

At any given time we can answer to ourselves for our faults.  We know what more we can do to brighten our minds and condition our spirits, yet we also know what the world has thus far been unwilling to allow us to do.  These two contradictions spur us into mobile inaction, and insanity state where we cannot move forward in our personal growth and we are bold and persistent enough to not regress, so we just keep doing what we can do.

The mental overload from this obsessive think-tank “can-do” attitude is mind numbing.  Attempts to break out and actually network into some great dream, which we have meticulously envisioned thousands of times over, always end with just more free time pondering what went wrong.

We blame ourselves for being too passionate, too much ourselves, or too much of not what other people are looking for.

In reality, there are a lot of talented-enough people.  It is the bell curve.  The dream of finally being the best and earning enough money to continue being the best is most likely going to be interrupted by the alarm clock.  “Time to start another day.”  Cinderella was one of the few who was saved, and it wasn’t because of talent.

 

 

On Money

On Money

Greed.  That word, that sinful word.  It’s meaning is out of style, like the idea that college is the key to success.  Everyone knows it, yet people keep throwing money at it.  Appealing to a persons sense of greed is the best way to scam money out of them.  They know that greed is bad and their self flagulative instincts don’t want a lashing!

There is nothing wrong with wanting money.  It is the only tangible proof that I existed during all those hours of modern day slavery, modern day “show up and do what we tell you, or else!”  It is slavery, because I go through all of this in life to get by and then, at the end, I am faced with a green image of me in the mirror.   An image telling me that I shouldn’t have wanted this because now I am greedy.

It isn’t the afterlife that will haunt you.  Christians got it wrong, they want to ignore too much.  There is much more going on.  They want you to stay in the bubble of purity where you won’t feel the harshness since you will have done no so-called wrong.  Feel it, for is exists.  I have greed, I have hunger, I want more because I don’t have enough.  If I tried to hide it it would show up in some other way, probably on my hips.  If I had enough, and still wanted more, then the more negative connotation could apply, but, most people I know are not there, yet they are referred to as greedy.  This is a problem because they feel that they are asking for too much, yet they have not asked for enough because they fear being labeled as greedy.

Don’t be greedy, give!  Get our numbers high!

The mirror trap

The mirror trap

There you are, chatting about the past.  Answering honestly questions about how you perceived things happening.  Suddenly the questioner doesn’t like how you saw things and begins to argue that it didn’t happen that way.  They see the most negative extreme of what you said and you meant something judgmentally void of right and wrong.  In an attempt to keep clarifying, you realize that it is going nowhere and just as you are about to give up on the conversation, they throw shit at you: “Well it isn’t like you never did something stupid?”

Suddenly your eyes narrow, your throat wells up and you’re pissed.  “We weren’t talking about me, sooo what does that have to do with what we were talking about?” you ask.

“I’m just saying….”  the other party continues looking smug.

I try to retrace the conversation aloud with the person to figure out where I missed a turn but they are so dead set on putting me down that they refuse to map out the logic.  My mind races to map it out alone before the emotion wells up enough to take away my voice.

step one: she asked my opinion

step two: I gave it to her, she seemed fine until I said that one thing

step three: I kept clarifying and she couldn’t see that what I said was just a neutral observation.

step four: the tables turned and now I am under fire.

step five: escape!

In reality I said something she didn’t agree with and instead of staying on topic, she was offended and responded with a verbal jab.  I guess what I thought to be truthful common knowledge actually wasn’t.  I so unknowingly offended her first and she fought fire with fire.

Moral of the story: don’t use examples that include the person you are talking to… use examples about other people instead.  If they are still offended by that, then just don’t answer their questions anymore.

 

On what it all keeps coming down to

On what it all keeps coming down to

It isn’t what people say at the beginning of a conversation that is on their minds.  Wait for it.  The bread and butter will reveal itself.  I know this because I know my own mind.  It never stops living.  My life is a mere continuation of my dreams, but in my waking life I are often interrupted by simple things such as people talking to me, cars needing to be driven, work needing to be done, and bodies needing to be taken care of.  In my sleep there is no stopping the thoughts, they manifest to their fullest without remorse or guilt for any harm or discomfort they cause me.  But I don’t mind, I like to roam free.  In watching my thoughts, I am able to see through the layers by not getting stuck on one topic, so for a second, I get a glimpse of what is bothering me way underneath it all.  Under those layers are the things I wouldn’t say until I was deep into the conversation.  Under the layers are the situations that I wish never happened, the things I wish I could take back, and the things I wish would leave me alone.  I see those issues there, but seeing is all I can do.  If I pull out a topic from the roots and thus finally rid myself of its nagging existence, another topic will fill into that spot.  The process is endless because the spots are always there, grasping issues to apply its emotions to.  Seeing through the layers, clearing them off, and restructuring was just the beginning.  It is overwhelming to climb what you thought was the tallest peak only to finally see how many more mountains are ahead of you.  It is the space they layers fill that needs adjustment.  How to adjust them, I don’t yet know.  From here I cannot see how deep they go because the surface life covers them for most of my day.  When the surface life is very smooth and thick, it crates a nice trail to follow that makes me not think about the foundation built below.  Maybe this is because the deep layers really do not matter so long as life is in order.  So I guess this one comes down to this:  When life is good, don’t spoil the fun.

On Work

On Work

An interesting topic to be find myself writing about on a Saturday night, but writing about it seems to be the only way to get it off my mind.  Rework worries me.  I realize that rework is a fact of life and the power to completely eliminate it often is not mine, but It makes me lose confidence in myself.  Since I my current personal goal is to identify and work through all the situations that cause me yo lose confidence in myself, I must focus on rework.

Rework makes me feel like shit.  Like every time something is passed back it is because of some fault of my own and I know that is not true.  It isn’t always my fault and it doesn’t matter whether or not it is anyone’s fault.  But I often blame myself, not cognitively.  The emotional tidal wave hits first, leaving my mind to clean up the wreckage.  It is a mess.  When rework is presented to me I make all sorts of strange comments like, “I thought I checked that.”  I have internal fears that like to suck glory from rework.  Every question someone asks become so sort of validation of my fears.  Luckily I am able to beat my fears off with sticks and direct conversations with superiors (who always tell me I’m doing a good job), but it took years of being exposed to the work world to get this far in my social understanding of the workplace.

I want to be better, and I think the only way to be better is to really take inventory of how often I am given rework and note whether or not it was an error of my own or a defect in the task process.  Also it would help to note how often I procrastinate and subsequently forget what I put off.  Sigh… it never ends….

 

On feeling like I’ve done something wrong

On feeling like I’ve done something wrong

There are just so many rules in social life to follow… too many rules!  I know them all so well that I am aware of many many opportunities to to break them, but I don’t break them on the world stage.  Instead I break them in my mind.  I play out the entire scene for my own amusement and often detriment.  Generally the penalty for breaking social rules is embarrassment.  If perchance you happen to not get embarrassed then people go out of their way to explain why you should be embarrassed while giving you those looks meant to teach children to behave and conform.  Having broken many social rules, I am conditioned to be highly aware of rules, so aware that I automatically leave social gatherings with a feeling that I did something wrong.  It is an automatic response that typically lasts until I finish reviewing the event for validation of the feeling.  On a good day this feeling doesn’t bother me, but if I have been stressed, hungover, or not feel particularly well, my ability to deflect irrational thoughts decreases and I become unable to shake it off.  Dwelling in these irrational thoughts only makes me feel worse.  Awareness of what is going on helps but doesn’t fully cure my episode of despair.  All I can do is hope that my general sense of well-being returns to brighten my day.