Fear’s Surpise Party

I felt it again. The depths of my breath’s storage, the rapidity of my heartbeat tracing the hole it is trying to cut on my chest’s surface to escape, the loss of vision and appearance of stars, and a desperate desire to find my inner peace. This desire might have done me more harm than good.

Even now, I do not dare say where the panics of this day came from. Introspectal analyses of my brain claim it stems from a fear of commitment, and from a heavy concern for my father’s wellbeing. Another reasoning that can add to that is that the turbulence is heavy at the moment, with the strife for the job I thought to have lost earlier still going on, and with another project not abandoned.

But the cause is only one part of the problem: dealing with it, handling the fear, that is what is going to make me a stronger man.

The surprise of the panics today instantly were met by a confident soul, who felt that it was within his own ability to handle the reactions his body was exuding. He could do this, he knew that, all he had to do was focus on the roots of the pits, and ‘accept’ it. My meditational skills have been growing for months, and I truly thought that I could rely on my mindfulness to save me from this ambush.

But I was wrong.

As I sat down, and felt the pumping of my heart suddenly begin to fall invisible to my senses, I could feel the helplesness rise. Where I would have earlier just observed my heartrate, now, I suddenly could not find it amidst the chaos my body was experiencing, adding more fire to the fuel: suddenly, I was meditating to change my body. I wasn’t thinking straight, having lost the sense of familiarity I used to have with fear, and was now desperately trying to swim against the waves. This was me relying on body-focus, not meditation.

My mind flashed back to words of comfort, seeking memories of psychologist, trying to find what she would have said in this scenario. I realized I already knew the answer, but I was too occupied by the shock to listen to it.

Meditation and mindfulness is not the only action required. 

I forget that I am a person who is living a life, who has daily things to do, who has rest and peace. I have a far way to go until I can finally achieve my inner peace, but that should not hinder my progress in life. Rather than putting all the emphasis on meditation, it was vital to accept that I was afraid…and just keep doing what I was going to do. Rather than allowing the fear to take center stage and stop my actions, to continue, to watch movies, to play, to hug, to walk, to do anything but waste too much attention on the fear, is to overcome.

And I forgot that for a while. But a lesson learned is better than a lesson not being learned at all, and I have a feeling that I have finally taken these words to heart. God knows when the next will occur that I will have to face off with such a strong force, but when it comes, I will know better than this time.

Anger’s Trail

Sometimes, you got to ask yourself: “Am I still respecting myself enough to go through with this? Has there just been a moment where the line was crossed, and my patience has been past tested? Is there any justification to keep on experiencing this anger?” I understand that my anger is on the forefront, batting the letters away on the keyboard. I have nothing to vent my agression on, and that is not a good thing.

It always comes back to that one friend. His words, his demeanour, and his demeaning. The words in fantasies of me firing back against his angry lashes always abandon me in the time of need, replaced by fear and anxiety when the time comes to use them. I understand that currently maintaining a habit of simulating ‘fighting’ scenarios is harmful to my mental health, and is counter-productive for my lifestyle change of improving my life. I understand that getting angry and personal about this fight is also not doing me any favours: but I can’t let this go on as if nothing is go on, being insulted, commanded around, as if I am someone’s slave instead of someone’s equal.

I won’t stand for that. The mindful parts of my mind is telling me that I can let go of that anger, and that is exactly what I intend to do. But I want to let this be clear to me: I will not accept a present where I tolerate the behaviour of being someone’s subordinate, nor should I owe anyone anything. This is not only about my short-tempered friend, but about anyone in my life: if someone insults me, or disrespects me, I will have to point to this person that I do not tolerate it.

Me and anger have a rough relationship. I have difficulty accepting it, but I should. The fact that something like that has made me sufficiently angry, diswarrants whether I am right or not: if it made me angry, then I should say something about it.

Nevermind now, it is too late to say anything about it now. I am not thinking of the next time something like this happens again, because I am certain that it is unnecessary. This is just a reminder to respect myself.

Betray or Ally?

When I applied for the job, I held a dream about it in my chest. Visions, where puzzles in the form of coding were approached every minute, and solving them was done by using the brain like I would in a puzzle video-game. This dream became more real when I was accepted, not for my knowledge but for my personality, and I enforced it’s validity by throwing myself into the depths of web development. What became clear to me once I was working on learning new techniques and knowledge, was that I actually enjoyed it a lot, and that this was definitely the right direction to work towards to.

That is why it pains me to give up the job now. It pains me because I realize that this was an excellent opportunity to acquire some experience in the field, and to find another such opportunity is going to be hoping and taking every chance I can get. Regardless of whether I will find another job soon, at least one thing he stuck with me: I now know the direction of where I want to end up eventually.

There is no thing that can be done about it. The cause was a righteous one, but my reasoning for quitting the job may have come from a forced position. A responsibility, disguised as a decision, was placed before me, and I realized I was going to be the poor lamb to accept it. Nobody would hear my objection, nobody really cared, because the cause was far more important than me getting a job. It is not false, I won’t object to the importance of why I had to give it up, and the only reason why I can’t ignore the expectations is because I care for this ’cause’ as much as the rest do. Chosing between my father’s happiness and a job was not something I dared fail in. However, had the decision not been placed in front of me, I wouldn’t have been so angry about it in the first place.

There is much space on this white canvas to write about the anger that rose up in me, and the difficult feelings that rose up inside of me. A harmless message, something meant to help my father…but a message with a backtone of command, strong enough to bind me to the purpose of the message without any resistance. In a flash, it was as if the moment I read that message, my cancellation of the job had already been written formally and signed with my own handwriting: all I would have to do is send out the message and be done with it. Perhaps I could have argued, I could have told them all that there was no way I could oblige: but I knew deep down that I had to do what was best.

I had to make a mature decision.

Life is not fair, so it is pointless to argue otherwise. I see that the anger I hold inside myself should not be directed at anything but the unfortune that has hit me today. My father is not to blame, the people who set me up to help him are not to blame and I am not to blame either. What I have taken out of this experience, is that I have not lost my humanity, that I care enough about the people around me to sacrifice enough to see them happy…but most of all, that I am now in a world where the decisions I make can shape it up.

The rest is history. The newest scenario will involve me trying to find a new job, and to overcome this obstacle again. But what I have succeeded in doing once, I can do again.

Hero-Not

This year has turned out to be a challenging year for some of the closest people to me. My girlfriend, the Ukrainian Beauty, is experiencing what I would like to call ‘the deepest pit’ of her life, while simultaneously, my father is facing 56 year-old demons in hopes of becoming a different person. Their struggles seem unrelated, but in truth, they are two and the same problems, with me being the biggest factor they have in common.

The role I promised to take in this situation was supposed to be a hero, a saviour destined to drive them forward into victory. But through time, I have learned an important lesson which has shown me that it is best to sometimes let nature run its course. My former urges to fight for control over something unrelated to me was in truth both harmful for myself and for the other party involved. When it comes to my girlfriend, I realized a few months ago that I can’t be a column in her life; I can’t allow her to rely on me for her happiness. That is not healthy for her, nor is it a sane thing to build up on my back. No matter how much I feel the need to fix this situation, I have accepted that I can’t save her from the condition she is suffering, nor is it my place to save her. If I wasn’t to be saved by some mystery hero back when I needed her, then she has to be saved by none other than herself the same.

While I have decided on my decision, it still gnaws at me that the first girl I loved in this context, is experiencing a pain I can’t do anything about. The fact rests that I have accepted my role, but that doesn’t make the task of being with a severely depressed person any easier. Had I backed off the extent my father pointed to me back when I told him about her condition, I might have not been affected by it so much, but the truth is that I think and worry almost every day whether she still draws enough breath. Writing those words hurt, because neither I nor she wants to believe that she is in a such an intense position of self-harm, but I can’t shape the forms of my thoughts.

My anxiety over her mental sanity has enough right to exist. The difference, however, between what I used to do about this anxiety months ago, and now, is what allows me to still focus on other aspects of my life, and enjoy the beauties of the small wonders. Something my father asked me today, was, how an individual can still enjoy the present moment, even when his foot is broken for example. I answered him truthfully: “You don’t look forward to the moment when the pain is gone, but live and experience the current positives while acknowledging the sting of the pain.” Father still has difficulty understanding the core of the answer, no matter how often he hears the answer to this. Honestly, his reaction reminds me of how I did when I read vague and abstract answers like these. But now that I have stuck, and continued with the art of practicing my awareness, the answers have lost their maze-like instructions, and seem a lot more clear to me.

In a sense, the analogy of living life to its fullest while living with a broken foot, is what living life with any problem is, from my perspective. Perhaps it comes across as cocky or pretentious, but I enjoy the message the answer contains. Perhaps one day, I might find a way to help the people around me in a meaningful, but I don’t see the need to spend needless energy into pointless activity such as worrying: I would rather spend it on something that can actually make a difference.

You don’t get to experience the good and beautiful parts of it while picking at the problems you can’t solve: you accept them, and give chase to more promising thoughts.

The Color of Yourself

Where do I start?

False promises. I have made them often enough, broken them without shame, held no responsibility over them until it was too late to learn from their failures. Writing words on a canvas has served as a way to understand fleeting thoughts, be it to act on those thoughts, or to just alleviate some of the stress. There is no need to repeat what I tell time and again, because it has lost its meaning a year ago. I am not the writer I used to be, not a man who has his life details resting away on its own palace on the internet.

But maybe I can aspire to become something like that again. If I speak truthly, I have no regrets for not having posted frequently as I used to. Just because I was not documenting the changes I have been going through these last months, does not mean that I have remained at the same position, chained by my ankles disallowed to continue. Had this inactivity happen a year ago, then I would have probably spiralled into a new depression, and disregarded all my important values and goals. I would have claimed that I can’t do it, and perhaps some day, I will be strong enough to continue. These words were not said because I meant them or believed them, but because I needed a valid excuse to be scared of change.

I never wanted to confront my issues. Confronting your own demons means opening yourself up to become vulnerable to failure. And say for example, you lose? I believed that that could extinguish the weak candle of hope I held in my bouncing heart, something I believed was the only reason I would not fall into deep depression. I had always believed that someday, a man would take over my body; a man with enough willpower, discipline, motivation and understanding to lead myself to victory. In instances where life began to actually feel suffocating, I had begged for this man to come and to silently suffocate the last gust of air my ‘weak’ self.

But miracles don’t usually happen, no matter how bad you actively dream about it. Because that is what every achievement boils down to: do you dream about it, or do you strive towards it? And I had only been writing and dreaming about being a person who needs nothing else to rely on but himself. The idea seemed like a trope stolen from one of my favorite shows, something only strong characters could utilize like my heroes. But I am no Batman, and the idea of being a mental human who knows his own limits enough to trust himself, was only a fake belief I had. This is the bottleneck I ran into for so many years.

I would have stayed at the same place in my mental space, had nothing changed. Perhaps now, I would have been writing about how I was going to make it count this time, how I just need to ‘keep going’ and ‘fight against all odds’. The post would have been a rehash of the first 2 years of my blog, and not a lesson would have been learned about how to actually deal with personal issues. This would have happened now, but, it hasn’t.

I genuinely feel different. A sentence I always said to specify a specific difference in my personality, be it short-lived or promisingly long-term. I must confess that I am thinking often about the changes that have been taken place over the last 5 months, but unfortunately, I just don’t understand the differences all too well. These months have been the tipping point in my attitude towards obstacles and negative emotions, and because of that, the only comparable feeling I can think of right now is as if a rug has been pulled out from under me. It all happened so gradually, that I didn’t raise any awareness towards this difference until the paradigm was already shifted. No longer do I feel any need to panic whenever a situation appears where I lose control. Bigger fears and daunting tasks don’t intice me to shiver any longer.

It felt, for a lack of a better analogue, as if I woke up one day and I realized I suddenly had become Spider-man. The reason for this difference has turned out to be something so simple, I wonder why I have not undergone this earlier: mindfulness. Understanding our own emotions, and the way our body reacts to these thoughts, is the key to self-accepting our inbred personality and faults. Fighting something that is part of my nature is exactly what made life and progress so difficult, but once that was stopped, the difficulty changed.

Accepting fears, learning to live with them, understanding and trusting my own thoughts: all of this has led up to a person with more confidence than he has ever had. Talking to people does not feel as scary any longer, moments of panic are handled with love and care, and people do not seem as ugly as they used to. I have started to see all the ugly thoughts in my head as they came by, and I accepted them as my own life as well. By accepting myself, I have opened the path to loving myself, and through that, loving others.

There is room for much growth in my life. I am on the highway towards becoming a web developer, and I have not been as determined in achieving something in a long time. This is my current long-term goal, and I won’t shy away from it. No obstacles will hold me for long. But knowledge and purpose is not the only factor that deserves attention. No matter how satisfied my social skills may feel now, I have traits and characteristics that need attention. I may have stated earlier that I must accept who I am, but ugly characteristics that have grown in over the years can be erased. One quality, specifically, stands out to me: being a gossiper. Other people’s secrets are not my domain to explore, and if they must tell me something, then I must respect their secret.

I hope that I may learn to enjoy writing again, as I used to. Perhaps I will fall out of it again, perhaps I will stay and learn my place again by the blog: whatever happens, happens, and there is no need to beat myself up over it.

It does feel good to be back. I have missed this.

Believing in Myself

My meditation is a new cornerstone in my life; one that urges me to drop expectations and regrets, to focus on what actions I do in the moment, and to accept what cannot be changed. There is a quote I incredibely like, relating to how I see the direction meditation is steering me towards.

Life is like the wind on the sea. It is not up to us to try to change the direction of the wind, but to adjust our sails to travel with the wind.

I have been adjusting myself as water does, trying to make myself flexible with every situation. If there was something I wouldn’t like, I would just meditate and focus on the things that made me like myself. In actuality, the majority of my worries and disinterest in going somewhere is because I just don’t feel like I trust myself, nor like myself. Used to be, that when the peaks came, and I grew comfortable in my role and skin, it only took one setback or disappointment to resent the persona and to go back to the unknown.

But I find this setback to not cause this much offense to me this time around. As I have started to feel more acceptant of the person I really am, I came to realize that it is not my responsibility to make others like me. I am a natural joker, story-teller, but I am also a listener, and that is just how it is. Trying to resist my own nature does not go together with my own life’s motto, so why bother? If people don’t like the personality, then they must carry on further and find someone else.

An Update after Dropping the Blog

Weeks go by where I don’t let signs of my life be known, days where I change my minds and priorities, hours where I lose and find myself. This blog and I are not part of the same mind, differing in priorities and experiences. In my most vital and influential times, I have been absent from my typewriter, be it for better or worse. There is nothing I can do about that. But what I can do, is restart the clock, change the initial information, and put forth the situation and obstacles I am in right now.

So, welcome back to my life. I am Johnny, a twenty year-old student. Currently, my life is booming in directions I need it to go, and the things I used to want are not my dreams any longer: they are reality, and have been replaced by more recent desires. The fears that plague me are still there, but I am dealing with them with awareness and meditation: two tools that have influenced my outlook on everything the last couple of months. But let’s start at the beginning of this new self.

All of what I am now started months ago, in January. I remember the start of my meditations, how little it gave and provided. I was a slave to everyone except my own goals, thrown around and around to do other’s small biddings. There was no question of respect then, no doubt about what role I played and whether that role was harmful or harmless to my self-respect. Whatever it was that I was doing, it was not for myself or for me, and when it was, it wasn’t for my own long-term benefit. I only knew how to escape or how to fear, but never on how to feel comfortable in the middle.

Come problems: problems regarding girlfriend’s personal life, regarding my own desires for relationships, regarding my own future, regarding my increasing and decreasing fears, regarding my lack of progress in life, basically creating a sink where all my fears would jump into. I wasn’t entirely sure on how to deal with them, but the constant that stayed with me throughout these endeavours was my meditation. Perhaps my meditation wasn’t executed as it was intended to, but it kept me pre-ocuppied and created a bubble of hope for a better future. This bubble would become a floating balloon to pull me out of the slump.

Sessions after sessions with the psychologist made one major thing clear to me: I didn’t accept. I did not accept my fears for what they were, and rather than letting them roam around, I opted to swim against the tide. The more times she found this to be true, the more it became obvious to me that I needed to change my responses to situations I did not like: I needed to become flexible. And not just flexible, I needed to accept the bad as natural reactions to all the bad happening to me. Honestly, even as I write this now, it feels much easier to call this a realization, but it wasn’t: I already knew this for years, yet, I never believed in it. And perhaps I still have my doubts about it. But what is not for me to doubt, is the peaceful and calm outlook I have on my own emotions and problems.

Problems get solved, people calm down, and I recognize what my head is telling me. The emotions have become more transparent, and the direction my thoughts try to steer me in are now not invisible to me any longer. This has allowed me to calm myself during dates, during fear-infused panic attacks, and even during a job interview I had a week ago. Interesting to say, my calmer personality reflects my own social skills better. The job interview went well, and they accepted me into their ranks: a first step towards becoming profficient in jobs.

My friendships have stopped being rotten. Rather than feeling like I am losing my friends, I have come to a comfortable point where I can keep them by just being as blunt and confident in my own abilities. Small worries in my personal life don’t stick with me long any more, for they are given no attention to grow: it seems like this improvement is what made me feel comfortable in my own skin.

So now, with that background-information out of the way, what exactly is my current goal? I don’t want to look at what is bad, because that only makes for a pessimistic and fearsome perspective on life: instead, let’s aim at what I am gonna work on next. For starters, I need to get my diet habit running again. While I study daily to improve my web development skills, the temptation of food still seems to get the best out of me. Along with that, I must keep my foot in the door of the company I work for now, so that I can learn more skills useful for my future as developer. Maintaining and improving my meditation is a vital line in my life, as well as keeping my love in my life and enjoying the friendships and relationships I see daily.