Sometimes just when you think you’ve got things figured out life rears its ugly head and decides it doesn’t like the idea of you doing so well. As a very introspective person, I thought I had a lot of, if not most of my inner demons figured out. All it took was one crazy happenstance to throw me for a loop and show me that I don’t have anything figured out. When you struggle with anxiety, and when I say struggle, I mean struggle to maintain sanity, it amplifies your insecurities and makes you fear and worry about things way more than you should. The ugly bastard that bit my leg and pulled me under this time was fear and feelings of inadequacy. When you have a very consistent track record of almost every person you let close enough to you that you become vulnerable hurting you, it’s only a matter of time before you start wondering if you’re the only common denominator. Between family members, friends, ex girlfriends, and even just romantic interests, I have been given the short of the stick more times than should be legal. Please don’t take this as a means to complain, but to potentially help those who don’t live anxiety on their shoulders understand better those who do. And for those of you who do live with it, maybe this will help you feel less alone. When something goes off course and doesn’t happen the way we expect and you feel that immediate sense of “Oh no, what if,” and your mind immediately goes to several worst case scenarios, that’s how anxiety works. It takes that little bit of worry or fear and cranks it to eleven and then asks you why you haven’t ordered a casket yet. This is in no way something I claim to have a hold on. This is one of my largest battles and flaws in life. Then of course there are those times where you finally talk yourself out of the fear and worry but then of course one of those worst case scenarios happens and then you get knocked back several steps. You start to wonder how you’re ever going to be able to talk yourself out of anything like that again. You start to wonder if you should even try. Is the fear of the possibility worse than the let down after hope gained? Anxiety is a cruel and heartless beast. It has no mercy and no sympathy for its victims. I never understood why people self-medicated before anxiety hit me as hard as it has. To all those who deal with this as well, I can’t tell you it for sure gets better, I can’t tell you that I can help, I can’t even tell you I know how to make it any better at all, but I can say that you’re not alone. What I can suggest is to find someone else who knows anxiety personally and talk to them about it. Trying to explain the effects of anxiety to anyone who hasn’t experienced it is like trying to describe colors to a color blind person. You can be as descriptive as you want, but some things can’t be understood without experience. Stay strong my friends. Don’t let it get the best of you and never let it keep you down. Always stand up in defiance.
People often times refer to America as being the greatest country in the world. By people, I mean of course, Americans. Now I could spew statistics or rankings all day but when it comes down to it, the problem is simple, it’s the people. The problem with being blindly confident that your country is the best in the world while having no real knowledge of why is that people become arrogant, cocky, and close minded. America is way behind several other countries in education, opportunity, and over all freedom. That’s right, freedom. The word that everyone wants to vomit out anytime they are met with a legitimate question or reason about why America simply isn’t the greatest anymore. Hell, it’s not even that great. America is way up on the list of number of incarcerated citizens per capita, national and person debt, number of obese citizens, and most allowed genetically modified food that has been proven harmful. One of the biggest problems with America is the intent behind which it was founded. People talk about our founding fathers being so great and America in its golden age being so much better than it is now, but was it? Columbus used the guise of religious conversion to gain funding and support on his exploration to this continent. He was told that the first man to physically see the new land would gain a new title and wealth. As it turns out the man who first saw the new land was killed by colobus for “mutiny” so that Columbus himself could gain the title and wealth. There is now documented proof that despite the Native Americans looking up to the explorers, and being very trusting and easily persuaded as a result, Columbus would kill any Native Americans that didn’t simply want to give up everything they owned or work for free. He was unbiased as to whether they were men, women, or children. This is just one example of one of the men who started this country moving. We also have a national holiday for him. That alone says a lot about our society. We came from greed and lack of empathy or concern for human life. Why would it be surprising that we’ve come full circle and have been for decades. Trump and Clinton are wonderful examples of this. They care little to none about anyone who doesn’t directly benefit them. They are consumed with the idea of greed and power and will say and do anything in order to gain more of either. One is a dictator and one is an extortionist. Both are liars and both couldn’t care less about America except how it relates to their title and pockets. Trump has declared bankruptcy several times over, has been sued for defrauding investors, and has almost always attempted to settle out of court to keep the publicity down. He’s said on national television that he’s physically attracted to his daughter, and listening to him speak is like listening to an angry child. Clinton is currently under federal investigation for crimes against this very country. She’s possibly the most bought and paid for presidential candidate there has ever been. Yet these seem to be the two candidates most widely backed by american society. Again, it says a lot about the people here. The people are not a result of poor leadership, the poor leadership being allowed to remain in control are the result of the people. We are a country of greedy, apathetic, falsely confident, prideful, ethnocentric, close minded, uneducated, and simply shit people who are terrified of any form of responsibility for their thoughts, words, or actions. America is full of pathetic children who need to be thrown out into the real world to see how things really work. America is full of politicians who need to be thrown into the sea to understand what being truly powerless feels like. Elections aren’t nearly as big of a deal as the media wants to make them. Elections don’t matter much at all. Things will continue down the same path. The numbers are not in favor of the intelligent, rational, logical, or observant. It is too late for America to come back. There will not be some great awakening or revolution. There will be spiraling into the gutter of the future. I don’t find myself caring about who the next president will be nearly as much things that are happening at a global level. I become agitated when people complain, argue, or bitch about current politics. This is the way things have been since this country started. What is the point of acting surprised or making a big deal out of any of it? Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin. People seem to lack the ability to understand that politics are not personal. I’ve grown weary of the bickering, the complaining, the arguing, all of it. I’ve begun to largely question the intelligence of those who can’t have a difference of opinion with anyone else without making it personal or even understanding what is truly being discussed. Alas, people are people and this country is this country. Nothing has really changed and I’m doubtful it ever will.
There’s a song by Bon Iver called “Skinny Love.” If you haven’t listened to it, you should. It’s beautiful. There’s something beautifully tragic about love. When love is lost, the ties cut, and the blood spilled, love is just as overwhelming as when it was alive and well. That’s the danger of love. It’s the most powerful thing known to man but it can be the greatest feeling you’ve experienced or the worst. It can foster life or bring death. It can and will bring you to your knees at some point in your life. Love is an absolute. It doesn’t fade or die off. Love is like a magnet. It requires two poles to pull separates together, otherwise it’s empty and grasping at nothing. Love is a dangerous and blinding force. It can make us do things we never expected and even then look back in disbelief. Love is the most wonderful and terrifying thing in the world. Having experienced it myself, I can’t say it’s always worth the risk, but that’s the thing about love, it doesn’t always give us a that choice.
What do you hold onto? What gets you through the day? When other things fail and people break promises, lie, and let you down, what do you count on? This past year has been the darkest of my adult life and despite so many terrible things happening around me, every time I try accept what is happening and find hope, more things go wrong, break down, fail, betray, lose. I have reached the point where hope feels not only naive, but foolish. My potential college majors and careers laid out in front of me all feel wrong. My home town feels foreign, and everywhere I look to move feels questionable. What is one left to hold onto at the end of the day? When the dark has overcome the light? When No potential options feel right and where you are feels wrong, where does one go? This is not a social commentary with a decisive point and direction at the end my friends. This is an admittance of defeat. This is a point of starting over and letting go of everything I once thought I knew. Caring less and living more. Focusing on being rather than planning. Life isn’t what I thought it was and now I’m forced to adapt.
The cruelest irony of all is that of the love story. The bitter truth is that the people we love the most, have the most potential to hurt us. The people that we give the most to, have the most to take from us. This is a constant and dangerous game we play in our lives. How can one truly love without being vulnerable? Yet, how can one truly love and use that vulnerability against someone? It is my humblest opinion that if one does in fact truly love another, they not only won’t, but can’t use those gifts given to them against their intended. If they at any point do, did they truly love? Were they mistaken? Was it infatuation? What causes the heart to become selfish to a level that it disregards the mental and emotional well being of someone close to it? People can sling blame and point the finger at past experiences, personal shortcomings, or a slew of other excuses but when it comes down to it, it is simply the lack of love that allows or causes pain in another. Many are not self-aware enough to even realize this but the ones who are have a responsibility to not let it happen. The most tragic part of this story is that more often than not it’s the ones who have been hurt the most who perpetuate the pain. They know the pain yet don’t take the required action or responsibility to end the cycle. This is one of the most tragic cycles of the human condition I’ve ever experienced. To the ones who have been hurt and made a decision to end the cycle I salute you. You, my friends are the lights of a world covered in shadow. This story is yet another that though I understand it, I’ll never truly comprehend it. I’m glad I don’t however, because if I found a way to understand it fully I feel like I would have to had justified it in my head. I am in no way advising that anyone should stop getting close to people or allowing themselves to love, but I urge you to be careful, as hard as that may be. I myself I’ve fallen prey to the swift fall into someone’s arms and I, better than most, understand how difficult it can be to take a step back and think when someone offers open arms and a kind heart. Learn from mine and your own experiences, though hard as it may be. Life is a series of ups and downs and then you die. The most important part of life is to make sure that no matter how much you love anyone, you make sure that your happiness is based in yourself. Once you’ve done that no one can ever take it from you. Understand the difference between happiness as a reaction to circumstances and happiness as a state of being. No matter how much anyone can offer, you have to make sure you they do not hold the key to the door that is your happiness. The happiest married couple I know once told me that as much as they loved each other and enjoyed being a part of each other’s lives, if something happened and they found themselves apart or alone, that life would go on. Tough as it may be, life would go on and they would find happiness not in another, but within themselves again. That, I believe, is one of the reasons they are the most happy, successful, and wonderfully married couple I have ever met. They know this one key element that so few others seem to. So to conclude my rant, I urge you to seek out the parts of yourself and things in life that make you happy and surround yourself mentally and physically with them.
We are all born sick. We all suffer. We all struggle. What so few people fail to realize is that it’s not what we’ve been through, or even what we are currently going through that defines us. Some people have gone through hell and back just to survive and yet most of the time you’d never know it because they don’t let it define them. Some people have had most of their life extremely easy with minor problems here and there and yet they try and use every single hardship, no matter how small, as a crutch. They lean on them and say “But you don’t know what I’ve been through,” when confronted about their actions. This difference, this decision, it is what makes us who we are. Do we sit back and try to get pity for the things that have happened to us or do we stand up and say “I’ve been hurt, betrayed, abused, lied to, and dragged through most of my life kicking and screaming but that doesn’t mean I can’t control where I step next.” We are not our problems or even our past. We are who we are, good and bad. We alone decide what is next for us. Every step, another conscious effort to move forward, stand still, or fall back. Those who have been through the most, those that are broken, yet still decide to love and keep moving forward, this are the rare gems. Those are the strongest people around. They usually never even know it, but that’s one of the things that makes them great. They just need someone around to hold their hand and remind them that their future is so much brighter than their past. Life simply isn’t about what has happened. It’s about what will happen. History only repeat itself when no one remembers it.
What is this thing called fear? By definition; An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. So fear is not the evidence of anything, it is the belief or expectancy of it. And if fear is the negative what is the positive? I mean, for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction right? Well, if faith is the opposite of fear, fear being the negative and faith being the positive, they are the rulers of our lives. One of the two governs us with an iron fist. It influences our decisions, sometimes even making them for us all together. Unfortunately, sometimes people are overcome by the negative. They allow it to control who they are. Simply put if someone is not living a lifestyle of faith, they ARE living in fear. Faith is believing the positive and fear is believing the negative. The power of our mouths is infinite. Should anyone truly come to the realization of this and the world would change drastically in a matter of months. If we speak the positive into existence then we have the same effect on the negative. People obsess over their fears, because it’s easier than holding onto their hopes. People worry and worry about sicknesses and accidents and then they begin to cause themselves to believe that these things WILL or ARE happening. But the same effect can be applied to the positive. The steps to this freedom are first thinking something, then speaking it, then knowing it, then living. See I believe that the reason our tongues are so powerful, is because they can trick our mind. They can make us believe anything, it just has to be convincing enough. Ever know anyone who was absolutely terrified of becoming a certain way or doing something wrong? What ended up happening? In most cases it’s the unfortunate truth that they epitomize their fear. With that in mind wouldn’t it be nice to be able to epitomize your hopes, beliefs and dreams? What is the limit? What are we capable of? Well, in my opinion, the sky is the limit. I sincerely pity the people who live their lives in fear. Fear of what COULD happen, what MIGHT hurt them, fear of the unknown. Are they even truly living? Is it worth the caution? Is it worth the pain? I mean wouldn’t that be so incredibly limiting? What opportunities would be missed by fear of what they could be? Why would anyone ever want to live this way? It doesn’t make logical sense, right? Of course not! But in the society that we live in people often leave any logic they once clung to in the dark. They start operating out of emotions and feelings rather than logic and common sense. And wasn’t fear an emotion? Faith is a decision, fear is an emotion. What a revelation! That we can live by our own choices on what to believe rather than our fleeting emotions? I promise you that if presented to the highest educated psychologist, it would be almost comical. People live in fear because it’s easier! Yes, if you are not enraged by that then you need more air supply. People seem to do everything these days simply out of ease. It’s an apathetic mindset that is very self-destructive. It eases the chance of actually having repercussions for one’s actions. No one wants to be accountable these days it seems. But what is faith if not the accountability that forces us to take our thoughts captive and actually work at getting places in life, progressing, and bettering ourselves. People have to start manning up and becoming “old fashioned” as our forefathers were, or so little will be accomplished. What a glorious day when people gain this knowledge and actually apply it, but what a dark time until then. So what is this thing called fear? Well, if you ask me, it’s an excuse. What do you think?