This is Not Going to be Daringly Brave, nor Vulnerable: Thoughts on Human Lonely and Vulnerability

Despite alarmingly candid blog posts on here, I’m not a person who accepts my own vulnerability with ease. Not at least since adulthood when I knew the weight of the consequences that it brings upon itself: vulnerability when it means something, when it is brave –  not unknowingly, naively vulnerable ( that’s the easy crap you do without second thought.)

After life happens you have to react. Some people use their life as a platform to begin dialogues and build relationships. That isn’t exactly what I’ve done. I’ve put up walls and buried parts of myself within other parts. Layers. I’m not sure I have even reached the innermost layer. I’m not sure that I’m alone in that.

While these may seem shockingly bold, they aren’t. They’re ruminated posts. I don’t write on a whim. They’re things I’ve already thought, or am thinking about, and have decided to speak on. I used to write more on a whim, or more openly, but you run the risk of exposing parts of yourself unknowingly and allowing others to come to see you in a way that perhaps that you don’t even see yourself, because you aren’t objective enough, and that’s terrifying.

It doesn’t terrify me as much as it used to. There’s some progress.

I’ll always be who I am.  I have always been who I am. Despite “clever” attempts at trying to deny that with relationships, alcohol, drugs, I was always Logan – intense, a bit clumsy, too earnest.

But I fucking hate being vulnerable. I moved to Fort Wayne thinking it was a pit stop. I was always leaving places and starting over new places, and I think that my first reaction to the city was with that mentality. So when I met people I did not think all that much about it – I was going to be gone. Have fun, share a pint, move along.

A few years later with some fresh new scars, and I’m still here and have no immediate plans to leave yet and I realize that of all the people that I have met I have only let 1 inside that inner core. Unsuspectingly it happened also with very little effort- it just felt kind of easy. Someone I have argued with, screamed with actually, and found the friendship of value enough to apologize. Normally I’d say “fuck it you’re small town and I’m outta here soon anyway” and be on with it.

That’s one person I can be vulnerable with and I’m lucky for it.

Because vulnerability isn’t a blog post like this. It isn’t talking about my feelings to a faceless crowd. This is not brave, it’s the cheapest form of self-expression one could hope for. You write on here to a crowd and lest anyone dare to disagree or challenge you their comments are also up for public speculation thus allowing them the vulnerable position of being subjected to ridicule or interrogation – it is kind of a manipulative and cheap platform to share expression with people in hopes to connect and I see that.  The risk of outright hearing the criticism of your thoughts is pretty minimal despite it being SUCH a public outlet. (interesting, isn’t it?) Yet, I participate.

(Note: I do want to express that for some people these internet relationships are very much real and alive for them and are very intimate and vulnerable, and I respect that this is not a total rejection of this societal phenomenon, just like a 80/20 rejection.)

But it isn’t. Nothing I write is shockingly brave.

Bravery would be calling up one of my mates right now and hanging out and truly talking about this shit with. It would be talking to my mom when I have strange feelings about the trajectory of my life rather than just pretend that everything is fine for her approval. Bravery would saying to someone, “Hey, this makes me feel X when Y happens.” rather than posting some meme about it online in a passive aggressive attempt at gaining validation or solidarity from folks I do not see or interact with in the tangible world.

It is odd to me how often technology only allows us to think that we’re connected, but often allows us more outlets to lie to ourselves, trick ourselves, reward ourselves when real work hasn’t yet been truly done. It also elicits more feelings of disconnections the more we’re connected. I try to stay aware of this before allowing myself. To see things as they are, not as I want to believe they are. I fail often, but it’s an effort.

I think about it like this, I’m always going to be lonely because I am a human being. And because I do have those layers.

I have been surrounded in a room with my whole family – my divorced parents, their spouses and children, their kids spouses and my brother and niece – more love than a person could even imagine. Music and laughter and this profound feeling of pride and gratitude for love and what parents do for love was so enrouted in my heart that I just had to sit back and observe it and yet, surrounded by nearly everyone that means anything to me at all I had this overwhelming feeling to share that feeling with someone else. Who? Who could I have possibly wanted to express that with? And I realized that there was nobody else to share that with. That there are emotions and feelings that we just carry inside and within ourselves. You share a cup of coffee with those emotions, share your vulnerability with it, and with such intense feelings will probably come a feeling of profound loneliness because you’re the only one who can truly experience it, know it, observe it, live it.

I don’t mean to sound dire, but in some instances we are all alone. And I’m okay with that. It is a very popular thought to say ‘you’re not alone’ and as long as empathetic humans exist and we share thoughts you’re not. Someone will listen and offer advice. Hell, I will. But, it’s on you to decide how you feel at the end of the day.

Shalom

Oh when I write “You” I really me “I” but, I dont’ want this to sound too “Dear Diary…” ish

Insanity Laughs Under Pressure

For real though… A picture and title of how I imagined if my inner monologue were a person and quote  looking this week.american_psycho

I have kinda fallen into self-pity mode lately. I don’t know, I just haven’t been vibing with the trajectory of things. My common statement lately is that, “I feel both overwhelmed and underwhelmed simultaneously.”

It’s a crap place to be in.

I look around and everyone else seems to have their shit together so well. Do you guys really live like that? Are you just faking it really well?  Meanwhile, I feel like I’m barely hanging on to maintaining a web-friendly presence without letting the truth slip out and that is: that I have no idea what the actual fuck I am doing.

Somedays, I am searching for plane tickets about to just impulsively book a flight overseas.

Other days I’m looking at rent-to-own houses in town about to plant roots.

(Literally having a roots vs. wings crisis.)

One day I’m a social butterfly capable of talking at ease with anyone, the next day a social moth that deters everyone from me.

Everyone’s instagram is so pretty with cacti, friends, brunch mimosa’s and cats. I couldn’t even fake it properly if I wanted to because my Android phone was $100 and takes low-quality pictures.

I think you know you’re unhappy when other people’s complains just seems more like a shit in your cut. Someone is lonely, unhappy, but I look at them contemplating what they hell they have to feel sorry for themselves for. They are healthy and trendy looking, probably don’t buy clothes from thrift stores because they have to, but because they want to, own their home, they drive a car from this decade, they have beautiful and healthy children, they have a loving partner, they have a stable income with flexible schedules. What could possibly be missing from their life? Their complaints seem more like humblebrags – and I know that’s a telling sign of internal unrest when you can’t empathize. 

I have been playing the comparison game the past few days and it is not settling well with me. This girl has great hair, this girl has a cool job, this girl travels a lot, this girl is more confident, this girl is more ambitious, she’s a bad bitch, this girl is in such a beautiful relationship, this girl, that girl, etc., It had gotten me to the point where I have convinced myself I’m unsuccessful, untalented, ugly, and weird. Just a weird awkward ball of anxiety and shortcomings.

Then I start honing in on just my life. Just the things I want. Just the things that I need. Just me. Not listening, not even focusing, on what others are doing.

It’s great to have goals, but they should inspire you no discourage you. It’s a matter of practicing changing  your thinking. When you feel discouraged take that as a lesson to encourage you to do better, be better. Easier said than done, I’m talking to myself here. (Interesting fact I learned, when people offer advice it’s often lessons they wish they could have absorbed at a younger age/ what they are trying to convince themselves. Don’t let my blogs give you the illusion I’ve reached a confident, solidified understanding of all of this – it’s all a work in progress.)

Rest at times when you need to. I’m incapable of this. I have really convinced myself exhaustion is an indication of work ethic or productivity.

I’ve spent the last year trying to ignore the trends of the things around me and focus on who “Logan” is. I thought I knew, but when stress reared it’s head I realized I’d lost myself in a facade of trying to be who I thought I was supposed to. Logan is a complex individual. There is nothing simple about me, and there is nothing simple about you (likely, I mean you really might be quite the simpleton.)  That is the most interesting part about getting to know yourself more is that you’re more honest with yourself and in turn with others. I haven’t been able to fake my interactions as well as I used to be able to and the result of that has been interesting – some people open up and really share their thoughts as well and I feel this connection and inspiration. Other people keep up the charade and it’s a little discouraging, truthfully. But, I’d personally rather risk rejection from being honest than approval from acting the part well.

I don’t know what you want. But you’re probably okay.

Yes, someone is better than me. But then I consider the standard. Is that my standard? Is it imposed upon me? By whom?  How do you gauge that? It’s pretty subjective and if I am going to try and define your happiness by appeasing some societal or social standard I might as well just call yourself Polly because I’m likely jut parroting everything taught to you. At some point I have to get creative with your standards. I’m good with creativity Okay, so we got something I can work with here.

I won’t life to you I want to be appealing in the eyes of society. I want to be seen as beautiful, smart, successful, capable. But, these standards are so hard to achieve because these standards are of an “ideal person.” Nobody is ideal. Nobodddddddyyyyyyyyy. I always think about beauty products and which came first, the problem or the solution? That’s life. I gotta decide what matters to me, and I think you should do that for yourself too. For me, feeling matters. Feeling like I did good work at the end of the day, like I gave my best effort. Feeling like in the face of hardships I remained kind and compassionate. Feeling like I am “good” by morals and standards I have assigned myself.

I’ve not had a horrible life, but I’ve certainly had my own struggles and hardships that others haven’t had. When I consider that, and the many myriad of ways I could have manifested that angst and contrast it to what I have done I have to say I am pretty proud. I still love people, I still trust people, I still care about the human race.Sure, I have my supreme fear of commitment in any shape or form, and an inner restlessness I am uncertain will ever go away, but I show up to my life. 

Woody Allen said something about that, that like 90% of success in life was just showing up.

So just show up. One foot in front of the other. Figure out what you stand for and fuck the herd of individual thinkers.

Fuck what I’m saying, for that matter.

 

 

 

 

Coffee, Cigarettes, and Cynicism

 

I like my town with a little drop of poison. 

Someone asked me recently why I started smoking cigarettes – the answer is as simple as it is embarrassingly telling – I thought they were cool.

Jim Jarmusch had an entire movie about the two things I love, Coffee and Cigarettes, with some of my idols indulging in the little nicotine inhalers.

When I started smoking cigarettes they were really romantic to me.

It was probably the year I started really listening to Tom Waits and reading Bukowski with a feeling of coming into an age of  “profound” insights. I was a bit obnoxious about my literary and artistic idols at 19/20/21/22/23/24/25/26. To me they provided a road map of how true artists live their life: smoking, drinking, self-hatred and a huge dose of brilliance. I mean I had to choose the miserable artists like Plath and Bukowski to idolize. It couldn’t have been successfully, healthy writers who overcame poverty to write a wildly successful series like J.K. Rowling…

When I discovered poetry it was all over for me. I was way far removed from reality. I’d walk around campus listening to nostalgic music like The Velvet Underground or Bob Dylan, dressed in all black, carrying completely esoteric books, smoking Parliaments (Marlboro’s came later) and generally just judging everyone around me. Reality was a concept to me. I spoke in metaphors, I only drank black coffee. I pretty much thought I was the most brilliant person ever and any lack of confidence I had was because I just understood so much. Insecurity was the plague of the intellectual, I thought. It wasn’t, like, something you could work on.

I do not mean to imply that all cerebral people wear it like a fashion statement. I’m just saying that I did.

Rereading my old journals is cringe-worthy – and truthfully quite sad. And to be honest, I didn’t often get a lot of disapproval or flack for this pretension which might’ve done me some good to come back down to earth. I actually was encouraged more often than not. I did pretty well in a few classes, was very engaged in literary theory and enjoyed deconstructing everything I read, I was always, always writing, and I idolized my professors so I talked to them frequently. Academia is an interesting place and I’ll leave it at that, but I didn’t find myself enjoying the environment so when I abandoned my ideas to get a masters like I was certain I would I had to join the world and realize how actually incapable I was.

I don’t beat myself up about this now. I think it is actually pretty funny. I can just imagine this 20-year-old who, in reality, hasn’t been through shit-all in their life walking around talking to people about existence, sociolinguistics, the meaning of completely under-the-radar poems as they’re doing more practical things and being completely unaware of how unrealistically idealistic I sound.

Always quoting some strange poet, always talking about the true meaning of a meaning. Sucking down a fuckin’ cigarette like I was a goddamn walmart worker on a five min shift break. I had the audacity to compare me working during college to being as stressful as people who don’t have the option to go to college and work multiple jobs just to stay afloat.

My awkward offenses were really easily chalked up to youthful indiscretions, apparent to everyone but myself who thought everything was so apparent.

All of this to say that I have had a problem with romanticizing things. As I got older I realized that being cynical felt wise. It’s not wisdom, actually, it’s laziness. I think I stole that, in fact I sure I did, but it does not make the any less true.

The more people I get to know who AREN’T like this, the more obvious the ones that are suffering from trying to be what they aren’t is apparent. Trying to force the world to see them how they want to be seen, not how they really are.

I started drinking coffee because it seemed romantic and literary.

I started smoking cigarettes because it seemed romantic and French.

I started indulging cynics in company because it seemed romantic and cerebral. and maybe a little “The village-ish.”

I think so freaking often we have this idea that we’re supposed to be something. For me, it projected itself in coffee, cigarettes, and cynicism (and neuroticism as I do kinda love Woody Allen and the likes.) I was supposed to be an intellectual.  

I want to make a point that inherently these things are not bad. They were just outlets I used as a manifestation for an ideal version of myself.

I was supposed to have it together.

Romantic thoughts are so lovely to indulge in daydreams, but to live my life uncertain if I’m keeping up appearances right is really only something southerners can handle I think. I am not a southern belle.

The thing that is interesting to me when I lived in this world of pretend and those who indulged me there is that it’s convoluted with a lot of unhappy people. Coffee, cigarettes and cynicism make for an aesthetically pleasing life, but maybe not the most whole life.

I might have been complimented a lot on my ‘good’ (subjective) taste – but Lou Reed bums you out after awhile, and sometimes Sam Hunt is just more hype to listen to.

I might have been thought of as ‘intelligent’ when I carried around some classic, but that shit gets really depressing and everyone is a sad drunk. Sometimes, reading something like Cheryl Strayed is just more uplifting.

I think it’s taken me a long time to reconcile my ideals with my ideas, to understand I am not actually a cartoon, or fit easily within a box (I’m not a religion, goddamnit.)

I am me and you are me and we are all together. I don’t think that really applies here, but that’s where my mind went for a second and I just wanted to see if anyone could find out how.)

Basically, like Witman says, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am Large. I contain Multitudes.”

I guess I just mean to say, that coffee, cigarettes, and cynicism are things I just enjoy now. I don’t clutch onto them like they’re going to save my life or give it meaning.

That’s about it. I kinda lost my point somewhere in here. OH! btw, coffee, cigarettes and cynicism was one really long drawn out metaphor. but I think you got that if your’e reading this otherwise you would have stopped a long time ago. so, hey mom and dad!