my greatest fear.

I’m afraid of heights.  I’m not a fan of tight spaces.  Loud noises and bright lights horrify me, especially in the dark when I’m alone.  I don’t like walking in the woods at night.  People, in general, terrify me . These are simple fears.

Perhaps even bigger than those simple fears is my fear of vastness.  The kind of vastness that makes you feel small in a physically vulnerable sense.  Like being alone in a crowd, wondering if you’re surrounded by an army of enemies or just that one crazy guy with a knife and sticky fingers.  Like outer space, a frontier we pretend we know about but are really just fools for pretending like we can handle and explore it.  Like great spaces in the atmosphere, open stages for gravity and better evolved organisms who can fly.  Or like the depths plunging into the core of the earth, like a void opening and you have no say in where you’re falling.  But even worse, to me, is the ocean: you can drown in a puddle, but the ocean gives you that opportunity a thousand trillion times over.  A water that only makes you thirstier.  A depth so deep it would crush you.  An entire planet – the origin of life – still submersed and unknown and perfectly unaware of our feeble existence.  Waves with uncertain power and height.  The Loch Ness monster.

But no, I don’t fear those things at all.  I fear an underlying factor.  I fear: losing control.

I’m afraid of falling, of being crushed, of being overpowered.  I’m afraid of not having a say in what happens to me or how.  That’s my greatest fear, and truly my only fear.  When they say having one fear and it’s fear itself, I think it might be what they’re trying to say: fear of something overcoming you, out of your control, because that is, in a way, fear.

Fear is my own mind.  It’s my perception, my reception, my curiosity and consequent fulfillment.  Maybe that’s why I like Sylvia Plath so much – she, too, feared losing control, at least until she gained control by shutting her head in an oven.  (Her quotes in bold/italics.)

Is there no way out of the mind? 

I fear my own mind because it’s my greatest critic.  It’s never satisfied, always wanting to learn, analyze, and criticize.  Usually, I’m its only subject.  And as my most intimate judge, my mind pains me when it disapproves – as it does so often.  It’s never enough, I’m never enough, and its thoughts are impossible to escape because they are always there, silent but perpetually heard.  An unspoken speech that you already knew was coming because, well, you made it.

I’m afraid of being left to my own devices sometimes, despite always craving time for reflection – or feeling grounded.  But being alone so much can blur the lines between alone and lonely.  I start to compare myself and wonder if the life I’m living is a socially healthy one – or if being social is in actual human nature, not just the society-inflicted one.  I’m always trying to imagine a myriad of life scenarios, wondering which are the most rewarding.  Knowing I can’t control the outcome of anything.  Feeling that hopelessness and loss of control all over again.  Become evermore aware of my insanity.

And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter— they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long.

But gaining control is this odd balance that actually requires letting go of it altogether.  It’s like investing a trust in something and someone else.  Not the kind of trust you hand over, but the kind that is inherently rooted there and which continues to blossom.  It’s being able to walk away from your house with all your doors unlocked and not thinking about it, your house of course being your soul.  And when you find that kind of freedom, and you’re able to carry it across all aspects of your life – well, I think that’s when you’ve finally conquered the fear of losing control, because you’ve embraced it.  You’ve gained control by losing it in the greatest sense of the irony.

I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted to lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free.

When you find a home in what you do and with whom you spend your time, and the only thing you can do in that place and presence is to go as you are, and couldn’t imagine not being yourself, and fear or want of something else is trivial and ridiculous… That’s how it is to be free.

control.

Here I still am, out of town to work for an indefinite amount of time. I’ve had to cancel dance class already and I’m dreading how many other commitments I can’t keep this week. In fact, I began dreading it so much that I was torn in my mind between staying here, away from my problems, or being sent back in time for at least some number of things I have. I began stressing out over what I perceived as the perfect scenario, but that perception kept changing as I had all day to think or new things come up.

Then I said STOP what are you doing?

Why do I always have to try to control control control an outcome that I have little to no say in? Why have I always stressed myself out over the inevitable unknown? I can’t control a single piece of it!

I’m so good at making myself unnecessarily stressed out and worried. But for once I’m just going to let it go.

I can’t control when this ER will be done.
I can’t control what shifts I get.
I can’t control how many hours of driving I have from home.
I can’t control the weather.
I can’t control how life will go on without me at my commitments.
I can’t control much of anything, really.

But you know what – I’m thankful I can’t control all of those things. I’ve stressed out enough trying to control them to realize having that many responsibilities would indeed be a stress nightmare.

So I will not try to control the uncontrollable. I will just let it happen. And mourn, in the meantime, that my friend has told me my favorite dinosaur (brontosaurus) is actually not a real dinosaur at all. Ugh, my childhood aspirations are dashed…

Whiteout.

There’s a whiteout outside of my window. There’s a whiteout in my mind, too, as I seem incapable of seeing through life clearly right now.

My nose is broken, my health is in question, my car is out of service, my money is tight, my patience is thin, my lack of sleep is nagging, my to-do list never shrinks, my friends stopped calling,… I feel like I’ve hit such a wall. If I had a résumé to life, it might look impressive, but my life off of paper is just plain exhausting right now.

I think not knowing where I stand with people lands me in that fog. It makes it even harder to get out of a bad streak when I feel like I’m always going to be doing it alone. It was rewarding when I took my first few independent steps – months – but years? I feel like it’s been eternity since I fit in with a group of people.

Today I was pretty torn up over some social situations. I walked into another office at work for some training we do periodically. A coworker that is too snobby for my liking was standing with some girls from that office. They watched me intently from the doorway to the landing beside them. When I started to introduce myself (I was on their home turf so I expected they’d introduce themselves first but they didn’t), they literally talked over me and then walked away.

All day I kept trying to make conversation with someone, someones in particular too, and I just felt awkward or shut down.

I can’t help but think it’s just me, I’m paranoid, everyone else thinks the same about me…but all the negativity from this month keeps stacking up. Not to mention my always miserable Valentine Days.

I guess sometimes it just feels good to feel sorry about yourself when no one else will comfort you. Especially when you feel as run down as I do this month…

The Meaning in Dreams.

ColorMeaningsInDreams

Growing up, my mom and my grandma would always ask me about my dreams. Whether they were good, bad, or just plain profound, I would tell them if something stood out to me the next day. There were days when my dreams were dictated by medication, including a series of horrifying nightmares I experienced during my few weeks in India when I switched to a different kind of malaria pill.

I was always amazed by how progressive my family seems to be, yet certain things stick in the mud like a stubborn twig. Things like my grandma’s insisting that owls are a sign of death, my dad yelling at me for speaking ill of my brother when I saw a raven, or the way my family dwells on dreams. I’ve always felt like dreams are just a subconscious moment of clear thinking, kind of like an innocent child creatively experiencing the world or like those moments when you can’t solve a math problem and walk away from it, only to solve it when you’re not thinking about it. But maybe there is something more to it? I do, after all, own an old, large book of palm reading, tarot cards, and dream interpretation.

I do listen to my thoughts and my dreams. I find myself convinced that it keeps me out of trouble, or even death. Like when I leave the house late and my mom says “It was for a reason; something would have happened if you were on time.” Well, once a drunk driver collided head-on going the wrong way down the Turnpike a few miles ahead of me. I think that really got me thinking from then on.

But dreams?

I know a lot of friends would reject my subconscious theory and rationale. They would say it is undoubtedly god speaking to us, showing us what he wants to see. I just have a hard time believing god really cares that much about the bajillions of people here that he sits with them every night and orchestrates their dreams within their respective time zones and sleeping schedules. Wouldn’t it be easier just to sit back and watch? I mean, most people probably forget their dreams anyway.

Last night I had an unusually frustrating dream. My family and I flew to London for a week. I had just gotten back from London (true story), but I was eager to go to the White Cliffs of Dover and also to the northern most point of Scotland. We sat around in this large, modern apartment, staring out at the glass windows for several days, not leaving, before I finally said something. My mom insisted it wasn’t a big deal, we could see London from the living room. I looked out and, sure enough, I could see the London Eye turning and Big Ben not far from that.

My brother was playing games on his computer. I’m not even sure what my dad was doing – if anything. Every time I tried to suggest leaving, they’d ignore me and say that my brother had stuff to get done. But then they’d let him keep playing games.

“Mom, let’s walk to the train station. I have London so well memorized around the Thames that I can get us to Dover in no time.” (true story)

“Okay, fine, we will get ready and go to Dover.”

I wait for a few hours and it is getting dark.

“Mom, if we don’t go now, it will be dark and we can’t see anything.”

“We can go tomorrow.”

“Then we can’t go to Scotland, too!”

“Calm down, it’s no big deal.”

“I didn’t pay for airfare to come to London for a week and sit inside this room!”

And we never went anywhere. It got dark, I could see the blue Eye, and I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t even run away.

I think I know what my dream was telling me.

First of all, my mom mentioned grandma talking about a trip to Australia. I was surprised yesterday that the flights are cheaper than the ones I’m buying to go back to West Africa in less than two months. That’s why I was dreaming about our family traveling. London was always on my mom’s list.

The apartment. I think that’s how I feel about a lot of people, that they’re just idling, watching the world through protective glass, never going outside of their comfort zones. Suffocating in their Bell Jars. Thinking this is as good as it gets, that text book pictures and stories come even close to representing the real thing. And that’s definitely not what it’s like.

The imprisonment. I think I feel imprisoned often by the restraints my parents have always placed on me, whether it is in my athletics or in my travels, whatever. They were shutting down my idea of going somewhere, doing something crazy. I always feel like, if I listened to them, I would be idle, I would be stuck living the same old, conventional, rural Pennsylvanian life. Maybe I want that, but not without leaving it first. They just never tried to leave it at all. And they try to lock me in their norms.

The computer. This is two-fold. One, I was surprised when my mom recently made the comment “I can’t believe you’re surviving without Wi-Fi”. I thought it was sarcastic. Since when did my mom rely on the Internet? She just got a laptop and an e-mail address not that long ago. It’s not like she ever needed it. I didn’t even know she understands half of what she tries to do on it. And, yes, work makes me dependent on Internet, but not like that. Two, this DEFINITELY reflected my attitude on my family’s treatment of me versus my brother. He is more important, he can do what he wants. I can only do what I want if I damn well do it myself. They’ll dish out the money for him to do something stupid and useless and which doesn’t help his career. Meanwhile I’m actually working and trying to live life. Give me a break.

So – let’s look at this two ways:

1. Subconscious, pure thoughts: Does this mean I truly feel this way? Or is this where the imagination part kicks in and starts making me dream up situations for self-pity? Could it be that my views from this dream are really what I’m facing in my daily life?

2. God’s thoughts in my head: If there’s a god putting these ideas there, what is he trying to tell me? I don’t see a way for me to appreciate anything from that dream, unless I’m supposed to appreciate being able to say “I’m in London” – I think not. Is he trying to make me realize the differences between me and my family? I have no idea.

But I enjoy dreams. They are stories I write without trying to write them, and look at all the symbolism I subconsciously conjure up!

Is This Progression?

I just got back from a long day full of work, my first dance class in a new studio, and attending Market Garden Brewery’s Brews + Prose as I always do – this time with special company.  It’s the same old routine, a few new tweaks, and yet these are the moments when I feel like my “year of discovery” hasn’t progressed me in the slightest.

I’m still in the same dull town, one year later.  I’m working a real job, but it technically doesn’t answer my calling.  I changed studios because I am not cut out to be a full-time, successful dance competitor and am settling for shows.  I went to a favorite event at a favorite place with a favorite person and felt just as ORDINARY as I did with said favorite person a year ago.  Not my intentions.

While traveling the world changed me internally, these external qualities are depressingly static.

So depressing that I can’t help but feel another wave of depression.  It’s not because it’s winter; it’s because this is life, and life strikes at inconvenient times.

I’m exhausted from a day of internal struggle.  I long for freedom and self-expression.

I also long for a second of that last pale ale because, darn, that was good.