June 24, 2010

There is something to be said for compartmentalizing: the ability to separate emotions from logic and put things away for later. I, for one, almost completely lack this ability.

I think with my heart; I act on impulse; I demand instant answers and immediate resolutions. My emotional organization skills closely mirror those exhibited in the rest of my life– hardly short of a clusterfuck.

For the most part, bumbling through life with ones’ heart on ones’ sleeve (hat brim, front pocket, or wherever I put it) can be as much a saving grace as it is a downfall. Where it provides a welcome mat, it also provides a fault in the foundation.

It is as much an open door as it is an open wound.

Giving away the softest, most red raw part of ones’ self is risky business. Most people are careless with other’s belongings. This includes our naked thoughts, vulnerable ventricles, and uncensored souls.

Much of my brief stint on this planet has been played as a chess game. At this point, however, I can’t be sure if I am winning or losing. I’ve gotten so encumbered by my strategy, I’m not sure whether I should be making small sacrifices or bold moves. I don’t even know if it’s my turn.

In fact, for all I know, I may even be playing checkers these days.

I grew up in a home where anticipating the next move was a matter of survival. Familiar patterns dictated my bob and weave; averting one disaster and preempting the next. Fear is an incredible motivating factor, especially for a child. To keep the peace, it was a delicate balancing act for everyone.  Although the compromises were sometimes large, the fallout was infinitely greater.

I was raised to be an emotional thermometer, constantly gauging the temperatures of everyone around me. When interacting with others, I am diligently and neurotically analyzing choice of words, tone, and body language. I don’t believe what you say unless it all agrees satisfactorily.

I quite literally fear missing the cue. I am terrified of the slip fall. And I brace myself, always, for the atom bomb to drop.

In the world, however, these “survival skills” are largely misconstrued, and often way over-the-top. In short, I come off as dramatically paranoid. You know, I probably am.

But, it’s hard to remember that not everyone has lived in a matchstick castle. While most people can deal with a situation, I have sprinted 10 steps ahead in my brain, trying to prevent ones that haven’t arisen yet. Mapped out in this grey matter is a direct route to worst case scenario; and often times I think it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So concerned with what others were, are, and will be thinking; that I don’t even think at all.

Ultimately, however, this sets the stage for a life where the actor will never be satisfied. After decades of placating, it’s hard for me to even recognize what it is that I want. And when I do recognize what I want, it’s indescribably difficult to justify pursuing it, and almost impossible to convince myself that I am worthy anyways.

This scenario plays out again and again in all aspects of my personal life, beyond interaction with other people. I fall into a pattern of working really hard, much harder than is actually necessary, to simply maintain. Feels like I’m swimming the English Channel, when I’m merely treading water. I forego a lot of personal pleasures to keep things at status-quo, and I think the fact of the matter is most people don’t notice or care about that. As God from the TV show Futurama said: “When you’ve done something right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.”

And I shouldn’t expect them to.

But somewhere deep inside, the little girl who has been bending and folding her whole life is getting bitter. And I can feel myself, as I get older, becoming jaded. Resentful. Expectant. Thinking that the world just owes me one, and trying to wait patiently for it. And what it all really boils down to is an intrinsic fear of being denied.

The chilling thought of spelling out, in no uncertain terms, what it is that I want or need. Saying it out loud. Taking steps toward getting that. Crossing a rickety wooden bridge toward satisfaction, all the while watching the lava river of disappointment gurgle below. Most of the time, the fear takes over. The cold sweat paralyzes me, I begin to bend and sway– make sure everyone on either side is ok– and the bridge breaks, and I hit that searing disappointment headfirst. And its my own damn fault. Every time.

The time has come for Kat to grow up, grow a set, and learn to make herself happy. For too long, I have undermined and sabotaged myself. Years of drinking away any dissatisfaction, or feeling in general. Years of self-abuse and masochistic intentions under the guise of love. Years of caring too damn much what the next 5 moves of everyone around me will be.

The time has come to take responsibility, speak my mind honestly, and recognize that there is some validity to my expectations. Time to set the stakes proper, and honestly assess my own worth.

Because, when it comes down to it, life is much more like solitaire than chess, anyways.

Are you gonnah be your own goddamn best friend?

The Crabby Archer

June 16, 2010

Usually, I try to remain somewhat esoteric and removed here. It’s not so much a privacy concern as it is just the way I write. My college degrees are in Journalism and Anthropology– I embody the third person on a practically subconscious level. I remove myself, and the faces and places around me, from reality when I write, and sometimes when I think. Everything becomes conceptual; the old “makes sense on paper” trick.

That said, I am going to talk about me. On my blog. Right now. Because I need to think.

I believe in the stars. I believe in the universe as something much, much larger than myself. I believe I am a tiny part of a massive machine– a speck on the face of all that is. My faith lies in the heavenly bodies: the push and pull of forces well beyond human control. As the moon moves the ocean tides, so too do I believe the alignment of the mammoth planetary and gaseous bodies in our universe, and perhaps the entirety of the cosmos, affect my measly life on earth.

Of course, I do not gobble Astrology as fact, any more than I gobble the Bible stories as fact.  I take a lot of faith with a grain of salt: people want more than anything to believe. In something. Often so much that logic and reason take back seat to miracle and hope. This is an endearingly human trait.

Anyhow, in an attempt to make sense of my world, I look to the sky.

Sagittarius is known as the nomad of the zodiac. Always seeking something more, something bigger, something else. Perpetually on the hunt for connections and greater wisdom, Sagittarius looks incessantly for some truth between the most well-composed lines. The archer is a mutable fire sign; burning with a near-desperate philosophical passion; feeding the flames with an ever evolving setting and cast of characters. There is never a dull moment because dull moments simply don’t exist.

In many ways, I am a Sagittarius through and through.

In my life, I am forever walking the world in someone else’s shoes, while simultaneously trying to remember that others aren’t always doing the same. I find myself often compromising large parts of myself in hopes of “getting” someone else’s process. Never believing there are only two sides to a story, I find myself at a nearly pathetic loss for words when attempting to describe the big picture as I see it. As the communicator of the zodiac, I desire, more than anything, understanding. Universal cohesion.

These traits are what makes me both weak and strong. Wise and naive. Simple, yet novelly complicated. My inability to deal with events outside the context of the bigger picture often leads to wildly dramatic confrontations, passionate outbursts, and some seriously stretched, but seemingly (to me anyways) logical conclusions.

My ascending sign is in Cancer. An ascending sign is the zodiac sign which was rising on the horizon at the time of our birth. This sign influences the “face” we put on– it’s more the way people perceive us than the way we feel or act. Cancers are notoriously among the most emotional of the zodiac, as a cardinal water sign. Cardinal signs are of the take-action sort, while water signs are heavily entrenched in feelings and nurturing.

Where this leaves Cancer is fiercely emotional and illogically indifferent to that fact. Cancer is, to some degree, emotionally insatiable. With Cancer as my rising sign, I see a lot of these traits surface in relationships and general human interaction.

I tend to live with my heads in the clouds, helplessly optimistic, and, more often than not, fall flat on my face in the end. And it is always to extreme disappointment, which I do not handle well. At all. Enter emotional disaster.

I could go on analyzing and over analyzing my star chart, but so what?

What does this all mean, why does it matter?

I suppose it doesn’t. Ultimately, this is probably just my Sagittarian desire to further complete the jigsaw puzzle of life. I just need it all to make sense. Understand that, no matter how much I know, how much I rationalize, how much I attempt to use logic brain all the time, there is something bigger at work.

That who I am is much more than a mass of rapidly replicating DNA cells transporting water from one large body of it to another on this blue ball floating in a space full of other balls and burning gasses. That something of it all was predetermined, out of my hands.

I need to know that Kat was created, in many ways, before she was capable of conscious self-realization. That Kat is controlled by forces so massive, yet so subtle, people deny their existence at all. That the good days, and the bad days, and the sporadic doses of insanity are, in fact, very real, and out of our mortal earthly control. Something in me needs to know that the full moon, the alignment of our solar system, and the death of supernovas millions of lightyears away all touch me somehow. The vastness of it all is dwarfing, and comprehension of such intangible concepts brings me to tears.

I’m not really sure where this is going.

And usually, this gets deleted. I hate it. It was a waste of time.

But this time, here it is. Because it doesn’t make any sense.

Here it is because this is– in so many ways, and on so many levels– me.

Welcome to my brain. This train doesn’t make stops.

We Need to Talk.

June 4, 2010

“We need to talk.”

To many, this simple phrase strikes jet black fear into the depths of the soul. It’s a combination of words that quickens the pulse; sets the mind racing; and can deliver one into cold-sweatsville, USA, almost instantaneously.

But… why?

How is it that this seemingly innocuous phrase has become the linguistic kiss of death? Why are we so afraid of what comes after this clause?

And more importantly, why are we so afraid of each other?

Social constructionism is a sociologic concept which seeks to explain human action and interaction within an objective frame. Under the umbrella of this concept, nothing a person does is an isolated action, no action is without consequence, and reality is made up as we experience it.

For the sake of brevity, it’s essence is consensual reality– the idea that the reality we experience is not a fact, but merely the agreed upon understanding of the things those around us see, do, and say.

To bring it out of the conceptual realm, “we need to talk” is a perfect starting block for discussion on consensual reality (no ironic pun intended). This phrase is so greatly feared because we all assume that following these words will be something we do not want to hear. Why?

In everyday conversation, people do not preface their statements with the expressed desire to exchange dialogue. “We need to talk” is a preparational statement. Right away, the discussion becomes out of the ordinary. Right away, the conversation has deviated from standard protocol.

So why even use this phrase? Why not just start talking?

Because disrupting the status-quo is so hard. Usually “we need to talk” is used when the issue at hand is not explosive. It’s a comfortable segue into uncomfortable conversational territory. Often, though, instead of this phrase preparing the other person for a dialogue, it puts them immediately on defense.

Unlike many, however, I welcome others’ need to talk. I open my arms wide to two-way exchange. I revel in our ability to co-create consensual reality, and I’d like my reality to be as cohesive to those around me as possible. Dialogue is arguably the most powerful tool we have for social construction; as direct a line between two people’s brains as is humanly possible.

The major factor here, of course, is that “we need to talk” is a set up for something you feel that the other person will not want to hear, or will not take well. But what is so scary about knowing what someone else really thinks? Are we all so brainwashed and watered down in the PC era that honesty is out of vogue? That we would all rather be lied to?

I, for one, am over it. Over the facade of politeness, over the fear of opinions, over the terror people have toward their emotions. If I want to know someone, I want to know who they really are and what they really believe. If you are my friend, I want to share with you; be on the same page. Without words, we have no way of knowing each other’s thoughts, just assumptions made based on limited knowledge of one another’s social framework. I choose not to live a MadLibs life of fill-in-the-blank; and, no, I’m not “getting the hint.”

I think the root of it is, we are afraid of ourselves. Somewhere along the line, our culture imbued us with this guilt about emotions. An odd discomfort with our own feelings. Society has deemed the cornerstone of our humanity to be awkward, and we are all very quick to deny ourselves the full breadth of what we can experience with one another.

I want essence. Something genuine. I want all the cards on the table because life is too short for mysterious expectations and snowballing situations. Life is too rich to stuff any of it away. I want to build this reality together.

So, yes.

We need to talk.

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. [[TheodorSeussGeisel]]