A Blog about Career Changes, Madness, and My Awful Brain

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Thing That Keeps Screwing You Up: I Sort of Found Mine.

It's funny how a realization about yourself can sort of come up on you and smack you on the ass while you're not doing anything in particular. For a guy who does a lot of soul-searching, I find that I get a lot more answers when I'm doing it passively (i.e. when I'm sitting around listening to music) then when I'm doing it actively (i.e.meditating, searching the Internet for advice, and other mental masturbations).

The particular realization I will share with you today happened after listening to Stone Temple Pilot's "Sour Girl" and during Red Hot Chili Pepper's "Aeroplane". Before I share it with you (patience, kiddies, patience), I want to talk about a realization that occurred to me about a week ago, shortly after my last blog post. Some of it was due to the feedback you guys gave me after my post. Some of it was due to my THOUGHTS about you guys (specific people) after my post.

I realized that, complex as we all think we are, most of our problems can be boiled down to one thing. I can't tell you what that thing is because it is different for everyone. The problem is, we are terrible about finding our own thing, because we try to defend our psyches at all cost. So we make up bullshit to cover it up, and our problems multiply because of it.

Think about how often our arguments with our parents, our friends and our significant others repeat themselves. I bet you there is an argument you have had over and over with your spouse or significant other that you could recite by heart. You could probably have the argument by yourself at this point, and completely cut out the other person....rote arguments, if you will. Here's the kicker...if you continually have the same argument, and never seem to get your point across, then you are likely dealing with a person's thing. If you are having an argument, and are trying to deflect it or end it, then you are likely dealing with your own thing.

This thing is also why we so often continuously find ourselves in the same predicament. Whether you keep finding yourself with the wrong person or at the wrong job, or you keep finding yourself drawn to books and television shows with a certain theme, or you keep getting screwed in the same way, the chances are your being led by your thing to those situations.

What is your thing?

Do you like being a martyr?

Do you think you deserve to be treated like dirt?

Do you hate to commit?

Do you have an inappropriate attachment to a destructive habit?

What is it about your personality that keeps leading you over and over to conflict, problems, and angst?

Like I said, this little realization has something to with certain people in my life, and how there always seemed to be one thing that continuously created problems in their lives.

Now, before you start thinking that I'm some sort of guru with special insight, let me disabuse you of that notion (and no, I don't actually believe any of you actually think that). This idea has obviously gone back to...gee, I don't know...Shakespeare, if not before then. Yes, kiddies...we all have a tragic flaw. We are all heroes just waiting to be impaled by the sword of Damocles hanging just over our heads. No, this isn't exactly an original idea. Moreover, I did some Internet research on this concept, and came across this magnificent post by blogger/career advice columnist Penelope Trunk (incidentally, after I came across her blog, I spent hours perusing it..I'm surprised I've never heard of her, seeing as how she had great advice and resources for people like me).

So this got me to thinking about what my thing is. After all, I've got some problems I'm trying to deal with; if I've got a pretty good handle on other people's things, I don't seem to have a good handle on mine. So I did some brainstorming, and came across some good ideas. Could my thing be:

1)I hate responsibility and will try to stay away from it.
2)I need people to know how smart I am.
3)I have to have people's respect.
4)I can't live without positive feedback.
5)I hate conflict, and will do anything to avoid it.
6) Fear of failure.

Each of these things seemed like fundamental problems to me, and all of them seem to capture at least part of my personal flaw. But none of them seemed quite right to me. None of them seemed....complete.

Which brings me to today, when it hit me like a ton of bricks.

In a startling moment, I looked into myself and found that I loathe knowing the future and revel in uncertainty. I love being lost more than anything in the world, even if I find it terrifying and it leads me to losing things that I want, that I need. Don't get me wrong...in no way am I saying that I'm adventurous, brave, risk-loving person. In a perfect world, where I didn't have all the hang ups I have, I may have been that sort of person. But there is too much fear in me to be that way.

However, the hatred I have of a stable future is perversely true. It's a lot of little things that leads me to believe it, though I haven't seen the common thread until now. If I have any arguments with my fiancee (although we don't fight all that often), it's about making plans and staying on track "for the future". Furthermore, as much as I blame my old boss for being abusive (she was a horrible, horrible hag, and I wish her secondary...no tertiary stage syphilis), it's knowing that I had to go back over and over to the same job that really terrified me about the job. And that happens with EVERYTHING I do. Even the job I held with a professor I loved, doing work that was stimulating, sort of depressed me. How screwed up is it that I was elated when he told me he no longer had funding for me?

Want to know something even more screwed up? Maybe it's because I've been watching too much news about Joplin, but the other night I had a dream that I lost everything I owned in a tornado. The apartment, all my stuff, and my car. And in my dream, and for five minutes after I woke up.....I was happy. I was happy that I lost everything, because it meant that I didn't know what was waiting for me the next day.

When I go for walks (which I do almost every day), I like to walk down strange alleys and streets, and I live for the moments where I don't know where I'm going, and what I'll see. The same goes for when I drive my car. When I finally manage to orient myself, I feel a little disappointed.

Even this...even all of this career angst that I'm having...I get off on it in some respects. If I didn't have some of the PTSD bullshit that I'm dealing with, I'd probably be having a hell of a good time right now. A future with uncertainty is an exciting future, ripe with possibility, if you allow the cliche. Before I had the accident, before I had my hell job, I had a dream that I would go to a new place, and have new experiences. It was great, and I was happy. And then I came to this new city, and realized it was the same thing, the same shit as before. And I grew despondent....

Like I said, I'm not super adventurous, nor am I a risk taker (although a big part of me wishes I was). As well, my drive for uncertainty doesn't seem to apply to my relationships. Although I enjoy meeting new people, I have an attachment to people that I don't seem to have for material things or places. I can't even fathom not being with my fiancee, or losing any one of my family members or friends. But losing a job, changing my career, moving to another city, losing all my stuff..well, it excites me and makes me happy in a way it doesn't seem to do to other people. I allow for the possibility that I am wrong about my thing. Maybe I'm describing something that everyone feels. Maybe it is my psychological problems talking. But somehow... I don't think so. It's way too scary and difficult for me to accept not to be the truth.

Who knows though...maybe this is all just bullshit covering up my real thing. You may know better than I.

Anyways, thanks for listening to this particular mental masturbation.


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