Monday, March 25, 2013

Vlogging! Because blogging is a pain...

I'm starting a video blog or vlog or whatever it is that kids are calling it these days.
I'm hoping that this works out better than blogging. Blogging is kind of a pain. In the midst of writing paper and doing homework for school, having to sit down and write something else just seems like work and not fun at all.
So now you get to see my lovely mug! Enjoy!

As always, I encourage you to comment, share, deride, interact with this stuff.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Things are looking up

Hey everyone. I was hoping to get something posted for you all Sunday night, but I ended up getting buried under a landslide of readings about cannibalism. Fun stuff. Oh the joys of being an anthropology major.

So since last week things have started looking up. I had my last meeting with my counselor. She said that I had learned to pretty much control/counter the physical aspects of the anxiety. I feel pretty good about that. I've learned that anxious thoughts are just thoughts. They're not a divine message or a some sort of intuitive glimpse into the inner workings of the universe they're just a thought, the byproduct of a really complex organ that's capable of amazing things. But regretfully is also capable of being really self destructive and under certain conditions has the propensity to just lose itself.

Learning that has been beyond helpful. I can be introspective and really dig into my thoughts, but there are times when digging in isn't going to be beneficial. If I'm feeling depressed or stressed; pondering the meaning of life isn't going to end well. I'll start out negative, and it's going to be all downhill from there. And existential meltdowns are no fun at all. I consider all this the "how" of my anxiety. The existential questions are the "what" of it. I still think about those, but I only do it on my terms now. I do it when the "how" is capable of handling them.

So have there been any answers to the "what"? I don't know. But I'm pretty sure it has something to do with love, and people, and maybe God.

I grew up believing that God was an active being in the universe. He got involved in peoples lives. We prayed that he would do something, and maybe he would do it. If he didn't it was because he had a plan and we just couldn't see what that plan was. We could prove God's existence. Maybe we still can. But can we prove his involvement? Can we prove that God is an active being in the world? Can we prove that we haven't just been left alone? Can we prove we're not Godforsaken? I don't know. I read a really good ebook about it last week, that hints at some ideas. If it wasn't almost midnight and I wasn't planning on hitting the gym at 5:30 tomorrow I might kick them around for you. If  I remember, I'll do it next time.

In other news, it looks like I'm picking up comedy as a thing I do. I auditioned and got a part in the university's Last Comic Standing competition. I really like writing comedy. I used to do it on this blog, but I think I like stand up more. So if your in the Manhattan area Monday, March 4th come check me out. It'll be a great time.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Anxiety's a b*tch

Hey, everyone. I haven't blogged in forever. Sorry for that. But don't be afraid, I'm back, at least for now.

So whenever I get back into writing its usually because some dramatic life event happens and I feel the compulsion to go and yell it at everyone. Coincidentally,  I do the same thing when I've a few too many beers. Blogging, though, is usually quieter than shouting the state of my lower digestive tract at my friends over a pint. But yes, there's inner turmoil once again and you all get to hear about it. Aren't you lucky?

So, does anyone have anxiety? Because I think I might. It all started about a month ago. I had a panic attack. It was terrible. I was laying in bed and for whatever reason my thoughts drifted to death. I just felt consumed by the inevitability of it all. Cognitively, I get that eventually I'm going to die, but that's always seemed like an abstract intellectual thing. It's like I never really believed it. But that night, it just sank in. And not just that I'm gonna die. Everyone is. Everyone I've ever loved and cared about. I'm going to have to bury my parents and maybe my siblings. If I get married someday, she's going to die. My friends are going to die. And it all just became almost too much.

Ever since then, I've felt this increased sense of anxiety. Its like a dark cloud that just follows me around. Sometimes it fades away to almost nothing, and other times it looms up seems to eclipse the sun. I hate living this way. I'm normally carefree and relaxed. This was robbing me of my joy, and I was (and am) tired of it.

So I've started to seeing a counselor here at the college, and props to those folks. They're pretty great. She told me that I probably did have a panic attack that night, and that yes, death is scary, but it shouldn't rob us of our ability to live in spite of that. I'm learning to pay attention to my inner thoughts and notice the interaction between them and how my body reacts. I'm also learning how to relax and accept anxiety, like a headache.

I believe there are two things going on here. One, is the whole anxiety about death. Most of that I'm noticing is tied up in the thought of losing relationships. That's leading to a bit of a spiritual endeavor. I'll probably (hopefully, but you all know my track record) write about all that and let you come along with me on that one.

The second one is the anxiety itself. I think this is the way I handle stress. This is what I'm working on in my counseling. I'm looking ways to handle anxious thoughts that allow me to not get all wrapped up in them and let them consume me. I've always had an active inner thought life. I hash out problems in my head. For the last few years though, those problems were all crises' of some sort. But now I'm really happy with my life. I'm dating a wonderful girl who's been incredibly supportive through this whole deal. I'm enjoying school. Life is good. I mean really good. But my brain is like, "Hey, you've solved all those problems! Good job! How about we tackle the very fabric of life itself. Doesn't that sound like a good idea? Have fun with that, asshat." That's my working theory anyways.

So that's that. I'll try to keep you all posted how this ordeal goes. If any of you out there have struggled or are struggling with anxiety or anything like this, let me know. Leave a comment or something. So tonight I leave you with this.
Good night everybody. Peace

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Beat Stumbles On...

I'm moving back to college in four days. And let me tell you, I hate moving, or parts of it. I like the whole going to another place to live part. That's fun. I like that. It's like travelling only with more permanence and you get to make fun of tourists and out-of-towners instead being one. No, the part I hate is packing. That's why I haven't started yet. I'm not worried though; I still have four days to pull it all together.

Besides the last few weeks have been stressful. This is for the guys out there: if you and your significant other have a miscarriage, get ready. Because you're going to be giving out a lot of hugs, you're gonna do a lot of avoiding the baby department at Wal-Mart, and whole lot of shoving your foot down your throat until you can taste your salty knee pit. The miscarriage will be hard on both of you, but while you lost the prospect of being a father, for her being an expectant mother was everyday walking around reality. There was a new life growing inside her and now it's not. So get ready to feel completely inadequate to help her through this, but if you're with a woman, you probably already do feel that way.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Full Circle

Sometimes life throws curveballs at you. And other times it throws a whole crap load of curveballs at you and makes you want to hide behind the umpire until Tom Hanks yells at you about how there's no crying in baseball. Lately life has been more like the latter.

Two and a half months ago I became the happiest and most terrified guy in the world when I found out that I was going to be a dad. Everything changed. Plans I had for the future rewrote themselves as I began to wrap them around this new little life that my girlfirend and I were preparing to bring into the world. I looked forward to sonograms, and little baby hands, and taking naps on the couch with this little person curled up on my chest. I felt my world shifting underneath me and I was completely okay with it. 

Two weeks ago those plans changed again. After two sonograms the doctor told us this was not a viable pregnancy and it would end in a miscarriage. We were devestated. The plans we'd made were gone. The future we'd daydreamed about and smiled over, all the strollers, and first steps, and those adorable baby hands, and naps on the couch were gone. The doctor said that in all likelihood the baby never really started to develop. I imagine that's supposed to help us feel better. Sometimes it does.

When tragedy happens my gut reaction is to ask "Why?" "Why did this happen?" "Why me?", and the answers to those questions are usually terrible. On the one hand there's really well meaning folks that tell you that God has a plan and I just have to trust him. If that's the case, and all this is part of some divine plan, then that divine planner is a jerk. I'm not sure someone or something who would plan tragedies should be sung to on Sunday mornings. On the other hand you've got folks who say there's no real reason why these things happen; sometimes they just do and that's how life is. It's still a less than fulfilling answer, but this is the one I'm leaning towards.

Since both answers are less than helpful, the real question I've had to ask myself is "what next?" What happens now? Where do we go from here? And I think the answer to that question is to go back to school and finish my degree. Plans have circled back to what they were orginally. I go back to homework, parttime jobs, ramen, and rugby. I look forward to spending time with my girlfriend; enjoying the time that's just ours now. I'm going to work to secure our future so when we're ready and tired of it being just us, we can do this again. Only hopefully it won't be a surprise the next go around. 

I don't really know what to make of this summer. Life is lived forward, but only understood backwards. Maybe in the future I'll be able to look back on this and be able to ascribe some meaning to it all. Until then, I guess I'm making it up as I go.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"The Great Illustrated Classics"

Some of my favorite memories from when I was a kid was of my dad reading to me. I remember we had these books, the "Great Illustrated Classics." They were these abridged and illustrated versions of old classic books, like The Swiss Family Robinson, Around the World In Eighty Days, or my favorite was Journey To The Center Of The Earth. I remember every night Dad would read a chapter or so to me. It must have taken a few weeks to go through a book, and when you're only five or six a few weeks is forever long. But I was fine with that, I loved it. 

I think about those times and about how soon I'll have a boy or girl of my own and it's hard not to be overwhelmed by it all. Will he or her have memories of things like that with me? Will they be 25 someday and have to try not to get all choked up thinking about them? I hope so. I hope I'm able to be that sort of father who's able do those sorts of things that may seem really insignificant or trivial at the time, but to my kids are really special moments. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Big News!!!

So.. I've been under the radar the last few months. Things have been pretty busy in my world; and by busy I mean insane:
To start with my first year at Kansas State University has wrapped up. It was fun. I enjoyed learning and being around people and in an in environment that encouraged my curiosity. I loved it, and some days I even miss it. But by the time May rolled around, I was itching to get out of there. You can only eat ramen noodles covered in stolen Taco Bell hot sauce so many times before it feels like a part of your soul is withering away. Being around smart people is great. Having peanut butter and jelly for your fifth meal in a row, not so great.
And somewhere along the way I met a girl. Our friends introduced us, and I'm happy they did. I fell hard for her, and for some odd reason, she did likewise. I kissed her for the first time in a Dillon's parking lot and never looked back.
And that leads me to the biggest development in my life. I'm going to be a dad! Yes, I'm going to be a father, and no we did not plan this. That seems to be the biggest question that people have had for her and I, "was this planned?" and I have to struggle to keep my snarky comments to my self. I'm a bit of a spontaneous guy. I like adventure and excitement. It's fun. But there's a huge difference between a spur of the moment trip to the lake with the guys and looking at your girlfriend and saying, "Hey baby, you've got a nice body, but you know what it needs? A baby bump." That's not adventurous; that's crazy. I'm naive, young, and dumb, but not that naive, young, and dumb
So yes we're expecting. I'm not going to lie; I'm pretty excited about it. I'm terrified, but still excited. I'll try my best to keep you all posted, but no promises. The next few months are looking to be even busier than the last few.