December 22./ Navel Gazing #.1

Looking through the archives of this blog, I’m struck with a nervous nostalgia. I look back and see myself struggling in such an unusual way. In 2014, I was so mentally torn over who I was and what I was doing with my life. Most of the internal fights I fought were with ghosts. They were insubstantial arguments and internal dialogue that would no longer make sense. But at the time, they felt like life and death.

I felt so many emotions that I couldn’t comprehend. I was grief-stricken over leaving the art community to join the military. I struggled with the ideas that were imposed on me as a result of enlisting. I couldn’t value based on a hierarchical system. I found myself surrounded by so many confused and lost people. Everyone dealt with their confusion in a different way. Some drank downtown, others secluded themselves. Each had their own medicine.

After I finished basic, where there was no time for personal thoughts, I found myself with too much time in tech school. When I finished with class and got back into my room, I had panic attacks in the shower. I dreamt in black, exhausted from the day. I remember feeling too much and listing to post-rock just because it felt more chaotic than my head.

In retrospect, the classes weren’t hard. The days were so rigidly structured that there really wasn’t a lot of time for thought. It was psychologically demanding to say the least. Wake up at 0330 to do an odd array of physical fitness. Young bodies, still inches in sleep, doing jumping jacks and mountain climbers in the cool Mississippi mornings. I don’t miss that.

I don’t want to present the wrong image. Everyone dealt with the change from civilian life to military life differently. Some hardly struggled, and moved as though it was a natural change. I remember staying awake on weekends with my friend and playing video games til 5 in the morning. It was our only sense of cultural normalcy.

I write this to reflect. To shamelessly navel gaze at how different my life has become. I picked myself up from a place I was lost in. It’s hard to explain the despair I felt. Perhaps the healing comes somewhat from age and from experience. And maybe I struggled in late-teenage hormones.

There was ground in the Power of Now. Pure New Age bullshit, but I found something to cling to – something no one else could take away from me. To stand, one first needs ground. The present moment was a start.

This began the basic of my medicine.

No one could take this moment from me. Fear is always based in the future. I felt fearful and conquered it in a way through abandoning the future. Without the future, there was nothing to fear. In this moment, I am fine. Who knows about in 10 minutes, but right now, I am OK.

I finished school. There were new environments to experience and places to go. I went to Charleston, scatterbrained and ready for change. The initial shock of freedom was hard. To move from a rigid schedule and micromanagement into… well no real schedule… was shocking. If I wanted to go downtown, I could. And I did. I didn’t wait to meet people or slowly experience my new freedom – I dived into it.

Maybe I dipped my toes first, but I fell into it. And I fell in love. The 1,000 emotions I had in school were reduced to 100. I could start differentiating them. After I had finished school, sometimes I’d find myself sobbing. I didn’t know why but I felt stricken with emotion. Now in Charleston, I felt excitement, sadness, frustration, obsession, loneliness. The emotions could be picked out.

I blogged through it. Fall of 2014 thru fall of 2015. Most of it was navel gazing. I didn’t have purpose for writing other than to try to dissect what has happening. I was fearful of so much that I never mentioned my career or anything specific that was going on in my life. It’s a shame too. There were a lot of experiences that I wish I had recorded.

Anyways, this is a sort of navel gazing. It’s purposeless. I write mostly out of introspection. Not knowing if what I’m writing makes sense. Not paying attention to if there’s enough context to make in comprehensible. In that way, I’ve never really pursued writing as more than a means of digesting internal emotion.

Simply navel gazing…



December 15./ Figs and Lost Opportunities

Sylvia Plath’s poem “The Fig Tree” has haunted me for years. It speaks of a woman sitting at the foot of a giant fig tree. As she looks up, she sees a different life represented by each fig. In one fig, she’s a stay-at-home mother. In another she’s a CEO of a large company. She sees herself as a world traveler, a teacher, a lover. But she couldn’t pick which fig she wanted because if she picked one, it would mean that she would lose the others. Instead, she sits starving at this tree and watches as the fig shrivel and fall to the ground.

Sometimes I see myself sitting at the bottom of that fig tree. I gaze up at the different directions I could choose to go in life and, instead of choosing, watch the opportunities disappear.

There are so many things that I want to do in my life. I’d love to travel the world, study horticulture, live in Europe, work in the NPS – you know, the average bucket list. But unfortunately I don’t have a long enough life to do everything.

Last week, my co-worker was telling me about her little sister. She’s like 6 or 7 and Christmas is still a ~new~ holiday to her. Anyways, my co-worker was telling me how her little sister spends hours on YouTube watching toy reviews to see what she wants for Christmas. Instead of playing with toys that she has, she spends hours looking at new toys.

At first, it seemed a little strange. I never thought about toy reviews on YouTube. It seemed sad that kids would spend so much time watching reviews of toys, envisioning if they wanted that particular one.

But then I thought about myself and my own life. I haven’t been reading as much as I usually do. I’ve been spending a lot more time on Instagram and Amazon. Instead of going out and traveling, I’m living vicariously through famous Instragramers and travel blogs. Instead of going to the gym, I’ve been looking at gymspiration.

It’s so easy to fixate and obsess over a particular lifestyle or thing that you want. Lately, I’ve been guilty of buying things to support this mental fixation. I’ve bought gym equipment that tends to gather dust faster than I use it. I’ve bought extra kitchen supplies that are unnecessary because I’m enamored by what I could do with them. I even bought a zafu for meditating and it’s completely wonderful but I don’t meditate every day like I thought I would.

It takes little energy to lay around in bed and daydream. It takes effort to get outside and build the lifestyle that you want. It’s easy to stay inside and imagine these lives you could lead without actually pursing them. If you pursue them, you may have to give up other lifestyles that you want. If I pursue meditation, maybe I won’t have enough time for working out. Unfortunately there are only so many hours in each day.

This is a first world problem. Not really of much substance. But I think that it causes a lot of suffering. By imagining these lifestyles rather than leading them, we skip over the learning process. We skip all the failure on the way to greatness. So much of our lives is learning from mistakes and genuinely trying new things. We derive satisfaction from effort and overcoming difficulty.

I’m not trying to bash YouTube or Instagram but rather comment on how I’ve noticed my life change in the last few years. I work full time and only have a few hours when I get home each night. Instead of spending that time doing things that I love – mustering up the energy to get out there – I instead lay on my bed and watch others pursue things I’m interested in. I’m so fixated that I don’t notices all the figs falling around me.

Hey, Zen Pencils has a wonderful illustration of the poem I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I highly recommend that you check it out. Click this link to view it: Zen Pencils – The Fig Tree


December 10./ Ready to Go

Alrighty… well… I think everything is back up. 7 years worth of blogs. Hard to believe that much time has already gone by. It hasn’t been consistent but it’s always been there. If you feel like gandering through, there’s a lot of miscellaneous content. My first blog was a dream journal. Then it turned into a travel blog while I was staying in Europe. Then it became a blog about… well… anything that was on my mind. If there’s anything I’ve been consistent in, it’s definitely inconsistency.

That being said, it’s the end of the year and I’ve feel like writing again. I haven’t really written since joining the military. Or well, I haven’t really written with any mention of having joined. I’m sure there’ll be a post about that later.

It’s a shame too. I live in the tropical state of Hawaii with my beautiful boyfriend Cory. I’ve been fortunate in the last couple years to have had the opportunity to travel. I’ve spent a lot of time hiking around the island and exploring. Most of which has been undocumented.

Oh well, I guess it’s just another opportunity to get started. Here are few pictures from the last few months:



December 10./ #getyourassintonature

2017-04-01 10.21.23Six months ago, I participated in the #getyourassintonature tag on Instagram. I’ve had a lot of different feelings about participating – but I’m glad that I did.

At the time I took this, I felt like others in my life had started to put me into a box. People were treating me like I was reserved or quiet but I’ve never felt that that those word described me. I never wanted those words to describe me.

In struggling with those ideas, I felt the need to do something different. Something that challenged my internal perception of who I was.

I saw the movement and felt the need to participate. I needed to show myself that I was free to move beyond the constraints that I felt society had placed on me. People always speak about nudity and liberation but I didn’t feel the freedom came from shedding clothes. It came from leaving self-perceptions behind.

I felt like that no matter how I molded myself, I could always change. I felt that my life was my own and I could move in the ways that I willed.

It didn’t come from the nudity or doing something taboo. The breeze on my balls didn’t change who I was. It was the will to challenge who I saw myself as. I was afraid of becoming quiet or boring. And this was an act to say that that doesn’t have to be so.

November 26./

It’s always a difficult balance buying what you want and saving for the future. This black Friday weekend was a little hard on the wallet. I’ve been looking at the Microsoft Surfaces for about six months now and the deal they had was too good.

One of the promises that I made when I bought it, was that I would start blogging again. I don’t know if it will remain here on Everyone Wanders – or if it’s time to start anew somewhere else. It would be nice to own some digital land again but it’d also be nice to save some money.

Anyways, I’m rambling. What’s new? It’s been a long time since I’ve been on here. Is blogging completely dead? Am I shouting into the empty void of the macro-blogs? If you can hear me, shout back!

January 23./ Leaving Social Media (again)

Staying off social media has been an interesting change in my life lately. A couple weeks ago I decided to deactivate my Facebook account and remove SnapChat, Instagram, and a couple other apps from my phone. The motivation for this decision was a bit blurry and undefined.

A few times each year I get frustrated at something. I struggle to define what it is exactly. Not only in communicating this to others but I struggle to understand what it is within myself. Sometimes it feels like loneliness, other times it feels like a desire to retreat from others.

There were various reasons for this withdrawal; social media’s inability to duplicate one-on-one relationships with other people, how distracting it can be to wonder if I have any notifications (or that I can neurotically check them at any moment), the onslaught of memes that deliver humor but lack substance, or finally how blindly this can consume large pockets of my life.

Perhaps it’s out of nostalgia but MySpace will always feel like the original social media to me. It didn’t have an instant messenger and there was no infinite NewsFeed to scroll through. Although it supplemented relationships, it never felt like it was replacing them.

With live video on Facebook, Messenger installed for texting, and customized NewsFeeds, it feels like Facebook has deeply ingrained itself in how I maintain relationships with my friends and family. Leaving social media has felt like I’ve hacked away at those relationships.

One relationship that’s particularly damaged at the moment is the one that I have with myself. Empty moments where normally nothing demands my attention have disappeared. Between tasks, I pull out my phone and check for updates. It’s not that I’m desiring news but that I’m filling periods where I’d normally be doing nothing.

For example, when I wake up I silence my alarm and check my phone. When I go to the bathroom, I’m scrolling through a newsfeed. If there isn’t a conversation going on in the car with friends, I probably have my phone out. Sometimes when I’m walking I’m looking at Facebook more than I’m looking at my environment.

What am I looking for? I’m not sure exactly. Exciting news? To cover moments that I would feel bored? To stay ‘connected’? Maybe a mixture, I haven’t really figure it out. What I do know is that the cost of looking for these things is my attention. And my attention, unfortunately, is limited.

The content of social media is mostly white noise. My Facebook NewsFeed consisted of  only a couple stories relevant to my friends and family when I left. It was mostly memes, politics, recipes, lots of ads, and irrelevent short videos. There was no central substance or social expression of my friends other than sharing someone else’s content.

Don’t get me wrong, this content can be interesting and expresses what a person likes – but it does not foster social connection in a way that justifies how much time I spend using it.

It isn’t like binging a TV show on Netflix where you finish a season of your favorite show and wonder where the weekend has gone. It’s so much more subtle than that. Those empty moments I spoke about before; rolling over in bed in the morning, riding in the car with friends, even walking down the street; they’re valuable.

It’s hard to define their worth because these moments are empty. Normally we would be doing nothing in their absence. But emptiness itself is valuable. It’s filled with possibility and needed transition time.

In the car with friends, maybe I’ve missed conversation because I’ve been on my phone. Or maybe there’s a bond that happens when multiple people are together, not distantly looking at Facebook, even if nothing is said. When I’m out walking and looking at my phone, maybe I’m too zoned out from what’s actually happening around me. Maybe I need to let my mind idle for a few minutes before I get where I’m going.

I just know that I’ve felt restless and unable to define why. I’ve felt busy, though I’ve accomplished nothing. I’ve felt lonely, though I’m connected to many people. I struggle to balance this and I know that many other people feel the same way and perhaps they don’t understand it either.

So disconnecting myself hasn’t ultimately changed my life. I still wake up and go to work each day. I’m not filled with tranquility or any other emotion. But I do notice the empty moments now.

When I sit at work and everyone around me is on their phone, I open my eyes and look around. When my alarm goes off in the morning, I stretch in my bed and begin the day without taking on the burden of knowing what’s happening somewhere else. I can sit down with my breakfast and gaze out the window at the bustling world – knowing that ultimately I’m here. There’s no notification, no urge to fill the empty moments with empty content, no reason to neurotically try to strengthen relationships with others. Just here and now.