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…



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