Losing Your Meaning

We attach to memories in any way that we can. Internally, we’re scared of forgetting. We always want to remember the good times we’ve had with friends and the moments that we think have made us who we are. This attachment is so strong that we obsess over objects that remind us of our memories.

When someone dies, it’s common for loved one’s to keep clothing or anything that still smells like the person. We keep birthday cards, old letters, mixtapes our friends made, anything. We attach because we don’t want the memory to fade; we don’t want to forget.

Last year I had a rough time for many months. Music was one of the ways that I got through each day. I’d put on world’s end girlfriend and just listen. There was something chaotic about it that seemed to calm my mind. It defined my day-to-day life because in every free moment I had, music was playing.

Those old songs have come back on shuffle occasionally and the memories flood back in. I remember how hurt I was, how long the days were. Even more, I can’t stop playing the songs. I want to remember it all, to feel it again but to experience it in a different way.

The thing about these objects we attach to is that they are just object. They physically mean nothing. It’s just old clothing, paper and ink, and songs. At a base level, these objects have no significance – they’re just placeholders for a greater emotion.

What’s interesting is the more time we spend experiencing these objects, the more that they just become meaningless objects. That’s why the the more you eat your favorite meal, the less significant it becomes. The more you smell the clothing of that person you love, the less that you can smell it. It fades. The more that I listen to this music, the more that the old memories disappear.

I don’t know our relationship with objects and memories. What I do know is that I don’t want these thoughts to go away. I want to remember these emotions, the smells, the happy and the sad. The greater that I desire them, the more elusive they become. You can’t experience one emotion forever and you cannot live completely in the past. You can only look backwards, never walk backwards.

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“The Sound of Colors” by Jimmy Liao

Last year I fell in love with a music album “Starry Starry Night” by world’s end girlfriend. Specifically the track “Storytelling“. In the fall, I played it when I woke up each morning and before I went to bed every night. Eventually I learned that the CD was written for a movie which shared the album’s name. It wasn’t until August that I watched the movie and fell in love.

The illustrator Jimmy Liao wrote the book “Starry Starry Night” which was adapted into a film. This is becoming complex but I fell in love with Liao’s work. I wanted to see all of it! The book arrived in the mail and I immediately read it completely.

“The Sound of Colors” is about a girl who is becoming blind. She starts by saying that her slight is slipping. The illustrations are of a young girl walking with cane into a subway. As the book progresses trains take her far into her imagination. She tells the reader about how she imagines what the world looks like. The scenes are filled with vibrant colors and beautiful words.

I found that I related to her perspectives and what she was going through. She writes about becoming lost, and having to move forward into the dark. These trains could lead her anywhere – they are the paths we pick in life. While the book is simplistic, Liao has a beautiful way of illustrating and I look forward to reading more of his books in the future. If you haven’t looked it up already, you can check out the book here!

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3/31 Blogtober

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Unfortunately tonight I lack an order to the words that are flowing through my head. I wish I could write more but I haven’t digested my thoughts yet. Days like today feel chaotic because I have so much emotion but I don’t have a way of letting it out. I’m not short on feelings but I can’t bring them to a line of text. There isn’t that organization to box how I feel right now. Waiting until I figure this all out will have to suffice. Don’t worry, I’m fine. I’m just trying to find myself and make sense of my life.

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Self-Actualization

Social psychologist Abraham Maslow created a pyramid that defined what a person needs to do to achieve what he called “self-actualization”. This is basically a state of “being the best that you could possibly be”. He saw this state as what leads an individual to lasting happiness. However, this wasn’t a state that was achieved once and continually provided happiness. The state was a constant building of self to be the best that a person could be at any given point. For example, my best for today is different than your best for today. My best for today may be better or worse than yesterday’s best – but it’s the best I could possibly do at that time.

As I look back at this pyramids, I look at what builds the individual towards self-actualization; fulfillment of physiological needs, safety needs, love/belonging needs, and esteem needs. The individual needs sustenance like food to survive, while also needing a sense of security and belonging  to feel happy.

The trait that define a self-actualized person are a sense of morality, creativity, spontaneity, acceptance and so on. There are moments in my life when I feel maximized and at these traits. The more I look at them, the more I can see myself fulfilling them. However, when I get into relationships it seems that I shift out of self-actualization.

When I’m around others, I tend to neglect my own needs. I forget my need for esteem and exaggerate my need for belonging/love. Without feeling like I belong with others, I lose my self-esteem and thus, my creativity and spontaneity suffer. When I spend a lot of time alone, I seem to be able to organize my needs and focus more on self-improvement.

For some reason, it seems that these are the moments that I’m happiest. The moments when I feel like I’ve accomplished something or improved myself. My need for intimacy seems to be dramatically lower than my need for self-fulfillment. I’m not sure how much other people suffer through this but it’s a little disorienting to be with another.

The moments that are the clearest are after the water has been shaken. As it stills, you can see deeper. Right now I feel like I’m a glass of water that’s been shaken and you can’t see into it. The surface is stilling but it’s still blurred. As I look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I see where a lot of my suffering comes from. If you ever have the opportunity to read Maslow’s work, I encourage you to read into it. It adds a perspective that you couldn’t find otherwise.

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Someone lost

There are people who will enter into your life without warning and change you. Sometimes you’re the person who appears and makes the life-altering change. Almost one year ago I met a guy who changed my life. He didn’t exactly initiate it but our conversations changed the way I looked at myself as an openly gay man. Things that I still find to be true about myself.

We met at my original school back in May last year. Most of our interactions were brief and lacked a lot of words. Somehow though, we conveyed a lot between us. The group I was in was extremely tight knit but we were all very different people. Out of my entire class of 50 people, I was the only openly gay man – something I wouldn’t think twice about. I’m gay, and I’m open about my life.

This guy started talking to me one day and asked how I could be so open to everyone about it. How could I let everyone know? We talked for hours about the subject and it really showed me how open I was. Some people find it difficult to be open but I’ve never had any problem with it.

His amazement on the subject let to my own amazement with myself. It’s odd to see yourself from a different light or from someone else’s perspective. I’m not going to go into depth about this guy because obviously there was more interaction, but still, I look back and I miss him.

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I once read a quote that went something along the lines of “it was problem in which she could not run away from but could not confront”. Tonight I have these things blaring in my face but I feel helpless to react to them. Why do we become so mentally entangled in the small things, things which should easily be forgotten or made peace with?

My solace right now is getting my camera back next week. Photography has been a huge part of my life and it used to be my form of expression before blogging. Although I love words and I love speaking, I feel as though I am better expressed through images. There are just emotions that cannot be captured in words because they have to be interpreted by the individual. I will find peace there, when my expression is in a different form.

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Lost

Now I am lost
I am unable to speak
where have i gone?

Tonight was an incredibly rough night again. I feel as though someone has placed a wash bucket over my head, spun me around, and beat me with a bat. I cannot translate my thoughts to words properly other than to say I’m currently mentally lost. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations we never could have imagined and that’s how I feel right now. These days feel like my life has been robbed from me and all that is left is my physical body capable of doing work. I’m even at a loss of words to get to my 100 minimum of the day. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll feel a bit better. My mother is flying in and I’m excited to see her when I finally have free time on Saturday!

Well, cheers. I’ve met my minimum for the day and sometimes the best we can do is the minimum. We just have to give it our all and that’s all we have to give.

Have a wonderful night everybody.

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