the search

 

Once again, I am beginning to write

with no end in sight

No clear goal, or direction

 

But I noticed a couple things, today

I knocked over or spilled three things I would not have

had I been paying more attention

had I been more present

 

These were unforeseen,

but not unforeseeable, accidents

 

I’ve been trying to decide if I should go do some deliveries, now, or clean some more around the guest house

And I’m not sure.

This is a new thing

because I have a song I feel like listening to

 

Recently, somewhere in this discord server, I talked about how I’d started using not knowing what music to play, as a tell

As a check

Because as I’ve been more conscious about using music as a second language

Not knowing what music to play has become an uncommon state of being, for me

Enough for it to be noticeable, when I do not immediately identify what feels right to listen to, in a given moment

And so I’d started using that to identify when I am having a Tricksy Brain Factor issue

Every time I’ve tested out that theory, I’ve eventually realized

the thing I had not been looking in the face of, so to speak

and in so doing, find the action I should be taking, in that moment

the one that feels right

 

But this

this not knowing what I should be doing

despite knowing what song I feel like listening to

this is something new.

And therefore, something interesting.

 

I’m not sure how to move forward

but it was strange enough

that I thought I’d start writing about it

as it happens

and….see where this goes.

 

I’m not working, for now

because if I was distracted enough to be that clumsy

I should not be driving

 

I was also a little impatient with my kitten, Sisi, today

she keeps crawling up my legs

and I’m wearing tights

it hurts

 

But this is something that’s happened before, has hurt before

and I wasn’t impatient the other times

Instead, I took the time to figure out what she needed

if she was hungry (she has food out she has not finished, so I don’t think that’s the case!)

or if she was bored and wanted to play

or if she just wanted reassurance

She is sitting on the chair with me, sleeping

so this isn’t a now thing

 

But it is a whys of the whats thing

because, if I can figure out what the difference is

between today,

and the other times she’s done this

If I can sift through all that noise, in my head and in my life

and find the information

and read it

then, I will learn from this

 

I am already learning

by having decided not to drive

Even though, looked at from one angle, nothing related to driving happened today

I’m not under the influence of anything, chemically- no drugs or alcohol

and I’m not upset

 

I just..knocked a couple things over.

 

But I’m starting to know myself better, now

And I know

That if I was clumsy that many times in a row

There is a reason for it

And until I find that reason

I will continue to be distracted

In a way that might be dangerous in a car

 

so now

I will think

and I will walk

and I will see what happens

 

There is something I’m not seeing, here,

I think?

 

The song

maybe

maybe I will discover it, in talking about this song

 

It is one I wanted to talk about, anyway

So even if I do not suss out the underlying issue, here, behind my distraction

the time will not be wasted.

 

I’m listening to The Search, by NF – on repeat.

 

I like how he talks to himself

I do that, too

 

One of my exes went through a lot of trouble

over the span of a lot of years

To turn me, gradually and so very slowly

from someone who hated all things Rap

into a person that loves a fair amount of it

 

And one of the things that I have taken with me, from that process

is another question that I ask myself, sometimes

 

For a thing to have popularity

more than one person must find some value in it

so I try to ask myself what that value might be

How a certain genre of music, movies – whatever; even things like hobbies

could come to be enjoyable by another person

How it might have come to resonate with someone

 

NF, in this song

talks about some things that, I believe, are possibly fundamental to the human experience

But he does it using his own experiences, his own struggles – as a lens from which to view it

 

So, when he talks about seeing all the faces in the crowds

when he is on stage

What I hear him communicating

is something more like the anxiety that we all feel

whenever we feel the pressure of Eyes on us

Even that of our own eyes

 

But anytime we walk out into the world

and feel that anxiety that comes from worrying about Not Measuring Up

 

He talks about seeing a therapist

and realizing that something ‘funny is going on up in my house’

thinks about moving out

 

That reminds me of Runs in the Family, by Amanda Palmer 

Run from the pity, from responsibility

 

 

And I totally just knocked something else over

Something that would not have spilled

had I been present enough to remember to put the lid back on when I was done using it, earlier

 

This will keep happening

Until I figure out what it is I want to say

until I figure out what I’m overlooking, here

 

What I am trying to do, right now

is to head off potential problems

the kind that can arise from making the kinds of mistakes

that come from not paying enough attention

Before the clumsiness becomes Real Problems

With real consequences

If I can, anyway

 

The song might not be the path here, but I feel like there may have been a reason I gravitated to it

anyway

He uses the word house

In a way that I feel like is similar to how I read family

in Runs in the Family

 

To express something else

Something we cannot run from

Something inside of us

Maybe even inside of all of us

 

In this song

After he talks about looking out at all the faces

he says

that’s when I start to get anxious

that’s when my thoughts can be dangerous

that’s when I put on my makeup

drown in self-hatred

forget what I’m sayin’, and-

 

In my head

This ties into how the feedback effect of our brains-works

Through association

That’s how my thoughts can become dangerous

when I am not aware of that process

of one thought with emotional weight

making me feel something negative

sadness

guilt

anxiety

stress

etc.

-causing my brain to call up yet another thought

in the same vein

with similar emotional weight

 

Which adds to the first

and it just keeps going

keeps building

 

If I do not stop it

if I do not make it stop.

 

And that’s when I also forget what I’m saying

Forget what I’m doing, even, forget to pay attention

forget to be here, now

That’s when I lose my path

and begin my own Search

(like right now, maybe)

 

Except I’m still not sure why I felt whatever I did, so strongly

So I’ma keep going

 

I’ve been searchin’

What does that mean, Nate?

I’ve been learnin’.

Grabbin’ my keepsakes

Leavin’ my burdens

Well, I brought a few with me, I’m not perfect!

looking at the view like, this concerns me

picking up the cues, right, I’m quite nervous

hate it when I lose sight, life gets blurry 

and things might hurt me

it’s prolly gonna be a long journey, but hey!

it’s worth it, though – cold world out there, kids – grab your coats!

 

The Search

is learning

Picking up the cues- like picking out the patterns whys of the whats

 

And, for me,

life does get blurry

when I get nervous

Because that means I’m worrying about past mistakes, or potential future ones

and the way that those mistakes may or may not manifest into Scary Things

somewhere down the line

When I am doing that, I am not really fully investing my attention

in right now

 

I met so many people on the street

who had been rich, once

who had been famous, once

 

Gotta taste of the fame, had to pump my stomach

I’ma back up like I don’t want it

Wipe my face, clean off my vomit

 

Fame is not enough.

Money, is not enough.

And those friends of mine from the street

found that out, the hard way-

actually succeded in living the dream

Only to find it had turned into a nightmare

 

It’s like the gates whys of the whats

we do one thing because we think it will give us security

comfort

happiness

 

but those are not things that just happen

No matter how diligently we keep trying the same things –

HARDER

More money

Better jobs

Nicer houses

 

They are, maybe

in my mind

forms of possession, like in Love as Possession- 

 

When I think a person or a thing

is what I need in order to be okay

Well.

Life will find a way

to either take it away

or, worse-

to give it to me

So that I feel even more empty inside

When I realize it’s still not enough

 

The sales can rise

Doesn’t mean much though, when your health declines

See, we’ve all got something that we we’ve trapped inside

That we try to suffocate

You know, hoping it dies

Try to hold it under water

But it always survives

And it comes up out of nowhere like an evil surprise

And it hovers over you to tell you millions of lies

You don’t relate to that?

Must not be as crazy as I am!

 

That something trapped inside, I feel like that ties pretty directly into what I just wrote in [missing memory]

Maybe, even, is one of the ways that our psychological immune system

(as Dan Gilbert calls it)

operates

to try to protect our psyche

From the magnitude of what – IS

The magnitude of all of our mistakes

Reflecting throughout our history

 

The point I’m making is the mind is a powerful place

And what you feed it can affect you in a powerful way

That’s pretty cool, right?

Yeah, but it’s not always safe.

Just hang with me, this will only take a moment, okay?

Just think about it for a second

Every day when you get up and think you’ll never be great,

you’ll never be great

Not because you’re not, but the hate 

Will always find a way to cut you up and murder your faith!

 

The key for me,

is there.

The mind is a powerful place

And if we see ourselves as stuck as who we have always been

We will never grow in the way that we have the potential to:

 

‘I am shy’

‘I am anxious’

‘I am a drug addict’

‘I am not smart,’ or ‘I am too smart’

Extends what might be the case, right now

and makes it

PERMANENT.

 

And our brains will view the world

and our places within it

through that lens

and the range of what we can do with our lives

What we can do in this very moment

Will be limited

by what our brains think a person who is defined in such a way – is capable of

 

It was time to change the song.

I think, maybe

I was distracted, because I felt like what I wrote in [on systems] was unfinished

Everything here is Unfinished

In the sense that my thoughts and feelings are evolving, every day

But I think that maybe I felt like there was more I could say

More I should say

On that topic, today. 

 

Right now.

 

I still don’t know quite how to communicate this thing in my head

In this post, nor in this blog at large.

 

But it has to do with choices

With choosing what game we are going to play

Or maybe choosing which ones we are not going to play, anymore.

 

The answer, to me, behind The Search

 

is to STOP RUNNING

 

Stop packing up and moving out

 

Stop The Search-

in a solid, permanent sort of sense

 

And begin taking what is offered, to reference Altered Carbon once again

 

But that does not mean to settle

Does not have to mean to settle

 

Because what is offered

is everything

 

 

I had no safety to retreat to, when I was living on the street

And so I began, accidentally and out of necessity- creating my own safety.

Making my head a safe space, when I needed to.

 

And now,

I am confident

that I could go anywhere

And be successful, in the way that it matters

Because I have begun acknowledging my fears, my failures, and my faults

 

And I have begun making the choice

Every day

In as many moments of every day, as I can

To no longer define myself by them

 

Which means that it becomes possible

Within my own head

To begin thinking about how to fix them

 

 

 

I think, maybe, using terms like ‘drug addict,’

while I understand that those kinds of terminologies are intended to perhaps lessen the guilt and the self blame resulting from relapses, and backpedaling

Maybe – those kind of terms do more harm than good

Because of the implied permanence

 

I found happiness, in general; found a way to feel safe, in general; found a way to feel comfortable in my own skin, in general

months and months before those feelings translated into sobriety

 

It took a very long time

for that initial mental switch flipping

to result in any changes that might be visible to someone outside of my own head

 

What I feel like was important, to me- was simply making the decision

that I was not going to think of myself as broken, any longer

 

I did keep using drugs for a while after that – a long while

But it felt more like a temporary coping mechanism

that I would let go of when I was ready to

And, eventually – I did so.

But first, I had to be ready.

These kinds of changes do not materialize over night.

But they all start, somewhere, with a decision to start trying

There will always be backsliding

 

But as long as I feel like I am taking at least one or two steps forwad for every inch I slide back-

I don’t feel as much guilt over that backsliding.

 

The resources know not from whence they come.

When I am better about finding things that make me feel good, more often

The mistakes I make are easier to move past

Are easier to learn from

 

Though this path is never what I would call an easy one to take

It is unbelievably rewarding

and worth every penny

 

Worth every obstacle

Every obstalce, that I was sure I just wasn’t even capable of overcoming

with the reward that I get 

in the form of how I feel,

when I actually do it

 

The only time that I actually cannot overcome an obstacle – or find a way around one – ultimately, is when I stop trying.

And that includes when I stop trying

because I think it’s an impossible situation

an untenable one

 

That, I think, is what I meant by the ‘making a decision’ part, and how things start to define me as a person, if I let them

Yeah, I may be whoever, whatever – right now

and maybe I still will be whoever, whatever – for the foreseeable future

 

But I will only be whoever

forever

If I don’t make the decision not to be, in my head

If I don’t start growing my awareness of those definitions that I have, in the first place

 

 

I still drink, sometimes

I may still use drugs, someday

I kind of doubt that last one, but you never know.

I don’t really think of using as a ‘mistake,’ anymore – not as a blanket rule.

 

It is another choice.

And sometimes, the Least Worst

is the Best we can choose.

 

But it won’t be that way, always

As long as we can keep up our faith in our future self

and as long as we don’t give up on the game

 

just because it gets challenging sometimes

 

 

For a bit of silly, now – here is one of my attempts at learning this song! 

 

brooke

I spent three years living on the street in Los Angeles. I came out of that, changed. This is my story.

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