Monday, October 27, 2014

It's not your fault.

Take a deep breath in through your nose. Hold it. Think of everything you’ve been taught about how you should look, what job you should have, who you should be married to and when. Exhale… and forget about all of it. Take solace in the concept that most of what happens in your life is the result of a chaotic procession of events over which you have no control. There’s a sense of peace in accepting this. And with this acceptance comes a true appreciation for the aspects of your life over which you can assert influence. Do your best to maintain perspective. If you’re reading this, you are likely living in America. I’ll spare you any nonsense about national pride, but the fact is… you sort of lucked out. Just by virtue of geography, you have a distinct head start in the quest for happiness over those born in Gaza, Mogadishu, Monrovia, Kabul, and Falluja. You don’t need to feel guilty about it… just appreciate being a winner in the genetic lottery. Smile. Don’t worry about what happens to you when you die… because you’ll be fucking dead. The molecules that make up your body will begin to break down to the building blocks and rejoin the ever moving cycle of life in fairly short order. Unless you have yourself frozen and launched into orbit. Either way, your worries can’t do much for you now or then. Understand that fear; while an innate and necessary instinct needed for survival, is a tool wielded by those who aim to control your thoughts and actions. Your chances of contracting Ebola are about 1 in 13 million. Your chances of being killed in a car accident on the way home from work today is about 1 in 9100… or  1461 times more likely. Turn off that shit they call “news” and tune in to logic and reason. Their goal isn’t to educate you with a “fair and balanced” presentation of facts. It’s to keep you mortified long enough to watch the next 60 second commercial for dick pills. Listen to the stories your elders tell about the good old days, but take them with a grain of salt. In all likelihood, the world is a better place now than when your grandparents were growing up. Support yourself. Don’t rely on anybody else to do it for you. Maybe you’ve always had someone there to provide the essentials. But you never know when they might suffer fatal heart failure on their lunch break (the leading cause of death in America) and then you’re all kinds of fucked aren’t you? Understand that attraction is not a choice. It’s a function of your brain chemistry, and that as time passes your brain chemistry will change. It’s nobody’s fault. This is a product of evolution that encourages us to diversify the gene pool. You didn’t fall out of love… you are just like everybody else. If you know and understand this, it makes it easier to stick around long enough to develop the type of mutual respect that is truly the cornerstone of a successful partnership. Emotions like jealousy, contempt, and pride; while also innate and having their purpose; are exacerbated by social constructs that have been put into place to align you to an ideology. When Bob builds a pool next door that you could never afford… there’s no need to hate or envy him. Tell him how much you like his pool. He’ll probably let you swim in it.  Unless Bob just got back from a business trip to Liberia… then you might wanna be careful. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I'm a sponge. I soak up everything. The good, the bad... it all intermingles. Joy amongst grief. Pain amongst pleasure. Random information that has no purpose other than to just be known.

I can take one look at you and know how you're feeling. Outwardly you may take on a certain appearance, but the look in your eyes or the way you utter a phrase lets me know what emotion is governing your thoughts. I don't just know it... I can feel it. My empathy is a gift, and a curse. Your sadness can grip me. Your joy can overwhelm. Your anger can infect me. I feel your emotions as if they were my own. And if I really care about you, this may happen uncontrollably. The more comfortable I feel around you, the more I will assimilate to whatever emotion it is that you are feeling. I've always been this way. This consumes energy. If unchecked, it can prevent me from processing my own feelings.  However, experience has shown me the tools I can use to manage it.

Filter - If your emotional energy tends to fall overwhelmingly on the more unpleasant side of the spectrum, I really have no choice but to limit my contact with you.

Isolation - Sometimes I just need to insulate myself from everyone. Time alone allows me to experience my own feelings and purge those of others. I spend this time in solitude examining life and the human condition.

Create - I'll write a song, poem, or a post like this. The internal-external transfer makes me lighter.

Education - Just knowing a little bit about psychology helps me to better cope with the perils of being a human. The daily struggle with cognitive bias and their associated emotions is a fascinating field of study. Coming to understand them lessens my frustration and gives me solace.

Movement - When I'm overflowing, I discharge it through exercise. I'll pound it out on the tennis court, sweat it out on a yoga mat, or channel it into physical strength at the gym. Endorphin is my drug of choice. It leaves me feeling cleansed, and ready to start again.

Reality Check - I sometimes have to conduct an inner dialogue and remind myself that its not my job to keep my fingers on the emotional pulse of everyone around me. I remind myself that sometimes caring too much is not necessarily a good thing; And that in most cases, nobody asked me to check up on them.