A Most Insidious Lie

That comfort in returning to depression
That at least if I’m panicking, I’m worrying about something
That pulling away from people
Gives them what they want:
Less of me.

That this internalized hatred,
This self-loathing and wish to be anyone else
Is my true self, my default outlook.

That this is somehow normal. Continue reading

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2013: Relationships, Education, Writing

While I don’t care much for typical New Year’s resolutions, I do think the beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect and refocus on my priorities. Looking back, I spent a lot of time these last several months putting time and effort into pursuits that weren’t actually very important to me. Areas of my life that are important to me suffered a bit for it. As I roll into 2013 I want to focus on the facets of my life that I neglected: people and relationships, learning and education, and the written word.

I prefer to have a few very close relationships. My connections to other people are a major part of my identity, really, so I’m only truly happy if those relationships are healthy. Much of my attention will be put into maintaining and growing my friendships and to more clearly communicating my love to those people I am closest to.

When the rest of my life has been uncertain and even disappointing, my friends have always been constant, supportive, and my home. I’m going to pull people close and make sure they know that I need them in my life.

I have bounced back from my failure with DC Teaching Fellows. I’ve established myself as a well-liked and much asked for tutor in the Eugene area. I worked over a year at a local sustainable farm. All of that has allowed me to rebuild my confidence. Now it’s time for me to start looking forward again. I feel more prepared for the GRE, so I will be retaking the Mathematics Subject exam and the Analytical Writing portion of the general GRE. Graduate school is again on my near horizon. I’ll be applying to a number of schools this time. This is my primary education focus.

I have some other areas I want to focus on, though. I want to develop a portfolio to demonstrate my ability to design and implement algorithms to solve problems and my understanding of numerical analysis. The implementation portion will allow me to learn and explore different programming languages. A secondary goal is to familiarize myself with a variety of languages.

Other than those two primary focuses, I am just going to read more. This includes everything from more science articles online to non-fiction books and also catching up on the fiction books that my friends have recommended to me. Then we can talk about them which will help me grow those relationships.

Focusing on relationships and on learning will give me a lot to think about and when I have a lot to think about I write. Writing is the third area of my life that will be getting most of my attention. I claim to be an enthusiastic writer, but the amount I write does not really reflect that. I have aspirations to release a collection of poetry, but I have not produced enough poetry within the last several years to find enough pieces worth pulling together.

Distractions will not force my relationships, education, or writing to the back burner, as they have this last year. Instead, I will maintain my focus and let the distractions wait until their proper time and give them no more than they deserve.

Thinking Out Loud: Faith

Love depends intimately and completely on faith. When I am confronted with no evidence, or counter-evidence, for the love that is expressed for me, I have to take the words on faith. That faith has to be more powerful than my own insecurities, than the apathy or disinterest that threatens to undermine the expression.

It seems like it is harder to have faith in a person than in divinity. People will challenge my faith in them, will disappoint me, push me away. Divinity, though, is only what a person wants it to be. How can one’s faith be challenged if it is all in one’s head?

At the same time, I’ve always held that what people credit to divine influence is really their own unacknowledged inner-strength. So, having faith in a deity I would interpret as faith in the self. And I know just how hard it is to maintain faith in yourself. While others may disappoint us, it is easy to forgive when we find out their perspective. I know when I disappoint myself, though, it takes me a long time to forgive. I hold myself to a higher standard.

Hmm, whether it is in myself or someone else, faith in people is hard.

Faith is a struggle I understand only too well.
When she says “I love you,”
The words are only as true as I believe.
Some days, such words mean more than nothing
Due only to my investment in their truth,
I can find no evidence to prove them.
Ain’t that the case with any love?
More than we see it, we feel it, believe it.
Love can only exist through Faith.

This is an early draft of a portion of a verse to a larger poem I’m working on. The whole poem is about how I, as an atheist, experience Faith.

a Bench, a Pen, and These Words

Now you’ve walked away
But I’ll wander a while longer
My mind is still revved
Burning off your high-octane
Continue reading

I Hate Me + bonus poem “Reflection Judges the Man” [updated]

[jump to update]

Everyday I put effort into improving myself. I am always pursuing goals of personal betterment. I seek to make myself smarter, stronger, healthier, wiser, to use my time in more meaningful ways.

My drive to improve comes from a deep-rooted self-loathing. Writing these words is about the most open and honest I have ever been. I cannot remember a time I’ve ever liked myself, and I know I’ve never felt self-love. But I also wonder, do most people feel this way? Are most people fundamentally dissatisfied with themselves, even if it doesn’t descend to self-hatred?

There’s a test I’ve come up with: Look into a large mirror. Look into your own eyes as if they belonged to someone you’ve known your whole life. Now, can you say, with complete conviction, “I love you”?

I can’t. Continue reading

Verse – Mask and Veil

I’m open, and honest,
But that doesn’t mean
I haven’t hidden myself
Behind a veil of normalcy

I’m outspoken, and righteous,
Yet I haven’t shown my
Full persona to those
Closest to me.

A veil is being lifted,
A glimpse can be caught.
But don’t get too excited,
Beneath I wear a mask.

Now you can see I’m
Vulnerable, and a little afraid
I will attach myself
To an identity more true

The mask is my taboo,
And I now wear it openly.
You can identify me by it,
You can identify me without it.

So, I’ll present two faces
Until I can find some place
Stereoscopic and 3D
Where they’ll overlap as me.

No Comfort Tonight

I’m hiding from the night
I’m keepin’ some distance
To separate me
From those oncoming dreams.

I’m putting up a fight,
I’m not ready for tomorrow
Just got to keep
Another day from getting to me.

I’m ignoring the lonely sight
That’s such an empty bed
In between the sheets
There’s no comfort, only me.

— R. Brockey