Four months. That’s how long it’s been since I have written. Four months and 1500 miles. I wish I could blame this absence on a new period of self discovery, but recently I have been more sure of myself than ever. Four months ago I packed up my car, after what can only be defined as another one of my rash decisions. I drove through the night, across four states, eager to land somewhere that I had only fantasized. I again found myself alone, far from anyone considered family or friend. One would expect that I would feel the same as I had the many times before; terrified, desperate, isolated from those around me, but instead what came over me was an instant wave of comfort, like I belonged here all along. Those feelings were soon confirmed, not by any one defining moment or relationship, but simply by the world around me. With the interactions I had came reassurance, the environment brought peace, and for the first time ever the isolation brought about a new belief in myself. I have been known to talk about dreams and how important it is to chase them. I have also understood how easy it is to toss those dreams aside for convenience or instant gratification. There is no shame in the latter, I have lived both of those worlds and I have found happiness and comfort in both. However, as I sat down in my empty living room; alone, jobless, and a little hungry, I discovered that I was happier than I had ever been. Happier than in a city I had once considered my dream, and happier than a place I had once considered my home. I do believe that dreams are meant to be chased, even if it is just for a moment. I don’t think that everyone knows exactly what there dreams are, but I do think that even the smallest pursuit you can discover your dreams along the way. The smallest taste can help you discover who you really are, what you really love, and they might even lead you somewhere you never thought you’d go.
I spend forty hours of my week trapped inside a bright, yet uncomfortable office. The chairs have long passed their replacement date, The desks have wear marks where the arms of my predecessors sat, and it often smells of old leftovers. The air conditioning only lives in extremes, either blasting the room with frigid air, or leaving us dying in the heat. Conversations rarely run normally. Either we spend a few short moments talking about the weather or someone gives a quick and outspoken review of this weeks office gossip. If you held us at gunpoint and forced us to give up information about each other I’m sure that only a handful of us would make it out alive. Maybe this isn’t strange, and this is just typical office behavior. But I find the lack of personal connection to be nothing short of disturbing. When did we give up on our humanity and settle for a robotic version of ourselves?
I don’t know what to write. I have been numb to the touch of the keypad for months and I’m aching for some form of inspiration. There is nothing that I want to put on paper. There is nothing that I want to say. I am exhausted. My days flow together into a confusion of sameness. Work has become nothing more than a flow of income as it slowly pulls the joy out of my day. At home there is not much relief. I live on the defensive, covering my tracks and building a wall around what should be a guaranteed place of safety. Few interactions are pleasant. Most leave me constantly questioning the state of their reality. Of course, I could write about that, and I’m sure that I will. But it’s better to wait to avoid any matter of offense, although some deserve to be offended. It is possible that it is the environment that has diagnosed me with this serious case of writer’s block, and it is the idea that I am most likely to blame. How is one to create when they are surrounded by so many unhealthy distractions? I have yet to find the answer to this question.
I am exhausted.
A resignation letter sits in the mailboxes of the different individuals that I had grown to admire. Up until that point there was nothing but excitement in my bones about the upcoming events, but something else had begun to fester. A moment of heartbreak rushed over me as I saw unexpected emotions displayed across the faces of my peers. I had spent so much time complaining about my surroundings that I had forgotten about the relationships that I built. How selfish of me to not take their feelings into account.
It comes a point when one must move on from every part of life. A truth that I sometimes have a hard time swallowing. Some experiences, such as this one, are shorter than originally expected. Because of this I have spent a lot of time questioning if I was making the right decision. How can an experience as short as this one hold any real weight? I have in fact only been with the job for a handful of months, and in the city less than a year. Is leaving so soon a decision made to hastily? Am I missing out on opportunities that only this city can offer? And the relationships that I have built here, what does it mean if I just desert them so abruptly?
The feeling of sadness is heavy in the air. However, it does not reside in the moments of confliction, nor is it fueled by the thoughts of separation. It exists solely as it is supposed to, right now, in this moment. It is true that in a couple of weeks I will be far away from a job where I was secure, relationships that I care for, and a city that I had grown to love. But it is also true that something new awaits right around the corner. Those new experiences, no matter how good or bad they may be, will be nothing less than the next chapter in my life. I do mourn the distance between now and then, but I now understand how much fondness distance brings and how valuable even the shortest experiences become.
Moving forward is inevitable. The worst thing one can do is try to stop it.
I raise a glass to the past, and a bottle for the future.
It was, by all definitions of the word, a Monday. I woke up from a rest that was shorter than intended. This was of course my fault, as I had become lost in technological trance the night before. I had made the attempt to to participate in my daily ritual and listen to a political driven podcast on the way to work, however my mind had other plans. I spent the better part of the forty minutes in traffic daydreaming about the days ahead, and relishing the ones past. Suddenly I found myself in the parking lot at work, and cutoff my friend Jon Lovett in the middle of one of his famous advertising riffs.
I eventually want to write a piece dedicated to the people that I have met in this city, but since that list has so many different personalities I fear it is far from publication. Instead, just for a moment, I want to remark on the a common trait I have noticed in a number of fellow colleagues. Where I come from, there is a lot of opinions of Los Angeles and the people inside of it. One of the most popular comments on the entitlement of the people who live here. I have met many different individuals in this city, and this trait applies to few of them. But the ones that hold this value, hold onto it with their lives. There are some that survive off of the idea of entitlement, even when they have no name to back it up. It is in this moment that I can’t help but picture the Evil Queen from Snow White, with her chin held high and her eyes glaring down at all that she sees beneath her. The act of entitlement bothers me. I spend a lot of time wondering what they are thinking and what pushes them to act the way they do. Maybe they believe that those thoughts will force their dreams into reality, or maybe they are just afraid. I’m confident that each offender has a different reason for their actions, but my desire to understand still pushes me to question the very nature of the act. One thing I know for certain, acts such as these carry weight, and the few that commit these acts create the label for many.
My research will continue, but until then I will stay away from bad apples.
I have spent a lot of time toiling over the first line in what is often considered Gombrowicz’s finest work. Although I have only made my way through the first few pages of his “Diary” I already fine myself obsessing over each new day. As a native of Poland during the rise of the Second World War, Gombrowicz was face to face with some of history’s most dramatic moments. I must be honest in this moment and say that I do fear that I may never get to have such experiences. Not that I wish for war or an environment that reflected the streets of 1940’s Europe, a request of that nature would deem me sick and cruel. But writings that came out of times of deep struggle are often unmatched, and as a writer I cannot lie and say that that isn’t appetizing.
I have decided, and hopefully will stick with the idea, to follow in the footsteps of Gombrowicz and document my daily life. Although my prowess is nothing like that of the great Polish writer I find that these documents will prove something. Not that I ever intend to release them as a publication, as they will better serve as a means of self-reflection. As a writer I find myself often struggling with words. These moments of stagnation can last hours or they can last weeks, and the judgements against myself become more intense. It is possible that something more will come out of these journals, but for now they will serve as nothing more than a tool of reassurance.
Thank you Gombrowicz, for providing a means of therapy even fifty years after your death.
Fear is most often attributed to its most basic definitions. It is simply defined as the vital response to physical or emotional danger. It is what prevents from jumping off of a cliff or from playing tag with rattlesnakes. Fear is the first line of defense against the potentially harmful. Although we typically hold fear in a negative light, we welcome it and we rely on it. Without fear there is little stopping us from making life-or-death decisions. This general idea becomes the basis for every interaction with fear that we encounter.
Fear often stems from our experiences, and just as commonly, the experiences of others. Most people live their whole lives without being bitten by a spider, but they know that it is still in the realm of the possibility, which is why arachnophobia is such a popular fear. Our fears are typically over-exaggerated versions of their true selves. Not all spiders are harmful, but we often treat them as such because if we didn’t then we would have to admit to ourselves that we are distorting the fear. We would rather lie to ourselves than attempt to understand the truth. Fear is treated as a novelty, it is trait that we use to define ourselves and prove that we are unique.
In the world of progress, fear is our greatest enemy. When we are met with an obstacle, fear is what prevents us from facing it. We are so desperate for change but we are so afraid of the consequences that we fail to ever actually follow through. The only way to grow is to overcome our fear, and the only way to do that is to attempt to understand why that fear is there.
We can divide fear into two conclusive categories; rational and irrational. Rational fears prevent us from making definitively harmful decisions. This includes instances such as swimming in crocodile infested waters, running into a burning house, or following a murderous clown into the sewers. These fears are logical and are the reason that fear exists, they keep us safe from true danger. This is not about those fears.
Irrational fears prevent us from making progress. Examples of these fears are not talking to that girl at the bar, not going to the gym because you are small, or refusing to put your art out there because of what people may think. It is here that fear betrays us and prevents us from moving forward. Irrational fear usually contains little to no consequence, but overcoming it requires a moment of vulnerability, a character trait that we do not take lightly.
Fear exists only in our mind, but the responses that it creates in your body and mind are real. Fear exists only in the future, it is a precursor for things to come. Fear is an indicator of a lack of knowledge. We are not afraid of what we already know because we understand it, and the results that will come from it. A lack of understanding of the unknown is what sparks fear.
Fear is neither good nor bad, but it is entirely based on a person’s reaction to it. If we hold onto our fears then we will never grow; as a person, as a nation, or as a world. We can spend our whole lives running from what scares us, or we can opt for a moment of courage, and face our fears head on. Facing our fears will never be defined as an easy or a simple task, but doing so will incite the most powerful and influential forms of change.
Fear is the problem, you are the solution.