family

Doing The Minimalism Thing In A Boss Way

I am about to do something that only a few months ago I was not going to do. I am so sad but yet grateful that I feel better about it now. I know there is a person who says no. I know that there are freedoms that will be cut. But I figured that the good will outweigh the bad somehow.

First things first: MINIMIZE MY LIFE

I MUST give away my stuff. I don’t need books that I will never read. I don’t need clothes that don’t fit me anymore nor have ever fit me. I don’t need a backup that I will never use. I don’t need expensive perfume that I will never use. I don’t need things that are old and gross. I don’t need sentimental items that I have never even wanted. I just need to minimize my life. I need a bookshelf of only my most favorite books. Not books that I was told to read.

I just want to be happier with less. Less stuff to worry about. Less stress. Less sleepless nights. Less tiredness. Less physical weight. Less arguing. Less meaning to do something but don’t. Less people that don’t improve my life.

I also want this move to be beneficial for my family relationships. I always want it but never implement anything. I need to be the boss of my own life.

Less TRASH- in thought and feeling.

Wish me luck.

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Fake Rich

 

limo parking only

                                      Picture taken just outside Red Rocks, CO.                                                                                         I wish I had a limo. Look at the perks!

 

A lot of people know what it’s like to be poor. Quite a few know what it’s like to be rich. But what category do I fall under?

Before I was born my parents lived in an apartment. And when my sis was born they moved into a small one-story house. Growing up, my parents moved us again into a decent two-story house. Ten years after that, we moved into a huge house with eight bathrooms. A house I hated. The recession hit while we were in it. Before the recession, when I was in high school, my mom would buy me one graphic novel per week. (If I was good) When we went to the supermarket, we didn’t look at prices. We had good health care. Needless to say, we were very comfortable. When the recession hit, we were unable to do any of these things. Then my mom got sick. I just ended a friendship on horrible terms. I needed money to even just APPLY to transfer to a four-year school. I ended up using much of my life savings for that. (Just some money I had been saving since third grade) I had to put a lot of money on my credit card for dorm living. I remembered my mom getting worse and worse, unable to do laundry by herself or drive a car. It was like I was watching my world change and I started to become more depressed- more worried about money. One of the worst parts was how my father hid the fact that we had little money. It was like trusting us with the truth about how much we needed was a horrible idea. He might of thought he was protecting us, but it never felt that way. I asked if I should get a better job other than my tutoring. He said no. (He never supported us in getting jobs) He didn’t take into account that this situation was hard on all of us, not just him. We needed realism. We needed the truth. We needed to come together as a family to get through this. There was a lot of anxiety. There was a lot of frustration. There was a lot of sadness. We didn’t adjust well. The huge house we lived in was unkempt. My mom wasn’t able to clean or cook as much. Her dietary restrictions and expensive hygiene supplies only brought anger and hostility out of us, we fought that she was high-maintenance, and wasn’t making things easier for us. The house was also a financial burden. Gas was over a thousand dollars a month. No one told me, I just happened to just accidentally see a bill one time. Everything that was supposed to be easy, was suddenly not. I remember a semester at community college where I got all W’s because I couldn’t deal with anything anymore, so I dropped out of many of my classes. (Especially that Psych 101 class I had where the professor made all us students feel uncomfortable) The only class I kept was my once-a-week philosophy of religion class.

Here I was in this great big house, with a mother I constantly worried about (but didn’t show it), an unseen future, practically no friends, family who didn’t support one another, a wallet that kept getting smaller and it all seemed IMPOSSIBLE.

My Netflix subscription was the only constant in my life. I watched and watched movies and TV shows like it was my job. I would get back from community college and there would be a brand new DVD or two in my mailbox. There was a special kind of joy that I felt. I set up a blue ray player and small TV in my room and sat there for hours- immersing myself into someone else’s world. I don’t remember MUCH of the plots I watched. I don’t remember storylines and specific parts of a film that seem to be always quoted. I saw the whole Star Wars series and I don’t remember much of the details from them, other than the characters. I watched because that was the only thing I liked to do. The only sense of numbing. It was something I could do alone. My own drug.

I went off to college and stayed in a dorm. Things got better except my mom. Her high-maintenance life only grew higher at a constant pace, frustrating all of us. A few years later we finally moved out of the giant house into a rental. And after the big house got sold (it took years to find a good buyer) We moved into a better-than-decent house.

Things are better. My mom is getting there. I still feel broken from that moment in my life. As though a lonely, empty feeling has persistently remained. The feeling of family dysfunction, financial struggle and the inability to cope properly has never truly left me.

But I accepted that things will never be as they were once before. Before the big house. Before we were fake rich.

 


 

P.S. My final for my philosophy of religion class was to go somewhere for eight hours straight and think. You couldn’t talk or text people. You couldn’t read or do any work of any kind. (Not even jot down ideas) You could do it with a friend but you two couldn’t communicate. Just walk or sit around and think. I never did it. I just said I did. (It wasn’t that hard to lie about it) But I want to do it one day. I want to go to the beach on a cloudy day and sit on the sand and watch the waves crash again and again…

Falling into the Crevasse

“The Hardest Rock In The World To Find…”

A weight has been lingering above me for a while now. The weight of comfort and mind-numbing stupidity. It seems to have gotten worse since I’ve moved back to California. I have no discernible skills. Even my smile is different somehow. Less frequent. I want and want and want. I assume and predict and plan… Nothing is working out. I am getting older and leaving less room for growth. It’s enough to talk the talk, but walking the walk is unbearable. Everything is unbearable. It has always been a chore to do anything. The way I see the world has set me back on multiple occasions. It’s like that feeling you get when you try something you have always had severe reservations about only find out that you really like it or are just starting to understand it. That is what I mean.

I’ve just learned a lot about myself… Most importantly, I am kind of a loner. I try to force myself not to be, but it just doesn’t work out. What happens to the loners who want to be social? Nothing good apparently. You just confuse yourself with trying to please and be likable with the basic elements of friendship. I wonder a lot about how I am supposed to act or empathize with different people. I can’t be someone I am not. The person I am is silent, crude and kind of a slob who cannot empathize without wanting to run away from the beginning of a sad story. That said, I am also a runner. Not so much literally so much as figuratively. I run away from my problems. I like to disappear without a trace. I don’t like people knowing where I am. It’s a closed off kind of world for me.

People learn about themselves around high school and college. They are explorers: they meet different people, try new things, have romantic relationships, aren’t so tired to do anything risky. In another life, I would have been one of these people. I know that I have the ability to be one of these normal people. Normal. Such a word I have been trying to achieve all my life. There is no normal. Only abnormal.

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.  From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked.  One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.  I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose.  I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.  ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 7

One of the parts from Master of None that stuck with me was when Aziz Ansari’s character read this quote from Silvia Plath. Having read this book quite recently, I almost forgot that this is one of the major parts of Esther Greenwood’s life that I really felt like we had in common. Instead of figs, I just imagined getting older and mind-numbingly more stupid to be able to do the things I wanted.

So what are my paths? How do I find the “hardest rock?” (A metaphor for stability and success that I am trying to tie into this blog post. Is it working?) How do I go on from here? Do I just accept that mistakes cannot be avoided? Do I just accept that I cannot be the smartest person in class? Do I just accept that there is no way for someone I like to just look at me and ask me out? Do I just accept that there is no way to be religious and successful at the same time? Do I just accept that the weight will never come off easily? Do I just accept that people might not always be there for me? Do I just accept that there are many people who want to take advantage of me? Do I just accept that love is sometimes conditional and fleeting? Do I just accept that I might never have free time ever again if I decide to commit to something? Do I just accept that people are mostly shallow? Do I just accept that I have to be selfish and mean sometimes if I want to get the things that I want? Do I just accept that I might need to stay on medication for the rest of my life? Do I just accept that I never should be able to change my mind once I have committed to something? Do I just accept that I will never be a millionaire? Do I just accept that jealousy is inevitable even to the best of us? Do I just accept that the people I love will leave my life someday? Do I just accept that I will be alone in a world filled with people who are together? Do I just accept that accepting others can only be done once I accept myself? Do I just accept that I can never be pretty once I pass a certain stage in my life? Do I just accept that I can never say, “I’ll do it tomorrow?” Do I just accept that I can never blame my parents? Do I just accept that I might never get to travel the world? Do I just accept that people will just not like me for no reason? Do I just accept that there is nothing wrong with me? Do I just accept that I might not be able to do everything that I have always wanted to do?Do I just accept that I can never hide away from the pain of living life?

Yes.

Wise Women

How smelly is this car...

The women that I know are women I have seen from a distance.

I have seen them grow up. I have heard their secrets. I have listened to their “grown-up” problems. I looked at them as if they were gods. Those who can slip through anything. Strong enough to tell you off truthfully. They were smart, loving and independent.

Until they stopped.

Those women who I looked up to started to show the wrinkles in their lives to me. And when the wrinkles became mile high canyons, I stopped looking up to them. They were no longer strong, independent and even their love felt forced. When did everything stop being perfect? When did they start shitting on my hopes and admiration for them? It wasn’t enough to know they made mistakes, but to know that their mistakes were so unlike how I visualized them. Their mistakes were so deep and so silly that I wondered how they even built their lives without hesitation. How did they go so long with being so unhappy? How did they tolerate that unhappiness for so long?

I have a mother, four aunts (her sisters) and my own sister. In other words, people that I thought should have been my role models on how to be a strong independent woman. It turns out, every action that I have seen has been selfish. Knowingly bad choices, deep depression, ignoring the truth about themselves, drug addiction, unchecked severe anxiety and even late divorce has made them seem… selfishly broken. I have learned many things from their abundant mistakes. The first thing being: tolerating things. They just tolerate the bad until they have had enough. This is scary to me because I do it so well myself. I guess I learned from the best… But this is a bad thing because it means that I have the will to tolerate staying with a bad husband, tolerating staying at a bad job, or tolerating no self-growth before either exploding or becoming an unhappy puppet. I have a tendency to accept that something isn’t working out but staying with it anyway. I blame my high toleration on the fact that I don’t know what I want out of life. And I have seen that the women in my life have also been confused about this as well. They don’t know what makes them happy without bringing outer variables into it. There is nothing about themselves that keeps them on a self-actualized autopilot. And to define “self-actualized pilot,” sure there is turbulence, but at least there is a happy constant in their life. Most likely from within. A fact too far from the current truth.

I fear for my future because I can go down a path that resembles theirs. One mistake and I’m automatically like them. I have lived that way most of my adult life. Avoiding myself being remotely like them. Even being in their presence now scares me. Like they will somehow touch their skin onto mine and I will fail at life. But I know that is just a silly, ignorant thing to say. What I mean is that I just don’t want to compare myself to them. Not until I get it together. A happy, fulfilled life. Most likely medicated and visiting a psychiatrist’s office often. At least I can prevent the problems from happening because I am starting to see them emerge. Nonetheless, I am worried. (See? Anxiety.)

There is a quote that I really liked from a Tyler Perry film. Most recently, I have been thinking about it a lot. It’s about how you are the reason you succeed or fail in life. I identify with it, because I have blamed the adults in my life for causing me emotional problems even though that I shouldn’t marinate in those types of thoughts.

You’re in jail
because of what you did.
Learn how to take some responsibility
for yourself. For your own stuff.
I can’t stand folks wanna be the victim.
“This person did this so I’m this way.”
Everybody got a story.
Your mama and daddy
gave you life.
That’s all they do. No matter
how good, how bad the life was…
…it’s up to you to make something of it.
Suck it up and shut the hell up.

-Madea from “Madea Goes To Jail”

Harsh and true words Madea. (She is such a wise badass) This world values different things. Mistakes from the women and men in my life will always happen. No one’s perfect. But repeat offenders are a real problem. I would like to not be one of these people. I want to be successful and happy. I want a partner that wants the same things and will undergo the same constant struggles as me. I want to teach my kids that they will make the same mistakes until they will get it right. I want them to look up to me and see that I can form healthy relationships and hopefully see how it can benefit them. As someone who is a first generation kid in this country, it seems like I will know a little better about how to handle my kids and find what I want and don’t want. But I am jumping ahead a few years… That is if I even have kids or even a person to mentor in life.

But back to the women. Again, I have learned so much from them. I have shared laughs, professional advice, fun day trips and have seen above and beyond hospitality from them. They took me in when they didn’t have to. They are still wonderfully kind people. They are absolute treasures in my life. After all, they are still family. Family doesn’t ignore each other. If anything they are guilty of sharing too much. I just wish that I could see them live up to their full and free potential again. Confidence, independence, strength, intelligence and love. It’s all I want to see.

-The Human Girl