Archive | September, 2011

My Authentic Life

26 Sep

In my masters class we are learning about different psychotherapy theories. Some of them have been interesting and some (Freud) are super out there. The latest theory we are learning about is Existentialism. Reading from my textbook, I felt like it was way too broad and a little too hippy-free-love for my taste. After the lecture, I understand it on another level, in a simpler form. In Existentialism, you strive to live an “authentic” life. What that means can differ with each person. Your authentic life is vastly different than my authentic life. What my authentic life looks like is to live each day to the fullest, forget regret, but learn from my many mistakes and love myself, faults and all. This seems easy enough, right? Sure, on paper, on the computer, whatever, it seems super simple, but if it were, there would be no need for counselors or therapists. There wouldn’t be millions of unhappy people, moping around. If living an authentic life were easy people would not be in therapy, depressed, or feeling not good enough for themselves or others. The search for true happiness and a feeling of “this is enough” in life is ongoing and I would be surprised if many found their true authentic life. However, will this stop me from finding who I really am and my true happiness? Heck no. We humans are persistent little devils and we never stop striving for better. I feel like, in order to start this search for my real life, I need to admit a few things. Along with admitting a few things, I should also praise myself, for I am first and foremost amazing and my faults are small compared to it all (Did that rhyme?). I am on a journey to find my authenticity. Won’t you join me?

1. I am fiercely passionate about the beautiful things in life: a technicolor sunset, a rare, verbal connection with a complete stranger, laughing over a shared memory with family, happy tears streaming.

2. I don’t let things go, the horse is dead, really dead…

3. I have an eye for the quirky, the strange and the interesting. I decorate with leopard print, Frank Sinatra and pictures of loved ones in handmade frames.

4. I can’t eat Reese’s Pieces or M&M’s unless I have exactly four to put in my mouth. When I eat fries, I have to have two at a time. “Hello, my name is OCD, nice to meet ya”.

5. Things I experience in life deeply touch me, directly to my core. I can still feel, taste, see that curvy, cobble-stoned street in Edinburgh, Scotland or that soft, sandy beach on the coast of Wales.

6. I have near to zero confidence in my ability to teach, to make connections with others and to believe that I am worth making a name for myself.

7. You cannot fit me in a neatly wrapped stereotype. I am not rockabilly, preppy, punk, country, scene, etc. I am all of those things. I am none of those things. I am me.

8. I feel guilty when I do things for myself. I fear that I don’t think of others enough.

9. I relate to music in a way that it speaks to me in a language only I understand.

10. When I meet someone new I am interested in them to the point I lose myself.

11. I understand and respect the idea of family. Family is not just a bunch of freaks who share the same name as you. They are a bunch of freaks who share the same name as you, who love you when no one else feels like it.

12. When I love someone romantically, I forget to love myself.

13. I never forget the people in my past. I recall memories of them with a tickle in my heart and a smirk on my face.

14. I cared too deeply and felt desire for a friend when I shouldn’t have. The regret is there, but the memories that make me smile far outweigh the wrong that was done.

15. I always say a prayer for the dirty and tired men and women who hold signs begging for a better life. Sure, they could have made better choices, but for right now, they need my prayer.

16. I look down on people who I think aren’t as moral as me, not realizing my disdain for them is just as bad as their lack of scruples.

17. When someone tells me something about themselves, I honor them by actually remembering it.

This is ongoing, thus, not finished. Check back for updates…

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Damn

19 Sep

I am having a real writer’s block. That, or I have had no real inspiration to write anything decent. I have at least 7 posts started and saved, but none that seemed worthy to finish. I don’t know what is wrong with me…I am sorry to all of my readers for my lack of material lately. I feel like I have let everyone down. I will hopefully get myself back in gear and you will all have something worthwhile to read from me.

“Shut Your Mouth When You’re Talking to Me”

5 Sep

There are two types of communicators: ones who talk at people and ones who talk with people. Communication and how people relate verbally to others has always been of huge interest to me. I have known far more people who simply talk at people and never actually care to truly hear what others are saying than the latter. These kinds of communicators rarely make an effort to “shut their mouths while they talk” and do not make an attempt to relate to others. It really irks me when I speak with someone who just talks at me, tells me all about their lives, their desires, their pets, whatever, and when I manage to get a word in, their eyes glaze over and they become completely detached. I know I am not that boring and that my life is most definitely worth knowing about, so that’s not it. These people are just completely disinterested in anything that does not concern them.

If you know me, then you will most definitely agree that I am hugely inquisitive about the how’s and why’s of people and their actions. I am always asking questions and most times, every phrase uttered ends with, “But, why do you think that?” For those who do not know me, I am not nosy, I am interested, and yes, there is a difference. It’s unfathomable how anyone cannot be interested in the people who pass through their lives. When I meet someone new, I want to know what makes them tick, their desires, their fears, their life goals. I want to know what song, when heard, sings straight to their heart and makes them feel alive. I want to know about their past. The past is what brought them to today, it’s important and to be cherished, if not put upon a shelf for safe-keeping. I want to truly know them. In return, I would like them to truly want to know me, at the very least, have a conversation with me, a genuine verbal exchange of words and emotion.

For me, it is a rarity to find someone who truly listens and is able to so totally relate to me that my words and their’s glides seamlessly through the air to meet, and to dance.

As I have made clear, the people I have met in my life, who are true communicators are few and can be counted on one hand. One count is for my mother. Long ago, I met a person who, when I spoke to him, he looked at me. No, he truly looked at me, into me. His eyes twinkled and the corners of his mouth turned upward into an amused grin. I have since, never been looked at like that…it was a rare, brief encounter, but I have, obviously, never forgotten it.

Then, there are those rare times, (remember one hand) I meet someone who I can have a conversation with that is sarcastic, witty and genuinely mutual. My words bounce off theirs and the exchange is effortless and candid. I don’t even think when I am communicating, my words just come to me, like a sixth sense. These conversations are precious to me, they make me feel interesting and thus interested.

I am so very tired of selfish people who are so wrapped up in themselves, they forget there are others around them. They lose out on moments that could be made into lifetimes. They lose out on people who could touch their lives and be people worth loving. They just talk at the wall and generate jokes to make themselves laugh. These people could make an effort to relate to others, but they choose not to. I wish to know how to steer clear of these types. I would like to be able to not count on my fingers or toes the amount of people who touched my life forever, by having a conversation that spoke, loud and clear, “You are interesting, what you have to stay is worth stopping and paying attention to”.

Hi, I’m Ambivalent, Nice to Meet You

2 Sep

“People are ambivalent to change”. What this translates to, is that we love our comfort zones and rarely step outside of them, but at the same time we crave change, knowing we need it (my professor would have preferred I used “I”, not “we”, oops I guess…)

I am taking “Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy” as my first foray back into the educational world and this time I am a graduate student (OK, actually I am a “graduate special”, but what is in a name?) I have never attended a class where I did not look at the clock every 4 minutes and 59 seconds. I have never sat wide eyed as I was literally taken by a professor. I have never attended a class that made me question who I am as a person within the first ten minutes.

I am going to be desperately swimming, trying to keep my head above water, in books on theories and I am required to put in 20 hours at a clinic, but none of the impending work is fazing me at this point. I just realized that I will be learning a lot about myself through this class; I have already learned a lot about myself and I have only committed 2 hours and exactly 45 minutes to this new learning experience. This is going to be one hell of a ride.

Back to the quote from my class tonight…I am the epitome of a creature of habit. When one tiny thing changes, I am forced into a tailspin and I lose all chance of my footing. I am lost, scared and anxious. This very impediment is what has made me make terrible life choices. Better to stay in a horrible relationship than to allow my life to change for…gosh, for the better. At the time of horrible-life-choice, I feel safe because I am all warm and comfy in my little cave of ignorance. I know that outside this cave is a whole other world of possibility, possibility that I want to experience so damn much, but it’s just too…scary…

This class, with it’s pages of reading and it’s 10 page theory paper will cut into my social life and give me a few more gray hairs, but I think at the same time it will give me a glimpse into my true self. With this glimpse, I will be able to see how I can make better choices and that it is OK to venture outside of the cave once in awhile, something amazing might happen…