Winter Thoughts

by brianp411

I’m starting fresh and trying to make some changes for myself. I want to be a new person. I want to change problem behaviors that affect how I represent myself to other people. All my life I’ve learned to be a liar. All my life I’ve learned that lying was the way to get out a situation. Ever since I was a kid I would lie to my mom about stealing money from her purse or make up situations to make myself look cooler or make events seem more interesting. Real life isn’t about fabricating stories and entertainment. I’ve done it so much that lying hasn’t affected me when I do it. I’ve let this go on for far too long. A few weeks I made a promise to my girlfriend that I wouldn’t lie anymore and I’d avoid situations that would cause me to lie. I’ve been proud of myself because so far I’ve been honest about everything. It’s been very hard for me to stay honest so much because there are so many situations that call for me to lie – weird small little things that shouldn’t require the ‘need’ to lie but also situations where I feel the need to avoid responsibility like calling out of work because ‘something came up’ or rather the truthful answer, I just don’t want to come in. Honesty has always been tricky for me because even when I’m not doing anything that requires lying I feel the need to stretch the truth about events to make them sound so more dramatic. How does one stay honest 100% of the time anyway? How do you tell your boss that you hate your job or that you didn’t feel like coming in? I know there are certain things that should be held in but that wouldn’t be honest, now would it? I’ve just got to figure out the mechanics of this whole honesty thing I guess.

Speaking of changing myself, I’ve been seriously considering getting a tattoo which is a big deal since my Portuguese parents really disapprove of them . I also view tattoo much more seriously then kids of my generation do – it’s not a fashion statement or ‘cool’, it’s something that’s etched on your body forever. It has to have great meaning and always remind you of something.  My idea for the tattoo was getting Japanese kanji across my back from top to bottom with the characters for ‘Strength, Courage, and Honor’ – three values I want to always have and demonstrate. Strength to face situations that are challenging, courage to brave uncomfortable and unfamiliar territory, both personally and professionally, and honor to be respectful to others, embrace equality and open mindedness, and be good to others (ethical, honest, caring, etc.). If and when I do get this, I’m going to  search high and low to find a good artist who can make sure what’s written is representative of the language with the upmost accuracy. The last thing I need is the wrong meaning being given off by inaccurate translations!

Another thing I’m trying to change about myself is listening. I’m sure I speak for a lot of people when I say that I never learned how to listen to someone. We’re always taught from a young age on how to speak to others but never how to listen. I want to change that and my biggest issue is always trying to think of my response to what someone says while they’re speaking and cutting people off. I don’t want to do that to people anymore. That’s incredibly disrespectful. I’m often scared if I don’t think ahead of what I’m going to say that I won’t be able to respond. I need to let go of this idea and just be OK with not knowing how to respond right away. It’s truly an American idea when we expect an answer right away which is detrimental to proper communication. I want to be OK with forgetting what I was going to talk about and soaking myself in the other person’s words and reflecting on them. I want to stop controlling conversations and really listen. I often think that many wars could have been avoided if we would have given somebody the extra 10 seconds they needed to process your information and really listen to what they said in the first place. It’s a steep process because this is something that’s been ingrained in me. But, you know what? I’d rather not talk at all then continue to interrupt people. It’s just not fair and I don’t want to hurt or be offensive to anyone anymore.

Finally, it’s the week of finals – my favorite time of the year again where I reflect on how much of an idiot I am. OK, I take that back. I’m not an idiot but maybe it’s because I’m a young adult and don’t know where I fit in the world yet but I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. For example, my boss has been bugging out at work because things have been stocked wrong and part of me wants to say ‘that’s not me’ but part of me realizes that it probably is. I then question myself as to why I keep doing the wrong thing over and over again. Do I not care? Do I not understand? Am I trying to go too fast? Am I just too dumb to do things right? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. Sometimes I reflect on my intelligence and just end up becoming depressed. My parents grew up in poverty and didn’t have much education and so I would probably say that they’re not very smart. I wouldn’t call them stupid or anything but I don’t think they’re highly intelligent and since intelligence is in part genetic, I feel like sometimes I was born on the lower spectrum on the intelligence scale because of my parents. Now things like education and stuff like that can improve your level of intelligence quite a bit so often times I feel like I can escape this genetic trap but I don’t even know about that. For example, I get good grades in school and I do try to do my best but I don’t feel like I’m actually learning anything or that I’m smart. Maybe it’s because I’m not at a university yet where things are a lot more challenging or maybe it’s because all this theory shit is fine and dandy but applying it to real life is the difficult part but I just don’t feel like good grades translates to actual intelligence. I feel like I’m dumb when it comes to real life action – building something, following steps, etc. but can pick up on theory and stuff pretty easily.

So, as you can probably see this fear of being ‘smart’ and having practical knowledge and skills turn into this fear that while school may be going decent that maybe I’m just too stupid for a real job. I, like so many others want a high paying job that’s challenging, rewarding, and that I’m passionate about but I’m always worried that I’m not learning anything or that I’m not going to be able to remember anything worth a damn. I set goals for myself like learning a new skill and I practice it like crazy and then I stop because I get busy or whatever and then I forget everything. I’m passionate about business and procedures and I like learning it but as soon as finals are over, it’s all gone. I know it can be relearned but I get so scared, you know? Am I just going to forget everything that I learned in school, blow all this money, and end up working minimum wage for the rest of my life? One of my biggest fears in life is not being able to be independent and I feel like if I’m too dumb to apply what I learn in school to real life or if I forget everything that I’m not going to be successful in life. Trust me, I don’t like all or nothing thinking but I’m scared that I’ll be confined to low skill manual labor for the rest of my life, always hating what I do like my parents before me. I’m also scared of becoming like my schizophrenic brother who’s only ever had low skill, low pay jobs.

These feelings and thoughts are piling on distracting me from my studying for finals and I don’t want them to but it’s like I lose control of them sometimes. I don’t know. When I finally get the house quiet like this I just like to ponder about where I’m going in life and wonder where my place is in this world. Pretty deep questions I know but we all have a inner philosopher right?

Hopefully someday I’ll get an awesome job that I’m really good at it, love going to, and get paid lots of money so I can keep feeding my technology habit and need for sightseeing. Lol.

PS: Forgive my horrible grammar and spelling in this thing. I’ve long given up trying to have proper grammar, sentence and thought structure on this thing. As far as I’m concerned, getting thoughts down is more important than order. Life is random and has no reason sometimes and so that’s how I prefer to write sometimes rather than having some neat filter cleaning everything up.