Keeping On Keepin’ On

Hello, world! What’s up? I, um, haven’t been here in a while, no? (Understatement of the year!) I seriously marvel at how internet content creators never run out of stuff to post about. Like, popular vloggers can upload well-edited videos, what, three times a week? Even more? And over here I can barely post anything simple in months. (Save for my trash on Twitter.) LOL. I mean, I get some ideas here and there, but literally after I get some sleep, I wake up completely convinced that I should just keep everything to myself. Like, humans have already been noisy as heck in the interwebz and I’m sure I am doing no one a favor by adding my voice into the mix. It’s not like I even have anything interesting to talk about. My life is as monotonous as it could get. I sigh a little when I encounter other people going on about the milestones they’ve achieved/experienced in 2016, because my 2016 was, like, almost devoid of milestones. What a year it was for Planet Earth, we all agree with that, but personally? It was quiet. I do understand that it’s been—it had to be—a Keep On Keepin’ On sort of year for me. Like those long periods of time that elapse in books, where characters get from Point A to Destination B, that just get summarized in a few paragraphs because not a lot happens in them except the traveling. Authors don’t dwell on those periods because they aren’t compelling from a storytelling standpoint, but they can’t omit them altogether since they’re still necessary to push the plot along, ya know? That is totally what 2016 has been for me. Right now I’m at a stable level of Okay, but it is the kind of Okay that is not very wordvomit-inducing.

But, see—that is completely fine with me.

I haven’t been writing much. That has to be said. I stopped my daily journal habit late in 2016. (Gasp! I know.) Not only that—I gave myself the freedom to not do it again this year. Writing daily was therapy back in 2011 and the years that followed, but it has felt the opposite recently. I couldn’t figure out why, initially, until I had a conversation with my mom about deaths in the family and she said (about her brother, in particular, who succumbed from cancer in 2012): “I don’t think about it. Because if I think about it, I can’t breathe.”

That is the summary of my current mental state right there.

I have never been alone as I am now. You know I love me some solitude—I’m like the perfect person to go through such a singular journey because I absolutely thrive in aloneness—but even so, I still get very surprised that I haven’t gone crazy yet. Because, like, really—I am so alone. I spend maybe 18? 19? hours of every single day by myself. By myself. Outside of classes, I spend free time by myself. I’m almost a mainstay at our university library, lol. I love to hog a table there all to myself for hours. When I get home, I’m also pretty much alone. My housemates are all male, busy with their lives, and are even less talkative than I am. I hole up in my room. When I have to run some errands or buy stuff downtown, I go on my own. This happens every single day. And really, even when there are people around—there is literally no one I can truly talk to (for like, the heavy, introspective stuff) because I am going through this phase alone. I share this chapter of my life with no one. I did not realize the value of having same-age peers beside me every step of the way until this point, wherein my new normal is seeing different faces in each one of my classes, and finding it’s too cumbersome to start new friendships when you know you won’t interact with each other again after a semester anyway. I do converse with my current classmates, sure, but I stop short of hanging out with them because I can’t even cover adulthood and jobs and real world struggles with them. They haven’t known life outside of school yet. Try as I might to immerse myself completely in the academic life, I already have one foot out the door. I can’t fit it back in. I find myself rolling my eyes sometimes at the seriousness at which undergrad students take school events or activities, completely understanding why they do it, but still knowing, per experience, that outside of these walls? That shit will hardly matter.

I could also talk to my best friends from college, no problem (and these are my people, they know my heart) (even with the difficulty of meeting up because our scheds are never in sync). But the moment I begin to attempt to describe algorithms and codes, I recognize a glazed look form in their eyes, as if I started talking in a foreign language. Which I guess is true, in a way. (Vice versa, too—they walk on paths that I did not follow and I therefore cannot truly understand.) (My friends are all either in med school or in the academe, teaching med-related subjects. So. Quite a stretch from computer science.) I can also talk to—well, more like message, since we’re all so geographically far apart—my family, and I do (and I actually connect with them more than anyone in my life right now which I’m ecstatic about) but again, they don’t share this experience with me. (Also: Second course? A computer-related one? Turning away from a hospital promotion? Refusing medical school? Because I wanted to follow my heart? Let’s not forget for a moment that these are all alien concepts to my family. Dear God I am spoiled for even being allowed to be doing what I’m doing.)

So you see. No matter who I’m with, there’s always a significant slice of my current day-to-day life that I can’t share. And normally this is a recipe for I’m SO going to write about this, but I … just. I get fed up with the inside of my head, too. Writing on my journal, and blogging here, has always been a sort of conversation with myself. I don’t like the concept of an outside reader when I write; I write for myself. But heck, I talk to myself too damn much already. To have to converse with myself more, in writing? Might as well board a train to developing a mental disorder, while I’m at it. (Seriously though: I have been so in my head, so spacey lately that I left a Very Valuable Item in a public place not once, but twice !!! in a two-week span, and both times I was so sure—I could picture it in my head, clear as a memory—that I put the thing in my bag. I was SO SURE. But it turns out I didn’t. If it hadn’t been for ridiculously honest humans, I would not have been able to retrieve the item. Twice. Like??? I am alarmed at my own neglectfulness, and I can’t help but think it’s due to borderline unhealthy self-isolation.)

I’m not inviting you to a pity party, by the way; like I said, I’m Okay. I’m aware that all of this has been my own choosing. #NoRagrets. (Also. I am bathing in so much privilege I could choke, wondering if I am deserving of any of it. I’m not about to complain.) I am just trying to describe how it’s been like. How lonesome it’s been. How crazy important it is for me to keep my mental health stable because I am also the only one holding myself up right now. I have to keep myself happy, upbeat, confident, motivated. I remember full well what it’s like to cry night after night, having no energy to deal with anything, and that’s not something I can handle right now. Thankfully I’m enjoying what I’m learning everyday so I’m not exactly on the edge, but I also know I can psych myself out anytime if I’m not careful. So. No more questioning my choices, no more overthinking present circumstances, no more doubting what’s ahead. I can’t afford to take myself out of the equation for even a few moments, because I’m the only one in the equation. Does that make sense? I have to keep on keeping on. Time is ticking, and funds are depleting. I have to graduate as fast as I possibly can. (Try to collect more honor certificates while I’m at it, because even at my advanced age those pieces of paper never fail to make my dad squirm with I’m-trying-to-downplay-it-but-I-can’t-pride, and that is the very least I could do.) The time for debilitating fits of despair is later.

And writing—as much as it pains me to say so—writing invites the despair. It makes me look closely—too closely that I see the cracks in my veneer of Okayness. It’s triggering my anxiety. Writing is very effective in reminding me that I’m still Actually Kind of Lost and Very Very Unsure of the Future. I am super fine going through daily motions by myself, but when I sit down to write about it, it just hits home, exponentially, how alone I am. Like, even the very casual Oh, today has been the same as always thought … if I inspect that thought too far, if I revisit that thought daily, it would read How sad is that? and NOPE. Full stop. I am not going there.

Writing, now, makes me think, and think, and think, and think—and “if I think about it, I can’t breathe.” My mom has been suffering from anxiety attacks, so she knows. And I get it. So much.

I honestly wish I could write outside of myself. You know, step out of my shoes and write fiction, maybe, just so I could still write, at least. But I’ve never had the ability to do that. So I have stopped pressuring myself to write daily. It’s not what I need right now. Perhaps unsurprisingly, doing so has made me feel a lot lighter. On tiptoes with no luggage. Like there’s extra space in my lungs to breathe. Or like I cut off twelve inches of pesky hair. (I actually cut off twelve inches of pesky hair though! Fun fact.) It has been helping with my insomnia, and for that alone I’m thankful. A part of me is aware that this totally adds to a) my laziness and b) the unprecedented level of closed-off-to-the-world-ness that I am in right now, but I am prioritizing my sanity first and foremost. Like, I know I won’t be this alone/lonely forever. (I mean. Probably? Dun dun dunnn.) Until then, I am clinging to self-care.

Besides, words are always swimming in my head anyways. I mean, I’m writing this, yeah? The irony does not escape me. I know that when something monotony-breaking happens I will be able to reach for the words I need. I’m not afraid I’m not going to be able to write again. I just … This may be that undocumented pocket of time when I just strive towards whatever it is that would be worth writing about.

Anyway, all this to say—I am making excuses again, lol, why do I always do that here?—the dam has been up, and as usual, blogging is a casualty of the drought. I’m out of practice (not to mention busy with a lotta homework plus some random raket on the side) and that’s mainly why I let this space be swarmed with crickets. I won’t deny I have tons of unfinished drafts piled up—I feel like I could share a crap ton about how I cried five minutes into watching Moana, how my cutting twelve inches of hair is actually failing to reach a life goal, how I mulled over a triggering question a friend asked me about love; heck, I wanna go on about shallow topics too, like possibly rave about favorite student-allowance-affordable beauty products (haven’t I mentioned here enough already that I have been bitten by the vanity bug? It’s gotten pretty bad. Lol)—I, um. Just can’t seem to finish anything. Because I get tired of the voices in my head. I hear them too much as it is. At the moment.

Not to mention—and this is an important thing to mention—with everything that’s been going on in the world right now, it’s almost uncomfortable for me to write about shallow, insignificant, self-absorbed stuff. To write about me, me, me when outside my window, it’s like the world is on fire? That just feels wrong, somehow. Yet I don’t trust that I know enough to write about the fire, either. So. The blank pages are left undisturbed.

But again—right now, I am completely fine with that.

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”

Yeah, sure, Henry David Thoreau. I’m on it.

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