Postmating

Bike with a rear rack crate and a Postmates delivery bag

A couple weeks ago, I was feeling lazy and thinking about ordering in a food delivery. When I went to their site, I noticed their logo is a little dude on a bike, and I got distracted wondering whether it was possible to run orders for Postmates given that San Diego isn’t as dense as bigger cities are. I couldn’t find indication on community posts, so I went ahead and submitted an application to just test it out myself.

A few days later, my application was approved, and I was mailed out their starter kit, which was basically a hot-and-cold insulated branded tote bag, a debit card to pay for active deliveries that aren’t prepaid by the customer, and a small print out of basic tips/guidelines. I installed their Postmates Fleet app for couriers, which is surprisingly simple in function. It’s a just an activity map with an offline-online switch in the top right corner and a shortcut to a *very* simple settings menu. When online, it starts feeding your location and awaits offers to come through for you to accept on the same map screen.

One thing I had been wondering/worried about was whether the app would indicate what I’m picking up and where I’m taking it to—I didn’t want to find myself having to deal with a cargo incompatible with my rear bike rack with a built-in bungee cord for transport and a far distance to travel, but I also know that apps of this nature such as Lyft and Uber don’t give drivers full details until the job has been accepted to prevent discrimination. When the first order offer came in, I was relieved to find it was showing me the pickup and dropoff points, along with the contents of the order. I don’t know if it does this because my vehicle type is set as “bicycle” or of it does this in general, but that’s not something I care to test myself. I skipped that first order, and all of the unexpected multiple ones that followed, because I quickly realized my existing gear setup wasn’t going to cut it. A lot of the orders had beverages included, and even with the x-crossed bungee cord on my rack and the delivery tote I was sent, personal experience has shown me plenty that drinks and the pressure of the bungee cord do not a good combination make.

I did some shopping on Amazon for a crate to attach to my rack, but I wasn’t too keen on all their options that were hardware mounted to the rack itself; I wanted something I could quickly and easily remove. Another quick internet search pointed me to my local Target store, which reportedly had a removable basket that mounts on the handlebars in stock. I made a late-night bike ride down to store to find they only had them in stock in a hideous bright baby blue. Not wanting to leave the store emptyhanded after making the trip, I browsed around and found a plastic storage crate that fit nicely against the bike racks they had for sale in the store. Looking at their hardware offerings, I found some Gear Ties—thick rubber bendable & reusable cords—and cobbled together a solution that met my desired criteria and cost me all of $10.

I didn’t get to test out my new setup until Monday after work. I got home and decided to try the Postmates by bike thing in lieu of going on a 5 mile run. My first was a desert from an eatery around the corner from home. The customer was a nice girl not too far away down on Alabama St. near Pecs. During my test run, I realized that I could use a cargo net to stretch across the top of the crate to prevent stuff from bouncing out on dips/bumps. As I was getting ready to call it, I got another order that was a short distance away, so I did that one before ending Postmates Day 1.

I did another couple deliveries yesterday after spending most of the day cleaning the apartment. So far, I’ve had a 50% tip rate. It’s only a four-order sample yet so far, but seems like females do better at the tipping thing than males do. Still, it’s a fun way to make some money while riding my bike around like I would be during my personal time, and the small personal interactions with strangers are nice.

Postmates Earnings Screenshot

New Bluetooth Headphones

Tried to start getting back into doing morning runs. However, my bluetooth headphones went missing, and a new pair arrived yesterday evening, and I forget that the first run with those always entails running in circles around the neighborhood testing out the different combinations of earbud tips and wings to get them to stay put when I’m out for miles at a time. By the time I got the customization locked down, it was too late to go out for a full distance run.

While I was out doing that, I noticed that this strange tingling in my outer left arm I’ve been having the past handful of days—similar to the feeling in your calves and hamstrings when you fully extend your leg, without any actual muscle movement—was getting triggered by the rocking motion as I was running. Prior to this, I was only getting it when tilting my head back past a 50º angle.

Well, at least I’m set for a full 5 mile jaunt after work. For now, time to get dressed and head off to the office.

Unsocial

Time has managed to slip away from me again this past month—what felt like shooting off writing an entry a weekend into the future has quickly turned into an entire calendar month. I’d started drafting an update shortly after my last one regarding changing my internet/writing habits and spending more time updating here and virtually none inside of status update composers on social media platforms. But then the news broke on the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, which changed the focus of that draft, but at the same time put me off from internet activity as a whole.

It annoys me that I find myself hard-pressed to compose a post worth publishing, but I don’t have any semblance of writer’s block when it comes to social media missives. Having a deeper conceptual grasp of technology at large than most people do, I also know it’s a long-term better practice to blog than to offset all your life’s content to a social media. If they ever go away a la MySpace, all that gets lost too. Even though the big companies now allow you to export data, you’re not getting an offline copy of the website to neatly sift through, and that’s not even accounting for having to gather enough local disk space to hold a copy of the data you download. Blogs are a universal format that are easily transferred/archived/browsed, and from a purist perspective on personal publishing, a long form entry with no engagement is ultimately worth far more than a blurb smattered in likes. In my time mostly-offline this past month, it’s been nice having the extra mental bandwidth not wasted online. I’ve also been spending that time auditing my accounts and devices. I started with steps to minimize the amount of data I give to Facebook, and have slowly working at doing that same kind of maintenance with all of my other internet accounts.

While I would love to just pull the cord, delete my Facebook account altogether and go back to living in the world without like I once used to, it’s just regrettably not practical. There’s a handful of services that use Facebook as their only login method, and turning my back on the company completely would also mean quitting all of the other products under their umbrella. Yet, the bosses at work have cemented themselves in WhatsApp as their primary business messaging tool, and Instagram is (resentfully) a good discovery & platform, the rare times I actually use it. Online presence and digital marketing have become such an indelible part of modern life, and something I can’t quit altogether as my future plans involve freelance website creation & marketing. There’s no point in trying to get rid of everything if I can’t do it to completion.

That leaves me with my only option to be smarter about things, as I should have been doing all along.I fancy myself as someone security-minded since I use a password manager, but in light of this massive security breach, I can admit without any hesitation that I’ve actively exposed myself to; I’ve clicked through my fair share of novelty quizzes and such knowing something like this was a potential risk. Luckily, as of this morning I was able to verify I wasn’t affected by the Cambridge Analytica data harvest, but that doesn’t rule out any potential others. I’ve also deleted the Facebook app from my iPhone, replacing it with a Safari bookmark pinned to the homescreen and pushed to the end of the last app screen.

WordPress gained the ability to assign post types way back in 2011, so there’s no reason to stray away from here even if it’s to hit “publish” on a frivolous status update. I can selectively syndicate to a bunch of services at once—Facebook included—if I want, but moving forward, everything gets concentrated here.

Wordpress Post Format Options

Here We Are

Almost midway through March of 2018 already. Three months after I told myself to start updating the blog more as a pseudo New Year’s resolution, but starting the year with no working computer other than my smartphone really didn’t help the effort. To my credit, I have been doing a better job at finding the time to handwrite a few journal entries as a substitute activity, but it’s still not what my intent was. Though I did get my computer back during the first half of February, I’ve been spending my free time catching up with all the personal computing I wasn’t able to do while my laptop was out of working order. Now that I’m starting to feel the slightest bit “caught up”, I’ve just recently started affording myself the mental bandwidth to tend to my non-essential projects…like updating a blog.

This past winter was a rough season health-wise. All of December was spent perpetually sick with all the bugs that were out this season. Caught cold from the roomie who works in a corporate building, and the guys at my office were dealing with the flu and our bookkeeper a bout of viral bronchitis. After I stared recovering, I kept the not-smoking chain going and went through January and most of February without smoking. I made the mistake of indulging during my birthday, and since then I’ve been casually keeping on. Remembering how much a bothersome inconvenience it was to have my lungs clearing out gunk not too long ago, I’ve decided that after this weekend I’m back on the cold turkey wagon. Picking up running again has been proving rather challenging lately. I don’t have much by sportswear for colder weather, and the times that I have been able to get a run in, the strain on my body has become a lot more noticeable. Two years ago I was running five miles daily with no problem, lately I’ve been having knee pain and muscles locked into tense position. I take it as a sign that I really need to switch things up and do more full-body intesive workouts and weight training, and ease back into my running routine.

In regards to work, things have been going pretty well. Back in November, I was still acclimating to the then-new position. Since then, I’ve gone through a notary public training seminar and got an active commission and gotten a firm handle on managing the workflow of a multi-entity operation. I can’t help but notice that even though I’ve pursued employment opportunites pertaining to office management and website development, this is the third time I’ve ended up in role in a real estate related capacity. Even though it’s never been an active interest for me, I can’t help but think I should buckle down and get the requisite training in to get a real estate license. On the the technological end, I’ve been doing a much better job of carving out time for self-study sessions. Lately I’ve been working on learning Tumult Hype to get responsive web animations in the skill set, and making more progress with javascript.

That all said, there’s an elephant in my head that I’d like to completely gloss over, but it demands its due attention.

Back when I made this WordPress installation, I was looking to replicate that old-internet social networking, writing earnestly about the things going on in my life behind the anonymity of a screenname. At that point in time, it was the onset of mental illness. Outside of my therapist, I didn’t have a support network to help me through things. The family most people would rely on were the estranged cause of my distress. My best friend didn’t have the conversational capacity to address things of such a nature, and his frustration at being unable to do anything to help would often turn into cause for argument between us. Though I never personally approached any of my other friends to talk about these things, if I were able to remember all the times I’ve had someone reach out and ask directly how I’m doing I’d still be able to count them on one hand. This left writings visible to strangers on the internet as the only option to find any sort of dialogue, and even if none would come, I’d at least get the mental exercise from processing my thoughts into written words and make a progress journal in the process. But even back when I started writing, social networking and search engine efficiency had already removed all semblance of anonymity for my online handle, and the burden of having all of this so easily traced to myself in real life introduced an accountability mechanism to what was supposed to just be a personal outlet, the burden of which has also contributed to such erratic and low output.

And for years, the story I’ve laid out has been one mired in mental-emotional crisis, trying to work through things and too overwhelmed to articulate it. Winter seasons have always been the hardest for me to endure. The seasonal affective disorder and shorter days coupled with the family-oriented holidays spent alone were quite capable of triggering a depressive spiral. If that didn’t do the trick, then the disingenuous birthday greetings from estranged relatives would seal the deal. But not this year. It’s been so long I can’t even remember the last time I’ve had a lapse into one of those behavioral loops I’ve ruminated on ad nauseum at this point. I don’t struggle with having my rational conscious mind constantly conflicting with my emotional center, and the subsequent loss of mental clarity and repression of feelings as liabilities. I have that unshakeable sense of self I used to have long ago, tempered by the experience of age. All that self-resentment, criticism, doubt, reservation, fear, anxiety…it’s still a part of me, but it’s properly processed and managed now as a functional personal in a healthy capacity would. But acknowledging the fog gone also means no longer having it as a reason for impediment for other areas in my life. For months now, I’m not been bogged down by past baggage, and finally free and able to live and appreciate my life.

Hello…Again.

It’s been another apallingly long time since I’ve updated—130 of them, to be exact. In that 4 month time equivalent, the dust storms on the horizon that I had back then have largely settled, and things worked out rather well. Soon after my last entry, I ended up picking finding what started as a part-time job doing in-office tech support and website administration for a property investment company not too far from where I live. I’d applied to an office admin/executive assistant posting, but even though they ultimately went with someone else with more industry-relevant experience, I interviewed well enough that they created the a position for me.

The job was initially set to be 4-6 hours 2 days a week, it changed to 3 full time days on my first day. Right at the end of my first month, my co-worker had to resign from the position to move home to help her family with her dad, who’d just had a serious medical episode. On her last day, I sat with her and looked over all the resumes that she’d received from the Craigslist ad for her replacement. I was out the following week, having thrown out my back. When I returned to the office the following week, I was expecting to find a brand new face waiting for me. Instead, I got called into a meeting in the middle of the afternoon and was offered the position, making me the all-in-one office support I intended to be. This mean I would have to resign from my part time job with my previous employer, but when I interviewed at the new place, the question *was* posed as to where I’d fall if I were told they needed me join the team full-time, to which I’d replied I would definitely do it. It was sad to slowly phase out over the course of a few weeks, but the time spent in transit traveling the 9 miles out to La Mesa and back working for someone already in semi-retirement in comparison to a 13-15 minute bike ride (and that only because of city traffic) for a new venture made all the logical sense. Now fully able to take a page out of the millenial playbook and forego car ownership and its many expenses and rely on biking and ridesharing, I’ve been completely in love with my commute. Being someone that actively recycles and cares about the planet, trading in a carbon footprint and ongoing fuel/maintenance expenses for some moderately light exercise feels like a major win.

In regard to the job itself, it’s been a fun and engaging challenge juggling multiple projects and learning how to work for two people instead of just one as well as having to learn and adjust to their expectations and styles of communication. Project-wise, designing and implementing a filing system and an AP/AR processing workflow tailored to the needs of the company has been the focus of my time thus far. The volume of the backlog and having to design around *multiple* operating entities and partnerships instead of a singular business entity has been frustrating at times, but reaching the final stages of execution and being able to see how I’ve tamed the mess has been far more gratifying. My days are never slow, and I get to spend them working with two really great guys, and two days a week, a sweet-yet-feisty older lady.

Admittedly, the busy days at the office have been leaving me fairly gassed out. With barely enough energy to tend to household maintenance, I haven’t been as proactive with my running/exercise as I was before, and I’ve fallen behind on keeping my personal life as organized as the businesses I do it for during working hours. But I have been giving a lot of thought on the the next push forward. At the start of the month, the guys at work paid for me to go take a notary certification class & exam. Seeing as how this is the third job in a row that has ended up pertaining to homes and property, I’ve pretty much settled on the idea of taking classes next year to get my real estate license. All the while, I still haven’t given up on content creation and web development or this blog, so I’ve got a lot in the pipeline. Regardless of how “ready” I feel, life’s at a point now where it’s time to think less and just act.

Hello, World!

It’s been a good while since I last composed an update. These past three months have been another writing dryspell for me, days gone by unrecorded either digitaly or by pen and paper. Even my social media activity has been on the minimal side lately. That time away and focusing on life as it exists in day-to-day reality was a helpful break to take time away from the self-imposed pressures of maintaining a blog and the distraction getting caught up in what so many people I know are doing in their lives at the expense of focusing on doing what I should be with mine. I haven’t been blogging enough to mention it, but I’ve had some persisting medical issues I’ve been struggling with since last December, random abdominal pains and digestive issues but all my tests and labwork I’ve had done have come back clear. Medicine has no clear solution to my problem, so I’m essentially just left living with it and seeing if things get better over time.

In the time I’ve spent convalescing, I’ve also started to make the strides that I would like to see myself making in regard to the personal and professional developement principles that I idealize so much. but also actively working on obtaining competency in the areas of web design & development that I ultimately want to work in professionally. I’ve been tackling the wealth of books and online courses I’ve collected in preparation over the years, and started doing some side projects at the same time: throwing together a logo for a friend’s baking/catering business, doing mockups of websites for local businesses that don’t have an existing site or one that could use modernization.

Capitalizing on that momentum, I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking on what to do in regard to my online presence. Years ago, I started posting many of my writings to myself as a passive accountability mechanism that I haven’t at all been treating this blog as, and the exisiting content/tone isn’t what I want to keep doing. And when it comes to other personal publishing platforms on the web:

-Facebook: most everything gets locked behind the friends-only filter.
-Twitter: is mostly my profane super-ego left unchecked, and Trump has made it apparent how badly I need to drop that style.


-Instagram: never really got into using and only recently have an interest in now that I was able to recover my original username.
-LinkedIn: has been quietly collecting dust. Last time I was actively networking during my employment search in 2013, the site was not nearly as useable and functional as it is now.

In aggregate, that leaves me looking like a hack “writer” who spends a lot of time screaming in outrage at people over the internet — meaning, there’s a lot of room for improvement. Especially given the current circumstances in my personal life.

Since Septeber of 2014, I’ve been working as a website & office administrator for a local kitchen and bathroom remodeler who’s been in business since 1977. Having been in business for so long, my employer has finally reached the point in his life where he’s ready to semi-retire, leaving me reduced to part-time hours and in need to find either a supplementary part-time or a replacement full-time income channel.

As I’ve started browsing and applying at the available opportunities out there, I’ve already been made poignantly aware that the jobs I’m best qualified for aren’t the ones I necessarily want to be doing. I don’t want to keep being a high functioning office administrator, I want to get in the game of providing internet business services to small-medium sized organizations with freelance writing in the mix. In the mean time, I’ve got my material to study and this blog (and social media channels) to work on.

Absent Cause

It’s been a few months since I’ve last sat down in front of a blank page/screen to do any writing for myself: 3 months since my last blog entry and virtually nothing by way or journal entries, written or typed. After the election climate, all the perpetual coverage in the blog and news feeds, I felt like every possible thought I could have on political matters was already being dissected and disseminated in much greater detail and clarity than I would muster. Not only that, I started having some health complications that had me in chronic pain and knocked me off the workout routine I was starting to actively pick up again.

The holidays gave way to the new year, and I was spending every waking day trying to muster the energy to get out of bed and just focusing on making it through until the part where I relax at home with my best friend before going to bed. I got locked in a zombie-like routine, and doing much of nothing beyond work and watching TV. Having only unplesant things bouncing around in my mind and not wanting to actively think about them, .

With the turn of the new year came the start of coverage with my Covered California health plan, and after a month of roughing it out I finally went to go see a doctor about the abdominal pain I was having. I had an ultrasound done, which came back clear, and no real resolution to what was happening.

Having missed the hitting the ground running at the milestone of the new year (which I’m sure many others did because of the current social-political landscape) I set a soft target for my birthday. I’d focus on getting myself put back together, healed up, and actively set to get to myself back to where I was physically before winter. That didn’t play out as planned; the things were going on with me alleviated but still persisted, and every week it seems I’ve been having some other temporary flare up with various symptoms.

Looking back at the past three months, the cold early nights of Winter, the rainy weather, and all of the things breaking down with my body have backed me into a mental-physical rut. Constantly in varying degrees of pain, unable to workout like I used to, and feeling defeated, as if this crappy state has become the permanent new norm. Much to my own disappointment and personal embarassment, my mental strategies for dealing with this all have been proving very ineffectual.

Now at the final day of February, I’m reaching my frustration limit. My whole goal was to journal progress with this blog, yet lately, I’ve lost so much ground that seems impossible to make up with no foreseeable improvement in personal condition that it’s highly tempting to hit the delete button and give up blogging altogether. But thanks to present circumstances commandeering my internal monologue, this blog is the last bastion of my psyche that refuses to give up. Without it, I would be in a state where I’ve given up on myself completely, and I can’t abide that.

A few days reflection and seven paragraphs later, I don’t really have a plan moving forward. All I know is that come tomorrow, another month will begin to tick away, and need to start doing things differently and get back to task, even if it feels like physical hell every step of the way.

The Consequences of Perpetual Marginalization

After writing my previous entry, I got up from my desk in an uneasy state of mind. A big part of why I don’t write so much lately is that getting the thoughts out of my head, into text form, and slapping a period at the end of them means that they’re completed and done with. Keeping things private and inside my head is a mental equivalent of bargaining “just one more cigarette”, a little longer to mull things over on a given aspect about myself. Being at home and without any reason to project otherwise, it was pretty clear to my roommate/best friend that I was not in a good place. He asked what was wrong, and I told replied that it was just more of the usual mess that runs inside my head that bums him out to have to hear, only now without any restraint. To myself, I acknowleged that it makes me feel guilty for talking to him about these things as well — roles reversed, I would feel very saddened and frustrated to have to hear from someone that I care deeply for tell me that nothing feels worthwhile and would love to not have to deal with being alive anymore.

We discussed what was going through my head and what I had just written and posted moments earlier in our conversation, but it ended up derailing and becoming more about the barriers in communication that keep me from being more open and forthcoming about. That conversation was eventually dropped in favor of playing video games and watching TV together. However, in the time since then, I’ve been continuing to unpack the underlying though processes behind that feeling of disinterest in life that keeps cropping up.

When I decided to start blogging about myself in this manner, the idea was to put my truth out there, to show what a bad place I was in and, over time, capture the journey down the road of self-actualization. By now, I had planned to find myself in much better physical shape and realizing that version of myself that I envisioned. Instead, I’ve continued to falter, merely trading in old problems for new ones. Skimming through all of my old posts (published and private) the entries I wrote from 2010–2014 all revolved around an identity crisis, lack of confidence, chronic self-loathing. From Fall of 2015 onward, I’d been doing pretty well, occassional falls of the exercise wagon not withstanding. I haven’t felt that ruminative melancholy and crippling self-resentment in a very long time. The thing I wrestle with now is that I still haven’t found the sense of purpose I started looking for this year.

I am a introvert. I like the idea of being one of those charismatic life-of-the-party types, and while I can pull it off when I make the effort, in truth it tends to tire me out. But while mine is not a social nature, it is heavily tribal. In an old-world social structure, I would have been a watchtower sentry — mostly removed from the group in order to keep it safe, but still very much a part of it. To be where I am now, without a tribe that I belong to after years in self-exile and having left behind family and many friendships, leaves me bearing the shame and and loss of purpose I’d liken to that of feudal Japanese ronin who refused to commit ritual suicide after losing in battle. Where before I didn’t see myself as capable of contintuing to fight, now I just don’t feel like I have a reason to. I keep working on career development, getting in top physical shape, making more money…but for what, to afford fancy material things? Secure a place to wither away and die in at old age? Without anyone or anything to be doing it for, it just feels like I’m doing meaningless shit over and over, day by day. While I would like to champion the idea of doing things for oneself, it’s not able to sustain me; all that translates to is dragging out an already long lonesome existence to its inevitale end.

Because I’ve gotten very capable at stepping outside of my own thought processes, I can look at myself objectively and rationally. I realize that a problem that only I can fix. I realize that letting this go unresolved is likely enabling self-fullfilling prophecy complex. Yet, no matter how much I dissect things and try to goad myself with supportive messaging, it all amounts to very little; buying into that line of thinking seems like forcing on a pair of rose-colored glasses and false optimism and negligently ignoring years of historical data that tells me otherwise. With my mind being as logic oriented as it is, the latter train of thought always wins.


Believing What the World Has Repeatedly Told Me

Why does it feel like nothing matters?
Because I don’t matter.


From My Immediate Family

With my mother having sole custody, I was raised in a Mexican household with the cultural belief that family is of utmost importance and comes first, and I bought into it completely. So, even though growing up I preferred to spend most of my time to myself in front of my video games or a book, being the most intellectually inclined and technologically capable person in the family gave me a great sense of purpose from the times that I would be called on to do things for them that no one else could: format and revise my sister’s college papers, draft rental contracts in Spanish for my mother when she was managing my grandmother’s property in Mexico, design and create signs/flyers when needed, and so on.

But as I grew older and left adolescence behind on my way into young adulthood, the dynamic changed. I stopped being a part of the family after the events of summer 2001 (which I’ll get around to actually writing down some day) left me with only one of my sisters, who lives in North County San Diego, a 45 minute drive away. Not being able to drive myself anywhere at the time, I found comfort in a new “family” I fell into, my first actual group of close friends. After a couple of years, once the rage and resentment dissipated, I tried practicing forgiveness and started rebuilding relationships with my sisters. Though as much of an effort as I made in trying to be a good brother, my only reward was to be treated like a tool. Every time I would visit my sister up north, I was almost guaranteed to be updated that one of the others had called her and asked about me in the course of their conversation. It used to even bother her, as some calls she received from them were specifically to inquire about me and nothing else. Yet, my phone never rang…until they they needed something from me. My best friend lived with me for a time before I turned my back on them again for good back in 2012, and he’s recounted that he used to feel bad knowing how much I cared for them and that only time he ever saw them come to visit, he’d find me hunched over a desk fixing a computer or to have me e-filing their taxes for them.

In the Fall of 2010, my older brother went “missing” when he checked himself into rehab without telling anyone. In response, my sisters rallied and became a search party task force. They even reached out to their estranged biological father to enlist his aid, and for weeks straight, crossed the border into Mexico to keep up the search and make sure he was alive and well. Yet, when I was showing tell-tale signs of suicide risk and openly admitting severe depression, they let me go. None of them tried to support me, or intervene and fight for me when I started to drift away for good.

From My Extended Family

While everything above was happening with my immediate family, that one-degree-of-separation trend began manifesting itself with extended family. With my father’s home being located on the second story above the family liquor store business, I would regularly hear from my dad and uncle that one of my various cousins had stopped by and asked either for me or about me. I would always get in touch and let them know I’d heard they’d been by, and suggest finding a time to get together and actually interact; as is common with Mexican families, my cousins were like a set of lifelong friends and generally liked most of them. The idea was always met with with enthusiastic agreement, but it would never come to fruition. No matter how many times I made sure they had my cell number or followed up with them to make it happen, I could never get them to commit.

From My Friends

Once I noticed that trend with my family, I started to recognize that it was also happening all the time with my friends as well. I realized that the only time I would see the people I called friends was in large group gatherings. Because the majority of these friends overlapped between me and my best friend, I became the “comes with” for him — I would rarely get direct invitations, and was always informed about group plans through him, creating this feeling that I was constantly am unofficial invitee that he was going out of his way to keep me included.

I attempted to make a change by trying to find time to spend with them on an individual basis and strengthen those bonds in a way that group environments don’t really lend themselves to, to be more than just social drinking buddies. I started pitching the idea of haning out one-one-one with many of them, and just like with my cousins, they would seem delighted and enthused at the thought of it, but nothing would ever happen. I could give a two-week outlook on my schedule, and rare were the times that I would get a response to calendar, and even those were usually subject to last minute cancellations.

This is what made cutting all ties with family and friends in 2012 possible.

From My Relationships

The few times that I’ve been romantically engaged with people, there’s been a similar recurring trend there to. They got something out of me — emotional support, personal validation, etc. — but at the end of the day, I still wasn’t good enough for the long term. With every person, it’s always ended up in being left behind while they went off and made someone else their boyfriend.

And without fail, after the period of awkwardness passed and the emotional wounds healed, each one also came back later telling me how much I’ve been missed in their lives, regret over how things played out, and wanting to rekindle friendships.


The End Result: A Pointless Now


The above is only a surface level summary of how the various relationships in my life have played out. What isn’t accurately communicated is just how people that happened with, how many individual instances there were, and how often it still happens even today. Yes, the only way to create change is to take action and to never give up on trying…but my past experiences show me that no matter how differently I approach people, how drastically I change my thinking, how much weight I lose, things do not get better. Furthermore, not feeling like anything has changed makes me feel like a fraudulent hypocrite, writing today this post that flies in direct contradiction of the one I wrote one year ago to the day.

Irrational and petty as it sounds, like I’m choosing to trap myself in a self-pity party that doesn’t end…it’s as if there’s just something inherently wrong with me; why else is that even the people who allegedly cared for me the most have been so naturally inclined to use me as a tool, keep me at a distance, and turn me away/let me go so easily? I can handle rejection just fine, but a lifetime of positive verbal messaging and contradictory actions from others — it really fucks with your self-esteem and makes you doubt your own rationale, choices, and emotions. It took years of revisting old memories countless times to convince myself that I had done the best my young self could and that it wasn’t all entirely my fault.

It would be possible to disregard the past, commit to living in the moment, and believe in the future…were it not for present reality. Like I mentioned above, that enthusiasm about spending time together and subsequent lack of follow through still happens all too often. I know that a lot of it has to do with the current phase in life my peers are in; we’re not in our 20’s of abundant free time anymore, and many people have their jobs, significant others, and/or children to juggle in their schedule. Yet, with that being the case, and the detached nature of mobile messaging and social media dominating modern day social interactions, what chance does that leave to build the meaninful relationships that I would like to achieve? It feels like taking on a losing battle, one that I’ve already failed abysmally at multiple times before.

Thing is, I’ve already answered myself. Out of all the amazing things mankind has been able to accomplish, this definitely falls within the realm of possibility. The solution lies in the words of an old Roman emperor:

Unselfish action, now at this very moment.
Willing acceptance—now at this very moment—of all external events.
That is all you need.

—Marcus Aurelius

The true challenge is not letting my inherent limitations as a human being and the weariness of so much past failure get in the way.

Galvanized

It’s been a rough past months. Since the last time I sat down to draft an update for this blog, I once again fell off the workout bandwagon. Where before this cycle used to be triggered by cycles of demotivation and lack of affect, these last three months the cause has been rooted in my physical health. I expected to get back to business as usual after that bout in September, but late October and again this month, they came back at me harder than before and knocking me on my ass, so to speak.

Then came the Presidential Election. That upset was strong enough to drive me to write myself a pithy journal update, but I didn’t feel like I had much to say there; I was thinking and feeling the same thing that pretty much every rational and objective American was thinking that day. That Tuesday night feel like watching a country, logic, and pretty much all fucking reason die in real time, and it made me sad for the country — not just because of the obvious rammifications to come, but also because it seemingly forced everyone to take up that bleak realist lens through which my years of depression I’ve long written about put on my eyes.

As I wrote the day after social media:

Well…at least all those past years of experience combatting depression and constant suicidal ideation using nihilistic suppression of psychological affect (to varying success) makes waking up to a looming Trump America a lot easier to process effectively. The way the world feels shitty and senseless after last night’s results? That was my day-to-day for the better part of a decade. #UsedToIt

That old adage isn’t entirely true, misery doesn’t always want company. And in time since, it’s been a struggle to fight through whatever mess I’ve got going on physically and regrouping myself mentally. As much I was handling it pretty well on my own, I’m highly empathetic to my roommate/best friend/“little brother”, and his reaction to the outcome knocked whatever fortitude I had right out from under me. So much to the point that even though I’ve been highly aware of how long I’ve gone without writing at all and how much I would stand to gain by processing my thoughts through it, it all just seemed so pointless. The world itself is in such turmoil now that anything I’ve got going on the individual is absolutely trivial by comparison, and rendered moot by the course reality has taken. What does it matter to self-actualize and start writing the personal narrative I’ve been trying to obtain for so long when there’s a looming facist government rule that’s going to ignore the pressing issues with climate change and kill social progress until the Earth literlally drowns itself?

This train of cynical nihilistic thought isn’t exactly something new to me. In fact, it even managed to bring back my pernicious lesser self that engages in mortal ideation — that part of me that doesn’t want to deal with my self or this world and just wants it all to be over. But just like in times past, when I’ve stepped outside of my perception and coached myself with the tenets of stoicism to recollect my personal resolve, the lack of affect has won out. I hear what I’m telling myself and I know I’m right, but I still can’t bring myself to care. Even my forceful negative reinforcements — “don’t be such a weak lameass and get back to work” — have had no effect.

I think back to when I was in my adolescent years, and I remember how it used to feel like I was constantly fighting for my self and my identity, as well as the energy, confidence, and optimism with which I faced it. Fifteen years later, after losing all those things and struggling to find them all within myself again, I been feeling ragged, worn, and weary. Years of effort expended, and with very little to show for it, barely breaking even with my teenage self.

But now that mourning period for the 2016 election results has passed, and this present day reality demands more from me. I demand more from me. As much as I want to get away from feeling like the lone wolf fending for himself and be a happy social butterfly, it’s my nature. And while I can resent it for being so all I want, at the end of the day, it’s where my personal strength comes from when I’m not fighting it. Not being afraid of being alone and dying is empowering, but it also requires being familiar with loneliness and saddled with awareness of one’s mortality, and that can be crushing in itself.

But as stated above, I’m used to it at this point. It gets me down only because I choose to let it get me down. Yes, I want to be “done”, but the fact stands that I’m not. Being dejected and unwilling to fight accomplishes nothing, so even though it’s hard for me to see a point to it at many times, striving from the struggle once again is my only way forward. Things may be in a terrible state right now, it may be too late for us to prevent serious consequences of global warming, and the election outcome may have broken me down, but all that this has ultimately accomplished is shock me back into action. In spite this body and spirit that are both moderately past their prime, I will run, study, train, work, fight, and every other verb you can think of, harder than ever before.

Absence

I’ve finally sat myself down in front of the computer screen with the intent of writing a new blog post. Referencing my most recent entries like I normally do, I’m utterly astounded at how long it’s been since I last pushed an update. I started to gather a lot of steam back at the beginning of early July, and that went flying out of the window with a series of health issues that came at me through a revolving door of illness from the middle of the month to the very end. Right around that time, a new PS4 game (Bloodborne) found its way into the household. Being incapacited and convalescent, I got in the habit of ignoring my to-do list and escaping through the distraction of video games. Apparently, I’ve been in a zombie-like routine — work, commute, eat, play, sleep, repeat — for far longer than I thought. To me, it felt like only three, four weeks at most.

That loss of momentum is a real shame; I was really riding high on a motivational train, up until it derailed and crashed into the metaphorical mountainside. There have been times over the past weeks where I’ve tried to recapture that feeling, but each time, I was stared down by those old nagging questions: what is it that I’m really saying, and what is it that I even have to say? What progress is there to report, what is there worth writing out when it feels like the needle isn’t moving at all in real life? Where is the proof of that power I’ve waxed on about in recent months?

In times past, having my body break down on me and separate me from that better version of myself that regularly works out and leaving powerless in front of those sort of self-analytical questions would have left me racked with anxiety and doubt, ruminating and pining for days when things were “better”. This time around, there was no break. It simply was what it was: something to ride out and patiently convalesce through until I could get back to real work. In all areas of life, I’ve been put to the test in practicing those ideals of strength and stoicism that I covet, and I’ve been able to do so without feeling like an utter failure or an impostor pretending to be something he’s not. Putting it all into words has been the real challenge.

What I’ve come to realize is that it’s the challenge that I most need to conquer first. Every time I put mind to what it is I should be doing to bolster my marketable skill set, it all ends up taking back seat to the writing I do on this blog. It feels vain in it’s own way, placing so much priority on writing about myself than on other things that would be of real use to others (and myself, by way of income generation). But monetary success isn’t my driver, legitimate and tangible self-improvement is. Here is where I’ve plastered myself online in the most honest and self-deprecating way, and as I know I’ve written before, deleting it all or sweeping it under the rug won’t do. If I am as removed from that past self as I want to be and think I am, I should be able to write with more ease and focus, and my words should inherently reflect that personal change.

Now that all the lament and melancholy that used to pervade my entire waking day is no longer in place, it has become a lot easier to think and process things about myself, my “self”, and my life, and more importantly, to verbalize them. I am finally back in my own corner, filled with unshakable confidence and determination in all those moments in life that don’t end up a status update or in a blog post. And it feels great.