Maybe It’s Better to Starve

Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know, I know, Mondays aren’t happy. Mondays are for feeling tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting to crawl back into bed.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a chance at a fresh start, every single week. Mondays are do-overs, each one is our own personal reset button. Let’s take this opportunity to do it differently. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

This Monday is a good one, even if it is a bit stressful. I did a bit of jean shopping yesterday at Hollister (all jeans $25!), so I woke up excited to wear a new pair. It’s the little things, you know? I woke up early. I got to work, and it was quiet. I felt motivated and got right to work catching up and planning for the week. Then things fell apart a bit, and it looks like the week will be even busier than I thought, but that’s ok. I have new jeans that fit perfectly!

“I have one of two choices — stay in the post office and go crazy … or stay out here and play at writer and starve. I have decided to starve.”

— Charles Bukowski

These past few months have been a little tense at my workplace. For new followers, when I am not writing I work for the transportation department of a large school district here in Colorado. We’ve been dealing with an employee shortage and working something like magic to get these kids to and from school, but we are rapidly approaching a breaking point. If things don’t turn around soon, we may find our jobs contracted out to another company.

I had hoped that I could begin making a living through writing and keep this job as a backup working only part-time. I wanted to find a way to transition from the safety of a steady paycheck to a life where nothing is certain, but I am happier. I worry the safety I feel here is what is holding me back. Change is scary, and I may be using this place to put off taking the leap. I love the kids and all the time off I get, but this just isn’t my passion. Writing has always been what I wanted to spend my life doing.

Two things have changed in the last few weeks. The atmosphere here has become toxic. The stress of the shortage is tearing this place apart, and I feel like I am sitting in a cloud of negativity all day. My coworkers have become an emotional drain and trying to be positive is only irritating everyone. When I’m not on my route, when I am in the lounge or office, I have to isolate myself. I spend much of my day with my headphones in now. I don’t want to live like this.

Then, last week I read a piece by Charles Chu titled Charles Bukowski: The Slavery of the 9 to 5 that made me face the fact that there is no safe way to become a full-time writer. In it Bukowski answers an ad in which an author offers people $100 a month to quit their jobs. The above quote was Bukowski’s answer.

I read it and I thought, “Damn, I’d rather starve too.”

It will huge financial and emotional risk, and I have a way to go to work through my fear, but if I want to live a life that makes me feel alive I have to take it, and in the end, it may be worth it no matter what the outcome. I can’t do it today, but I have to work much harder to get out.

It is a huge financial and emotional risk but if I want to live a life that makes me feel alive I have to take it, and in the end, it may be worth it no matter what the outcome. I can’t do it today, but I have to work much harder to get out. I, like Bukowski, would rather “play at writer” than stay.

Of course, I could always just find another job but will it be any better in a new place than it is here? No other 9-5 will make me feel better, I’m sure of that. At least here I have the kids to keep me smiling and plenty of time off to write.

When your day job isn’t your dream job or passion, can be a place of fear, anxiety, and hopelessness. Day jobs where turnover rates are high, where employees are aware of how expendable they are, where they aren’t nurtured and encouraged, these places are soul crushing. Positive thinking will only get you so far. Humans need to have something that is just theirs, something they can be in control of, something that makes them feel useful, unique, and needed. We need to feel free. We need to feed our souls.

Capitalism tends to create a system where workers are little more than slaves. How many of us feel like we can move away if we wanted to? How many of us can take a vacation in the foreseeable future? How many of us can easily take a day off to rest without being penalized or made to feel guilty? How many of us feel like losing our job would be the worst thing that could happen to us? How many of us feel like losing our jobs is something that could happen, easily?

How many of us work jobs where we do as little as possible while there and lose sleep worrying about it in the night?

Too many of us.

Most of us are nothing but a means to someone else’s ends. Most of us aren’t even making enough money at the jobs sucking at our souls to enjoy what little time we do have to ourselves. A whole lot of human life, potential, and happiness gets wasted because the system is set up to make us feel like there is nothing out there for us. We are taught that we are free, but we are never treated like it. Life shouldn’t be like this.

I know everyone can’t leave their jobs. I know all of this is easier to say than do. I am living proof of that. I know what my passion is and I still can’t gather the courage to leave. I can’t leave because I am embarrassed by my passion, because I am afraid, and because I don’t believe in myself. I’m working on that, but I’m trying to light a fire under my ass. I’m reaching out because I need help and because I want to help others too.

This week, just think about your life. Are you happy? Is there somewhere else you want to live or work? Is there some significant change you want to make but it just feels so big that it may as well be impossible?

Maybe we only think so because we are told so. Maybe it isn’t so hard to make a change after all?

Maybe just trying will be all our souls need in the end.

***

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Featured image via Unsplash

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Monday Motivation // Love and Accept Change that Happens in Others

Hello and happy Monday to you all! I know, I know, no one likes Mondays. No one likes to leave the freedom and comfort of the weekend behind to be thrust unprepared into the monotony and boredom of the work week. But life is short and to spend our whole lives hating one entire day of the week seems like a big waste of what little time we have on this Earth. Let’s try to think about Monday’s a little differently, shall we?

I say Mondays are a time for new beginnings. I say Mondays are full of new possibilities and an exciting chance to do it all over again, and this time, get it right.

My Monday isn’t a particularly exciting or eventful one. I am grateful for the lower temps we’ll be seeing today, low 80s rather than upper 90s. The heat has been brutal here. So much so we’ve had roads buckling from the heat. Tomorrow we’ll be back to the usual summer heat so today I plan to leave work a bit early and get out with the dog to enjoy the cool breeze while I can.

People who truely love you will accept the change that happens in you.

Kriti.G

My girlfriend and I have been together for almost 14 years now. That’s quite an accomplishment compared to the general public. It wasn’t easy. Maintaining it has at times been as easy as just existing together. The love came automatically, and the desire to be near one another and treat each other with compassion seemed to come naturally. At other times maintaining our relationship has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, harder than I ever thought it would be, harder than I thought it should be.

I would look back on all the sappy love stories I had read and watched and I wondered what was normal and what wasn’t.

We met when we were in our late teens, I was 17, she was 15 going on 16. We were young enough to have no idea that we weren’t yet the people we would become. We thought we had grown up, found love, and just had to coast to happily ever after from there. We thought we had already won the game of life. We were in for a very rude awakening.

The fights started two years in, just as we moved in together. We learned new things about one another, and new expectations were needed. I was clingy; she needed space. I was messy; she needed clean surfaces and organization. I was good at money management; she didn’t know how to fill out a check or open a checking account. We fought, made up, and tried our best to do what we thought grown ups did but no matter how hard we tried everything kept getting worse.

Things would get pretty bad before we would figure it out.

The trick is expectation adjustments and a willingness to accept that the person you love is going to change, in good, bad, and often surprising ways, continuously throughout your entire lives. Things will never be “what the used to” but they can still be good, always.

People forget that we never stop growing up. The growing is scary and causes us act in crazy and desperate ways. We try to force the other person into being the person they were, but whether we like it or not, the changes will happen anyway. They will happen with or without you and if you aren’t along for the ride, you may be asked to leave.

For us, I am now the organized one, and she has become messy. Now I am the spender, and she is in charge of the money. Now she has become the clingy one, and I need more space.

We never thought these, and other, changes would happen. We had to learn that the changes are good and true love means allowing the person you love to grow and change and experience life. The beauty of it is getting to be a part of it with them and them getting to be a part of your growing, changing, and experiencing life. It would be wrong to stifle that in each other. To do so would be to try to something away from them that is fundamental to being a human in this world. It would be a sin.

This week try to look at the people in your life who are important to you and get to know them again. Just a little bit. Ask them what is new. What new thing are they into? What new thing are they thinking about? What new thing do they want to do or make? What new thing have they learned or felt about life? Mark the ways they have changed since you met them and meditate on those changes. Think about the ways you have supported to those changes or the ways you have tried to stifle them and why. Then think about the ways you have changed and who has supported and stifled you. Thank the supporters, and talk to your stiflers. Ask them how they feel and why. Tell them how you feel and why too.

In this short and precious life, we need many things, two of which are to feel comfortable to be ourselves and to feel understood by the people we love. We cannot help but to grow and change with age, and we should not have to sacrifice our most basic emotional needs because of it.

We shouldn’t have that done to us, and we shouldn’t do it to the people we love.

***

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Featured image via Unsplash

So, Are You Happy?

Good morning everyone and welcome to another Monday. I know, I know, no one likes Mondays but let’s try to change that. Let’s enjoy today and set the tone for the rest of the week shall we?

That’s so much easier said than done. This morning I woke up peeved that I even had to go to work. Honestly, I feel like this most mornings. It’s not that my job is all that bad, in fact I think it’s a pretty good job, it’s just not what I want to do all day.

My job doesn’t stimulate my mind or awaken any passion in me. My job doesn’t make me feel needed or fulfilled. My job doesn’t make me feel alive.

So I finally had to admit to myself, I’m just not happy here.

Something happens to you when you admit to yourself that you are not happy. You can be miserable everyday of your life and never do anything to change it until one day you look yourself in the mirror and you realize, this is not how you want to live. Once you see that you cannot un-see it, and once you realize it you can never be content again.

This goes for more than just your career. Ask yourself, are you happy in your relationship? Are you happy in your home? Are you happy with how you handle your finances? Are you happy with how you spend your free time? If you admit to yourself that you aren’t happy in any of these aspects of your life it will seem pretty silly to continue on the way you are. You will have to make a change.

This week I’m not going to ask “How are you?”, this week I’m asking everyone “Are you happy?”.

So, are you happy?

I hope you are, I really do, but if your not maybe your next question ought to be…

“How can I change that?”.

Original image via Death to the Stock Photo

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Malcolm X

Continuing the theme for Black History Month this weeks Writer’s Quote Wednesday is dedicated to one of my personal favorite people, Mr. Malcolm X, also know as “Detroit Red”, and later, as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.

Born Malcolm Little, on May 19, 1925, his childhood was one of great tragedy. His father was murdered when he was only six years old and his mother was placed in a mental institute when he was 13. He and his seven siblings were then separated and placed into foster homes. He then became quite the criminal, engaging in drug dealing, gambling, racketeering, robbery, pimping, and, by some accounts, prostitution.

He wound up in jail where he developed a love for the written word. He devoured book after book after book. He was, in effect, a self educated man and encouraged others to become the same. I don’t believe that he much good to say about the American education system. In fact, in his own childhood he struggled with being a bright and gifted student while being told by white teachers that he could never be what he wanted due to the color of his skin.

Malcolm grew up to become a great civil right’s leader and is often remembered for being more militant and harsh in his methods and criticisms of White America and it’s treatment of Black people. I recommend everyone read his autobiography, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. His journey to becoming such a controversial leader and public figure has many surprising twists and turns, and there is so much we can all learn from him, whether we agree with all his views or not.

His assassination, on February 21, 1965, was, in my mind, one of the saddest moments in American history.

“How is it possible to write one’s autobiography in a world so fast-changing as this?”

Malcolm X

Many times in his life Malcolm reinvented himself. Throughout his life many of his views changed and he openly admitted whenever he had been wrong. The times were changing and changing fast, and so was he. One of the things I like about Malcolm is his dedication to reading and learning more and more throughout his life. It was through books and meeting other people that he grew. He is the epitome of the idea that the best education is not found in a school.

I imagine that it was hard for Malcolm to write, or more accurately, tell, his story when he himself wasn’t sure about who he was or who we all are. He was trying to find the answers to what we all should do while at the same time changing his views with every new bit of information. He realized that nothing in life is permanent and no autobiography can truly be complete.

I often think I know something but when I stop to listen or take time to read, I realize that I don’t know every thing and I don’t know how things should be or what we should do. I can’t even be sure from one moment to another that I fully know who I am. I seem to change and shift and with every movement I wonder how I can explain myself to the world when I can’t even explain myself to myself?

But that’s one of the great things about living in this day and age. Through blogs and social media we can all explain ourselves over and over, as needed, and as the world changes.

P.S. Can you imagine what some of these great minds would do with a Twitter account?

The Result of the Things I Have Thought

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“The decision to be positive is not one that disregards or belittles the sadness that exists. It is rather a conscious choice to focus on the good and to cultivate happiness—genuine happiness. Happiness is not a limited resource. And when we devote our energy and time to trivial matters, and choose to stress over things that ultimately are insignificant. From that point, we perpetuate our own sadness, and we lose sight of the things that really make us happy and rationalize our way out of doing amazing things.”

― Christopher Aiff

I’ve struggled with my depression for a long time, but I’ve found that anymore I am almost choosing to be miserable. I am trying to fit in and I am trying to hold on to a part of me that I am afraid is all of me. Sadness and cynicism have been like a security blanket my whole life but I have noticed lately that things are changing. I am running out of things to be unhappy about and I see myself just making up reasons to be negative. I want to change though. I’ve had a small taste of happiness lately and finding that there is no need for the security blanket has changed me.

See I have everything to be happy about. I have a wonderful girlfriend that takes care of me and does her best to make me happy. I have a pretty easy job and even though it doesn’t pay a whole lot, it’s enough to pay the bills just fine. We have a home that is quiet and all our own. I have a good life and I want to feel good about it. So I started doing my best to DECIDE to be happy and positive and NOT allowing anyone or anything to bring me down. No negative thoughts or feelings are allowed to take up anymore of my time than absolutely necessary in order to figure out whether a problem can be solved or needs to be let go

Everyday, every moment I choose what I want to feel. I’ve decided that I will do my best to no longer allow my mood to be affected by other people, and I will not tolerate continually negative people in my life. I am learning that I am the result of the things I think and I can change my day and my mood just by changing my thoughts. I’ve been experimenting lately and I have noticed that when I decide that I want to be happy, or productive, all I have to do is summon the will and I can change my outlook.

It’s not a new concept at all. We’ve all heard that putting out positivity brings positivity back to you. Positive thoughts lead to positive vibes and, ultimately a positive life. It’s not magic and it’s not just some hippie bullshit, it’s real. I’ve, obviously, been reading more and more about being more zen and part of that is being mindful. There’s kind of a lot to it but part of it, to me, is not letting your mind wander away from you. If you let your mind wander too much you might find yourself somewhere you don’t want to be. This is where I am and I really want to find my way back.

“Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings & emotions”

― Will Smith

Through this effort I have noticed who around me is trying to keep me down. They say misery loves company and it is definitely true. There are people who want nothing more than to spread their crap around and they will do anything to make that happen. They will manipulate you into taking on their negativity, they will ask for more from you emotionally than is fair to ask, and they will act as if nothing is fun or worth smiling about until the next thing you know they have drug you down into their hole. The funny thing is once they have you there they will abandon you in the dark.

It’s not like I am positive all the time. I’m still learning and it does take a lot of effort. I am getting better everyday though! I see other people who are being negative or complaining and I try to be an example. I show them that things can be made at least a tiny bit better by trying to smile, by making someone else smile, or by doing a bit of good. If nothing else try being a little more productive, do a little something you can be proud of. I’m telling you it works!

I’m not saying every situation can be made better easily. After my dog passed away I was very depressed. Nothing really mattered and nothing anyone said could make it better. I had no motivation to even begin to try to climb out of the hole I was in. I had to give myself time. The moment I felt a tiny bit better I started trying again and everyday it gets better and easier.

So I encourage all of you, if you find yourself feeling down everyday, try a bit of experimenting for yourself. Try choosing to be happy for a day and see what happens :)