Walking and Not Sleepwalking

nightmare-4.jpg

I am really grateful that I have had a relatively easygoing two weeks. Of course, I have experienced some anxiety attacks while getting back behind the wheel and dealing with other life experiences, but it can always be worse. Lucky for me that I have a wonderful support system and frames of reference to rely on.

There has been some progress on thesis work, I’ve begun reworking it. It now more theory-oriented. My justification has been that instead of having to deal directly with IRB and other bureaucratic governing bodies, I can at least have more freedom and less constriction by simply working around that. Less stress-inducing experiences the better. So I’m pretty confident in what I’m writing.

I spoke with a pal of mine and we hit it off in conversation, discussing the gaping holes in the abstract. It has helped make my foundation a bit stronger and for that I will always be thankful. Next steps are outlining Table of Contents with detailed names and completing my bibliography/literature review. I can do this, pushing my thesis to Summer II may very well end up the best decision.

To ease up on my driving anxiety, I am also taking a Defensive Driving Course online. I really believe that my anxieties build up and play a sort of domino effect, crippling good decision-making. I’m remedying that by re-educating myself on the driving aspect, to eliminate that stress. Let the record reflect that I really fucking hate driving and that I feel much safer with walking. That being said, it may be that it is a necessary evil and that I have to redirect my paradigm. So this is that. I am a careful and aware driver that obeys the law. As long as I am observant and astute to the conditions and drivers on the road, I will have safe passage from destination-to-destination. So say we all.

A lot of shifts are happening right now, I may or may not have to cancel plans. There are limitations that we all face, but it’d be nice if all I had to worry about was myself. That said, I’ve got to eliminate the selfish bullshit that floats in my cranium and move forward. Family comes first. Gotta have that mindset in the meantime.

On the physical activity side of life, I’ve been able to consistently eat well and exercise by running/jogging. It’s been a very enjoyable practice and discipline forming venture. Granted, I did deviate from both for two days or so this week. I am absolving myself of guilt because I know that this is not a repeat performance. I’m back on track today and it is something that shouldn’t phase my long-term plans.

Cinema I recommend: The Aviator (2004), The VVItch (2016), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Jane The Virgin.

Currently listening to: A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters, Michael Chabon interview, and WTF with Marc Maron (William Friedkin interview).

Facebook pages I dig: C. Rodriguez Art, The Domestic Geek, and SciBabe.

Advertisements

2014 retrospective

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
Confucius

2014 was a banner year for my growth and self-development, here is a brief list:

1. Overcoming Adversity

Mom suffered a stroke and heart attack that left her partially paralyzed but still faintly talking. Another stroke two weeks later stripped her of her ability to talk and move. It has been the hardest year of my life as responsibilities have increased tenfold. Luckily, with dad earning a better job, Pete and Tori being strong, and my friends providing a pillar of support, things are steadily improving. My goal is to bring mom home and help her recover as best as we can.

2. Returning to School

After a hiatus from my graduate program, I restarted and have thankfully had the opportunity to continue my studies. In the time I have spent back, I have worked toward aligning my own interests in community engagement with my thesis project. I couldn’t be more fulfilled than when I discovered what I wanted to contribute to my academic and non-academic communities. I plan to graduate December 2015.

3. Publication

Although my main writing focus have been assignments in my coursework, I have continued to publish numerous advertorials in my local newspaper. I’m glad that it has also afforded me enough experience to begin freelancing outside of the area.

4. Directing a short film

After many years of excitement and talk since childhood, I took the necessary steps to realize a short film project with trusted collaborator Johnny. Ultimately, I’m very proud of engaging with talented actors and realizing a script that I co-wrote. It has provided me with a boost of confidence to continue forward and pursue various other projects that have been simmering for the past year. I have already written another short that will serve as my next project.

5. Beginning The Steps Toward A Healthier Me

I obsess over a lot of little details and various aspects of social interactions that become wasted moments of life. Over the course of the year I have become better at letting go and breathing, allowing those pointlessly stressful thoughts to leave my mind. Disengagement has allowed me to take action instead of merely contemplating situations.

6. A Return of the Reader

Although I have consumed a fair bit of literature in terms of magazines, online articles, academic journals, and digital media I had really fallen out of engagement with traditional print books. I’ve successfully completed the following works (excluding e-texts): “Steal Like An Artist”, “Show Your Work!”, “The Four-Hour Work Week”, “Serial Killers”, “Hyperbole and a Half”, “The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters”, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything”, “Writing Movies For Fun and Profit”, “What They Don’t Teach You At Film School”, “The 33 Strategies of War”, “The Art of Seduction”, “The 50th Law”, “Mastery”, “The Power of Habit”, “The Obstacle is the Way”, and “Deschooling Society”. While I am happy that I have read more printed books, I feel the urge to begin curating a more unified collection for next year.

7. A Sense of Purpose

The biggest accomplishment in 2014 was simultaneously finding and creating my own purpose in the world. After taking a hiatus from teaching due to my mother’s stroke I reflected and came to terms that I was disappointed in the current United States educational system. Not only disappointed but frustrated with its limitations. This prompted me to reexamine my thesis project on community literacy and actively begin the blueprints of a literacy center for my region in the Rio Grande Valley.

8. Other Things

I’ve been blessed to live another year and although it has been rough, these experiences have continued to mold me into a better human being. Each day I learn something new about myself and I will continue to gain new insights both personally and professionally throughout 2015.

making art

Every overnight success begins with at least a hundred failures. These may be major. These maybe minor. At the end of the day, one chalks it up to experience and begins again.

Biographies of successful people never share the failures. And yet they happen all the time:

A.) Stephen King’s first novel was rejected 30 times.
B.) Oprah Winfrey gave birth at age 14 and lost her child.
C.) Franklin Roosevelt became partially paralyzed at 39.
D.) Steven Spielberg was rejected from USC, twice.

Despite the setbacks, did these people give up? Some days may be worse than others because of negativity. Some people are going to try to put you down. Some situations are going to beg you to give up.

It all comes down to a simple choice. Will you stop or will you continue on? There is no magic formula for success. There are no one-size-fits-all recipes. There are no easy answers. It takes hard work to make your success. It takes as Edward James Olmos once said: “ganas.”

Ganas!

When you fail. When you feel down in the dumps. When the world is crashing around you. Keep working on that success. Do the research. Manage your time. Keep creating.

I fail every single day. And I am going to keep failing until I get it right. One of the films that inspires me to this day is Batman Begins.

Alfred asks Bruce, “Why do we fall?”

“So we can learn to pick ourselves up again.”

That is the key. Despite what your friends and family may tell you. Despite what your co-workers or boss may tell you. Despite what the universe may tell you. Pick yourself up from Perdition. Surround yourself with people that make you happy or contribute to bettering yourself in every way. Listen to your mind, body, and soul!

I needed to release some positivity out into the world because it has been one of those rough patch periods. I hope this gives you some inspiration to be the best version of yourself earning your best life; you deserve it! Have a wonderful week. #CarryTheFire