LIfe

Root Cause Analysis

I struggle with my memories.
I have memories that make me happy.
I have memories that make me sad.
Some of the happy ones come with baggage.

Everything reminds me of everything.
The buildings I explore.
The streets I walk on.
The music I listen to.
The smell of the air.
The food I eat.
The season.
The time.
The day.

I hold onto so much.
Memories, people, ideas.
I keep thoughts and feelings locked up.
Afraid to let them out because
I fear I have already said too much.

Constantly looking for happiness.
I find moments here and there.
Every once in a while I experience
and feel it genuinely.
Sometimes it lasts for a while.
Sometimes it fades just as quickly as
it comes.

I have done more harm to myself than
anyone else can possibly do.
Constant self-sabotage.
Where my worst fears and thoughts
manifest because I will them to fruition.
Like some masochistic defense mechanism

I do not think the world is against me.
I just do not know why I am so against my
own self.

Maybe deep down I don't think I deserve
to be happy.
Or that I don't deserve all the good in my life
because I will inevitably taint it.

Why am I afraid to let go?
To let go of all of the bad even if
it means losing some of the good.
Maybe under all of this
pessimism, there is an undying hope.
Or maybe I am more naive than I thought.

It's Happening Again

That feeling of perpetual dread. The endless churn of negativity and baseless assumption.

That feeling of your chest wanting to literally explode.

No matter how much pranayama you practice, that drum in your chest just beats harder and harder.

"Why are you like this?" you ask yourself, to which you have no verbal response as you stare back at yourself in the dirty mirror. 

"You like the pain. You will grow from this," is what your conscience says.

But subconsciously you know you won't. 

You start to think rationally and apply simple logic to your seemingly complex problems. 

Logically you shouldn't be this upset. Logically you should just divert your time and energy to other aspects of your life.

Logically you shouldn't care this much.

But you do, and everything you do seems to defy logic. 

Here you are again, stuck in between reality and a dream.

A dream that's quickly turning into a nightmare that keeps pulling you in.

And all you can say to yourself is, it's happening again.

Why We Want What We Can't Have

Before I really start getting into this post I would like to apologize to anyone who does come to this site to read or listen. I have been taking a short break from blogging and podcasting for a number of reasons that I will get to at another time. It wasn't my intention but it just kind of happened, and then it kept happening. Anyway...back to my originally planned program.

Have you ever found yourself asking 'why you want what you can't have?'

Of course you have. You're a human being. You did it as a child, even if you didn't realize it and you (we) still do it now. 

Or maybe I should just speak for myself? Yeah that's probably best. I'm not in the business of putting words in people's mouths because it's never fun when it happens to you.

I can confidently say that I've been wanting what I can't have since I was old enough to verbally say that I wanted something. That's basically 30 years of experience right there so I'd like to think I'm kind of a pro at this point.

Remember when you were at [insert random store] with your parents and you saw something that in retrospect was dumb as fuck but at the time you really wanted it? Nay, you NEEDED it. You couldn't imagine living your life without it, at least for the 5-10 minutes you were in the store, or until you saw something else you just had to have. 

Kids generally have better imaginations and shorter attention spans. And as kids we imagine how great it would be to have that thing (usually something stupid like a candle holder...no? Oh...yeah I meant that awesome toy...)

Do you remember a time when your parents actually got that thing you really (read: randomly) wanted? Well looking back now as an adult I don't blame parents for not getting their kids stupid shit. What the fuck is a 5 year old going to do with a measuring cup? They aren't tall enough to help out in the kitchen and I'm sure that household has plenty of cups to use for drinking beverages at home. Also said household probably has at least one measuring cup in the cupboard somewhere. 

You know how in the wild, new born animals naturally know what to do, like learn to walk? Well I think the equivalent for humans is learning to want what we can't have. You could argue that I'm baseless in that statement and I would 100% agree with you, but I'll take my chances.

I feel like I was born to want what I can't have. And that's not an invite for pity. I seriously mean it. When I couldn't get the Playstation 2 when it first launched in the year 2000 because a) my parents didn't want to get it for me, b) it was expensive, and c) the thing was out of stock for what seemed like 2 years, my desire for it grew exponentially every passing day I didn't own one. 

I remember being on eBay looking at auctions for the PS2 that were about to end that weren't ridiculously price gouged. I also remember being so disappointed that every PS2 on eBay was going for more than $1,000. Yeah...Sony definitely won the console war that generation.

Can you imagine a world where parents just bought kids whatever it is they wanted? The kids will quickly realize that the thing they wanted is actually pretty fucking lame and then the family would just be stuck with it, or throw it out.

The counterpoint to that is, what if parents selectively bought their kids the useless stuff that they clamor for at the store? Especially the things that are really stupid that they know their kids will forget about. That could potentially teach the kids a lesson that the things they want may not be what they actually want? Or that the things they want might not be all that great?

When those kids grow up to become adults, they could have learned early on that what they don't have, isn't always something that they want. Or better yet, if they get the thing they so desired that it turns out it's not so great. I for sure could have benefited from this.

But what the hell do I know about child rearing? The closest thing is just having been a child that was being reared. (That sounded weird to me too...)

Anywho, how does this relate to me now? Well, it's basically how I still live to this day. It's basic economics. I still desire things that I can't have. Maybe not as much as a when I was a child because I know that things actually cost money. Money that I may or may not have, and even if I do have it, is it the smartest decision?

The difference between me then and now is that I know the difference between 'want' and 'need'. Or so I think I do. When it comes to goods and services, I have to actually think if I really want or need something. There are certainly times when we need to buy something. Then there are times where we just want to buy it. 

If you're financially independent, you get to make those choices for yourself. You must suffer the potential consequences of making a bad purchase. You could always return (save that receipt!) or have an awesome credit card that has a perk that lets you return stuff no questions asked (FYI I have no idea if that is an actual credit card perk that exists...).

But what happens when those wants and needs go beyond things? What happens when it comes to people such as potential friends or lovers? 

I'll tell you what happens. It gets WAY harder. We all live in our own lives, but we share the same reality. We all exist on the same plane. We (people) are not objects. You can't make someone your friend or lover without mutual desire or consent.

When I look at it this way, it makes total sense. It's logical. It's a rational approach. But because I am human, and I've lived my entire life wanting what I can't have, that natural instinct makes it so difficult for me. 

I'm no stranger to rejection. Some rejections hurt less than others. But conversely, some rejections hurt way more than others. 

Rejection sucks. How you deal with it is the difference between climbing out of a whole versus being stuck in it.

At times I am a very rational person and other times I'm a very irrational person. Most of the time it is my emotions that are the drivers of my irrationality. 

I often find myself irrationally upset. It's at those times I have to beat logic into my thoughts. I say beat because it's so easy for my emotional brain to brush off a feeble attempt at reason from it's logical other half. I need to beat my emotional side into submission. It doesn't always work, but self awareness is half the battle.

I know, I know. I'm just stating the obvious. It's the things and people that are unavailable that we want most. Have you ever stopped to think that your imagination of how great a thing or person is, is actually better than how great they actually are? Let that sink in for a second.

I've been guilty of desiring the love and affection of unavailable women. Call it a bad habit of mine. The only way I know how to get over it is to just suffer through the pain and sorrow until the glow of that person fades into nothing, or I force myself to hate them. I have to trick myself into thinking they are awful people. Sometimes they just are awful people. Other times, I just have to pretend because it's too hard for me. Which sounds really immature and stupid, and it is because it's not fair to the other person. I never want to hate anyone that I care about, but I created this bad habit out of necessity. Because I didn't know how else to deal with it. 

I get upset at myself for getting upset.

I need to start thinking that maybe that unavailable person that I have really strong feelings for just isn't that great in real-life. Maybe there's a reason why they aren't available. Not just the fact that they might not share the same feelings, they may have other shit going on in their life, and/or maybe, just maybe, they are not the right person for me.

I need to stop thinking "what if" because I often get lost in hypothetical scenarios and make decisions based on things and outcomes that I want. People often use their gut when it comes to love and romance. Nothing wrong with that. The idea of that is actually quite romantic. But if you're like me and your gut is often times wrong, maybe try the opposite of what your gut says from time to time. Easier said than done, but it's seriously worth considering.

I'll be the first to say, there is no painless way of getting rejected or getting over a rejection. What brings me peace is that I know I'm not the only one going through what I go through. Well...peace makes it seem like I'm happy that we all suffer. But that's not what I mean. What I mean is that we are all human, and it's these experiences that make us human. Also it makes me feel like less of a weirdo. My words, not yours.

*This post was originally posted on April 27, 2017 and was edited on April 28, 2017.

Mind Over Matter

I find myself increasingly frustrated lately. I've tried different things this past week to help calm myself down, to release tension, and to just relax. I tried walking home from work, which I regretted doing midway but powered through. I tried going to a dance party. And now I'm blogging with Elliott Smith on in the background. 

In general my MO is to keep myself busy so I don't have time to think about the things I don't want to think about. 

Since the start of the new year, I've been working on a couple different personal projects to help occupy my time when I'm not at work. I was desperately seeking a creative outlet and while not having any traditional creative skills, I decided to try and make a website. I already had my Medium blog that I started last summer but I wanted something of my own. That was the birth of Anxious Asian Man.

I try to blog and podcast as regularly as possible. Lately my blog posts have been few and far between and oddly I've been podcasting almost every week. I would think my blogging would be more frequent, but come to think of it, it's easier for me to just talk into a mic than to type out my thoughts. It's the same issue I had with Talk Space vs. going to see an actual in-person therapist. 

Outside of my site, I volunteer to take pictures for another friend's comedy show every week. It's easy and I get to see stand up comedy. Not much more one could ask for to be honest. I let several weeks of pictures go unedited though. Skipping one week of edits isn't so bad, but it just piles up so quickly. Piles up so high you just don't even want to go near it. I tackled the edits recently and am going to try and do my edits weekly.

At times I feel like I've bitten off more than I can chew. Lately when I feel overwhelmed, I get a feeling of paralysis. Like these picture edits, it just got overwhelming and I didn't want to do them. I had to psych myself up.

It's getting to the point I have to psych myself up to put laundry into the dryer. Or take trash out. 

I think it's just this recent wave of depression that has hit me. It's making me very lazy and lethargic. 

For the last 4 weekends I've spent the majority of my time on my couch watching reruns of Archer, Rick and Morty, and re-watching Star Wars movies. 

I try to make plans. I even decline some others because I think I might be doing something else. My plans just don't seem to stick. It's okay at first. But when it keeps happening, it's like a mental garbage pile that just builds up and I end up not wanting take that trash out. 

Well...let me rephrase. My mind wants to do something, but my body says no. 

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I really don't want to be like this. I fear I am just being conditioned to feel and act this way, because lets be real...plans will always get cancelled, pushed back, or not materialize. Even the most reliable person you know is fallible. 

I was onto something when I decided to seek a creative outlet. But I realize now that I didn't take the full step. I've got to actually seek out what it is I'm looking for. Now that I've identified my outlet, I need to execute. Easier said than done, but a lot of time, it really just is a little mind over matter.

The Struggle Bus

I'm failing at this. Very badly. I've got a monthly pass for the struggle bus.

I had this fantasy that I would be shooting out blog posts left and right and podcasting every week. I have tried my best to podcast every week but they are so fucking boring. I talk too slow and I'm not talking with enough emotion. And these blog posts...I'm just fucking lazy.

I've been in a bit of a funk lately. I have been dealing with some anxiety and some bad habits of my depression have crept back. One of those things is lethargy.

Yesterday after work, I tried to find something to do (with a low level of effort though). I came up empty, which is quite normal. It was a Friday evening, so I sank into my couch and started dozing off around 9pm. I decided to just call it a night and went to bed. It was the earliest I had gone to bed in a very long time. 

I got about 11 hours of sleep and woke up today and did my normal morning routine, which is to feed Ruth (my cat) and then take my medication. I then proceeded to do laundry and watch old episodes of Rick and Morty. When the washer was done, I knew I had to throw my clothes in the dryer but I my body didn't want to get up. I sat there for several minutes deliberating if I should get up and put my clothes in the dryer. 

A normal person would have just gotten up and put the wet clothes in the dryer as soon as the washer was done. I sat there for about 15 minutes and forced myself to get up because I hate how clothes that stay wet for too long get that weird smell.

The simplest tasks become so difficult and daunting. When the will is there, I can be a very productive member of society, but when it's not, I'm just a heavy bag of bones and fat.

This is something I've struggled with for most of my life, but I didn't know how to put it into words growing up. And it usually is only the case when I'm by myself.

I went from someone that was very comfortable with being alone to becoming someone who is dying to get out of the house but is too lazy. It's still very difficult to explain how I feel. Obviously.

That said, I was able to muster up energy to finish two loads of laundry (clothes and sheets+duvet), take my cat out to get her nails trimmed (super sharp) and then get a cup of coffee.

Now I'm back home typing this up while listening to emo music in the background while I have the Wisconsin v. Villanova game on mute. 

I often have the feeling that I'm going through an existential crisis because I often feel like I don't really have a purpose. It's not so much a source of anxiety though because I honestly don't believe anyone when they say they have a purpose in life. I won't refute anyone, but inside I'm calling bullshit. But what I think doesn't matter to anyone else. It shouldn't. Live your life.

Human beings in general. What purpose do we serve? I haven't heard a good answer yet. Is our purpose to find a way to get off this planet and find some other place to ruin...I mean...live?

I don't mean to be so down. I'm just trying to find my self purpose, which to me is different than having an overall purpose. My self purpose is 100% selfish. My self purpose will never be something like, "making sure the children in 3rd world countries always have food to eat." It would be more like, "making sure that I always have food to eat."

Sometimes you gotta take care of yourself. I just don't really know how to do it.

Next stop on the struggle bus? Anywhere. I just want to get off and charge my phone cause it's about to die soon. 

Changes

Wowza...

That's the only utterance I have at the moment that isn't a curse word that is moderately appropriate at this very moment.

Not sure if you guys saw that solo press conference Donald Trump had the other day, but it was a complete shit show. The whole thing is just a mess, which he claims he inherited. Lets be real, it's never an easy transition from one administration to another, but to say that he inherited a mess after the shit he has done the last few weeks is a joke.

A joke that we need to take seriously.

I don't even want to type out his name anymore. From this point on, at least on this site, he will be known as the Lil' d (guys get it? I made the 'd' lowercase and it's a double entendre)

We need to take this seriously because Lil' d and fiends are master manipulators and we can't allow ourselves to be manipulated. They will continue to deflect and lie, but eventually even their own supporters will start to question their motives.

Okay, enough about politics. I have some changes that are happening to me that I want to share.

Tomorrow I will become a cat dad. Yes. I will be getting a cat. She will be my everything. Last weekend I scheduled time to meet a cat named Allie at her foster home. She was a little shy but warmed up to me pretty quickly. She loves to be pet and is just so adorable. She was found in a feral cat colony somewhere in Brooklyn, but she clearly is not feral. She's between 1-2 years old...that's what I am told.

This whole week during my spare time I've been on Amazon.com, Chewy.com, Wag.com looking at pet supplies to buy. Reading blogs and reviews. I got a shipment of stuff that's been delivered today and I have some stuff coming tomorrow as well. And next week. I bought a ton of shit is what I'm basically trying to say. I'm not just getting a few small boxes either. No, I'm getting boxes that I could fit in when in fetal position. I'm taking this very seriously. AND I CAN'T WAIT.

One thing to note, I am allergic to cats. BUT I saw an allergist and I got prescription eye drops, some Zyrtec and two HEPA air purifiers. I think I should be good.

The reason I got a cat and not a dog though is for a few reasons. I love dogs, but they require more upkeep and I don't necessarily have the best lifestyle to take care of a dog. I also don't have a lot of space for a dog. I would want the dog to have green grass to run on and a lot of room to roam around at home. I have neither of those things.

I live by myself, which I'm super lucky to be able to do so in NYC, but as liberating as it is, it can be very lonely. I felt the need for a companion when I come home.

More to come once she settles in!

One more (potential) change happening. I'm considering doing a podcast for this site as well. Sometimes it's just easier to say things than to type it out. I'd want to also bring on guests to make it more interactive (for myself) and to have interesting and, hopefully, thought provoking conversations.

I've got a lot on my plate at the moment so may be some time before I can make a substantial update on here, or it might be tomorrow. Who knows, my mood changes many times a day.

I hope everyone has a great President's Day weekend. I bet Lil' d thinks it's a holiday for him, which is probably why he's golfing in Florida this weekend. I know, I know, I said "enough politics" but let me just get something off my chest.

Lil' d is hosting a campaign rally in Florida this weekend. He's campaigning for 2020. IS HE FUCKING SERIOUS?

No. Just no.

Ok, seriously, I hope everyone that has a day off on Monday enjoys the 3-day weekend and everyone else, just whatever. Enjoy your lame 2-day weekend.