ballerz120

Random musings of an insecure narcissist

Month: August, 2014

Validation

 It’s almost four in the morning here and I should be sleeping. However, I was on Twitter and felt the need to write this. I was in the cab earlier tonight talking about my future plans. I was telling Frank, my cab driver of choice, about my plans to pursue journalism or a similar field once I start school again. It sounded good in my head but did not have the reaction I was looking for from Frank. You might be thinking that it is utterly pointless to be concerned with the opinion of a random cab driver and that I should do what I want. I absolutely agree with that sentiment; however, therein lies the problem with my philosophy. I have never fit the mold of the typical Indian and yet, in many ways, I have always tried to attain the validation I feel they get. I have always tried to conform or attain a type of happiness I feel everyone else has or are on the verge of attaining. Rather than trying to discover my own truth, I have often tried to decipher the Pandora’s box of other people’s truths. I didn’t follow the typical path and often made choices that I felt were the antithesis of what was expected of me. However, in many ways, I was making said choices because I was trying to seek the validation I felt I lacked from my family and friends. I wanted to be an English major in college but I always heard about the worthlessness of liberal arts degrees. Furthermore, growing up in an Indian family discouraged me from that path as most of my relatives were either pursuing medicine or other science-related fields. As much as I wanted to distinguish myself from the stereotypical Indian, it seemed I was yearning more and more for that validation. Therefore, I chose not to major in English and chose Neuroscience as my major. I had aspirations of going to medical school or so I would tell people. Really, it was never my dream to go to medical school but that validation felt good when I would tell my parents that I was planning on trying to go to medical school. After my sophomore year, I no longer cared as much for that feeling and chose to switch my major to Psychology. This was met with a lot of conflict and many of my relatives essentially gave up on me and wondered what I was going to do with my life. To them, a Psychology degree was basically worthless. More so, they didn’t fully understand what exactly Psychology was as it was a soft science and not one of the so-called real sciences. Looking back, I wish I had pursued an English degree and done what I wanted. I let other’s opinions, including loved ones, get in my head and ultimately guide me. Therein lies the problem in my opinion. Too often, we try to appease family members or other people and try to fit the expectation they have in their head. Many times, it seems, this expectation they have does not line up with our real selves. We put our plans or desires on the back burner and proceed to try to live their dream. This is unfortunate as that leads to time being wasted and gives us less time to focus on something that we’re actually good at. Two different cultures are in play when it comes to my situation. I am an American that grew up in an Indian household. As a result, I was exposed to two different philosophies. I am an American and as such, I am individualistic. Meaning, sometimes I do care strictly for myself and I want to do what I want to do. However, I am also part of an Asian culture as my parents are from India. In that culture, the opinion of family members is much more important than one’s opinion of themselves. These were the two warring schools of thought I was exposed to in my formative years.  As a result, it has shaped a hybrid philosophy, so to speak. I am concerned at times strictly with matters involving myself and I do not care what others think. On the other side of the coin, I do care a good amount of what my family thinks of what I’m doing with my life. It is a struggle to balance the two philosophies in certain instances as both are fighting for control of my psyche. It is a work in progress, indeed.

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Validation

 It’s almost four in the morning here and I should be sleeping. However, I was on Twitter and felt the need to write this. I was in the cab earlier tonight talking about my future plans. I was telling Frank, my cab driver of choice, about my plans to pursue journalism or a similar field once I start school again. It sounded good in my head but did not have the reaction I was looking for from Frank. You might be thinking that it is utterly pointless to be concerned with the opinion of a random cab driver and that I should do what I want. I absolutely agree with that sentiment; however, therein lies the problem with my philosophy. I have never fit the mold of the typical Indian and yet, in many ways, I have always tried to attain the validation I feel they get. I have always tried to conform or attain a type of happiness I feel everyone else has or on the verge of attaining. Rather than trying to discover my own truth, I have often tried to decipher the Pandora’s box of other people’s truths. I didn’t follow the typical path and made choices that I felt were the antithesis of what was expected of me. However, in many ways, I was making said choices because I was trying to seek the validation I felt I lacked from my family and friends. I wanted to be an English major in college but I always heard about the worthlessness of liberal arts degrees. Furthermore, growing up in an Indian family discouraged me from that path as most of my relatives were either pursuing medicine or other science-related fields. As much as I wanted to distinguish myself from the stereotypical Indian, it seemed I was yearning more and more for that validation. Therefore, I chose not to major in English and chose Neuroscience as my major. I had aspirations of going to medical school or so I would tell people. Really, it was never my dream to go to medical school but that validation felt good when I would tell my parents that I was planning on trying to go to medical school. After my sophomore year, I no longer cared as much for that feeling and chose to switch my major to Psychology. This was met with a lot of conflict and many of my relatives essentially gave up on me and wondered what I was going to do with my life. To them, a Psychology degree was basically worthless. More so, they didn’t fully understand what exactly Psychology was as it was a soft science and not one of the so-called real sciences. Looking back, I wish I had pursued an English degree and done what I wanted. I let other’s opinions, including loved ones, get in my head and ultimately guide me. Therein lies the problem in my opinion. Too often, we try to appease family members or other people and try to fit the expectation they have in their head. Many times, it seems, this expectation they have does not line up with our real selves. We put our plans or desires on the back burner and proceed to try to live their dream. This is unfortunate as that leads to time being wasted and gives us less time to focus on something that we’re actually good at. Two different cultures are in play when it comes to my situation. I am an American that grew up in an Indian household. As a result, I was exposed to two different philosophies. I am an American and as such, I am individualistic. Meaning, sometimes I do care strictly for myself and I want to do what I want to do. However, I am also part of an Asian culture as my parents are from India. In that culture, the opinion of family members is much more important than one’s opinion of themselves. These were the two warring schools of thought I was exposed to in my formative years.  As a result, it has shaped a hybrid philosophy, so to speak. I am concerned at times strictly with matters involving myself and I do not care what others think. On the other side of the coin, I do care a good amount of what my family thinks of what I’m doing with my life. It is a struggle to balance the two philosophies in certain instances as both are fighting for control of my psyche. It is a work in progress, indeed.

Defy all rationale

I do things and I don’t understand why. It seems I’m never decisive about anything. It’s almost as if I do things on a whim rather than thinking them out or having any real plan. For instance, I went to Vegas and ended up getting a tattoo about 3 years ago without planning to get one. In that moment, I just didn’t care and went to the tattoo parlor by myself and decided to get one. Granted, I have grown to love that tattoo and what it stands for. I don’t really regret the tattoo. A big example of this lack of thought is joining the Army. I had considered the military in High School but it was not a thoroughly drawn out process. A few recruiters had come to my house and we talked for a few hours. That was the extent to which I thought about it. Eventually, my parents were against the whole idea and I was fine with that. I went to East Carolina University and originally I was going to go for the Indian dream and become a doctor. But that wasn’t me and I ultimately changed my major. That has always been me, I have never been the typical Indian and I have never fit the mold. I suck at math and I am far from technologically savvy. If anything, I make my people look bad if you’re going off of the stereotypes. I switched my major to Psychology but the truth is I never really had a plan. I didn’t truly know what I wanted to do with a Psychology degree. My one skill is writing and so I minored in English. I even wrote for the East Carolinian, ECU’s university paper. I had wanted to study English at one point but my parents as well as conventional wisdom said that those degrees are worthless. So after I graduated, I had loans to pay and my options were scarce. I was confused and unsure of what I wanted to do. This took a toll on my mentality as I felt like a loser and it seemed everyone else in the world had found their calling. At that moment, I was tired of my family’s bitching about how other people’s kids were becoming doctors and pharmacists. I decided then and there that I had to do something. I started looking at the military as a real option. At first, I was looking for something that related to psychology and/or writing. But due to my ignorance at the time as well as the government cutbacks, there were no MOS’s that really complemented my skills. The other problem is my skills are useless most of the time because I don’t know how to market them or put myself in a position where I could actually use them. I’ve always been more of an imaginative person and an idealist. I’d have many ideas but I would do nothing about it practically. I’d just wait and assume that the universe will work its magic and somehow I would find my way to the right door, so to speak. I started looking into the Infantry because it was something completely outside the realm of what I would normally do or what people would expect of me. I watched videos on Youtube of the training and read about people’s experiences online. It seemed challenging but I felt the people who made it through that training were rewarded with a palpable sense of accomplishment. I wanted to experience that aforementioned feeling and so I signed that contract. Looking back, I wish I had done more research on the Army and had consulted more recruiters or knowledgable people regarding potential options. I don’t regret joining the Army or the Infantry as I feel it has and will continue to make me a stronger person in the long run. However, I do think if I had done more research, I’d be in an MOS where my skills can actually contribute something and I would be a lot happier.

Perception

  How others see us plays a big part in our lives. Some of us are able to achieve the balance where other people’s opinions impact us but not to the degree that they derail us. I, unfortunately, am of the other group. I worry too much about what others think and ultimately that affects the way I view myself. I lack common sense and I have never denied that or tried to hide that fact. Truth is, I couldn’t hide it even if I tried because eventually you are bound to discover the fact that I lack common sense. I used to think of myself as an intelligent person. However, ever since I joined the Army, I typically feel like a moron on most days. I have anxiety at times and this makes me nervous in certain situations. That nervous energy, so to speak, rubs off on me and usually leads to me messing things up or over thinking simple problems. That’s another tendency I have; I overthink everything and every situation. The simplest of molehills become the grandest of mountains in my head. I’m getting a bit off tangent but the whole point of this post is the fact that our opinions should matter the most. Think of yourself as a book. Most people will only get to see certain chapters or certain parts of said book. No one can process you in your entirety, it’s not possible. Therefore, if you mess up at work or people think you’re a certain way at work, they’re not getting all the chapters. Everyone has eyes but not everyone can see. The people I work with think I’m pretty stupid and that has not been lost on me. Over time, I’ve started agreeing with that viewpoint. I started questioning how I was even able to graduate college. I feel pretty stupid on most days but that’s because I let others opinions get the best of me. The fact that others view you as unintelligent does not make that true. Intelligence can never be fully measured. The point is you have to know and respect yourself. Otherwise the thoughts of others can ruin you.

Ode to the gym

 From the looks of it, I’m not exactly an intimidating specimen. When you see me, you don’t think of the Incredible Hulk or big-name bodybuilders. I’m not exactly the most intimidating person in these streets. As most of you know by now, I’m a vegetarian. I get a lot of shit for it sometimes but it’s not too bad. If anything, people’s ignorance is the most difficult part to deal with rather than the whole not eating meat part. I’ve had a pretty shitty week at work so far. I made some mistakes and there will be consequences.  I didn’t mean to do it but my intentions don’t matter. I needed an outlet, something to take my mind off of the bullshit and my incompetence. Most people here seem to turn to alcohol in times of despair. I, too, have been known to do that on occasion. But I stopped because I realized it wasn’t doing much for me. Don’t get me wrong, I drink occasionally but I realized it was doing more damage than good. The best outlet other than reading, for me, has been the gym. It started in college when I started working out with my roommates. I was very weak back then. I could not even bench 95 pounds and it always seemed like the Incredible Hulk was working out next to me. This was discouraging at first but my friends taught me that you have to be persistent. You have to keep in mind that the biggest guy out there didn’t start out big. He too had doubts and felt weak at times. He kept going, so with that in mind, I kept pushing myself. Eventually I was able to bench 225 pounds. Not a major feat by any stretch, but I was proud considering I couldn’t even bench 95 pounds when I started. I’ve always been an anxious person and dealt with some level of depression. However, in those gym sessions with my friends, I took back some of the power and it felt good. My mood stabilized and I just felt better overall. It was a much healthier outlet than drinking and that endorphin rush was a good high rather than the detrimental one I had become accustomed to. In those moments, I saw the confident and ambitious man I could be rather than the insecure and anxious person I usually am. The euphoria would wear off as it always does; however, I always went back for more. It motivated me when people would think I was weak simply because I’m a vegetarian. I used to love the moments when we would lift and they would be shocked that I could out-lift them. It wasn’t the fact that they were impressed; it was the fact that my persistence had paid off and I had stuck to it. That drive is something that is lacking in other areas of my life. I need to figure out how to maintain that inspiration and transfer it to other more mundane aspects of my life. I’ve started lifting again; even though my diet needs to improve. I’m getting that feeling back again, that itch, so to speak. That urge to want to work out and feel that endorphin rush wash over me as I forgot about all the bullshit. It feels good.