Summer Semester/Sandpaper Dildo

So I was on edge because of this big ass photo story assignment that we were supposed to do. I had ideas on what to do, but things didn’t go as planned. I had a Plan B in case my original idea didn’t work out. And when that didn’t happen I had to resort to a Plan C. Rare situation I find myself into, believe it or not.

So I did the assignment in the best way I knew how. The instructions weren’t so clear and it didn’t help that I had a lot going on in my mind because a day without anxiety and depressing thoughts is asking for too much it seems.

Taking the photos wasn’t the hard part. Once I had something to capture in photos I figured the worse was finally over. But no….we had to take those images and put them in a multimedia slideshow, whatever the fuck. Which was supposed to include a video, music in the background, and images that tell a story.

What was my story? My roommate cutting hair. That’s it. Oh and the music had to be royalty free. So no popular music. I hated all that generic shit that was offered so I opted for a track from one of my many video game OSTs that I have in my collection. The professor said no popular music. Not everyone is into video games the way I am.I know what the track is, they weren’t going to know shit (seeing as though they’re a bunch of mindless zombies anyway). So technically I didn’t break any rules. Besides it’s not as though as I though I’m gonna claim ownership of the music anyway and get anything out of it.

Finally presentation day…

I uploaded my completed assignment. It’s shit, but I uploaded it anyway. I’m trying to keep myself in check. Then everyone else shows their presentations and of course they do a much better job then I did. And that’s when my insecurities are stirring up inside of me like this monstrous whirlpool. Now I’m dreading having my stuff shown to the entire class. But as it turns out I didn’t have to. Because I didn’t upload it properly. Yeah…there’s a proper way to upload it….MOTHERFUCKER WHAT?!

My presentation didn’t include a video of anything. All it was a boring, tacky photo slideshow with music from Shoji Meguro (composer for the Persona game series, for you non-gaming nerds reading this) playing in the background to give it some beat.

So after returning the camera gear the professor opted to let us leave early because what else is there left to do? I was able to upload my assignment in the “proper way” and not have to worry about it being shown to the class. So I dodged a bullet there. I can put it in the back of my mind while I focus on my final exams and finally kiss this summer semester goodbye.

It’s been one thing after another. I’ve been challenged mentally and emotionally. To quote Deadpool, “It’s been as much fun as a sandpaper dildo.”

So I didn’t get to do the good work that I would’ve like to have done on my photo assignment. But at least I tried. At least I turned in something. A half ass, crappy looking something is better than having nothing at all. And during those presentations in class I gave myself a pep-talk inside my mind.

“Yeah yeah, shit happened. So what?”
“This bitch isn’t gonna flay you alive for doing something.”
“You did the best you could have done.”
“Her instructions were complete bullshit anyway.”
“You can beat yourself up and feel like crap about everything or you can just say ‘Fuck it’ and move on.”

So I said “fuck it” and I choose to move on. Plus despite how tough this summer semester has been there’s been a lot of good that’s come out of it. That’s what I choose to focus on.

Let’s list out the highlights of summer 2017.
1. I got the help I needed in counseling.
2. I dealt with the financial crisis and got the money needed to pay back my mom.
3. I came back from my previous failures and I still have a shot at graduating in spring 2018.
4. I made the choice to live even though there were moments where I wanted to curl up into a ball and just die.
5. I’m done with my math. That’s a huge victory for me.
6. I moved out of the Cottages of Boone.
7. I got the house that I wanted and was able to move into it.
8. I have come out of my shell a little bit. I can’t deny this.
9. I didn’t quit or run away from anything despite whatever fears almost crippled me.
10. My academic standing is improving. The probation isn’t gonna stop me now.
11. I did enjoy taking photos. So I brought an old hobby back to life.
12. I’m writing again.
13. I’m still alive.
14. I’m going home to see my family again.
15. I’m getting a clean slate for the fall semester.
16. Fall is coming….pumpkin spice everything, cooler weather, better clothes to wear, new releases of games, new premieres of everything, more WWE events.
17. My new manager whose renting the house is cute….
18. My so called “Demons” have grown weaker. They are losing their power over me.
19. I powered through a lot of things that kept challenging me.
20. I played the shit out of Persona 5. I got the Compendium completed, mastered the social links, beat the shit out of those twins, wasted the reaper, and I’m two trophies away from my first platinum ever.

This second session is about to end. I didn’t do as well as I would’ve liked to in photojournalism, but I stuck it out to the bitter end. I still have the other class that I know I passed. We’re writing op-eds and being given extra credit for submitting it for publication. The professor in that class really likes mine and is encouraging me to submit it. I think I just might because that would be cool for me.

I didn’t get everything I wanted from this summer but I’m going to press on and work even harder than ever.

Here are my intentions that I share with the Universe.

1. I will continue to live.
2. I will graduate in spring 2018.
3. I will keep getting better.
4. I will continue writing.
5. I will keep cooking.
6. I will keep taking photos.
7. I will go back to loving films and anime.
8. I will keep gaming.
9. I will break out of my shell and smash it completely.
10. I will become more beautiful than I already am.
11. I will find that special someone to love and share my life with.
12. I will make my life better than it is now.
13. I will have a life where I don’t have to struggle and fight against myself or anything else.

It won’t be easy. But I know that I have the ability to make it all happen. I refuse to back to the way things were before all this.

I Survived The Cottages

There should be t-shirts that read, “I survived the Cottages of Boone”. Tomorrow is the big moving day. From Cottages to Sparonest. Naturally my anxieties were acting up earlier. I was suddenly dreading that something was going to go horribly wrong. I’ve had this feeling for I don’t know how long. A feeling like I’m always missing something or that I’m doing something wrong even after I’ve done everything that I was supposed to do.

I texted the managers with my concerns and mentioned that I was feeling jittery and the dude called me back. He was actually concerned. To my surprise I’m like, “Son of a bitch, he’s a human being after all!”

I will be the first one to move in so I will have the place to myself until the day after when roommates start coming in. So I’m calm now after the manager answered the questions that were nagging at me today. But damn….I can’t believe I still have trouble with stuff like this.

Last week was my last counseling session so I feel like I have to fend for myself. I can’t help but feel like I have to keep my guard raised at all times. A big reason being is that I’m just not used to things going my way. Plus moving is a big thing for me. The whole thing has given me cold feet from the very beginning. It’s been one nerve wracking experience after another since this entire summer began. Part of me still feels trapped in darker times before that too. So this move is really the big step forward that I needed. Finding the place and applying for it wasn’t enough. I need to move in to make it feel official. Maybe then I can give myself permission to be happy.

Watch me go out of my way to get some sage or holy water to do a blessing on every square inch of this house. I’ll be doing the same chant the old Uncle in “Jackie Chan’s Adventure” did. Anyone know what I’m talking about?

Yuumo gwei gwai fai dee zao…and then he’d repeat this in a loop. I should probably make it into my own mantra for the shits and giggles.

I’m going to make my intentions clear to the universe. I want to produce all the good that I can to outweigh all the bad. I want my last year at Appalachian State to be a positive one. And I want to find the thing that makes all the struggles worth it. I will make it my mission to assure that things don’t return to the way they used to be. And whatever challenges stand in my way I will show it NO MERCY.

Tomorrow will be the official first day of a better life. Now I’m gonna go back to packing up my things before I jinx things. Later days!

Warrior “Monk”

Anyone remember this show? Tony Shalhoub played this dude named Adrian Monk who suffers from severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and an endless list of phobias. He was afraid of everything. Even milk for some reason. Don’t know if they covered the reason why. Maybe it was just a running gag. Despite all this he was a genius detective. He had this attention to detail all the other cops on the show lacked. He was always able to find the clues, piece them together, and finally catch the bad guys. He managed to do all of this despite of the OCD or whatever phobia of the week he had to face head on. He was always being forced into situation that challenged him and he had to seriously nut up and endure.

When my anxiety and depression act up I keep thinking that I’ve suddenly turned into Monk. And I mean that in a negative light. Monk was always driving people up the wall with his fears and obsessive compulsion. Even his therapists had trouble dealing with him sometimes and could only handle him in small doses. I feel like Monk in situations where I feel like I get triggered by stupid shit like the ones I’ve mentioned before, I have difficulties doing what normal people have no problems with at all, and sometimes driving people insane with my issues, be it family or friends.

I shared this with my counselor in a previous session. I vented out my frustrations about it and he was understanding. But then he asked me this, “Why exactly would that be a bad thing?” I thought I had already answered that while I was ranting about it.

Just like when he brought up the analogy on the mind as a muscle something about the Monk analogy I made with him is sticking with me. This was last week and now I’m beginning to seriously think about it and I have all these thoughts about it.

Even though Monk had numerous phobias that would obstruct him he accomplished so many things that I would’ve considered impossible if I were him. He did have friends, good friends. Yeah, he drove them crazy sometimes but they accepted him as he was. Monk’s OCD allowed him to pay better attention to things and made him an excellent detective, it didn’t have to be a bad thing for him. Monk had a wonderful wife in Trudy who loved him just as he was. Monk worked tirelessly for years searching for clues to solve Trudy’s murder and when he did Monk still had his happy ending. He found out that Trudy had a daughter before marrying him and was able to meet her in the very last episode.

Here’s a crazy theory. What if instead of fighting my “Monk-ish” side, I embrace it? I bitch and moan about how I feel like a freak sometimes and unable to be normal like everybody else. But then there’s a part of me that says, “Fuck normal”. BTW I totally have a t-shirt that reads, “Normal People Scare Me”. I saw it on the first episode of American Horror Story and I thought, “Oh yes! It will be mine!” I even got it in purple. Trying to fit in with the mundane crowd is so exhausting and utterly pointless. Nothing about me has ever been “normal”. There are days where I don’t even feel like I live a “quasi-normal” existence.

I come from a Venezuelan family and I grew up as the pet gringo. I refused to speak the language and I barely ate any of the food. I’m still not a fan of some of the food. It’s only interesting and exotic for people who never had to grow up in a Spanish-speaking household and be forced to smell and eat it at every occasion; holidays, birthdays, family gatherings, baby showers, etc. I’m the least tanned in my family too and I see no point in it. I don’t see the appeal in sizzling in the sun and getting cooked like a rotisserie chicken. I mean look at Trump’s complexion. It’s not doing him favors. But then again his skin tone is more what I call “Dorito Raped”.

I’m gay and I am willing embrace only so many cliches. I’m probably the only gay guy who doesn’t give a single, solitary fuck about Rupaul’s Drag Race, quote “Mean Girls”, or own a single Madonna album. Oh I am not gifted with song and dance either. Take one good look at me and you can clearly see that I’m not a gym rat either.

I live in my own world. I find more comfort in the story worlds and characters I create, in WWE, video games, anime, films, cooking, and imagination. I cope with reality through the use of my imagination. I see myself as a warrior, I see my skills as powers that I naturally possess, I see my challenges as monsters that I have to fight and take down. It’s an unorthodox way to deal with stuff, but we all have our ways to cope. I could be coping in ways that are self-destructive with drug habits or self-mutilation or God knows what else. I see what people don’t see or never want to see out of fear, conformity, or sheer laziness. That’s a quote from the movie Patch Adams by the way, when Patch spoke with Arthur Mendelson at the mental institution.

I suffer from depression and anxiety. But there has been some good that comes from it. It’s attributed to my imagination and wicked sense of humor. God only knows that if my entire life was nothing but sugar and rainbows then I’d have absolutely nothing to write about. It’s made me stronger, a lot stronger than I was eight years ago when I wanted to kill myself. It’s made me realize how much I want certain things. And when I say “I want” I mean it in the same way people feel intense hunger. Its helped make me into the person that I am today. Its always made me have to take a good look at myself in the most honest way possible. Whenever I get lost I always take a trip back to me. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s always been instrumental in getting back to the right path.

I’m a warrior in my own right. I fight one battle after another within my mind. I’m a neurotic mess. I’m not normal and I’m tired of trying to be when it’s never been in the cards for me. I feel things more intensely than others, I know things they don’t have any clue of, I can do things that other can’t, and get labeled a “freak” for all of it when I find that to be a lot more preferable than being boring and fake.

If being a “freak” is what separates me from everybody else then I will proudly wave my freak flag. I will happily accept who I am and live with whatever consequences come with it. Because if I act otherwise then I’ll never be able to make peace with myself and not have the true happiness that I’ve been seeking. So I embrace my identity as a Warrior “Monk”.

The Mind as a Muscle

So let’s recap on my last few days. I was feeling good about the exams I took last week. I got my results on the math exam the next day. I did good! I did really good! After that exam day I felt so good. My entire weekend was a huge happy high. I treated myself to a Wild Bill Burger at Macado’s. It was my first time eating there. Not a bad place, my only complaint is that the table I sat at was sticky. I went back to the apartment and cooked up something real nice and tasty. I binged the new season of Orange is the New Black (loved this new season btw!) and played the hell out of more Persona 5 (turns out it’s not completely out my system). It was the first time I felt happiness with no strings attached. And I was able to sleep in till 9:00 and it was fucking amazing!

But then….

Monday came. I woke up way too early. I woke up at maybe 4 or 5:00 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. I felt very meh. I had this feeling of impending doom hanging over my head. At first I figured it was just the usual blahs that you get from Mondays being Mondays. But then I got the exam score for my other class. It wasn’t so good. I forgot my math homework for that day too. Mercifully the law professor was very understanding on why people didn’t do so good on the first test. He even offered to “discount” that low grade. The catch is that I have to do better the next time. The same is true for everybody else in that class. I have a good feeling of where I went wrong. I know what to expect for next time. My math teacher is very cool. She said it was okay to turn in everything a day late. And I did. One of the assignments was to take the picture of someone who we find to be beautiful and take measurements to see if it’s close to Phi.

I chose Finn Balor’s face btw. My favorite superstar in the WWE. He has the face of a Hollywood movie star, the body of an underwear model, and he has a nerdy side…

Celebrity Sightings in New York City - August 22, 2016

I mean look at this gorgeous man! Look at him!! He’s this good looking, he’s nice, he’s strong, and he loves playing with legos on top of other nerdy stuff! Do you realize how fucking rare that is?! He’s a fucking unicorn!!

I even added “My Future Husband” on the assignment. I had to show some restraint from saying, “My Irish Unicorn.” “My Finnamon Bun”. “My Little Sweet Ass.” I held back…*pats himself on back* And the teacher liked him. Of course she didn’t know what the WWE is. This was earlier today. Back to what happened on Monday.

I felt bothered by the low score on the other exam. I had to stop myself from getting lost in depressing thought. That feeling of impending doom kept hanging over me the whole day. So when I got back from classes I hit the kitchen and spent two hours cooking and making a bento lunch and dinner for the night. I treated myself to my favorite sorbet too.

Then I opened up my student email. Remember that one entry where I had to deal with crap like opening up my student email, re-register for classes, and deal with the early intervention team? Fighting my personal Babadook? Yeah, the same thing happened again. I saw that I had outstanding requirements for my financial aid. I knew it was because of how bad I did in the spring semester. At this point that impending doom was trying to take over. I’m fighting the negativity in me. I’m doing the best I can to neutralize thoughts and feelings before I get dragged down to the dark place that I’ve been trying to get out from. I felt like I was playing mental dodgeball. My mind was racing a million miles a second. Everything in my mind felt it was becoming warped and sounded like gibberish. I wrote things down. I listed out what was going through my mind. I wanted to make sense of it.

As I wrote it all down, I kept feeling this sort of impact. The feeling of letting things out, purging it on paper actually hurt. Then I remembered cognitive behavior therapy. I was able to identify the cognitive distortions. I was able to calm myself down. I was bothered by all of it. So I opted to talk about it in today’s session.

Something that my counselor said is sticking with me. I explained to him everything that happened. I elaborated that impending doom feeling is the same feelingI would get during the spring semester. Feeling like everything was beginning to fall apart, can’t be made better again, and how I felt like dying every time. And then he said something like this…

“The part of your brain that thinks about suicide is like a muscle. Even though you haven’t been using that muscle for a while it’s not usual to feel it act up. Feel like it has power over you. Think of it like a bad habit that’s hard to quit, like smoking. You will have your slips.”

And now that I’ve had time to fully process what he said I realize that the other part of myself, the other me that wants to fight this and make everything better again, that old self that I keep wanting to return to must also be like a muscle as well. The only difference is that it’s been atrophied. It’s out of shape. Even though things are in a positive direction I feel like that ‘mind muscle’ isn’t at full strength. Plus that negative mantra, “I’m not allowed to be happy”, wasn’t doing me favors either. But now that I see things in this way I have a very good idea of what to do next and how to think. Now that I know this I feel like I have the upper hand. And plus this does coincide with a previous revelation, I never lost my power. I never lost my old self. It’s just waiting to be tapped into and be released. Now I’m back in control. I’m ready to do whatever is necessary.

Oh yeah and that financial aid thing. I worked up the nerve after the session. I told my counselor that I’d jump right into it and quipped, “If some creature bursts out from the screen and eats my face off then oh well.” I did it. I have some extra paper work to fill out and give to the office. I’ve already got it printed out. So that ends that nightmare.

Now I need to get back to studying. Wish me luck dearest readers because nothing is going to stand in my way again. So I’m gonna conclude with this…

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Crumbling Walls

It’s been a minute since I’ve updated hasn’t it? I had to lay off for a little while so I could deal with stuff in school and reality. Good news is that things are going well. I just finished taking two exams, back to back. I feel good about them. Although the first exam kinda blindsided me.

This was for communication law. The professor said to be ready for all types of questions, a little bit of multiple choice, short answer, and fill in the blanks. I’ve been going to my classes, I’ve been attentive, I’ve taken good notes, I figured “I got this shit.”

But then it turns out the whole thing was fill in the blank. And of course of all times for my mind to turn blank it happened when I couldn’t remember the names of cases we discussed in class. I was hoping that it would be a little bit of multiple choice or identifying cases with like a word bank or whatever, but no such luck. I don’t think I bombed that exam, but it didn’t go as I would’ve hoped. Next week I’ll be ready for sure. There’s an exam every Thursday for this class. The next exam was on my weaker subject, math. But I was prepared for it. It was the same deal with the law class. Took good notes, paid attention, etc.

I woke up with a plan. I grabbed this little plushie I have of a Pokeball. I’ve been using it as a stress reliever all day long. I even wore a Pokemon Trainer t-shirt to match. My way of celebrating the announcement of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. I was the last one to exit the class room. Not because I struggled with the exam, but because I had to double check every damn thing. I want to think that I did good, but I won’t know the results until tomorrow. But there’s a part of me that can’t shake off the good feeling.

I had my appointment with my counselor the other day. Remember my previous entry about how I wallowed in the fact that I’m “not allowed to be happy”? Yeah, we had a ball with that one. Totally called it.

I have a lot more clarity now than I’ve had in a very long time. Partly due to continuous blogging and also to counseling services offered here.

“I’m not allowed to by happy”. I’ve had this mantra stuck with me since before I showed up in Boone. I thought that after I went into counseling here the first time that all my problems would be put behind me. I put behind the malice I was feeling at the time before so it’s not as though counseling was a wasted effort. What I’ve been going through the last few months is something different. I’m still not entirely sure why or what made me so sad and want to die during the spring semester. I’m still trying to find answers. To be perfectly honest I don’t know if I’m going to feel 100% all right until I have an answer to everything.

This messed up mantra I’ve been carrying with me obviously isn’t helping. It’s made me build up a lot of walls to surround myself with. Too many things played a factor in reinforcing those walls. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, so if it seems like I’m on repeat, sorry. Bad habit of mine. But yeah, I’ve got walls. I don’t know how high they go up, but I can feel them surrounding me. Even when I should be happy I can’t help but feel as though my defenses have to be up at all times. I think maybe they’re starting to come down. Maybe not all the way down, but there’s a definite change. Maybe I’m finally giving myself permission to be happy.

I need to do away with that mantra permanently. Is it the root of all my problems? I don’t know yet. Clearly it’s not helping. I’d love to delve deep into things until I have an answer, but the last thing I need at this moment is to have another “analysis paralysis” moment. It’s not as if that ever helped anyway.

I have reasons to be happy. I signed the lease and made the deposit on the house and so has everyone one else. I got the notice from the manager on Monday. Now it feels official. Add that to surviving my first few days of the new semester and braving some exams and I think I’m a little overdue for a victory celebration. I owe myself that much at least. The rest of the stuff I’m going to deal with it. But for now I am too mentally exhausted and drained to even attempt diving into my vast sea of dense thoughts. I’ve got a bottle of wine and some udon noodle soup and my Playstation is calling out to me like a siren’s song. Oh yeah and I’m pretty sure I’m gonna murder my pillow well into the morning because I’ve been waking up too early for the last two weeks. I need to sleep in and enjoy myself.

Until then, later days!

Still Have My Head Attached

First counseling session went without a hitch. There was no guillotine waiting for me or anything like it. Yay!

The Way Forward

Three days into the summer semester and so far, so good. It doesn’t look like any teacher wants to have me skinned or eaten. I spoke with the EIT and everything’s good. I’ve already got my first counseling appointment tomorrow morning. I wasn’t nervous before. But not for some reason I am. I’m keeping myself calm because the last thing I want right now is to have another crap attack like last week.

At least the people at EIT were cool. Oh yeah and it turns out that I’m not on academic probation after all. See, the letter that was sent to my home was really a warning letter, letting me know that I’m dangerously close to probation status. My mom was the one who opened up and read the letter before me. She said that I was on it already. She misunderstood. Does that make things any better? Just a little bit. There’s still an added challenge to overcome. I have to pick myself back up and turn everything around. That much hasn’t changed.

The stuff that has me on edge is stuff that’s pretty minor, but I can still feel the build up inside of me. No matter how much time has passed my depression and anxiety will never stop being so damn strange and frustrating. It’s like everything around me wants to start up a volcanic eruption inside of me. And when I say volcanic eruption I’m talking Pompeii. Only difference is that instead of blowing up lava there’s just painful stomach knots, joints aching, constant holding back of tears, keeping myself from saying the wrong or stupidest things, or doing something that will add to an already long existing list of problems. Oh yeah and the wounded self-image. Let’s not forget that. That’s like the chocolate sprinkles on top of your anxiety sundae.

Yesterday when I spoke with the EIT and the people at the counseling office I was already feeling better. I actually thought for a moment that there’s nothing wrong with me after all. That I was just being foolish. I felt so much lighter. Until today, I come back from classes and then boom!

Now I’m nervous about tomorrow’s session when I know I shouldn’t be. I’ve been down this road before. I know how it works! Confidentiality, sessions recorded for studies, and all that other stuff that’s covered during consultation. I know the drill!

Now I’m afraid that I’m going to fail at everything I set out to do from getting through my classes, moving into this new house, and continue to be this stupid burden to my Mom who is always stuck.

Now I’m afraid that I will be left with nothing. No bachelor’s degree, no career, no money, no place to live, no food to eat, no lover to call my own, no end to my struggles, no bright future, no happy ending.

I’m feeling all this when nothing has happened. It’s like I’m waiting for a life sentence or an execution. Fucking ridiculous. I thought I had rose above feeling depressed, anxious, and suicidal. I thought I had grown from my past experiences. I thought I was stronger than this. But there are times where it feels like I’m stuck. As if I never truly grew or moved on which makes no sense.

I’ll be all right. I think what I needed right now was to just acknowledge the unease before trying to power through it. Let it pass through me like a crashing wave and then move forward from there. Right now that’s all I can do. Taking a deep breath, walking on faith, and getting ready to do what I have to do.

I will keep going forward. Even if I’m hurt, scared, or alone.