no more self

no more self

Waking up in the morning and clearing the slate  has been the most real experience I’ve had in awhile. Meditating on nothing more than a white blank canvas while I let any other thoughts fade to ash has been hypnotic. I hate moving and starting the day. The loops of thoughts are waiting there, ready to drag me back down into my anxiety, my self-doubt, and my inadequacies. I’ve grown tired and weak allowing myself to feel unworthy, inexperienced, and naive. I wrap myself in shame and guilt for things I’ve done and things I’ve failed to do. 

I’m tired of this version of myself. This “self” needs to die. I want to capture the imagination that I paint on this white canvas and run with it. I’m tired of allowing myself to believe that I’m not good enough. That the people I encounter on a daily basis also believe I’m not worthy. 

The easiest deceptions in the world to see are the most trigger sensitive. I removed myself from social media because a constant reminder remained that everyone else is extremely content where they are – they know what makes them happy and they know how to move on. I can barely watch TV – another medium projecting a life you don’t have. 

Even now, I ponder my guilt. So am I content to be alone in my apartment, quietly writing music and harmonies for the next several months? What about the life I’m missing? The bumps and bruises I’m supposed to get along the way? For some reason I develop the belief that I’m missing out on all the sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll that everyone waltzes right into. I’m nothing without it because everyone else is in it. Outside looking in again. The noise is otherworldly. It’s hard not to get ushered into what other people perceive as important. 

People tend to be loud, boisterous, critical, and supposedly experienced. All this peacocking makes me feel like an innocent church boy again. Go home kid, the grown ups are doing blow and lamenting their existence. You just don’t get it because you’re not brave enough to get it. 

When meditating, these thoughts dissipate. I feel good because this version of me is not present. The second I step out into the world, the innocent dreamer kid with not an inch of callous skin returns. I constantly ask ‘what if’ and dread over decisions I made months or even years ago. I want these thoughts to die. I want to be me with my white canvas. I don’t want to give a shit about other people’s opinions. I want to allow myself the ability to forgive myself, find my own happiness, and look forward. That’s the only experiences I want to aspire to. 

by ty miller

living in anxious moments

living in anxious moments

I’m finally able to commit myself to being in a room full of people I don’t know. An insufferable element still remains about it, but I’m able to push through the tension of eyes peering down upon me. My mind forms the questions of others: Who is this? Do they know someone here? This is clearly a public event typically only attended by friends and family of the performers.

Sometimes I say the right thing, sometimes I don’t say anything at all. I find it better at times to blend in with nothing, allowing the harmony to remain among those who have gathered together with some common knowledge of each other. I can make an occasional acquaintance here and there, but I don’t allow the pressure to motivate me in any particular direction. 

We live in an age where we can capture a still frame of casualness by getting lost in our phones. I’m not against this tactic, but I try to control it to a healthy extent. I want to live in anxious moments like these because you can only grow by allowing yourself the willpower to stand tall in disfavorable moments. 

by ty miller

sleep discomfort

sleep discomfort

I wish I could lay like in a casket

Head facing the ceiling, gathering information from the tin lined ceiling

As easy as a trance, sleep conquering the eyes first and proceeding to move the remaining body to stasis

My pillow becoming a slippery slope of a deeper conscious state and disappearing into relaxation and rest recovery

Instead I fight with my side to eliminate every lump my neck finds

Until finally I lay on my stomach, opposite of my desires

And I compromise with discomfort to discover any reprieve I can grasp with my fingertips 

9:30 P.M. to 6:15 A.M. in bed, 3.5 hours of sleep acquired

Will the doctors laugh when I ask them to prescribe me a decent pillow and a crack in my breathing?

Or should I work three times as hard during the daytime to guarantee the aching will no longer hold me back from waking anew? 

by ty miller

middle ground

middle ground

Of the many people I’ve met in my life, two types of people tend to hug the fringes of life’s spectrum.

  1. The person who sees life as responsibility. You get up everyday, go to work, save up for retirement, start a family, provide for them, come home, and then find happiness in small pockets. You die thinking “I did my best to take care of business while maintaining integrity and abiding by my ethical or moral code”. 
  2. The existential who seeks happiness with a sense of carelessness. Someone who completely buys into the core principles of postmodernist thinking. Life will only cause you pain, knock you down, then curb stomp you for the hell of it. So why bother getting up? Live pleasurably and bask in the cynicism and irony that is our existence.

This isn’t necessarily a critique of how these types of people see life. It does seem though that the middle ground they want to stay clear of is tied to a sense of safety in certain identity. 

Number 1 is your classic idea of a conformist. Society has been built a certain way, and we are obliged to fit into the puzzle to keep the machine functioning smoothly. We are a product of a past success. Keep the status quo. 

Number 2 thinks they are the rebels, because in the traditional sense they are. Where society began to form an identity and began to conform to it, this group decided to reject the idea that the past defined them. Furthermore, they saw the pointlessness of putting in everything to conform when more than likely losers would come out the other end. 

This isn’t a sociological history lesson. This is a lesson about fear of accepting anything other than what their trauma has put in place for them. Their flexibility has been hardened. Do you happen to find yourself starting to lean into one of these groups? I definitely have at times. 

I dare you to challenge the belief in the following statements in the minds of these groups:

Number 1 : Life is work.

Number 2 : Life is pain. 

Here’s a simple practice of language that could help someone be brave enough to wander into the middle ground and out of the shadows of the polar fringes:

Life is work, but…

Life is pain, but…

When you allow an exception to the rule, especially when it comes to life, all it takes is a simple acknowledgement that it can exist. We’re all scared of something, but life is best spent in the middle ground in sunshine, even if you do get sunburnt from time to time. 

by ty miller

 

chopping wood

chopping wood

You’ve heard of discipline training – the first picture that comes to mind with chopping wood is some sort of mental exercise ‘wax on wax off’ Mr. Miyagi simulation, right? I don’t want to dispel the fact that becoming disciplined in something will spill over into other areas of your life that needs similar fine tuning, but it also represents something much more powerful: defining the driving acts that fill the void of expectations. 

I’ve struggled with this immensely over the past months. I want to slave away at my passions, but I have difficulty continuing without greater impact or reception from others. The fires I desire never come to fruition the way I anticipate, so should I keep chopping wood? Why bother pushing your already fragile mental fortitude just to keep missing the mark? 

Here’s an easy solution. When you think you’re ready to stop chopping wood to start a fire, keep chopping. Don’t concern yourself with the fire. It’s not yours to start. You know that people will be able to start a fire using your wood, but only concern yourself with making more and more wood available for potential fires. When you sit and wait for people to start the fire, you’ve gone astray. Doing isn’t defined by results, it just is. If your act is only validated by if or how others receive it, then can you honestly say this is something that drives you? 

I don’t mean this abstractly. Literally keep doing. If you’re a musician, keep getting out there to play shows or open mics. If you’re an athlete, keep training everyday. If you’re a writer, write constantly. If you want to cook, cook for everyone all the time. DO DON’T WAIT FOR A RESPONSE . 

Imagine a world where you’re received exactly as your expectations dreamt it. Then what? Do you stop doing? Are you dead? I doubt it. Your drive lives on it because it is you. The fire keeps others warm, but chopping wood keeps you strong and alive. 

by ty miller

trust your gut

trust your gut

Do you have trouble trusting your own feelings? Do you find yourself inclined to only make decisions with third-party approval to look back anyway to wonder if you missed something? At the beginning of the summer, I began a journey of self-reflection. I wanted to learn how to be better at being myself while trying to let go of egotistical tendencies and other identity issues. 

I began dating someone around this time. I liked her a lot. She was weird, talented, and beautiful, but she had underlying issues that I could never get a full read on. She seemed like she turned to certain things to give herself identity, but I knew from one-on-one moments that she was a kind, considerate, and overall a genuine human being despite having a mixed opinion of herself. 

I quickly found juggling my own journey and trying to pursue a new relationship to be difficult and anxiety inducing. I can’t help but make relationships my entire world. I stress constantly over details out of my control, and I’ve never quite come to accept the fact that it’s a leap of faith. This situation felt too delicate to learn and balance casually on the fly. 

Whether they want it or not, I tend to prioritize those I care deeply about above my own values. Putting myself on this journey was a game changer, and I decided to not let myself tightrope between listening to my own internal values and fighting old habits. So I ended it.

Nearly three months have passed, but not a day passes without feeling some sense of selfishness, guilt, regret, or all three at once. The idea of her moving on and finding happiness while I spend time alone reflecting makes my time seem like a waste. I try to remind myself that I deserve this positive change even though growth takes time.

Trusting your decisions and your gut values is one thing. The ability to put it above other people’s feelings is the hardest thing for me. This is my most important lesson. Understanding that loving, understanding, and being present for others is an amazing trait to blessed with; but also knowing that you owe yourself the exact same treatment. 

Finding validation from others is a painful game that never quite gives you what you seek. Even in looking for their approval, I never once felt insincere about wanting to put others before me. Still I know I have to selfishly take care of myself right now, but muscle memory is hard to break and it gets lonely. I want to be proud of my decision and understand that letting go of this sought out approval is the first step in learning how to treat myself as I’ve treated others. 

by ty miller

all give no take

all give no take

What is it to take from someone? Does taking only exist when an offering is on the table? Or do you literally grab from the emotional surplus someone possesses without their permission? What does it say about that other person if they are okay with allowing someone to take from them, but they never really initiated an offering in the first place? Does their passivity clear them of a responsibility they never thought to hold in the first place? In other words, how much have they prepared themselves prior to to be ready in the event that you need them? Have they recognized the signs and are they prepared to extend themselves for you? Have they considered this even a possibility? 

Bear with me here.  

Conscious giving and taking is another level of unspoken communication. From where I stand today, it is a language only few can translate. Personally, I have never had an issue giving or a.k.a. “knowingly allow someone to take from me”. I have always read people well, taken an interest in them, and always try to follow up with a great deal of empathy. This being my natural disposition, I give without thinking but I’m nonetheless aware it is happening. 

My mind gets tortured here. 

Is this more a reading situation? Are people that care about you keeping their intuition sharp to recognize the signs that you’re in a position where you need to be offered something. I know that I feel more cared about when someone offers something to take rather than having to unexpectedly grab from their emotional cookie jar, even if they do not mind you grabbing from it. 

I want to keep giving, but I want to learn to expect nothing from anyone. It’s draining at times though, and it creates a sense of loneliness.

It’s rare to find people who can bounce back the give and take on an equal pay scale. Unfortunately, even for those people I enjoy, this might have to be established criteria in my head going forward. I will continue to give and not ask for anything, but the train will not stop moving for one person to wait for reciprocation. Some people just won’t reciprocate. I shouldn’t let my feelings be disregarded anymore. 

Maybe that is the answer. Keep giving and keep moving. Do not stress the breaks on your life to wait for anyone to share yourself when they can’t share themselves as well. The truth in exploring this is to know where to bend and not break. Understanding and trusting that you are a giver, but knowing where your give is maxed out when you need to take. 

by ty miller

understood

understood

There’s always a bigger picture to construct. Where others sense and react on first impulse, I always try to fit a moment or feeling into the larger scope. I’ve gained a vivid imagination from this practice, but I’ve also failed to live in the moment. The shock and excitement of meeting new people takes me out of this imagination-land and throws me back raw into a hard sensing world. I never allow myself the time to take it slow to adjust to my surroundings especially with new relationships – I  tend to revolve my entire world around them. The pendulum swings back too quickly and I panic when the “new” and “exciting” fades away. 

Once my anxiety spikes, the wear and tear of too much sensing all at once breaks me down. That’s when my exhaustion is taken advantage of by the bigger picture. Normal people call it overthinking.

“You’re tired. You’re losing who you are. This energy is unnatural and not you. This person is selfishly draining you for all you’re worth. Here we go again with another one-sided relationship. You’re going to get stuck and become a shell of yourself again.”

I heard the line recently ‘You never really know yourself’. I think I’ve heard it a lot actually, but it never stuck until I found some application for it. I’ve always wanted so badly to be understood for what I think I am. I was recently having a discussion with a friend and realized that no matter how I willed my behavior and words towards him, his interpretation of me would always be his own. The fight for control suddenly became a liberation. You have no control of your perception in others, in turn, that gives you a greater sense of control in yourself…or at least a peace of mind in letting go of the grip you think you have on yourself. 

Being understood is nice, but complete access to your most precious inner-workings is not necessarily the best course of actions particularly for introverted people. We do solid work here because we’re by ourselves. Who we really are, whoever that may be, is constructed here. Why crave to let someone in to such a delicate place that you have never fully known yourself?  

So am I saying our lives are to be spent misunderstood with a lack of human intimacy? No, I think connecting, being vulnerable, and expressing honesty is still a vital part of existence. I think I want to feel acknowledged and appreciated for my intuition and imagination rather it be massively understood. Tuning in and being present even when you can’t breach the wall of comprehension is enough of an indicator that someone cares and enjoys the mess of a person you are being mysteriously constructed behind closed doors. 

I’ve always tried to open up too quickly to those I feel connected with. As if bearing witness to my own chaos would ascend us together to a new cosmic plane. Likewise, I draw the bigger picture of others too quickly before allowing them to naturally unfold themselves. These broad assumptions only complicate things further because I built up my pride in believing I had them figured out. In reality, I only got an enjoyable first glimpse. Deep down I never want to expose myself too quickly, nor do I want to ruin the journey of getting to know someone over time. I just need to take a step back, breathe, practice some patience, and feed these senses small bites of information at a time.

by ty miller

dating

dating

Information overload. 

Priorities are to be put in place. We’ve got Project A & B in motion, and Project W is currently in development. We make the money we need to eat and pay our debts, but we simultaneously slave away on labors of love. Speaking of love, shouldn’t we be considering that too among the projects?

Great, let’s set up another dating profile, sift through the shit to find the one woman not quoting Michael Scott. Then, among the candidates we’re actually physically attracted to, look for some unseeable intimate and unique reflection of someone who might just avoid the resume and small talk. 

The truth is I don’t care how haunting your past is or any dreams you may have for the future. Admit it, you feel the same about me because it indicates nothing about who we are right now, nor should it. Can you exist in this present with me, or do we dance between what your friends expect and what you actually feel? Everything about you was so beautiful until you started throwing your idea of a self-perceived external opinion at yourself. 

I never gave a shit about the things you do, did, or will do. The things that you label yourself with: dog mom, drug user, football tailgater, or kawaii as fuck. I loved the person you are. The person I see when you turn off the neon sign and allow my eyes to adjust to the dark and natural.

To create an identity out of talking about the mortgage or getting high to escape the sins of this very existence is taxing for me, but welcome to 2019 dating for ages 26 and up and/or on your way out. 

Constructive self-criticism now. My downside is I’m often too quick on the draw in revealing myself, too open and too kind to those I choose to trust too soon. Not considering the fact that everyone crushes on their own pace leaving myself an open field to rain down hellfire of truth-dodging tactics and a lack of peace of mind. I just wanted to get close to you to avoid the noise, not bathe in it. 

Dating isn’t bad, but it’s often not for me. 

by ty miller

lonely

lonely

Smells are too pungent and natural daylight is too rare. If only someone were here to express these frustrations. Lay in my bed, say nothing, sleep happy, and feel rested. I can do without my detestable details and overly intricate expectations, as long as you can do the same. A time will come where I’ll ask you to dive into my brain with me. I hope you’ll join me but also be brave enough to yank me the fuck out when I’ve started to fry both our circuits.

Being lonely with myself and with others, it’s a self-inflicted state of mind wound. Hell bent on bringing the word itself to fruition while pushing aside the already established – we’re always alone. 

Instead I’d let you rest all day while I plunge into my mind, crafting my next battle plan. I’d look up to watch you sleep, prepared for the first eyelash to lift from below your eyes to welcome you with black coffee at first sight. That’d be enough. You be alone. I’ll be alone. 

Climb down from my loft, sip from your cup, and look out the window in your underwear at the birds. I return to my war chamber to plot the day. Never minding for one second, though, your invasion of my space is welcomed. Rest a head here or there. Share a laugh or nine. Smile, walk away back to sleep, look at the birds again, or start your own farmer’s market for all I care. 

Just be, forget the rest. Forget the world, their opinions, even those you share the room with. Be alone and love alone. 

by ty miller