New Experiences & Old Pains

I have a job that I like. The people are awesome, the tasks are interesting and exciting, and I feel like there is plenty of opportunities for me to grow professionally. Not to mention that it’s much better than the previous (short-lived) job I had, and a very good improvement over my first job. I’ve been given the opportunity to work here, and I don’t want to lose it.

And, I think, for most of my short time here, I have not been able to escape this anxious feeling that I am not doing enough. I realize that some of it is because until I pass around the six-month mark, and I finally feel secure, I will always be wondering if I’m actually filling the shows. Six months, I think, is about when I stop myself from thinking this is all a mistake, and I will be given the boot.

But while some of it is that fear that someone, somewhere, made a mistake, there is something more worrying happening: I see the gap of what I could be doing, and what I’m actually doing, and I feel myself lacking.

I’ve told myself that I felt like my short stint at my previous job broke me. Too many things felt wrong and I developed some bad habits as a way to make it through the day. So, while I was on the treadmill from my first job working remote, I fell off it on the second, and now I need to get back on it.

Being on the treadmill isn’t easy, you see, but I know I can do it. It takes time. If I saw myself get better at it over time, knowing that it’ll be a matter of time until I get up to speed, it’d be okay. It’s not great knowing you used to do better, but at least I could get my head down and keep on trying.

What I’m frustrated by is that getting on the treadmill is so tough. It feels like a constant battle with myself just to approach it. I try to trick myself, and it sometimes works, but I can tell that it’s only a temporary victory. I try to work from somewhere else in the house, and it works (despite some technical issues that come with it), but I can see that it will, eventually, stop working. Could maybe working from an office, with the pressure to at least pretend I’m working, help to do what I must? Probably. At this point, I’m open to the idea.

What I do know, however, is that I want to do a good job, live up to my own expectations and the standards of the team, and that I shouldn’t need to fight myself to do something I want.

And I know, there are plenty of suggestions and tricks to do a better job at that fight. I shouldn’t need to. If I want to do something, it’s not crazy to think that, barring some survival instinct or moral quandary, I shouldn’t just do it. But that’s not what happens internally, and I’m not sure it ever did.

University was an ebb and flow between taking advantage of classes where possible and the stress of cramming and all-nighters because finals were coming. If I go back far enough, the only time it hasn’t been like this was back when I still studied along with mom. She’d sit us down every day to do our homework and study if need be, and things were a breeze back then. But I certainly wasn’t the one setting the pace – I’d only keep it because I knew there wouldn’t be an escape from it. I’d have to do it, and I couldn’t run from it.

And I insist. Surely that isn’t where it should end. Surely, it stands to reason that if I want to do something, I could just do it. I’m not even talking about keeping at it or being good at it. Oh, no. I’m merely talking about getting on the treadmill and saying “I’m doing this” and then doing it.


… but I had cheesecake

Last week was rather long. I’m sure this week will prove to be as long. And probably the next one, as some tests will come along the way. But I will make it. I’ve done as much so far. I don’t expect things to change.

Overall it has been slow for me. At least, I’ve slipped into that wonderful state of resignation where I merely shut up and work, slowly wearing myself down. It certainly doesn’t help that I prefer to work during late nights if I can, so the pressure brought by a looming deadline has been the perfect excuse for some late-night work.

But even if I wished to sleep at decent hours, I know my mind would wander around, distracted by both University and other worries. I can’t remember the last time that I went to bed and was relatively calm. I keep hoping that my sister finds a job. I keep obsessing over a trip I want to take. I keep thinking about money. I keep thinking about myself and about what I want to do.

If it wasn’t because I am stubborn and am not willing to budge on some things, I am sure I would have put my weekend activities on hold until Christmas break.

On the bright side, my sister and I made a tasty cheesecake!

PS: It feels wrong to not mention the recent news, even if I don’t hold particularly strong opinions about the subject matter (other things to worry about, etc.). And a part of me feels that it is a bit odd to write about my personal life when it feels so trivial in comparison.

I won’t lie. During the last two days, I mostly read Akarnae. It’s a nice little YA book which proved to be entertaining enough despite some issues I had with it, and it is rather nice to have something to keep my mind busy. It’s nice – comforting even – to be able to do this once again. It’s hard to not be excited when it feels like I have found (again) something that might make life more bearable as I deal with the less pleasant sides of it.

Beyond that, yesterday I went out to hang out with somebody. Told myself that I was going to try, even if so I could say that I did. Truth be told, it was nice having a one-on-one conversation even if I felt like I was terrible at it. Not having to worry about forcing my way into conversation, lest everybody just talks over me, nor the frantic pace conversation usually takes when there are more people involved. It felt pleasant, unlike many other interactions I have had before.

I don’t believe much will change, however. It’ll merely complement my current life as it is, and maybe prove to myself that I can, even if in my own, clumsy way. But that will be okay. I know I won’t regret it, and that is what matters.


The fire consumes the page, slowly destroying its contents forever. A blasphemy. Yet… I put another one. I haven’t burned enough yet. There are still things that must be forgotten. Memories that nobody must know. Stories that must be lost in the sands of time.

Another page burns. Not as an attempt to erase the past, but as an attempt to forget. To forge something new, unfettered from any mistake.

You are supposed to grow from your mistakes, to learn from them and become a better version of yourself. And, slowly, the transformation will happen, perfecting the imperfect. That is why it is important to not lose sight of where we came from. Otherwise how would we stop ourselves from repeating the past?

Yet sometimes the past becomes crippling. Acceptance is supposed to be freeing, but instead it feels like giving up. The fear of others finding about it becomes paralyzing. The certainty that it’s not going to merely go away. If only I could make it disappear… or at least detach myself from it. Make it about somebody else. Somebody who I am not anymore.

Or, at least, I hope to distance myself enough to stand tall. To be able to interact without the fear of failing once again, even if deep inside it is all still there, locked up in a cage far away from everybody. To pretend, even if it is a lie, that I am normal, that there are no shackles and no scars.

That I might be worthy of love.

And for that, I burn with a cleansing fire.

A mistake…

I’ve been trying to keep myself busy these past few weeks. Thinking is something I tend to over-do, so every now and then it needs to be put in check. In fact, I’ve been talking with a friend hoping to start some projects and maybe get both of us out of the little financial hole we’ve been stuck in. Something about ever worsening living conditions in a third-world country with runaway inflation and something about working but never having enough. University also provided some sort of distraction – following the daily routine of waking up, eating, commuting and spending hours in classes I didn’t like should have been enough to sap any spare energy I might have left to think. At least about unimportant stuff. Maybe this time I would be able to put something together and make something worth being proud of.

Two days ago, at around 3 a.m., the realization that I had made a huge mistake struck me. You see, I read about people who have a plan (even if it falls apart or changes along the way), people who are working hard towards doing what they want to do and even if the road there is harsh, they move forward anyway.

I have a friend (and I’m lucky to call her friend) who does that too. She worked hard to get into the national guard’s academy. She failed the first time, and went on to university. She pushed through bullshit with colleagues and worked hard to finish her first year. Meanwhile, she continued to train to do better at her next chance to get it. And she got in. Only to have to give up at the end of a few weeks due to injury. I think that most would have taken some time off for the sake of gathering themselves. Reaching that far and then failing isn’t particularly easy. But she merely continued with her studies at the university, and further filled her time with other things she needed to do.

And another friend who still dreams and tries despite… well… life. Then there is my sister, my parents… all of them working hard to survive and maybe get somewhere better despite disliking what they have to do.

A part of me wishes I was a bit more like them. Capable of going through something even though I severely dislike it. Capable of smiling even when faced with adversity. After all, my trials aren’t particularly difficult when compared to those I know. Nowhere near as difficult. Yet… a part of me says – no, it screams to not bow down, to not suck it up. It rebels and insists that there must be some way out of this, that I shouldn’t have to go ahead with this. Intellectually, I know this is probably the best path that I have to achieve financial independence. Even if only because a degree opens the door for many jobs. Chasing dreams is supposed to follow after, once there is somewhere to stand on.

In the end, I don’t want to live up to anybody’s expectations. I don’t want to lead anybody. I don’t want to worry about doing my best to solve the problems of those around me. I don’t want to teach those around me. I don’t want anybody to look up to me. I don’t want to waste away hours doing something I dislike for the sake of a meal.

I want to be happy, and the more time I spend dealing with University or thinking about it, the less happy I feel. But giving up feels like failure, like disappointment. Not living up to my own standards, and if I look at others around me… And what else am I going to do, if not this? Time simply won’t stop for me. There is not time for soul-searching or anything like it. There never was. Because I need to study, for the sake of having a better future. A chance at something better.

Be happy that you are at least sitting in a classroom. Imagine you had to work at a store or a coffee shop.

Sometimes things crumble…

I don’t know what to say about this week.

It’s been… Let’s start by the beginning. Last Friday, I told a friend I was having issues controlling my feelings (conversation pending). Last Saturday was the last session of a PnP RPG campaign I had been playing. Then came Monday and I couldn’t do anything except return to the usual routine, except I now had the added challenge of trying to keep my mind away from thinking of her. Tuesday was another last session of another campaign.

And then came the lull of the rest of the week. For health reasons, I didn’t get to hang out with said friend this week. Mistakes happened, which didn’t help either. Then the long train rides during which my mind essentially idles, falling back into old behaviors to keep itself busy despite my best efforts to think about something else.

Right now, I half-regret not continuing my bass classes. At least they would have provided some sort of normalcy or something to do out of home, despite my severe lack of will to continue going through what was essentially paying to play in a band setting. And… something else? Some other class or a hobby? Sadly, right now I’m doing my best to save enough money to travel to Sweden for a week. Anything I do can’t involve spending more money than what I already spend. Going somewhere is not much of an option, short of merely walking around the city of Porto.

I don’t know what to think of this week. I only want to curl up and hide. And I fear what is to come. I fear falling back into a routine of numbness, where every day looks just like the other and noting matter much. I fear returning to that grey-scale hole in which everything seems to be the same. I’ll keep pushing my friend to see if he could, at least, stand up on his own. He needs to. As for me? I might take a leap and attempt to find something else to do with more people. Otherwise, I will try to stick with the few habits I have managed to learn and see where they take me.

Sometimes things end…

… and that’s fine.

For the second half of this week I had been entertaining the thought of giving up my Arma group for the sake of continuing the Dark Heresy role-playing group I have been playing with during this year. Both are enjoyable, although in different ways and I would have loved to keep both. But due to time constrains, one had to go. My initial inclination, when I thought of it, was to err on the side of the small group that wouldn’t be able to continue otherwise. Part of that was because I believe that it mattered a lot to everyone involved.

However, the more I thought about it, the more it felt wrong. I thought I would end up regretting it and resenting others for my decision to give up something that I had invested on so much. And during the train ride back home from classes, something clicked. Not only did I not want to even have a reason to resent this group, but if they were me, they wouldn’t give it up. I would be falling on the usual unhealthy pattern of giving more than what I receive, being willing to bend myself beyond what seems reasonable without paying attention to what I want.

Once that clicked (and further reinforced by a friend, although for other reasons), it was easy to accept that it wouldn’t be able to go on and that there was nothing I could reasonably do.

Getting there, however, was not easy. My first instinct is to attempt to please everyone, even if it is at my expense. And it is not about what others would do, after all. I shouldn’t rely on that for long. I’m not them and I cannot act like them.


For a long time, happiness evaded me. I’d go through my day merely going through the motions, always pursuing the next high. I even forgot how to feel for a while, numb by everything. Curiously, it was during that time that I found the one song that reliably improves mood and that gets me to smile when I’m feeling down.

But, sadly, I can’t be happy just on that. It is great to push me out and make me feel better, but it isn’t enough to be happy by itself. And just like everything else, there is only so much that can do. The little pleasures of life are exactly that: just little pleasures. They can’t fix what is broken.

Instead, happiness for me comes from spending some time with those that I love. I might be feeling terrible, and in fact I might just want to quit. But I will still smile because there is just something special about knowing that, even if I feel broken inside, there is somebody who’s willing to help me pick up the pieces.

This post was written as a response to The Seeker’s Dungeon prompt “Getting to our happy place”

Drowned thoughts & dreams

My mind is tired. I’ve been bombarding it with an endless stream of information and busy work this past week. I can barely focus, let alone put to words what I want to say. I’m missing silence. Calm. Let my thoughts surface for a bit.

Last night, before sleep took me, I imagined a scene that brought me to tears.

A man, in his final moments, asks a person very dear to simply join him as he sits on the street, watching the setting sun. And maybe they’d talk, maybe they’d remain quiet. And he’d take her hand and hold it tight for the first time. Her head would rest on his shoulder as she supports him. Time would pass and the air would cool down. His hand would lose strength. A passerby would stop and ask if everything was alright. “He’s dead,” she’d say.

A part of me can’t help but think that this is perhaps for the best. Drown my mind with information and endless mind-numbing activities. Perhaps that’ll make me feel a little less pain from my own thoughts. Stop the thoughts from moving, from existing until all that’s left is only the present.

Another part of me is disgusted at the decay of the mind. At how it things feel ever more difficult as time passes. It complains, demanding better from me. “Think”, it says. But it all feels useless. There is little point in it all.

Sadly it would never happen that way. Either she wouldn’t be there, or he’d never die. But he couldn’t shake the feeling that only then he’d be able to taste something he had craved for a long time.

He told himself to stop romanticizing. Things weren’t going to be how he wanted them to be only because he wished them to be so. Come on, pick yourself up. Tomorrow will come and there is nothing you can do about it. It’s just one more day. Then you’ll get to pretend for a little while and forget.

And just as he went to sleep, he reminded himself of the promises he made years ago.

I feel broken. I feel empty. I feel like a part of me is missing. And trying to get back into EVE Online is both a terrible idea and a perhaps the best thing that I can do. It’s enough like a second job to keep me busy, but I am sure it will also consume me.

Don’t worry about it.

“Don’t worry about it” must be one of the phrases I say the most to the people I care about. Part of that is that, to me, it is a privilege to spend time with them. Sometimes, life gets in the way and it is much more important to deal with it (such as illness) than whatever it is I am going through or was planned. I won’t take it for granted and will certainly not expect them to put me above anything else.

Another part is that… I recognize how I am. I’ll be in the dumps, feeling terrible… And I can’t hide anything. It’s very easy to tell how I am feeling by just looking at me. Sometimes, I am even asked if I’m fine because I look sad when I’m just in my natural, neutral mood. Thing is, sometimes “don’t worry about it” because I’ll be fine in a while, or tomorrow.

Sometimes, focusing about how those I care about are feeling is a key part of feeling better. I spend too much time with my thoughts and more often than not an echo chamber of negativity forms inside, slowly eating me away and stepping out of it is a very important part of being better.

Regardless, I won’t fault them or blame them for not having time for me. It happens. No matter how much I feel like I need them, or I believe I need them.

  • My well-being comes second to their well-being
  • I downplay my issues (or portray them accurately, depending on how you view it)
  • I’ll never fault you