So this is a test of self (“hello, hello, is this thing on?”)–A test in which I am the subject and the events in my life serve as experiments of trial and error as they try to pinpoint who it is that I am.
I realize that as each day passes, I am essentially a different person than I was the day before–we all go through these transitions, some more so than others; but it’s something that we can all share and relate to. I guess, in a way, this is my attempt to record those changes and try to figure out how/if I’m evolving.
The idea was inspired by a book I’m reading currently called It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. It’s a book that follows the 15-year old protagonist, Craig Gilner, as he learns to manage his depression by checking himself into a psychiatric facility for a week after he contemplated throwing himself off of the Brooklyn Bridge. Throughout his stay in the mental facility, Craig develops and learns from his past–he learns to not live with regrets because he’s now beginning to realize that nothing can be changed, and that regrets are only for those who have failed–and that the situations that we have lived through as well as our other experiences collectively make up who we are in this moment; we shouldn’t want to change them because they’ve made us who we are.
As Craig continues with his therapy he discovers an outlet for his stress and continues a habit he began in his youth–he started to draw elaborate brain maps: road maps with bridges, cul de sacs, roads, and highways–all existing within the shell of a person. He found comfort in it by showing that we were all similar and yet elaborate and unique and vulnerable at the same time. There was order in it; and it had purpose. I guess, in a way, this is my brain map. This is my heart and soul and mind all poured out and I leave it to you to search through and learn from it what you will. This is a way for me to vent, this is a way for me to decompress and escape and divulge and explore and plan for the person I’m slowly becoming.
Now let me begin my brain map by identifying my Tentacles and Anchors, just as Craig does in the beginning of the novel.
For those of you who haven’t read it, Tentacles are Craig’s way of describing “the evil things that invade my life” whereas Anchors are “things that occupy my mind and make me feel good temporarily”
Ever since I was little, there always came a point where stress became too much and life lowered down on me like the boom of a sail and it was all I could do to keep my head above water when everything was slowly sinking around me. I wasn’t exactly overjoyed to find out that, that’s how it was going to be be for a while–but now I’m beginning to realize that there’s a reason for it. We’re supposed to struggle, we’re supposed to gasp, we’re supposed to feel the weight of the world because it allows us to appreciate the importance of what’s around us as well as forces us to fight and survive.
Surviving was another concept that I continue to hate and most-likely misunderstand. At what point are we surviving? Is the homeless man surviving? What about the college student owned by the bank until he’s 30? At what point do we look at the mirror and say “I did it, I’ve accomplished my dreams.” Or at least, that’s what I used to ask myself; but now, I’m starting to think that survival all depends on what we’re willing to accept as satisfactory. We’re surviving constantly–it isn’t hard to survive–but most of us don’t want to just survive, we want to thrive and grow and fight and develop and overcome obstacles and others. We want to feel free and rich and everlasting and we end up holding ourselves back by creating insurmountable goals and dreams. Dreams should be big and full of life and seen somewhere in the clouds; but our goals should be viewed kind of like a staircase. Each step is a new goal that advances us to our dreams–should we fail a goal, we go back a step and try again until we get there; and we will, in time.