Understanding Myself

 

If you know me, you know that I like to think and analyze concepts as well as people. I enjoy learning and understanding philosophies and people’s backgrounds and lifestyles. But one thing that I have the hardest time thinking about, analyzing, and understanding is myself.

This post is for me to figure myself out. For me to explore and organize my thoughts and declutter the piles of information that weigh heavily on my mind and burden my heart. This may be the most difficult thing for me to write so far. This will be like cleaning and organizing a room that’s completely unkept or clearing up a yard that is overgrown with weeds and dead trees (both of which I need to take care of). These are very unpleasant tasks because the work and frustration get compounded the longer I put it off. Weeds grow bigger and multiply and dirty clothes and trash pile up.

Come to think of it, this blog’s intention is exactly that-a decluttering of my thoughts. Yet, why do I feel like the more I write, the more confusing life gets? People have told me that I over-think things, which I agree with. Maybe this is what makes my life so difficult to comprehend. Yet, life is complicated in itself. There are times to think. To think critically about life and its struggles. But maybe it’s time for me to take a step back from all this information and bask in the simple things of life.  Like a simple coffee with a friend, a walk in the park, a good book, or a game of basketball. Hmm, I don’t know.

Here’s where I hit my roadblock. When potential words are held back from this blog by walls constructed by years of worries and wonders; wonders of things to be or not to be. When these words are met with walls, I tend to ramble around the rubble of the walls that I chisel away with a toothpick. Rubble made of broken toothpicks rather than stones.

This intellectual, Asian American, philosophical, passive, false humility that erects such an edifice of self-loathing and anxiety that does not belong as a cover for a temple. Maybe it’s time to take out the garden shears and start cutting away at the overgrown weeds that wrap around the walls. Well, maybe not? Weeds don’t look too bad, at least the way I’ve configured them. Dandelions have a nice yellow hue to it. As a kid, I always enjoyed blowing the seeds and seeing it disperse through the air. I’m sure I’ll enjoy them as an adult…

Such are the thoughts of the foolish and lazy side of me. This analogy holds true to life. How much of my internal “weeds” have sucked the life out of me? Have kept me from producing fruit?  A Google search of “weeds and bible” brought me to Proverbs 24: 30-34. Such wisdom is more precious than rubies

30 I went past the field of a sluggard,
    past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
31 thorns had come up everywhere,
    the ground was covered with weeds,
    and the stone wall was in ruins.
32 I applied my heart to what I observed
    and learned a lesson from what I saw:
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
34 and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.

With this, I realize that the complexities that I struggle with in my life are not due life being necessarily complicated, rather it’s due to my laziness in clearing out useless weeds that surround my life. It’s a struggle to produce life-giving words when chained down by thistles. It’s when I break through and slowly cut through the weeds that fragrant beauty of Christ can begin to emanate from the soul through my words and actions.

 

 

Text Message

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Here’s a little peak into my life. Texts, although it’s the bane of all proper writing and physical interaction, can still have the potential to evoke emotions and tell a story. Every time stamp, every opened text ignored, and every fragmented message reveals something about the sender and receiver. But with every piece of writing, context and understanding is essential for proper interpretation.

Sun, Jul 3, 2016, 6:56pm:

I told my dad I was coming home from a 2 week long summer camp in the afternoon around 2-3pm. I ended up coming home at 8pm without telling them I’d be home late.

Mon, Jul 4, 2016, 8:53 PM:

I’m at a 4th of july party so I’m out all day. My uncle spends time with my dad once in awhile to keep him company and make sure he’s doing well.

Mon, Jul 11, 2016 10:14 PM

I went to hang out with a friend after work. After that, I decided to not go home yet so I can spend some time by myself to read and write stuff. I get a call from my uncle saying that I need to spend more time with my dad because he’s really sad and wants me to be at home more. Five minutes after the call, I get this text, which pretty much is a summary of what he told me on the phone.

This is actually all I’m going to write in regards to this text for now…You can draw your own conclusions on the type of person I am or whether or not I’m a good son.

But know that with every snippet or text of my life that I allow the public access to, it is always taken from a 25 volume encyclopedia of my life that is still being written. This encyclopedia is beautifully and fearfully made. It’s dense, yet intelligible. Long, but accessible. Its contents hidden away, locked, double knotted, and put face down in defense mode, just waiting for something or someone to uncover, unlock,  loosen, and reveal it so that its unique abilities and information can be manifested for the people to witness.

Uncovering it reveals a dusty book filled with cobwebs and mold. If you’re able to blow away the dust and cut through the cobwebs, you will see a moldy cover with a lock on it. I own the key to the lock, but I’m ashamed to hand it over because of the mold on the cover that has grown from being in darkness. I’m afraid to be judged by my cover. I’m more afraid that the mold has seeped from the cover and into the pages of my book. Yet I still choose to hand over the key if you ask to unlock the book, mostly out of my own curiosity of its content that I have amnesia to. This dense content that I need help remembering and interpreting.

The cover opens, but underneath it is a double knot, like the ones tied on the shoes of 3rd graders who seem to always have their laces undone. This knot is pulled tightly by the two loops that it forms to ensure its security. The harder it’s pulled, the harder it is to undo it. But once you put in the work to unravel one layer of the knot, the second layer is defenseless from a single pull of a string. When the string is pulled, I’m vulnerable to tripping over myself.

With the laces unraveled and hanging on the side of the book, the first page is flipped open, but the contents are blank. You flip to the next page and realize that the texts are only on the back side of each page and written horizontally so that you have to turn the book 90 degrees to the right in order to read it. This may seem like futile attempt to defend the content of my book. But in reality, it’s a symbolic (and rather nerdy) way to show how each page that you decide to flip is uncovering something that I choose to keep hidden, and hidden for good reason. Each page flip activates a hidden trait or nuance in my life that contains both pleasant and not so pleasant effects. But if you choose to continue and flip over the pages and endure the hidden effects, the front side of the pages start coming alive with texts and slowly does a 360 turn back to its proper format. There will be less surprises, but more richness and flow to the story.

Once you are able to read these difficult chapters of my life, the words from the phone text above will come to life with profound and poignant meaning. Texts will no longer seem like an inept concoction of letters, but rather what is seen and gathered is beyond the text itself. The context behind the text is revealed and attributed to the interpretation. With proper understanding; judgement, fear, and defenses subside, allowing love, compassion, and open-mindedness to flourish.

Those that know my virtues and vices understand the meaning of my actions and inaction in regards to the text. Those that don’t can only speculate.

I write this analogy not to draw attention to myself, but to draw attention to you and everyone around you. We are like complex books with countless chapters and volumes, constantly being added to and edited. We cannot rip one page out of a person’s book and say this represents or defines who the person is as a whole. We must read his book and understand his story in order to get a full story.
We don’t take a single episode of Game of Thrones as a sufficient explanation or overview of the show or the characters in the show. Neither do we take 30 seconds of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and give an adequate critique of it. Granted, these short excerpts from shows and songs can give significant information about it, but no one will say that they should just stop at one episode or 30 seconds. Once they realize how much beauty as well as pain surrounding these short excerpts, they can’t help but binge watch and put the song on repeat.

If we understand what we lose for only looking at snippets of the inanimate objects that we obsess over, then we must also understand how infinitely more we lose about a person if we only look at a snippet of that person.

….I need to spend more time with my dad.