Friday, November 16, 2007

Kick, Push, Coast

I am feeling another shift as of late. This past week or so has been weird. Sunday night there was a shooting at my complex. I don't live in a huge apartment complex but rather, in a small cluster of one level studios. Apparently there has been a peeping tom looking in windows here where I live and he has been reported before (unbeknownst to me). Well, he was creeping around on Sunday night and a guy that lives here with his girlfriend confronted him outside their place. The peeping tom pulled out a gun and shots were fired (fortunately not hitting anyone). Afterwards, we all discovered that this peeping tom lives in a house next door! Aside from that somewhat unsettling event, nothing particularly dominant has "happened" to bring about this weird feeling. A couple of subpar dates and an introspective reminder that love doesn't always conquer all. Nothing really drastic though.

But I feel the shift and this feeling always intrigues me. My music preference has shifted from mellow folk and alternative to Breaking Benjamin, A Perfect Circle and similar stuff. On my way to work, at work...I am just thriving on the loudness of guitar and drum. And I mean, I am listening to loud music very loudly!! I've been working out like mad and seem to be ridiculously tuned into masculinity. I don't feel that this shift is bad or just is. And these shifts always get me thinking about where I am in my life now and where I have been. Nothing overly serious or obsessive. Just a bit ruminative. I think about where I was last year in my life...struggling with the decision to leave grad school, worried about my job, having just met someone and having fallen for him pretty hard, taking care of my mother after her surgery to remove cancer, car accident and subsequent injury, having returned from Paris. And some hefty self questioning.

I think this kick, push, coast notion (also the name of a Lupe Fiasco song) is apt for life. We go through phases in which things are are rather chaotic and we know we have to instigate change. We realize that things aren't quite "right" and we cannot continue to exist in this not-quite-right state. So we kick. And once we've initiated this motion to catapult change, we have to really push to get through the hard things. I feel that I initiated that kick less than a year ago and have been pushing through that transition for several challenging months...moving back to the city, finding a job I enjoy, finding a place to live that I really like, and just getting back to me. And this push requires sacrifice, letting go of things that are hard to let go of in their own way. But maybe I'm at the coasting phase. I mean, don't get me wrong, by "coast," I don't mean a cake walk. There are always challenges and such, but I feel that all that hard work has brought me to a place where I can take a deep breath and relax more than I've been able to all year. A lot of those turbulent life issues that I shook up last year are settling down. I feel good about things. I feel good about the ebb and flow of life.

I am not sure how this coasting phase ties into insanely loud rock music and stronger than usual attraction to masculinity though! Surely another great irony!


Randal Graves said...

Yikes. I've never had to deal with any kind of nearby gunplay before. I was at the U. of Akron for a year, and you wouldn't cross the baseball and soccer fields without being in a crowd, but that's about it.

As for the shifting, I think we all experience that at varying levels from time to time, and it is intriguing, how we accept or don't accept change whether it's obvious, or merely subtle.

The music aspect is complex. There are times when I'm feeling agitated, angry, and I need loud, metallic riffing. I can have the same feeling, yet gravitate towards a symphony or "lighter fare." Volume-wise, anyway. I can be feeling introspective, and I might vacillate between loud and soft as well. And which is feminine and which is masculine, if we decide to beyond societal labels.

Shit, I just rambled on there, didn't I!

b said...

randal...thanks for stopping by my blog. i absolutely agree that we all feel these shifts and yes, it is intriguing to consider how we accept or reject the change that these shifts seem to imply. i love this feeling though, for what it is. it reminds me that i am ever-evolving amnong the fundamental certainties of life (sadness is necessary for happiness, the darkness of winter is necessary for the brilliance of summer, etc).

music is so wonderful, isn't it? my mood doesn't always predictably dictate what i listen to, either. sometimes i need to counterbalance the peace in my life with loud and penetrating music. i don't necessarily consider the music i've been listening to as of late to be masculine, but i am feeling a pull to that notion of masculinty (physical strength, healthy aggression, desire to be protected) and yes, in this sense it is certainly a socially constructed notion. but i really do believe that there is a yin/yang (often labeled or identified as masculine/feminine) distinction that we all possess. as i've talked about often on my blog, i really do perceive the phases (which seem to follow a seasonal cycle) in which i shift from a passive/reflective period to an active and vigorous one.

Haha. Ramble away. You're in very good company! :)

Randal Graves said...

I think you just said what I wanted to say, only you actually said it!

I, too, love that feeling. It's not necessarily of helplessness - though that can manifest itself as well - but of an exploration of all facets of our life. Cheesy comparison, but I liken it to those moments where you've drunk enough to feel a warm tingle. You're not sober, you're not drunk, and the mind feels open, even if trying to verbally articulate that is more difficult!

And yin/yang sounds about right. I think we all have a masculine and a feminine side, and also a passive/vigorous one, and the beauty is in the interplay between all of them and what experiences you can get out of them.

b said...

randal...i think the key to life is loving that feeling, not necessarily what comes about from a particular phase in our life. there will always be good and bad, happiness and sadness, rejoicing and suffering. the key isn't to reduce that which we so often deem negative, but to just love it all.

yes, it is exactly like that feeling of the warm tingle when you are between sober and drunk. so often, i've tried chasing that feeling further, by drinking more. but that's just can't chase that feeling. it is there and it teeters between the two. you have to transcend sobreity, break that barrier, but you know that you reach a point in which it quickly goes from that great tingle feeling to drunk. and to enjoy that tingle, you often have to accept that getting drunk will likely follow. :)

yes! the interplay between our yin and yang is wonderful. as i become more in tune with myself, i appreciate that my balance between the two is much like the phases of the moon. i will not always be in 50/50 harmony. there are times in which i am so in tune with that yin...i reflect, retreat, ruminate, close off somewhat. and then there are times in which i am so in tune with the yang (currently) and find myself so active, initiating, social, etc. and then there are all kinds of inbetween levels...some yin, much yang, vice versa.

i used to be so hard on myself, trying to achieve an equal balance between the two at all times. but how fucking boring is that? so, i now embrace these shifts. and i think that is really what life is about. i don't think we are here to atone for some great universal sin and thus, must be constantly striving toward some ridiculous notion of perfection. i think that is propagandist bullshit. i think we are here to appreciate what simply is...that all pain and all happiness coincide and that this truly is perfection. of course, there are many other aspects to life but this seems central to me.

okay, now i'm really rambling! :) thanks for the engaging discussion!

Randal Graves said...

Oh, absolutely. We're going to experience the entire spectrum. The joy, for lack of a better term, is in the experiencing. You haven't lived if you've felt only pain or only happiness.

I know well that stage. I like to have a bit while I'm writing, but once you pass that certain threshold, everything is gibberish. So, yes, then you enjoy the drunken stupor. :)

And exactly, one cannot conform to what is expected in terms of an emotional state. You feel how you feel or whatever reason, whatever stimuli are affecting you at any given moment.

Lastly, I'm in 100% agreement with the centrality of experience. If you force yourself one way or the other, it's not being true to yourself or the world around you. By that, I don't mean others, actually, I'm not sure what I mean!
Shit, work is closing, so talk to you later. Good to find another rambler out there! :)

b said... one feels just happiness or sadness and it seems so utterly ridiculous to try and eliminate one or even to reduce it drastically.

yeah, drinking and writing has its limits! :)

Cavalock said...

aw geez, please be careful!

really admire yr zest, i was never good with changes.

b said... careful? in listening to loud music or coasting? :)

thank you. i think i thrive on change to a degree. and i do think i'm fortunate in this regard because it seems to be a strongly innate characteristic that i've had most of my life. but it also has its challenges, too!

Richard said...

I remember coming home one SUnday after church (this was back in 1995) to discover blood smeared on the walls in the stairwell and on the stairs as I walked up to my apartment.

Turns out there had been a stabbing in the apartment across from me. The woman was estranged from her husband and he was the one who got stabbed. Did I mention it was quite a lot of blood. There were also people constantly trying to break into her place. Not comforting since we shared a commong back door.

As for your sudden attracion to masculinity ... are you ovulating? Apparently women who are ovulating are drawn to more rugged men.

I find most emtional swings disconcerting, I prefer to be steady state. Like the reason I am drawn to Stoicism.

b said...

richard...that is horrifying! i ovulating? i think i must be constantly ovulating! :) i do agree with that observation but also think that in general, i am drawn to masculine men (again, not meatheads or overly macho guys)...maybe it is a protection thing...that side of me that wants to embrace that shallow desire for protection from a man. and at certain times, that desire for the masculine is such a great pull.

it continues to intrigue me how different we all are. how stoicism and steady emotional state are preferred by you and those things seem like a kind of death to me. do you think you've always been this way? i would say that i think i've always been eager for change (often, to a fault!) and innately drawn to be responsive where emotions are concerned.

Richard said...

I think I have always been drawn to it. Hard to describe how I perceive and approach the world.

There is no question I experience and feel emotions. Most of my life has been the state of contentment. Over the past few years, sadness, sorrow, melancholy, angst, longing have been more intrusive.

Most emotional responses I find serve no purpose except to cloud the mind. And no rational being would ever do anything to impair their reason - right?

b said... is undeniably difficult to be a detached observer, especially where self-analysis is concerned but it seems to me that much of who we are is truly innate.

yeah, i suppose a highly rational human being would be inclined not to ward off anything that might impair their reason. i can't really say, as i am not highly rational. i'm definitely rational to a degree but not highly so. i think i am far more responsive and enjoy the clouding of the mind. i think that clouding is the only true lucidity for me.