Shattered

Usually, I don’t know how I feel about writing of the things that I am thankful for during the month where millions of individuals around the nation are giving thanks for the fortune within their lives. Considering the events of this past year, however, and its lasting effects on my well-being, I feel that writing about these things at the very least will provide some form of solace for my spirit. Not to mention help me process my thoughts and emotions into something coherent. Having said that, here goes nothing…

The feeling of betrayal you feel when someone goes behind your back for the sake of living happily ever at the expense of your trust is crippling. When you try to speak out against what is damaging you, the opposing force will do everything to make you seem as though you are “delusional.” Whether it’s gathering opinions that are biased towards their own interests, or if it’s bringing up aspects of yourself so that a negative picture can be painted of you to make themselves look like a hero or a divine being (especially when they want to blot out any glaring red flags borne on their conscience), they’ll resort to this tactic as a means to put you in your place.

You’re nothing but a pawn to them, a means to an end that they can turn to and take advantage of when they want to feel better about themselves. When you take a stand for yourself (because who wants to put up with this crap on repeat?), they scream and cry and wail like spoiled tyrants (King Joffrey, anyone?). They resort to advanced methods of putting you in your place, even if that means they put you, their perceived monster, in a figurative cage. Or they take over the things and responsibilities that are rightfully yours in an exercise of, again, self-glorification at your expense.

And throughout this, you eventually believe that you are less than human, yet you still can’t bring yourself to put an end to it all–which, unfortunately, is also taken advantage of as these individuals perceive it as a confirmation of their self-serving actions born of “happily ever after” being perfectly acceptable to carry on. They continue to try and put you in your place whenever they see fit, or, despite labeling you as an outcast, still hit you up for resources because, apparently, you’re still good for that much. It’s here that you realize that your heart is shattered instead of broken, beyond repair and in need of replacing.

My experiences with these things are something that continue to haunt me in my day-to-day routine or when I sleep at night. Any attempt on my part to go back to who I was before only results in more anguish and discord, and I’m left in a state of grief over the memories that have replaced that idea of who I was. On the other hand, however, in order to grow into something greater, some things must die so that rebirth may occur.

In Greek mythology, the phoenix was prolific for being reborn of its own ashes after its previous body expired–sharing a similarity with the Catholic belief that one’s soul undergoes a purification process so that they may enter eternity with a new body. Similarly, in the physical sciences, matter is neither created nor destroyed, but changes form. The shape and structure of the object are different, yet they remain atomically similar at the core.

I use this example to illustrate what kind of understanding I had come to over the course of the last several months. To go back to what I was would not only be useless, but it would defeat the purpose of any kind of growth I would get for my endeavors in the here and now. The memories of what I had experienced are still going to be there, no matter how much I wish they weren’t, and will continue to be a blight on my spirit for as long as I can tell. On the other hand, it was these same experiences that helped me realize that I was becoming someone meant for the path that I am on now, and something not meant for who I once was.

In coping with the trauma and the fallout of struggling to rediscover myself, I lost many forms of identity and friends that I used to trust. Some of these people and associations were, up until a certain point, were the only true constants in my life. And, sometimes, they may all become toxic, which I soon realized over the course of time. I am not perfect myself, and continue to work on myself every day–to let go of those things that refuse to change or prove time and again to be a vice to the soul, however, makes such a process easier.

To say that I’m no longer suffering from these troubles would be a lie. I’ll reiterate what I said earlier in that I still suffer from these. The silver lining to all of this is that opportunities for greater growth and a network of warmhearted, loving individuals have emerged to provide a light in the dark. The love and care that I have received on all fronts have reminded me of my worth as an individual, and make me want to be a genuinely better person for everyone and everything in this dynamic. I didn’t have to fight for love or approval to establish a sense of worth.

For those reading this facing a similar situation: you’re not alone. It’s going to be hard, and you will break down at some point. Keep going anyway, because the fact that you’ve made it this far means that you can go much farther. People love you. I want you to be successful as well. The harmful actions of others says more about them than it does about you. You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are strong. You will get through this.

 

-Mairi

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Too Perfect: A Look at Social Narcissism

Narcissism is a staple of our modern world. Whether it’s social media posts that garner a swarm of likes or hearts, fixing up a face or wardrobe on order to look extraordinary enough to stand out of a crowd, or simply being too overly concerned with oneself and their outward appearance, many individuals find themselves caught up in the individualism of the era. In a peculiar sense, even the mildest practice has seemingly become a sort of survival mechanism for mankind–as a social species, narcissism plays upon mankind’s need for social interaction to exploit its desire for peer approval and constant positive feedback. Conversely, the more one focuses on their outward self, the more disconnected and numb they become towards other people and general empathy–displayed with the passive “Thoughts and Prayers”–until, just like the term’s namesake, the individual ends up withering away to the view of their own image (more on that later). Understanding the role of narcissism or self-care in all its variations is paramount in both trying to achieve progress in society and looking for ways to close whatever gaps between the self and others have been created as a result of this individualism.

On the one hand, this belief can be whittled down to a basic survival instinct–to illustrate, most of us know what it’s like to live mainly on ramen or PB&J’s, and so we do everything that we see is in our own best interest to avoid that particular starvation. To a lesser extent, this could also be applied to how one presents themselves to the general public (online or in real life), because, again, that sense of wanting to fit in or find acceptance from another drives one to find a support group so that they have a source to turn to in time of crisis.  Now, in terms of online use, I myself am a social media fiend, as I particularly enjoy posting various things on the medium, and of that I am guilty. And there are a lot of fun and exciting things to find on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all other platforms. And there are people who have found it to be a great way to connect with others, so there are some positive to it. However, having found myself at times getting invested too much into the medium or being at the receiving end of someone’s mercy both on and offline, I think it’s important to be aware of what this medium is capable of in the context of the world which we inhabit.

On the other hand, however, the enabling of modern society towards acting on individualistic, self-centered tendencies has been shown to drive individuals toward an image that, previously, was mainly if not only seen in the likes of fictional characters (namely, Gordon Gekko, Hannibal Lector, or South Park’s Eric Cartman if you’re more of a comedy type). In a sense, these people take the narcissistic traits associated with copious social media and fashion trend use to a whole new level offline.

Instead of just posting random stuff on Twitter or Facebook, other people can be used if the individual feels that their presence acts as an extension of their own perceived glory. The narcissist can perceive that the great and mighty achievements of someone can directly reflect back on themselves, should that person possess the desired characteristics, and continue to exploit that person for their own personal gain or desire to “feel good.” I like to believe that this is akin to a child doing something just so they can get a “lollipop,” and personally dub it a Lollipop Effect.

Of course, with narcissism, if the narcissist (let’s call them “X”) views themselves as perfect or nearly flawless, then these perceived “extensions” of themselves (let’s call them “Y”) must also be perfect or exhibit good or outstanding traits. Because, should someone point out any glaring grievances or shortcomings, especially if it’s Y, then X will resort to dumping their problems on Y and making it seem as though Y is the one with the issues; some will know this as “gas lighting.” X will also put down Y’s achievements in order to make their own achievement’s look better in comparison. Feeling entitled to only the greatest glory, X will even get rid of the old Y and replace them with a new Y, or someone who will comply with their superiority.And it can happen on Facebook just as much as it can happen in a real life situation.

All of this is an example of one’s “survival method” taken to a horrible extreme, and the treatment off the proverbial “Y” in this instance can be interpreted in terms of potential dehumanization. X was using Y to further their own benefit, just like how many teenage girls use Instagram to further other’s perceptions of their own beauty. When X is happy with all that’s going on, then Y can be happy to; when it hits the fan and X gets angry and wrecks havoc, then Y is saddled with the imperfection and has to take full responsibility for the calamity, especially if they want X to treat them well.And so, a sense of hopelessness and depression on part of Y ensues.

Similarly, just as one ditches a fashion piece perceived to be “tacky” (chokers and socks with sandals seem to be popularly loathed), Narcissist Supreme can rid themselves of good ol’ Johnny Tallahassee if they feel that the latter is non-beneficial to their godlike status. This is made even worse if X makes it seem that Y is totally dependent on them, making it appear that Y’s reliance on X is their only method of survival–therefore, opening the door for X to do whatever they please with Y. The longer this occurs, the less Y feels like themselves or human to begin with, and the more that they feel as an extension of X.

Keeping this in mind when looking at the greater social landscape, it doesn’t come as a surprise that collective narcissism seems to be on the rise. It isn’t just popular to post selfies like there’s no tomorrow, but the widespread practice of such and how it yields a large collective response has snowballed into more individuals doing similar acts and, eventually, reaching a stage where empathy and concern for the well-being of others is almost nonexistent. People use each other to further an agenda moreso than ever before, and, if they’re not already withering away like Narcissus in front of his own reflection, they’re damning themselves by believing that their only source for survival is with Narcissus, just like those who died believing that they could not measure to his perceived glory.

Such a belief that one is above all others is reflected in our politics (particularly with treatment towards those of opposing ideals), our religious practices, and our apathetic attitude towards the educational system (be it a decline in academic performance or the apathy towards someone brandishing a weapon at children). And, the more focus is placed on individualism, the less likely it is for one to be able to actively survive, or at least in a way that allows them to be somewhat empathetic.

Progress will only happen for the individual or the social group if a rejection of modern individualism is acted upon. Regardless of whether one is the victim or the instigator in a narcissistic scenario, awareness of the problem and looking for ways to be more open or empathetic with others is the more sound solution to addressing those issues that plague us today.

 

Runner’s High

The bitter cold stings and whips

Against your skin

As your feet blaze

Through the terrain.

The high is in full throttle,

And you’re savoring every second

Of this bliss.

 

The beginning wasn’t too unpleasant,

But now this euphoria

Of energy and joy

Comes unbridled,

And, for a moment,

You catch a glimpse

Of Nirvana.

 

The sprint having reached

A steady rhythm and pace,

You carry on

To maintain this pleasure,

This perfection.

 

Something cuts you off–

A lost and disoriented walker,

Unable to make their mind up–

You pause

To let them cross.

 

You feel great,

But now feel the stinging ache

Of tight muscles

Between your shoulders.

 

No big, you tell yourself,

Proceeding to try and regain

The addictive rush.

 

You pause more often,

For the ache of your joints

Have coupled

With a need for water.

You didn’t realize your thirst

Until inspection

Of a leg

In the dry wind

Made it so.

 

You have to be honest

With yourself,

But, nonetheless,

The end won’t come to you,

So you carry on.

 

The rush is gone.

The fibers in your body

Scream in protest

To stop.

The elements now in full assault

Against your senses.

 

You ask yourself

How long?

What else needs to break

Or strain

Before you collapse completely?

Before this hellfire

Takes everything?

 

Despite this,

You know the race

Isn’t over.

The end draws

Ever closer,

The golden ticket

To the finale.

 

The rush is gone,

Replaced with a new

Incendiary wildfire.

 

Yet, as if by a miracle,

You now find yourself

Finished.

 

The line is crossed,

And you recline

On the grassy knolle.

That first rush never returned,

And your body still aches

With furious fervor

Against you.

 

It doesn’t matter.

 

You soak in

The satisfaction of completion.

It isn’t euphoric, granted,

But the feeling

Of liberation

Soothes the body.

 

Here you are,

Bruised, scarred, and weary,

And still triumphant

As you slip into

A more rewarding satisfaction,

Surrendering your body

To a healing rest.

Familiarity

“She broke up with the perfect image of a human being that she, for so long, had relied upon as a form of safety and comfort for her well being, and whom would be formed of the greatest aspects of all that she met. She broke up with the mental figment that had barricaded her from ever reaching out to someone of substance, as it had always seemed akin to the fairy tale image so ingrained in her perception of reality. She let go of her fear, and set herself and those who loved her free at last.”

-Excerpt from a book I will never write

Election 2016: Public Service Announcement

Racism; misogyny; political lies; fear-mongering; and mudslinging have been abundant in this election cycle for sure–especially from the candidates of the two biggest political parties, Donald Trump (Republican) and Hillary Clinton (Democrat), in the United States. All of this is done in order to gain the voices of multitudes to ensure a victory as leader of the proverbial free world. Regardless of the fact that these faces are doing more harm than good, people of all backgrounds and statuses are rallying behind their candidate of choice based upon things presented solely at face value, and upon the belief that the president stands above any and all when it comes to power and lawmaking in the United States.

It is very easy for some to accept this as an absolute truth, but it should not take away from the other politicians running for offices within the States themselves and from within the larger federal government. Without a focus on the bigger picture of the election cycle, we have almost turned our backs upon the very things that are taking place in our own backyard in favor of the commotion on the streets. Locally, there are or could be measures that could affect the use of natural resources in one’s area. Or school board officials could be making a decision as to whether or not to detach themselves from Common Core. Many people, still, could be taking a vote on whether or not to mark a strip of highway as a toll road or to change the toll tax on a preexisting one. In any case, we would not be aware of whatever would be changing around us, simply because we have become preoccupied with only the prettiest piece of the puzzle.

Most importantly to add, however, is the fact that there are hundreds of seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate combined–both of which make up the bicameral House of Congress–up for a vote this year. This is where all of the laws and legislation for the United States is drafted and reviewed before being taken to the president for an approval or veto. This is where people from all over the nation send their concerns to their representatives or senators, in the hope that their voices may be heard and that a law in their favor may be passed. Many of the politicians whose seats are up for reelection are running again, and this has several citizens uneasy for several reasons. Not only have a bulk of these men and women been serving for a good chunk of their lives, but, seemingly, there seems to not be enough working getting done due to excessive vacations and/or a lack of desire to do the work expected of them. The election for these seats may go about by way of some of these scenarios, however: people will elect a new person out of spite of the current placeholder, vote for a new person because they want to “change things up”; or vote for the incumbent out of a sense of familiarity and a desire to keep things as they are. In any circumstance, the lack of research for a candidate that is viable and necessary for the job , incumbent or not, is apparent. Separately, it is worth noting that not every person in any one party is going to be for or against their party’s presidential candidate–do they have the same stances or platforms as said candidate. Or how do they differ? Or what does it mean for you, taking into account your beliefs?

Voting for the next president of the United States is a very important decision. However, that should not prevent anyone from ignoring the events happening around them, or other individuals whose actions and work may, ultimately, affect their way of life. In finishing, I ask any and all who read this to do as much research as they can about local measures that could affect how they live their day to day lives, as well as the men and women who will be running for office (especially those on Capitol Hill) and doing work that will, in turn, affect the general public. This way, come November, one will approach the voting booth with a better understanding of everything the ballot entails, rather than just relying solely on one vote out of many others.

First Post!

Hello to everyone reading this! I had written an introduction earlier, but, since I am very, very new to the world of online blogging, I managed to lose all of that and the pretty awesome design that I had had for my page.

Anyway, as the page title suggests, I am an aspiring writer who likes to write about a variety of different topics and ideas, from the ones affecting a wide array of groups and populations (such as sociopolitical movements and education concerns) to those that happen on a more interpersonal or intrapersonal level (such as communication between a friend/partner or matters involving philosophy and spirituality). I am always more than happy to discuss or debate these things and many others with the readers, so long as there isn’t any mudslinging going on from either side. I am also open to constructive critiques!

I am also a martial arts enthusiast; a lover of festivals, ranging from renaissance to music to seasonal carnivals; and a person who is thirsty for adventure and traveling, both domestically and abroad. To see the rest of the world is a dream I intend to make happen.

Having said this, I am not entirely sure what I am doing at the moment, but I am sure I will grow into it. I am eager to see where this goes!