Abigail Foster's Photosynthesis Machine, Benson Memorial Library, Family, Libraries, Library Director, Life, Management, Titusville, PA

Where Are We Now?

About a year ago I hung up a bizarre painting in my office at work. To me it was perfect and just familiar enough that I thought it warranted a place in my life. As a person who always thought it would be neat to have an office and fill it with interesting things, the painting, when mixed with the Lego creations and drawings that Finn and Aero have created for me over the years, helped me establish this place my home away from home. When I feel comfortable at work, I usually am able to some really good and meaningful work. On the other hand I could also see how the average “I shop for my groceries at Walmart every Saturday at 1pm and have to watch the game and/or my sitcom at the same time every week” American person would be appalled by it.

One day I came into work to find that my painting was taken down. My coworkers took it down because, yes they were terrified and appalled by it. I guess right now would also be a good time to explain that due to limited space we’re all basically working on top of each other and that we’re surrounded by glass. It’s like a packed fishbowl in here. But to fully admit my feelings, I was pretty let down by their actions. It felt passive aggressive and overall it felt unkind. But in the moment I didn’t react. I just went on and say “oh, well that happened.”

You see as a Gemini I feel a duality to everything. There’s this part of me that always sees things from my point of view and then I almost immediately put that aside and see it from how others may have seen it. In this case: Justin likes the painting and hangs up the painting, Justin feels disappointed when someone takes that painting down, but then Justin instantly forgets about that and says “well I bet they didn’t like the painting so I understand that and what I thought about the painting shouldn’t matter because that’s selfish to only think about myself.” Over time, I’ve taken that approach to even more of an extreme: I guess in a way that by my coworkers actions I was able to put the painting to a much better use. It became the cover for my album Prozac Is The Dam And I Am The Dynamite, and I think it fit really well for that album. Having the painting taken down by my coworkers made me take it home, where I stared at it more and through those hours of staring it gave the painting more meaning and purpose. It became a visual representation of my life at the time, and when it merged together with the music I was creating it became a complete package.

You take all of these things together, stretch everything out by a few months, sometimes years, and what happens? You start to think about the first part (yourself) less and less until it almost becomes silly to even think about it in the first place. I think that’s where I am at now…after awhile of doing this here I am, a person that may be very capable about thinking of others but at the same time a person who doesn’t think of himself as much as he should. I’m overwhelmed right now and a bell goes off in my brain to remind me that this may be part of the reason as to why I feel this way. When you neglect yourself in some way, it all adds up. I stare at a lot of spreadsheets these days, and I like to think that my soul has a spreadsheet where it has been keeping note of the times I’ve put myself aside for others. It’s finally getting to that point where the spreadsheet is just too long and unruly and it becomes a hassle to scroll down the page because there’s so much data.

I’m on the cusp of something here. It feels exciting and at the same time it fills my soul with great fear, but I know that as with everything in this life it will come, it will go, and the next thing will happen. I feel lucky to be able to share this journey here and to have others be able to maybe understand and maybe feel like they may be in the same holding pattern at the moment.

Music: David Bowie “Where Are We Now?” As long as there’s sun..As long as there’s rain..As long as there’s fire..As long as there’s me..As long as there’s you

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Family, Life, Online Identity, Social Media, Technology, Three Things

THREE THINGS 2016.3

BOWIE

I never met the dude in real life but his passing has really had an effect on me. I think it comes from one simple thing: the man created honest and pure art that genuinely brought happiness and excitement into the world. Bowie’s final album ★ is a brilliant piece of art that should be enjoyed/examined by everyone. I hope that when I am 68-69 years old I am still capable of creating such amazing things.

SPLIT

https://twitter.com/jhodestroyer/status/690574964953604096

I am a Gemini and I have talked about that before. The older that I get the more I see that I am really two ideas living inside of one body. I am becoming very ok with this! I think the best thing that I have attempted to do is split myself into those two ideas and have outlets for both of them. You can’t suppress who you are! You just gotta be.

SOCIAL

Social media is a big thing for me and wrestling with identity in social media is something I think about a lot. I aim to be as authentic and available as possible in this life. I think there are some struggles with that! I found this post by TotalBiscuits (who I was not familiar with until I saw this post) to be very inspiring and spot on when it comes to what social media is/can do to someone. While I am not in the same situation as TotalBiscuits (he has cancer, I do not), I do find what he is saying to be very honest when it comes to social media:

Look, let’s be real here about the reality of what could happen over the next few years. In a few years, I could very well be dead—two to three [years to live] average is what I’m given for this particular form of this disease. I intend to outlive that by a significant margin, but if it ends up being the last few years of my life, I want to spend them not being fucking miserable. And if that involves disconnecting from everybody, so be it.

My family is gonna come first, my fucking mental health is gonna come first. The expectation that everyone who ever made it on the Internet’s gotta be constantly connected to their fans all the time 24 hours a day 24/7 is insane. It’s unreasonable. Nobody can fucking handle it. Nobody. [sighs] God. You have no idea how many of my friends are in therapy just because of this job.

Read the full post here and think about things.

Family

Middle

Aero and I up on top of a rock. Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga TN.
Aero and I up on top of a rock. Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga TN.

My brain does not stop. I think about things a lot. My brain acts like a computer program. IF THIS THEN THAT. What comes next? Where do I stand? What do I do? Where do I go? I call this the blessing and the curse. I am thankful that I can always remain mindful about what’s going on around me but at the same time I want it to stop at certain points of the day. When I get this way I like to write. I’m thankful that I have this blog for this reason.

When I started this blog back in 2009 I had the idea to make this a place where I shared anything and everything that was in my mind. Somewhere along the line it became a blog all about library stuff. Last year it felt like it became a place where I only talked about the library stuff that I was part of these days. I’m traveling here! I’m traveling there! I am doing this! Things didn’t feel quite real and authentic to me. I wasn’t painting the full picture of who I was. 2015 has been one big quest to reclaim that authenticity in my writing and in my life. I can’t fully explain it but I’ll try.

I don’t feel that connected to the world. I imagine my family and I as part of the world, but maybe just floating on a hoverboard right out of the view of everyone else. We’re part of it all but at the same time kind of right over here just doing our own thing (on our hoverboard). Over the past five or so years of my life I have made a very strong attempt to get away from all of that and be part of the rest of the world. It has been a most interesting journey. There were times where I thought that it would all work out well. There were other times where I felt like I was this weird person that I did not know. All in all, things have been back and forth.

Gemini complex by SuryaAsura, found at http://suryaasura.deviantart.com/art/Gemini-complex-207617414
Gemini complex by SuryaAsura, found at http://suryaasura.deviantart.com/art/Gemini-complex-207617414

I buy into the whole “I am what my astrological sign says I am” and I am a Gemini. I feel this pull from one extreme to the other every day of my life. My wife Haley noticed that about me from the first day we met. She’s always told me to find the middle and to not be so extreme. We’ve been together 10 years now and I’ve always listened to her….and I think I’m getting closer to the middle. The middle is what I want it to be. I make up my own middle. Every step of my journey…from Pennsylvania to Washington to Pennsylvania to New Jersey to Maine to Tennessee and now back to Pennsylvania has helped me understand “my middle”. The cast of characters, my family and my friends, all along the way have helped me get to this place….and for that, I am eternally thankful. I can’t list everyone here but just know that if we’ve interacted over the past ten years in this journey of mine you’ve been a positive part of the whole thing. I thank you for that.

IMG_1028

When our family finally closes on the purchase of our house/church combo as our primary living space later this month/early next month, I will say that I believe have found the perfect physical representation of my middle. There’s something about owning this property that makes me feel very content and happy. I like the possibility that both the house and church offer my family. I am excited for my kids to tell the story that they lived in an old church. I am most excited to build a fence between the two properties that will act as a courtyard/portal between the two locations! It’ll be very fun and eye opening to build this with my family. It will be great to open up this property to our friends and family who want to visit and live with us and share moments together for a brief time.

All of this? Awesome and exciting.