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Guilt...

There has been such an insistence in my life for me to do well that I don't think others can really comprehend the amount of sheer stress that I put myself under day after day. I don't say this to sound uppity or to sound superior, I say this so that others can maybe understand why I am the way that I am.

Growing up, the focus in my life was academics. My mom wanted me to do well in school. She wanted so much for me to have a good life, and she pushed that. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, and she always did it in a loving manner. The problem is how this became to be in my own head. When things with my father started going downhill, I grasped onto this. I saw that me getting good grades made her happy. I wanted her to be happy with me. I didn't want to be a disappointment to anyone in my family. I didn't want to be another version of my father. I pushed myself hard. Every test that I took stood for another piece of my future. It's enough stress sitting in a classroom thinking about a test that you're going to take let alone having to think about how it's going to have ramifications in your entire future. And I know these are distorted views, but just tell that to a bulimic or to a person suffering some form of narcissism. It's odd the way a mind can alter such views.

So, college came. I pushed myself hard. Rarely did I ever miss a class. If I was out partying the night before an early class (which sometimes happened later in my college career), I was still 99% of the time up and at the morning class ready to go. My mental processes never stopped. As time grew on in my life, not only was school the focus, but bills, finances, personal conduct, balancing the gay issue with certain members of my family, etc. My mind lives and breathes these things whether or not I'm desiring it to or not. I can't tell you the amount of pressure that I feel standing still on a clear day with nothing to do. It's like bricks overcome me. And after years of all of that, after years of never having a "light" day, it gets to a person.

That brings me to my present day situation. I'm not working right now. This is supposed to be a relaxing time in my life. This is supposed to be the time that I'm enjoying the most. I have no staff to worry about, I have no one peering down over me ready to tell me how I'm doing things wrong, or how my staff is doing things wrong. But yet, I feel pressure. I feel guilt. If I want a day to myself, then I have to worry about my boyfriend thinking that I don't want to see him. And this isn't any type of fake guilt that I've made up. He says these things. I live at his place more than my own. Sometimes I just want to be in my own place. To have my own things around me. Sometimes I'm much too emotional from my day and I know better. I know that if I see people, it's going to lead to weirdness that is unnecessary. He's seen me in those states. Sometimes I can feel them myself. Sometimes I'm emotional and just need a break from my own thoughts. Oftentimes the best way to do that, for me, is to be alone with those thoughts and to parse them. It's not because I don't want to see him...that's crazy. He's been the best boyfriend I've had in many, many years. Sometimes I just need my own time, and I wish that I weren't made to feel guilty just because I need that. Just because I'm not artistic in some ways does not mean that I'm totally put together...I'm a Pisces afterall...I'm emotional. Sometimes, I need my own time.

And with this job search. I feel guilty enough if I'm not doing anything about it. I've never been without a job. Not since I was under the legal working age...and even then, I was doing odd jobs. And all my life, I've done with jobs just what I've done in school. I give them my all, and I upgrade all the time. If you don't continue to improve then you are just failing right? That's the way I see it. There is HUGE amount of pressure on myself every time that I do a job search. Yes, a lot of it is self-induced, but if you don't understand this pressure, then you can't possibly know how it affects someone like me. Every job has to be better than the last. And that's usually determined by a monetary value. If the pay doesn't continue to get better and better, then I have failed at upgrading my life. That is the pressure I usually put myself under. I'm trying to fix that. I'm trying to use this time to make myself understand that that kind of pressure is unnecessary. I want to be the type of person who doesn't rule his life on how much money he makes. But that's hard for me. So, if I'm taking this time and not being as active as I could be looking, forgive me. I may look like I'm not doing anything, but in reality there is more going through my mind than you'll ever know. I fight with myself every day. If you're not a perfectionist, then you don't understand. If you've been allowed some slack in your life, then you don't understand. Having slack has never been an option in my life. It was, thus far, a very driven existence that I've lead.

It's hard trying to reteach yourself things after so many years of training and perfecting something. While on the outside it may appear that I'm semi-easy-going with things, don't let that fool you. I'm insanely structured. And if you read anything about perfectionism, it's a trait that can often stop a person from doing just about anything for fear of failure. "Oh, Will, you won't fail; you never fail at anything". Exactly. What happens when/if I do? What happens when I can't find the next best paying job? What happens when I have to tell everyone I know that I've taken a less paying job than my last? To most people, these are easy questions to answer. To me, they are not. I'm frozen at times in a world of fear. Fear of failure...fear of things not working out perfectly. It's not an easy thing to live with. I'm trying to change that. Everyday I analyze so much of myself and my thoughts. I try to do things to rewire my brain. I'm making progress. It doesn't happen overnight. It makes me very emotional, and it sometimes looks as if I'm being lazy. Well, you know what? For once in my life, allow me to be lazy in these areas. I'm probably doing enough mental exercises to make any person mentally drained. I do them everyday.

That's one thing I wonder. Do other people think as much as me? I'm not saying that I'm a genius or anything. Don't take it that way. See, that's what I'm talking about. Even before I wrote that, I knew that I'd have to defend it in case anyone dared to take it the wrong way. Most people wouldn't even probably think that. They wouldn't think that I was trying to call myself highly intelligent just because I say that I think a lot. Minute after minute, I think weird and bizarre things about life. I think about going on the subway and what every single person on the train that I look at might be thinking. I analyze what they are wearing, start wondering where they came from. I think about what their job may be. I think about how they interact with others. What they are thinking of me if they happen to look my way. I defend myself in my own head against them should I think they may be thinking thoughts of attack. My brain is never at rest unless I'm watching a movie or tv. That's probably why after a long day at work, I need to watch hours of it. I know of no other way to stop my mind from pushing me to the limit second after second. A steady stream of my thoughts would probably be enough to make most people quite nervous around me. They are often odd and unjustified, yet they are something that my brain produces day after day. I wonder if other people are like that. Do others have that same desire. When they are sitting on the train, do they just zone out? Or are they constantly always moving in their mind?

These are things that I may never know. These are possibly things that I can never expect anyone else to understand. All I know is that sometimes I need the time that I take to do things that are important to me. Just because you don't understand them doesn't mean they aren't real. And just because you don't understand doesn't mean that I'm not doing something productive. Please, let me do things at my pace. I thank everyone for the support that I have around me, but I need to do things my way in my own time. I finally have a bit of that luxury in my life; please, let me take advantage of it.

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July 2008

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