Well I was pretty much ready to pop out of bed at 5:00 this morning.  Not that that's too terribly different from when I normally wake up, but the level to which I was ready to go was a little atypical.  I managed to hold it together until about 5:45 and was then too restless to keep feigning sleep. It would appear that I'm in decent company as a morning person since Guillermo Del Toro has been tweeting since five and I don't think he lives too far away from here.  My only gripe about slowly becoming more and more of a morning person is that I'm 26: my peers, in large part, prefer the variation where you stay up and out late and then sleep in until late, and I don't need anything else preventing me from falling in with my peer group.  I can stay up plenty late if the occasion calls for it.  In fact, late nights are kind of like early mornings to me and I'll sometimes push past two or three in the morning when working on a project or just enjoying the quiet.  I prefer the hours and places of the day where things are less intense and there are just generally fewer people.  Now the challenge is just finding a few people who share that sentiment.  

This post is hopefully not going to be too long.  I'm taking a personal day from UCLA to run a bunch of errands that I haven't been able to make time for, as well as catch up on Toshiba work, which has fallen woefully behind schedule.  I just kinda need to post something to shake myself out of some thought-loops I've managed to get into in the last 72 hours.  

Today's Questionable Content (transcript) is actually what I woke up thinking about (I read it last night since they usually go up sometime between 10 and midnight the night before): 

By Jeph Jacques,  A little hard to get caught up on the story/relationships, but very much enjoyable when you do!

By Jeph Jacques,  A little hard to get caught up on the story/relationships, but very much enjoyable when you do!

Sitting alone in the hotel bar after my talk in Chicago was pretty lonely.  After Friendsgiving this year I also felt pretty out of sorts.  I can't put my finger on it, but sometimes I really love the feeling of being outside of the world where everyone is so busy and has a place to be, somewhere to go, people to see, social obligations, etc.  That night at the hotel bar, I did not love that feeling.  It felt like being the kid who didn't get invited to the parties but also didn't have a charismatic band of misfits to go adventuring with.  It was after that that I went out on my walk to Navy Pier because I just couldn't take the thought of settling in for the evening, alone, at 7:30.  In those moments I tend to start having a lot of thoughts like Dora's (black shirt in the comic).  

Friendships and relationships are really some of the most rewarding things that we have the luxury of experiencing in our lives.  They can be cantankerous, stressful, confusing, but an hour of the feeling you get when you're really "in it" with someone else or a group of people is really an unparalleled experience. That "in it" phrase is meant in the Garden State sense, when Natalie Portman says to Zach Braff: "My mom always says that when she can see I’m working something out in my head, she’s like ‘you’re in it right now.’ And I’m looking at you, and you’re telling me this story... you’re definitely in it right now." (but I suppose we shouldn't exclude other potential meanings).  

Fulfilling friendships and relationships, the ones that are so damn hard to find, all have a shared flow state element.  I've talked about flow states here before, in regards to personal projects, and also mentioned that there are no other feelings I'd rather feel more, but the only thing superior to experiencing it on your own is experiencing it with another person or people.  

It's the time in between those states of flow that's a bitch.  I've found that when there are people around me who inspire that feeling, it throws into relief the time where I previously might've been content spending my time in solitude, and that conjures up all sorts of crazy self-doubt and Dora-like thoughts, mainly about why and how all of it is going to disappear in the near future.  As of late, I'm beginning to appreciate that this is... perhaps... not entirely normal.  I think everyone has those moments, but, without going into too much detail, I have a tendency to get to some next level shit.  I quickly eschew all sorts of rational perspective in favor of all of the reasons why it's better for me to sever all ties, move up on a mountain, get a dog, start a farm/woodworking thing, and retire from society.  All those things are just a metaphor for saying "stop trying with other people" and "move to a place where I don't have to be surrounded by people all of the time."  That perhaps sounds a little grim and dramatic, but for some reason, I often feel less lonely when I really am alone.  My brain is really stupid sometimes.  

I don't have any solutions for it other than that I actually feel a little more sane after writing this.  I'm always inclined to lay out just where my head is, that kind of honesty is one of the few things that makes me feel better, but I don't want people to think I'm *too* crazy, which is why I tend to hold back.  The extent to which I've thought about things can be also overwhelming and I'd hate to alienate someone because of that.  I'd love posts like this to be viewed as all of the things that I want to say all the time, but don't because I actually AM a pretty reasonable and together person. haha.  

Holding back is a tricky game though, because you can quickly start being dishonest about who you really are and find yourself pretending to be someone your not; in the long run that's worse than being rejected for being yourself. I think I've been playing that game a little too much over the last year and a half.  I don't want that to happen any more.

Phew.  I know the number of words doesn't really reflect it, but it's taken me a little over two hours to get to this point.  I guess I should start the rest of my day and try and get out of my head for a little bit.  I wrote a pretty fun little physics simulation on the plane yesterday that I'm going to do a post about later today or tomorrow.  It's a little technical (but reasonably simple), but I've been pretty good about posting more personal stuff/art/woodworking so it's time to do one for me!

If you've made it this far, wow! If you've made it this far and would still talk to me, even better. :-)

I leave you with this quote from Mike Burbiglia that I love about insecurity, meeting people, and connecting:

Deep down, our whole lives, no matter how low our self-esteem gets, we think, I have secret special skill that no one knows about and if they knew they’d be amazed. And then eventually we meet someone who says,‘You have a secret special skill.’
And you’re like, ‘I know! So do you!’
And they’re like, ‘I know!’
And then you’re like, ‘We should eat pizza ice cream together.’
— Mike Burbiglia, Sleepwalk with Me

Here's to all of our collective secret special skills.