Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category

Servitude

Posted: June 15, 2015 in Ramblings
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I was catching up with a friend today over dinner and sharing a lot about my business school experience. I had a moment where I was saying I love chatting with people in the food services space. I think I usually say that it’s because I like the hope of getting free food, but it hit me that that may not be all of it.

I said “I think it’s because I feel like I should talk to them and try to make their day a bit more interesting. I think they must feel trapped having to be so nice to people.” There are probably a lot of things wrong with that statement, but I think it’s either how I view this experience to fit my own experience (like a Rorschach test) or that there’s a sad truth to it. I so often in school (and some parts of life) feel like I’m just living this dull existence where I deal with the annoying customers who want things that aren’t on the menu, have crazy demands or are otherwise bad customers, but to be service-oriented (to be likable, to not be seen as aggressive or militant and to fit in) you have to eat that crow and smile.

I started to wonder if I felt a strong bond because I too (this assuming this is the correct read) felt a sense of servitude to this way of being, this transactional (not relational) dynamic that makes me sad at my core. It’s pretty weird but I’ve always known I would never be good in the services industry and yet I’ve put myself in so many situations where I have to dull my personality to the point of wearing a metaphorical uniform and taking orders to maintain “order.”

Totally not a fully formed thought, but I’m going to think more about this and maybe write some more.

Deep Issues

Posted: February 6, 2013 in Ramblings
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I haven’t blogged in months, partly because I attempted to start a new project…and because I am who I am, I start and don’t often complete projects. Since I last blogged, a lot has happened. I’m seeing someone, started a new job and have been endlessly torturing myself internally. The amount of relief I get from writing is why I’m back, and can’t speak to if this will be a more permanent return.

I have been having sessions with Dr. S, and have revealed some very deep issues that I have. I don’t easily trust people, I don’t really like myself, I have an extreme desire to please others, and I feel alone. I have been processing a lot of these realizations, but they really all gelled together recently with hearing a song. I played that song on repeat for 7 days straight, on the subway, at work, in the shower, etc.

I don’t trust people easily, I put up a wall, I become more rigid around strangers because of a massive fear of rejection. I believe that putting up a wall will protect me from a world of hurt, and I consequently shut out people who don’t intend to hurt and somehow still let in those crafty enough to let me let my guard down. I think my fear of rejection stems from what’s been identified by Dr. S as a very poor self-image and low self esteem. I don’t enjoy being photographed, I don’t often look in the mirror, I took take pride in what I wear/etc and rely on this notion that my ‘natural state’ is good enough and a sign that I’m beyond caring. Yet, the very opposite is true, as I seem to care greatly about the opinion of others.

I have built up so much of my life on the opinion of others. Having been neglected as a child, having a brother who received all of the attention, I learned to differentiate myself with my intellect. I’ve built up an entire ego or core on my brain, something that could never be taken from me and up until recently has always helped me. Now, it seems that I’m realizing that I can come off as condescending, that my intelligence is palpable and the crux of this is that I’m trying to prove my intellect…continually. This isn’t something that I had realized, but Dr. S has pointed out some actions that lead me to believe that much of what I do is truly to impress others, and to regain that attention that I never had — doing so in the way that has always worked for me. Black kid who is smart is rare in many parts, and propelled me through school. Now in this corporate environment, it’s become something of a liability. I know that I’m smart, and I constantly try to prove that (implicitly) and that’s off putting.

All of this feeds into a desire to please people, take on as many challenges as possible and kill myself in my current job. I haven’t really taken the time for myself, to treat myself; instead, I have been running from a fear of loneliness. Being smart, being XYZ hasn’t done much to help me make friends, get into a relationship or be successful at work (to some degree, yes, but in other ways, no). I fear that because everything I do is to please others or the approval of others, if I stopped doing that I would be alone. I truly don’t care what others think (for the most part), but I also hate being alone. How can I reconcile being myself and still wanting to be around people? I haven’t yet found a balance, but my solution has usually been to cater to others. While those who know me will find this hard to believe, I cater more to others than one could ever really imagine — relative to what I want to do.

So why is this all important? I have had these realizations over a month long period of time in a piece meal fashion, and the main linkage was this song from Glee.

When I listen to every word that is being sung in this song, it kills me. I didn’t know why it had such an effect on me when I first heard it. However, after several days and 1000s of listens: it hit me. I have such a fear of rejection, being alone and building walls that I don’t know how to let someone love me. I don’t even think I know what love is — and if I did, would I be able to recognize and appreciate it?

Much as you blame yourself, you can’t be blamed for the way you feel
Had no example of a love, that was even remotely real
How can you understand something that you never had
Ooh baby if you let me, I can help you out with all of that

Let me love you
And I will love you
Until you learn to love yourself

The way I’ve constructed myself is so disastrous for me. It’s crazy how  the lyrics of this song echo all of me not knowing from a lack of an example of what love is — and here I mean this much more broadly than romantic love. How can I understand something that I’ve never had? How can I appreciate something I’ve never felt before? And then It hit me: If I never learn to love myself, how can I ever let anyone love me?

I can see the pain behind your eyes
It’s been there for quite a while
I just wanna be the one to remind what it is to smile
I would like to show you what true love can really do

And then the song continues, and I realize that maybe so many have seen the pain behind my eyes but I’ve never really felt comfortable letting anyone ‘in.’ And the few that I have or who have come close, I usually push away. It’s actually such a depressing realization. And I couldn’t for the life of me understand why this song stayed glued to my brain until it finally hit me. And then I think — have I met this person to make me feel this way, or is this what I’m looking for? And will I ever find it if I haven’t, and could I ever really know?

And that felt good to put to paper.

Infinite ‘Why Loop’

Posted: September 20, 2012 in Food for Thought
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I spoke with my director at work recently and realized that my favorite question, my claim to fame, my entire essence of being is setting me up for disaster. 

My favorite question:

Why?

It has made my teachers salivate because I seem engaged, it has established a niche for me within my friend circle and has been met with mixed reviews in my work place.

He major knowledge that was dropped is that when one asks ‘why’ it is great, but you can get trapped in a ‘why loop’ if you don’t focus enough on the ‘what.’ 

Think about it this way, once you start asking why you can never stop asking why. It is the intellectual’s dilemma. I am too much of an intellectual, and am trying to reframe my happiness so that I can find value (in things other than the quest for ‘why?’). 

When he said this to me, I was just like

Wow, that is heavy. It’s so deep, yet so real. Wow, that’s heavy. 

Ready to move on?

Posted: August 20, 2012 in Ramblings
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Much like that grandpa who should with good reason, leave up out the club when he sees the average age of the crowd is 25…I feel like I need to leave my group at work.

I’m mostly bored with the development opportunities and challenging roles one takes to build toward something as they approach their two-year mark (although most leave in 18 months). Now that I’m reaching the end of what the normal time frame is, and going beyond that, I’m tired.

Maybe I just need a long vacation to recharge, but the passive aggressiveness, the feedback, the lack of results and the nitty gritty focus on details is making me want to leave sooner rather than later.

But my real feelings are reflected in this e-card

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Life of FOMO

Posted: August 14, 2012 in Ramblings
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I recently realized that so much of my life is guided by FOMO: fear of missing out.

I feel like I’ve been walking around like a zombie, feeling friend-less, hope-less and love-less. And I know that I’m in deep despair when I become more pleasure-centric and make disastrous decisions.

Many of these feelings are not warranted, but I feel a major void. I feel as though I’m missing out on so much.

And now I’m starting to miss someone that is no good, and worse reminds me of myself. And logically, I can only conclude that if I don’t want me…

I digress.

I’m not really sure how to feel good about what I’m doing, and not caring about others or feeling like I’m missing out.

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Anger: SCC

Posted: June 18, 2012 in Ramblings
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I’m on an email list serv with the coolest people from our class of 2010…if you believe that class marshall voting is of substance.

To make a long story short, I don’t fit in with them…and I shouldn’t. I was appointed because I was fundraising chair not a “cool” kid who bested his peers. However, I do still get pissed off when this shit happens.

Pretty much everyone on the list gets a birthday shout-out, except for me. I know I have zero school spirit, but I’ve either hooked up with, fundraised with or was somehow in a few mutual friend circles. I shouldnt care and probably should remove myself from the list, but I haven’t. In a way, this example is how I feel about my social life at Harvard.

And if it wasn’t clear, save for my block mates and the bcl, I hated Harvard entre social scene/construct.

As I’ve been traveling and working abroad, I have realized that my cultural ties to America are rooted in a way that most cannot understand.

Most racial, ethnic and cultural groups have a distinct homeland, language and some aspect of a diaspora. Italians can find Italians in many cities, French can speak French in many lands and the Irish can go to Ireland and trace their roots. As an African-American descent of slaves I do not have this luxury.

I cannot go to a pilgrimage to my homeland, there is no non-English language with which I can communicate and there is no diaspora. The first two are things that I cannot change and can be in some degree assuaged by being American and finding other Americans.

However, my African-Americaness which is rooted in slavery and being an admixture with a distinctive culture which is replicated differently outside of the US creates some problems. Most other blacks outside of the US have a more rooted and direct link to their ancestors. And given such close ties do no share my black American experience. Southern hip-hop, black clubs and the fascination with “donkeys” is very much something that I haven’t found outside of the US.

The conflict I have is that everyone thinks Americans love America because we are too ignorant to appreciate other cultures. This may be true, but the reason I love America and complain about how I miss it because this is where my culture was born and only lives. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to be black in America and feel comfortable. Yet, I fully do in a way that most other groups cannot understand.

Being based in London these past few weeks had made me realize just how American I am. Being well educated and believing myself to be open-minded, I assumed I would love new cultures. I guess I overlooked my distain for “newness” and change.

I love America, I specifically love NYC. I would say that London is still better than Boston…but my patriotism is all the way on high.

Marrakech is a whole other level of struggle. I used to think I wasn’t always in need of 3/4 star living, but the fact that I just want to fly home or to London after being here for less than 12 hrs is too telling.

I’m very excited to return back home to the comfort and familiarity of my former life.

Corp. Bites: Overwhelmed

Posted: May 1, 2012 in Ramblings
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I haven’t felt this overwhelmed in a long time…I am stressed because of the long hours I work, the boring place I live in an the inability to find food that isn’t mayo-based, carb-rich or too small.

At work, I’m managing a workstream which I like because it’s a managerial role but having the responsibility of other people which includes those more senior than me is frustrating. The project is something of an fp and the data seems not to exist and because we are a data driven group over here like is hard…

I went to the gym yesterday which sucked. The gym is tiny and has machines I don’t care about, and even though I hadn’t been in a month, I didn’t feel good. I couldn’t sleep last night and dread going in to work. I tell myself it’s only for a few months, but damn.

And the food situation is so dire here that I cook for myself, which is something I haven’t done since I lived in Chelsea…or in about like 8 months.

This is definitely not my city but I’m going to muster through it and travel on the weekends to continue to deprive my body of the rest it needs but to give my soul the happiness it desires.

And I started a new blog which I think will sorta replace this as the priority until I can find more time to work less, live…etc.

And to be totally clear, these are all first world problems. But still.

Corp. Bites: Existential Moment

Posted: April 11, 2012 in Ramblings
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On any given day, I remember and forget what I like and what I don’t like.

Today, I remembered that the job function that I have is not what actually motivates me. I don’t really hate my job, it’s more that I know that I’m not 100% good at it. And it isn’t because I can’t be, but because I just don’t want to sacrifice X amount more to be perfect at it. I do love elements of my job.

Now that I’m over on assignment for 4 months and I’m in an office that’s a much more distilled version of what I do, I’m not exactly struggling but I am having to reach so much more. Working longer hours, and forcing myself to think differently is ultimately good for me, but I really don’t enjoy this ‘stretch period.’ It’s like if I had to take organic chemistry because I missed the deadline to drop classes by one week, and I’m not even going to be pre-med. Or like that one time I took Math 1b…for fun…because it counted as an elective when I switched concentrations.

I guess this is good motivation for my next step, since I had been looking at similar options and it’s clear from what I’ve heard and what I know that this won’t be that different if I do the same thing at a different company or in a different group. But I really don’t know what the next step is, but can I figure out what my motivation is?

It’s a bit ridiculous that I don’t know more about myself in areas that are currently pressing (some of which I can’t elaborate on). Or perhaps, it’s that I’ve been sufficiently good at most things in my life and now that I’m not as good at them, I feel like I have to start over from scratch. Or perhaps, I have always taken the easy way out by doing what is expected/typical and that which is easier to execute against. I think this is the more likely case.

Almost everything about me is typical in a way despite how much I am a contrarian (or attempt to be). Ok, that’s not really true. But I am emoting a lot right now, and I’m should probably only write with a clear mind. But I feel like life is just one big high school/college/purgatory, where you have to do a bunch of things you don’t really want to do in order to get to some desired goal.

Or that everything in life is just a means to an end….but there seems to not be much of an end in sight. You just graduate from one interim stage to another, or go from one level of hell to a different level. And in all of that, I came in to work this morning tired, after having worked late, faced with the prospect of working late again.

Thankfully, I decided I needed a pick-me-up and checked my Google Reader, and whew, the smile that was affixed to this sourpuss…I love NY (the city, the state, the over the top entity). I wonder if missing NYC the one redeeming quality of my job has anything to do with things? Anyway, this .gif is giving (almost) everything that I need right now.

Someone really needs to throw me a .gif party ASAP!

Corp Bites: Me, Mayor & Sheriff

Posted: April 7, 2012 in Ramblings
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You’ve all heard me complain about work before, and also mention my favorite boss who is very ‘out there.’ I have used this analogy before, but I find that if I put it into writing, I can refer people here instead of explaining time and time again.

The way my group works is like a town, a very small, but very important town. In this town is the Mayor (the head of our group) and his right hand (wo)man (the secondary leader of the group). The Mayor oversees the town’s citizen’s well being and the Sheriff enforces the laws.

In this scenario, I am a citizen much like my other colleagues. I have had quite a negative first experience in the town, and only a few other citizens would know those. Yet, the natural of the town is that people only stay for a few years, moving on, as others move in.

I have always had a problem with the law as the Sheriff’s and the police force seem to find me difficult and too knowledgeable about the difference between de facto and de jure laws. All of the other citizens don’t understand why I have so much disdain for the law even though I get pulled over all the time, otherwise harassed, etc.

But as everyone knows, the Sheriff and police force included, the Mayor and I are pretty close. I don’t know why, but we are. The police force finds this incredibly annoying and believe that I flaunt this connection and that makes them upset and believing that I take the law less seriously than others. Whenever I complain about the law to my peers, I hear about how being so close to the Mayor is salvation.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. The Mayor knows that everyone knows that he favors me and is sensitive to this, yet fears that he will be showing favoritism. As a result, each petty thing the police force does cannot be excused by the Mayor. Instead, it’s only for the big things where it’s a one-time ‘get out of jail free’ card that there’s any intervention. So on average, I get bothered more by the police despite the Mayor’s high favor of me and that rubs almost all parties the wrong way.

The example above is what work is like on a daily basis, being profiled all of the time.

Interesting: Grouper Date

Posted: March 30, 2012 in Ramblings
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I was invited to try out an interesting concept: Grouper.

It’s a brilliant concept and terrific business model. The service logs into your Facebook and matches you with a person of your desired gender and tries to ensure there’s compatibility and no mutual friends. Each ‘dater’ invites 2 friends of the same gender. Each person pays $22 which covers one drink, and Grouper books the venue. If you can figure out that economics here, you’ll see why this is brilliant.

The date itself was very interesting before it started. Was there a strategy involved? How do you signal individual interest in a group setting? How do you end the date discretely?

Our side consisted of the ‘desperate’ and the two ‘friends’ and in our case the matching was a bit off. You can always tell by initial reactions and it was clear the more attractive one from the other side was not into it. And when our side discovered we were ages 24-26 and they were 30-33-35+ it became clear nothing was going to really happen. However, we did stay past one drink, spent 2 hours and I was invited (of the group) to the next round/location.

I count it as a win given my status as the non-matched. My personality is so sparkling…yet I’m single. Kidding. I’m totally OK with it…

I’m not ready, just not ready yet

Posted: February 27, 2012 in Ramblings
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I went on the date that I mentioned, but of course right before it — I get a text from the Ex wanting to meet up. I had to decline, although I wanted to meet up.

Instead, to the movies I went. The movies were just the beginning of a great ‘real’ date despite all of the requests for intimacy in the movie theatre which made me both uncomfortable and nostalgic for when I did like being the PDA couple in the movie. After the movie, we headed over to a karoake bar.

Upon entering an empty karoake bar and with a tone-mute self, I was not really looking forward to this experience. And then I was serenaded with Alicia Keys’ "Diary," one of my favorite songs and started to feel some kind of way. It was so unfortunate that I was not with someone that I could appreciate the amazingness of this date with. It’s a really bad thing when you’re on a great date…except that it’s with the wrong person but everything else is ‘perfect.’ And when you’re sung to by a talent that was *not* booed off of the Apollo you kinda realize shit is serious. And when you end it off by singing Enrique’s "Hero" to me in an empty bar. Whew.

Unfortunately, I was not into it. It just was not who I wanted to be with. It did everything for me but did nothing for me at the same time.

And to kill this ill-fated love affair was hearing Evanescence’s "My Immortal" on the way out. Cue the emotions, nostalgia and memories for someone that I (pretend) consider an immortal love. No date can really ever recover when it’s that perfect but you feel next to nothing inside, or at least not for the person you’re with. So of course, I start thinking: I’m just not ready, I have not moved on enough to let anyone else into my world.

I talked to several friends and realized being "fuzzy friends" is just not healthy. I don’t feel like I’m being used, but I do realize we are both unhealthy crutches on each other, and that for me it’s a very binary decision. We have to be friends or lovers, we can’t be anywhere in between. I can’t psychologically handle that looseness nor is it productive for my future dates/relationships. I didn’t really know what to do, because I knew what I wanted and what I needed but refused to not allow myself to have both. And then, something happened.

I’m going abroad on an assignment for a few months, and something has decided for me. I know that distance will make my heart grow more compartmentalized, and new experiences will hopefully allow me meet people and force myself into a new rhythm. Although I am nervous, I am excited in a way. I know that Europeans love me, and that I need to be interested/occupied by something, so things may be looking up for me.

Hi Love, Bye Love (?)

Posted: February 20, 2012 in Ramblings
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Lately, I have been writing a lot about my feelings and where my emotional state is and have been learning so much.

When I first started this blog, I was single and wondering when I would have my "Just Haven’t Met You Yet" moment. I was curious as to when I was going to find someone that would make me happy, and would get me, and I would get them. And we met. I was initially convinced it was "Indestructible," and I was obviously wrong. We broke up.

And now that it’s been almost an entire year later, we’ve run into each other in a few awkward encounters (for me, at least). And then a few not so awkward and planned encounters that have lead us to a very undefined "friendship."

If I am being honest, I am still having a hard time moving on. I think there are a few reasons that are worth mentioning. We’ve both matured significantly since we met, yet still have a sense of comfort with each other that I have replicated with very few people since…and obviously none that have continued to date.

And as I started saying why I was having a difficult time moving on, a lot of things were revealed that I should really own up to. For instance, I don’t really make myself all that available to other people or I write everyone off as "boring, basic, out of my league" or "other." The "other" category is funny because it’s such a catch all and reveals how not seriously I take people.

I started thinking about the people that I’ve met that were perfect for me — just not perfect for me when they found me. Something that I’ve been contending with lately is what happens when you meet someone that is actually exactly what you need and/or what, but not the current you. What happens if you meet your soul mate but you’re not ready, and you lose them? That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. I’m not saying we were soul mates, but a meaningful connection is so significant that you would never really wish it from existence.

However, yesterday, I ran into someone that I’ve meet out a few times and have exchanged numbers, etc and always deflected anything possible romance. Even though this third time I decided to be a bit more polite, I realized that I find all of the right actions so foreign that I immediately laugh or dismiss all of the things that I’m looking for. It’s refreshing and surprising when I get what I need, but can’t cut out my own bullshit to let someone get to know me. The best thing that I took from last night was being asked/told "Why don’t you let me get to know you, and you actually let me get to know you."

Tonight, that is what I’m doing. I’m going on a date. I am putting my shallowness aside and trying to remember that I really have been finding it difficult to find hot people interesting and interesting people hot, so I will just let the new driver of my libido and interest drive this forward — the driver being interpersonal connection, shared interests, etc. I know that last part seems intuitive if not expected, but I am so aesthetically-oriented that I easily get distracted, swayed and influenced more by the messenger than the message.