Sunday, July 23, 2017

Things You Learn

I probably should have learned a few things a long time ago.
Not everything can be perfect the first time. That's the first of the few things.
Other things I should have learned:
Don't eat food late at night if you need to get a good night's sleep.
I'm not invincible. This is even a fact before the age of 'oldness'.
I cannot please everyone.
If you don't think it's mold- double check.
Don't touch bacterial cells with tweezers and then forget you're ADD and put the tweezers on your face.

I repeat,
Not everything can be perfect the first time.

Did you know this? Until recently, I have been a firm believer in a religion of working towards getting things right the first time. I thought that if I saw enough people make mistakes, I would know not to follow the same path. That's how learning happens, right? Watching. Not doing. Making a straight path right through the crookeds of everyone else.

Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

But I still believe it.
I believe that I am immune to depression. I have seen enough people suffer from it. Succumb to it. I decided that I would not do. depression. Eating disorders? Weight problems? I see them. That's not me. I am going to get this life right the first time.
I think that. I believe that. Way deep down to the core of who I am.

I am not that.

I'm not going to be the one to make those mistakes. I'll learn from those who do.

But this river runs both ways. Do you remember that time lapse of that one artist doing that one amazing thing with that artistic instrument? They got it right the first time.
I get some kind of perfectionist high off of watching these videos. Being in awe of this fantasy of a person out there who sat down and scratched out a beautiful piece of artwork in one go. I forget that behind that camera, years of practice went into the one perfect go. That somewhere in a drawer there are a bunch of messed up pieces. Unfinished work. Abandoned ideas. Broken instruments. Blood stained instruments. Tear stained.

No. Forget that. I am going to make my own art perfectly the first time! I've seen it done.
Fast forward countless attempts at various trades------> Hm. I'm not a natural. I must not be good. This is too hard. What's the point? Onto the next trade. hobby. career. church. friendship. relationship.

Now, I never said I was perfect. Never believed it either. But, I always thought that something would come along that I was good at. Not something that I learned to be good at. Something that I was just amazing at.

It hasn't come yet. I love music. But somehow my mindset held me back from reaching the point of being as great as I wanted to be. I'm not a natural. I'll never be as good as I want to be. Wanting does nothing for a person. I love art. But I'm not a natural. I'll never be as good as my dad. I love math. Calculus 2 was a struggle. But it was easy for others. I must not be good at math!

... Better just be content with mediocrity! Right?

Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

This summer, I pursued something I was passionate about. A couple things, actually.
First thing- research in my field: Chemical Engineering. It really ended up being Microbiological Engineering- but I worked with it!
Second- Adventurism. Going out, doing new things, meeting new people, having those once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

The jist on research: 
I was so sure that my enthusiasm proved that I would be good at research. That I would dive right in and LOVE. IT. And I did! At first. I loved thinking about going to the lab. Thinking about the difference that I was making.
But then reality set in.

Guys, I don't know if you know this about research- but break-through's don't happen on the first try. They happen on the 2000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000th try. I mean, I should know this. I'm a scientist. I read all the success stories of famous chemists, biologists, biochemists, zoologists. They had to work hard to get to the end goal.

But I don't know. I guess I just thought I was better than that. Better. Did you read that? Better. than. that. 

Somehow fantasy has this nasty way of blindsiding you. Darn brains and their beautifully cruel imaginations.

As you can imagine, I haven't made any huge life-changing breakthroughs yet. In the research world anyway.

The jist on adventurism: 
Eh. I fell out of an airplane. This adrenaline rush everyone talks about? Either it was underwhelming, or I never got it. I climbed mountains. I free-climbed. I fell free-climbing. But that excitement, that passion that was so prevalent in my imagination- it never bubbled up. I never felt the alive that I thought I would feel.

SO. Those two things didn't unbox as easily as I thought they would. I discovered that either can take a lot of patience, work, people, organization, and hope to reach whatever conclusion I want in that area.

Some things that do unbox easily:
- depression
- anxiety
- depression
- anxiety
- depression
- depression

Now, I've always struggled with depression. You could say it runs in the family. But I always knew how to deal with it. I was not going to let it get me down. Pin me to the ground. Tell me how to live my life. But, it did know how to follow me around places. I could never learn to shake it off for good.

But this summer, it snuck up on me. It turned all my fantasies against me as soon as reality kicked it. And I fell. Hard.
I realized how little I live in the real world. How I would rather dwell in my mental world of fantasies than face the challenge of navigating a place that I didn't make myself.
I couldn't live up to my imagination. I couldn't live up to unreal expectations. I thought I would do this summer perfectly. But I didn't. I was not okay with this. Until today.
Pulling an all-nighter in the name of science. In the name of Confocal Microscopy.

I got out of bed at 4:40am (after laying there for hours), unlocked my bike, plugged in my headphones and was instantly hit with the deep bass notes of Brother by The Brilliance.

When I look into the eyes of my enemy, I see my brother.

This is the first stanza in the song.

I knew immediately who my enemy is. And my brother. Who I needed to forgive. Where mercy and grace needed to be given. Me.
And I hate saying that. Because it feels wrong. But it's right.

I am my own worst enemy. Classic, and stereotypical. But I need to forgive myself for not living up to every expectation I ever set.

Right now, I'm waiting for a Z-Series method to finish, and while I wait, I write this. And I know I need to forgive myself for how terrible this writing is. But I need to practice it.

So I'm starting this blog up again. To practice practicing things. To live reality.

We'll see how it goes.

Depression? Got it. Eating problems? Got them. Weight? Don't want to talk about it.

Thank you, Lord for The Brilliance. For imagination. And for reality.
For people who make reality totally worth it. And for you, because you make everything.

I love you,


No spell checks. Not too much looking back. Just me. Mostly.