Seeing the mid-twenties light

Lyon Keating

Spanish is going great!  I’ve been here over a month now and what I know now vs. what I knew a month ago is astounding progress for me.  This is really an effective way to learn Spanish, however, (oh there’s always a however) I hate it.  Ironic with me being a teacher and all, but I fucking hate spending five hours a day in Spanish class.  Even though I am learning I don’t necessarily like Spanish.  The amount of effort that goes into it is mind numbing, stressful, and really hard for me to grasp and if I want to continue learning I’m going to have to keep at it how I am which is sort of freaking me out.  And even though I have learned a tremendous amount I still can’t understand jack shit when people are talking to me and it’s incredibly hard to talk back.  I can communicate for survival but not at all socially.  Basically like other things in my life such as baseball, trying to take calculus to become a math major, it’s eating away at me, too hard, and I don’t really want to do it anymore.  I’ve gritted my teeth a lot in my life to get through things but I don’t really want to do that anymore especially with something that is really more of a want in my life as opposed to a need.

And even though I won’t write a shitload about this it still affects my happiness factor in a major way down here.  There’s a reason why people want to move out of Guatemala and into the U.S.  It’s a third world country and what comes with third world countries, spiders in your room, shitty food, pollution, not being able to go out casually around at night, crazy wild packs of dogs and cats, things noisily in your room chewing away or crawling around at night and above all else the massive amount of cigarette smoke.  There’s comes a point where if you have the option you just want to be healthy and clean.  I don’t like taking a shower in a place that’s disgusting, or not having my clothes washed well.  I think those factors, just generally not feeling healthy, having my allergies and headaches run amuck with cigarette smoke is really causing me much distress.  I think of all things, you might be able to understand this.

And yes, things with Jacki are very complicated but more or less I’m at fault for that and she broke up with me about two weeks or so ago.  For most of the last two years she’s had to put up with me constantly being distracted about doing things that I’ve felt I needed to do.  Yes, I did need to do these things and I wouldn’t have eventually developed into the person I wanted to without doing them but, as a result, I’ve always put Jacki second and not really been the boyfriend she deserves or wanted.  I mean our relationship was great, but it eventually was too much on her as I needed to do things I needed to do.  I knew how much she meant to me vs. what I wanted to do and for a long time I had very conflicting thoughts about where I was trying to go in my life.  Sometimes I would tell her I wanted to go to the next step in our relationship and not care about Spanish and/or China/Conquering the world and other times I knew that wasn’t what I was capable of doing without experiencing what I needed to experience.  Sucks I had to do that and am now in the total doghouse with Jacki but I really had to do these things to satisfy something in me.  I feel a lot better about the direction my life is naturally heading in now, instead of always thinking about other realities, that proved to not really be realities, on a daily basis.  I’m good at certain things and I like certain things.  Time to move in those directions.

Yes, I have managed to stay sane over here despite all these things and the rough moments we’ve had on the phone.  I’ve had, for better or worse, much experience with these type of things and although can feel crazy shitty at times know it’s not the end of the world and life does go on no matter what happens.  Even though shit has come tumbling down with Mary I’m still very happy I came over here.  I came her to find out something and I’ve found it out.  I am not a person who can live nomadically, venturing from culture to culture being a sort of Indiana Jones/wandering wise man.  I miss my culture and home too much, miss doing the things I’ve enjoyed and am good at, love being around people I know, and I love Jessica.

I’ve always had a rather romantic vision of traveling and going to various places in the world and whenever I have put myself in positions to do that it’s led to way more discomfort and unhappiness than anything else.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gotten A LOT out of the experiences I’ve had but I have to realize that when I envision traveling it’s more like a romantic fairy tale that can’t come true for me.  I feel naked and very lonely in other cultures and have grown to know why cultures stick together in their respective China towns and whatnot vs. venturing outward and assimilating into communities.  People ultimately want to feel comfortable and you can’t blame anyone for that.  I want to feel comfortable, I want to be around people who have come from the same place as me and have more or less similar things in their life.  Granted, I’ve met a lot of people here but most of the men are intent in fulfilling their chauvinistic desires by spreading their seed and sleeping with as many women as possible and most of the women just want to have babies while others just want to sleep with and be taken care of by white men for whatever reason.  People are still nice despite this, but I need more than nice.  It’s not like everyone here are complete deutschbags but I just don’t relate and it leads to being very lonely.

Like it or not I’m such a pack animal dog. People motivate me to do things.  Yes, they can annoy me at times, like anything else, but one of the reasons I wake up day after day is to hang around with great people and relate to them.  I love being alone to but am not the type of person who IS ALONE all the time.  Also, with my roommates here I’ve gotten into some similar habits as I have at home that overall are negative for me.  I have a hard time saying no to hanging out with people and doing whatever they want to do.  I often feel rude not hanging out with people that are around me because they want and enjoy my company.  As time passes, though, this behavior is sort of expected and I have an even harder time saying no which eventually breeds resentment within me for myself, not having the proper alone time for me, and for the other people.  It’s a lose lose situation and being here and feeling the same exact way as I did at home makes me understand that the problem is me and I need to do something within me if I really want to fix it.  I need to be very aware when I need to chill out and when I need to say no to my friends.  This will probably result in being much more chilled out and cutting down the large number of people I try to stay BEST friends with.  As much as I love people they can be very stressful and when I worry about what others think of me, how I need to be a better friend, and having a meaningful time with everyone, I lose a lot of what makes me tick and am stressed out.  My time just needs to be divided more equally to allow me to breathe easier.

I miss home, I miss being with my family, I miss the things that I know and make me tick.  I miss the roles I fulfill in my life.  With feeling better about the positive roles I play in my life and that I seem to bring good energy into the world, I’ve been able to let go of a lot of guilt issues I’ve had.  Maybe it was because I was raised Catholic, as they profess it’s okay and admirable to do things in your life because you feel guilty to do them, but I’ve learned to turn those feelings and beliefs on their head.  I’ve always felt guilty about living in the society I live in and how my habits living in the lavish U.S. and having cheap things, clothes, oil, etc. more or less contributes to SO many other people’s misery in the world.  When I went to Asia last year the guilt came on even stronger.  How dare I live my life and do things like fall in love, do jobs I love to do, take on boat parties, drugs, have fun with friends, etc. when so much could be done in the world to improve the lives of other people.  I lived in a closet for nine months and felt guilty a lot of the time for having “good” things in my life when so many people in Asia bathe in shit and eat nothing having no choice or opportunity.  I felt I had to live way under my comfort zone to sort of balance out the fortunate life I’ve been allowed to live in order to feel good about myself; be like a little social martyr (which is also another Catholic virtue, Damn).  Upon moving to a third world country for the second time I’ve learned that I had nothing to do with where I was born and the luck of my opportunities in my life.  I can’t change the direction the world is moving but I can affect small change while living comfortably and nothing wrong’s with living within yourself and being comfortable.  I was very unhappy living and catering to my guilt issues and, what, am I going to live an unhappy life because I feel guilty?  No.  Honestly, I feel if people lived more within their limits and sort of how I do then the world would be a better place.  That’s part of my contribution and I feel it’s a fair one because I just can’t live for the third world cause in how I was doing it because it was having too much of a negative affect on me.  Thank god that’s over; it was taking me to a weird place.

(To continue on with the Lyon hour) Another odd thing about me that I’ve come to understand more is that for some reason I’ve always put off things in my life that have made me happy knowing I could go back to them at anytime and, instead, gone towards things that I was halfway confident about.  For example, that one year of real job teaching I had was awesome!  I loved the classroom, I loved the kids, I loved everything about being a teacher and when I was done teaching I thought, “hey since I love this I’ll come back to it later because I know I love it.  Let’s see what else I could love.”  The same thing happened with Jacki.  I knew I loved her so much and she always scared me at how comfortable and at peace I was with her, but instead of endorsing that, I thought, “hey since I know I love this, I can come back to it later.  Let’s see what else I can love.”  Obviously this was not fair to her but I thought that since I had found love and career in my life, which is something a lot of people have a hard time ever finding, I felt overconfident and wanted to take on the world.  Sounds like your classic young person, but, yep that’s what I thought, so I ventured to Asia to see if I could put it in check and also fall in love with it, and the same with Spanish and communicating with more of the world, thus having more of an effect on it. In the end, I was overambitious and it didn’t prove to work out the way I planned.  I never really was that confident in these pursuits and now that I think back, I feel pretty stupid that I let things slide by I was incredibly confident in and good at vs. going for things I halfway was confident in and not good at.  Teaching obviously can be recovered but a person, Jacki, is another story.  I hope she will give me one more chance to make her happy with the new mindset I have.

And did you say Jacki?  No, I guess I said it since I’m the only one talking or I mean typing so I guess I’ll keep talking about it despite it sounding better and more natural to say, “and since you mentioned Jacki.”  As much as I have stressed that I needed to go through these things and glad I did I’m a little embarrassed that I had to go through them to, what seems like, figure out the obvious.  Things were happening in front of me for the past two, three years and I chose to look elsewhere and now that I’m elsewhere, for the second time, I realize what the fuck really makes me tick.  It’s not the romanticized traveling notions I’ve always had, it’s the culture I’m from, the friends I’ve made, the jobs I like, and most importantly the love that someone like Jacki has shown me for some time.  Without these, I feel like I’m just wandering around aimlessly buzzing like a mosquito, and I’ve noticed this makes me feel depressed; and as you’ve just been exposed to pretty seriously, never underestimate depression.  It’s serious and I hate feeling depressed.  I understand it’s a necessary feeling sometimes, but when you can be in control of it you got to do something about it and rid it from your life.  When your life has consistent depression in it, as mine has had when I’ve been traveling, it now means to me that this isn’t a good life choice for me to keep doing.

Jacki has showed me a mature love that I guess I wasn’t ready to receive fully for the past two years.  I’m ready now, though.  I feel an incredible sense of loyalty towards her as she has stood by me through all these back and forth thoughts I’ve had until very recently.  I want to shower her with the love I know she wants and know now I am more capable of being a foundation for peace, relaxation, and feeling happy for her vs. that of being stressful, bringing upon anxiety, and other bad elements.  She currently isn’t talking to me as she has said she needs space but the last letter she sent me saying that she needed space also said she was still in love with me.  I want to try and prove to her what I’m confidently all about but am not sure how to go about doing it.  She has stated that she needs me to prove what I’m all about vs. just saying it and obviously I’m trying to find a way to do this.  I don’t think sending her emails would be good right now as I think I need to allow her to come back and communicate with me, but at the same time it’s hard because I want to talk to her and let her in on what’s actually going on inside of me.  Obviously, I’m prepared to accept the consequences of the way I’ve been to her for most of our relationship and if it doesn’t work out then I blew it and it just wasn’t meant to work out, but I have to really try to get things to where I know they can be….rrrr….

So as a result of all the reasons stated above and the overall stress of being here I woke up the other day and said, “yeah know what, it’s time to start walking the walk with all of this and not just talking about it.”  My life here is not going anywhere and the sooner I make changes and go forth with what I want the better in every possible way. Right? Right!  So, I walked over to my favorite MacDonald’s that has free internet and bought a plane ticket home for the next week, the last week of August.  I didn’t even flinch or have an ounce of regret about this and was very happy when I pushed the purchase bottom.  My silly romantic adventures, where I push aside what makes me happy, are over and am now going to pursue what I’m confident in and what I can positively bring to the world.  I don’t belong in China, in Guatemala, etc.  When I come home my life is going to be much different.  I’ll be at much more of a mental peace now that I found out what I wanted and needed to find out.  I’m not going to live in any more stupid closets, and am actually going to try and find my own place in the mission.  As my adventures didn’t go as long as I thought, I have a lot more money to spend in the short term on housing then I’ve ever had before so why the fuck not.  I’ve dealt with a lot of uncomfortableness the past few years, and it’s nobody’s fault but myself, and even if it’s only for six months or so I want to be comfortable and have my own place.

All this being said, I would appreciate if you kept this information about me coming home to yourself, as hard as that might be.  I mean, if it comes up in naturally in conversation you don’t have to lie to anybody but ya know what I mean.  I don’t want to stay on anybody’s couches, don’t want to intrude on anybody’s space, and don’t want people to make a fuss about it.  Last year brought upon some uncomfortable situations with people I like so I’m trying to stray as far from that as possible.  Plus, I don’t want Jacki to think that since I’m coming back she has to feel the need to then communicate with me.  I want to quietly move back, get my own place and get my shit together and start living how I want and need to and also show Jacki that I’m not just all talk and actually am taking steps to bring upon what I want in my life.  I’m sure people will find out in time, like I’m sure I’ll call Conrad at some point, but I just really need to get my shit together and want and need that to happen on my own with no added complications.  Maybe in the next couple days we’ll talk or I’ll send her just a heads up that I’m planning on venturing home soon but I don’t want to make Jacki feel uncomfortable anymore than I already have in her life or that I’m stepping in on her life.  I truly love her and not that I’m going to abandon any friends or anything but want to allow her to feel as comfortable as possible because she really is a good person.  I know I cause drama, am intense, and have caused drama in the past for various individuals.  I don’t want to be apart of any of that anymore and I want my life to be less intense.  I also don’t need any of the group dramas that have plagued anything in the past to have any negative affect on my life or inflict any pressure on Jessica to make decisions she’s not comfortable making, or bring upon anger or any negative feelings.  If things are suppose to happen for us they’ll happen between us naturally.

Ughhh….can you tell I’ve been thinking about this a lot?  Thanks for writing me back.  I wrote a letter to Jenny, but you’re the first person I’ve really divulged all this stuff too and it was therapeutic in itself to write it out and just let somebody know what I’m going through.  Sorry to write a novel about it, but I guess I’ve had a lot on my mind that is all spewing forth to bring upon changes in my life.  Overall, I’m confident in myself way more now in a much more relaxed, realistic sense than I was before.  Even if shit doesn’t work out with Jessica I know what I want and know what I want to give another person and work towards relating to jobs and family, being healthy, and whatnot.  I too am excited to go forth and enjoy this new focus in my life and no matter what happens I’m heading in the best possible direction.  Finally I’m confident about where I’m going and how I’m really going to improve things.  It’s a good feeling.  Now I just need to get through the last week here…

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