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Archive for Revelations!

These are the times that try men’s souls

Summer break was much needed. Two years ago at this time, I was running on all cylinders — full speed ahead into the unknown. Last summer, I was recovering. I was adapting to life after a traumatic spring, and when life stopped, I took time to watch everyone’s ways of dealing with life, listened to advice (discarding bad advice and adopting everything that I thought worked). It was in that summer that I made several startling discoveries: 1) People think things are crazy when they don’t understand them. 2) People deal with pain in different ways. 3) I adapt quicker than most people, but live my life mostly in my thoughts, and don’t vocalize them unless I need something cleared up. When life gets hard or something unexpected happens, I tend to think negatively and go into a downward spiral until something or someone breaks me out of it. This spiral ended this summer. That’s right, fifteen months of a downward spiral — stuck in my own head –little-to-no sleep — reviewing the traumatic experience on repeat — thinking it was my fault, if I acted another way, or did this instead, everything would still be okay — stressful day-to-day learning in grad school compounding the issue because I have no time to decompress and forgive.

Let’s put it this way: I was 100% two summers ago. Last summer, I was probably at 10%, burnt out physically and emotionally. This summer, after a month and a half of good living, I’m efficiently back in the 70% or 80% area. By the end of the summer I could very likely back up to 100%, but over the last year of school, I could probably be burnt out to about 50%… I know most people don’t picture themselves as a human lithium battery that needs to be recharged over long periods of time… but it helps me guard against unwanted stress, and not to overextend myself. Everyone always wants a part of you, and if you give too much of yourself, you’ll have nothing left. It’s a sad truth.

I will also be updating this blog more (but not sure for how long, maybe for a year, maybe just until I don’t need to anymore). This is because during my free time, I’ve been doing some amateur psychology research. I was talking to a college student, and she said she just changed from being a psych major — and that when she first meets people she automatically types them as one of the four types of people. Apparently, I am a B/A mix (sometimes called the melancholic type). This interested me because I didn’t know about psychology. I immediately did my own research on personality types and traits, quickly finding the Myers Briggs personality types. There are 16 types, and my type, the INTJ, is very rare, comprising 1% of the population. I found an INTJ forum, and quickly discovered there are people who think like me. The many explanations of the type fit me perfectly. and I found a website that explained how INTJ could attain immense personal growth. One of these tactics was to write my ideas and not have them bottled up in my head, rattling around and causing confusion. In effect, meeting someone and talking about types of people really broke me out of the worst funk of my life (even worse than when my aunt died during college).

Cheers, for now.

Van Gogh in Relation to Me

Van Gogh’s Starry Night

The other day I was driving home and my iPod started playing Don McLean songs. I listened to American Pie, and then Vincent came on afterwards. I always knew American Pie was his most successful song, and I’ve always determined that Vincent was at worst second best. But I had never actually pored over the lyrics of Vincent before. I didn’t know what it was about. I sat there, driving along, when I had an epiphany—you know, one of those moments where you connect the dots—and realized, for the first time in my life, that this song was about Van Gogh. It came to me during one of the last parts of the song when McLean sings “starry starry night” again. And then I realized that Daffodils was another painting by Van Gogh…and it’s well-documented that he was insane…and probably because he was in love. Wow, I was such an idiot. Truth be told, if I heard this song ten years ago I wouldn’t have realized the allusions to the paintings anyway, but it was still an eye-opener.

It reminds me of the time where my friend made the connection between the words shepherd and sheep (“oh oh sheep herd”), and it was one of those moments where I felt glad that no one else was with me, because they definitely would have laughed at me and my childish glee—“I made a connection! All by myself! Ha Ha!”—and I might never have had the chance to live it down.