So Where Do We Go From Here?

That is the question, isn’t it? Where do we go with this blog, with this life, with yourself, Markie?

Yeah. I am, Dickmoji. What of it?

Maybe. But aren’t they lifelong questions? Still, I get your point. You’d think I’d be a little closer to having some answers at this stage. But, it is what it is. Deal with it.

Getting back to the blog, I have no clue what to explore. So why don’t we try a bit of steam of consciousness and see where we land.

Stream-of-consciousness writing…is characterized by associative leaps in thought and lack of some or all punctuation.


Let’s give it a go, shall we?

Here now be you be true be yourself be be be be hungry happy meh sad emotions loving connection needing expectations making love the weather my kids goals Portugal the sun together us anxieties depression sadness regrets the future the past the present is where I need to be be be be how the fuck can anyone even follow what’s going on in my head how is it logical practice even normal is there something wrong with you Markie are you normal do you even want to be what do you want to be what do you want to be what…

“What do you want to be?” So that’s the topic of this blog, I guess. But before that, I need to…

I kinda do, actually. Because when you’re barely able to muster up the motivation to turn the ignition and drive, when you’re crying during an acupuncture session, that might be a sign of a mental health problem. And that’s exactly what happened to me yesterday.

It started off the night prior. Me and my wife were grinding away at our Ecommerce business, as we do most nights. We’re building our futures together, after all. The problem? After working for several hours, Nikki was tired and rolled over for bed. And there’s the problem. At least, there’s the problem I created in my head. Of course, I could’ve said something at the time. But, that’s another problem of mine: the inability to communicate how I’m feeling. At that time, I was feeling hurt. Nikki didn’t know this, of course (I mean, she was trying to sleep, after all. And since she’s not a mind reader🤷‍♂️).

As I mentioned on a few occasions, my Love Language is unquestionably physical touch. For me, I need a little bit of intimacy prior to dozing. When it doesn’t happen—even a five minute hug—I feel rejected. And that’s how I felt, all the next day.

Feeling unloved (which is my issue, not my wife’s), I slipped further into sadness. With a busy morning that turned into a busier afternoon, Nikki and I never reconnected. I carried the gloominess forward. Getting ready to go to my acupuncture appointment, I hopped in my Jeep and just..sat there, unable to do anything. It seemed as if a panic attack was brewing, that I just wanted to curl up in a ball and wallow. But I turned the key and pulled out: one small step towards not giving up.

At the acupuncture treatment, I laid my head on the pillow, needles all over my body, and I wept. It just came over me. Rejection from my parent morphed into rejection from my kids. I felt deeply sad that I didn’t know my oldest daughter. I seemed as if I’d been apart from her so long, that I no longer knew who she was. So much had changed in her life and I was shutout of that knowledge; I’d missed the experiences of her last few years. That realization was heartbreaking.

And then, I started to beat myself up. I felt rejected from everyone—my wife, my parents, and my children. As punishment, I felt like I was taking it out on Nikki. Even though I didn’t do it intentionally, after the fact, it seemed as if I was shutting her out in some weird form of revenge. My inner voice mocked me with, “ Why would you purposely hurt the ones you love? Nikki is nothing but supportive and loving and you treat her that way, hurting her feelings? What kind of piece of shit are you, Markie.” And I cried some more.

Then I told myself that “you are depressed and you need help.” Hearing those words announced inside me brain just caused the tears to flow even more. That understanding—that awareness that I am not well—caused me to breakdown even further.

Although I go to my sessions for migraines and body aches, when my acupuncturist returned, I asked her if the treatments were helpful for depression as well. She was somewhat noncommittal, but offered that “it’s believed acupuncture is good for overall health,” leaving it at that. Truthfully, I’m not sure if sticking needles all over my body helps for my head or body ailments either. But I do know I feel better after I go. It’s supremely relaxing, which I never expected the first time I went. Who would’ve thought that being stuck and poked would’ve elicited that response? Regardless of whether it was the needles opening up channels in my body or simply that I was relaxed-as-fuck, my mental mood was lifted. The problem is that it’s a temporary alleviation; the root of my depression is unresolved.

So I’ve got a bit of work to do. I need more concentrated therapy. I need to process my childhood, my parents, my children, and myself. I’m never gonna be fully healed until that’s fully explored. And even then, I doubt that I’ll be 💯 recovered. But I can be better. Of that, I’m confident.

Now, with that little sidetrack…

As I was saying…with that out of the way, let’s get back to it.

“What do you want to be?” That is the question, isn’t it? That is the topic, as I landed on it through the stream of consciousness exercise. But really, the better question is, “Who do you want to be?”

Why is that better? Because it implies I need to be a certain something not a someone. And I’m not defined by what path I choose in life or my career. I’m defined by the type of person I am: who I am.

Who do I want to be? I want to be the best version of my authentic self. I want to be Mark. I don’t want to wear a mask any longer. I want to reveal my true self to the world, to not be afraid to overcome my insecurities, to…live. Now how do you that, Markie?

First, I only asked questions of the what, who, how variety. I didn’t ask anything about where, nor anything about when. Plus, you forgot about how, which is exactly where I left off when you rudely interrupted. Lastly, GFY Dickmoji.

Hmm. I’’m not sure you have feeling, Dickmoji. You’re a cartoon avatar, after all.

So how do you get there, Markie? How do you become who you want to be? For me, it takes a lot of work. It’s an aspirational process; it’s not like you ever truly arrive there. I want to be a better father, husband, brother and friend. Some days I fail and some days I win. Hopefully there’s more good days than not. One month from now, maybe I truly am incrementally better. Maybe I learned a little bit and implemented relationship tools that improved how we dealt with life’s conflicts. But that little bit of positive change doesn’t mean I’m finished. I’ll never be finished. There’s always room for me to be a better version of myself.

Not really, Dickmoji. How I become better is going to look different for me than it does for you. We all have our own goals, passions, skills and traits. Regardless, one of the steps in the process is defining your goals. And actually, for me, I could use a bit of stepping back. Revisiting those goals is also part of it. Clearly defined SMART Goals, daily rituals to move towards those goals, and periodically reviewing those goals to see if they still align with your ethics, morals, and passions. Isn’t that a good start?

Each one of those is critical part of the process. It’s a never ending loop. Really, it’s the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle utilized in quality to foster continuous improvement.

With the above in mind, I referred to my journal:

Now to my credit, I did write down my goals. I did plan to be a good person, get kids through college and reconcile with my kids—all noble goals, in my estimation. The problem is that the goals aren’t very SMART. Being a “good person” is nebulous, not satisfying the Specific element of the acronym. And is not very Measurable, either. Reviewing all my goals, it’s obvious there are deficiencies. How can I say I’m a good person if I haven’t even defined what it means to make that claim?

Even though I didn’t do a great job specifying my goals, I have been Do-ing, which is the second part of the loop. I have been meditating, exercising, journaling and therapy. And I believe I’m a better person today than yesterday. But that’s too ambiguous to put my finger on, to definitively say, “I’m better because I’ve done this one thing, by this date in time, and here are the results.”

So yes, Markie, it’s time to take a step back. It’s time to go back to the drawing board. It’s time to redefine my goals that will translate into action items. And that is how I plan on becoming who I want to be. How about you? What’s your plan, Dear Reader? One step at a time. Let’s do this together, k?

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