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#022 – Honest and Self-revealing

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Slade and I have been spending quite a bit of time attempting to read at our local coffee shop, but we just end up talking whenever we run into each other. We decided to talk for the podcast about some of the Christian books we’ve read—or more specifically, just me ranting about an “honest and self-revealing” book I read. Enjoy!

This episode contains some explicit language.

This was our new set up! How does it sound (and look)?

Making a decision

We make decisions all the time: spending five more minutes in bed (or 30, who knows), taking a shower, putting off shaving one more day, heating up a slice of pizza instead of making an omelette, listening to On The Media rather than The Axe Files. I think you get the point.

Some decisions matter more than others, of course. Whether you decide to have pancakes or cereal—or both—for breakfast will be probably less consequential than marrying the struggling freelance musician—just talking about me here—or the Ivy League-educated, med school-bound white boy coming back from a year of self-discovery in Italy.

It’s difficult to know exactly where a decision will take you. You can make all the plans you want and take care of your part just fine. I didn’t know my resolution to apply for OPT—basically a limited work permit for those with F1 status—would result in the worst six months of my life.

All situations, though, come with myriad opportunities to make choices. Not the kind that will necessarily turn out good or change anything at all, but sometimes it’s not so bad to delude yourself into thinking something can be done—because sometimes, something, in fact, can be done.

My daydreaming has inspired many stupid ideas, and the idealist in me has forced me to put them into action before their novelty wears off. That’s how this and my new podcast startedThat’s also the way one of my top 10 “Stupid ideas I should not pursue but will anyway” came to happen: I decided that without a single political science course in my college transcript—one with a 3.9 GPA, mind you—I’d apply to several top-notch Ph.D. programs in political science.

In a turn of events I cannot quite comprehend, I was offered admission with fellowship to the program at Rice University in Houston, Tex. Maybe someone decided to see where one of their top “Stupid ideas I should not pursue but will anyway” would lead: what happens if we let a music major into our Ph.D. program?

Thanks to one decision, the steps I took to follow through, and who knows what kind of other weird factors,* I will be answering that hypothetical professor’s question for—hopefully—the next five years (unless I fail before then).

Lastly, I made a choice to go to Target and get some milk. I guess that choice will lead me to have cereal for breakfast tomorrow.


*God, too, of course. Hold your horses!

Anxious and scared

I’m not sure it would be fair to say really good things don’t happen to me. That would perhaps seem to deny the great blessings—as cliché as they are—I’ve received; the greatest of all: family. That’s not what I’m talking about, though.

From something as trivial as never winning anything in a local raffle to a major accomplishment like getting into a prestigious school, that’s just not what happens to me.

I do my work—as much as stress allows—and don’t overly complain about it. I understand privilege and (or) luck and the amount of each that I possess. Fair or not, sometimes I care, other times I don’t see the point in even caring.

In a few days, all this may change. So I’m anxious and scared. There’s a possibility, but if luck has anything to do with this, then I can’t help but feel pessimistic. It just doesn’t seem to be the kind of thing that happens to me.

I guess we’ll see.


It’s been quite a while since I last wrote here. I’m not one who journals, or at least I thought so—perhaps this blog has been a journal. Writing is therapeutic and part of my stress may be due to my lack of journaling time. I should come back to it—as long as it doesn’t become another source of stress itself.

Last thing: I hate being vague and general about the events that cause the feelings I usually write about. For the moment, however, I rather keep it this way, hoping that changes in the coming days.

#021 – A Farewell

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After a few months without coming back to the studio, Slade and I return to say goodbye … kind of. Since the last episode, we have both been working on new projects: he’s launched a new blog called “The Obsessionist,” and I’m about to release a new podcast on Mexican politics, society, and culture titled “Independientemente.”

We hope to soon be back with new episodes for this podcast. So, as my English idioms fail me at the moment I turn to Spanish now: esto no es un adiós, es un hasta luego.

Reinvent

Just like last year, I’m choosing one word to be a kind of overarching theme for this year: the verb “reinvent.” After focusing on acceptance, I feel now is a year where I will have to reinvent myself—something I don’t think I do very well.

I’m a creature of habits. My ways may not be as set and I may not be as stubborn as a 70-year-old me, but I’m quite resistant to change even if I am hesitant to admit it. Trying exotic (or not so exotic) foods, listening to new music, meeting new people, attending parties (basically any kind) are things I seldom do, and only when friends insist. Put me in a room with coffee, classical music or some Jorge Drexler and Damien Rice, books, one other person, and that does it for me. If it sounds like I could have all that in a coffee shop, there’s no reason to wonder I spent much time of my days in one.

With reinventing myself, I’m not thinking about saying yes to all the things I’ve said no to. I’m also not talking about trying new things for its own sake. The second half of this year will see me enter a completely different atmosphere from the one I know and I want to do more than just adapt—more than just change a few things to survive. Whether I attend grad school and remain in the United States or move to Mexico City, the circumstances will be quite new.

I’ve seen many reinvent themselves when things are just not working out. At least that’s my perception. Well, things have not exactly been easy this past year. Now that I accepted my “lot,” I want to take the next step.

I think I’ve started the process already, if only slightly, and I want to continue doing just that: reinventing who I am.

Happy new year!

I worry

I worry a lot and I worry often. It’s like the exercise I’m supposed to do but put aside because, well, I need time to worry about life—always so general, always so specific. Worrying takes up most of my time, a full-time job with not benefits. And because there is always more time to worry, I’m worried about how much I worry.

Worrying is easy, at the beginning at least, before it’s all-consuming. It then becomes necessary. The natural response to uncertainty creates anxiety and finds its way into your regular life, and it disrupts it. When you realized you haven’t eaten a proper meal, with some greens, because it just didn’t seem that important, you worry. Or you worry about still not caring about your diet.

Taking a break seems like a healthy thing to do, right? Except, if you take a break you don’t make progress on those things you’ve been anxious about. So, you go back to worrying.

Netflix, The New York Times, and a Schubert piano sonata are all wonderful ways to relieve your worrying self. But you finish the new season of Narcos, read your healthy dose of David Brooks and Frank Bruni, and listen to the piano come to rest on a G major chord, and you’re back to worrying—if you were lucky enough to forget about it in the first place.

Im okay, I tell myself, and I believe it. I may worry a lot, but it’s just that: worry. I know it’s unhealthy, but it’s the one coping mechanism I have at my disposal. I don’t want it, in case you’re wondering.

When will I stop worrying? I might have to worry about that later.