On some days, I wake up feeling numb.
Numb at the fact that I need to feel something about a particular thing and I'm not. Numb that I need to feel something about a particular someone, and I'm not. I'm writing this on one of such days.
Days when watching a Jamie Foxx stand-up will not exactly laugh me up like it always does. Days when pizza seems way more mediocre than my taste buds make it out to be.
This is one of those days when my emotions or the lack of them turns me into your favourite next-door cynic. And it's all a direct consequence of the unique feature in my complex brain.
So it's quite funny that the weird state of mind writing this is the same one that needs to expound on the five discoveries below.
Five discoveries that are connected to that strange state of mind. Five discoveries that are all tied to my complexity up top. One of the key discoveries causes consequences that end up needing another, another and another on the list, so that there is enough energy for the other another. I dare you to figure out which is which.
1. Facing my obsession with faces
One of my greatest obsessions as a kid was drawing! I've been loud and clear about this before. What might be new to you is that within sketching, my obsession is faces.
I find human faces to be extremely fascinating. So fascinating, in fact, that I'm never able to forget any. Especially if I've interacted with it before for more than a couple of minutes.
Names will be lost. Places where I saw them will be lost. But the faces always stay on my mind.
Getting back to being an artist (which is definitely the highlight of 2018) meant I had to pick something to focus on. And so, honing in on portraits was a no brainer. I just love doing them.
I'm on a mission to get to portrait art mastery! Even after months of bullshit-ly rationalised breaks, I am slowly getting somewhere.
Much of what I've done so far is on this page.
2. Chipping away at those big audacious goals
It is easy to make goals. Very easy.
Saying I'll do this and do that by this time next month or next year is a piece of cake. And I'm a baking expert.
What's difficult, however, is making those big audacious goals actionable. And that's where Brian Tracy comes in. I got some tips from one clip in his YouTube channel or perhaps from YouTube's godsend suggestions.
There's just something about how serious and robotic this guy is in his videos that gives me the chills. Good chills. Watching him speak gives me the eerie motivation to do something - anything. It's like I'm spooked by the thought of disappointing him.
I've always known it's good to breakdown goals but it's always been theoretical in my head. Kinda like how I think of flossing my teeth or yoga-rising my stretches in the morning.
Good to do but not practical to actually do - especially if we are talking "every day".
But, my fear of Brian Tracy made me do something. Also the fact that he makes it quite easy and practical. Kinda like how those gurus tell us to start by flossing only ONE tooth a day! At least they care about us mortal beings who need to start extremely small in order to make progress.
So here's what I did. I opened up a Google Spreadsheet and broke down those lofty goals in my head into actionable steps. Then, I pasted those steps onto specific months, weeks and days.
I was extremely happy with myself. I probably even did my silly happy dance once I was done.
Have I managed to achieve any those broken down goals, you ask?
Can we please focus?
The break down was done. Let's celebrate that. The achievement bit of it is a story for another day.
3. Manic-Depression Realisations
After to a whole lot of ups and downs in the past three years, I've decided I'm done hiding. I'm done hiding from the present. I'm done hiding from my reality. I'm done hiding a reality where I regularly experience Bipolar II symptoms and try to keep it from most people by pretending to be as unaffected as possible.
I'm done hiding. I've slowly come to terms with the mental cards I was dealt.
There's a quote that coders use:
"It's not a bug, it's a feature."
I look at my symptoms and my "condition" the same way.
Thinking about it as a bug never helped my life. Thinking about it as a feature makes everything interesting. Even on the days when I go loco towards the people closest to me, or the days I'm glued to my bed on those dreaded mornings, or the days I'm the ultimate Energizer bunny. This feature of my complex brain has given me so many lessons and more gifts than I can count. It even gives me the kind of epiphanies necessary for a highly entertaining memoir.
I recently began to understand my triggers and how my mind is naturally programmed to react. I'm learning how to short-circuit the defaults and manoeuvre the thought processes that come with it. I'm also making a couple of life changes that will ease the long journey.
The good, the bad, the ugly. It's all me and I'm continuously captivated.
Meditation is by far the best thing I've added to my life. Ever.
I'm sorry Gym, but meditation wins by a landslide.
It's one of the life changes I adopted once I got to terms with the special feature in my mind.
My biggest regret in life (if I'm forced to have any, because I don't believe in having any) is not having started a meditation practice sooner. I should have started during my tumultuous twenties. Or during my confusing teenage years. But it's no problem. It's a case of better late than never.
This simple practice has changed everything about how I relate to my inner world.
I'm no longer a passive passenger in my body. I'm finally an active observer and contributor.
The mindfulness that meditation brings enables me to observe my thoughts more carefully than I never would have. I'd recommend it to any human being alive. Heck! I'd even recommend it to the ants I love watching! Those little guys work so hard and a little too much. Perhaps some mindfulness will allow them to live at ease and at a slower pace.
Regardless of whether your brain "needs" it or not, I recommend meditation. My mental complexities definitely gain from it a lot more in order to get through any normal day but that doesn't mean it should only be relegated to people like me.
Health experts always recommend Omega-3 supplements to the general populace. Regardless of whether some might need it more than others. I see meditation as the spiritual Omega-3 supplement in today's world.
Add it to my daily regimen and I promise you (with two hundred percent certainty), you will notice a difference soon enough.
You can get started quite easily (like I did) with the Headspace app.
5. The Power of Now
And speaking of mindfulness and how to handle your inner world, the number one book always recommended is The Power of Now.
It is the work of one of the greatest philosophical minds of our time - Eckhart Tolle.
He does an amazing job at explaining why we need to focus on the present moment. Finding power in the now.
In case you are not the book reading kind, his YouTube channel is worth checking out. It includes the thinking behind all his books and the advice he gives millions regarding how to better handle your inner world.
Here's everything again in summary: