November 14, 2010
If I could only impart one fragment of wisdom to everyone who has ever looked up to me or been interested in what I had to say, it would be to embrace transience. The concept that nothing is static, that everything changes, is contrary to human nature because we don't see the world from beyond our own eyes. We're hellbent on holding on to the things we love in life because we see the world in black and white. We know what we want and what we don't want, what is good and what is bad. We're scared of the things we like going away because we can't imagine ourselves changing in such a way that we like something else better.
Growing up, I didn't see the world through the eyes of one boy. It was as if my vision was outside of myself, like I was just an onlooker. Always on the outside looking in. I learned so much in this state. I'd understand both sides of a debate, even when I had an opinion. I'd understand why people did the things that they did. My life was a complex network of cogs and springs, which I watched in amazement. Somewhere in my life, I lost this. Now it's coming back. And honestly, that's exactly what I need.
I think I've finally figured it out. I understand where that insight went, why it left, why it's coming back. I won't assume this is true for everyone, but it's certainly the way I'm wired and I can't possibly be the only one. I went from spectator to participant in this world right as the pieces aligned to form what I considered an ideal life. everything was great, I had what I wanted in life, and I was able to step in to it and live for the moment. This lasted a few years, and it was a happy time. I wasn't happier than I had been before, just a different type of happy. My only regret is that I become overly comfortable, started planning too much.
Now, things aren't the same sort of 'ideal' that they used to be. For a while, I continued to view the world through only my two eyes and thought to myself what might be the most disgusting words of encouragement to ever escape the lips of humanity.."Tomorrow will be better." I thought this was optimism, that if I kept my head up I could stay here, in this mindset, in this phase of life, until the pieces aligned once again. The truth is, real optimism is saying today is good the way it is. This is the life I am in, and I can exist here happily. By abandoning the life I had built and comfortably settled in to in favor of transience, I found the happiness I depended upon all those years ago.
I see the world with greater clarity, and I accept that I am changing along side the world I live in. I don't dwell on my desires, but accept the fact that they will change time and time again until a day comes where the life I dream of and the life I have intersect and I once again can take a moment of respite on this journey.
I find the easiest way to get over myself, to see past my minuscule field of vision, is to help others. The people I care about face trials I have faced, and the lessons I have learned become very valuable. Sometimes it takes a few friends coming to you for advice or comfort to show you how insignificant you and your problems are, even within your own life.
My name is Cody Jerome Albert, and I am one of the strangest people you have ever met. I escape the monochromatic hell that life can become by allowing dissonance to color my world. I have my demons, but I don't let them get me down because I am not the main character of my own life story. I am not lost, because I don't know or care to know where I am going. So talk to me about your life, your struggles, your dreams. Share with me your opinions, your experiences, your feelings. Ask me anything at all. And heck, try something new today.
August 27, 2010
This is about me. It's about the type of person I am, the way I think, and what you're getting yourself in to if you want to be my friend. This is as honest as I can ever be with anyone. I don't even know where to start, so I'll start from the beginning.
Somewhere around middle school, maybe 7th or 8th grade, I started to realize the type of person I was. At the time, I would have explained that I always feel like I'm on the outside of every situation looking in. An observer. Now I see that a more accurate description would be a left-brained idealist. A logical dreamer. A paradox. I think way too much to believe everything will turn out as I picture, but the picture is still very vivid and detailed. Innocent, but not naive. Romantic, but realistic. I promise it's possible.
I'm shy, but not half as shy as I used to be. I still don't talk very much, but that usually means I'm observing. That part of me still has yet to change, and I doubt it ever will. Unfortunately, being quiet makes you unapproachable. Being self conscious makes you hesitant to approach others. That's about where I am right now, and that's what I have to overcome. Because honestly, I'm lonely. When I'm not talking to people I get depressed. As introverted as I was as a kid, I absolutely love talking to people now. Anyone. Everyone. Even people I don't like, I'd gladly have a conversation with.
I'm addicted to dreaming. And when I dream, I dream big. Sometimes I become disconnected from reality until something comes along and brings me back down to the ground. I don't know if it's healthy or not, but it certainly helps me cope. I've always wished I could draw. Sometimes the dreams, the visions, the things my mind creates while it is idle..they're indescribable. If I could draw them, you'd understand.
Long walks on the beach are lame, but long walks between the hours of 2 and 4 AM are incredible. I find myself outside of coffee shops with my laptop or a book increasingly often. I don't take identity in my status as hardcore gamer or wakeboarder, but in the unique way my mind seems to work. I can get along with anyone because I never allow myself to really fit in to one group or another. That's just who I am.
I know this has been all over the place, but it's my best attempt to really define myself. Certain things about the way I think and react are still a mystery even to me. I try to see everything in life from every possible viewpoint, but often I don't even know what my own is. It drives me crazy.
Anyways, I've been open with everyone who reads this. If you've made it this far, introduce yourself to me. Leave a comment, message me (I'm pretty much always on facebook), I don't care. Doesn't matter if we haven't talked in years or if we're best friends. Tell me something I don't know about you, ask me a question, do whatever. I love talking to people.
July 5, 2010
The past two months or so have been some of the craziest times of my life. Without going into too much detail, the best way to sum it up is that my life has been falling apart, and I've been powerless. Everything has been changing, I've lost many things that I was convinced I'd have forever, and the only thing that's been constant is that at no point have I wanted to be sad. In fact, every step along the way I've really really wanted to be happy, to be content. This is much harder than it sounds. Hanging out with friends and doing things that I loved let me see glimpses of happiness, but I wasn't there yet until recently. I knew it existed, I knew I could attain it, but it took some time. Now, I'm happy. In the New Testament, Paul tells the early church to rejoice in their trials, find happiness in suffering, and I think I've finally figured out how to go about that. Because while my life still isn't what I want it to be necessarily, I'm happy with it regardless.
My life, my family, my relationships, my hobbies..imagine with me for a second that all of those things were materialized as a beautiful vase. Elegant, perfect, expensive, and on display for the world to see. Surely I'll pass this on to my children, who will pass it to their children, etc. A true heirloom. Until a gust of wind shoots through an open window and the vase lies on the floor in pieces. How is one to react? The natural first though is that their must be a way to fix it. Get the hot glue. Tape. Maybe an expert will know what to do. Maybe we can ask around. This vase was everything, it was supposed to be on that table forever. This isn't what I had planned. Now what.
How do you fix a broken vase? Or a broken life, for that matter.
Well, time for some lateral thinking. A broken vase cannot be fixed, but it can be unbroken. It can be changed into something else. A mosaic, for example. The pieces aren't back together, all is not resolved, but its not broken now. Its something different. Something better, maybe. No point in worrying about the shards of glass on the floor. Now they're something beautiful.
So this is what I'm faced with. Everything I knew is different, but only time will tell what happens from here. I am, however, happy. I'm happy with the way things are, despite them not being "what I wanted". I'm happy with the future, even though I don't know what it holds. I don't need money, I don't need security, I don't need a degree, I don't need a girlfriend, nothing that I don't have keeps me from being content and that is an amazing feeling. All of those would be great, but..well, I'm coming to enjoy the mystery of what I will and won't end up actually getting because I know that I have everything I need. I also believe in a God who promises us what we need, but likes to give us what we want. Perhaps I needed to learn what I actually needed, and the only way to go about that is to lose everything else else and find happiness regardless.
Well, that's all I've got. The vase is broken, but the mosaic is pretty neat once you learn to appreciate it. I'm happy with my life, I'm happy with myself, and I'm happy with a mysterious future. I also like talking to new people, so if you read these then no need to be shy!
June 19, 2010
I've been selfish. For two reasons.
First reason- My dream. My lifelong aspiration. For years, years, it has been my goal in life to be wise. Like, really wise. More than money, more than fame, I wanted wisdom. And great as it sounds and all, it's selfish. Guess what, I know the end of the story. I die, and whatever was in my brain isn't anymore. It's all so fragile. We can't excavate the knowledge left from someone passed away..all that data is instantly wiped. So I have a new dream. One that's similar, but different too. I'll talk about it later.
Second reason- I loved my life. I had a great life, a perfect life even. I couldn't have possibly asked for more. In fact, things were so nice that I never felt like stepping outside of my life. I lost some perspective, stopped seeing things from the outside, became comfortable. Friends struggled, and I did not mourn with them. Others grew away from me, and I did not pursue them. I lose some friends, and I didn't really care. Because I didn't really need them. It took turmoil to wake me up. Only after I no longer had that perfect life did I look outside of it, and start to realize how much I needed others. Now when the people I care about face trials, I am sad with them. I share that burden, because they were there to share my burden. My life is far from what I want it to be, and that's a good thing.
That being said, I apologize to everyone. To my friends, whom I wasn't really there for because I thought "being there" meant giving them someone to come to, not being someone who goes to them when they are in need. I apologize to my former friends, because..well whoever is to blame for the end of the relationship, I have no doubt in my mind that I didn't do my part to save it. I haven't a clue what happens from here, but at the very least I promise to you that no matter what our relationship is, I'm willing to talk.
So, back to dreams. After 5 or 6 years, I have a new dream. A new goal in life.
I want to change lives.
Dreadfully cliche, no? I guess I should be more specific. I still want to be wise, but not so I can sit around and revel in my wisdom. I want to make people think differently. I want them to reconsider their lives, reconsider their choices, reconsider the way they think..anything, so long as it is a catalyst for change. Catalyst is a good word for it. I don't need credit, I don't even want credit. I just want to start something. Because when I die, that will continue. And I'm saddened by the shortsightedness of my generation.
I don't really know what this looks like, to be perfectly honest, and I expect it to change through my life. For now, maybe my writing is the best way for me to change people. In the future, maybe my audible words will have the same weight. Maybe just the way I choose to live my life will affect people. I have no idea. But whatever it may be, I want to know that I made a difference, that I contributed to something greater than myself. I never even imagined that I had been living for myself, but I think I see that now. I think many people my age live for themselves. And if Wikipedia taught us anything, its that collective intelligence is a powerful thing. In other words, its impossible to see the truth without reaching outside of your own life, sharing with others, discovering things. No matter how hard I think, I'll be wrong about things until I hear someone else's view on it.
My life is open now. I hope yours is too. Then, maybe we'll be able to accomplish something great.
June 12, 2010
People love spilling their secrets. They love being interviewed. Love answering questions. Love showing what they are thinking to others, being interesting in that regard. Formspring. Postsecret. Questionnaires. Lists of items where you bold every one you have done before. You all know exactly what I'm talking about. Most of you are guilty of one of these. I know I am.
So why do we come out so openly on the internet? Inhibitions, self-consciousness, social anxiety... These are issues ALL of us deal with. Most people can't look someone in the eye and say "Yes, I lost my virginity. Yes, I smoke pot. Yes, I do things that are socially unacceptable." And yet, when we are just typing our deepest and darkest secrets into a computer, or pasting them to a postcard and mailing them away, it's so easy! We aren't considering the reactions of people reading, the faces they make, the thoughts they think.. It's like closing your eyes before downing that disgusting cough syrup. This can be very good, and very bad.
We'll start with the bad. What is the Formspring Effect doing to us? Well, perhaps more than anything, my generation isn't learning to be social. We aren't learning how to look each other in the eyes, how to be open, how to connect with each other. We all know more about each other than ever before, but all that knowledge seems to inhabit some different layer than the one we interact with each other on. The quiet, severely introverted wallflower finds this great way to express himself and get his mind and his heart out to others, but it takes him seven freaking years to learn how to look a friend in the face and tell them how he feels. He can post to Livejournal, Xanga, Myspace, Facebook, Blogger, etc. telling everyone he knows that his heart is truly mourning over events in his life, but he becomes complacent and never conquers his inability to go to lunch with someone and talk to them about that pain.
God forbid anyone know who I'm talking about right now.
And yes, I used to always be terrified when someone came up to me in person and wanted to talk to me about my blog posts.
So what about the good? Well, I think this whole development is very interesting. In the same way many people use it as a crutch to avoid social development, others seem to find it as a springboard. Answering these questions about their thoughts and their hearts helps build those neural connections, gets them analyzing themselves sooner. Heck, I swear the next generation is becoming mature faster than mine did, because they are being given so many ways to express themselves. And I remember very vividly that expressing myself lead to me realizing there was something to express, which lead to self-discovery, which lead to who I am now. Kids are trying to answer some very difficult questions about themselves sooner. And maybe, just MAYBE, they are finding the answers sooner than we ever hoped to.
This story is definitely not over. I'm pretty interested to see how social networking affects the world as we know it. The dynamics of our relationships are being drastically altered by the internet, and that's kind of cool. But do yourself a favor- find a good friend, look them in the eye, and tell them how you feel. Don't get stuck venting your feelings through one way glass.
June 5, 2010
I want to start writing again. I do. However, at times like this, my thoughts aren't exactly..linear. There is no train of thought to catch a ride on. They are more like fireworks. This is what has made it difficult for me to write recently. So lets dissect it. Find the themes. What literary devices are at work here. What is the thesis.
As far as I am from an English major, these principles seem to work in so many other places.
So, themes. The phoenix metaphor comes to mind. As does the power of words. Trials. Perseverance. Providence. Oh, that's a good one..providence. Faith is another good one.
I'm reading Lullaby. It's essentially the story of a reporter who discovers an old poem which actually turns out to be a spell, painlessly killing anyone who it is used on. Sounds like a neat story, and I'm sure there's some deep metaphors at work here. However, we don't have to search for them. Palahniuk has a way of throwing his literary devices at people- he'll just tell you. Its about sound, words, quietness, society. We are afraid of silence. At the same time, we want our words to have power. We pray. We read books and watch cartoons about magic, spells, etc. We imagine physical consequences to sounds as a representation of the mental and emotional consequences we know exist.
How about another theme. The phoenix one. Rebirth. Its funny how that applies to everything. I mean, its always true. Whether we're talking about civilizations rising from the ashes of their predecessors, or even the fact that most injuries a human can endure lead to some sort of resilience. Broken bones are stronger when they repair. Viruses leave behind immunities.
And now I can finally start to form a line, a train of thought, a story. This is why I have to write. Perseverance. Just as breaking a bone makes it stronger, a broken person comes back stronger. Pain and suffering are good, in the long run. It just sucks while the bone is still broken. Impatience may be the enemy of humanity.
And from there, providence. We need pain to develop perseverance, but we also need to be nursed back to health. We all need to cope. There are an infinite number of ways people find to do this. For me, its talking. Talking to others. Bouncing ideas off of people. Making sure I'm sane, making sure I'm viewing things objectively. Not being consumed. And lo and behold, I find people in my life to do just that. The things I'm going through right now, I could probably name 5 different people going through something similar. Similar, but not identical. That's the beauty of it. I don't have to screw up time and time again, just share my experiences and learn from others. Grow close to the people who are enduring trials as well, and find the light at the end of the tunnel.
The best way to deal with a lack of control in your life is to help others.
It's the engineer in me, I swear. We fix things. Solve problems. What do you do when faced with a problem that can't be fixed? You help someone else fix their problems, and you wait. Maybe tomorrow's invention will bring the solution you need. Maybe it won't. But at least you're fixing something.
I imagine this all makes no sense to anyone. That's ok. It's served its purpose. So now that the pieces are a bit more connected, lets start from the beginning.
Never in my life have I been in a more interesting position. It's intriguing. My life interests me. It's creepy. Many things have happened, none of which are particularly relevant, Nor is it possible to name one, as my position right now is definitely the product of many different elements. However, I'm here. And there seems to be a spot for me in society, a spot where I can still do what I like to do- solve problems. All while learning patience, learning perseverance, learning to have faith. I don't know what tomorrow holds, or the next day, or the next year, or anything like that. This is new. Or rather, I am no longer under the illusion that I know my future. On one side of things, I feel powerless. On the other, I feel free. And perhaps this is why my life is so interesting right now. Every thought has a counterthought, everything's a battle, for every action there is an opposite but equal reaction. For every reward, there is a risk. The risk is me falling off of the earth, my mind drifting somewhere up in space. The reward is happiness, and the life I dream of. Oddly enough, that dream changes pretty frequently.
I plan to start writing again, and hopefully I can get a rein on my thoughts before long. As pretty as fireworks are, they are never really going anywhere. For me, that's probably because I don't know where to go. But once I have a direction, I'll start running again.
April 8, 2010
As you may have seen on that last post, things have been looking somewhat grim. However, I'm optimistic. Maybe its the fact that summer seems to be right around the corner, but I'm ready to make things better.
I would like to first clarify that not everything is bad. In fact, my life is pretty good. But that's no thanks to me. So if I do my part to make things better, then I just might be able to get through college! Hurray!
So here's the plan:
-Drop to 160 lbs by the end up the summer (current: 177)
-Learn the meaning of proper hygiene
-Learn how to study BEFORE a test is coming up
-Make some friends
And how will I accomplish all this at once? Well here's what I'm hoping for.
Every tues, wed, thurs, and either saturday or sunday (other days, if plans permit):
-30 minutes of Wii Fit
-30 minutes taking shower, brushing teeth, using acne stuff that smells funny
-30 minutes to an hour of textbook reading
7 days a week:
-1 soda per day (2 on weekends)
-Eat until I'm satisfied, not stuffed
-Asleep by 2:30 AM (Gotta start somewhere)
-Be more social
So now anyone reading this is wondering, "Why the heck do I need to know all that?" There are two reasons.
1. I'm open to any other suggestions on this stuff.
2. Accountability! If its public, I have to keep up with it, right? Seriously though, the more nagging I get the better. I'm pretty serious about this.
And no mom and dad, number 2 doesn't apply to you. You've nagged me on this stuff for 20 years, it's not going to start working now.
Anyways, the plan is to drop the stress and doubts that have made it hard for me to be happy. Here's to hoping it works out.
March 24, 2010
We'll start with the good. I'm almost done with my second year of college, and I haven't yet gotten kicked out. I can now program, and I'm pretty good at it. Some great video games have come out, I have become the leader of my guild in World of Warcraft (laugh all you want), and Kaitlyn isn't going anywhere any time soon.
Now for the rest. Schools a big stress factor in my life right now. Half way through, I'm starting to realize that I don't like it. I like what I'm learning, but the stress I'm putting on myself with 15 credits and 20 hours at work a week keeps me pretty uptight. This semester has been particularly bad, for some reason. Some might call it depression. I've already had to add an extra semester to my school plans, and my grades are hardly noteworthy.
On that note.. I've failed two classes. Gotten two C's. The rest are B's.
I need to know it gets better from here, and I've heard people say it does, but I've heard people say it gets worse too. I've thought about changing to a Computer Science major, but my self esteem has hit an all time low as it is. Compromising on my choice of major and throwing away a ton of the effort I put in for 7 solid years leading up to college would be incredibly disappointing. Yet, part of me just wants to accept that school will suck, go with the easier major, get done and get on with my life. I am very envious of people who love college, and I don't know why I'm so stressed all the time and they aren't. In some of my classes, I can't figure out why everyone seems to know what's going on and how to solve the problems except me. And I can't shake the fact that having to retake Calculus 1 and 2 gives me a pretty low chance to graduate, based on the statistics.
On that note, I may as well mention the second big punch to the face, and huge blow to my self esteem, that I took in the last year and a half.
Friends. Or rather, my lack thereof recently. I'll have to leave out many of the details- just because I'll spill everything I'm thinking doesn't mean I can talk about other people. However, lets just say I can count my close friends on one hand now. Betrayal, self-righteousness, apathy.. practically something different for each friend I've lost. I'm pretty confident that I haven't changed, so I can't help but wonder if they changed or if some of them were only my friends until I needed them to stand up for me. And after that whole mess, I really don't have anyone who is in a position to stand up for me. I tell myself it doesn't bug me anymore, that I'm over it. But it keeps me from sleeping at least once a week.
So I'm stressed. I need help. I need advice. I need time. I've thought of everything. I've considered quitting my job, but watching my bank account drain as fast as it would can only create more stress. I've thought about cutting back on video games, or quitting WoW, but that game is perhaps the only thing other then Kaitlyn that is keeping me sane. I'll be honest, the only things that consistently make me happy are hanging out with friends and raiding.
I mentioned being a guild leader, and I doubt most people know what that means. It's essentially a group of players that get to know each other, talk, and group up for either 10 man or 25 man dungeons. We have over 100 members, and a Facebook group with 45 people in it ranging from 15 to 60ish. And I, along with 7 officers, keep everything afloat. And I don't want to get cocky, but its the only thing I do where I honestly feel like I'm not half bad at it. They respect me (despite being mostly older then me), and I can get some very good advice from them. We have at least 3 people who were Computer Engineer Majors, some who made it through and some who switched to other things. And lets be honest.. it feels good to stab dragons. Those people make me proud, and I can't convince myself that stepping back from that would be good for me.
Well, I think that's all I really have to say for now. But I need advice. Do I stay with my major? Am I making some huge mistake in life that I'll end up regretting? Are my priorities out of order? I can't tell anymore.. I find myself just trying to make it to the next week.