Changes-Are Afoot?

I wish this were true.  I have been contemplating changes for some time now; but I can’t seem to settle on which direction to take. Return to school for a Masters or re-open another cafe, I can’t land on either one.

If I return to school what degree should I take: English, Creative Writing, History, Law, Business?  I am interested in them all.

If I go for https://gordopdx.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=786&action=edit&message=10the cafe where should I open it: in my hometown, or Portland, or somewhere else?  I mean if location is undecided, why not throw all options out there?

Part of my decision is affected by a sense of duty to my father.  I have not always suffered this feeling, in fact I have usually done what made me free.  I keep people at arms length; this makes leaving easier.  I suffer no entanglements.

Of course my greatest regret is walking away from my son.  The courts called it abandonment, while that was not my intent; that is what it was.  And it still stings.

I believe that moving back to Quincy, IL is the World’s or the Universe’s way of giving me a chance not only to mend fences with my father-our relationship has been rocky-but an opportunity to rectify that decision to walk.

The chance is there to make a better decision.  To prove I am different, more mature, I feel I must stay.  Yet I wake up almost every day looking for a way to escape.

It is not the relationship I look to escape-our relationship has never been better.  It is the town and the people, I seek freedom from.

A few weeks ago, my father and I were talking over morning coffee.  I often walk over to his house to check in and chat about life, and work.  Part of the conversation had to do with what I would do next.  He wanted to know if I planned to open another restaurant.

“I don’t know, Dad.  I am scared that I don’t have it in me.  I am scared I will have another Shanghai experience”.

“What is a Shanghai experience?”

I told him. “When I was in China, towards the end of my second year, I went up to Shanghai to look for a job.  There was a big job fair at the Shanghai Library, for foreign workers.  Now I suspected it would all be teaching jobs, but I went hoping there would be one company looking for a foreigner to do a non-teaching job.”

By now my second cup of coffee is finished brewing, so I retrieve it.

Continuing, “When I get to the library it is all schools.  I am dressed in slacks and a freshly pressed button down.  My shoes are polished; and my face is shaved.  I am ready to impress.  And I do.  Many of the schools’ representatives question me at length.  I pick up applications left and right.  I troll the room twice, just to make sure I haven’t overlooked a company which is not a school or private tutor business.  There are none. ”

Dad remains quiet.  My mom would be asking all kinds of questions.  And to every one of them I would answer “I am getting to that.  Wait a minute.”  Of course she would wait about 30 seconds and invariably I would get sidetracked and ramble on some tangent for 5 or 10 minutes.

“So I sit down at a table, with all my applications.  I have my resume, head shots, references, passport and pens.  As I look at the collection of papers in front of me, I begin to think of all the energy, perseverance, and charm I need to complete the process.  I delve deep inside to gather all I need and nothing.  I almost cry.  In a daze I put all my belongings into my bag.  Leaving the applications there, I numbly leave the room and the building.  I am scared to think of opening another restaurant.  I am afraid there is nothing inside if I look.  So I am not even thinking about it.  Instead I am thinking of getting a Masters Degree.”

Dad was supportive of the idea.  He has been supportive of me since I moved back.  It has been a real change for him.  I appreciate the support and the change.

If he hadn’t changed, and still tried to tell me how to be and what to do in life; it would be easy to leave.  I could say I tried and made the effort.  Perhaps I haven’t changed.  Despite all my travels and all my readings, and efforts to improve and become a different person, a better person, I am not that different than the young man who left Quincy 20 years ago.

My mother says that we should bloom where we are planted.  And I have worked hard to be planted some where. anywhere but Quincy.  Yet here I am.  Here I am fighting being planted in this spot.  I work hard to see every deficiency this patch of ground contains.  I long for other ground.  Every spot seems preferable.  Even though I know this to be false.  For I have found spots which contained many deficiencies.

I try to change my mindset, but I find I can not for more than a day or two.  Part of my failure to change lies in the uncertainty of where I want to go in life.  I can’t choose at this time.  My focus comes back to leaving, and the certainty that I will be better able to bloom, if only I where planted elsewhere.

At least I know what I have to change-my perspective.  I just don’t know how to do it.  For when I wake up and see where I am, I can’t block out the deficiencies.

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What Challenges My Creativity?

Besides life and second jobs?  Nothing else really…except myself.  The voice of doubt is forever going off in my head.  Anxiousness.  When this strikes I can’t sit still and I make a bazillion trips to the fridge.  I walk aimlessly around the house.  I channel surf and on the plus side I begin to clean my rather messy house.  I even do dishes, but I just never seem to get to the bathroom.

Another problem is the amount of time I use trying to write a paragraph.  I can use an hour.  Then I get frustrated that I could have been doing something else.  Then I get frustrated that is whole writing thing is a farce, and that maybe I should move on and forget it.  And it all sort of spirals away from me.  I will spend more time reeling it back together, before sitting down and picking up a pen.

I have recently begun thinking about a potential problem, well problems.  How do I know I am done?  Where do I send my finished stories?  What format do I use?  Where do I find the answer to this question?

Naps.  I love my naps.  I have been working on writing  for a couple of hours, then napping, then getting up and begin writing again.  I am much better at this.

Embarrassment.  I have returned to my hometown and I find I don’t feel comfortable sharing my writing with anyone here.  I feel out of place here.  I have always felt out of place here.  It is one of many reasons I moved away (I should write them all down and see how many there are).  I feel embarrassed to share what I have written.  I am embarrassed to find how critical I consider others. and the situation I have found here.  I am embarrassed how little I have accomplished in writing.  I have begun 20 stories at least, yet I have to finish one.

Feeling trapped.  i feel trapped here.  I feel trapped by money.  I feel trapped by lack of activities here.  I feel trapped by lack of friends.  I feel trapped by not blending in.  I feel I can’t go out to eat alone, or to the movies alone, or to the small events this place has, alone.  I feel trapped by that.  I feel trapped that all I can think about is leaving.  And I feel trapped that I have an obligation to my father.  Of course most responsibility leaves me feeling trapped.  Though I don’t feel trapped by making this commitment to writing-in fact it is freeing.  I feel trapped by life here.

Alone.  I have been alone a long time.  Yet until I moved back here I never felt loneliness.  It leaves me scared and full of despair.  It makes me question if I have made the right decisions.  I know when I travel every aspect of life feels right.  I know living in Portland feels right.  Almost nothing about here feels right.  Only looking after my father feels right; and I still feel trapped by that, which in turn leaves me feeling guilty.

Despair.  I despair that I am stuck in this town until I die.  While this town is great to raise a family, and is fairly safe-hell i still leave my front door unlocked and windows unbarred-it is no place for me.  Yet I keep coming back to my father.  For I despair to leave him here without family.  There is no lesser of two despairs.  He is in his 70’s and is a big rambling house and while he is the absent minded professor-by type and literally-I believe it to getting worse.  But I am not sure, if it this is true.  Perhaps I am seeing what is not really there.  My grandfather on my mother’s side suffered Alzheimer’s and I was one of the first to give voice to this fact.  Of course I was young and dismissed.  Now I see similar things but not as severe as my grandfather. My dad has always been forgetful.  I am not sure what to do, or say, or should I say anything.  While our relationship is fairly good these days, it wasn’t always.  I have never been his favorite son, that distinction goes to my brother.  But he is on the coast, with a family, and new job, and isn’t here.  My brother’s and I’s relationship has been rocky too.  I am still peeved that he didn’t answer my pleas for help.  I more or less insisted that he move here to help dad.  That way I could move away and travel the world.  It might have been selfish but I know if I travel everything will feel right again.  And maybe in that rightness, the answer will come to me.

I am sure I have other blocks to creativity.  I am sure I will touch upon all of this again.  In fact I have been writing about the second job, and the situation with my dad.  All I want at this point is  to leave here.  And the guilt of that desire is crushing my soul.

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