Hooked with the “Same Drugs”

Nope, nothing illegal. I’ve just been hooked with Chance the Rapper’s song “Same Drugs” since October of last year. I thought I’ll get over it after a month or two, as what usually happens with my favorite songs after I claim that them to be the “BEST SONG EVER”. Obviously, I am not over this song. Same Drugs has oddly become my go-to song for rainy days and gloomy times. I listen to it at so many random moments ranging from when I’m folding and organizing clothes, to when I’m working on an intense task in the office.

While most people (including Chance) listen to Same Drugs and think of love lost, the song instead make me feel nostalgic. It feels like a conversation that I’m having with myself about the better times of the past, when I still had child-like wonder and vigor. As the repeating line in the chorus and the first line of the song says, “We don’t do the same drugs no more.” While I have never taken drugs (other than those prescribed) in my entire life, this paints such a clear picture to me. I sometimes look in the mirror and do not recognize who I am becoming anymore. I’ve grown up—too much to my liking, in fact. I no longer have the interests of my youth, and my experiences from just 3-5 years back feel like they happened a century ago. Growing up includes growing apart from who you’ve been–and that fact is just a mix of awesome, scary, and depressing.

The first verse of Same Drugs got me smiling, especially when I first heard the Peter Pan references.

When did you change?
Wendy, you’ve aged
I thought you’d never grow up
I thought you’d never
Window closed, Wendy got old
I was too late, I was too late
A shadow of what I once was

Does it get any more real that this? I can’t really pinpoint a specific moment in time when I “became” an adult. Even up to now, there are times that I don’t believe that I am one. I never saw myself being 26, working and unhappy. When I was younger, I’ve always assumed that life was going to be all fun and games. Too bad that it isn’t. Growing up means closing the window, and abandoning the trips to Neverland. It’s time to go home and be responsible.

Peter Pan and Wendy

(Photo not mine; found online)

The second verse is even more heart-breaking:

Where did you go?
Why would you stay?
You must have lost your marbles
You always were so forgetful
In a hurry, don’t wait up
I was too late, I was too late
A shadow of what I once was

Those two starting lines are lines that I’ve asked myself so many times–especially regarding my career and general direction in life. My growing up journey has been full of craziness (losing my marbles), hurry, and forgetting the ideals of my childhood. Before I knew it, I already made decisions for myself. It was too late for any regrets, or for starting over.

I particularly am in love with the next two lines of the song:

‘Cause we don’t, we don’t do what we say we’re gonna
You were always perfect, and I was only practice

There have been so many times that I’ve said that I was going to do something (quit a job, pursue a passion, follow my heart, travel the world, fall in love, etc) and I’d recant on my statement because of uncertainty. As I said earlier, when I was younger, I had an image in my mind that the adult/grown-up version of me will have things all figured out. Everything was going to be perfect. Fast forward to reality, my grown-up life is nowhere near perfect. It has always been like practice–trying something out, failing, picking myself back up, and trying again. It eventually got too scary to be bruised again, that practice eventually just meant staying in safety (like playing a game and saying that it’s not counted because “practice lang”) to give myself a cushion in case I fall flat on my face.

The next three lines just directly ask the tough questions:

Don’t you miss the days, stranger?
Don’t you miss the days?
Don’t you miss the danger?

I miss being more child-like and being more risky. I miss having the courage to try out something new. Nowadays, it’s become more about security and comfort–sticking with the familiar. Definitely no flying.

The first part of the outro is such a technical beauty with its phrasing and wordplay:

Don’t forget the happy thoughts
All you need is happy thoughts
The past tense, past bed time
Way back then when everything we read was real
And everything we said rhymed

Similar to Peter Pan, who says that all you need is happy thoughts to fly, I try to convince myself sometimes that I just need to think of all my youthful ideals and dreams to somewhat encourage me to be more bold and daring. And indeed I do think of them. I look at old files and old photos, from those times when life was filled with more wonder and fantasy–so simple, yet so easy–as if everything in the world is ours for the taking.

The second part of the outro brings me back to reality though:

Wide eyed kids being kids
Why did you stop?
What did you do to your hair?
Where did you go to end up right back here?
When did you start to forget how to fly?

To me, this is the best part of the song. I get teary-eyed whenever I hear these lines as I feel some form of longing for the younger version of me who was “wide-eyed” and knew how to “fly”. We go through so many changes as we grow up that everything just seems to lose its magic. There are just so many questions that I ask myself–why, what, where, when. And more often than not, there are just no straight-up answers.

The song ends with these lines:

Don’t you color out
Don’t you bleed on out, oh
Stay in the line, stay in the line
Dandelion

True enough, the older we get, the more society dictates us to stay within the boundaries and never color outside the lines. I say some form of this to myself every night before going to sleep to remind myself that I need to be mature and suck it all up–just do what needs to be done.

It’s a sad thought, but yeah. I don’t do the “same drugs” anymore. I seem to have used up all of my pixie dust.

Career Goals (and the Lack of It)

I have the attention span of a goldfish. When I get excited for something, I get REALLY excited and like a baby rocket or a ball launched in a pinball machine, off I go to planning out details, meeting up with everyone I need to talk to, and calendaring my entire life. After a few months though, my interest tapers off and you’d find me browsing on Facebook or updating my blog instead of doing what I need to do (a.k.a. now).

I realize now that a line (from Motion City Soundtrack’s Stand Too Close) that I used to attribute to an ex-flame can also be applicable to me:

They say I’m great at first, but then the magic fades into an awful hue of dismal views and pessimistic attitude.

Ask my current work bosses (my local boss, my regional boss, and my global boss), and they’d attest to my being Ms. Tapering Off. It’s been a common occurrence for them to hear me say that I want to do something new ’cause I’m already bored/tired/stressed with my current engagement. I am very blessed to have understanding managers because they always seem to understand my predicament, and allow me to take on new stuff whenever I feel like I’m at a dead end.

I guess this is why it’s been so hard for me to figure out what I really want to do in life. I’m your textbook definition of a jack of all trades. With my tendency to jump from one thing to another, it’s been difficult to pinpoint an expertise or a main strength. My managers just know that I’ll get done what needs to get done, but they’re pretty lost on what my path should be like as well.

That said, I have recently been having some enlightenment regarding my intended career path. There are two specific vocations that I can see myself enjoying:

  1. Executive Assistant to a brilliant, snobbish, yet kind (to me) boss of a big company a la Donna Paulsen to a Harvey Specter
  2. Leadership, project management and organization consultant for churches and non-profits

What’s cool about the two is that I don’t seem to need to pick just one of them. #1 can be a stepping stone before doing #2, as it will allow me to have experience with stakeholder interaction, executive leadership, and managing personalities. Exciting stuff.

When I get done with my PMP exam (prayers, please), I want to build a roadmap to get myself in those opportunities. I’m thinking taking additional courses, networking, applying everywhere that I can, finding a mentor, etcetera. Exciting stuff!!!!!!

Now, let’s hope my excitement does not taper off after two months…

(via Daily Prompt: Taper)

Help, I’m a detached ENFJ!

I’ve been feeling detached from the world nowadays, and it’s weird ’cause I don’t feel as sad about it as I expected. Normal ENFJ me craves connection, so I took it upon myself to dig deep and analyze what’s this crazy phase I seem to be in.

I tried to think about my behavior to validate if I have really become detached, or if I’m just being dramatic c/o PMS. I have observed the following:

  • I find it difficult to sustain conversations with friends nowadays. I love my friends, but it has become unnatural for me to figure out how to reply to certain stories and jokes. I think I have become the kebs friend who doesn’t seem to care.
  • I don’t even rally the troops to have some weekend getaway. Invite me out, and I’d probably hesitate. (Example: I’m supposed to have some resto-hopping at a hipster street in Makati today but I will likely not go because I want to work from home instead.)
  • I have not attended a gig in quite a while, and I just stayed until 10:30 pm the last one I went to in April.
  • I stay in our QC office 90% of the time to avoid having to be around people. I have grown to love sitting alone in my cubicle.
  • I have no regrets on spending more money on my commute just to avoid having to do small talk with a ka-carpool via Uberpool or GrabShare.
  • I have uninstalled Viber from my laptop, and I’ve muted all Viber notifications. I don’t even reply to people on Twitter.
  • Whenever there is a choice, I’d rather stay home and spend time alone watching shows on Netflix or thinking about the next project I need to get done.

While those mentioned above might sound ‘normal’ to some, they are completely odd for a person who is 100% extroverted like me. I then tried to pinpoint certain events that have happened in the last 2-3 months that may have affected my behavior. I thought of the following:

  • Two mini-heartbreaks with my two serious crushes (one has left our company, and the other one seems to already have a girlfriend)
  • Crazy period at work as I am in a project that’s so high-pressure, with a lot of things that are beyond my control; I always end up feeling stupid and inadequate
  • Figured out that I haven’t figured out what I want to do in life; thus, I feel like I’m stuck in a career rut
  • Overwhelmed with a feeling of responsibility as I got assigned as national youth director for our denomination (+ the recent incident in Mindanao that jarred me beyond comprehension)
  • Pressure from my other various assignments (e.g. singles’ retreat, work initiatives, church ministry, discipleship, etc)
  • Pressure from my upcoming PMP exam!!!!!
  • Slight fear c/o my upcoming wisdom tooth extraction
  • Absorbing the stress from everyone I interact with and from everyone who won’t pull their own weight

Pretty crazy times, I must say. There’s just a general feeling of tiredness and lethargy.

One time, while I was trying to label what I was feeling, I chanced upon this term called “empathy burnout”. It totally made sense. It’s exactly how I felt! When the article mentioned that ENFJs “unconsciously absorb other’s emotions in real time”, I just wanted to stand from my seat and pump my fist in the air in celebration as it validated how I was feeling inside. I felt like a sponge for my entire life–having to absorb everything that’ going on around me just to keep the peace. This paragraph from the article just sums up an ordinary day for me —

The negative side to the feeling abilities of NFJs is that they can feel overwhelmed with the emotional input of others. Because they are in a constant state of “absorbing emotions” they can struggle with finding any internal peace if there is any external conflict at all. As an INFJ myself I know that I can’t sleep if someone in my household is upset. I’ll lay in bed feeling their pain and trying to imagine some way to resolve the situation and return my home to a place of harmony.  Reading the news can be especially difficult for NFJs, as they are so touched by the hardships of people worldwide and find themselves immersing themselves in what it would be like to undergo other people’s hardships.

I tried to look at more articles, and they support what I am feeling. (I know, it’s nothing scientific but I’m a firm MBTI believer.) This ThoughtCatalog article says this about what a “rut” looks like for an ENFJ:

An ENFJ in a rut reverts to their introverted thinking. Usually empathetic and decisive, the ENFJ will become cold and overly analytical – they take a detached view of those around them and may make harsh judgments under the guise of ‘just being honest.’ This normally understanding type become pessimistic about themselves and those around them – criticizing others without warrant and refusing to show their loved ones the compassion that usually defines their very personality.

This write-up on PersonalityGrowth.com says this about what being in a “high stress” state does to an ENFJ:

If the ENFJ feels like they have too many demands placed upon them, and like they are not being appreciated they may feel extreme levels of stress. When they feel like others are taking them for granted the ENFJ loses sight of their normal behaviors. The ENFJ will no longer focus so strongly on tending to the emotions of others, but rather become much more analytical than usual. They will begin to critique the details of everything and may ponder a thought for a while before they attempt to speak. They will uncharacteristically withdraw from others, feeling very drained by the presence of too many people. The ENFJ is normally very focused on how they affect others, but under stress they may become overly critical. They probably stop attempting to make contact and no longer feel a desire to organize social events. Their strong focus on facts and logic may be skewed and overly critical.

From AdviceAmerica, on ENFJs under stress:

The empathetic nature of the ENFJ causes them to take the blame for conflict or failure. They often hold these feelings inside to keep the peace, losing sight of their own feelings in a sacrifice for the common good of all. Over time ENFJs dissociate themselves or stuff the emotions they feel deeply inside until some future point when it explodes out in emotional upheaval, anger or irrational sudden outbursts.

There’s even this brilliant infographic from PsychologyJunkie that captures this ‘phenomenon’ perfectly:

ENFJ-Stress

Okay, so there seems to be an explanation to my current blah attitude to life. Since I’ve been in a high-stress environment for quite a while and things don’t seem to improve, I have relegated to my “keep-it-in” mode, which has been making me detached from others. Makes sense, really. Sometimes when I wake up, I wish to not have to interact with anyone so that I don’t have to absorb their concerns in life. When my mom tells me about her issues nowadays, I even literally cover my ears and beg her not to talk to me about it because I will tend to absorb it and put it upon myself to fix the situation.

Now, how to get out of this rut…