Photos and Words of Patrick Calder

I live in Washington, DC with 1 cat named Pixel, 6 cameras, 3 computers, 158 movies, 286 books, and 1 bowling pin. I own the Design Foundry and pretend to be a graphic designer by day.

Please keep in mind that this post is more than 3 years old. Opinions change. Tastes change. Everything changes. I may still agree with or like this, or I may not. But everything is kept up here for archival purposes.

who pulled out the rug? / September 8, 2008

I think I’ve spent much of my life screwing myself over.

Admittedly, I have the social skills of a turnip. I’m willing to chalk that up to just some twisted little genetic joke. But every attempt at self-improvement seems to have been tragically flawed.

Somewhere along the way I got this image of what is good, what is appropriate, what is productive. It’s a shame that this image doesn’t have anything to do with reality. It’s like some warped melding of Disney, Normal Rockwell, Boys Life, and a couple dozen after-school specials. I’ve forever been constructing this ideal, howdydoody, good-guy image, and trying to live up to it. But it inevitably seems I missed those days and those discussions where people are told that this isn’t how the world really works. And it turns out that I not only wasted my time making myself into something irrelevant, but that I can’t even relate well to my friends because I’m not on the same page any more.
At best, it seems to take me years to catch up with where everyone else is with their life. And it’s not like they stopped changing. I’m perpetually behind and trying to keep up.

No sulking here. No woe-is-me. My decisions, my screw-ups. Its just frustrating.
I think for a few years there, between the chaos of college, and my more recent attempts at once again being social, my life was quiet and calm. It wasn’t so much good, though — looking back. I was simply never challenged in any significant way. And if there’s one sure thing I’ve learned about myself, it’s that I don’t improve without challenge.

Now I find myself with more social relationships than I’ve had since college. I’m trying to deal with friendships and more. At first, I’d just simply forgotten what it was like. But this isn’t even college anymore. So it’s not even the same. There’s whole new levels of complexity for me to completely misinterpret.

So I don’t know what to be. It isn’t that I’m not “being myself”. I you’re following along here, you see I don’t know what “myself” is. These overly-simplified and idealistic things I tried to use as my foundation are not really functional. And I’m sick of seeing things slip through my fingers because I didn’t recognize them in time.

No answers right now. But this isn’t intended to be a dire message or anything. Just something I’ve been meaning to put into words.

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