Tag Archives: andrey starostin

My YouTube Endeavor

I used to be a photographer.
I got burnt out trying to pursue a career in editorial and commercial photography.
I let it get to me.
I gave up.
I quit.

Once I put the camera down, I let the creative in me settle for less.

Now, I’m back. In more frames than one.

24 Frames a second.

Sometimes 60.

I’m making movies.

Here’s one I made for my dear friends after we helped them move to Tennessee. They will be missed.

The reward for good work is more work…

Let me know what you think of my movie.
Comment if you’ve ever been burnt out of your passion.
Share where you fell short, proudly.

Taking ownership is a beautiful thing.
Expecting failure, planning for derailment, anticipating straying from the path…
That can drive you mad, but it’s a lot more realistic than demanding perfection.
Plan to refocus yourself
like meditation
That will keep you out of insanity.

I love you guys,
Thank you for your support.

Andrey Starostin

Love Language

Total Read Time: 6 Minutes

“I thought they were another Buzzfeed quiz. You know? Those clickbait type quizzes to learn what kind of Pokémon you are?”


Don’t touch

See yourself in your Lover’s eyes
Painted holy and still tacky

Who am I then?

A museum piece
Preserved in a state of fallacy
For you’ll never again be
Who you were a minute ago

What if I stay really still?

And dry?
No, I’m Andrey.

I’ve been cleaning my suit of armor
Thinking with every passing day
How safe am I?

If I stare at this chest plate
Do I look away, Like I do reflections elsewhere?

Do I give this one another coat of polish?
Or
Languish and pray I never have to wear it.

-A


Welcome

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately.
Mostly introspective type philosophy, designed to bring forward a self actualizing being out of me.

It appears both kinds of fiction are capable of reaching deeper.

Mostly, I rely on these readings to habituate writing for me.
Like surrounding myself with instruments to promote music.

I want to share two moments of inspiration with you

The first is a story from Richard Power’s, The Overstory.

This is my summary:

A man commits himself to a Stanford prison experiment to earn $15 day because he had nothing better to do with 14 days.

He realizes purposelessness when he doesn’t give his blanket to save a man in solitary confinement.

He sends his previous selfishness aside by chasing purpose in Vietnam, where he loads carpet bombs and clears forests of life.

When he falls out of a shot plane, he is saved by a tree’s lush foliage and leaves the war.

He tends to horses and reads them Nietzsche through the winter, burning pages as he reads them.

When winter is over he digs up his savings and leaves Idaho, toward Oregon.

On the way he realizes how barren the forests are becoming thanks to loggers.

He commits the rest of this story to planting Douglass fir seeds in the ground by hand.

Reapplying a symbolic blanket to the earth.


When the purpose for which you act expands, as in the desired audience grows unfathomable, the act you do becomes more finite and yet incalculable. As simple as planting seeds. As infinite as the amount of seeds it takes to grow a national forest.

This thought process has helped me become a more disciplined writer.

Expand your desired audience

Simplify your daily ritual

Replicate until the end of time


The second piece I’d like to share with you is a quote shared with me by a dear friend.

“Don’t forget to practice your love language on yourself.”

Gary Chapman

5 Love Languages

Words of affirmation
Quality time
Gifts
Physical touch
Acts of service

Feel free to take the quiz and patronize Chapman for his fine work.
My lack of references are not out of disrespect.
I believe they would take away more than they provide here.

The point here, is we are all innately predisposed to be skilled in giving and receiving a unique combination of these languages.

What I’ve found is, most of the time they are different.

For example, I am least receptive to acts of service.
However I am very good at performing said acts.

They can change over time,
They sure have for me,
or maybe I’ve become more honest with myself.

Self examination

This part is quite interesting.

BUT

You have to be honest.

I’m sure you’ve already given some thought to which of the languages you’re great at; I do mean innately.

Now take a moment to think about which one (or two, but no more than two) you are uniquely horrible at doing

For Yourself

I consistently find it easy to perform acts of service and give myself gifts.

Physical touch is a much more serious topic that I aim to one day cover at length.
To summarize staunchly, I adamantly believe physical touch is a love language that solely deserves to be shared.

However, words of affirmation and quality time have always been a struggle for me.

I think it’s a self esteem thing, saying kind things to myself.

I don’t think the quality time is a loneliness issue, although that is how I’ve framed it for myself in the past.

For me, both of the love languages are a struggle born out of fear.

Recently, the best gift I’ve given myself is alone time and words of affirmation. It’s meditative and honest, creating a ripple effect of confidence throughout the week.

Fear is more present than I’ve ever believed.
And facing that fear by being alone with myself, listening to all the negativity, and realizing it’s all bullshit has been a beautiful shedding of armor.

I feel most things have to come naturally to someone.
So I can’t just say, you need to follow your fears and all of your questions will be answered.

I do think you can follow your fears and you’ll learn they’re not so bad.
You’ll learn you’re not alone.
You really find your true self down there.
I picked myself up down there.

Before you call me a stoic, I do think there’s validity in the cold shower. You can teach yourself, by exposing yourself to homelessness that it would be okay to take the big investment risk and have to shower in a puddle.

While it didn’t get quite as extreme for me as sleeping under the Fullerton bridge, it was as scary for me to make no plans with anyone and sit at home alone.

And yes, it was as simple as giving myself a pat on the back when no one was around to see.



For questions, and so I don’t feel so alone…

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin

Thank you for reading this far.
You mean the world to me.
I write for you.

Validation Vagabonding

Total read time: 7 Minutes

How are you complicit in
creating the conditions
you say you don’t want?


Standing on the side of the street with an empty cup
Won’t get you the change you preach of

However, Cowboys a Stetson does make

Impoverished by self esteem
Fueled by deafened courage
Barracked behind the clicks and taps of Twitter and Instagram

Self imposed outsider, predictable patterns
We are branded by society’s silence
Given a consolation bullet after denied for our FOID card

After you graduate, you can be whoever you want
You can be unique, like they were
You can buy freedom, but you’ll never be free as us

How are you going to fence in a field
But say it’s not a dog park
I‘m as much a dog as anyone else

I’ll get to Wyoming without a horse
I’ll stand on a federally owned ranch
They’re united by division

A county is not a country
However, Cowboys a Stetson does make

-A



Some people have the freedom to live in unhealthy conditions.
Think basements of parents houses, with a curfew to be back home
from the job you’re lucky they got for you.

Living with the thought that it will allow them to eventually dig themselves out into a healthy future.

Society’s involvement

Is there a circumstance where we can pardon that kind of behavior with the assumption that it’s intentional? 

For Example

European post primary education vagabonding to neighboring countries for cultural growth.
Mindset on lifestyle and mental development as opposed to western career focused ideology. 

The first problem is drawing validation from society, and quickly discounting the weight of self-justification just like self deprecation. 
You craft excuses for why you’re the way you are.
You then become a product of false intentions.

The second, larger problem is not having a clear picture of the next thing you want. 

I say “next” thing intentionally.

It’s too broad to envision an ideal future, and most often you’ll be wrong about what future you want.

However, chasing a clear annual goal or even a quarterly goal can allow for you to have fluency over your daily planning and disciplined decision making. 

Two easily identified personal growth areas

Initiation: starting the traumatic plunge into your vulnerable dreams. Publishing the instagram post, declaring your efforts, asking for support.

Sustaining: I am quick to start planning a business idea or jumping head first into project aesthetics, but I lack the discipline and more importantly the accountability to get through the low points of project trajectory.

This is highlighted in procrastinators, because the approaching deadline
directly correlates with action taken. 

Actionable solution: eliminate an “ideal mindset” where you limit yourself with things you wish you had bought to make your project complete.

Take a project through fruition with the tools you have, truly realizing you aren’t as limited by your ideal mindset. 

Sometimes, if you truly don’t have a lathe to make clean cuts in a furniture piece, rewrite the design to highlight the raw exposed chips and pieces from you hacking away with an axe. 

Maybe that’s a little too carpentry.

If your dream is to bike around Lake Michigan.
You might give up on that dream if you don’t have enough money for a new upgraded touring bike.
I propose you redesign your dream of riding around the lake to highlight the core of that dream.
If it’s to self-sustainable camp, you can do that on this side of the lake too.
If it’s to ride a bike a long time, you can see how long you can push your current bike.
If it’s to have a bike to begin with, you can rent a DIVY bike, and see how you like it.

The point is to go for it,
purposefully smaller scale than you think you need
so that you actually get off your ass.

I have received feedback that these posts can be a little too concise.
I understand that my segues assume you have comprehension of my convoluted train of thought.

I would love to one day go into depth, with examples and extrapolation, perhaps in book form.

So, if you connect to a particular part of my posts, or are completely lost and disconnected, please let me know.

Email 
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin

Thank you for reading this far.
You mean the world to me.
I write for you.

This post was inspired by a question from a dear brother of mine.
Thank you for your inspiration Kai.

Success is Nostalgia

Total Read Time: 7 Minutes

I went for my first ”morning” run today (7am).
It was my 5th run of 2020, and I’m getting faster at unlocking hidden tools to feeling good.

The morning air was cold, like a strawberry you grab out of the fridge.
Only the burst shock chill went through my neck and collarbones instead of my teeth and jaw.

I sit now in a bright sunlit window in fresh laundered denim.
It’s a subtle squeeze as I write, having not written in what feels like weeks.
I mean I write poetry daily and keep a gratitude journal, but it feels like a farmer’s tan.
It’s warm enough next to this window that I took my shirt off.


Why do we overlook and move past
The passed proud-less promises
We made but couldn’t make happen

But glorify our life-long stay
At Hotel High School Hometown, USA

A goal is a debt and debt is designed
To perpetuate payments and pull
From you, a lifestyle you can’t afford
To put back down

Announce your defense against judgement
And your intentional time spent
As success in nostalgia

-A


Goal Un-Setting

A goal feels clean and presentable when intentional time has been spent on it. That’s why we write them down and announce when we’ve started a month long cleanse.

The achievement happens when someone smiles at you and says, “good job, that’s a great goal, I wish I could do that.”
Then you quit because you’ve already gotten your pat on the back.

Discipline has to happen for personal accomplishment. You can’t fake the proof of time. Your reason, your “why” has to be for something so personal, it’s easier to do it than to face yourself after not.

Speaking of the test of time, if you’ve had a goal like picking up a guitar and learning to play for years, and the guitar is just sitting in your room, yet it’s really been years and you have better things to do, give that guitar away.

Time is telling you to forgive yourself for setting a goal you really didn’t want and accepting that you have better things to do. Don’t do yourself the injustice of feeling guilty any longer.

Designing Perpetual Debt

If you were to start a bank, what would your business plan look like?
People go to banks to put money in and take money out.
You’d need a safe.
You’ll need to fill it with money.

After your safe is full of money that it’s yours, you need to make money.
So you lend people other people’s money, in exchange for a percentage of interest you’ll get back in return.

You design a repayment program that allows for the people to pay back slowly, allowing for your interest to accrue over time.
The slower they pay, the more interest you earn.
It’s only fair, they have YOUR money for longer, right?

Goals work the same way.

Setting goals feels good like borrowing money feels good, because it makes you feel like you have this new lifestyle you can afford.

If you can’t lower your cost of living and buckle down to pay off your debts, you’ll perpetually be setting goals and never achieving the life you’re capable of living.

You’re Not a Mind-Reader

Side note: I was talking to a friend who called psychology majors “mind-readers,” which still makes me laugh thinking about it.

Who do you think you are, predicting what you’ll be interested in in the future?

I mean, I know it’s you and your brain, but can you honestly say you could have predicted where you’re at now?

So why would you say you know what success is and set goals for your future that depend upon this satisfaction you think you’ll have?

I preach loving yourself in just about everything I write. Setting yourself up for failure, when you achieve your goals and they weren’t good enough is not loving yourself.

My advice is to detach for a moment and think into your past.
Within your retrospective analysis, ask yourself what you’re proud of yourself for accomplishing.
What did you do that made it feel like an accomplishment?
Even if it’s as small as getting out of bed.

Try and stop thinking about the future, because you’re not ready for it yet.

T.S. Eliot’s East Coker,
“…wait without hope for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith but the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness’s shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

When you think about success, realize it can only be appreciated after it’s done. You see successful people for what they’ve accomplished. You see pride in yourself for standing the test of time and making it here. Enjoy today as if you’re looking at it ten years from now, with ten more years of mistakes and ten years of more wisdom.

Thank You

I love hearing from my readers and how they connect to my writing.
It connects me to you.
If you want to reach out, I’m best found by:

Email 
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin

Self Sabotage is a Cop Out

Total Read Time: 6 Minutes

It can feel like a moat sometimes. Filled with tears, bridge burned, and castle doors boarded shut. They say to let people in, but sometimes you’re on the outside yourself. You’re the only one who can swim across.


It’s not like ruining your shoes
So you can’t run anymore
Or even ruining your reputation
By making an ass of yourself
And saying the wrong thing to your boss

It’s not driving through a late night menu
Or shoveling your way through a box of donuts

It’s not leaving them on read
and waiting for them to give up on you
You already did that

It started the moment you closed the door
And set the first brick
Of the wall between you
and yourself

A Cartesian argument
As cynically gregarious
or accessible
as it is a moment of eye contact
A moment of acknowledgement
and agreement
That you deserve not to win
And blame everything except them

It isn’t you every time is it?
The world just sucks sometimes
And the rest of the time it blows
If you’re into the whole wind thing

-A


A Writer’s Self Sabotage

It looks like cleaning the house and preparing a work station or fixing a snack and stretching, because we avoid it for so long and they all say stretching is so important to prevent lactic acid build up.

Sometimes I read and am so impressed with a writer’s style and vocabulary and pacing that I can’t help but compare myself to them. I quickly determine that I’ll never be that good and open up Instagram.

Entitlement of an Immigrant White Male

I grew up with a pessimistic defense against the world. I was raised to question the motives and incentives of people around me. Although they never said it, it felt like altruism was a ruse and every favor was a palimpsest of inauthenticity. Someone GAVE you that; you would be nothing without them.

I developed an opinion of myself that seeps through me to this day. That I am capable of more. That I’m holding myself back. That I need to work harder because this isn’t enough.

It’s a war between entitlement and complacency. At a core level, I don’t believe this is enough to get me by. I want more. I feel like I need more to raise a family; despite having been raised on less.

When the argument is really in favor of my opponent, I can pull out facts like salary and how expensive kids are. If I’m feeling up for it, I’ll even remind myself that I’m not making a difference and make myself feel like a waste of time.

Confronting a Gun

I don’t want to feel like it’s worthless. I don’t want you to either. You shouldn’t see me like this. But we both have to feel it to get through it.

Once I realize, I take more responsibility. It’s a puzzle worth assembling. It’s decoding a cypher where you have to take the dip into darkness before you can blame yourself for going into the shadow. You really don’t know what’s waiting for you in the clarity, but you need to realize it before it’s too late.

Forgive and Accept

The slippery slope is blaming yourself and letting it go on. It’s ammo against yourself, only telling yourself you haven’t gone far enough into the darkness. I was repeating myself when I would write out ideas for business plans and supplementary education I can arm myself with for success. I can’t tell you how many days I spent fawning over ideas just to quit like I never had them.

The truth is following your fear. That is the darkness. You have to go there and trust that nothing is going to matter until suddenly, it does.

If you got this far, you’ve come a long way. Congratulate yourself on starting an honest conversation with your soul. There’s meaning down there, and the steps to finding yourself are laden with pain and traumatic memories.

Wrestling a Worthy Adversary

The “discipline” that everyone talks about is not a pushup contest. Your schedule doesn’t have to be filled with to-do lists just like your boss already has for you. There’s enough to worry about at work.

Discipline starts with going to sleep at the right time.
Don’t let yourself watch Netflix until you’re struggling to stay awake.

Once you’ve slept an appropriate amount of time, discipline becomes about individual decisions and intention. It’s a whole lot easier to close Instagram when you’re properly rested. You also know the right thing to do with your time.

I feel most susceptible to bad decisions when I’m tired or fatigued. I’ll convince myself I deserve to eat a whole bag of chicken tenders for the protein and the carbs. I feel like garbage afterward and I’ll see myself for what I wanted to.

Keeping up the Momentum

I don’t have an answer yet.

I’m trying to think of writing as reps, relating it to muscular contraction necessary for tearing fibers and rebuilding stronger limbs.

What I’m doing is writing 30 minutes a day. I’m starting a few projects at the same time, to give myself direction. I also look forward to finishing one, to feel accomplished by having a contained work to show for my time spent.

This website is one of them.

Emails and Instagram DM’s keep me going. I hear from you and how I’ve, even for a moment, connected a thought or emotion to something you’ve struggled with. It’s okay, I’m really believing we are all struggling together; just at different rates.

I want to see you follow your dreams and aspirations, because you are significant and you have a fulfilling purpose.

I want you to feel how good it feels to know you’re on some kind of a right path. That’s how writing feels for me.

I would love to know what gives you that confirmation.

What is it that just feels scary and confident at the same time?

What has you feeling like, even if you fail it would be okay because you could just start over again?

How about if it’s not working?
What do you think is holding you back?

Email 
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin

Thank you, so much.

-A

Leave Me Wanting More

Total Read Time: 4 Minutes

What if you could control your desires and dangle them out in front of you, like a cartoon of someone chasing a hotdog 🌭 tied out in front of them on a fishing rod 🎣.

What could you get yourself to do?


I know desire by her absence 
As to say I know god 
By what god isn’t
As to say alcohol sanitizes 
when it evaporates from my skin 

And what then, when she is in my arms
Will I crave her any less 
Will I assume I know 
The other side of once locked doors 

When she lets go of my skin 
Will my soul remain on it’s dirt path 
Or will she pave my veins with marble 
Will she assemble my pile of pieces 
Into beating shrapnel 
Will she lead my soul to stardom 
Amongst mortal men of immortal wisdom 

Can I ever know desire 
The way she knows when my strength trembles
And my legs give out 
The way the cold knows my shiver 
When my lungs give in to winter 

Lord give her strength 
To hold up this crumbling heart 
To sanitize my past 
And pace my future 
With every step I feel lighter 
Shedding fear 
I find her

-A


Have you ever woken up, wanting?

Desire is sexy.

Desire is powerful.

Desire is a pull, motivating you.

It’s easier to be pulled than to be pushed.

Identifying Your Desires

Eating?

Spending?

Sex?

You can’t judge yourself for what you want.
You have to accept and love yourself.

Sustaining Desire

All desire is sustainable, if you have the strength.

First, acknowledge where the desire is coming from.
Is it genuine or impulsive?
What would it fulfill?

Second, accept your desires.
You already want it, whatever “it” is, so accept that it’s there for a reason.
It’s okay to want things.

Third, intentionally delay the desire.
Do not allow yourself to impulsively act.
This is intentional delay.
You have to resist in order to truly benefit.

Fourth, thorough and paced satisfaction.
You’ve waited an appropriate amount of time.
Reward yourself, at a pace that does the satisfaction justice.
Why rush through something so good?

Pacing Enjoyment for Satisfaction

I like to think of learning as opening doors for yourself.
Once you open a door, you reveal more doors.
It’s learning what you don’t know; what more there is to learn.

The more you know, the less you know.

It can be daunting, realizing what’s in front of you.
There is a bliss in ignorance.
There is also a bliss in desire.

Delaying the fulfillment of your desire builds excitement and prevents you from learning too quickly.

It makes the eventual enjoyment all the more satisfying.

Delay is Your Filter

Sometimes, the delay filters out things you didn’t genuinely desire.
If you wait, you will realize what was an impulse desire and what stuck.
The best desires stick for days.

The intention behind controlling desire brings out more satisfaction.

You are In Control of Quality

When you learn the wisdom of identifying your desires,

When you learn the discipline of delaying yourself from prematurely enjoying your desires,

When you learn to extract further satisfaction by pacing,

You are in control of the quality of your desire.

You are In Control

Desire is motivating.

Understanding your desires allows you to begin having control over what motivates you.

With control over motivation, you can get yourself to do the things that require an incentive.

This is not a life hack.

This is clarity.

Seeing through the lens of what motivates you allows you to see why and where you get fulfillment in life.

Remember, the important desires stick around for days.

If it’s worth obsessing over, it’s worth enjoying properly.


If you would do me the honor, I would love to hear from you.

What do you desire most often?

How do you deal with not getting what you desire most?

Email 
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin


Thank you, endlessly for your love and support.

Andrey Starostin

Latest Thoughts: A Theory on Alcoholism and Self Harm

Total Read Time: 4 Minutes

I like how recording artists release their work. The music of their heart and soul is poured out daily until they let go of a compilation. It is… released.


Released by a few bad shifts at work
Mindset is productivity
Responsibility and discipline highlighted
By their absence

Mindset as soil
Ideas as seeds.

Ever-changing soil can nurture seeds
Into rooted theories and concepts.
It can be too acidic.
It can ferment.

Sometimes, my mindset can give birth to noxiously attractive ideas.
Like a train wreck.

-A


Perpetuation of Self Harm and Substance Abuse

I’ve done a lot of self-experimentation. Recently, I’ve tried removing certain distracting elements from my life. I think of them as “easy” or more accurately, “obvious.”

Diet
Exercise
Alcohol
Sleep

I’ve written about these more specifically.
It would be a compliment if you sifted through this website.
I would love to connect and talk too.

Subtraction Past Zero

Assuming you can, once you remove the obvious elements from your life that are holding you back, you would think a massive light would emanate from your chest. It would feel like a sci-fi phoenix rebirth. You would hatch new colorful feathers and majestically screech like an eagle.

The truth is, it’s shockingly the opposite. You begin to miss having something obvious to blame. It was nice to feel like garbage, knowing you shouldn’t have drank last night. It felt comforting to say, I’ll eat healthy this time for lunch.

I liked having an easy answer.

Once you remove the obvious, you begin to see the less obvious. All of the repressions from your past begin to surface.
You are left with everything left of zero.

Think of this scale:

Subtractions : -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 <0> 1 2 3 4 5 : Additions

When your lifestyle is full of easy things to blame, you’re somewhere around 5. The subtraction of those things take you closer to where you’d like to be: zero.

Blame is the Trend

Continuing to find things to blame is the trend. You spend time focusing on blaming diet choices, exercise habits, and substance abuse. That focus carries you past zero and into the negativity of blaming your job, blaming loved ones around you, and blaming yourself. When you continue blaming things, you get further from zero and closer to -5.

Balance Blame with Love

You have to see the good in the world around you. You have to subtract a bad habit and replace it with a good one. After my father quit smoking cigarettes he told me he began to taste food again. His life had flavor again! He gained appreciation for having stamina. At that time in his life, he went to the gym again and got into great shape. I remember he would flex his bicep and challenge me to wrap my hands all the way around his arm.

Allow light to displace the shadows of negativity and engorge your life with love and self improvement.

You’re Not Alone

The heaviest thoughts when you’re low are thoughts of isolation. You want to be alone. You want to retreat. You feel like you deserve the blame and hatred for yourself.

I promise you, you’re not alone. There is a world of people who have lived through everything you’re dealing with. There is almost always someone In reach who has dealt with what you’re dealt. Everyone deserves to know,

You are Not Alone

I want the best for you.
I want you to feel.
I want you to taste.
I want your life to have flavor and light and excitement.
I want you to feel the love you have for yourself.
I know you are capable.
I know it’s somewhere inside of you.
Please, try and see it too.
Try and look past the shadows.
You deserve this.
You’re worth it.

Thank you, endlessly.

Thank you for your love, your support, your time.
You make my day better.
Always feel free to reach out.

Andrey Starostin

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin

Follow Your Trauma to Find Your Dream Job

Total read time: 9 Minutes

I can’t stop thinking about wrong jobs.
Lately, with COVID-19 on everyone’s radar, job security is more important than ever.

I’m so sorry for everyone in hardship right now. I pray you have your health. I hope for the best support to find you. I wish they would have the cure for this strain of coronavirus and solution for all of this sooner. Remember to reach out and ask for help. You are not alone.

Contact your creditors for relief with monthly payments.
Fedloan announced they will defer all accruing interest during all of this.
Help finds it’s way out of the most unexpected places.
Don’t give up, Don’t ever give up.

I’m writing this out of the honesty of my heart. I believe everyone has
something they dream of,
something they could do with authenticity,
something that keeps them up at night,
something so terrifying and exciting at the same time,
It’s crippling.


If only The Sun and the Moon
Could with yearning hands
Outstretch their arms

Until then

The Sun will gleam
The Moon, a muse
And I, Your Earth

I enter the breadth of your tides
Knowing the safety of your arms
I inch my way atop arduous mountains
Feeling every step closer
I step into the abysmal night
Where You lead me to solely what is

Trustworthy

Only as much as I can handle
Slightly more than I ever

Before you

Could

-A


Changes Seem So Out of Reach

You think about it sometimes, don’t you? What it would take to get you out of this rut. You fantasize about having the gall to stand up straight, reach out your arm, exposing all of your scars.

What are you so complacent for? Why did you get so used to this? Why does it still sting to think about where you could be instead?

Derek Sivers, in his interview with Jeremy Ryan Slate said after your twenties, change is mostly rare. You spend so much time after high school moving, applying, meeting… changing. Eventually you find a job that pays enough money, you buy a house, and you slow the hell down to a screeching halt.

Maybe you’re like me and actually gave something a shot. I dove into photography for years. I started a business and got paid for my work. I emailed photographers, magazines, editors… I poured out my heart all over the world. Nothing happened. I gave up.

Do you remember how it felt? The vast emptiness. It doesn’t happen overnight… the abandonment.

You realize you’ve given up one day. That feeling is instantaneous. It’s felt in the pit of your stomach. That’s how it feels to let yourself down. I let myself down.

What now?

You Feel Stuck

Maybe you really are like me and after you gave up, you didn’t have anything else. You felt so stuck because you didn’t have anywhere else to go.

The only certain thing is that bills keep coming.

You have to pay them, don’t you?

I kept going to the restaurant, waiting on tables, pouring beers at the bar, eventually brewed the beer… until eventually that wasn’t enough and I just kept the trend going.

How do you know what to do next?

I Am Crippled By Trauma

Fortunately, I know you’re like me. I know you’re traumatized. I know you start feeling great and get stabbed in the gut by your past.

Have you ever had a moment of clarity?
It sounded something like, “YES, THIS IS IT!”
I was driving down a steep hill in St. Charles, Illinois on a sunny day. Not having anywhere to be, I could drive as slow as I wanted. I thought, maybe I should share some poetry with people.

It felt so good to realize.

Until it came time to open the computer. Thinking of all my friends and family judging me. The laughter on the other side; people will think I’m a joke. They saw me give up on photography. They’ll think I’ll just give up on this too. They think I give up on everything.

Trauma has a way of popping up when anything really matters.

The knife in my stomach is always here.
I hope it always will be.

Vulnerability is so taxing. It forces you to relive your memories. You imagine this thing you so care about will end up like things did in the past. Your past will continue to remind you.

Fear is debilitating. Judgment makes you feel like you’ll never belong; like you’ll never be accepted. Failure means disappointing someone. Forget about not paying the bills, failure means everyone who didn’t believe in you was right.

What are you supposed to do when you’re afraid of disappointing and failing the ones you love?

Love Can Be a Gift and a Curse

It can feel so much easier just doing “the right thing.” You know, the thing everyone tells you is safe.

It becomes easier to help (to love) others by doing the things they say instead of doing right by you, instead of loving yourself.

I’m certain that the best in people comes out when they are loved.

When you’re loved, you instinctively have good intentions. You do the right thing right back at that person. You take care of them.

You can do the same thing for yourself. You can love yourself.

The Truth is Right in Front of You

There is a litmus test when you’re doing the right thing.

The excitement is an unalienable light in your eyes every time you speak.
The feeling has clarity; it matches what people told you you’re gifted at.
Earth shaking trauma reappears to warn you, this is something that matters.
Love flows through you; you know you need this.

If You’re Anything Like Me

First of all, hang in there because it gets better. Secondly, think about what happened to me. All of this makes sense.

Giving up was the right thing because photography was not.
I gave up on photography because photography was not writing. Photography was not truly the pursuit for me.

I was stuck because I let the inertia die.
Not only did I come to a halt, but I went backwards to the restaurant industry. I started climbing up a ladder on the wrong wall. The climb only made sense because money had to be made and bills had to be paid.

I didn’t know what to do with myself.
Having abandoned the first thing that I cared for, I was lost. After reading enough books, I looked to the people around me and listened. They liked my writing. Even in my emails to all the photographers, I received compliments for my composition.

I couldn’t move forward without looking in the mirror.
Trauma punched me in the face every time. I have an avoidant personality, finding it easier to hide at my own expense. Standing up to myself was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I didn’t know how.

I learned to love myself.
This took a whole summer to even start believing. I read and studied Mastin Kipp’s work. That’s where I learned about the different personalities. I really delved into behavioral psychology.

I took the leap of faith.
Even armed with love for myself, previous experience with running a business, and all of the knowledge and motivation from the books I’ve read, it still felt like jumping off a cliff to put this writing out.

Taking the leap of faith doesn’t mean quitting your day job.
Derek Sivers says the happiest people he’s met have two jobs. The first job is your dream job. Even if you don’t get paid for it, you treat it seriously and truly give it your all during your free time. The second pays the bills. It’s consistent, its reliable, and it’s a break when trauma strikes and you feel vulnerable during the first job.

You just have to go for it.

Is it possible that the things you gave up on were necessary to give up on?
Is your ladder on the right wall?
Listen to the people around you, what are you gifted at?
Have you forgiven yourself?
Have you started loving yourself?

What do you have to lose?

The truth is, you have too much authenticity for anything you truly care about to fail.

Eventually, it will take off.

You owe it to yourself to fill your life with Love and Significance.

Thank you

I really do this for you. If I reach you somehow. If something sticks out and you’re touched, please don’t hesitate to contact me on whatever social platform feels comfortable to you. Connection feels amazing. We all grow stronger every time we add to our community.

Thank you for your time, and for your support.

Andrey Starostin

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin


Recommended Reading

Help finding yourself when you’re stuck:
Designing Your Life

Mentioned above:

Derek Sivers

Jeremy Ryan Slate

Mastin Kipp

Moons & Moods: My Equilibrium Theory

Total Read Time: 7 Minutes

Over the past 3 days I have had the worst mood swings in months. The more people I talk to between work and home, the more I find consistencies in their emotional irregularities. Oxymoron, (consistent irregularities) I know, but mine were more than just environmentally related.

I had to go to the dentist, which I have an irrational fear of . The days leading up to my appointment were awful. Everything effected me. The things I could bounce off of me normally really dug deep. Even the little things like stupid joking comments from people at work just had more of an effect than usual.

I wrote this for all of you dealing with a similar mood swing. It’s so natural. Maybe more natural than we all realize.

You can do it! I believe in you. You’re amazing!

Without further rambling…

I made the realization yesterday over coffee. Thinking back on my writing about alcohol, I correlated it to writing. The resistance to Start writing is so akin to the resistance to Stop drinking. I wrote,

It’s self-perpetuating. Alcohol demands more of itself. The hardest part is to stop. 

The easiest… not starting at all.

Andrey Starostin: Alcohol

The self perpetuation can be understood as a state of flow,

see my writing on flow in How to Find Your Passion.

It’s quite simple to keep writing once I start, due to said state of flow. I realized alcohol’s similarity in that perpetuation. So I thought about the resistance between wanting to stop drinking and wanting to start writing.

It’s hardest to stop drinking after the first few drinks.
&
It’s hardest to stop writing after you start.


It’s easiest to prevent the perpetuation of drinking by forcing yourself not to start.
&
It’s easiest to begin the perpetuation of writing by forcing yourself to start.

The Resistance

Life seems to be so full of resistance. The richest moments of our lives demand difficulty in one way or another. The War Of Art, by Steven Pressfield is a perfect manual, almost a writer’s bible. It is the mirror you didn’t know you could look into. Relating to all creators, Pressfield brings clarity to the physical, emotional, and spiritual resistance all creators feel to sit down and get to work. The rationales we justify Not writing with. Easily in my top 10 books of all time.

My point is, I am flawed.

Unfortunately, I succumb to the resistance and my writing goes days, weeks, sometimes months without seeing a pen touch paper. I battle the desire to be more productive. I want the ability to write any time I choose. I wish I had the control.

Why isn’t there a gym of my mind? Why can’t I go through the motions and deadlift words out onto paper?

Equilibrium Theory

As a young boy, I formulated rationalization to explain why the world worked. I had to make sense of things. When people get mad, they return to happy. When people quit a job, someone replaces them. When I run around the playground all day, I get a sunburn. Everything seemed transactional, as if to have a reaction or an exchange of energy.

As bad as things get, the show must go on.

My equilibrium theories have never let me down, but I have no explanation for them. The moon comes around every 27.3 days. It’s no coincidence that oceanic tides change, hospital attendance rates spike, and restaurant call-offs occur around the same time.

How have you noticed these wavelengths in your life? It seems like one day you’re posting on instagram, and other days you’re beating yourself up.

My point with the equilibrium theory and my discipline is that some days it’s so easy to write. Some days, I can barely get out of bed. I look for ways to influence those days into my liking.. perhaps by

Nudging

I want to control the wavelengths.
I want to find the optimal length, intensity, and frequency.
I want to understand how my ups and downs can be steered into my favor.

I believe discipline, going through motions and forcing yourself to do the intentional right thing, will raise your “low’s,” but with an important caveat.
It seems to work by desensitizing you to the effects of your emotions.

That means your lows are less low.
It also means your highs are less high.

There has to be an ideal wavelength, where the highs hit all the marks, last long enough, and the lows are not downright crippling.

Steering

What if you could choose where the lows fall, as much as where your highs soar?

I want my highs to be involved with creative endeavors. I want to create at my peak performance. I want to analyze and understand with clarity and love for myself.

As for my lows… I aim to steer them at something… resilient. Durability in various facets of my life offer the ability to absorb negativity and bounce back faster.

I believe you can practice steering negative states into parts of your life that are definite and indestructible. Controlling the downside seems to be the first step, letting the upside glow and aid in recovery.

I know, I know this sounds like some woo woo freaky mind games. I don’t deny that it’s out there. As soon as someone starts talking about moons and astrology people automatically have a predisposition to… you get the point. I’m just a young boy trying to make sense of the world.
I’ve heard from a lot of you that you can relate… creating things is hard.

So far the best examples come from states of clarity.

Clarity is when you’re centered. You can drop into yourself and sit in a state of experience. You’re aware, present, and intentional. Clarity is where I see that I’m right.

When do you experience clarity?
Can you access it?

I’ve never been able to provoke clarity, but I’ve learned to recognize it when its there. I use clarity to recalibrate where I am in the wavelength.

I encourage you to try it next time you are having an amazing day. Try to drop into yourself and write down your desires, your goals, your downfalls, things you want to be more intentional with, and experience the moment, recognizing it shouldn’t always be there.


It’s a work in progress, this theory of equilibrium. I wish I could control it, but I’ll settle for simply understanding it.

It offers some explanation for why I am the way I am.

While I may feel out of control, I gain some peace with the fact that some force in this world is.

Thank you,

To my support around the world. My family, friends, loved ones, critics, and editors. I can’t do this without you.

Andrey Starostin

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin

I’m Writing about My Relationship with Alcohol

Total Read Time: 8 Minutes

This post is about trauma. About Numbing myself. This is about choosing to give myself life instead of taking it away. I know it’s hard to read. Believe me, it’s harder to write.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I do not advise anyone on changes to their health. Please consult your doctor before you do anything. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol, please seek guidance and help from a professional. There are people a phone call away that know exactly how to help.

The most spent currency is time.

One of my mentors, although there’s no chance he knew the impact he has had on my life, is a man I worked with years ago. He worked with urgency, indulging in a sigh only when time was taken care of. I mean the kind of “taken care of” when we are waiting on time itself. His most quoted saying was, “we are up against the clock.” The clock started when he woke up. It ended when his tasks for the day were finished.

We are either waiting on time, or time is waiting on us.

When you start a kettle of water, the time span before it boils is YOUR time. During that time, you are free to do anything you want. When the water has boiled, you are back on the clock; with time waiting on you to pour that water over some coffee grounds.

I find a soothing relief when I am waiting on time. I feel productive and in control. Ahead of the game.

Another example of this is efficient dishwashing. Not the kind at home after you ate some eggs. The kind where a 50 table restaurant that seats 200 people sends back 200 plates after they finished eating. Imagine you are the dish washer, and the next set of guests is arriving. Clean those plates.

I once worked with a young server named Jake. The dishwasher at the time was complaining they had to wash too many dishes. Jake pointed out,
“You’re not the dishwasher. That machine is the dishwasher.”

The point here is, the one thing we can not control is the time the dishwasher takes to run each cycle. What we can control, is having the next tray of dishes ready so that we can have the dishwasher running as often as possible. When the dishwasher is not running, time is waiting on you to load that thang up.

Alcohol is a time suck

I see alcohol as an exchange. A trade sometimes. Most of the time, just a time suck. I give away the rest of my evening, to the influences of alcohol. I sacrifice the productiveness and efficiency of the following morning to “recovery.”

“I give away hard earned dollars to the empty calories I worked so hard at my job and in the gym for. “

Don’t mistake my drama for preaching. I am all about loving myself. I want you to love yourself. You are amazing. Your life is worth living. You are incredible. Don’t beat yourself up for a night of drinking. This is about understanding the CHOICE you’re making. Man, I’m full of caveats today…

Alcohol BLURRRS Time

My father often related his first drink of the day to it’s conclusion; the day that is. Decisiveness takes a steep drop after that first drink. It’s self-perpetuating. Alcohol demands more of itself. The hardest part is to stop.

The easiest… not starting at all.

“Drinking alcohol is borrowing happiness from tomorrow”

Matt Mullenweg

The Challenge

Awareness – Take note of the opportunity cost with drinking. Understand what you will be unable to do instead.
Value – Apply intention in weighing the value of your consciousness that you lose while drinking.

Honesty is the true challenge.

Why is it easiest to lie to yourself, when you are the person that knows the truth?

I want the blur. I hate the clarity of the mirror. I don’t value my time. My productivity doesn’t produce anything the world wants. It’s better NOT TO FEEL and keep the past buried. It’s easier to sleep.

I couldn’t be more wrong.

What I know about myself is I find the edge too hard to balance on. One drink is so perpetually powerful, I eventually succumb.

The easiest answer is no, to starting.

Why am I being so hard on myself?

I spend a lot of time looking around myself; at the people I look up to, the people that raised me, and the people I can learn something from. So… basically everyone.

Most of the time, I’m paying attention to myself. What makes me feel good, bad, okay, and not enough.

The times I beat myself up the most are when I’m unproductive, financially irresponsible, and repeating mistakes I’ve already learned from.

When I look at what keeps me on track to being disappointed in myself, it usually involves alcohol.

When I look at accomplished, revered people around the world, many of them abstain from… alcohol.

Decision time

Drink a lot less alcohol.
As in, barely any.
Most of all, to better understand the true cost when I do drink.

Accountability

This audience… YOU are a great start. I really don’t want people pointing out when I’m slipping down the slope again.
So please point and laugh if I do.

Reward

I really Love finances. If anyone wants to talk about money saving techniques, credit cards, savings accounts, trading options, etc… Maybe I’ll just write about it. I’m bound to eventually.

I’m going to reward myself for every time I say no to alcohol.
I set up an easy transfer between a checking account into a savings account at a different bank. Capital One savings, in case anyone is interested.

They’re both interest bearing, but the savings account I specifically chose because I have no physical access to it. I did not link any automatic withdrawals from it. It’s way easier to put money in than it is to take money out. The point being, to mimic the sunk cost of spending money on drinks.

Every time I say no to alcohol, I get to deposit the cost of the said alcohol into my savings account.
Bottle of wine costs $15?
Just made $15 dollars by being disciplined.

I started thinking… imagine if you could get back all of the money you’ve ever spent on alcohol… god damn.

So that’s what I’m doing now. Positive reinforcement.

The easiest thing to forget is to accept being human and forgive mistakes. I’m not saying I’ll never drink again. I’m not demonizing it if I do. Remember, I said I want to understand the cost of doing so. I’m also making it easier and more rewarding to not drink.

What does Alcohol look like in YOUR life?

I’ve heard of dear friends drinking because they’re bored. I’ve heard coworkers say how they realized how much better they feel after NYE if they don’t glorify getting sauced. I have friends running challenges to make March a dry month.

The reality of it is, alcohol is so present in our lives. It’s effects do not have to consume us. The world is such a beautiful place with people like you in it. I would love to see what you’re capable of if you stop letting alcohol hold you back.

Truly, Thank you

For reading my spilled thoughts. You are so significant to me, and to this world. Thank you for being in it.

Thank you for being.

Andrey Starostin

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin