Tag Archives: trauma

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.

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

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