One Year of WordPress

Some days I wake up and the first thing that hits my consciousness is that I’m going to let people down today. Without fail, I always say or do something that is going to make someone think less of me and it will be my fault.

This blog was created one year ago for a class where I consistently let down the professor. I continue to be a poor student, lackluster worker, flaky friend, and generally a disappointment to myself and others.

Some days I wake up and realize that I’m full of shit.

This past year has been an extraordinarily hard one for me and that’s okay. I won’t always get every assignment done. I won’t always agree with my parents. I won’t always want to do what my friends want to do.

Everyday I’m moving forward. Every second I’m advancing in my life. Soon, I’ll be moving at a non-staggered pace. I’ll be moving exactly as I need to. I’m far better off now then I was a year ago. I’ll never forget that.

One day, I’ll wake up and realize that I am really okay.

Sisyphus or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Bonds

The following is an excerpt from one of my personal journal entries.

5-25-2016

“Dying in the middle of a duet is so rude.”

I didn’t write for a very long time.

It has been one year, thirteen days, and thirteen and a half hours since my last kiss….I have realized that my fears have matured. I am no longer afraid of being alone in the dark. I am just afraid of being alone. 

I feel empty. I fill the empty with lust and self-hatred. I need to supplant the bad with good…I need to smile. I need to write, work out, and win back my own trust.

Forever Winging It,

Jeff Fiene

That was close to five months ago and things have changed. Without going into too much detail, my world has been turned upside down. Unfortunately, many of the people who I valued as treasured friends had once more failed to help me. This was a selfish desire. There was no innate expectation for them to stand by me through the most trying time I’d ever experienced. It had been several years of me bending over backwards to be their friend and getting zilch in return. Friendship, like any other relationship, is give and take. There are sacrifices. I had given so much and gotten so little in return that I blamed myself for being a bad friend. I thought I was worthless because they treated me like I was. That’s how my life spiraled out of control. After this summer, they had failed me for the last time. 

I suffer from anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression. I have an awful extended family. Aunts, uncles, and cousins who take advantage, swindle, cheat, lie, steal, rob, fight, hurt, and destroy others and themselves. With the exception of my grandparents, I have no blood family. I just have blood relatives. They only want to be a part of my life when it is convenient. My surrogate family became my friends, teachers and movie stars. Suddenly my close friends were my cousins (not in a literal sense of course because I’ve dated several of my friends) my teachers were my aunts and uncles, and the famous people I looked up to became distant relatives who taught me life lessons through their work.

When a someone famous dies, I weep. When my friends get hurt, I weep. When my teachers move away, I weep. I created these strong connections with people and poured myself with them. Their happiness was mine. Their sorrow was mine. I had no emotion of my own. I was a shell.

Then people left in droves. I had an abusive reltionaship. Fair weather friends. When another depressive episode would hit, more and more people left. The ties and bonds would fray and snap. I closed myself off more and more. Eventually, I was entirely closed off.

That happened this summer.

I went from someone who was very open and clear emotionally to somebody who refused to say more than necessary in a social setting. Everyone had to start from square one because SO many people had let me down. There were legacy friends that quickly caught up. The ones that were always there for me. Some friends believe they are further along than they actually are. Some haven’t advanced on the board at all. I had rules now. I set certain expectations. I would be very selective of who I let into my life.

Since this decision, I have let two newcomers ahead. They were given an “Advance Several Spaces” card, if you will. I was deliberate and clear with them that my life wasn’t a game, but an experience. I was willing to share my life with them if they would share it with me. I do not regret either person now being a friend.

Despite the fact I still suffer from mood swings, depressive episodes, and anxiety attacks, I know that I’m not alone. Any fear stems from the disease, not from a distrust in myself. My friends are amazing people. I’m proud to be a part of their lives.

Even better though, now that I can look past all of the failures and missed opportunities, I’m proud to be a part of my own life too.

Forever Winging It,

Jeff Fienelighthouse-storm

Selfie: A Biography

I used to not take pictures of myself. I had a few bad pictures of me taken and I thought I just wasn’t photogenic. Jeffrey Fiene was an Ugly Duckling, but, one fateful Christmas, I got my first smart phone. With the smart phone came the capability to have an Instagram account. With that Instagram account came my first selfie. I could finally show myself off the way I wanted to be seen, as a crazy-haired, eyebrow-cocking, blue-green eyed, glasses-wearing, big ol’ nerd.

In the paper my class read for this week, I was made aware that our digital selves are cumulative. There is no whole body of work that a person could look at to see our digital self. To give people a better idea of how our digital and physical self meld, we take pictures of ourselves and caption them (most of the time). We throw a few hashtag on the pictures so people who are interested in the content, but don’t see it because they’ve got no association with the person in the selfie, can find it and like it and enjoy the photo.

Of course, with every good thing there is a bad side. I have many female friends who get harassed daily on their pictures. Guys wanting more skin, more pictures, more attention, more anything. I have people criticized for their religion and skin color and sexuality and femininity. There are countless people who want to destroy others because of the differences. And differences scare them.

Why do we keep putting ourselves out their if different waves of abuse are consistent? Because, through our dedication to the selfies, we can see the change in us. We can be proud of who we are. Some of us do daily photos, Instagram posts, or Snapchat stories. We are feeling more comfortable with sharing who we are. Self assurance, self-confidence, and self-reliance all stemming from a selfie is powerful. Sometimes it is necessary.

Not everyone works the same way. Not everyone needs to feel reassure themselves in the way an Instagram post would provide. The ones that do get that reassurance now have an easy avenue to feel better. And feeling better is what it’s all about, in the end.

Here’s a picture of Captain Caveman. He believed in himself and so should you. caveman