Psyche is powered by Vocal creators. You support Shelton Strider by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Psyche is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less

Being Stuck

A Question with No Way Out

New York, Photo by Catherine Shelton

When I was a kid I was never really taught how to take care of my myself. Frankly, I cannot recall being at the receiving end of any guiding parental lecture. Everything was understood, all unsaid, "common sense." Nothing is absorbed by a teenager that way. It's all trial by fire.

Being overweight is far from uncommon now, but an inferiority complex develops pretty fast when whispers float near your ear, those sinister stares are piercing the back of your head, and the tell-tale quick turns away say it all. When kids are glancing sideways it means that you are on the front page of the Black List. How the hell did I get on there? What did I do? Absolutely nothing, it just happens and if I were there now, one stoic thought would have shrugged it all off. That is not how a preteen brain works.

You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
- Marcus Aurelius.

Who am I to complain? I didn't live in extreme poverty, only subtle poverty, being the middle child of divorced lower middle-class parents in America. Who am I to tell my story, when all I am is some kid from the desert, with no major traumatic experience to wow people with? Who am I to think that anyone will ever read a thing I put to paper, when I am no different from any other 20-something down the street? You know what? I think that is just the case.

I don't care much for any frills or complex colors and filler content. I don't like click bait,  I loathe self-aggrandizing positive talk. If I can do it anyone can do it, look at me! No, I don't deserve to have a god complex, as if I'm speaking to lesser folk and leading them to Valhalla. I am pretty sure nothing that is flowing through me right now is coherent to anyone but myself right now, but sometimes getting thoughts that weigh heavy on the mind is better than any drug, any escape. I'd say that is the opposite of escape, it forces confrontation. I have to do something about this, I have to address my thoughts. 

Labeling ourselves and attaching our lives to a specific clique, persona, or tribes blockades door after door to human creativity and development. It seems like no matter what you do, we are stuck in this constant pleasure trap cycle of self gratifying material bliss. We are not impressing any one but ourselves, yet social media personalities are doing it, so we should be doing I, because we need what they have.

I have anxiety... It got me kicked out of the Navy (story for another day), it stops me from going to school, it keeps me from doing just about anything that would benefit my life. I know that there are millions of people just like me, stuck in their own heads, trying to get out, if only we were not in out own way. I have no answers on how to do this, it seems lie everyone does. They are either lying, or They were never in this predicament. Many of you have talents that no one else can even think of having, and yet you don't use them, yet your energy is devoted to bare survival. Just existing, not thriving. 

I work hard for to push other people towards material wealth and success, and in return, I'm compensated just enough to not die. Par of that is my own fault obviously; I bring very little skills to the table that are desirable to a major contortion. Yet those careers, the ones that you need a 100,000 dollar piece of paper, are just more of the same. They have more zeroes on the end of their pay check, but that is all. Money can buy happiness, when its made by the backs of people that you control. I seem to be sounding like a Marxist... but there is a point to his Manifesto.  We are worth more than our labor. There is something better for us out there. 

The vicious cycle is daunting to me, I can hardly put into words how isolated and small it makes me feel to try and escape this world. Its everywhere, there are no more frontiers, there is no more discovering to be done. This is what I tell myself, but the discovery is within.

Mental clarity and mindfulness are ultimate goals of mine. It is the answer! Anxiety gone, the repetitive thoughts gone, freezing up a thing of the past. How do I get some of that? We shall see.  

I think I'm done here.  I will look back at this and laugh at my ridiculous rant someday. I hope it didn't make you cringe too much. Ill leave you with one of my favorite quotes. It keeps me from falling apart. 

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

-Aristotle