Thursday, March 26, 2015

I'm Back, Baby

Hey guys, the reason why I'm doing this blog post during robotics will be explained below. Thank god for substitute teachers. Now have some music.

I posted something on G+ yesterday. I said that sophomore year Yaple was back, and that says so much about how I feel right now. Most of the time I feel stressed by my A day classes, physics, pre-cal, latin, and AP US history, but they're comparatively easy all of a sudden. It's my B day classes where I'm being battered by two different in-class projects. The reason why I enjoy my A day classes is because at least they occupy your time and you can't get distracted. Not B days, B days you're forced to entertain yourself by spilling your guts on the internet for all to see.

This first week back at school after a week of break has been pretty hard emotionally. There's the stress of being behind (yes, on both projects), the stress of my difficult dad, and of course, the subconscious nagging responsibility to printing out all the shit you need to DM for your friends at lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays. Fuck printers.

It's a hard life, not really having any time to myself. The time I take for myself is me saying "screw it" to tomorrow's homework. The teachers at my school seem to assign homework as if we have nothing going on in our lives, when we might just have the worst possible shit going on. My anxiety has fluctuated the past week, going up slightly, then plummeting. I've given less of a shit about telling my English teacher in our Wise Blood essay that I couldn't care less about the book, especially having not read it. I can only picture my English teacher like this:

"Imagine a bacterium sat at your table and began to get snarky"
Anyone else would say I'm becoming so stressed that I'm caring less, since when you place certain things on a higher pedestal, like homework, other things get lower in your priorities list, like college. I can say that's wrong, and that I wasn't stressed as of when I stopped caring. I call this state of mind "sophomore year Yaple", and anyone who's known me during sophomore year knows that's when I killed my previous self and waltzed down the stairway from heaven to limbo, the dimension of not giving a shit.

My sophomore year self isn't stressed behavior, but rather a regression from that state. When I've been stressed past my limit is when I finally shine through. During everyday stuff, casual stress, my anxiety shows up to plague me, preventing me from acting as myself. Thankfully that goes away during said stress (the funny part is the anxiety causes part of the stress that gets rid of itself) and I can be free.

Since I do most of my A day homework on B days, when I barely do anything, my night of homework isn't as stressful. B day homework is entirely project based, and if there's one thing I hate, it's a project that doesn't give a shit about you, but expects you to care about it. I've been forced to email my English teacher and ask for extensions on shit that I might not even do, simply because I've lost the will to care, due to family issues for the first time.

And now for the part about my familial issues, great. My last blog post was somewhat detailed, but it seemed to be enough. Straightforward summary: my dad was a complete asshole-ic narcissist, thinking that simply because he had taken us to a movie and provided some cool stuff for us that it was a requirement for my sister to hug him. Truth was, she just might've, except on our way back we drove past our old neighborhood, and my sister felt sad about the fact that we'd left our home and asked dad if he could take a different route next time, since it was too painful. His response? He told her to get over it, because she was gonna have many different homes in her life, and she's gonna have to leave them all and get over the pain of lost memories. Now, had my dad simply said, "sorry, I hadn't noticed, I'll take a different route", she might've hugged him at the end of all of it, and when she didn't, he blamed her for not appreciating what he had done for her, despite realizing that, as well as taking her to a movie, he had also thrown salt in wounds that still were healing.

Since my dad reads my blog, I hope he'll be more conscious next time he sees us. I've resisted blogging about him and his actions for so long because it hadn't become as much of an issue that I would write about it. I could tolerate the neglect and the fact that he had supplanted us with a new family, who strangely were a part of his life a little too close to when the divorce happened, now that I think about it. The moment when she started crying was that moment for me, that moment where I had decided I was absolutely sick of it. I was gonna say what I thought of him, what I always kept inside to prevent getting burned by the fires of his rage that were always hidden until they appeared. My sister is too young to have known about when he exploded, when you bugged him for just one single minute too long and he tore your soul to shreds with his voice. She didn't understand why my mother and I urged her to keep her angry feelings private (which unlike my dad's, are perfectly rational).

Whenever I tried to talk to my dad on the down-low about issues, such as when he took me to dinner with his new family on my visitation night and I told him afterwards it was supposed to be between me, my sister, and him. In response, he gave a bullshit answer, and instead of countering it, I simply repeated verbatim what I had just said. He told me "I don't think you get this", to which I replied, "I don't think I get this either", but I digress.

This is just one of the things that bothers me, that when my mom has to unload on me how angry she is, and my sister grumpily mentions her desire to punch him, I feel my own anger stir exponentially. Nobody at my school has ever seen me get angry, because whenever I encounter something that would normally make someone angry, I shrug and carry on. When the anger personally affects me, I tend to blame myself. I currently blame myself for not speaking out earlier, my anxiety silencing my voice. I'm not going to blame myself anymore, however, because I know how to forgive myself for my silence, the same way former bad guys go fight crime to atone for their past sins.

For some reason, I like Spike's character more than Angel's
That was then, this is now. The circumstances are different from before. Sophomore year Yaple is back, and I welcome him, as a spirit of rebellion to aid my silenced voice. This regression from stress is like a lucidity period for me. I'm now free from judgement, free to speak, free to fight, free to be myself. I feel alive and conscious now, not just drudging around school waiting for the year to end. I feel every scratch on my fingers, every bruise on my arm, every injury that life provides to balance out it's goodness, and I'm going to use it.

People breeze through life too fast, and becoming Sophomore year Yaple again grants me the sobriety to truly live.

I'm starring in a friend's film in AVP (Audio-Video Production) as a truly epic role. I play the manifestation of Bill's depression, a manifestation only he can see, and a manifestation that is a complete asshole. Bill trudges through his day constantly bothered by Depression, until finally a coworker (the office screw-up) admits to Bill that he broke the copy machine, and Bill suddenly beats the shit out of him with a stapler. After being fired, Depression appears again, and Bill realized he was actually happy when he beat the shit out of his screw-up coworker, and proceeds to do what makes him happy (which takes a sadistic twist of robbing a convenience store and asking out the girl he likes).

My point in mentioning this is that depression, despite being a negative force in our lives, is meant to drag us down for a reason. The reason why J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-man is such an asshole to Spider-Man to Peter's face is because he knows that Peter Parker is Spider-man. How can't he? A guy showing up with pictures of Spider-man so good that only Spider-man himself could've taken them? Whenever Jameson attempts to have Peter get pictures of Spider-man to smear him, Peter one-ups Jameson, always making sure to rise to the challenge with his pictures to use in the Daily Bugle. The result? Peter takes better and better pictures, because Jameson is trying to keep Peter from getting stagnant. In case you don't believe this, then tell me why the hell Jameson is toasting Spider-man in his absence during Spider-Man 2 and painting him in nothing but a positive light?

News flash: this man, despite being a complete asshole, is actually not that much of an asshole
Depression will always be there to haunt us, bug us, make us feel inadequate, but it's there for another purpose. The pain of life is something to fight, and we're meant to keep fighting, even when there's no hope, and "If you do not fight for what you believe in, all may be lost for everyone else". Depression and pain are there because we need to utilize our defiance and become greater. We could never have developed computers without the pain of WW2. Every tragic mark in our history, be it that of the world or of yourself, is just one example of how humanity is becoming better in the face of it's mistakes.

I've written quite a lot here, but the point still stands as to who I am. I am awake now, and I'm certainly alive.

Friday, March 20, 2015

My dad made my little sister cry tonight because she wouldn't hug him back

Dad, I apologize in advance for this blog post, if I do get around to publishing it, but there's a reason I call you "my dad" and not "my father"

I've searched my feelings, I'm pretty sure it's not true. Go rule the galaxy with someone else.
Tonight, you made my little sister cry. I can only think of one other time when she cried in front of you, and that was when she tried to get you to confess as to whether or not you had (been having) a girlfriend shortly after the divorce took place. Now you've bought a house together, which isn't suspicious at all.

I'll skip over her and her kids, who I consider "terra incognita", and thus can't necessarily pass judgement on them. I never got to know them, nor were we ever given a chance to know them. You simply said "here, this is my new family. Our old family that held together for 16 years?, have some cool stuff and forget about it". That may not have been your exact wording, but I think I got it down.

I don't know them, but I know you. I've spent 16 years with you, and suddenly you seem like another person. A divorce is a horrible thing for both people involved, and somehow, you managed to be lucky enough to not be hurt at all. I might congratulate you, were the circumstances different and I were an unknowing third party. However, despite how much I pretend that I'm perfectly fine, I've mentioned before how I define the status word "fine", and everyone who reads this has got to know it too. "I'm fine" is, in my opinion, the sincerest form of sarcasm one can engage in.

I'm hardly hurt by the fact that you never really engaged with me. I'm antisocial, I'm shy, and somewhat socially anxious. I never minded in the slightest. Of course, it's never me that needs to get hurt for me to actually be hurt. My sister would come home angry every Thursday, every weekend in particular, having to deal with you. You hardly ever text us, even with our unlimited texting plans. I know that if I was a single father with kids, I'd text them every morning on their bus ride to school. I mean, I already do the same to my mother, who's jobless, losing hope because of you, having to force herself out there after 18 years of being a stay at home mom to get a job. I text her every morning to give her encouragement, much more than you've ever done. You never ever hurt me, but you hurt them, and that's practically the same thing.

We're afraid to talk to you, as well. My sister's too young to know what it's like when you get mad, and even then I knew only moments before that you were. I was afraid to talk to you, more so when I got older, because I never knew when you got mad. I make myself never get mad, because I never want to become you, I never want anyone to be afraid of talking to me and telling me how they feel. Why else would I talk to you through a stupid blog post?

That's why she didn't want to hug you. She feels undervalued in terms of that new family you have, and I do too. Mom wouldn't care, if not for that. One time, when I told you visitation was a thing between you, me, and my sister, and not necessarily your girlfriend and her kids, you said they were part of your family now. It seems like that, believe me, but I think they've had a foot in the door for years now, regardless of us. They've replaced us, and you seem to keep up this charade purely out of obligation. Why did you even want custody in the first place?

My mother's life is stressful enough, because purely and simply, job hunting sucks. It sucks when you have no skills, when you never did anything worthwhile then that would earn a living wage now, when you were a stay at home parent having to take care of the kids and not worry about the money. No, that was your job, and your job only. Now in the decree, when you buy anything medical for me or my sister, she has to pay half, even though you make more in a day than she currently makes in a year (see, because joblessness), which ought to be something along the lines of 20/80, because you make so much and she makes so little, and you wouldn't be caught dead paying anything greater than the child support payments.

One thing that I suppose might come to mind is the fact that, in the eyes of the law, I'm waaay too young to talk about this, or even know about this. I'm 17, in a magnet high school, and I can't know about how your burden. How can't I know? I'm old enough, no matter how many times I've been around the sun. My sister and I gained a couple years ever since you moved out. Daylight savings has nothing on us. She was an innocent little kid, ready to go into middle school and have her innocence removed by annoying tweens, when you thought you'd spare that for her and shattered her innocence in one fell swoop. It wasn't even you directly, she nearly went insane wondering why you were acting like this, why you were being evasive, why you weren't telling us, particularly her, what was going on. Finally, mom was forced to tell her what the hell was going on, and the rest fell into place. Ever since then, her persistent confusion has transformed itself into anger, anger that's reflected on those she spends the most time with (as in, not you). You never spend time with us, you never have to deal with the fallout, it's always mom. Valve only made us deal with fallout twice, and never would ever do it a third time.

Back to the topic at hand, you made my sister cry tonight. We went to see Insurgent, and it was a good movie, much better than the first movie, and when you dropped us off at home, you wanted to give her a hug goodbye. She said no, you got mad, she started crying because you were holding her arm so she couldn't walk away. Our family has collective security, dad, too bad you defected. I pushed away, I got in between you and her, and she ran to the door (at least, it seemed like it, I didn't have my eyes on her), and you yelled at me for taking her side. Why was this caused? Because she didn't want to hug you. Well, I think she's certainly changed her mind and wants to hug you now (in case you didn't guess, that was 110% sarcasm).

It's one thing to have to hug my mother because of the stress she has to go through as a result of you, but seeing your father dad actively make her cry strikes something entirely different. With your mother you feel the need to give her sympathy. When it's your sister, you tend to feel the need to take the guy who broke her heart and put him in his place. I can't do that physically, or verbally. You dominate the discussion, intimidate with your fury, and understand nothing. That's why I did it here.

I may not be the crazy slut with a dead husband, but I'm obviously either really brave or really stupid by doing this. Maybe both, but I'm definitely crazy
I don't know what the hell is gonna happen now, but I think you can count us -both of us -out of visitation next week.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thank You, Science, For Making Me Passionate About Who I am.

Alright, normally I write blog posts because I'm stressed, because I need to write to get my frustration and sadness and pain out. It makes sense, considering the tone of all my other blog posts and how painful they are and how I turn them around to a positive side. It's not always that way. Sometimes there's a movie that gives you a startling adrenaline rush that you use to conquer your day that you just have to write about. Today, it's Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey .

I finally finished all 13 episodes today with "Unafraid Of The Dark", and even while I watched the first episode I was desperate for more. The fact of a second season possibly in the works is exhilarating, but not as exhilarating as episode #13.

The first episode of Cosmos was purely introductory. It explained the ship of the imagination, with the looking up to the future and down to the past, and the scale of the universe and the cosmic calendar. Every single episode I learned something new about someone new, someones that I never were taught about in my history or even my science class. In between the great Issac Newton and Albert Einstein, there was Micheal Faraday, who was revolutionary in that he was the one who figured out how electric motors work, even postulating the theory of magnetic lines around the earth. This guy figured out some cool shit, and was a persistent genius, so why the hell haven't we heard about him? Marie Curie? Jan Oort? That group of women that discovered the spectrum of stars? (I apologize for lack of an image I saw months ago)

The quote from the episode about the women who discovered the spectrum of stars is below, but I just needed to find a place to insert this picture.
"These are the women of science. You probably haven't heard of them. I wonder why..."

Anyways, I expected episode #13 to have something even more extraordinary than all the other episodes, as it was a season finale. The philosophical ending, however, was amazing. Cosmos had been adding in the philosophy aspect in with science after the first few episodes (which I'm not complaining about), and joining the ideas of science with philosophy even more as it went on to piss off many, many creationists. You rock, Neil.

The episode ended with Neil sharing the awe of the universe as one ever so small participant. The fact that we're so small, and there's so much to explore, is nothing but exhilarating, exhilarating to the point where you write a blog post right after watching it. The fact of us humans is beautiful and poetic. We progressed from these tiny unicellular organisms and became us today. Despite all our imperfections right now, imperfections rectified bit by bit with each idea shared between us all, with our network of worldwide communication. We possess a great web of information around our planet. One of the greatest things we have that our predecessors did not is the ability to communicate. I can send a message to instantly arrive in a person's mailbox on the other side of the world. Is that not amazing?
"These values undermine the appeals of fanaticism and ignorance, and, after all, the universe is mostly dark, dotted by islands of light. Learning the age of the earth or the distance to the stars or how life evolves, what difference does that make? Well, part of it depends on how big of a universe we're willing to live in. Some people like it small. That's fine, understandable, but I like it big. And when I take all of this into my heart and my mind, I'm uplifted by it, and when I have that feeling, I want to know that it's real, that it's not just something happening inside my own head. Because it matters what's true, and our imagination is nothing compared with nature's awesome reality."
I'd say RIP Neil Degrasse Tyson, except he's thankfully still alive and he can give us more mind-blowing shit like this.

This kind of stuff that Neil talks about it part of why I like the pain in life, and why the bad stuff is just as important as the good. I've frequently said that the pain keeps me lucid and helps me know that I'm alive. Sometimes, the pain drives me to write, but in reality, there is always a subtext of passion behind why I write. Passion is what drives us to do anything, as Joss Whedon said, "without passion, we are truly dead", and that cannot be more true. Man lives as though he's never going to die, and dies never having really lived.

When I write from pain, it's not because I'm in pain. I write from my pain is because I'm passionate about exploring my emotions and who I am. I'm passionate about philosophy, but not to the point where I'd take the class. I can learn a lot more from a year of life than someone pulling my hand in some other direction. That's not to say I desire no hand to guide, but rather I want to be guided based on my own decisions. I'm guided by the authority figures I have today, like Neil Degrasse Tyson. Neil is one of those significant few people who have truly changed my identity a substantial amount. We change on our own, sure, based on the experiences passively given from others. Neil is one of those people who is hardly passive in his influence. Neil began Cosmos not so that you might watch it, but so that you would. Neil had something to say, and so he said it, regardless of if he might be ignored.
"If you wiped out all traces of religion and science, people would rediscover science on their own. They might call it different things, but it's still the same. Oh, but I assure you, your story about a talking snake would be gone forever" -Penn Jillette

Neil Degrasse Tyson has taught me more about science that I have learned about in my science classes, even the ones at the magnet high school I go to. Cosmos was made with a sole purpose: to teach to even the most ignorant. Sure, I know how a mitochondrion works (sorta...), but it doesn't matter what I was forced to learn. If you got me really passionate about biology, I would've looked it up to learn it myself. The problem with schools is that they fail to have students retain interest in the subjects. Play Cosmos in every science classroom, and you're gonna get people interested in science, then they'll learn for themselves.

When you're a kid, it's easy to tell what you want to do. You just pick the one you like, and that's that for a couple years, at least until you redecide. When you're older, such as your teens, or even in your 50s just having to re-enter the workforce, it's harder. You have to reconsider your passion, and try to figure out where you will be happy, which can be harder than it seems.

Sometimes your passion will drive you to do something you may regret later, so what? Aren't all the smart people full of doubts while the stupid are full of confidence? Of course, there are definitely exceptions to this rule, but I digress.

I'll see you all in the Cosmos, my friends.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I Love Music, Hide My Social Anxiety, And Am Possessed By Satan. Hooray Spring Break!

Alright, so I'm stressed out (the fun part is I'm stressed out more so by absolutely nothing than by homework) and I doubt I'll make it to the end of the week without another written blog post. As it happens, our Robotics final exam is an in-class project, and our teacher is too lazy to show up on due dates (hooray for weekly progress reports), and I feel the urge to write, with a musical background, as usual. I do recommend listening to it while you read this, as it gives you a better feel for my current state.

Music is something that everyone loves, because it's so goddamn relatable. Even if you hate reality and you hate existence, you turn on sad music. It doesn't matter how you feel, your emotional state dictates what genre you're currently into. I've gotten into Shinedown for the past several weeks, and for some reason their music calms me, gives me something to feel apart from what I'm feeling. I'm lost in the stories in the songs, and have reinforced my belief that yes, I enjoy rock music. Sadly, we can't have a button that restores our hearing afterwards (or earbuds that have a higher volume limit), because I would totally buy those. I would also enjoy the idea of wireless earbuds, which I'll probably make sometime in the future. Either way, if I'm stressed and have a moment to myself, I won't be able to hear anything for about 30 seconds afterwards.

And so I come back to my usual topic: stress. The reason the music isn't anything along the lines of "I'm hurt" or "just breathe" is because of spring break, on account of which I've latched onto a song that says, "hey, you're gonna win, you can fucking do this" just to get through this week. Saturday will be a day for a rundown on the basic homework assignments for next Monday, and Sunday, of course, will be a daylong Guns Of Icarus Online regatta. The rest of the week will be me getting on top of the rest of all the bullshit I have to deal with, which I'll be motivated to accomplish by another Guns Of Icarus day or two. The more I accomplish, the more I'll be able to play.

The Galleon will demolish all of them, hands down.
This week has been stressful, of course. My monologue in theatre, for one, I've forgone for two weeks, and the resulting anticipation of it gave me a panic attack the Thursday night before last. This not only didn't help my confidence, but it also kept me up all night, which in turn made me skip school on account of zero sleep (if I was gonna passively suffer, I was gonna passively suffer at home). You can guess how much this helped. The following week UIL had occupied my teacher's time, making it even worse when I had to perform it on Tuesday. My mom says I don't have social anxiety, rather that I'm just shy. I agreed with her at the time, but in recent experience, a panic attack the night before compliments the former possibility.

My mother said I was shy because I usually sat at the front of the class, usually was participative in activities, and had plenty of friends, but that doesn't matter. Just because someone's socially outgoing (or so they seem), it doesn't mean that they're socially secure. Social anxiety doesn't have to define you to affect you (oh hey, one of those sentences I end up being really proud of). If someone's infected by the flu, they're automatically assumed to be sick, that is if there was someone with a portable medical scanner monitoring a flu virus that just entered their system. It'd be foolish to automatically erect a quarantine and deem them sick (if it was Ebola, maybe). Just because a person's infected with the flu doesn't mean that the virus has taken hold. This is a somewhat fragile and negative metaphor, but it says something. We automatically assume, because someone's not displaying symptoms of social anxiety, that they're not, and yet we're told that a virus can flourish and at the same time display no symptoms within a person.

If a person says they feel social anxiety and at the same time not display any symptoms, it only means they're good at hiding it. I can be stabbed (emotionally) in the heart, and still maintain a smile on my face. Whenever someone asks me how I'm doing, one thing I make a point to do is avoid the answer, "oh, I'm fine, how are you?". The answer of "I'm fine" is one of apathetic contentedness, and it usually means "I'm not fine but I don't want you to know" which is one notable symptom of social anxiety, now that I think about it. Whenever someone asks me how I'm doing, I always answer truthfully. I have a spectrum of replies, ranging from "great" to "good" to "kinda shitty" to "fine" to "don't talk to me", which I use to answer the question of "how are you?". If anyone ever answers "I'm fine", then I ask again and again until they answer truthfully, because annoyance begets honesty.

Back to the subject of my stress, I've gotten on track with my usual homework, but the problem isn't that. The problem is the projects, particularly research projects. My robotics project I'm merely behind on, and I'll catch up on it over spring break, so that's not as prevalent an issue (provided my mother's boyfriend comes over to help me out). Research projects, however, have always been my weak point. I got a 0 on my fall theatre final because I didn't even bother with a research project, and only passed the semester with a 75 because it's theatre, do the math (tip: there are three 6 week periods, averaged together with the final grade). The funny thing is I sometimes imagine myself as a hunter in the Supernatural universe, which involves a ton of research, which I would hate. It's like I have an invisible Lucifer for real life.

Sometimes I am Lucifer, sometimes it's other people. Lucifer is within all of us.
Ignoring the idea that we all have a devil on our shoulders, I'm still hanging in there, somewhat easier than my usually pessimistic blog posts entail. That's why I listen to Shinedown. Sometimes the music works, sometimes it doesn't, but whenever it does is worth it. I love music, and I love to lose myself in it and become someone different (they're usually somewhat similar in personality, character, and yeah, it's basically just me implanted in another universe). I love writing fanfiction somewhat more, however, because when I become someone else, I embody the voices of the protagonists, and I let go of my earthly attachment to myself. I forget that I'm sitting here. I forget my anxiety. I forget that I'm self-conscious. I'm self-conscious of myself, I'm self-conscious of my monologue, I'm self-conscious of how I come across to people, and I forget it all when I send this world elsewhere.

Of course, I don't come across as self-conscious, because I'm a good actor (my theatre teacher will be proud of that one), but I feel as if I am. The fact of my inner self-consciousness and my outer cheerful demeanor is a prime example of my ongoing conflict. Day after day, I fight myself, and combined with the stress of school and life and my parents, I really do die every day and become anew.

Class is almost over...I don't want to go
Once again, I seem suicidal and depressed, and the truth is we're always gonna be depressed. Anyone who takes an hour and thinks through everything about everything can't possibly retain a fully positive outlook, which is only possible in a hot shower. I'll never give up, I'll never kill myself, but I can't control my thoughts, or can I?

Sometimes, perhaps, if I'm listening to Shinedown.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Dear Mom, It Gets Better.

Mom, I know things are hard, and that you turn to me for advice and consolation, and I thought I should write something, since I'm not as apt in 'on the nose' conversation. My blog posts are usually quite comforting to those that read them on a regular basis, and not for the reason that they're trying to find a reason for me to not publish them under my name.

Before you begin your argument, I shall give you my counterargument...the same counterargument I always give you
I know job hunting sucks, and I know you despair, what with your apparent lack of purpose. I thought upon my purpose not long ago, and everywhere I looked I found myself feeling the same way: that I had no purpose, and that there was no place for me. This is a heartbreaking realization to make, and in all fairness, a rather pessimistic way of looking at things. I realized, after a brief period of depression, that I didn't want a purpose to be assigned to me. When you have a predetermined purpose in life, you feel constricted, you're forced to conform into this mold that's set before you. Your purpose in life, whatever it may be, shouldn't be assigned to you by anyone or any sky-zombie except yourself (not saying you're a sky-zombie, that was a shallow reference to Christianity. Something something no such thing as god). A purpose isn't meant to be something you think about in advance, but rather something you realize you've fit into without realizing it. Keep working on finding who/where you want to be, and you'll realize you've found it.

Jean Luc has been through similar endeavors, know that and you won't have as much trouble knowing that Jean Luc Picard has dealt with similar problems to yours

I know taking care of my little sister is tiring, and it pains both of us to watch her in emotional turmoil, as I believe I mentioned. The worst part of any form of suffering is having to watch powerless as someone else suffers. She'll get over it eventually and grow up the right way, someday. All that matters is how we help her deal with it, and I know we can.

Despite the fact that we're not religious, mom, we can still have faith. We can have faith that dad will burden us less, we can have faith that you'll manage to get a job, we can have faith that I'll get my driver's license, graduate from LASA, go to college.

Despite the fact that I'm not religious, mom, I can still believe. I believe in you, mom, and I believe we can get through this.