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"With Optimism"

Jethro Castillo
Jethro Castillo
10 min read
"With Optimism"

A word from me:

This is the first post that is yours (kinda dope).

If you are interested in sharing one of your own, please contact me.

Some of the pieces that have most changed my life are the ones that are raw and real, and are stream of consciousness. This is an example of one of those. It is honest and brutal, but also reflective. May you take something from it.

However, this is a tough read. This is a trigger warning. The material discussed is heavy. If you are sensitive to that, please do not read any further.


‌A word from the author:

Hi Jet!

I wrote this tonight. It's the first thing I've ever written like this and it was substantially longer than I thought it would be. I guess I just had a lot to say. I didn't even proofread it. I didn't write it for your page necessarily, but the first night I met you, you read me a note on your phone that was vulnerable and I never reciprocated. At that point I was still being mysterious so people couldn't see me. That might change now, depending on how you see things.

Feel free to post the following piece, but please don't use my name- I'd prefer for it to stay as anonymous as possible.

Sending so much love, warmth, and positive energy your way today and always:) You deserve to be living such an amazing life.


I talked to my mom today because at my resting state I am sad and it has really begun to feel like that isn't going to ever end and it's really scary. I feel like I'm exhausting all my efforts to fix it and I really have spent quite a lot of my time making that effort in countless different ways but when things feel good it's all fleeting feelings. I recognize that this should be a sign that my sadness will eventually fade too, but as much as I know that it will at some point, believing that is becoming more and more difficult. I really just don't see a good outcome here and I sometimes find myself obsessing on that which is intense. I feel that I'm not in as deep as I was 6 weeks ago, but something just isn't right. I seriously thought about admitting myself somewhere but then I convinced myself I was being unreasonable which I likely was for a variety of reasons. My lease ends July 31 which is fine, but I am having a difficult time separating that from the duration of my life if that makes sense- like I can't imagine a day existing after that but I still feel overly stressed about everything that is happening in between. Simply put, I feel overwhelmed by the state of things and while I am staying focused on what’s in front of me, I don’t think I can ignore what’s happened in the past because some of it is the foundation and cause of who I am and what I am experiencing now.

It's just really tough right now.

I don’t know how my world works or really how I process it at all either. My world and my head don’t even make sense to me. For example, I like my job, but I dread going to work and having to do my job. I’m happier being there and staying occupied than I would be doing some other bullshit work, but I can’t decide if it’s something that I love or if it’s something I accept because I am familiar with it. I say I am passionate about working with people who have disabilities, but am I really? Because I can’t seem to find joy in that anymore. I find it fulfilling to help a child who really needs and show them love. But sometimes it’s just really hard because even when I am checking all the boxes and doing everything right for someone else, I don’t feel better about it. But I’d rather be at work than wallowing alone in my room, feeling anxious about the fact that I have been home for several hours in my room and that one of my roommates might notice that I have been home the whole time and that they are judging me for being in. So then I think about leaving my room, but I don’t because I am afraid they might judge me or say something to me. Unless I see visible signs that someone enjoys my company, like a smile or a laugh, I don’t feel like they do. Talk about paranoia.

I work with kids and hear about their trauma and see how some kids, even 6 year olds can be so sad and are having such a hard time that they don’t even want to exist anymore. I’m happy to be a support for them and show them love but there’s only so much I can do when I see them only a few hours a day and my time is shared between so many others. I am learning the importance of sharing time with myself, too, but that’s a whole other thing. I take on other people’s pain and suppress my own until it builds up.

I feel so much internal conflict. This isn’t an uncommon thing for me because I often bottle things and keep them inside until I have mini breakdowns. And it’s disgusting to me that I am so near one now, only a year later. Is that a sign of weakness? Or just a sign that a lot is going on? Or maybe it’s a sign that I don’t have healthy coping mechanisms? Or maybe that coping mechanisms are only helpful for so long. Only long enough to hide the hurt until it builds on itself until it reaches a point of being unbearable.

One of my kids has had such a hard life and he just pushed people away. He’s 6 and he recently watched his dad beat his mother, abuse him when he tried to do something, and then drive away only to get into a motorcycle accident, have his motorcycle catch fire and explode, killing his father in the process. We finally became friends, began making progress, and then his grandparents sent him away, back to his mother, who likely isn’t suited to be caring for a child right now, because he was too much for them to handle. Now he can add abandonment to his list of traumas. This belongs to him, but I experienced that with him and took that on as my own. I feel that on his behalf now, too.

I can only get hit and kicked and painted on and told that someone wants to kill me, light camp on fire, then blow up the world so many times before I really start feeling something. It’s already hard to live when your mind is already telling you to do things to yourself, but when someone reaffirms that, it just adds fuel to the fire and makes you think.. Huh, maybe they’re right. Maybe, I’m right. Maybe I should. But that goes against your morals. Never show signs of weakness. Don’t leave marks on your body that show your pain. That isn’t you, and even if you want to, you can’t.

But then when I have to send that camper out of my program for telling me they are gonna shoot me in the face and light the building on fire, and have him mean it, their mom got mad as if it’s my fault her kid has sociopathic tendencies and I could have done better for him. Could I have done better? I didn’t feel self doubt before, but should I feel it now? Maybe she’s right because I couldn’t serve him sufficiently. I couldn’t fix him so I failed. I can only show her compassion when I tell her that the environment just isn’t conducive for her child’s needs and that he really should seek counseling to work through these problems.

I went on a walk this afternoon and the only thing I did not feel dissatisfied with is my current location. I wish my heart friends were here- their presence would make it all okay. At least part of it anyway. Maybe it would feel better in a numbing way. Like the kind of topical solution to a problem that doesn’t make anything better, but hides the hurt. But I love redacted even without them.

Although, that might be the only thing about my situation I can say I’m pretty satisfied with.

My job is good and it’s in my field but it’s so draining. I can only have so many people tell me they wanna kill and talk so many kids down from suicide before I feel like I need support too. This makes me feel wimpy because I’ve never been the person who needed support before. I was Ms. Tough Girl. The woman who is strong enough to handle anything and never let anyone see that something was getting to me. But when I already feel these things and can relate so personally to my current life, they start to weigh heavy on my soul. But again, I am tough so I don’t know why I feel like I need something more right now. I think this is a growing pains. Maybe I didn’t used to be that way, but maybe I am now. Maybe I am just more sensitive these days and need emotional support. That’s okay, that doesn’t make me weak, and thinking that it does is a toxic mindset to have, but I still feel like it would be. And that isn’t even fully true cause I’m experiencing so much growth and I feel that what is happening is that growing pains hurt and make you feel like you aren’t a complete human.

So far, the best thing I know to do to take care of myself and feel okay is to come home and walk from the moment I get home until I'm too tired to walk anymore. And I always do it alone, too, which is fine cause I’m happy to be alone when I feel like being alone. I don’t feel like being social when I am walking, but then sometimes I feel lonely when I am alone. And sometimes I just want to sit in comfort, in the presence of another person, not saying anything, but maybe being held, or maybe just in the physical company. I don’t want to actually have a constructive conversation all the time.

So I make plans that I don’t want to follow through with, because I am anxious about leaving the house and anxious about being around other people who aren’t my heart people, but I usually do them anyway, and sometimes it’s fun but it’s never an “I feel alive” experience it’s just a “this is pretty okay right now” feeling.

I also no longer eat for taste or sustenance, just survival. And that’s a sign to me that I am very mentally strong. I know that I am mentally capable, because I am capable of starving myself and malnourishing myself. I won’t let myself put something inside of my body that I don’t want or that isn’t good for me. I am motivated by the physical changes I see- which is strange because the two mirrors in my house are both misshapen. One makes you short and stout and the other makes you lanky. It’s so funny to me that I am trusting something that I know to be false because it’s somehow providing me with hope. How am I getting more reassurance from something I know is a lie than the truth? Probably because I don’t even know what is true anymore and this is just one type of visual signpost. That’s why. What do I look like? I don’t know. I do know that my body doesn’t change 15 lbs overnight based on what I ate the previous day. Science doesn’t work like that, but regardless, I believe that. It’s pretty restrictive and I was doing okay but I kinda gave up on fighting this battle this weekend which sucks for my health but somehow I don’t see it that way. Shrinking, especially the way I am approaching it, is not healthy, but I don’t care because I am attracted to the way it looks (even if the way it looks is a lie and my body dysmorphia wouldn’t know the difference anyway). I know this. So weird how you can know something is true and just choose not to care.

There's just so much confusion about everything and I am lost in translation. Oftentimes I sit with that feeling, but then sometimes my pain body kicks in. And I know that’s what it is, but something in me isn’t letting myself shake it. And then I just feel like I’m existing and all things considered I feel like I’m doing a damn good job if that, but existing is not the same as living. And I don’t feel like I’m living, I’m just present.

It is astounding to me that I have made friends the past few months because I have been the opposite of social and have made 0 efforts to befriend people. I talk to people when I am around them, but that’s all. And this kind reminds me of how good at socialization I used to be. And it reminds me how decent I am and presenting myself as being okay. Cause if when I feel like this, people still want to be around me, and when I don’t care about them, they still seem to care about me and our relationship, then damn -- What was I like when I actually tried? And what was I like when I cared? When I was on, I must have been fucking ON. I am not out here screwing anybody over now. I am polite and courteous, but that’s usually all. I am not investing a lot. But damn, I used to give people so much of me. I was starving myself of my own company, and now I love being alone. I still get my energy from others, and I find it exhausting to spend a lot of time by myself, but I get to do things that I like doing, like writing this. Before I wouldn’t have let myself spend enough time thinking, alone, to produce these kinds of things. Without even knowing it, I am giving myself a lot of myself.

And that makes me long to feel okay, so that I can feel normal and feel alive with the consistency and to the degree that I used to. Because I used to feel it regularly. And now I don’t. But just to know that I am capable of having an electric soul makes me want to reignite that in myself, just to feel it again. And this time I would nurture it, and take care of it, and make sure my fire burned bright like the sun.

And if I feel that way about a me that used to be real, I must love and cherish the me and the truth that exists now.

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