By Phillip Martin
Feb. 1 2015
First of all, I’m sorry. I haven’t posted something new since early November. I was busy working through the holidays and still getting used to this post-college life. A lot has happened in the past two months.
Since I mentioned my post-college life, let me talk about that.
If you’ve been following me, you might remember how distraught I said I felt back about seven to eight months ago. I graduated college with a degree for a career I was no longer pursuing. I had also felt brokenhearted; a love interest from my 2013 summer in Colorado patronized and insulted me over a purely innocent card I sent her (like the ones I sent to 10 other people), and a guy I have been jealous of had been for months dating some other girl I had unrequited feelings for two years prior. Also, I had also hated that I moved back to my loathsome childhood home in southern Ohio and that I was working a job unrelated to my college education. At the start of things, I felt like a total failure — not just in my college career but in my relationships with others, my pursuit for life success, and my relationship with God.
Well, due to time and events, my sentiments have changed. After much reflection around the holidays, I found myself more hopeful for the future and thankful for the present. I guess God is helping to be content with what I have now today, even though I still do struggle with yesterday’s pain. I’m still attending the second church I visited in September. Since my second week, I’ve been attending a small group where we fellowship and discuss the week’s message. (I brought this up in an earlier post.) I’ve also been more content with work. I still volunteer at my local hospital as well. Plus, although I still feel lonely, unattractive, and hopeless for a future love life most of the time, I am still content with the benefits of my singleness. Somehow watching episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on Hulu Plus, listening to smooth jazz on Spotify and by CD in the car, journaling daily notes to God, talking to Him on my commute to work, and writing on my story strips away some of the barrenness and rejection from others I feel in my soul.
Now that I’ve mentioned writing, I can share about my novel.
I have finished a complete rough draft of the chapter titled “Flashback of Arlan”. The chapter is a first of a two-part series of flashbacks of the two main characters. Eleanor relives Arlan’s past. Her friend Ashlynn can foresee future events also can recall retrospective visions of other people’s past that are so vivid it feels real but is like a dream. Ashlynn is the one who projects Eleanor’s conscious into Arlan’s mind. To Eleanor it’s literally like she’s in his body. In his shoes, she explores sources for his obsession over her but also discovers painful memories that explains his discomfort for his body image.
The first of the series is about Eleanor reliving sad memories of Arlan, her admirer, from his childhood and adolescence. The next chapter I will write will be titled “Flashbacks of Eleanor”. Now, it will be Arlan’s turn to relive his love interest’s past. Like him, Eleanor too finds discomfort for her body image. While realizing her discomfort with herself, he also sees her painful memories. Again, Ashlynn is the one who will link the two characters together.
I wish I could describe more deeply than that, but’s all I can share. I would probably overfill this post and also give away too much.
Aside from post-college life and my story writing, something very big and good has happened for me. I just accepted into a graduate social work program. Along with striving for a master’s degree in something I feel more passionate about, I will also go on track towards testing for social work license to practice anywhere in Ohio. With a master’s of social work degree and license, I can go on and start helping people like how my church counselor did for me at BG. My ultimate goal is to be advocate, supporter, and healer for people like my counselor was for me. I guess my new dream job is to become a school or mental health counselor for my age group struggling with a variety of issues. I’d like to specifically help those with body image issues, identity and ethnic identity crises, and anxiety and pain to help prevent suicides and lesson life-debilitating problems. In this exciting new career aspiration, my hope and prayer is that God can use my past experiences so that He can work through my work.
Unfortunately, my acceptance into grad school brings up some new real concerns.
First, I’ve more frequently asked the following question: Am I doing this on a whim? I keep wondering if this is where I should go — if this is the calling I’ve been feeling for nearly two years now — or if I’m basing this whole motivation for social work off of some honeymoon effect from my counseling sessions. I still haven’t figured it out, but I keep praying a lot about it. For the record, a radio ad for Mt. Vernon Nazerine U.’s BSW program played when I cut on the radio on my way to visit Ohio State in September. My thoughts have been that God may have given me clarity liked I asked him for. It also helps that I strongly care about social justice in this nation and in this world. Also spurring me on, has been my hurt and pain since my childhood. So, maybe my new career aspiration isn’t so capricious at all.
My next major is for my relationships and social life. To be frank, I seem like a loser. Through middle school and college, I felt out because I never found my niche with a cohesive group of people similar to me. I mean, I must be a loser because a group of self-proclaimed nerds in college rejected me. I had a girl in high school lie about her Arabian horse dying so she could avoid going with me to prom, where she had planned to ditch me. I haven’t found many other people who enjoy listening to smooth jazz or are into Star Trek like I am. I’m the guy who spilled hot coffee on my hand and below the dispenser at church when I visited BG a few weeks ago. (Of course, I would be the clumsy one.) I’m the guy who is attracted to mostly white girls but also get hurt because those girls prefer someone who looks like Ashton Kutcher or Benedict Cumberbatch. My point is that I feel like a loser, and I’m afraid things will not change when I start grad school in August. To ad to this concern, I’m very afraid about even considering attending their campus’ church that is similar to the one in BG. I am tired of feeling left out and hurt by people in the Body of Christ who say they are Christians but fail to love or treat me the same — with honor, respect, appreciation, and grace —as themselves or their other friends.
♥ Four albums are on my must-get list for my smooth jazz collection: By Richard Elliot – Metro Blue (2005), Ricochet (2003), and Chill Factor (1998). By Marion Meadows – Soul Traveler (2015)
I already own In the Zone (2011) and Crush (2001) by Elliot. “Panamera” is my favorite track on In the Zone, and I like “If I Kissed You” on Crush for Johnathan Butler’s smooth vocals.
Soul Traveler is seems to be Meadow’s homage to his Native American heritage. That’s what I have gathered as I see tracks with titles like “Mother Earth” and “Dream Catcher”. Over the years I have enjoyed Meadows for his soprano sax playing. I have mp3 tracks from his 2009 record Secrets, which seems to have been an unpopular release (It is available on Amazon but not on Spotify or Meadows’ topic page on YouTube). I also first heard Meadows on a car ride to Indianapolis sometime around 2003. My dad owns Meadows’ Body Rhythms; this album looks to be another unpopular release.
♥ I’m now in the middle of Season 7, the final one, of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I’ve been watching episodes on Hulu Plus since November. I appreciate the show’s story writing (which is slow in the first season) and its rich character development. I’ve enjoyed Avery Brook’s acting for his character Benjamin Sisko, the only black represented as a captain in all the Star Trek TV series. I also like Garak, the mysterious Caradassian outcast and former operative in Cardassia’s Obsidian Order. Dr. Julian Bashir has been very interesting. I appreciate his professionalism for his medical practice and his friendships with Chief Miles O’Brien and Lt. Jadzia Dax.
♥ I’m routing for the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. I used to be a Colts fan, so you must understand my deep dislike for the New England Patriots. I predict the score to be 34-20, Seattle. I hoping the ‘hawks crack 40 points though.