Liam Holyoak

This is where I write things.

Embracing the Weird

There’s this podcast I listen to where the interview always ask first time guests this question: “Were you a weird kid?”

After listening to this a few times it’s something I’ve started to think about, and yes. Yes I was. Not in a way that you’d necessarily see from the outside.

I was goofy, I liked to make jokes and play around. But I was also a loner. Maybe that was the product of being the youngest of five kids. Or just something built into me. But I spent a lot of time alone, making up stories, playing games.

Once I started going to school I learned I had a knack for finding the weird kids, the odd ones out. I spent as much time with them as I could. At a certain point I got good at pulling the weird out of people. I’d spend a science class with a “popular” kid in my school and by the end of the day I’d found the parts they’d kept secret, the weird bits.

I like to surround myself with weirdos. It makes things a lot more interesting.

So I guess my question for you is, were you a weird kid? If so, in what ways?

A New Challenge

I’ve always been really impressed by the Michael Pollan, Robert Greene, Walter Isaacson types. The people that have this ability to absorb massive amounts of information and put them all together neatly in one place.

I love learning. I know a little bit about a lot of things, the part I’m terrible at is sharing that information. I don’t know how to wrap it up in a nice package and present it to someone.

I hesitate to say teach it, because I’m no teacher. Rather sift through all the data you can find, and wrap it nicely in a book.

That’s something I’d like to be better at. I’m already pretty good at learning. Even learning about the “boring” stuff. I love it, I love sifting through information trying to learn all there is about something. Although, you can’t really ever learn all there is about something. The part that gets me is the idea of presenting it to someone else. That bit terrifies me. Which is why I’m going to figure out how to be better at it.

An Almost Summer Poem.

It’s a cool almost summer morning.

I can still smell the dew on the grass.

The sun hasn’t yet decided to peek over the mountain. The street has a subtle glow, it’s not dark. But it isn’t exactly light.

I wave at the neighbors as we walk by, saying good morning.

The pup stops at every yard to catch all the smells.

I breathe in deeply. I am grateful.

For the fresh air, for my health, for this beautiful world that surrounds me. For so many more things, but these are what the morning reminds me to be grateful for.

Just Write.

I’m never really sure how I feel about something until I write about it. Maybe my mind works in a different way.

I need to see something on the page to sort out what my thoughts are about it.

Sometimes, I forget this.  I get lost in the clutter of my mind, then it hits me.

Write.

An hour later, I can see it. I’ve sifted through the murky water and come out the other end clear, or at least more than I was previously.That whatever it is, whatever I’m going through wasn’t so bad.

Maybe that’s why when you’re a kid you want to keep a journal, a notebook to fill with secrets. A place where the things in your head can become real. Then at some point you lose sight of that, at least I did. I often forget how good it feels to write. How much better I feel about the world when I can manage to process my thoughts onto a page.

I can make them real, then I can decide what I think about them.

Uninteresting.

I feel uninteresting. I was thinking this recently. I was around someone I’d met before but didn’t know super well, he was asking me questions. I was off the top of my head answers. I didn’t feel like I had the space to think about something before I replied. I just did, then felt a bit like an idiot. I wonder if this happens to everyone. I don’t know if it’s something that relates to me being quiet, or maybe I just don’t do as well in social situations as I thought. Maybe it’s an insecurity thing. I’m not really sure. But it really affected me, I’ve been racking my brain trying to dissect conversations. What do you talk to strangers about? At this point I’m over thinking it. I’d like to be able to have more fluid thought out conversations with strangers, I’m not exactly sure how that goes. Or how you even start that sort of dialogue with someone. It’s something I’ll have to start practicing.

Daily Action.

Have you ever tried to recall where you learned something. Specifically a word. Words you know how to use in a sentence but couldn’t give someone the definition if they asked.

Do you really know what it means in that example? Or just how to use it. Knowing how to use something properly is knowing something, isn’t it? Or does true knowledge only come from an ability to teach or explain it.

Sometimes you just know things, and they need no explanation. I know that meditation makes me feel good. Sure, the science behind it is useful to learn about and know. From action, I know it helps me. I don’t need to be able to explain it.

Or do I? I’m not so sure. Maybe you can only be helpful, or an authority on something if you truly know it.

I tend to believe though that true knowledge comes from daily action, not what you can read about in a book. Not to discredit knowledge, I’m the first in line to read all about something. However,  the action,  is a much better way to learn.

Landing on My Feet Again.

Change can suck. Especially fast change. Slow change gives you time to get used to it, as you slowly get better at things, or get used to the idea of things being a different way. Fast change is tough. Sometimes it feels like the rug was tugged out from under you and you’ve just got to flail on the ground, hoping you can land on a pile of feathers on not on a pile of mud.

Sometimes you land on the mud, and you’ve got to stand up clean yourself off and keep going. There isn’t really another option.

Unless you’ve managed to create some sort of time machine there isn’t a whole lot you can do but just roll with the punches.

That’s how it goes. That’s how life goes. It’s funny. I practice a lot. I have a daily spiritual practice, a daily philosophical practice but practice in those types of things doesn’t always do you a lot of good. It’s easy to have a practice when everything is going your way, what’s hard is to keep that up and stay true to it when you have to face something unexpected. You never know quite what type of person you are until life hands you something you weren’t expecting. Then you have to figure everything out again.

The Written Word.

That cursor, it just sits there flashing. Patiently waiting for my mind to string together some symbols that somehow make up a word, a sentence, a paragraph. All these characters that we have somehow identified with meaning. Lines on a page. Mean a thousand different things. Words are powerful.

I read recently that humans aren’t designed for written language. If you stuck a group of children on an island, they’d figure out a way to speak to each other, but they wouldn’t feel a need to create a written language. It’s pretty foreign to us, our eyes aren’t exactly designed to process these symbols on a page. But somehow our brain has managed and very efficiently.

That’s a crazy thing to someone who feels so connected to their ability to put words on a page. It’s not something that we have evolved to do, the written word hasn’t been around long enough for us to evolve. To adapt to it. Evolution is much slower than that.

I’m not really sure what that all means, I haven’t finished the book yet, and I’m not quite sure how to make sense of it myself. It seems like it matters though, it’s a pretty unique ability for a mammal to create a written language, one that is processed by an entirely different part of our brains then our speaking, and listening centers. It’s wild, and it’s crazy how much we still don’t know about ourselves, let alone this world we live in. Probably things we will never know, which just makes every day that much more exciting.

Taking a leap.

It’s okay to be afraid sometimes. It’s okay to be scared that things won’t work out exactly as you planned. They probably won’t, but if you develop the ability to roll with punches. If you can get hit and get back up you’ll become resilient. When you are resilient. Well, nothing can stop you.

That’s been floating around my mind lately. I am in this strange place. At least it feels strange to me. I’m not angry, or hateful of my job. It’s actually quite the opposite. I am very grateful for it. But at the same time it leaves me feeling like there is a lot to be desired. That there is a lot more I could be doing to feel fulfilled. I don’t really know what that is. I have an idea. But I’ve never taken a leap. Because a leap requires a lot of faith. I feel like I am in a rock and a hard place. I don’t hate this thing I spent most of my time doing, and the thing I want to spend most of my time doing. I don’t know if it’ll work out. I know that’s incredibly vague. But writing it out seems like I am cementing something into the future. Something I’m not totally sure I am capable of. Maybe that is where it all stems from. I’m good at what I do for work. But what I want to do, I don’t think I’m very good at that. That’s the scary thing about change. You go from the top rung to the bottom in a moment, and you have to start climbing back up. Hoping every rung that your arms don’t give out on you now.

Listen.

I’m in the habit of coming home everyday and vegging out. I could just as easily get in the habit of coming home everyday and doing more work. Working towards the life I want for myself. I could do that. It won’t be the easiest thing in the world. But it will be worth it. It will be good. It won’t be easy. Is everything worth doing ever easy. I don’t think so. It just is. You do it because you have to. You just keep doing it because you have to keep doing it. You don’t have a choice because this thing is calling you and at a certain point you can’t ignore the call. You have to listen. If you ignore the calling for too long. It’ll move on to someone else. If you’re lucky it’ll stick around for a while, maybe until you listen. But until you act. Until you make a deal that you’ll get up every morning and put in the hours in front of your keyboard. Until you make that deal and stick to it. It could go away at any moment. So what are you waiting for. Turn the god damn TV off, put your phone away. Get to work. It’s calling you, at some point you’re going to have to pick up.

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