One Small Jump Around The Sun

Ahh… It’s been a year since this began, one hell of one to be honest.  At year’s end, it always brings us back to the beginning.  I stand now next to the person I was 12 short months ago and measure, hoping I have come far enough.

Things have changed, and the more they change, the more they stay the same.  Am I where I want to be? No. Is there more that I can do? Yes. In the seemingly infinite finite time I have, I never get to where I want to go.  I work and work, but the work seems to pile up more and more. It’s inescapable – or rather I can’t find a way to escape it without giving up too much.

How far have I come, how far have I gone? Questions that a loaded with no clear answer to them. Tangibly, there is only but small differences in my life. From the outset, my status may not look at all like it has changed. I still working a minimum wage job, living at home, working on getting into grad school. It frustrates me, these were three things I was attempting to change through the year, three points of contention, there losses.

Of course, it wasn’t all losses.  Socially I am surrounded by good people with whom I love and adore. Emotionally I pulled myself out of the depression episode and am better than I was before it started. Physically I am a lot more fit, eating healthier and working out whenever I get the chance. These are things I look to when I days get dark or time runs out.

There are still things I want, still things I am working on and don’t get me wrong, I am supremely grateful for all that I have. A year is not a long time but also an eternity. Whenever I need time, it passes too quickly, and whenever I need time to pass it seems to trudge on begrudgingly.  Time inevitably changes everything, moves us along without our consent, and make the most of it is to flow with it, accept we have less control than what we may want or would like and keep at it.

I continue to work on myself, making goals and plans.  If anything I learned a little bit more about tenacity and grit. I know what I want, and I know what I need. I set these goals to never return to the place I came, to rise above.

As a conclusion, I want to say that I have a lot more to go, the journey has yet to come to an end and I am still growing.  My memories and motivations may have changed with time, but my passion and spirit have only grown. This year last year was filled with dark days and even darker nights, and I was able to reignite my life and see the dawn. I may be filled with frustration, but I am better for it all.

This year beat me up, but I keep getting up for another round. I will win this fight and get to where I want to go because I am willing to do what needs to be done.

Thank you for reading, here’s to a new year. If you ever want to talk, I am here to listen.

 

WORDS, MY ETERNAL STRUGGLE WITH LANGUAGE : Revisited

My father was a lector, and a good one. While I was in middle school, I always admired my dad each and every time he went up during mass to say the readings.  I saw the crowds of people so attentively listening to every word he said. I wanted that; I wanted for people to listen to me as they listened to him. I wanted to be that person whom people looked to whenever they needed something said.
It was during this time that the opportunity arose for my classmates and me to be lectors during the weekly student masses. At every opportunity they gave us I would attempt to volunteer, hoping in some ways to capture some of my dad’s ability.  Zeal, unfortunately, did not translate to talent, and I struggled each and every time I went up to speak. For reading was not my strong suit, and I can tell you that even in the low-pressure classroom setting  I would stumble over every word, piecing together phrases and seeming disconnected thoughts hoping no one noticed my trouble. For some reason I saw letters that weren’t there, always nervously mispronouncing words and inventing phrases that didn’t belong; even I knew I wasn’t good. That didn’t keep me from wanting it; it didn’t’ keep me from trying.
Eventually, I stopped being called on, and when no one wanted to volunteer except for me, they would assign the job to someone else. I got the message loud and clear, I wasn’t the one that they were looking for, my words were not good enough.  I could only watch others as they got to go up there and speak, go up there and do what it seemed I couldn’t, patiently waiting for my time to come.
Even to this day, it’s my dream to give a great speech to a stadium full of people. To speak words that touch the heart of everyone in the room, to have them listen to me as they did for my father before me.

A year is an awfully long time. In the span of a year, I started this blog to begin working on a lot of aspects of myself, first and foremost, to find my voice.  Twelve months, fifty-two weekly posts later, I want to demonstrate how far I’ve come and let you know that I still have a long to go.
My story hasn’t ended; my journey is still ongoing. My words flow faster and better than before but there is always more I want to say, and I find myself wanting to fall into the bad habits of yesterday.  I sit at the keys of my computer often now, contemplating the sentence structure, the way I want something to be phrased, how long it takes me to convey my message.  I look at words differently than I did before, and like learning to swim, I don’t feel like I am at risk to drowning in a sea of language anymore.

I realized this is going to be a life long journey.  As I develop my style, the prose doesn’t feel so distant from me anymore.  The words don’t feel cold and unfamiliar and each time I write they seem to take a life of their own and flow out of me as if they want to be said. Each character carries a little of myself with it, a little of my heart, a little of my mind. The strange thing is that no matter how much of myself I pour onto the page I never seem to run out. There is fulfillment I find from writing, and I don’t think I will ever find myself empty from it.

I have spent a lot of time now writing about the reflection I see in the mirror.  I want to continue this but also set my sights on things are beyond me. So for the next coming year, I want to expand my reach to the world around me, to writing about what I see and how I see it.  My hope is that I can learn to get closer to language and the words I write so that they will become a direct translation of what I mean to say.
So to everyone who has taken the time to read my posts, it means a lot to me that you have come on this adventure with me.
There is still a long way to grow and much more to say. So to all those who have been with me, let’s be on our way.
Thank you for reading all the words I’ve written, here’s to future, one that is smitten.

thank you.

P.s.
Here is a link to my first post, if you have time I would like to see how it compares to how I write now.
WORDS, MY ETERNAL STRUGGLE WITH LANGUAGE 

 

 

 

 

The Echos Of The Coming Cold

Cold magnifies and multiplies this world.  The small silences become eerie calms, the sound of steps ring out across the air, frozen hand and fingers grasping and rubbing for the chance of once again being warm. This is my favorite season, not because of the cold for which I despise but because of the listless echo the everything emits. An echo that reverberates and multiplies across the hearts of all those there to experience it. It is the season where everyone hurts a bit more, feels a bit more, tries a bit more, and is a bit more aware of the world around them.  It’s that cold sting that never lets us drift into our fantasies.  The chill keeps us acutely aware of the present moment, forcing us to face the feelings we have inside.

It’s in these next couple months that the world makes way for change.   It’s a time for reflection as we slowly recluse ourselves into our spaces.  It’s what we fill these spaces with that make all the difference.  Even on the coldest day, a room full of happy people can feel as warm as the hot summer sun. Though the opposite is true, even on a mild day am empty room can freeze you on the spot.  It’s these contrasts that I like.  The cold and calm paints its picture with deep tones and dark shades to illustrate the heavy feeling that the chill can bring; the warm and welcoming shows up with an abundance of color presenting the vibrancy of life in the depths of this cold.

Now the main reason I like these things is that it allows me to reflect on and enjoy the times I have. It condenses the experiences and feelings like water, making it, so it’s easier to get more out of them seemingly less time. With all the holidays, and the longer nights there is so much to be felt in these next couple months.  I just hope that this year will be a more positive one than the last. Ultimately that is up to me, and what I bring to the table.  I am open and ready to knock winter out of the park, much more prepared than I was a year ago.  So, as December arrives, I will be ushering the new year with open arms with all the new things that the world can bring, and with a reflection on how far this year had taken me. A few short months and we will be away from this echo, this cold and after all the chaos of winter comes spring.  With new life, we are able to create the world we want to see inside and out.

So let’s enjoy this cold, this winter as it comes in because it too is essential to the process we call life.

A Superman State Of Mind

I have a problem. It’s not a huge problem, and for the most part, it may sound like I am complaining about nothing but its a problem just the same.  It started when I was younger, and as an off-hand joke.  Being a tall, dark haired white guy in a group of mostly Asians lead to one of my friend’s parents calling me Superman.  Now I have never taken this seriously; I find it endearing more than anything, but then it happened again, and again… and again from various people. I don’t like this designation, and it’s not because I can’t take a compliment.  It’s because I don’t like the idea that what I do is super human, it discounts all the work I did to get to where I am

I don’t understand why but I would like to believe it’s because of my overactive conscious.  I blame my parents for that one. My mind and body just hate it when I not following the high road or attempting to do something that might be considered wrong.  Now over the years, I was able to calm down, so it wasn’t as daunting, but it doesn’t change the fact that my default is to try and help people the best I can, even if I fall short of that. I work hard to have the ability to help people whenever I can.

It’s a mentality that I am both proud of and drives me crazy.  Whenever I see someone suffering or a person in need, I react.  I have a deep disdain for suffering in other people, in my ideal world, people would be happy more often than anything else.  It’s burdensome; there are times when I want to rush in and save the day, but I realize that people are sometimes better off having learned the lesson for themselves.  Sometimes I need to step back and let people struggle and grow on their own. It’s the responsibility of the people who know how to help, to know when to give it.

I am fortunate to have been able to have these types of feelings.  I am lucky to have the ability to help.  At points, my thoughts and interests on the matter can be a bit idealistic, but it’s that I believe in the goodness of humanity, and our capability to do good things for one another.   It’s with these thoughts that I hold myself to a high standard.  I do this to prove the point that an average person can do extraordinary things not because I am more capable but because I believe that I can and am willing to do the work.

I don’t mind becoming Superman if it means that I could represent all the things we could all do, all the things we can be. I will always believe in people; that’s just who I am. Every day I work a little bit harder towards my dreams and to making the world I want to see.  If it means I can help people, then I’ll be whoever I need to be, Superman or just me.

Midnight Dancers

one. two. three. four.

The ebb and flow, a contagious motion permeates across the room.   Without even speaking a crowd of people seems to be all connected. Through the rhythmic cadence that erupts from the speakers, I can tell, it’s a whole other world out there.

one. two. three. four.

I have to come out and say it; I don’t know how to dance.
I know, surprising.
This only comes up because I went out recently with my friends and found myself on one of these dance floors.  Trust me when I say, my relationships with that space is the same as two people who are introduced through a mutual friend and then are immediately left to their own devices, awkward and unfamiliar. This is not through a lack of desire to learn; it’s more that I never find myself in these situations, so I have never had the need to improve my non-existent skills.  I have a healthy appreciation for dancing, just no the wherewithal to do it.

one. two. three. four.

There is a larger lesson about letting myself be a beginner and look silly.  Instead of just sitting on the sidelines, unwilling to participate, I should let myself go. I can see it, in others, that ability to flow and feel the music, I want to learn to do that, but part of me doesn’t want to let it in. “What happens if I look stupid?”, Or “What happens if I make a mistake?” are usually the thoughts that roll through my mind. This unfamiliar territory scares me, highlights my awkward nature and inexperience, makes me freeze up.  It’s like banging on a glass between me and the rest of the world; I can see it, but I just can’t get there.

one. two. three. four.

Letting myself be free. I have trouble giving up the reigns, being out of control.  I built my whole life around bringing order to the chaos, but with dancing you have to be willing to add a little chaos back in.  I can learn all the steps and all the music cues in the world, but if I don’t let go it, then there is no passion which defeats the purpose of dancing.  It’s the love that I need, even with all the learning in the world I can still be wrong if I don’t provide the right ingredients.  It’s something that I put on the back burner; I trust that my knowledge and know how will see me through the day but my simmering passion is left to boil away unnoticed.  I need to trust in my heart as much as I believe in my head.

one. two. three. four.

At the end of the day, I admire dancing, this form of expression that for the moment seems lost on me. I have seen it, and I at least enjoy watching people do it.  Eventually, this full-bodied manifestation of feelings will be another outlet for me to connect with other people and allow me to travel to another world right along with them.

one. two. three. four.

Death.

In the spirit of the holiday of Halloween, I wanted to turn my attention to the topic of death. Know this will be a bit darker than normal.

Death.  I’ve honestly been thinking about it lately.  The idea of death, what it would mean to die.  Now, I’ve never seriously entertained the thought of speeding up the process; I’m too Catholic for that. I have felt, though, as if I have wanted to die.  As if I wanted my existence to end,  and the suffering involved with pressing on to cease. Those moments, where it seems as if I’ve already messed up too much and it’s not going to get any better from here.  Where the world just looks like it’s against me, death becomes a choice.

Death is a self-involved choice, something that would be done without anyone else in mind, because the results of death effects not only but the people around you. The only reason I would do it to add a bookend to my life, to see the culmination of my life put together.   I would love to attend my funeral; it’s in the way to get the review of the book  that authors put on the back cover,  taking who I am and compressing it into something that some that understandable. The only problem with that plan is that I would have to be alive, and you can’t have a funeral for someone who hasn’t died yet. The question stands, when do we really die.  Is it when we give up on our last breath or is when we give up on our last dream.  Is it when our brain stops functioning or when we stop being remembered.

Whatever happens after death is for the living.  Funerals, burials, and rituals all stand to give that closure to those who are left behind.  Each culture giving some credence and someway to remember those who have come before us.  It’s then, on the day after Halloween, All Saints and All Souls day that we take a moment to remember all those who have perished. We all have our own way, but is something calls to be dealt with whether we like it or not.

What does death mean then, as it has no intrinsic meaning to it, it can only be given meaning. Unfortunately, the people around you can only really give you the answer.  With each different belief, we can only speculate as why someone lived and died in the first place.  Whether or not you believe in an afterlife or sorts, death is a very final act on show that is your life.

As of now, I can only say that death is a motivator to make sure the book of my life has a happy ending, and that it may be worth a read along the way.

Misappropriation

The best way I can explain this is through the analogy of cooking. Imagine preparing a meal, and you are craving a particular flavor in the dish. Now, if you’re following a recipe, it’s easy to recreate any food with the taste you want. Without it, unless you’re a chef, you have to season and cook based on an educated guess. It’s one of those times when you taste and you say you need salt, but it comes to actually eating the meal you realize you needed pepper.

That’s how I have been feeling about life recently. I have all these ingredients which I’m trying to make a good meal with, the problem is, I keep putting the wrong ingredients in. I’ll feel like it needs spice, but actually need sweet. I’ll look to put in something exotic, but I’ll want a homely taste. It’s the inability to pinpoint what I want and needs that’s getting to me. I can’t seem to put my finger on the pieces that will satisfy me.  I seem out of sync with what I want, and my cravings aren’t going away.

Now, in the realm of feelings, this gets a little bit more involved.  The formula of life events seems lost to me, and a lot of the time I don’t know what I need until I am experiencing it first hand. I had a recipe that I was following, but I am out on my own now, having to learn which pieces I need without having them provided to me.
I’m an observer, a tester of sorts, one who likes to learn information about the world and myself from the way life unfolds in front of me.  So it’s infuriating when I can’t figure out the pattern, learn how to adapt to the problem.  I keep thinking the answer is one thing and I am proven wrong time and time again.
I need a solution, and brute force isn’t much of a method.  I need to start writing things down, keeping a closer eye on what makes me happy and what is draining.  I find that it’s an information problem, one that can be solved if I am willing to take note and be aware of myself.  That is to say, as long as all the thinking doesn’t get in the way of what I am trying to achieve, happiness.
I think too much and feel too little; I need to use my feelings as a kind of compass, to let me know whether or not I am on the right path.  They need to work hand and hand with one another, but I am a feeling skeptic, I don’t accept my feelings at face value.  I need something more tangible, instead of a notion of how I might want things to be.  It’s this balance within myself that I need to strike, instead of guessing of what I may need I need to learn to talk within my “heart” so I can stop guessing.  I will make things work, one way or another, that’s just who I am.

Love.

I wanted to make a post about love, about the love in the world and how it accents the moments around us to make life beautiful.  I wanted to do this by sitting in front of a computer and thinking about all the way I think I feel about love, and in which way I can remember love.  Inspiration didn’t come to me, stuck with the blinking line after a bad opening paragraph and a couple catchy sentences I figured that maybe if I wait the words would come to me.  It didn’t make sense, though, the idea of thinking about feelings to express how they are leads us nowhere. I could no better explain a sunset to someone who has never seen one, the only way to understand love is to experience it. So I wanted to try my hand at describing how I experience love, maybe then it will make sense.

I have no control over love, of all the emotions that I can deny, put off, it’s the one that’s loudest in my heart. It shouts if I am ignoring it, so loud that until I take the time to recognize it, I can’t think of anything else. It’s a feeling that extends through me, electrifies me, and gives me strength to tackle anything the world throws at me.

Love keeps the light on in my soul. A light which illuminates the dark and the sometimes cruel world. It allows me to see what the creatures are in the darkness; hurt souls looking for closure.
Love is the part of me that provides a safe haven from the dark.

Love is in the hand I extend, the one that bandages the wounds, guides the way, and offers aid.  It’s cut, scarred, and bruised but is always is extended waiting for someone who needs it.
Love is the part of me that feels compassion and wants to raise the world up.

Love is the well settling in my chest, one that’s full to the brim with pure water on the cusp of spilling over.  All it takes is an ounce of love, and the water will pour out onto the world around me.  It’s the smiles, laughs, and tender moments between people that have filled it to the brim, and wants to help share it with the world.
Love is the part of me that wants to share the wonders of the world.

Love is my eyes that see the world and its beauty. It sees the clouds coalesce in the sky making magnificent portraits that last for a moment. It sees the smiles on people faces, the light in their eyes, the silent moments between two that can only be expressed if you know what it is like for the whole world to disappear.
Love is the part of me that sees all that is good and holds out hope.

Love is in my grin, the one that I can’t help to have. It forms without me knowing or against my stern demeanor. It’s the smile that extends out from me touching the world around it. It’s love that gives me boundless energy to live life to the fullest.
Love is the part of me that is happy and spreads joy and zeal.

Love is in the wrenching feeling that I get in my gut when I see someone in pain or having a hard time.
Love is the voice that calls out and wants to know if they are okay. It’s in the words that speak the truth in that I would do anything to stop their pain, even if just for a moment to reignite the flame in their heart.
Love is the part of me that feels empathy for others and drives me to action.

Love is the intense feeling of wanting to connect, to wash away the pains of the world, to start each moment anew.
Love is what crushes me, compels me, and cages me.  It’s a feeling that is complex, with each iteration of it feeling slightly different than the last.  Of all my feelings its the one that wants to walk beside me.
It hurts, and it heals, that is love, a contradiction.I think about love.

I reflect on love; I consider whether or not it is real, or just some organic byproduct or if that even matters.
I know love is great and horrible. I know love is a catalyst for these intense feelings, and crazy notions.  It’s a big part of me; I can’t explain what compels me to love.

I love the world and people in it and I would do anything for love.

grit.

Sometimes all I can do is sigh in the intervening days between where I am and where I want to be. I sigh in frustration, and in exhaustion, because these days seem to be spiced with flavors I don’t like.

My life is in no counts bad, quite honestly I count my blessings daily.  The problem lies with the issue I have of when my plans will finally gain some traction, and I can move to the next level in life.  I work towards my goals, in my way, though a lot of the time I don’t feel like I am doing enough because I am not getting the results I want.  I am attempting to see the big picture in it all; it’s still difficult to see the forest for the trees.

I find that perseverance is the only way to deal with the hand I have. Again it’s not a bad hand; it’s just not a winning one.  I lay somewhere in the middle, having a hand that if no one at the table has anything I have nothing to worry about, but it wouldn’t take much to top.  In these types of games, it’s about waiting for the opportune moment.  Looking at my bets and investments, hoping my card come up but having a plan for when it doesn’t.  I have to keep playing, know the table, make strategic moves and know that even I lose in a round the game is not over.

This is my the great lesson of this year, grit. The ability to keep at something no matter what comes my way. Its to get an understanding of the bitter flavors the world has to offer but not losing heart.

It’s hard, bouncing back after each blow, luckily after I’ve taken a lot of them I’ve gotten used to it.  Standing up after each hit is hard work, at points I want to break down, forget it all, and leave what I have accomplished at the table.  I keep going until it becomes more habit than thought.   I know what I want, and at the moment,  I need to keep working at it if I even hope to stand a chance.  Life is a tough opponent, but I am fighting back.

Grit is something that I am learning, and I will keep at it. Changing my life is about doing, not talking about what I should do. I will make sure that my blood, sweat, and tears are working toward the future I want and towards shaping the person I will become.   It’s hard work, but sometimes the best thing to do is to grit your teeth. It will get better, I’ll make sure of it.

A Touch of Solitary

Dark nights, blank walls, and quiet rooms. I find myself here frequently. It’s a yearning for interaction, a desire to connect that settles within my heart like snow in a snow globe, just waiting for me to shake things up.

I grew up learning not to rely on people. I learned that all I needed were the worlds that I created for myself as a barrier to keep out the chill. I chose not to involve people with the goings on in my life, and it made things simple.
As I’ve grown older, I realized that it was unsustainable. Eventually, I had to venture out and face the world.  This is partly because of my aspirations, and partly because I, unfortunately, was exposed to the alternative to my fantasy, reality; given experiences that provided me then unknown satisfaction.

It’s been ramping up, my desire to connect with people, with each year that passes. I am a mixed breed of one part introvert and one part extrovert which makes things complex. I want to stay home and work, but I crave the adventure of conversation that awaits around every corner.
People are important in my life; it’s a fundamental part of myself that seeks out these relationships. Each one is providing me a key ingredient for getting through the week. It’s within them that I get to enjoy deep conversation, talking about controversial issues, conversing about the basic building blocks of the human condition

I don’t know how much is enough, or when I will be satiated with interaction but when I am not purposefully alone that I feel the chill and pull to going out and connecting.  I do take time for myself when I need it,  but it’s like going to a cafe; when you are there alone on purpose, it can be a sweet relief but when you are waiting for someone to come it can be awkward and nerve-wracking.

Life has taught me something; I can’t expect these relationships to appear out of thin air either.  If I want something I have to ask for it; people won’t simply know I need it. Last year I had expected it all to come together without any effort, which leads me down a lonesome road.  This year I know that I want to work for what I want and how important these relationships are to me.

So, to end this, I want to say that thank you all for the conversations we’ve had, the stories that we’ve told, and the experiences we’ve shared. You all are important to me in different ways, so know that you make a difference. I hope to see you soon.
And to all the people I haven’t met and talked to yet, I am thrilled to make your acquaintance.