There needs to be a change. We need to find a new angle, but more importantly, we need to work together in order to find it. Above all, we need to become a community again and understand what it means to have a sense of civic responsibility. We cannot look to blame or find fault anymore.
I would like to see a change in the dynamic when it comes to the way we treat mental illness. More accurately, and more importantly, I would like to see a change in the way we Continue reading
It was the last winter of my former self. I was in the basement of a corner bar in a little strip mall next to the 7-11 store at the corner of Front Street and Merrick. It was late and somewhere after 1:00am during a cold, mid-winter rainstorm. I was not too far from my home where my mother and father slept. My brother, the hall of fame athlete, the rock star, the hero, and a name that was amongst the most popular of my town was elsewhere in the world. He Continue reading
There are several things that can weigh us down. This is true. There is more than just the weight of the body and sometimes, the weight of the mind can be the heaviest weight to bear.
There was a place somewhere up along Route 17 and far away from the city life, far from the places I knew, and far from the people I knew and the things I did which kept me sick. I call this place The Farm. It was here on a farm in the upstate New York Mountains that I underwent a change for the better. This is where I was stripped of my image. I was removed from my Continue reading
What makes us tick?
There is a very real reason why we act, think, and respond the way we do. This is not a case of right or wrong, good or bad, but moreover, this is simply a matter of fact that regards why we act think and respond the way we do.
Last night, I was put in a situation where I thought, maybe it’s me . . .
Maybe it’s the way I see things or maybe, just maybe, the way I see things is a result of my past history and my brain is wired to respond in a certain way. Maybe it’s like I said to you: the mind is nothing more than a computer, which simulates and calculates the mathematics of past history and it combines this with assumptions and the main stressors, which we hold on to like a mathematic theorem, which in all honesty is only a theory, but i Continue reading
The truth is we might not always know the effect we have on others. But still, we intertwine as human beings and we move along and we grow, we wake up and we go on about our day, and sometimes without notice, we come across an opportunity to do something so incredibly simple —like say, to shake someone’s hand or simply talk with them or listen, and then almost unbeknownst to anyone, a simple act of common courtesy was enough to help someone stand up when otherwise, they wouldn’t have the strength to stand on their own.
I spent Continue reading
It was not until my last days on the farm that I was able to process the change that was about to take place. Close to my departure, the feeling was very surreal to me. The place that had been my home for the last 11 months would no longer the place where I lived. The people I depended on, the routine I became accustomed to, the scenery, the groups and the counseling sessions, the rules I had to follow and the place where I slept, showered, ate, and worked was about to change.
This is when the reality set in. At last, I could Continue reading
People say you never forget your first love. Maybe this is true.
I’m not sure if anyone ever forgets their first of anything when it comes to anything important. I can say that I remember my first kiss at sleep-away camp.
I can say I remember the first girl that I called “My girlfriend,” which lasted for about three to maybe four days. I remember the first girl I ever had the chance to play Continue reading
Growing up, my town was a small middle-income town with average sized homes on modest streets with manicured lawns and landscaped blocks. We were neither abundantly rich nor overly poor and in the same way, our Continue reading
One of my first official speaking commitments was at conference held for law enforcement in regards to the opiate epidemic. The purpose behind this conference was to discuss the methods used to bring help for those who cannot and do not know how to help themselves.
I sat on a panel as a Continue reading
There was a time when she fit right in my arms. There was a time when everything needed to be done for here. She was a baby then. There was a time when she was just learning how to walk or how to say things. There was a time when all she wanted was a little attention, which of course, we as parents often take for granted because meanwhile, life is happening and there is so much going on. But meanwhile there they are. Our children are waiting on us and waiting to be played with.
I am Continue reading
“Stealing us was the smartest thing they ever did. Too bad they don’t teach the truth to their kids.” Saul Williams~
Williams said that in one of his poems. In this case, Williams was referring to racism. But as I see it, we’ve all been stolen. I know I was stolen more than a thousand times and racism had nothing to do with it. We’ve all been stolen in different ways and for different reasons. Sometimes the theft was a bit more unexpected and sometimes, we it was about to happen.
I once told you in many cases, there are no Continue reading
I watched a tape of an old fight where the underdog came in with the odds against him, no shot at a victory, no chance to walk out with his hand raised, and in all likelihood, the underdog would not only lose, but he was predicted to lose in the worst possible way. I suppose no one told the underdog this. Or, maybe they did tell him and the underdog decided not to listen and he showed anyway because shortly after the bell for the first round, the favored champ took one on the chin and then the champ went down
The problem after this Continue reading
I once wrote to you explaining the depth of my love is equal to the span of my hate. And I still believe this is true. I believe that love and hate are the same energy, but they split in two different directions.
There was a winter night during the Christmas season. I was young, numb to the world and neither angry or afraid. As I saw it, I felt the way I preferred to feel; impenetrable, callous, neither enthused nor uuenthused, and whatever happened—I suppose this is what clinicians would Continue reading
- The things we say
Sometimes we say words without understanding their meaning. And I mean this with simple words that are easily defined. Take the word, “Always” for example. Always is a very long time. So are the words, “Forever,” and “Never,” but yet we say these words to reflect a sentiment.
For example: You never Continue reading
I was small and very young. It was cold outside and the sun had yet to show. The Old Man was already awake and he came into my room to wake me up. I dressed warmly with long johns beneath my clothes, doubled up on my pairs of socks to keep my little toes from freezing, and I stuffed myself in layers of sweatshirts before The Old Man stuffed me in my puffy blue down jacket with mittens to match.
The Old Man warmed up Continue reading
Beware the pedestal problem . . .
The problem with putting anyone up on a pedestal is one day, we learn they’re human. And to be human means we come with flaws and imperfections. No one is above this. But in the most vulnerable moments and at the weakest of times; there are people who will appear to have all the answers. They are the ones that seem to work an impeccable program and live the perfect life. We see them as miracles.
And it’s normal to look up to someone; it’s good to feel Continue reading
There was a phone call from the day before about a woman on the verge of losing her husband. She is a kind woman that lived a full life, a mother, a wife, and she is also a friend. I learned about this while on a shift at work. Although the hours were long and shift was busy, as asked, I sat down to write a few words to my friend to help her in this transition.
I wrote about life and the understanding of death. I wrote about the comforts of the soul and how since energy can neither be created nor destroyed —life is energy; therefore life can never Continue reading
I was waiting at an airport in Raleigh North Carolina on a flight that had been delayed for several hours. I was anxious to come home and anxious to see my family. I had so much to write about and much to do but the airport gods intercepted my plans while experiencing a series of mechanical problems. Needless to say, all I could do is wait. Meanwhile at the gate, some of the other passengers complained. Some sat quietly or talked amongst themselves. Others like me took to their own ways of occupying the wait time.
The occupied seats around mine were somewhat filled with travelers, but the flight was not overly crowded by any means. However, whether quietly or outwardly upset, everyone was Continue reading
A long time ago, I walked through the double-door entryway of an old white, center-hall colonial home that was perhaps built long before my oldest known relative was born or before they even arrived at Ellis Island. With the dining room to the left and a slightly rounded, sweeping stairway to the left, a hallways led straight towards the back where the adolescents waited for their group to end. And me, well, all I kept wondering is what would have Continue reading
My first encounter came on without reason or without warning. I was in my room, alone (as usual) with an entire world right outside my bedroom door. My mother was somewhere in the house doing mother things. The Old Man, my Father, was working like most working fathers do. I was a small boy and always smaller than everyone else. I was skinny too—I was painfully thin, to be exact. I was Continue reading
Yesterday was a special day . . .
I’m not sure what yesterday would have been like if you were still around. I wonder what time you would have come by and how the tables and barbecue would have been set up and ready. I suppose you would probably be wearing the retired man’s outfit or something comfortable and golf-like, white shoes, a pair of casual shorts, and a Florida-like design on a collared polo shirt with maybe a gold watch around your wrist and a white baseball hat on your head.
I like to think about where Continue reading
Way back when before my white collar turned blue, I used to sit at a small cubicle with a telephone in the right hand corner and an out and in box to my left. I had a shelf with a stack of mainly unorganized papers, drawers filled with sample cards, customer orders, pending samples, sample orders, and a call sheet for new clients so that I could open new accounts. I was 26 years-old in a suit and tie job. I was a salesman during a tough time just before the garment industry took huge turn in a different direction.
My sales were Continue reading
I am not sure if I knew what fear was. I just knew I was afraid. I wasn’t sure why. I didn’t know the difference between feeling and emotion or even if there was one. I never thought about the emoting itself, which is innate or within us and natural; however, a feeling is different because feeling is the mind’s experience which we tie to an emotion. Therefore, the emotion is fear —however, the feeling of being afraid is due to the events of my life, which I tie to that emotion, Continue reading
I had a dream of an early morning sunrise and I was there, back home, and walking up the staircase at Eisenhower Park near the Korean War Monument. The sky was clear and the wind was warm and soft. I could see the glow from the early orange sunlight touching the east side of the monument.
Everything was Continue reading
There was a small room in the corner of our little home at 2683 in East Meadow. The room was equipped a with fish tank, a love seat, a small desk with a computer screen and keyboard on top. I had a small lava lamp on my desk (because why not?) and book shelf along the wall with shelves filled with books from the great poets, writers, and pictures of my life, my wife, and my family. I had a few of my accomplishments framed and placed on the wall. There was a document regarding The Old Man and his service to our country, which was signed in ink by the President of The United States of America, framed and hanging proudly on the wall. I called this place the writing room.
Each Continue reading
In the last moments of my time at a place in Kerhonkson, New York, my bags were packed and the paperwork concerning my treatment over the last 28 days was in hand. My room was empty but yet filled with the energy of memory and the recollection of late night conversations with the revolving roommates that completed their stay in treatment.
My bed was made, my drawers were cleaned, and in moments, I was about to complete my discharge and return home. At this time, the other clients or residents were Continue reading
I was hidden in the dark basement of a corner bar in a small strip of stores that ran next to the 7-11 by the corner of Front Street and Merrick. My town was as normal as any other small suburban place. There was a tall water tower in the heart of the town with a flashing red light at its top to warn off low-flying airplanes. We had one high school, one junior high, and two elementary schools.
Like most towns, ours had different sections that signified where we were from. And there was no hatred towards either side —it was more of a geographical statement, which connected a level of understanding of where we lived, what stores we went to, and where we hung out.
Ours was neither an exceptionally rich or poor town. We were the middle income. We were the Continue reading
Sorry, I know it has been a while since the last time I wrote to you. So much has gone on and I’m not sure where to start. I swear, sometimes the world becomes this busy place. Days pass and then weeks go by. Next thing I know, months peeled off the calendar and I miss the marks on my “To do,” list. It’s strange how life has a way of picking up and getting away from us.
I remember years ago when the springtime came around, I had to clean my room and get rid of literally everything that Continue reading
Throughout the years and throughout the various changes we go through, I have learned the best people to be surrounded by are real people with real understanding. Furthermore and above all, I have learned the worst people to be around are those who look to judge, direct, or diagnose.
I was a grown man and well on my way through life with experience under my belt. I worked hard and I worked a lot. I maintained my home Continue reading
This is the way I remember it —
Once teenage life began, we all split up in different groups. This is where our journeys began to change and the paths we chose sent us off in different directions. And it all revolved around the crowds we chose and our social interaction.
As I recall, when teenage life Continue reading
The truth of the matter is there are always two sides to the story. And I get that. The problem comes, however, when either side refuses to admit to the wrongs on their side of the fence. And when it comes to divorce; things can be ugly. And when it comes to divorce with children —things get even uglier. And there is a third side on this one. There his side, her side, but many seem to forget the children’s side of this.
Divorce is a strange but Continue reading
Before going forward with this explanation, I want to explain that the following is about me and the details of my thoughts and feelings and how they have interacted with my behavior throughout my life.
More than anything, I have always wanted to feel comfortable. I always wanted to feel the idea that if I fit or belonged and I have feel that idea that I was welcome. More than anything, I have always wanted to walk into a room and not feel as if I had to “Fake” something or “Force” something and Continue reading
They say man can be his own worst enemy. I suppose anyone can be their own worst enemy when given to the wrong persuasion. No matter how wealthy or poor; no matter how fortunate one could be in the gene pool of life and regardless to whether someone is born into the wealthiest of homes or in the poorest of families; people can be their own worst downfall.
And it isn’t easy to weave through life. Not at all. In fact, life is the toughest test of all. Think about it. Think back Continue reading
The following is a true lesson I learned and I sometimes forget it, which is why I needed to write this and rethink about my position as it stands now . . .
I once had a longhaired teacher with odd ideas about the world and deep views about music. He spoke often about guitarists, like Clapton, and talked about the meaning behind lyrics to songs like, “Almost Cut My Hair,” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
He was a teacher in name, yes, but he was also somewhat of a personal mentor that moved away from the norms of public school systems —and instead, he chose to teach the unteachable students like me that struggles with various social and chemical disorders.
After a short Continue reading
There I was, (figuratively speaking of course) and lost in an empty field with tall grass, bending, and swaying in the wind.
I was someplace else. I was in a long incredible dream, which I could somehow feel in my body. I felt myself drifting like a warm breeze, halfway in a nod, and slipping gently into this great new spiral I found near 134th street.
I was unaware and unconcerned with where I was or what I looked like. I wasn’t thinking about the Continue reading
The following is a short story about a brief period of life, which existed through the eyes and illustrated mind of a young man, high, in the figurative sense or perhaps this high was more literal in the metaphoric sense of being, “Under the influence,” as they say. The story you are about to read is all true —or at least it is as true as my recollection can portray after the incident.
I was somewhere around my second time in 9th grade. This was not my first adventure with Continue reading
When you’re down at the bottom of your self-made hole and it feels like you’re flat on your back with no one around to help you up; there’s no place to turn and nowhere to run anymore because all of your old options either stopped working or the old remedies just keep you from feeling sick instead of feeling better —and when you are at the back-end of the outcomes and stuck in the wake of your aftermath and you find yourself wondering, “What the hell can I do now?” the only thing you can do is surrender to fact and accept your position. This doesn’t mean you’ve quit or that you give in. On the contrary, no, this just means you know who and where you are.
Way back when Mom was younger and Continue reading
White ship arrived in sudden waves that night
My body became like a channel
of fast moving water
and emptying into a mouth of a much larger sea . . .
It was like riding on a perfect ferry during the sunrise:
Colors open the horizon
The body livens
And powdery grains switch into little submarines,
which surge throughout my bloodstream
The only problem with a trip like this
is the price I didn’t know I’d have to pay
. . . or the interest that came along with it~
I crossed an imaginary Continue reading
It was an early morning and the sun was shining. After a few lefts and right turns as led by my G.P.S. I turned into the parking lot of the prosecutor’s office. This was to be my first true experience as a recovery specialist. I was unsure what to expect. I was frightened, nervous, and excited at the same time.
I was also early and arrived before any of my bosses. As promised, I gathered Continue reading
Before going forward, it would helpful to remember your middle and high school days. Remember the lockers and the colors of the hallways. Think about the locations of the bathrooms and where the library was in relation to the gym. Remember the gathering places. Think about your experience and the divisions of popularity. Now, think about your circle of friends and where you sat in the cafeteria. Think about the people you sat with (or didn’t) and then think about the groups of people that always seemed to flock together. Think about the way the looked and how they dressed.
The following experience is Continue reading
I needed to find someplace far away but yet, I couldn’t go too far away, because of course I would have to go back and get more. I was driving on a parkway towards the place I called home at the time. I was young, wiry, and strung out from a series of wrong choices that began long before the actual actions of my mistakes.
In my rearview, I could see the city lights flashing against the underbelly of the late night sky. The previous hours of course, were long and gruesome; only, I was too lost in my own psychosis to notice how long I had been on the dangle. I was like a shark with blood in the water. I was blind, voracious, and hungry, coming into the terrible downside of my cocaine high. Eventually, it was morning. It was just about sunrise and the sun was on its way toward the center stage. The sky was clear but the air was cold because spring has only begun and winter had yet to release its grip.
Somewhere Continue reading
Old friends getting together, it is a good thing to do. Of course there was a time before the grownup life took over. There were times before the mortgage problems and bills that just keep coming in. Believe it or not (and I know this is hard for a new generation to grasp) there was a time before the internet and the flood of useless information. I know there was. I know there was because I remember it well. And old friends getting together, it’s enough to Continue reading
I always saw love as strange and unexplainable. And it is strange and unexplainable. I never quite understood why people act or react the way they do when love is involved —especially when love defies all logic because it was always interesting to me the way love (in some cases) can dissolve all the faults in the world and make you forget even the deepest of things.
And love, I always wondered if true love was only limited to a selected few. I wondered what the key ingredients were, and of course, I Continue reading
It was the end of March in 1991. I was driving around in a minivan filled with stolen equipment, stolen rifles, a shotgun, car radios, some home entertainment pieces that are outdated now, and a nickel plated .357 underneath the driver’s seat. The end result of this is not surprising. Then again, I wasn’t thinking about the end result.
The night began with me climbing in through the back window of an outdated house with old furniture and Continue reading
It was a few days after my arrest when the reality set in. I was in my childhood bedroom with the doors closed. I knew something was going to happen. It was obvious that my arrest would come with consequences and it was clear to me that rehabilitation was the only option that would keep me from jail.
Besides, jail would have destroyed me. I was too thin, too weak, and if Continue reading
I was telling you about the way I felt.
I swear it was like walking in quicksand. Whatever I tried to do and whichever way I tried to feel better, things always seemed to be worse. I mean, I wanted to be better. I wanted life to be easier. But it seemed like i could never catch a break.
I told you about this before.
If life was a cycle and what goes around truly comes around, I swore that my position here was meant to be here the underbelly. And if this were true, since I was in the underbelly of life’s cycle, that meant this was as best as it would ever be. In my eyes, I was cursed, and since this was my position and since what goes around comes around; anything Continue reading
My town is slightly covered for the beginning of this winter snowstorm. The tree branches in front of my house are like arms draped with white blankets of snow. And the Cobus, Horse Stable, the Catamount, and Panther Mountains behind my home, which are a short distance behind Haverstraw Road are covered as well. It’s pretty now. It’s quiet and while armed with a cup of coffee, I figured now would be a good time to sit with you and write a few thoughts.
I know that we never expect life to ever unfold the way it does. No one ever expects things to end badly or messily —and if deep down, we knew things would in poorly; I wonder if Continue reading
In time, the autumn leaf will crumble to earth and create a new tomorrow, which may take centuries, and all that surrounds us will change into different versions of life.
In time, the landscapes will change
(and so will you)
In some ways, we are like an old piece of driftwood that floated across the ocean and washed upon shore.
The stories from our crazy days will fade and wash up someplace
(just like the driftwood)
Maybe we’ll Continue reading
Way back when, I can remember The Old Man wearing a gray sweatshirt when he felt a cold coming on. The Old Man was rarely sick, but when he was, The Old Man would get it, he would get it bad. He would throw on his old gray sweatshirt and a pair of sweatpants. More important was the shirt. The sweatshirt was old with holes in it. The fabric was worn and the neck was frayed at the crew neck. Mom wanted to get rid of the shirt but The Old Man wouldn’t let her.
This was The Old Man’s sick shirt. It was comfortable to him. And when the fever set in and when the congestion took over, the shivers, the aches and Continue reading