Keep in mind, love does not come without anger.
Love does not come without troubled times.
We go through trials. We argue.
We fight and we complain.
I go over my journals read through my past ideas. Sometimes I recall the tasks of the time. Sometimes I read and remember what I was thinking and feeling at the time. Like you or anyone else in this world, I am someone trying to find my place in the circle. I have goals. I have dreams and ideas. Not all things fall into place. Life changes and so will situations. Circumstances are not always within my control (and I get that) but I am, however, responsible for me.
We were waiting for someone to come so we could straighten out. Mike had an idea to find a place to hide, which was fine for me because I wanted to get away too.
It was raining; cold, late at night, and the residual grinding teeth from the cocaine high had become desperate as usual.
We were in our hometown, which meant we knew where to go but the paranoia was always too intense for me. I always had a fear of some jackass coming out from the shadows. I was afraid the cops would find me. I heard things. Every nerve in my body was frayed like the end of a frazzled rope and all I wanted to do was to be right again. I just wanted to soften the edges and placate the fears with some kind of offering to exchange me for them or them for me.
I had a chat with a friend whose sister survived the unthinkable. She talked about the power of words and what they mean. Somehow, my struggles are very small in comparison to others.
I have been trying to figure out what it means to be tough for as long as I can remember. Sometimes life happens and causes me to redefine my terms.
I found a prose I wrote for a young girl. Her name is Olivia. She was 13 when we met. She was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Everyone told Olivia how strong she was.
“You’re doing so well,” they told her.
“You’re so strong,” they said.
Pretty sure Olivia would have rather been less strong and healthier than sick and enduring. She went through chemo. She endured the treatments.
I can’t say where this began. Somehow, politics have become the new religion.
I see people that were once friends or even family are now on polar opposites of the world to each other.
They’re enemies now.
We’ve become a “Who did you vote for,” community and a “What God do you pray to,” society.
We treat symptoms but not the roots. We argue. We debate. We claim our flag in whichever condition it’s in and then we argue some more but to what avail?
Or more importantly, who suffers?
It’s okay to be you, to feel, to think,
to laugh, or cry, or neither;
it’s okay to be confused
it’s okay to be scared or feel frightened or worry;
it’s also okay to give yourself a break.
I heard a speech a long time ago. I heard, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but I sometimes wonder where the village is or do they even care.
I see them like this.
They’re just kids or more like babies. They’re just guppies in a little pond that will grow bigger in deeper and more dangerous too.
But while they’re young, the kids hide behind their protection. They’re safe because they’re at least somewhat protected by laws and parents or the revelation that the world is an unkind place and becomes more unkindly if we feed the wrong systems.
They’re too young to be taken in by the cops. They’re too small to do what they do, but yet, the people they play with are too big to play childish games. It’s a powder keg for sure. But that’s the game. That’s the thrill; and the fact that the entire world could detonate at anytime is the rush makes sense of our crazy, young, teenage angst.
What does it mean to live? Think about this. It’s really a simple question. The answer should be equally simple too. What does the word “Live” mean? What else could it mean other than to have a life, to be alive, or adversely, to not be dead.
But what does it mean to die? It has been argued by me on several occasions that we die in many ways. We experience death while living alive—and some people live lifelessly, always following, always wishing they were someone, somewhere, or someplace else. What kind of life is that?
The news came and I could not move. Time took on a strange appeal. I was frozen somehow, moving in slow motion, but yet, time was quickly ticking away from me.
I was young at the time. I was only 17 years-old but stunted in a way—like a child, or more accurately, I was stunned and child-like, almost like an infant’s pause before the pain strikes and the cry begins.
It was December and I was away in a place that was very foreign to me. I was on The Farm in lieu of jail, which would have been a sentence of one year, plus 90 days.
This meant I would have to serve close to one year in a place where I could neither physically nor mentally compete. I pulled a trick though. Or should I say my attorney pulled a trick. He landed me in a program called T.A.S.K. which was an acronym for something that helps young, first-time offenders with a youthful offender stipulation that would eventually falls from the records of past.
It is morning now.
The weather has been rainy but for the time being
the rain has paused
but the sky is still covered in the cloth of gray clouds.
This is what happens . . .
First, the accident or the incident, whichever the case may be, then comes the response, followed by the afterthought and the things we wished we said. Has this ever happen to you?
Ever have something occur and then you walk away wishing you said something else?
You wished you came out on top in a conversation, yet instead, you felt vulnerable or foolish, is if someone was able to pull a fast one right before your eyes—and you just stood there and let this happen.
Today is Sunday May 12, 2019. Mother’s Day:
The rain has been falling all night. I know this because I was awake and listening to the teams of your raindrop armies falling on the roof of my house and scattering like a thousand foot soldiers that run away after landing from the sky.
It is morning now, however, and light has come through the clouds but with no sunshine to greet the day.
Maybe this is right—the rain, I mean, and the slowness of the morning, the gray skies, and the quiet dreariness of a windless, rainy morning is fitting for now.
I wanted to explain this to you in a different way. My hope is this will bring you some comfort during the upcoming days,
I am writing this to you to bring a little understanding about depressive thinking and the unending cycle that comes with it.
I wanted to reach out to you specifically to explain a bit more about me so that maybe you will understand a bit more about you and the things you’ve faced in your past.
First and foremost, please allow me to officially explain that you are far from alone. There are millions of us out there, lost, unsure, uncomfortable, and unable to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Before going forward, please understand that I make no assumptions about you or your pain; however, I am offering this explanation to make sense of one of the most senseless kind of deaths known to man,
There are words we use that only apply in the grown-up world. These are big words with big meanings.
To a kid, however, their vocabulary is different. They understand play, laugh, fun, and they do things like have sleep-overs and build tents out of blankets.
Little girls skip rope or maybe play with their dolls and have tea parties (if that’s their thing.) To a kid, their life is still so new. At least, it is supposed to be. They are young. They’re our children.
Beautiful as ever. They are pure to the core, learning, and blossoming into this world and about to partake in this thing we call life.
When there is no room left between your back and the wall;
I am me and you are you,
undressed and undecorated,
then we are us
in true form.
When there is no room left for blame or shame or guilt
or the need to point a finger
to find accountability for things that are far beyond our control,
then there is rest.
Then there is peace, if we so choose
And the world, I swear, this is such a random, crazy place. The way we are, the way things happen, the way we separate from each other and fall back into place somehow—I tell you it’s all crazy.
I swear it is.
We spin around here on Project Earth and find ourselves, in full circle to be exactly where we’re supposed to be.
Some call this cosmic, some call this fate, and some say this is all just consequence.
Know what I say?
I say this world is a random, crazy place.
The thought machine—
That’s what I call it. The thought machine is the stations of our mind. This is where survival mode comes from flight or fight, eat, drink, breathe, seek shelter, and sleep.
This is the oldest part of the thought machine, which only thinks about basis function. There is no fear or concern here. There is no worry in this station. All is simple in this part—it’s like wash, rinse, and repeat.
There are things which can heal us. These are simple things, like the touch of a hand or the sound of a voice. Believe me. I know about this, first hand.
There are things that can warm us during cold times. For example this sight of a smile or to hear the laugh of someone we love. These things are important.
They cure better than any medicine, which is not to say that medicine is unnecessary. But still, there are simple things around us, even on gloomy days, which if we utilize—these things have healing qualities like no other. I’m sure of it.
It is May 5, 2019.
I can hear the raindrops falling upon the roof of my house and spattering on top of the skylight above my head. I am in my loft, cozy, and quiet at the time of daybreak. The sky is a dark gray but the leaves are bright green. The lawn has returned to life and spring is here. The streets are wet but the roads are quiet. And for now, I am listening to the lullaby of the rain, which has been going on for days now.
The truth is everyone is healing from something. All of us have either gone or will go through something tragic in our life. We all go through loss. We all experience fear. We feel, we live, and if we’re lucky, we learn.
Our life is our story.
This is us every day.
We wake up and begin our routine. We walk along this big conveyor belt we call “The World” and weave through different patterns and meet new people. We separate from the pack and create our own lives. We walk along paths that twist and turn, overlap, and interconnect or run parallel.
I think the hardest part of love is the part we cannot control. These are the circumstances beyond our control, like say, the happiness or the health of the ones we love most.
This is true.
This is especially true when we see the people we love and watch them struggle. We want to “Fix it” but we can’t. We want to change the circumstances, but again, due to circumstances beyond our control—there is nothing we can do but watch and feel helpless.
I remember the most honest thing anyone ever said to me. I was about to enter a new chapter in my life. I was afraid, — or worried is more like it. I was afraid of the people I would see. I was afraid of what people might think or say. I was uncomfortable with my anticipation and uncomfortable about the things I would face.
The chapter was new and so was I. I had to make changes both physically and personally. I had to stop much of my previous behaviors and stay clear of some of my previous relationships because the road they led down was not a road I was interested in travelling.
Back when I was a kid, I had to go to the dentist to have a cavity filled. I was scared. I knew there was a needle involved—and I was petrified of needles. I mean really petrified, as in, run away petrified, and catch me if you can petrified.
I was petrified of the whole scene. But of course, the dentist says the needle won’t hurt. They all say the same thing. “It’s just pressure,” they always say. “This won’t hurt.” But I knew this was a lie. It’s a needle. Needles hurt.
There was no hiding from myself.
This was it.
There was no way I could deny who I was or what I did. The sound around me was the humming of overhead fluorescent lighting. I could hear some of the drunks howling and retching their dry heaves and vomiting sounds into the mouth of the stainless steel commode, which is a stainless steel toilet in the back, left hand corner of their little holding cell; no seat to lift or shut, and statues up to a small basin with a drinking fountain for water at its top. The lighting was dim. The aroma was damp and reeking of body odor, bathroom function, and cleaning solvent. The place stunk from regret. Then again, so did I.
Note to self: (or to anyone else that relates)
We all have very main and basic needs. We need food and water. We need air to breathe. We need warmth and we need rest. These needs are physical. But we also have the need to be safe, which means to have shelter and security. Next are the needs of intimacy. We need a sense of belongingness. We need to have purpose. We need love. We need interaction and we need intimacy, which comes in different forms aside from just the obvious and the physical.
Before going forward, I will openly expose me to explain why I behaved the way I did to gain a better understanding, which may seem obvious, but who knows, maybe this will help someone gain a new perspective.
When I was young, I believed since there was nothing interesting about my life, I chose to create a new identity to make myself seem more appealing.
We are moving closer to the warmer season now. I think of the marinas and the fishing boats. I think of the breakers and the waves, the beach, the need to feel the sun on my face and the wind in my hair.
I think of the docks, I think about the vessel of my dreams, my boat, and the way it looks in my fantasy. I think of the pilothouse, or the wheelhouse as we call it. I imagine the moments before sunrise at first light and the sound of my diesels as they hum like an anxious pony just aching to leave her stable.
I know it’s been a while since my last letter. A lot has gone on. Good things happened. Bad things too. I swear, life is hard to keep up with sometimes. But I keep swinging. I keep moving and I’ keep trying to find my way. I won’t stop either. I promise.
Of all things you should never have to do, you should never have to do things to prove yourself. Least of all, you should never have to do things to prove you to yourself.
You should never have to prove who you are for the obvious reason that you already are who you are. You could never be anyone else. No matter what you do or how hard to try to be anyone else; you will always be you. So make the best of it.
I think of things like little feetie-pajamas.
I think of things like what little kids say
when they’re still young enough to believe in wonderful things,
like the power of a special blanket
or a stuffed animal.
I think about the way a little girl laughs at silly jokes by her Dad,
like, say, “Hey Punky, do you think fish ever get thirsty?”
And then I think of a little girl’s laugh
as she responded, “Silly daddy!”
morning, this morning. I had the chance to do a phone interview with a client
about to face an intense challenge.
I think about the way we interview for a better position or a brand new job. I think about the two sides of the table. I think about the interviewer and the one being interviewed.
People tend to forget that interviews work both ways. The employer is looking for their best candidate. The candidate is looking for their best employment opportunity, which basically puts both sides on an even playing field. Put simply; the goal here is to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship. I advised this during a focus on confidence coaching.
I would like to share what Sunday morning looks like to me. I wake early before the sun and I head into the kitchen. I move slowly, tired but yet, I’m awake.
I go over to my trusty friend the coffee machine. I proceed to the cabinet where I fetch my cup and place the cup beneath the little spout, which is where the coffee gods deliver their nectar.
I push a little blue light, which creates a quick electrical sound that follows with the dribble of water falling into the echo of my empty coffee cup.
I like this sound by the way. I love the smell of my coffee being brewed.
We were all kids at the time. We were just a bunch of kids living in a small town, no better or worse than anyplace else. We were the middle class.We were the average (at best.) We thought we knew what we were talking about. We thought we knew what we were doing. Then again, so does every kid.
yesterday is gone. We don’t live there anymore. Everybody knows this. But the
remnants of yesterday will often overstay their welcome.
And you want to let go
You want to move on.
Before going forward about the thought machine and how it works, I think it is important that we define what the thought machine is. We need to understand the wiring and how our machine operates.
The thought machine is our brain. Like any machine, the thought machine has switches and relays and sensors and safeties. Think about a circuit board; think about a control room with big switches and dials.
At our best, we achieve a sense of balance or stability, otherwise known as homeostasis. All the connections are made; the machine is good, The lights are bright, the air is sweet, and all’s right with the world. This is us at our best. This is us without any interruption or disturbance.
However, the thought machine is alarm sensitive. When all systems check, the current flows smoothly.
And now it’s me, early morning, tired and wishing I was someplace else. But yet I am here, of course, exactly where I am supposed to be.
Then again . . . where else would I be?
I have come to the conclusion that we are all inherently and internally crazy. We are all crazy in our own perfect little way, which is not to suggest that crazy is a bad thing.
At least, not as I see it.
We never really know how much we’ve grown. Until, something happens. Then we look back at how responded as opposed to how we might have responded in the past. Or maybe we see a group of old friends that tell the same old jokes, which used to be funny, but to us the jokes are old. They’re just not funny anymore.
One day I decided that I did not want to be held hostage anymore. It came to a decision, which I knew I had to stick with.
I was tired of the anxiety attacks. I was tired of the social anxiousness and tired of being afraid of people, places, and things.
I was tired of living “Rejection sensitive,” and feeling leashed or slaved to thoughts and feelings that had the ability to spiral me out of control.
And then there’s music.
Thank the heavens. Thanks to whomever or whatever.
Just be thankful there is such a thing.
Thanks for the sound.
I have spoken in front of groups on several occasions and asked the same question, which is, “What stands in your way?”
Of course, this question applies differently with different people. In some cases, this question applies to mental health and wellness.
In other crowds, this question applied to living a clean lifestyle, no drugs, no drinking, no crime, and no other means of self-harm.
In some presentations, I have asked this question to those who seek a better life. In some groups, this was directed to inspire those that live under the threat of suicidal ideation
Whether a better life is to be free from depression, free from the toxicity of abuse, of shame, fear, or free from anxiety, freedom from the thought machine, or to be free from all that we wish we could discard from our life, I ask, “When will it be your turn to have the life you want?”
I look back at the meals we grew up with and the plates of food, which acted better than any penicillin ever been prescribed.
Meals like this are better than any medication and better than any anti-depressant. They are the meals we grew up with. They were the meals we sat through, together, like family.
There is a part of success that most people do to recognize. This is the lonely part. This is the part when everyone else decides to quit (except for you) and goes home to rest for a while.
This is the part when nothing seems to fit right. Your endurance is tested. Your determination is tested. So is your patience. So is your temper.
It’s like every step you take is harder than the one before it.
But you can’t stop.
You just can’t . . .
I want to find myself here, on my own steam, living a life which I created by the steam of my works.
I want to find myself on the Pacific side of our country,
alone, looking out into the vastness of a peaceful blue sea.
Behind me are the palm trees and the Malibu lives,
Santa Monica, L.A., and even the hills,
the big Hollywood sign, the canyons,
and the sunsets,
which are unlike anything I have ever seen.
I am thinking of you now, young as you are, thinking about what you know and how much things will change for you.
I go back to me as a young boy, thinking about what I knew when I was as young as you are now and swearing by the things I believed, which at the time I thought were fact, but in fact, most of what I believed was true was never really true at all.
In the terms of a fight between two people, there are only two options to consider. The first option is the less attractive of the two, which is to lose and lose painfully. The second option of course is the more glorious of the two, which is to win. Fist against fist, skin against skin, two people enter the physical negotiation between them until only one of them stands at the end.
Beforehand, the other option is to walk away or talk this out as adults. But when it gets this far, adulthood has little to do with the options we choose.
It is easy for someone to say, “Just don’t think about it,” and act as if this is easy enough for someone else to do.
(There goes that word “Just” again)
When it comes to depressive thinking, telling someone, “Just don’t think about it,” suggests our thinking is a choice, which, maybe it is or maybe it isn’t. Keep in mind, this is neither a medical forum nor am I a professional with a professional opinion. However, I am someone that has lived with depression, which means I understand the struggles on how to interact with my thinking.
Remember something . . .
No classroom teaches experience. You can learn all the theories and you can learn about the ins and outs. You can learn about anything you want but nothing teaches us like experience does.
Experience is something you live through. Experience is when all the lessons in schoolbooks and all the theories go to the wayside.
It comes down to what’s in your gut.
Moving away from the old programs, I agree, there are times when we look around, we look at ourselves, we look at our attempts to change, and then we shake our head because we think, “Why bother? It’s not working anyway.”
Then we sabotage ourselves without even noticing. We create our own self-fulfilled prophecy. We fail and then we say to ourselves, “Look, see? I told you so!”
I was more than two hours into a three hour summertime drive. I was heading back up to an upstate world. I was miles away from the city and miles away from populated towns and overcrowded streets. After a while, everything looks the same on roads like this.
The road is long, straight, and seems to be unending. There are trees and the mountains on either side of me. The fields, the empty pastures, the occasional barns, the fields with cows, the occasional farm, and the scattered deer alongside the road; everything looked this way, pastoral and peaceful. Everything was so green and calming, of course, like a ride out to the country should be.
The word means more than we think.
Love means we have a heart. Love means we feel.
Love is this thing we have; it lives and it breathes.
Love expands and contracts.
Love is hope in hopeless times.
Love is painful. Love hurts. Love does not operate according to logic.
Love is a night when you can’t sleep because of fear and insecurity; meanwhile, all it would take is to hear the voice of your loved one
and then next, all would rest easily.