Before going forward, I would like to offer you the option of visualizing your best version of the beach. See it in a way you choose to and pick a memory that warms the heart, which coincides with what I’m about to say.
One of the reasons I love the ocean as much as I do is because the waves are perfectly anonymous. It is said the sea has no memory but I’m not sure if I agree.
I could stand and face the ocean for hours. I can walk up and down the beach and whisper my thoughts. I can tell my secrets to the outgoing tides and give my confession and feel cleansed, like the shoreline beneath my feet.
For now, the streets are wet. Everything is quiet this morning, as if there is something going on or as if something bigger than all of us is taking place. This is all happening, right here and right now. And I know what this is.
I know this is life, or at least this is a version of it. I know there are questions I have and things I’d like to know about.
And that’s fine.
For now the leaves are starting to change. Some have already fallen, which I can see from the window in my loft. The town recently repaved my road, which makes the wet blacktop glisten in front of my house. The yellow lines that split the road in half and the orange leaves that press flat on the ground are perfect in contrast against the blackness of the street. The colors of the trees are somehow comforting beneath the grayish morning in my small town. My road is country-like and peaceful, which this too is also fitting for now
I always had this thing about knowing shortcuts and backroads to the City. There was always something about knowing where you were and knowing the roads, just in case traffic hit. There was something about knowing a different route without having a hassle. I think the best part of knowing different ways to get somewhere is the comfort of optionality.
Everything begins with the first breath.
Everything begins at the first step or the first movement. In some cases, everything begins with the first time we open our eyes or the first time we feel our heartbeat (or the way it stops, depending upon the situation).
It is a late night passed midnight towards the end of August in the year 1989. The scene opens to a mainly empty processing room at the county’s holding facility. A large counter acts like an island with aged and natural wooded vertical slats appear on the outside and a white desk top. The counter is a separation between uniformed officers and the processed inmates.
The uniformed officers are behind computers and desks. Phones are ringing and there is talkative chatter with regular office noise in the background.
The processing facility is aged and outdated. There is the musty smell in the facility, which reeks from the stench of hoboes and the traffic of new arrests that arrive to be processed. After the processing is completed, the arrested person is escorted down to a holding cell until the time when they are ready to be arraigned before the judge.
There comes a time in life where age happens. We grow older and then we look back. This happens in the different stages and in phases, which begin from childhood and grow with us until our final days. Old chapters close so new ones can begin.
Sometimes I am touched with a hint of nostalgia. Maybe it’s something in the air. Maybe it’s the change in the season and the cool winds that represent the mornings of early fall are a trigger for me. And then there are October sunsets, which appear golden as ever — or maybe it’s the way my thoughts narrate in my mind; as if to tell a story of me, reliving the old days, back when we were young and free to be crazy.
There was a class I took a few years back about commercial energy conservation. The teacher was an older man, grayhaired, very kind, and with a voice that sounded like a grandpa reading a bedtime story. The class was boring as ever, which made it difficult to keep my eyes open, let alone pay attention and learn the material.
I will say that some of the information was interesting. I understood the premises of the class. I understood the information but less than midway through the lesson, the teacher would go off on a tangent and laugh with his quiet little bedtime story laugh. He would talk about something that happened to him or his family and then just like that, half the class would start to nod and fall asleep.
Along the way, you will see a lot of things this life will have to show you. Along the way you will laugh and you will cry. You will see great things and terrible things. You will live through more than you can calculate at this point. You will rebuild more times than you can possibly imagine.
I believe you when you tell me everything happens for a reason. I believe when you tell me everything has meaning however, not everything that means something will have to mean everything.
I agree when people say, “You made your bed, now sleep in it.”
I also agree when people say “You slept in your bed, now make it.”
Early morning, September 20 and the winds are becoming cool. The leaves have yet to change but the hints of an upcoming season are proof that autumn is in the mail.
There is no real sentiment about now or at least for the moment, as it or was or as it should be. I am awake (of course) and sifting through the million thoughts that keep me awake at night.
Nothing teaches like experience does. We can hear something a thousand times and forget about it a thousand more. We can see the same thing on a daily basis and never notice until it’s gone.
This is life. This is the way we learn. We learn through the viscera of experience. There are books on any topic you can find. There are “How to” and “Self-help” books that can be a platform but still, nothing teaches like experience.
Today is the day for change.
Going forward, I refuse to accept and succumb to either mass opinion or the published editions that post with the intention to divide and conquer our society.
Going forward, I will not allow my opinion to either be swayed or persuaded by the arguments of those who in their own efforts, look to further their agenda and speak loudest as a means to silence the whispers of a more obvious truth.
One of the most intimidating moments during my young life was my first day of junior high school. We didn’t call it middle school back then. We had elementary, junior high, and high school.
I remember the very first time I stepped into the cafeteria in junior high. First, I remember the realization that I was still so very small. Other kids were much taller than me and developed. I remember my breath gave out as I walked through the double doors into a big room with different lunch tables. Everyone seemed to know each other. Everyone seemed to have their place at the table. Also, everyone that sat where they sat found themselves caught in the social regime of popularity.
If we think about it, there are only so many paths between here and Nirvana. There are so many ways to transcend above the heaviness of daily life or to find freedom and personal reincarnation, or salvation, and the extinction of the routine hatred or the daily manifestations and the delusions of life as we know it.
If we think about it, there are only so many chances and only so much time for one to redeem themselves before time runs out. Life is only a window of opportunity, which is amazing to me, as long as we live this way. Otherwise, we find ourselves in the polar opposite and imprisoned by an external world that we’ve taken all too personally.
The world is a truly bizarre place. What I mean is us. I mean we are amazing creatures. Each and every one of us. We are all amazing for our own reasons. Even the bad ones that do bad things and the evil ones that do evil things. All of us have something.
As far as I go in this world and as far as I travel and no matter how many people I see or meet, I doubt there will ever come a time when I am not amazed or at least, surprised, even in the least of surprising times.
There is no reason to pretend anymore. None of this is a test or a drill. This is all happening, right here and right now. The world is at a stand still, but yet, everything keeps moving and the rest of us seem lost, as if the last several months have been like a movie that no one understands.
When it all comes down, there’s only one thing we have to do. We have to mean it. Whatever and whichever action we choose; we have to mean every bit of it. Otherwise, why bother?
We have to mean everything we do and everything we say. When it comes down to the commitment and the plans we have or the dreams we share and when we talk about the goals we look to achieve; we have to mean it. We have to remember and understand that the depth of our commitment is going to equal the output of our success. So hold fast because the ride tends to get bumpy sometimes.
Sometimes, life is just too short for long conversations.
What I mean is there is entirely too much going on at once. There are too many arguments. There’s too many incidents. There are too many complications, too many complaints, and too many opinions.
There is life happening to us at the speed of about 1,000 miles per hour, every day. This is how fast the Earth spins at the Equator. The Earth rotates every 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.09053 seconds. This never stops. Scientists say Earth’s spin has slowed down about 6 hours over the past 2740 years, which is a science that I’m sure is too much for me to handle, like say, now, on a Saturday morning before the sunrise.
But either way, there are only so many hours in a day. Nothing will change this. At least, not in our lifetime.
I don’t want to think about what today means. But yet, how could I possibly forget? How could I ever forget what I saw? How does someone remove something like this from their history?
See, I am of the belief that there is hope and there is healing. I am of the belief that healing is not forgetting and feeling is not reliving —It’s only remembering.
I don’t come here because I have to. I come here because I choose to.
I want to do this. Otherwise, why bother, right?
Otherwise, life is this forced or coerced thing and commonplace like the rest of attention mongers on social media with their picture perfect smiles, buffed by a filter to seem pristine.
It is September now, day 10 to be exact. The winds outside are calm this morning. I am in the dark with the white light glowing at me from my computer screen. My trusty cup of coffee is to my left, which I’ve just acknowledged by taking a brief pause and a good sip to build the energy it takes to keep me going.
I will call this a “Thing” because
there are so many more names to call it.
But either way, I have this “Thing” inside me.
I have this “Thing,” in me,
a voice perhaps, or a life, like a child
or a little kid that hides away.
The old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” I believe this is true.
Then again, sometimes we try to lead a horse to water and the horse isn’t even thirsty.
There are times when we think we are doing the right thing. There are times when we’re only trying to be helpful. But there is something we tend to forget.
Help is a reciprocal agreement. Help has nothing to do with me or you. Help is not about saying the right thing or offering the best possible suggestion. Actually, in crucial times, help is often extremely quiet because listening is usually the most helpful thing we can do.
For my day job, I am a union worker in an old building. This building is part of New York City’s history. This is part of our labor’s history as well. Although the doors officially opened in 1929, the building was completed in 1927.
Some of the stories I’ve heard are conflicting. I have been told that my building was the tallest in the world until The Chrysler opened up in 1930. But the history books tell the story differently.
Sometimes I find myself opening up old walls and breaking through old columns to find newspaper clippings from 1927. The paper is brittle and yellow and most often crumpled, which makes it difficult to unfold and read the news.
Of all things to believe in life, there has to be at least a semblance of hope. There has to be at minimum, at least a trace of light because otherwise, what else is there except for the dimness and the shadows of doubt?
Of all things to believe in, no matter how bad things may seem or how badly one might want to jump from their own skin; no matter how dark it gets or stormy or bumpy the road may seem, there has to be at least a minimum sense of drive.
I have always been amazed by my City.
I’ve gone through different phases and different circumstances in my life but ah, my City, She has always been good to me.
There have been nights when I took to a rooftop of a building and stood high above the streets and the hustle of the cabs. I looked out at the scene. I looked at the windows of apartment buildings and noticed the lamps in bedrooms and living rooms.
There has always been something interesting to me about the way a television could flicker in a room — the bluish light illuminates against the walls to give the window view a certain glow. The City is filled with millions of windows like this. And the truth is, I love every single one of them.
There are early mornings, like today, for example, I was driving down the Westside Highway alongside the Hudson River before the sunrise. The moon was out. The buildings on the Manhattan side appeared to be resting for the moment. Across the river is New Jersey, who is a friend to me now, although, this wasn’t always the case. The Hudson River moves like a black sheet of glass; the lights from the stagnant ships and barges reflect across the river’s surface. This was my view this morning. Otherwise, the highway was empty because the rest of the world was sleeping.
It isn’t as much as what’s said or done, it’s what is taken away. It’s the aftermath. It’s the ideas and the thoughts and feelings that linger after the abuse. This is the real theft.
This is what bullying does. It’s not just being picked on, shoved, or kicked around. This is more than the character assassinations or the cancellation of someone’s character. Bullying is the humiliation that lingers like an unseen scar, which in some cases will last a lifetime.
I admit it . . .
The times can get to a person. I admit the tension is incredible. Politics have overtaken the news and become the new religion. The reports and the stories about the riots and the violence are enough to break us all. Or at minimum, the stories are enough to break and distract me from my greater self.
I admit it. The social moods can be contagious. Only, I don’t think social distancing and face masks are the proper defense for things like this.
I don’t want to catch moods like this. No, I want to be better. I want to be strong. I want to be helpful and I wan to serve. I want to do more and be more because otherwise, I will only become less and less if I choose to give in.
The one thing I say is something I hear most people say when they regard today’s youth. I laugh too because I think this is funny. However, out of anything that I am grateful for with regards to the wildness of my youth, I am most grateful for the fact that there is no proof or video surveillance that dates back from this time.
I agree that I was absolutely crazy. I lived through absolutely crazy times, which wasn’t all bad. I swear, in some cases, it is necessary to be as wild as you can, and to live, to scream, and to be as loud as possible. This is a necessary part of youth. Youth must always be youthful and in order to do that, youth must have the chance to live life.
We were not bubble-wrapped or as protected back then, which could be why kids today are so overly guarded. Maybe their parents viewed too much when they were kids and this is the means of reversion. What I mean is this is like a slingshot that was pulled back too far and now it snapped back too far in the opposite direction.
I am often reminded of a billboard I used to see in Long Island City before driving over the 59th Street Bridge. The sign was perched high in the air above the on-ramp. The letters were big and bright, which was perfect at nighttime. The sign said, “Perfection is not an accident”.
I believe in this.
Perfection is most definitely not an accident.
Yesterday was a pretty day. The sun was out. The sky was blue and the winds were warm. If you didn’t know what was going on then you couldn’t know what was going on. Yesterday seemed like a regular, ordinary Sunday. To some though, or actually to a great many, yesterday had an entirely different meaning.
This is all just a trip. This is us, born unto this life as we are. We look the way we look and act the way we act. We have a blood type and skin type. We have fingerprints that distinguish us as different from each other.
We have hair color and eye color and features that make us look the way we look.
This is me. This is my body, flaws and all. This is me. This is you. And more than anything, this is life.
Well, here we are again. It is 6:00 in the morning and the sun hasn’t shown up yet. I can hear the rain falling on my roof, which is good because I have quiet music playing in the background.
I like it this way because it seems the depth of sound allows me a little window to look from with a better view of my own introspection.
You are from so many different places that I cannot begin to think where to reach you. You are somewhere across the sea, on the other side of the pond, or on the opposite side of the world. You are living in different time zones and climates. You have been to places I have only read about, which is why I try to show you about my life.
We somehow become consumers of our thoughts. We buy into our ideas and we own them for every cent they are worth.
We are who we think we are because of course, who else could we possibly be?
We think about our life. We think about our past. We think about the presence of our day and the moment and the paths we hope to take. Essentially, our mind is always moving and always scanning for the best direction and mapping a course.
Our emotions feed from this. In fact, our predictions feed from this, which means if we spend time on unhappy ideas then we tend to adopt the feelings that support them.
Forgive me but I refuse to subscribe to the common narrative that exists these days. I am sorry but I cannot and will not give into either side. I will not side with anyone, just to prove a point.
As far as I can see, right is right, wrong is wrong, and I don’t care which side of the cafeteria you’re from. The fact remains that we are all searchers. We are all people with wants and needs. We all have our doubts and concerns and everyone has their own list of fears to contend with. We all came from somewhere and we all chose a side when it came to sitting in the cafeteria at lunchtime in school.
Be aware of the different stages of change. What this means is we all go through our personal resolutions in different stages, different ways, and in different times.
To each their own. And with each is their own pathway. Everyone has their own lessons to learn. And to each is their own motivation. We all have our own reasons and individual purpose.
I am me and you are you and even if we are together or on the same page, this doesn’t mean we are at the same place in life or have the same understanding. We might be parallel but we are all unique.
The truth is we cannot blame the government. We can’t blame the police. We can’t blame the virus either. As I write this and remain as heartfelt as possible, I write this with partial understanding, yet, I am also partially lost. Please forgive me as I go on. And quite honestly, I understand if you choose to exit here.
Where has it all gone? The World? The year?
The life as we knew it? So much has changed but the sun is still here. I know this because it is alive, in person, and shining brightly through the trees and into my window above my loft. The moon is still around. I know this too because I look up some nights and I wonder where some of my loved ones are.
To say that the past never meant anything is simply untrue. Then again, to say the past means everything is equally untrue. The past is the past and put simply, our history is our history. This is where we came from, good or bad, crazy or sane. These are the roots from where we grew.
It is currently 5:00 in the morning here at my place in purgatory. The sunrise is beginning to show itself at a later time now, which means the sun goes down a little earlier now too. Soon enough, the warmth will cool and the leaves will change. Soon enough, this season will become the next, which is fine with me. I have always had an affection for the autumn months.
There is an idea that suggests if we have money or if we are successful, or if we are beautiful, or if we simply had better luck that all things would be well. Everything would be fine and that our questions and concerns would all be solved if we just had a different set of talents. However, in the case of emptiness, nothing could be more further from the truth.
They have something called filters now. This is basically a Photoshop people use for their selfies, which in young people’s words mean a picture of one’s self.
I shake my head at this. I shake my head because of a girl I witnessed take a picture of herself while riding home on the bus from New York City.
She posed for the picture with her best kissy-faced expression, puffing her lips out ever so slightly to seem a bit more risque and desirable. She angled the picture in such a way to catch a part of her cleavage. This was not a picture for mom or dad by any means. No, this picture was intended for a desired effect.
Of course, if we could go back and change the past then we would. If we could, we would make the necessary changes and the present wouldn’t ever be what it is.
If there was ever such a thing as a rewind button, then this would mean we could unsay what we said and undo what we did and there would be no such thing as regret.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
Nothing is ever the same as it was. Nothing is the same as when we grew up. The kids from the town were the kids from the town and the friends we had are the friends we’d swore we’d have forever.
The places have all changed since then. So have the dress codes and the fashion statements. It seems the whole world went out to get a face lift.
As of now, I am sitting across from you with my coffee beside me. I can hear the sound of rainfall against the skylight above my head. I am in my loft (of course) and looking out my window at the slick wet streets.
The sky is gray and the trees are exceptionally green for some reason. My road is always quiet. I suppose this is why I moved here to begin with. I suppose I’ve been practicing social distancing since before it was cool. This is why I moved here.
Give it a name and call this something. Call this a process, call it a journey or call this whatever you choose. Or, better yet, keep it simple and just call this life. And suddenly, here we are connected by a force that is greater than anything any of us could possibly understand.
The world is nothing more than a story that continues to unfold. And be advised, the future is still unwritten. It always is and always will be.
I remember a warm sunny morning at the birth of autumn. The leaves on the trees were beginning to change color. The world took on a different hue. The mountains around the farm were colorized with different shades of red and yellow. The day was golden to say the least and I was young. My life was ahead of me and at the time, my 11-month stay at a facility was behind me.
I am not sure what I thought would happen. I am not sure what I thought I would be or where I believed I would end up. I am certain that at the time, I never thought that I would ever look back and regard this moment as importantly as I do now.
Breathe . . .
The idea behind this process is to visualize the moment ahead of us. This is going to be the design we follow. This will be the path we take to create a platform and springboard from here into the rest of our day.
I remember of course that love is equipped with all things, including imperfections. And so am I for that matter, perfectly imperfect, flawed and exceptional. I want to remember this before I move through the gateways of each and every day.
I want to remember so that I can remember me and keep myself centered and balanced in this unbalanced force we call our life. I want to remember this and the best of times. In fact, I want to remember all times because how else will I learn or know what to look for.
It is safe to say that I lived in different places. I’ve lived with roommates and I’ve lived with family. I used to live on a farm, which by now is more like something that happened in a different lifetime.
I’ve lived in big places and small. I’ve never lived anywhere outside of New York. I never had the chance to live in the City itself but I did live in Queens when I was very young. I lived there when I was in a relationship during my mid-20’s. There were good and bad about all places but out of all of them, the worst place I ever lived was in the past.