From The Boys: Nostalgia – 10/22/20

Nothing is really the same anymore. The old town is still the old town and the exit off the parkway still takes me down the same road. A lot of the neighborhood has changed though. Different landmarks have had a facelift and some are just gone. Some of the stores have closed. New ones have opened. The streets are the same but most of everyone I knew has either grown older or moved away. Some of us lost touch and some have grown so distant that we would be unrecognizable to each other now. 

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Understanding Your Own Trauma

Just so everyone is clear, the comparison between our lives is really no comparison at all. My life is my life and your life is yours. We all have our own history. We come from different ends of the universe or maybe we live on the same side, but still, the one thing we can never see is what life looks like from behind another person’s eyes.

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Life Volume 1: Time To Go To Work

First thing to do is breathe because here it is now, Tuesday morning, and the sun has yet to show itself. I’m up now. Sleep and me have not always seen eye to eye but life says “Ready or not, here I come.”
So here it comes.
I have a cup of coffee beside me. I have you and me and my trusted keyboard, which I type on with purpose. My fingers punch the keys with dedication.

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The Victory of Walking Away

Let the record reflect that there will always be someone with something to say. There will always be someone out there, looking for the angle or looking for the cracks in your story. And people do this as if this is their job. They do this so they can discredit what they see and feel better about themselves. There will always be bullies. There will always be victims and there will always be volunteers. It is my goal, however, to be none of the above.

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Perspective – 10/18/20

I am thinking about the smiles of people I know, which is funny because I hardly know them at all. I only know the impact they’ve had on me and the lessons I’ve learned from them.
For example, one of the best smiles I have ever seen was lent to me by a man that was much older. He was nearly toothless and gray-haired. It might be almost doubtful that he remembers me at all. But needless to say, I remember him very well.

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When Words Fall Short

There is this place where you and I go. And we meet here way too often. We come here because, of course, this is us, right? This is what we do.
Am I right?

I know there are times when words fall short. I know there are times when everything is so intense. And you’re like, “Dammit, already. It’s enough!”
I know there are times when advice is confusing (or unwanted) and nothing makes sense. Not even the simple things are easy.

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How The Hell Do We Get Back Up There?

Be advised, this is not for everyone. The following advice might not apply to you or to anyone outside the realm of rejection or depressive thinking. But for some, this is what I call a relatable substance. Not everyone knows how to get back up after they’ve fallen, nor does everyone believe they have the ability to do so. No one talks much about this.

To be honest, most people will say, “Don’t talk like that,” or they’ll say, “Don’t feel that way,” or “You just have to get back up and get over it,” as if the word “Just” makes everything “That” simple.

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I am a firm believer that most people cannot pass their own test. Everyone judges. I know this and so do you. We judge. This is simple. And you have to judge, at least to some degree. Who should I trust? Where should I go? What should I do? These are all judgement calls.

The truth is everyone has a life going on. Everyone has their reasons and their rationalizations. We all have our own opinions and biases, stigmas, as well as social and subconscious programs. We have been trained to think and believe a certain way.

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Finding The Button

There are problems we talk about on a daily basis and they have been tackled for decades or even centuries. Yet, still, they remain. We have been searching for ways to overcome sadness and the lamenting tortures of heartache and the brokenhearted moments that are long gone, but for some reason, we hold them closely. And although painful, we keep this in our grips as a reminder of what happened.

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Time To Make The Change

In the beginning of any switch or change or especially at the start of a personal rebuild or transformation, often, the toughest or most intimidating idea is where do we begin? Where do we start and how? There are self help books and coaches and gurus that can say what to do, but yet, this always leaves the same resounding question: How?
Is this even possible?

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I’m Being Called The Tattooed Minister

I have written about a lot of different things throughout the years. I’ve told you my secrets and my dreams. I’ve told you about my past and the hopes I have for my future. And for myself, I have spilled my thoughts on different pages to either rid me from my demons or restore my angels so that I could find some kind of sanity. One could say this is part of my plan. This is my therapy. This is my voice and my true self without any window dressing. But more, this has become a connection between us that has led me to more introductions than I could have possibly believe.

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Life Vol. 1: That Thing Called Serenity

This is not about religion or God, so please, hold your judgement. Hopefully, I am able to make my point clear at the end.
So let’s see.
There is an idea that has been reduced to a simple prayer, which is a prayer I have been saying for about 30 years now. They call this The Serenity Prayer, which is a popular one amongst the 12-step communities.
Others know this too, which means the prayer is not just synonymous with recovery but then again, one of the truest ideas I’ve ever heard (and remind myself of) is everybody is recovering from something.

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From Bedtime Stories For The Insomniac: A Moment On A Rooftop

I take this up to the roof sometimes. My thoughts, that is. I head up to the roof of a building, which is high above Lexington Avenue.
I look out at a sea of tall buildings and a skyline, which I depend upon. I see this place as my quiet refuge. I take to the roof, which is high above the street and high above the speeding cabs and the pedestrians in masks because, well, everyone is wearing a mask these days. at least, they are supposed to be.

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Find Your Truth

One of the greatest things to know in life is to know who my friends are. Then again, and adversely, one of the best things to understand about life is to understand who my friends aren’t.

This is helpful. It is even more helpful to realize that if we look, people will always show us who they are. There will be people that say and not do and then there are people that will do and never say. There are those that have the need to talk behind your back and there are those that will never defy the old classic rule, which is never betray someone’s trust.

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Be Your Own Hero

There are times when we find ourselves too deep in our thoughts. Our ability to overcomplicate and overthink the easy things is amazing to me. We wonder and we worry. We wait in expectation and predict futures. I swear this is true.

I swear we have a way of being our own worst enemy. We are toughest on ourselves. We are overly critical. And sometimes, we forget one unavoidable fact, which is beating us up or punishing ourselves is far from productive. And with that being said, still, I get it.

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Being Grateful

I can recall a time when I was in Disney. Of course Disney in itself is a miraculous place. Ever been?
They have rides and reasons to believe in fairytales. They have displays that are inspiring and heartfelt. They have “It’s A Small World,” which has been around for as long as I can remember. They have Minnie and Mickey, Goofy, and Donald.
This is supposed to be the happiest place on Earth. And I suppose it is. I suppose it would have been happy for me if I was there with different people.

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This IS Where Overthinking Comes From

The truth is there is no easy way to have a hard conversation. Life comes with challenges and so do we. We have our thoughts and opinions as well as concerns and fears. In fact, life can be uncomfortable sometimes. There is no point in pretending otherwise and there is no reason to act as if this is not true. More to the point, there is nothing wrong with being honest about the challenges we face. 

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From The Boys: A Brief Moment of Nostalgia

I’d have sworn it would always be this way, our youth, the summer, the waterfront and the early mornings after the long nights, driving home into the sunrise and then finding my way through the door to crash for a few hours. I’d have sworn I could always do things like this. I thought I would always be able to run forever, as fast as I could, and I could live my life on the edge.
I’d have sworn this was the truth and that age was only something that happened to old people. And me, I swore that I would never grow old. I would never let that happen. Not on my watch.

I would never lose the rush or the need for adrenaline. I swore I would always have the feeling of life at the sunset and the bars down by the waterfront. The lights were bright. The music played and I was an entirely different version of myself.

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A New Lease On Life

A word is a unit of language. Words are the way we communicate. Words have meaning however, words that say one thing can often mean another. There is the connotation and the denotation of a word, which is the difference in the way we associate the meaning of the word.

The denotation is the actual meaning of the word and the connotation of a word is the association of a word in addition to its actual meaning itself. I know what the word happy means to me. I know what sad means. I know what the word love means to me and adversely, I know what hate means.
I know what the word family means to me, and still, I remember a class of mine at the homeless shelter. I asked the classroom to give me their definition of the word “Family.”
A mumbled voice from the back of the room spoke out and said, “Broken promises” because this is what the word family meant to him.
See what I mean?

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Understanding Gravity

We understand the weight of something heavy when opposed to something light. For example, we know the difference between say, the weight of a feather and the weight of a brick.

Sometimes we expect something to be heavy until we lift it and we’re surprised that it’s light. And then we say to ourselves, “That wasn’t so bad.”
Sometimes, this goes the other way around, which means we understand the physical nature of gravity. But there’s a different kind of gravity.

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From Choices: Treat Life

Either way, there is truth on both sides. There is truth to the good and the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. Either way, everything is open to interpretation. This is true, regardless to how we try to get our point across. Don’t believe me? 
See, we have this thing called bias. We have this thing called selective and hopeful hearing. We have a bias that hears what it wants and an agenda that only hears the highlights and misses the truth that focuses on the heart of the matter. People hear what they want to hear, which is nothing new. We have been this way since the beginning of time, I suppose.

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The Beach –

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.

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Letters From A Son: 9/28/20

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

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The Benefit of Optionality

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. 

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A Night In The Can

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. 

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The Funny Thing About The Old Days Is –

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.

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Save Your Energy

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.

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September 20, 2020

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.

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The Learning Curve

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.

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Friday Morning Mission Statement

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.

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The Product Of Struggles

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.

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Take A Drive

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.

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Why It Stings

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.

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No Excuses

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.

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Life’s Too Short

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. 

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An Offer of Thought

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.

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The Benefit of Commitment

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. 

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How To Be Helpful

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. 

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Labor Day: 9/7/2020

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. 

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This One’s For You Kid

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.

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Morning Prose: My City

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.

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Bullying: 101

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.

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From Choices: Just A Hint Of Perspective

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.

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