Breathing over Reacting

So you breathe . . .
. . . you breathe because breathing
is the one thing
no one can stop you from doing

You breathe because
your breath is your proof
It’s the one thing that says,
“You’re still alive. Now go”

Your breath is your proof
This means you haven’t stopped
This means you have life in you
So breathe
no matter what is said or done— just breathe
because your breath is the one thing
no one can steal

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A Valuable Lesson in Life

  I received a call on a Monday night from a nurse about my Mother. I was at work at the time. I was on an overtime shift. I was tired in every sense of the word. My mind was tired. My body was tired and so was my soul. I had life things going on. I had responsibilities that needed my attention and list of bills that needed to be paid. Work was busy and life was busy. Everything was busy at the time.

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From Junkie Diaries: June 1989

I was at the tail end of a crazy night.
All of the powder was nearly gone and my usual running partner was missing for some reason. This had altered my usual routine. Instead of commiserating with my partner, I found myself home alone with a substantially large amount of cocaine that was either shoved up my nose or cooked and smoked in a glass-tube pipe. This was early summer, 1989.
June if I’m not mistaken.

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For The Anxious

There are two branches of government here. The first branch is anxiety and the second is Panic. The two interact.
They create a sensory overload and mental chaos. The chest tightens, and it’s hard to breathe. 
The heart races like a thousand angry horses, charging fast, and you can’t escape. You can’t get away.
Suddenly, it’s like the whole goddamned world is closing in on you, which becomes more frightening because you are vulnerable; you scream or you cry, and more than anything, you just want to jump out of your own skin. More than anything, you want everything to stop so you can calm down. The only problem is the harder you try to recover, the worse the symptoms become.

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Subconscious Programming: The Labels I Learned

The hardest thing was to sit in a classroom and see everyone with their eyes on their paper, pencil swirling around from the tops of their hands as the other students wrote their answers—but me, even the so-called simple problems were far from simple.
Nothing was simple to me. I could never grasp the lessons. I had no understanding of what I was doing. I needed help but I never knew how to ask.
Besides, kids that needed help were seen as “Kids that needed help.” And me, I didn’t want to be that kid. I never wanted to be that kid. I never wanted to be pointed out because I was “Special,” or taken to a different classroom and segregated because I had a learning disability.

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Realization Time

I have been walking around the city for decades now. I see different people from different places doing different things. I see the changes we’ve made as a society and the changes I’ve made within me. I see the Kamikaze taxis weave down the avenues and watch the mindless tourists along 42nd. St with their eyes wide open, looking up, and totally amazed by the tall building and the lights from Times Square.

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Visualization Therapy: A Brief One

The depth of my commitment equals the level of my success. I know I have said this before. And I say this again because it is true. Success and achievement are always equal to our level of dedication. There is no compromise or easy way out.

If you want something then you have to go all the way. There is no halfway or half throttle. There is only forward. No reverse.

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Parts

1)
A man threw a stone inside his glass house yesterday.
He stood around for hours, wondering where the draft came from.
But me . . .
I applauded his abilities to make matters worse.

I laugh because we live in a world of pots and kettles. Everyone points. Everyone wants someone to blame.
And why not blame someone else, right?
I mean, why be accountable (If you can void it) am I right?

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Thinking Freely

I was somewhere around 19 when I landed my first the first suit and tie job. I was an entry-level salesman in the garment business. And when I say entry-level, I mean the I was at the lowest of the low of the industry.
I sold identification items, which, in less-than-fancy terms are the little labels sewn in the collar that irritate the back of your neck. This was my first real job. Although the item was necessary, it was still at the bottom of the priority list. I pitched the production managers garment manufacturers to sell them and create a new relationship, which was tough at best.

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Food is Love

There are things I believe in life and I believe them, not because I was told to but because I have found them to be true. I believe music is essential. I think at one point, everyone needs to dance or at least drive a long drive with the windows down and the volume to a favorite song turned all the way up. I think we need to scream the lyrics in our best out-of-tune pitch.

Back as a kid, The Old Man used to have a Ford, Mustang fastback. He told us sometimes, you just have to open up the gas and let her rip. I feel this way too. Sometimes, we just need to open up and belt out a scream. Sometimes, we need to know we’re alive.

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1/1/2019- The First Day

 It all begins now—
It starts right now, as if today is the first day of the rest of your life.

In a short while, I am going to bundle up and put on sweats, a hat, pull up my head, and then I will step out into the January air and walk the hills in my town. I will look at the scene around me and take in the first fresh breath of the year. And then it all begins . . .

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A New Year’s Thought

It was a year later and The Old Man was gone. Mom decided to take us all on a trip to Beaver Creek, Colorado for ten days. This was before Dave and Lisa were married.
I was only home for a few months. I was back from the farm in late September and still re-acclimating to the regular world. There rules from the farm were a thing of the past. I was free to listen to music or go out or eat whenever I chose. I was free to do several things; however, I was still adjusting to the change in my surrounding.

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Time to Change

On the way in, I never knew what to expect. Each trip was different and nothing was ever guaranteed. But this was part of the ritual. This was part of the rush and part of getting high. There was the act itself and then there was the ritual that goes along with it. This is the romantic part everyone relates to, which is the crazy because the romance is not only poisonous —it’s also contagious.

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From The Daddy Diaries: 29 Years-

Every so often, I go on a website that calculates days between then and now. For example, the other day, I was trying to figure out how many times I’ve experienced the sunrise in my life.
The answer today would be 16,901. This means I’ve been around for that many mornings. That’s 2414 weeks and 3 days, or 46 years, 3 months, and 9 days to be exact, which is strange because the numbers seem odd to me.

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Sunrise

The dream takes place in one of my previous homes.  It is early morning and at the birth of sunrise. I am standing at the front door on stoop of my old home at a place called Rowehl Drive.
Looking across from me is an old tree that stands in the section of grass that runs between the street and the sidewalk.
The tree is old, mainly empty of leaves, and partially dead but partially alive as well.
I used to see this old tree on a daily basis. I admired the tree. I depended upon it to be there, to stand there, and to remain there regardless to people and their opinions, and to endure there, regardless to the storms that came our way.

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The Thought Problem

The problem isn’t the thought; the problem comes when thinking overwhelms the mind. Suddenly, the outside influences penetrate the mind. They seep in and infect the system. Next the defense mechanisms kick in. The  fear takes hold and the survival machine moves into position.
The problem is not the thought. The problem is the outside has seeped inside. The problem is the uncontrollable sources of people places and things have taken hold. The problem is the uncontrollable has become in control and then the mind loses control.

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A letter

Dear Mr. Moonlight,

I know you don’t know me very well, but I needed to at least try and get this message to you.
Somewhere, way up beyond your stars and past all the planets and all the galaxies is a place where I think about.
I dream of this place. It is someplace where all my lost toys are found. This is where my first dog lives.
Her name was Tammy. She died when I was only 7. Somewhere up there is a farm where my dog Sheba runs around. She was a big black lab. She plays in the field because she has so much room to run around and be free. I know this because when I was a little boy, Mom told me this is where Sheba went after she couldn’t live with us anymore.

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Christmas Eve Morning 2018

There used to be a graffiti sprayed on a construction partition over on 46th Street near Madison Avenue that said, “This moment is more precious than you think.” I used to see this when I would drive in on Saturday mornings, earlier than the sunrise, and I always noticed the words which hit home.

I swear we take too much for granted. Take this day for example. Today is Christmas Eve. Today marks the evening of a great day. This is a day of giving. This is a day of family. This is a time when all are gathered together and trust me; this moment is more precious than you think.

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An Explanation of The Process

There is a very real and very tough thing that happens when we think too much. Suddenly, the world closes in and everyone can see or “Everyone knows,” those inner secrets, everyone can see the pains, which are only apparent to us, and the weakness is obvious, the thoughts are like poison, or more like cancerous, and then the anxiety machine in our head spins into overdrive.

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Motivated

I remember that early morning when I stepped out onto the lawn of a main house on a farm where I lived for a 11-months. I had just completed my time in treatment and was about to return to the world.
It was the month of September and the sky was as blue as I could possibly imagine.The trees in the mountains around me were changing color, which made the mountains colorful, like weaving hills that ranged from shades of orange to yellow and red.
All of my past was behind me. I had friends in my life. I had love in my life.
Most of all, I had my family back in my life. I had pride and I had purpose in my heart. I looked around at the farm. I looked at the big red barn where I had spent countless hours, working hard, and learning what it means to actually work for a living. I looked up at the sky and watched the outstretched wings of a hawks, turning in big circles, hovering and flying high in the heavens above me. I looked at the hills behind the main house and thought about the memories I will have from this place. I looked at the dorms and I looked at the view, which I grew to depend on because the view was always there for me. In the toughest times and hardest of losses losses, I underwent change and felt the aches of my growing pains.

I looked around to see this place that I originally saw as a place of regret punishment. And I saw myself there. I had survived. I had grown. I had overcome certain demons that I never dared to talk about and more; I looked around and felt the success of my achievement.I rebuilt myself from the ground up. Although I had help and although there were others around to push me when I wanted to be still, I looked around and saw my accomplishment,I was 18 years-old at the time. I looked around and I thought to myself: This is my best accomplishment.I remember the time when I went backwards and fell back into my old routines. I found myself in bad places doing bad things. And it was true that my blood was clean from any substances. But I was not living a clean life. I was tainted in some way. I had given in to the inaccuracies in my head. I found myself wrapped up in my insecurities. I was lost in my own thoughts and once again, I volunteered to become a victim to the disorders that nearly ruined my life.I remember going backwards and hearing someone tell me, “Sometimes you have to go backwards in order to go forward.”
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Dear Pop

Just about an hour or so before sunrise and the rainfall has not let up. Safe to say that I am only on an hour of sleep. It is also safe to say that with the hour being what it is, it doesn’t look like I will sleep at all. But such is life, I guess.
The days are moving closer now and soon enough, the day will be here. Christmas Day. And now is the time for the last minute dashes to the stores. The lines are long and the shopping is certainly intense.

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The Smell Of It

I once told you that sound is something that gives depth to our memory. Even the tiny memories from our youngest mind can be triggered by the sound of something familiar.
For example, I was too young to remember much, but my Grandmother had a bungalow somewhere upstate when I was very small.
I have tiny pictures of this in my head that I can only link to little fragments of memory, —but if ever I hear a small single engine airplane flying in the sky, somehow, I go back to this memory I have from that time in a large field with tall grass, the grass almost golden tan in color, topped with thistles, and half-bent and moving in the direction of the wind.
I associate this with the sound and feels of summer.
I associate this with warmth and although most of the details from that time are only fragments—the sound from a small plane reminds me of then. And I’m not sure why. I’m not sure what the significance is. I suppose this is what I heard at the time. I suppose that without the sound, this memory would only be two-dimensional. But add sound and the memory has a third dimension.

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Damned Kids

I ever tell you about the time I was used as a patsy?
There are things that we do as kids that go down in the record book as the craziest thing of all times.
There are things that happen during our young lives that we swear we wonder how we got away with it. In the same regard, there are things that happened, which our parents never found out about —and this was a good thing.
God bless him as he rests, The Old Man never knew the story I am about to tell you. In fact, he went to his grave believing that what I’m about to tell you went differently. So going forward, the details of what I am about to tell you will have to be kept between you and me.

Deal?

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Motivation

If for no other reason, do it for yourself.
If for no other reason, stand up now while there’s time to make a change. Take a step forward.
Do it now before the excuses come.

Think about this . . .
If there was a way you could start your entire life over, what would be the first thing you would do?
What would you get rid of?
What would you keep and what would you leave exactly as it is?

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Little Kimmel’s Christmas Story

I had just come down with a case of the flu. I felt the aches and pains in my legs and at the bottom of my back. Earlier, it was clear that I was not feeling well but I had no idea what was on its way.
In any case, I was out and about before the sickness took hold. We were a day away from Christmas and I headed out to hear my friend’s band play for a few hours.

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It Was Around Now: Part 2

After my visit home to see The Old Man at the hospital, I went back up to the farm and back to my routine. It was strange for me to be home again. It was strange because I was able to see what I was and able to see the remnants of what I had done. All around my rooms were tiny fragments of proof. It was uncomfortable to see my bedroom and realize the secrets, which I tried to keep. It was strange to feel regretful of me and my youth and strange to realize that yes, this was not a dream. It was all real. It was strange to see my mother and my brother.More than anything, it was strange to see The Old Man in the coronary care unit. I felt a switch in me— it was as though something was turned off or shut down.

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About A Night

There were two glass buildings that were twin-like and tall at the border of town between Hempstead Turnpike and Merrick on Earle Ovington Boulevard. These were the two tallest buildings in our town, except for the hospital and the other glass building on Earle Ovington. But come Christmas, the two glass buildings put up a huge Christmas tree right in the courtyard. There was also a small ice skating rink but I have no real memories of the skating rink. I remember the tree though. I remember wild teenage nights when we in the rebellious crowd took to the grounds around it, screaming out loud, and running around like the local maniacs we were.

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It Was Around Now

We are moving towards a very special time of year with all the lights and all the holiday events. The songs play on the radio and the good ones that come on, which take me back to the days when I was young, are still the songs that take me back to different memories. I find them beautiful although in my age and though the time between then and now is distant, there is a sting with these memories, beautiful as they are, and painful in some way because these times will never be so again.

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Making A List

 At the day job, I sometimes get projects that call for a parts list to be sure that I have what I need. And sometimes, I add extra parts, just in case I added short or I come across an unexpected turn.Either way, the idea of a parts list is to be sure that all items are covered.I collect what I need and compare this to my list and one by one, I check them off.

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Truth

I had my share is what I thought to myself and then packed up my things and closed the door behind me.  This was my last day, I thought to myself. This is the last time I would ever find myself at a place like this.  It was enough for me to feel determined. I had finally found it within myself to move on. It was clear tome, however, that my fears would lurk behind me like a strange impending ghost,which I would always attribute to the tales of my insecurity and the wreckage of my past. I was young in most ways but too old in others. It was a fine time to be me, I suppose, although in fairness, I found the promise of my future and the benefit of my new beginning to be intimidating. There was no one around answer to. There was no more rules which I would be made to follow and no more counselors, no more reasons for meetings, no more trips to the hospital in an ambulance and no more suicide watches, no more doctors in white coats with clipboards and questions, and no more dish crews or sub par meals, cooked in a kitchen of an institution. No more bad coffee. No more room checks in the middle of the night and no more walks to the pond just down below the hill at the back of the property.

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When We Take On Too Much

Back in the days when we used to live at 277 Merrick Avenue and whenever The Old Man felt old or whenever he felt the effects of his age, if he felt out of date or out of shape, The Old Man would take on big project in the house to prove to himself that he was still young and capable.
If he felt the outside world was unfair or whenever something emotionally painful happened, whenever something made him question himself as a man, like say, whether it was a family thing, a work thing, or anything that The Old man couldn’t fix, he would take on huge projects to prove to himself that he was still valid.

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My Last Dance With Handcuffs

It was only a few minutes after they sat me down on a hard wooden bench when the realization set in. This was me. I was back in a place I never wanted to revisit.
I was handcuffed to a metal pie which ran beneath the bench and sat between two different types of drunks. To my right was a tall, thin, and lanky black man, feminine as could be and drunk, and complaining on a frequent basis that his handcuffs were on too tight. To my left was another man, heavyset and equally feminine, often echoing his co-defendants plea about his handcuffs being too tight. I was between them and when a brief pause of silence came to the scene, I quickly became aware of what I had done.

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A Letter For You

I was heading south down A1A with the moon-roof open, the windows down, the sea to my left and the land to my right. The town of Melbourne was behind me and Vero Beach was ahead. I was thinking of the world I knew and how much it had change.
I thought about the vastness of the sea and how I hoped that one day, I would find myself ocean bound, heading outwards into the mystic of turquoise blue with the warm sun above me, the canopy of a blue sky overhead, no clouds, no distraction, no emotion, except of course for the joy of my stillness, which is a sensation of warm content like the first touch of a summer breeze.

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My City

After the winter when the ground began to thaw, I felt a certain indescribable feeling, which came over me as the sun grew warmer. Finally, our side of the world moved closer towards the sun. It was springtime and there was a feeling that came over me, which was more like a sensation than anything else. The ground had thawed and the trees were turning green. The sky was blue with patches of white, pillowy clouds, and at last, the air was warm enough to shed the coats and jackets.

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A letter

Dear son,
Although we never really spoke or met the way people usually meet or speak, and though you are not real or better yet, although you are me, or more accurately, you are the young me, you are the unresolved me and the emotions which revolve within me, I am writing this to relieve you of some things, which you gripped too tightly and held for too long.

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Note To This Thing Of Mine

The way to achieve is to work towards your goal. And this won’t always be easy. You have to step in all the way. Day in and day out, you train each day to be better.This is how you learn to overcome obstacles. Nothing of true value comes easy. Not at all, in fact, real dreams take effort; they take time and dedication as well as pain and sweat.

I was sitting in a break room the first time I learned that one of my stories was about to be published. I was several hours deep into my midweek grind, tired and dirty, and making my way through my blue collar life. I made a choice to dedicate a special moment each day and every day to this thing I call my art. And every day, I would sit and write about one thing or another. I would never write about the same thing twice because as an exercise, I made sure to switch my topics, which was challenging at times because the mind is naturally swayed by compliments. Therefore, I had to remove myself from the comment section and the messages I received on my blog.

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Life Volume 1: The Soul’s Right

I understand there are rules in place. I understand there are reasons for this. There are laws in our society and laws of nature. There are laws set upon us by government and other personal laws, which we follow because we are taught them. I know that laws are put into pace to prevent chaos and mayhem. 
Every so often, I think it is necessary to have the letter of the law rest for a moment. This is not to live lawless or to be defiant of the rules in place, but more, every so often the spirit should be allowed a moment of reprieve. Every so often, the soul needs a chance to scream and shout and run and play, like children do . . . remember?

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Briefly

In my briefest way, I tell you this

The best sounds are quiet sounds. Like the sound of a baby’s breathing while sleeping on her father’s shoulder as he hold his child. Or maybe the best is the sound of your loved one sleeping next to you, which is virtually soundless, but yet in your heart, you can literally hear everything in the world.

The best sounds are the sounds of your loved one’s laugh because I swear this beats any antidepressant. This beats any drug because when she laughs, suddenly; all the world suspends for a minute and nothing else exists. Others may look and stare,but who cares because when she laughs (I swear) there is nothing else in the world quite like it

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