There will be times when you don’t know what to do. Welcome to life. Welcome to adulthood. Welcome to parenthood and welcome to the world we live in.
There will be days with no answers and days when it seems like the sky is falling. Or maybe the walls are closing in or floor beneath us is about to give, but either way, there are days when this is very real.
I knew a man that lived in the town nearby. He was a friend. Safe to say I knew him well enough to understand the more personal aspects of his life. It is also safe to say that I knew his personal truths. He was a broker. Or more accurately, he was a market-maker. He was a stock broker and earned a decent amount of money.
Years passed after leaving the first firm; however, just before the statute of limitations ran out, this man was sitting at his desk in his office. He was on the phone with his five year-old child because his child just learned how to tie their shoes when suddenly; several agents approached the doorway. The man knew why they were there.
Whatever it is you have, trust me, you have it. Everybody has something, big or small is not the question. Size doesn’t because size is always relative. Either way, no matter how little this may seem or big or in-between; everyone has something. Everyone has a trick they’re trying to pull off. In the end, the ultimate goal is to unveil their masterpiece someday and say, “Ta-Da!”
Today, my Mom would wait to the very minute after an acceptable hour because she didn’t want to call too early. She would tell me “Happy Birthday.” Then Mom would tell me how she remembers the day I was born.
Sometimes, you have just look around. Sometimes, you have to see the world is not such a bad place. There are beautiful things everywhere you look. Sometimes, it just takes a moment to notice.
Mom used to tell me, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Another friend of mine used to go shooting with me. He used to tell me, “Aim small, miss small.”
We give in to too much distraction, you and me. we lose sight of much bigger goals.
With this being a month of awareness, I wanted to add another entry about a topic which is familiar to us all but seldom spoke open so openly and honestly.
This might be helpful to someone that feels lost or hopeless. Maybe they feel that constant sense of impending doom. Or, maybe this will help someone that literally feels like they are drowning, slowly and sinking in, and yet, it seems like there’s nothing they can do to stop themselves from being pulled under.
Every so often, I will see a poker tournament on television. I watch to see the players, all of them with their own style, most of them wearing sunglasses to keep their opponents from seeing their eyes, or catching their “Tells” as they call, which means their eyes might tell a story about the cards their holding.
The stakes are high and the pressure is too. Everything is all dressed up loud and colorful—there’s a crowd and the people cheered on occasion, which glamorizes and glorifies the event even more. This competition attracts all kinds of competitors; all different types of people from different backgrounds and different heritage. and all of them jabber at each other in one form or another. This is to get under the skin of their opponent.
The tide moved in early to show the face of an old memory. I
feel the sands surrounding my footsteps, and moving closer to the edge of an
ocean, I am me between the land and sea, hopeful as ever, dreaming, thinking of
the time I was a small boy and placed my footsteps in the path of my Old Man.
This is for you:
Once upon a time,
there was a little girl that had no voice.
But it’s okay, little girl.
You can come out now.
It’s time for us to talk.
Do you remember the first time you were really hurt? Do you remember the first time you fell off your bicycle and skinned your knee and then felt the sting after Mom sprayed something on it to keep the scrape from being infected? Did you ever fall or break a bone or do something so silly or stupid or idiotic and as a result, you learned your lesson through physical pain? Have you ever felt physical pain and someone told you, “Oh, come on. it’s not that bad!” but to you it was that bad?
Way back, years ago when I stood in the doorway of a small apartment and looked around, the rooms were emptied again, the furniture had all been moved out. The couches were gone, cable television was disconnected, and all the photographs from the wall had been removed. I stood here in awe of my change. I lived here. More accurately, I transformed here. My world became mine again.
When there is no further left to fall, then there is no reason to worry about the long list of inestimable tragedies that may or may not take place.
This is it, here and now, the bottom. This is where there are only two choices, which is to remain or rebuild.
That’s all . . .
I think about the places I have been to and places I have never seen. I also think of places that I’ve only dreamed of and hope to visit someday. I imagine myself elsewhere, at someplace that I’m not even sure if it truly exists.
Perhaps this place only exists to me. Or maybe I pictured this from a piece of literature, read from one of the great poets, like my favorite, Kerouac, or someone like him.
Either way, I see myself somewhere far from my usual routine and visiting an unknown crevice of the world that has not been been bordered by some man made boundary . Maybe I could be near the border, between reality and my dream. Perhaps I can see is the Gulf of Mexico from where I’d stay and the shoreline to a land of a country I know so little about.
There was a decent sized meeting room next to a bookshop in a Church over on 31st Street and 7th Avenue. As a matter of fact, the place was called the book shop. I used to go here, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon. I went here to get my share of help from a fellowship of men and women that share the experience, strength, and hope with each other, so that they may solve a common problem.
It seemed like I was always in a corner. As I saw it, there was always someone looking to cause me to question, “Why?
There was always someone causing me to question myself. Meanwhile, none of this was real—at least, not as real as I seemed to believe.
Either way, the main question or should I say the only real question that I had to ask myself was a simple one, which was within me, same as the answer was within me.
I did not understand my personal blindness. I did not understand what it meant to be emotionally colorblind. But how could I? This was just the way I saw things, right?
There is an inner voice to some of us, which is unspoken, yet, it says everything at the same time. There is an idea we have, deceived by our perception and our growing concern, which starts small, like a tiny piece of ground that moves before the mudslide—and then crash, it all falls down like an avalanche.
In a short while, I will be making my way to my first empowerment class, which I hold ever Sunday morning. The first of my two classes is held at the drug rehabilitation center in a county jail.
The population here changes somewhat frequently. There are some that come in and go our relatively quickly. There are some that remain for a while and await their sentencing. There are others that are looking to leave and end this portion of their life as quickly as easily as possible.
I love this time of year.
I love the transition from summer into winter.
The leaves change.
The kids go back to school.
The mood changes too.
I like the switch that gradually moves us into the colder months.
Want to laugh?
I’m going to be 47 in a few weeks. Some way, somehow, 47 years have gone by. I laugh to myself and say, “Who’d a thunk it?”
47 years . . .
There are times when my eyes open wide enough to see clearly, and suddenly, I am aware of my actual size. I am aware of how so small I am.
In comparison to so many things, I am aware that we are all so infinitely small, and yet, I am also aware how something so small can be so amazingly huge, enormous, in fact—like a child, for example—or like an infant, or like a two year old I had never met but donated platelets from my blood. Then of course, there was a small boy that I only met for five minutes, but yet, this brief interaction changed everything for me.
There is a road we travel, which we all travel. However the distance may not be the same. The distance between now and then or before and after is not always the same for everyone.
Either way, we all start from somewhere. Either way, we all travel down the road of life. Some travel longer than others but again, either way, some travel differently, some have shorter runs, and some have longer trips. This means there is a start, beginning, and there is an end to us all. However, what we do in-between is everything. This is the meat to the ribs of our life. This is our substance and our memory. This is the mark we leave behind and the fabric of our existence.
I think they call this human nature but it amazes me how simple it is to complicate the easiest things. We fall off somehow. We give way to distraction, which is hardly real and often imaginary.
We mistake want for needs and need for wants. We think too much. That’s right.
We think too much—and what do people suggest to help us?
Try not to think so much.
Is it that simple?
This is for you, the parents and the families. Now, of course, if you have been following me, I understand some of the information might seem repetitive. However, if you read along, perhaps this text might be useful in future interactions between you and your family.
This is also for the “Not in my backyard,” fanatics, who seem to believe this is a fact (until they see that it’s not) and they learn their lessons too late.
So to them, I say this. I have news for you.
It is in your backyard. And it’s in mine too.
The following is a rehearsed note that is said by many and delivered by few. This is not about me or you or us. But yet this is about me and you and everyone else.
This is about the goodbyes I wished I had always said. This about the people I wished I walked away from, long before we even met. This is about pain and feeling and emotion. This is about the celebration of leaving. This is about the life I had and never want to revisit and the people I knew that I never want to be surrounded by again.
I wrote this while thinking about life and life’s situations, which we talk about, and then we look back and we wish we could have found the bravery to stand up and walk away.
Let’s face it though. Change isn’t easy. Neither is walking away sometimes. More accurately, neither is being alone or being an after thought or regarded like say, “Hey yeah, remember him?”
Please read on and if you can relate then perhaps this might encourage you to take the next few steps because after that . . . you’re gone
. . .
It’s hard to get up in the morning.
it’s not that we’re sleepy so much
No . . .
it’s just, pointless
am I right?
When I began to consider my life and contemplate the ideas of taking on a new direction, I thought to myself, honestly, and I looked around at the fixtures on my wall in my home.
I looked at the photographs I had and the smiles on people’s faces. I swore, i didn’t want to be the way I was, but yet, I was.
I considered the people in my life. I thought about my friends and my family. I thought of this and after surviving me and defeating ideas of “Why me?” and, “Why do things like this always happen,” I took an honest look at me and my role in this opinion.
I looked at the things I did and all the projects I began but never finished. I looked at my perception of hope. I looked at my ability to endure and to continue.
Today is day five of a five day, 30 hour course I am taking to gain a new certification. This will help propel me one step closer to my goal. The course has been broken down into five parts, all of which have been helpful and educational.
Most of all, I learned that I should always keep learning. I learned that I should always keep growing, that I should always seek and not be satisfied or complacent with old models of thinking, and more importantly, I should always remain teachable and learn how to learn.
I used to fight a lot. I used to argue. I used to complain a lot too but nothing changed. I used to shake my fist at the sky and cursed and spit.
I fought with people. I fought over places and things. Most of all, I fought with myself.
I fought with me about me, in which, I mean I fought to be heard and to be justified. I fought because I swore if I didn’t fight, I would go down and lose control.
I fought to gain control but this is when I had the least control. Eventually, I lost sight of what the fight was for. After a while, I fought for so long, I had no idea how to retreat. I had no idea who my enemy was or what they looked like. I had no idea that in many cases, my enemy was me.
Surrender to win.
Between the before and after is a pivotal moment that changes us. This can change our lives and change our world. The pivotal moment between before and after is the catalyst of change that alters the way we see, think, or feel. This can happen frequently or infrequently. This can come up suddenly, often, daily, or once in a lifetime. The catalyst is not aligned with good or bad or even indifferent. The moment can be either or. A catalyst is something that creates change. Nothing more, nothing less.
I feel bad for the kids today. They have no soul. I tell you
they have no earth to them, no depth—and they’re mad about this. They’re mad
because they never went outside to like, say, build a clubhouse or play hide
and go seek.
They don’t even have real cartoons these days. The kids today have no idea what
it’s like to wake up early on a Saturday morning to watch Bugs Bunny, or Woody,
or even Heckle and Jeckle, Magilla Gorilla. I mean, my God, some of the kids I’ve
spoken with don’t even know about The Flintstone’s for Christ’s sake.
Of all things I have ever wanted to be, the one thing I’ve always wanted to be is happy. I want to be happy with where I am. I want to be happy with the person I am and happy with the things I do. Of all things I’ve wanted, I have always wanted to be able to look myself in the mirror at the end of the day and be comfortable with my reflection. I want to like what I see, not regret it. In fact, I don’t want to regret a thing.
There are people who appear happy. There are (of course) the social media posts which give the appearance of happiness. There are people that seem to have their life together. They have their happy family and their happy lives in their happy, beautiful homes with a garage or perhaps even a detached garage—and to all others, the appearance would seem wealthy and fine.
I had no idea what to expect. All the training and all the practice, all the role-play scenarios and all the theories were nowhere near the same as the real thing.
I was on call for the first time. I was the primary specialist, which meant if there was an opiate overdose call to 911 within a certain district, I would be deployed to one of the served hospitals as recovery support.
My job was to meet the patient at the hospital. I was to interview them and then see if they were willing to undergo treatment instead of heading back out, just to set up again and find another needle in their vein.
North and south of me, up and down, or high and low. I am not alone here, not m I the only one the feels or thinks this way.
We’re not crazy, you and me.
We just wonder if we are.
Note to Self:
Going forward, I say there needs to be a dedication to move onward. I say this takes commitment and an awareness that understands the depth of our commitment is equal to the level of our success.
I say we need to understand our goals. In future, I say it is important to understand the value of our dreams and the importance of our best possible interest.
I say this because there will be no one else there to see this through (Except for us) and that rather than have a dream deferred, I plan to have our goals achieved.
I look around us and I see the path we’re on. I look around at our society. I see the people that we work with and live with and the faces we pass on a daily basis. I see the good and the bad, the tough and the easy. I see life and death and all that meet in-between. I look around at the basic and daily complications we all face.
There was a walk I took through Central Park once. I was alone. I was all by myself with nothing else to do. There was no place else to go and no one else to see. I think they call this “Me” time.
I was at the tail end of a bad job with a suit and tie type of lifestyle. Or, more accurately, I was just a kid in a suit.
I was selling woven labels and identification items to garment manufacturers at a place over on 33rd St.
This was literally one of the worst and most uninteresting jobs that I ever had. I was young and trying my best to impersonate a grown-up. I had a job though. I had the briefcase. I wore a suit and read the newspaper on the train. I drank coffee from a Styrofoam cup with the little plastic lid, flipped upwards.
I tried my best to fit in. I did my best to dress well and play the part of a young, hotshot salesman. I tried but deep down, I knew this was not for me.
We had a conversation in one of my empowerment classes about the things that hold us back and keep us from moving forward.
We talked about our thinking process and how they say, “Alcoholism and addiction is a disease of our thinking.”
Keep in mind, the main focus in this group is to create goals, plans, and strategies to create a clean and sober lifestyle.
We discussed the word “Relapse” and what brings people back to where they left off. It is argued by me that the reason is not because a lack of knowledge or understanding of our actions; however, there seems to be a disconnect in the application process.
This one is personal to me.
I suppose they all are personal but this one has an exception, which I hope the reason becomes clear to you.
The truth is no one ever wants to “Feel” or “Be” alone.
Depression and fear are very real things to me. I had to learn from them. I had to learn how to interact and live instead of struggle or suffer. above all, I had to learn how to move on.
There is an
entire world out there that exists far beyond our fear and feelings of any kind.
There is a world out there that is beyond opinion and beyond personal theories.
People live in this world. Life happens here, every day, all day long. This is
a world beyond our assumptions or bias and persecutions.
One of the biggest triggers of anxiety is the internal voice. This is the internal narrative that discusses the past and the expected futures. This is the internal criticism, which we all have, and let’s face it; everybody claims to be their own worst critic.
Perhaps this is true.
There was a little old boat in the rear, left corner of my backyard. The boat was aluminum, small with two bench seats across the beam, and while my memory of this is equally as small, I remember tiny glimpses of the little old boat.
I remember me, sitting in the boat with a life preserver that was perhaps bigger than my entire body. This is my first memory of her. We were fishing someplace near City Island.
I somehow caught a little starfish, if I’m not mistaken. This was before we moved out to The Island and away from my birthplace in Queens.
Where does anything begin?
Where do we start? You, me, and the rest of the world, we all start from somewhere, which is obvious to all of us, but when it comes to personal and transformational change, the question remains.
Where do we begin?
morning . . .
You wake up
and there’s just nothing
nothing, and this has nothing to do with a place to live or money
I look at where I was in the beginning and I come to the same sentiment as I did back then. In whichever way possible and by any means necessary, I made a commitment to myself to create and recreate me on a daily basis for the rest of my life.
I have to want to improve in order for me to be better. I have to see where I am in an honest perspective.
There are times when even the strongest denial cannot blind the eyes to the obvious. In my case, I knew there was a need for change.
Is it really possible for someone to change?
I remember seeing a picture of a kid. He was holding a stick in his right hand that ran over his shoulder, and at the end of the stick, the kid tied a sack to it with all of his things inside.
He was running away.
Remember running away? I do. I used to run away all the time. I would stay gone for a while but I would eventually come home.
I have no idea where I will end up in the later years of my life. The one thing I learned is life changes and life can change quickly and unexpectedly.
I change. You change.
People change and so do the landscapes of the places we used to know when we were younger. Life fades and so can memory, unless we nurture them.
I go back to that word again. I go back to the word “Friends” and think to myself, what is this?
What is a friend?
What is friendship?
What is the
relationship between others and me?
Is this friendship?
Is everyone that says they’re a friend, really a friend, or is this just a contract, or is friendship nothing more than a social construct, or a notion based upon a semi-emotional agreement, or is it an idea, or better yet, is this just an invention between people?
Back in the days when I was just a helper and working in a building on 3rd Avenue as an assistant building engineer, I was studying for my certification to move up in the ranks.
I was part of the team, somewhat liked and somewhat disliked by a few of the members in my crew. I was liked by the ones that worked and disliked by the ones that looked to skate.
Soon the air will begin to cool. Soon enough, the trees will take on a new shade of color. Autumn will arrive and the air will smell from fallen leaves and fireplaces from nearby homes.
I can dig it . . .
I love it this way, not too hot and not too cold. I love the world during the in-between seasons. I see the summer and winter as the ultimate inhale and exhale of Mother Nature. Spring and fall are the pauses between breaths. The Earth will undergo change, which I identify as the foreshadowing moment of a new and up and coming chapter.