The Essentials

There is an unfortunate truth that goes unsaid. But unsaid does not mean untrue and slight deviations aside, for the most part, we fail to realize how important someone is to us until we need them. When we don’t need them anymore, their importance goes back to where it was, which for the most part is unimportant at best. At the same time, most of us have a job. Most of us work. We have a craft or a career. We have a week to get through, which is not always easy. But, you eventually find a groove.

You find a way to split the week and make the days move faster. You train yourself to think of ways to make time and the week easier. We start with Monday just to get through Tuesday; and by that time, Wednesday is on its way. The week is half finished because all that’s left is Thursday, which leads us to Friday. And thank God for Fridays.
Am I right?

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Years ago, I met a man who ran a small charter boat on the Island of Maui. Perhaps at the time, he was a bit older than I am now. He was tanned and spoke with a southern drawl. I boarded his 31′ Bertram and we were ready to troll with hopes of reeling in a trophy fish. The man asked me about the temperature in New York, which at the time, was warmer than usual. I told him that I heard the temperature was somewhere in the mid 50’s. The man smiled. He told me, “Son, I haven’t felt weather in the 50’s since I left my real estate business back in Maryland.”

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Go Get Found

I understand the title of this entry is not grammatically attractive. However, I title this for a reason. In fact, I title this because there are people who can live this way and remain lost. There are people who can live this way and find excuses why they stay as they are. Lost. But why?
If there is more out there, then why do people stay stuck? I swear, sometimes it’s like we play hide and seek with ourselves and yet, after a while, we just stop looking. We become accustomed and comfortable and then what?

I was months into my new job and by this time, the novelty of being a young salesman in the big City had worn off. The ideas of being the top executive or being rich were gone. It had been a few months and I learned a few things about work. First, I learned that it’s not fun.
I learned more about my industry and more about my product, which was simple. My job was to seek out production managers in the garment district. I was located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. My product was perhaps the least important on the garment and furthermore, the rejection factor was worse than anything I had ever seen before. In my experience, I was yelled at, cursed at, and once, I had someone throw a box at me to “Go away!”

I sold woven labels. I sold the size labels and care instruction labels that go inside garments. I sold Made in USA labels, which was interesting to me because the labels were all made in Taiwan. But then again, most of the production was switching from domestic to foreign at that time. Hardly any of the big manufacturers were producing their clothes in domestic plants. So, maybe that was the problem.

This was the early 90’s and times were certainly different. Or more closely, I was very different. I was young, around the age of 19 or 20. I was baby-faced and competing with people who had been around since long before my birth. I was uncomfortable to say the least. I was awkward in my approach and yet, I was pulling in a cool $300.00 per week. This was before taxes as a draw against my commission, which I never made nor did I care after a while.

The company had been around for 40 years which was odd to me. The concept of 40 years was unthinkable. This was twice as long as I had been alive so anything this old seemed ancient to me.
The owner was an old man who was outdated to say the least. On the phone, he called his wife Bunny as a term of endearment. He was a man who loved music. He loved the opera, which he took me to once.
And to me, I was just a kid.
I saw myself as a kid. I acted as a kid and yet, I was playing in the deep-end of the pool; and this is where the adults swim. I was competing with other salespeople. Plus, I had to deal with another salesman in the office. He was a mutt to say the least. I did not like this man. I did not like him at all.
He poached my accounts but worse, his mother was the receptionist, which meant any calls for new business would land on her son’s desk and thus; the 10% commission would go to him.

The receptionist was mean. I did not like her either and nor did she like me but I suppose all is fair in war and business. For this text, we will call her son Mark.
As for her, we will call her Ellie who was annoying at best. Her voice was the kind that went through your skin. Ellie was overweight and she smelled of cheap perfume that mixed with a moderate supply of Aqua-Net hairspray.

The office was old and small, which means there was never any privacy. Consequently, Ellie heard all of my phone conversations. This also meant that her son Mark took advantage of whatever information he could.
The bookkeeper was a kind woman who would try her best to send new business my way, which never worked. Her native language was Spanish and she would often mildly curse at Ellie in Spanish.

By now, I had surrendered to the fact that I was not going to be making a six-digit salary as a label salesman. My ideas of earning enough money to find an apartment in the City were gone. At best, I was hoping for something better to come along. I was waiting for something better to come my way. I was lost but at the tame time; I was too afraid to be found.

There was a back room to the office where the storage and shipping was done. This room was small and the shipping clerk was a young man named Eric. He was nice to me.
Eric was helpful too and though neither Eric nor I enjoyed working at the company—both Eric and I would have a few laughs and joke throughout the day.

We joked about Mark. We joked about Ellie. We joked about stupid movies and we’d laugh, which was inevitably interrupted by Ellie who would come back and say, “Keep it down. People are trying to work out here!”

Eric introduced me to some of the other shipping clerks that worked in the building. One of them was more interesting than most. He was a skinny man, middle-aged with dark skin. He began each morning the same way.
He’d start each morning by downing a bottle of vodka as if it were water. He guzzled the entire bottle down in one gulp and then he tossed the emptied glass into the garbage.
People would tell him “That bottle is gonna kill you one day,” and he would argue, “That bottle never did anything to me.” And just like that, he would walk away and go to work. This was his passion. Drinking a bottle before 9:00am and then heading off to work at a place that had no excitement.

I suppose he was right about the drinking because it wasn’t the bottle that killed him. No, it was the express bus on Broadway. No one spoke or said anything about this. Mostly, people shook their heads as if to say, “Hey, this is part of life” and they just kept going.

There were times when I would walk around the City. I would see people in their business attire. I would watch the way grown folks behaved. I noted the way they spoke to each other or held a newspaper beneath their arm. I noticed the way people gripped their briefcases while charging down 7th Avenue; as if to have a sense of purpose. But did I have purpose?
I thought about the man who owned the company that I worked for. I thought about the length of time that he was in business, which meant that he was only a few years older than me when he began.
I believe he started somewhere after he served in the Army during the end of World War II. He came home and started a family. He started a business and yet, my age was no different than his.

So, what made us different?

I suppose the only difference between me at my age and him when he began was a level of intention and a stronger sense of sticktoitiveness. Then again, the world was a different place when he started the business. There were different challenges. We were living in different times—or so I thought. What was so different about us?
Was it education?
Was it privileged?
What was it?

I blamed the industry for not being kind to me. I blamed the other salesman, Mark, and his mother for being crooks, which they were. However, there was something that I was missing.
There was something that I was not doing, which had I done, even if I did not like the job or the industry; had I shown the gumption and the honest effort to remove emotion and keep pushing; my sales would have had more value.

I lacked something. I lacked the drive. I lacked the interest. But more, I lacked the passion and the sense of purpose.
I was lost . . .

This is what happens with passionless living. And by the way, this can become habitual and worse, this way of living can become permanent. There was no drive for me. There was no excitement. There was no connection, which is fine when you’re young and still learning. But what happens when you grow or you blink and decades pass without even being noticed.

Then again, I could have taken a stand. I could have gone back to school or learned more about another trade. I could have gone to another company or accepted any of the other offers that came to me. But no. Instead, I stayed because I was afraid to trade problems and go someplace else. I was afraid to try because I had given into the ideas of failure and blame. I had given in to my rejective beliefs and so, I stayed stuck. I stayed lost and I remained this way for a very long time.

The one thing I see is that fear can cripple our growth.
Fear itself is not bad. This reminds us to stay safe.
But irrational fears are a killer.
(Trust me.)

I took hold of an opportunity this week. I took more than one to be honest. I chose to go down the road that was less travelled. I started my plan to venture away from the comforts of what I know and face the thrill and fears of an unknown adventure.

Thirty years after landing my first job in the adult world and more than two decades in my current position as a operating engineer, I took a step towards my dream. And sure, there are times when I look back.
I think about the life I would’ve had if I made changes when I was younger. But then again, I wouldn’t be who I am now. I wouldn’t be me.
(Do you understand?)

We all have a path. Some evolve younger and some come to the realization when they are older. I’m older now. But I’ve learned from this. I learned that fear is a cage that I held myself in. I suppose this is why I was emotional when I ended a phone call the other day—because this is what freedom feels like—this is what it feels like to be free or to err on the side of passion instead of caution—or to give it a shot and double-down and take the gamble by betting on me instead of something else.

There is absolutely no need or benefit to be handcuffed or slaved to a job. Nor is there any benefit to living a passionless life.
Therefore, I took the dive. Essentially, I’m back on the street.
As a means of being mindful, I refer to an old nursery song that goes:
When you go to cross the street, watch out where you put your feet. Look both ways and be alert. If a car hits you, it’s gonna hurt.
And we know this is true; especially if it’s the express bus on Broadway.

Go get found!

The Benefit of Mindset

I would like to start this entry with a simple exercise. I think it would be best to start this way because the mind is a remarkable place. So much goes on at once. We think and we feel. We predict and we act. We have storage units and keep detailed records of information and experience.
It’s amazing.

There are so many things happening at once and yet, we hardly realize what’s happening at all. Reports show that the average adult makes approximately 35,000 decisions in a day. Think about this? There are reports that show the average adult makes 2,000 decisions per hour or one decision every two-seconds. Of course, this assumes at least a seven-hour sleep period, which is tough for those who struggle with insomnia. Let’s face it, thinking is not a friend when you can’t sleep.

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The Difference in Collars

There is a difference between the two collars. Isn’t there?
There is the white collar and the blue collar. There is a difference in culture and a difference in moods. Their jobs are different and their lives are different. There is a difference in education and yet, there are people out there who have dedicated their life to a craft as a means to feed their family. There are people who work with their hands and those who work with their minds. Of course, there are those too who work with their hearts and they have become truly successful. And, too, there are those who’ve made it from humble beginnings and those who’ve fallen from the top.

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A Lesson from Father to His Son

It is safe to say that there was something typical about the times of my childhood. My Father was hardworking and blue collar. My Mother had corporate experience with large corporation names on her resume. However, Mom chose the role of a housewife for a while. She chose this until I reached an age that my brother and I could govern ourselves at home alone. Yet, a large portion of my childhood memories are that of my Father, whom I refer to as The Old Man, coming home late after a long day’s work. By this time, I was already washed, ready and dressed for bed. I could see the intensity in his brow. I could see that he had worked hard and that he was tired and that yes, The Old Man was left the proverbial “Big piece of chicken.”

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About the Interns

The beginning of each summer is the usual routine of new interns who come in from their schools and work to gain experience in the workplace. I like this time of year. I like the look on their faces when I show them what I do and how unfortunately, they too will have to get their hands dirty—just like me. To be clear, however, and to be fair and true to who I am; I can say that I am an easy one to be paired with in this situation. At least, I hope so.

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Working for a Living: The Secret No One Talks About

I read somewhere that there are currently more than 15,000 sales positions open in New York, New York. And who knows, maybe this is true. Or, maybe this is more of another stream of misinformation on the internet. I’ve seen the want ads before. They are interesting to me. The sales jobs read with a sort of, “The sky is the limit” idea, talking about a base salary, plus commission, plus benefits, plus training. Or, there are the “Be your own boss” type of sales ads that connect with a fantasy in the mind and feed the “Dare to be rich” fantasies.

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Let’s Get to Work

If anyone were to tell me that I would be looking to change careers in my late 40’s, I suppose they’d have been crazy. Then again, if I thought about this for a second; if the old me met the new me, I suppose the old me would say something like, “What the hell is this?”

Somewhere in life is the difference between ideas and reality. And somewhere was the dream and somewhere else was the reality that no one reaches their dreams for free. This takes work. This takes dedication and understanding of how to decipher between beneficial and wasteful lessons we learn along the way.

Much like the rest of us, I was young once. I had a 10-speed bicycle, which is how I got around my town. As a matter of fact, I have a question. Do you remember your first job?
I do.

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The Art of Being Agnostic (For a Change)

There are things we are famous for saying in times when we have to explain something unfortunate. For example, the common response after someone is asked “Why’d you do that” is usually “I don’t know.” Or, another one of my favorites is, “You have to promise not to get mad.” As if this promise works because by saying this, in fairness, most people are already prepared to be mad — and, whether we promised or not, usually, we get mad.

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Being True to Self

I was remembering the lesson by a famous TED speaker Sean Stephenson who said, “Lesson number one: never believe a prediction that does not empower you.” I was thinking about the yellow line that divides the highway between us and oncoming traffic. I was thinking about how easy it is to lose focus for a second—and just like that, BAM! a head on collision.

I am thinking now about the pathways I have chosen. I am thinking about the dead ends in which I found myself in more times than once. I am remembering a morning when the sun was just about to take the sky. It was summertime in my young life. I was in the middle of too many changes and still handling the tail-end of a three year probation sentence. And there I was, about to handle an additional charge that was now pending after a fight in a law firm parking lot.

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Letters From a Son: Dear Mom (10/4/21)

It is Monday now, but only for now. As a matter of fact, give it a moment and the time will quickly turn into something else. And this is true. Time is always moving. The days and nights are always changing. And so are we.

Soon enough, our side of the world will begin to cool and frost will cover the grass. Soon enough, the streets of New York City will decorate itself with holiday spirit—and to us who’ve survived the pandemic; we hope this year will be better than the last.

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Teamwork: The Result of Unit Cohesion

There was an old boss of mine. He was mean as a snake and twice as angry. He wasn’t always this way. Some say this was because the man decided to stop drinking. In fact, there were writings on the bathroom walls and in different places around the establishment which said, “Have a drink already!” This was a jab at the old boss and a sign that described the sentiment of his crew.

There were some who said that the boss was really a good person but something happened when his title changed. Something happened when he went from being a worker to a boss and then suddenly, he was on the lookout for anyone who was trying to cut corners. His famous saying was, “Whatever you’re thinking about doing or wherever you’re thinking about hiding, don’t do it because I’ve already been there and done that.”

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My First High School Presentation

I was thinking about my first trip through a hallway in a high school. This is years after my time as a student. I was an adult. I was being led to a class to talk about my life’s experience with a roomful of students.
I remember walking through the hallways. I was looking at the school colors and the colors of the lockers in the hallways. I could see some of the students. I could see the banners that draped from the ceilings in the hallway. A teacher walked me from the entryway of the school and down through the hallways towards the classroom.

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Roles in the Workplace

People amaze me.
I have been watching the world go around for a long time. I’ve seen the ups and downs of life. I have had my share of failures and of course, I am human too. I have my share of faults. I have character defects, imperfections, shortcomings and all that go along with being a person.
I have been on either side of the mental health table for most of my life. As a child, I have been someone in front of a man with a white coat and a clipboard. However, as an adult, I have become somewhat of an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.

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Find Your Strategy

There is more to us than simple plans or ideas. We are more than goals and hopes or dreams. However, same as the physical affects the mental; our personal life affects the professional life (and vice versa).
And what do we want? How do we want to live?
These are important questions. What are the goals and more importantly, what can we do to achieve them? All of these questions consist of a unique formula. However, the truth is there is a simple answer to all of the above. The key to achieving our goals is to create actionable steps. This has to be realistic, achievable and sustainable. As simple as this may be, life is not easy. Work is not easy. And balance is not always so simple.

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Changing Exclusionary Thinking

Looking back to check the diversity of my life to emphasize that I am who am I am; and here I am now, alive and well, and 21 years into a new millennium. I realize this is only a matter of time and nothing else. I am me, of course, and you are you and the world around us is vivid and colorful yet somehow, we are finding ourselves split and confused. I suppose they call this life; in which case, each day is a new day and here I am—wondering if I’ve said more than I needed to or did something that I shouldn’t have. Is it me? Is it the way I look? Or, maybe it’s the sound of my voice or the flow of my accent. Do I look a certain way. Or better yet, do I have to?

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Just Some Nostalgia

There was a time when families gathered together. We sat in living rooms around televisions. We used to watch shows. We watched the classic sitcoms and laughed as if nothing in the world could ever be this funny. We watched shows with actors and actresses. There was no such thing as reality stars. We called reality television “The news.” There was no such thing as reality television. At the most we had a show called Battle of the Network Stars. This aired for the last time in 1979, which I slightly remember.

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Being Mindful

When I was young, I used to talk over people because I was afraid that my point would never be heard. I have grown since then and yet, there are times when I find that I am doing this because childishly, I have this concern that my point will not be heard. As a matter of fact, there are people who live their entire life this way. There are people who work this way too, which is more common than we think. There are those who have a need to be heard and listened to. There are those who struggle with an insecurity; as if to assume that someone is always looking to come along and take what they have. There are people who find themselves in constant debates, and why? Plus, what purpose does this serve? Does this help them win friends or does this only help them to influence people? Besides, what does this say about them? Or better yet, if this is me and I do this; then what does this say about me? Or better yet, why do we argue anyway?

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A Little From the Abstract: My Place on the Mountain

I have this vision.
Wanna See?
I have this idea in mind of me at a place that I have always dreamed about. I am up on a hill, which is not unfamiliar to me. This hill comes with its own history. This is part dream and part recollection. This place comes from a time where I partly failed and partly succeeded. A piece of me died here and yet, a part of me was reborn here.

I will do my best to describe this place. In fairness, I will do what I can to offer as many details so that you can see what I see—but still, I understand the mind’s dilemma. I understand the bias of our perception. I understand that interpretation may vary, which is why I will do my best; however, if my trick works, I doubt that our pictures need to be similar at all. Instead, if this works, I think we can pull together with a new version of understanding and still—you will see what you see and I may see differently, but hopefully, by the end of this, you and I will see something together. And together, we can call this Peace.

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So, You Had a Setback?

I read somewhere that Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was too stupid to learn anything. I think about names like Gates and Disney, or writers like Stephen King or JK Rowling. I bring this up because if anyone were to search for the top most successful failures, these are some of the names that top the list. I say this here but yet, no one that recognizes these names would ever associate them with anything but success.

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Lost in Thoughts

I am about to get in my car and head north, wide-eyed and thinking. I am wondering about this. I am wondering about life and the positions we have that interconnect to other people in all ways under the sun. I am unsure why people are the way they are; although, in fairness, I do understand that everyone has their own motivations. People are people, right? This means we all have our own interests. We all have our own needs for comfort and survival.

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Day Four of Five

There is a line from a movie that I remember very clearly. I remember this because at war, there is one tool for survival. At war, there is only one machine to keep you alive. In the movie, there is a boot camp scene where the soldiers lay in their bunks and recite, “This is my rifle. There are many like it but this one is mine.” 

I have transitioned this same premise and say, this is my story. There are many like it but this one is mine. And it has taken me years to embrace this. Wait no, it has taken me decades to shape and polish this. It has taken me up to now to understand and see clearly that yes, of course; this is my life. There are many like it but this one is mine and before I go onward, I say this with all that I have: This is me.

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Allies over Enemies

I am writing to you from an undisclosed location in a hotel room that is located in a state, which is south of my own city. This is day three of a five day class in which some of the information is new to me. Most of the material is something I have either learned through outside training or in other courses but either way, the course has been helpful. I like the idea of learning new things. I like to see how different assistance programs package their information. It is clear to me that I have earned my place at the table. It is clear to me that I have my own incentives. I have my own intentions and my own personal motivation. I have my own agenda, which is not to say that I am selfish or all too self-serving. Instead, this is more about a dream I have and a new direction I want to take. This is about my choice to improve my career. Nothing else.

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From The Junkie Stories: A Note to the Kid (Yes, This One is For you)

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the news. I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written to you but I think now is the best time to reach out. Three people, two suicides, one overdose and all within two days time.
By now, I’m sure you’re tired of the news, but yet, you and I are not surprised about this. We only come at this from different angles. You and I are on different sides of the table, but yet, at least we can see each other.

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A Note to the Searcher: (That’s Me)

Before you go on with this (and I hope that you do) I want to be clear that this note to self is a personal pep-talk on a day that has particular meaning to me; however, if we could all put our therapist hats away for a moment and skip the judgment and suggestion part, I think that my ideas below are relatable. So, without any further hesitation, here we go. . . .

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Letters From A Son: 09/19/21

The mornings were different when I was younger. The night was over and still, the smells of the places and the bars and the late night venues was still on our clothes. I was different then. So was the way I lived and so was the group of my friends.

I can remember beating the night until the sunrise came and then spilling on the street with an idea that sounded like, “Wow, the sun’s coming up.” We were young and we didn’t care. We didn’t know what we were going to do with ourselves. We had no ideas about a pension or a 401K. There was no talking about our future or future plans because let’s be honest, the future was for old people—and the term old is certainly relative. I mean, hell, back when I was turning the age and taking in the scenes, I can remember people at the night spots who were clearly out of their 20’s and deep in their 30’s and thinking, “Who let the old people in?”

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Notes From The Heart: GET UP!

Just to be clear, it is important to me that you understand the world is a better place with you in it. I would like you to understand the options you’ve been considering are options that will permanently solve a temporary problem.
And dig it —
I know that you’ve heard this before. I know that nothing I write (or say) can change the way you think or feel. But still, I’d like you to know a few things before you go back to some of your contemplations.

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A Page out of Sessions From the Balcony: And Love . . .

There is this thing we talk about, which is evasive to so many but yet, this is real. There is this life; there is this feeling, based on emotion and based on a connection, which of course is undeniable—and yet, there is this fear that becomes a nightmare because what if our dream comes true? What is life without love? Then what?
Are we loveless? Are we alone? Or does this mean we are forever to seek an evasive dream; hoping and wondering, and each time we think we feel something, we find ourselves asking, “Is this it?” And maybe it is. Or maybe it isn’t? But we have to taste it to know. We have to feel it. We have to try it to understand. We have to otherwise, we’d never know, right?

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Food for Thought

I go back to a perfect day amidst the craziness. I was alone. I was fine for the moment but there was nothing on my walls and nothing in my drawers. I was alone for the first time in my life. There was no one to report to and no one to speak with. My answering machine was empty. I could tell by the red double-zeroes which reminded me that no one called and no one cared.

I suppose this is what it means to be on your own. The rest of the world was tending to their business and me, I was moving in a different direction. I was back in my old town in Long Island. I returned like a son who grew and returned home to their Mother—hoping for some warmth or if nothing else, at least a good bowl of soup or something comforting. But in my case, Mom was gone. My Mother had passed. My Father had passed. My family was scattered in different locations. Some of my family were caught in the snags of family brawls and arguments and me, I was far from neutral at the time.

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From in the Classroom: Time to Learn

At this point, we’ve all been to school. We’ve all gone to class or had a classroom experience. By now, we’ve all learned about reading, writing and arithmetic. And most of us have gone through some kind of secondary schooling, whether this is in college, on-the-job training programs, or a class in basket weaving or we’ve all had or share of both teaching and learning experiences.

We have been taught how to find a job and how to build a resume. Or, in my case, I have been trained as an operating engineer. I have undergone safety training and learned about electrical circuitry. I’ve attended training schools for building and maintenance systems. I’ve taken CPR classes and scaffolding safety courses. But more recently, I began learning about mental health and mental health safety. I’ve taken different courses that range from life coaching to hypnosis, from mental health first aid to peer advocacy and peer specialist work, which require study as well as clinical hours for training purposes.

However, of all the classes I’ve taken and as interesting as some of my learning experiences have been; I’ve never found a class that teaches people how to be happy. I have never seen a class or found a syllabus that teaches how to be happy at work or how to be happy with life when life is not happy with us.

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From in the Classroom: Here’s My Truth

And it wasn’t for lack of trying. I was that kid. I was that boy. I was the one in the classroom hoping I could disappear because “Please God, don’t let the teacher call on me.” Yet, there was a piece of me that only wished I felt comfortable enough to be part of the room.

I was the one who stuttered when I read out loud. I was the one who counted the heads before me when taking turns to read paragraphs in the classroom. I’d count the number of students before me. Then I would look at the chapter and count the paragraphs. First, I hoped that I was lucky and my paragraph would be brief. But it never was. And then I would try and practice. I would try and read it to myself; this way, I wouldn’t stutter or lose my place. This way, no one would look at me in the classroom or think I was an idiot. But this never worked.

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Choices: Knowing Your Worth

There will always be someone out there who loves to put people down. I have met them. I have seen them in action. I have heard them turn the machines and work the gossip mills and the rumor factories. I have been put through the ringer more times than I can count. I have encountered bullies. I’ve had times when I stood up for myself and there were times when I simply walked away. However, the one attachment I recognize most is my level of importance and my association of value with bullies and what they say.

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This is My City

I was heading towards the City around sunset yesterday. My old hometown and past life was behind me. Ahead of me was the life I have now and the island of Manhattan. I have always had a connection with my City. And she has allowed this bond—the City, I mean.

The traffic was more than mild but not too bad. There she was, my City. I could see her from the distance. And there they were; the buildings and the tall spires that poke the clouds like needles in the sky. The backdrop behind my City was the colors of sunset, which to me; this is a representation of the autumn months that are about to come.

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September 11, 2021: Twenty Years Later

I will write softly today, which is like the morning as it is, quiet and gentle, and yet solemn in memory. I am someone whose memory of this day is one that dates back to an uptown address and a rooftop. I was there. I was within clear view of the sky on this morning, twenty years ago today. And I think to myself, “How could this be?”
How does time move so quickly and yet so slowly? Sometimes, time can be so painful that it doesn’t move at all. Instead, we just just sit there. We hover in the moment to witness life’s unthinkable terms, totally powerless and with no control.

It is 8:16 now. It will be 8:46 in a short while. That’s when the first plane hit. And I want to send this out before the time strikes. I want to hold this moment like I wish I had during the quiet before the storm, but hey, time is time, and like you told me, “No one knows the hour or the day.” Am I right?

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Just a Little Music is All it Takes

If I want to go back to the good times from the past then I suppose all I’d have to do is go back to the music. I could do this because at one point, everything was about the music. Everything was about the times and the late nights or the long walks in the City, downtown. Or even uptown through Central Park. I have memories from everywhere and a soundtrack that fits this perfectly.
If I want to go back, all it would take is a random song to come on out of nowhere. Know what I mean? And almost instantly, I can remember the summer nights, down by the bars on water in Island Park. I can remember the outfits and the fashions, the feelings and the emotions.
All it takes is an old song from our youth and I can remember who I was. I can remember where I was and what I was thinking. I remember the different phases in my life, the different episodes of love (or the attempts at love) and the different stages of my growing youth — and even if the times were neither optimal nor perfect, somehow, the music made sense to me.

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From The Daddy Diaries: A Letter From Me To You

If I could tell you anything, I suppose I would tell you that the sky is yours. If I could, I would tell you to look around and say, “This is all yours!” I would say this because here you are, swinging at the world for the very first time. There’s so much to see. There is so much to do. This is your life. It’s not your Father’s or your Mother’s. This has nothing to do with me or anyone else in the world. Not your aunts or uncles, not your cousins, or your brothers or sisters or friends and extended family. This is for you.

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For Awareness Week

In honor of awareness week, I thought I would spend a little time to write my thoughts about prevention and personal maintenance. To be clear, I don’t know if awareness week is only an American thing. Maybe it is. But I do know that worldwide, someone dies from suicide every 40 seconds. And by the way, I get it. Nobody wants to read about this. Nobody wants to think about this, let alone talk about this or be open about the subject. So, I’ll understand why this thought goes unread. However, as someone who lived with depression throughout my entire life, it is important to me that I go forward.

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Labor Day, September 6, 2021

There are black and white pictures of construction sites that were taken before the times of the great depression. These are pictures of workers, of men, filthy from labor, and standing on steel beams that would later become the support of a tall building that makes up the City’s skyline. I have seen pictures of men, eating lunch from their lunch boxes or working with their hands. I see this and I think about the labor that makes up our great city.

I think about the men I grew up with as an apprentice at my Father’s shop. I saw how they lived. I saw what they did to earn their living and how they worked to survive and keep a roof above their heads and clothes upon their backs.
I remember signs that said, “Will work for food.” And nowadays, we see people who refuse to work for money, food or even shelter.

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The Science of Not Quitting

 “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly, you are doing the impossible.” St. Francis of Assisi ~

Part of the challenge I see is how we start out from the gate. We set our goals. We set our standards; then we make our plans, and there we are, at the starting line—and then “BANG!” the starter’s pistol fires and we’re off and running as fast as we can.

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Recovery Ramble (This is not for Everybody)

There was an interview with a famous performer who explained how they gave up their worldly possessions so they could find themselves. As I heard this, I thought to myself, “Man, — that’s rich.”

It is somewhere past 5:00am in this part of purgatory. The previous storm has left its mark on the residents around town. There are cars stranded after the floods. There are homes that are wrecked from the winds and some that were torn apart from the tornado, which is rare in these parts. There is tension in the air, and all the while; in reality, this is just another day in the life on Project Earth.

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A Note –

There are a million things that we want to do right now, and yet, maybe there’s nothing. Maybe there’s nothing else to do but sit and do nothing. Either way, there are also a million thoughts and ideas in our head. There are thoughts and feelings and emotions. We all have this. Believe me, this is all true. It is simple, and yet, the way we think and the way we feel can be complicated sometimes. We consciously try to consider the options. We figure the math and we do the numbers but we miscalculate the unknown figures to be bigger than they are. We add too much. Yet, there is this entire world around us. And it doesn’t look the same to anyone else. All we know is all we see. I know what I see.
I know what the sunrise looks like. I know what the sky looks like when the dawn takes shape. I’ve watched as the sky shows its first light. I know what it feels like to have a cool breeze hit my face when I walk outside in the morning. I know what it’s like to see things and be fooled by comparisons.

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This is My “Why”

So, what is it?
What is it that makes you get out of bed in the morning? What gives you the drive to keep going and what helps you get up even when you think that you can’t stand?
What is it?
See, I’ve been thinking about this. I’ve been thinking about this thing we call drive and the way it somehow pushes me, even when I want to quit. I might scream and I might complain or bellyache but in the end, I get up and I go. I do this everyday.

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Just Thinking . . .

There was a large room filled with officials and town executives.  At the front of this room was a platform where speakers sat to describe who they are and what they do. The audience was all professionals in their field. All of the people in attendance were people with high titles and degrees on their walls. Some were people in law enforcement and they all sat in their seats, professionally, and at attention. I was here for this. In fact, at the end of the platform of speakers was me; at the time, I was a basic specialist and person in recovery. 

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There was a theory I was told about animals whose quarters are too small for them. I was told that an animal cannot outgrow their surroundings. For example, a fish will not outgrow the size of its tank. But then I was told this is not true. I was told the size of our confinement does not change our DNA and that growth is inevitable.
I write this to you, not because I had a little fish that grew too big for my fish tank, which I did, by the way—the fish started off much smaller than the others. And the fish was bullied for a while. Until the fish grew larger. This is when the other fish took notice. The other fish tried to bully the smaller fish but its growth could not be stopped. Eventually, the other fish that were once aggressive had no choice but to submit. Even the smaller fish who never bullied at all—even they had to pay for this.

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People Pleasing 101 – The Freedom of Honesty

I admit to my life openly and I do this to rid myself from the weight of my past. I do this because once I own myself, the weight of my judgment can dissolve and the ideas of shame, blame, guilt or regret can be wiped from my daily programs.

Rather than allow my past or my past results to be flagged or drawn in front of me as a mark of humiliation; I have chosen to embrace my old results. I embrace them as a process of learning—and therefore, no one can hold this against me. No one can ever charge me for mistakes that I am not brave enough to mention on my own. 

It is interesting to me that by pointing out my truths, there are those who seem to see this as a call outward. But no, my call is not for help or support but instead, my call is my allowance for me to speak out for myself.

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Bullying: It’s Not Just in the Classroom

I have been enlightened to a new idea about bullying. I am sure this is nothing so new or extraordinary. Instead, this is more accurately an easier way to simplify the reasons behind bullying. Rather than allow the mental warfare and the internal dialogue; I came to an understanding about why people say what they say or do what they do.
I see this answer as simple.
In the course to show importance or express dominance, which is different from the bullying adventures that happened on the playground when we were kids.
Bullying is an attempt of ownership. This is more than a theft of services. Bullying is an attempt to own you, to claim you, to try and keep you and push you down so this way, you will always be beneath or subordinate.

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Just to Write: A Little More of the Abstract (To Keep Us Warm)

And sometimes, just like that, the page is over. The chapter ends and our pages turn from one to the next, leaving us reeling because that past is still so new and yet, tomorrow seems so far away. There are motions in the world, which are more like revolutions, or like the times we spin around the sun. There are seasons when the hemispheres lean towards the warmth of the sun and there are winters when we move further away. 

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