More than the moments in late spring
or when the first few carnivals took to the town
like the one at St Raphael’s at the birth of summer,
and more than the summer nights,
more than the hot festivals
or the late night venues;
or more than the place where people danced
or swayed beneath flashing lights
and neon colors in places like The Limelight
or The Tunnel –
Or more than when I waited on line
to get through the doors at Webster Hall,
young and alive, and thinking that
“this is something!”
Or even better than my first night where I indulged
or danced in the city life,
as in alive and well in a placed called The Red Zone
as in, for real this time
fresh out of a long-term place and back in the real world
where there were real people, doing real things
I was like a new student to a brand new class of life
Or beyond my limited viewpoint;
more than the music
and more than the trance-like sounds
or hypnotic tones of techno-music
or more than the beat and the sweat of young bodies
eager for the sensation of touch;
and more than any of this
are the moments of rarity,
which come with age and experience –
I used to think
that this was the best that I’d ever see
until I saw something better.
Like the moments of triumph for example.
like say, a breakfast near SoHo
or the promise that September brings
which leads me to think about other events
or how my attention was swayed.
September is coming, which leads me to think of
the San Gennaro feast, for example
which is also downtown and yes;
this is mobbed with people but still,
sometimes the mob is worth enduring,
just to have the experience.
Sometimes the discomforts of our experience
are worth having as well
just so we can grow.
Although, I have never experienced life anyplace else
nor have I ever seen the sunset near the shores of Sanremo, Italy.
I’ve never been to Monaco nor Marseille, nor Montpellier,
nor Barcelona or tasted Jamón Ibérico de Bellota
while sitting at a café in Ibérico, Spain
nor stepped foot on the Iberian Peninsula;
I have never seen the skies over Ibiza,
Palma or Sardinia;
at least I can say this:
I have seen things that have filled my heart.
I have experiences and while, yes,
I grant that seeing the International Circus Festival in Monte Carlo,
might be unbelievable
I can say that I have seen some things . . .
I have seen times in both Times Square
and Grand Central Station, New York City
and Central Park.
I have stood on the rooftops of the places in a town
which I call home
and like one of its tiny princes,
I have watched the ball drop on New Year’s Eve.
I have stood on rooftops and told my secrets to the sky.
I’ve watched the city’s bridges blink their red lights
in night times of deep thought.
I have dreamed and I have wished
and I have worked and sweat
and played and bled as well as overcome,
and over achieved.
I have survived and endured and learned
and yes, I have lived; yet, I have more to do.
A lot more, in fact.
More than what the doctor prescribes
more than an apple a day
more than the reason to brush my teeth
or get dressed or stand up to show up;
I have more to do
so that I can use the wind
and fill my sails.
I can say this
I have been alive enough to board a plane
early in the morning at sunup in the east
and when I landed,
I was there in the west
to see the sun go down over Los Angeles.
I say this
because this is a trip I never thought I would take.
Then again, a lot of my trips
are trips that I never thought I would take,
which is why I write to you about these things –
To add proof
Not to brag or to boast or to say
“Hey, look at me”
or to act as some kind of bigshot
or some kind of hero
or anything of the sort.
No, I come here
because this is the only place that I have where I can be me,
where I can talk openly,
where I can share both the good and the bad
and who else would I tell – other than you?
Why would I go anywhere else
if I have this place here?
(Know what I mean?)
More than what I’ve done
or what I’ve seen are the new events on my horizon.
And more than this
are the accomplishments that I never dreamed about –
not because I never wanted them
but more so,
these are things
I never thought I would accomplish
No one seems to get this, except you.
So, I’ll leave this here, between us.
I am this person. I am me. Just like you are you
and just like you have your “things,”
Well, I guess that I have mine too.
I have doubts and fears.
I have insecurity
I have social anxiety, which can be crippling sometimes
I have the need to be out there
and to be heard and wanted and liked yet
I have this fear that none of this is possible
because I am me and you are you and plus,
who would care?
Who would want to read something
that was written by me?
Who would get it?
Who would understand?
Who would listen?
Or better yet-
who would believe me?
What does anyone know?
Does anyone know that I have performance anxiety
which is to the point where my stomach is sick – all the time,
and if that’s not enough,
who would know that I have unrelenting panic attacks
especially before I go for one of my presentations?
By the way –
There was a presentation which took place
not too long ago
This was in a big conference room.
It was me
with only a handful of people in the room and
there were almost a thousand people
watching on their computers
and sitting from some remote place,
which I chose to call Webex Land.
I never did anything like this before
least of all in the corporate world
or spoke to a corporate crowd
about corporate things and how to think better
to feel better, to perform better
and eventually to live better.
I never thought that I could be this –
that I could stand in front of the camera
and keep people interested;
that I could make them think, feel, listen,
or that someone “like me”
could make people want to hear more.
And guess what? I did it!
I gave everything I had.
I gave everything because I had to.
I chose to let my inner-hero take control,
which is still me but more than me being me;
this person inside of me
is the only thing I have to keep me alive.
This is my drive. This is my flame from within
and while I admit that the flame goes down sometimes,
it never goes out – even if the gleam is only a hint
or a dim little spark, at least I still have it.
I use this person, so-to-speak
I use this internal hero, which is only me yet
this is the part of my character
who decided to show up and deny the bullies
or the critics or deny the gossips
and deny the rumor-addicts their fat to chew on.
This is my inner-hero
and the reason why debilitating things
like depression or high-anxiety,
my panic attacks,
or my social discomforts have not taken control.
By the way,
that corporate presentation took place
for one of the largest global companies of its kind.
After it all,
when the applause and the appreciation settled down,
my adrenaline dumped
and my inner-hero decided to let me be me
and said, “Enjoy this one, kid. You earned it.”
“You did this!”
Know what happened next?
I left the conference room.
I went to another one of their small privacy rooms.
And do you know what I did then?
The kid in me cried.
I cried harder than ever.
It’s because I did something
which was something that my inner-villain
never believed I could do.
I rose above myself and surpassed my limitations
and like an inmate being free
or a caged animal who sees the jungle for the first time –
at last I was home but more than this,
at last I stopped holding myself captive
There are times when I keep saying,
I’ve never worked on anything this big before.
These things I’ve been working on
They keep getting bigger
Because I have you –
it’s good to see you this way
It’s good to see you this way too!