close your eyes

Close your eyes, again. Time moves slow if you give yourself space. You allow yourself to explore different avenues, and you keep an open mind. 

In the morning, the alarm snatches you from the dream state you inhabit. A place where you speak in the tongue of snakes and black crows, elephants, and rabbits. The trees sway, dancing in unison, to the tune of the wind. A water ripple extends, sending waves that expand to the outer. 

Close your eyes, again. Time moves slow if you give yourself space. You allow yourself to explore different avenues, and you keep an open mind. 

In the afternoon, the sun baptizes you with the warmth of its rays. You see the unseen, the haze of illusion as you travel the streets. The heat dances up and down, curving the roads, blurring the vision. The water turns to vapor, bubbling first, then vanishing. The seas dry, the leaves wither, the trees spark and fire erupts. What’s left is a torched mess, an abyss.

Close your eyes, again. Time moves slow if you give yourself space. You allow yourself to explore different avenues, and you keep an open mind. 

In the night, your eyes tire again, leaving their strength, emptying their resolve of the day. The pupils dilate, and the mind’s game begins. Inside this vast expanse, spirits and demons dance. The past reappears in fragments, and the future camouflages and deceives. The stars above shine, and you see what they once were, relativity. The water soaks and glimmers under the moonlit sky. Who is the man who paints the moon at night? Where has he gone? Who will turn off the lights?

Close your eyes, again. Close your eyes, again. Time moves slow if you give yourself space. You allow yourself to explore different avenues, and you keep an open mind. 

Enero

Hace frio, hace mucho frio.

I find warmth in my mother’s arms. She holds me tight. Her creation, I am. She birthed me on her 24th year, brought me into this world to show me life. We held hands together and she would share her dreams with me, of owning a house one day, of utopian freedom with our own backyard. More than anything, she showed that she had something to prove and lugged us around on her work days. 

Her face lit up at our parent-teacher conference. She would meet the person who was charged with educating me, one who would introduce new concepts, ideas, that I was quick to devour. My mom was proud of what I could do with my mind. 

Mom walked us down groceries aisles, where we loaded up our carts with gogurts, chips ahoy, ramen noodles and soda cans. She carried the load for us, helped us stay together, even when everything threatened to break us apart.

On her hand she has a small black dot. My mom held my hand a lot, and she showed me closeness. She was tough sometimes, and she wanted to make me stronger. When she was fed up with my messes, she would launch my shoes to my door. She made a statement that way. 

Mom loved to play her music loud when she cleaned, but I didn’t like dancing with her. Although my sister did. They danced in the living room, la sala, and they never tired. She could dance all day, they both could. 

Another thing mom loved, dulce de leche cortada. This was her favorite dessert. She would have a spoonful, then give me a spoonful, then my sister, and then her again.

branching

We set expectations that the seed of an oak will yield an oak tree, and most of the time we are right. We feel good for being right, and we say, rightfully, that we have developed an accurate understanding of how the world works. Don’t argue that some oak seeds do not become oak trees, because that is true, and we know that not all of them will materialize. What we are saying is that an oak seed won’t blossom into a blackberry bush or a dandelion. The seed of the oak, upon maturing, will be the oak tree.

But what is our understanding of the human living experience? The decisions that we make are pivotal markers in our existence, the branching of time, which happens infinitely and sometimes unconsciously. 

What we say when we want to be particularly mindful about this process, is that one should be intentional when making a decision, which can be defined as choosing a path among several.

Once you have chosen your path, you forfeit the other path. With that comes the speculation of not knowing. We look at this phenomenon in sports, where teams that showed promising potential split up and the fans wonder what could have been. What could have been is the non-decision path, what is is the decision path. 

This parallel branching extends further, as we explore where our decisions led and the impossibility of accurately predicting an outcome. Not that all decisions are guesses, but that surprise is a resulting element because the probability and chance of something actually happening is always less than 1, until it happens. So if it hasn’t happened, then it cannot be said with certainty, even though it is likely to happen. 

Why is this important, because maybe we should just shut off our expectations. Let things be. Let time carry you. Let the oak seed become an oak, or not. Let the choices you make be appreciated for their good and not for the bad of the choices you didn’t make. 

Confidence comes from knowing that I am okay because I chose choice A, but I would also have been okay if I chose choice B, or C. The idea I have had is this, drop me anywhere in the world, in any country, and I will find a way to make a difference – whether it is in the life of one person, or the life of many. So that truth trumps the expectations we can form, but it cannot come close to predicting what will actually happen. All we know, is that life is ok, regardless of the outcome. 

el padre

At noon, I have to leave. I have already packed my bags, and set up my away from office email. I don’t know if Patrick knows that I won’t be back again. Honestly, I don’t think anyone in the office knows. I haven’t said a word to anyone about this trip, not even my family knows what is going on. 

My father will be waiting for me at the airport when I arrive. I don’t necessarily consider him family, but he is the one I am going to see. The first thing I will notice is how our facial features align. Genetics is a non-miss, how we replicate features of our being and attach them to new beings – leaving an inheritance, for better or worse, of the roots that extend down our lineage. 

These ears, and this nose, and the lips – they are from my mother. I wear my mothers eyebrows, her smile, her sad eyes. 

When I see him at the airport, he is waiting, staring off into the distance, searching. Maybe he doesn’t recognize me and I can sneak around behind him to surprise him. I marvel at this for a second, how distance forces us to search to that which was once so close. He has to scan the room, the many passengers, to see which one bears a resemblance. It’s me.

As I approach him, he catches on and smiles, opening his arms up for a hug. I land in close as we embrace, a father and son, who grew up removed from that role, so that he was only partially father, and I was partially son. I have never shared with him, or mom for that matter, how much I wanted those roles to be permanent. But I do not write the story, I merely tell it. And it wasn’t temporary. 

Now ponder that, the difficulty of being a part-time father/part-time son. Wanting to show and receive love, but growing old and heavy with hatred.

I didn’t know why, but that day it didn’t matter. What mattered was being there, taking the trip, making the move. 

memors

Evenings spent folding freshly washed shirts while I am thinking of you. Thinking how this pile of clothing reminds me of the occasions I spent there with you. 

We left early to beat the traffic and make the coffee stops at your shops, and tried all of the coffee spots until we found one that we’d like. 

Our life on the road like gypsy, a life on the go and limbo. Moving fast, but nowhere, moving fast with no cares. 

Ok, maybe a little, that the things we left behind would somehow catch us. That they would be a part of us, though we didn’t realize, like our shadows. Living in the shadows, its what we called it. Living in hiding, its what we called it.

But we were not hiding then, we’re not hiding now. We’re not asking why, we’re not asking how. It’s all understood, and I think that you know that the only way this is going is how it would go. 

Evenings spent scrubbing soap onto dishes while I am thinking of you. I don’t know where you are now, all of these calls go unanswered. I look up at the stars, and they don’t say a word back. I like to think that to some alien who is distant in time, what he sees is our life as we were, because light takes some time to travel there. And instead of seeing us now, he sees us together, and happy, with our hands interlocked. 

But what will he think when we’re distant and cold. This human race is so strange, they pretend all is well, when deep down there is a void uncontrolled, a sadness unconsoled. Grieving is hardest when you’re alone. Grieving is harder when you’re lonely. Where did you go? Why don’t you call? 

Somehow it all changed, this life that we made far from each other. I am sweeping the floors now, thinking of you. I wonder too, how often you think of me. This isn’t about the love we shared, it’s that at one point we both had cared. We both had dared, dared greatly too, how they tell us to do. 

We eat sour gummy worms, and the ants come for the little white crumbs. I wonder what that seems like to them, how can we eat so much of it at once, when all they can carry is one grain at a time. We eat a lifetimes worth of their food supply in a single chew. That’s how I feel sometimes when it comes to you, you made it cool and I feel lucky. I told my friends and they agreed, you know how things clicked at the beginning and they stayed firm and nice. Life is alright, you know. It’s quite alright. 

My favorite songs, I’ve shared them all. But they were favorite when they were only mine. Listening to Nights in the streets of Chelsea, MA. Its too late, my feet dangle from the swings, the park was long ago closed, but I climbed the fence to get in. Last time I went for a run out here, I cramped up and I had to stop for a moment. I’d like to go back and try again. 

When Kevyn and I went to the supermarket, I stared at the dragonfruit for a while. How would I eat that? I wonder why I had this thought, but it occurred to me that I do not know the answer. Would I peel it like an orange? Do I need a knife? Something sharp. 

The nice fruits require no thinking, that’s why I love berries; blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries. I like grapes two, the green and purples. 

Today, I ate two mangos. Those I peeled, but the mango gets caught in my teeth. 

The green t-shirt, the one I fold now, I wore that one when we went to Rouses’ to pick up crackers, salami, and cheese. Not a stain on it. But I can still remember the day. 

blindness

I prefer to keep my eyes closed so that the tears would have to force their way out. I say I prefer as if I had a choice in the matter, and as if my eyes weren’t forcefully shut because I was not ready to see what I was beginning to see. 

The deterioration of the mind is sudden. By the time I am become aware of what’s happening, I am halfway gone – and without realizing it, I am lost, unfound in a haze of confusion. This is what I did not want to see, the tragic end to a life that began with boundless potential.

As a youth, I stared intently at the pieces of a chess game, pieces so controlled and with no agency. Perhaps they were made of the same stuff as we, having the poor to influence change, but unable to decide for themselves. I stopped believing in free will because I understood that we created games that mirrored life, and the games we most enjoy are the zero-sum kind. 

In these games, there exists binary relations between winners and losers. Winners excite us, inspire us – losers, there is a lesson somewhere to be learned. 

I spilled my coffee on my previously white shirt. The stain has left me sour, and I am unable to shake the feeling away. While my coworker talks to me, I start to think about the stain and whether it will be permanently there, married to my shirt, never to be separated until death or a drowning in a spinning vaccuum with a tide-pod extraction. The shirt shall be replaced now, and I am none too happy with the coffee this time either. 

I still order the oat milk latte with caramel flavoring that was her favorite drink. I don’t know why we hold on to things that people pass on to is. We accept behaviors and our entire personalities evolve. I went my whole life without knowing what I would order at a coffee shop, now I don’t think, I just say the words and the drink is prepared. But today’s coffee didn’t taste so rad, it actually made me want to attempt to slurp it all in one sip. What I actually did was toss the rest of it in a garbage can. 

She said I text like a book, and when people ask me why I don’t write, I tell them that I am a coward. Perhaps I believe this about myself, but I shouldn’t. After all, maybe I am just not ready for the writing that I am meant to write. Even as I write these long incoherent sentences. 

I disintegrate, and I cry. I am timeless at once, wandering in the past, lost – have I died yet. What if I didn’t notice when it happened and I am making my way to an Angel. 

I am missing my Guardians. My Wascar, my Ana, my Johanly, my Jeffrey, my Nelson. I am not abandoned, but I cannot find them here. I am alone, and my eyes have to remain closed. Because I am afraid again, and seeing is painful. So very painful.

first memories

The temperature is cold, but I find comfort in the warm bath water in which I will soak tonight. My mother used to tell me that we enjoy warm baths because they feel like the warmth we experienced in the womb. So every time that I take a warm bath, I am seeking my mother’s comfort. 

Maybe that is so, that the things we long for are the ones we first knew. Besides those primal comforts, what else are we actually after? 

The conversations we share, where we discuss our favorite songs, our fondest memories, with someone who has been on their own journey for some years, those are moments that I cherish. And I marvel at that, that somehow the universe conspired to bring us together, each, in our own individual way, has traveled their whole life to meet the other. 

You never know where you might end up in life, and you never know who you might meet. That is the beauty of it all, that somehow it is as surprising as it is expected. 

I remember first meetings a lot. When I first met my friend Wascar, I was learning how to play the game of poker with my friends Jojo and Lolo. He came over and observed my play style, he commented on my patience. He reminded me of my uncle Andy, who taught me a lot about life and has shown that there are different ways to experience it, but one must, for themselves, experience it. 

Today, writing has come easier. The past few days I have struggled to sit down with my thoughts, but this is the case with a lot of things. Some days are easier than others, and some days your thoughts get the better of you. I have many thoughts throughout the day, not all of them are negative, but most are. 

Sometimes I think how I am not good enough, which I write about often on here. But that is not always true, I simply add an ounce of tragedy to the mundane. Because its not always the output that matters, its more often the input, and even the emotions behind the input.

I remember when I met my friend Dana, she was walking to the Quarterdeck to give me a ride to pick up my personal gear issue. While she waited for me, she played Pokemon Go, and in the car ride back she played music. I immediately felt comfortable, and I would always say hi to her when I saw her. It happens when you least expect it, that you meet people who change your life and the way you see the world. And they do this by doing nothing, they merely continue to be themselves. 

When I was given the advice to be myself during college interviews, I didn’t know what that meant. I mean, I understood the statement but I didn’t know who I was. 

I have come to a few conclusions though, I am curious and insightful – a thinker, and I am deeply caring. Some things are hit or miss, but I cannot change those ones that I mentioned. Even if I tried, and I have tried, I end up behaving unnaturally – losing myself in the process of trying to express myself. 

Its the people that make you who you are. My first relationship was as a son to my mother and father. Twenty-nine years later, I am still figuring out how to best serve in that role. 

im a little bit sad

The battles that have brought me down in suffering are the ones I will never forget. As I navigate adult life, I think back to those lessons – those moments when I ambled the streets of New York City with a scruffy beard, not a cent in my pocket, eyes long and droopy, stomache stretched like a pig-skin drum with ribs outlined. I felt hunger, loneliness, a feeling of discontent that I could not evade. But even as my circumstances have changed, and material items abound sometimes to a border with gluttony, I feel the same sadness seeping into my experience of life.

I cannot escape this feeling, and I know that the more I tell myself that the more true it becomes. Today I felt overwhelmed with my tasks, and I sat down defeated, unable to move on. It is hard to call this laziness, because I do what I am supposed to do. I have grown comfortable with not moving until it is time to move. I play a dangerous game with time, daring it to run out on me, declining to accept its impermanence. One day I will suffer my demise, the seeds of my underestimation. Because time waits for no man, and it waits with cold hands.

The other half of it I am dreaming of what could be, what I deep down hope would be. But hope is the falsity that burdens my existence. My friends say that my inability to hold tight to hope is a sign of my own lack of confidence. They try to convince me that I should believe, that I should hold hope that it will work how I want it to. But I find it so hard to believe that. After all, it hasn’t worked that way. And yet, this is the trap. My entanglement with my own self-worth creates a fog that makes it difficult for others to see me for what I am, what I could be, and even though I am dying to show them – at times it is hard. 

The hardest part is waiting for that opportunity. Saying no to what comes in between and waiting patiently for that which you have set your eyes on. I want to say no to candy, to sugar, to basketball, to Netflix, to girls and people I have no interest in. But I don’t. I accept what I am given, maybe because at a point I had nothing. And when you experience the weight of the nothingness, the first something that becomes available becomes everything and more. 

I want to smile again tomorrow. I don’t want to think these thoughts. I don’t want to feel this weight. I want to feel light, excited again. Here’s to hoping for that day. 

meh

I cannot find the words anymore. Writing has become a heavy chore, but still, I must show up. I have to show up for swimming and cycling and running even when it doesn’t feel like anything is clicking, even when I feel sluggish and my legs feel heavy and fat. 

I have done a decent job of managing my time in May, but I need to make strides in handling my finances and time better. I spend too long on Instagram and watching basketball and Netflix. This week I missed my running and cycling goals, and it’s not for lack of time, but because I didn’t manage my time correctly. 

However, I did manage to get Crew Serve Qualified and that’s probably what I should celebrate. I won’t force the issue with writing today. 

validation – no good

I am grateful for all of the opportunities I have been given, and while I may have not made the most of them – I have tried. 

I try to give it more in the pool when I am swimming, but some days I am just tired. Too tired to touch and go, too heavy to nail the flip turn. I need a full night of rest, and maybe more. At the end of next month I will go on leave, it will be my first visit to Colorado. Who knows, maybe I will stay there – or maybe I will stay here in Gulfport. 

Gulfport has become a home for me. I ride my bike here, I swim here, and I explore here. I know there are more beautiful traiils out there, and so much more of the world to see – but for right now, I am right where I need to be.

Sometimes people think too deeply about where they need to be, or they grow concerned about where they at. In those cases, complaining about your circumstances only makes them worse. But I also feel that what truly makes your situation tragic is the support and validation of your friends and peers, the ones who convince you that your circumstances are unfair. Because we rely so much on the validation of those around us. So our validation can make us, but it can also break us. If I say I am struggling, and you agree, I am convinced that I am right. But how do we differentiate struggling to perform from struggling to learn.

These are only my first reps, my first reps in life, in the pool, on this blog. The only true goal is consistency – so I am back at it. I will type out these tired words, and say what I have to say while I have the chance to. Maybe one day I will have better things to say.