roma l[e nil or ac]aba

I write more in times of desperation, like I am surfacing for a breath of cold, lung-expanding air. 

I write more in times of necessity, there is a Dickensian component to the desire to write that exists within me. 

I write when I am sad, mad, annoyed, lonely, reclusive. Not when I am happy, and that’s sad. So I want to write about it. 

I almost called you. I could say that after all of this time I finally missed you, missed having a friend to talk to, a voice that felt familiar that I could turn to when life got hard. I almost dialed the number, I had it there, all I needed was to press the phone button and call, and then I didn’t. Because what if the food you ordered was for you and someone else? What if I called and you had moved on? What if… you know, I remember a time when I lost my backpack in Brooklyn. 

I remember this moment because earlier that day my teacher gave me this really cool hilighter that I was so excited for. I was sitting on the platform, waiting for the train to arrive, and when it did, I got up from my seat and walked into the subway cart. By the time I noticed what had happened, the doors had already closed and the train was making its way to the next stop. 

I held onto the hope that my backpack would still be there with the highlighter and my notebooks and my other pens and pencils and whatever else I carried, but by the time we transfered and took the train back to that station, it was all gone. I asked the teller if she had grabbed it, but she said no, and I never saw that backpack, nor the highlighter, again. 

So that’s what happens sometimes. And I almost called you thinking that you would be there still, that you might have waited for me, but that’s just plain foolishness. I won’t call… I won’t know, and that has to be ok. That you may have moved on already, and that my love is not for you as you are, it’s for who you and I were. And I long for those times when I could rest my head on you and feel like things would be ok. 

Loving is the most painful thing you can ever experience. I’ll warn my children and grandchildren about that. But boy does it give life meaning…

caressing a rose, or living in near extinction.

Evening came too soon, and sleep drags me away unwilling. 

I’d close my eyes and say a prayer, hoping you find love. 

For me, it’s always out of reach and so I question. 

Lessons never learned, a Sisyphean excursion, lending to more and more of the same taste food. 

Food? What an analogy for the experience, when someone says they’ve whet their appetite… Or, have you ever tried love?

We ran towards nothing, hand-in-hand, and shared the same slice of pizza. 

Bite by bite, do you remember? The Marguerita slice, in late September. 

We walked by and through the park, where we’d argue, summer nights and in the dark.

We took pictures of the protests, I was just learning to take photos then. But you came along, and this is how I want to remember you. 

I have a tendency for making bad memories into the ones that are permanent. The trauma-precedence, so I can’t remain friends even if I tried to.

Because I remember the times when I was most hurt, and I wonder now if you still wear the Acne Studios sweatshirt. Or maybe you threw it away. It always looked so good on you, it made me want to hug you. 

There were times when you were all I needed, and I cry sometimes because it’s not that way. You made a choice. I did too. And that was the last I saw. I wonder what the flight back home was like for you, what the nights were like, the days, endless. And now you’re probably alright. I know you were in Spain, or Europe, and you’ve found a place for yourself. I wonder what you know about me.

I have actually stopped keeping tabs, but I remember and I feel that in the distance, you remember. When you’re down and life is hard, is it me that you think about?

I think about the choices I’ve made, which were the good ones? Which bad? Who could determine it at this juncture? Tomorrow, I’ll sleep late with the heavy blanket that you shipped to me. I’ll hold it close, remembering, how the weight of you felt. 

I began to read When Breath Becomes Air. I am sad when I read, and I remember you shared with me how much you cried as you read it. You are the one love, and I hope you’re okay. But will I be fine? I don’t know much these days, about love, about life. It’s one endless day meeting an endless night. 

notes on grief

Finished reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s short book, Notes On Grief. 

Called mom today. She said my Godmother’s cancer continues to spread, that my aunt is probably going for surgery again, my grandmother currently underwent surgery, my sister – I think she needs me right now. But I cannot be there. 

Notes on Grief, when her father dies, Chimamanda is unhinged. What is life’s meaning when life’s meaning gets subtracted? What is left when everything is taken? In her Notes, she remarks on the surprise, the futility of condolences, the upside-downness of the process, practically unchanged since the dawn of time, of how we deal with our loved ones when they die. 

In her Notes, she shares stories about her father. This is a Eulogy maybe, or an obituary. He seemed like a loving man, and I came to show admiration for him upon finishing reading the novel. 

Out in Colorado somewhere, I bought apples, bananas, beef jerky and snack bars for our trip to the Sand Dunes. The bagger packed my new purchases and when I tried to tip him for his help, he declined. He said, I already have too much money. 

Maybe I do too. Maybe I haven’t considered the fact, but I already have too much money. And then what? 

I sat on the porch as the morning breeze cooled me. That’s when I read the first pages of her Notes. When I embrace solitude, good things happen. But I am always running away, playing a constant game of tag with it. So I became depressed again, playing over unwanted memories of failed relationships. I never thought I’d waste someone’s time. After all, I never felt that way toward anyone. But maybe I did. 

Now who am I to become? What am I to do? It’s only me, and me alone, to face this long, winding road. 

unfixed

I am completely lost. I hate that so many sentences I write begin with the letter “I”. I don’t feel I am committing energy into the relationship. I felt almost a feeling of betrayal when she made it seem so easy to fall back. 

She said, “I wonder if you tell every girl you love her.” Or, “I wonder if you’re like this in all of your relationships.” 

What is it that makes me enamored with a perfect stranger? Seeking to place the love that I hide from myself into another passing vessel, as long as they’re cute, as long as they’re interesting.

When I said I love you, did I mean it? If you have any form of doubt now, that means you didn’t. Love is a game that everyone else seems to know the rules to, except me. I wanted to make this blog so that it could move me to becoming a happy person, still I am unhappy, and not closer. Although some days I really feel like I am. 

Today I woke up feeling terrible. I don’t even want to look in the mirror. Energy, so precious, so necessarily protected because the chemical imbalance is like water boiling. I am unsteady. I am just going, and going, and going. Sometimes without a question as to where. 

I notice I don’t say a lot when I am in crowds. An eight person dinner and I barely said a word, instead I looked distantly toward the waitress, the bike messengers, toward the inside of my mind again. 

Animosity, the need to prove you are who you are, my trusting nature gets exploited or ridiculed. I am an idealist, and the negative spiral starts. Hurting yourself, emotionally, because maybe you are not the good. But you knew that. And you knew that you were not the bad, and Grandma has had a surgery and you have not called, and you have not wondered. Your mom hasn’t called you, but neither you her. Your sister doesn’t answer your calls. She says she is going through something in her texts. You don’t answer her messages, you wanted to say you were going through something in your calls. But we will leave the words unsaid. 

The angst of if this flight goes down as we rumble and tumble due to turbulence. You are the turbulence. You are the unsettled. You are struggling! AND you need help. 

For some reason your friend blocked you on instagram and you were just going to show your other friend that you thought it was cool how they were into cycling as well, but then you found out. And your page is private now, and you’re slowly removing people that you follow because why did I follow them? And why am I unfollowing them? And why am I spending so much time on this phone doing absolutely nothing. I am not inspired. I am more depressed.

I read 20 pages from a book yesterday, and all I could think about was how inconsistent I am as a reader. And I hate it, and I don’t know where I am going to be, and I don’t want to be here. I want to be distant, alone, and I need that for a while. 

Why am I writing this? To who am I writing this? Its for me, I think, it’s for me – like all of these decisions are a fight for myself, and suddenly I am a victim, but a hero, and this divided identity is what is breaking me apart. Living in New York, but also in Gulfport, but also in the past, and in the future, and away and here, and never in ONE PLACE. 

It’s spilled everywhere, my self, and I am just moving it around, and as I grab it to collect it back, so that I can have myself to me again, it slips right through my fingers. 

in the dallas, in the texas

From a certain angle, you could frame the picture as if we were dining together. But we were sitting at separate tables. Dining alone at the Dallas International Airport, waiting for our next flight, for the giant, flying bus to drop off its passengers so we can take our seats and continue our journey through life. 

She has a life outside of this moment, and so do all the people who pass by, flowing eastward or westward, towards gates C23 and above, or C21 and below. These airports are small metropolis’, cities in their own right, ports. Air Ports. I believe that I understand the meaning now, because this is not a place to settle down with your family, and this is not where your child will grow up, assume a moral standpoint, become a man, or woman. Instad this is the place where your child will spill his Shake Shack smoothie all over his t-shirt, and because your belongings are being journeyed across the world separately, you will have to rush him into the bathroom with the little white man on it, sit him on the sink, and desperately try to return the shirt to some form of normalcy. Except it won’t return, but you still try, and he still cries because in all of this displacement, the gravity of that shake made him feel centered, as if he had arrived, somewhere. 

I don’t know if this counts as a visit to Texas. I sure would like to mark it down as one of the places that I’ve visited, and maybe I can say that I’ve made my way through all 50 states when I am old and wrinkly. But being here this brief, maybe an hour, and eating an Airport taco, I am not sure that would really count as visited Texas. But what really does count? I have been in Gulfport for upwards of a year now, and I can barely name 10 streets, 10 restaurants, 10 famous writers. I am just kidding, I grew up in New York and I couldn’t name those things, but one day I would like to. 

What is it like to truly know a place? Maybe its to recognize when something about it changes. Did you see that new store that opened up in Harlem on 137th and Lenox? The Starbucks? Yeah, it took the place of Mr. Albert’s old corner dry cleaners. Now there are people here who weren’t here not that long ago, but they live here now. 

I am regretting those tacos that I bought from Papadillos at the airport. Late meals are hardly ever satisfying. Come to think of it, is anything late ever good? Late text messages, late phone calls, late responses… Ok, that’s a different thing. But here I am, and I don’t even want to respond to anything. I want to walk this entire airport, and maybe live in this in-between thing I have going on. The feeling that I have arrived, but I will not stay, but that it’s not permanent. Part of the existential crisis I face is that I have this feeling regularly even when I am not travelling. I am not really home in Gulfport, but I am not not-home. In fact, it seems so impermanent precisely because it is, and that’s the truth about all of these places I frequent. Maybe one day I will be settled, even if its some sort of rotational settling, like how the Earth and Sun agreed to stay close, even though they’re not entirely together. They’ll revolve around each other, doing their little dance, until the sun, like all stars do, dies, or absorbs the Earth. The continuity of the Earth will necessarily be independent of our own. Even if we “destroy” it, we won’t really destroy it, we will simply make it uninhabitable. 

What’s the difference? I am still here, but I am uninhabitable because of past hurts. I am just kiidding. I have a penchant for the dramatic when I express myself, and sometimes I wonder what will people think if they read this a few years from now. Will they take it all as truth? The Truth! I hope not, because I cannot describe a harder thing to define than the truth. It’s like grabbing water from a river and saying this is the truth, and then pointing to where you grabbed it from… an area that’s already filled with more “truth” and then you pour it back, and it’s part of the river again, but if you try to grab it once more, it will be another version of the truth. Never the same. Somehow this is unsettling to people. 

I want to argue that there is no such thing as truth, but people say that the truth is worth dying for. The unexamined life is not worth living, ie, the life worth living is that in which we seek the truth. But who can find it? 

losing…

They are all crusted into my heart like plaque that’s settled long onto teeth, a layer of sediment. These emotions are not easy to bear. I need help, and I don’t know who or how to ask. But I am up again tonight, wandering, pacing the hallways, the solitude haunts me. I download instagram, and then I erase it, and a few minutes later its on my phone again. My phone is a source for this disconnection I feel with myself. How ironic, but also, how unavoidable. 

I am hurting deeply inside. My conversations with my mother are so inconsistent, and they are not much better with my sister, with Johanly. The feeling that I may have passed away, and knowing that their life continued without me. All there is is maybe a few miles between us. But between me and me there is only time. What happened, why it happened, and how? The story unfolded in its own way. 

Recall the excitement of new jobs, new adventures, and before things got heavy how I smiled. Writing about the depression doesn’t help, and in some way it may reinforce it because it reminds me that I am not fixed. The feeling of brokenness, like a sound coming from an engine that used to purr, and now you hear it struggle to perform its basic functions. I feel a cough, beyond the sleep deprivation. I feel tears, I miss mom. I miss them all, and I don’t know how to get it back. 

It all ends. The women in my life, they’re not checking in on me. Remember those good morning texts? Remember, but how could you forget? All you can do is remember. Remember the time Natasha laid in your arms, and you felt close like friends, like the secrets you had shared were safe. Spend the rest of your life trying to convince someone to love you, when it’s you. Answer! Wake up, and say that you love yourself. Jump high off the ground! Run fast! Please don’t get old and tired. Please don’t get old and tired. Please. 

I urge you, write a book. Who cares if it sucks, but you have to. If you want any chance at the next decade being one that you’re proud of, please start writing. Make time for your studies. Start saving away your money. Don’t stray from your goals. Set goals again. You used to set goals every month, and now you don’t. Did you forget how meaningful that process was for you? Please don’t forget it.

I’m pleading with you, Ledimir. I am the voice inside, and we need to wake up. Don’t waste your time. Be intentional about every moment. Live out your dreams. Become intensely focused because that’s all you have. So forget instagram, forget facebook. Forget the junk food. Stay away from it at all costs. Save your money. Don’t spend it wrecklessly. Stop with the sugar. Stop with the late nights. Write for you. Write because it is your only salvation. 

Forget her. Forget all of them. Let them go. The best thing you can do is let them go. Let them all go. Please. Let them all go. 

You can change the story, but you have to commit to it. Only you can commit to it, to building your own program and going your own distance. You have to make the choice and no one can make it for you. 

What are you going to be sad for? For what happened with Ivan. He doesn’t care about you. Jeremy doesn’t care about you. Even Wascar, he cares, but not like he did. And this is your fault. Your fault entirely, and why you will end up alone. Who will love you? Who? 

They say everything you write is sad. Who cares? Life is sad, but I will fight. I mean, you will fight. The problem of consciousness, it’s like a mirror that’s absorbed its reflection. We both stand on one side now. You and I both, searching for something. Searching, always searching. Life is an endless search.

Do you understand what it feels like to feel complete? To no longer need to search? I didn’t think you did. But you need to find out.

I owe this much to you. I owe that much. Stopppppppppp. Shut up! Let me please just breathe, because I can’t anymore. I simply cannot, and I don’t know how it will go. 

Kim, what did I do wrong? All I did was show love, but it was never going to be enough. I don’t make money like you. It was hard for me to afford our dinners, lunches. I am not established in my career, and I am barely sure of this one. What did I do wrong? Why should I care what you think? You don’t really care about me either. 

I said I love you on like the 10th day. Fucking idiot… It just slipped or something. I wish I didn’t mean it, but I did. Caroline said the same things. Are you a person who truly loves or are you just one to catch feelings. The times with her were the worst. Even the good ones. Who am I to judge the past? 

Caroline… when you gave that guy your number… I still remember how much I hated that moment, and then you called me someone else’ name. Sheesh. Fucking – what did I do wrong? Where did I go wrong?

Diana, Bryant? Fuck… And then it’s like what about me though… What was I supposed to do? I am the one that moves on quick, but now its too much to bear. I needed to process things, and they are all in there. Cementing into graver problems. Writing. Writing is your salvation. 

Write. Write. Write. Write.

Homeless. I see it. But Goddamn, I want to avoid it. I cannot manage my money. I am struggling to manage my money and time. I am struggling to manage my time, and I am afraid. I am deeply afraid of the future. 

Oh Kim, I thought we had a good time at the aquarium. We left it on a good note, but it’s not good right now. There is too much, so it’s not your fault. There are tears that are too afraid to leave my eye right now. So they stay seated where they are at, and I cannot cry. I cannot force a tear no matter how hard I try. 

I left Boston, and I should have stayed because I was learning how to process it all back there. Until I slowly started to disintegrate. Could that be what is happening now? I am withdrawing again, avoid all people. The conversations are superficial, and I have so much to do. So much, but I cannot. Cannot focus. 

Leave the instagram alone. Close the tabs on your phone. Make it basic again. You don’t need all those features and apps. Make it just so its the minimum. 

Remember when that was ok for you. Now you have added more and more, but leave it to a minimum. Don’t worry, what is important will find its way to you. Maybe leave Strava and that’s all. You don’t need the others. 

note to me

Please don’t let the dreams die, Ledi. 28 was the hardest year for you, but despite all of the challenges you found success in many areas of your life. 

Now, you must embrace the difficulties and challenges ahead like never before. Don’t give up. Simplify your life, no more bullshit. No more excuses. Let them say what they say and think what they think. It is going to be fine. It is going to be more than fine. This is a major part of your journey, so think about what you want to do at this point. 

Don’t pay attention to what could have happened, who could have helped, or who you would have wanted to stay. Let it all go, let them all go. Accept this moment, this reality, and love that part of life. 

keep your head up, its down

My head hung low today, and it was hard to match the passing person’s gaze. The future brings with it its own weight and uncertainty, and I am unsure of my role in bringing its fruits to fruition. Will I climb or will I fold?

What I am experiencing doesn’t compare to the realities of many of the world’s people right this moment, and I cannot lose sight of that. Right now, there is a child who no longer knows home as he used to, displaced, motherless, fatherless, brotherless. Right now, there are people who are watching the sun set on another day of uncertainty, homeless, aimless, with a gap in their stomach. There are people who have become familiar with hunger, so that a warm plate of soup, or a large, home-cooked meal is a surprise. Whatever I am going through, I must not forget that there are others whom I have committed to serve who are experiencing much worse. 

What is wrong with me? Perhaps I lost a meaningless game of basketball, maybe its the wall that I missed when I flipped while swimming. Yesterday, I was dropped from the pack while cycling, and I have struggled to consistently write, sleep on schedule, hydrate, express gratitude. But whereas meals are concerned, I have had some of the best meals of my life recently. I ate Korean BBQ for the first time in my life. I ate Oysters, twice, in the span of ten days. But its not the material that plagues me, its what is happening on the inside, in my mind. 

What would I do over if I had the chance to? What would you do? The lingering regrets weigh heavy on my mind. I toss and turn at night. I could’ve said that I was ready, but maybe I wasn’t. Or maybe it was more than that, sometimes we should share the blame. And who cares about blame. 

I write to clear my mind. I write because there are things that I could not say to anyone specifically when they ask me what is wrong, because unless I write it I do not know. I know nothing about the home I will live in this time next year, my life since I have turned 18 has been in a constant flux, and it looks to stay that way. This is the path that I have chosen. 

Noticing that I was down, my friend shared a quote from the movie Nemo. “All you have to do is keep on swimming, just keep on swimming.” What more is there to do?

exi

The old man watched as the boy struggled against himself. His great challenge was not the task in front of him, these were merely obstacles in his way. He had to find a way to overcome the limitations which he had placed on himself.

The old man remembered his own struggles with fear, how it would leave him paralyzed, unable to act, and defeated. Much the like the boy in front of him, the problems that plagued him were ones he had played such a large role in creating. But what were the origins?

Was the old man solely responsible for the beliefs he had grown so faithfully to accept? Was he truly weak like he believed? Had his intelligence actually been so limited that he could not see this firsthand? Here is a question, if you’ve gone crazy, like truly lost your mind and experienced dementia, how long does it take for you to find out?

Questions were all the old man could offer, but what the boy needed was answers. He wanted to know things for certain. But is there anything that fits that expectation? Could we truly know anything for sure? We can hope to know, but not much more than that.

When the old man asked the boy, what was stopping him, the boy said it was just that he was too tired. He needed more sleep, and he wasn’t getting enough. Then the old man recommended that he go get some rest and try again the next day. 

As the next day arrived, the boy returned rested and ready to conquer his challenge. But this time, he failed too. So the old man asked him what went wrong? The boy said he didn’t eat a breakfast, and that he didn’t drink enough water. The old man sent the boy to get some food and drink, to get rest.

The next day, the boy returned with a stomach full of food and having drank the right liquids. He was rested and ready to go. He had never felt better, but again, he failed. Now the boy was confused. He couldn’t say why he was failing, and when the old man came to ask the question, he dropped his gaze and said he is not good enough. 

When the old man, who had done this over 1,000 times approached the boy, he said, well good. Now that you know you’re not good enough, take a rest. Leave the task, and never come back again. I never want to see you try, and I don’t want you to even think about coming back. 

At this, the boy cried. He went home and he had no appetite, he couldn’t sleep, and he ignored his thirst. The boy had felt so sad, because even after each failure, he loved that he got to try. Now he couldn’t even experience failure. 

The next day, he wandered about aimlessly, and this continued for several days. The boy began thinning, waning, nearly disappearing. Everytime he looked back where he would stand, tears would flow down his face. He looked at the old man, and the old man pretended that he didn’t exist. He never returned his gaze.

One day, after many such days, the boy returned to play the game. He failed again, but he still tried. The old man still didn’t mind him, but the boy thought less about that. All he wanted to do was try. 

When it came time for him to return home to sleep, he didn’t notice it. He fell asleep at the game, and he missed meals, and he forgot to drink water. He didn’t talk anymore, he just played. Try after try after try. The voice inside of him grew bored of calling him a failure, and he stopped believing he was not good enough. 

The old man had to pull the young boy away to get his attention, and when he did, he confessed that the game was meant to be hard, impossible to figure out, that nobody really had the answer. Everyone wanted to know the meaning of the game, but that no one acknowledged the game meant different things to everybody. The boy could barely keep his attention, he wanted to return to the game. So the old man said to him, Son, you’re done. You have discovered the meaning of the game. 

At this the boy paused, what he had found in the game was so much more. It was validation, a personal weapon that killed the doubt he created. He loved it so much, he tried to fill all of his days with it, and he did. 

Eventually, he grew up to become an old man too, and he understood. The point is not to succeed, it’s to do it over and over again. Day after day, because that’s all you know.