time does heal, i think.

When she told me that she found love, I felt genuinely happy for her. For a large part of my life, I felt as if she were the love of my life. It wasn’t surprising to think why despite my never having expressed those feelings to her, or perhaps only expressing them at the wrong time. But I truly did, and do, love her as a person. 

We met at a young age, but always there was some unspoken understanding that we would be there for the other. Her for me, me for her. And young as we were, we honored it pretty well. In our hardest moments, we were there, often with confusion about the feelings we felt for each other. Or, what I can say with more certainty, the feelings I felt for her. 

In every relationship outside of ours, I felt uncomfortable with being her friend and I drew distance between us. This is among the many mistakes I have made in the relationship department. I did it as a matter of respect, because I knew what I felt then, but when I look back it was a horrible justification to be a terrible friend. 

But even when we didn’t speak, I still thought of her frequently. As her birthday approached, I thought about her and wondered where was she in the world, did she have good friends around her, was she happy with herself. Her birthday is shared with my cousin Eli. They were both born on March 22nd, and so I never forget it because both are important people to me.

I realize now that growing up, and making mistakes, is a part of life. But even having that knowledge one goes to question why it should hurt so much to make those mistakes. Despite it being a natural part of the process, it really is something we cannot grow used to bearing in our lives. 

I have to forgive her for the moment when I felt she broke my heart, but I also have to forgive myself for having treated a friend, a person, a human being as a commodity. Someone to nurture me, to love me, conditionally – based entirely on my conditions. But I do not feel unlucky. It is impossible. Because seeing her happy makes me so happy, and she is very deserving of love, but also so much more. 

What I am happy about is the experience of new love, the renaissance in her career, her growth and blooming into the person she is today. I would be lying if I said that the person she is today is better than any version of her past self, because we shouldn’t make those comparisons. Her past self is as lovable as any version. And if I could, I would go back in time to all of the moments when she felt alone and I would be there, close by, for as long as I could. 

I spoke to my friend about her, and how he also deserves happiness. But more important, a dedication to forgiveness and acceptance of self, past, and others. We all struggle through life, but even when it feels like its all doomed, there is hope. Hope that we’ll cope, but even more than that, hope that we will smile a wider smile than we ever have. 

Today, I sat across from my Master Chief, and he said to me that any path I take will lead to personal success. He isn’t a reader of palms, but it became clear like a crystal ball that there are people who believe in me. But do you want to know a secret, that even I didn’t know? I am one of those people, and I doubted it so much. 

At the moment, I feel incredibly proud of the choices I have made. I have created a life for myself based on one simple premise, I know myself better than anyone else. What does this mean exactly? I will trust myself to make the right decisions, and I understand that I am more reliable and resilient than I have ever let anyone believe, including myself.

Today, I pushed myself to go bike riding despite fatigue from last nights ride. I am thankful for that decision. I went so fast, and I rode almost 35 miles. This isn’t a number I am accustomed to reaching on these rides. 

Anyway, things feel good lately, and I am perfectly fine. 

talk to me about fear.

There is no mistake, and let there be no confusion, I can do anything I desire in this world. 

The doubt that has existed in my mind has many origins, and there is so much sincerity in my efforts to handle these doubts in the humblest manner possible, showing care and concern for the feelings of others and the impressions I will make on their lives. However, it is now clear to me that the origins are nothing but fear-based parasitical thoughts that have nurtured themselves on my own doubts and lack of confidence.

I was bullied as a child, sexually abused, raised in a single-mother household, and exposed to a world of crime and disillusionment, drugs, and lying. But I am not a victim. 

I have been lied to in relationships, deceived, and thought to feel like I was not good enough. The one that made me chuckle was when I was told I would never find someone as good as that person. Here I am, though, and I am not a victim. 

I am a hero, having overcome the sirens who have wailed to bring me down, I stand heroic. I am not afraid, and I am convinced that I can really do anything I want in this world. I am a great leader despite all of the circumstances I mentioned, but also because of them. And nobody will trust a leader without a limp. 

That is the difference, and I see it all clear now, that I am not afraid to die in order to do what is right and serve in the highest capacity. I have gaps in my resume because I prefer to not have something given to me if it requires lying in order to obtain it. In all of my fear-based actions, I found courage. 

I committed myself to box, 4-5 hours daily, 6 days a week, for 2 years. Each session included thousands of sit-ups, sweat dripping from my forehead, blows shaking my face, taunting my consciousness, and bringing me closer to myself.

In my room, I found myself addicted to pornography. There was no escape, as I found the opportunity to search for something in the smallest moments of silence. I did not want to face myself. I did not want to come to know this addiction because I was a coward. I lacked confidence. 

I ran away from relationships and judged people who are now away and apart from me, but I am grateful for their presence and relieved for their absence. I have seen that I can do anything I put my mind to, and I will devour books even if it takes me twice or three times as long to read them. I will show up early at my workspace to learn how to code in Python or R, and I will stay long after everyone is gone.

I am relentless. I will not stop. I will not lose because I am not afraid to lose. When everyone gives up, wants to switch teams, and wants better opportunities and the culture sucks, and the job is too hard, and the hours are too long, I stand calm. Because I have trained for this my whole life.

I let go of material possessions, all of what I had worked for. I didn’t need it. Then I fell into the trap of materialism again, and now I teeter back to what I know. I am best when the weight of life approaches zero. I am limitless as the weight of my belongings approaches zero.

I will not be stopped. Never. 

On the subject of child sexual abuse – it happened to me. I pray for anyone else who has gone through these sorts of violations. As a man, it is hard to speak of these things, to acknowledge them, to come to terms with them. Because you feel weak and afraid. But there is nothing in the past that I will give the power to haunt me. And now, I have the power, be very afraid. 

remembering ash.

I remember afternoons with Ashley. In her home, I felt at home. The hours would pass as I lay spread across the carpeted floor, studying the books on her shelf. There was no more calming feeling, and I felt truly loved. Not just by her, but by her mom, her sister, her Dad. 

For reasons I don’t understand, we don’t appreciate things very much when we have them. That is a lesson that no matter how many times you are told, you won’t understand until you experience it and look back. 

I never had any doubts about Ashley, even though I can say I am a chronically jealous person. But her love felt genuine. The only thing I doubted was my ability to make her happy, and perhaps hers to make me. As I have struggled with depression and self-doubt. But beyond that, it was perhaps the purest love. So today, I want to write a little bit about my favorite days that I shared with this beautiful person. 

We went on a hike somewhere in upstate New York, I remember it was still icy at a point, and I slid down the hill on my butt. I could have died, and I was known to give her mini-heart attacks because of my impulsivity. So I got to the bottom of the hill so fast, and then I waited. I remember seeing her figure when she slowly trekked down. From a distance, I marveled and thought to myself, I am going to marry this woman. 

As I write this, I have no doubt that Ashley would have made the best wife. We have similar mindsets when it comes to competitiveness. She really is a beautiful soul, a writer, someone who hasn’t had the easiest path, and so much of she reminds me of me. I think I just wasn’t ready because I was also scared. Besides, I’ve never really understood what it meant to love. Or, I’ve really struggled to put it in practice. 

Maybe one day, I will know. But I am happy knowing that I came this close. 

Today, my friend told me I should stop thinking about what went wrong in relationships and think about what went right. Well, I felt loved, a part of a family, brave, handsome, cheered on, smart, supported, understood. 

Today, I am grateful, and hoping to provide all of those things for myself.

a new day

Marking a new day today, one to smile, feel clean and happy as I move about. 

The plan, coffee at the favorite place, studying for the advancement exam, being kind to myself. 

The black mirror consumes me, so I must shut it off, embrace solitude, loneliness, await it as it comes. It will undoubtedly arrive, and I will have no choice but to welcome it again. 

That which you run from only stays with you longer. 

Last night I called her, but there was no answer. Part of me thinks, Thank God. The other part… 

I had a dream too, our relationship floundered while on vacation. I felt jealous as she spoke with the tour guide. Possessive, even in dreams. Though in recent dreams I have also been courageous, brave, heroic. So maybe I should place focus on those more.

My writing doesn’t appeal to me. My writing equals my lying because there are things I don’t want to address, I don’t want to explore. Why does the past weigh so much? Like a dumb elephant. 

That 7-mile run killed me. Am I about to get old? In less than a year I will turn 30. So who knows what that brings along with it. Maybe slower mornings. This one can be slow if it wants to, I don’t mind. I won’t say anything about it. 

A month from now the journey will take place in another place. Here is to hoping that is a good thing. Writing is my own salvation, to place the hopes of life on other people is selfish, and delusional. 

A new day today, to smile, feel clean, and happy as I move about. 

mental excursions

Thinking of the past, will it ever get old? Please understand, it’s just the way that I cope. I am not as sad as I appear, and when I say things are fine, they are. When you read these words, it’s true that I do miss you, but it’s also true that I have let go to the expectations. But the past, well, the past remains as it was and sometimes I like to visit there. 

The mind is a vessel for time-travel, even when I am here, sometimes I am not. And for moments, so brief as they are, I travel far to New York City, to the country land in Dominican Republic, to the hallways of my elementary school, the lunch room table, the basketball courts. Memories of when I made my first three point shot, and it was one of the first times my mother walked with me to the ball park. She didn’t ever have much time for that. But I forgive her. That day meant everything to me.

Sometimes when I travel there, I think of how I would like to give my younger self a hug. Not advice, but emotional warmth. These are the things I feel I desperately needed, and still do to some extent. But when I write these words, they are expression of what boils inside.

I realize most people get only a glimpse, and what I show on instagram or facebook. But how I really feel, what I really experience, well, that is a mix of joyous moments, and sad, lonesome times. But it’s as well balanced as I could have hoped for, because in honesty I sometimes sigh in relief when I am able to drive alone, or read a book, or visit my favorite coffee shop with a book in tow. 

Tomorrow, I want to go for an early run, but I don’t care if I don’t. I’ll be ok with not doing so, and just experiencing what life brings to me. Maybe a cup of tea would be nice, soothing, relaxing. Among other things, life’s promises seem endless. July, and the second half of the year approaches. I’ve read about 17 books! 

So my goals, read for fun, grant yourself a break, embrace your self and your fate. Let the rest of the cards fall where they may. 

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. 

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. 

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.