a pause for reflection

As time passes, I become more aware of my struggles to deal with emotional scars. I began writing in happyperson, this blog, because I had a feeling that my life lacked meaning, purpose, and a sense of direction. I was not a happy person, and the only way that I could become one was by writing. 

I do not always know what I want to write about. Sometimes, like in this sentence, it’s fluff. But the fluff is, in itself, an effort to understand. This journey seems to be designed in that manner, so I push on. And I wonder what will come from writing these nightly posts? What will I discover, down the line, about myself and my place in the world? 

This blog can be categorized most succinctly as an existential journal. I share my thoughts, the things that I usually wouldn’t share with anyone else. I allow myself to be vulnerable, write poems, and share goals. 

There are truths that are so difficult to accept, and you cling to the hope that they may not be true. We create illusions to escape, and sometimes we create diversions. I notice myself trying to escape my thoughts a lot. I scroll through Instagram, I listen to music, and I sleep with my phone beside my pillow. Because being alone is really hard sometimes. 

In boot camp, I felt alone. I made friends there, but sometimes it just felt lonely. In my solitude, I wrote. We didn’t have much alone time, but that’s when I realized, when I am alone – I write. That makes me a writer. I wrote letters to my mom, Gely, Kathy, Jeffrey, Eric, Caroline, and Sammie. I wrote a letter to Sammie, and she replied – I clung to that letter because it gave me hope, reassurances that I mattered out there to someone in the world, other than family. 

For some reason, I never really felt sure about the letters with Caroline. It bothered me that they were typed. I didn’t ever share why. Sometimes I get sensitive about the smallest things. I wanted a hand-written letter, personal memories, I wanted to know what flavor coffee you were drinking, what it felt like to get caught in a thunderstorm while going out for groceries. I wanted to hear about the new candle you purchased, and what the smell reminded you of. 

I am in some regards a tortured romantic because receiving a letter should have been enough. But I oftentimes acknowledge a fatal flaw is my inability to accept people as they are. I place undue expectations, and sometimes what I fail most at is acknowledging that this is not a problem with the other person or with me. But this is a problem of compatibility – you know what you want in a partner, even if you don’t think you know what you want. This leads to inevitable conflict.

I didn’t touch a single photo on the day we parted ways. I’d see Caroline’s picture on my dresser as I put on my uniform in the morning. I’d have her letters in my desk drawer, and I every time I would lock my phone away I would see them in there. On the day when I finally decided I would erase one photo, I put my head down and cried. The moment was painful, as I acknowledged another failed relationship. 

It was a time when I needed a hug, or maybe a friend to tell me it was all going to be alright. That I would find someone special, that time will heal the wounds. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the silence filled the room as tears made their way down my face. I took the pictures off of my corkboard, and I took the letters out of my desk. It made one big pile, and then I erased a photo on my phone. 

Scrolling back through time to select memories to destroy – why do we do such things? If I were really to love every part of me, then I should have loved who I was in the moments when those pictures were taken. I should have kept them to remember a relationship that brought smiles to my face. Because even the bad ones have some good memories. 

I didn’t though. Those memories will live only in my mind until they expire. One day, I may be somewhere and remember being there with her. But these days, I would have to think hard to reach those places again. I would have to travel backward through many more memories. 

I recently reached out to a girl to ask her to join me for trivia. She let me down easily, but I know that even if I think I want another connection I am not ready. I have wounds still, I have problems and issues I haven’t addressed. Even if I did have a chance to explore a relationship with Sammie, it would probably suffer because of those issues I have failed to address.

What I mean to say, is that in this recent and past relationship, I failed to hold myself accountable and I believed that the key to a happy relationship was just finding a more suitable partner. While there are fatal differences, like misaligned values that can keep bonds from strengthening, the truth is that an incomplete, unfulfilled person will not be complete, happy by introducing to another person.

To think that that is the only discovery I made is overly simplistic. That is a discovery, and a lot of people acknowledge that when they share advice, but it is one of many things I failed to understand about myself. 

Instead of building new relationships, I think I should really strengthen my relationship with my mom, my friends, my sister, and my Dad. I am alienated and distant, but that is a tale for another time. 

Tonight, I will drink my tea and maybe read a book. A cozy bed awaits where I will lay my head to rest.

it’s going well, ok

I had a busy day, and it’s going well, ok. I took care of some of the major errands. I changed the cabin air filter on my car. I had never done that before, and I figured it out with little to no trouble. I organized my folders on my windows PC, and I washed the laundry that had piled up. In a couple of minutes, I will be writing in my journal, brushing and flossing, and turning into to bed. I haven’t had time to rest, so I am exhausted. But overall, it’s going well, ok.

I made a plan for this week. Some things to tackle, to be more proactive on, and refuse to take no for an answer. A lot of things can slip through the cracks if you’re not careful. You must be extremely vigilant, and mindful of your goals and what you’re working towards. Tomorrow, I am going to go to the range again for some drills. I am nervous every time we have to shoot at the range, but I am staying positive. So it’s going well, ok.

I mean, I brushed my teeth this morning. I flossed. And somehow I am almost making it to bed at the desired time. 1900. So I think I am doing something right. Being a responsible adult takes work. It’s a 24 hour op with not much time to pause, but from the looks of it it’s going well, ok.

I want to push myself to get up before the rest of the world. I want to take those first steps in the early morning and run my way through a workout. But that also requires me going to sleep earlier. I’ll try 11, then 10, then hopefully work back to 7 or 8 pm. It’s going to take some practice, and I feel I am up for it. Additionally, I need to stay hydrated because I am feeling incessantly thirsty lately. I forget to fill up my water bottle, and I forget to make my tea. But as long as I have the right mindset and focus, I have to believe that it’s going well, ok.

a lonely place

I’m afraid of becoming you, Dad. It’s been so hard to express what I mean to say, but I am afraid to end up in your circumstances, away from my children, beginning a life anew away from the one I created. What did you pray to your God when you learned that you could not hold us that night? When you learned that you will miss birthdays, first everythings, graduations, how did you react? See, that’s what I am afraid of. Not that I will end up alone, perhaps stranded in a limbo of neither here nor there, but that I will end up on the outside peering in. That I may one day be standing outside of the house where Christmas is being celebrated, and my children, my person, are no longer mine – and Christmas is no longer holiday. 

See, this fear lives inside of me – as a mark of abandonment. I grew up not really loving you, and at times resenting you. You were gone. That was all that I knew. That in the mornings, when we got up to get dressed, there was hardly ever breakfast, and there was never ever you. We rushed to grab hashbrowns at McDonald’s outside of my mom’s job. She bought me the newspaper so I could play sudoku and read about the world. We slept inside of the Montero, with the leaky roof, and the poor insulation, so my sister had to blast the heat. 

I’m afraid of losing what I still don’t have. What kind of fear is this? But understanding that so much is out of our control, and that because I never saw you fight, I never learned to fight. Did you give up on my mom? When the problems came, did you not put up a fight? I have been called out already for that, that I didn’t fight. It’s hard to understand why – and yet, I see you sometimes and you look happy. That perhaps I think it was meant to happen that way, you and mom would separate. 

All I can say is that I wasn’t there for the beginning. She was 15, you were 26. There were witnesses at this wedding. A different time, a different world entirely. But then my sister came, and shortly after me, then the separation. They say you struggled to be an adult. I struggle too. I don’t always brush and floss my teeth, but I never considered it a crime. I pay my bills mostly on time, but I forget to clean the dishes. I try so hard to be perfect, so that I don’t end up like you. So that my child, that has not yet been born, does not end up like me, like my sister did. 

But is it even in my control? I mean, what more can I do? And what advice do you have? What advice could mom have? You guard me from my history like it isn’t my right to know, so that perhaps I can avoid those errors. 

What was there to learn?

Did either of you 
ever pause to reflect? 

or did you become stuck 
in the cause and effect? 

The reason was him, 
the reason was her. 

You keep on down this road, 
and the past is a blur. 

Soon, truths become lies, 
and lies become truths, 

and no one can tell 
one from the other. 

Whose story do I believe? Maybe you are both right, and likely, you were both wrong. But it was more important to be right, even when you were wrong, and even now that sounds so damn wrong. Didn’t it matter to stay together? Couldn’t you wait for her to grow? Why’d you make it so hard for her to know that you would be better? There are only so many chances even I would have given you, Dad. 

My mom wouldn’t want me to call you Dad. My mom wouldn’t want me to call you, Dad. No contact – and the friendly reminder that you didn’t raise me, that you didn’t ever buy me school supplies, or a t-shirt even. She did so much, but she ruined all hope that you would come back one day. That you would come sit with us on the couch, that you would maybe hold her hand, and that I could see what love should look like from a couch cushion away. 

Now I can only imagine, basing the love on what I’ve read. Now I hurt the woman I love, and I become a coward – afraid of the day when I give up too soon. Afraid because some days I only want to hide under my sheets, deep under these blankets, and I don’t want to face the world. No, not like this. I want to run away from my destiny. I want to hide away and retreat. And will I do this to my junior? Will I cower when she needs me most, and then say that I am going through things? Going through things? You arrogant, insolent, bastard. Everyone is going through things. To be a father, it means you have to be there. Even when it is hard to be there. 

I don’t know how to be there. I haven’t learned this yet. I wish you would have taught me. I wish I could ask you why you left, why you let it happen this way, that I could judge you for what circumstances you don’t claim. 

It’s life. The turns of life. The misguided turns and turns and turns that leave you right where you began. Alone. 

Over in a room in a house in the Bronx, I am 4, maybe 5 years old. I watch Dragonball Z and drink nesquik sweetened milk from a nursing bottle. I am freshly bathed, loved, nurtured, and laid to rest. My eyes will close, and I will dream those vivid dreams that I have always dreamt. 

In my mind, theres a world 
free from time 
free from space, 

and in that world I venture
off to the farthest place

A place far from home, 
where nothings real
and nothings fake. 

A place where I’m alone. 

A place, a lonely place.