Life Lessons are Hard to Learn

I came as close as I ever have
to seeing my father cry tonight
My sisters don’t respect him
And in discussing this
And how it wasn’t right,
I was reminded,
And I reminded him, that
In a seemingly distant past,
I had acted an ass
That fateful day, when I,

Struck by lover’s lunacy
And clouded eyes, did rise
and take my leave of him,
And cursed his name
For I was young, you see,
And I had no shame.

I thought I could make it,
In fact I gave little thought
To making it.
All I knew was
Happiness for some time
was to be found
In her alone.
And I found no harm
In taking it.

My naivety hadn’t fully
Been challenged yet,
So I was still
A little boy inside.
My self security
Hadn’t developed yet,
So I became
Her little toy to ride.

My family,
And loyalty,
And all the virtues
I once held strong,
Were given a backseat,
And I switched the dial
In search of our song.

My father looked at me,
His eyes quickly got misty red
The whiskey eased his mind,
And this is what he said:

“That day you left…
It tore me up inside
I called your mother
And asked
What should I do?
And I sat here and I cried.
I just want you to know, son,
I was only, as I always do,
Trying my very best to guide you.”

I can never take away
The pain I caused,
Just as I can’t erase
The pain I’ve been through,
But often, I think, pain
Serves as the best teacher,
So you, who I left with,
Who hurt me so,
I want to sincerely say
Thank you,
I am finally letting you go.


Whale Dreams (or To the Surface)

" The quest is to be liberated from the negative, which is really our own will to nothingness. And, once having said yes to the instant, the affirmation is contagious. It bursts into a chain of affirmations that knows no limit. To say yes to one instant, is to say yes to all of existence."
--Waking Life

I awoke and was pissed, another day of monotony. Another day of coffee binges, and dumbass drivers. Of costly car repairs, and feelings of going nowhere. I‘d been dreaming so vividly through the night. I was swimming with my sister in the ocean. Suddenly all around us were these beautiful whales. It felt so real, and I loved it when they snuck up and surfaced inches from me. I could reach out and touch their blubbery skin. Every once in a while they’d playfully spray water up in the air like kids with a water hose will do in the summer. As always though, reality broke in and fucked it up. I sighed a deep existential sigh, and vigorously rubbed my eyes to get the crust out of the corners. They always say life is but a dream, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Life is only memories of dreams. Life is the interruption of a dream. I felt as if I could just lay there forever, that it didn’t really matter if I got up and did it all over again. I looked up the whale as a dream symbol, and it was commonly associated with deep emotions surfacing, and getting more in touch with one’s intuition. Interesting, and incredibly appropriate.

I had to get up, I told myself. I was being childish. Life isn’t that bad.

But she left you, she betrayed you, I retorted. The two people you were closest to, betrayed you together. She threw you out after taking everything, after you had given up everything to make her happy. Even after forgiving her for fucking your best “friend.” She took your heart and pureed it, then handed you the blender and took off, in search of another conquest. You were left with a mushy heart smoothie. Left to find a way to put it back together. For weeks afterwards you didn’t really have an appetite, eating only because you knew your body needed it. You couldn’t sleep well.

The only thing that saved you for a while, that gave you hope was church, was God. But after awhile you became disillusioned, and realized it was a joke. These people faithfully attended each week, thinking they were scoring some heavenly brownie points. They’d walk in the doors smiling, saying “God is good, all the time,” or “Bless you, brother.” They believed what they wanted to believe, what made them feel good. They hated gay people, then told people not to hate. They judged, then said “Don’t judge.” You got so tired of saying you believed, trying to convince yourself more than anyone. The feeling of belonging and purpose it gave at first eventually wore off, and you realized you were just trying to cover the pain, but the pain remained.

That one day, that moment is what haunted you, when she said with such anger, “I don’t love you anymore.” What a terrible feeling it is to give yourself completely to one person, thinking they are doing the same, only to find out they never meant a word. They were simply biding her time, hedging her bets. You were a bridge from the last guy to the next guy. Used like a second-hand bike, a temporary fill-in, until they could get a better one. Yes you may have been a little overbearing at times, and in your naivety often got jealous. But this was your first real relationship, didn’t she understand that?

You gave her the power to validate your existence, and she denied it. Now you’re finally beginning to heal, to see the folly of your ways. You got a taste of her body and were insatiably hooked. You deceived yourself into thinking you couldn’t live without her, so when you were forced to, you just stopped living as much as you could. You stopped pursuing anything but strict survival. “What was the use?” you asked yourself.

Sometimes, what you thought was the worst thing possible, turns out to be the best. I am who I am now because I have had my heart broken, and put it back together. I am grateful to her in a way. I also learned things about myself, that I was far too needy. I am taking control of my life again. I am developing my own individuality. I am working toward the point where I don’t need someone, so that I can choose to be with someone, rather than them becoming an addiction. An extension of my ego that exists to boost my self-esteem. I am who I am, and I won’t hide behind the scenes anymore. Yeah, the world isn’t fair all the time. Sometimes, the nice guys get taken for a ride. Sometimes justice doesn’t prevail, and sometimes your hopes are dashed. But giving up isn’t the answer. It’s going on, it’s taking the cards you’re dealt and playing them. I’m ready to play the next hand.

I groggily flop my feet off the side of the bed. When my feet hit the floor, and I stand up, I notice suddenly my body feels considerably lighter. The oppressive feeling I had every day prior wasn’t there. I felt free to love again. The mushy heart smoothie had finally hardened into a solid organ again. For so long I told myself I wouldn't be hurt again, but strange as it may sound love is worth being hurt. Worth risking being hurt, because it's the only way to truly find it.

Happy V-Day all you couples.

***all you readers out there(all four of you :) ) who may be thinking, man this guys so cynical and whiny , I just wanna say I know. This post was my attempt to release that cynicism and negativity. I've realized that it's so oppressive and just kills all joy you may have, not to mention being childish. Bear with me and please don't stop reading. Look forward to more positive posts, or at least less negative ones. :)


What's In a Name?

I had to watch the movie Shane for American Lit, and I don’t really know why but I was under the impression that I had been named after him. I seemed to have a distinct memory of being told this, but didn't recall who told me or when, so I questioned it's veracity. I happened to mention it to my professor at the end of class the other day when he reminded us about watching the movie. So today we discussed the movie, and at the end of the class he asked me to come talk to him. He was curious to know if I had indeed been named after the character. So I decided I'd check with my mom, and see if it was true. I was so curious I wanted to call her right after class but she works in the bus barn of a high school, and it was like 2:30 so I knew she'd be busy. So just a few minutes ago, I called her while I was on break. I asked her, "What made you name me Shane?" So I was thinking she was gonna say the movie right, confirm that I wasn’t crazy. But she was like, “well you probably won’t like this….but..” (immediately I knew it was a guy she actually knew) “there was this really hot guy in high school, who died in an accident senior year. I just always liked the name because he was such a sweet guy, everyone liked him.” Then I proceeded to tell her how I had somehow gotten the idea that it was because of the movie Shane, and she told me that she wasn't even sure she'd seen the movie.

So, I am still curious as to how I got this idea in my head that she named me after the movie, but I am somewhat grateful that it found its way in there, because it was an interesting moment with my mom where I learned something about her I never knew. I could also detect a hint of sadness in her voice when she mentioned him dying. These are the moments I enjoy, moments where truth is shared between souls. It's so strange how the weirdest things can bring about moments like this.

We only talked for like 11 minutes, but it was one of the most intimate conversations we've had in awhile. I told her how I felt like I seriously needed psychiatric help because of my problems with worry and anxiety. She was frank with me and said she didn't think so, she said she thought that's just the way I am. My brother is the complete opposite, completely carefree for the most part. She reminded me of something I learned awhile back. Things can be positive or negative, depending on how you look at them. She said "It is a good thing because you think things through." This is so true, I often think them through too much, but that doesn't mean I should throw the baby out with the bathwater, I should embrace the gift I have of foresight, and try instead to harness it, to focus it if you will. To get back to the movie Shane, after trying to give up being a cowboy and a gunslinger, at the end, after once again putting on his six shooter and killing the bad guys to save his new friends, he says "A man's got to be what he is, you can't break the mold." Words of wisdom, Shane.

Now I am curious about this guy I was actually named after, what was he like. What did he look like. I mean apparently he was attractive, what color were his eyes? His hair? What kind of accident was it? Was it his fault, was he a victim of a tragedy? When she saw me as a kid did she think of him. Is that why she called me by my middle name? Interesting how new info can alter the way you see the past.


The Splendor of Simplicity

He always loved driving down the highway on his way home from work after it had rained. The streets became magical, the shiny blackness reflecting another world, a world of bright oblong road signs, of green, and white, and yellow, inverted and stretched downward as if gravity was pulling them within the earth. Lights flashed on the overpass up ahead, and made long skinny lines of orange that would appear and disappear just as quickly. The asphalt had a slick sheen like the skin of a seal. He loved the minimalist beauty involved, and the fact that it all hung on that simplest of substances, but the most profound, water. He imagined a parallel world, reflected by ours into another dimension below us, that only the thin sheet of water mixed with oils allowed us to see. A world skewed to our eyes because of our position.

Of course the reality was it was just the properties of reflected light being refracted by the droplets of water that stretched the images, having to do with it being a wave and all, or a particle and a wave, or whatever. But he couldn’t shake the mystical feeling he got, a feeling that something more was there. Something that caused a feeling of transcendence within his gut. He savored the beauty of the wet streets, the way that a plain old street sign was transformed by the road into what looked like a white brushstroke painted onto the canvas against the blackness of the unknowable.

He just wanted to stay in this moment, sucking the beauty into his eyes. Shut out the troubles and concerns he couldn’t get out of his mind. For a moment the mist cleared and he could see clearly that all his worries and concerns, about the future, and about how it would come out, were so self-centered and stemmed from an abundance of fear. This, this feeling, it was a turning point. The vastness of it all hit him, and it made the tension in his neck release. This drama called life, it wasn’t about him. It was about this beauty, these fleeting instances of grasping something bigger than the “I” produced by our frontal lobe. He need not worry, he need not even be. He was okay with the fact that were he to suddenly stop existing, the world and all that made it beautiful and terrible would continue, off into eternity.


To Be Me

His indignity is masked by silence,
He gave up trying long ago.
He expended tremendous effort
To expose the depths of his soul.
but none understood, instead
They tried to assign him a role
In their drama, selfish
Inclination toward complete
And utter domination
They seek control
Of all in their tiny sphere
But they will not succeed here
They’re blind and cannot see
that all I long for, all I need
is the freedom to be me.

Every moment botched by transience.
Why not wander without aim
In this sick and twisted game?
If he places his hope in a far off star,
It burns out years before he’s begun.
If he puts it in this planet,
It’s scorched and dried up by the sun.
Six billion people praying
To different gods they can’t see,
Six billion people saying
There’s no such thing as me.