Beyond the Obvious

Looking at her he sees an angel full of purity and innocence. Her skin immaculate, childlike and flawless. He knows she is a book full of secrets. A walking journal of sorts. We all have skeletons in our closet, but she’s got full bodies. He’s sure of it. Yet love is funny. It makes you do things you wouldn’t even think of doing, it makes you feel things you never knew you could feel.

Love makes you look beyond what’s obvious. To him she is an angel sent from God. She has no idea how she’s saved him in more ways than one. In his darkest moments, he felt her breath. It was warm against his skin. It penetrated and melted his heart. He could stare into her eyes forever. He could get lost in those deep brown pools that would infiltrate and pierce his soul. He could swim with In Those Eyes For Eternity. A Laguna and as mysterious as one too. What could lurk deep within those dark Waters? Turtles, fishes, leeches? Or maybe the Loch Ness Monster?

Maybe something even darker and more foreboding.

Still he cares not.

He loves her and with love he can conquer them all.


Photo Credit: Arturo G. Muse: Natal Galvan

Server Life: The Future

My thoughts on the server life and the restaurant industry are tainted. With 16 years of serving under my belt, I have seen and experienced everything. From receiving a $100 tip for serving over-medium eggs and a side of bacon with a smile, to spilling coffee on the lap of an 80 year old man, to being thrown up on by an overheated baby. Working with the public can be very taxing and not just from day to day but from table to table. As a server, you are putting your best acting foot forward. Every table you take, you are playing a different role, molding yourself to the vibes of that table.

I can walk into any restaurant and immediately tell you which person has recently started serving and who’s a veteran. I can also scan the staff and tell you who is the hard working server, who’s the slacker, who’s the one always up management’s ass, who’s on drugs, who calls out most often, who only serves to get through school or are saving up for a particular reason, and who’s going to be making it a career. I can look at staff and see if the place is all about team work or if it’s each man (or woman) for themselves. I am like a blood hound but instead of sniffing out blood and bodies, I sniff out server characters and work ethics. It’s at times blessing but also a curse.

Eating out is one of my favorite things to do, and for many reasons. For one, as a child growing up with a single mother, we could barely ever go out to eat. Financially, it was something we could do only on a special occasion. That was until I started working and took some of the financial burden away from my hardworking mother. At that point, she had this thing where once a week it would be “kitchen closed” and so instead of her cooking dinner we would go out and enjoy something nice. To be able to go out once a week and reward ourselves for a job well done always felt amazing. The fact that we could sit there and be catered to while being able to enjoy one another’s company stress free was an awesome feeling and they’re memories I hold onto till this very day. I no longer live close to my mom or sister. I live states away and although I’ve got no family here, I still enjoy a “kitchen closed” moment, maybe more often than I should. I am one of those people that you’ll meet that has absolutely no problem in going out solo. All I need to keep me company is a good book or paper and a pen, sometimes those items make better companions than people, haha. So I’ll go out and with hardly any distractions I can tune into all that is around me and that is when the curse kicks in. I start observing fellow customers, take in the ambiance around me, and then finally my thoughts and observations land solely on the staff.

More times than not I begin to really watch the servers that I can tell are veterans to the game. I watch the ones who may not have intentionally made serving their career. When I zero in on these particular people, I become sad, almost depressed at the thought of how their working life has been. In one word, exhausting. It’s not easy serving for a living and I have met people who have been caught up in the game for 20, 30, or even more years. None of them truly enjoying what they do but all of them acknowledging how easy it was to get trapped. All of them accepting a fate that in reason did not need to be accepted but for one motive or another they simply just did. They got comfortable. I look at them, I speak to them, and in all sadness I always think to myself of how I do not want to ever end up like them. I refuse to be trapped in this game no matter how much money I can make. Money cannot buy my happiness in this industry. It could buy me time but definitely not happiness.

When I began working at the place that I am currently working, I started off working 5 days a week, then I opted to pick up a sixth day. I was 20 at the time and was making about $250-$350 a shift depending on the time of year. I was banking. I enrolled into school but my education took a backseat to work. I mean hey, what I was making a shift would make me more than an entry level job that I would be getting once I graduated college so why the fuck not? Soon everything came before my education simply because I had the financial means to place everything else first. Ten exhausting years later, I am still trying to finish my schooling, not so much for the career, but more so for the accomplishment factor. I have been at them same restaurant for the duration of the time, minus two years that I took off to go explore bits of the U.S.  Since I have been back I only serve two days a week. By just working those two days I can make my monthly bills without a worry and have incorporated into my life meaningful matters of the heart instead of the wallet. I spend my time now painting and writing (among other hobbies). This, what I am doing right now at this point in time, is my passion. I have finally figured out that this is what I want my life to be like. I want to go out and live out many experiences and then come back to my humble home and write all about it. Whether it’s a blog, a magazine article, a book, it doesn’t matter to me. All that matters is that I am able to produce stories and experiences for others to partake in and do not allow myself to get trapped in the harsh life of fast money. That just isn’t me. That just doesn’t nourish my soul.

I’m thirty years old, well… in a few months.. and I find myself at a cross roads of sorts. I do not know how to get to where I want to be but no matter, because I will eventually find my way there. I may have gotten a bit side tracked with the bribes life has thrown at me but I found my out. Now that I’ve taken off that financial blindfold that life for a moment blinded me with, I can truly see the meaning of my own life. I can imagine the future and I am excited. I thank all my fellow servers for helping me unravel that blindfold because only by viewing them in their past, present, and future, was I able to take notes and study the road that this job would forever take me down.

I tip my hat off to those veteran servers who have done this for longer than I have been alive for it takes a strong person to dedicate their lives catering to people in this way. I encourage the newbies to keep up their enthusiasm but to never let go of what their end goal is. No one ever went into serving saying “this is what I’ve always wanted to do when I grew up.” The server life is something you fall into and it is up to the person to sink or swim. You either get trapped in the life or you use it as a stepping stone to where you want to be. Passion is the key to everything. I’ve got loads of passion and it is what’s keeping me from settling. Hold onto your passion. It’s your life vest.

The Shell of Cynicism

They were the days, when you were young yet trying to grow up and be that adult you so craved to be. Many times my mother would tell me, “You’ll get burned out if you try to grow up too fast. You’ll have nothing to look forward to if you do it all now.” As a kid, you just shrug it off because you are just a kid, you don’t truly understand. Now I get it.

In a slight way I wish I would have listened, especially when it came to guys. I have dated enough of them that now I find myself guarded and cynical when I think about relationships and love. Before, every relationship had that fairy tale feel. The potential was always there. Prince charming and a happily ever after life always seemed very possible for me. Now I damn Disney and all of its misleading movies of love and life. How dare you mislead me into thinking that love always conquers all. All toads don’t turn into princes, just as we are not all princesses, us, who end up kissing these gross little amphibians. Love, in the romantic sense of the word, is made for everyone yet we are not all made for love. Life and its conditioning will take care of that, robbing some of the chance to accept and dish out what is unconditional love.

I’ve been let down by many, hurt by more, and now I’ve gotten to the point of truly not worrying about finding a life mate because at this point I rather enjoy my days alone than with bad company. My quest to find my prince charming has ceased and now I simply embrace this journey as a solo explorer. I live my days just enjoying what is life and think, “If he comes around, great. If not, I’m cool too..” Funny thing, once I gave up the search, poof, someone pretty cool appeared. A special little someone who in ways makes me want to believe again, yet I can’t allow myself to. A dreamlike thought will pop up in my mind and quickly I counter it with any other thought to turn it into something more realistic. In the moments we are together, I allow myself to get lost in a good time, yet once I head back to my normal life, I reassure myself that this will be something that’ll be over before it began. I rehearse all the excuses that have ever interrupted a romantic relationship before. I rehash the reasons things never worked and remind myself that surly this too will be one of those times.

I no longer have this innocent way of thinking when it comes to diving head first into a relationship. If anything, I now wear a life vest, floaties, goggles, and anything else to keep me safe while trudging through these hectic waters. I’m even more aware of the long list of defects I’ve got going on, most now acquired after many heartbreaks and let downs brought on by life. Ouch… Maybe defects isn’t the proper word for it. No matter the term, the effect is there. I’ve got a list of “qualities” that I find difficult for a stranger to cherish. How do you meet someone without fearing that one day they’ll wake up and realize that you aren’t perfect, and that one does have flaws? How can one relax when you know deep down inside they’ll one day see certain flaws in you and if these certain flaws are hard to deal with yourself, how is this person, a stranger, going to deal with your imperfections? It’s only a matter of time.

Don’t think I am totally numbed out to the hopes of one day finding my perfect kind of relationship. I have a tiny glimmer of hope dressed in the garments of cynicism and I try to never let fear govern the beautiful aspects of life. In a sense it’s healthy to look at things with a bit of skepticism. I’ve never been a pessimist, nor a total optimist. If I had to throw a label on my outlook on life, I would call it being a realist. Optimistically speaking, I look forward to the dates full of conversations and full bellied laughter (oh man does he make me laugh). I swim around in the good vibes and the pure energy this person brings into my life. The inner negative Nancy, that small bit of a pessimist that hides within me, tugs at my brain and reassures me that this too will be short lived. But those two are complete opposite sides of the spectrum.  They are two extremes I try not to follow for I am no extremist when it comes to emotional involvement.  Realistically, I know that there’s a good possibility of this may work out if we both want it to, but life is full of well calculated surprises so who knows what could happen. Would it be difficult if it didn’t turn out happily ever after? Yea, but would I die (insert “But did you die” meme here)?? Of course not. It would be another tiny nic on my heart that with a little bit of nature’s neosporin (time) it would heal with hardly any scaring.

I know that there are tons of people, both girls and guys, who have been through a lot when it comes to search for love. I know that it gets to be exhausting, hence why I’m writing to you specifically. Stop the search. It is a waste of time and energy and by looking, all you end up truly finding are people who are not meant for you. Yes, they are great learning lessons, or decadent distractions, but once the charm and the fun wears thin, you’ll find yourself unhappy. Stop looking and shell up with a slight hint of cynicism. Go on about your life and doing the things that make your heart truly happy and that allow that wonderful face of yours light up with a smile. That confidence in doing what you love, that happiness that shines from doing what makes you happy without worrying about “Do I look ok? Will I meet the one tonight? Am I funny enough? ect..” will be exactly what brings you closer to that person who is perfect for you. A healthy hint of cynicism when approaching life and its curve balls won’t drive anyone away. The right person for you, will see that as just a small obstacle to get through in order to achieve that grand prize, you. For no matter how many flaws you think you have, or how tarnished you see yourself, that special someone will see you as that magnificent person you are. They’ll see you for that one love they have always searched for, perfectly made for them, and will not let it get away.