Shhh… Just Be Humble.

“Live and let live!”

It’s a phrase I hear often from the mouths of those who don’t.

Individuals that always pride themselves in being so “laid back” and “down to earth” are, most times, the most judgmental people I have encountered. Sadly, it takes some time to figure this out because it takes them some time to slowly drop that façade and show who they truly are. These people are the kinds of people that believe to be so darn knowledgeable on the way life works, to the point that they become arrogant in their teachings. They no longer accept or stand to listen to outside thoughts or opinions. You’ll find yourself talking to them and will quickly realize that they are not listening but instead coming up with strategic ways to counter ever word you were expressing. They shoot you a look of pity due to what they perceive to see in you, ignorance.

Conversation, a dance of two people’s thoughts and opinions bouncing off of one another in hopes of communicating and possibly learning a thing or two from one another, or at the very least, allow room for growth. Yet, with these kids of people conversations aren’t had, or simply put, it’s almost painfully impossible to be had. It’ll quickly become a one sided chat where you’ll do the listening as they begin to spew their ways of thinking into your direction, hoping that it’ll stick. Once I begin to observe that they’re continuously forcing their thoughts or way of life onto me or others, without allowing room for uniqueness and individuality, that’s when I begin to slowly back away.

Humility for me goes a long way and life will make sure to do that for you if you tend to get too lost in what you’re doing to remember that. I try to remind myself of this when I encounter people who have forgotten to be humble. The very same people who have become so “enlightened” that they find it hard to except others who are still well on their journey.

I’m nowhere near being perfect, and of course Ego will at times blind you at that fact. I do however try to keep myself in check. Even when I get excited about the new things life has bestowed upon me be it knowledge or more tangible items, I try hard to not to let that get the best of me. At least not to the point in which I’m turning off the most important people in my life. I try to remember that we are all in a different place of our experience here. I have certain people who come to me for advice or guidance. I try my hardest to listen to them to see what stage of the game they’re in and depending on that is where I’ll begin. Being present to fully take in all variables (who they are, what they are currently going through, what they have in the past gone through) it’s all important when it comes to guiding others. It’s like they say “We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” Double up on the listening instead of exhausting your mouth in beating in your agenda. Remind yourself that not everyone is willing to be taught or are ready to listen. Some aren’t up for the enlightening process and maybe that’s their role here in life, to teach us that. No matter the scenario, let’s put forth patience and kindness towards one another. Think in terms of love and let everything else just be.

Learning Lesson #192020

You can plan something meticulously, like a complex move across the state or something as simple as tonight’s box mac and cheese dinner. You can make sure you try everything in your power to have crossed all your t’s and that you’ve dotted all your i’s. Yes, you can take every precaution necessary to make sure you did all the right things, and that, yes, that you also spoke all the right words. Of course you did your research. Still, here comes life and with one swift swoop sends your building blocks crumbling to the ground.

This tid-bit of knowledge is something I’ve noticed for years now but only once the COVID19 pandemic of 2020 hit did it really sink in that we have absolutely no control, nor will we ever be fully prepared for what life will have in store for us. Something so outlandish such as a global health crisis stopped the world in its tracks. Who would have thought? Not me. This was like something out of an apocalyptic movie, a story plot created by a creative writer with the imagination of a rebel teenager. Yet, here we are almost 8 months into this and my plans have still been highjacked.

Moments like these is when it pays to be easy going. Don’t get me wrong, I get ridiculously frustrated at the fact that there is an abundance of activities that I would like to plan but yet, with no end in sight to the pandemic, I can’t even begin execute. I can’t imagine the people out there that typically have their entire day, weeks, years planned much in advance down to the tiniest of details. To be kicked out of the driver’s seat and to be told that you have to just sit and wait I’m sure has some of those people’s skin crawling with uncertainty. I try to focus not on them, but on my self. Whenever I start feeling uneasy I need to remind myself that there is nothing I can do but dream about my plans someday coming into fruition. Until then, dreaming will take me where no current planning will and at least for the time being I can be content with that.

Pushing Fantasies

***FICTION***

It was a life that he created on a lonely day, long ago. His partner, Paul, had just gone to rehab and there he was, left behind raw and emotional. It was like a tornado whisked through, devouring his life and then spitting it all out, leaving him to pick up the pieces.

He sat at his computer feeling alone and all he craved more than anything was attention. His mind began to wander, his thoughts like an eel gliding across the deep dark waters of his mind. His thoughts turning dark and adventurous, borderline sinister. He decided to Google for things he had never thought of googling and before he knew it, he had created a profile on a site where people went hunting for dark things.

Instantly he began to receive messages. Small windows popping up all over his screen and all from men who were also wanting and seeking relief in their cravings. He chatted with many of them finding pleasure and amusement, and into the night he played with his new found friends.

Just like with anything else that starts off new, he had become instantly obsessed. The following day, although exhausted from staying up all night, his mind never drifted far from the new world he had discovered. He daydreamed of the stories told to him by his newly found lovers hidden behind his computer screen. He dreamed of playing out the scenarios that had been typed out before him, fantasies his mind had never before fathomed of. He was hooked and could not wait to get to his house to sit back on his couch and cruise the scene just one more time. He knew himself.  He could get into way too much trouble if he kept this up, but one more night of fun couldn’t hurt.

*

He got home, relieved that his partner Paul was still away detoxing. He wouldn’t be back for another two days and that gave him comfort. In his mind, he was much too ready to leave the relationship but wasn’t wanting to rush to the breaking up part. He hated breakups. Whether it was him that was doing the breaking up or the other person, the ending of a relationship always sucked for all parties involved. Knowing that Paul would arrive back home with sensitive emotions from going through detox, he knew it would not be easy.  Rob grabbed his laptop and quickly decided that instead of thinking about his real life situation, he would instead get lost in a world of fantasy.

Though he chatted with many men, there was one that stood out from the rest. He was a silver fox of a man. His pictures reminded him of a silver haired Hercules. With his broad and muscular chest and shoulders, and each of his arms the size of both of Rob’s thighs put together, he could only dream of what a man like that could do behind closed doors. How long had it been since the last time Rob had been intimate with someone? It was a shame that Tomas lived states away. Rob knew that sex with Tomas would be fun. He imagined Tomas pushing his limits and testing his boundaries. The thought immediately made him hard and he hurried in logging onto the site and searching for Tomas’ page.

                                                                *

Tomas wasn’t really Tomas. His name was Dwayne and he was an overweight middle aged man and married. Together they shared 4 daughters. One thing was for sure, he hated his life. Everything about his life brought agony to his soul. He felt that his entire life was a complete lie, one that he had been living for over 45 years.

Dwayne was born both male and female and although they decided to make him into a man and call him “Dwayne”,  he always felt like a Diana instead. His parents had chosen for him and he always knew that they had chosen wrong, but with a misogynistic father, and a subservient mother, there was no way he’d be getting out of this one. Even long after they passed he still help up his end of the forced upon bargain. He was married after all and at that time he was on his second daughter with his lovely wife Madeline. There was no way he would break his wife’s heart. His secret was tucked away held by locks and chains, but no matter how deep inside he buried it, the true version of Dwayne was dying to be let out.

He held even deeper secrets. His love of men was undeniable. Although he had never been with a man, the fire burned within. Sure, his wife was beautiful and kind. In his most honest opinion, he didn’t deserve her. He married her for his parents. He did everything for his parents and though he was grateful to have her in his life, she still didn’t quench the desire he had for others. 

One night as his wife and daughters were out have having a girl’s day, he decided to go online and search for a distraction from his mundane and unfulfilling life. What he ended up finding was a whole new life, a new identity. He hadn’t chosen to be a woman but instead created Tomas. A handsome man chiseled out of marble but infused with the same lust Dwayne carried. It wasn’t long after his profile was approved that he met Rob, and with that came an addiction he never thought possible. 

                                                                   *

“5 DEAD IN LOVER’S TRIANGLE ENDING IN MURDER SUICIDE” 

Detective Juarez slammed his phone on the desk rage cruising through his veins. How had they gotten word so quickly? The department hadn’t even contacted all of the victim’s family yet and headlines were already circulating. Not even 24 hours had passed since he had initially arrived on scene, a scene that was forever seared into his memory. A quick flash back took him to the moment he had arrived on the farm. He walked up the dirt driveway only to be stopped by his first piece of evidence. He crouched down and extracted a pen from inside his navy blue blazer and used it to pick up the shoe to take a look. A size 8, closed toe shoe with fresh dark red droplets now decorating it, most likely coming from the body that lay just a few feet from where he was. He could make out the bubble gum pink polish on their now blue colored toes, and thought to himself that if it weren’t for where the body was located he would have just assumed that they were peacefully sleeping. 

All in all the crime scene looked to be the scene from a horror movie. The buzzing of flies was deafening and with the minuets ticking on, the smell was beginning to make it unbearable to breath. A total of 5 bodies ages ranging from teenagers to middle aged, one of them being the person to have inflicted such savagery  to the victims and then to themselves. He immediately thought to himself that this looked to be a crime of passion.

Looking back at that moment, he knew that this was an open and shut case. Juarez knew who had committed the crime and how.  Now he just needed to know the details, the why behind it all. How had it all began? In order to move on from such a travesty he had to try to piece together the days leading up to what had transpired the evening before, but before he could go on with his investigation, he must go  and speak to the families. 

Hopefully he would get to them before the news headlines did. 

Sweet Home NJ

Perspective is a funny thing.

I had a friend of mine reach out to me recently curious as to why I moved back to NJ. It’s a question I get asked pretty frequently. This friend of mine says, “I always wanted to move away from here. I hate this place. I’m shocked because you were one of the few to actually get away.”

I once hated this place too. When I left I told myself that I would never move back but yet here I am. I had gotten away and yet I still came back. Its been 11 months since I moved back and although the beginning was a bit rough, nothing went as planned, I can’t say I regret it. It’s been a great support being around my family and close friends throughout this pandemic. Honestly, in that aspect, I feel as though my timing in moving back couldn’t have been any better.

Removing the pandemic from from this equation, I have always enjoyed certain hobbies here in NJ with more frequency than let’s say I ever did in Florida. Things like going for walks, camping, or even going to the beach I’ve done more here. I hadn’t realized how much the heat and humidity stifled much of my wanting to do things outdoors. I spent a total of 12 years in various parts of Florida and although the scenery was much prettier than what you may find in South Jersey, the constant heat with only a couple weeks of a break once a year really killed all motivation to ever want to do anything outdoors.

Since moving back I’ve gotten to enjoy winter, spring, and summer seasons again. Next up is my favorite, Autumn. These are all moments in time that I had once taken for granted. As a child, I always wanted it to be summer. I manifested it, and let me say, I wasn’t careful with what I wished for because I truly didn’t enjoy year-round summer living.

Those last 12 years of my life away from home I did a lot of working on myself. Some willingly, some of it came by surprise. All of it has molded me and focused my mind and sight on what truly matters in life and this is why I can be back home and not feel hate for being here. The person who packed her car and left is not the same person who is here today. I love that. Will I be here forever? Most likely not, but who knows? Maybe I’ll make this my hub while I take to the world and do some traveling. All I know is that I’m currently enjoying the ride here at good ol’ New Jersey. Living on this little island, still living my beach life, I’m choosing to look at my time here as the glass being more than halfway full. Although many have been yearning to get away, I am blessed to be back.

The Final Act

Panic attacks. I used to get them periodically and what always triggered them, it was never anything else, were thoughts of death. I guess that’s what happens when at a young age you begin to lose people.

The attacks would always start with a small thought, something innocent like seeing roadkill, or hearing a piece of news on the radio about some celebrity’s passing. I would start to think about how they’re no longer able to soak up the day’s sunrays, or ever appreciate what it feels like when a spring’s breeze kisses your face. I’d begin to think about how their loved ones somewhere out there in the world would be heartbroken for what it would feel like a lifetime to come. The thoughts would then trickle into my personal life. What if I lose my mother?… or my sister? What if right now someone crashes into me, T-boned, and POOF! Lights out?

THAT’S when the panic would slowly slither in.

It would start with a slight flicker of the pulse in my neck. It felt like a double click; trigger being pulled. My throat would feel constricted by only a little at first, making it an actual thought to swallow instead of the instinct that it is. My hands would begin to get clammy and would ball up in anticipation of what was to come, and a cold sweat would soon then follow. Thoughts all the while tumbling around my mind, detailing the sudden death, a death that hasn’t happened yet.

This went on for a number of years at times being almost debilitating, but with the help of things like meditation and such, I slowly was able to control these attacks. Instead of having such a fear of what is death, I in turn decided to change my mindset and learned to adapt a healthy respect for it. Regardless of the respect, there are times in which I simply do get caught off guard by what is the final act in this play called Life. Especially when someone so amazing suddenly goes.

It makes no difference the way in which a loved one passes, it’s never easy. I do find it excruciatingly difficult to grasp when someone who is young and full of life dies without one ever seeing it coming. I’ve lost many people in my life this way, more than half of them being when I was still too young to fully understand the permanence of what was happening. Recently however, the ones in my life that passed have really taken me back, almost to those moments of panic because now I do understand the permanence of it, as well as the randomness. I see and logically comprehend that amazingly good hearted people, wise souls that shine a light onto this sometimes dark and violent world, aren’t immune to being taken early. Emotionally I cannot understand it. My heart doesn’t compute why the good ones go so young and as I get older, I don’t think it ever will.

No matter how hard I try to put words to how I feel about my friend’s recent passing I simply cannot. When I tell you that this world lost an amazing person, I cannot describe to you how much I seriously I mean it. An intelligent, compassionate soul who truly did make a positive impact on this world, because anyone who came across him would forever be changed in their most positive of ways. To extinguish that torch was to make this place just a little darker, but if you believe in heaven, it just got a heck of a lot brighter.

However sad and painful, I still try to find the silver lining. I guess it goes to say that I haven’t really lost them, but if anything I now have quite a crew waiting for me to get back. I am in no rush, but I do find comfort in that. Until then, all can really do is clichély live my life in tribute to them and seize the chances and opportunities, living for those who could not.