Thrifty Messages

There is something nostalgic and slightly romantic about buying used books from a thrift store. I can only imagine if those books could tell a story beyond the one it holds within its pages what it would tell. Details of its journey, and the hands it has been held in. Had it ever been forgotten by its owner and picked up by someone random? Had it been treasured and adored, until the day that was no longer the case, or had it been ignored, left to collect dust in the back of someone’s shelf?

No matter how the tale went, these books have made their way to the donation shelves and into my hands. In the beginning I always leaf through the pages and look for the dedications, scribbled notes, or highlighted sections. It is almost like getting a glimpse into a phase of a stranger’s life. A stranger whose book made its way into my life, a confirmation that there is someone out there who had these pages in common with me. I read the messages they leave to their loved ones, always uplifting, empowering, full of love and best wishes. I try to imagine the sender taking a second to jot it down, and its receiver reading, holding it to their hearts with excitement and comfort. Scrawled messages, questions, moments of enlightenment fill in the margins, allowing me access to their thoughts, thoughts now frozen in time.

I don’t always make it out to the thrift stores as much as I used to, which saddens me since it is half of the fun when selecting these little gems. When I discovered Thriftbooks.com that became a game changer. For the most part, if I’m looking for something in particular, I will usually find it on there. Prices are very similar to those you’ll encounter at your typical thrift store. However, the newer the book (you will find new books sold on here) and depending on whether or not it’s in demand, you can find yourself paying full price for certain reads. With every purchase you make you get points that allow for free book purchases later on.

My latest purchase included 5 books, two on Yoga and the other three are self-help books on Leadership and Business management. I’ve been having trouble with my work team lately and so I decided to purchase a couple of books to see what I can learn and in turn, improve on. As I opened up the first book, “Leadership and The One Minuet Man” there written in black ink, barely legible, was a message:

Dear Malcolm,

Thanks for everything you have done for me, more than you will ever know. Keep inspiring others. Keep inspiring yourself. Have a great year!

George

It was a wonderful message and maybe even more inspiring than what the author of the book had to share with me. So, as to not let it die, I did what any other person would do. I stole it for myself for it was exactly what I needed to hear.

Time Taken

Hyattis. It’s what my writing took for what has now seemed to be like an insurmountable amount of time. Don’t get me wrong, I have continued to journal. I couldn’t imagine not being able to purge all these thoughts and experiences on to paper. I’d burst. The break I took was more from sharing.

So much has gone on that I just couldn’t keep up so I didn’t. At a moment’s notice, I began feeling that my cup was running low and when that happens, I am of no use to anyone, not even to myself. Thoughts of life and what was going on in the world around me began to jumble up. One day, moment, second I would be feeling one way. The next day, moment, second I was feeling the complete opposite. I felt myself begin to get carried away with the crowd. That’s when I recognized that changes had to be made.

The thing with change is that although, yes, change does not happen overnight, once the ball gets rolling, it gets rolling rather quickly. Once you begin to address the thought of, “a change should be made”, it isn’t long before the nagging sensation begins to follow you. Those little words will dance around your mind creating a new dynamic between you and life. You will slowly start to pick up on small instances of unease in stitutions that before you wouldn’t have even thought twice about.

Change is what began speaking to me a few months back. I noticed a few aspects of my life that I wanted to make better. There were habits that needed breaking and plans to be laid out, and so that’s what I did. Without making it seem like a rigid gameplan, and, as to not shock my system, I began making small changes in how I went on with my days here in there.

I started off with breaking the habit of watching the news every morning while I had my coffee. It’s funny because growing up I always hated the news. It was something I found depressing, stuffy, and at times comedically dark and dramatic. As I got older I wanted to become more informed on what was going on around me me, and now being an adult it just seemed like the adult thing to do. Now I realize the havoc believing in what the media is telling us is creating within our society. No thank you. So I turned off the news and instead began my mornings with a quick chapter from that book that “I never have time to read”. During the warmer months I would sit outside taking in those very few moments of my day. Currently, I give myself an extra moment in bed under my covers manifesting the day ahead of me while other times I take advantage and journal a bit extra.

Yoga soon incorporated itself into my life. A new friend that I made over the summer extended an invite to attend the studio she practiced in. I had just begun a new mantra of saying “yes” to things more and so I accepted the invitation. From the moment I took my 1st class I was hooked. I found what my body and soul needed and I now go to practice about 3 to 4 times a week. I’m at the point in my practice that if I don’t go… The guilt eats me alive.

Anyone that works out or has some sort of active lifestyle will tell you that once you begin to move and actively workout your body, you’ll soon begin to actively care about what you put into it. If you would have told me 6 months ago that I’d be making the nutritional choices that I’m making today, I would have looked at you as if you’d gone mad. In all actuality I was never one to go off the deep end when eating but I also didn’t restrain myself much either. I am a fiend for anything sweet. Pizza and pasta are my favorite dinners. No, I won’t turn away fruit or salad but I usually turn to those out of guilt. With yoga, as my body grew stronger and became more active I instinctively turned to healthier foods. It wasn’t long before I actually felt the difference that living actively and eating healthy we’re leading me to feel.

As of recent I have decided to take a month off of drinking. Apparently “dry January” is actually a thing but this isn’t some sort of fad or trend train that I’m hopping on to. It’s been an idea that’s been floating around my mind for quite some time now. So why now? Well, I’m going to answer honestly when I say that it’s not something that I am strong enough to do on my own. I’ve got a couple of other people in my immediate circle there are also going for it. To have their support and the knowledge that I am not having to struggle alone is great. Out of all the new changes to come about in my life, this one has been by far the most challenging. I have come to realize how often I’d make an excuse to have a drink. I was drinking on a day-to-day basis. There were multiple instances that I’d even have a drink because everyone else was drinking, not because I wanted to. Or maybe I’d find myself having a drink because the clock ticked that it was just about that time.

Without making it feel like a chore I took control of my life. I took some time and with that time change came with it. If I had to state what my end goal is, it would obviously be to ultimately feel better. Yet the end goal isn’t what I’m focusing on. What I am fixated on is the Now, the Process, the immediate obstacle I’m trying to overcome right now. How do I make today great? By making conscious choices to feel happy and live healthy in the right now. The world of change has opened up a whole new feeling of freedom and it’s brought me back here. It’s brought me back to that feeling of wanting to share again . My cup is full and I once again am ready to share what’s in it.

Your Buddy, Crocker

Visiting my first farmer’s market, which didn’t take place until way after I moved to FL, was magical. Ever since then I have always wanted to work my own show booth and this past weekend, 10 years after visiting my one, I actually got to. The spectacular part? Not only was it my first trade show, but it was AC’s very first ganja fair, and I got to be a part of it. Holy shite, right?!? The kicker? I had less than a week to mass produce product to sell, order packaging and labels, and gather materials to somewhat decorate my space to better attract buyers. Good thing I am always down for a challenge.

When I began making edibles, I knew that the idea was a solid one but what I didn’t know was how I would fair when there were others in the area doing the same thing. It was an idea that popped up when I was totally fed up with serving. After more than 15 years in the restaurant game, I needed an out. Having no real plan, and genuinely over the work related bullshit, I, one day, cashed out my last tables and walked out. It hadn’t been an easy day and so I spent the day fuming, going over in my mind what had happened at work to get me to the point of quitting. I spent the following day on Indeed going over the listings in hopes of finding work. Due to the pandemic, I was already behind on bills so this last minute decision to quit my was pretty bad timing. Everything that popped up on the site seemed to be restaurant related and although I knew there was money to be made there, instant money, I reminded myself that it was again a restaurant job. They were all the same, therefore why continue down the same path that would produce the same unhappy results? I needed to do something different. I began applying for other types of work, but no matter. Every application I sent in, didn’t make me feel excited one bit. Instead of feeling hopeful and excited, I felt dread and almost would wish for no one to call me. I began picking up odd jobs here and there. A little bit of puppy sitting here, a little bit of babysitting there. A little bit of selling ganja here, a little bit of delivering Mary jane there. It was one day, sitting in the backyard of a client’s house trying smoke a bowl without the neighbors seeing (or smelling) that I thought to myself, “I wish I had an edible instead…it would make this a lot easier…” and that’s when the bulb turned on. Why not make and sell edibles? The clientele was out there. I knew I had some talent in the kitchen. All I needed were the supplies and equipment.

My next move was risky. I guess that entire week I was full of risky moves. I took my last couple hundred dollars and spent it on everything I needed to get started. I had no real plan (seems to be a running theme) other than to bake and sell, “Let’s see where this takes me.. I’ve got nothing to lose.” That was back in July, now 11 months later, after much trial and error, I am elated to see this risk turn into great reward.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still so much more to do to get this little baby of mine fully up and running. I spend my days working towards taking the steps to do MORE, then spend my night’s dreaming of all that will be. Last weekend’s ganja fair allowed me to get a glimpse of what things for me could look like in the future. Selling my product to people, watching their expressions when trying my homemade edibles, and recognizing the look of satisfaction, made me feel so proud. To watch the first product sell out, then the second, my heart was elated.

Although I’ve winged much of this, I now have plans, solid plans, to grow this business. With the support of those around me, and trusting in the Universe, I’m excited for the future of Buddy Crocker Co.

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” — Goethe

That Little Prince

It’s summer but I spring cleaned my room this week, for what seemed to be the umpteenth time. It’s not that I’m messy. It’s a controlled chaos. Sometimes that controlled chaos gets a little frizzy, so I have to come around and tame it a bit, just like everyone else. Actually, not like anyone else but that’s not why I’m here. I’m here because during this so-called “spring cleaning” I stumbled across an item that sent me reeling back to a time that once was. It was a book gifted to me by someone special in the days before me moving back home from CA. The book is “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint Exupery.

The book came to me initially by recommendation. I was at my local library at the time scanning isles, nothing really jumping out at me. One thing about me and my trips to the library, which could be either good or bad or neither really, is the fact that I never went in with a plan as to what I was looking for. I would just walk up and down the row of bookshelves, with hopes that the right one would jump out at me. On one of my trips searching for that right book, I accidentally (on purpose) bumped into my crush. Now, this tall glass of water worked there restocking books. By this point we hadn’t exchanged more than a few words here and there, and definitely some stolen glances. This particular day was the beginning of something special. After apologizing for the minor collision, he asked me if there was something in particular that I was looking for. I told him the method to my madness and in turn he asked me if I was open to any recommendations. I, of course, accepted. I would have accepted almost anything by him at this point, and that’s when he mentioned The Little Prince.

Typically, I do not judge a book by it’s cover, not in any aspect that you can apply that phrase to. Taking a look at the font cover of this one, however, made me doubt my desire to read this book. It did look a bit adolescent to me, but what did I expect when taking recommendations from an almost complete stranger. That same night I sat on my bed and began reading, and by early the next morning I was finished. I closed the book amazed at the fact that something so small could pack such a big punch.

I walked to the library the next day, all the while planning on how I was going to walk up to him directly, without any pretenses other than to thank him for the recommendation. It’s not everyday that someone impresses me with a good read, and so I walk in. I dropped the book into the “return” bin and scanned the library, wondering where he could be. Maybe in the non-fiction, historical section? Religious or Spiritual isle? Or maybe in the cooking section? I couldn’t find him, but it didn’t take him long to find me.

He asked me out on a date that day. I was over the moon. I had always thought I would meet the man of my dreams in a library, and walah! It happened. From the night of our first date, we were inseparable. I found a lot of joy sharing my time with him, as we both learned and experience so much with one another. The tragedy didn’t come for months later, but it was one that I saw coming, hoping in silence that it wouldn’t. I was to return back home after a year of not being able to get my life together there. It had all been so hard, much harder than I ever thought it would be. Jobs were scarce and those that I was able to obtain never lasted long. They were either temp jobs or paid peanuts. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how little I tried to eat, no matter the times I would sit in my home with all the lights off, trying to conserve any bit of electricity I could, I never had enough money to cover life in CA. I had two major heartbreaks that year, leaving CA, and leaving him behind.

After having to deliver the news of my return home, the weeks following that were filled with happiness draped in a woven quilt of sadness. We tried to make sure that we relished in every moment that we spent together, but as the days would turn into darkness, the feeling became more desolate, each day being one day closer to that of me leaving.

On the last day that we spent together, we did nothing remarkably special. We went to our favorite burger joint, the one where we went to the day after I first spent the night and morning with him. We rode around the neighborhoods in his El Camino, taking in the last bit of Cali streets I would be seeing in what I knew would be a long time, if ever again. That night we hung out in his bedroom, and after a while of listening to music and reminiscing of our times together he mentioned that he had something for me. I closed my eyes and once reopened, there in front of me, was the library copy of The Little Prince.

Fast forward to earlier this week when I was cleaning out my room, I began dusting the books that lined the walls of my bedroom. Dusting was something that I hadn’t done the last time I cleaned, which is probably why I hadn’t noticed the book there before. The moment I saw it and picked it up, my heart skipped a beat and slightly sunk. So many memories resurfacing, pulling at my heart, instances that I had thought I tucked away so many years ago. I brushed of the dusty cover and opened the book, and there on the inside cover was the quote…

“But she in herself is more important than all of you because she is the one I watered. Because she is the one I put a glass dome. Because she is the one I sheltered behind a screen. Because it is for her that I killed caterpillars (all except for two or three who were to become butterflies). Because she is the one I have listened to, complaining, or boasting, or sometimes when she says nothing. Because she is my rose.”

Immediately after reading this, I felt almost every emotion one can feel. Happiness and sadness. Anger. Guilt. After leaving CA, it wasn’t long when I had slowly started to cease communication with him. I had been depressed. I felt as though CA was such a painful experience that I just couldn’t continue to remember. I knew I had, too, broken his heart and I didn’t feel ok in knowing that by keeping in touch, I could be hurting him even more. Before I knew it, communication completely stopped, and even though I have since reached out on a number of occasions, our talks have never been longer than just a couple sentences.

By the time I wanted to try to save even a friendship, it had been too late. I lost him.

If I could tell him anything, I would tell him how sorry I was to have let our friendship go silent. I made a mistake by closing a chapter in my life that was too painful to continue reliving and by doing so, I lost one very important highlight of what once was a time so cold. I’ve never forgotten, nor will ever forget what it was to have a person like you on my team, making some of my best memories in CA being shared with one very special Little Prince, that one who got away.

A Pretty Bow Of Sorrow

The sharpie squeaks against the paper as I cross another city off my list. It’s a sound I love hearing for it marks another conquest. Every moment I travel, to new places or old ones, I collect a little piece of it and take it with me, and leave a little piece of me too. Every place I go adds to the addiction of wanting to see, feel, touch, taste… and simply experience more.

New Orleans gave me a different kind of perspective, one I wasn’t expecting. In photos from those who have visited before me, I pictured a town of beautiful French and Spanish inspired architecture, with colorful aromatic flowers over flowing window beds. I imagined luscious greenery blanketing the streets, parks full of old cypress trees waving at you in the breeze. The scent of all sorts of creole inspired dishes, spices tickling your nose and enticing your belly. I thought I knew what New Orleans was before arriving but in all reality, I had no idea.

Yes, you will find all of which I mentioned but sadly, it’s slightly hidden behind another world, a far more unpleasant, an almost sinister world. Despair permeates the city, and it’s only after you’re drunk that you seem to forget about it. Souls both dead and alive, roam the streets, tragedy chiseled onto their bodies for the rest of us to witness. It weighs heavy on the heart to witness so many people in pain while knowing there is no way for you to help each and every one of them. Regardless, you’re not there to spend you travel time wallowing over other’s unlucky circumstances, so you move on as best you can.

One thing you seem to not be able to get away from is the ammonia that lingers in the air. Some blocks just pat you on the nose with it. Other blocks, it seems as though you’re getting body slammed. You fear that if you open your mouth to even comment on it, the stench will rip your tongue out and burrow deep inside. Now, I’ve been to many major cities and I understand they don’t smell of warm lavender showers and bubble gum drops, but geeze Louise was this something! With time, your senses become slightly accustomed, and not to mention with every cocktail you sip on the easier it is to forget. Upon my arrival I was fathomed at how such a popular city among tourist could be let to get so dirty but the truth of the matter is, they don’t. Day and night you witness city employees sweeping up garbage, emptying out trash bins, they even street wash every single night late into the early morning with soap and hot water to keep the grime at bay. Yet, with its dense population, a high amount being homeless, and thousands of tourists visiting per day, they can only do so much.

No matter the unpleasantries, they weren’t enough to deter me from visiting again. If anything, I can’t wait to go back. Though we were there for 4 days, there was still so much left to do and try. One of the best things we did during our earlier stay was taking an overall all city tour. Our tour guide was able to give us a fun and informative history, but most importantly highlighted many food and music spots that you wouldn’t have found on your own unless guided by a true local. My bf and I being the only two on this tour got to benefit from being able to ask as many questions as we wanted, getting the real inside scoop of what to do and where do go, and where not to. Some of these spots we were blessed to try, others remain undiscovered until next time. Taking a ride out on the Mississippi River on the oldest steamboat in the city is still left on the todo list, along with a good old fashioned trolley ride, and we can’t forget a trip out to the plantation for a tour of it and its bayou.

All in all, it was another successful trip. No fussing, no drama. Just good food, good music, great company, amazing people. I look forward to my return someday so that I can enjoy the gift of these unique experiences that visiting NOLA brings. A gift that although not made up of diamonds and gold, it still shines in its package, tied up with a pretty bow of sorrow, just waiting to be unwrapped and enjoyed.

Growing Out of Judgmental

Funny how at the beginning of a new year, our minds seem to always float back to the previous year, recapping all that you’ve gone through.

As I was getting ready for work this morning I began to reminisce about my time last year in Fort Lauderdale, specifically the last 8 months that I was there. The apartment where I was living and its neighborhood, the neighbor’s I had, the job I worked. Being as though your job is pretty much your second home, where you spend most of your time if not all of it, my thoughts swam here for a bit. I began to remember those I worked with and worked for, and I just couldn’t help but laugh. It was mainly made up of overly wealthy investors that had never worked a day in the restaurant industry, and young 20 year olds with barely any employment history. I pictured my manager friend, Dolly, who would have a mini melt-down when her managing status wasn’t being fully recognized or even slightly respected. I thought about the girls I got along with but truly only due to default. They were basically the “mean girls” of the establishment. Young fashionistas, that had no problem shunning others , never allowing for new people to really enter into their clique. Why they accepted me into their circle? I have no idea. Could have been the age difference? Could have been the tattoos or the way I carried myself? Maybe it was due to the fact that I could care less about whether or not I’d be accepted. Regardless, whether we shot the shit at work or not, I still wasn’t immune from their gossip. The grapevine didn’t take long to reach me, and like water off a duck’s back, I always kept it moving.

Those few months were spent with people close to 10 years younger than me in age and although I wasn’t ecstatic about it (I always assumed that by the age of 30 I would have been long out of the server life), it was fun for me to observe. Now, I know I’m going to sound like some middle-aged know it all, but I do remember back when I was their age, early 20’s, and thinking I had life by the balls. I thought of myself as a mature young lady, wise for her years, a hard worker who knew how to deal with life. Though, some of that may be true, most of it was way off key. I didn’t know diddly squat about life. I had no idea that although you could take steps towards always doing the “right thing”, that life could still come around and knock you on your ass. Back then it was almost a feeling of entitlement, a feeling that you could judge others for their “stupid” mistakes, even sometimes feel like you had the right to look down on them because of those mistakes. This is all before learning how most of the time you’re basing what is “right” and “acceptable” by standards placed on us by society, aka: other human beings. As I lived my life, I was humbled by the experiences I had gone through, and quickly outgrew my judgmental phase.

Not taking life too seriously was something that took me a while to learn but once I did, it was like I released my self from self imposed chains. You start to realize all the stress and anxiety you placed upon yourself by caring too much about the things you cannot change, and caring too little about the things that truly matter. I would watch and listen to my young co-workers and internally wonder when this realization would flick them on their forehead, a necessary wake up call.

I have since then moved and have fallen out of contact with many of these people, but still, I can’t help but wonder if they’ve humbled up some and have grown out of being judgmental of others. I can only hope that they’re currently on that journey, and that someday they look back to their early years and have that moment of realization. I hope that when entering their 30’s they do so with humble new hearts.

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.