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November: Living a Lie

I was born 27 years ago. It’s a terrifying thought as you grow older. To some, it’s another rotation around the ever expanding sun, but I’m indifferent. My work place surprised me with a cake and candles to match. I was absolutely speechless and had the most heartfelt gratitude for all my co-workers whom I consider my friends. I don’t even like cake and declined a piece for myself — much to the surprise of everyone around me. I told everyone my sincerest thoughts and appreciation for all they’ve given me, both when helping me meet deadlines and for sharing a bit about themselves. I felt loved even though my life has been falling apart and crumbling lately.

I came clean. I told everyone how tired I was. How much pressure I felt. How I was taking Xanax on and off for part of the year. It was ruining me and everyone suspected it. It’s an interesting feeling when you take an anti-anxiety pill. I’ll admit I have the hardest time relaxing and finding ways to just unwind from a long day. A little white bar makes the ills of living go away in an instant, but I’ve been cheating — and not without its’ consequences. My memory has completely gone and I have a hard time recalling why I even got up from my desk and walked down the stairs on some days. I’m scared and should be.

It’s a trade off. Take a pill prone to high abuse and feel the relaxation you desperately want, but lose your own ability to think. The choice should be obvious, but I haven’t been in a good place all winter. I deserve better, need an alternative, and should treat myself better. I only have one body, one mind, and one heart. I’ve lost part of myself these past few weeks and am not ashamed to admit it to the world. My GM and I had a heartfelt discussion about whats been going on and I needed that. He said he admires my work ethic, my commitment, how I carry the company, and reminded him of one of his beloved friends who share the same attitude. He shared his past experiences with drug abuse and how he knew I was falling down the same hole. I was deeply touched, more so that he and everyone else cares for me.

My little white bars are gone. I’ll force myself not to take them anymore. I always thought giving up cigarettes and alcohol was my biggest hurdle, but somehow I’ve fallen into a new trap. My foot is caught, but not for long. I’ve had help, words of love and appreciation, and will use that as motivation to stop. It’s time I became myself again.

I’ve accomplished so much this year and I’ve somehow let the last remaining weeks fall to pieces. I’ve gone from feeling completely untouchable to a sheer state of absolute vulnerability. My addictive personality took over once again. This time it wasn’t for love, lust, someone I’ve fallen for, or the usual suspects I always joke about. Seems only fitting I usually find myself preoccupied with distraction after distraction.

Of my closest group of friends, they all consider me to be the most well-off — whatever the fuck that means today. I’m trying hard to set up a bright future for myself and am fixated on ever more ambitious goals. I should be thankful, grateful, feel accomplished, and most days, I truly am. It’s been a real ride since graduation. I’ve had about 7 jobs, bought 2 cars, one accident, and paid off half my student loan, and given away over $1200 this year to my friends and family. Objectively, I’ve gotten somewhere great so far. I have vices, but know I have it where it counts in life.

My friends and I all agreed one night if I ever completely fall off the rails or find myself with someone who doesn’t have my best interests in mind — yet I’m somehow too naive or love struck to see it, that they ever so generously slap me as hard as they can across the face. I need that awakening and a quick reality check.

I’m sorry for the lie. I’m sorry for letting myself down. I’m not perfect and will never claim to be.

I started the year flat lining –> to finding a new opportunity –> to feeling like the absolute image of success –> to falling madly for someone at my highest of highs –> to feeling the sheer weight of the world crushing me –> and now hitting rock bottom. Every year is parabolic, but I’m ready to ride the wave.

Winter 2018: I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing anymore, but I’ll soul search for as long as I have to. I’ve wandered off the path and into the woods. No compass. No North Star. Not even my vision to guide me. One of my oldest friends since elementary recommended I start with the basics. She’s right and is a nurse — there must be some truth to it. Find something enjoyable (and healthy) to preoccupy your time she said. Why can’t more people be like her?

I might just reactivate my dormant lookbook account and take OOTD pics once again. But fashion is an expensive hobby — if you can even call it that. I may not have it all together but I can at least dress like it. Afterall, a well-fitted suit is basically modern day body armor — 40% silk and made in France by Givenchy no less. I’ve always been passionate about fashion and clothing — both for men and women. I’ve only ever met two other women who share the same level of appreciation for clothes as I do. One moved from OC to Chicago to chase her dreams. The other never could tell me the truth.

I obsess over aesthetics and design. I might just buy a few books on pattern making, rolls of fabric, and borrow my Grandma’s sewing machine if it somehow makes the end of the year more bearable. Before I went to PCC, I wanted to go to Parsons to learn design — I still kind of do.

Half of November flew by, but there’s always December to look forward to. I have a month and a half to set myself straight. If by some miracle that happens, 2019 will be my best year yet. If all goes to plan, by 2022 I’ll have a condo, a place to call my own in my favorite city, and can truly say I’ve lived the American dream. Fight me world. The flood water is creeping in, but I’m a tidal wave.

I’m just a guy trying to find his place in the universe and if you want to come along for the journey, there’s always room for two. There is no destination, but I’ll promise we’ll both get to the outer reaches of the cosmos. I’ll throw myself in front of a shooting star before I let it hit you.

With love, good-bye world.

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Facing the Void

disappointment: the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.

My mind is chaotic at best. Some days I have these never ending thoughts of disappointment — not so much with myself, but with others. I know in the past and even in the present, I’ve let some of my most cherished friends and family down. I feel their hopes in me dwindle — whether they’re willing to admit it or not. Eyes are a gateway into a person’s soul and all too often, I bare the responsibility for it. Arguments are heated and can easily turn violent — even into a falling out.

I don’t fear disappointment from my friends or family letting me down — I fear not meeting my own. Some nights while I lay on my couch, I can’t help but think not I’m living up to the person I want to be. It all seems like a dream and I have yet to wake up. Blue pill or red pill or a dream within a dream. Does this all matter? What is it for? Who really cares? Why does anything matter? I want too much, more than is needed to be happy, yet the void grows bigger every year. I’m searching in the darkness and without anyone to guide me.

I’ll admit I have a difficult time finding my own happiness with every passing year. Better job, more income, and retail therapy just doesn’t cut it anymore. My 10+ hour work days recently has gotten me thinking too much about the numbers in my bank account and neglecting the ones who love me.

“You’re too fixated.”

“You’re too narrow minded on the end goal.”

They’re all true to some degree. I want an easy escape and I find myself falling back to old habits that I swore would never return to. My persistent cough these couple months speaks volumes on just how much I “love work. I should know when to stop and give myself and mind a break, but don’t — you can say I need help with that. Work is an escape from your own troubling thoughts after all.

I weighed myself recently and I’m somehow ten pounds lighter. I find myself so caught up in work I neglect to eat or find time of my own to unwind from a long day. I’m a walking disaster in that regard and shouldn’t be. Worrisome. It’s too easy to lose your health with all the crap we put into our body. I eat out more than 3 times out of the week, which shocks many of my co-workers. Maybe that’s why everyone asks me for recommendations on restaurants. Thankfully, I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in me or a puff from a cigarette all year.

My neighbors who use to live next door had the most beautiful garden of flowers and roses imaginable. There’s something quite calming and soothing knowing nature can create such things for us to enjoy — and without a penny spent. I wake up early so I can sit and admire them for what they are. It saddens me they both have long since passed away, but their garden remains just as they left them. They were married for over 50 years and I saw their love for each other every chance I got to speak to them. That was truly a sight to behold.

Perhaps I need to stop and smell the roses.

I find that I derive most of my happiness from making others happy. Something as a simple car ride, a dollar for the less fortunate, or a plane ticket for my best friend so we can all be together puts the biggest smile on my face. I love their laughter because it’s contagious. I feel their love and joy knowing I went out my way to help them out. Their happiness is my happiness and that’s been the story of my life for as long as I can remember. Knowing they’re there to listen to whatever outlandish comments I make or jokes is icing in the cake.

One of my friends asked me, “All this year, you had more than a few women interested in you and didn’t want to just get with one of them?” I found his comments insulting even though he didn’t mean it that way. Why be with someone just for the heck of it? I don’t want or care for a relationship just because she throws herself at me. To be in a relationship like that is a sham — whether or not it delights her. Outward beauty is just looks and makeup. My eyes might find that appealing, but that will never be the sole reason you “win me over”. You could be the most beautiful thing on Earth, but if it doesn’t run skin deep, I’ll have to politely decline.

I find intelligence and engaging thoughtful conversations the most attractive quality in a woman. There aren’t too many like that out there. You can me picky like my friend, but that’s just the truth.

I don’t need saving or a life raft at sea. The current will take me somewhere eventually, It’s just a matter of finding the shore. If I’m fortunate to be a castaway alone on a deserted island with nothing but my thoughts and the ocean for as far as the eye can see, maybe I’ll find the answer to everything. With a place like that, all you have is time and none of the problems that come with everyday living. No 9-5, bills to pay, or the temptations of vices.

I have ambitions dreams for being so young and I know I’ll reach them one way or another, but at what cost? I can admit I can sometimes not give someone I care about enough of my undivided attention when my day is hectic and there’s a mountain of work to be done. It’s the problem with living life.

To want to be there for them at all times, but baring the responsibility of a demanding job where the company is at stake. People depend on me and although they’ve expressed their gratitude, it takes time away of my own with my friends or loved ones. I can’t imagine being in a relationship for this very reason unless we reach profitability at the company and my own dreams are reached. It’s selfish and self centered and I don’t expect anyone to completely understand where I’m coming from. I’m so close. Just a couple more years from my guess, but I know once I somehow “make it” it’s not without its’ few shares of consequences or regrets. If they, she, or whoever it may be understands, then great. You’re one in a million and I hope I never let you go.

The void seems less frightening knowing they’re around, but I’m still wandering — yet to find the one.

Not all who wander are lost, but someday I hope I’m not alone in the journey we call life.

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Me Against the Universe

It’s only fitting on the day of my birthday one of my tires gets a flat. No good deed goes unpunished and I’m feeling the universes’ wrath.

Not to worry. Like with most things, it’s an easy fix. Total damage is just the cost of a new tire or a whole set — whichever they recommend.

I’m still amazed — out of all the days, it had to be my birthday. But I’d expect no less. Some days I which I can catch a break — a desperately short one at best.

Come at me world. You haven’t stopped me yet.

—-

Feel the wrath of existence

The pain of living now

Run through the maze

and wander til you’re lost

Look for the exit

and see the light

One rock two rock three

For it just a hill

and I’m claiming the mountain top

Up above with the horizon beam

Shadows from afar

for a long as the eye can see

Fear not the unknown

Fear not yourself

Look into the future

for the light is always near

—-

Later world.

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Of Sea and Then

Dearly beloved,

You came and gone like the winter breeze

And the summer sun,

Twas a time of you and I,

Yet your touch has long since gone,

Amber waves and purple haze

of our moments yesterday,

Take me for a journey

Like an adventure never end,

Tell me I’m all you need

Like it in my dreams,

Save me from the shadows

And reach down with a hand,

I can only go so far — yet the tide is near,

Hold me by yourside & the waters creep,

Until we both are afloat

forever til the end of time,

I come for the destination

Yet you came wandering and of lost

We found each by the coast

Yet the island was dream

Tidal waves and sea side cove

Lost at sea and castaways

Love me then and tell no end

For twas just a life of you and I

Forever never more

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Marriage

I’m at that age where you tend to notice more and more of your friends getting hitched. It’s wonderful to see people trying the knot and being forever and forever always, but is it? All too often, I noticed they’ve only been together for a couple years and in extreme cases, just a year — if not less.

I have a hard time figuring out what I want to eat in the morning and somehow they know this is going to pan out for the better. It seems a bit premature and ill-advised for something so life changing. I see this a lot. They get married, but don’t yet have their own lives together yet.

Call me crazy, but shouldn’t you have a plan? Money saved is essential. Your debt now becomes her debt and vice versa. I feel it’s only appropriate a man has his finances together if the future Misses and I share a joint bank account. Weddings are inherently expensive — it’s just their nature. I find it a little alarming dropping $100K on a wedding and few more for a diamond ring sounds okay to some would-be newlyweds — and without money to their name.

Finding a well-paying job is difficult. The economy isn’t exactly booming in the last couple months of 2018 — the next recession is imminent. That’s just the truth. Saving is difficult for many, but that should be reason to hold off tying the knot. If you think about it, there’s very little difference staying in a committed relationship and one married. You and her are still together afterall in both cases. Why complicate it by rushing into a marriage? The tax savings are great, but what good is it if you can’t use it to your advantage?

If my future self somehow finds Miss Perfect and get married, I hope I don’t fall into the same trap. Large weddings look fantastic, but that’s expected if it costs you the same as the initial down payment on a house. Diamonds are the usual affair used to symbolize never ending loyalty, devotion, and commitment, yet they aren’t rare and sold at several times markup. A shiny rock is just that — a rock. I don’t need or care to have the extended family I see less than once a year at my wedding. If you and I aren’t extremely close, I don’t see how this special moment has any profound impact on you. All I need are the people I really care about with a woman who knows the true meaning of love by my side. That’s truly priceless. The rest is just extra — and an expensive one at that.

It’s about the journey. Not the destination.

You tend to hear this statistic: half of all marriages end in divorce. It’s unsettling to know a coin toss has the same odds as most marriages today. Divorce is messy, but can be avoided if you spend enough time with someone before the marriage. The longest lasting marriages are those who dated the longest. I think it gives you and your significant other enough time to truly know each other’s ins and outs of you.

Open communication is also key. We’re so glued to our glowing rectangles that we neglect the person we’re supposed to be communicating with right in front of us. Social media is addictive and only hinders free and open discussion. How anyone can really disconnect from the digital world is my guess. I have a hard time not checking Facebook or Instagram just once a day. The best option is honesty. Don’t fear about any topics and if something is in need of a talk, just do it. If you get over fear and let go, you have nothing to lose, yet everything to gain. Love is difficult, but having a frank and candid discussion shouldn’t. If anything, open discussion is therapeutic. Would you rather talk it out now or spend some money on couples counseling and have a stranger moderate it later?

This might be unique to my family, but my parents have all the hallmarks of a rocky marriage — it’s a huge understatement at best. They hate each other and make it quite obvious — if sleeping in two separate beds wasn’t enough. My dad hasn’t been loyal or faithful and I had to be the one who found out about it. Years ago, I confronted him. Seeing a grown man shaking in fear says volumes — mostly that I know you’re guilty. “They’re just a friend,” he said. His words meant one thing, but his body language gave it away. If you and the Misses ever reach this sad point in a marriage or relationship, just breakup and get a divorce. You have to know when to call it quits. Going behind each other’s backs won’t help. My mom used to tell me since I was a kid how she married the wrong man and that there was someone before my dad. It’s amazing this can even be discussed after having 3 kids of your own. A comment like that has no time for anyone’s ears. We know your intentions, so don’t even go there.

What does forever and ever after really mean?

Later world.

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Reconnecting

“Seeing Joy”

Reconnecting with a friend is always a bit nerve-racking — especially if it’s been 5 years since you last saw them. I use to see her every week and on Thursdays if my memory is anything to brag about. PCC days are getting fuzzier every year, but I tend to remember people I befriended more so than any other memory. The days leading up to tonight, I gave her a warning, “I’ve changed a lot since you last saw me. I’m not the same person.”

It’s interesting to reminisce about the past and poke each other’s brains to see how much of you they remember. She said back then I was clean cut and nothing like how I look now. I suppose earrings, tattoos and leather jacket gives off that type of vibe. To her, I could fit right in as a member of a k-pop band. Gee, thanks. She mentioned she often wondered about me and if I would be that person she thought I’d be. I remember one time she asked if I wanted to go on a hike together with some friends and I completely blew her off. Sorry about that.

I told her everything. Where I work, what I do, who I’ve dated — essentially, the whole nine yards. I’m usually a bit hesitant to talk about myself in that manner. I think it’s not too polite to talk about yourself, but if you ask, I’ll give in and make an exception. I often wonder about the people I used to see regularly too — if they are the same, where they’ve gone, and what their lives are like now. You miss who you don’t see anymore — which is a good thing. It shows how much they mean to you. You don’t miss everyone — just the ones you really care about.

Talking about the past conjures up a few unwanted thoughts. Bad breakups, hard times, days where the weight of the world was on your shoulders, times where you tried and failed miserably. Part of me wishes I forgot, but that would be cheating. Knowing where you were then keeps you grounded now. Habits die quickly if you take control of your life and start living how you see fit. Old me didn’t know that and got stepped on.

I suppose to a lot of people who get reintroduced to my new self find it fascinating. Her surprised and often constant eye contact says a lot about how she’s reacting to your response. Me — I’m just honest. I’ll tell you everything and anything if you care enough to listen — including the good, bad, and down right ugly. The only topic I was apprehensive to mention was how I once was abusing drugs and alcohol to the point of it destroying my health. It amazes people if they’re willing to believe I was able to stop cold turkey without any intervention or outside assistance. Some call it will, I call it quitting while you’re ahead.

One thing I’ve come to realize after seeing the ever so lovely CJ is I have it alright. I’m quite fortunate to be in the position I am in life and should be a bit more grateful. I’m not and I admittedly, I need to work on that. I know. Happiness is elusive, but I’m only after feeling content. She demanded I text her if I ever have another ill-advised thought. That’s what friends are for, right? She’s really something else and for that, I’m truly thankful there are friends who have my best interests in mind.

Everyone is full of surprises and I just love that.

Later world.

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さようなら October

Sayōnara (Good-bye) October

October has been my most stress inducing month all year. Everyone at least once at some point asked if I was okay or commented, “hey, you don’t look so good.’ All of which is true. I was tired, burnt out from work, and felt exhausted all month. That’s what happens when you’re a one person army tasked to do several projects in a very limited amount of time. It happens. I’m just glad the month is over. Can someone please hire me an assistant?

I learned a valuable lesson. There’s that saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. It’s completely true — much to my surprise. I got depressed and quite severely — needing to seek the help of a medical professional. Their solution was anti-depressants without much a second thought or alternative. I had one therapy session with a lady and I think it was more eye-opening than actually therapeutic. Her most memorable line had to be, “Happiness is not made from money. Relationships are.” I suppose she is right in every sense of the word. My desire to obtain more and more will lead to my downfall if I neglect the very people what make life worth living. I need to work on this. Say it ain’t so. Miss Doctor Psychiatrist Lady was right.

I had an incredibly blunt talk with my friends and we managed to get to the bottom of my inner turmoil. I frankly feel like I’m 95% of the way I usually am. The other 5% is lingering tiredness that has not yet left my body. Julian, Garza, Anthony, Mayra, Amber, Jenny… these friends and family helped me immensely. I was persuaded to not take medication and find alternative means to deal with my depression. I’m so glad I didn’t. Fun fact: if all you do is work and the reward is more money, guess what — you get depressed. Go figure.

Cheers to the month of November. I have high hopes it’s not another repeat of this month. Work should be a bit more manageable. Call that my undying optimism for the world. I’ll be officially 27 in six days. Getting old terrifies me, but I’m still under thirty, so I’m probably being irrational. To grow old is get more wise. If anything, I know the world is my oyster and anything life throws at me will just be another blip on the radar. I’ve made it this far, after all. What’s another few small bumps on the road, anyway? There’s foodsgiving to look forward to, as is a very eager and happy Grandma. Before you know it, December is here and hours of annoying, maniac inducing holiday songs.

A very nice woman once told me, “Que sera sera.” Translation: whatever will be, will be. I like, “Ga yau”. Translation: add oil (to a fire) — keep going. Indeed, I will.

I was once Spongebob, but now I’ve turned into Squidward. Good vibes only, please. Later world.