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You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”-Robin Williams

I’ve always been very candid abrobin-williams7878out my bouts with depression, which I believe is something that never really goes away, at least not completely. For me, it has always been an ongoing battle, where like everything else there are good days, bad days, then the really bad days and the even worse days, which are the ones you have to really look out for. Because when you’ve battled depression and suicidal thoughts as much as I have, you become all too aware just how easy one can off themselves. I can’t tell you how many times I thought about it, or been tempted.

I don’t take any medication for my depression, simply because I don’t like the person it makes me, and it just feels like my head is a fog and I find myself becoming less imaginative more restless and lethargic, numb.

I battle my depression by staying active, working out helps a lot; it’s hard to think about killing yourself when you’re feeling sore and tired along with that natural high that comes with a good workout. Having good friends to lean on or to share a few good laughs with also helps, but you have to be sure that they’re the right friends, not the ones who want you around just when it’s convenient, or for what you can do for them, but the ones who just want to hang out for the pleasure of your company.  Family can help too, but most of all I just find solace and peace in keeping myself busy, because it’s only when my mind has a chance to wonder do those dark thoughts come creeping in. So I read, I write, I play video games, or if it’s nice I go hiking or out for a run and sometimes I just dust off my old bike, and then go out for a spin. As you may or may not know, it’s the quiet moments, when you’re alone and with nothing to do but think that causes problems. I’m a little self-critical, I think too much and over analyze, which I’m sure may one day be the death of me, but I’m working on it, I’m a work in progress and this is my progress report.   

But what happens when I have a particular rough day, one that leaves me feeling beat up, abused, left out and alone?  What happens when each day becomes worse than the last and it becomes increasingly harder to pick myself back up from the spot where I lay? My method is simple; I just close my eyes and whisper,

“You just have to make it until the day after next, because the day after next will be better.” Then I convince myself that it has to get better and I’ll be honest sometimes it does. But it also helps to remind myself of all the things I have to do that no one else can, even if there’s a chance that no one else will care. Such as finishing my book, and telling the stories of all the characters who have taken up residence up there inside my head, living in the pool of imagination, needing me to breathe life into them by telling their stories through a collection of words, demanding I share their stories with as many people as possible and with the world. Because if I don’t, I know I’ll look up and see all of them gathered around me on my death bed, with some of them sobbing, with some pacing, all asking me the same thing.

“Why didn’t you give us life? We came to you and you let us die and now we’ll be forgotten without ever having lived, why couldn’t you give a chance to live and breathe? We came to you and no one else, we trusted you with our stories, our lives and with our dreams.”
I remind myself I can’t disappoint my characters.
Having faith also helps when it comes to battling depression. Even if you don’t believe in anything, that’s cool (I don’t judge) but it does help, even when it doesn’t. There’s something about talking to God, praying, or seeking communion that I found comforting. For me, the church and a pastor was the first place I could think of going to seek counseling, and that too helped. Then sometimes the only thing that keeps me holding on when all I want to do is let go, is my faith and the fear that I would condemn myself to an eternity in hell. Yet even still there had been times when I thought that God owed me one after everything I had to endure. Losing a family to lies and greed, growing up in a broken home, being forsaken by very own brother that I was just beginning to get to know and who was becoming my best friend and someone I could confide in.

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I hate it when people compare their lives to mine, especially when they’ve always got to go home to two loving parents and compare having a bad day to a broken life. In truth, no one really knows your battles but you, same with how no one knows what it was like but me. But honestly I don’t really like talking about it, but I know I should and probably need to, so open my mouth and begin to speak. So I try not to judge when someone begins telling me about their problems, or struggles, I just do my best to sit there and listen, sometimes lending a comforting hug, and maybe just say,

“I can relate,” So that they don’t feel so alone and I hear them out, letting them talk, sometimes it helps just having someone there to listen and not judge their pain or suffering, or compare it to my own. For each battle is a little different from someone else’s. Each struggle is personal, and we deal with it in our little ways.

Never tell a person with depression to just get over it.

If you really want to help, just be there for them. That’s all it really takes really. Make them feel loved and appreciated and whatever you do, don’t try and force them to talk about it, it’s never easy. It always makes us feel awkward and uncomfortable, like we’re trying to get yours or someone else’s pity, or we think you’re sitting there judging us. It’s always hard to put into words, or to properly articulate what it is we’re going through, what’s on our minds and how difficult the fight is.

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So when we do talk and open up about what it is, don’t trivialize what we’re been through and tell us to get over it, like the contents of a first-aid kid somehow holds the cure for depression. Because it’s hard enough just talking about it and an ingrown life isn’t something surgeons can just cut away with a scalpel and a knife.

Just being there for us is enough and what we really need are reasons to smile and to laugh until it hurts, we don’t need some inspirational quote you’ve read from the back of a cereal box one Sunday morning, and we don’t need to quote passages from the bible, or verses to us. All that ever does is infuriate and frustrate us, more so that you think a few deep or clever words would somehow be a magical string of words that would forever bring us out of our depression and despair that we’ve spent most of our lives fighting. So believe me when I say, it’s not that easy to make go away and if it were that simple we would have found the cure long before you came along, no offense. Sometimes all we really need is a friend, a hug, or something as little as companionship, just being around is usually enough. You don’t have to be clever, or preachy, just be thoughtful.

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If you’re in a relationship and your significant other is struggling, just remind them how much you love and appreciate them. Leave them little love notes, make them dinner, or buy them something meaningful, flowers, chocolates, whatever it is they like, or hobby they’re into. Because it’s the little things we remember and it’s up to you to be the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s you that has to be the one to remember to always shine bright. Because sometimes, we just need to be reminded to remember and it falls to you to make them remember. Love is really all you need.

Robin Williams was a beloved actor and comedian, one my childhood heroes and I never dreamt of him having this struggle with depression, which had driven him to take his own life on August 11th 2014. Which also prompted me into writing this particular entry, so maybe we’ll be able to avoid this kind of tragedy from happening again and to just raise some general awareness on the subject at hand, since many of us struggle and fight this disease privately. Like Robin Williams who once made the world laugh and just listening to or watching his stand-up had pulled me through many a dark day. I honestly feel for him and relate with his struggle that he ended up losing in the end. The problem is that suicide isn’t really all that selfish,(now hear me out before you ready your torches and pitchforks) When someone gives up, they just opt out. They grow tired and weary of feeling like a burden, or like a joke, as though everyone is laughing at us, as opposed to laughing with us. We feel alone and lost, a lot of times we don’t to talk about it, because we feel like we’ll just be a bother. It’s nobody’s fault, you just have to understand how scared we are to talk about it, how weak it makes us feel. So we tend to shutout the rest of the world because we don’t want to be that burden, or to be perceived as if we’re crying out for attention, like all those on twitter or facebook who often moan and whine about being depressed because maybe they’re going through a breakup, or quite literally just want attention.
The real tragedy in suicide, is when it happens, these people will never know how many people loved and cared for them, for you. You matter and people do care…People do love you even if it’s hard to see, or even feel. Depression is the real enemy, it likes to lie to us and has the tendency to blind us to that fact and more often than not it convinces us that we’re unloved, uncared for, forgotten children of God’s grace. Depression wins by convincing us that we’re burdens when we’re not. Even I, after all this time, knowing this, still struggle with this one little fact.GkOeeLU

But every set back, disappointment and heartbreak has the tendency of pushing me slightly closer to the edge or back to where I was. So sometimes I feel myself struggling at the oars to fight and push my darkness my back. But it’s still there even when things are going well, however the better things are going the quieter that little voice in the back of my head becomes and it gets easier to push it back. So I keep trying to pick up the broken pieces of myself and like Humpty Dumpty I attempt to put myself back together again. It’s a long, arduous task and I’ve grown to except that some pieces of myself will never fit, or have gotten lost, or stolen during a very long and unforgiving life. This is because, I still wonder why my mother never loved or accepted me, and I find myself missing the three brothers I never get to see again, none of which will ever see or understand the truth. I never got to see my younger brothers grow up, or to be the older brother I always wanted to be, but I was around them enough to love them with all my heart. I hate the fact I didn’t spend more time with them when I had the chance, I really dug being an older brother.

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Being single doesn’t help much either and after a while seeing and hearing about all these happy couples being together tends to sometime wear on my soul, leaving me wonder if I’ll ever find that one person who makes me feel like the sun was something she made for me in a toolshed.

So at nights, when I can’t sleep and I’m alone with my thoughts, I find myself walking a tightrope, wondering what it’s all for and why it is I’m still here.

I don’t own a gun, because sometimes the fight and the struggle becomes too hard even for someone like me, who’s aware of what it is I’m suffering from. It’s the days when I’m beaten down, or when a sad song strikes a particular cord with me, or I watch a warming and touching movie about family like in the movie, “Impossible” knowing I’d never know that feeling of a warm loving family unless I meet someone and start one of my own. Then there are times when I find myself looking through old photographs, or when old memories just hit me out of the blue, like a knockout punch at the beginning of the first round.

It scares me knowing if I had a gun and what I would do with it on of these bad days. The temptation of a quick and relatively pain free way out would be too much of a temptation for me to use. So I stay away from the variables that may bring me to my end sooner than expected and I remind myself that I’ve always been a survivor and how I may be that one person in a million who somehow survives, but with serious traumatic injury which would only add to more complications and struggle to my little life.

So yeah, sometimes it’s easier to stay silent then speak the truth. But there are three things that can’t remain long hidden, the sun, the moon and the truth. And the truth was created for the people who want to be a better person. Our strong faith and love will us down the right path.images

Sorrow, despair, loneliness, suicide, these are the words we don’t mention in public. These feelings we keep firmly locked away, we dare not discuss, though their currents run through all of us in varying ebbs and flows throughout the course of life. Just as hope, passion, happiness and love all run together as well. I believe it doesn’t make us weaker to admit these lulls or frailties as someone once said, “Acceptance is the first step toward happiness.”  Don’t fight the flow, but don’t let it drag you under and hold you down either.

A young man sitting alone by the water

Health, Fitness and fandom!

 

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My younger cousin got married, and this is his wedding photo

Before I get started let me please apologize for being so late on turning out this blog. It’s been a few weeks late, but I’ve been a bit swamped with this wild and crazy thing called life, but I have been writing more, nearing the completion of my manuscript “Losers” with just two chapters two go before I start the dreaded rewrite and editing phase.
But I started this journey of taking my personal fitness seriously a little more than a month ago, I wasn’t sure how much progress I would see, using the products by Nutrilite but thanks to Rhodiola, I have I’ve been more focused in my workouts, with more drive to really push and challenge myself. So even though it’s only been a little over a month, I have had some immediate improvement and I’m looking forward to trimming down, by adding more lean muscle to body mass.IMG_0835
So today, for my personal fitness test for 6/20/14, results were. (I do each exercise for one minute, with a minute to rest in-between each workout)
New results 7/20/14
Switch Kicks: 94 110

Power Jacks: 56 62

Power Knees: 94 101

Power Jumps: 40 50

Globe Jumps: 9 11
Suicide Jumps: 16 19

Push up Jacks: 30 35

Low Plank Oblique’s: 45 55
Summery Weight lifting current weight.IMG_0836
Dumbbell chest press 65 lbs up from 55
Shoulder press 70 lbs before was 40
Pull-ups-50 was 30/
T-bar Row-120 was 70 lbs.
Dumbbell curls -50 lbs was 45
Leg squat 310 was 285 lbs
So one of the reasons I started pushing myself harder in the gym, taking my diet and workouts more seriously is so that I could get into superhero shape for Fandom Fest! Which was amazing and I had a spectacular time and recommend everyone to cosplay as their favorite character at least once, because well, it’s really a pretty amazing experience. Kids look up to you and can’t help but smile believing that you are that actual super hero.
But I have learned a great deal from my last adventure to Louisville for Fandomfest, which was taking a couple of friends and getting a room at the Galt House. Which is one of the nicest places I’ve stayed while traveling and it was in short walking distance to the Louisville Convention Center.
Although, going online I’ve read and heard a lot of complaints from other attendees as well as Venders. But personally, I had a great time. I was even a little sad when it was all over and found myself wishing it went on longer. Plus I did end up spending a lot of money and probably would have spent more if more Venders were actually at their booths, or let people to actually look inside and around their booths (Because some just sat in a chair blocking passage into their booths and didn’t seem too interested in moving or getting up.) But I realized I should have brought more money and next year I’ll try to be better prepared. Because my friends and I spent a lot of money while we were down there, and made sure to spread the wealth by buying from several different venders.
Sometimes I think people just like being angry and complaining even when they have nothing to complain about.

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On the downside, I did meet Anthony Mackie who was a bit of a tool. I mean the guy couldn’t have looked more and gave off the impression that he was annoyed for just having to be there. I don’t know if it was because there was barely anyone in line to meet him, or what, (however he was a late addition)
IMG_0884Although on the upside, I did meet Sam Huntington, Sam Witwer and Meaghan Rath of ”Being Human” and let me just say, they were awesome! All three of them were very nice, very down to earth and hilarious. They made my weekend and all of them seemed very excited to be there, to meet the fans and I mean really meet. I think Sam Huntington and I talked for a good twenty minutes before I realized I was holding up the line, so I shook his hand and quickly skedaddled before a lynch mob could form behind me. But Sam Huntington was great, and played in some of my favorite movies, “Fan Boys” Detroit Rock City,” Etc.
Sam Witwer was also very cool and down to earth, asking everyone if they were having a good time. And he was really relatable, easy going, funny and down to earth. I know it sounds like I having a bit of a man crush on the guy, but hey, I’m a fan of his as well, and loved all the “Star-wars-The force unleashed” Video games. Plus he seemed genuinely interested in everyone and really seemed to care about what people thought of the con. Also, on a side note the guy knows his material; he corrected a buddy of mine and some of his Star-Wars knowledge and some of the star-wars items he bought while at the con. Then of course he wanted to know what all we’ve seen and done so far and when he saw our bags asked if he could see what we had bought. The man is literally one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He had no problems in stopping for pictures or just walking around the convention, talking to fans and venders alike.

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Meaghan Rath, is absolutely adorable and even more gorgeous in person, with a bubbly, fun loving personality, almost just like her character on Being Human. Which was very pleasant to see and unfortunately I didn’t talk very long to her, partially because I got all giddy and nervous, which made it difficult to form complete and coherent sentences. But the cast was also anxious about our photo opts, And Huntington had asked if I got the chance to show him our photo when I picked it up, but unfortunately by the time my photo was ready, I missed him. So I tweeted the guy and he tweeted back and even followed me on twitter!

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Cosplay
I have finally embraced my cosplaying nature, and even if dressing up for a convention may not be your thing, I highly suggest you give it a try, rent a costume and go to one of these conventions. It is awesome and incredibly cool. Not only does it make everyone excited to see you, its cool having everyone you meet wanting to get their picture taken with you. Which is an awesome high all on its own and it also serves as a great icebreaker. So if your usually shy like myself, it becomes much easier to approach and talk to random strangers when you’re dressed as a superhero and well, people love superheroes. Plus, in a strange way, it really does make you feel all super. But dressing up is really cool for the kids and seeing how it just makes their day when they see you. I even had one six year old, ask me out to dinner with him and his family, and then offered to share his ice-cream with me after I politely declined.
On the reverse side of that however, I did get groped, fondled and more or less glomped by several drunk women and one in particular who jumped into my arms while I was walking around downtown, throwing her legs around me, as she kissed and nibbled my ear, telling me how much she loved Captain America, while I literally was at a loss and all I could think to say was,
“My…aren’t you friendly?”

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Not going to lie, made my night.

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All in all, I had a blast and it was one of the best weekends of my life. I can’t wait FandomFest 2015 and can’t believe I’ve waited so long to go to one of these conventions. Yes, I did spend a lot of money, and even though I brought my computer I wasn’t productive at all, in fact I don’t think I ever took it out of my bag, I was just having too much fun. Which I really think everyone needs to remember, that these conventions are just that, fun, opportunities to come out of your shell and just be as nerdy, or as geeky as you want.

One last time.

fosters_home_for_imaginary_friends___mac_n_bloo_by_xglider-d6j7oj1“This is the last time huh?” I ask, sitting on the corner of the bed, swinging my feet a couple of inches off the floor, as she roots through her closet of old clothes.

“Scratch-” she says my name limply, like she’s embarrassed or ashamed by it now. We had grown apart, it’s true, and we barely talk anymore and we play even less. I couldn’t help but feel like I was already being forgotten.

She turns and looks up at me with those sad eyes, ringed in messy eyeliner and a fresh coating of lip-gloss over her mouth.  I think about her a lifetime ago, back when she first discovered make-up in in her mom’s purse and how we laughed as I smeared her eye shadow across her eye lids and I threw the compact power across the room, making it snow. I tried confessing to the crime and tell them it was me, but they didn’t listen and only you got in trouble.  You cried into your pillow and told me leave you alone, to just go away, but I stayed by your side all night anyway, stroking your hair and telling you silly stories just to see you smile, to hear you laugh.

“Come on, “ I beg, I’ll play whatever you want, I’ll be the dragon with tiny wings growing out of his back, or be your roommate as we play house, I’ll let you be the princess in a big marble castle and chase you around in the falling leaves,  or we can just sit and talk.”

Her phone rings, and she turns aside to flick the glowing screen sideways. It’s another message from her school friend.

“Is she nice?” I ask, like a jealous boyfriend.

“Yeah, course she’s nice.” She replies defensively.

“What all do you do?”

She shrugs.

“I don’t know. Talk, I guess.”

“You don’t play games? Like the dragon and the princess, do you jump in puddles like we used too, or roll around in piles of dead leaves?”

“No…” She mumbles. “She’s really not into all of that.”

When she’d started going to school I’d sit on her bed, watching out the window and wait for her school bus to pull up and spill her out. She’d be dragging a bag of books, with her hair all a mess, spilling out stories about her day, her teachers and the friends she made.

I was there when the first boy she ever liked broke her heart and she came and sat next to me crying and I sat with her, telling these kinds of hurts will happen and how it was a good thing. Because it tells her she’s still here, she’s still alive and reminds her that the hurt doesn’t last forever. Then I’d begin a tickle fight, which I would always win. Some days we’d sit in bed together and play for hours. Sometimes she wouldn’t go to school the next day and I’d have her to myself for a whole twenty-four hours.

“Can’t we just play one more time?” I ask

She sighs and looks at her phone again.

“Please.”

There’s a cold feeling in my bones, like the empty space of the room is eating away at me and the only thing keeping it at bay is her eyes. They’re fixed on me; smudged eyeliner and the chin jutting out like she used to do when she was smaller and wanted to look braver.

“I have to go.”

She stops at the door and looks at me. There’s a look in her eye that says she knows it’s the last time we’re going to see each other.

“I have friends now,” she says. “I don’t need you anymore.”

She leaves and I look at the closed white door and feel the emptiness come rolling in.

“But I do.” There is no one left to listen as I fade away and become forgotten in the waves of times, waiting for the day she has a little girl or boy of her own who’ll dream of me too.

Years past and I’m swimming in nothingness, until one day, I open my eyes and I’m back, it feels like waking from a dream, but nothing feels real. Then I look around and see how everything is so different and unrecognizable. Then I see him, the small blond haired boy, sitting all alone in his bed and staring fearfully at his closet door. I hear him calling out softly for his mother who can’t hear him and I follow his gaze, seeing the closet door opening slowly inch by inch. I act without thinking, charging at the door and slamming it shut, I’ll always protect him from the monsters that lurk in the dark.
Then I feel his tiny little hand tugging at my coat and I look down, as he asks,

“What’s your name?”

“Scratch,” I say, smiling warmly and ruffling his hair, then for perhaps the first time I see the resemblance.

“Scratch? My mom used to tell me stories about you.”

I smile and nod and say, “Yes, I knew your mother.” Then I take his hand and guide him back to his bed and begin tucking him in, as he asks me to tell him a story, so I take a breath and begin telling him stories his mother and I used tell each other back when she was just a little girl.

Fitness Quotes and sayings      For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had the mindset that a healthy body, leads to a healthy mind. Nothing really clears the head better than a good, long and hard run and I love the feel of the wind against my face and in hair, my heart racing and the steady, controlled breathing of feeling my lungs really work that makes you feel so incredibly alive.

I can’t help but feel there’s something beautiful about running, a moment when neither foot is touching the ground and still being propelled forward that makes it feel like you’re flying and in that moment, it’s like reaching perfection.

This is me now, 6/16/14 After having to take it easy for about two months at the gym. I am not thrilled by committing this much.  Like some of you out there, I'm still a little self-conscious of my body.

This is me now, 6/20/14 After having to take it easy for about two months at the gym. I am not thrilled by committing this much. Like some of you out there, I’m still a little self-conscious of my body.

I’m also a gym rat, I love hitting the weights, pushing myself and having this running competition where I’m always competing against the me of yesterday or last week. Upping my weight, whenever it feels like it’s becoming too easy and keeping a constant, ongoing record of my weight, sets, and amount of reps. I love feeling myself improving, becoming stronger, as well as seeing the results that follow. Plus, it gets even better when others begin noticing these changes and complement me on all the hard work, the hours of dedication, and sweat you’ve been putting into your body, becoming a healthier you.

So when my friend Rachel approached me and asked me if I would be willing to try out Nutrilite and write about it, I accepted. (Anything to improve my edge, boost my recovery, and growth) However the day I was supposed to begin on the protein and vitamin supplements I strained my foot from overtraining. (I have the tendency of pushing myself a little too hard sometimes, like trying to reach a personal goal of running 3 miles in 15 minutes) and before my injury I managed to reduce my time from 45 minutes to twenty five.

With my foot injured, I didn’t feel right about testing the nutrilite products, because anything I did while injured wouldn’t be a real review, or test.

But now, I’m back to full strength and ready to spend the next 30 days marking my any improvement I have with Nutrilite. Which is when I’ll be posting an update on my progress. Along, with photos…which I’m a bit hesitant on posting today, but I figured I have no real choice, and I figured posting my progress would only add to my motivation, making me less incline to cheat on my diet, or to slack off while putting my work in at the gym.

As you can see by the pictures provided., I’m not a meathead or a model by any means, I have about an average/athletic body type, and this will probably be the only time I do this.

 So today, for my personal fitness test for 6/20/14, results were. (I do each exercise for one minute, with a minute to rest in-between each workout)

 

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Switch Kicks:  94 

Power Jacks:  56

Power Knees:  94

Power Jumps: 40

Globe Jumps: 9

Suicide Jumps: 16

Push up Jacks:  30

Low Plank Oblique’s: 45

 

I don't think I'm in bad shape, but there's still some room for improvement.

I don’t think I’m in bad shape, but there’s still some room for improvement.

 

 

Summery Weight lifting current weight.

Dumbbell chest press 55 lbs

Shoulder press 45 lbs

Pull-ups-30
T-bar Row-
70 lbs.

Dumbbell curls -45 lbs

Leg squat 285 lbs

 

Included with my nutrilite goodie bag, were two energy drinks, which I honestly had no intentions on actually using, because I hate energy drinks. I’ve tried several, but had very little success in them working as advertised and I never did like the bittersweet aftertaste. However, as luck would it, I got caught up in a book and didn’t end up falling asleep until around 4am, and I had to get up at 8am for work. By morning, I was dragging and would have probably sold my sold for another hour of oh so precious sleep. But I looked over saw the root-beer energy drink on my counter and figured I’d give it a try.

So I popped the tab and wondered what it would really taste like, since in my experience very little few products ever taste as they are advertised, but was pleasantly surprised by the all too familiar taste of root-beer on my tongue, that tasted like root-beer any kind of after taste that comes with most energy drinks, (again in my experience) Plus it gave the energy I needed to get myself through the work day, as well with enough to get me through my workout at the gym later that day, I experienced no crash, headaches, or any ill effects.

If you’re interested in trying Nutilite along with me with me,

You can order directly from.

www.amway.com/rdpenny

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Something imaginary….

“A daily dose of daydreaming heals the heart, soothes the soul, and strengthens the imagination”-Richelle E. Goodrich

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We used to play ninjas, army men, crime fighters and superheroes and I always stood by your side through better or worse. I had your back, but you always knew that.
When you felt alone, we’d talk a bit. You always had fun stories to share, and I’d listen, hoping I could offer some sound advice. And when you were bored, we play and sometimes you’ll pretend to be me and I’d pretend I was you.

When times were bleak, you’d turn to me to cheer you up, and sometimes I failed you. And it would always hurt and leave me feeling I had somehow let you down. It was worse during those times you cried yourself to sleep and I would watch over you, wishing I could stop it when you were getting beat, which left me feeling helpless, like a phantom limb unable to shield you from the endless abuse.

You brought me into this world and gave me purpose, to keep you happy, safe, and entertained, distracted you from the cruel and mundane, keeping you from going completely insane.
But you started getting older, into girls with cooties (which we both always knew was bogus, but you always hid it well), into fast cars, video games, and going to parties with pals- I had your back, telling you to kiss the girl, or when to hold her hand. I would scare off the monsters that lurked in the dark, shield you whenever you were afraid of falling asleep. And even though the monsters stopped coming, you were still afraid.

I couldn’t fight these new fears.

You feared what was in your future, you were afraid of the unknown and more importantly you feared growing up. Same as me, but I always knew you’d make it through. You and I were martial art champions, seasoned warriors and veterans of countless wars. We were heroes’ kid, just you and me and I always knew how strong you really were.

But as you got older, I started feeling older too. I felt dusty, my shine had gone dull. But you were bright and knew the world in your own way now.
You were going make it without me, but I could live with that.

I waved goodbye at your graduation, but by then you had stopped being able to see me. I’m okay though, you and I had a good run. I’ll miss you little buddy and I know you’ll miss me too, because you named me and I can feel you thinking about me from time to time, and I know you’ve been writing about me, which makes me proud that you still remember. So kid, even though you can’t see me like you used to, I’ll be with you whenever you sit down, with pen in hand and begin writing down those memories, turning them into stories.

Sincerely me.
Your imaginary friend,
Shadow.

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”
― Robert Fulghum,
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Faith In mothers

Faith in mothers.

~Losing family obliges us to find our family. Not always the family that is our blood, but the family that can become our blood. Should we have the wisdom to open our door to this new family we will find that the wishes we had for the father, who once guided us, for the brother, who once inspired us… The only thing left to say will be:  “‘I wish I had seen this, or I wish I had done that, or I wish…”‘ Most of you are too young to know what your wishes will be. But when I read these words…words of hope, dreams…I realize that the one wish that was granted to me, so late in life was the gift of friendship.
~ Finding Forester

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I hate mother’s day.

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My Grandma

I know I shouldn’t, I try really hard not to. But it’s not a thing I can help, so I do my best to distract myself and not to think about it. So I focus instead on the one woman in my life who was more of a mother to me than my own. No one had asked her to do it, but she was an amazing mother to me, one she didn’t have to be. She believed in me more than anyone else and probably knew me best of all. She was my biggest fan, my greatest supporter and I regret for not doing any of this sooner so that she could share in my blog’s popularity and of course all of you who follow, or have subscribed to my blog and to all of you out there reading this right now.

She would have been overjoyed, she would laughed and cried, and told me how each one of you are special, blessed, she may even insist I write each one of my subscribers/followers a personal thank you letter, she would tell everyone she came across about my writings here and the amazing people who read it. (I mean let’s face it, you are pretty awesome for following me so long or even at all)

She would have gotten on me for not finishing my novel, insisting I hurry up and finish it so that all of you could have a chance to read and experience my creativity and the uniqueness of my stories. She definitely wouldn’t be happy with me putting my book on the back burner while I finished up the last of my classes for school and would have insisted I find time for both.
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Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her, my grandmother, is always in my thoughts and I’d never forget her…She was the strongest person I ever knew, the kind of person who would always tell you exactly how it was without sugarcoating a thing, which would usually be for your own good. She took no crap from anyone, and was always the first to stand up for me. If it weren’t for her I doubt I’d even be here today. Because I’m pretty sure if it wasn’t for her I would have jumped off a bridge, or bought a gun to blow my brains out a long time ago. She was my rock, my best friend and confidant. She was one of those people who would sit there and listen, actually listen as you told her whatever it was on your mind, or whatever was bugging you. She was the most amazing kind of person and I loved her dearly.

I think she would have been moved to tears to see some of the friendships I forged, the people I’ve met and the support all of you have given me. I hate mother’s day, because I miss her, so very much and would give anything to have her back here again. But I’m confident I’ll see her again, waiting for me at the end of the road, standing near the pearly gates, jumping up and down, laughing and looking as she had back when I was just a kid….Whereas my actual mother was never really there for me, she never tried to get to know me and we never just talked about anything. Because she never saw me as her son, instead when she looked at me, she would see my father, their failed marriage, the complications that lead to her C-section and the stretch marks I left behind. I don’t think she ever saw me as her son, or the fact that I was just as much hers as I was my father.

Two of three best cousins anyone can ask for. Nick And Derek.

Two of three best cousins anyone can ask for. Nick And Derek.

So I hate mother’s day, because it reminds me of how I scoured every catalogue, the internet, various stores and malls in search of the perfect mother’s day gift, hoping every year it would win me her love, her acceptance, so that she’d finally see and know me. But she never did, no matter if I made, drew, wrote, or bought her something nice, the end result was always the same. And I hate the family I had, hate having it taken away, and hate not seeing my younger brothers grow up, hate not spending time with them and giving them some good brotherly advice on life, girls and dating. And every mother’s day I can’t help but think about each and every one of them.

But I had an amazing mother in my grandmother, who treasured everything I ever gotten her and it wasn’t until I was cleaning out some of her old stuff and stumbled upon a drawer filled with everything I ever gave her, every picture I ever drew, every story I had written, she had kept them all. Then I discovered her journal, and how nearly every entry was about me, and how great she thought I was. Then I stop and look around, and I see the family the Lord has given me, my younger cousins, Derek and Timmy, my cousin Nick, my best friends, Matt, Stephen and Hannah, even Matt’s wife who feels like a sister to me, then his three beautiful children who have grown to calling me Uncle Josh, making me feel more like family. But all of them have been great inspirations, and supporters of me, members of my extended family, a family that I love and cherish more than the world. So I guess, mother’s day isn’t so bad after all.

And Timmy, the third and quite possibly the strongest of us.

And Timmy, the third and quite possibly the strongest of us.

~Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, create, or paint can manage to escape the madness within themselves.
-J Cooper.

“Be happy now, without reason – or you never will be at all.”
― Dan Millman

Our lights can leave scars upon the surface of the sun So let no one say we'll be undone by time's passing For the memories we are amassing will stand as testament That somehow we bend minds around the concept that we see others within ourselves. That self-knowledge can be found on bookshelves So who we are has no bearing on how we appear Look directly into every mirror Realize our reflection is the first sentence to a story And our story begins here.

Our lights can leave scars upon the surface of the sun. So let no one say we’ll be undone by time’s passing, for the memories we are amassing will stand as testament
That somehow we bend minds around the concept that we see others within ourselves.
That self-knowledge can be found on bookshelves. So who we are has no bearing on how we appear. Look directly into every mirror. Realize our reflection is the first sentence to a story
And our story begins here.

 

We are here and our stories are being written now, so don’t be discouraged when things fall apart and don’t go your way, sometimes life just takes a little while to come together. So don’t end your story prematurely because happiness seems so far off, like a distant memory that feels more like an illusion that isn’t there, or as far out of reach as we are from touching the nearest star. Trust me; I know it’s hard; I’ve been single now for about a year, having a hell of a time to find that one for me. But I’m not letting my failures get me down, because it took a year of being on my own to decide and to finally realize what it is I want and need. I spent a lifetime chasing after love, romanticizing it, putting every girl I chased up on a pedestal, believing they could never do any wrong. I would rush every relationships as if it were a race and wanted nothing more than to be the first to cross that finishing line.Just to find out that the girl had only meant to be out on a stroll and I would find myself standing alone at what I perceived to be the finishing line.

I longed so desperately for love, I would fall quickly and easily, even when I barely knew the person I was falling for, or become so blinded by my infatuations I would always fail to see all the many reasons we were wrong for each other and I would never see it until it was too late, because one, or both of us would have already grown emotionally invested with the other, which would always made breaking up all that much harder, because I would still like them as a person, while she would be head over heals in love with me, or vice versa.

So what do I want? Well, the same thing I think we all essentially want. I want that best friend, who’s also my lover, someone who makes me feel alone even when we’re together. To be perfectly content sitting in a room without talking, content with knowing that she is there. To be reading, while she’s watching tv, drawing, or writing. Someone who I catch staring at me sometimes, and hear her say,
“God, I love you.”

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Sometimes we need some time alone in order grow.

If I’ve learned anything from my past relationships its this, you can’t rush love. You can’t make it happen just because you want it too. Much like a flower, it needs time to grow and it’ll never happen with you hovering and over watering it, trying to will it grow. Because love is something that you both choose and something that just happens and it happens in its own time. So I know what it’s like, to see the finish line and wanting to break into a dead sprint until you’ve reached your destination, but life is a stroll and this how God does things, to teach us and to give us time to grow as human beings, to discover ourselves and what it is we want, need.

Take my ex-girlfriend (In case any of you may be wondering, I did tell her what I wanted to write about and asked for her permission, she’s kinda awesome for agreeing to it) for example who since we had broken up, had become a good and trusted friend. But it took a while for us to realize we made better friends then we did lovers.

I first met Abby on face-book through a mutual friend and at the time she had no clear pictures of herself online, so I was already living dangerously in that regard. But we talked and stalked each other’s facebook, for a long time before deciding that we should meet in person by going to a haunted house.

And I dug her; I dug her as soon as I laid eyes on her. To me she represented (at the time) my perfect woman, she was short, athletic, bold, feisty and a red haired goddess. (I always had a bit of an weakness when it comes to redheads and short girls, so she was two for two) Naturally I found her to be absolutely drop dead gorgeous and the fact she wasn’t a man, didn’t have a mustache, a beard, or weigh as much as my car, I was at the same time relieved. But the best thing about her was that she dug me too, in fact her first words to me were,

Our first date, how was I not suppose to fall in love with her.

Our first date, how was I not suppose to fall in love with her.

“Your pictures do you no justice; you’re much better looking in person.” And for someone who’s always been a little self-conscious of his appearance, (thanks to every girl who turned me down in High School) this made me feel like I was on top of the world. (You see ladies; it’s a huge turn on when you help us out with making the first move, because the best kind of guy will always be a little shy) Better yet, she could barely keep her eyes off me and throughout the night I saw her stealing repeated glances in my direction, which would make my smile widen every time. (Which yeah could have been bad since she was the one driving but at the same time it always feels good to feel attracted to.)

As the night progressed we found ourselves clicking and there were no awkward silences between us, with every lull in conversation leading to us simply enjoying the other’s company. She was fun, goofy, smart, coy, honest and flirtatious. (which only caused my heart to swell all the more with the feelings I already felt for her)

Some part of me could sensed that I was as different for her as she was to me. Because before then I never met anyone so bold, who said whatever she felt without holding anything back. But what I sensed about her is hard to explain, I don’t know if it’s just me being a writer, or me being intuitive, or something else entirely, but I sensed in her a kindred spirit, I knew she had been hurt numerous times before, used, lied too, objectified, betrayed and broken.

So by the end of the night, when neither one of us wanted to part ways just yet, I suggested we go to a park near my house, where we played on the swings and the jungle gm like children, laughing all the while as we rejoiced and danced beneath a sea of stars, forgetting our matching scars, and it was then, as I was helping her up from the slide, that I looked into her eyes and saw a purity, a joy and the girl who she thought she lost. There was an innocence about her then, her inner child finally being allowed to come out and play. At the same time I understood this was the first time she ever truly let go, and relished in the moment as it was.

Later I learn she had a bit of a sordid past. She had a bit of a history that she wasn’t too proud of. Many of us has made mistakes, and had done things when we were younger that we’re not so proud of later on after we’ve grown a little bit older and wiser. I know this, because she insisted on telling me everything before we started dating out of fear I would discover her past and would leave her prematurely, without letting the person she was now shine through, thus breaking her heart. But I come from a place where I believe the past is in the past, while the present is now. We all make mistakes, missteps and do or have done things we’ve later grown to regret, it’s a part of life. No one really knows what dark corners, or avenues our lives may lead us, but what’s important is we find our way out. Also, as a Christian, I believe it’s hypocritical to judge someone for their past, since after all, Jesus Christ had died for our sins and not one of us today can say we live without sin, which is why we pray and ask for forgiveness. (Besides, I don’t think couples should hold one’s past against them. There’s nothing you or they can do about it. Besides if you can’t get over a person’s past, I believe you really need to ask why you’re involved with the person that are with.) Because you’re not the same person you were two years ago, and you weren’t even the person you are now then you were two days ago. Because we’re all changing, every day we learn something new and have experiences that change us forever. (Myself I used to by a child of hate, I was brought up to hate and despise homosexuality. I was prejudice, using words such as gay and fag with negative connotations to them. But I later grew to see that people are just people, I trained myself to stop using those words of bigotry and hatred, apologizing for my previous behavior. But I was young, stupid, naive, and grew up in a house where I was told I needed to hate these groups of people. But I changed and grew to accept and love everyone I meet. Greeting them as friends.)

Abby and me rejoicing in our love for the our favorite Holiday.

Abby and me rejoicing in our love for the our favorite Holiday.

But I digress and with Abby and regardless of her many attempts to test me and push me away out of fear I would hurt inevitably hurt her, we eventually began dating “officially” And for a while our relationship was perfect, but every new relationship is typically great and smooth sailing as you’re still getting to know each other. Consumed with the idea that the other is perfect, and wanting to impress them by showing them only the best version of yourself. So if you’re having problems at the beginning of a relationship, you should probably bail out while you can.

For me it took about four months for the cracks to begin to show. When we first met, she didn’t like me spending money on her, but as time progressed, she began demanding I spend more and more of my money on her, eventually demanding I take her to a restaurants that were hundred dollars a plate, which was the point where I had to finally put my foot down and tell her I couldn’t afford that kind of lifestyle. Plus, the relationship became less about us and more about her, I was suddenly expected to take her out all the time, pay for all the dinners, entertainment, as well as buying her new clothes, movies, etc. Which again lead to more conflict as I began standing my ground and say no to all frivolous spending and explain that she was making me feel more like I was her own personal piggy bank than a boyfriend, and I was sinking more and more into debt. Which I was.

The longer I stayed in the relationship, the more I saw how different and our values were so vastly apart from each others. But still I clung to this image I had of her when we first met, this sweet, funny, clever and sexy girl, who had never been appreciated or treated like a person. I felt like I was fighting a losing battle to this other person who I never knew was there. Yet I had faith that there was this better person beneath it all. Nowadays I’m happy to report she had proved me right, but back then I had blinded myself to all the signs telling me she wasn’t the for me, I was too busy putting her up on a pedestal, giving her excuses and overlooking everything I didn’t like about her, giving myself excuses for her behavior. Even though being with her was making me more and more miserable.

One of our major issues was my faith, and she was somewhere in-between being spiritual/agnostic and atheism, she believed my faith was a joke, a crutch. And this was accompanied with her wanting us to be swingers,and to have threesomes, (Yes with another girl, her and me) But both issues were something I couldn’t get behind, which lead to more arguing, and her believing my faith had emotionally and sexually stunted me to the point where I couldn’t see how meaningful the experience could be for the both of us. . (Call me a romantic….or an idiot if you want, but I’ve always been a one woman guy and I can’t share these intimacies with more than one person, despite knowing that most guys would kill to have the opportunity, but it’s just something I can’t see myself going through with, my heart rally’s against the very thought, telling me it’s wrong.)
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But this story isn’t all about me, or how bad she was back then, (And trust me it wasn’t all her fault) this is a story about how God works. So if that makes you upset, I apologize, it was never my intention to preach at anyone. But I wanted to take a moment to point out something. Despite how wrong we were for each-other, or how unhappy she was making me, I still clung to this relationship as though it was a life line, and letting go meant only certain death. I made myself think and believe I loved her, when in truth every day it felt like I was falling more out of love with her. But it wasn’t all her fault, she had suffered from bi-polar disorder, as well as depression. And I should have stood my ground earlier and not let things get out of hand as they did. I should have sat her down and had a calm and rational conversation with her about our relationship and our needs and what we wanted. Maybe we would have worked things out, or maybe parted more amicably and wouldn’t have exploded in as many shouting matches, and would have resulted in less hurt feelings.

You see, many people jump into relationships and like many of us do begin to run, and race to that ultimate goal of marriage before we even know if that person is right for us or not. Maybe, that person is just a stepping stone, a guiding light, taking you one step closer to the person you’re suppose to be with. You see, this is what I believe, I believe it’s all a journey and it teaches us and we carry something with us out of every failed relationship, which helps to shape and mold us into better people. Sometimes we need be schooled and hurt in love, so that when it really does come for real, we can appreciate it even more, because we’ve learned from past mistakes and grew as individuals. Which is probably why I remained good friends and have managed to maintain friendships with many of my Exes. Of course, don’t try to savage a friendship right away, we all need time to heal and recover. For me this usually takes about six moths.

And if you can rekindle or even start a friendship it’s amazing, I’ve witnessed this incredible change in Abby, who was once selfish, arrogant, greedy, a gold digger and incredibly vain, (to the extent whenever I was driving she had to keep my vanity mirror down so she could keep checking herself out) And had grown addicted to her computer, phone and facebook, to the extent she couldn’t have a conversation with you without posting about it, or looking at her phone.

Abby and her boyfriend Evan, I haven't met him yet, but they look like an absolutely couple. I couldn't be happier for her.

Abby and her boyfriend Evan,
I haven’t met him yet,
but they look like an absolutely
couple. I couldn’t be happier for her.

But now, this girl who I never expected to find meaning, or God, has found just that. She’s been saved, and regularly attends church, she went from someone who only thought about herself, to this amazing girl who now goes out of her way to help someone in need. It’s like this shadow has been lifted from her eyes and a weight from her shoulders and I can tell you, she’s finally free, she’s happy and a joy to be around. She’s even met a good Christian Guy and now dreams and prays for the day where he proposes to her and they get married. (Back when I was with her, she was opposed to marriage with every fiber of her being)
And I’m extremely happy for her and proud, as well as blessed for having witness her incredible transformation, for being able to call her my friend. I never expecting to see God work in such a way. Which makes me sit back and with a smile as I think back on the day when we first met in what feels like so very long ago and having the honor of being the witness to it all.

We never could get it to work her and I, and back then, it felt like I was walking through a life sucking mine field of psychological barbwire, day after day,until there was nothing left of me but a dried up human husk of the person I used to be.

But we’ve all done it, got involved with someone we shouldn’t who was just all wrong for us and stayed too long. Even worse is when we stay in horrible, life draining, enjoyment killing relationships for the worse reasons, and even worse excuses.
being miserable in relationships we know are going nowhere. Some stay out of habit, or fear that they might have to go out of it alone for awhile. I’ve done it too, I’ve ignored, or excused all the red flags and signs telling me I should really reconsider the relationship I was in.

But either out of fear, or some perverse sense of loyalty we stay, and blindly trudge ever forward, no matter how bad or trying the relationship gets. It doesn’t matter how many times that person drags you down, leaving you feeling frayed, as you cling ever tighter these bad relationships, that only drag us further down into this sea of regret, all the while believing this other person is our life preserver.

The worse part of it is this; it’s us who cling and hold on so tightly. When all we have to do is let go. It took me awhile to let go of Abby, fighting the urge to call or text her just to see how she was doing, to hear her voice. But I knew we both needed time apart, time to grow and learn. So I know it’s hard, but I think sometimes we all need to stop making excuses and just walk away. Maybe you’re right for each other, but you’re not right for each other right now, maybe you’re just meant to be friends, or simply serve as a lesson in the school of life. I always tell my friends if they’re unhappy in their relationship they should take a step back, take a break, or break up. Life is too short to waste time being unhappy with someone who’s just wrong for you, or who just drags you down. Yeah it’s going to be hard, yeah they’ll be tears, begging for another chance and promises of change. But none of it will ever be enough unless the both of you take some time apart and grow.

I began writing this after a long conversation I had with a friend, whom I asked if she was really in love with this person, or if she was in love with the idea of them, the idea of love and the prospect of a wedding? these are questions we all have to ask ourselves at some point in our lives.

Look at Abby and myself, once upon a time we were head over heels in love, and we were that annoying lovey-dovey couple who could never take our lives off each other and couldn’t stop flirting and touching, making everyone think we’d end up married. But we kinda fell apart, I couldn’t be the guy she wanted, and she couldn’t be the girl I wanted. Because we both wanted and needed something else, something more. If we would have stayed together, we probably would have ended up killing each-other, or just making each-other miserable for the rest of our lives.

But thankfully, we’ve both changed and because of that, she’s became an awesome person, an amazing friend and I wouldn’t trade the memories, good or bad for the world. Because she taught me a lot without ever realizing it. She taught me that I should really get to know someone before getting into a relationship with them and she taught me that I should and how to stand my ground, how to say no, as well as how to have confidence.

You see, they say people change, but they never say how much, how much have you changed during the course of your life?

Sometimes we get lonely, and desperate for love, we look for it in all the wrong places. We make poor choices and relationship mistakes, because we’re trying to run, instead of taking the time to walk with that person and getting to know them, letting the love we feel flow through us naturally and grow on its own time.

Sometimes we get lonely, and desperate for love, we look for it in all the wrong places. We make poor choices and relationship mistakes, because we’re trying to run, instead of taking the time to walk with that person and getting to know them, letting the love we feel flow through us naturally and grow on its own time.

How do you put into words?

Putting it into words          
“There is something beautiful about a billion stars held steady by a God who knows what He is doing. (They hang there, the stars, like notes on a page of music, free-form verse, and silent mysteries swirling in the blue like jazz.) And as I lay there, it occurred to me that God is up there somewhere. Of course, I had always known He was, but this time I felt it, I realized it, the way a person realizes they are hungry or thirsty. The knowledge of God seeped out of my brain and into my heart. I imagined Him looking down on this earth, half angry because His beloved mankind had cheated on Him, had committed adultery, and yet hopelessly in love with her, drunk with love for her
-Donald Miller Blue like Jazz

Me as a newborn. I look at this photograph sometimes wondering...

Me as a newborn. I look at this photograph sometimes wondering…

I’d like to begin with a confession, which is. I still think about her sometimes, I try not to, I mean, everyone tells me I shouldn’t, but some days I can’t really help myself. She seeps into my brain like a fog, spreading out, covering my brain like morning dew. She was after all a huge part of my life for such a long time. It’s hard to forget and harder still not to think about her and the memories we shared. There were moments when I felt we were finally growing close and understanding each other. She was my mother, and it’s been over six years since I’ve last seen or spoke to her, five years of wondering if she ever thinks of me and wondering if the few kindnesses she showed me were ever real, or just a simple charade. I wonder if she ever loved me, or hated me from the very beginning. I wonder if she started out hating me and would have periods where she genuinely cared and loved me, but for some reason chose to continually shove those feelings aside. Leaving me wondering the more important question which is why and just how much of it was a lie and what moments were real, genuine.

My father, the greatest man I have ever known. Showing me endless support and love. Even though We don't always see eye to eye, words can't express how much I love and admire this man.

My father, the greatest man I have ever known. Showing me endless support and love. Even though We don’t always see eye to eye, words can’t express how much I love and admire this man.

I was introduced to God at a fairly young age and fell in love with the notion, of this being who a father of us all, who watched us from up above. I listened to all the stories, prayed all the time and would often speak to God as I would a friend. Of course many adults had always assumed I was speaking to an imaginary friend and any atheist would say that they weren’t wrong. But in many ways I believed and at times I believed I was raised in a broken home, with a mother who rarely ever made me feel love was because I was being tested. I can’t tell you how many times I prayed for my mother’s love, or when I stopped praying for her love, but for an end of my misery. It wasn’t just my mom, but having to go school and face the bullies, then suffering the scrutiny of bad teachers. (A few of my teachers would actually participate and laugh as my bullies mocked, ridiculed and shoved me around) But I never really told anyone until I started writing this blog, because I always felt like it would make me more of a victim, it would make me less of a person and I somehow would just bring about more ridicule.

 

 

Despite our differences now, my older brother Dominic really helped pull me edge of the abyss I found myself teetering on the precipice of. But that was before our bond was broken my lies and deceit. But I still love him all the same.

Despite our differences now, my older brother Dominic
really helped pull me edge of the abyss I found myself
teetering on the precipice of. But that was before our
bond was broken my lies and deceit. But I still love him all the same.

I was born imperfect, I had warts, bad eyes, bucked teeth, a speech impediment and I was born painfully shy. I wasn’t particularly talented like my brother who could draw and created amazing works of art, nor did I have his charm and charisma. I often tried to be funny, tried to be artistic, brilliant and athletic. But none of it really stuck, I was simply me and I had a short attention span and a wild imagination, along with very deep introspective nature. So if anyone had a reason not to believe or to hate God it was me. I lived with an abusive mother, was bullied in school, had only a small handful of friends, but I still felt alone, like I had no place to turn, nowhere to go. My mother had fed into my social anxiety and depression by telling me things like just because my father enjoyed doing things with me, it didn’t mean he loved me. She told me it was all just for show, an act so I would choose to live with him once I became of age. Telling me everyone was always talking about me behind my back, laughing at me, etc.

So it’s not surprising that I eventually lost my faith. I couldn’t fathom why God, or any God would put so much on one person at such an early age. My whole life felt like a never ending uphill battle, with no end in sight and I felt like every time I made it over one hurdle, I instantly got beaten over the head with it, until I got over two more. I eventually grew tired of it all, tired of being a nice guy, tired of loving a God who showed me so precious little, tired of my prayers going unanswered, of being afraid of going to school and living in terror of going home.

 

My grandmother, was simply the best and greatest person I have ever known, as well as being the strongest.  She was in all honesty was the closest thing I ever really had to a real mother. A day doesn't go by that I don't miss her.

My grandmother, was simply the best and greatest person I have ever known, as well as being the strongest. She was in all honesty was the closest thing I ever really had to a real mother. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t miss her.

Then I had questions, questions every child of faith has; I wondered if God made everything, who or what made him? It took me a couple of years but I think I finally have it figured out.
You see, I’ve come full circle and I’ve become a born again Christian and I have proof that God is alive, well for me at least and here it is.

There are on average 4.4 million confirmed pregnancies in the U.S. every year. 900,000 to one million of those pregnancies end in miscarriages. 500,000 pregnancies each year end in miscarriage. So my proof is this, I’m still here. Both my mother and father confirmed that my mother had on numerous occasions tried having a miscarriage. Doing everything from binge smoking, to throwing herself down a flight of steps on her stomach, to punching and beating her gut and doing everything she could to terminate me while I was unborn and still in the womb. On top of that, I was an ‘accident’ both my parents had given up on having another child, a year later she became pregnant with me. Later, when I was just a few months old, my mother took my older brother and abandoned me, leaving me sleeping at the top of a flight of stairs as she locked up the house and left me there. During this time my mother and father’s marriage was on the rocks and he had been staying at my grandmothers, but God had spoken to him, demanding that he return home. That’s where my father found me, still asleep at the top of the stairs. Even if you don’t believe in God, it’s a small miracle within itself that my father showed up at the house at all. Because if he hadn’t, I highly doubt I would be there today, since it took about a week for my mother to call my father and ask him if he had me.

I was saved by her And despite our Differences she was one of the best friends I ever had.

I was saved by her And despite our
Differences she was one of the
best friends I ever had.

I survived all this, including my own suicide attempt. I lost my faith in everything and struggled with my faith time and again, sometimes I simply gave up and surrendered my faith, and there were times when I felt forgotten by him and raged a war, I sinned, cut myself, challenged others in their faith, alljust to get his notice, because even if I made him angry, or hate me he wouldn’t be able to ignore me, believing at least then he’d have no other choice but to take notice of me. All the while I was just drowning in a sea of sorrow, loneliness and despair.

I was eventually saved however. But for a long time I overlooked the positives in my life, and only focused on the negatives, the truth is, sorrow, despair, loneliness, and suicide are words we don’t mention in public. These feelings we keep firmly locked away, we dare not discuss, through their currents run through all of us in varying ebbs and flows throughout the course of life. Just as hope, passion, happiness and love all run together as well. I believe it doesn’t make us weaker to admit these lulls. As someone once said “Acceptance is the first step towards happiness.” Don’t fight the flow, but at the same time don’t let it drag you down either because it’ll hold you there if you let it.

So when you leap off that metaphorical bridge, when you’ve hit bottom and feel like you’ve reached the darkest depths of your inner ocean, just remember to keep kicking for the light at the surface. Or better yet don’t jump at all, just learn to swim.

Then there's my dear friend Hannah with her rich heart, sweet nature who shares my affinity for the outdoors.

Then there’s my dear friend Hannah
with her rich heart, sweet nature
who shares my affinity for the
outdoors.

Because we all have problems and we all get knocked down sometimes, it happens. But here’s my opinion, we’re all given these hardships, these trials and tribulations, in order to build us up, to make us stronger and to have empathy for our fellows. Because life is not all sunshine and rainbows, it’s in constant flux, a pendulum swinging wildly through the many shades of human emotion. And it is important to remember that sometimes the greatest inspiration comes from the moments of deep despair. Even Martin Luther King Jr. Once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

I was saved by a few kinds words, random acts of kindness and love, I found grace and solace in a moment, I was even saved from my own selfish suicidal attempts, which by all rights should have killed me. But I was given another chance at life; I was given a chance at this random, chaotic thing called life. This is how God works, it may not always be how you wanted and you may never really understand it, just like how I’ll probably never understand my mother, but I’m okay with that. So you should be okay with you.

Matt, my best-friend since High-School, who suspected something was wrong in my home life and always welcomed me to be a part of his family, treating me like a brother. A true friend.

Matt, my best-friend since High-School, who suspected something was wrong in my home life and always welcomed me to be a part of his family, treating me like a brother. A true friend.

And when people feel the need to challenge my faith, I tell them to look at life. There’s nothing more spectacular than it. Imagine all the circumstances that had to occur that resulted in your birth, thus creating the perfect storm that is you. But not only was it you that was born into this life. Think about it, in each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Now multiply those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive, meeting, siring this precise son, that exact daughter and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you that emerged. To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold. Then there’s this planet, placed exactly here in this place, allowing the perfect climate to sustain intelligent life and if people can’t see how this is a miracle within itself, created by an expert craftsman, how can you not believe in something greater than yourself? Why doubt the existence of God? Other than believing that the earth wasn’t made, believing that perhaps nothing is made. Like A clock without a craftsman.

My faith will never be a struggle of intellect. I don’t really waiver in my beliefs as I had once had. I don’t care if your Bill Nye, I long since figured out there are some people who don’t believe in God and will always go through great lengths to prove He doesn’t exist, and there are some, like myself who do believe in God and can prove He exists, the argument stopped being about God a long time ago and now it’s about who is smarter, and honestly I don’t care. I know what I know, my experiences are purely my own and no one can take those things away from me. That being said, yes I am a Christian and I do believe many of fellows have forsaken themselves lost the meaning in all their preaching.

And there's this guy, my cousin and good friend, who pulled me back from the brink more than I can say.

And there’s this guy, my cousin and good friend, who pulled me back from the brink more than I can say.

I for one stand for equality and don’t believe anyone has the right to infringe on someone else’s pursuit of happiness. Being against same sex marriage to me, is like going to a restaurant and getting upset because someone else is ordering something different than yours. It’s long been my opinion that if something offends you pay it no mind, don’t waste time or energy getting upset about it. No one’s asking you to come to their wedding, or telling you that you need to marry someone of the same sex

Secondly I don’t homosexuality is a choice and I still love those who are among my friends and family who are gay, in fact it’s hard for me to even put labels on who they are, because all I see is friends, and family. I don’t really care about their sexual orientation, or how their beliefs differ from my own. I simply see good people. But still I admire their strength, because I know a little of the hardships and the prejudices they have to face and come to terms with when they come out.

Then there's Hodge. When we first met we couldn't stand each other. But in time we became good friends, and he became one of my biggest supporters, going as far as going out of his way to pull my bacon out of the fire once or twice. Good dude.

Then there’s Hodge. When we first met we couldn’t stand each other. But in time we became good friends, and he became one of my biggest supporters, going as far as going out of his way to pull my bacon out of the fire once or twice. Good dude.

Leviticus 19:18 you shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19:34 You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

Peter 5:14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.

Love is the key, and believing in something, believing in God, having conviction is to falling falling is love, as to making a decision. Love is both something that just happens and something you decide upon.

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Last but certainly not least, my other best friend from HS. Steven was the first real friend I met when I started going to school in Grant County, taking me under his wing, looked out for me, introduced me to his friends and one my biggest fans. Always telling me, “Don’t dream it, be it!” He and Matt helped teach me how to have confidence and to believe in myself. This guy has million dollar heart

Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.” ― Nora Roberts

So come with me and take my hand and hold it tight, lets allow the stars to be our guides tonight,  taking us through all the things we’ve lost along the way before tonight. Where we’ll walk with me through starlit libraries and catch fireflies in big glass jars and dance like fools beneath the pale moonlight, in a meadow full of wild flowers where no two blooms are ever alike, let go of your worries, your discontent, instead remember what it was like to really laugh, to smile until it hurts, just let go and just enjoy the now. Let’s reignite that fires and the passions we lost we were kids and truer to ourselves. Back when we chased each other in the night, playing hide and seek with our friends in the dark.

So let’s denounce all the lies we’ve told ourselves and let’s rejoice and share secrets in the dark, let’s tell stories that will create a spark and let our imaginations run rampant and wild without constraints.

 Let’s take a moment to slow down, unplug and unwind, turn off the T.V. Put away the phone and lock it away in your nightstand and get up from the computer and go outside. Sit around a campfire with family or friends and share your stories and all the laughter and tears that live there as you connect. Let’s forgive past wrongs, let the past die and just forgive and let live.
Take a long bike ride, and let the wind whip against your skin and through your hair as you pedal and race faster than you ever before dared, feeling your pulse quicken with exhilaration as you live, really live, remember what it was like being a kid and not be so weighed down by all the burdens and past sins.Let’s forgive ourselves and start life anew. Ask yourself what eight year old you would think of you, the twelve year old you and you at sixteen, would advice would that younger you tell you? Let’s speak honestly, with strength, conviction, love and understanding. Let’s change everything and change ourselves and just disconnect from all the computer screens and cellphones and let’s talk to people like all the adults did when we were kids, when everyone in the neighborhood were their friends.
Remember how our bicycle’s warm golden eye would  protect us from the world of responsibilities and hostilities. Remember that feeling of the cool crisp wind blowing through your hair as you rode like the wind, believing your childhood would never end, feeling free, with limitless possibilities and dreams whirling around inside your head, before you were told to grow up and act your age? Let’s write stories of princesses living in white marble castles and of the heroes who come and save them from the old and mundane before we all go insane, and let’s remember the magic we once had and held oh so dear and always believed in with all our heart and souls before we’ve been showed and told all of the magician’s tricks, forever robbing us of that sense of wonder and disbelief we held so dear.
Remember the magic we were born into, even me despite all the struggles I had growing up in a broken home, with an abusive mother and the bullies that waited for me every day at school, who never let me escape their sight. Despite how many times I was knocked down, or how often I felt like I was just losing the fight, I always kept getting back up and I always kept my hope alive. I let my light burn and never hid it from sight. I still lived in fear that one day I would wake up and find that my friends were no longer there, a thought that was almost too much for me to bear. But even with all this and having only a small handful of friends that got me through high school, I can still tell you that I grew up in a magic time and was raised in a magic towns, amongst sorcerers, wizards, wicked witches and genies eager to grant my every wish. I saw this world that no one else could see and I thought it was funny how no one but me could see it or how we were all connected, ensnared and captured into in the silver filaments of this magic web. Weaved by the dueling spiders of chance and circumstance, knowing that everything and everyone mattered, it was my biggest secret, one that I’ve always known, one that I kept all to myself until now.
 I was seven when the world revealed itself to me, I saw magic in all things, I was five when I was sitting in my living room, with the tacky golden couches when I first tried touching magic for the very first time, attempting to make a quarter vanish and disappear from my tiny closed hand. I was certain if I concentrated hard enough, focused enough, I would open my hand to discover I had somehow manged to make it vanish I saw many magicians do. It didn’t matter how many times I would open my fist to find the quarter still there, because I could feel it, I knew the magic was around me and in the air and I could see all new beginnings, the present and the future and this story’s ending. I saw myself in ways I can never describe and I saw the simple truth in all things. You probably did once too; but you just don’t remember, or maybe you do, but you just forgotten.
See, this is my opinion; we all start out knowing magic, believing a blanket tied around our shoulders can make us fly and by night our blankets would protect us from the monsters that lurked in our closest,  under our beds and in the dark. We had this world inside of us, where a stranger could become one of our best friends, we believed and had faith in people and we all lived and understood  what it meant when the floor was lava and kiss could heal any hurt and we lived with no fear and we looked at people and just saw people, we didn’t discriminate, or hate someone because they were different than us, we accepted them, as they were and we eager to talk and get to know them. But we get the magic, the love and the wonder educated right out of our souls, we get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get told what to believe and even how to pray and when I was a kid, I would talk to God all the time and I would speak to him as I would a friend, like I would speak to you now. But we get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age, to grow up and to take off our magic capes and to stop stomping through the yard like we’re dinosaurs on parade and to put all our childish things away.

 And do you know why we’re told all this? Because the people doing the telling are afraid of our wildness and our youth, and because the magic we grow up knowing makes them feel scared, ashamed and a little sad of what they’d allowed to wither and die within themselves. Because after you get so far from it, you can’t really get it back. You can have seconds of it, moments of knowing and remembering. Whenever you watch children at play and marvel at their imagination, when you’re outside and hear their laughter and remember when you used to laugh so hard while sitting in class and the more you tried to quiet yourself the harder you would laugh and even though you got in trouble you wouldn’t want it to have happened in any other way.

You feel it when you‘re watching a movie and find tears welling up in your eyes and it’s because in that darken theater, when the lights are down, that your disbelief is suspended for a few minutes or hours, you find yourself immersed once again in that golden pool of magic that dwells and swirls around in your heart, when you feel like anything is possible and when you touch it, you become filled with that same sense of wonder and mystery that you’ve always known, then you’re young again, with your imagination filling up and you find you still have hope an you still believe. When we were kids, we dreamed of changing the world, or saving it from all the wrong we’ve seen. Like the times you’ve witnessed someone being singled out, harassed, or discriminated against and you wanted to do something, but instead you hesitate too long, you over analyze, it’s like when you leave a darken theater after watching a good movie and your imagination runs wild and you’re still carrying those feelings it stirred up within your soul, until the lights come on and you step out into the hard sun and you fall back into a world of logic and reason all over again. Which further dries up that pool of magic within our souls. So when you see or witness adversity you shove your hands in your pockets and walk away, wondering what you could have done, believing it would work itself out in the end, telling yourself all the things you wished you would have said or done, as you walk further and further away to never see them again.

Which always leaves you wanting and a little heart sad, for you can never fully understand why this is. It happens all the time, when a song stirs the distant memory of young love and the future you thought was so certain, when motes of dust turning in a shaft of light takes your attention from the world, when you listen to a distant train passing in the night and you wonder where it might be going and what it would be like to ride its rails at least one time. It happens when you hear a piano playing softly and you become lost in the endless depths remembering what was lost and forgotten. It’s that time when you step up and beyond who you are and away from where you had been, it’s then that for the briefest of moments that you find yourself back in that magic realm, feeling like you did back when you were ten.

I know it’s hard and there are days when you feel like you’re miles away, spending a whole December hoping things will go your way and I stand here today, wearing my heart on my sleeve, telling you all the things that I believe and truth is every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us. We get shouldered with burdens, some of them good, and some not. Things happen to us all the time, with hurdles we think we’ll never get over, or get by and for me it was my mother, High school, and then came the real trials of stepping out into real world, getting my first job, losing what was once my home, saying good my to good friends, wondering if I’ll ever see some of them again. But no matter where they went, to Afghanistan to fight in a war, or to warm beaches to relax under the sun, or suffering behind a desk in a day job that they hate, a part of me will always be with them, just as I will always carry a part of them with me. Some went on to become heroes while others just became lost.

But things change all the time, while some never do. And the truth is, life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, even when you fall in love honestly, for the world can still be a very mean, dark and nasty place and no matter how strong or tough you think you are, it will beat you to your knees just like it had me, the first time I fell in love and lost on the battlefield of love. Then when I found love again and once more I found I was one of two choices, but then I chose another path and simply walked away without word or argument. Believing if was meant for me, she would find me again, or chase after me.

My head was left bloody but unbowed. Yet I still loved her, didn’t want to see her hurt, didn’t want to cause her any pain or drama, I simply walked away.

I was broken and on my knees, knowing life would keep me there if I let it and that was a guarantee. So no matter what happens, take it from me, you can’t ever quit and you have to fight like hell to keep that light within you alive even when the whole world feels like it’s against you, you must always strive to press on to something more and never quit, no matter how much it hurts, no matter how sore. Learn to love what you got and not the things that you’re not. You can choose life and look up, or continue being a victim or whatever else it is you want to be. Or you can press on to something more, because if you call it quits and simply give up on live, you’ll never knowing how close you came to getting past those hurdles, to finding solace in a moment, when peace finds you while you’re walking barefoot through the grass with a pretty girl

And me…I just want to write, to change the world with my words and get people to read again, to discover the magic in the written word, that magic that has been buried in the hidden depths of in the soul of my readers. To remind them that your life is a story, and some chapters end, while others are just beginning, so if you ever think of ending your story prematurely, you’re robbing yourself and of those around you of the story of you and you’ll never see how things would turn out, or how it was meant to be. Remember that no matter where you are in the story, that the best ones have the hardest beginnings, and the happiest of endings. , because no one will ever hit you as hard as life can and will, but it isn’t about how hard you get hit, or how many times life keeps knocking you down, it’s about how many times you keep getting back up, keep moving forward; how much you take and keep placing one foot in front of the other, knowing the battles you’ll fight will be hard and that no one ever said it’ll be easy, but no matter what happens, or how many times you keep getting knocked down, never stop getting back up. And don’t forget that person you set out to be. Don’t get lost in stark and the mundane, instead look up and keep moving forward unto the dawn. Until you discover that the reward is a life well lived and realize it’s been made all the sweeter because you experienced the sour. So when your journey finally winds down and you look back, you’ll remember the lessons you’ve learned and finally see how far you come.  Discover that by weathering the storm, you have become a little stronger, wiser and just better for having just lived through it. You’re a survivor, a fighter and you’re everything you wanted to be and more.

So yes you may lose your heart’s desire along the way, which can be most tragic, but you can also find it and there is no greater joy than rediscovering who you are and you’ll be surprised where you go and just how far you’re capable of going. Yes, accidents will happen along the course, you may lose your way, which can be frightening if you let it, or you can embark on an all new journey of discovery until you find your way back home, and home is wherever there is someone who thinks and cares about you.So no matter where life takes you, always stay true and always be you, because this world is filled with its crazy mazes, obscene obstacles, and flashing lights all meant to confuse you, to test us, distract us and derail us from the very thing we set out to do.

 

Life and the adults of this world always seem to be in such hurry to grow up, to be professional, and successful, they forget to take time for themselves, to stop and smell the roses, to indulge their lost inner child. So they do their best to take our innocence and the essence of magic away from us, to make us just like every one of them, a person who never looks up, but always down, and always with that sad frown. Of course you never know it, until one day you realize you’ve lost something and you’re not sure what it is. It’s like being in a grocery store and smiling at a pretty girl and she calls you “sir.” for the first time. It just happens.

These memories of who I was and where I’ve been are important to me, just as yours should be to you. They make up a large part of who you’re going to be once your journey winds down. I don’t want to be the person my parents wanted me to be. I want to write, inspire and be free. I love my father but he’s not the kind of person I want to be, because I just want to me. So I know I’ll need the memory of magic if I am ever going to conjure magic and get people to pick up a book and read again. So I need to know and remember who I was, where I’ve been and I want to tell you its okay to be a little afraid sometimes, it’s okay to explore the unknown, to think and live with wonder. Question the world around you, question everything, and remember today’s yesterdays, crack open a book and read under a tree on a lazy afternoon and howl and dance under the moon.

It’s okay to laugh and to be inspired, to live and marvel at this incredible thing called life, to see what we’ve been given. So the next time you hear a piano playing softly, close your eyes and think of me and consider my words and remember the magic you felt during your first kiss, remember the exhilaration of jumping in puddles and laughing in the rain. Remember how it felt playing in the fall leaves and take the time to walk barefoot through your yard and feel the soft grass between your toes and gaze up at the clouds and tell me what you see, for world is filled with magic and it’s all around us, all the time, it’s with you and me, within all of us.

                                       “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
― Roald Dahl

Because life isn’t a journey, for every journey ends and when it ends, we go on. There are no do-overs and second chances come as rare as a flower blooming in the dead of winter, but we learn and carry on. Sometimes we’re heavier from the burdens we take on and carry with us; sometimes we become lighter by sharing our burdens with those closest to us. Sometimes we complain and feel that our burdens are too much, but the weight isn’t what matters, what matters is that we carry it. Because the world turns and turns and we with it, plans fall apart, things change, scars fade, but the memory, the memories always remain and sometimes there’s a moment that hovers and settles for but a moment, leaving us forever and in-explicitly changed in the most unexpected of ways, ways we never thought or felt before. And it’s then that our dreams take over and it’s there I see you and it seems that wherever I go, I find you, you’re there, my luck, my fate, my fortune, my life, my blessing and my curse. But it’s not all about you, or where in the stars your destiny lies, it’s about the here and now and what you find in the hidden depths of your soul, it’s where we go from here, as the ashes of what was and what might have been finally settle down around us, leaving us forever transformed, this is it, this is the now and it’s when you finally decide where you’re going to go from here.

You see we’re born with this light burning brightly within us all and sometimes the light flickers and goes out and we have to rage against the dying of the light, doing all we can to keep it aglow, fanning the soft, warm embers to make the those internal fires grow. So I’m writing to those who haven’t yet lost that irreplaceable spark, whose life may have, or is being made miserable because they think no one wants, loves or believes in them. They don’t know that those people always doing the telling are wrong, because they lost their way and forgotten about the light which burns so brightly against the night showing them the way and that makes them jealous of the light we still have casting away the shadows of despair, regret, and bitterness that would otherwise ruin our perfectly good and happy little lives. And I want to help those people find what makes them special and if you can’t see that, then you’re also wrong, just like my mother. So why don’t you go ahead and write this down and let me show you what one person in a million can really do, let me prove that they’re wrong and your dreams are worth fighting for, you’re worth fighting for and you’re good enough, even when you believe you’ll never be. Because you already are, you’re already good enough; you’re perfect because you’re you and you’re here now.

I spent a lifetime trying to be someone else’s idea of perfect, bending myself to the will of others, molding myself like soft clay found in a riverbank, with no one but me to thank. I use to try so hard to be what someone else wanted me to be, even though it was slowly killing me, with everyone always looking at m and believing they knew me, seeing whatever they wanted to see. I was the geek who never had the courage to talk to you, the loser who never could get a break, the wannabe trying so hard just to be notice and be one of you, the jerk who kept pushing you away out of fear you’ll get too close, the coward who pretended I didn’t like you because “the cool” kids didn’t and I didn’t want to risk being associated with the likes of you, I was the creep who wanted so desperately for you to notice me, but whenever I would speak the words would come out all wrong, twisted and forever lost upon my tongue. but always hoping it’ll be enough to get you see through my charade and see through to the real me, wanting, needing you to just give me a chance or just push me in the right direction. Because I was the nerd who was always lost in a book and I was never one of the herds, because I never wanted to think about going home, I was the one who everyone always left alone. I was the introvert, wishing I could just convert and not be so afraid to show you that part of me that only a few ever got to see, I wanted to be an extrovert. But I wasn’t, I was the dweeb all the bullies would seek, perceiving me as being nothing more than weak, when in reality I was just unique.

I was all these things and more, never telling anyone how I would smile and joke, while inside I was always mess, fighting a private war in the confines of my own adolescent mind, struggling just to get by. Spending countless days sitting in class, quietly debating suicide or wishing I could just turn from all of this and run away. With all my words never being enough and feeling so frustrated all I wanted to do was scream and cuss.

But that was before, before I found my way, before I rediscovered my faith and found God, or he found me and without ever realizing it, he had become guide. He led me to a girl who eyes were like the sunrise, who saved my wretched life and helped me rediscover my lost faith. She affected me more profoundly and in more ways than my words could ever say. But since that day we met in the library, I know I’ve been left forever changed and I’ll always carry a part of her in my heart, my shooting star, my best friend, when went away and had went so very far away.

So I know what you’re thinking, you think you already know me, you think I’ll stand up here today and just tell you my name, then I’ll share with you my story, a story you probably won’t believe, because you believe you know the truth and you believe that there is none, because to you it’s been forgotten and you may even believe that the truth is even a lie. But you’d be wrong, because the truth is real and the truth is still absolute, even when it’s cold and cruel and more painful than any lie.

So take it from me, no matter where life takes you, too big cities, to small towns, you’ll inevitably come across small minds. There will be people who think that they’re better than you. People who think that material things, physical beauty and popularity automatically make them better, and a more worthwhile human being. But they’re wrong and I’d like to tell you that none of these things really matter unless you have the strength of character, integrity and a sense of pride about yourself. To fight the hardest battles, to make the greater sacrifice, like walking away from your truest love, knowing she’ll never see you the same as you do her, no matter how badly you wished you could. It means being her friend to the very end and ignoring how much it hurts, because she makes you a better human being, challenging your imagination and intellect.

So if you are ever so lucky to have any one of these things, don’t ever give them up, don’t ever change and don’t ever sell out. Because beauty fades and popularity never lasts and not even gold can stay, it’s like the changing of the seasons, leaves will always change and fall away all the time. Life ebbs and flows, changing all the time, inexplicitly, in the most amazing and unexpected ways, ways you never thought, imagined or believed possible.


So when you meet a person for the first time, please don’t judge them by their station in life, or the situation they’re in, give them a chance to show you who they really are, because who knows… that person just might end up saving your life, and becoming your very best friend…But that’s my story and what is now a part of me. For my friends come from different walks of life, each and every one of us were as different from each other as night is from day, I grew up the outcast with no real friends, but I met a jock, a goth, a genius, a band geek, a choir boy and a real rock-N-roller. We were all from different social circles and clicks, who found ourselves converging on this random path called life, becoming the closest of friends, becoming brothers and closer than family. Of course we didn’t always get along, most of us started out, hating, despising, or disliking each other for one reason or another, but somehow we found a commonality and it ensnared us so completely and enigmatically, pulling us together despite the fascist tides of discrimination and hatred a friendship like ours can sometimes breed. We came together on a random day in the middle of spring and discovered we had more in common than we had first believed. The result made us all a little stronger and wiser in ways we never thought possible. I still remember the day when I felt it, a unique sense of magic blossoming that day on the bus as he spoke excitedly about meeting up and hanging out later that day at Steven’s after school, when true friendship blossomed from the most unlikely of people who formed an even more unlikely bond, one that survived long distance and the ever changing tides of time.

 Life is filled with change and people change all the time, but they never say how much. So I could stand up here today and tell you my name is Joshua A. Cooper, I can tell you I’m a dreamer, an avid reader and a speaker who struggles to say the words that he means and this is me, finally coming clean and telling you that I love, even as I wonder what it means, I have days where I feel like I’m coming apart at the seams and days that are more incredible than anything I could possibly hope for or dream. So you may or may not believe the words I have to say, because you don’t know me, but still life goes on and on, filled with endless possibilities, with its various risks, pleasures and consequences, making us question our time here and what we do with the time we are given and how precious little of it we have left. It’s how we let our circumstances shape and mold us into who we are, making me who I am, making me the person the Lord has always meant for me to be, which is just me and it’s incredibly freeing to simply be yourself and not what everyone else wants you to be.

 

“Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.”
― Nora Roberts