That One Little House

I stay late to write

I don’t even know what about-

Life feels like a hurricane at times, and I,

feel like that one little house on the block

who crumbled when all the others stayed strong and upright-

no defects,

perfect and strong.

What the fuck is up with that?

The universally accepted truth is that life isn’t fair,

that it isn’t easy,

and the promise attached is that it’s also worth fighting for.

But if you crumbled and your bricks met the ground,

it takes a lot more strength and courage to rebuild yourself than if you had just stayed in shambles,

And that’s not an universal truth-

It is mine.

Sometimes all I can do is be

the shattered pieces that this life has made of me,

even with all the courage inside to rebuild my walls.

But for what? and for whom?

Pretty houses on a hill…

I just don’t belong in that world.

I’m gravel in shambles, shards of tile thrown across the floor

and in time, I’ll be a mansion

But darling, that time is set on my watch

not yours.

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Would You?

Been wanting to write

but the subject is always the same lately-

You.

That smile and eyes and mouth and lips and arms and hands and strength and embrace that makes me feel so small; so cared for.

I’d like to write about the sky, the mountains of this town, the falling leaves and autumn sun..  but they don’t compare to the feelings you stir up inside of me

so I run away sometimes, afraid of this

Afraid of being too available that you stop chasing me-

Don’t want to keep running

but if I stay put,

Would you stay with me?

Elusive creatures are attractive for a reason

If you think you can have me,

Would you still want me?

 

Kicking Rocks

Maybe my tears will wash you away

Afraid

Of another heartbreak

Too broken to know when to keep quiet;

When to give you smiles and nothing more-

Not this heaviness in my heart,

Nor these knots on my throat,

Not these feet kicking rocks

Nor my tired feet trudging along.

If I could transform into who I wished I were these days,

I’d be her and no one else for you;

For me

If I could kick these blues away

and have a perfect, balanced brain

Well then,

That’s exactly what I’d do today;

That’s exactly who I would’ve been today.

The Thankful Bus

Everyone is thankful these days. And it’s not even Thanksgiving.

I hear a gentleman say “Thanks” to the bus driver as he steps out into the street with me. Then, with my feet firmly planted on the cold pavement, a robotic voice coming from the bus kindly says “Thank You” to me and anyone else standing close enough to hear it. Yes, even busses are grateful for us humans these days.

The barista at the coffee shop thanks you for your order as she hands you that coffee, the towel girl at the gym thanks you and wishes you a good day, the farmers at the market’s stands thank you for purchasing their crops…

And I wondered: with so many kind, grateful people around to thank me for my menial gestures and outright responsibilities, do I ever return such kindness to myself?

I can’t remember the last time I thanked myself for doing something good for my body. I exercised this morning and had a green smoothie, and didn’t even think about mentally thanking myself for my wise healthy decisions. Why is it that we treat ourselves so much worse than we do strangers? Why is it that even a mode of transportation like the bus can thank us for merely going along for the ride, and we still can’t thank ourselves when we do good for our soul, for humanity, for that little ant you deliberately didn’t step on?

Be kind to yourself. Don’t just look in the mirror and place the blame for all the terrible things that may happen to you on your own two shoulders. Sure, we could always be better. But now and then, we are good. In fact, now and then, we are really good.

So thank yourself.

Everyone else seems to be doing it already.

HOW

Ealy life crisis.

I’m sure such a thing exists. How else can I explain what I’ve been going through this past year? Everything that I thought was important, suddenly appears not to be so. A definite and clear shift in my values and even some of my personal qualities has taken place. Yet I sit here facing the sea and have no more tears to cry, no more “whys” to demand from life.

The past few days I’ve had short encounters with locals that made me realize some things. One man, while sitting at a bar, spoke to his friends as he sprayed himself with cologne saying: “I’m already ugly and poor. I can at least smell good!”

Today, the vendor who rents beach chairs decided that he would help me get a cab from the beach by all costs. He stood attently looking at both sides of the street and calling the attention of every cab that passed by, until he finally got me one. I had already paid him for my chair and stool for the day and I never asked for his help hailing a cab. Still, once he put his mind to help me, there was no stopping him. He did it willingly, with pride even to be able to help me.

The taxi cab driver who drove me to a salon yesterday told me that he lived in a big city before moving back to Maceió, where I am currently living. When I asked him why he moved back, he said: “There was no beach there. A day at the beach, with the sun, and the cold beer, and that delicious fish one can get! It’s too good, there’s nothing better than that. How could I stay in the city?”

Simple.

Have I just been complicating my life? Pushing aside the things I love for grandiose ideas of what my life should really look like?

It’s not about what we’re doing with our lives; It’s about what we do when our life isn’t going the way we’d hope it would. All these men have taught me this lesson these past few days.

Now when I sit in front of the ocean thinking about the mess I’ve made of my life, instead of asking WHY, I’m asking HOW.

How can I begin to be happy again?

These doubts are so vain, they probably think this post is about them

I don’t usually doubt myself.

Not because I’m incredibly aware of my strengths, and certainly not because I think I can do absolutely anything, but because I feel that so long as I give my best, there can be no failure.

But every now and then, on days like today, I panic. Although I can handle “failing” in certain aspects of my life (I have a clear understanding of the incredibly flawed human being I am), I sometimes have trouble accepting the fact that my absolute best might be, for some, a complete and utter failure. Then I doubt my strength, which I know is fragile. The exhaustion from days and nights of cramming, learning, outlining, highlighting, practice-exam taking and flash-carding, combined with the fear that my absolute best may not be enough, makes me seep to the floor and question everything. What if, after all, I am not good enough, bright enough, for these law folks?

The idea of failing itself is not what is so scary to me. What scares me more is the thought of not having the courage to do anything else. And so lacking in courage, I keep failing at being something I invested so much in, simply because that’s what a responsible adult is supposed to do. Right? Investment backed expectations! The first little cloud of doubt sprouts from somewhere in my mind and begins to waltz above my head.

Big life questions. We all have them. And sometimes, I promise you, it’s ok to leave them unanswered.

So I’m still, I sit and let the clouds of doubts, now in numbers, hang above me.

Maybe I’ve failed because my absolute best just wasn’t good enough. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be, or maybe I’m made in a way that isn’t meant for all this. I don’t know. I won’t know tomorrow, and possibly not even months after that. And that’s ok.

Not all wanderers are lost, and not all lost want to be found. The same way that not all those who fail give up, and not all who give up fail.

So let your doubts hang, suspended in beautiful silence. Let them swing from side to side, languidly, until one day, they just disappear. Not because you gave up or gave in, and not because you failed either; not because you found yourself, because what does that even mean? You won’t ever find another you that’s more you than the you sitting there right. now. The doubts, however, they will disappear- the moment you give them a slight acknowledgment and a dash of consideration.

Because, as it turns out, doubts are about as vain as we humans are.

Tired

 

I write better in turmoil, it’s as if the storm inside me comes pouring out and breaking everything around it through the keys of my keyboard. Each tap on the squared letters is a loud thud, captured fast, with direction, with no time to go back and regret words, sentences, thoughts and feelings so honestly laid out. In my struggle there is sincerity, sentiments I often do not get a chance to feel until trouble comes crashing down.

And if I may be honest, I’m fucking tired. I’m tired of law school, of the stress, of this economy that is crumbling down below us. I’m tired of debt, tired of sacrificing being far away from all those I love to achieve the “American Dream” that is nonexistent for my generation. I’m tired of hearing the words “everything will work out” from privileged people my age who have never struggled with making ends meet, being completely self sufficient and trying to build a comfortable life in a foreign country that never quite feels like their own.

Don’t tell me it will be ok, when you have no idea what it feels like to be me right now. Don’t tell me everything will work out just because it always does for you. Just sit with me and be miserable, sit with me and tell me it’s not all my fault and that life is just shitty sometimes, even if it this has never been the case for you.

And if you can’t, then don’t speak, and don’t stare at me as you would at a stray dog; full of pity and concern.

 

“Someone feeling wronged is like someone feeling thirsty. Don’t tell them they aren’t. Sit with them and have a drink.”

– Mike Mitchell

 

 

One word, four letters

In 25 years of life, I have learned that people are prone to conflict. We always seem to distinguish ourselves from others while at the same time forming allies with those we think are more like ourselves. This is the famous process of “us” versus “them.”

We all do this in our daily lives- surrounding ourselves with people we like while keeping at a distance those we find “strange,” to say the least.

Here is my message of love. One that looks past what horrid acts someone might have done and focuses only on the individual and their ability to accept love and return the same.

But why love? Isn’t it harmless to keep at a distance? Or why not hate?

Here’s why: hate only changes the individual that lugs it around in their soul. It consumes them, lighting a fire in them that ultimately leads to destruction- either their own or that of the person they despise. While keeping at a distance neither changes you nor the other person you don’t care much for.

But love? Love changes everyone. Every. Person.

It changes the person who loves, who suddenly catches themselves questioning simple things they thought for sure would never change. Suddenly, for example, you start going to church, or enjoying karaoke, or taking yoga classes. Loving someone expands your horizons, it enlarges your world such that suddenly you have new ideas on deeply rooted views you thought would never change. Loving someone adds another person’s opinions to your own. And even if you refuse to accept them, you’re still introduced to them and you still need to decide how to deal with them. Everybody knows someone who changed once they fell in love. This is nothing new.

But the extraordinary special thing about love is that the change occurs both ways. For in knowing you are loved, you realize your worth, your values, and in turn you find yourself.

I know it’s hard to think of love in a non-romantic way. But love is much more than what goes on between lovers. It is the ability to not harbor hatred for a mass-murderer, to look beyond his actions and to see the human being that’s underneath. To understand all of us have a past, baggage, history. We are all results of our upbringing and of the society around us. When you think of this, the fact that we are all affected by our surroundings, why would you choose a message of hate instead of love? Why would anyone choose to focus on the differences between us rather then the unifying characteristics? That we are all human, that we all want love, that we all need to feel like we matter, even if in some small gesture or “thank you” or flash of a half-smile when we are walking down the street.

I think about society today. I think about the many people that were raised with me and who had the same values instilled in them yet turned out the absolute contrary way than the message of love I write about today. If we could just stop separating ourselves, creating the “them” we have become so used to, and just try to love each other, regardless of  preconceived notions we have on who and what they are, we all might just be happy together. If we could stop creating our own judgments of others based on their chosen lifestyle and just loved them, we would see a transformation in their lives. And we all might just have peace and experience a side of humanity not many people have gotten to see.

One word, four letters: Love.

It should not be just a verb selected for the special few in your life. Practice it, live it, every day, with every person you encounter. Smile at the clerk, the homeless person in the corner, say kind words to those who might not say them to you, and if someone stops you on the street, dont’ retract, don’t pull back, talk to them like you would with a close friend.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll change society along the way.

Metamorphosis: it’s not just for butterflies

I love to catch myself doing something I never thought I would do. Cue in multiple events during my college years at UCSB, a lot of  the trips I’ve had the opportunity to take, and most recently, a very personal decision I’ve made that will forever change a couple of people’s lives.

I like knowing that I’m never the same person today as I was yesterday, last week, months or years ago. This ranges from my taste in food to my ideas and religious/political beliefs. Whether I have changed for better or for worse isn’t important, since it is a value judgment that is imposed on me by other people. There is no “good” or “bad” change. Essentially all change is a positive thing because it encompasses the ability to evolve, to transform, regardless of the who other people think we should be.

The truth is that humans are not machines. As such, we let ourselves be affected and transformed by the people we meet, the things we see, and all the other events in our lives. And it is beautiful to know that the person we think we are today might not be there tomorrow.

Metamorphosis. It’s not just for butterflies.