The Mountain Of…

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I’ll tell you something. I hate repeated information. When someone tells me the same story forty-eight times it drives me crazy. My desire to hear you go on about the “super cute thing” your dog did last January for the third time this week isn’t actually at the top of my list of things to listen to.

I would much rather do any of the following.

Write

Stand in the rain.

Burn my house down.

Burn your house down.

Burn your doghouse down. (I wouldn’t let the dog be hurt, don’t worry.)

I would staple my own calf before willingly listening to the sound of your baby crying and then “ooh wait look what she does next” for what can only be a record breaking time. Somewhere in the millions that I’ve heard that child hiccup in the middle of a crying fit and begin laughing and to be honest with you it sounds about as warming and cheerful as a glass of kombucha I left in the sun yesterday would feel sliding down my throat.

Still, as much as I hate this thing. This incessant need to tell the same story to our loved ones sixteen million times, I also realize I do this same thing. It permeates everything, too. My blog, my day to day life, I write poetry on the same topics I’ve used the same concepts in personal writing, professional writing and recreational writing because I just like them so much.

If I were a greater man I wouldn’t go on about how they are “different” scenarios and so the pet peeve doesn’t matter for me, but it does. It really, really does.

It’s like, have you ever gone on a hike? I mean a real hike, not necessarily a nature trail. Although, you may see nature trails like I see hikes. Regardless, at the base of the hike you just see the beginning of the trail. One that springs to memory (not that I’m an avid hiker, or anything.) is this trail out in a canyon near my home. It’s not long, by the standards of a man who doesn’t drink six cans of soda and who won’t shamelessly down a pint of cheese dip covering anything he can get his delicate yet greasy fingers on. It’s only a mile or so, there are lots of switchbacks and the bottom of the path is ultimately deceiving. I ascended this path one day with my friends, assuming it would be a short hike and it would be over quickly. I didn’t consider that the path would climb into the canyon and suddenly become a sharp incline that I didn’t prepare for. I was in slip on Vans and skinny jeans when we set off. My pasty white ass burns in four and a half seconds flat and I didn’t have sunscreen, water, or appropriate willpower to tackle the path as it grew from meandering to downright threatening for a chubster like myself.

But I climbed it.

By the end I had to rest beneath a tree for something like an hour, hoping that my heart wouldn’t burst from how excited it was that I finally did something physical besides moving my fingers across a keyboard or flicking my mouse.

I thought the journey would be simple, that I could tackle it like I tackled everything before me. With nothing in my pockets and a heart full of confidence and an ego that just won’t quit.

Then it got hard and I wanted to turn back, so bad.

It became the same pattern over and over of climbing and resting and climbing and rubbing my calves. Wiping sweat from my brow and making sure I didn’t slip and fall down the cliff, because as I was about ¾ of the way through I decided something.

I was not going to let that mountain beat me. I was not going to give up, no matter what I did.

In that moment I would have rather:

Written.

Stood in the rain.

Burned my house down.

Burned the forest down.

Knocked down a beehive and let them take me prisoner to their terrible stings while I cried and asked random passersby if they had kombucha to spare.

When I reached the peak of that mountain though, It was freeing.

I still have the photo my friends and I had taken together. Arms folded across one another, and though you couldn’t see our faces we were all smiling.

I wanted to quit smoking that day.

I didn’t.

I threw away that pack I had though, didn’t change the fact that I bought a new one later that week.

As soon as I had made it home, I’m sure.

After I had overcome the path and shown it I was serious about reaching the top, I realized that it wasn’t that far of a climb, to be honest. It seemed so long because we stopped so much and because we had to backtrack and climb the switchbacks on the way up.

Each morning I look at that path again, whether I want to or not.

I’ve found that I pay special attention to it when I don’t think about it. I understand that the sentiment doesn’t make sense, but hear me out. More often than not, when we are ill prepared for something it takes that much more of a toll on us. It’s why it hurts so much more when children die as opposed to adults. We come to expect death with each year we age. Eventually, those of us lucky enough reach a moment where death will take us at any time. We are just waiting for him to catch his bus that’ll take him to our home. Children don’t have that. We expect kids to live long and full lives. We put our hopes and dreams into them and when they are taken by disease or ill fate, it hurts that much worse. We weren’t ready for that. It isn’t fair.

It’s the same with everything we can anticipate. I set money aside every time I get paid in case something happens. My car breaks, my appliances break. My clothing is stolen, whatever you want to assume, I try to be ready for it with extra fluff in my bank account.

I know that I don’t do this with relationships. Or, anymore, much of anything. I think it comes from not thinking about what I have in my life.

I’m pretty good at a few things. Writing, Vulgarity, exaggerating stories, making mountains out of mole hills and I consider myself to be excellent at doing nothing at all. I mean that. Nothing.

I can be content to lay in bed for six more hours than I should have been in bed just sleeping and rolling over, until my back hurts and my bones hurt because I have been horizontal for so long.

That practice bleeds over into so many things anymore, and that’s what I’m here for today.

The mountains I’ve made of nothing.

A few days ago, something around two weeks I had a pretty bad day regarding my time. I feel as if I don’t have time to complete everything. I want to write and game and spend time with my girlfriend. I want to see my parents and I want to go to work. I want to relax, and I want to spend time building my future. I want to learn, and I want to sleep and I need to eat and clean myself yet, it’s damn hard to do all of those things at once. Have you ever eaten a tuna melt in the shower? Beer is one thing but getting water on your bread is akin to blasphemy.

Consider your morning routine. How many of us spend it on our cell phone? Not that I’m disparaging the use of our black box brains but think about it. I spend roughly a half an hour on my phone before I roll out of bed. Sleepily liking things, I don’t want to like. Opening up comments on tweets and typing “qwefyhsssssssss” to a random internet personality for them to look at and question later, if they ever see it.

When I finally wake up I decide to do one of two things. Work, or Play. Each day I set aside time for both, and each day I make it a point to focus more on one than the other. When I play, I spend time with friends and family, gaming, what have you. When I work, I work. I sit down at my computer and go as hard as I can for as long as my eyes will allow, taking breaks to get dinner or to go do something useful.

I separate things in my mind to make them easier to process, but the fact is, not everything can be so cleanly separated from everything else. I need things to be linked together. Hang out with friends, play video games. Spend time with my girlfriend, clean the house. Whatever the case may be. I need to couple activities to get all of this stuff done at once.

Do you remember how mountains are formed?

It happens in a couple different ways, both of them equally important.

When two tectonic plates collide, the force smashes them together until one of them slides beneath the other and a mountain is the result, on the other hand, volcanoes that are formed end up warping rock layers above them and those mountains bend and become “small” mounds on the surface of the Earth.

Smashing activities together, trying to blend everything into one big mess is a lot llike folding mountains. We try and multi-task and end up cheapening the experience of both activities in most cases. Of course, Video Games were designed with multiplayer in mind, so that isn’t a great example but on the other hand, what kind of date consists of cleaning an apartment?

To most people I’d venture to guess that it doesn’t. Usually dates don’t involve cleaning grime off the kitchen tile. I don’t necessarily see it that way, but that’s another conversation for another blog. Regardless of the facets that we utilize to make the most of our time, generally we should consider cutting some things out. It’s healthy to say no. If you don’t want to go. Don’t go. If you don’t want to stay, don’t stay. I have a problem with saying no, one that I seem to have adopted overnight. I don’t like disappointing my friends and family and especially my girlfriend and yet it seems as though I do all of those things regularly. I am the master at breaking apart my time into easily manageable chunks and wasting all of it.

Of course, there is the other type of mountain, when the problems you deal with bubble up below the surface and despite how hard you try to hold it in, eventually, it will crack and when that pressure escapes there isn’t much anyone else can do but get away.

I’m guilty of both, frequently.

I regularly make simple tasks out to be these huge deals and act like I don’t have time for them when in reality, I have all the time in the world.

Which brings me back to repeating things.

I see myself often saying the same things to the same questions on the same days.

“Want to hang out?”

“Nah, gotta work.”

“Want to finish this novel?”

“I think I’ll go watch YouTube.”

“What are you watching?”

“I don’t’ know, want to get dinner?”

“What are you doing after?”

“Probably gaming.”

“Wanna raid?”

“Nah, Gotta work.”

“Want to finish this novel?”

You see the cycle?

Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap that we each so easily create for ourselves.

I give myself a few hours in a day to perform certain tasks and if they go unfinished I panic, as if I don’t have time for them later. I consider that this world spins around me, after all, so it should bend to my will.

Shouldn’t it?

No. It shouldn’t.

I am fantastic at making problems bigger than they need to be by repeating the same taglines I use to describe them. I use the same excuses to worm my way out of things. I use the same tactics to stall until the last moment to commit to anything. Hell, even when I pray I ask for the same things. Guidance, grace, hope, love, patience and so on. I’m not saying that any of those things are bad, but the fact that I find myself begging for them every single night should be a sign.

Instead of begging for an end to anxiety I should be asking and looking for ways to deal with it.

Rather than asking for hope, I should find the things that will make me hopeful.

Instead of asking to be loving, I should practice being loving, which, I’ll tell you, has been difficult for me for a while now.

If you saw the things I’ve said or the way I’ve said them, you would be surprised.

I am not me, tonight and I am not sure when I went away.

I think, I went to go climb a mountain.

If you see me out there, tell me to slow down. I have a mole hill to climb and get myself re-organized.

Don’t spin those small hills into giants that you don’t want to overcome.

You can beat them.

You will beat them.

Let yourself be tricked by the first few feet of your path. Let yourself believe it is easy, and when it gets hard, remember to take breaks.

Hang out with your girlfriend.

Game with your friends.

Read a book.

Call your mother.

Whatever you do, don’t ever let yourself forget that this mountain you are facing is colored with everything that you could imagine. This mountain is a million worlds wrapped into one, decorated with the souls of everyone you love and everyone you can’t seem to understand. It’s even home to those who can’t stand you. It doesn’t have to be a monolith, because I promise you, it is not the only thing in life. It is a mountain. Just like every mountain elsewhere. Painted to look like everything you fear and everything you hope. Some are tall, some are fat. Some are steep but all of them, every mountain…

Is the mountain of regret, hope, joy, luck, pain, sorrow, anxiety…

Life.

Don’t give up.

Thank you for May.

Untitled for 25 Years

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I’ve taken a short break after my birthday, sorry for the absence. I wanted to spend some time with my family and friends and girlfriend and think about what to do next, where to go and what mountain I’d like to climb soon. April will likely be scarce for blog posts because of this small break but I hope you’ll forgive me. I want to make the words I deliver to you better. I am trying to do that they best way that I know how.

My fundraiser for Polar Bears International is live on Facebook until the 14th, so if you have a few dollars and would like to help save the polar bears, please consider donating to them.

I can’t think of a better way to open the blog post this week.

There is a lot of pain in this world. There are so many things that we fight against daily. The physical and the mental tribulations that we go through can be a lot of weight. A friend of mine was hospitalized due to the failing of her kidneys a few days ago, she is better as of writing this. At the same time, I’ve just purchased a laptop to replace my current rig, which has dutifully served me for the course of the last seven years. I’ve grown attached to my friends and I’ve watched friends pass away. I’ve seen children brought into this world and I’ve had to buy new bikes because mine were broken beyond repair. I’ve been brought great joys from card games and friends have had their multi-thousand dollar collections stolen from their vehicles. I have been given jobs and had them taken from me. I have loved the abused and I have unknowingly abused the loved. Our life is a cycle and we repeat things whether we want to or not. Each movement in your soul, big or small, can cause lasting ripples that will change you forever. There is no greater joy than pure love and there is no more melancholy silence than the fear of death.

I found myself in a strange place after taking a short break from my business after my birthday. I wanted to maintain momentum but I had nothing to write about, I was floating on the sea with both paddles in my hand and too many docks to choose to land in.

So instead I decided to write without purpose and publish the results, good or bad, for you to see. I’m so excited for all of the projects I’ve undertaken, and I hope to expand on them in the future, but as my birthday came and passed this year I’ve reflected upon my life and the things I’ve chosen to do. Twenty-five is shaping up to be wonderful and I am by no means an old man yet, despite what some may say. I am excited for the future, even when I am lost.

Today I googled “How can I help?” As I was without something to write about in this blog post. I came across so many self-help books and meditation guides, religious institutions claiming a new way to save a soul and more I laughed to myself reading it all through. Not from sadness or despair, not even close. I was comforted that there were so many resources available to those in the world who haven’t found their purpose or who don’t know what they want to do. It was wonderful seeing so many different plans and places to guide a life when one feels like they have no guide. It can be difficult to choose a future and to pursue it. Trust me, I’ve chosen thirty just for myself.

I guess what I’m saying here is that I hope you’re well. Whether you are 25, 18, 48 or 71 I hope you are well.

I hope you are well and that you continue to be well for the rest of the time you have here.

I am blessed to lead this life with you in it. Thank you one last time for giving me another birthday worth celebrating.

This life is a gift, take the present. Unwrap it and use it. It is, after all, the only thing we have any certainty in.

Lifeisnotmeanttobeawful+

www.linmtba.com 4.18.18

Congratulations.

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Happy  Birthday to everyone today, mine is coming up soon + in celebration, my book, The Darling Bones is on sale all month! check out the sweet deal here + pick it up, enjoy it, and then keep coming back. I have some more sweet stuff on the way later this month!

The desire to overcome punishing weather in the midst of a devastating storm sometimes feels like a quiet whisper in the middle of a concert hall.

Congratulations.

If you woke up this morning, congratulations on another day. I’m happy you’re here. I am happy you’re alive. Whether you might regard yourself as an enemy to me is of no consequence. I have no enemies. Sometimes we face new days with great trepidation, fortunately for you + I the world will find us at our lowest points and try to beat the hair from our heads.

There are absolutely no guarantees in the world we live in. One day I am going to disappear and most people probably won’t really care. I will be surrounded by laughter and love and peace.

I admit that peace has lately been a distant bird, singing somewhere in another forest but I can hear it gently chirping. If that is all I find in this life, I know I will have peace. I will take it for myself in the quiet moments, in the whispers, in the thunder, in the fire and famine, I will remember the song of that small bird.

I hope that today you consider something, you exist and there is little reason for that existence. Which is wonderful, because it means something.

Should your heart be beating today and your eyes scanning these words, you can surely say that you have been blessed with life and with purpose. No matter the season you are sensing at this moment, winter winds or spring bloom you are still alive to see it all. The world will always revolve and you can take that peace to heart.

This season will end, be it good or bad. I take it to heart that I have much to be congratulated on. As much as you do, you know.

If your relationship just ended, congratulations.

If you’ve just had a baby, congratulations.

If your job just fired you, congratulations.

If you just started your job, congratulations.

If you lost your phone, congratulations.

If you just quit smoking, congratulations.

If you have a few days left to find a home, congratulations.

If you woke up this morning, congratulations.

Congratulations, because every single day, you are allowed a new life. Everything that has plagued you, or burned you, or burdened you for years will be gone in a moment. You will have time to start over, it might take work, it might take time, but you can always rebuild anything you have. Just remember, congratulations, for feeling the way you do today.

It means you are alive and there is nothing to be more thankful for than that.

Finding Out You Were Asleep When Your Dreams Passed You By

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Welcome back to Gravity, My Enemy. I’m unveiling a couple new things as the month goes. Make sure you peep my Instagram for links to cool stuff. +

@alvatobiasbooks

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I am known nearly famously for my terrible sleeping habits. I don’t sleep according to any set schedule, I just kind of fall over when I feel tired and wake up with just under the necessary time remaining in order to get ready and get to work the following day. I’ve tried all manner of adjusting my sleep schedule but it doesn’t stop my body from sending me off to bed whenever it good and well feels like.

I’ve gotten a lot of information from friends about their sleeping schedules and how they manage to get their days knotted into one tight little bow. Some, like my father, can operate on a full day with five hours of sleep. Bed at 9 PM, up at 2 AM. Easy. Others take their sleep routines in multiple cycles. Four hours here, two hours there, and two more hours somewhere else. Others take one long break as the sun sets and they wake up as it rises and so on. There is a myriad of ways to sleep and to do so adequately. There has been a multitude of tests run to determine the appropriate sleeping cycle for the average person and it dictates that we are best fit into one of two groups, one singular sleep every 24 hours or a biphasic pattern, which means a shorter night with a short nap in the day. Others consider polyphasic sleep a possibility as well, but the numbers are much smaller.

Sleeping, at the end of the day, is an important facet of our livelihood. Without sleep, we die. When we die, we stop existing. Obviously, we would be wise to lean more towards the other option. I complain regularly that my body is incapable of sleeping for less than 8 hours now when I used to be able to stay up for days on end with minimal negative side effects. During the first pass of The Darling Bones, my loveable test demo (first book) gone awry, I was sleeping roughly twenty minutes for every twenty-four hours in a sequence of thirty days. On April 1st, I passed out and literally slept for two straight days. Do you know what that is like?

Of course, I could regale to you the tales of my sleeplessness and all of the wonder that came from them. The nights that became stories and the moments that became a memory. I am fond of those times but looking back, I’m thankful that my body literally refuses to allow that to happen anymore. When I’ve run my clock down, I’ve run my clock down and I become something of a husk. Without the drive to push forward and anything I do comes across as actual garbage. (I’m sure you’ve seen it on the blog and on the YouTube channel, those are unfortunately the main indulgences of my sleepless nights.)

Of course, all of this being said, I am awake for long enough in the day. Working at my job for somewhere between 5-10 hours depending on the workload and then coming home to game and spend time in leisure for 3-5 more, depending on the workload.

I am awake often enough for myself nowadays. I can manage all of my work if I dedicate to it. I can balance everything and still sleep between 6-12 hours a day, depending on the workload.

I’ve come to accept this for one reason I had not taken account of when I was writing the first edition of The Darling Bones…

When you sleep for so long, you inevitably miss days. Of course, that isn’t to say I am working tirelessly to set my circadian rhythm in a more… economic way. I would rather be awake and living every day with 6 hours of sleep giving me enough energy. It just takes time.

In the event you find yourself looking at the clock in desperation, next time you are face to face with a big project, consider relaxing for a while. Lest you evolve to become like a husk yourself and meet the Grand Somnambulist.

To be honest with you, I don’t believe in sleep. If I could operate on no sleep every day I would do so willingly and happily. I appreciate the sleep I get and I make sure I do it regularly nowadays, but it isn’t for my own health, well… not entirely.

The Somnambulist possessed me one night and I found myself down the hall of my apartment, leaning on a wall, coughing violently. The back of my throat burned with a sour, fruity sensation. Perhaps an intestinal infection, or perhaps a symptom of my loss of sleep. My body knew nothing of its whereabouts for a time. It was as if I was living a dream. A nightmare of my own creation in which the words I wrote fell flat, the songs I sang were out of pitch and every single keystroke that plays the rhythm of my life was just slightly off beat.

I awoke and felt the burning in my throat as the Somnambulist released me, a sinister force still held my eyes closed. When I could manage to hold them open I saw it…

Sauntering off, out of my apartment as the sun rose. He had been following me for a while and continued to do so afterward, begging me to fall back and sleep. To close my eyes for only a few moments so that he could wrap his slender hands around my head once more and drag me down the hall like a hay-stuffed puppet.

I had become a victim of my own circumstance.

They say that evil spirits like Vampires and Ghouls will not enter your home unless invited. Of course, this isn’t always a matter of directly inviting them in. Many, if not all documented will aim to trick you and push you to that end for their own gain.

The Grand Somnambulist is much like this, urging you day after day to keep yourself awake, to write one more chapter, to record one more hours worth of content. To push your body to its limit and when you’ve had enough, he will gently lay you to your sheets and tuck you in, comforting you along the way before his fangs protrude from deep within his throat, wrapping around his tongue like a twister, boring himself into your skull and resting within your mind until you have been overcome with the urge to sleep.

He is not just one being. The Grand Somnambulist is everywhere, in everything, waiting for you to run your clock down enough for him to sneak in and torment you in your waking and sleeping life.

When you are awake, nothing is as it seems. You become forgetful, you become weary and nervous. Anxiety swells to become a menace that you can no longer face alone but you find yourself so often resorting to sleeping instead. Knowing that just one more nap will make it go away. One more long dream. One more long nightmare and you will be free.

This is so, but he does not give in so easily.

Even now I can feel him, patting my bed and whispering to me, that it is time for sleep. That I should be resting. I have been under a great deal of stress and I must take this time to rest, to be apart from the waking for a while.

Of course… I don’t listen anymore.

When I was asleep. I missed so much. So many events, so many opportunities, so many friends. Because twenty waking hours turned to thirty and my sleep stretched from eight to fourteen and I could no longer stand to be under the immense pressure that I had put upon myself.

The worst part, about those dreams… is that if I were to have been awake, I wouldn’t have missed so much of my life. That is the greatest bargain chip he has to offer, that for a few more hours of consciousness, you can accomplish more than you could if you would instead lie down and sleep. When you’ve racked up a debt that is impossible to pay, he comes for you. All of your dreams you held when you were awake and alive become nightmares as the words draw longer, each brushstroke falls from the canvas and your head bobs, behind you, he whispers…

“Just a few more hours, and then you can sleep… I promise.”

www.linmtba.com

Two to One

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Back in the day, there was a Greek myth about Zeus creating man, how we were originally built with four arms and legs, two heads and so on, but fearing our power he split us into two pieces, cursing us to forever search for our other half as punishment evidently for being cooler than a God.

I’ve used this myth before in a few places, a best man toast, a couple other blog posts, and in day to day conversation with others generally speaking to them about relationship troubles and the purpose of relationships. While I can’t accredit this myths factuality to anything in particular. I’m saying that I don’t have the answer to whether this was true or if it was some made up social media post about people to be inspiring.

What I can talk about is the message sent here.

In counting all of the human’s attributes, they glossed over something much more important to the facets of a relationship.

We were born with two ears and one mouth.

Which means that in all things we do, we should use those ears more than we should use our mouths. All too often I find myself more willing to speak on things and tell others about my life, or how to fix their problems when the reality of the situation is that I should be silent and listening, valuing their time much more than I should be valuing my own. Even as I write this I can think of moments within the past two days in which I should have been listening to others and not talking over them. It isn’t intentional, I believe I have important things to say.

Of course, that is the root of the problem then, isn’t it? We each believe that what we have to say is valuable and others need to hear it. Yet, the information we have that needs to be conveyed will still be there at the end of a conversation and we must be delicate in framing what we respond with.

Have you ever been speaking with someone and zoned out, forgetting or not listening to what it is that they’ve said. I tell others often that when I’m working I don’t want to be bothered. If I am in my office writing or doing some other task, I can’t be bothered because if I am I won’t be able to regain my focus. This has led to more than one scenario involving someone I care about feeling as if I don’t listen to them when they are speaking. I wanted to argue this point here and explain that I had set up a time to work and a time to relax, if that can’t be followed what is the point of setting those things up? So on and so forth, but it shurks the actual responsibility of my friendship or relationship to ignore them through and through. It takes the issue I am writing about and turns it into a me issue, an excuse, not a them issue.

Should we consider ourselves a higher caste than another we would know that they would have no need to speak to us? There is nothing they could say that we wouldn’t already know, there is nothing they have to say that would bear any weight. We would be above them. This is the mentality of someone who chooses not to listen to another human for their own selfish needs. I’m not saying that there won’t be times where people will say things completely irrelevant or unnecessary to you but that doesn’t mean every word out of their mouth is spoken without purpose.

The fine details of our lives are spoken through the subtext of our actions and words, we convey how we truly feel or think through the way we speak and how we behave. It is much like knowing someone is upset because of the way they tell you they are upset. They could not admit anything and you would still know because there is a sorrowful lilt to the way they say it.

This is the purpose of our ears. Two mechanisms affixed to the sides of our skulls so that we may hear. We may hear the way others love. We may hear the way others hurt. We may hear others flashes of joy and excitement through their tone, despite the words coming from their mouths. We should be doing this twice as often as we speak, as well. Not everyone will come to understand this idea. There are people in droves who believe the things they say are really important and should be heard by everyone and that is okay, some people are just more important than us. Some people don’t have the desire to listen and understand or listen to feel.

Sometimes, though it frustrates me to no end, this even includes me. I know, hilarious right? The author admitting that sometimes he gets talking a bit too much. You’d think the downsides of my profession would inherently be something much less obvious.

Today, I challenge you to listen to another. Find something within them that is worth hearing, worth considering, listen twice as much as you speak and really devour the things you hear. Especially what you hear between the words and the sounds of the trees or rivers or cities. This world is rife with sounds of life and that is the most powerful notion I have felt in a long time.

We are here, we are alive. We will be gone one day and on my tombstone I’d like it to say something like, he spoke often, he spoke well + good, but the testament to the man buried in this ground is that he was able to listen through your words and hear the feelings you felt, the things you were afraid or embarrassed to say and he helped us bring them out.

True Blue + Black

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In the event of a collision, brace yourself on the nearest passion or friend or purpose and hold on.

Nothing can destroy you.

Often times I am reminded of the steadfast and stalwart parents who raised me. Parents who looked the biggest struggles of their lives eye to eye and refused to blink in a way that often I don’t think I could do. That being said, my family is 100% the reason I am the same way today.

Of course, like everyone there are moments when I am faced with something that pulls at my soul in a way I never want to feel and I will feel the sliver of shivers run through my bones but that does not change something integral about my personality.

Something my mother and father both instilled in me from a young age.

Once, I locked myself out of the house in the middle of winter. My parents were visiting friends and though I had gone into my room. So they locked the door behind me as I went about my snow angel business. When I was finished freezing in the snow banks in our front yard I went to go back inside and found that the door wouldn’t open. I pounded on it and called for my parents or their friends, praying that I’d be heard and they would hear me.

They didn’t. I was terrified, and when the realization set in that I was likely going to die out in my yard I took things into my own hands and decided to make an attempt to get back inside. Eventually, I knew my parents friends would leave. So I hopped the fence to the front yard and met the garage door and the front door, pounding on them until my hands bruised. I sat there like that for a while until eventually those inside came up from the basement to let me inside. Turns out they had been in the basement and couldn’t hear me calling them.

As you can see, this story doesn’t necessarily end with me getting out of a sticky situation myself. It’s true, I relied on my parents then but I am older now, though still relying on them for much more than I’d like, I also know that there are things in my life that I will not have them behind me for. So, it is in these moments where I should think of the possibilities… what happens when we don’t have those who regularly support us there to lift us up anymore?

We should take our problems by the throat into our own bruised hands.

Choke those demons in front of you and throw them away.

Of course it won’t always be easy, but everything can be broken into smaller projects. Everything can be taken down to the small grains of sand that collected together to form a stone. It took super heat and energy but eventually every new diamond emerges from its old shell of coal.

I lost my job in the fall.

I was denied for something like nine jobs I had applied to, the rest beyond the nine rejections simply didn’t reply to my application.

I didn’t write a single successful piece for any of the writing anthologies I had taken.

I was faced with the massive challenge of picking up at perhaps the lowest point of 2017. I didn’t let on much that I was struggling so hard but I was. This year ended in a whirlwind of extreme joy and immense pressure.

I wonder what other material shares the same qualities, bringing extreme joy and enduring immense pressure.

Diamond.

Every event we are faced with demands a solution. Every problem and every scenario has an ending, it is up to us to determine where that ending lies and how we will get to it.

This brings me back to my parents, who, although occasionally frustrating, each of them made certain that this concept was chiseled into my memory with not one stroke misaligned.

My dad would regularly tell me I needed to get into a stable career, something to make sure I had the money I needed to do the things that I wanted. Of course, at the time I blew off this notion. It didn’t matter then what I did or how I did it. I would find a way. Of course that is still true today, but I’ve discovered that there is another step.

Find something you love.

We all need work. We all have a passion and a skill. No one can truly float along life without money, as much as it frustrates me that we base our entire lives around the mental weight of green paper we must obtain it to continue living. There will always be a way to make money, and money will always have a purpose. Of course, money doesn’t necessarily mean bills and coins. It could be gold or supplies. There will always be a use for some sort of tender, some sort of item that we can trade around.

This concept was lost on me until I grew up a bit and started working, finding a job that I loved. The food industry. I ate up every shift I was given, bathing in the joy of cooking or bartending, absorbing every interaction with customers good or bad. Some days I needed to vent, but that is a part of life. It is another one of those struggles I was always told about. My dad’s words were much more important than I first realized, and they still held a meaning that I hadn’t gleaned as I grew older. A job is not just a place to be for a few hours. It isn’t just a way to make a living. Since I started working in restaurants I have had a desire to do nothing but that while I write. Cooking, baking, serving, all of the things involving food appeal to me. It makes me happy on a base level.

Still, the point of what pops told me so many times was that it was a stepping stone. If I had that outlet, that passion, that place to go to do something I loved, it would help me face down bigger challenges I would eventually face. The same can be said for most things. If you have something you are passionate about, please, right now I urge you to go commit to it. Draw yourself into the loop of that passion. Woodworking, reading, writing, art, making YouTube videos. Whatever it is. Dentistry, coding, marketing, business management, sewage containment. Everyone has a purpose and a joy to be fulfilled in their working life and too few are able to do it successfully. Embrace that thing and go for it, full speed ahead. Challenges will come, you must face them. It is nice to have an island of sanctuary when you need it.

My mother, on the other hand always told me to finish what I started. I once joined the youth soccer team and I absolutely hated it. I was chubby and didn’t like to run. I wasn’t good at soccer and so I stood on the field for most of my play time. I picked my nose and watched the ball go back and forth as it came close to me and rolled away. I came home one evening begging to quit because I hated it so much, but mom told me no. I started it, I needed to finish it.

Eventually the season was over and I didn’t sign up again, but I learned something valuable. Things are always in motion. I played defense, which was remarkable because I was so poor at defending. It’s hard to focus on kicking the ball when you have your finger in your brain stem. Still, things moved. That soccer ball moved, your obstacles will move. You will be able to progress and you will be able to take knowledge from each moment you live.

Those things have been instilled in me since I was just a boy, and I will never forget them.

When things become difficult, when faced with something insurmountable remember that you are not Atlas. You are not a god. You are a man, and man has something remarkable about him.

We don’t give up.

So don’t give up.

Take your bruised hands and start to push. If pushing doesn’t work, kick. If that fails, find a new path. There will always be a way around. There will always be a way out. There will always be a new obstacle and there will always,

Always,

Be a way for you to overcome it.

All you have to do is start moving.

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