Darkest Before Dawn (Noose Ends)

Standard

This year, as you will read here soon, has been amazing and stressful and has created the greatest stories. I am blessed beyond measure.

I have nothing else to say, except for thank you for this year. I hope I’ll see you often in the next one.

Happy Halloween again, I’ve come to anticipate these blog posts the most out of all of them. The end of year look back has become one of my favorites to write because I get to look back on everything, It isn’t much as my blog goes, there isn’t a huge motivational message behind these posts, but it has become a tradition.

That being said…

Holy shit this year has been nuts.

Let’s look back on the highs and lows I’ve walked you through with me, terrible heartbreak, a novel re-release, SO MUCH poetry I’ve written, Prepping four more novels. Moving back in with my parents, then back out, A new job, a lost job, a new relationship, a marriage of friends soon, an anniversary or two, new blog themes, YouTube, and there is so much more that I could go over, but I need to stop to get to the message here.

I started Noose Ends because of this dreadful feeling hanging over my head that Elko wasn’t where I needed to be, I wanted to escape. I felt like the city that raised me was strangling me. I was begging for an escape and I was kicking and scratching my way out, I thought.

I found quickly that it is not so easy to escape just by flailing my arms and screaming at the empty blue sky above. I was more concerned with looking at the ground beneath me, seeing an end to things, than I was to look at the stars and the moon, to find a new beginning.

I like to consider the sunrise and the moonrise in times of struggle. At the end of the long day, I think to the coming sunrise and consider that it will begin anew. The sun is the same being, hanging in the celestial space provided for it to spin for years, it comes around each new day and it looks the whole earth in the eyes. It does so confident that the earth will rotate still around it, the planets will feel the heat it casts out into the darkness, the life that lives in our solar system will see it return every new day. The sun is not a being keen on leaving.

So I wonder why we consider ourselves capable of doing the same thing so easily?

I was convinced, adamant that I was set to leave town by June of this year. I had set the plan in my mind that I would get out and go to Idaho, or Oregon, or Alabama, or somewhere else entirely. First, Alabama was taken off of the table. Then Oregon became a foolish idea. Then, when Idaho was my only option, June was in front of me and I decided that I needed to continue working where I was. I had a feeling that my time to leave was drawing near, but it wasn’t there yet. So I took a lot of walks, found a garden, picked a sunflower and kept going. Days passed and my job came to a halt. I was out of work, I was in love with flower petals and I was sitting on the edge of my bed at five in the morning, thinking about where I am in life, where I wanted to be, where I could have been if I had just closed my eyes and skipped a couple days.

I realized in that moment that my neck didn’t hurt any longer. The things I felt dragging me to the attic had snapped, the rope was lying on the floor of my living room and I was sitting in front of another sunrise, suddenly realizing that everything would be okay. I turned around and I thanked the sun, I thanked the ravens, I thanked the sunflowers, I thanked God for everything that had come to me, everything I thought I had lost.

I turned around and I watched the sun come up, and it hit me.

I am not, as much as I want to be, as much as I may seem like I am, in control of my life. I am being tugged along by people and by opportunities, I am merely searching for the next step to write good words for you, for my friends, my family, and I think, although it is rough to admit this, most of all for myself.

The sun rose over me and I thought of all the things I had put on the backburner, all the things I wanted to do and promised my world that I would get around to eventually. Those things started to fade back, to become less important as time passed by. I allowed desires without purpose to cloud my judgment and I lost focus, and in the end I was still gripping the rope in white knuckles and blood stained hands.

So…

I took the rope, wrapped it around a hewn stone, and started to pull.

I decided that it was time to stop watching, to stop seeing the sun rise above me every day and doing nothing about it, just silently whispering thank yous for my life from the comfort of my office. I decided to stop running from things I felt so passionately about just because they scared me. I decided to stop letting my work treat me like a slave, and I started to build.

There are pyramids coming, so the sun will have something to rise above, my friends will have somewhere to come, my parents will have something to be proud of, and I will make a home where ravens will run, sunflowers will love, and my future, my own sun, will choose to rise above, too.

Thank you so much for another fantastic year on the blog. I’ll be pausing Yours, Truly going into the first few weeks, I brought it back because I felt like the blog needed to be realigned with its original purpose which I thought I had lost along the way, going into Year Five I won’t need those little reminders. I’ll have a new poem out tomorrow, and the first Building Pyramids blog post will be out on the 3rd of November.

You know, every Wednesday and Friday. As much as things change, they still stay the same. Thank you for tuning in every week, thank you for listening, Have a happy and safe Halloween. Remember, Life is not Meant to be Awful.

If you want to see the revamped website click the link below and look around. Some things are still under construction, but it will be finished by the time LINMTBA Comp Vol. 4 is out this Thanksgiving!

www.linmtba.com

Advertisements

Year Two: Blackjack + The Miller Life (2014.11.14)

Standard

Tomorrow is the last day of Noose Ends, I have come such a long way since last Halloween and honestly, I am so excited to see where my future will be going. I’ll be posting the final blog post for Year Four tomorrow at four thirty, I can’t wait to show you all the great stuff I’ve been working on.

Inkworks, Poetry, Clothing and YouTube are all coming your way still. I hope you’re ready to have fun with me.

Last night after work my friend Mariano + I went out to pick up a bottle of whiskey to split with our friends. We had both had rough days and needed a bit of relaxation. So, we all threw some money together and picked up some Maker’s Mark. Once Mariano + I returned to the restaurant we sat at the sushi bar and split it between five of us. We talked mostly about music and how music affects us, then once Brian had gotten off work we went outside to smoke. While we were out there our boss Mike began a discussion with all of us about belief and faith systems, which has been a topic on my mind a lot recently while writing Helium Constellations, so I relished in the debate.

After a few minutes of that, Brian decided to head home and since I was far too drunk to drive, I hitched a ride with him. Mariano was close behind me. So there we were, the three of us wanting to go do something else but we had nowhere to go. We hit up a couple friends and got nowhere, and none of us really felt like going out into the hills to drink because it was cold and nobody would’ve been able to drive back home. So, we stopped at Walmart, picked up a few beers and then hung out for a while more. While we were at Walmart, Brian + Mariano had begun talking about something that had been eating one of us up. Then it evolved into a full blown conversation about life and families.

It has been a good while since I’ve gotten to sit with these guys, who are among my best friends in the world, and talk about stuff with them. It has been far too long since I’ve gotten to be a part of their lives and I relished in it. So, we pulled into the parking lot of my apartment complex and sat there for a good hour or more cracking open Miller Lite + talking through our bullshit.

Now, for the sake of keeping their privacy the contents of our conversation won’t be repeated here, but we did talk about one important thing that I would like to put out there today.

Mariano was explaining one of his fears to us and Brian + I had begun giving him feedback, because I think both of us are afraid of it to a degree as well. I started off by asking if he had ever played blackjack. After he said no, I explained the premise to him, as I will explain it to you. In case you aren’t informed.

Blackjack is a card game, where the purpose is to get the value of your cards as close to 21 as possible, the ultimate goal is to hit 21 exactly. The dealer will give you a number of cards to make a hand with, and you add up the totals in the set to find your value. It may be 8, it may be 18, it all depends on what the dealer hands you. To which, the dealer also doesn’t know.

If your hand is lower than you would like, you can ask for another card and try to get your number higher. You cannot, however, put down cards that are unfavorable.

Life is a lot like blackjack. I think. Each person is dealt a set of cards that they have to play, regardless of whether or not they want to. We may be the child of a single mother, an influential family member may be struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, we might be abandoned at birth or born with a defect of some kind. These are things that we cannot change. Regardless of if we want to, at the end of the day we must play the hand.

If we are feeling brave, we can hit to have the dealer give us another card. This can go a couple ways. If we are sitting at 18 and bounce to 22, we’re toast. We were dealt a bad hand. In Blackjack, we are forced to fold. In life, the option to fold is unfavorable. We must live with whatever new thing our card has presented to us. We could pick up an addiction to drugs ourselves, we could find ourselves in a shitty job or an abusive relationship. We could find ourselves selfish and afraid of life. It could be anything.

The nice thing about life though, is that it is not like blackjack. If we are dealt rotten cards in blackjack we can fold and be done with it. If we are dealt a bad hand in life, we are stuck with it. However, it presents us with a great opportunity to learn. To grow from the challenges that we face. To exist with other people who are facing their own challenges and come out of them successful, together.

That’s the big thing. Life is not like blackjack because we are together.

Togetherness isn’t a part of Blackjack, Togetherness is a part of life. We exist beside a few billion people who are learning how to react to the hands they are dealt. In Blackjack, we are competing at a table with four or five other people trying to make it big. Get the big money and get out.

I’m glad that life isn’t exactly like blackjack. I’m glad it does have similarities too, because if it didn’t I wouldn’t learn. I need to be dealt a bad card every so often to remind myself that I don’t have it all figured out. That I still have a million lessons to learn. I’m thankful at the end of the day that when I play my hand, I have a good number of people playing theirs with me. If we bust, at least we busted together. And that’s the best part about life.

I believe in Happy People Over Everything.

I think that we should strive for that. Not to discount our sadness or depreciate our negative feelings but instead to thrive from them. To take the shitty cards and throw them out. To tell the dealer…

“You gave me this, but look what I turned it into!”

And I love that we can do it together. Because being together is the most important part of life. Don’t go it alone.

 

You do thousands of things every day, if you break it down enough, you could say that you do millions of things. Be proud of the things you accomplish and the things that you overcome. Be proud of the things you do.

 

Just remember that the things you do, or accomplish, or overcome are never as important as the people you do them with.

Lay down that hand. I’ll be right here. If we bust, we’re busting together. But don’t worry, we will get a new hand. We will make the best of every situation.

We are Happy People.

Over Everything.

Life can be a lot to handle sometimes, Just remember that it will all be okay. I promise you that the sun will come back out.

www.linmtba.com

Year Three: Bad Car, Good Stories (2016.10.14)

Standard

The other day I was talking with a friend of mine about life and a lot of things. Our conversations spanned over so many topics, but she brought up something that I wanted to talk about on the blog specifically.

My vehicle.

More specifically, my truck in relation to me. For those of you that don’t already know, I drive a 97’ Chevy Silverado named Misty (Formerly Mystery, until she took her top off.) She has carried me since 2012 and I have put so many miles on her. Every mark on the car I can explain to you. The melted plastic where my cigarette burned a hole, from sitting on the panel for too long. The crack in the windshield that has expanded across the length of it like a storyteller who doesn’t know when to end his tale. I remember almost getting into that wreck up North Fifth Street when I punched my throttle and sent her over a hill that had a steep drop off on the other side. Every day when I step into the cab I see the lei and the small figurine of a feathered head hanging from the rearview mirror like a talisman that was meant to protect me. I see the sun faded purple bandana that has been bleached of most of its color, looking less like a regal purple and more like a lilac in the springtime. I see the “Nightmare Before Christmas” Lanyard that is similarly sun-faded that I purchased at Disneyland for $22 because I absolutely felt that I needed it. When I reach up to pull my seatbelt down I can feel the fabric on the seat stretch around a tear she suffered when I was consoling a friend in the midst of a thunderstorm and the boom that echoed in the sky took me by surprise, jerking me back and ripping the seat cover. I often find spare change jingling around on the floor and every time I turn Misty on she presents the CD that has been in her disc drive for years now, “Blazed by the Bell” by Mod Sun.

All of these things hold so many fantastic memories. I remember going through so much with that truck. Bad breakups. Long road trips. Joyous nights, drunk out of my mind and singing with friends from the top of the shell. I remember using it to hide from a particularly bad snowstorm and I remember lying in the bed of the truck every time I go camping, terrified that some kind of ghastly grey being will come to drain the life out of me in my sleep.

There are reasons that I love Misty so much. It’s because she has carried me through life for four years, yes, but there is more to it than that. Misty is a stable vehicle, but she is nothing prime. She runs when she needs to and she gets me from A to B. I can’t ask her to do much more than that anymore, she’s getting old and I have done her a disservice by not caring for her the way that I should have been.

Still, this brings me to my point. I think it is far more important to chase memories and experience rather than going for material gains. I have spoken to so many men and women from the window of Misty and heard their stories while behind her wheel that I could never replace. Men and Women who wouldn’t have spoken to me as freely if I had been driving another car. There are so many things I have experienced alongside my truck that I couldn’t recount them all to you. I have burned bridges with her, I have ran from parties about to get busted. I have done so many things and that’s the important part. Had I spent my money a different way, had I searched for a more expensive car I would have needed to take much more time to pay it off. I would have had to pull more hours or even pull extra jobs. That isn’t something I am afraid of, but it is something that would have halted the progress of experience in my life. I would have been working so much that I wouldn’t have wanted to go on any adventures. I wouldn’t have wanted to go out and party, or pick friends up from places. I wouldn’t drive to fast food joints because I would need every dollar to pay for my nice expensive car.

That is something to be proud of. I hope that where you are in life, you understand that I am not trying to demean your money spending choices. I’m just bringing to light something that I have learned about my life. If it weren’t for Misty/Mystery I would have had so much less fun in life. So many of my stories would be replaced with: “Oh I just got off work, I think I’m gonna turn in. Gotta be up early in the morning.” Or something similar.

It’s important to note that in this life, we seek experiences rather than possessions. Of course, to the car guys, the large number of you who are my friends, don’t get upset. Just because you find enjoyment in it doesn’t mean it is still bad. If expensive cars are your passion, keep going! Keep fueling that passion. Keep doing the things you love. This world is so dark sometimes and if a shiny new whip is what will make you feel better, then use it. Abuse that love of vehicles. Just don’t forget to get in your car and do something meaningful every once and a while. Life doesn’t have to be all about what you have or what you earn. It should be about what you do with the things you have.

That’s why, back in 2012, I purchased Mystery. I picked her up and knew that I would love her, through all of the ups and the many, many lows I have seen. She ahs been there through it all. She is nearing the end of her life, so before she goes I want to send you as much love as I can. So she can be there for that experience too. If you have a bad car, or a nice car, if you have a lot of money or a little, if you are a politician or a hippy, if you work your ass off or pursue laziness, I hope that you make it a point to go out and experience this world. It has so much to offer you, it has offered me so much as well and I’ve reached a point where I’m finally okay with offering Misty back in return. I hope that she goes towards more stories. I hope that you do too.

Never stop pursuing the beautiful goodness in our world. It makes everything so much better, whether you drive a 2015 Civic, or a 1997 Chevy Silverado. I hope you love your car and the memories within as much as Misty has loved me.

If you enjoyed this blog post, please consider picking up the compilation it came from.

You can find it on my website or on Amazon!

Year Two: The Fear of a World Without Cereal (2015.5.1)

Standard

The other day, during one of my self-made fits of insomnia I was lying on the floor of my apartment, contemplating life. By contemplating life, I mean that I was thinking about cereal. Cereal, and appreciating things for what they were. At about seven in the morning this Tuesday I was on my back with my feet up on the wall staring at the lights hanging from the ceiling, wondering: “How weird would it be if we put all of our furniture on the roof and just lived up there? The whole world would turn upside down wouldn’t it?”

Sure. It seems goofy to be thinking that, but I wasn’t in my right mind. I don’t think a lot of people are in their right mind. Once, when I was younger I wrote this story about molecules that fused with the bodies of animals and made them badass world-saving, bad guy smashing warriors. The villain of the story was a snake that had been hit with the same stuff and had turned evil. (It was fifth grade. And I stole most of the concepts from my friend Travis. Sorry, man.) Part of the assignment for this story was to illustrate certain events. So, I did. I drew in what it looked like when they got infected, when they changed, how they changed, what they were meant to do afterwards, their fight with the snake-man, and inevitably, their victory against him. It was a gruesome victory at that. The snake had been impaled on a spire at the peak of his castle (Mountain? Maybe? It’s been a while. Sorry I can’t remember all the details.) To be honest, there was blood everywhere. More blood than he could have held in his body. Regardless, after I showed my parents the final page (Which I was incredibly proud of.) My dad told me to make a new one and throw that one away because people would think I was crazy.

In other, much more extreme instances, people have had their lives threatened by psychos with guns because they flirted with the wrong girl. People have had their bodies tortured and prodded because they have information that other people want. People have always been crazy. I think some have it worse than others, but in the end that’s how it goes. One way is perceived as the right way and everyone else is wrong so let’s just kill them.

Today before work I was talking to my boss about some of his escapades when he was younger. The topic of the Middle East came up, and in normal circumstances I would have changed the subject, but I decided to let it play. I needed to soak up some kind of topic for this week’s blog post. We began talking about the lunatics threatening lives in the world and how they would probably regret choosing to attack Elko. (There’s nothing here, plus there are six guns for every human in the city.) We talked about the rash of paranoia that seems to be spreading across the minds of our friends and families. It brought up something that I seem to have forgotten.

Why are we so focused on the bad shit happening everywhere? Why don’t we take solace that right here, right now, things are good.

Don’t get me wrong. We should be paying attention to the state of our surroundings, but we shouldn’t be letting that control our behavior in an everyday setting.

What I’m trying to say is that we should appreciate the here and now.

The smell of the flowers, the reflection of the sun in a puddle, the way our friends laugh when we joke.

Those things should be influencing us more powerfully than the fear of something bad happening. Whether that is terrorists, cancer, liver failure, whatever. The case may be.

Be aware. But do not be afraid.

We live in a world where Reese’s peanut butter cups come in candy form, and in cereal form.

That shit is amazing.

Don’t let the fear of life control you.

If you enjoyed this blog post, consider picking up the compilation that it came from!

You can get it from my website or Amazon!

Year One: Ferociously Blessed (2013.11.10)

Standard

With the news about Las Vegas today, my heart is hanging heavy. I will be spending a lot of time praying and finding out the best way to help these people. When something like this happens it is always frightening, it is scary and it is awful to hear, it happening in my own state was a bit of a wake up call.

Take something away from the news today though, our lives are so short. We don’t know how much sand is left in our own hourglass so make sure to tell those you love that you love them. Don’t let a second go past with fear or hate in your heart. If you do, people like the terrorist who did this will win.

We won’t let them win. I promise you that. I’ll be fighting every day, with love as a weapon.

I love what I do. To be honest, it is my favorite thing in the world. I have this incredible opportunity in front of me with my clothing company and my writing and all of that. It floors me sometimes. I realize that not many people get to say what I just said, there are so many people who get up and go to work and go home and go to bed and get up and go to work and so on and so on… I don’t get to do that and I am so grateful for the opportunity.

Writing is my passion, above everything else, and besides writing, I get to draw, and sing, and play instruments, and live this beautiful life what with its little hurdles. I am so ferociously blessed, that I can’t often comprehend. I have just spent the last three days working with one of my best friends in the world on my passion, and we have spent the last two days doing photo shoots with a beautiful girl, who happily represented my company. We even have another model lined up to shoot tomorrow. When people told me that this was going to be hard work, I agreed, because I knew that it was going to be hard work day in and day out. The thing they didn’t say though, which happens to be the most important thing, is that I absolutely love doing what I do. Meeting new people, getting the opportunities to make new friends and talk to artists and expand my view of the world.

Who gives a rat’s balls what you do with your life? It is your life. Do whatever makes you happy, that’s what I’m doing, and let me tell you honestly. I love every second of it. If you are sitting at home or in a coffee shop reading this, and maybe question what you want to do with your life, I have only one thing to tell you.

Do whatever the hell you want to.

As I type this, I am sitting less than ten feet away from one of my best friends who probably is doing the same thing that I am doing. Typing up a blog about our weekend. And this? This is work. Can you believe it? Every single thing I do is work to me, and I love doing it. If you hate your job, and can’t find a good reason to get up and do it every day, I hope that you find out what will make you feel like this soon. Because I want every single person in the world to feel how I feel right now. I am ecstatic about life, friends, the ability to be creative, Anxious about my future, but still completely calm at the same time and to be truthful, just a little bit exhausted from all of the nothing it has felt like we’ve done this weekend. Even though it has felt like we have done nothing, We both have accomplished so much.

This trip hit my life at the same time that some emotional turbulence did, but I am so thankful for it, because it got me away, it got me to sit down in a whole different reality and look at my life. Right now I am living a story, and somewhere along the line I think I forgot that.

I remember now, though.

In some small way, it feels like the story to a book, like a real book. The Hobbit, or Harry Potter, I don’t know. Maybe somewhere out there, there is a room just full of old dudes, who constantly watch a certain group of people, and write out every single thing that they do. they would put them chronologically and arrange them into a story, bind the pages with some leather and store them away when they die. There would be millions of these dudes, just sitting in buildings on the highest peaks of the Earth, or the deepest levels of the sea in little huts. What if at the end of our lives we get that book? It would be considered a great value on Earth, it took nearly 80 years to write and it’s full of a lifetime of stories. I believe that there is something like that out there maybe. I have no way of knowing for sure… All I know right now is that someone out there is ready to hear my story. I want to make sure that when I meet that Person, I hope to have a good one, because I am ready to tell it.

 

It’s adventure time.

If you liked this blog post, consider picking up the compilation and giving the rest of them a read! I’d appreciate it so much. You can find them on my website as well as Amazon.

October is always a big month, I’ll be rearranging the blog and my webpage a bit as the days go by + I have cool stuff on the way soon! I love all of you. Spooky Saturday will be returning this weekend + I’ll be managing my YouTube channel a bit better, participating in NaNoWriMo + more. For updates, check out the S+I website. 🙂

www.linmtba.com

Fairy Law (Yr. 2 – 2015.6.5)

Standard

This week’s post will be about a lot and about a little. A lot like our lives.

We are made up of a lot, and a little.

I’ll be the first to admit that I spend a great deal of time watching television, specifically anime. I also spend a lot of my time listening to music. Playing games. All around, my life is just a bunch of premeditated horsin’ around. When I’m watching anime I point out things I notice or thoughts I have about where the story is going. It’s become a habit. Whether you think that’s bad is up for you to decide.

Currently, I’m catching up in an anime called “Fairy Tail.” Now, I love the story for this show. It’s become one of my favorites, if not my favorite for sure. This show relies heavily on the “power of friendship” trope, wherein the characters are faced with an obstacle and are too weak by themselves to overcome it so they have to rely on each other to solve their problem. In shows this usually comes down to winning the last fight against the bad guy/monster/scary thing. I see it all the time, and generally it cheapens the story. However, as a story teller myself I know that tropes exist for a reason.

We exist for a reason.

Lately I’ve been feeling caught up in life and overwhelmed by the work I’ve set out for myself and the things that have to be done and the money I don’t have and the cigarettes in my hand. All of these things have become burdens on my heart and mind. That being said, it has altered my mood. I noticed it clearly when I was called yesterday and told that I owed a sum of money to someone that I did not owe a sum of money to. That I was being called to notify me of a collection of that money, which right now I just don’t have. For the first time in a long time I actually acted out my anger. Throwing things, yelling, swearing because I was so upset. I acted in a way that I do not encourage myself (or anyone else) to act. I was childish, and immature. Shortly after that call I had to go to work. I popped in for three hours and while I was there I stewed on my thoughts. I considered my life and where I have allowed myself to go. Like usual, when I stop racing and think about where I’m going I realize I’ve gotten off track and need to be realigned.

I’ve noticed my anger getting out of control and my disdain to even speak to people has become a real problem. Which is pretty much shit considering that I have to talk to people 24/7. If I’m at home, I can’t reasonably ignore my roommate for days at a time and when I’m at work I am forced to talk and be cheery with people so that they will be enticed to buy things. It’s part of my routine now.

I’ve grown mold. My brain has stopped working as it should be.

The other day, I was listening to a favorite song of mine by a band called “The Wonder Years.” This song ends with important lines from each song on the album and top it off with a line that always gets to me… (Pardon the language.)

“Two blackbirds on a highway sign
Are laughing at me here with my wings clipped.
I’m staring up at the sky
But the bombs keep fucking falling.
There’s no devil on my shoulder;
He’s got a rocking chair on my front porch
But I won’t let him in.
No, I won’t let him in.

‘Cause I’m sick of seeing ghosts
And I know how it’s all gonna end.
There’s no triumph waiting.
There’s no sunset to ride off in.
We all want to be great men
And there’s nothing romantic about it.
I just want to know that I did all I could with what I was given.”

These two verses always cut me deep, because they remind me that I’m not doing what I should as an employee, as a son, as a friend.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately.

I’m not where I want to be, I’m not doing what I want to do, I’m not acting the way I know I should be acting. I constantly feel like I’m wasting time when I’m not working on my projects, and when I am I feel like they aren’t good enough to spend my time working on. I’m just racing, trying to get to the next step of something permanent.

When I do something, I search myself to see if I will feel a permanence of any kind. If I don’t, I know that I need to work harder or rework it or make it better. I will try and do whatever it takes to give everything when I’m doing anything. It’s part of who I am. As of the last few weeks, I’ve been too apathetic to care. I’ve gotten into the inner workings of my heart and stirred up feelings that don’t need to be stirred up. I have begun tampering with things that should be left well enough alone because I have simply stopped caring about everything else. The problem with being so careless about everything is that I get into my head. I begin thinking about things and making mountains everywhere I go.

I play Magic: The Gathering. I don’t like red decks, I don’t like mountains. So I should stop making them, right?

Right.

I’ve been focused on my own problems so much that I seem to have forgotten my two best friends. Well, not so much forgotten them, I think about them constantly. I think of how they must be disappointed that I’m still smoking. How they either think I work too hard or I’m too lazy. How I don’t want to be around them for any length of time and how I have been slipping. Of course, I don’t know most of these things for certain. I’m sure they’re disappointed because I still smoke. They know it’s killing me. I know it’s killing me, yet every couple of days I go buy a new pack because I’ve grown weak. I’ve grown careless. I don’t know how they feel about the rest of the things, save for the last one. I know that they know I’ve been slipping backwards. Becoming the opposite of what I am supposed to be. I know they see it because I can see it. As much as I’d like to think I’m the first one to evaluate myself, I’m not. I only look at myself when someone mentions something about it to me. I’m not self-aware, you know what happens when someone becomes self-aware.

So, last night I was watching some more of that show, and they played the power of friendship card in a scene. Again. For the millionth time. I finished the episode in awe. (Big reveal about my favorite character.) I stepped out to smoke and it was almost like I had a vision. Somewhere in the midst of the smoke screen, I saw myself in a perfect mirror. I realized that I have put too much of my weight in places it doesn’t belong. I have grown attached to the sadness and anger that had manifested in me. I have let them overstay their welcome and it has begun affecting me long term. Worst of all…

I have gotten lazy.

I am not lazy. I do not ever want to be lazy.

A few days back, one of my best friends, Travis, returned home from college to visit for the summer. I was excited for this, but didn’t show it. On the 9th, my friend Preston returns from his mission. My friend Lukas is coming to town to visit with us. We are all coming back. This weekend is my friend Chase’s birthday. There are so many opportunities in this next week for me to be filled with joy.

Instead, I’m still apathetic. I’m still racing myself.

A few weeks ago I went to Reno to visit some friends. The whole way down there and back was rainy and wet. There was standing water on the road and I didn’t feel safe driving as fast as I would have liked, so I forced myself to keep my speed in check so that I didn’t hydroplane and get myself into an accident.

I think that I should begin that same practice in my everyday life. It’s a series of steps. Brake slowly. Don’t slam on the brakes. Keep your wheel steady. Allow others to pass you, you will arrive where you need to be when you need to be there. No point in racing birds. They’ll always win. Sometimes, when it’s terrible on the road and you don’t feel comfortable driving at all you just need to stop, get out of your damn truck and enjoy the view. That’s what I did on my way down there. That’s what I did on my way back, that’s what I need to do now.

It isn’t a race. No one has challenged me to anything, and if they had it would be a fruitless race because no one is on my road. I’m the only one here. There is no prize for getting to the end first in life. As a matter of fact, life is much the opposite. People fight and bicker for a chance to come in last. To be in this race for as long as possible.

I have been slamming on the brakes, trying to avoid skidding across the water as best I can but it’s a knee jerk reaction and I didn’t think it through. I can feel my tires popping up. If I were to jerk my wheel right now I would flip.

The rain is going to come down whether I want it to or not. I just need to let it fall. It would make as much sense to fight the bad thoughts and feelings that drop into my head as it would to go out into a rain storm and try to empty a puddle with a plastic cup. The rain will always fill it back up.

There is good news though, eventually it will dry. It will leave your head. It will leave mine. If you’re really lucky, it will soak up into the ground and nourish you. It will slip into the cracks of your mind and bring you new lessons learned or new reminders of things you or I have forgotten.

Finally, the last step, for goodness sakes. Get out of your damn car and look at the sky. It is the most beautiful thing in all of creation. So complex, so many other things out there that we can’t even quantify it all. It is endless. It should be appreciated and celebrated. Even the thick storm clouds bring us beauty simply because of their size. The problems in life are something to be admired, not ignored. Because if you quit paying attention when you’re on the road in a storm it’s that much easier to lose control.

Never let yourself lose control. If you do, dammit you get it back.

I need to get it back.

Writing this, I’ve been able to point out the things I need to work on immediately and the things that I need to seriously dedicate my time to. Namely, that would be my two best friends. I have been snapping at Jess at a moment’s notice, I owe him money because he graciously picked up food for me and I haven’t been capable of paying him back. I have become even lazier around the house. I have grown to complain about everything inside my head. Travis has come to town and I have hardly acknowledged that. I realized that I’ve only been able to talk about things that directly involve me. It has been months since I told either of them that I love them. Everything I do feels jaded and empty.

I am not empty.

I am full of rainwater and I am going to be happy, over everything.

If you liked this, consider picking up one of my LINMTBA Compilations, this one is from Year Two + It was a good year. Check them out on my website!

www.linmtba.com