Year Three: Bad Car, Good Stories (2016.10.14)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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