Dark Marks on Tall Trees

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I made a big deal about this announcement last Sunday, but, just kidding its happening THIS Sunday. Oops. I had a couple surprise things to get in order.

If you like the blog, you’ll want to tune into my YouTube Channel on Sunday evening. I’ve got a big thing I want to show you.

(Don’t worry, its pretty much 100% G rated.)

I’ve been thinking about my attitude lately. I have been really unappreciative of the things I have been given and the life I am allowed to lead. Reading over some tweets and other various social media posts from people in my life has lent to this realization. There are plenty of old friends populating my Facebook timeline who are having kids, getting married and more wonderful things, on the other hand there are plenty of people who are dragging their knuckles around through the consequences of their own choices, there are those who were dealt a supremely bad hand and have had to fight over their own fists to claw their name in the sand and then… there is me.

I often take for granted the life I lead. I want for nothing. I am able to freely express myself through my writing. I don’t depend on anything to process my emotions, I have a support system that is beyond my imaginable dreams. I have a family and friends who are so wonderful I couldn’t’ ask for better. I have a roof and I have a place to sleep every night, yet…

I still allow past pain to damage me. I think of all the bad things that I have been witness to, the things that have been done to me, even the small unimportant stuff like getting picked on in grade school for being the nerdy fat kid. (I wasn’t even that fat, for the record.) I dwell on these things quietly, when no one is around I kick myself for not standing up and saying something when I should have. Of course, this is all silly. I am a grown man with few enemies, those who have chosen to dislike me or hate me have come from rumors and the fact that those people don’t know me at all. I don’t let rumors of today bother me because I know what I am. I know who I am and I am proud of myself for how far I’ve come and how far I know I am going.

Still, there are dark thoughts that creep into my mind. I worry and panic about decisions I’ve made and things I’ve said or done. These tiny thoughts pile up into a mess within my skull that eventually would crush my focus and my mentality if I let it.

I think all of us have felt this before, we consider actions that have been made against us, torment ourselves over them and lose sleep or forget work, and we are nothing better from it. Just an anxious mess. Of course, there are other scars we bear that are much more serious. Assault, broken hearts, true horrible things that have reached out to slash our flesh and damage us forever. Those scars are much more vicious and real than those of the words that have been thrown at us. Still, we all have scars. We all have marks on our bodies that are damaging us with each moment we focus on them without seeking growth.

The other day I was watching a video on YouTube, I don’t remember the context or the information passed along. I couldn’t pinpoint the actual video to you in a list, but there was one scene that stuck with me and I will likely not forget.

You know, in our youth we always saw videos about kids carving their names into trees? Sometimes they were just the names of the kid. Maybe you carved your initials and your girlfriend of six months into a heart on a sycamore out back, then the girl left you or cheated on you and you’re stuck looking at the carved out heart for the rest of your time in the home. Maybe you carved your abusers name onto a tree in a forest, hoping someone would find it and send help your way. I hope they did, but even if not, that carving remains there. Due to the way trees grow, carvings such as these will likely never be repaired. They will stay on the tree until it is cut down or knocked down by a bolt of lightning or the surge of flame.

The nice thing, however, is that the carving will never stretch or become bold. It will stay on the trunk of that tree and it may never go away, but it will never change size or shape.

The tree however, will.

You and I are like that too. The things that have tormented you or hurt you in the past may stay in your memory forever, but they don’t have to grow with you. They won’t. You’ll get taller. You will cast your shadow on more things, you will become something that others flock to for relief from the heat of the burning sun and they may see those scars, that’s okay.

Those scars on your trunk will tell a story about lost love, but gained insight. They will tell a story of recovery, of hope, of a towering future, resounding through the forest with every single push of the breeze.

You may have scars, but we were built to be like trees. Forever growing, passing through cycles of death and rebirth, and here we are still. Standing strong, towering above the places we were hurt.

If you have collected new scars, or are looking down at your old ones, just take a breath, shake out your branches and look up.

There is so much wonder in the sky.

www.linmtba.com

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Polar Bear King: Puke + Rally Master (Yours, Truly – H.P.O.E)

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With the recent addition of my latest tattoo, I thought it would be fitting to talk about the Polar Bear King a bit in today’s blog.

I wrote this back in Year Two: H.P.O.E after a long and trying period of time. I hope that today you can gain something from it too.

Anyone familiar with the party scene knows what rallying is, for those of you who don’t, it is what happens when everyone at a party is too far gone and too tired to continue partying when people show up, or people hit a second wind and then the party continues. A popular term has been coined from this, “Puke and Rally.” Which basically means to go so hard you vomit, and then continue going hard afterwards.

While this whole idea may seem childish, it’s an important lesson that I’ve learned in life.

Recently, I ran into a friend who had been going down a pretty gnarly path in life. Just a few days before I saw him, I was talking to my good friend Eric about how we hosted the first party he ever attended, then after that he took the torch and ran with it. He had gotten wound up into some pretty rough stuff and we sort of watched his life revolve. At this party, a new nickname was given to me. (I’m so proud of this story. I tell it often.)

Back when I worked at JR’s I usually worked overnight shifts, luckily, one night I only worked the night shift and had gotten off of work at nine p.m. I hurried over to Eric’s house and met up late at a party that was basically over. I immediately jumped into having a good time and catching up with plenty of old friends.

This friend of mine had gotten far too drunk, and was on the verge of passing out. Being the kind of guy I am, I suggested that he slow down and drink some water for a while because I was worried about his safety. Then, out of left field, a long haired hippy friend of mine came across and told him not to listen to me and that he should continue drinking. Well, to this guys inebriated mind… my hippy friend became Jesus, and I became a Polar Bear. Not just any Polar Bear. The Polar Bear King. So, Jesus and The Polar Bear King were arguing about whether or not this kid should end up drinking more. I eventually won, and got him to settle down enough to pass out. Since then, The Polar Bear King has become my nickname at parties where those people are in attendance.

I have been working a lot lately, especially on starting a new business venture as well as resurrecting old ones. I have been hard at work with preparation for the release of my debut novel, “The Darling Bones” and have been working a lot. If you factor all of this in with routine stuff that normal humans do daily, you can see the large number of hours I was losing in the sleep category. My life has become work, work, and work. I am pleased with this. My bosses, however, are less pleased. The other day I was late for my shift and woke up to a text message that said “Don’t come in till 5pm. You’re getting written up.” I was upset, mainly because I was told last time that happened that I would lose my hours, or in the worst case, my job. I was fretting all day about it, and wondering if I needed to start looking for work somewhere else. As I was out and about in town, I stopped by the Maverick near my house to pick up some things, and ran into this guy. Who then told me some wonderful news… That he was clean of all of the bad stuff he was putting into him.

I was over the top psyched, because I really liked the guy and hated to see him falling into the stuff that he was. We talked for a while and then I left. As I got back into my truck, something powerful hit me.

This guy is about to rally, and he is about to rally hard.

By that, I don’t mean get back into drugs. I mean get back into life and make his days more than what the previous ones were.

Then I asked myself a question.

“Why can’t I do the same thing?”

I am a strong believer in the idea that things happen and that it is up to us to give them a reason. I believe that I made a good choice when I stepped into that Maverick, because I ran into the guy who christened me “The Polar Bear King” As I drove back home I made a realization. Even if I did lose my job, (Which honestly would have broken my heart.) I would be okay. If I didn’t lose my job, I would go to work that evening, realizing that I puked in the morning, but prepared to rally that night.

I am a busy guy, I always will be. I have stories and projects and stuff to do until my grandchildren have children. I will always be a doer of things, but one thing above all is certain.

I should keep my ego in check. Make sure that I don’t take a bigger drink than my throat can handle. I should remember that if I puke, I’ll rally.

After all… I am the Polar Bear King.

If you liked this post, you can pick up the H.P.O.E Compilation on my website or Amazon. 🙂

Don’t forget to check out my latest YouTube Video as well.

I just published Dyzygy + Friends, Dragon’s Dogma Ep. 4

 

Show Your Fangs

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Welcome back to the blog, damn. I know I’ve been gone for a while. I was moving into my new place and it took me a while to get internet installed. If you caught the vlog last week, you know the deal. If not I’ll fill you in.

I’m starting off with saying sorry, I didn’t realize how much of a bummer i’ve been lately. Especially this year. I guess things got a little out of my control, I just kept saying “I’ve got it together” and didn’t ever write anything other than that. sooo…. this is the last one of those posts. I just wanted to clear the air a bit before we get going. The rest of this year is going to be much better, cause this whole world is at my fingertips. (The same goes for you, in case you didn’t know, friend.)

I love you guys, always remember, Life is not meant to be awful.

You want to know something beautiful?

You can smile, right now, no matter what is going on. You can peel your lips apart and let the whole world in front of you see your teeth.

That’s damn beautiful.

For those of you who have been keeping up, Noose Ends has been much different than my last few years of blogging. I’ve tried new things, I’ve experimented with poetry in ways I never have, and most importantly I have written differently this year than any of the three before it, which has been great for my creativity.

That’s great, how I’ve done it is no good.

As I wrote this blog post I began to recite to you the things you’ve heard a thousand countless times this year from me, about how I’ve been stressed or working hard with nothing new to show, about how life can feel big and scary and I know for a fact that If I continued writing it out I would’ve told all of you that “you can do it.” Or “you have the power.”

But I wouldn’t mean what I was saying. Not really, anyway.

I was looking back on my previous blog posts from this year, some of them pulled from the same inspiration I once found between two loaves of wheat bread I didn’t have to pay for.

Most of them, came from the darkness inside of me. They glorified the struggles and emphasized the defeat. I wanted to tell you I’m grumpy because of all the struggles and stress and all of that shit.

I was going to play back the ticker tape that I’ve let consume my whole of 2017.

What the hell, man?

You’ve heard all of this shit a million times, but I wanted to rehash it once more here for you because we all have these days. We all feel burdened and stressed and we all struggle. I’m here to tell you, man, you are not alone.

I’m right here with you.

Let me catch you up…

Moving into a new place has been nuts. The A/C unit is busted. My bills are expensive. I live upstairs.

(I have a roof over my head. No A/C has made me step out and enjoy the outside a bit more. I am blessed with a job that gives me money to pay my bills. I don’t have to worry about people stealing my stuff because its that much harder to get to.)

I’ve struggled with quitting smoking, going strong for almost forty days before falling off the wagon a day. Then getting on. Then getting off. Then getting on. Right now, I don’t know whether I’m on or off.

(As many times as I’ve stopped, I’ve started, but I’ve still stopped with the intentions in my mind. Addiction is overpowering, but there isn’t one person I know with more willpower than me. I will run out of excuses to smoke and one day, my lungs will thank me with bright pink breaths.)

I’ve been struggling with music and relearning how to do everything, frustrated that I can’t play like I used to.

(I’ve had to relearn some of my favorite tunes, but damn it felt so good to feel that “first” learned feeling again. I might not play like I used to, but relearning means I get to have a second shot at adjusting my bad habits and making them good ones.)

Work has been a lot to handle, bad reviews seem abundant, customer and employee complaints. Squabbles between coworkers. Some of my close coworkers leaving before I wanted them to.

(I am blessed with a job, for every bad review I’ve received I’ve gotten to talk and commune with six great customers who believe in the message I am trying to send. The complaints only get to me so that I can take them and make sure they get fixed in one way or another. I hate when people fight, but in watching the squabbles unfold I’ve realized the many ways that I can better myself as an employee, a person and as a friend. My coworkers might be gone but I am thankful for the time I got to spend with all of them. Memories have been made with those people that I couldn’t make with anyone else.)

I’ve been too out of touch to meditate, or read, or watch movies. I’ve fallen off of my gym routine almost in tandem with my smoking habit coming back on.

(Being that out of touch has allowed me a moment to step outside of my own head, it’s what allowed me to write this post. It taught me to make time for the small things that I enjoy thoroughly. My gym routine might be on and off, but it comes and goes like smoking. One day soon I’ll be in better health all around. There is nothing to worry about.)

I’ve clicked every button in my head to make me stop immediately snapping out at my friends and family and I always have a shitty grimace on my face. I live during the night and I sleep all day long. My sleep is becoming more important than my work.

In fact, I feel some days like everything is becoming more important than my work.

(This is the biggest one. My temper came from the mishandling of my emotions, but through it I’ve discovered that the way I began to handle problems was unhealthy. I felt as though I had worked them out but truly didn’t, meaning that they didn’t go away at all. I’ve learned through the grimacing that I have so many opportunities to just shut up and smile for a bit. The night air is refreshing, but sometimes I need to step out into the sun to be reminded that this life is a gift. The warmth of the sun is great at sending that message. I sleep more, which means I am more rested. When I am more rested, my mind works that much harder. The creativity hasn’t stopped flowing for days now.)

I grew selfish.

(So I gave.)

I grew needy.

(So I created.)

I became enamored with things that would not reflect my love.

(So I loved more things, with more passion.)

I grew unhappy.

(So I smiled.)

 

You aren’t alone in this, and I’m here to remind you of that. But it won’t be through this silly negative bubble that I’ve colluded within. No politician, no addiction, no stress, no damage will be enough to stain my smile.

Sometimes, that is all it takes.

Smile a little bit and the world will spin around for you. Especially when you are asked to smile. It helps a lot, I promise.

If you missed it, check out the Talking Floorboard post from this week Blessing of the Vampire here or @alvatobiasbooks on Instagram.

www.linmtba.com

Ex-Death

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A short piece today, The blog is going to get pretty experimental for a while, I want to try some new things as you’ve seen with Pollyanna + now Snake Charmer Snake Eater, I’m going to put some more effort into the blog and try to single out my audience. I’ve been just writing shit aimlessly for years now + it is high time that I get something more manageable and focused figured out. Also, welcome back to the YouTube channel as of like… tomorrow or something.

I’ve climbed out of my own coffin and I’m back to swing for keeps.

I feel a bit warmer all over than I used to. My fingers aren’t shaking independently from the rest of me anymore, which is nice. I can breathe in a full set of lungs now a days which hasn’t happened since I was roaring a chorus in New York City. My mind is clear and I am focused, yet I would still stab someone in the chest to get a guilt free puff of nicotine.

Isn’t it funny how powerless we can feel sometimes? At the hands of such silly things like plants and people.

I’ve been a hard headed lad for as long as I can remember and I have had a penchant for finding new ways to strengthen my own resolve.

Simply put:

I have more willpower within my soul than five men do together. Which is a wonderful attribute to include in my invisible societal resume, but that also means when I have a break down or when I fail it wasn’t because I was under the influence of something else. It was a direct result of a choice I made consciously. Because I am so hard headed and my will is my determinant factor in all scenarios, it can really cause some damage to my mind when I know I screw up, which, let me tell you, is often.

If I make a choice it is rarely influenced by something other than my own decision. So when I choose something that kills me inside I have to live with it and accept it regardless of the outcome. That really sucks, cause I don’t like consequences for things.

Like turning down a girl I really liked because I didn’t have time for her.

Like turning down a job that would give me good money because it would kill my time.

Like staying somewhere I don’t need to stay just to force myself into a break.

Like crawling out of my coffin and waiting around at graveside for someone to come feed me some brain.

We as humans switch back and forth between alive and dead without even knowing it, I think. Obviously not truly. Most of us only die once. Unless you’re Eminem but we likely aren’t going to be that lucky. We have one shot at life and on the way to the great beyond we will switch back and forth between feeling the warmth of a brand new day and feeling the cold claws of the earth. Our choices dictate everything in this life. Our reactions are our own. If we are upset because of an outside occurrence, it is because we allow ourselves to be.

If I am angry at a coworker for how they behave or act, it is because I allow myself to care enough about how they can affect me.

In this moments I think we slowly kill our spirit, our willpower, our hope, our soul. I’m by no means admitting defeat and saying that we should give in to negativity, which is not my intention. What I am saying instead is that perhaps we could watch our own corpses bounce back and forth between warm and cold and stay warm for a while longer.

We could use out powerful will to stay happy for a few more seconds, to stay calm, to breathe in deep, to smell the flowers that are growing out of our chests every once and a while.

After all, the coffins we are building for ourselves are going to get pretty damn hard to fit inside of if we let our ego grow any more.