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.

Dungeon Crawler

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I spend an exhausting amount of time each week writing, between the two to four hours I spend working on my novel in progress or novella or whatever big project I have, plus the writing I do for the blog, I also have been running a D&D Campaign that meets once a week. Despite what a lot of people on the internet seem to assume about D&D it is a time-consuming beast. Each session requires a lot of work to balance and create the session. Making sure that my players can survive the encounters, making sure I have resources backed up in the event they make a move I hadn’t anticipated and so on. Because I am a story-teller, I put a lot of effort into building the world around us and creating something that my players can vividly see within their own minds. Each character that I plan for the session is finely tuned, their personality carved out as well as I can carve it and each of them have their own separate goals and passions. Much of that comes from my desire to write a good story. Something that sticks with its viewer for much longer than I will. I build lore for my own work while creating D&D Campaigns as well, which tallies the full creation time up to quite a few hours each week.

Of course, I accept this as a fact and despite my numerous attempts at shaving off unnecessary work while planning I find myself still sucked in for hours and hours while I build this world for my players to dig through and discover. I think that’s most of the joy for D&D for me. I am creating a place for my friends to live out power fantasies about things we could never truly be. I am giving them the reigns to be powerful and destructive in a safe environment. I’m giving my players the ability to be anything they could imagine. Their ability in the world is only limited by the progression of their own ingenuity.

I think that same reason is why I have such an affinity for writing. I am allowed to do that same thing and make those same fantastical grandiose worlds for people to enjoy, albeit slightly different.

Still, with D&D and other forms of gaming it allows something more prominent to emerge through all the hours I may need to put in to get where I want to. It gives me an outlet to spend time with loved ones doing something that we all enjoy. The thrill of taking down a big boss or solving a puzzle that was kicking our teeth in for days is something that I will never grow tired of. But it is so much better when I can do it with my best friends.

What I’m saying is that for those of you who are workaholics like I am and spend as much time as you can working on something, consider taking an hour or so to do something with your friends every week. The longer you work the older you get, and the older you get the closer you are to kicking the bucket. So, make sure you’ve got a lot of good stories for that bucket before you go.

Thanks for reading my lil baby blog post today. If you’d like to see when the next stuff is up make sure you poke around my website, I’ve got a calendar there for you to see what’s new.

www.linmtba.com

Feel Every Yard (BIG Announcement!)

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Before I get to the post today, I promised you a couple things from Wednesday. Sorry if it was a tad bit misleading, I wasn’t about to shout out some cool stuff if I wasn’t sure it was happening, but here we are.

So, first of all, I’ve been releasing a few shirts over on Teespring for Random Acts Creations. Year One through Year Four shirts/hoodies/v-necks are available now + I don’t plan on pulling the stock ever. I’m working behind the scenes to release a spring line towards the middle of April this year. It will be full of rad stuff like hoodies, T-shirts, and phone cases. (There is more but Imma keep some of it a secret!)

Second, I’ll be releasing a compilation of poetry from the blog itself (edited and updated, I promise.) Some of em were pretty rough around the edges but They’re shaping up nicely + you’ll be hearing more about them towards the third quarter of the year.

Third, I’ll be putting out another blog compilation this November, Year Five is going to come with a lil bonus though, I don’t want to give you too much about it, but I’ll tell ya you might want to keep some space available on your wall. 😉

All of that being said, if you’ve made it this far, you can check out my website, freshly updated and looking super fly to see my release schedule every single month. I’ll have days scheduled for blogs, poetry, YouTube videos + anything else I’m doing. Don’t think I’ve been forgetting about some of the older stuff you all loved. Over on the S+I Facebook page i’ll be bringing more happiness and inspiration than ever before. Snapchat will be live with some new tutorials just for kicks and I have SO much more. 2018 is just getting started and your favorite hippy is swinging harder than ever.

Best believe that.

It’s funny how they say time is money when we are so reluctant to spend time but we will freely throw away our time. Before I get into this week, I hope that you spend much more time this week than you do money, it is so much more valuable and so much more appreciated.

Last week I was having a conversation getting to know a new coworker and discovering their interests when they told me something I have said to others. We were talking about his passions and his dreams and he told me that he wanted to travel, he was going to set up a motorhome and just drive around the country in the next three years. That his dream was to see every state in the US and then he continued by saying something I have said countless times before.

“I know it seems stupid…”

Right before he launched into the description of his dream since he was a child, he wanted to touch every piece of dirt in the USA and he looked away from me in shame as he told me that.

It rang a bell inside of me that has been softly ringing since the day I picked up a pen.

I remember when I was that kid, unsure of my future with lofty goals and dreams, this grand desire to be all that I am working to become, an author, a YouTuber, a poet, a musician, a business owner, a chef, a friend and a blogger among so many other things. I remember being in that exact same place, telling others that my dreams sound stupid.

That was before I found The Buried Life, I’ve written about the show before + in case you’re new around here and have been hiding under a rock, they set out with this idea to cross off items from a collective bucket list and along the way help others cross one item off of theirs. The show + corresponding book inspired me so much that I decided to do the same.

It’s funny how these things that cross over into my head overlap so often. It is a still small reminder that my purpose is clearly defined and I cannot stop building for it, fighting for it and praying for guidance along the way.

I lost my job and began to panic about making money, how I could support myself still, how I could keep moving forward and what I could do to pay my bills, when I was provided for as if by magic I silently prayed a thanks and kept moving, without realizing that I had begun orienting my time beneath making money. The time I spent with friends decreased, the time I spent working increased and I began to trip up a lot, wondering if I was worth it or whatever.

Well that’s some shit if I’ve ever heard it.

Talking to my friend I was reminded of the madness that my life has become and how I enjoy every last second, every last wasted cent, every last smile and tight embrace between myself and those that I love.

This life is so much more than we always think it is. In the midst of darkness, for you or me, there is always light. You have your purpose and I hope that you consider it if you feel lost today. You have dreams and goals somewhere within you, you have a calling and there is no greater sin than wasting you valuable time.

Spend it instead, searching for the next step and moving forward. If you want to become an author, start writing. Streaming on Twitch? Download the app and go. There is no back tracking as long as you are aware that you are accomplishing goals and dreams with every new step you take. So don’t stop stepping.

Just get out there, climb in your motorhome and hit the road. We have a long list of items to work through, it is going to take a minute…

…and every minute will be worth it.

Thank you so much for reading.

Conversations With Machines

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“There are things in the twilight that trace the terraces of turmoil.”

“Did your father die, or was he artificially constructed?”

“You already knew the answer, why did you ask?”

 

Have you ever pondered things you already know the answers to? For example, things like how much time you spend a day, how long it will take you to fall asleep, when you will be off the clock at work, how long it will take to brush your teeth? How many lightbulbs are in your home, transistors in your computer?

Some of these things may be a mystery to you. I don’t know how many transistors are built into my PC, nor do I really need to in this moment.

I often come to my own headspace and question thinks I already know. Why I am continuing to write in an uphill climb some days, beating my brows out just to get words onto the page. I question some days why I get out of bed, it would be so much easier to stay, wouldn’t it?

Of course it would but that is not what we are alive for.

There will always be things we will never understand. In some cases, those things can even be our own motives and ideas. I urge you to consider the reasons you do things. The reason you think, act, move, work, all of them are instituted with great purpose. You breath carries a weight behind it more valuable than gold. So I pose the question today:

Do you know why you are here? If not, it isn’t something to fret over. I have many friends who don’t understand their purpose and don’t know what it is they were created for. All of us must find those things in our own time, with our own chosen path that we create.

It does us no good to speak to those without answers, we must instead learn from them. It is something I’ve come to find recently, even those who don’t know how to tell you the answer to your questions will, in the least, give a clue to finding it within the way they speak or act or move or work.

Have you ever watched a dancer go about their talent without a seeming care to the rest of the world? They could dance anywhere, a stage, their own living room or the crowded streets of New York City, and yet it would still draw your attention. There is beauty in the way they move their bodies. There is a certain grace in the way public speakers shape their lips. The way passionate people operate through the stormy waters of their chosen craft is always bleeding and pouring out magic from within.

Yet, here we are, wondering what we will do next. It isn’t something to be ashamed of. I often don’t know my next move, but I am regularly working on it, because I want the feeling I feel when watching a master craftsman or a mechanic, a sweet old lady knitting a scarf, or a DJ mixing tracks to be the same feeling I send to you with the way I write.

All of us have a passion within us, some rest it deep inside out of fear or anxiety or some other motive. Others have found theirs already and are building upon them, but I can tell you from experience, there is nothing to be gained from sitting in the corners of our homes with our hands folded across our chests wondering what our purpose is.

To some, your purpose may be to divine your purpose. To understand the world around you. Others may have story pent up within them, others contain art, engineering talent, mathematics, or more. None of those things will flourish when we sit alone and wonder what to do.

The quotes at the top of this post exemplify that. I chose, as an example to have a short conversation with Cleverbot online. I wanted to give a true definition to what it is like when we answer our own questions. All three of those responses made less than no sense in accordance with the conversation, yet the bot continued it. It is a lot like that inside my own head sometimes.

I like to ask myself things, I like to wonder and I love to question, but I would be nowhere if it weren’t for the plethora of other people in my life who willingly spar words with me and question my motives. I would be nowhere without the existence of you, my friends, my family, and the numerous people on this earth who seek to challenge my way of thinking. I became a writer for all of these people and through doing so I have come to understand my passion, my purpose for life, no matter how difficult things get.

If I had spent all of my time alone, in my own mind even in a public setting I would not have reached this place and I would not be working every day to move forward to a new place. This of course, is a silly notion in itself. We are forced into social interaction at almost all hours we are not pent up at home, so this week, what I’m saying, is go outside.

Stop talking to computers or video games or books or yourself. Spend some time with your friends, enjoy dinner, and enjoy life together.

Stop talking to machines.

Stop being so hard on yourself.

All things will come in time.

 

“Pacing hallways back and forth, asking yourself questions you already have the answers to. In the end, stumbling upon something found that was never lost at all.”

Thank you for stopping by! If you like it, check it out, feel free to tell your friends and share the post. It really helps me out and I’d love you for it!

For more, you can always pick up a copy of the compilations I release at the end of every year! You can find all of them on Amazon right now for $8! If you’re in the mood to pick up some new sweaters for the cold January coming, my store on Teespring has just what you need! Batches print every 3 days, so the stock will never run out.

(One more.) If you’re interested, I have been working on Youtube under the name Dyzygy, Go check it out if you’re into video games and inappropriate comments about them.

Small Things

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So as you likely have noticed, I’ve been absent for a few days. I apologize for that. I needed to get my shit together, I needed to have a talk with the gentleman in this blog post, evidently.

As for the business front, some things will be changing and most things will be staying the same. I’ll be putting up the first official Vlog next weekend, as well as beginning Spoooky Saturday and Dyzygy + Friends.

Oh yeah, I HAVE A NOVEL COMING OUT THE 21ST.

There is this guy that comes into my work all the time, he and his mother order the same thing each day and they show up early, his mom pays for it and he waits around to pick it up from us. While he waits he will walk around the restaurant, speaking to random customers and telling them stories.

The way he busts into stories astounds even me, and I can Segway into just about anything. He just walks up to you and starts talking like you weren’t doing anything else just before he showed up. It’s like a phantom confidence that surrounds the dude that he just knows you’ll pay attention to him when he walks up to you, and if you decide not to pay any attention to him he doesn’t care he will just walk off and find someone who will.

He was shot in the head when he was younger.

I don’t have all of the details despite hearing the story a couple times a week, and it isn’t any of my business to repeat to you. But that is why he is the way he is, he lost sight in one eye and his mind doesn’t seem to function like the rest of our minds do. So he tells stories, it’s usually one of three. A kid he knew back when he was still in school, the bumper sticker on his mom’s car and how he got shot. Some of the people I work with are really bothered by how he is, that he has no social graces and doesn’t care about what we are doing when he wants to talk to us. A couple of the employees make it a point to speak to him every time he is in, because they know that he probably just wants to talk to us cause he wants to talk to us. I don’t know why he tells the same stories every single time he sees us, but it’s been a nice wake up call.

You know when you start behaving one way and you eventually get into a routine even though it’s a poisonous routine and should just not be that way ever but still are? I’ve been there. I have been having a back and forth battle with myself between letting my jaded and cynical side prevail or continuing the toothache fight that is being sweet and gentle all the time. (Spoiler alert: Cynicism is winning.)

Then the other day when I was working, just before going out of Elko for a friend’s birthday camping trip he came in and wandered around just like he always does. He spoke to a handful of tables, one older woman in particular looked especially incensed that he bothered her meal, to that I hope she knows she can get bent. Then after a while he came up to me at the bar and told me about his injury once more. I nodded along at the perfect cues and said “Wow, that’s crazy.” Like I do every other time.

There was nothing especially different about that day, I woke up late after spending time with my friends the previous day. I finished the edit for another book, I went to work and I set my sights on making it through another day without a cigarette and hopefully without a meltdown, but I realized how shitty I treated the guy.

Not so much that he knows I treat him shitty either, it is in how I react to him entering the building. I see him and know that he will tell me one of three stories that I’ve heard a million times and I have memorized how he tells them so that I can nod when he gets to a specific place and the nod is timed so well that it urges him on. Then after he finishes showing me a scar I’ll say “Oh my goodness. That’s crazy.” Then if his food isn’t finished he will go on to tell me about his mom’s bumper sticker and how much he loves her sense of humor. At first I would truly laugh when he spoke and anymore I just force a fake chuckle and say “Boy that really is funny!”

A week or so ago a new girl started, on her third day she said something to me that stuck with me. I was giving someone shit behind the bar and making a joke about how the restaurant was a prison and we would all die there. (You know, cause I’m light-hearted.) and she looked at me to say:

“I thought I was the most cynical person in this town and I’m surprised I’ve been proven wrong.”

I wanted to argue, but she was right. I knew she was right when our friend came into the restaurant and told me his story again and I replied again just like every other time I have. I made it a point to repeat myself and make sure that I didn’t give any possibility for expanding conversation.

What?

I felt like one of the guards in Skyrim with limited options for conversation. The adventurer came up to me and all I just repeated the same shit a million times.

“I took an arrow to the knee.”

“Oh my goodness that’s crazy!”

It likely wouldn’t bother me so much if the girl who called me out for my cynicism wasn’t such good friends with an old co-worker who used to praise me and marvel at my genuine kindness.  I wonder if it disappeared when I failed one too many of my own tests. Maybe I lost it in the grandiose plans I make. Maybe I lost it with my free time. I think the most likely problem that I’ve begun facing is that I am constantly eye to eye with drama and power hungry dragons that I’ve given up on fighting. It isn’t like I lost the sword, it is like the sword isn’t there anymore.

What I’m saying through eighty million veils is that our regular lasagna guy came in the other day and helped me find the handle. I realized how important it was that I would always tell myself that each day I wake up was a gift. It had been so long since I really heard that, that it shocked me to hear it once again. He always mumbles something under his breath in between his stories when he is wandering around the restaurant. Like most people, I tuned it out. I stopped listening after he exited his story because my life is just “too busy” for him. I don’t have forty seconds to take out of my day and humor a man whose life was changed dramatically. He came in again and was speaking with one of my other coworkers, a girl who found her passion in working with the disabled and handicapped. I was half listening to their conversation when the magic hit me again. He was mumbling to her and as always I was ignoring it, then, unlike myself she truly responded to him.

“Yeah, it is a great thing to wake up every day.”

She said it and for a second everything stopped. The people stopped moving, glasses stopped clinking, the clock stopped ticking for five seconds. I needed that five seconds to remember that.

Holy shit. I woke up today.

What am I being such a grumpy bitch for? I’m still alive. I have a job that I enjoy. I get to do my passion every day. I don’t want for any single thing in this world and I’m still trying to justify being a mean little bastard all the time?

Life is a lot of big things. Job changes that make you relocate, marriage, divorce, childbirth, the passing of our loved ones, the birthday celebrations that mean a lot, the advent of beginning your career. There are so many big moments that we focus on to make our lives. I had been waiting for six months to win a competition that as it turns out, I didn’t even get an honorable mention in. I was furious at first, because I thought I deserved it. It would have been one of those big, life changing moments, but I failed. I spent a day or so moping about my house frustrated by how unfair the world is. Then I went to work and saw the guy again.

All this time I was ignoring the thing I needed to be reminded of the most.

“Every day I wake up is a blessing.”

Even if I’m not where I want to be, even if I don’t have a handle on things like I thought I would at this point, even if I come home sometimes absolutely furious about my work life, even if I bicker with my friends, even if most of my meals are crammed into my jaws in the midst of a busy shift, even if I have to curl up in the fetal position to lie in my bed and not hang off… I am here still. I can still do what I love. I still have a job. I have friends who care about me enough to tell me I’m wrong. I can still eat whenever I want to. I still have a bed to lie down to sleep in and tell myself that “everything is just so unfair.” And in the morning I can wake up and remind myself for the millionth time (because I need to often.) that yes, the world is unfair. Unfairness means that probability is slighted against us, and in that, it is absolutely unfair, but it is not unfair to us, not like we think. It is unfair to the universe. The chance of us even existing at all is so tiny we couldn’t comprehend it. I can’t claim to hate anything, because I was created, I was gifted life in the massive galactic mess and I can never one time take that for granted. Our lives are built up because of the small things we encounter day to day, not the big things that can change us forever.

I woke up today, and it is a good day.

Heebeegeebeez

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I travel every so often, as it has been one of my favorite past times for years. I love the feeling of being on the open road with a vague destination or even with the intent to do something specific. I like to drive and sing along to various songs or talk to myself and form solid plot lines or whatever I might need to do for my books that day. The concept of travel hits home. I like it so much because it affords me a kind of freedom I don’t have in my everyday life. I constantly have to get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner.

It is as if our lives run on a never ending cycle of tasks we have yet to accomplish. It grows tiresome, I’d be lying if I said I still enjoyed eating all the time. At this point most of the food I consume is just another bundle of nutrients I need to ingest so I don’t die. (Which is a sad thing for me to say in and of itself, but I’ll get to that in another post.)

Still, when travelling, especially if you have no intended destination you will find some small gems. Wandering around in SLC before my book meeting I stumbled across a comic store called Heebeegeebeez, which over the course of the next couple days I visited almost every location they had in the valley. The owners/employees, whoever the hell they were just so happened to be the coolest bunch of people I had met in a card shop. So I purchased some cards, played in a tournament and killed hours.

After the tournament ended and my friends and myself came out on the stiff bottom of the bracket we climbed into the car at six in the morning to make it back to the hotel before we needed to be up the following day to actually go do things.

This blog post isn’t so much about the Heebee’s, it is much more about the comradery you can find in the most unlikely places and the bonds you form with your friends.

I’ve met a ton of people who find some kind of misaligned pride in the fact that they have no friends. I don’t understand it, like trying to teach ethics to a machine their words just jumble around inside of my head.

“What do you mean you’d rather be alone?”

I get it, trust me. If it was just that these people wanted to be alone I’d understand but when they say it in conjunction with “I don’t have friends.” I wanna give em a big ass hug. How could you go through your life not finding a bond with someone? I promise you that not every person in the world is awful and will make you want to shrivel up and explode. Some people, most people, in fact carry so many wonderful traits. Each of my friends, those who went with me on the trip + those who did not are my friends for a reason.

This trip to SLC was capped off by a sorrowful experience, I attended a service for my late cousin Heather, who was found off of a hiking trail, dead. I’ve been over funerals, you now how boldly I look at death. I am not scared by it. The things that bring fear to me are much more alive, much more tangible. Death is of no concern to me anymore. He has visited my life so frequently that he has lost his sting.

Still, it gets kind of rough seeing my family members all the time under such dreaded circumstances. Especially afterwards when I can look at my cousins and my aunts and uncles and know that my kids won’t have those things. I used to be worried for a long time that my kids wouldn’t have any aunts or uncles to visit, they would meet no cousins and they would have nowhere to go for family visits save to see their grandparents. (unless my wife isn’t an only child but we aren’t talking about that right now.)

I have that thought once again every time I meet with my extended family. My mom will take some time to tell me stories about who is who if someone is around that I don’t recognize, she’ll tell me about my aunts and uncles and all the fun (or drama) she had with her siblings. I didn’t really have an answer to the frustration that brought me until earlier this year as I was sitting inside the car at 6 A.M. with some of my best friends in the world, driving back from a Magic tournament and dead tired.

I thought that I was an only child, despite that my mom calls all of my friends “her kids.” That was a nickname given out of love for them and me, that didn’t mean much. But I realized why she truly does it when one of my friends was whining about being tired and angry. We had passed this silver chevy on the highway and were still fifteen minutes from the hotel and he looked at the roof of the car before slapping his hand to his face and he said:

“If I don’t go to sleep before the sun rises I am going to be an asshole all day.”

I looked out the passenger side of my car and saw the light from the sun reaching up over the mountains and smirked.

“Well, the sun isn’t up yet. You have some time.”

We drove back to the hotel and got to our room. I stayed behind for a bit to stand outside in the cold for five to seven minutes while the others went to their rooms. I felt the stack of cards in my pocket and smiled as the sun was rising on the valley.

Just as it had a million times before, but I was there to experience it.

I stayed down in the parking lot until the sun revealed itself in its entirety from behind the mountains and couldn’t help but smile at my life.

Damn it I have it good.

I was fearing the service and meeting up with my family under bad circumstances once more, but there I was, ready to face things head on. I knew, even if it took me a while to understand it, that my kids would have cousins and uncles in the very least.

Because as I watched the sun rise on the day we were set to go see Coheed, having just returned from a tournament at Heebeegeebeez, I realized that in all of my friends, I had brothers.

www.linmtba.com

 

Expensive Conversations

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This week on the blog, I’m talking about the Raiders + Saying things we don’t mean.

Working as a server for the past few years has taught me a handful of things. Sometimes people leave important things lying around like driver’s licenses and wallets. Sometimes people are unfaithful in the clear of day, but their significant other is blind to it because of the love that they have for the bastard. Sometimes you see kids that brighten your whole outlook on the day, and sometimes you are given gifts from your customers, be that in a kind word, a gift card or a massive tip, the people we see and speak to every day can mold and change us. My entire day can be ruined (because I let it) by a customer who treats me like dirt. The same can happen in reverse when someone genuinely kind comes into my care at the restaurant. Working through as many parties as I have I’ve come to learn that it is easy for many people to stack up mountainous bills on all of the alcohol and appetizers that they purchase. The shock comes when they get their bill to see that it was $300 in liquor alone.

I have also had the chance to talk to so many people through this industry. I started working as a dishwasher and climbed my way out of that position in order to be a chef or a server. I was given a choice between the two at my previous job, and I picked serving for the sake of talking to people, for studying how we interact with one another and using that for my writing.

Today, I’m going to be talking about that and giving you all something that I have recently learned in my position that I hadn’t noticed as much before.

People talk, a lot. As if all of the silly things we think have to be ripped out of our minds and through our lips regardless of the scenario. I have served a handful of tables where my customers had no filter. They just kept going. Opening their mouths and letting whatever was on their mind drip out and spill across the table for the rest of their company to slurp up from the lacquered wooden surface.

My friends and I have done this plenty as well, one time that I recall recently a few of us were at the restaurant and talking about the Raiders transferring to Nevada. None of us were Raiders fans and I like to poke fun at my friends who are. So I did just that, talking about how terrible of a team they were and so on. This older guy sitting at the other end of the bar listened to us ramble on about something we didn’t really know that much about and I asked him after noticing his Raiders hat, “How do you feel about the Raiders moving to Nevada?” He told my friends and I that we need to learn the history of the team. That was about it. I recently got around to actually looking up the history of the Raiders and found so many interesting notes and things I never knew about the team.

I think what that guy said to us that day kind of stuck with me for that reason. We were blathering on about something we didn’t understand. Content to mock something and talk down to the fans of something we just didn’t get. Our banter started out as playful jabs at our friends for being fans of the team but it evolved somewhere in the midst of the conversation to shit talking all Raiders fans. Especially from my end. This old Raiders fan stepped in as a pissed off guru and shut me up for a while.

We all have a tendency to do that, too. I’ve noticed it so much more since that day. We like to talk shit, we like to talk at all. The majority of us like to hear the sound of our own voices. So we open our mouths and let the words slip out without paying attention to what we are saying. That is a dangerous game to play, because we can so easily hurt those close to us or worse, total strangers.

I don’t mean joking about football teams, or even really shit talking teams. I mean the others tuff. Politics. Abortions, religion. Our core belief systems and ideals that we swing around like weapons can so frequently hurt those nearest us. In some cases, while it may be more rare, it can hurt those we don’t even know.

“If all those guys think that, maybe it’s true.” Etc.

Obviously this isn’t always the case but still, I learned that day that I need to be more certain about the things that I say. Especially in public. I never know who is listening. Even if it is about something trivial like football, to some people that may be the thing they love more than anything else in the world.

The words we use carry a weight that we don’t understand and we so easily slip our strong opinions into everything with a crass mentality. I do it, you’ve likely done it. There isn’t a person I know who has gone about their lives with limitless tact. It is just part of a larger learning process.

When we party in the real world, we should be sure to regularly check our bill. I hate getting a large bill and wind up paying heavily for something I only enjoyed for a few hours.

 

Mean Shadows here!