Thank you for reading. I appreciate any kind of feedback or just a conversation. Let me know what you thought. If you liked it, what it means to you. Anything is welcome.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate any kind of feedback or just a conversation. Let me know what you thought. If you liked it, what it means to you. Anything is welcome.
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.
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:
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 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?”
“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.
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…
Don’t give up.
Thank you for May.
So, there are no guarantees in life. Since that’s a fact, I gotta tell you. I don’t know if my YouTube video will be up when I need it to be. The internet has been kicking me in the balls over and over again this week.
Doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop trying.
The Darling Bones is on sale still! $7 on Salt + Iron, go cop a copy + read about spooky dudes and a ghost lady.
I have been proud of many things I’ve done over the course of my life. Going to NYC to sing a 9/11 memorial with a number of singers across the country is among the top of the list. Working three jobs and still getting all of my writing and work done is another. For a while, I became used to people telling me that the things I do are amazing, and for all of that “amazing” that I am capable of, I still felt as if there was more I could do. That there was more I could accomplish. I constantly battle within myself, back and forth, knowing that I can accomplish something wonderful and awe-inspiring and yet, somehow I feel as if I haven’t done anything amazing in years. I’ve been struggling to fight against the tide of my life, against the stress or struggle I’ve imposed upon myself and it’s been wearing me down.
Of course, this isn’t going to be a bunch of words explaining why my stress is somehow more important than yours, not at all. I’m here to tell you that it is okay.
It is okay if you feel like you can’t do it all. Sometimes, you just can’t.
I am a master, a legitimately certified master of biting off more than I can chew. I am fantastic at taking on too many tasks and being unable to complete all of them. This is why I am such a rigid planner. My days, when I have my way, at least, result in a perfectly executed schedule of work and play mixed together, with damage done to every giant task I give myself so that I can move forward for the next day.
Of course, life cannot be scheduled. Which is where this blog picks up.
I’ve had a million ideas for various projects and goals I want to reach and in theory, they are perfectly laid out, if I accomplish X task in X time I will have X free time in my day, but the reality of it is life is not nearly that simple.
It’s like socialism, fantastic on paper until you let greedy humans into the mix and everything goes to shit.
So, it’s like capitalism.
My point is this. There is no government institution, no group of kind passersby, no singular human on this planet that has time to do it all. Likewise, it is in your best interest to plan your projects and your goals in a way that allows for you to get everything finished yourself. This may mean you will miss opportunities and ideas will slide by you, but that’s okay. You can always recoup and get them sorted out at a later date. Time is a made up construct for us to run our lives, and in the essence of doing anything important to you, you’ll need to understand when to abuse your time and when to slip out of time-keeping altogether. I’ve said for some time that I have control over time. Of course, it’s silly. No one controls time, but I was told that once. A friend I used to work with said that it felt as if I had control over time, I could speed it up and slow it down as I saw fit. Time with me always lasted exactly as long as it needed to and I loved it.
So I used it, I started to build into that philosophy and I have harnessed that power since then.
We all have small powers, just like that. Of course, no one can control time, but just that tiny thought, the idea that you can change how time flows only based on your perception of time, doesn’t that make you just a little bit superhuman?
I’m sure you have an ability like that too. Maybe a great big mouth so that you never take a bite bigger than you can chew, maybe you have fast hands or legs, maybe your smile is luminescent. Maybe, just maybe, despite all the stress and all of the struggle we face that blinds us to our own realities, we have a power hidden beneath it all.
Mine just so happens to be time. I know how I can make time for everything, I just need to commit to making that time.
Of course, I could be wrong, I’ve been wrong before, but until I am proven differently I’m going to continue believing that you, me and everyone we know has the potential to be superhuman.
That’s just how it is.
Find your power, harness it.
Don’t let anything stop you.
Happy Birthday to everyone today, mine is coming up soon + in celebration, my book, The Darling Bones is on sale all month! check out the sweet deal here + pick it up, enjoy it, and then keep coming back. I have some more sweet stuff on the way later this month!
The desire to overcome punishing weather in the midst of a devastating storm sometimes feels like a quiet whisper in the middle of a concert hall.
If you woke up this morning, congratulations on another day. I’m happy you’re here. I am happy you’re alive. Whether you might regard yourself as an enemy to me is of no consequence. I have no enemies. Sometimes we face new days with great trepidation, fortunately for you + I the world will find us at our lowest points and try to beat the hair from our heads.
There are absolutely no guarantees in the world we live in. One day I am going to disappear and most people probably won’t really care. I will be surrounded by laughter and love and peace.
I admit that peace has lately been a distant bird, singing somewhere in another forest but I can hear it gently chirping. If that is all I find in this life, I know I will have peace. I will take it for myself in the quiet moments, in the whispers, in the thunder, in the fire and famine, I will remember the song of that small bird.
I hope that today you consider something, you exist and there is little reason for that existence. Which is wonderful, because it means something.
Should your heart be beating today and your eyes scanning these words, you can surely say that you have been blessed with life and with purpose. No matter the season you are sensing at this moment, winter winds or spring bloom you are still alive to see it all. The world will always revolve and you can take that peace to heart.
This season will end, be it good or bad. I take it to heart that I have much to be congratulated on. As much as you do, you know.
If your relationship just ended, congratulations.
If you’ve just had a baby, congratulations.
If your job just fired you, congratulations.
If you just started your job, congratulations.
If you lost your phone, congratulations.
If you just quit smoking, congratulations.
If you have a few days left to find a home, congratulations.
If you woke up this morning, congratulations.
Congratulations, because every single day, you are allowed a new life. Everything that has plagued you, or burned you, or burdened you for years will be gone in a moment. You will have time to start over, it might take work, it might take time, but you can always rebuild anything you have. Just remember, congratulations, for feeling the way you do today.
It means you are alive and there is nothing to be more thankful for than that.
This month, all month, I am celebrating my birthday! In doing so, I’d like to announce that my novel THE DARLING BONES is currently discounted on my website! Pick up a signed copy for $7 now thru Mar. 31st!
Keep checking back at the blog, my youtube channel, and my various social media pages for more sales, more stuff and more writing all the time.
I love yall, happy birthday from the Polar Bear King.
I’ve enjoyed E. E. Cummings for a large portion of my life, his poetry attracted me at a young age because it was so weird. The structure was thrown out, the rhyme and meter often differed. He was one of my first large inspirations after Poe when I was a boy. I’ve always enjoyed playing around with the strange poetry, my last experiment was in the Pollyanna series, which I’ll be re-releasing later on… but more on that in the future.
For now, e n j o y.
Let’s talk about E.E. Cummings today, too.
This month I’ve started a new project, the Word of the Week! In which I will try to use this word in correlation with the blog post + have a bit of fun with the blog. It won’t always match up, but I figure, I wanted to mix things up for a while. This week’s word, the first of those on my list is:
According to Dictionary.com, it originated likely somewhere between 1790-1800, it is defined as sleepwalking. I found out about it from a band I listen to named Thank You, Scientist. They have a song of the same name and I loved how it sounded, you know how you just appreciate the way some words sound?
Well. I definitely do. I’ll be sharing some of my favorites with you along the way. I promise, not all of them will be real words, either. The poem today is based on the feeling the word gave to me. I’ve been trying to draw inspiration from some of my favorite writers lately as well. Whitman, Poe, Frost and more. This one may be a bit tongue in cheek but you know, I appreciate it greatly.
Back in the day, there was a Greek myth about Zeus creating man, how we were originally built with four arms and legs, two heads and so on, but fearing our power he split us into two pieces, cursing us to forever search for our other half as punishment evidently for being cooler than a God.
I’ve used this myth before in a few places, a best man toast, a couple other blog posts, and in day to day conversation with others generally speaking to them about relationship troubles and the purpose of relationships. While I can’t accredit this myths factuality to anything in particular. I’m saying that I don’t have the answer to whether this was true or if it was some made up social media post about people to be inspiring.
What I can talk about is the message sent here.
In counting all of the human’s attributes, they glossed over something much more important to the facets of a relationship.
We were born with two ears and one mouth.
Which means that in all things we do, we should use those ears more than we should use our mouths. All too often I find myself more willing to speak on things and tell others about my life, or how to fix their problems when the reality of the situation is that I should be silent and listening, valuing their time much more than I should be valuing my own. Even as I write this I can think of moments within the past two days in which I should have been listening to others and not talking over them. It isn’t intentional, I believe I have important things to say.
Of course, that is the root of the problem then, isn’t it? We each believe that what we have to say is valuable and others need to hear it. Yet, the information we have that needs to be conveyed will still be there at the end of a conversation and we must be delicate in framing what we respond with.
Have you ever been speaking with someone and zoned out, forgetting or not listening to what it is that they’ve said. I tell others often that when I’m working I don’t want to be bothered. If I am in my office writing or doing some other task, I can’t be bothered because if I am I won’t be able to regain my focus. This has led to more than one scenario involving someone I care about feeling as if I don’t listen to them when they are speaking. I wanted to argue this point here and explain that I had set up a time to work and a time to relax, if that can’t be followed what is the point of setting those things up? So on and so forth, but it shurks the actual responsibility of my friendship or relationship to ignore them through and through. It takes the issue I am writing about and turns it into a me issue, an excuse, not a them issue.
Should we consider ourselves a higher caste than another we would know that they would have no need to speak to us? There is nothing they could say that we wouldn’t already know, there is nothing they have to say that would bear any weight. We would be above them. This is the mentality of someone who chooses not to listen to another human for their own selfish needs. I’m not saying that there won’t be times where people will say things completely irrelevant or unnecessary to you but that doesn’t mean every word out of their mouth is spoken without purpose.
The fine details of our lives are spoken through the subtext of our actions and words, we convey how we truly feel or think through the way we speak and how we behave. It is much like knowing someone is upset because of the way they tell you they are upset. They could not admit anything and you would still know because there is a sorrowful lilt to the way they say it.
This is the purpose of our ears. Two mechanisms affixed to the sides of our skulls so that we may hear. We may hear the way others love. We may hear the way others hurt. We may hear others flashes of joy and excitement through their tone, despite the words coming from their mouths. We should be doing this twice as often as we speak, as well. Not everyone will come to understand this idea. There are people in droves who believe the things they say are really important and should be heard by everyone and that is okay, some people are just more important than us. Some people don’t have the desire to listen and understand or listen to feel.
Sometimes, though it frustrates me to no end, this even includes me. I know, hilarious right? The author admitting that sometimes he gets talking a bit too much. You’d think the downsides of my profession would inherently be something much less obvious.
Today, I challenge you to listen to another. Find something within them that is worth hearing, worth considering, listen twice as much as you speak and really devour the things you hear. Especially what you hear between the words and the sounds of the trees or rivers or cities. This world is rife with sounds of life and that is the most powerful notion I have felt in a long time.
We are here, we are alive. We will be gone one day and on my tombstone I’d like it to say something like, he spoke often, he spoke well + good, but the testament to the man buried in this ground is that he was able to listen through your words and hear the feelings you felt, the things you were afraid or embarrassed to say and he helped us bring them out.