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Musings

I’m a sucker for striped shirts and empty white hair.

There’s something strangely human about opening the door of your home and knowing if someone else is there. You know before they speak, or turn the faucet, or close the underwear drawer. As if they left their presence on the threshold.

All of us have friends who are mad at us. They get mad the moment we start to do what we want and cease to do what they want. Ultimately, it’s a matter of possession. We want to own our loved ones the same way we own our favorite jeans. We confuse what ‘trustworthy’ is; i.e. it is the jeans that are always there for you.

There is a girl who stands taller than she really is. It’s because she talks about bigger things. She orders an Apricot Blonde and her voice gets loud when the conversation becomes about dreams. About ambitions. People are surprised to learn she isn’t six feet. She acts like it, though, and it reminds me of the word ‘monumental’.

“Everybody’s crazy.  Nobody makes sense,” she says.

I don’t know how they did it, but Zeppelin found the human spirit and plastered it on a vinyl saucer.

The reason I run so much is because of a lady at a race. She held up a sign that said ‘One day, you will not be able to do this.‘ I think the same goes for coloring your hair and going on dates and drinking liquor in swimming pools. I feel like there’s not enough time. It makes me think about the word ‘urgency’.

Plump, red grapes are Earth’s way of saying ‘you deserve this.’  They remind me of globes.

The reason everything is such a mess is because:

a) we think we are right, or
b) we are okay with being wrong.

My roommate and I scrubbed our shower before I left for the summer. He said “you can’t clean anything without getting something else dirty.” This thought has haunted me since.

Remember that nobody is ever impressed by how much you hate something.

Sometimes Monday morning feels like throwing a party when you’re hungover. I imagine this is what the first ten years of having kids is like.

There is a tangible energy abuzz in the air of a night when seemingly everyone else is doing something, together, and you are witnessing it from afar, alone. Fridays and New Year’s Eve are notorious for providing this nagging sensation.

Sometimes you can just think of someone’s gigantic laugh and turn yourself hysterical. I encourage you to try. This is especially fun in places where tension thrives, like a room in the library or the DMV. You start giggling and it draws the glances of the miserable, which only elevates the stress, wheeling the hilarity round and round like a hurricane.

I think all things melancholy are born on Saturday afternoons.

Few skills are more magnetic than knowing how to tell a good story. Along the same lines, saying someone’s first name, mid-sentence, when the conversation is thick with good thoughts, is wildly arousing.

One of the best ways to ease your mother’s mind is to take good care of yourself. When you are doing well, and you are healthy, and you are happy, it is the same as saying “I love you, too.”

The best part of taking photos is that in the moment, everything is unexciting, and routine, and nothing is special. Yet, when you look again, years later, when sprawled across the carpet, real magic appears. A photographer is like an angel from your future who paints a life your memory forgot.

I have all these photos of the people I love. I like looking at them, and I like looking at you.

I wanna look at you again.

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Love Letters (To No.1)

I’ll always fall in love, at least a little bit, with a cutie who’s left handed.

She’s got big ole eyeballs still, just like in the old days, when I was a young kid with a gold heart all ready to break. That same heart is still thumping, I swear it is, right down here inside my ribs. It’s just bronzed over.

I think we all get a little closer to each other when we use our first names, mid-sentence, deep into those talks. Those talks that always happen when it’s dark, when the car is parked somewhere, and we’re both staring forward into a big open night. And the air is thick because we know what we want to say but can’t. And our arms are crossed, and you’re opening all the way up, and you say

Sam, …”

and I feel it. I think our names sound different when our lovers say them.

She’s got a cozy room and a bed with messy blankets. There are postcards in the window and photos strung across a clothesline, photos of brick walls in her hometown, photos of a happy drunk girl whose laugh you can hear when you look at them real close. Sometimes I’ll sit on the floor and listen to her music and she’ll nap, and the sun will break through the blinds and remind me I’m at home, right here, with her wrinkled forehead and lavender fingernails, gnawed off with nervous tendency. She’ll make earl grey when she wakes up.

I think it’s too easy to have sex. I think sex is too easy because it’s at everyone’s fingertips. Lauren said it best: “nowadays, it’s easier to have sex with someone than it is to hold their hand.” I know people who fuck too much and they don’t know it. I think I’ve been there once, and now I know it. I think fucking is like eating junk food. You never feel good afterward, though, and that’s what kills. It’s fun to indulge when the pleasure is approaching, and you’re getting closer to it, like driving into town. But it’s a mirage. And then you put your clothes back on, and ‘one-night stand’ becomes last-night, and you gotta find a highway to clear your head.

She’s got an eye for things. She takes photographs all the time and none of them are of her, and all of them have that enigmatic quality that takes me away to a different place. Some sort of dazzle lives inside her lens, a magical aesthetic that I can’t figure out. She knows what clothes will fit. She talks about the things she loves.

And sometimes I’m sitting down, writing, in the library, in a chair. And her hair falls over into my lap, and her arms wrap me cozy and warm, and my first name is a whisper in the left channel. And all the bronze starts falling off, and all our clothes are still on, and I become a photograph on a clothesline.

And it’s all in my head, right now, these love letters to no.1, the smudge of her left-handed response tucked neatly into a light blue envelope, no return address. But my eyes are wide open for you, for your glossy 8×10’s, for your blankets, for your room, for your world.

Take me there.

 

 

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The Sound of Silence

Hello.  Good evening.  And isn’t it such a good evening?

I’m cozy at the moment. My life is still and quiet. When I wake up, I add cinnamon to a fresh cup of black coffee.  I fry two eggs, one of which is always oblong and runny, the other too chewy. I draw a picture, write a thought down into a little black journal that I’ve kept for five years, learn a couple of words, then listen to this mountain wind blow through the cracked windows. I put on a podcast. This is where I am.

Tonight, I wish to write about death again.  I once wrote about the afterlife, and the frontier of passing into the black that nobody knows. It was out of fear, but this death that lingers in my head is not spooky. I just can’t stop thinking about it, though.

I think that it has stemmed from suddenly realizing that people get old. I blinked and everyone around me got a lot older. My mother is aged. My grandfather is halfway to 90. My favorite rockstars are wrinkled and wedded, with children. I can see the years on everyone’s faces. They wear them like old scarves riddled with holes chewed from moths.

Do you know Simon & Garfunkel? I think you should know them. I’ve spent a lot of time with them recently, and I wish to share two videos of one of their most successful pieces. If you have a few minutes, I’d like you to listen to this song. I’d like you to listen to the lyrics especially, and let your mind wander as far as it will take you:

This is a video from 1981. That was 33 years ago.

In 33 years, I imagine that both of these fellows will be dead. That’s not really long at all.

I have to try to avoid the cliché here, in writing about dying. Carpe diem, seize the day, fuck while you’re young, explode or burn out, yada yada yada. They’re always telling you that time flies. It’s always fleeting. Everything is changing and running away from you, and you have to keep up. You have to keep up, or it will leave you behind. People and their lives.

I guess what I’m thinking about a lot is the reality of living. That existing is such a phenomenon. It’s so incredibly unbelievable, and yet, so overlooked. It’s just constantly overlooked and underwhelmed.

You always hear about the woman who has cancer, who has six months to live. You always hear about the bucketlists and the people who know they’re going to die. You always hear about people dying, but they’re never real to you. No death is ever real to you; not even your own.

In a sickly curious way, I wish I had an idea of my death. And lately, I’ve been a bit obsessive over it. Not in a suicidal way, or a longing to die…simply, a desire for an encounter with the end of my life. And in entertaining this idea, I’ve felt really alive. Just, really alive.

I imagine it as such:

I am well-dressed, walking down a hallway full of wooden doors. Everything is quite illuminated and the soles of my shoes glide across the linoleum beneath me. At the end of this hallway, I see a gentle old man, sitting quietly with a pen and a sheet of paper. He is tiny and well-kept, and he’s sitting in a school desk. As I approach him, his globular eyeballs peek over the rims of his glasses and his eyebrows wrinkle upwards. He is delighted to see me.

I look at him and have a seat on the floor. He nods his head and chuckles a bit, then peers down at the piece of paper. I am calm and curious, but I feel safe in his presence. Like a child I watch him from the floor below. His pen is etching and it’s the only thing I can hear. Finally, he wiggles away from the desk, walks towards me and looks me in the eyes: 

“Hello young man,” he says, grinning from ear to ear. “I am proud of you.”

I smile back, and suddenly realize that I know this man. I know this man like I know my child, like I know my favorite scent. I know this man, because he is me. He is the man that I become.

“I leave this with you now, young man,” he says, still smiling through his eyes. “Don’t read it quite yet.”

I take the folded note and place it in my suit pocket. I begin to stand, but the old man waves his hand, motioning me to rest. He then places the pen back onto the desk and turns away.

“Wait!” I yell, “I have so much to ask you!”

The man chuckles again, then turns to me. His eyes are full. His hand grabs the doorknob, and with a swift movement, he is gone. Through the doorway I see nothing.

The room is silent.

I look down at the desk and try my best to wiggle into the seat. It’s quite small, and in my effort to squeeze my knees beneath the table, the wooden legs squeak and squeal, echoing through the hall. I am uncomfortable. But I manage to sit, then pull out the paper. It reads:

Steady, now, young man. Remember the end. Steady, now.”

~

I guess I just want to say this: I feel lucky. I feel really lucky. I feel like I’m doing this right, because I know that it’s going to end one day. I suppose I’ve never been so motivated before now, before my brief meeting with the imaginary man in the desk. It has been the most enlightening experience for me this year.

I feel like one day, I’d wish to be in this exact moment. That one day, I’d give anything to be 24 again, in shape and good-looking. Healthy. A head full of hair. A mother to call. A day in the sun without medicine or crutches. I feel like I was just awakened by the advent of mortality, and because of that, I am somewhat invincible. This is invigorating.

So here I am, just ecstatic to be where I am. To be who I am, to be looking forward to a life of love. A life of misery and a life of kissing and a life of drinking to turning 30. A life of long winter nights and quick summer days and poems and sitting in movie theaters and crying. A life of running and eating spaghetti and being crushed by the weight of being, then revived by the way she says your name in bed. A life of having twins and getting in car wrecks and buying chocolate and flicking a straw wrapper across a dim-lit bar. A life of singing in the dark and wishing she was there and remembering the day you turned 13. It’s all so mystifying and relentless and loud and silent.

I guess I’m just happy to be alive, and I hope you are, too.

Here’s a video of Simon & Garfunkel, as old men, singing in 2010:

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Embrace the Suck

Alright.

Let’s check out a couple of things real quick that are both far too relevant in life and too often overlooked. The inspiration for this conversational post stems from a quote I heard relatively recently that has found a home in my brain:

When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

Right. It took me a couple of times saying it aloud to actually understand the question, and then it took me a few minutes to summon an actual response. I want you to think of an answer to that question, for yourself, right now. We’re going to use that example for the rest of this piece of writing. It can be big or small. Either way, it’s vital that you have something.

I’ll give you some options:

Maybe you’ve never smoked pot. Maybe you smoked pot for the first time three months ago. Maybe you’ve never lived with your significant other. Maybe you tried peanut butter on your burger last weekend and can’t believe it’s been an option this whole time. Maybe you painted your first painting, or rented your first home, or made out for the first time with a stranger at a bar, or whatever.

Just think of the last time you did something for the first time.

It may be difficult to pinpoint this experience.

Why? Because humans love comfort, and routine, and abiding by the everyday. Somewhere I read that a komodo dragon behaves as strictly as a heroin addict; both follow their exact footsteps and traverse the same landscape, at the same time, in the same fashion, day after day after week after year. We humans have built ourselves around this repetitive behavior because it’s easy and it’s safe.

But it’s also really fucking boring.

Let’s look at another thing that I love that I want you to love too:

Image

See that?

Your comfort zone is exactly that routine life, that ease of living, that we all experience every day. Your comfort zone is the fat warden spinning the keys of enrichment, of adventure, of excitement. Your comfort zone is marrying the insurance man named John McBride and living in suburbia, driving an SUV that’s ninety six times your size and going to that job-thing every morning. That humble, american life.

I know that’s fine for some. But it kinda makes me wanna vomit.

So let’s talk about the magic.

The magic is when you say “I love you” for the first time. The magic is when you hit three 7’s in Vegas for a couple grand. The magic does not exist in your kitchen, but on the cutting board of the 5 star restaurant where you were just hired as sous-chef. The magic is rare to routine eyes and abundant to those who take 32nd home instead of the interstate. The magic takes effort and nerves and comes with that ugly feeling that everybody in the room is watching you.

The magic is best friends with fear.

Because it’s absolutely terrifying to take that first hit of your buddy’s bong. It’s frightening to risk your favorite dish at your favorite restaurant by ordering something you’ve never tasted prior. It takes balls and lady-balls alike to make the first move and smack some foreign lips under a buzzing neon light at 2:00am. It is fear and fear alone that built the walls of routine, of comfort, of John McBride.

Now.

Why the fuck is that so?

Why the fuck aren’t you playing the drums right now? Why haven’t you smoked weed yet, or jumped out of a plane, or texted her first, or asked for a raise, or taken the long way home? If we know that all of the most amazing and valuable things in our lives have happened because we broke out of our shell, then why isn’t this an every day occurrence?  Simply put, why are we still afraid of the magic?

My answer: because we don’t want to suck!

Think about it: all of your colleagues (because we’re grown-ups now) invite you out to bowling night. But holy shit, you’ve never bowled in your whole life! What’s a simple Kansas girl to do? You politely decline, saying that you’ve made dinner plans with a friend who’s visiting from Houston. The gang eggs you on and tells you to bring Katherine too, but you deny yet again. In reality, you’re going home to leftover Chinese and some shitty TV show, but there’s that deep part of you that just really wants to go.

And you can feel it in your chest. Oh man, you want to go, but, excuses, yada yada, this and that.

The truth: you are afraid of sucking in front of everyone. You’re afraid of embarrassment (because who likes to be the ass of the joke?). You’re instinctively and stubbornly petrified by doing something for the first time. We all are.

But let’s take a step back and remember our lives.

At one point in your life, you sucked at walking. There was a moment that your parents will cherish eternally when you stood up on your stupid fat sausage baby legs and took a step. Then you fell down on your stupid fat sausage baby face and your parents damn near cried. That was a thing! That really fucking happened! To you! I promise!

You sucked at walking! How embarrassing.

And at another point in your life, you sucked at speaking. You said an entire word for the first time once! Can you believe it, you big stupid idiot? You couldn’t even talk as a baby! One day you just said “gaga blah blah” and dribbled all over your stupid chin, and now you drop words like “congregate” and “dietary” into cocktail party conversation without effort. Look at you go!

You also kissed somebody for the first time. And wrote your name for the first time. And went to 5th grade for the first time. And lied for the first time. And took a picture for the first time. Yes, at one point, you were the big, clunky asshat who asked “is it this big button right here?” and snapped the shutter, immortalizing a moment in time. Your entire life is made of first-time moments.

And I don’t want those moments to stop because you’re afraid of something, or someone, or some other bullshit.

Look, people. If there’s any time to suck at anything, it’s when you just started. In fact, that’s the perfect and most encouraged time to be obnoxiously terrible at whatever you’re doing. If you don’t like your job right now, quick that fucking job and get a new one, and suck amazingly at that new job. You’re allowed to! Do you know what’s embarrassing? Sucking at that job after doing it for five years. That’s why we pity Tony Romo. And on the contrary, that’s why we think the world of our son when he lugs in with his big stupid tuba and plays every single wrong note to Twinkle, Twinkle. If you want to talk to that cute chick next to you in Anthropology lecture, talk to her. You’re gonna suck at it because it’s the first time you’ve ever talked to her. Do you know what happens if you don’t? You’re sad forever. I promise.

This life is too fucking special and necessary for you to not do that thing you really want to do. And if you think that you have a good enough reason to keep living your comfortable, mediocre life, then I pity you. Wake the fuck up. Draw things. Create shit. Sing out loud.  Write it down. Write.

Suck.

Do it. That’s all.

-Sam G

P.S. I watch a fantastic blogger who made a video recently. Watch this. It’ll count as an answer to the question at the beginning of this blog:

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This Is Your Life

This is your life.

Two hundred years ago, nobody would have even been able to fathom the miracle that is our every day. Planes, trains, automobiles go whizzing by your bedroom window and you but blink an eye. You’re staring at a crystal clear terminal, a portal to everything you could ever wish to access. Like lightning it communicates through airwaves to towers and satellites orbiting our planet, delivering information to you at instant speed. I’m talking about your computer. A nine pound construction of metal and glass that could easily be the capstone of humanity. And it sits in your lap.

And what do you do with it?

You gawk mindlessly at a group of people pretending to be you. They have terrible jobs that they hate, go home to terrible wives that they wish they never married and talk about their terrible problems that bog their terrible well-being. Then you chuckle when you’re told to; the producers and writers of the comedy show pay other people to pretend to laugh on queue, then synchronize the recorded audio to match punchlines and other nuances that they consider to be moments of worthy humor.

And what do you do?

You join in like a sheep with that pre-recorded group of paid laughers. The organic supercomputer, whose possibilities have never been understood, sits inactive in your skull. Is it actually funny? You don’t consider this to be a viable question, otherwise you wouldn’t watch the program in the first place. You’ve convinced yourself you enjoy it, and the laugh track enables and reaffirms this belief. It’s brainwashing 101.

This is your life.

We are bound by an unexplainable force called ‘gravity’ to a massive chunk of material spinning at a rate of 800 miles per hour while simultaneously trampling through what we call ‘space’ in a nearly perfect circle at a rate of 585 million miles per year. This object called ‘Earth’ is interacting relentlessly with another object nearly 93 million miles away called the ‘Sun’ that constantly, through pressures so intense and sweltering, fuses hydrogen atoms into helium atoms, producing light and heat as a by-product for millions of years. This process, known as nuclear fusion, is happening right now while you stare at How I Met Your Mother.

In simpler terms, you and the Sun share coexistence, and that thought alone is a fucking miracle. I don’t mean ‘miracle’ like ‘jesus curing a blind man’; rather, a ‘miracle’ like ‘there are forces that are so much bigger than you, occurring at the exact same time as you. Think about this: everyone loves their birthday because they feel special, despite the fact that everyone has one, and millions of people even share that same day with you. Once I learned about Earth, I learned to love my birthday for the sheer fact that I just travelled 585 million fucking miles without raising an eyebrow. That is a miracle.

This is your life.

You’re stuck in traffic and it’s hot outside. You just dropped your breakfast on the way to work and can’t figure out what you did to deserve such an awful start to a Friday that you expected to be perfect. You curse at the guy in front of you for not slamming the gas once the light flashed green and arrive six minutes late to a job you’ve convinced yourself to love. Your co-worker requests a day off and you, being the gentle and understanding manager that you’ve constructed yourself to be, let Jerry get a head start on the weekend. Because of this, your paperwork doubles, and you’ll have to spend an extra two hours in the building.

But wait. Did you miss everything I just said?

You are sitting in a heap of bent metal that combusts ancient organic material that was extracted from hundreds of miles into the ground. Every driver around you also operates this mechanical stroke of genius. The food that fell to the cement was prepared in six different countries and somehow converged into a bite-sized mass of organic energy. It is 100% compatible with the chemical acids and thriving community of bacteria living in the cesspool that is your stomach. That bagel egg and cheese sandwich is a provisional wonder, and you call it ‘bland’. The guy in front of you is another soul, another biochemical organism capable of every thought, every emotion, every experience and every hardship that you’ve endured, and you’ve reduced him to ‘fucking asshole’. You’re six minutes late, the most arbitrary of all your worries this morning, yet the most prioritized complex that we as a human race have agreed upon. What the fuck is the difference between 9:00am and 9:06am? Apparently everything. The conversation that you had with Jerry was a sonic marvel, an interaction with a garden of minuscule hair follicles growing within the depths of your ear canal, which your organic supercomputer (the one that you don’t need to use when watching Scrubs) instantaneously interpreted as sound waves, then converted and spat out (again, instanfuckingtaneously) as comprehensive language, allowing you to repeat this unbelievable phenomena to the other human standing six feet away from you. The infinitely complex exchange of sounds and body movements is flawless, and you didn’t even have to think about it. Once you finally get to have a seat at your desk and begin writing, millions of tiny nerves and muscle fibers cooperatively tense and relax, moving the bones in your wrist, allowing you to etch thousands of miniature and understandable letter-symbols. The device in your grip is so intricately and evenly distributing a liquid compound that, when dry, permanently stains the razor-thin slice of wood that we call ‘office paper’.

And somehow, this is not only boring, but miserable.

This is your life.

We can choose to hate our existence. I do not. I cope with my life and most of the time enjoy it, only because it is difficult, and nothing is guaranteed.

Wait, excuse me. I take that back. There are a list of things that you are guaranteed to experience during your finite stay on hotel spacerock. Lists like to work in threes, so follow along:

1) You will lose everything you’ve ever gained.

It started when we were young. We all had a toybox, but somehow, over time, all those little treasures faded away from our lives. I can’t pinpoint exactly when I got rid of all my action figures. In fact I can’t say that I was the one to throw them out. They just kind of, disappeared, and one day I didn’t really miss them.

But you will miss the other things that you will certainly lose along this course of your life.

First, you will lose your grandparents. Then you will lose your pets. And your first love, and maybe your second love. And then your parents. You will lose your favorite local restaurant to a mega-corporation and you will most likely lose at least one job that brings you safe income. You will lose your health, steadily or otherwise, and the functions of your organic supercomputer will become cluttered and laggy. All of the money you made this year will be mostly spent on other things you will lose, like hockey sticks and coffee tables and dates that didn’t turn into anything. Everything you have right now is fleeting.

Because of the nature of things, this means that happiness, after all, takes a lot of effort. It takes training and practice, and some days it will take the best of you. But it is achievable and abundant, and you must choose to feed it.

2) You will die.

I am quite okay with this concept and I want to tell you why. In my dualistic mind, there are two potential outcomes of a heart that ceases to beat:

a) The first outcome is purely nihilistic in nature, and for that reason it lacks all hope. In this reality, absolutely nothing happens when I die. My best friend said, in response to this theory, that that is entirely unfair. We are devastated by death because it creates loss in your life. So how could something so profoundly powerful end with nothing. You mean to say that nothing is causing so much grief in life? And the answer is yes. But in this theory, when you die and nothing happens, then you would not be aware that nothing happened. So effectively, it cannot lead to disappointment. It cannot produce pain. It cannot produce anything. One day, you simply are, and then you simply are not. That’s it.

b) The second outcome: something happens. A fucking miracle.

3) You are always guaranteed a choice.

You are alive right now. I want you to think about this in every way possible. I want you to understand that you cannot understand how absurd and unbelievable that simple fact is. I want you to go outside and look into the night sky. I want you to let your mind roam, like a child’s, and entertain the idea of your size in this universe. I want you to kiss the person you’ve always wanted to kiss. I want you to have sex that leaves you paralyzed, a limp hand hanging off the corner of a bed frame. I want you to smile at the fact that someone destroyed you, because it’s ultimately such a minute bump in the galactic road. I want you to take a photograph every day. I want you to turn off your fucking television and go stare at a flower, or a bee, or the paint on your wall. If you really look at anything long enough, it will turn your world upside down. Imagine a place that you’ve never thought of before, right now. Use your organic supercomputer. Use your hands. Learn things. Speak to people. Throw your drink at somebody. Draw with a red crayon. Because ultimately, everything you do is better because you did it, and because it was better than not doing it. Learn to juggle. Learn where Tanzania is. I have no fucking clue where it is, but I can.

Want things.

Take everything apart.

Take care of your body. It is the vehicle that will determine everything in your life.

Become somebody to someone.

This is your life. Can you even imagine?

Listen to the sound of the french horns. Taste candle wax.

Give your barista a high-five.

Honk your horn at midnight.

Remember: you are alive right now. Wake up.

This is your life.

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Segue (The House)

I’ve started recording audio versions of my blog posts. Just press play and follow along!

Dear reader,

I write to you a letter on new endeavors. I’ve never been at such a juncture before, though, so this plunge into the void feels more like a forced push rather than a gentle change of lanes. And at the end of all things, nostalgia’s grip is tightest. Alone in this empty house I tap away at the keys, letting it all come back to me.

~

A year ago exactly, I found a new corner of the cosmos to call my home. A fresh-faced senior anxious to revive the routine of school, work and play was embodied in my every move. I couldn’t wait for another year here in Boulder. The new house welcomed new roommates and a breath of fresh air. Everything was hopeful.

I remember taking tequila shots in the house with two of them the Saturday night before classes began. Energy was high and life was back in place. I welcomed myself back to campus and felt at home, like I was meant to be exactly where I was. I have always identified with an affinity to learn, so school has ever been the feeding ground for my hungry mind. Once the swing of things was in full motion, I can say I was content.

If you’ve followed my writings since last August, you can guess what happens next.

Things took an unsettling turn as I fell into heartbreak. After an action-packed October, the winter grew inside me and depression overcame. The semester ended and I found myself alone in the house with nothing but time to think. And if you’ve been bummed before, you’ll know that thinking is rarely sorrow’s antidote.

But the house was calm and, for the most part, kept the feelings away. It was safe, and I felt secure within its walls.

New year’s eve at the house was patiently quiet as well. As the clock struck midnight, my thoughts were engulfed by literature, my body sober and worn, my heart teased by the potential of having someone near. I committed to the cliché that brings a new calendar: of letting old acquaintance be forgotten, of restarting, as if I were a programmed machine. The veil I used to hide behind kept me blind until she drove by the house. Then, like mustard gas, a blanket fell upon the walls and everything became asthmatic.

I kept holding on to arbitrary dates, expecting the house to return to the way it was, the way it felt, when I entered it. I kept coming home later and later, afraid of being haunted by its glances. Distance became impossible: either I was on campus or at the house, and both corners were very cold. By March I had made no progress. April was relentless. And May meant the end of college. But I still wasn’t okay. I felt like I no longer belonged.

When the house turned on me, the city did too.

As the spontaneity of summer closed in, I got better. I got a lot better. Everything was warmed by the power of meaningful work and lovable friends. Flings and crushes refilled my desire to love and be loved. Tan-lines and drunken nights brought happy tears and side-aches. My soul became yellow. Yet, in returning to the house for sleep, I still felt the presence of its dead memories. But I ignored them for a while.

June was perfect in every way.

July was half fun, half stress, as the quickly approaching deadline of August put my gears into motion. I was forced to spend the evenings in the house in search for work, in search for a new quadrant to call home. Separation from school helped heal my heart. But the seasons turn in cycles and tonight, I’m back at square one. There is one thing, however, that acts as a relic of hope:

This is the last night in the house.

Tomorrow I leave everything in desperate search for the distance I’ve needed since the house became a leech. I’ve been forced from this city by love letdown, by vicious triggers that won’t go away. The past twelve months have taken me through sludge and squalor. Tomorrow, I push a fist into the face of remembrance and separate far, far away.

What I’m really trying to say, reader, is that I’ve never been happy to leave something that I loved.

They say to quit when interest is high, to go out on top. In viewing everything through the lens of retrospect, I wish that last August never happened to me. I wish that September through May would go away, that I left this place before it had a chance to betray me. I wish the house was never mine. And I will wish these things until I’m happy they happened. For now, I’m feeling far from that acceptance.

Until then, I must sing the song of my life. Then I must let go.

~

Cardboard boxes surround me and reflect off the light of a little laptop. Seven days from now I’ll be moving into a two bedroom apartment with my best friend in Denver. I can say that I had a heck of a run in Boulder, but I need some space before I can think of this place as a happy one. I tell people that it has run its course. I don’t tell them what I just wrote you: that I regret the last year of my life here. But I commit every piece of writing to transparency, so now you know. The best two months of my life are coming to a close, and sometimes I feel that the good times are always ending before they can begin. I’ve really had a kick-ass summer, though, so I promise that I’m not upset.

I just need some space.

Life can’t pause. I’m scrambling like a rabid ant right now. In a month, I’ll tell another story of transition, of new beginnings in a new city, of a new era of my life. The years of college are over. My first step into adulthood has officially begun. I guess that this is what everyone’s been talking about since I was swinging at piñatas and eating birthday cake. I guess this is what they refer to as ‘growing up’. I guess there’s so much more to all of this than I can see right now.

I guess I never thought it would come.

But I guess I’m ready.

And all I can do right now is keep on loving.

-Sam G

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The Brooding Cynic

Wanna read a rant? Because I have some steam that needs blowing off.

Lately I’ve been a bit of a sarcastic asshole. I’m aware of it and have noticed this negative energy hanging around so many of my remarks. It’s sharp and quick, like a pissed-off wasp, and I’m not diggin’ it anymore. It’s just not in my best interest to be so edgy, especially during the season that I consider to be the best time of my life. So I need to vent and let it out with the hopes that something changes (be it in me or the company surrounding).

The following is a list of the bugs that keep buggin’ me.
(and for the record, I don’t mean to offend anyone. I just want to challenge the people that challenge me).

GNAT NUMBER ONE: GOD

I don’t believe in god. I haven’t for a long, long time. But I am aware that so many people do, and part of me will always be irked by that thought. I understand that the debate surrounding religion is massive, infinite and overall a waste of breath. We’re all too stubbornly locked in our system of beliefs to genuinely consider the other side. So this is not a preach of conversion; rather a prod at the behaviors of the folks that pray before they go to bed at night.

To start, a quote:

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
-Epicurus, a really ancient greek dude

If my stance on religion could be summarized in one phrase, I’d have to go with that flurry of questions above. What Epicurus is saying, in my mind, challenges all three potentials of the existence of a higher being. And in that, he reveals the hypocrisy of all three situations. Let’s dissect:

-“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.”
We tend to think of god as an all-powerful being, yet there is so much violence in the world. And it keeps getting worse. The quote states, pretty straight-forwardly, that if god cannot prevent this violence, then he is not all-powerful.

“Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.”
On the flip side, if he is omnipotent but refuses to fix all of the wrongs, then that would render the almighty an evil being itself. This bothers me.

-“Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?”
If god can and wants to rid the earth of the wicked, then where does the evil originate? How could it come about if god is able and willing to radicate the terrible things?

-“Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
Here’s the kicker: if he is not all-powerful and does not wish to rid of the bad, then why should he have the title of supremacy?

It just can’t be.

Again, like stated before, this is not an attempt at disproving god. I’m a firm believer that nobody could ever prove god’s existence, no matter what, because it supposedly reigns in the afterlife. How could you ever really know? On the opposite side of the same coin, nobody could ever disprove its existence for the exact same reasons. Hence, this argument is just a circle.

In any case, I’d like to set some parameters.

1) “God” is not rooting for you. You must realize this. Too many people in my life are always thanking god for some minor event that is hollow and materialistic and selfish and cold when viewed from an outer perspective. Do you really think that god wants your basketball team to win? Do you really believe that god placed that special someone in your life because it wanted you to be happier than others? Does anyone else see the insensitivity in saying that you’re “blessed” because you have nice things while somebody, right now, hasn’t had water in two days? It makes my stomach turn to think that you think you’ve earned this, as if you’re wearing the right jersey and the almighty just keeps dishing you brownie points. Your successes are absolutely your own. People are fucking miserable everywhere on earth without cause and you have the guts to say that god wants you to catch a promotion? I cannot fathom this as truth. Give yourself credit for carrying your son for 9 months, or scaling Saint Helens, or pushing through depression. YOU did that. In the same right, you were coincidentally placed into a socio-economic situation that permitted you to do that. Had you been a birth of a poor Indian woman, I highly doubt that you’d have found your prince charming at the Starbucks on 80th. Which will segway me to point number two:

2) Your Christ is another man’s Allah. Once you take a step back and think about Earth, you’ll find that it’s actually a pretty massive place. It goes further than this little city, country, continent. I know many people who strongly advocate that Jesus is the true god, or son of god, or second coming of it, or whatever. In my eyes, the most fundamental reason that you are a christian is because you were born in a christian world, where christianity dominates the tournament. How many southern, white females do you see worshipping Buddah? How many western African farmers do you find hailing Vishnu? The god that you found has little to do with the validity of its origins and mostly to do with where you grew up and who was preaching to you as a child, when your brain was a sponge and your thoughts stretchable like putty. The reason that Spike Lee is a die-hard Knicks fan is because he lives in New York. The reason that you believe in Jesus is because you live in America.

3) The Bible is a book. It is a fantastic story that has an infinite amount of interpretations, metaphor and examples of how to be a better person. This is the side of religion that actually promotes good things, where church has its purpose in the world. But it is not even close to being the say-all, tell-all, list of law and order. Again, you have to realize that humans wrote this book, and at the very minimum it’s overdue for a re-writing, a sort of “Bible 2.0” that features updates like “we don’t trade women for livestock anymore” and “what to do with the gays”. Simply put, it has been around for a while, and if you’ve ever studied a second language, you can understand that things aren’t always translated correctly. Stack a couple dozen rows of translation end-to-end and you have a tale that was written like a game of telephone. We as a species have lost so much headway because of the limits and fears of the words in a book, be it the christian tome or otherwise. Religion, in its characteristics, is not a progressive discipline. And I’m sick of being held back by an outdated mindset that refuses to look at the world around them because of the projected world that they’ve created in their mind as the ultimate truth (i.e. the afterlife called heaven). Please understand that this is all we have. I don’t believe anything at all happens to us when we die. For that reason, I’m desperately trying to suck out all of the life I have right now, because I find no comfort in that uncertainty called death. I unintentionally proposed a philosophical thought to my groups of kids in music class at camp when I asked “where were you in 1977?” They weren’t yet born of course, and for that reason they had no real response. Which got me to thinking: why would we be anywhere after we’re dead if we weren’t anywhere before we were alive?

I suppose those are my thoughts for now. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez quoted another ancient greek dude once and said “We think of god as a man. But if horses could speak, they would say god is a horse, which is exactly what humans do.”

GNAT TWO: INTEGRITY

Man, there are a lot of flakey people consuming my social life. This next segment of anger stems from relationships, with both friends and the potential flings that I’ve conjured and seen fizzle in the past couple months. Again, a quote will kick us off for part two of this vent:

Integrity is what you say, what you do, and what you say you do.” -Anonymous.

The whole idea behind that little word comes down to consistency. An old boss of mine used to use “integrity” to describe building materials, like wood. “You must preserve the integrity of the fence post, otherwise it will crack to pieces.” It is wholeness. So when you say you will and you don’t, then you are not whole. I see through it, and I see you as pathetic.

Granted, I’ve been inconsistent in many things in my life. I am not off the hook in anything I say here at all. But the awareness of my actions allow me to try and get better, and that’s all anyone wants to do.

I’ve had a lot of success in the world of girls. Lately, I’ve been fed a mound of disappointment in that same realm, and I can’t figure out if it’s me or them. Part of me sees myself as the common denominator, so maybe I’m purely delusional and nobody else is to blame. However, when you tell me that you want to see me and make no effort to do so, that seems to be a big bite out of the contradictory cake. When I find myself putting 90% of the effort to make things happen and you can’t even muster up your tenth of the work, that boils my blood. This of course recalls my views on gender roles, and frankly I’m just growing tired of doing (what seems to be) everything to make things happen. This goes for friends, too.

I told my best friend Hannah recently that if I didn’t text anybody all weekend, I’d most likely end up spending three days alone.

I can’t stand the mentality anymore. My personality is that of a go-getter. If you want it, get it. Get off your ass and work for it. Nothing comes to you. Stop fucking waiting. So when I want to be with friends, I plan things. I invite you. I want to see you and be with you, and all I wish is that you feel the same. Of course I understand if you have other shit going on, but to me there is a gaping difference between being busy and being apathetic. You remind me of a little child in a high chair, waiting to be fed his green bean mush. This is a falsely-entitled character composed of laziness. Also, I’m sick of the “maybes”, the “I don’t knows”. Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back said “Do or do not…there is no try.” So when I ask you to go out with me, your answer is either “yes” or “no, thank you”. Don’t make anybody wait for you to make a decision. Just fucking say yes or no. “Maybe” never got anybody anywhere. Can you imagine?

“Hey Lew, wanna keep going west?” said Clark.

“Eh, maybe. I don’t know,” said Lewis as another wave crashed into the canoe. After hours of rocking back and forth and back and forth, the two travelers died of dysentery, and the Native rebels took back New York City.

And then there are the few consistent ones, who do what they say, who invite me to things, who care about actively nurturing a relationship. I’ll probably fall in love with the first girl who shows me that kind of integrity.

The sad thing is, I haven’t seen her in years.

GNAT THREE: ME

Honestly, my perfectionist can’t stand to see argumentative essays have only two solid points, so we’ll keep this part short and sweet for the purpose of balance and composure. Like I said before, I don’t like feeling this way. I don’t like being so opinionated. I’m close with many people of faith and it hurts me to put them down like I did. But these are the things I think about all day, and when I started to write again, I made an oath of anti-silence, a promise to stay integral and transparent in voicing my mind. I want to challenge you because I want you to challenge me. Who am I to say that anything is true? Who am I to be so certain about these kinds of things? I know I’m driven by logic and I know that others aren’t, so why do I have to be such a dick about dethroning their values?

I just want so badly to proactively and progressively be.

And in the end, your indifference will kill me.

My favorite film is ‘There Will Be Blood’ because I’ve never seen so much of myself in any character before. This character is called Daniel Plainview and he is everything of my dark, cynical soul:

In any case, keep on loving.
-Sam G

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