Given to Fly

I am a walking paradox.  My whole life I have never felt like I fit in, I’ve never felt like I “made sense.”  I’ve never liked the same type of music or movies that everyone else liked.  I was watching South Korean cinema when I was in high school, listening to obscure heavy-metal, folk, and progressive music.  I considered myself an atheist at around age 14, a time when most kids probably didn’t even know what the word meant, let alone had they ever taken the time to really think about it.  At around the same age, I helped start a protest to attempt to get improved food for our school lunch.  I also backed a friend of mine in an attempt to push prayer out of school.  I wasn’t willing to just accept whatever I was handed.  All of these things may sound kind of…”cool,” but in reality what it means is that I’ve pigeon-holed myself socially, and I have rarely had any true friends throughout my entire life. No one to share my views and beliefs with.  I live in a very small town, so pickings are slim to begin with.  And a small town mindset besets small town values, and those small town values are simply not for me.  I need something more in my life.

I’m still not sure yet what exactly it is that I want to do just yet.  I really don’t think there’s any one thing, that just sounds monotonous.  I want to offer my help to the people of the world in any way I can.  Money has never meant much to me, and I am about as far from materialistic as it gets.  I recently started to minimize things in my life, to eliminate clutter and focus on what’s important.  As American’s, we’ve been so caught up in commercialism and consumerism, we feel like we have to have all these little amenities that are truly meaningless.  “This isn’t life, this is just stuff.”  Why not spend the money you would waste on expensive furniture and decorations, on doing something awesome?  You have a $4,000 couch?  Awesome, have you ever watched the sun set on the beaches of Guam?  Ever ate dinner underwater at the Ithaa in Maldives?  Have you stood at the base of the pyramids in Egypt?  No, OK well that’s cool, enjoy your couch.

I plan to start my journey soon, I have small things currently planned to help get my foot in the door.  I’ve also been changing many things about my current lifestyle in order to strengthen myself mentally and physically.  Every day my body gets a little harder, and every day my mind becomes that much sharper.  It is now past the point of being a just a fantasy, and is approaching reality.  It won’t be easy, and it isn’t supposed to be.  It will be a fight, it will require sacrifice.  But one of the most terrifying things I can imagine, is lying on your death bed, old and decrepit, full of regret.  I want to know that no matter what I do, or where I go.  I lived.

I’ve been challenging myself with mental and physical tests recently.  I have been completely sugar free for a full week now(doesn’t sound like much, but I dare you to try it.)  I’ve attempted meditation on a couple of occasions, including an eerie trek through the woods at night, alone and without light to guide me.  My attempts so far have been somewhat  futile, my brain is a tough one to corral, but I will get it eventually.  I’ve been taking a cold shower every day for the past 5 days, and when I say cold, I mean cold.  This next one may sound comical, but I read about a challenge for single males, to go 2 full weeks without masturbation.  Sounds easy enough, but we’ll see how that one goes.  Either way, I’m pushing myself to new limits, doing things I never thought I could do.

Each day that passes I feel something stirring inside me, welling up to the point that I feel ready to burst.  I feel like a bird who’s been caged his whole life, he knows he was meant to fly, but has never had the opportunity to do so.  Well, the cage door is open and it’s up to me to make the leap.  It’s a tough one, and the fear of falling is very real, but I have to be strong and I know the fear will subside.  And love for the whole world will follow that fear.

I Wasn’t There

We all feel a bit lost from time to time, it’s just the way of the world. People move, people change, people evolve. And in that process of change, you might come to the realization that everything around you no longer suits your needs. Friends you once considered close will grow apart, things you once enjoyed start to fizzle and lose their shine. I’m certainly in the process of change at the moment, physically and mentally. I know it’s for the better, but it has been a tough battle so far. And it’s only just begun.

I know now that I have lived the last 9 or 10 years of my life in detachment; apathy was my middle name. I would drift from job to job, from place to place, from friend to friend. I had no meaning or purpose in life. Now this doesn’t mean I was a bad person, I don’t think I have it in me to be a truly bad person. For all my parents’ faults, they taught me to be a kind human being, and I have always treated others with graciousness and decency. I’ve always felt empathy for the people of the world. But I was broken personally, I cared more for others than I did myself; which sounds like a good thing, but it becomes so easy to slide into nothingness that way.

I realize that I had no self respect. I couldn’t stand to look at myself, I couldn’t stand to hear myself talk. I essentially hated myself. I let no one truly into my life, and there were opportunities to do so; but I built up a wall and fought back anyone who tried to penetrate it. Some lay siege, but in the end they all faltered. I had been called “cold hearted,” which is a heavy blow to someone who felt like they cared so much for the world. But I realize now, they were right. How can I care for the world, if I can’t even care for myself? It’s time to tear down the wall, and tend to that which needs mending.

I know that I have traits that make me a good person, I truly do. There are aspects of my personality and character that I actually admire. My truth and honesty are unparalleled. And my willingness to give and help the people I care for is noble. I am a relatively intelligent person, with a lot of specific knowledge and skills I’ve developed from my many jobs over the years. I know that I can do good things with my life, I have the capacity to do that, we all do. So here I am, 30 years old, starting anew. It’s both wonderful and terrifying.

The first and easiest step for me is fixing myself physically. I’ve always been in decent shape, I’ve always stayed active; but I’ve also been lazy. I ate like crap, I would only work out whenever I felt like it, instead of pushing myself. I feel like I polluted my body with so much junk over the years that it’s poisoned me. I have horribly splotchy skin, which could be genetic, but eating junk is never going to help. I have horrible bouts of lethargy, where I feel I have no energy to do anything. I have trouble sleeping, which I’m sure is mostly mental. But I know that a proper diet will help all of these things considerably. And I’m certainly on the right path to that.

I’ve always found my will is strong in certain aspects of my life. I know not many Americans could handle my diet right now. And that brings me a bit of pride. My workout regimen would cause most people to quit. The amount of times I push my body per week is extreme. But I’m seeing massive results. I’m down to a very lean 150 pounds, which is maybe a bit excessive, but my energy is through the roof. I work out every single day, and sometimes that doesn’t even seem like enough. I can run for miles, I plan to actually start running a 5k on a weekly basis. I feel like I’m 17 years old again, nearly half my actual age. I want to run and jump, climb trees, bike through the woods. I feel like a kid again, and it’s nice.

The mental aspect is what is going to be truly tough for me. I have always had this sort of higher thinking, despite never having tried to obtain it. Deep thoughts just came natural to me, and I have always questioned authority and have been unwilling to just accept whatever I read. I never tried in school, at all. It was quite comical actually; how little I tried. I simply taught myself. And while I don’t have a lot of technical knowledge when it comes to things like mathematics, or proper, dignified English. I can express myself well in my own way. But, all of this “higher thinking” only seems to make it that much harder to change. Ernest Hemingway once said:

Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.

And that seems so true. People who truly think deeply about things, ask too many questions. We think about what will happen if we take a chance, and fail? What if things don’t go the way we planned them? We see all the possible outcomes and talk ourselves out of actually acting upon what we set out to do. It’s disheartening, and it’s something I’m going to have to fight to overcome.

Lately I’ve been toying with the idea of meditation. Something I’ve never done before, and quite frankly never thought that I would do. I simply never saw the benefit of it, and found it to be a bit pretentious. Now though, at this specific point in my life I feel that meditation would be extremely beneficial. I am a bit of a lost soul at the moment, adrift in a sea of melancholy; I need to find myself. I need to find inner strength and harmony. And I would like to believe that meditation can help me find these things, to join the heart and mind as one.

Feel the breeze
Time’s so near you can almost taste the freedom
There’s a warm wind from the south
Hoist the sail, and we’ll be gone
By morning this will all seem like a dream

The L Word

Love.  A word quite foreign to me.  I’ve lived my life in primary isolation, denying even the hint of love for many years.  I stood impassive, the rock in a sea of human unions.  But the sea is mighty, and even the most steadfast stones can be weathered by perilous waves.  So here is a brief tale of my first encounter with the big L word.

Until recently I don’t know that I understood even the meaning of the word.  Sure, I care greatly for my friends and family, and I’m a very compassionate person by nature.  So I definitely have a degree of love for all those close to me in my life, and I would give them whatever they needed.  But to be truly in love is a different story all together.  It means that you are willing to sacrifice absolutely anything for that person, that you place their life, their wants and needs, ahead of yours.  You would gladly walk through fire and flames just to hold them one last time, as your last, faint breath is spent softly whispering your affection for them.  Pure, honest love.  I know these all must sound like the musings of a hopeless romantic, but you should understand a few things about me first before passing judgement.

For starters, I have never shown much interest in the opposite sex.  I blame this mostly on some unfortunate events in my childhood, and we are all products of our environment after all.  Now, I can look at a girl and say, “Oh, she’s very pretty,” but that is usually the extent of it.  I don’t feel driven by raging hormones and testosterone like most of my male counterparts seem to be.  I certainly do enjoy sex, but it is more of a means of being as close to someone as you can possibly be; to be one with them, as opposed to some game as it’s often treated.  I have always regarded women very fairly, and some of my best friends growing up were women.  But I had never truly fallen in love, at least not proper love.  It’s taste, unfamiliar to me; it’s touch felt obscure.

But alas, I stumbled and fell.  I didn’t see it coming, and I never asked for it.  But I think love has a way of blindsiding even the most callous hearts.  I found someone who could listen to my crazy thoughts and ideas and not look at me funny.  The conversations we had were so real, the things we would talk about resonated deep into my heart and into my “soul.”  I felt a level of understanding that I don’t know that I had ever felt before, it was joyous and it warmed my heart.  I didn’t fall in love with a pretty face, I fell in love with a person, a heart and mind; a “soul.”  This living, breathing thing that feels weirdly connected to me, despite the many differences in our lives.  The things we could see, the people we could meet.

But, before I get ahead of myself, you should know that there’s a catch, and it’s a big one.  This love that I felt was not mutual……Ouch.  In my foolishness and ignorance, I misinterpreted and misconstrued things.  I got in way over my head; into a complex web of emotion that is hard to escape from.  Her heart lies elsewhere, and mine lies bleeding on the floor at her feet.  I can’t explain how this initially felt, and I don’t even want to try.  But here’s the other catch.  I’m OK with this.  I’m OK with it because I know that my love is pure and honest, and I know that as long as she is in my life that it is just that much brighter.  I am willing to sacrifice my emotions to remain close to one of the most wonderful and beautiful people I have ever known.  And that’s how I know that my heart is true.  There is no wavering, no hint of impurity.  Simply love.

Where all of this will take me, I have no idea.  Because really, it’s scary in some ways.  Needing a person that badly just doesn’t seem like a healthy thing.  Especially when it’s all ready clear they have other interests.  But I will remain strong, and fight the good fight.  I will be brave for myself, and for her.  I know she needs help just as much as I do.  She is battling her own demons, and they are not going down easily.  I must offer the most genuine help and comfort that I possibly can, and show her that despite the darkness, I see only light.  I owe it to her, she has opened my eyes to many things, and put me on the path to becoming a much better person, and I don’t take that for granted.

But I guess to be honest, in the end, I don’t know how this can have a happy ending.  There are factors at play that make it extremely complicated.  And I have more or less accepted my fate all ready.  I know I can’t win, but I will stay there until the very end, because that’s who I am.  I will make the sacrifice, I have all ready thought about it time and time again.  But now I know what I have to do, and what I have to say.  It will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, but I will try to make things right in a horrible situation.  I know I can be brave, and I know this isn’t the end for me, and I know it’s the right thing to do.  I just hope everyone understands and appreciates my kindness and sincerity, the sacrifices I have made to my honor, and the load I will place on my heart.

Some day, love will find me.  And I will capture and cherish every moment of it.

Solitude and the Iron Will

Many years of my life have been spent alone, in fact it’s quite disheartening to even think about.  But that time alone has brought me appreciation for certain aspects of life.  Such as friendship, honesty, and camaraderie.  You learn to appreciate things more when you are on the outside looking in.  But something has occurred to me recently; I find myself greatly empowered when in the presence of others.  Whether it’s mountain biking through the woods at breakneck speeds with a friend.  Focusing only on what’s ahead of you as the adrenaline flows through your veins, knowing one small misstep and you are going down, hard.  Or pushing my body to it’s limits in the gym, hearing the shouts of friends as I grind through a grueling session.  When I’m with others, my spirit rises and my constitution is as a rock.

For example, I went to work out with a group of friends today, as is pretty typical for us.  Most all of my friends are in good physical shape, and some of them are in phenomenal shape even.  I am a bit smaller, a bit weaker than some of them maybe, but I can typically make up for it with tenacity.  When I am surrounded by others, pushing me to a certain goal, my mind and body become strong.  There is no quit in me.  And today was a particularly challenging day, we had a 40 minute marathon of a workout that threw everything under the sun at us.  I watched as my friends started ahead of me, I saw how extremely grueling this was going to be; I became nervous as I awaited my turn.  The minutes were counting down, and soon I was up, fear struck.  Then a calm washed over me, and I had a brief conversation with my inner self: “Don’t be afraid.  You are strong.  Do what you think you can do, then do more. Give it your best, give it everything.  Oh, and Brian….Don’t give up, ever.”  The fear subsided, the clock sounded, and I went for it.  I pushed myself to the limit and beyond, I pushed myself so hard that people were cheering and laughing at the effort I exerted.  When it was over, I hit the ground in a cold sweat, body shivering.  I could scarcely move, my breath was coming in fiery heaves.  I wanted to vomit, but forced that thought out of my mind.  I heard the whispering: “Wow, he killed it,” as I smiled inside.

My will becomes so strong with others, I feel I can take on the world.  When I’m surrounded by friends who care for me, and people who want to see me succeed I have no fear of anything.  The problem I’m currently facing is that, all though I do have friends that I can share in physical activities with, and that’s great; few, if any, share the same outlook on life that I do.  Most of my friends are content with living in their home town, working their meager jobs, and trimming their lawns.  I don’t want to be one of those people.  I know I have such strength inside me, and it all ready manifests itself in certain ways.  I am probably the most honorable person I know, and certain things I could never betray.  I would die for my friends and their families if that’s what it came down to.  These are strong traits, and they expose strong character.  But I need to find a way to channel all my strength into myself.  I need to be as strong when alone, as I am with others.  It’s a battle I’m fighting, and I know great things will come if I can win, but it’s not easy.  But then again, nothing great ever is.

 

The Human Condition

The Human Condition is such that pain and effort are not just symptoms which can be removed without changing life itself; they are the modes in which life itself; together with the necessity to which it is bound, make itself felt.  For mortals, the “easy life of the gods” would be a lifeless life.

 

It’s natural for humans to ponder the complexities of life, the “how’s” and the “why’s.”  How did we get here?  Why do we exist?  And the cold hard truth is, we will never know the answers to these questions, at least not in this lifetime.  But still we search; however fruitless that search may be.  But it’s that search that makes us human, that lets us know we are truly alive.  It will bring pain and misery, but it will also bring happiness and joy.  Along the way we will find love and loss, life and death.  And these are just some of the inherent components that give us awareness to things outside of what we see with our own eyes.  It’s what separates us from goats.

So of course it’s natural for us to wonder what happens after death.  Death is a scary thing, it’s the end, it’s the unknown.  And I have no doubt that these fears are what initially sparked the first signs of what we now know as religion.  I am certainly not a religious person, at least not in the traditional sense.  I do not believe in a god in heaven, or a higher power above pulling the strings.  I know that the thought of life after death is comforting to people, but it is simply not rational.  Now, I do think that there is something else out there somewhere in the universe; and I do believe that human beings are more connected than we currently realize.  Quantum physicists have been experimenting with a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement, which states that two particles in separate locations can have a direct physical effect on one another.  A primitive means of teleportation has actually been achieved using this phenomenon.  Where am I going with all of this?  Well, experiments have been done that show when two humans(physically separated from each other, just like the particles) focus all their mind on one specific thought, they actually resonate at the same “frequency.”  So in theory, two people sharing the same thought with focused intensity, can have a potentially physical effect on each other.  What does all this mean?  I dunno, but it’s amazing to think about.  And a sign that things are more connected than we can comprehend.

In my search for a better life, I plan to see and experience as many forms of culture and religion as I possibly can.  I don’t want to be ignorant to other peoples views and beliefs.  I want to understand where they are coming from, even if I don’t share those same beliefs myself.  It’s so frustrating to hear an American born Christian or Catholic member insult an “opposing” religion, without any knowledge of their actual beliefs.  I think many people would be surprised at how similar we all are on the inside.  The truth is, they were born in a different culture than you.  Had you been born and raised in Iran, guess what?  You would be Islamic, and your prayers would be to the prophet Muhammad.  It’s all relative, some people need to open their eyes, and open their minds.  Remember, we are all one.

 

 

Pseudo Adulthood

So my prior entries have taken care of my childhood and teenage years, but what have I done with my adult life?  Well, that’s perhaps the most depressing of all.  I have lived the most unproductive life up until this point, and that is so terribly dejecting.  To know that you’ve wasted away ten precious years of your life, ten years that you will never get back.  10 years of my prime, gone.  Well, there’s no use crying over spilled milk, so here’s a brief summary of my uneventful adult life.

After my hard partying days, I took a job in the city doing indoor construction, working for one of my good friends’ fathers.  It honestly wasn’t a bad job at all, I liked the people I worked for and the work itself was busy enough to make the days go by quickly, but not so physically intensive that it ever wore me out.  It was kind of neat to be out in the city, walking to the galleria to eat lunch, and sneaking in a couple video games at the arcade.  The hustle and bustle, the flow of the streets, never a dull moment.  Such a drastic change from the town I grew up in, the town I still live in today.  But the work was very sporadic, long layoffs in between jobs.  I took out my first bank loan around this time, and when the layoff came I had no choice but to look for other work.

Fortunately for me, I’ve never had to look too hard for a job, because another one fell into my lap.  A buddy offered me a job at a local factory, the work was boring but the pay was decent.  I’ve always been a hard worker, and at this job I really shined.  The attitude there was very lax, but I came in with guns blazing and ready to work my fingers to the bone.  Management loved me, my coworkers loved me since I made their job easier because I had no issues doing the dirty work.  My pay shot up to one of the highest in the factory after only a year or so.  This created a bit of jealousy, but I truly felt I earned it.  But, after months of working 12 hour days, including some Sundays, I became so burnt out that I was ready to get the hell out of there.  I was so drained that my mind and body couldn’t take it anymore, I left briefly, then returned to the same job like a fool, only to realize nothing had changed, so I left again, permanently.

From here I took probably the most interesting job I’ve ever had.  I moved to west Texas with a friend to do utility work outdoors.  We worked in and around the Palo Duro Canyon, which is the second largest canyon system in the U.S. all though it seems as if few people have heard of it.  An absolutely beautiful place, probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.  It was quite a culture shock to me, the land was as flat as could be except for the canyon itself.  You could see for miles.  The only trees that grew were trees that had been planted as wind breaks.  Grass and other greenery were sparse.  A huge change from the thickly forested hills of southern Indiana.  The work itself was also kind of neat I suppose, we were installing fiber optic lines on a government grant to provide high speed communications to rural and impoverished areas.  But months out on the road, living in a caravan began to take it’s toll.  When the company I work for sold out to a larger one, my friend and I got word that our next job was to be in New Mexico, even farther from home.  So we split.

I took quite a long lay off during this period, I moved back home with my parents even though I was like 26 years old.  I slipped into a bit of a depression, and started partying again as often as I could.  The parties were now more tame, but just as useless as when I was a teenager.  Then a good friend of mine offered me my next job, for a small time Wireless Internet Service Provider, or WISP for short.  I started off doing the physical installation of the service itself, then my boss saw potential in me and put me in the office, behind the scenes.  This was my first taste of an office job, and it was quite bitter.  I’ve always worked better when I can physically see the progress I’m making, to build and shape things with my hands.  To see a job from start to finish, where as office work seems to never end.  I will admit one thing I’m proud of, similar to my last job in Texas, is that I was able to provide decent internet service to families in rural areas who had no other option.  So in a way it felt like I was at least doing some good.  But after nearly 3 years, I was poached away from that job, by the same guy who got me it in the first place.

So now here I am today, working as an IT Consultant from my own home.  Sounds fancy, huh?  It’s not.  I’m in probably the worst state I’ve ever been in.  I struggle to get through each and every day, I am forced to stay as active as I possibly can, simply to occupy my mind.  My friends are all married, with children by now, usually too busy to spend time with me.  What little time I do get from them is not enough.  I am 30 years old, and I’ve never seen the world.  I am stuck in the same place I was born in, with the same people I grew up with.  I’ve never known true love, and it hurts.  It hurts to know the person I am inside, is not the person that’s reflected on the outside.  Years of habitual small talk has forced me into a shell of what I once was, of what I really am.

I’m realizing now that it’s time to change, I have to change.  For the sake of my own well being and sanity, I must change.  What that change is, I’m still trying to figure that out.  I know that I can’t stay where I am now, or I’ll drown, I’ll be consumed by sorrow, a lifeless husk.  I am taking small steps towards making this change, but it’s hard for someone of my age.  I have a new, like minded friend in my life now, who is helping me cope with these issues, but complications arose that make even that friendship bittersweet.  I foolishly attempted to pursue love for the first time in my adult life, and I fell flat on my face.  It’s hard when you know  you have so much to give and offer to the people around you, but no one seems willing to accept it.  It makes you doubt yourself so much, am I just not good enough?  What’s wrong with me?  It’s honestly the most heartbreaking thing in the world, at least through my untrying eyes it is.  So I know I have to make a change, and get away from here.  I know there are people out there somewhere for me, waiting to accept my love and friendship, and I’m ready to give it.

Well, I certainly didn’t intend for this to take such a dark turn.  But the whole idea of creating this blog was for it to be a therapeutic experience for me.  And sometimes we just need to vent, and get things off our chest.  I hope that revelations like these, lead to brighter days(and brighter blog entries as well.)  I intend to start writing more about my views and outlooks on life in general from here on out, now that I’ve explored how I got here, it’s time to start talking about where I want to go, and what I want to see.

I might start ending these with a few lines from a relevant song.  Music is such a massive part of my life, and chances are, someone has said it much better than me all ready, so why not?

When I was young, younger than before
Never saw the truth hanging from the door
Now I’m older, see it face-to-face
Now I’m older, gotta get a clean place

And I was greener, greener than the hill
Where flowers grew and the sun shone still
Now I’m darker than the deepest sea
Just hand me down, and give me a place to be

The Wonder Years

Baby Brian

 

After climbing into a dark place for my first entry, I thought it only sufficient to counter balance that with a more pleasant affair.  It’s always easy to remember the truly sad times, but much too often we forget the happier moments.  Those are the ones we should truly cherish.  Show your scars with pride, but never forget all the good things and people that brought you to where you are today.  That shaped and molded you into this extremely complex entity, with your own heart and soul, your own ups and downs.  Life is extraordinary, and human life is simply amazing.  Ah, but I digress, this is a topic for another entry.  On to some of the more joyous moments of young Brian’s life.  I’ll break this down into 3 groups; the formative years, my pre-teen, and my teenage years.

 

The Formative Years: 

Childhood memories seem to slowly fade in time, but certain things you can never forget.  I’ll never forget the first time I rode a bike without training wheels, probably my first moment of self admiration.  From that day on I rode my bike every where, and I was somewhat blessed to live in a neighborhood with many other children near my age.  There must have been 10 of us waiting at the bus stop every morning.  Making friends has never been hard for me, I don’t know if I would consider myself a charming person but I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone that I felt truly did not like me.  So needless to say, I had many friends in the neighborhood.  I spent so much of my youth playing in the yard, riding my bike down the road, jumping on trampolines, and swimming in pools.  This is something I am very grateful for, I spent 50% of my childhood outdoors, playing and exploring.  Two things I still love greatly to this day.  I think it’s a shame that so many younger people sit in front of their computers or their iPads for hours every night.  The world is meant to be explored, it’s practically one huge playground.  So get out there and play.

I also met many of the friends I still keep to this day in my formative years.  Which is both marvelous, and maybe a bit distressing at the same time.  In a small town, most friends are made out of convenience.  But that doesn’t change the fact that they are your friends, they have been there for you for many years, and the love you feel for them is real.  I wouldn’t really change much at all about my childhood, at least nothing that I had control of.  I played my heart out, and dreamt until my mind was exhausted.  If I ever have children of my own(I certainly hope so, but I’m off to a late start,) I will make sure they experience some of the great things I did as a child, and so much more.  I will do everything in my power to make sure they get as much, or more out of life than I have.

 

Pre-Teen:

Now here is where things start getting interesting.  Once I entered into the 6th grade, my group of friends essentially changed, it wasn’t just children from around the neighborhood anymore.  I was put in a class with gifted children who were very advanced and mature for their age, and this was a huge learning period for me.  I learned that playing wasn’t everything, there were all these various art forms out there waiting for me to discover; music, painting, books, and movies amongst others.  My eyes were opened to a larger part of the world, one that expanded far beyond the small town I lived in.  Some of my friends from this era were from wealthy families, who had money to travel the world and see all these other, great places, and in turn they would tell me about them.  I still spent much of my time outdoors, but it was usually doing athletic activities, basketball, baseball, football.  I am certainly no athlete, but the simple love of being out and staying active kept me playing anyways.  I also obtained my love of music from these friends, a love that still persists strongly to this day.

One particularly life altering experience for me was my school’s 6th grade camping trip.  We spent a week at a national forest preserve, sleeping in cots and eating by the campfire.  This is probably one of the fondest memories I have.  My new friends were all so interesting and being outdoors just suits me so well, the minimalist nature of it all.  I also started to show a faint interest in the opposite sex for the first time, if only the faintest.  There was just something about this trip that was so magical, and to this day I will hear a song that reminds me of my trip there and I will both laugh and cry.

Speaking of the opposite sex, this was also the first time I kissed a girl.  A pretty little girl from the neighborhood I lived in.  She had a crush on me, but I was so young and naive, as well as probably sexually scarred from past events, I was too foolish to see it.  But it smacked me right in the face when she planted a small kiss on my lips while sitting on her trampoline, I couldn’t have been but maybe 12 years old.  We started a light hearted boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, in which I really had no desire to be in(a common theme throughout my life.)  But her and I actually remained good friends for many years to follow, and ironically she showed up as a new employee at my former job and we were still great friends, even 15 years after the fact.

 

The Teenage Years:

Oh man, where to even begin.  I think everyone reminisces about their teenage years to a point of exhaustion, and I’m no exception to this.  So many great memories, so much fun was had.  How much of that fun was “productive?”  Hardly any of it to be honest, but teenage fun rarely is.  The cars, the alcohol, the parties, the girls.  It was a pretty wild ride for me, I saw so many things that I will never forget during this time.  I will try to recall a couple of memorable moments, but needless to say, I had fun.  It may have came at the expense of my schooling and education though, but again, that’s a story for another day.

In a small town, your activities are kind of limited.  In my time, teenagers would mostly just…Drive around.  Sounds boring I know, but honestly it wasn’t so bad.  It was very personal, and gave you the opportunity to really get to know someone.  Usually, kids would meet up at certain designated spots to hang out in their vehicles with the windows down and chat with others, but more often than not we would get bored of that and just cruise the country side.  As I got a little older, around 17 or 18, the parties started happening.  And boy did we party.  If there wasn’t one happening on any given weekend, we would make it happen.  We partied in parking lots, abandoned houses, churches, anywhere we could get loud and drink.  This went on for years, and I saw some crazy stuff in that time.  Fights, drugs, suicide attempts, rape…Yeah, some things I would like to forget.  But despite some of the lows, I still enjoyed this time greatly.

And how could I forget my first love?  See, I’ve always been pretty well impervious to the opposite sex, due to past trauma most likely.  But sometimes love finds you whether you want it to or not.  I started a fairly serious relationship with a girl that lasted maybe a little over a year, a short time in the grand scheme of things, but an eternity when you are that age.  We had our ups and downs as any couple does, but boy was I head over heels for her.  I couldn’t even tell you why really, we were so unlike each other.  She was a bit of a “goody two shoes,” while I was pretty rough around the edges.  She was very into academics, I could not have cared less.  Sometimes opposites attract I suppose.  But alas, in the end it turned out to just be puppy love, as are most relationships at that age.  My heart was shattered due to many unfortunate circumstances and betrayals involved.  But you live and you learn, and despite all the heart ache, I’m so very thankful for her time and her love, and I would not change anything.

So these are a few of the more happy moments that helped shape me into what I am today.  They may not mean much to most people, but they mean everything to me.  Good friends, good laughs, good times.  Back when the only thing that mattered was being alive, and having fun.  Youthful bliss, aloof to all the problems of the world.  Why can’t we stay young?  Why can’t we live forever?

 

Maybe I just wanna fly
I wanna live, I don’t wanna die
Maybe I just wanna breathe
Maybe I just don’t believe
Maybe you’re the same as me
We see things they’ll never see
You and I, we’re gonna live forever

 

A Rough Start to a Long Journey

Baby Brian

 

My name is Brian, I’m 30 years old, and I’ve done nothing with my life.  Sounds a bit harsh, I know.  But the truth isn’t always easy to swallow.  I’ve spent the past 10 years essentially wasting away, floating from job to job without concern for my future.  Now this sudden realization has hit me, and I ask myself, “what the hell are you doing with your life?”  The scariest part about this, is that I currently have no answer to that question.

But I guess to know how I got to where I am today, it’s best to start back at the beginning, horse before the cart, ya know?  I was born and raised in a small town, to a lower class family.  We didn’t have much, but there was usually always food on the table.  My childhood was some what uneventful, barring a few potentially traumatic events that I’ll get into later.  We had our ups and downs, same as everyone else.  But I had more friends than I could count, school was a breeze, and things were good.  Well, at least I thought so at the time, but in retrospect I realize that things might not have been as lovely as I thought they were.  You know, it’s funny how we can experience so many fun and amazing things in our lives, but one harrowing event can scar every happy memory you’ve ever known.  And when these scars occur at a young and impressionable age, those scars last.  So to get it out of the way, lets start with the scars first.

I guess if I’m going to do this for myself, I’m going to be as brutally honest as I can.  Starting with probably the most disgusting and horrible thing about my past, one that I haven’t even thought about in many years, but here goes.  When I was around the age of 9, I was sexually molested.  An older boy from my neighborhood with the decisively innocent name of Timmy used to come over often to play.  If I had to guess I would say he was around 14 or 15, which is only a gap of roughly 5 years, but at that young of an age, 5 years is huge.  My mother had always objected to our friendship due to the age gap, I would get angry with her when she would mention it, but mother knows best.  I can’t really tell you anything of the specifics of what happened, because honestly I do not know.  What memories I haven’t blocked out, are simply not worth dredging up.  My father caught him in the act, and physically threw him out of the house.  My parents both drove down the block to confront his parents, while I waited in the back seat of the car.  All I can remember is that Timmy had one of my Nintendo games that I really wanted back, and I never saw it again.  No charges were pressed, but that was the last I ever saw of him.  The last word I heard was that he was sent to a juvenile delinquent center for breaking and entering and theft.  I still want that game back.

The next event that certainly helped shape young Brian, for better or worse.  Was witnessing my sister being struck by a moving vehicle.  I was 12 years old at the time, and I watched the whole thing unfold.  The impact was so severe that it literally sounded like a shotgun being fired, this is an analogy that I always assume people think is hyperbole, but it’s the honest truth.  Her head hit the front bumper of the SUV so hard it put a dent the size of a basketball in the hard metal.  She lie in the center of the road, approximately 100 feet in front of the truck that hit her she flew.  I watched my mother fruitlessly attempt CPR on what was practically a corpse at this time.  I watched a large man run out of his house and try to pull my mom off of her, saying that she might do more harm than good, and he was right.  But try telling a grieving mother in shock that she can’t save her baby.  Good luck.  I wasn’t faring much better, they told me that I was running in circles crying, but I have no recollection of it.  A neighbor picked me up and sat me in a chair, I faced away from the scene of the accident, afraid.  Fortunately, my sister survived, but barely.  She was rushed to the hospital, and immediately doctors and counselors prepared us for the worst.  But somehow, some way, she finally woke from her coma.  I think the total time was around 6 months in intensive care, another month or so in a general care unit, then a good 6 months at a rehabilitation center.  They had to teach her to walk and talk again, but she was never the same.  Sometimes I wonder, as morbid as it may sound, if it had been better for everyone had she not survived.

I would say the last traumatic event of my childhood, was my fathers drug problem.  I would have been a teenager at the time, probably 16 or 17.  The start of his habits it seemed to coincide with my sisters accident, I’m not sure if they are directly related or not.  It started out harmless enough, a bit of pot smoking in the garage while he shot darts with friends.  But soon that turned into jars of meth hidden away in the loft, and police search units with drug dogs.  I guess fortunately he caught wind of police interest in him, due to one of the friends he shot darts with getting busted, so they were able to clear everything out in time.  But he lost his job of nearly 20 years due to all the rumors circulating.  I heard whispers at school, and even some direct confrontations at the lunch table, in which I denied everything, despite having seen it all with my own eyes.  I never had the best relationship with my father, he was never there for me as a child, plus he had another major problem with alcohol.  So this event certainly did not make things better between us.  Today, he is a drastically changed man, he limps around with a cane and a smile on his face, being overly sweet to everyone he meets.  But it’s not enough for me.  I remember the man that used to get drunk and belligerent, beat me much harder than was necessary.  I remember how he used to like to pin me against the wall by my neck to exert dominance, practically choking a small child.  I wonder if this is why I have such a fear of things/people touching my neck?  I can remember nearly fighting children who would grab the back of my neck at school.  I’ve never made this connection before until now…

Well, as horribly depressing as all this may sound.  It’s actually quite empowering to get some of these things off my chest.  The first traumatic event is one that I have never told anyone in my entire life, so to at least feel like I’m talking about it is more of a relief than I would have imagined.  It’s good to confront your demons I suppose.  And I know that despite all of this, I really have no reason to complain, my life was not so bad in the grand scheme of things.  I certainly know people who had it much worse than me.  So maybe in my next entry, we can discuss some of the more joyous moments that shaped me into who I am today.