(28) is the end even in sight

April Awakening: Day 28

The pieces all fit. It’s just the people who can connect them don’t want to. That’s how I feel lately. I see it all laid bare before me, obvious as the day is long, and I’m still being told it doesn’t matter. It’s almost insulting. I don’t know how much longer I can really last in this limbo, either. I’m getting increasingly worried about my health at work. I get a swab of unknown origin up my nose every single day in order to enter the building. Meanwhile, my sense of smell still has not even come close to coming back six months later. Correlation, causation, who knows. It’s still a concern to me. Yet, because of my “status,” it is I who am forced to obstruct my breathing in one single room I’m required to enter every day. Just one room. Surrounded by plexiglass. Nowhere else in the building do I have to do that, and no one who has the “correct” status needs to mask up anymore. And yet I’m the threat. I’m the one with a target on me. I know I helped put it there, but how on God’s green earth does this make any sort of sense in April 2022? They are forcing me to stay in the dark on their decisions, and any utterance of rebellion is drowned out in the endless reverberation of banging my head against a brick wall.

And yet. And yet…

I have often mused about a bombshell report or news story to end all news stories. I also think, and have seen this sentiment echoed through the metaverse, that we are indeed in the end times. Some days I believe that, others I don’t. But after what happened today, I really do believe that soon, I’m going to wake up and simply be in a new world. One that’s just on the other side of that tunnel. It’s not one of ‘order,’ it’s one for all of us, not just for those at the so-called “top.” Because they’re not there anymore. Their programming has stopped because too many changed the channel. And I hope they just hightail it out of here, go through the wormhole and fuck off to parts unknown forever. But the ramifications of their actions currently remain.

We’re not in a state of prospering anymore; it feels like they are actively trying to ruin us. Billions more going to a fight that’s not ours while economic growth stands to come to a halt thanks to a looming recession. How am I supposed to think any differently when I’m told to just smile and take the discrimination based on a ‘status’ that was not requirement to get my job? What is this, and what is driving people to stand for it?

Setting the stage already.

And yet I feel calm. I could lose my job tomorrow and I wouldn’t feel any different. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want that to happen, but I’m setting my own stage for that long walk down the path. I know what I’m heading toward, because it’s what we’re all heading toward: The End. The Final Countdown. Something greater than we could ever have imagined. Dams can leak, but there’s always an initial burst that causes chaos, and could potentially flood us down the chute if we’re not careful.

So I do think the end is in sight. An end. Multiple ends. They could be anything, and they just might be. But you don’t have to worry about me. Perhaps I’m just closing one storybook to add to my anthology. I’ll just have to keep walking toward that bright light where I only see hope, no matter how much runoff I may be leaving behind.

(15) down the middle

April Awakening: Day 15

Sometimes, just when I think I’m over the hump, something happens to make me realize I’m not. It’s the midpoint of the month and all this clarity has just caused me to think about how real it all is for me. How everything I thought was impossible is entirely possible. And not only that, is also inevitable. I was never “over it,” I just evolved with how it’s evolving in and of itself. I haven’t wasted my time. I haven’t let all this happen for nothing. What I want is coming, as long as I stay the course, and remain steady as she goes. And I don’t need to make it harder than it needs to be. I can cry it out when I need to, which I sure did today. No shame, nothing wrong with that. It just seems to be something I so sorely needed. This just feels like what I need to do right now. I can take other people’s advice on what to do next, but ultimately, I’m going to keep on the path I’ve already chosen long ago. No matter how dramatic I may be over it. No need to veer, it’s all going according to my plan. I really do believe that. I can see what lies on either side of the road as I walk right down the middle, and both are still viable. But I know what’s waiting for me at the end of the line. The life I could have lived on the other side of the street will always stick with me in spirit. Who knows, perhaps I already lived it and it’s time for something new in this life. But I’m right where I need to be. I’m somewhere over there between the land and the sky. I suppose we all are. So I guess I’ll just keep walking. We’re halfway there.

i can forgive too

When we say hurtful things, that hurt comes back to you threefold. Even if you don’t think it will. You may think you’re one of the strongest and most unfeeling people on earth, and absolutely nothing can get you down.

Until you’re left with nothing to ponder but your own words and actions.

We’re all going through it right now. We’ve never been so awake and aware of our surroundings, yet there’s such a disconnect as to what’s right and what’s wrong. Or even real. And the only solution I have left to suggest is choosing to love one another. Fight the urge to be cruel just because you feel hurt. It’s not always easy, but it’s how we get past all of this.

Focus on who you’ll meet on the other side of it, not all the pain you’re leaving behind in this lifetime.

The End, for now

“How do you know what will be?” he asked.

“I don’t,” I said, “I’ve just written many stories of what I think we could be.”

“But what if we’re not meant to be in this life?”

I smiled.

“My love,” I began, “We live many lifetimes while we’re here on earth. You get but one life to live many. Perhaps ‘another life’ is just around the corner.”

And with that, I let him wake to the next life he chose.

(26) packing it in

There are moments when you’re with those you care about most and are confronted with exactly who you are. You see aspects of yourself and what you’re about, even realizing that you don’t have all the answers as to why you feel a certain way. It becomes yet another thing you look forward to working on about yourself. No one but a real friend can go there. It’s nice knowing I still have people in my corner, even when I go all emo chick thinking I’m a lone wolf in this world.

It’s a nice feeling. It’s great to be present with the feeling of loving someone and caring about them. Doing things because it’s natural to do them. Reacting just as yourself because you don’t need to be anything else. These moments are so special to me and it always seems like I’m only deserving of them once in a while. But perhaps if I put in more effort to make them happen, we can see each other more frequently.

Being a lone wolf is a choice. I see that now. It may be obvious but I have it in me to just pick up the phone and try talking to people. Even just seeing how they are is enough of a gesture. Who doesn’t like to think that someone was thinking about them and made the decision to let them know? I think I just feel like the onus is on me a lot of the time to be the one to start things. I don’t feel like I’m reached out to as much. I could be wrong. Or maybe I’ve just completely missed the mark. But perhaps it would behoove me to gain more members of the pack. I know I’ve got people on my side but I need to work on fortifying that bond. I expect things to happen to me, not always realizing I can make things happen as well.

It’s all a process. I’m glad to be so open to it. I can continue to roam free and explore alone, all the while keeping friends updated along the way. All I hope is that my solo status hasn’t put too much distance between me and you. I’m ready to stop blaming the pandemic on why I suck at reaching out. I’ll put the howl out. Give me time to watch the moonrise just a little longer.

(18) a healthy working relationship

My co-worker brought pizza into the office this morning. Yep, I had pizza for breakfast. I knew I was going to. Since there’s only three of us in the newsroom most mornings, we’ve decided on a “Friday Feast” snack rotation schedule. As part of an end of the week celebration, one of us buys breakfast for all of us. We don’t go overboard, we only got one pie today. But it’s just a little treat, just for us, care of each other’s generous nature. I guess I started it when one morning I wanted Dunkin’ so I texted them before work to see if they wanted some too. Thus, the birth of this new Friday ritual, which will continue probably until the rest of the office comes back this fall. I’m not made of money, guys.

Either way, I decided to plan out my meals today, because I knew I was going to have exactly two slices of pizza in the morning. I had some leftover shredded chicken in the fridge from Thursday night’s quesadilla. So I figured for lunch I could throw some of that on a bed of lettuce, add a little lemon and tons of hot sauce. It turned out to be a nice substantial meal. So nice that I haven’t even eaten dinner yet. It’s past 10:30PM and for once I’m not having my three “square” meals a day. I’m hungry, but I’m choosing not to eat. It’s a choice I haven’t seemed to have made in a while, and I feel good enough about it to not even question it.

I’ve been giving in to a lot of my baser instincts over the course of the last year. I think this is a bad habit I had long before the pandemic began. It just exacerbated it. So I’ve been trying to get myself back on a track that I may not have ever fully been on. My weight has been an issue all my life, and I’ve been no stranger to sharing it with you in this space. But I need to mention this, if ‘m going to keep our conversation going about things happening and the worm turning and everything changing overnight.

It says something for me to just simply be able to make a decision for myself, right here, right in this moment. I may go to bed soon with an empty stomach. I may not. It would be very easy for me right now to order something via delivery and just pig out, feeding my craving for something sweet or crispy or cheesy or whatever I’m thinking. But for the first time in a long time, I wonder what I’ll feel like when I wake up knowing I made the better choice. Where I didn’t stuff my face in order to feel temporarily better, and instead attempt to push myself and see how far my willpower can take me.

It’s these little victories that I don’t feel like I celebrate enough. The problem is twofold. One: I think it’s lame to be a cheerleader. The high school emo chick persona never really left, I guess. And two, I would like some outside validation to let me know I’m doing okay. And that can be a tall order in such a harsh, cruel world.

I feel like a lot of people care about me, because I care a lot about them. I’m in a working environment that’s encouraging and kind. It’s a bond that’s strong and I’m grateful to have. But at the end of the day, we still have to have a working relationship. Until my co-workers are no longer my co-workers, it can’t ever really progress to a different level. I consider them my friends. My work friends. So it leads me to think: who knows what will happen when we no longer work together? Things change, people change. We may still speak. We may go our own way. We may fall in love. I’m open to anything. But as it stands right now, I cannot expect the kind of validation I’m looking for from the people I work with. It’s all so personal, and it does them no good to be thinking about my problems when they have to rely on me to get our job done. So I won’t burden them. I’ll just use my words to burden the entire internet I guess.

Either way, I’m grateful for my co-workers and I’m glad we’ve made this choice to intertwine work and food. In a way, I think it can help me plan my meals and make better choices for myself. It did feel good to have a plan today. Perhaps it’s something I can keep trying. I didn’t even take bags of chips from the endless baskets that have appeared in the kitchens. They refill them every three hours. It’s very tempting. But come Monday, I hope to make better choices in the morning. It does feel good to sit with it on an empty stomach.

But I must confess, as I wrote this, I had the Seamless website open. All I wanted was a little Dunkin’ delivery.

They’re all closed this time at night.

(10) nestled safe in my city

There was a flood today in my apartment building. I have no idea what happened. It felt like it made sense. I have a real option to stay in this building, just in a much bigger place. And it’s okay that she leaked a little. She’s an old building. Pre-war. Optimal real estate in this city. They don’t make ’em like this anymore. It’s elegant and beautiful. Timeless. These buildings will never go out of style. And once you’ve got your hooks in, it can sometimes take an act of God in order to move these mountains.

It’s easy to make fun of someone living in New York City. I get it. I was born here. I have every right to make fun of it before you do. The mantra is “get out of cities,” when this place actually makes the most sense for me right now. My job is here. I don’t have any children. I own a piece of it. Why head off to the suburbs and add a brand new expense to my repertoire? I don’t have a car and I won’t need one until I need a big ol’ van to cart around the kids. But that time is not now. I figure I have a good two to three years before that happens. Until then, I’m in a good spot and I intend on keeping it that way.

What I need to work on is wanting the good things for myself. I celebrated my city today by relaxing in the nature simulator that is Central Park right now. I enjoyed my time there. I watched a couple guys have a judo lesson, where they grappled and flipped each other, getting up close and comfortable until it was time to leave. With a mask on. That’s their choice. I questioned it. Doesn’t matter either way. I was there to soak in the sun and nothing more. I watched the little bumblebees land on the thistle-like flowers strewn about me. I was hoping a bumblebee would land on me so I could pretend it thought I was a flower. Instead, I plucked the closest one to me and played a game of “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not.” Haven’t done that since I was a kid. I never knew who I was referring to then, and I still didn’t today. Slightly. And I really wanted to feel like Ariel from Little Mermaid when she played the same game. But the thought of the alternate scenario kept crowding my mind. I mean, I had a fifty-fifty shot either way. And I couldn’t help feeling like I’d just end up disappinted again.

I didn’t. It went the way I was hoping it would.

So why could I just let the wish win a little bit more?

It feels like I have to lay out each and every option for every scenario I find myself in, so I won’t be surprised by what ultimately results. It’s the only way I feel safe. And yet I keep encouraging everyone to leave their bubbles and take the risks. But how can I expect anyone else to when I don’t even take the risk of believing in my own wishes?

Like I say, it’s really all a process. The more I think about it and take these steps outside my apartment safe space, the clearer I expect it all to become. It’s up to me to take those steps. This is the first time I actually went outside after work in maybe two weeks. I’ve been too comfortable inside. I want to break free. It’s getting easier and easier to make that step. There’s a lot out there, even if it doesn’t always feel like real, live nature that I crave. I have a lot here for me. A lot that I love.

Only this time, we can see the bubble bursting in slow motion. It’s then we’ll be happy we prepared for the worst. Just as long as we expect the best.

(7) maybe speaking is enough

I notice that my lips are moving when I’m not talking. It’s happening more and more. I’m silently mouthing things to myself. It happens when I write. It happens when I walk down the street. And I’m not sure if it’s part of a greater issue. But that may be my paranoia talking.

I do wonder who it is I’m speaking with. I used to think I was speaking with one person. I wanted to feel like my words were reaching someone. And maybe they were. Now I don’t know where they’re going. They’re going out somewhere. I just don’t think they’re landing. 

Sometimes it feels like the words I say and things I think push people away. I’ve felt this for a long while. I used to try to curb what I’d say in order to keep people. I don’t anymore. I try not to be reactionary and I’ve built up enough of a filter at my age. But it’s not my job to make people agree with literally everything I say. If someone does that, I’ll find it odd. I just want to be able to say what I’m meant to say, and be done with it. And whoever likes what they hear can stick around until they don’t want to anymore.

I don’t know who it is I’m speaking to these days. Maybe it’s all just a whispering massage I give to myself. My own version of an ego stroke. Enjoying what I’m writing or saying even if there’s no one around to hear it. I would like someone to hear it one day. But maybe they won’t. What am I going to do, stop dead in my tracks? 

No. 

There’s plenty more words to share. Even as I did stop in my tracks to see a phrase in chalk on the sidewalk today: “Entre deux coeurs qui s’aiment nul besoin de paroles.” In parenthesis: “Two hearts in love need no words.”

Maybe they don’t. And maybe I am. Perhaps that’s what this is all about.

The Internet Communication Breakdown – ProJared and the Sh*tstorm that Followed

Sometimes I never know where to begin when I start writing one of these things. It’s hard to gauge where I set my scope. Am I making fun of 2019? Am I zooming in on the internet as a whole? Or the social media aspect of things? Any way you slice it, we’re communicating at a much different pace than years past, which should be obvious to anyone with, well, an internet connection.

You may be aware of a recent debacle in the YouTube community where game reviewer ProJared was revealed to have (allegedly) cheated on his wife Heidi O’Ferrall. This all came about in a series of early-morning tweets after ProJared revealed his divorce in a Twitter statement. Heidi then tweeted back and clarified after discovering her ex-husband had blocked her on the platform. Turns out, ProJared was sleeping with Commander Holly, who was once the wife of RubberRoss, who was once part of the YouTube gaming channel Game Grumps, who have since deleted all channel videos featuring ProJared. If that wasn’t confusing enough, it goes on to involve other YouTubers like PeanutButterGamer, whose tweets attempted to shame Heidi for calling out her ex, and JonTron, who was once friends with literally all the people involved.

Did I mention ProJared ran his own x-rated Tumblr where he’d exchange nude photos with fans, and there’s even allegations some fans were underage?

Why I even bring any of this up is just to highlight the ridiculous nature of the internet and how falling down one rabbit hole can lead you to seven more paths you never even thought you’d fall down.

I think whatever is going on ultimately needs to be resolved behind closed doors. However, making things so public like this allows for the commentary to flow in. And oh, how it flowed. My twitter timeline this morning was awash with photos of ProJared’s bare chest and blurred out d*ck pictures. There was more dirt being flung from all corners of the internet, not just the YouTube community. Blue Checkmarks from all sides of the political spectrum caught wind of this story and couldn’t help but comment. This entire story of a man’s infidelity was just so damn relatable, people felt almost compelled to comment. But now, as ProJared’s subscriber count continues its plummet, I have to wonder what’s next for everyone both on and offline.

I’m not about to turn this into a “How-To” for relationships. But there is something to be said about what seems to be a severe lack of communication on these fronts. Through Heidi, we learned that she was okay with ProJared’s Tumblr account and private lewd Snapchat, because there was an assumption of it only being used in a playful manner. Couples have arrangements all the time and I don’t judge anyone on that. What I don’t condone is taking someone’s trust and kicking it to the curb in order to fulfill one’s own selfish needs. Unions are about growing as a couple. If you legally bind yourself to another person, you essentially operate as two parts of the same unit, not separate entities who can just steamroll whichever side they please. Without effective communication between two people who have chosen to spend their lives together, any union like that is screwed right from Jump Street.

All that being said, I think a lot of people responding to this sh*tstorm used it as an excuse to step up onto a perceived moral highground. We don’t know ProJared personally, so we can dilute him simply to a situation in order to dunk on it for likes and retweets. By perpetuating that cycle, we’re not exactly finding ways in order to make sure a sh*tstorm of this magnitude doesn’t happen again.

How do we do that? By putting your ego aside for one second so you can listen to what your partner is saying. If not your partner, then the person you’re arguing with on twitter-dot-com.

We’ve got a listening problem lately. It feels like we’re not tolerating bullsh*t anymore. What we once got away with, we can no longer get away with. No one stands for grandstanding and we’re more comfortable calling out the objectively weird. But now, we’re in a state of not knowing what to do with all our moral highground energy. Too many of us are using it to fluff our own egos instead of taking it in a different direction and creating, pardon the expression, a ‘teachable moment.’ Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s funny to get caught up in the schadenfreude. But in an age of a mile-a-second news cycle, giant stories like this can last all day with everyone forgetting by nightfall. And how can we expect to grow if we’re just sitting around waiting for the next thing to make fun of?

Learning effective communication isn’t an overnight process. We have to be willing to look at where we go wrong first in order to find success with the “next time.” I don’t want to be Captain NoFun, but I also don’t want to stand for this constant barrage of f*ck up after f*ck up with no end in sight. It’s like a constant merry-go-round of deja vu and the conductor stepped away for an indefinite break.

I may be setting my sights too high and living in too much of an idealized state, but I hope a takeaway is this: No matter how great you think your power (d*ck) is, a sh*tstorm is always waiting in the wings for the moment your wielding goes rogue.

Tread carefully.

Care if I talk?

There comes a point in our lives where it becomes necessary to examine our paths. We put every decision we’ve made up until this point under the microscope in order to assess our next steps. This happens when we realize things aren’t working out the way we’d like them to. A drastic change has to float our way, and it’s up to you to decide if you want to leap into the air to grab that opportunity. But it isn’t always easy to see it, especially if there’s too much negativity fogging up your route ahead.

Lately, I’ve been on a ‘caring’ kick. Not only do I want people to care about one another, I want to feel like I’m cared about. Don’t get me wrong, there are people in my life who absolutely do care about me. But sometimes it’s hard for me to see that through the veil of my own self-absorption. So what can I do about it? Besides remembering that I am cared about, not much. But in my own self-examination, I’ve realized this is far more of a foreign concept to me than I could have ever imagined.

I care a lot. I care about my family, I care about my friends, hell, I care about people who probably don’t deserve my care. The problem is, I don’t think I show this very well. I just assume people know how I feel. As emotional a person as I am, I have trouble expressing feelings in person versus here on a page. Everything just sounds fake and phony when I’m speaking in a one-on-one conversation. I don’t know how to rectify this yet, but I’m glad it’s something I’ve come to realize. I know more now that it’s a desirable thing to find people who aren’t afraid to show how much they care. Perhaps they can teach me a thing or two as well.

Sometimes, just feeling things isn’t enough. We have to be brave enough to say what we mean, especially if it’s something that can benefit more than one’s self. There’s no giving up unless all other options have been exhausted. And when someone is worth you caring about, there’s seemingly endless options to explore.

I see a shift in the winds. People are pausing and questioning things more. They’re wondering if their beliefs will always coincide with their morality, and discovering healthy discussions where there’s a divide. And sometimes, for a fleeting moment, especially in online interactions, you can find people who care about their cause, but care enough to let you have your piece too.

While there will always be the select few who throw all their care blindly at someone who is less than deserving, that pause will always come back the more information comes to the surface. Blind care and support can fall by the wayside the more people can poke holes in an already thin and flimsy facade. If your foundation is less than stable, it’s best to put all your care back in yourself first before everything crumbles.

Having space in your heart for more than one person is always a wonderful thing. Just make sure there’s enough for you too. Take care.