advice

Innocence Still Matters.

I’ve been upset about my innocence for a long time–you know, that look in your eyes that just screams inexperienced and optimistic; you haven’t hit the harsh realities of life yet, and instead you’re going along as if everything is doodlie-doo, happy times.

Now, I’m not saying I dislike that I’m innocent, only I am, in a way, aren’t I? Perhaps I’m really tired of people underestimating me, seeing me as a kid who doesn’t know what life is, when, truly, life is what you make of it.

Sure, sounds cliche, but it does have relevance. Life is never the same for anyone; there’s always going to be differences, just as there are no people exactly alike. My life so far has been life. These past eighteen years were not spent in a vacuum, and there is no Real World, once you leave school.

C’mon, people, the world is the world. Known that since friggin’ Galileo’s time, and even beyond then…yeah….

I am innocent. I will not deny it. But am I the lesser for it? No. Do I not have as full a grasp on life as others? Sure. When you’re eighteen, you don’t typically know much; however, you still know enough to be–well, you, and, hell, that’s all you have to be.

No one’s making the rules here.

You are you, and there’s not much to change that.

It seems, though, if someone has not gone through the ringer at least a few times, has not accomplished the necessary requirements attributed to being an adult, then they, or their voices, are not worth the time of day.

Take kids, for example, the people we want to keep innocent in this world–but, that’s it, isn’t it? No one wants to listen to kids, to see what insights they have to offer; and, in doing so, they are missing out on valuable perspectives that could well change the world.

Innocence, and age, for that matter, shouldn’t be this restricting factor, or an inquiring face to turn away; no, are you kidding? Both of them have importance–both of them are crucial to understanding what the hell all us humans are trying to accomplish in these lives of ours.

Everyone matters, not only a few, because to limit is to inhibit further knowledge.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

Love?

Jesus, well, this is late, isn’t it? Sorry, folks, was busy with stuff. Can you blame me?

Oh, boy, what are we writing about tonight? College? Work? Nah–I’m kind of getting tired of those things; instead, let’s talk about something that’s been on my mind for a while.

Love.

Fun topic, you could say, even an intelligent topic.

God, what do I say about love? That it can hurt? That it strikes you when you least expect it?

To say those things would be, I think, to state the obvious. Hell yes, it can hurt. Love can rip you apart twelve thousand times, and still be able to pack enough of a punch to send you groaning back to the beginning; however, that’s not to say it can’t also feel great, feel fulfilling.

I had an experience with love once, true as it could be, I suppose. It was that kind of love that brings you to an understanding of yourself, of what you want most out of life–it brought me peace and conflict and heartbreak, all in the same roll of the dice.

See, I didn’t love this girl at first; no, it progressed over time, like all things do. My first impression of her was–well, how do I explain it? uh, impressed and, at the same time, intimidated. Funny how those two can parallel one another, yet still be relevant to a whole.

Yeah, the love didn’t come into play until I got to know the girl, what kind of a person she was–how she inspired me to do better, to be better. By then, I was, as they say, head over feet, or did I screw that up?

She became a person I looked forward to seeing everyday, the someone we all strive to impress by being the best of ourselves, when, really, we probably look like a fool chicken flapping his feathers in the wind of his own turmoil.

I worked at it harder than I have most things in my life; and, in so doing, I do believe I grew into a better person. Out of all the mess, the craziness, I look back on now, there is at least that consolation: I changed, not into someone else entirely, but into myself.

As you can see, to say this love switched a couple things around in me is a bit of an understatement. It did bring me out of a self-contained shell, for a while; and it did open me up to new opportunities in socializing, and life in general. I’ve even gone so far as to talk about it, briefly, in a few posts.

‘Course, if you read those, it will be immediately obvious how deep I was within those waters; at times, I misjudged the deepness, fell short of the ledge on which to hoist myself out of the whirlpool, and I swirled, it seemed, endlessly.

The whirlpool didn’t come about until the latter stages, when I noticed the cracks in the walls I had spent months building, so I could sit back and revel in such a fascinating discovery: love? an event I had thought impossible for me? how could a girl feel the same for me?

The answer, then, was that she did not feel the same way.

I remember how angry I was, and how selfish I thought myself to be. This new world of emotions had opened wide its door, all of its contents spilling over me; what else was there to do but roll around in them and feel sick, right?

Wrong.

I told myself: whatever you think about yourself now is nothing compared to what you truly are. To deny yourself the truth of you, would be to deny all that you have accomplished, all that you have lost, all that you have done, in this life so far.

It helped, a little, but what struck out to me was…how my feelings never changed.

You’d think there’d be differences in mindset, but, I honestly believe that there are sometimes those certain people of whom, when you see them for the first time, or the thirtieth, your impression of them is never altered.

Maybe that’s poetic.

Maybe it’s bullshit.

Truth is, I can’t answer any of those questions. I don’t understand the tiniest piece of it.

So, can I claim to have loved someone if those feelings are yet buried?

The world is a confusing place, my friends.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Carpe Diem.

Holy Crap, no one actually told me college was going to be this difficult. I just finished my first week, and already I am stressed out of my young, adult mind–wait, young and adult?

First off, boy, some of these classes are friggin’ long–I mean, five hours long. That’s a long time. A good thing, though, is that some of the professors can lecture so fluently time goes by in a flash. They can start on a conversation at the beginning of class and finish the class on the same topic.

Okay, maybe not the exact same topic…

I’ve made some friends already, which is a constant struggle in college; in that respect, lunch has gone smooth every day since then–but I’ve also been taking some time to venture out into the campus and reflect on life.

You know what I figured out?

All of the freshman entering college are in my position. I’m not talking the exact same position; however, each person is lost and isolated and confused as to what the hell they’re supposed to do after that one class.

We are lost souls, swimming in a fishbowl of our own loneliness. It’s sad when I put it that way, and maybe it’s sad for me to think of it as such; but when you gotta be honest, you gotta be honest.

I’m not avidly searching for people to hang out with–well, maybe a little–because I sorta got a bunch of friends from high school with whom I can connect. It’s just…it’s hard, you know? Stepping into the shoes of an adult for the first time… There’s a need for responsibility, a need to act, everywhere I turn; add on top of that a load of homework and studying and social pressures–it makes me feel like a ticking time bomb.

But, then, I remember. I remember how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to receive this great gift that is education. I tell myself to buck up, get my shit together. Life is hard, but it’s only gonna get harder; and if I have dreams to follow, then I had better go chasing after them as if it was the last day on Earth.

Carpe Diem. Translated from Latin, it means Seize the Day. That’s my catchphrase this year.

Armed with the ambition of wanting to be a writer, to tell stories that change how stories themselves work, I’m going to recite those two words every morning of every day.

When I wake up, the moment I open my eyes–Carpe Diem.

When I sit down to write on a story–Carpe Diem.

As I climb the staircase of knowledge at a university where hard work, and perseverance, will make me capable of achieving my dreams, my goals in life–Carpe Diem. 

It’s the truth as I believe it.

It’s the truth as I say it.

It is whatever I want it to mean, and more.

Why?

I have the ability to do so. I have the freedom to do so.

I’m not just going to sit here and write all of this crap down and do nothing with it.

No, these words are to be acted upon, as all words should be; and they will hold within themselves the truths that I have set forth in this blog post. This is a declaration of action, not inaction. It is a route by which I will travel these long and troublesome years, because I know I can do whatever I want to do–whatever I dream I can do, if I only suffer through the pain and come back out on top at the end.

Life is fair to us if we strive to make it so; otherwise, the chances can be less to none.

I say: Make Your Life, The Life of All Lives.

And never regret it.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Life–Well, It’s A Cheesecake, Isn’t It?

Life–well, it’s a cheesecake, isn’t it? I’m not talking a single piece of cheesecake, no; in fact, I mean a pie of cheesecake. See, you can say you love every flavor in one of those creamy things, but we all know you’re lying. No one, no one likes all those pieces. There’s always the singularity–the missing link, if you would, that we all wish would get the hell out of Dodge, you know?

Life is interesting for me. It has been interesting for me. I work a pretty fair job in the field of manual labor. I’m a regular blue collar, sweeping brooms and wiping out toilets. It’s meh, to be truthful–and if there is one thing I have learned from this job, it is the sometimes nasty truth.

Drugs, for example, are nowhere on my to-do list. Day in and day out, I see people ravaged by constant drug use. Their faces are old, older than their age; and in their eyes is a haze that never seems to dissipate. I can see the blankness in some of their faces, and it is hard to watch at times.

These folks do this for fun, mind you; and, hell, perhaps it’s to find an escape. But, for me to know what it will do to them in the long run…it can be heartbreaking to see someone throw away their potential like that.

I speak from no experience; and, yes, I might also be speaking from a safer perspective, but I am innocent, after all.

I come from a small town where the craziest thing I have ever witnessed is a bleeding lady taken away on a stretcher after her husband’s psycho ex-girlfriend drove her motorcycle into the back of their car. Before this job, before this peek into another life, that was the craziest crap.

I have seen stuff since then. People who absolutely loathe their lives. Temper tantrums that can get way out of proportion. Worms swimming in some worker’s shit, and let me tell you, that was in two different Porta-Potties.

It is disgusting, but at the same time eye-opening. Would I have experienced this bit of life, this slice of cheesecake, if I had not taken this job? Would I be less of an innocent man than I am now? Would I even be writing this post?

The answers aren’t clear. When are they?

Life is a lot larger, a lot nastier. There are tendrils where I used to see sunshine. Adults can be total assholes, immature for that matter; or, they can be some of the best of the best.

A cheesecake? How about a loaded die? I’m serious. You don’t get to choose what happens in this world. The die is rolled–the numbers are chosen, and you either deal with the unfair, or you get out and do the best you can to force those numbers into your favor.

Win-win, or a lose-lose. No way of telling until you’re standing right in front of it. By then, too, the smell can be so bad, you aren’t sure you want to test your luck.

I say do it, but do it wisely. If you’re dumb when it comes to making those important decisions, you’re going to get landed with a nightmare, one of which you have to climb out of yourself to reach those sweet dreams.

Be smart out there, guys. It will pay off.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

Sticking To Your Guns

So, I got into Film a few days back. You know, Film. Movies. Screenplays. Trailers. Special FX, which I used to think was an acronym for an alternate Fox TV channel. I had a desire to make a movie, to film some weird crap, and other random stuff.

Then I stepped right back out.

One thing I have always known I wanted to be is a writer. A legit pen-smith–hey, it’s the best I could come up with. The writing thing is my life; tis’ my breath, and a bunch of different Shakespearean linguistics.

We have film, and we have writing.

I could devote time to teaching myself the art of making films and directing movies, or I could continue to devote my time to pursing a career in writing, one of which I am heading towards as fast as possible. There is a decision, then–what is the answer?

Now, before all of you start shouting at the top of your lungs to tell me your viewpoints, your varied and seasoned perspectives, look at the decisions you have made in your life thus far:

Are each of them making you happy?

Are you good at what you have decided to do?

If your life were to be just that, and only that, would you be satisfied–at least for the first three days?

Writing makes me happy. It is my dream to never want to retire because I am doing what I love to do, so long as I keep up the hard work and strive to be the best, in my eyes. Plus, I’d be satisfied for the first four days before I went looking for people to watch and listen to.

Hint-Hint: We’re writers. It’s what we do.

Not much of that would be true for film, and; in thinking about it from an outsider’s point of view, why shouldn’t I want to stick to what I’m good at in the first place and become a professional in it?

I’m sure there’s tons of people out there who have followed their dreams and followed their talents, cause’ why not? We’re supposed to be better at certain things and worse at certain things. If we were one way or the other, we probably wouldn’t be human; at best, we wouldn’t be from this planet…at all.

Imagine tons of aliens walking past you everyday. The guy at the water cooler today, the one who made the burbling noises right when the cooler was doing so? Yeah, definitely a spacer.

Oh, and the guy who stole your donut off your desk this morning.

Never mind, actually, he’s just of the species Asshole.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Credit: Boris Vallejo

Dyscalculia: The Reason I Can’t Do Math

Well, I figured it out, folks.

After countless years of striving to perform well in math–that sounds weird for some reason–and busting my ass studying for tests that I end up failing the next day, despite my being an annoying optimist throughout that time, I have discovered my problem–

I have Dyslexia–shit, I mean Dyscalcium.

No!

I have Dyscalculia, which I thought was some fresh way of labeling dunces who can’t make it to Calculus without passing College Algebra. Sure described me well, eh-heh…cough.

Apparently, Calcul–some-random-crap affects a person’s ability to comprehend math equations, perhaps even the ability to recall certain formulas after the person has studied them time and time again. It also prevents them from understanding advanced concepts–they cannot get past the introduction stage.

So, say I write out the Quadratic Formula. I might be able to remember it.

But what if I write out the Hyperbola formula, fifteen times?

Still won’t be able to get it; and this is not only the Calcity-Calc disability, but a symptom of ADHD and math anxiety: not the fear that math mafia gangsters will come steal your abacus–instead, it is becoming uncontrollably nervous before a math test out of fear of, dare I say it, performance issues.

Sound like any of you people?

I had no idea of it until this day. It would have been splendid news six years ago, but, alas, the world of science is slower than molasses–I mean, how long did it take ’em to figure out what molasses was, anyway? I coulda been a better math student is all I’m saying; granted, I’m pretty much done with math for-ever, except for when I have to pay a tip and pay for gas and calculate taxes and pay my bills and…

Aaugh!

Math is EVERYWHERE! There is NOWHERE I can hide!

Somebody, shield me with a Dickens novel! No, not A Christmas Carol, it’s too small!

Is that–

Oh, thank God, I thought you were handing me–

A MATH BOOK?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

This Life of Mine

Recently, I have realized how fortunate I am in this life of mine. I have a caring family, a supportive house, food, and clothes; not to mention, I have the opportunity to experience a university and become educated enough to pursue a lifestyle of my choosing.

My ultimate dream? Be a professional goddamn writer, to see my books on bookshelves; but, the truth of it is–all I want is to be happy. I care not whether I have bags o’ money running out the windowsills, or owning the largest mansion in America, even the world.

Material wealth means little to me; granted, it keeps me alive, but tis’ not my lifeblood.

I am able to think those thoughts and dream those dreams, because I live in a place of good fortune, a place where determination is my motto. I will head off to college in two months with the mindset that whatever comes out of these upcoming four years will be taking me the tiniest step closer to where I want to be in this life of mine.

And isn’t it incredible? We all have our own lives, our own motivations, the somethings no one can take from us without putting up a fight. It is will. It is will, and it is confidence. Those are our superpowers in a universe of chance, since all that happens is determined by the roll of the dice, right?

Or wrong?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Without Boundaries

Did you know that, last week, I drove on a road without any markers. There were no yellow lines, nor white lines, not even those funny little hash marks I like to watch evolve into the lines. T’was a blank road, but for these tiny plastic colored boxes that people carelessly ran over. It wasn’t as if those were the only things keeping us from total road anarchy, or anything!

I gotta tell ya, it was frightening. Frightening, why?

I was scared of crashing. I was scared of having no direction.

I was scared of being free.

Eventually, that stretch of road ended, then came the regular, painted pathways for all us  tired drivers. The fear had dissipated, sure; but I felt disappointment creeping within my relief. The adventure had come to an end–now the same ol’, same ol’ repeated itself as it had done so many times.

The blank road left a mark on me, not a mark that you can see; actually, it’s a mark on the mind. An imprint. If being free frightened me, what did it say about my reliance on rules and the general structure? What did it say about the sense of confidence in myself, in my motivations?

Sure, the rules are necessary. Half of the world would probably be brimstone and nuclear radiation if not for those pesky things; however, being without them for barely a minute made me wonder about how terrifying it can be to break the rules, or to go down your own path.

Being a trail blazer, rather than a trail follower, is not an easy task. I would not hesitate to say that pursuing such a path can cause you to feel alone, or perhaps separated from the rest of the common world–and it has those effects, but through them, I realized, comes benefits.

I can join a flock as easy as anything, but to create, to engineer, my own flock…

Why, I’d have to be the craziest person in the world; I would have to be declared mentally insane–have to be chained to the walls of a prison for the nutty–to want to experience so much isolation.

And mayhaps I am the craziest person in the world.

The way I see it, though–if I can have conviction in what I believe, what I feel is honest to my self, then I am fine with being the craziest person in this whole, wild world, so long as  the Earth keeps turning, and the rest of this rolling landscape of truth and lies, of blame and guilt, of honesty and falsity, stays its form, never unrolling out of its original clay.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

An Open One-Year Anniversary Letter

Dear The World,

Once upon a time, I started a blog. This was to be an ordinary blog; in fact, it was a summer assignment for my high school English class. I had always expressed interest in blogs and the art of blogging–it seemed so down-to-Earth and personal, at least from what I had read and seen.

I started this blog with the intention to complete my assignments and talk about the books I had been told to discuss. That intention carried me somewhat far, but, a few weeks into the process, I thought of writing a post about a random horror movie I had recently watched on Netflix, and so I did.

Even though the movie post didn’t get many views–to be honest, there was no attention to me at all on the Interwebs–I still had the spark of wanting to write differently, to write out of my own head, which is what I do. This is stream of consciousness writing, no planning whatsoever.

The thing that strikes me now is how ashamed I was of wasting my time on a blog that was obviously going to go nowhere fast, when I could have been spending my writing energy on the novel I was finishing. It was, to me, an act in futility: simply write out the assignments and be done with it.

But that is not how I saw it, that is not how I see it.

There was a moment, a singular moment, that changed my point of view. See, I was sitting in my high school library, reading as always, when a senior guy walked up to me and said one of my posts had touched him.

The post in question: Small Town Losses. It was a tribute to a lost friend and the effect it had had on our small town; and how, despite the tragedy, we still banded together as a unified people. I think that post touched a lot of people, perhaps it is still touching them whenever they read it for the first or the second, or the fifteenth time. If so, all I can say is it is my pleasure.

His comment threw me into a loop. I don’t generally believe most of the stuff I write is heartfelt or touching, let alone therapeutic. I see what I write as the thoughts of my psyche, always revolving around instances which may have no outlying significance, but which, within, are bursting with importance.

His comment caused me to evolve. Where previously I had been writing for the sake of my own sanity, I was being forced to realize the impact of my words. It is not for my sake that I was given the ability to write, it is for those who read the words and receive some emotion, some feeling which reaches to their core. It is for those who cannot themselves speak of what they experience, and who would rather see their beliefs and desires and fears expressed for them.

Writing isn’t for the writers. Writing is for the readers.

A year in, I have changed, contrary to the thoughts of my younger self. This blog is more than just an outpouring of random thoughts of a southpaw–it’s an outlet that can help people understand themselves, so they can be what they were meant to be, or do, or create. It took almost a year for me to see it, others, I suppose, less; but don’t we all at first ignore the perspectives of others towards ourselves?

I think we do, but, I also think we eventually see the validity in the opinions of those others, as well the vitalness of what they say and how it relates to us. A matter of perspective, really.

Thank you, Readers, for helping me see the weight of words on the heart.

Thank you, Readers, for sticking with my cheesy voice for a whole year.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Life Will Slip By

Spoiler alert, in case you didn’t know: my mom and I share the same birthday. Yep, it was a little present from me to be born on the happiest day of her life–although, she berates me for it a lot of the time. What can I say? I’m a surprise wherever I end up, at least, that’s what people tell me.

People don’t actually tell me that. I just told a white lie.

Ahem. I turned eighteen yesterday. Lotsa fun. Happy times. Got a cake. And a car.

Let me rephrase that–I got the license plate and the keys for the car my dad and I have been building since last summer. There, now that sounds better, doesn’t it? It’s a 64 Chevy Nova, you know, just a pretty friggin awesome vehicle for driving around while wearing sunglasses and blasting Mozart–whoah, big mistake, I meant rock and roll.

I realized something while I was celebrating, while I walked five miles all by my lonesome and contemplated–well, things. Age is not a determinant of who you are, or who you will become, it’s a milestone, a telling of how far you’ve come. You can be six years old and be a total jack ass–and, speaking of which, that’s probably true in most cases. On the other half, you could be sixty years old and never have accomplished your life’s dream. Sad, yes, but sadly also true.

I am at the age where folks look at you as an adult, or, a guy who knows how to plunge a toilet. I have responsibilities now, massive ones, that, granted, can be spread out over time. And what I’ve heard the most?

Life is going to slip by you in a snap.

A frightening thought for a man on the edge of his adult life.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I don’t believe most of that advice. I see life as happening fast, sure; but I feel I’ll make the most of it. Really, it’s the best you can do with how much time is given. Make the most of it. If not…then maybe those words speak some truth.

I don’t know. I’m only eighteen, haven’t experienced much yet.

All I can hope for is that it’ll be fun.

Think daily,

A Southpaw