inspiration

The Squirrel

I watched a squirrel for close to an hour the other night.

Of course, I should have been intensely studying for the math test that night, but this squirrel, it was more than a squirrel. It was…well, it’s hard to completely explain in a short number of words.

I’ll start from the beginning–

I was sitting at a table on the college campus, math book and notebook cracked open in front of me. Review mode was engaged–let’s put it that way; and as far as studying for math goes, I thought I was doing pretty well.

Now, to step away from the math–we already know I’m terrible at the concept–I want to introduce all of you to the man of the hour: the squirrel that hopped down from a tree to the right of me.

It’s not as if this was a mutant squirrel; no, it was your average, everyday, acorn-loving creature, nothing much to it. I could tell it had come out to scavenge when I first saw it–why, you ask? it was hunting beneath the various tables for scraps of wasted food.

The squirrel got lucky a few times, found two French fries, and, I think, a potato chip.

I wasn’t too interested in what it was eating, though.

Sidetrack a moment from the squirrel.

Picture: a set piece on which all these types of people are walking and acting out their lives, their personalities, within the restricted boundaries of whatever influence the public opinion has over our confidence.

One girl, two tables away from me, was chatting on a phone while studying for, possibly, the same math test. Truth be told, I didn’t check out that specific detail.

Another guy showed up during the middle of the squirrel’s charade–and take note, this guy is important in this story, ‘kay?–chomping down on a pink coated chocolate candy and pacing the ground before a bundle of spiring trees.

Dozens more people passed and went, walked and skated, talked and reflected. Classes were let out, and those students came through this set piece, only to go onto another one within an instant.

Why are they crucial? Why did I observe them so keenly?

Not a single one of these people acknowledged the squirrel’s existence.

The squirrel here is crawling over and under the intricacies of these tables, grabbing at crumbs; and, to them, it’s a ghost. The French fries disappeared, sure, but to where they went, no one would be the wiser.

I had my eyes fixed on the squirrel, and with each group that entered the set piece, I watched to see if any would take note of it. Surprisingly, as I said, it was as if the whole scene was happening underground, no lights, no sense of what or why was going on in the surroundings.

I had to laugh; of course, who wouldn’t in a situation like that.

Every time I kept thinking someone would point out the squirrel and admire its cuteness, my intuition was proven wrong. Sometimes it is–that I don’t deny; it’s pointless to assume I would have predicted any of the reactions.

Then I wondered…

Why was I so enamored with the squirrel in the first place?

The answer came to me when I saw the squirrel, fresh off its second fry, venture carefully towards the girl chatting on her phone. It would take a few bounds, stop, sniff the ground, and tread some more ground, its tail twitching with each movement.

It reached the girl…eventually–and what did the girl do but stare at it and stamp her feet.

The squirrel retreated, scared, unsure, wrecked in all of its emotional faculties. Had it been looking for food? A companion? Someone to give it a good petting? Dunno. All I know is that it ran from her.

At this point, we return to the guy eating his chocolate candy.

During the periods when I was unable to clearly observe the squirrel, my focus had been spent studying this dude. By all accounts, he looked simple enough, just enjoying his chocolate; he was the guy you’d pass on the street without a second thought–that is…until the group of girls walked by him.

A glance was all it took, and I recognized the panic in his eyes as they tracked the girls, this trio glued to their phones, disregarding the guy without a second thought.

He lowered the chocolate candy, moved to speak; although, by then, they were gone.

I winced.

The guy walked a few more minutes, lost to his thoughts–

During this painful moment, another class stormed down from the hill, jabbering, hopping on their skateboards and scooters; again, not one of them noticed the squirrel that, cowering beneath a table, dropped to its paws and hightailed it to the bundle of spiring trees near the recently heartbroken guy.

And guess what?

As the guy pondered and paced, he stopped a second, looked up; and he saw the squirrel, just stood there in an awe of sorts as the squirrel clamped itself to one of the trees and crawled up the trunk.

What else could I do than be mesmerized? Another of these bystanders had seen the invisible critter; now, it was as real as anything else in that small dining square.

Why do I tell you this story? Why do I waste your time with a little human observation?

To me, that most people did not see this squirrel says something about the state of humanity–of existing.

I forgot to mention earlier, but the whole time I was studying the squirrel, none of those people took a notice of me, either. Like the squirrel, I became a ghost for a short amount of time, free to wander, to act, to do, as I wished.

Maybe it’s ’cause I was silent. Maybe it’s ’cause I simply watched.

Maybe it’s ’cause, for one reason or another, I just didn’t blend.

I put faith in this assumption because of the one other person who saw the squirrel:

The guy who had recently been rejected by the trio of girls.

The both of us were not, by any stretch of the matter, different, per say; however, what if, since the majority of this small society had not stopped to acknowledge our being there, we were then able to acknowledge the presence of the squirrel?

Perhaps existing is more than simply being seen by others. Perhaps, as long as you yourself are confident in what you stand for, in what you think, or believe; then, perhaps,   existing is a matter of whether or not you want to stand tall, or sit complacently with the masses.

Perhaps, at this moment, there’s a squirrel scampering at your feet for food, and you haven’t yet noticed it.

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

 

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

It Hit Me

The favorite conversation of people just out of high school seems to be something like, “it hasn’t hit me yet…that we’re out of school…forever, like, I mean, forever…” I’ve been hearing it for some time, tossed here and there, in and out of random conversation. Of course, I never really joined in, considering I kept telling myself it had already hit me–out of high school, big whoop.

Well, I thought wrong, like I always do. It’s that youthful arrogance, gets the best of me sometimes. And where I thought the reality had passed over me subtly, it instead did so abruptly.

See, I was walking back from a three mile run, coming down my street. Nothing particularly interesting was going on in my head–just the normal thoughts and thingamabobs that pass through the head of your average teenager. Then I saw the boy on the bike.

He was no special boy, had on a red helmet and a yellow shirt. His bike was a small black Huffy, if I remember correctly, and it had no training wheels. The importance of the lack of training wheels–his father was standing beside him as he pedaled his bike across their driveway, his hands careful around the boy’s back, being sure for balance.

A car had pulled up to their driveway a few moments earlier; in fact, that was what caught my attention. Out came an old man in a square black hat, carrying a bag of some sort, and an old woman with her purse in a nice dress. These, I assumed, were the grandparents of the boy; and I was proven right when the father pointed to them and told the boy to show grandpa his bike.

It was nothing significant, you see. A boy learning how to ride a bike with the help of his father, and his grandparents standing beside the both of them, watching in the joy that can only come from having walked both of those lives. No, the events weren’t important, but the situation, the coincidence, was everything.

I almost stopped walking, this strange feeling rising in my gut, of–of something; hell if I knew what was going on in there. The father was pushing the boy along on his bike as the grandparents laughed and pulled more bags out of their car–what on Earth was causing this sensation in me?

Then, I realized.

It was life.

I was witnessing these separate generations of collective lives, with me having only now begun to set out on my own life. Touching would be barely skimming the instance; rather, it was delightful–it filled me with a happiness and a shock, at understanding what could, what might, lie in store in the future.

Could I end up being a parent?

Could I end up being a grandparent?

Life is chock full of surprises, as they say; and, right then, I got it. It hit me. High school is over, not too many tears are shed over that, but I am moving onto somewhere new: a locale of brilliant spontaneity. Who knows what’s gonna happen? I wish I did, but at the same time, I don’t.

And to think–

All of that came from a four-year old boy riding his new bicycle.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Give It Up.

I want to tell you guys something, something special.

When I was a freshman in high school, I ran Track. I have gone over the sport in an earlier post, told you all about how much fun it was to belt out a two mile an hour after a mile–and I’m sure some of you think I’m being sarcastic when I say that, but, unfortunately for you, I am not.

The team was–well, I wouldn’t really call it a team in the first place. We were the Distance Runners, the Sprinters, the Throwers, and the Jumpers, not specifically a Track team. We had our class sections, too, the Freshman and the Seniors, being the most separated of those ranks.

It wasn’t only the students, either. The coaches didn’t see eye-to-eye on most things; in fact, most talked behind one another’s backs–and so, it transferred to the students, creating a whirlpool of bad attitude and glum that made running not fun at times.

Of course, I was new, had no idea what the team was like; but, even then, I didn’t give a shit about some invisible system run by people who had had it run for them, and them before; and it probably went back and back. Who knows? All I knew was that it felt weird.

I went about my routine for a while, and ran races as was expected during the season, but throughout the whole thing, I was observing and gaining insight on this overbearing atmosphere, not liking it too much. The different events never interacted with each other. If they did, it always turned into an insult battle: who works harder…who has the tougher workouts…

Before I delve further, I want to clarify that I myself succumbed to this attitude for a time , enough to make me sick and attempt to abandon the ideals that had been planted in my young mind. It was a battle progressing into sophomore year, but I at last broke it this year, after a period of self-enforced solitude for junior year.

Anyways, it sucked. Lines had to have seniors leading them, even if it meant stepping in front of the freshman already standing there; the events engaged in horrible arguments, calling names–again, even the coaches joined in, behind the scenes; and there were derogatory comments tossed around from one end of the track to the other, so you couldn’t escape them.

That was what got me. The derogatory comments.

If a senior said openly the freshmen will not be making it to State, I got pissed. So, they thought the team wasn’t skilled enough to carry its talent through the classes, and what exactly gave them that authority? Their experience? Could they see into the future? If so, then my school should have invested in a Clairvoyant course, all psychics to the front of the class.

I hate it when the upper echelon tells the lower echelon what it can and cannot do.

I hate that there are echelons.

Why not join up, be a team, to inspire others with your camaraderie?

Why not, instead of saying, “give it up,” say, “give it all?”

I wish I had spoken up, but I was a freshman who thought his words meant nothing. I sat back and watched, sure; however, I also learned, and I spent time preparing what I would want to change about our team, to make it a team. There were successes, also failures–but I kept striving forward, despite the view of others that the team could not and would not change.

As a senior, it is great to see the change implementing itself–as they always say–slowly but surely. The team is a team, for the most part. There are some kinks here and there, but they have a long time to straighten out the hose.

I only hope it will stay straight.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Who Is My Role Model?

What’s happening, people? Hope you are all having a great day doing whatever it is that makes you happy. That comes straight from the heart, dudes–and dudettes–so don’t take it for granted.

I wanted to talk something dear to me. I know, I know, all of you are saying, “what is not dear to you?” Well, everything matters to me–even though it may be hard to be seen on this rugged surface.

See, I get a lot of people telling me how much I inspire them, or how I’m a role model; and sometimes that’s hard for me to see in myself. Everyone, I think, has trouble seeing that special quality about themselves that makes people stop and watch because somehow they’re doing something right, or they’re doing something that no one else would dare to do because they’re strong: their strength is infectious and it affects all those around them.

I have my own role model, of course; I mean, who doesn’t? I have my own someone that makes me want to do better than I can, to do better than I ever have, because nothing I do is going to amount to how inspiring they are in their casual routine.

Isn’t that funny? We go around the world, hunting after a purpose or a goal; and, along the way, we unintentionally move others to be more they can be. It sounds impossible, but it happens everyday.

Look around: they’re out there, being superheroes in broad daylight, the ones who don’t need capes to prove their speed, the ones who don’t need powers to prove their strength, the ones who don’t need bulletproof suits because their heart is armor, an impenetrable defense that protects those it reaches out to.

Sounds like fiction, I know. You’re asking yourself, “How are these people real?” Truth is, the best ones don’t need a spotlight to cast over their good deeds. They have a trophy. It’s the warmth inside that fuels their every step, their every action.

Whenever these people tell I’m their role model, I thank them–it truly does mean a lot; but then, I also think to myself, how on Earth can I be as good as my role model? I would have to be three times the man I am.

Honestly, I don’t know how she does it, but it is inspiring every time.

You go, girl.

Think daily, 

A Southpaw