Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Letter to the Person who Stole My Laptop

When you stole my laptop that night, you took the last bit of creature comfort I had left. I used that thing to work, create and play, with that gone, I lost everything I considered crucial to my way of life, including my music player, my desktop PC, my bike and my home. I was angrier than I've ever been in my life on that 4 mile walk home, but once the fire that anger filled me with settled down, I lost the will to go on. As I lay there on the grassy mound, I looked deep within myself and found what I needed to pick myself up, dust myself off and try again, no matter how many tries it takes. Yeah, things may suck now, but if I work at rising above it, they won't suck for long.

Now, my experiences and current perceptions tell me you're a certain kind of person with a certain reason for what you did, but I've learned enough about life to realize that's a stupid way to live, and severely limits how well one can grow. Never let it control me before, and damn sure won't let it happen now, considering how far I've come in my life. No race, gender, or people with other distinctions are ever a monolith, and to think a whole group alike for any reason is to be blind to their humanity. Even if they're thieves like you, they don't deserve that, and if we ever met, I would do everything possible to keep myself from punching you in the face and stomping a mud hole in your crotch, because I'd like to think I'm better than that(though not by much)

In reality, where I lived kinda sucked, as did my music player, PC and laptop, and I was planning to upgrade from them regardless, but not in the way circumstances dictated. Nothing's ever ideal, though, so it was only a matter of before I learned how to live on the fly, as everyone seems to these days. Even with a job and all that jazz, I doubt thing'll ever get that rosy, as I learned from doing a barebones budget for a full time, minimum wage job. Shoot, I might even have to work 2 jobs or take on an immense amount of debt from school, a car, a home, or whatever, but if it means a better future, I'll gladly take that burden on with a smile.

You see, there's something big I have to prove, and for years, I thought is was to friends, family and everyone who ever made my life suck, like you. I wanted them to hold me accountable and prod me into action when I slacked off, but really, the one who needed to do that wasn't was me. Everything I've done in reaction to events has either built me up or tore me down, and as I could've worked toward a better life then, I still can and will now, with everything I have. I owe it to myself to go after my wants and needs and to never relent when times get tough, because damnit, I've gotten through too much to let it end here. I know the kindness, wisdom and insight I have to offer the world, and I'll be damned if I let this or you stop me from doing it. I will survive and thrive, no matter what it takes. Count on it.

To do it, though, I gotta own up to this: the thing I need to prove is that I can take on the rejection and heartache that comes with gaining employ and becoming an adult, which hasn't been the case for years. For years, I've wanted to live on my own, but I didn't want to to risk the humiliation that failing at it brings. When I had work, I didn't have the stones to pursue that goal, because I knew the jobs weren't permanent, and that the money wouldn't last long enough for another job search. I didn't wanna lose everything because of a stupid decision, and now I'm losing everything because of several stupid decisions by me and other people. Funny how life works sometimes.

Often times, it likes to give the test before it imparts the lesson, and for 3 years life's given me the exact same exam: what will it take for you to hit back? Before, I had a safety net, of sorts, thinking I had at least something to turn to to get me through, no matter how bad things got; while it did just that, it also lulled me into a state of acceptable discomfort, and kept me there since I graduated high school. Piece by piece, though, that safety net was dismantled, and now is first time in my life I've hit the floor below, the scars to follow me until my dying day, telling others my story, and remind me how important it is to keep getting up and keep fighting.

I first learned that when the woman who taught me how to live had her life cut short by an auto accident. After she passed, I had to rebuild everything I gained from being with her, including my sense of adventure, and over 7 years of struggle and soul searching, I became someone she and I could be proud of, even with the missteps I've made during that journey. Now that I'm going through the practical version of what her passing brought, I'm feeling the same lack of direction that washed over me, but this time, there's a fire in me that I first saw in her, one that grows in strength each day and urges me into action. A friend of hers-who's now a friend of mine, told me that if I ever felt lost, I should ask, "What would she do?" What she would do is slap me in the face and tell me to do what you theft drives me to do now and long after I achieve my aims: fight 'til my last breath for what I desire. I don't know how I'm gonna do it, yet, but I will find a way and go further than ever before, because with them, myself and whatever's out there as my witness, this will be the beginning of something amazing.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Behind the Pen: Concert Night

Most recent artist/band you saw perform was:

Before I present my full story, let me present this scenario: You and group of your friends are in a concert ticket line, awaiting to see your favorite band live, and with seats so close to the stage, you could practically smell the scent of the performers, if you so desired. Now imagine when you get to the booth, the one person who couldn't buy in advance, finds out they're SOLD OUT. What would you do, at that moment? Leave your sole friend to wait, while the rest of you enjoy the show? Or choose for the whole group not to go?

3+ years ago, as of this writing, this exact scenario was posed to me, and this is what came of it: None of us went to see them, so we turned around, and scalped them to another poor soul, who bought it at the door. What we did instead was explore LA, and see what it had to offer us, including driving through the Beverly Hills, where I promptly shouted, at the top of my lungs, "We're poor, and we don't care, woo!". After that, it was off to Santa Monica pier, to see a Polish Opera troupe singing right in the middle of the boardwalk, a break-dancing crew, and pop lock duo, along with visiting a haven for nerds, of all kinds. To top it off, we went to the pier itself, and got ourselves something to eat*I went for the Chili Dog w/fries*, soon after hitting the arcade's DDR machine, and seeing how surprisingly good our driver was, and how horribly I sucked.*(in fact, here's video proof of my suckage at DDR (Twilight Zone being the song I played with him)* Then we went home, and I was left with one of the most memorable experiences of my short existence. I can only imagine what would've come out, if we actually knew where we were going half the time*softly laughs*

Monday, July 29, 2013

Grocery Receipts Make Excellent Bookmarks

This poem came to me as I heading home from one of my classes, and would not leave until I found the commitment to put it on the page and express everything I was feeling from my home situation and the uncertain future that lay just ahead. The format, you might recognize if you're into that whole social media thing, but for now, here's "Grocery Receipts Make Excellent Bookmarks"

My Personal Finance class is finally done! I look up the bus schedule for the last one coming. Just left the station. Time to walk 4 miles home! It's okay, though. With the right atmosphere, the 2 hour journey just flies by. This night, Oldies like "Summer in the City" are my companion For me, walking alone brings a special kind of tranquility, One that invites deep thought. That in mind, I start to read by streetlamp

Monday, July 15, 2013

Learning to Start from the Bottom

They say that you can't control what happens, only how you react to it. Well, as of this writing, I'll soon be bound to lose the house the family's lived in for 3 years because my sister and the person who owns it couldn't come to any sort of agreement, with my next destination seeming to be the garage of one of my mom's friends. At first, I absolutely detested the idea, but really, once I took inventory of the time spent here and the seeming endless friction between both sides in this situation, such a conclusion almost seemed inevitable, no matter how financially well off we could've grown to be, so for me, the real concern was that I was being launched head first into the real world without anything to fall back on or any localized social network to work with and try to get things going. That much I take the blame on, since my the network I do have now has largely relied on technology and long distance communication to maintain and strengthen, thus creating minimal to no urgency to befriend the people immediately around me

This likely helped contribute to feeling the most lost and uncertain of what tomorrow may bring I've ever felt, more so if the scenario plays out, and me and my mom are left to figure out how to make ends meet.

Really, though, I know I've been slow on seeking out the employ that would provide me a chance to achieve the kind of independent life I've yearned for for years, and a large of part of that comes from the fear of falling and having to hit absolute rock bottom, the kind that makes people doubt whether or not it's even worth trying to get up and try again. Emotionally, I know I can do it, as I've done it time and again, but practically, I've always thought I had yet to gain the acumen needed to live well within my means and understand how to make my resources work for me, a belief that's likely fed the comfort coma cycle that convinces many that even the effort is not worth committing such time and sweat to. My friends have been there for me for years trying to convince me otherwise, and they played a large part in me wanting to improve myself and better how I approach the practical side of life, a desire that still burns strong within me.

It's because of them I believe that even through I don't yet have any of the resources I think I need to create the kind of life I desire, I know I'll make it happen, and will take the needed steps to do it-even if it does mean having to start at absolute zero.

Ever since high school I've wanted a life other than the one I had, and I silently resented all my peers who seemed to fall into what they needed to live how they wanted to-more so if they were on the higher end of the social ladder and didn't have to worry about things like rolling an ankle or how to pay a hospital bill for a gurney ride and x-rays I never needed, but had to take, because the ambulance someone called after I was socked in the schnoz wouldn't take no for an answer. It's that desire that lead to me becoming more bold about how I approach life and less tolerant of wishy washy behavior, which I know has made my life much richer than I would've had otherwise. I don't know if this means I'll have to pay more visits to the local food banks or if I'll have to take odd jobs to try and bring some stability to my world, but whatever it takes to get there, I will do to get there, because for the first time in my life, I can look myself in the mirror and say, "I'm not afraid to hit the bottom"

Friday, March 8, 2013

Trusting the Flow of Info

I haven't been around long in this world, but I can safely say that my journey has shown me wisdom most either never encounter, or never take into themselves, like the courage it takes to put everything on the line in pursuit of something you desire-even if it could mean your life, as it did for the woman who helped me become the man I am today. Because of her, I found a world of wonder, a world of riches, a world I likely never would've approached if my hormones weren't dragging me into it by the scruff of my neck. I may not learn something amazing everyday, if anything of significance even bubbles within my subconscious before the day is done, but these past few years have been some of the most amazing experiences I've had in my life, each one letting me become that much better of a person.

In time, however, any amount of deep knowledge begs the question, “What'cha plan to plan to do with all that, eh?”

This is often the key moment that decides whether people choose to let their knowledge become something brilliant, or just the largest shiny bauble in the gallery of them we collect while we live our lives and try and live to see another day. The concentration of a person's depth of knowledge paired with whatever innate talent they have takes that brilliance and turns it into something they distribute to those around in whatever fashion they choose, whether it's painting on walls for free or charging $40 a pop for someone to have that work for themselves. This has followed me for as long as I could remember, and I thought that the very first book I wrote would make me into some sort of J.K. Rowling-sized mega millionaire writer, ignorant of the path she traveled for years to first survive, then, when the cards were in her hand, play them well, so she could thrive

Time has taught me, however, that there's far more to using concentrated brilliance than it's role as a bargaining chip or product to hawk.

The times and tech have evolved to the point where its vastly easier to share that concentrated brilliance than ever before, making $40 for a piece you turned out in the span of a week, charging per hour to let others see you do what you on camera, or asking for donations for the same thing, among countless other services out there, even in a more traditional media setting, like performing a tune at the Santa Monica Pier. Likewise, there are those who say that when you get smart or talented enough at something, they think themselves better or more sophisticated than someone else, especially when they charge money for it, and wish to make others compensate them to taking the time to lend them their concentrated brilliance. It's happened time and again, and likely will continue to as long as ego continues to convince them that the best way to go is to make sure they compensate you before anything takes place; of course, the more one lets go of ego and can rely on other means to facilitate basic needs, another truth starts to emerge

To gain the total support and trust of your fan base, you must be willing to trust that they, through whatever means they have, will lend you their support, especially on the financial front

It's a very large risk to take, as it requires not only letting go of the ego that's guided you all this, but also leaving yourself open to the possibility of them doing what they will with the work and not give you a dime in return for all the blood, sweat and tears you've invested in the project. In time, as more experience is gained, this trust in the people who enjoy your work will grow, and forge avenues much different than if you just made them open up their wallets to give you some backup. It is tough, yes, but it's my belief that when you let the concentrated brilliance flow at will, people will be more willing to put their money when their mouth is. Making them pay ensures you get the support that one time; trusting them to show their financial support ensures they'll keep giving it to you for as long as you uphold the unspoken contract you forge with them about it.