The Beginning of the End – B

For once, I’m going to start off this post on a high note. I don’t care what anyone says about mumble rap and the new wave of popular songs being trash. When XO Tour Lif3 comes on in the club, everyone goes BUCK. And you never thought you’d be screaming “All my friends are dead, push me to the edge” at the top of your lungs in public, but then it happens and it’s complete littery. So on that same wave, this year had some great highs. Hitting your favorite spots with old friends and new ones and dancing till 4am. Going out 2 or three times in a weekend. It may not be as frequent as prior years, but when it happens, it’s always a good time. This year was also a time for exploration and trying new things, as old places got stale and I thirsted for new adventures. It even included an impromptu night out in these streets in a club by myself (after lowkey being stood up) but I was able to turn it into a fire night regardless. I don’t think I would have had the balls to do that in the past, but if I’m going to eventually move out of this city and into a new one, I had better get comfortable with experiencing places by myself and making the most out of the time.

This year was also a time for growth professionally. I got a great annual performance review and found myself more involved in groups and even becoming president of one at work. 2016 was a year of transition from school to work, with my last summer break in between. 2017 I believe was settling into the work life and then beginning to engage myself in leadership roles and in avenues that enrich me outside out of the regular day to day. I’m passionate about diversity and inclusion, as well as my college fraternity, and within those, uplifting people to reach new heights with mentorship based on what I’ve learned over the years. 2017 was another year showing me that I’m blessed to be where I am, to not take it for granted, and to do whatever I can to ensure others can get to where they want to be. There were people who helped me in the past 6 years, and the least I can do is pay it forward. After a whirlwind of my first busy season at work and focusing on doing well, I finally got in touch with my long terms goals that I’ve kept in the back of mind for at least a year in a half. There were more immediate goals to accomplish, and I knew I needed to do well in my first year to even have the option of reaching those goals in the future. Anyway, I realized I wanted to move to NYC and switch to a different service line within my firm in 2-3 years. I originally was on a Chicago wave, because it would be completely different than anything I had experienced before, which was enticing. But my mom made me realized NYC can still be affordable and offer everything I was looking for in a big city, socially and professionally. I finally have a long term goal again and it feels great to look towards the future and put steps in place in order to get there. I’ve always had a drive for long term goals and its that journey that brings me happiness. To get to a good college after high school, to get a great job after college, and now to move cities and drastically change my job.

Side note, I picked this Logic song because he was another concert I went to this past year and it was amazing. I absolutely love artists that speak to the crowd like their fans are family and leave you feeling so much better about your life. Concerts truly are once in a lifetime experiences. You’ll never be able to be at that tour stop, for that album, where you’re at in your life, where the artist is at in their career. That’s why it kills me to miss a tour for an artist I love. And onto another artist’s tour from this year.

This year was also when I finally started going to the gym consistently and getting more serious about attaining goals and becoming more healthy. All I needed was a bet with a friend to go a certain amount of times a week for a couple months and I was hooked as I have in the past. And I think I recognized that my goals can be long term in nature and that building strength and size is a journey, that lifting weights is a skill to refine, and there’s so much information out there to take in and apply how you see fit. I can’t imagine myself going back to taking months off of the gym for the rest of my life.

There’s also been growth in my self-awareness in this place in the world growing up as a cisgender, straight male. I’ve been reading books and articles in addition to listening to podcasts about LBTQ and women issues a lot more in 2017. I can see my own advantages and privileges, and I’ve gained a greater empathy for those living lives vastly different than my own. Since being black is one of my top identifiers of myself, I liken it to having the difficulty of understanding how non-POC can go through life and have no idea that others live life completely different to themselves, usually with more barriers and a harder time of attaining true self-confidence.

So those are the big good things I can name off the top of my head. Now’s time for the bittersweet.

Friends come and go through your life like seasons. That doesn’t mean they’re bad people, but life happens and people come and go. Someone asked me if I was lonely a few weeks ago. I said no, but at the same time, I don’t think I’d ever admit that to myself, let alone someone I had met a few days ago. I know why I could be lonely, and I know what I should do to not feel lonely. You focus on yourself, you find things you like to do that enrich you, you develop your relationships, you work towards goals. I’ve known that answer for a while since summer ’13 when I did have to dig myself out of hole of sadness and heartbreak. So while I think these prolonged stretches of time by myself to be alone with my thoughts isn’t bad, but I also don’t like that as much as I thought I did. I used to call myself an introvert and had no problem being alone for days at a time. But not I think a part of me feels like I should be doing more. Have more friends, do more work, experience new things. I can’t be by myself without feeling guilty that there’s something better I could or should be doing. It also makes me reflect on my current life and reminds me that that caveat of working towards a big goal such as NYC in a few years is the annoyance and inadequacy of where I’m at now. Do I hate where I am now? No. But I also feel like I’d be happier in another place and I suppose I’m anxious to be there now because it would seemingly alleviate my current state. However, if I find myself wanting more or new friends now, I doubt that would change when moving to a new city and job where I only know a few people. However, maybe I look at it like I’d have a reinvigorated outlook on life and be forced to get out there in a new place that I’m excited about. Probably truth in both. So. Friends come and go, 2017 saw a lot of people go and its disheartening to be on the wrong side of that. 2018 I need to get back out there in new avenues to meet new people. I’m bogged down with my current friends being a certain type of person, being in relationships, or just not reliable. I have a lot of varied interests from movies, music, reading, staying in to going out, my fraternity, diversity, new restaurants. None of this is novel for your average millenial. But I also don’t fit into a box of a solid friend group that wants to do the same thing every weekend. I always liked being a floater between different groups, and after college those groups dissipated. There’s a few I still have, but I need to cultivate more to engage all the aspects of myself in push my in different directions. Maybe it’s not attainable, but I want to be the person having to turn down offers each weekend because there’s so much going on. And in that perhaps its taking some of that upon myself and bringing people in to my own circles with the hopes that they’ll return the favor.

I suppose Broken Clocks relates to this notion in that time is limited, my time is precious for when I am busy. If I want to be by myself that’s great, but if I want to be social, I want to be able to do that and fulfill that need. 2017 has the air of feeling like a stand still of life, with the true movement being when I leave this city. I don’t want to be stuck by myself for 2 years and slowly become lonely and miserable, 2 years is a long time and I have to do my part to not just burn daylight and get the most of my time on this earth. And to grab another line, “It’s still love, still love, still love (still lovin’).” Still love. No one’s got time for still love, and despite it being so easy, and you get caught up in not putting in work, there’s a time when it must end and you have to move on.

So late in 2016 we saw the beginning of something incredibly new. And as we saw in my last post, 2017 saw it come to an end, and for good reason. But one part I didn’t get into was the fact that fall 2017 saw the beginning of one of the realest crushes I’ve had in years. Teenage fever is about the tumultuous end of one thing and the beginning of another. Something that’s new, fresh, and akin to a teenage crush where you can’t stop thinking about that person. I dated a lot in 2017, way more than any other year prior. Like real dates and dinners and coffees and the whole line up from the apps to texting to meeting in person to that first kiss. They all ended within a few weeks. Sometimes it was me, sometimes it was them. A lot of times I found some flaw I didn’t like in them, which I used to justify the ending being good for the long term regardless. And this habit raises my standards, makes me judgmental and critical, and doesn’t allow people to make mistakes and probably takes some of the pressure off of myself. But at the same time, if I took every swerve personally, I’d feel incredibly sorry for myself. I think in 2017 you can’t take things personal with dating because you’ll never know the true reason it ends and if you internalize it you’ll begin to think there’s something seriously wrong with you to not be able to have anything real happen in your life. At times it’s fun when you’re at the top of your game and you’re setting up dates with 4 people at time, then you crash and burn, and you’re left at square one again. It’s the way it goes because it’s a numbers game in a sense, but after a couple cycles it gets exhausting. So you might like meeting new people and seeing if this new person could be the proverbial “one” but after that you just long for someone to talk to and to share with on a deeper level. Vulnerability with another person is scary but it’s also incredibly fulfilling if that person truly wants to get to know you. So dating was a chapter in 2017, and start up again in the spring most likely, but I also think I did find something real in 2017, but I can’t do anything about it because of the whole you shouldn’t date your coworkers thing.

She pops onto the team in August, and while I saw she was cute, she was also quiet and just getting to know the team. What followed was the beginning of a friendship, without a romantic connotation. In my life I’ve more or less seen women in three realms. To date, to hook up, or to be friends. I said to myself, why would I pursue just friendship, when I could possibly have an extremely fulfilling romantic relationship with them, especially if the attraction is mutual. I’ve come to realize this is problematic in that it’s objectifying in a way in that I can’t simply say I want to have a friendship with a beautiful woman. I think the key is the mutual attraction part. I don’t think I get butthurt and mad if someone rejects me early on and still wants to be friends, but a lot of times there are mixed signals that go on too long or I find the person doesn’t really know me at all or care to know me more. And in that, what point is there to pursue a friendship? Nevertheless, because I was coworkers with this woman for the foreseeable future, I shut down any notion of being romantically involved with her. And I was able to actually get to know her on a friend level. What she laughs at, her quirks, her savagery, her sarcasm, what she’s passionate about, what she dreams about, what her past was like. And over time I really started to like her as a person. We started flirting back and forth as fall started, coupled with the possibility I may not be on the same team with her in the future. And then I had this true crush and teenage fever about the possibility of being with her. And contrary to a lot of my dates or hook up ploys of 2017, this one was different because I sincerely wanted to just be with her more just us and learn about her life. With formal dating there’s a lot of constraints with timing and how fast you go, and when you make moves, and when you have sex, and what do you share with them. With this because I knew her already on that friend level and it enticed me, I was just curious to see what else made her who she is. It’s different than anything before because it’s a very slow burn of a desire that built up over time. There’s also a confidence that if I was to make it move it would be received well, and if it wasn’t, I don’t think I’d stop being friends with her. I think few people know how to converse well these days and actually reciprocate questions, so someone that’s as interested in learning more about me as much as I am learning about them is almost invaluable as a trait.

Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself and I suppose that’s what a crush is. Just day dreaming about the “What-ifs” and imagining yourself being happy and perhaps even loving that person one day. It brings a smile to my face at just he thought. This song was personified with that clip in the season finale of Insecure Season 2 (SPOILER ALEEEERT) when Issa imagines her “future” with Lawrence in her head. And to me that’s the exact flow. And it goes farther that this song is in a timeline after the couple has went through hard times, and even built an unhealthy dependency on each other, he still comes back home to her and what they have together. And that he’s a mess and probably has his own emotional issues and baggage he brought along, but he’s blessed to able to be with her, because she takes him for who he is. I have a familiarity with this crush that I’ve built up over the past few months and that I feel like I could be myself with. With how I talk, my identity, my likes and dislikes, with my past, with my present, with my future. And honestly, that’s something I don’t recall being able to say in the past 6 years.

(Sorry for the live performance clip, but I can’t find the actual song on youtube)

With the words said on that crush, and continuing from teenage fever, I realized it was time to move on from something that was getting old and made me lazy and complacent. In reality it wasn’t my choice and I probably would have continued it, but this swerve was a long time coming and for the best. This song’s about leaving behind someone that was holding her back and being unapologetic about it (blah blah, yeah i’m reading from the Genius lyrics summary but it’s true). The pseudo-relationship in 2017 was great in the beginning. Good sex, someone to hang out with, and the trifecta of novelty, secrecy, and passion that kept me fulfilled. Yet those all fade with time, and this faded probably in June or July. I was still dating and out in these streets this year, but having something in your back pocket may subconsciously sabotage you in a way. But with her was I able to be 100% myself, could I share, be honest, or vulnerable, even if she was with me? No. The structure of the relationship wasn’t supposed to allow that, and that’s the way I wanted it to be, but in the grand scheme of my growth I need more fulfilling relationships with people where I can push those boundaries with for my own movement forward in learning about myself and other people. It was going nowhere because I never wanted to have an actual relationship with this woman, something I always knew, but I pushed the thought to the back of my mind because as I said it’s easier to go with the flow and not have to try for 12 months out of the year, especially when you’re busy with everything else you’re trying to do well at in life. I’ll go into 2018 still thinking about her often, but I’ve been in that space because it’s the most recent thing and eventually that will fade as it always does as she’s replaced with someone new. We’re going out separate ways, it’s for the best, I’m happy she was able to find something real, and I can only hope I find something like that for myself in due time.

Another song I could put on replay for hours and not get tired of. Life can be a cycle we go through, ups and downs. 2017 had it’s share of ups and downs and as always, I learned a bit more about myself. But that cycle can continue past it’s time to end and that’s where we need to break that cycle and move on. Move past this end of a relationship. Move to a new city. Move to a more fulfilling job. Move to a leadership position to engage with younger men and women in the best way I can. There are some great friends out there that help you through these tough times, and that uplift you when you need it. And for the friends that leave for a time, the true ones come back like no time has passed in between. And God is always there as well. I think Fall in 2017 saw myself getting away from God and not finding as much in it as I did in the previous couple years. I’m going to work to find that relationship with God again. Because even in times of loneliness, He’s always there with you and looking out for you. Also, we all have difficult pasts that we like to run away from. This was the year I recognized that my past is what makes me who I am today. I am never to forget who I am or where I came from and a trip home in June, taking a drive past all my old houses, reminded me of that. It made me cherish the time I had with my family and that they know me better than anyone in my life ever will because we share that past, that came with those struggles.

This song speaks to my attachment to my 20s. A conversation the other day made me realized that at 24, the next decade is going to move incredibly fast. I’ll be in a new city in a few years on a new leg of my career, I want to get married and have children in my early thirties, I want to be a partner at my firm by my mid thirties. That means I should probably be more deliberate with relationships and how I spend my time because the next few years will fly by incredibly fast and they should be constructive. But at the same time your 20s are about being young and free, and not having to worry about the future. I don’t think I’m neglecting putting in the right building blocks in life now, but I also don’t think I’m doing enough of living in the moment. Having the feeling of having control in my life and how I go about it empowers me in life. There’s always another day to do more or to do less. Life will throw whatever at you, and while it’s been good for the past few years, I know it can also throw me curve balls of negativity in the future. But the semblance of having control and having that freedom to navigate my own life gives me a grit to keep moving forward and shaping things how I’d like them to me. And that also means shaping myself to who I want to be.

I’m ending this post with this song because it’s probably my most played song of 2017. Gets me in a place to completely see my mind. I think the chorus plays with my current thinking of leaving the nest of the city I’ve been the past few years in order to realize my dreams. Change is good, and I think I’ve been here too long. I want to see what I’m like in a different element. I was someone in high school, and then someone vastly different in college, but it think I’ve stayed that same college person the past couple years because there’s no new stimuli to get me to change. This city and my home will always have a place in my heart. Like my childhood home, this city has pushed me in growth in ways I didn’t know were possible. But there’s a time when this too gets familiar and you have to move on to see what else is out there. I could live a life here and have have a great career and family, but that’s not what my future holds, even if that’s what I was 100% sure of a few years ago. I can always come back to visit or permanently if I want to, but you have to push yourself and see what else is out there.

In the end, as the clock strikes 11pm on December 31st, the year of 2017 was once again a year I’ll never forget, and we’ll see what 2018 holds. I’d say this year is the beginning of the end of the time I have left in this city, but I’m going to make these years the best they can be. That means more fulfilling romantic relationships, more vibrant friendships, a re-connection with God, the development of attaining the body I want, an appreciation to my home and family, continuing to excel in my career, and helping younger men and women reach the goals they set for themselves.

Advertisements

Literally, I really like who i’m becoming – B

 

Written on Nov 29th.

This song is absolutely mood. If yall caught the end of Insecure Season 2 (*Spoiler ahead*), I can no longer listen to this song without remembering how powerful that scene was. To me the song is about moving on. Going to new things. Becoming a new, better person. That’s how I feel right now. I never thought I could “break-up” with someone and have it be on good terms (quotes are because it wasn’t an official relationship). No hard feelings, but genuinely feeling happy for that person. Having a part in someone’s growth and to see them become more independent and sure of herself. Even to ask about her new dude and to feel happiness that she smiles when she talks about him. That someone in this world was able to find something real for at least a moment. I hit the anger phase of hearing the news that she just wanted to be friends hard, but I think I rolled right into acceptance because I knew the time would come one day and I was pretty sure that it was for a good reason that things changed. And the fact that it wasn’t a feeling of resentment that she had towards me, but an understanding that there was a mutual desire to drift apart and not say anything. And that I can acknowledge in the back of my head I allowed to happen is she so chose. While I have some sadness that it’s over, it’s overcome by my logic that it wouldn’t last forever, and it shouldn’t. As well as that I am happy that it’s for a good reason that I can respect. To want to do better in your life and to be a better person. To learn from your mistakes. You shouldn’t make the same mistake twice if you can help it and I respect her incredibly for making the distinct choice to not see me if she recognizes that our prior relationship would complicate things. To finish this chapter of 2017 is huge, and I’m not sure where that leaves me now.

The year and review post will happen in a months time, and I don’t expect much to happen. But this was a quick recap and I’ll see how I feel about the whole flow in a month’s time.

2016 In Review: In Utter Madness, There is Beauty -X

For me, 2016 was a year that can best be described as the “holy cow it happened” year. 2016 was all over the place in terms of my personal, professional and political growth. However, there are three aspects of my life that really help shape 2016: graduating college, the elections and moving on from the person I thought I loved. Each one of these things taught me something important but also showed me that things that are difficult and painful can still have incredible beauty and value.

Graduated College

I graduated college. I didn’t realize how much graduating college would mean to me until it was done. A lot of people take going and graduating college as a right, a guarantee, an expectation. College for me, however, wasn’t just difficult but also seemed to existed on a precarious needle point. It was never assured. There were so many missteps, near misses and instances that I thought I was at the end of the road. Graduating was an incredible feeling knowing that I had done something that statistically was improbable and mentally felt damn near impossible. I was astounded that I had stuck with it even though sometimes I had to crawl, and other times was carried by people who loved me and that I had made it across the finish line. When I finally got my diploma it was it was9 weeks late. It came in the mail stained and wrinkled. Most people would be mad or pissed and want another one. But honestly, I love it just the way it is. It reflects my college experience: wrinkled, battered, dirty but still valuable, still means something. That there was beauty in my struggle. My experience was worth more than the pain that I felt.

I always knew college would do something for me. However, I never really knew just how much of a dividing factor it could be. I went home for the first time in a long time and it was such a stark difference than what college felt. Being in college, you are imbued with the sense that you are working toward something bigger than yourself. You believe that you can see more, do more, be more if you just try. So to go back to a place where some would call “inner city squalor” and see old friends and family not have the same access to the opportunities, desires and hope is heartbreaking, not because I feel pity for them, but because they didn’t have the chance to explore everything they could have been. I recognize that for every one of me there are 10 others who didn’t make it and that everyone doesn’t have the capital, the luck, the chances or the will that I have been afforded. Everyone can’t go into $100,000 of debt for a piece of paper that says they can be more and that they deserve an opportunity to show it. Yet going home also reminded me of how the same individuals can find a way to laugh and take pride in their lives. They reminded that their lives aren’t just missed opportunities but are full of connections and joy despite the struggles the may face.

The Elections.

Well that was some fuckery of epic proportions. The 2016 elections were the first elections I could vote in and became something that mattered to me more than I expected it to. Sure I was around for the 2008 elections and remember the feeling of hopefulness and change. I remember the same feeling of the 2012 elections even if it was somewhat muted. But this year, to go and observe the election process with renewed interests because now I had a chance to participate in it, I was aghast. The election really lends itself to the notion that reality is stranger than fiction. Who would have ever guess that this is what our election cycle would come to.

I was astonished to know that our country could elect someone so mean, so divisive, someone who locked concrete plans, to the presidency. I mean I know echo chambers and bubbles exists but I thought our country was better than this and that we could recognize a demagogue and tell him, “No”. I felt as if my country failed me. I remember the morning after the election and feeling hurt. It felt like an attack my beliefs, on my character. I tried to step away and make it not personal, but politics is all about personal connections with individuals. This election made me realize that there are people in this country that have significantly different beliefs on who I should be. However, the beauty in this election is that it reminded me that though we have come far, that there is still much work to be done. It made me want to be more politically mindful and participate in the political processes. It reminded me to make sure to listen to other people’s beliefs and try to understand them. While I may disagree, understanding why people believe what they believe the first step to bridging differences, solving problems and combating bigotry.

Love

2016 was also a big year in that I broke up with my on again, off again, dating but not really significant other. I’ve always hated the millennial sometimes wishy-washy concept of dating. Yet I found myself in it. This relationship literally consumed most of my energy in the early part of 2016.  I guess I can’t really say, “fuck that n***a” and not sound a little bitter.

But fuck that n***a.

Time really has a way of putting it all into perspective. I had always prided myself as being the person who doesn’t fall for bullshit and to be able to stay away from mess. However, I realize that no one is not immune to falling for someone who isn’t necessarily the best for them. And I fell. I fell hard for the idea of falling hard for someone. I thought I was better at recognizing when someone wasn’t treating me right. They wanted to have cake and eat it to. They wanted to be with me in the confines of a walled room but in the daylight that same desire vanished. They wanted to call me at two am to talk about their feelings and lean on me when it was emotionally convenient, but when someone asked “Are you both …” the answer, replied with a quickness, was always “no”. But I am not a Swiss army knife, only to be taken out when needed. I can be more. I want to be more. I’m damn great at being more.

Traveling help put in perspective that sometimes you lose people but there is a world of incredible people waiting to be met. Sometimes people are only meant to be in your life for a season. You have a good run, but then life takes you on a different path. That’s okay. I learned that it was okay to fall for someone who wasn’t the best, that it was okay to be in the relationship, and that it was okay to let it go instead of fighting for something that wasn’t working. I learned that it’s okay, great even, to make mistakes in dating and love because it helps hone in on the qualities, characteristics and values that you want in a relationship and the ones that are deal breakers. If you’re a bit messy, sure that’s fine. But if you can’t be spontaneous, if you lack ambition in your field, a relationship with me probably won’t work. The break up was hard and painful but it taught me a lot and I walked away better for it.

2016 was a year of great joys, and pain, a year of achievements and with the realization that I have only just begun my life and there is still much to be done. Yet the lesson I will take from last year is that no matter how grey things become, no matter how hard things are, I can still smile and enjoy the beauty of it all.

 

 

Memories Faded, 2016 Part 2 – B

I almost didn’t pick this song because I didn’t think it was applicable. Then after a couple listens, I couldn’t think of something else that was better for what I want to write.

 

A lot of people have been saying that 2016 was a terrible year. In regards to celebrity deaths, Trump, terrorist attacks, etc; and that is all true, but in my own life I’d say it was a pretty good year. Keeping with my usual flow, its had its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, adversity makes you stronger. And to that it makes me think of another pivotal song of this year.

 

I think I’ll talk about this one first and how it applies and then get into the relationships after. Love Yourz is a beautiful song. “There’s beauty in the struggle, nigga. Ugliness in the success.” For the positives, I graduated from my master’s program. I started the job I’ve wanted for years and I enjoy it. I joined my church and was able to feel a part of a community away from home and school. And of course, I learned more about myself. I think a big part of this year was getting more in touch with my spirituality. I think it was in “Slight Edge” where I first recognized the notion of improving yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. At the time, spirituality was always weak for me because I had left church and religion behind a long time ago. But with the passing of my fraternity brother, I felt it was the right time to go back. And then by consistently going I was able to ingrain it more into my thoughts and actions. I strongly believe I wouldn’t have passed my exams without God blessing me. Despite the hours of studying I put in, I truly believe it could have went either way, but I was fortunate enough to have God smile down on me. That reminds me of another key song of this year that I’ll also bring back to listening and praying before I checked the scores for my last scores in mid August.

I fell in love with the concept of being ready for your blessings. To me it says, are you doing what you can do put yourself in a place to be blessed? God doesn’t hand out miracles to anyone, you have to work for it and do the best you can on your own, and then things fall into place. If you do that, then you are ready and you are deserving of those blessings. And if I put down blessings 2, I gotta put down “Finish Line”

To digress back to “Love Yourz”, I think this year I realized the adversity and struggle I’ve went through in my life. College is a bubble to escape life at home, but before this year I never really saw it as that. I loved going to college, but it’s not like I wanted to escape from home because I hated it. But now I think that might not be true or maybe because my circumstances have changed. I know its not true in the slightest, but there’s a twinge of guilt whenever I return. My immediate family lives paycheck to paycheck and don’t enjoy what they do day in and day out. This has been the case for years, but it wasn’t as tangible since I was just struggling by in school. Now that we’re essentially on the same playing field, it feels weird to go back home to that and then go back to my own life. That leads into the next thing I’ve struggled with this year: recognizing that your definition of happiness is different that someone else’s. Not everyone wants my career, relationships, or measure of wealth to be happy. You can choose a completely different path and be as happy as I am. I hope to come to terms with that more in 2017. So this all relates to ugliness in the success. You may have everything you thought you wanted, but sometimes that changes your perspectives and your relationships in a way that you didn’t expect.

But the other side of “Love Yourz”, “beauty in the struggle” is what I recognized and appreciated more than I ever have before. Despite my childhood and college struggles, they’ve all made me who I am today and I wouldn’t change it for a second. It’s made me strong and it’s built my character. The things I value most: loyalty, ambition, respect, and honesty were all contingent on my experiences. I thank my parents for helping build my grit as I grew up, even if we didn’t have much money, because that is what got me to where I am now. All the setbacks, rejections, and hardships crafted me to be persevere in whatever I set my mind to. You have to love the life that you were given and the one that you create. Some things are not in your power to change, but in retrospect they’re probably not all that bad when you realize what you had to do to get over those challenges.

 

Alright, now that that section is concluded, let’s move on to my relationships, which is usually the focus of my posts. I didn’t have any pseudo-relationship like I have the last couple years, but I did have a lot of tricky female friendships that gave me my usual dose of introspection. There was J-2, Camel, and GW. All of these surrounded the idea of friendships with people that had a romantic backdrop.

“I got all these memories faded of you, with me being faded with you.” Some relationships are hard to kill. People don’t take hints or maybe it’s rude of me to assume someone will just go away after you’ve shared so much with them. Few people really open up to others, and it really means a lot when someone can listen and they want to know more about why you are the way you are. What I do and the relationships I had are not things that come by every day. To me they are in the grand scheme, because I’m grounded by my best friends and my sister to share what is deepest to me. But others don’t have those relationships and they get attached to people that show that they sincerely care in listening to you. I don’t think those good memories and that deep care for someone ever goes away, but they do fade over time from their peak brightness.

J-2 gave me a reality check that people can hide their struggles behind work, school, and smiles. While I may have only wanted sex, I respect her decision wholeheartedly to be able to know when something would not be good for you currently or in the long term and to walk away. The brain and heart are so often at odds with each other at this age and rarely does the brain win. This last conversation also made me come to terms with my savior complex. I relish feeling needed and indispensable to someone emotionally because its when you truly learn about yourself and others. And I am able to put aside my emotions to be a shoulder to cry on after the fact almost always. Yet, some people don’t want to be saved. They’re fine with struggling through on their own because they don’t want to be a burden to others or they don’t believe they need it or they just don’t want it. Even now I would still be that person to people in my past. I think its just who I am. You’ll always care for someone if you did once in your life. At the time they were in a way everything to you and you to them, and that will always have a place in your heart.

With Camel I faced the issue of being friends with someone after being romantically involved. When it ended I said it was possible because I still liked her as a person and could see us just hanging out one day. But I knew it would be a long time. Others don’t work on my same timeline and being pressured to start a friendship inadvertently pushed me away. Is it possible, I’m sure it is. But with her I don’t think it ever would have been possible because sometimes a relationship develops into something that is impossible to go back from. To be “we almost dated” with someone generally means that’s all you’ll ever be. It makes more sense if you actually dated someone because you have a friendship built into that relationship in some way. Starting off hooking up and then transitioning to “almost dating” for a few weeks and then a clean break is hardly something that can be revitalized. There’s too much pain and feelings within that what if. And then there’s the logistical side of what that friendship would look like and having both people on the same page. And that therein lies the main issue with these things. If you once shared everything with that person, how do you go back to small talk? Or how could you talk about those things and not fall for them again? Even if there’s mutual recognition that dating wouldn’t have worked, it’s still a messy area because the “what ifs” come back. You start to get your mind tangled emotionally and the “what ifs” start to transform into the concept of timing (which I’ve written about heavily over the years). You say to yourself, “maybe back then wasn’t the right time, but hey, we’re both here now. Maybe it would work this time because we’re more mature and honest with each other.” I don’t want to go down that path because usually when things end its for reasons that are inescapable from who that person is. Sometimes those reasons are the reason you fell in with them in the first place, but you can also acknowledge they don’t align with who you want to be. I won’t hop into timing again, but the thought came to me recently that you may not live the life of that “what if”, but you can still be happy. But of course my mind wanders to the idea that you could be even more happy with that person. Perhaps, but that’s something for another time and maybe just a dream you have to live out in your mind until you fully move on from someone. In the end, friendships are probably even more difficult than a romantic relationships. You have an idea of what you should do or be doing when you’re romantically involved, but a friendship can grow in a thousand different ways before, after, or during.

Lastly, GW. I already wrote a post about this a couple weeks ago but I felt that I should touch upon it again since things drastically changed since then. I’ll probably save most of my final thoughts till it ends in the upcoming months, but I must say now that I am surprised at the power of the fear of loneliness. Yes, it is a typical fear that my generation has, but the lengths that someone would go to avoid it astounds me. Loneliness emotionally, physically. In a friendship and a relationship. Or maybe that’s not the reason. What’s fascinating is that I have no idea how she reconciles her actions and what her primary reasons are. It might not be something I’ll ever find out and I can live with that. But I’m caught on the December flow a little bit, and its nice, even though I know my brain tells me it won’t last. But that’s exactly what we knew when we were walking into it. Its an experience, I’m content, and I’m sure the end result will tell me more about myself and other people and why they do the things they do.

 

I’ve been writing for about an hour and a half and by now it’s 1/1/2017. Here’s to a good year, like my last 5 have been. Full of new challenges and new experiences. Overall, I really like who i’m becoming.

2016 Part 1- B

 

I don’t know if this song is particularly related to what’s going on right now. But I can’t seem to take it off repeat. Maybe it is related. About finding that one girl that makes everything around you stop when you look into their eyes. I don’t think this is exactly the case, but I like the idea of that feeling. And the desire for that to be true with someone.

I’d like to get back on this for a proper end of the year post, but given that it’s been a year since my last post, I may not be back here for another year. 2016 was definitely a great year. I don’t know why I say that, but I think it’s because I aim to live my life to the fullest. And to me that means taking chances, saying how you feel, and not being afraid to walk away if something has no future.

It sucks to leave a friendship, no matter what. At some point you were willing to trust someone else, let your guard down, and just be free. Some people say I’m guarded, and maybe they’re right. But I still think I’m honest if you bother to ask the right question. Most people don’t, because it’s hard for them. It’s easier to keep things surface level. Not ask someone why they are the way they are. Maybe you don’t want to overstep bounds, maybe you don’t think they’ll be truthful, or maybe people don’t really care. I’d like to believe it’s not the last.

Anyway, as of last night, that makes for the end of 2 friendships where things got complicated because of physical attraction. I think the concept of being attached is fascinating. You could not pursue someone, not have sex with them, even have a boyfriend, but when asked to think about it you can envision being attached to that person if the circumstances fell into place. I really do find that amazing. When prompted, you can see yourself getting attached but in the current state of how things are, you wouldn’t act on it consciously or see how you got to that point. How is it possible to say you would get attached to what should be a platonic friend after hooking up, but not recognize that before it’s brought up. Plus, I don’t believe such a thought is universal; it has to do with who that friend is. While some people (read: many) may be apprehensive of the idea of hooking up with a friend because maybe it happened in the past, I don’t think someone would say that about anyone. Maybe i’m saying that to grasp onto something from the end of these friendships. While it may be over and I may never talk to these people again, I feel like I need to believe that it was because of me and who I am and how we acted together for the reason they said no because they would get too attached. Makes me feel like I’m somebody capable of being attached to.

End of the day I admire these women for making that decision to stop something before it starts when they know it would eventually end in heartbreak after a tumultuous period of confusion. I’m almost always on the side of being able to separate emotions and sex, and I wonder how I got there. But I’m beginning to think its not even true. I cannot honestly say that of the four main cases of a physical component without an emotional component, I never acted truly separate from the emotional side. In that case I’m not particuarly honest with people, and that’s probably why the aftermath is so difficult and frankly disingenuous. I can say that I do desire those emotional aspects. Laying next to each other, talking on the phone for hours, going out to dates, sharing your secrets. I’ve convinced myself that my brain and logic and the inherent realism in how I think generally forbids me from dating most people I’ve had any sort of connection with. And maybe that is the root of the problem. While I can ask and probe and get to know a person ten times better than they know me, I eventually judge them as unworthy of a relationship. Does that even make sense? It does on its face: the more you understand a person the more you can realize that you would not have a successful relationship due to compatibility reasons. But I’m questioning if that’s just a front because I’m afraid to let go myself. If they open up then I have to, and then they can make the same judgement about me and then they can leave or offer a twisted ultimatum of hooking up or ending the friendship. While acknowledging that they don’t feel the same connection and that hooking up would only be temporary bliss before an even more bitter end. And then I’m left with nothing. Feeling stupid. And adding another “almost could’ve been something” to the list of women from my college years. I’d hate to think a broken heart from years ago could still be affecting my decisions now, but maybe everything really is an extension of that summer and I’ll forever be different because of it in my thoughts and actions.

I think I need to stop writing. I really think I’ve come to a revelation on why these endings happened. I’m not sad but I’m not happy either, because the fact I miss them means its still real to me and I still run through the what ifs on the emotional connections that I probably did have but convinced myself I didn’t.

They Won’t Go – X

They won’t go. You are never really together with the other person. You aren’t boyfriend or girlfriend and you don’t acknowledge to the world that they mean something to you. But you spend your days thinking about that person, wondering when the next time you’ll see them. You tell yourself that whatever this in-between thing is, it isn’t healthy, it isn’t sustainable. You know you need to make clear cut decisions about what you want because you’re tired of never really knowing what’s next, never really understanding what path you’re on, never understanding where you’re going with the …. But that’s just it it’s – it is not a relationship. It’s not anything tangible. All it is is the stolen kisses that you have. All it is is a little hope that maybe, just maybe you can make it from that in-between stage to actually being something. So you stick around. You sacrifice some dignity for what you hope will be long-term happiness. You settle into a groove of complacency. Then one day you finally realize that for whatever reason it’s just not going to happen. You try to come to terms with moving on. You begin to think that it’s over. You think that this is the last time and you won’t see them anymore; that you have finally reached a point where you can move on with your life. You tell yourself, “it’s for the best” and that ending things is right thing for both of us. But then you won’t go. They won’t go. They exist everywhere. You see them walking to class, going to work, hanging out with people you know. No matter how hard you try they exist in your mind. And in the moment of weakness you’re back at it again, stuck on ice, slipping and sliding and never going to a destination. He won’t go because you won’t go. You won’t go because he won’t go.No one wants to leave but you both know that you can’t stay.

It seems today that we are perpetually stuck in relationships that exist in the in-between. Many of us have been situations where we are in a never ending loop of maybes and unrealized possibilities. Lying in bed next to the person you like, you think anything is possible but the very next day the idea of taking the leap seems terrifying, improbable. We are intoxicated by the idea that maybe, just, maybe we can be true to ourselves and each other and make it work. That maybe this one time it’ll work and will make the pain of the in-between, the thousand little cuts of nothingness, worth it. We all hold on, never really being honest with ourselves and more importantly, honest with the other person. We hope it will all work out by itself. But how can it when we never really try? It’s as if we are too afraid to see what could really happen. Too afraid to be vulnerable. Too afraid to say that “I like you” and “maybe we should try”. So you stay in blissful nothingness, never really growing, never being more, but hoping for everything.

And there’s no one road – B

 

This was one of the first songs I think I really listened to and started to actually try and understand how lyrics can apply to my life. It’s one of those songs that instantly brings you back in time to specific moment. How you felt, what was around you, who you shared that moment with. It was the favorite song of one of the first people I truly liked. And as per usual even if things crumble and fall, there always remains little things that cannot be marred my the outcomes of relationships. A favorite song, a favorite movie, a place they liked. When things are over with someone, you usually try to block out everything to save yourself from pain of it being lost. But years later that little thing may pop up unexpectedly, and you’ll be happy at the memory and this piece of that person. Regardless of it that person really hurt you, I like to be able to think of those moments when things were good and you were both happy. To dwell on the past and the negatives is toxic and of course I am not suggesting to get caught up in the memories so much that it clouds the whole relationship and the aftermath. But there’s something nice about looking back on your life and picking out small things that make you smile, admist all the sadness and failures.

So this song always brings me back to years ago when that feeling of liking someone is so fresh and real and especially because it’s reciprocated. There’s few things more wonderful at that age. Also, the power of music, to transport you back years to a moment and a person. As a side note, I just can’t understand how people don’t fall in love with music and that power it holds.

This song is so beautiful because it’s about going through life, unsure of your path. And the line I particularly like is her saying “And there’s no one road, and we should not be the same.” I was watching a show earlier and the main character talked about the idea of going back and changing something if they had the chance. And another character said that it doesn’t matter because fate is inevitable. That there may be a fork in the road, but it all ends in a cliff. I find that so incredibly interesting. We can look back and pick out some key decisions in our life that we think brought us to where we are, but is it really that one path that could have brought us here. What if I went to a different school? What if I never met that person? What if I never fell for her? What if I never joined that fraternity? The what-ifs are endless. But what if none of that really matters because some way or another destiny has it that you end up in a certain place.

Coincidentally, I watched Slumdog Millionare last night and that movie is also essentailyl about fate and “it is written.” That Jamal could meet and fall in love with someone when he was a child and then have it that probably 15 years later they are back together again. The whole movie is about the ups and downs and challenges he faced in those years, but in the end he still gets to be together with her, because that what destiny had as written.

I’m not sure how I feel about the idea of destiny and fate, but I do love to think about the idea. As I’ve written about before, the concept of timing is one of my favorites to ponder. That things might not work out not but maybe years later those two people come back together through circumstances and things are different and they give it another try. Not to say that it becomes a happily ever after, but the shear luck for the cicumstance to bring two people back together *when they’re ready* is an amazing thing to consider.

Anyway, there is no one path in life, and this song is about the difficult of finding the right path. And it’s about running away from your problems and mistakes. Maybe it’s just doing what you can in the moment to be happy and trying to move past your faults, and everything will fall into place as it should on the right path. Or maybe we just go in circles.