January 31

White Trash Rhetoric

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Around five in the afternoon, every Friday, my children excitedly stare out the window. As the red van pulls up, they shout goodbyes at me and give quick kisses before running out the door. “Abuelo!”, they scream as they clamber into the minivan. I spend five minutes picking up before turning everything off and letting the gentle quiet settle on the house. 

The weekends are spent with Abuelo and G-ma. An easy solution to finding a babysitter when their mother and I have conflicting work schedules. They spend their next three days playing with toy trains, attending church, and seeing various family members. Tía Kathy will inevitably stop by with her dog, Chuletta, for some quality time with the boys. Shortly after attending a Spanish Mass on Sunday, they’ll return home to tell me all about their weekend. 

When with Abuelo, the children speak Spanish. Beautiful, bilingual boys, they come home and return to English, mixing words like ‘agua’ and ‘jugo’ into their sentences. Although I don’t speak Spanish, i’ve learned to understand it through the various Spanish programming I put on during the week for them. Their Guatemalan heritage is not only acknowledged, but celebrated. Their culture is embraced.


 

Being their father has taught me the importance of being open-minded. Our ideologies are formed by the collection of experiences and memories we have accumulated throughout our life.

The growing divide facing not only The United States of America but the world is impossible to ignore. You could try to cull your Facebook of opposing views, only to find them seeping in through comment sections. Complete strangers, hurling vitriol at one another. Their disdain tearing the seams of decency.

Like oil and water, our melting pot is becoming immiscible.

A video shows people in different positions of political power demanding people in America speak English. My son asks me for leche. A caller on C-SPAN asks why we don’t vet Puerto Ricans more as they move through the states. My child wants frijoles with his breakfast.

Scrolling the comments, I see the vitriol. the ‘If you don’t like this country, you can leave!’ and the  ‘This is America, you need to conform or get out!’. The ‘Get out of my country!’.

This White Trash Rhetoric, infringing on the very beliefs this country was founded upon. Instead of celebrating our differences, there is a growing movement to uniform our beliefs.

I look at my children. Will someone shout, ‘Speak English!’ in their faces? My blood boils at the thought.

As a father to multi-cultured children, it’s my duty to protect them and raise them to be proud of themselves.

I’ve grown tired of hate-filled rhetoric rooted in fear and anger. I read a comment about liberalism being a cancer that needed to be wiped out. The only disease this country has is hatred and it’s spreading.

We should be embracing and trying to understand one another. Yet, here we are.

I try to bite my tongue when it comes to these sort of things. I know there isn’t much I can say to change anyone’s mind. The lines are drawn in the sand.

I am sure some will say I am overreacting. It isn’t MY children who will be singled out for their differences. They are born and raised. If they don’t speak Spanish in public, people will never even know about their heritage.

We lock ourselves in like cowards and turn people away out of a fear. Because they are different.

Locking people out isn’t protecting us. it isn’t protecting my children. It’s turning my back on someone else’s.

This country was founded by people fleeing oppression.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
The New Collosus by Emma Lazarus

As we lock the golden door, I wonder if we will pry this plaque from Lady Liberty and use it as a barricade.

I do not fear people who are different from me.

I fear White Trash Rhetoric and hate mongering.

I fear this country’s rapid movement towards socially acceptable discrimination.

Scroll any vitriol-infested comment section and you can see it’s already begun. You can find people advocating for the death of those with differing views. Vocalizing their desire to destroy. To inflict violence and fear. Dehumanizing one another.

I stare at my children and wonder not if, but when they will become the focal point of someone’s hatred. When cowards will use fear-laced-hatred to target them.

I am not some liberal ‘snowflake’. I am a father to multicultural children.

I will always celebrate their diversity.

I will always defend it. 

 

 

 

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November 12

Broadway is Dark Tonight

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My wife will always be a better person than I. At her core, she is forged with the fires of compassion. It is what drives her.

It’s one of the things that drew me to her. There is a certain beauty in the humanity she possesses.

When my mother passed, with tears through her eyes, my wife told me she wished she could take my pain. Not only did she say it but, I knew how much she truly meant it.

I watched my wife cry today over the loss of her grandma late last night. While I stood there holding her, I began to understand the burden her beautiful humanity carries. To wish to take people’s pain away and heal; it is the kind of characteristic I may always strive to achieve without ever succeeding.

I am broken, and in that brokenness I hold some semblance of beauty. My wife though, is a pure light. I have called her my port in a storm. The anchor to keep me from drifting away. For most my life, I felt being broken was the hardest thing in the world.

My wife is whole. She is a rock for broken souls, like mine, to cling to, lest we get swept out to sea.

I don’t think I understood a word my wife’s Abuela told me. But, in our moments together, I felt the small comforts I longed to feel from my own family. Just her presence in a room had a way of making me feel comfortable. A fiery latina woman, she always seemed to be making loud shouts while clapping her hands. Maybe she was shoo-ing me away, I don’t know. I will miss our little moments together.

When the boys were little, she taught them this Spanish song. I always butchered it, doing the hand motions and mumbling some random Taco Bell food. “Nacho Bel Grande!” I would say to the kids as I put my index finger into the center of the opposite hand. My children loved the song. When the youngest became old enough to learn it, it felt like a rite of passage for them. Abuela’s Song.

My wife searches through her drawers for dark clothing. Selecting tights, she tells me it is a cultural thing to dress in black after a loss. I am reminded of the light going dark on Broadway.

Broadway’s dark tonight.

When my friend dimmed the metaphorical lights on her blog after my mom died, it moved me. We are all trying to build something with our words. A brand. A safe space. Something we feel a driven desire to create. But, my friend dimmed the lights. To be a writer is to breathe words. To stand in silent solidarity while you allow your friend to grieve is a touching moment.

I find myself at a crossroads. This is my culture. The culture of the Wri-Ters is to dim your lights and pay our respects. I am halfway through an every day writing challenge. But, this is a cultural thing. While I may continue to write, there is a culture to uphold.

Broadway is dark tonight. And tomorrow. And the next night. To remember a fiery Latina Abuela, and the beautiful granddaughter I cling to when I am at my most broken.

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November 9

Today, I Am Gutted.

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Today, I am gutted.

It isn’t just because Donald Trump will be the next president, despite my efforts at the poll. It isn’t because he says things that make me feel uncomfortable for my friends a shade too dark or female. It’s not because, in him winning, my vote felt meaningless.

Today, I am gutted.

It isn’t because I just watched the Republican Party sweep into control of every branch for the foreseeable future. It isn’t the two wars branded onto my mind. The wars our last Republican president fearlessly marched us into when I was only ten years old.

Today, I am gutted.

It isn’t because my generation is entitled. An accusation thrown at us, again and again, despite our best efforts to rebuild an economy after The Great Recession. It isn’t the difficulties we face in becoming homeowners because my parents crashed the housing market while I was taking Honors Chemistry in high school.

Today, I am gutted. 

It isn’t because I watched the American Dream soiled. It isn’t the bad taste this leaves in my mouth, as I fear the day I have to explain to my Spanish children why they are considered second class citizens in the country they were born and raised.

Today, I am gutted. 

It isn’t the fear some of my friends already have in the dawn of this new era. It isn’t the fact that the KKK openly supported and championed the winning opponent. It isn’t just because this didn’t raise enough red flags for his other supporters.

Today, I am gutted.  

It isn’t because I know this won’t make America great again. It isn’t this feeling of backwardness that comes with accepting our new president. It isn’t the world looking on in utter confusion as we seem to self-immolate.

Today, I am gutted. 

It isn’t because of any one thing.

It’s because if this election proved anything, it’s that America is no longer the greatest country in the world. You don’t run on a platform to make something great again if you don’t think it is broken.

Today, I am gutted. 

Because we may never make America great again. Not if this is the direction we are choosing to go in.

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November 8

Get Fucked, America

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After being guilted into voting, I dress the kids and take them with me to the polls. Everyone was all like, “Oh, it only took me five minutes blah blah blah civic duty.” Whatever. So, I get there and get in line. Notice how I said line? Yeah, five minutes my ass. Twenty minutes in line trying to entertain three toddlers, it was finally time to clear my conscience and vote. That’s when they couldn’t find me in their computer. I get pulled to the side. To a new line! At this point, I am thinking to myself that America can go get fucked. They can’t find me in this line either. Thirty-five minutes of waiting to vote has my kids all hopped up and ready to see the ballot booth I have been hyping up since I got them dressed this morning. Instead, I am told I am not registered and have to go to City Hall. This is pretty funny, since I registered on Facebook like two months ago. As I drag my spawn to the car, I am now openly saying America can get fucked.

We decide to make our way to City Hall anyways. It’s been almost an hour, so why not drive through the ghetto part of the city where people think the middle of the street is a good babysitter for their kids. Of course the only parking space open is a half hour one. The kids and I rush into City Hall and up two flights of stairs to this broom closet registrar office. My son has been shouting off colors he wants to vote for. He is pretty sure he wants to vote pink, but red is also interesting to him. His brother is dead set on voting for the number 3. The littlest doesn’t know what the fuck is going on, but I said ice cream before we left so he keeps reminding me we are supposed to be getting ice cream.

I fill out the forms to flex my rights and stand in line in this tiny room with the other people who probably got fucked over by Facebook. With one person left and time ticking to move the car, my children need to pee. Of course. So I have to get out of line, run up some more stairs and take them to pee. I have run enough flights of stairs at this point I could be a fucking Beach Body coach. We get back down and into the line of voters-to-be.

When we get to the front, the lady starts asks me if I am a first time voter. When I tell her yes, she starts giving me all sorts of shit. Sorry, Ma’am, the other elections didn’t have the apocalyptic feel this one does. Come to find out I am registered a town over from my own. Apparently, I registered to vote seven years ago. Fuck me, right? Now she is giving me shit for being an inactive, registered, voter. At this point I have made up my mind that if I ever get my ballot I am just going to scrawl ‘GET FUCKED AMERICA’ across it.

She finally hands over the ballot and directs me to my booth. “Do you know how to do this?” she asks, like I am not part of the generation who grew up on bubble tests. I tell her I think I got it, before I begin filling in my choices. My kids have begun crawling on the floor, between people’s legs, having a grand old-time. I assume someone is going to accuse us of voter intimidation or something, so I quickly put my ballot in it’s envelope and go with the boys to put it in our district’s box. The protector of the ballot boxes is some lady who has probably been around longer than woman’s suffrage rights. She gives me a sticker and then gives one to each of my kids. Now I am worried about someone seeing my three-year-old with an ‘I Voted!’ sticker and crying about how the election is rigged.

We make our way to the car just in time to swoop out of there as the meter maid comes to make his rounds. I go home, take my ‘Fuck You I Voted’ pictures for the Facebook and of course my kids freak out. One didn’t get to vote for Pink ( I am starting to think he is talking about the singer) and the other didn’t get to vote for three. On top of it all, when I pull my youngest out of the car, he reminds me we never got our fucking ice cream.

Yeah, America can get fucked.

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November 7

Mystery! Blogger! Award!

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I was nominated for the Mystery Blogger award. The rules of the award stipulated I needed to share three things about myself.

That doesn’t sound very mysterious.

When I first got into blogging my feelings onto the internet, I gathered a few of these chain letter-style awards. As older bloggers scoffed at them, shrugging them off for not being a VOTY or monetarily-laden, I upturned my nose back at them.

We are insecure, insane, and attention-seeking… who are we to ever complain about any sort of acknowledgment of our efforts?

Well, a good majority of us are also somewhat pretentious; so I guess it makes sense.

Thank you, Laura, for nominating me for this award. It means a lot to me.

To be honest, accepting this award makes me feel like uncomfortable. Even after the time and effort I have put into being mysterious. I mean, into blogging.

The truth is, I am not mysterious. I reach my hand into the skeleton filled closet and pick at random. I then dress my skeleton and stick it in the yard with a giant sign that reads, “LOOK HOW FUCKED I AM IN THE HEAD.”

I went to a blog conference over the summer where a fellow blogger later commented I wasn’t what they were expecting. As I apologized profusely for not living up to their expectations, they told me how they expected me to be more in your face.

I told them I would work on it.

Maybe if I hadn’t been so heavily medicated on the trip (Read: drunk for three days) I could have been more in your face.

These days I tend to shy away from the brashness I carried arrogantly through my teens. A part of reaching my zen, man, was to take a step back and realize the spotlight wasn’t where I wanted to, or liked, to be. I prefer not making a scene. I can still be boisterous, but it is more reserved for private celebrations and embarrassing my in-laws.

Speaking of my in-laws, after my mom died I was left with this profound grief that followed me like Death. I began to live out these fantasies of how I could have been a better son to her. My mother wasn’t the greatest, but we only get one of them. I began to buy my Mother-in-law flowers. Why? Well, I never got the chance to buy my mother flowers and felt it was something a son should do.

I doubt my mother-in-law will ever consider me her son. I don’t care for her to. But, whether she knows it or not, every other week when I have her flowers delivered to her she is a surrogate for my dearly departed mother. I choose not to tell her the reasons behind my actions and I am sure by the uncomfortable moment the flowers always cause she doesn’t get it. I prefer it this way.

That is another thing. I  don’t like doing things for the sake of acknowledgement. I prefer to just do them as altruistically as possible. From the moment I learned about altruism, I attempted to make it more of a mainstay in my life. In psychology, we debated if you could ever be altruistic. You could argue, as we did in class, that if you do selfless acts to feel good inside, they aren’t truly selfless. I always leaned towards the “What the fuck does it matter” side of things but then again, I am not the most philosophical person. Here’s what I know, the times I have been poor or near-homeless in my life, materialistic things didn’t matter. I won’t allow them to matter now that I live in a stable environment. What are things anyways? You tell me how I can bring my Xbox or bank account with me to the afterlife and maybe I will begin to covet both a bit more.

There were questions to answer in this mystery blogger award. One about favorite animals. Another about how you started blogging. Pretty little ice breakers. I feel as if I have already betrayed enough of my mysteriousness today, so I will kindly decline to answer them.

Anyone can be a blogger and I believe everyone should write. Even if it is ‘I hate my fucking boss’ every day on a slip of paper. There is something nice about getting your emotions out in a controlled, chaotic, way.

I am not mysterious. I am like Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. It doesn’t quite fit but I feel I have left enough of a mark people can’t grumble too much. And I am honored, so honored, to have peers think of me when doing stuff like this. It always makes me feel honored to be recognized, especially by the writers around me.

Thank you, Laura, again and again, for the nomination.

 

I guess I should nominate someone. I won’t. I will ask everyone a question though.

 

What is your story? 

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November 6

[Untitled]

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And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

The silence of the empty house is deafening. I listen to the hallway, waiting for something to crash. Someone to scream. A laugh. Anything.

Nothing.

When no sounds erupt, I content myself with blaring music. The manufactured sounds seem forced. As if I am trying too hard. No matter how high the volume goes, it cannot compete with the sound of my silence.

I am suffocating in quiet. Gasping for interaction in a cacophony of nothingness. There is desolation in this decibel-lacking, untenanted, abode. The music rages into the void. The void rages back. The music tapers off as silence creeps back into my life.

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again

There is a certain maddening sickness going on. A perverse illness, desecrating the logical processes of my brain. As the quiet overtakes me, I can feel me go insane.

In this sadness, I am spiraling.
The darkness, my old friend, wraps me in velvet cloth. Constricting me and dragging me down.

As I am enveloped, the only sounds are in my mind. It is screaming in harsh tunes. Crying on about life. There is a war waging inside, one I am sure doctor’s have fancy names for, but names I have no interest to hear.

I am reminded of being a little boy. Cocooned in my blanket, hiding from the silence, and it’s friend. Darkness. My tiny frame fitting in the tight section underneath my bed. My shoulders pressed between floor and bed frame.

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

I am the antithesis of Peter Pan. I try desperately to take knife to the seams holding this shadow to me. Anything to get away from the cacophony of nothing bombarding my psyche.

“I miss you.”  The words fall broken from cracked lips, to no one in particular. There is no one to hear them anyways. It is me and my mind in this room. No one else is here.

Without noticing, I have begun to pace around. Swimming figure eight circles in my emptiness, treading tired trails into the ground. Like a goldfish trapped in a small bowl. Again and again, I pace my line.

The screaming has begun. I can’t remember when it started. Blood has begun to coat my lips. I pace and scream obscenities at my God.

why have you forsaken me
In your eyes forsaken me
In your thoughts forsaken me
In your heart forsaken, me oh
Trust in my self righteous suicide
I, cry, when angels deserve to die

I am being swallowed whole. The tread has burned itself into the hardwood floor. The screams dissipate, only after my voice is gone. I fill the void left in the silent wake with fists banging relentlessly into surfaces. More blood. More pain. The heavy thud of my heavy hands can keep the silence at bay for only so long. Before my knuckles begin to give way and break.

I don’t know when the door was locked, so I just begin running at it. I heave my whole body into it. The thud has become muted. The blood pooling. I look around at the room I have been trapped in. An eight emblazoned on the floor and blood on the walls. There is a lone mirror against the last remaining section of unbroken wall. Looking in it, I do not recognize me at all.

Covered in dried blood and drywall. I look emaciated. My brown eyes have bubbled into black. My hands are mere meat claws now, with untold damages. Hair matted by sweat and pain. The music fades away. I try to scream out against the silence, but my voice is long gone.

I am Ruination incarnate.

I strain my ear to the hallway, begging for reprieve. Someone. Something. An act of my God.

ANYTHING.

I beg the silence to unshackle me from my sadness. To let me go. This lonely room in this empty house is too much for me.

My stomach hurts now, and all tied off in lace
I pray, I beg for anything, to hit me in the face
and this sickness isn’t me, and I pray to fall from grace
The last thing I see is feeling
And I’m telling you I’m a fake

A beeping crashes against the silence. It erodes the walls. My polyphonic savior.

I open my eyes and breathe in the sound of life. Cars crunch gravel up a street. A chest heaves softly next to me. The room no longer bears an infinity mark of sadness on the hardwood. As my eyes adjust to the lone mirror in the room. I am rebuilt, along with the dry walls. Drenched in sweat, my hair stays matted to my face. The blood is gone. For the moment, so is the pain. My heart beats loudly, reminding me I am still here. I am still alive.

And finally, I am awake.

Songs used, in order used:Let it Be by The Beatles, Sound of Silence cover by Disturbed, Hurt cover by Johnny Cash, Chop Suey by System of A Down, I’m a Fake by The Used

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November 5

Old-Fashioned California Sin

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As I stood outside the Seven Eleven, I had no idea it was wrong to hustle. Customer after customer I approached, asking for spare change to put into the telephone hanging on the wall.

I just needed to call my mom. She was supposed to pick me up a half hour ago. I lied, lacing cuteness and deceptiveness into a money-making scheme. I can’t remember the name of the older boy who taught me this hustle, I just remember being the youngest, the whitest, and the most likely to con folks out of a handful of change.

We made out like bandits, hands and pockets lined with treats bought inside the Seven Eleven after an hour of hustling the good samaritans who bustled in and out for their hot dogs, slurpees and smokes. We couldn’t go home with our loot. The stomach ache from eating all the candy before our curfews was worth it.

Those were the days. We hit the streets barefoot and brash. On days like this one, we got along well enough. Other days, we lined up in the patch of desert beside our low-income houses, content to fight each other until blood spilt on to the hot sand. In an all-Mexican neighborhood, being the only white kid meant learning how to fight.

We were hustling and fighting. None of us were over the age of ten. It was just what you did in a neighborhood like ours.

When we weren’t conning passerby’s down at the local convenience store, you could find us climbing on to roofs or breaking into abandoned buildings. A few blocks from my house lived three brothers I got along real well with. They lived just on the outskirts of the Mexican neighborhood. They took me in and helped me scrap with the other kids.

Little white boys squaring off with sticks and rocks against equally-armed Mexican boys. We weren’t just a neat little trashy neighborhood, we were a microcosm of Southern California.

Between the hustling and fighting, we fancied ourselves little gangs. We weren’t bad kids, we were survivalists. Adapting and surviving the absence of parents. We didn’t hate each other as much as the outsider might think. On any given weekend, you could find truces made in favor of games of tag or to simply watch the latest rated-R movie we were able to steal from our parents.

Through it all, all the fights and what not, we all had a common enemy and I don’t think I will ever have better friends than the Mexicans who occasionally kicked the shit out of me. Once we hit the schoolyard, the poorer kids had to stick together. Socio-economic status trumps skin color, no matter what. Our raggedy clothes made us easy targets. Our weekend brawls made us poor choices to pick on.

For every time they had called my mom a ‘white whore’ or I had picked up a rock and hit one of them in the face with it, there was another time we had caught and beat on a kid on the playground for acting better than us by the Tether ball court.

We just lived in a different world. Our parents sent us to the store with food stamps to barter and beg for smokes.  Being street smart meant more for our futures than book smart.

I often wonder about that neighborhood. The Seven Eleven is probably long gone. The laundromat next to it, where we often hung out because our mothers worked together, is most likely long gone too. It was a lifetime ago when I stood by that telephone and hustled folks.

I still hold that trashy little neighborhood close to my heart. Maybe we weren’t good kids, but we were working with what he had. We were turning hard work and determination.

We were living The American Dream.

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November 4

Like And Share

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Frauds, Hustlers and phonies

OH MY! 

Regurgitated bullshit scrolls slowly across the screen. A ‘like’ button appears. Sluggishly, the cursor moves over it and clicks. The button illuminates. Another like to fuel the ego. Across the strands of the internet another person sits, their cursor highlighting the word ’stats’, clicking it again and again to refresh the page.

We are all singers in this karaoke bar. Crooning about how we were cappella in high school and we could have been enough. If only if only.

I remember the first time I saw my words scrawled across the screen in phony ink under false name. There they were, my story, written in fake blood. That’s not bleeding. 

It would be too obvious to begin my post with, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” The key to true success is attaching yourself to other people’s stories. As if you are invested. As if you care. As if you aren’t sitting there looking how to spin and sell their story as a day in your life.

I would rather deal with a snake oil salesman than another blogger. That’s the truth. Over the some two years, I have learned to stay away from their dens. To keep to myself. I sit quietly in my corner, asking neither to be read nor shared. My ego isn’t hooked up to the jetpack life support.

This isn’t some declaration that every person you meet on this journey is a phony. I have met plenty of fine people in my wordly travels.

I have also invested too much of myself in the frauds. The hustlers. The phonies.

I never claim to be anything other than me.

No, I content myself to rage into the night, tapping keys with furious passion.

I am a passionate punk, not here for the popularity contest.

Come as you are and leave the same way. Don’t let these people change you for they will take you and rape you. Leaving you a vacant shell of what you used to be. 

I will always rage against the machine.

Rage. The word of the day is rage. The writing prompt is rage and the writer feels the same.

RAGE.

Is this getting uncomfortable for you yet? It isn’t quite the train wreck most enjoy watching. You can sell your soul for a couple hundred and stack the views on someone touching you, but write about love and watch everyone move along.

Am I getting under your skin yet? Sitting there, squirming, unsure if this is direct conflict?

Some days, I smile through gritted teeth. Words spin rapidly in my brain, bringing on a maelstrom of me to the forefront of news feeds.

Today, I am angry. I am tired. I am a bit under the weather, but I am me. That’s the thing. Whenever, wherever, I am. I am me.

Most can’t say the same. Manufactured crazy for views and clicks. They prop up cardboard demons in your social media stream.

Look at me! Look at me! 

Suddenly, they have the problem that is trending.

It is a bitter pill to swallow today. I sit there with the social media drug hidden in my cheek, hoping the nurse doesn’t come around before I have time to spit it out.

Views, shares and fuck all about reality. This place is filled with fakes. I began this journey bleeding. I will probably continue to do the same.

Write free didn’t mean write fake to me.

Charlatans.

Are you uncomfortable yet?

Steal this story. I am done with it.

**********

Don’t forget to like and share. 

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November 3

Spectacles

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The leaves covering the ground remind me of the sunrise. A beautiful mixture of oranges and reds, canvassing the yard like someone took a sledgehammer and shattered the sky.

They will linger, cold and wet, a bit before dying. Their beauty eventually fading to brown and brittle.

Why do things have to die?

As a kid, I held fast to this notion I would never grow up. In fact, I was so sure I would never grow up because I believed adults were born adults. Kids were born kids. We kids were the lucky ones who saw the world for the beautiful mixture of colors it was. Adults, unfortunately, were born to bear responsibility and tend to the kids. To keep us from chasing dreams into busy streets.

I learned something as hair sprouted in weird places. Before pains sprung out of weird spaces.

The magic fades away.

Trigger warning: Growing up changes things.  Surprise.

A conversation with a friend this morning got my memories stirring.

“Being a parent is weird. You look back at your childhood like, ‘oh fuck, that wasn’t right or normal.”

Not everyone grew up on vienna sausages and cords running between apartments. In my childish joy, I enjoyed the crunch of pavement under my feet as I hit the ground running every day. What I failed to notice was the source of the crunch. The streets were littered with broken glass from angry winos smashing empty bottles as their cursed their lot in life.

But, as a kid, I was alright.

A metallic box, beaten and worn, is a carryover of childhood I smuggled with me as I grew up. In it, I kept odds and ends. Trinkets and weird rocks, the ones that fascinate a child but adults can’t fathom. Items, both tangible and imaginary, stored safely and secretly in a beat up tin.

I like to think there is a pair of spectacles in there. No, they aren’t real, but I wear them when I write. They allow me to stare at the world a bit differently. There is something about the way they catch the light.

Vibrant blues and yellows bright

These spectacles produce a sight

They might be broken but thats alright 

I’ll look through cracks to see beauty in life 

Eventually, even the sun no longer casts it’s vibrant colors across the sky. It contents itself up high; yellow and glaring. We become unable to stare directly into the light.

I pull out my spectacles that still catch broken remnants of my mind.

I fear I will never recreate the beauty we chased in streets at such a young age. The spectacles are too broken to ever catch a clear image; even on the brightest of days. In growing up, I became saddled with weights, wearing depression like a bar bell fashioned to a noose around my neck. But, for a moment, I can squint and almost make out beautiful things.

I want to bring beauty into the world. My spectacles are far from rose-colored and I fear I may never live up to carrying the weight of adulthood.

A lifetime far away though, I was born a kid. I still hold on to those beliefs we are born kids and adults.

And through it all, I still see the world for the beautiful mixture of colors it is. Like vibrant oranges and reds, falling from the sky.

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