The Arena

The Arena calls to me. I can feel my body sweat with nerves as I consider what my best options are against my opponent. Do I go for a quick jab to try and throw him off? How about a lightning fast sweep to knock him off his feet? No that would be too easy. I need to think about what HE would do rather than what my offense should be. I need to anticipate whether he’ll try to rush me down and pressure me into the corner. I need to figure out what to do when pushed out of my comfort zone. Do I keep blocking and pray that he’ll let up? Perhaps try to find a moment in between where I can deliver a fatal blow? That could put me in even more risk though and with how many hits I’ve already taken I don’t think I can afford that unless I’m 100 percent sure. The time grows steadily shorter as the looming presence draws closer to my being. I wait and hesitate. The ominous shadow looms toward me. It strikes me, my life slowly drains. “I WON’T let you defeat me!” I scream out. As I stand up and slowly get back to my feet I notice the inky shadow lunge toward me. I wait… and time itself comes to a momentary standstill. Everything is frozen, I can see it’s visage in front of me. It’s me, and everything I hate about myself. My shoulders tense and I channel all of my strength into the most violent uppercut of them all. I screamed the loudest scream I’ve ever screamed in my life as the ominous shadow absorbs into my body. As my vision faded I could hear the announcer scream about my victory of conquering my opponent, “Ion De Press”.

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Thank You

It’s funny, valentine’s day used to make me feel pretty sad. I would think about how so many people have it much better than me in their interpersonal relationships. I always thought that “wow they must be so lucky to have someone care about them.” I’ve had my heart broken by people I thought I could trust and it hurt. I closed myself off to others and it was so scary. I was caught in that negative thought pattern for so many years, but this past year has made me realize how fortunate and lucky that I really am. I’ve been able to meet so many people who have been incredibly supportive and helpful on this journey. The most important person I’ve met, however, is you! You’ve been supporting me from the very start since I started taking up my new career and have given me so much.

Happiness, motivation, and a reason to get out of bed and be my very best. These are all the wonderful things that you provide. You give me your time, your positive energy and have made my life and others better just by being you! It’s the little things that I appreciate the most, like when you check up on me after not being on for a while, it tells me that you care and it makes my heart warm up. It’s the little things like when we watch each other play games and laugh at all the silly moments and make our own little jokes that only we get that make me appreciate our humor. And yes, I’m still laughing and blushing that someone considers me sexy! Your kindness is a warm blanket that consoles me when I really need it. Whenever I have a stressful day and talk with you I feel at peace. I am at peace knowing that there is a human being out there who’s as kind, charismatic and as caring as you. I am at peace knowing that I have met one of the coolest and nicest ladies in my life.

This journey has been a long one and I can’t help but express how grateful I am that you have had my back since the very start. My life has been changed for the better after meeting you. I’m convinced that if me pursuing this path has brought me anything to be grateful for, it’s that I’m just so_so genuinely happy and blessed to have met you.

My Paradise

Fresh air, birds chirping, sky shining down. This is paradise at it’s finest. It’s interesting to think about the difference between isolation and solitude. Isolation implies a form of being alone in a negative connotation, something that doesn’t quite seem like someone chose it out of their own volition. Solitude is what I prefer. I consider it a voluntary sojourn that is needed to help revive the individual. Sometimes I take the time to escape from my room and the digital world to simply find a nice quiet area to just admire nature around me. There’s a park I like going to, a park where I spent most of my youth simply enjoying the playground and going down the slide. I’m older now and I can only reflect upon my past memories which is fine with me. I prefer to use the past simply as a learning tool and not have to lean back on it to determine the person who I am. When I was young I used to only focus on what was in front of me, like the swings, the slide and even the little bridge that would rock back and forth as I jumped on it. Perhaps I was more in the moment then. Now I have a much broader perspective and I’m noticing all the little things in the park that I didn’t see before. I can hear the cars of the town drive by in the distance faintly reminding me that I am part of the world. The squirrels are playfully gathering their food for the upcoming cold season and making the occasional rodent noises. The birds chirp in an oh so lovingly tune akin to a musical. The butterflies dance and twirl around my head as I sit in quiet contemplation. The trees silently exist as their leaves fall to the ground to signify the passage of time. It all feels so soothing.

I used to come to the park out of a sort of obligation to isolate myself from others and the world after things felt like too much. Now I just come here out of a desire to appreciate this tiny piece of paradise, my paradise.

A Mindful Walk

Walking, an activity that many of us do on a daily basis. It’s something that has become an almost autonomous action at this point. Have you ever paused while walking and asked yourself “How are my steps affecting the earth? Am I affecting the world in a positive way?” I used to consider these things while sitting down for a break during walks. I would find a cozy stone, a thinking stone if you will and I would just sit for a second. Sometimes I would nervously pull out my phone when passersby would come my way in an effort to look busy. It’s so easy to forget that not acting busy can actually be good for you as it opens up more avenues for interaction. It’s easy to just look at a phone and not acknowledge the world around you, the real world not the digital one. I’ll let you guys in on a secret, recently I’ve been leaving my phone at home while I walk to try and focus on my surroundings. It’s been pretty liberating if I’m being completely honest. In this day and age, it’s expected to always be connected so to speak regarding communication. What if we’re engaging too much in only one kind of communication? What about the need to immerse ourselves in nature?

“Wow, this rock really does have a powerful effect, hard to believe it’s only been a couple of minutes.” I stood up from the rock and put my shoes back on. As I tied the lace to my shoe I looked up toward the sky. What was once a dark maelstrom looming above my humble neighborhood became a clear sky with the sun beaming down in a ray of light on the road ahead of me. I took a deep breath and walked along the road back to my home with a trail of flowers being created behind my every step.

Waterfall

Wash away all the anxiety, make it vanish in a manner that is respectful to its original owner. It’s funny that I refer to it as an owner. As if it has its own sort of space that it takes up in someone’s heart. It’s kind of true though. We have a bad habit of internalizing all the pain and stress we absorb into our body on a daily basis and truth be told, I express it quite a bit in my writing. Sometimes it’s good because it lets me get it all out, but sometimes I feel guilty expressing so much negativity all the time. It’s times like these where we need a reprieve from life and to focus on the good and wonderful things. Like a plant, we take in that which we are given and it shapes who we are. I believe that we can choose to take in these experiences as nutrients and allow us to flourish.

When I feel anxious I like to picture myself under a waterfall and imagine that my soul is being purified under the gentle stream trickling over my shoulders. I focus on my breathing and emphasize a slow and deliberate rhythm with my inhales… and exhales. I open my eyes slightly and look at the pool of water below me and take delight with all the aquatic life beneath me. I can see fish dancing around in various patterns like hearts and stars. I never imagined that nature could be so beautiful with its almost divine qualities. With my legs cross and my posture aligned in a manner that allows for proper form, I take another inhale… and hold it… for a long time… so long that I wonder how many more ellipses I can fit into one inhale… and exhale realizing how long of a sentence I just wrote… and tell myself… “Right here in this moment, I am at peace knowing that the waterfall is within me”.

Pink Ocean

On the rare occasion, I have pleasant dreams. That’s not to say that my mind is constantly polluted with nightmares, heavens no. Although sometimes it does need to cleanse itself of all the daily stresses we face. But now isn’t the time for nightmares, now is the time for all the wonderful things in the world like water, the purest of substances and the color pink the purest of colors. Water, the most beneficial of all the drinkable fluids on this bright planet. Much better than the harsh chemicals found in soda which is the equivalent of liquid arsenic. I keep getting ahead of myself with the negativity, my apologies, it just comes and goes you know? Where was I…. right! Water like the ocean cleanses all the evil and refreshes the troubled spirit from the corruption that harms it. It’s important to remember to bathe in the healing salt crystals found in the ocean more than anything else in life. But what if you don’t live near this well-spring of rejuvenation you might ask? Physically you may not be able to take the ocean with you wherever you want to but I know a technique that can help. Close your eyes for a moment, well not while reading this of course but you get the gist of it. Now focus on your breathing. Imagine the calm ocean breeze passing you by with the occasional seagull chirping its own tune in harmony with the tides rolling in. That same seagull also glides down in front to display a brief dance with his friends to remind you that you are not alone in this abode of comfort. The tides have this sense of lulling you into a trance where you and the ocean become one synchronous being. It relaxes you and you seem to drift along the shore with it as well. Tiny fish swim alongside you making sure as not to intervene in your personal space which you hold so dear. Why do you hold it so dear? Because others can ruin it? Or is it more personal? The ocean reminds you that it’s always okay to feel and be one with your feelings, and without shame either. Now one thing I didn’t mention is the color of the ocean. This ocean isn’t blue, far from it. This ocean is pink! While this may seem insignificant, to me color is everything. This same pink ocean also has some magical qualities too. For instance look at the ground below you. The sand has formed a small floating island beneath you with a single palm tree and a fishing rod beside it. The ocean knows that you crave a blissful retreat from the harshness of daily life, and it is happy to accommodate. You grab the fishing rod with your back against the palm tree. You cast it into the pink ocean below with the most peaceful smile on your face as the sun sets over the horizon. In this moment right here, right now you are truly happy.

Silence

There’s an old expression that says “silence is the loudest sound of all”. I’d have to agree with that sentiment. Have you ever had someone completely vanish without a trace? It’s the scariest feeling in the world. The thought of knowing you’ve done something wrong and they don’t have the gall to face you terrifies me. Does it say more about them or me? I’m willing to work things out but sometimes it just doesn’t seem to be that simple. Oh well I say. Maybe it wasn’t worth the effort anyway, right? Who am I kidding, being ghosted is the worst. Why is it phrased that way I wonder? Is it because of how transparent ghosts naturally are? We crave transparency yet we are terrified of it. We want to see someone at their most vulnerable, at their most genuine. We want to see through someone so they have nothing to hide, to know that we can trust them at any given moment with our emotional well-being. We want to see them for who they are. But like an actual ghost they can vanish at a moments notice. They have no reason to be in a situation that makes them feel uncomfortable or vulnerable. Can I blame them? I doubt many people relish in being vulnerable much less communicating those thoughts out to another person out loud. The thing that really drives me over the edge is the silence of it all. It can send someone to the brinks of madness and despair and make you question your self-integrity completely. The ego tends to assume that it is the cause for everything wrong and why not? It’s a reasonable assumption to believe that you did something wrong first rather than jumping the gun and blaming someone else. That’s what I’ve been taught to believe at least. These days I’m starting to question if I’ve really learned anything at all really? Are our establishments here to imbue knowledge onto the common man? Are they here to gatekeep knowledge from those who can’t afford it? It seems that way to me. I was fortunate enough to have the ability to not have to pay for knowledge, that said what if it’s all a ruse? What if they aren’t teaching us the right things? What if they’re just teaching us how to be obedient? I’m convinced that the complacency I despise is a product of the institutions that we’ve been forced into. We’ve been roped into the idea that knowledge is power with a system that actively shuns us for speaking our minds. We simply aren’t allowed to say what we really want to in this system that emphasizes red tape and actively harms our creative endeavors. We go our entire lives believing that if we get that piece of paper from this establishment that feeds on our time, effort and resources that we will be happy, whole and complete. Well you know what I think? It’s all a damn lie, always has been, always will be. Do I have any basis to back this up? You mean aside from the fact that I’ve been glued to this chair for what feels like an eternity? That should be all the evidence I need. I’m clearly qualified as dictated by the “establishment” but the world seems to be against me for whatever arbitrary reason that it wants us to believe. The world is alive and it is actively against me. “Santi! What are you babbling about this time? You doze off in class way to much man.” “Oh yeah, sorry about that. Depression just kicks in sometimes haha.” I put my head on my desk and fell asleep to the whispers and memories of my former classmates after finally typing my thoughts on the blank canvas in front of me.