To Love, And Have Courage

Essays, MY PERSPECTIVE | MY STORIES

Though I am the bearer of fragility and foolishness, I harbor no hatred. I am the spark before judgment, the ghost disguising pride; I mustn’t give in to hatred. But you! You can tell me what it is like to hate with fury. Deliver me from naivety and expose the shadows running through the heart of every man and woman. I know these shadows; you have become your shadow. You furiously cast fear and hatred into empty vessels. I have only sadness and compassion for your malice. Do not mistake my depression with despair. You are the one who is full of despair; You feel so weak in your ways that you turn to hate. Ashes embrace you but are fleeting.

Memories of those forsaken soon spell disaster on your tongue. And where has your arrogance led you? What path trembled, split and shattered beneath your feet? Who is to blame for your disillusionment? How much is your love worth now? No longer able to bear your reflection, you cast shadows on those around you, but this is not the world’s fault; it is your fault. You are too scared to see it, but you must. I will guide you through the desert, and you will confront the truth. Your mind cannot breathe as burials burst from beneath and settle on the surface. You are falling apart. Your lies collapse into your chest; your legs shake as exhausted bridges plummet from the air. You have a tenuous grasp on reality, and beneath it all, you are full of fear.

Because of this, you have my love; Do not mistake benevolence for weakness. It is because I love that I may see you as God intended. Everything exists because I love; life is love. Your hatred does not succeed because there are those who will continue, into the abyss of time, to love one another. That is my answer to your hatred: to love. I feel heartache because I love and gratitude because I love. You and your hate will burn, and burn out.

Out of all of this

MY PERSPECTIVE | MY STORIES

I feel overmatched. I sense I have no grasp of where you are. Somehow, and not slowly, I have lost the ability to read your eyes. A while back I watched you as you gazed out into the Atlantic ocean and I wanted to know what you were thinking. You had this look, the way a child looks when daydreaming, as though the whole of life turned to fantasy. I’m not sure what to make of that, but I saw it, and I suppose I am happy for it. 

I am sitting in a nearly empty room in Brooklyn, and I don’t know how all of this is gonna come out. I will be honest, and I won’t denigrate others – I will talk about you and your life, but I’m not here to judge or answer any of your questions. I will do my best to write without concern of what others may think – of what you may think. All of this is out of my control, so I toss the demons and trust the strokes my fingers make. I will trust myself here and now – And should this river turn into a wild ocean, full of fear and distant from safety, I hope you can see the love way back at the mouth of the river. Love is how this begins, and it will be how it ends. 


I fear there are memories somewhere that I didn’t keep long enough. I know who you are; I mean, the quality of person and all. I know that you have suffered for me and fought for me. To say that I am angry would be incorrect. In fact, this isn’t really about you, insofar as how it affects me – this is about me learning how to react and handle the changes you are going through, and it hurts; this type of change sends signals to the deepest roots within a person and delivers an astonishing pain. That’s what this is; all of this living and aging, it’s all just dying and losing.

Lately, it seems I’m losing more of you than ever before, and I know it’s not coming back to me.  I need to find where I end and you begin, because I am not strong enough to take on weight that isn’t my own. I get lost because I have never had to do this. Frustration and sadness set in; at times I just want to push it all inside and pretend that you can’t affect me. Fortunately, all of the time I know where that road leads. I am not willing to push off into a forest of an ocean only to find myself lost and alone yet again. I am not willing to lose everything because this has got me sideways – this work feels like constant effort, and if that’s what it takes I am willing to work continuously.


I have a battle on my hands and I know it. Yours is a battle I cannot fight; I can imagine it is an exhausting one. There will be sadness, probably more than there is now, and that’s ok. Great sadness is the mark of a great thing being removed from this world, so it is in this sadness I turn to gratitude. Though my words here may cast shadows around my current state, there is no amount of darkness to overwhelm the brightness you have given me.

Your eyes sparkle when you hear it – you still have brightness, and it is all for other people. That is what I see these days; you still want to know how I am doing. Everything that matters in this world is happening at this moment, and you seem to have found a way to reign in moments as they come, releasing them as they go. I find that to be remarkable, and consider myself fortunate to be on the same side as you.

Out of all of this, if you are reading this, I want you to know how incredibly grateful I am for each memory stored away and each moment we have together. I hope when you sit and look out at the ocean you have some of those stored away for yourself. I wish I had what it took in the past to create positive moments, and I hope you forgive me for my detachment and selfishness. I didn’t know how to give back any of the love given to me, but I’m learning it these days. I only hope I didn’t come back to life too late for this – I hope I haven’t given an underwhelming performance.

I will continue to work towards being a better person, not just for myself but for those I impact and for those I do not know. I have found a way to connect with people and at times I feel like what I think you must have felt like, only I’m in a psychiatric unit, and you were on a stage. Still, I think the eyes looking back at us say the same thing: they all want an answer to a question that nobody has. And that is how I carry you with me – through the eyes of those looking back to me, waiting for me to say something to make them believe it can all turn around for them as it did for me.

My words are no longer backed with paper-thin defenses – and with confidence, I can tell you that I always want you to be a part of whatever I am doing. I can tell you that fear doesn’t control my life as it once did – it has been replaced with gratitude and service. And it is with gratitude and service that I hope to be useful to you in any way you may need me to be.


There is no one way to do any of this, there is only action and good direction. I have no business trying to change the landscape of the past or future; I trust the way the winds blow. I have seen too much darkness in my life not to enjoy the light, and I intend to do just that. I would never have imagined I would still be a part of all of this – that you would still have that sparkle in your eye when you hear my name. Some people change their lives because they are tired of being broke or lonely – I changed my life because I was tired of being empty and I wanted to know how to give back what was always given to me. What I have now is beyond my wildest dreams.

While your eyes may lead me to wonder and confusion at times, it is untrue to say that I have no idea where you are. As I catch a glimpse of you staring into the ocean, I may not know where you are, but I know that you have always been with me, and for the life of me I don’t know what I did to deserve so much love. I guess every dog has its day.

The Fall of Love | A Path To Love

MY PERSPECTIVE | MY STORIES

   OUT OF SPITE I LOVED YOU.

RESISTING THE TEMPTATION OF REASON

                 IN SPITE OF THEM ALL, I LOVED YOU.

OR, I NEVER LOVED YOU IF IT EASES THE TIDE

 I MUST LOVE SOMETHING, SOMEWHERE.

                 THE DOOR HOLDS, WATCHING THE HINGE BEND

I cannot define love, but if I could, I would say that my definition of it has changed drastically over the last two years. Or rather, my sensibility surrounding the essence of love has changed a great deal. Judging by my current belief, I could say with some confidence that I never actually loved anyone in my life for the first 30 years; aside from natural, instinctual feelings primarily towards my mother as a young child. In fact, I would go so far as to say that none of my emotions, my feelings, were genuine for the first part of my life. This does not mean that my past is some demonic dwelling or scorched earth. There were plenty of notions floating around of love, forgiveness, sadness, anger, etcetera – I just experienced a perverse version of these emotions.

Love has always confounded me, and somewhere along the way I picked up the impression that many people loved one another by one person showing dominance towards the other, often instilling fear to get their way. I was turned off by this approach but had never picked up an alternative, so I created my own, as a child, and as you can imagine it was terribly flawed. My idea of love was one where I would do anything for another’s approval, anything so they had no reason to be upset or angry with me, and once I did I considered it love. I wanted so badly for others to accept me, for others to embrace and approve of me that I was like a wounded puppy, always expecting to be cast out into the storm unless I lay on my back with gifts and acts of submission. And as so often happens people begin to treat you as you show them how to use you – I was your “yes man” and you had no choice but to take advantage or to leave me. Few people wish to leave the wounded – and fewer realize the power they take; yet I allowed all of this and created much of this because I wanted to show you I loved you. I instead showed you I was dependent upon you, and when you left, I cursed you. I was a sick man, a wounded man, and you sadly tried to rescue me.

All of my emotions were based in fear; everything I felt was a safeguard against me feeling inadequate and not in the actual emotion itself. I felt pride when I sensed you were proud of me, yet I never felt pride alone. I felt anger only at myself, blaming all of your actions as reactions to my mistakes. Sadness came in the form of self-pity and forgiveness was used to avoid confrontation. Loneliness was perhaps my most genuine emotion – but I have always felt alone. Amongst millions I have felt loneliness in the pit of my stomach; In the darkest hours, I searched for isolation to rid myself of this feeling. I found a friend in my loneliness – I embraced my negative, harmful emotions because they accepted me. However, they failed me time and again; this foundation so weak that I fell further and further until I had felt nothing at all. I became numb. Finally, I became something I could live with.

Numbing pain, a numbing hatred, all directed inwards. I was able enough to take the hate, yet I was far too weak to be honest with myself. At this moment, I created my most delusional emotions, my most intense feelings of love and sadness were paper thin and frail. No foundation, no mortar or brick, nothing at all. 27 flights up and I felt the cool breeze – nothing and yet everything in front of me. My complicated emotions also saved my life – for it was pride that brought me back inside and onto a new life of genuine, painful, and confusing experiences.

And at times, it is just as lonely – but the utter sadness and hatred are gone. Loneliness beckons me, but I resist the depression and self-pity. Instead, I confront these feelings – I am ok with this loneliness. I step outside and ask to be placed in a position to be of service – to comfort those who feel they are without value. There those who seem to have no worries at all; there was a time when I seemed to like this to many. I can be of service by listening to people and understand that I never know what someone is going through. When others lash out it is because they are hurting, and I can be there to practice tolerance and compassion. It is not my turn to lash out at the world – I do not need to turn to hateful words. I understand this sickness, it makes us bite, bewildered and afraid. It takes control of our minds and hearts, and we are so vulnerable we don’t let anyone close. I won’t try to control you; I’ll wait outside, and my story won’t change. You always come out to me when you are ready.

This is my love – to be patient and to not control. When I love another, I want them to find happiness and fulfillment even if that doesn’t include me. I can work through the pain of loss because love tells me I am not losing anything; To love you is to want your brightness to reach its peak, and I remove myself and my pride. My love is not selfish – I know that you have your path in life. Sometimes our paths run parallel yet most times our paths go opposite ways and in these moments, I rest easy knowing I never tried to control you or bend your will to mine. I do not force you to come with me when your path winds the other way. Most times I don’t understand your way, but I support it.

Today I tell you that I want many things that I never receive, and I can smile because I know they weren’t meant for me. I know that my life puts me in a position to have positive experiences beyond my design, so I let go of the desire to design. My plans force you to be in my life; they force you away from your life, and I don’t want this.

I am myself; I am intense, overwhelming, passionate, sensitive, emotional, and I have a hard time dialing it all back. I can exhaust you, I can inspire you, I can turn you away or brighten your eyes. It all depends on you – there is no magic in my words. If you want what I have you will want more – if not you will continue. There is no trap outside my door, no poison to stall your steps. I only attempt to be as genuine as possible, as honest as possible, and as authentic as I can be. It scares most to hear such honesty and to many it is inappropriate! It is too much! But to me, it is all I know to be true of myself. My small talk is riddled with nervous apprehensions; I don’t know what to say. I can listen for hours, but I cannot listen to an empty heart.

My love took me to Bellevue psychiatric ward again tonight to speak to those who are sick and suffering in their right. And as I do with you I do with them; I sit outside and hope for a chance to share my song. I don’t pressure the vulnerable; I don’t lie about my life. I tell them the difficulty I have had, of the pain I have felt, and of the joy, I am fortunate enough to experience on a daily basis if I choose to experience it. They sense that I do not want anything from them just as I do not wish anything from you. Being allowed to share my song is enough; everything else is controlling and forceful, and I do not want this. I do not wish to deceive you, and I will not be whoever you think I should be.

I am myself, on my path, and I can love you from oceans away if I must. I will never try to change you, and I will never let you change me. I love you for everything you are and for your pain and your happiness. You let me sit outside the door; I expect nothing more. The moment you are ready I will be here; my message does not change. You can always find me on my path seeking balance amid the chaos. I fall over and over and over again, and my lips and knees are bleeding. But my heart and my mind are still and I get back up over and over and over again. I do not have to be right, I do not need to be perfect, I do not need to be understood. I only wish to be given the chance to know how you feel, to be a body to sit next to, to be someone who only wishes for you to find your brightness. I am always part of this when I take myself out of it.

Life Boldly Breaks To Beauty

MY PERSPECTIVE | MY STORIES

You are born with pure heart and mind, sound and lovely. For I only know beauty born in reverse – I know beauty after the bloodshed, death, and ghosts. But you know beauty before the plague. You see beauty and love as they exist, unlike me with my gratitude and admiration so necessary. You were born to be beloved – I died to become only a mere fraction of people such as yourself. Do not resist what comes naturally – your nature is not mistaken. 


I sit and listen to the rain ricochet off my windows and down to the alley below. I turn the music off, turn the lights up, and begin staring at the computer screen; I am alone. I visit these valleys sometimes – they are warm and cold at the same time. I do not feel grateful, I am not content, I am fragile, and I do not like this at all.

I do not like this because it is selfish, self-centered, and it does not make any sense to me. Still, I must investigate – I may not make sense to myself, but I feel this way nonetheless. These are the things I wish to keep all to myself and even further, these things I want to hide from myself. But I know better – I must divulge these feelings to overcome them. So, I will sit here and talk with you; I am happy you are here with me.

I feel overmatched. I live life between the waves – a life beyond fruitful yet somehow darkened by the lack of visitors. There are moments when I want to forget my past, forget what I have learned and be invisible; I want to be a ghost. This valley is passing, and may be gone by sunrise – but I know the importance of sharing, so I write. I know that to be of service is my purpose – and even in my most selfish moments, I can be of service by not keeping these moments to myself.


I do not want to be normal, whatever normal means. Still, I am exhausted, and despite my many shades of color sometimes I just want to be right in between everything. This is perhaps the most selfish thing I have ever written, but I am ok with this. I am, after all, a selfish man when I am alone, afraid, and dissatisfied. Confusion beckons me, and I am almost ready to heed the call. But alas, I am here with you and beginning to feel myself better. I am starting to feel part of something – part of you.

I want you to see me as I am, and at this moment, my words are becoming bolder because I sense your eyes scanning the page. I sense that in my golden age of transparency I have become less timid and more at ease. I am beginning to let this feeling go, I feel the discomfort slide from my shoulders and wither away. I want you to understand me, to know that my heart is elastic and my mind expansive. I want you to know that I need you because I see God in you – not in myself.

You are my conduit to the life that I know is worth more than I realize. You are many, you are everyone, and though I know the whole of you will never see this, I will feel your presence despite this. Do you understand what you have done for me? Do you now realize that you are necessary?! You have not answered me yet; still, I sense your presence, and it is you who I must thank. Only in divulging my heart to you do I see my selfishness and unhappiness in action. And now I see them both melt away. This is how I come to find myself; this is my path to fulfillment and contentment. It does not come to me without effort, though I submit to you that I doubt happiness comes to anyone without effort unless the person is a fool and mistakes over-consumption for joy.


I know now that I must find the ability to be of service expecting absolutely nothing in return. In many ways, I feel that I am of service by being truthful here – and to be honest, I have received more than I could hope for already by writing this. It is in the act of being useful, honest, and of service that one finds meaning and fulfillment – I find only fleeting feelings of happiness when I receive praise and applause. The external gifts do not bring forth what so many believe that they will – it is in the work of service where one will find this meaning.


I have been restored to my faith, love, and usefulness before anyone has even glanced down at these pages. It is not in the celebration of one’s work where fulfillment is to be found – it is in the effort and the sincere desire to be useful to others where sunrise meets the ocean creating a dazzling display. Every disappointing moment is traceable to my design, so I let go of my plan and again embrace what I do not know or see.

I feel the sunrise in the alley; the rain has stopped drumming on my windows, and a smile comes across my once weary and teary eyed face. The music finds its volume again, and a maddening piano sends a fury of force up my spine and into my now focused mind. I am here to be of service, to light fires along the path so that they may provide direction for another. I cannot see behind me, and I do not know how this will make you feel – and the beautiful truth is that it matters none to me. I have received whatever it is I should receive from this, and though I hope you wake with happiness in your heart, I know I cannot worry myself. I have no control – I am but a writer and a poor boy who has found my heart ripened because I can send my thoughts into the ether. I am always a part of this when I take myself out of it.

 

Home

MY PERSPECTIVE | MY STORIES

It’s hard to make it home when you’re always on the wrong road

As we drove deeper into Brooklyn and away from the madness in Manhattan I asked the driver to drop me several avenues away from my building. I decided I wanted to walk a bit – walking often brings me clarity.

As I continued down the sidewalk a smile grew across my face. It was the kind of smile you get when you have just parted ways with the girl you can’t stop thinking about. I felt the rush of the year pass through me and I paused to look up, glancing slowly toward the moon. My mind raced as I thought about the year gone by – I can’t come close to understanding everything that has happened. What I can grasp is the level of comfort I feel in this world, the level of gratitude I have for the person I have become. The appreciation for the innumerable faces that helped me along the way – the countless phone numbers, hugs and handshakes. The compassionate glances, the understanding look in people’s eyes – I feel it all.

In 2006 I wrote a poem with the line “The things that once held me are now the things I must carry around.” Those things were the lies that I had told, the false pride and the pretentious nature within me. They propped me up for much of my adult life and at once they became a burden. Today I carry no burden – I am without senseless fear. The things that prop me up are the connections I have built with others through honesty – the connection I have built with myself through genuine introspection. I am no longer connected to the life I once called home. I do not feel guilt and shame the way I once did, when it consumed my every waking moment.

Today I have no New Years resolution, I believe my life to be a resolution of sorts. Each day is a new year, a new lifetime for me. Today I am in love – I am smitten with this world. I hold this feeling each moment as the time passes by without worry. I know to stay in this moment, to stay in each moment as they jump from here to there. I am not trying to take any shortcuts, I don’t want the easy way out. I want to breathe because I earned the right to breathe. I have earned my seat in this life, in this year and in this moment.

I have seen the strength that others are capable of. I need the people for inspiration, for I know I cannot do this alone. Today I accept my limitations and I keep my thoughts on the present. All that I know today is how I do not want to live my life, and that is more than enough to point me in the right direction.

I pull back from trying to understand beauty in this world, I just allow myself to live within it. The world has not changed, the people will not change, it is I that had to change. I am persistent in this new life, always satisfied but always moving. I am able to see what I once thought was a hallucination of the mind. My eyes have been restored and beauty has returned.

I tell you that I love you with passion in my heart. I am not wrong, I cannot feign feelings this powerful. My love does not need to be returned, for I am always moving. I want you to move with me though, I want you to realize your life to be whatever you wish it to be. I want to shutter my mouth and prove my thoughts through my actions. I want you to know that I have never felt this before and this feeling cannot be mistaken for any false hope.

I pull myself back from trying to make you fit into my world, rather I see now that it is I that has to compromise to you. This life is not a sacrifice, I only give up the things that hold me back. I let go of control and plunge myself into the day, forever putting my hand out first so that we may connect. Today I am able to cope with life knowing that it always returns to me brighter than when it left. I am a constant work in progress, forever putting myself in the throes of action and reflection so that I may be of service to you.

Today I want to give you the best version of myself. I want to be a constant source of inspiration and proof that life beyond the bar exists. I want you to feel me when I walk into a room, to know that something bright is coming. I want you to wonder what makes me smile in the face of fire. I want to be these things because that is what you are for me. You are where I go when I need to feel safe. Your embrace is what reminds me that this is forever worth the fight. You make me believe that the struggle is no struggle at all, it is life.

You are the one that understands me, that doesn’t judge me because of my past. You can rest on my chest and feel safe – you don’t have to feel alone anymore. I want to let you run wild with passion and see beauty in this world. I work with you everyday, understanding the path to fulfillment is never found in taking what I want but rather found in giving all I can. I need this life and I am not concerned with anyone else’s approval. I do not wish to control the outcome – I don’t believe my will can push things in the direction I want. I want the world to find me when it will and see me focused on each step.

I want to be a part of this world, I no longer want to create my own universe. My only desires are love, passion and beauty. I do not worry which way they will be delivered – I worry about this step in front of me. I want you to come with me, forever with me along this road. You are my everything – I know that I have finally found my way home.