Monday, September 30, 2013

Notes from my 14th trip (São Miguel)

If there is a war, you two will die first; not because you are too weak, but because you are too angry.

My solution to most conflicts nowadays is to buy the party which I offended chocolates and/or cookies. 

If you are afraid to approach me, please come by and say hello. God knows that I would appreciate a visitor every once in a while.

What happens when you meet your killer at the beginning of the story?

Don't you just sometimes wish you could go back + visit your adolescent self and relish in the fact that they wouldn't recognize you?

When you liberate your time for the space to be, to honestly be w/ infinity. That is one of the most precious gifts you can give yourself.

Question: what has it been like to be in love here in Brazil?

Answer: humbling.

All these boxing gyms, they were shelters of refuge, a place to rest my sword, as I went along the way.

When someone says they are afraid to do something, I'm actually quite impressed w/ how quickly they can recognize fear, and not confuse it for the many other masks it wears.

Marcella, we are guardians of each other's darkness. As friends, we bring a lot of light to the world, but as lovers, we would unleash a hellspawn onto this earth.

          We are each other's cures + poisons, Marcella.

All that 'free love' talk. Let's cut the bullshit. You're a coward.

cravings are a momentary emotion. They pass w/ patience + discipline. Hunger...well that's a different story.

The trust you have for Flora allows you the privilege of going on those solo journeys at night. Always be grateful for that.

                 I have absolutely no idea how other people view me. 
                 Hm. This could be a problem.

From now on my parents will have to say: "My son? Well, he lives in Brasil..."

Accepting shame + offense w/ grace. That is a code of a warrior.

Mom, I appreciate all the notes you send me thru email. Know that I read them all.

Akey, if you are reading this, I really, REALLY miss that big chocolate ass of yours.

James, congratulations on the wedding. Know that I still look up to you, brother.

We should be more conscious of the reality that some encounters we have w/ others, are the very last time we will ever see that person. They will cease to exist in your life, and you in theirs. Make that last impression count.

Out of all the Fulbrighters, I think Stuart, Duron and Rachel will be reoccurring themes in my life. Oh, and Cassia + Cecily of course. And Keane. Ah fuck it. All of em have a chance of coming back.

My blog is meant for the stragglers, the ones w/ souls as twisted as mine, trying to straighten them back out. It is meant for those w/ patience, because this becoming, of me, is taking a hell of a long time.

          I've soiled myself many more times than I care to remember.

I'm still very much a young wolf, still believing the fables that superheroes live forever.

All of you who trust me w/ your stories. Thank you. Know that I guard them w/ my life.

Gender politics should not make us forget about how we feel about another as a person.

       I forget half the shit that I'm supposed to write.

Oh yes. I've had my dance w/ the darkness. And its impression is Everlasting. 

For the writers: write from what feeds your soul. Always.

Parents. They start to make more sense as you learn more about life. 

The curves of this feather against my cheek. It fits perfectly, it fits like home. Thank you for watching my back, even in the times where I didn't notice, minha flecheira

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Notes from my 13th trip

                     Guerreio e Flecheira

What if the spider crawling on my shirt is me, on the same journey, with the same mission.

Think about all those forces wanting to do you harm appearing in different forms.

Now I understand people who are w/ serial partners. It's not always driven by lust; sometimes it's because they can't trust anyone w/ their heart.

My friendship is not free. If I trust you, you have a duty to protect that trust, just as I have a duty to protect yours.

Sometimes I wonder if the act of leaving home is driven by bravery or cowardice.

My farewell to Seattle was beautiful. My only regret was not including the people who I thought I didn't like at the time.

Don't let the feelings of happiness blind you from the duty you have just accepted. Happiness only comes w/ sacrifice.

If the thought of U.S. soldiers brings about something distasteful, remember that all flavors are merely reactions that we create in our own mouths.

            At the core of it all, you still have a choice.

If you can no longer feel shame, that is when you have gone too far.

This is almost beyond personal feelings of romance. 
This is about protecting the world from who I could be without her. 

Those things that happen in the small pockets of your day that make you pause and tilt your head in notice, they happen for a reason. Don't let anyone else fool you into thinking otherwise. 

Those kids, in Maré, god bless their spirit.

I realize, this is all I'm training for, this is all I'm fighting for. I'm searching for the courage to surrender. 

A friend once told me that to love honestly is to surrender. To give it all, your pride, your shame, your entire identity of being. To love is to be, in its purest form. 
So I give this to you, Flora. All I have. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Notes from my 12th trip

Afrose, that choice you made, to be a poet, when it mattered. That was one of the bravest things I've ever witnessed.

It is when the gods are cut down to mere men with which you can relate, that is when genuine respect begins.

Porn is basically the miseducation of how to be w/ another person sexually.

I am just trying to figure out how you fit into my life, Marcella. I don't know how yet, I just know that I need you. And let's be honest, you're a strange piece. That's why I love you.

Michael, let's be honest, you're a LOUD person, not by anyone's standards but your own. 
Remember you were born that way for a reason. You have something to say that the world needs to hear.

If you are my friend, it is because, generally, I believe in you.

We chose a difficult path, Flora, but I wouldn't want any other partner to watch my back.

I wonder if we will all realize that we are just vessels, passing thru. 

The stomping is to teach me what it feels like to be a person who is annoyed by the things I do.

As their sparring partner, you prepare them for battle.

There are a lot of different loves in the world, all of them valid, all of them needed. But you give them up if they would hurt the one you care about most. That is your sacrifice for your beloved.

              It's about learning and going back to share your lessons.

If you disrespect women in any way, even ways in which you confuse for strength - to hit on them for the sake of your ego, to strike them, to hurt the heart. You are a coward. And there is nothing I despise more in this world than cowardice. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Notes from my 11th trip

              Now it is about avoiding those who force me to draw my sword.

I think what makes me angry is no longer the prospect of them disrespecting me, 
but disrespecting you.

I would give my life for you.

I never had a doubt about you; it was always more about erasing the doubts in others.

                                                  A lot of people who say they care only care for their egos.

I get it now. Law school is the training ground for my mind.

I wouldn't call it suicidal as much as I would call it a growing disregard to the seriousness of life.

           How much is your word worth to you?

Be leery of the fireflies, because I can see the spiderwebs.

What happened Marcella, is that you are not willing to give your life to save me. She is.

I think this path we are creating together is beautiful, Flora.

My glasses were found in the same place as where people's shit-stained toilet paper goes. 
That is the essence of life.

Sometimes I am afraid you will follow the strands of your locks and turn into that wild stallion that you are, and run off...without me.

She is more powerful than I.

I understand the purpose of this night. It was my fight, all my training was for this. I came out strong but still losing. But I am better than when you first met me. I have been training to hold you as long as you let me. 

                Every moment counts. That is why writers matter.

I was fighting for my right to be a wolf.

It is funny how much gets lost in the disguise of yawns.

Without even knowing it, I changed into a different person, Desireé. That man who you might be searching for, he is no longer here, at least, not in this body.

I might have to trick her into marrying me.

Are you in this friendship Marcella, til the end?

                              You are my path, Flora.

Am I ready to accept her as a complete person?

I may have lost, but I lost w/ honor. Nobody here will forget the fight that took place. 

A fighter's final rally is their last burst of genius. But one must still remember genius is still far from the gods.

I have faith + love in my right palm. 
All I need to do is hold on tight, and remember to believe.

We are fighting for our right to not be poisoned.

If you are afraid of bothering me, good. I am doing my job. Nobody should be Bothered.

            Not putting all your eggs in one basket; that can be considered smart or cowardly.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A good person

We’re waiting for the bus and someone waves at us. The person waves back. She asks me if I know her. I tell her I don't. I ask her the same question. She replies the same answer. The person later approaches us and it turns out she is a "she". The woman starts doing some elaborate speech with plenty of pizzaz and confidence, almost as if she was performing a monologue about her life. She shows us her hands and mumbles something indecipherable to my level of Portuguese. It's too dark for me to see what's trying to be communicated.

The woman is asking for money. She rubs her stomach and puts out her hand. The one next to me is a bit unsettled, angry almost, and starts with what I thought to be a dismissive gesture, but later digs into her pocket for a handful of coins. The woman thanks her and goes off with as much swagger with which she entered, but I also caught a moment in her eyes, one of deep appreciation and relief. 

“Things like that upset me,” she says.

At first I think she’s talking about panhandlers asking for money, but before I can finish my thought she continues:

“People going hungry, it doesn't have to be like that. Things don't have to be like that.” There is a stern look of determination etched onto her face. I ask her what the woman had said.

“She said she was hungry, that she cut her hands because she was digging through the trash for food. Did you see the blood on her fingers?”

Shortly after her bus arrives and as I wait in line for her to board, I tell her that she’s a good person - not like she founded an NGO that combats poverty in Africa or talks all day about how governments should reform themselves to make the world a better place - just that in general, she eases the moments in a person's day, brings smiles to a world where maybe many don't reside, and I don't know, "good person" was the best way I could put it at the time. 

I tell her about a memory I have of approaching her stand one time at the fair, a few moments before I buffooned my way through our weekly interaction. There was a man stumbling around, searching the ground for discarded fruit to eat, and to much to his delight, he picked up a rotten tangerine and began peeling at its bruised shell. But before he could finish, she called him over and with a sincere look of concern, traded his for a fresh one right off the stand. 

There is an honest expression on her face as she hears my story, one I can't quite capture with words, but it is something between contemplation and blushing. 

“I don’t remember that,” she finally tells me.

“See, that’s what I mean," I say. "You don’t even remember it.”  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A strange occurrence

Last weekend I went on a trip with the boxing team to Espírito Santos. On the way there was a horrible bus accident that had us stopped for about an hour at 3AM in the morning. I don't even know how it was possible, the damage. The first third of the bus was totaled, mangled in a way that had its blue and white steel frame resembling a painting that I once saw of a Japanese tsunami. I found out later that that bus also departed from Rio, twenty minutes before ours; in fact we almost took that bus, but we chose a later one because it was slightly cheaper.

Some of the passengers from the accident boarded our bus and a slim man sat down next to me. There was a small three-inch gash underneath his chin still fresh with blood. I asked him if he was okay.

"Yeah, now I am," he said, with a look of shock still alive in his eyes.

"Did anyone die?" I asked.

"Two people. The driver and a woman near the front."

Someone near us chimed in, surprised at the passing of the woman. I guess she knew her, at least perhaps for a short time. Her face grew silent with the news. I stared out the window and saw the heaviness in the people's faces. I wondered how they would all get home, how they managed to choose amongst themselves who would be allowed to board our bus and who would have to wait. But it didn't seem like any of that mattered. They all just looked like they were mourning the strangers that once held a brief acquaintance as a fellow passenger.

I looked to my new neighbor, thinking to start some small talk, but the expression on his face told me otherwise. It was one without emotion, focused on what, I'm not so sure. I spent the rest of the trip awake, wondering what it could have been.