Sunday, March 30, 2014

Notes from my 25th trip (Self-Transformation)

How much do I miss Flora? It's like trying to hug the wind.

A knife can be stuck into your back in so many different ways, it all depends on how you angle the respect.

Did you ever catch yourself dressing up, making yourself presentable for the Batman that never comes?

I don't think you want a dose of what I have.

I think in some ways that me and Flora have been trying to raise each other. 
And it's bitten us in the face for being arrogant.

I wish I could see, just for a moment, of how others view me. A moment would be all I needed. A moment w/ the better version of myself.

         "You're still young." That phrase can be interpreted so many different ways.

It's kinda sad when you think about it. Both me and Flora want the same thing. It's all the other shit that gets in the way. Yeah. That 'other shit'

You are the only version of yourself. There are no copies.

I believe so much in this love. I'm going in further than I can afford. I don't know what i would do, if it doesn't work out.

Even the lone wolves know they have a master that they answer to.

Dating someone is like this giant experiment in our lives. We're all hoping that we put the right elements together. That maybe they come out to be some sort of love. 

           "You have no right to throw your life into the garbage."

Sometimes I wonder for the first time visitors of my blog, if they think to themselves: 
"What the fuck did I just step into?"

I've been wanting love to be this end result, almost a kind place to go die, but love, true love, isn't that. It's a journey. Journey full of scraps + bumps, but shit. At least you know you're alive. 

Our whole lives are spent mastering the beast.

brotherhood is born through the healing of wounds.

I could be wrong in my entire outlook + approach to life. That feeling. Jesus.

Flora has caught my fancy. That's an understatement.

You can tell something about a fighter when they no longer care about the losses, just that they are allowed to continue to fight. 

Desirée was one of my favorite girlfriends. For sure.

"Practical love advice." Well that's an oxymoron if I've ever seen one.

We got to let it happen sometimes, to be healed. Cuz we beat ourselves up so much everyday. 
We gotta throw a little bit of love our way.

Marcella, I'm sorry to say, but our love story is just an illusion.

It takes a certain type of mettle to find someone interesting and not want to sleep w/ them.

Sometimes all we get out of a giant car crash, insurance hikes and copious amounts of self-loathing, is a story. That's it.

It's funny but who I know I can be is so completely different from how I actually, currently, am. 

The problem w/ me is that I'm still stuck in that stage that says: 
"The experience is worth it." 

That feeling of being cold, hungry and alone, is not a good one.

Just having the ability to "seek", is something you should be proud of.

She still meant all the words. Every one of them. That's gotta be worth something.

You could find all the stories in the universe by talking to one married couple about their experience. Marriage. That's something we should take more seriously. 

You've reached a certain level of wisdom when you can see what someone needs, and you give it to them.

After all said and done, I'm proud of the person I became.

The difference between intention and novice, is a huge one. 

Compare the times where you've said, "I should write about that..." to the number of times it actually happened.

Writers really are the world's true sufferers.

Human beings to aliens must be like what Brazilians are to Americans. I know you can try and analyze that and say its racist, but it's the best way I could put it. 

We're better than this

When you ask someone who their favorite X-Men character is, the ones that say Cyclops are probably assholes. 

I watched a reality show about tattoo artists, like straight Contender/The Ultimate Fighter style where they had to go thru tasks + elimination. And a panel of judges. I just wonder if the creators knew they were making the worst show in the history of television. 

It really sucks when you get marked by a tattoo artist's moment of ego.

All we can do is be grateful.

If anyone thinks that I've gone crazy, it's because I know something that you don't. That's all. 

I don't know if my name will ever appear in history, but I know that I was special. That's about the only thing I know.

Sometimes someone hurting you is what it takes for you to be more honest in life. 

You can tell when a fighter is being forced to fight, when they wanted to spend their day in bed w/ their families. 

I arrived in Brazil w/ some vague sense of purpose, but still lost the entire time.

It's almost like it's worth it, investing in love. Because it's the one thing we'll know we need, in the years where we have no idea what are like. 

Sandra. Do you know why you are going through what you are going through? It is to remind us that we always strive for betterment. That there is no shame in starting over. 

Be careful w/ that blade, Flora. It's sharper than you think.

I wonder what that feels like for her. To heal a person back to health, only for him to go after a love that is someone else.

There are already so many things in life that will hurt you, Flora. I refuse to be one of them. Or at least I am trying my best. 

Actors are fascinating people. They spend their career, how they feed themselves, on convincing the world they're someone they're not. 

At the end of the day, when all said and done, my parents were always there for me. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A prayer for the pacification of Maré

I spoke with Flora the other day and she told me that things have been coming up in the news about Maré, the neighborhood in which I used to work in with Fight for Peace. The state had been planning their “pacification” project on that neighborhood for a while now, but given the social uprisings last June and all the other frantic scrambling the city has been making to accommodate for the upcoming mega events, the plans have been postponed, until now.

So “pacification” is this program that the city started back in 2008 with the intention of “cleaning up” the favelas of Rio de Janeiro by installing police units inside of the neighborhoods and thus expelling the drug factions that previously controlled the area. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea. Neighborhoods which had previously suffered some of the highest mortality rates in the developed world would finally have an installed sense of state security. This would also presumably free up the traffic for more public services such as trash collection, emergency medical vehicles and public transportation, as previously these entities were hesitant to enter the area due to an exaggerated sense of danger. 

But the situation is a bit more complicated than that, primarily on how the police forces would initially establish themselves. It would be nice to say that the drug factions would lay down their arms and move quietly out of the neighborhood as requested, but that scenario is idealistic and naive at best. 

Pacification can go one of two ways. Either the drug dealers flee the area and simply go to a neighboring favela that isn’t pacified, or they fight back. In both scenarios there are typically casualties, just one produces more than the other. I asked Flora what she thought was going to happen in the coming weeks.

“Maré is very hard,” she told me. “It’s always been considered different from the favelas in the south zone.” 

You have to understand that in Portuguese, the term “very hard” means something a bit different than it does in English, especially in this context. I suppose the best translation would be that it is stubborn, and not only that, it is known throughout the city as having the rougher drug factions, so if I had to choose between which two options would most likely occur, I’d bet on the second one. 

I remember when the traffickers in Maré took down one of the infamous BOPE officers during a police operation back in June. I mean just having the willingness to combat the BOPE says something about the place. BOPE is basically the American S.W.A.T team on steroids. The emblem embossed onto their uniforms are two crossed handguns behind a skull that has a knife stabbed through the top of it. This is literally the symbol they communicate to the public as they drive around in a large black armored truck that has small sliding metal windows for them to stick their rifles through. But I think perhaps the most troubling part of it all is the mental training. There are those that truly believe that people in favelas are an infestation to be exterminated and this ideology is drilled in during training. This also brings in the issue of how the police distinguish traffickers from everyday residents, which brings in the issue of profiling and stereotyping. Unfortunately it seems to have not been done as delicately as hoped, since much of the time a good portion of the casualties in these police operations are residents with absolutely no ties to drug trafficking. They only “look” like those involved.

Though to be fair, traffickers are in fact residents from favelas. They grow up in the same homes, walk the same streets. They’re people’s children and parents, they're the neighborhood kid that used to play ball on the corner. And though they’ve chosen a path that many wished they wouldn’t, at the very least, they’re recognized in the community. 

Drug factions act as almost an informal social order in favelas, setting rules and enforcing them when broken. I remember having a conversation with my friend Gilberto when I first arrived in Rio, a friend who works exclusively on children’s rights issues in favelas. I asked him about any potential dangers I should be aware of from working in Maré, and while he told me some, he finished by looking at me sternly in the eyes and saying, “But nobody will rob you there. It is the law of the favela.” 

From my experience, that’s been more or less true. I’ve never been assaulted or even really approached by anyone with an assault rifle slung around their shoulders. In fact, the only time they’ve talked to me was to compliment the artwork of my tattoos. I’ve been told by other people, both outsiders and residents, that there is a social sense of order. Nobody steals, nobody kills (without reason), nobody rapes. If someone violates these rules, they are made an example of, its severity matching the size of the offense. Perhaps the biggest offense is child molestation, as offenders are mutilated and often put on display. For this reason I’ve often seen children of all ages run around freely without any sort of adult supervision. It’s almost as if children have a greater sense of freedom in this regard. 

This isn't to say that things are fine and peachy in favelas. They're certainly not. But it is to say that these places aren't monstrous cesspools of disorder and chaotic violence. While innocent people do die at much higher rates than other parts of the city, it is usually due to being caught in a crossfire during an invasion between either a rival drug faction or the police. You could argue that even the sheer presence of such an occurrence lessens its social habitably, and you'd have just reason to think so, but favelas do - though not perfectly - manage some sense of social order.    

In fact, favelas have survived this way for decades. They’ve more or less operated independently from any state support or supervision. So if anything, the difficulty of the police entering a favela is more of a reflection of the state’s historical ignorance to this part of society than anything else. 

At best, pacification is controversial. On the one hand, murder rates will most likely go down afterwards, at least by state statistics, and it will be safer for outsiders to enter these areas. On the other hand, it could be comparable to a police state, to where familiar faces of authority are replaced by state officers who have little knowledge or ties to the community. Another issue is that a relative sense of security increases the desirability of an area, thus potentially raising the property values to rates unaffordable to current residents, and with that, the demographic changes. A classic case of gentrification. 

So brings in the question of intention. Why, until now, has the government been waiting to push this initiative forward? If the real intentions were for the livelihood of the residents as being treated as equal citizens of the state, is it then just a coincidence that the push is finally happening in conjunction with the arrival of the World Cup? I’d argue that it’s a strategic move. You can see it in the geography of where they have chosen their movements thus far. Maré, specifically, has been chosen because it sits right in the middle of the route from the international airport to the city. The building of “beautification walls” (the 10ft cinderblock walls built back in 2009) strengthens this claim as there is very little practical functionality to the walls aside from shielding the view of the slums as drivers pass by on the highway. 

So again we ask, does the state have a sincere interest in combating the drug trade? At this moment, pacification doesn’t stop the drug trade, it only changes it. The gangs relocate to other areas where affiliate camps are located and those areas become increasingly more dangerous, such as the case in the other favela I worked in with Gilberto, the Complexo do Salgueiro. So in some sense it’s merely pushing the problem around the city to make room in the area where the tourists will be frequenting, basically creating a safe space for those attending the World Cup and Olympic Games. Is this a good thing? Well, again, there’s no real clear answer. I guess one thing you could ask yourself to clarify the situation is, what do you think of tourism? 

Flora told me that the word on the street is that people are asking for protection from God when talking about Maré. She told me this says a lot about the situation. In other favelas, they would consult the state, try to negotiate with the authorities, but in the case of Maré, they simply appealed to a higher power. It says something when you don’t even try to exercise a solution with the physical parties involved, and instead go directly to some amorphous entity for protection because you really feel there’s not enough time. There’s not enough time for either side to change, not enough reality for anyone to believe it could. It’s as if these lines are permanently etched into the sand and their collision is some inevitable fact of nature. You only hope for a kind aftermath.

Gilberto recently told me that the situation, again, is "very hard". He said the national police and army are planning to move in this week and occupy the favela. I don’t really know how to feel about the whole thing. I’m not politically invested enough to be angry. But I do know that I worry. I worry about the kids that I know there, about the gym shutting operations for a time, worry about the people worrying inside their homes. Part of me always knew it was coming, I guess maybe I wish I could be back in Rio right now. I mean it wouldn’t really make much of a difference if I was in the city. It’s not like I would be in the neighborhood or manage to do anything that was tangibly helpful to anyone that lived there. But I guess if all that's left to do is pray, maybe I think praying a bit closer would mean something.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Boxing and Bukowski

Bukowski hated the public, but he loved people. That's why I like him. He hated the spectator aspect of human beings, that strange fascination that we have in watching a tortured soul destroy themselves. He wrote about it often. It's littered throughout his work, the disdain for the gawking public. But people just cheered when they read it. They stared at him more. They wanted more, hoping that it would kill him. I don't know if it did or not, but he managed to remain loyal to the ones that mattered. The ones that stuck around. You can see in the way he wrote about them. 

He still cared in the end, so in my eyes, he won.

It's a bit like boxing, in that regard. The spectacle attraction of watching two tortured souls dismember one another. That is essentially what boxing is. But hearing just a handful of the backstories will make you think differently about the whole thing. You might even begin to understand the violence. 

Boxing draws in the twisted souls that are trying to untangle themselves. Not many people will understand the sport without having lived through it, but that is what a boxer is trying to do. They are trying to save themselves, out there in that ring, to salvage a piece of their humanity by the end of the fight. All the while the public is watching. Cheering, jeering, hoping for satisfaction, enamored by their entertainment. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

This one's for you, Grace.

I've never written much about my second girlfriend, Grace, probably because it's the one relationship where I carry the most shame at how I conducted myself towards the end of it. It's also probably one of the few relationships that would have worked had I been more mature at the time. My friend Akey once described the difference to me between Grace and my recent ex-girlfriend Desirée.

"Desirée is like this really pretty white porcelain doll," he told me after I showed him a picture. "Grace was more like a firecracker, a sexual minx." I know that sounds kinda sexist and objectifying, but if it helps, Akey is also this big, gay, flamboyant African man from Togo. If it doesn't, well, I'm pretty sure he still wouldn't give a shit.

I met Grace at my job as a project supervisor at an at-risk youth program in White Center. She was actually my boss and I was 20 at the time. I remember first meeting her at the interview thinking she was kinda cute, but not really remembering what she looked like until my first day on the job. Short, petite, brown-skinned Cambodian girl with a spark, but what really got me was the confidence. The way she commanded a room. She wasn't imposing at all, physically, but whenever she spoke up, everyone listened.

We made little flirtatious exchanges on the job and she began inviting me to after-work outings that became less and less work-related as time went on. I only dated one person beforehand so I was pretty thick at the time, not knowing what any of it meant. Even after she started calling me at late hours of the night to talk about life, I'd still ask myself, "I wonder if she likes me?"

It eventually got to a point where we knew how we both felt, but I was too shy to make a move. Plus she was my boss, so I didn't really know the proper etiquette. Finally, one day after we went out for drinks, she pulled up to a motel and said, "So, do you wanna go in or not?"

From there we were essentially together, at least for me we were. I remember we once had a conversation early in the relationship where she asked me if I wanted to date her exclusively. I had to ask her what that meant. She said that I'd be with her and only her. I shrugged my shoulders and said "Sure." At the time, I thought that was the only type of relationship there was.

She'd slowly teach me her views on proper courting manners whenever we went out. Let the woman order first, walk on the outer edge of the sidewalk to guard against water splashes from passing cars when it rained, wait until the other person got into the house when you dropped them off. Basic shit. Things I didn't know.

From that point we were never really apart from each other. I mean, literally, from the beginning, we saw each other everyday. The longest time I went without seeing her was when I went to a boxing tournament in Kansas City for a week and it was good to come home to her after that. I was either always at her parents house or she was at mine. Her parents actually really liked me and I was happy about that. I remember that being the first time something that like mattering to me. Her father was the shy and quiet type, mellow, but had a strong sense of responsibility. Her mother was much more social and outgoing, and you could tell that back in the day she was a looker. I could see which side of the personality genes ended up with Grace. She told me one time that she overheard a conversation between her parents betting on how long we'd last. "I think this one will stick around," her father had said. 

The two of us had this connection. I always use the example of us getting something like 12 matches in one round of the game "Taboo" to prove that we were connected at the hip. It's cliché to say we would finish each others' sentences, but we could, and often did. There was just this language between us, inside jokes that would never get old, and saying them to each other before bed each night made the days easier. I still remember that look of relief on her face when I agreed to move in with her after she bought her first house. She told me she was so afraid that I wouldn't and was elated when I did. I didn't see it as such a big deal, but I guess I also didn't understand a lot about life at the time.

We had a routine living together, almost immediately. She paid the mortgage, I did the chores. She'd drop me off at the university, I'd wake up early to make her breakfast and pack her lunch. She had a small battle with anorexia back before we met, caused, according to her, by a mixture of self-image issues and an addiction to rich, fried finger foods. She used to tell me that she'd gorge herself only for them to come up hours later. I did my best to make nutritious meals that would stay down, stuff notes in her lunchbox to remind her that I thought she was beautiful. 

We were different people, Grace and I. I was sort of this bland guy where things like discipline and routine came easily. She was more flavorful and wild, living closer to her instincts. We needed each other that sense, like we were the missing part of the other, and the moments where things did clashed, it was funny, cute even. One time I found a lunch bag full of old apples in the backseat of her car, an accumulation of my attempts at packing a healthy snack for her lunches. She kind of gave me this innocent look of a kid being caught doing something wrong and said "uh-oh" in the same manner. "You know I could have just ate them, right?" I said grumpily. We always laughed at that memory for the rest of our relationship.

When I look back on those two and a half years with Grace, I can say that they were probably some of the most peaceful times of my life. I can count the number of times we seriously argued on one hand. Hell, I wouldn't even need all the fingers. But I guess the one thing that always gnawed at me was that I never really knew anything about myself outside of the relationship and that scared me. What if she left me? Who would I be then?

My sister told me the one thing she regretted not doing in university was studying abroad. I kept hearing about how living in another country gives you so much perspective on the world and your life, so it sounded ideal. I didn't know if Grace would see it the same way, but she actually put up no resistance, was supportive even, saying she wished she would have done it herself. Now was the only issue was the relationship.

Being in a new country, meeting new people, new friends, it would have been ideal for me to be single. But that also meant she'd be single. I was a little scared to leave Grace to her own devices. I mean here was a girl that more or less took advantage of a former employee and did it in the boldest way possible. I remember when we were together in that motel room, the front desk clerk called to see if it was actually her. Apparently she had slept with his brother at some point in time, and he called wanting to tell her how his brother was doing. I wasn't the only person she pulled that with, apparently not by a long shot. I guess her past was never something I accepted during our relationship. Her younger days were filled with so much promiscuity that I cringed at thinking of all the times she was with other people. At the time I would have said that I found it to be immoral, but I think I was just jealous that I didn't have any in mine. In any case, I couldn't handle the idea of her potentially going back to that, so we took a shot at staying together.

Now I think infidelity is a horrible thing. It was and still is one of my greatest fears. It's all the questions that get me. How it happened, the first words spoken, how another person could incite a passion when you thought that ability was reserved only for you. It must be unbearable, that pain. But I never thought I'd be the one to cause it. 

When asked in retrospect, I guess the reason was many-fold. I didn't know who I was, I wanted to prove something, I was lonely. But it always boiled down to one central point: I wasn't strong enough to protect her feelings.

See here's the thing. Grace thought I would be the last person to cheat on her. Hell, everyone thought that, even I thought that. I always tried to carry myself as this guy who believed in honor, in protecting sacred bonds. But it was a façade, something to brush over the fact that I just wasn't that good with women. "It's not that I'm not good at getting girls, it's because I have a commitment and I'm too righteous to break it," was what I would tell myself and the rest of the world. But my principles were just a petty ideal. They crumbled at the feet of reality, gave way like brittle chalk the moment any pressure was placed on them. I was a charlatan, a liar. I was everything that I so deeply despise today.

The one thing I can be proud of in this whole ordeal, the one fucking thing where I can look back on myself with a morsel of decency, is that I told her. I didn't have to. No witnesses knew her nor would they ever. But I did it anyway, because given the situation, it was just about the only thing I could do. I actually flirted with the idea of not doing it, of going back home even lower than I had already sank, but Akey, god bless his soul, told me otherwise.

"Nick, you have to tell her, because if you ever end up with her, the entire relationship would be based on a lie."

I still thank him today for saying those words to me.

"Get the fuck out," were the first words she said to me when I first broke the news. She meant it. She was pissed. I recognized that tone from a time I came back from the bar and she had a switchblade in her hand after she heard from someone that some girl was trying start a fight with me and my friends. "I thought I had to go out and cut a bitch," she said that night. 

I started to walk out after she told me to leave, but then she called me back. "Wait," she said. There were tears streaming down her face, her palms faced upwards in her lap trying to hold onto something in the hollowness of the moment. I'll never forget the look in her eyes when she asked me the next question.


I don't know if it was the way she said it, or the fact that I didn't have an answer, but that question hit me in the pit of my stomach. I had no answer. And I think that was the hardest part. I didn't know why, at least nothing that wouldn't sound absolutely fucking stupid and insensitive at the time, so all I did was stare back her in a way that wanted, more than anything in the world, to take that pain away. But I couldn't. I was the one that was supposed to protect her from ever feeling this way, the one that made things better when no one else could. But here I was, the one that stabbed the knife in her back. I was a fucking chump. Lower than dirt.

"Why didn't you just say something before?" she continued. "If you would have said something, maybe we could fix this, but, like this, what am I supposed to do?" She sat in silence for a moment, stewing in a treacherous brew of emotions.

"God, I had SO many opportunities to..." 

She didn't finish the last sentence and went back to her thoughts. I was just standing there. My body felt hollow. I wanted to pass out and pretend this all wasn't happening. Then she finally said to me, in almost a sense of defeat, "I just want someone to love me, you know?"

I remember moving back to my parents house later that day. My parents just kinda nodded their heads when I asked them, "You think I could stay here for a while?" I laid in my bed feeling like my body had been cut in half, like part of me was missing. Living with Grace was like living in a symbiotic environment. We functioned almost purely as one unit. I lost sight of that in all my selfishness. I cried uncontrollably that day, partly for losing her, mostly for what I had become. And shit, I was the one that did wrong. How the hell did she feel? I don't even want to think about the days and nights she had to go through after that. They give me chills just brushing the topic.

We ended up reconnecting a few times after that. She had gone back to some old habits. I'd see recycle bins full of wine bottles and beer cans when I stayed over at her house. I don't really know what I was looking for at the time. I don't think she did either. But there was an understanding over what happened, at least some semblance. I remember one time we were in her bedroom and she said something along the lines of, "You know, you destroyed me from what you did. But I'm better now, stronger even. So in some weird way, I have you to thank for that." I didn't really know how to take the words.

In some ways we had a relationship again, except that it was broken, never going back to what it once was. I'd go about my life, as she would hers, just every once in a while we'd be together again, trying to relive an old life that was no longer there. After a few months of seeing each other regularly, I left again for my trip to Latin America, called her once I landed in Guatemala.

"A coworker saw me the day after you left," she said. "She asked why I looked so sad and I told her that the people I love keep leaving me." It came off in a tone between jest and an acceptance of reality. We'd contact each other everyone once in a while when I was on the road. I'd call her whenever I was lonely and hearing her voice reminded me of a home. I remember I was in Nicaragua on my 24th birthday and she was the only person that called me. I owe her for that one. 

She tried contacting me again after I came back, but I started dating someone else and wanted to keep that relationship somewhat honest. I left for Peru three months after and called her when the times got thick.

"You know I still have that gift certificate to The Keg," I said to her over the phone a few days before I returned. "I need to go there with someone."

"I'd like that," she said coyly.

The Keg was a steak house we'd go to on Sundays when I was in the middle of training for a fight back when we lived together. It was the only day I'd allow myself to eat something outside of my strict boxing diet and it was a time that would take the edge off both our lives. I thought it would be the ideal setting to bring back some good memories, maybe go back to casually seeing each other once again. But something was different when we finally met. She was distant, colder. Some part of the love that I thought would never leave was no longer there. We went back to her place and she put the ultimatum on me. Told me these sporadic rendezvous weren't going to work, that she felt it was unhealthy for her to keep seeing me, that would make it impossible for her to move on. I nodded my head and moved towards the door.

"Wait!" she said to me. "Tell me what you think."

I basically said that everything she had said sounded logical and that I understood her perspective. I didn't want to end it, but I also didn't want it to get anymore serious either. I still wasn't sure, and I wasn't going to do anymore to her than I had already done. She let me walk out after that one. I still wonder if she secretly hoped that I had wanted to stay.

I haven't seen Grace since that night. I don't really know what became of her. Some people told me she starting dating women and moved to Cambodia. I found out through some minor internet stalking that she might be in Oakland working for another non-profit. I remember her telling me that she had some friends there so that very well could have happened as well. But I'd like to see her again now, even if she still kinda hates me.

Sometimes I envision randomly walking into some smokey dive bar in the run-down district of some city. I'd see her there relaying old stories between the barkeep and the regulars. I'd take a seat next to her and meet her eyes. She'd nod her head, but wouldn't say a word. I'd order her a glass of house red, slide it over, take a hold of my own at the stem. I'd raise my glass and give a toast to our bandaged wounds, maybe throw in a couple of Marb Reds for good measure. We'd take our first drags and breathe out in a misty silence, take a sip to wash away the staleness. Then after a few moments of our respective contemplations, I'd say to her:

"Baby, I finally know how you feel."

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Notes from my 24th trip

This whole thing with Flora could turn out to be really embarrassing for me.

Flora may have burned herself a bit in trying to guide me this time.

It's funny, when I think about it now, how it was so important to me growing up on "being real." 

Actually when you stop to think about it, the phrase, "Keep it real" is pretty profound.

Sometimes I feel like the gates of hell become thinner + thinner as time goes on.

If people were hoping for a quiet and friendly church service, they shouldn't have invited me.

I wonder if Flora is out searching for a truth when she goes out. I wonder if that's why she does it all in the first place. She's a lot like me in that sense. We are both truth seekers. It's just that...I no longer want to do it. I'm not out here by choice. I'm out here because I can't find my way back home.

Hopefully, one day I'll be able to sit down w/ my parents over a cup of tea and we will just laugh, at what a pain in the ass I am to them right now.

There comes a point in everyone's life where they just want shit to make sense again.

                       I think I am starting to see that I am a person very afraid of being left behind.

I went to a panel about blogging and they said a good way to increase traffic was to write about other writers or comment on their blog. But fuckkkkk, I am just so goddamn lazy.

Marcella, always remember that I will never forge that you were here for me, when I needed someone. I owe you one, remember that.

There's a love there too, you know? It's just different, that's all.

Contrary to what most people think about me, I most certainly do not have my shit together. I do not know what the fuck I am doing w/ my life.

You gotta hate the heroes too, at least for some part of the story.

Going thru old pieces of writing is like going thru old pieces of yourself.

I wonder how I am going to write Flora out of the pit I'm about to put her in.

I keep forgetting that at the end of the story, the fox and the prince don't end up together. But I'm a writer. I should be able to rewrite stories, right?

If we slept together Marcella, that would be too cliché. 
We're more original than that, aren't we?

Bukowski was very correct in saying that "Barfly" was a good movie. It wasn't great, but it was solid. And that's enough.

Flora still has a lot to learn. Principally how to harness that fucking power of hers.

Next time I see someone w/ a $60 shoulder bag, I'm going to think, "That's the last time I'll see that in public." 

Flora, you turned home into a place I am now afraid to go.
That's not right, Flora...that's not fair.

Sometimes I wonder if being this transparent is a bad thing. Like imagine if I was this super cryptic lawyer in the future. You could be like, did you know this dude used to be like this: !

We are held by divine waters.

Marcella, George and Michael. You are the three I've chosen to help me through this chapter. Pay attention, cuz I'm about to get schooled.

I actually don't mind the crying, I am purging sorrow. At least I know what it is. It's those quiet moments in between that I'm scared of. The not knowing what to expect.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a genius in his own respects. He's just not the best fighter that ever lived. Not by a long fucking shot.

When you're sad, you want that other person to share in your sorrow. But when they don't, when they still manage to be happy, that is nothing to be bitter about.

What I would like to think what this is all about is Flora teaching me how to nourish myself.

As a writer, I am essentially cutting myself open, because I'm curious to know what is inside.

It's a strange place, isn't it Flora? In between freedom and discipline. Passion and duty.

Sometimes I feel like this kid, who has just been lucky enough, to be captured by the right things to tame him.

I just saw what Flora would look like in 60 years. 

I'm in love w/ that woman too. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014


It’s like a trick that your mind plays on you, when you wake up and you think that the life you went to sleep living, is somehow not yours. It’s nice, for those few moments, believing, I mean really believing, that it all never existed. It was just a bad dream. But then suddenly reality hits. And it all comes back, rushing in at once. It’s like the opposite of how nightmares work.

Sometimes I want so desperately to avoid the pain that I’ll believe a lie. Like some people drown themselves in alcohol or methamphetamines or sex to numb it away. Me? I’ll just take a good ol’ lie, the coward’s way out, pretending the whole thing never happened.

I was getting ready, you know? Like preparing myself if it ever happened. I just needed some more time. Only a little. I consider myself an adaptable person. I’ve changed myself over the years to survive just about everything that’s been thrown at me. But this one. This one was new. This one hurt. More time. That’s all I needed.

At some point it all just becomes a game that you’re part of. You stand over the pieces, make them move, see who was the one that wanted to fuck you in the end, the one that wanted to rip your heart out of your chest. And you’re almost immune to the feeling, like indifferent to the outcome. I guess by that point you’ve already disassociated yourself with the emotions, let them die on their own, or killed them before they did you. It’s almost fun, like some twisted experiment on testing the true nature of the human condition. And it kinda makes you sick, from the depths of your soul, because some part of you, at least a tiny morsel, is enjoying all of this.