A lot like gravity.

Force

Hey Gang!

I recently had the privilege of being the best man for my closest friend of nearly 15 years. I wanted to share the speech I wrote. I wrote it because it rang true about he and his wife from my point of view. When I was done with it, I wanted to share it with my gang because I think it is really about what we all want at the end of our story. What follows is the original words I used, with errors, I am sure. I hope you enjoy.

*****

Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I love storytelling in any form. I love reading them in books and telling some of my own. However, my favorite story isn’t my story but I will tell it anyway.

I don’t want to take up all of your time because, ya know, open bar but it is a story about a boy and a girl.

The boy was a bit of a troublemaker some 15 years ago when I first met him. We had our own adventures for a long time. We grew up together.

Eventually, the boy went to college here at ISU. We would talk every once in a while and he told me about these amazing characters who sit around me at this table and in this room now.

However, he would frequently tell me about this girl. He always talked about how funny she was and how she was like his best friend. I remember the first time I talked to the girl, it was over the phone while they were at Goodwill and found a picture that be known as T-bear for years. I knew then that this girl meant a lot to my friend.

Years pass and their friendship grew. Like any good story there were the ups and downs, the will they or won’t they get together moments.

Spoiler alert: they did.

They loved each other but then they fell in love. They were in love across town, they we in love from city to city, and their love spanned hundreds of miles to Georgia.

Like any good story, the boy too a leap by writing a few words on an egg.*

Now, we are here and the boy and girl are together as man and wife.

This isn’t the end of my favorite story however, it is just the end of that first book in a series of books.

Like any good story, there is a moral her. And I believe it is this:

There is a pretty famous book that says “love is patient, love is kind” but I think there is something more here. Robert Frost said he took the road less travelled and it made all the difference.

These two unintentionally took all of the right turns, out of billions of turns, to get to one another.

You can call that fate, or serendipity, or kismet. But I like to think there was something more there. A force that made them naturally drawn together. That had to be in each others’ space, in each others’ orbit.

These two people are together and bound with love. I think the moral of the story is that love is a lot like gravity. It cannot be denied. When it happens, you can’t fight it, you just have to fall.

So please, raise your glass with me as I make a toast. To gravity, to love, and to my two favorite characters.

Cheers!

*****

I hope you enjoyed. I got a lot of thank you afterward. Many told me that they cried during it, which was not my intention. I wanted to get across the idea of love being something that is hard to define, merely experienced.

I hope you have experienced gravity such as this as well.

-Chris

*Author’s Note: The words on the egg is a reference to how he proposed. It was on, or near, their first Easter living together. They were coloring eggs and he showed her the one he was working on that read: “Marry Me?” I know, it sounds too good to be true but that is how it went down. As I said, my favorite story.

Advertisements

I’ll Bet

Hey Gang!

I was walking home not too long ago and I couldn’t help but be incredibly frustrated. I had multiple papers due in a few weeks, my house was in disarray thanks to my rambunctious puppy and I had little time to do anything but attend work, class, and sleep. I was spent.

I couldn’t help but think what life would be like had I taken the road less travelled, so to speak. I imagined if all those years ago I had moved on with the silly thoughts of college.

There is a concept of a multiverse, which basically says that when you pull back out of the cosmos there are parallel universes that we tend to inhabit. So right now there is a different version of me somewhere out there.

I’ll bet he is wearing a heavy flannel jacket somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. He is standing at the edge of a wooden dock that sways and creaks with every swirl of water beneath it. Trees reach into the sky all around the large hidden lake. This secret kept so well by time and nature. He looks out and takes a sip of his coffee early in the chilly morning. The smell of dark roasted coffee beans stinging his nose. He seems so small compared to his surrounding but he understands that they dance for him. They sway for him.

His own private show in these quiet hours.

I’ll bet he finishes his coffee and goes back inside where his wife is finally up. She sits reading the paper in one of his old shirts and a pair of shorts. She is concentrating so hard on whatever it is that she is reading that she doesn’t even realize he has come in.

He kisses her on top of the head and wishes her a good morning as she turns her face towards his with a smile.

I’ll bet he puts the cup in the sink and begins tip-toeing through the old log cabin that he bought years earlier. I’ll bet he is looking for someone.

He turns each corner cautiously until a tiny figure jumps out and screams, “BOO! I got you daddy!”

“Yeah you did, bud,” he exclaims as he hoists the tiny young man up on his hip.

I’ll bet he takes the young man into the kitchen and sets him in the chair next to his mother. There is a window above the sink where he sees out over the placid lake where fog creeps slowly from the warm water into the cool morning air.

I’ll bet he makes a quick breakfast for his family and then they all go outside.

The young man plays in the yard with a chocolate lab. They run together in zig-zag patterns.

The mother and the other me walk through the woods talking about whether or not they should go to town today, what the weather is like, how it used to be, and maybe about how much they want to have another baby.

The sun rises and sets on this day. The man enjoys a meal he prepared and they all go out onto the same wooden dock as before. The young boy throws a tennis ball into the lake, which signals the dog to sprint off the dock. He retrieves it over and over, always coming back to his tiny companion.

The mother gets cold and decides to go inside. She kisses the other me and heads towards the illuminated log cabin that peeks through the wooded fortress around the home.

Their shadows blend into the dark night and he hears the front door creak shut and latch.

The sounds of bullfrogs croak from somewhere distant. Crickets chirp ethereally from all around. It encompasses him.

He is surrounded and enveloped by nature.

He looks up into the night where millions of stars shine in the sky. Planets cast their technicolored twilight down. Cosmic dust swirls in the depths of space.

After a while, his mind wanders away from this beautiful place filled with such interesting flora and fauna. He begins to wonder what life had been like if things had turned out different.

He loves his family and his life but what if?

I’ll bet he wonders what if he had decided to go to college. I’ll bet he wonders what all of his friends that went off to college are doing right now. Are they married? Are they alive?

I’ll bet he wonders what life would be like to be a little freer. To be able to expand his mind and wrestle with concepts that seems so foreign to most.

He ruminates on this for hours until the cold night sinks to his core and he saunters back into the warm cabin.

I’ll bet he thinks about this until he begins drifting to sleep.

I’ll bet, just before he lets his mind rest for the night, he wonders if I wonder about him as much as he wonders about me.

– Chris

The Fabulous Damned (Part 2)

We are all high.

I think there is a truth about myself and about some others. I would like to think, to some degree, that this is true about everyone. I believe we all want to be natural disasters. We want to be seen as beautiful and ethereal and monstrous at the same time. Ladies, call a fella a ‘big teddy bear’ or some other simile. Gentlemen, call a woman ‘dude’ or ‘man’. These terms set us away from that goal of what we want to be. This is not what I want. Cute names and checking boxes on Facebook delineating our relationship status are far from the perfect, proverbial “one”.

This is far from what we want, I believe. We want what the movies refuse to show. Reality. The fact is, we all want to be beautiful and flawed to someone. No god or goddess. We want to be more than an object or a sedative. Who gets high on us?

I think some people, I finally see this in me, want to be the destroyer and the destroyed. The haunter and the haunted. We crave relief from the banality of Netflix and idle conversation. We want someone with the power to destroy us…but doesn’t.

Why? Why would someone with all this power over you not destroy what you have built? Such power is infectious and dangerous.

So, why?

I believe the answer is because they would destroy themselves. You have as much of that “power” over them as they of you. This symbiotic beauty with breaking and regenerating becomes its own drug . After a while these static things: food, sleep, making others feel so that you can, the ability to emote again; all of that fades. Finally, the chasm fades and you are left with two entities that blessed and cursed with each other. That is what it means to find the one in my eyes. When you realize how much it would destroy you if they left and how much you would destroy them if you did the same.

We believe this does not exist but I still sit at my table. I see all of the patrons around me and I know I am impatient but I still wait. I will always wait until she comes. My great disaster sitting before me.

For those whom this resonates with, you know this all too well.

We are damned to wait. Damned to yearn. Damned to wither without it.

Behold, the Fabulous Damned!

The Fabulous Damned (Part 1)

Hey Gang,

My chrysalis breaks as I emerge from a mental, artistic, and physical slumber. I awake to my own ruin. I have taken a step back from this person I have been over the past few months. I have been on auto pilot. I moved through life and never lived for the longest time. I was just doing what I should do. My writing fell and the entity that craves a voice was lost. I shut myself away from friends and family. It’s funny. Some of the individuals I used to hang out with were asking, “where have you been?!”

I initially shrugged it off by saying how busy I was but now I know that I am not able to say where I have been. A void would be the best way to put it. This chasm, this black hole of nothingness. Depression of a sort. It is this new existence that I find myself in. For the first time in my life I am left with myself. The real me, and it is scary. No isms to speak of around friends or inside jokes. It is an awakening like I have never had before. To look into yourself and see the terrible things that lurked beneath the surface.

I realized some things. I get high quite a bit. No, not on drugs as we know them, but other drugs. Making people laugh, personal success, pleasing others, achieving this, helping with that. I am addicted to a lie. A lie of who I am. I could never be honest with myself until this key stroke. I get a high from a sordid lie that I have bought into my whole life. When I see that this is so blatant, I lament. How could I have not seen this?

I notice something in me that is like the longing for a former love. However, it is in no regard for an individual. More like the yearning for an entity that does not exist. At least not yet, right? In my own little universe, she is not here yet. It is the feeling when you are meeting a friend for lunch and you have your table but your friend is running late. You think, “Where the hell are you?”

I put this into some lock box deep down. I have been on a few dates over the last year that have made me feel more than jaded. It seems like people are so lonely now. I have fought against it because I always thought that if I felt lonely I should not be with someone. It is toxic. In the end, I am lonely but the worst is the void. I enter the void with open arms and willingly. In this vacuous place I call my own there is no room for a beloved. Some narcissistic splendor of wallowing. I am sadist and masochist. I lover and loved. Hater and hated. Two hemispheres that were never meant to interlock have done so.

I separate and I see the reality. I am afraid of being happy. I love this tortured feeling that I feel now. The angst, the wild curiosity that comes with it. I love emoting. These are feelings I have not felt in months. I was carefree. This is a sickening condition. Apathy bathed me and cleansed me of the impurities of emotion. I feel more alive now than ever and what I have realized after speaking with some friends is that my condition is not mine alone.

It’s Kind of a Love Story

Hey Gang!

I have had weight issues most of my life. I call them issues because it is not really a problem in the sense that an issue is easier to fix than a problem. You solve a problem but you address an issue. I guess this is the culmination of my address. The one to myself and all of the versions of myself that I have been. All those roads that led to this place. This position where I find myself. But first, let me take a selfie….

Kidding. I do want to go to the beginning.

I was in a terrible car accident when I was four and I had thee unfortunate circumstance of remembering it wholly. The glass and twisting of metal. The ways the car bent around me and compressed my mother’s body. The screams thereafter. It all haunts me to this day. That trigger when you hear screeching tires in the distance that bring you back to that day. These memories in the periphery that somehow engulf us. Mold us and shape us. Molded me. Shaped me.

I got older and I blamed a lot of the crash on myself. Probably because I was only in traction for a year and hold only a two inch scar and yet I see my mother’s scars. That guilt I still have. It caused me to go into a deep depression at around 13 and the way I coped was food. Plain and simple. I ate and got depressed and then ate more. I never wanted to think about that day and that was my coping mechanism. How do you tell someone that they remind you every day that you should be mangled and ripped like them? How do you say to someone, “I am sorry that the crash was so unfair. That you have so much metal in you and I only have a few scars.”

Visible scars I suppose.

It’s funny to think about now. There is this terrible cycle that becomes a part of you. You become depressed. This depression causes you to eat. One day, you see yourself and how much weight you have gained which makes you even more depressed and so you cope by? YOU GUESSED IT!!! EATING! This cycle is one of sadness and disgust but within an individual. There is so much that people whom hate overweight people have to say about it all. They say, “How can you let yourself go?” and things of that nature that somehow suggest portion control. However, it is my contention that being overweight (or underweight) is a symptom to another problem and not the problem itself. Take, for example. during the renaissance, individuals that were overweight were seen as beautiful and important not because being overweight is beautiful but because it was a sign of wealth. You had the money to eat and you did. So you gained weight. The reverse is now a reality. The less money you have the less healthy food is available.

Empathize with me for a moment. You have to pay the bills. You know you have two kids and $650 rent due in a week. You also have the light bill and the cable bill plus gas. You know this leaves $20 for the next two weeks. Do you think buying salmon is a great idea? Do you think buying a large box of quinoa is going to put food in three people’s bellies for two weeks? Or maybe go to mcdonald’s and make it last off the dollar menu.

Being overweight taught me quite a few lessons. I met people whom were completely facade driven. They saw you and made snap judgements. You see how you are judged and you begin to judge yourself. This is commonly known in communication as the “looking-glass self”. I see what the world tells me I am and I did. I looked an saw this overweight beast in the mirror that I did not recognize. Until i was about 23. I started a job that forced me to be in shape. I started losing weight and really started to see something better in the mirror. I started to look in magazines and see these muscular adonis-type figures that were becoming more hallow. This body image was being forced on me by people in a room somewhere in L.A. who thought that this is how I should look.

I hated the way I looked up until then. But then I made a promise to myself. Each week I would look in the mirror and say what I enjoyed about some physical part of me. The first week i said, “I like my eyes. I have nice eyes.” The next week I said, “I like my lips. I have nice lips.” Years go by. I had the support of my friend Nate, luckily, and my adventure continued. I liked more and more of myself. I began working out and eating right. No more fad diets or weight shakes. It was about me. It was beautifully about me. I would treat myself at each milestone. I would buy an album I always wanted. I would by myself shirts and ties. New shoes. These material things were trophys. Each one was representative of a goal I had met.

Now, I have lost quite a bit of weight and I am almost at the lowest weight I have been at since I was 14. This is sad but true. However, it doesn’t matter what size I wear, i always carry around that weight. The weight from the accident that ignited the physical weight I gained. I have forgiven myself for not being as injured as my mother. I now look in the mirror and see myself. All those parts I said I liked combined into what I am. What I have become. Now when I see myself in the mirror I see all of those liked pieces that have become an individual I love.

So, I guess when you love yourself you become open to loving other people. Such a beautiful world.

I suppose gaining all of that self-efficacy and self-esteem makes you someone you can love and who wants and deserves to be loved.

All in all I guess it’s kind of a love story.

-Chris

The Modern Ape

Image

Hey Gang!

There are three things that one must accept in this world. 1. Sharks are the perfect predators, swim accordingly; 2. Dolphins are able to notice their own reflections, one of two which includes humans.; 3. We are, be you creationist or evolutionist or evolution-creationists, all just animals. We are beautiful, flawed creatures that are incredibly close to the things around us. We go to higher education and think that that somehow makes us better off than the box jellyfish. This fact is actually quite amusing because, take away all of those niceties that we take for granted: shelter, electricity, friends and family; what you are left with is the complete sense that you are alone.

You are not alone.

FACT: Eating a banana is 50% cannibalism as we share about 50% of our DNA with the banana, which is actually a berry.

I bring this up because the other day I remembered something that I had forgot long ago. A simple theory that Nate and myself made years ago, when we were in our teens. I was reminded of it when I was at my desk, wholly frustrated with a project i was doing. Whenever I get frustrated, I play with my Rubik’s cube. I never really have the goal of solving the puzzle. For me, it is about the ability to clearly think one one thing. There is nothing more than the rotating, oscillating form in front of me. So, I almost jumped out of my seat when a deep, kind voice said, “There’s a video for that you know.”

I turned around and saw a lanky, tall man I knew to be a professor staring down at me with amused eyes. I laughed and said, “Yeah, no one will ever solve this thing.” (I say this in reference to an old film called “The Wedding Singer”, it does not compute).

“Yes, they have. I think there is a way to solve it,” he said as he pointed to my computer.

He truly meant to look it up. So, I appeased. We found a video with step-by-step directions and i must admit, the puzzle made sense. He laughed and I finally realized how stupid I felt. THE MAN HAD SOLVED IT MANY TIMES BEFORE! He knew how to solve it and basically walked me through the steps like a small child trying to learn how to ride the bike.

I was insulted and yet, I was elated.

I felt a jolt of excitement. He left but I started looking at the puzzle in a different way. It started to make sense.

FACT: Orcas have an additional portion on their brain that allows for the feeling of more emotions than humans.

A few moments later and I realized this feeling. It was primal. I am guessing this is how humans felt when Prometheus brought them fire. I realized, however, that my demeanor must have seemed archaic to someone who knew the puzzle. The design was there in front of them and I was this grand creature twisting and turning the pieces aimlessly. It must have been a funny sight. I felt like an ape who had just started to figure out what good a tool a club was.

I laughed pretty hard at that as I thought of myself like an ape making calls and hunched over on the ground. I imagined myself grunting at the puzzle when it did not turn out how I wanted it to.

This is when I remembered the theory of “Angry Hot”.

FACT: We too were once single celled organisms, for about half an hour, much like the Gromia sphaerica, or amoeba.

Nate and I contended that there are women out there so hot that it would actually cause you to go into a frenzy. So, attractive were these women that it caused men to go primal. This was a thought process of two 17 year olds but there is actually a precedent. Women are, in evolutionary theory, able to make men more primal. There is a hip to waist ration that women have (.07) that causes men to find them more fertile. The primal act of mating takes over and you get a truly attractive person eliciting a response from another animal. So, “Angry Hot” can happen when other males are around to contest the attention of the female. 

Are you bored yet?

Listen, all I am saying is, we truly are close to that primal self. The one that kept us alive in the cold winters and scorching summers. We are still animals.

FACT: We are made of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen atoms. Hydrogen and helium began our universe, followed by carbon and then a supernova occured and spread out these elements. Every creature on earth has elements of these basic natures. Zinc, iron and more. These make us up and were brought to us by an exploding star. Thus, every creature on this planet is made of stars.

Animals, we are animals. We breath and we fight and we make tools. We do these things and we see ourselves as better than other animals. Yet, I am an animal, as are you. We are all animals yet we have no communal sense. Why hurt this animal or that animal? Why get pleasure out of pain? Why pass by a homeless person in need of help? Why hate another person for their beliefs, values, skin color, or disabilities? Why do all of these things to better your life? That is like poison for a species as amazing as the ones on this planet.

Be animals, not beasts.

We are animals but we, every entity from the cold-blooded to the warm-blooded to the photosynthetic, are made of the same things that bind us together.

Us modern apes, we are all made of stars.

 

-Chris

PS- Good to be back! Hope you enjoyed it!

Universes, part II

 

 (Hey Gang! This is a post that is from another blog that I write for a newspaper’s website. It was unfortunately censored. I decided that I would uncensor it and publish it here.)

I sit here now, talking my brother out of making me into an incidental chat roulette star while I type. I think about a conversation I had a day or two ago. It had to do with meeting women. A friend was talking about hooking up with someone downtown and how he was going to wear this shirt and tell this lie, or that lie. It was beyond me because I have come to the conclusion that nothing awesome ever comes out of downtown.

How many individuals have found “the one” while grinding?

How many have found their soul mate while jersey turn-piking?

How many have found Mr./Mrs. Right white “dropping it like it’s hot”?

My guess, not a lot.

That is one thing you learn with age. You actually want more than a crazy story and one night stand. Conversation because increasingly more of an attractive trait in someone. You begin looking for those people, not in clubs, but in your favorite places. People who share some common interest with you and it is visible. Sometimes you do meet someone and there is a click, mentally more than physically. You may get their number or just hope to see them again but there is always that part of you that is hopeful. More than attraction. Optimism in an emotion. Embodied in something that is not soaked in alcohol or other things.

I remember thinking how great it would be to strike up some kind of conversation with someone at this Laundromat or while walking around Barnes and Noble. Something where you relate on another level. Outside of school or bars or clubs. Outside of your world. Your universe colliding with another. That journey outside of yourself in another is a beautiful thing, I believe.

Your friends may talk about their latest conquest but you have that moment. That one moment when everything was in its place and you met someone, out of billions, that made you stop and give up your time willingly. They gave theirs. It became time for you both. The person may not be the one but they mean more to you in that moment than a night at the club. Being present with someone can be an incredible thing, if you give in to it. Take your headphones out and put the phone away. Pay attention to those around you because they may be paying attention to you.

I may be a hopeless, I would prefer hopeful, romantic but it is truly incredible to meet someone organically and in a place where no one is desperate or intoxicated.

A place of chance.

A place where two people met by random happenstance.

A place where universes collide.

-Chris

 

The Forest Beyond The Wall Of Happiness

 

https://i2.wp.com/hdwallpaperslist.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Amazing-Forest-HD-Wallpapers-1-3.jpg

 

Hey Gang!

 

I was walking around Barnes and Noble after having bought a delicious Pumpkin Spice frappucino. It is life changing! Okay, maybe not life changing but still very good. My brother and I were just meandering around, as we always do. We went through the fiction section and discussed Hemingway. We walked by a display table of Harry Potter novels where my brother lamented that his childhood hero’s journey had come to an end. We moved our way through each section like sharks swimming through a school of fish. We would pick up a chosen food source in the biography section or, my personal favorite, the philosophy section.

I perused through the philosophy section and we talked about the concepts of heaven and hell, right and wrong, existence and perception until our cups yelled with every sip from the straw, signaling its emptiness.

We decided to call it a day and we started to leave but I had to stop. I looked in front of me and an entire wall, maybe 40 feet, was dedicated to self-help. One section was about finding your identity, another talked about how to get ahead in a lackluster job/relationship/life, and another was filled with books that all managed to say the same thing: “How To Be Happy.”

I was dumbfounded; however, my brother couldn’t see the point and walked on.

I looked at these books that were yelling at me through large titles on their covers. “The Happiness Project” was one that interested me most. I think I have become a bit cynical about happiness. Not in the fact that it is an important emotion but that it has a formula. I am a firm believer that there is no formula for happiness.

I understand this woman went through a series of events that she transcribed and used to help her get closer to happiness. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn’t.

I looked further on at all of the titles and I kept thinking, “Are we really this unhappy?” I thought, “Are these people telling us they know the secret that we don’t?”

I thought, “Is this me they are speaking to?”

I must admit that there is a struggle between two realities. The reality of being a grad student and the one of being a Graduate Teaching Assistant. I focused more on being a good teacher instead of being a good student and it cost me a good grade on a test in one of my classes. I haven’t had a poor grade in years and this came as a blow to my self-esteem. I was upset for days. I wondered if I was capable of this. I wondered if I was in over my head. I wondered if this was all a mistake.

There is always that part of you that keeps asking your subconscious mind, “Is this it? Have you finally found your limit?” I think it is only natural, I suppose.

My mind was preoccupied hour after hour about it. That was until I saw a picture of my best friend’s baby girl. She is a beautiful bundle of cuteness. I think it finally hit me then about the old saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.”

Throughout the next few days, everyone was using the metaphor. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was some sign from above. I thought long and hard about the metaphor. I was fascinated by it and consumed by it. That is when the lens that was out of focus began to stabilize. I finally saw the picture clearly.

I was so wrapped up in these few sets of trees that it caused me to miss out on the rest of the forest. This poor grade and how hard all of this is pales in comparison to the other trees that surround them.

I look at the vastness of my forest and it excites me and entices me. The trees; I want to climb them all. I want to run through my forest from edge to edge but I know I must seek life one tree at a time. Right now the leaves are beautiful and green but one day they will turn amber and finally bare.

I stepped back and realized how much I have outside of this problem that preoccupied me. There is a life that is here and meant to be lived. I may allow myself to be bummed about a bad grade but I have to wonder what its butterfly effect will be. Is this going to cause me to be unable to meet “the one”. Will I not own a house because of this or backpack around Europe?

Will this burn down my forest?

I am proud to say: no.

I look back on my life and see the trees. Each one represents just how well I have lived it. The good and the bad. I want to make this forest a national park. I want to make it the Amazon rainforest. Not every tree is good but from them comes the seeds of future trees.

Those books on the wall of happiness tell you some sort of formula that you should employ to become a happier person. Better than you are. Yet, they wrote and published these books about finding happiness and they sell them to those that truly need it for profit.

Some look for happiness and how to find a mate by way of the written word but I would say that you should look at your own forest. Not the tree in front of you. Climb out of the redwood you are stuck in and plant a new tree. Then step back and watch it grow as you add on to your forest.

Life is about…

I was going to write something up there but that would be hypocrisy, wouldn’t it? Maybe those three little dots say more than I can here. Yeah, I like that.

Life is just about.

I hope you find a way to let go of those small events and see the big picture because acceptance of self and life are what make it all worth living.

Let go. Just let go and you can begin to see it all. Happiness comes not to those who seek it but to those that accept it. Happiness never leaves you. It is nowhere to be found in some formula. Accepting that it is okay to be happy in your situation is what is important. You have no reason not to be happy except the one you give yourself. It is always there in the forest.

Let go of those trees and accept it.

Happiness just is.

And life is about…

– Chris

Electric Bodies

(Photo Source: Google Images)

Hey Gang!

A BRIEF THANK YOU: It has been a while! I have been insanely busy with all of my duties as a psuedoprofessor. In that time, I was freshly pressed again! Such an amazing honor and I want to say thank you to all of you that have been on this wild ride over the past year with me. You guys inspire me to be a better writer!

“I have perceived that to be with those I like is enough.

To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,

To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,

To pass among them, or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly ’round his or her neck for a moment– what is this, then?

I do not ask any more delight– I swim in it as in a sea.

There is something in staying close to men and women, looking on them, and in the contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well;

All things pleas the soul–but these please the soul well.”

—-Walt Whitman, section 4, “I Sing The Body Electric”

This is an excerpt from one of the most amazing pieces of literature ever put to paper or stone. I read this a week or so ago and it stuck with me. It resonated with me in a way that is hard to communicate. Have you ever read something that made you have goosebumps?  That one thing that causes your arrector pili to contract. How can something like that happen? How can a piece of writing make me have a physical response?

This state of beauty intrigues me as it whispers truths.

In American culture, we talk about the “beautiful people”. Those who are seen as modern gods, really, because, to many, being “beautiful” is a key to a door that opens up and reveals a world that is only accessed by those with that key. No one else can enter; just look through the keyhole.

I can’t help but shake my head at that. In his poem, Walt describes so much inherent beauty in people. He talks about how we should be proud to have strong and able bodies but I also see something in this passage above that makes me think about “people.”

I wonder quite often what other people see in me. Is it me that they see or the actor? Make no mistake, the Bard was quite right. The world is a stage and we are but actors. So, when people look at you  and I, when they look at us, do they see the actor or the individual? Is this me or my representation?

I walk a certain way and talk a certain way in different situations. I act and only around a few am I truly myself. For better or worse. This stage upon which I stand is so vast and so many roles are present that it is hard to perceive an instance where I could meet someone who is not an actor. That beautiful moment when our masks fall during this great masquerade. This beautiful dance of life which we all learn steps to. We interpret our own moves and once in a while change partners; people whom we take our masks down for.

Sometimes I stop dancing and look around. I see so many masks. I took mine down recently and it is then that you can see the tragedy of what a mask is.

Being you behind you behind you behind you.

Your paradox.

Once in a while you are able to meet a person who has shed their mask and dances on their own. They too embrace a reality where your mask is no longer viable. No mystique hidden. She dances wildly and spins as the masked take a step back. She dances an unfamiliar and unique dance. haunting others while being haunted by that which made her take the mask down.

She spins.

She does a plie’.

She does a tandu.

She does a frappe’.

She spins to some sweet song sounding through a calliope that only she hears. People look at her in awe.

She is beautiful. She laughs in joy as her hair swirls. She is electric.

How can we not see this? That which Walt saw so long ago. It is not about the beautiful people; it is that people are beautiful. We need to see this as we look at those around us. That quote above. It sings to me some sweet lullaby. In his contention he says that being with people is enough. He is satisfied by being close to people. To bodies. They are works of art. We are works of art. The beauty of a woman’s gently sloping neck or of a man’s muscular arm. We see people who are aesthetically pleasing all around us.

These creatures all around us that evoke something primal. When you click with that person, their humor or their intelligence, anything; when you find that connection, it awakens something in you. This creature that is pieced in such a way as to make you have a physical reaction. You laugh, you look in awe, you wonder about them and their background. You seek more. People are beautiful drugs that stimulate the senses.

Just as our body reacts to the elements, how our hair raises when around static electricity, so, too, is how the body and mind connect and respond when we encounter these glowing creatures. These embodied phenomenons.

These electric bodies.

When in their presence, we are most aware of our masks and how they define us. These beautiful creatures dance around us, showing us what beauty truly is.

The acceptance of body and self. When masks are torn down and we are who we mean to be.

We dance a joyous, unique celebration.

We sing our bodies electric.

-Chris

Forget Yourself

https://i0.wp.com/ak9.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/2996197/preview/stock-footage-subdued-lighting-and-tight-focus-on-the-hands-of-a-cellist-in-action.jpg

 

 

Hey Gang!

So, I have been bogged down with taking notes on the textbook that I will be teaching to students this year. It was a terribly dull and arduous four days of taking in-depth notes but i feel as if I could teach speech to great white sharks in a volcano! (can you imagine?)

While doing this is beneficial, it is also quite dull and sucks the creativity out of me. So, I felt uninspired to write. I did take breaks in between to play my bass. I would play around on the strings as I thumped the E string, emitting a beautiful, warm thud that dissipated. I played strings erroneously.

Then, I moved into my old default: Pixies- “Where Is My Mind”. It was the first song that I learned to play and it has always been my go-to song whenever I need to think. My hands, knowing the song all too well, move on their own. They play the opening warm melody and in my head I can hear Kim’s high, angelic voice ooo-ing.

Then I started to remember a conversation that I had via text with one of my best friends. We started talking earlier in the day about perspective. I told him that I was feeling so much better because I was back at school. I felt like I had purpose again. A place. Something was new.

He told me what I had assumed for a long while. He felt alone and was feeling unambitious as well in his austere lifestyle in the military. I couldn’t blame him.

I kept playing as I thought about that conversation and it gave me this mental picture. I usually try to think of things as analogous and metaphorical as possible. It helps me visualize a problem or an event. I guess it is just the way that I am wired.

I saw this boat drifting in the darkness. Rain poured down and the ocean swelled as wave after wave crashed upon the darkened vessel. It bowed and tilted under the stress of the ocean as it went along aimlessly in the mercy of the environment. Then, ahead of the vessel was a beacon. Bright and warm as it beckoned the vessel back to shore.

For some reason, I just started playing notes on my bass and eventually came up with a song that I entitled “Beacon”. I sent the rough recording to him and he seemed to enjoy it. I hope it made his day a bit better. Maybe he even got a bit inspired to play a bit or pick up a pencil to draw again. Either way, I hope it helped.

This got me to think of the past year and the amazing cast of characters that have stepped in and fallen out of my life in that duration. I remember talking to people and when I spoke of feeling insufficient; so much less than, they would usually have the same response but in different terms:

You need a girl.

I suppose the idea was if I were to be with someone or “be with someone” that my situation would be solved. That everything would be fine.  I see this a lot in the people I have met. Love, or the semblance of, is some sort of cure all band-aid for us. Love is the answer, the drug that satiates some sort of unexplainable hunger. Love is that part of us that needs to be filled for us to be full. To be a whole person.

I wondered for a while, during my little break between note-taking, about that idea. Should I have done that? Should I have just been with someone and let that preoccupy me?

Would I be whole?

Then I answered my own question when I thought about what I had just asked myself, should I let it preoccupy me. Thus meaning that somehow Love, with a capital L, would be a distraction from whatever was the real problem.

I feel like I talk about a lot of things on my blog when relating to relationships but I hardly ever talk about love. Maybe platonic but not romantic. Even if you read Clocks, you still only read about that closeness that I admire and would enjoy. Love is different and more complex than synchronicity.

I have never been in Love. Sounds great but just never has happened. Optimistic it will happen but what I do know about the subject is that it is not a bandage. It is an added attribute, not the prosthetic limb to “complete” me.

No, I know what I was looking for now. There are some things greater than love. They overthrow its throne, in my belief. They are what can take the ship from sea and what has been my goal all along.

The power of self-respect and self-efficacy.

These are what complete us. They complete me. That moment when you look in the mirror and know who you are is brilliant. It’s a symphony that exudes such delightful notes. It slips seamlessly from chord to chord, note to note. It plays a song unique to you.

It’s your song, now just to listen!

Once you understand yourself. Respect yourself. You can be open to the world that is truly beautiful. Let fall to the wayside those who try to break down what you have built in yourself. If you lose yourself, it is only you who can find you.

Hear your song and then, when you gain the power of self-respect and self-efficacy; when you know yourself, you can finally know how beautiful this all can be. The complexity of Love and pondering its meaning as a standalone entity and not a bandage. The revelations of just how close you can get to another when you are you. You are able to be present and live without regret because, in the end, you are doing what you know is true to you. You are true to yourself.

You finally see, with unfiltered eyes, the beauty that is life.

-Chris

 

 

I found this quote today that inspired this blog from one of my all-time favorite authors and playwrights and I hope it helps you as much as it helps me.

Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music- the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasure, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget Yourself.

– Henry Miller