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A Fond Farewell (Letters from Beena)

Hey Gang!

I hope you are all doing marvelously! It has been quite a while since I posted on this blog and I couldn’t figure out why. I would think of something to write, sit down to write it, and then nothing would come out. It felt forced and I felt like whatever  I was going to write would, honestly, be complete shit. It was incredibly frustrating. I loved the community surrounding this but it felt like something foreign. It felt like I was a different person; someone separate from the person who posted these words.

Once upon a time a great man said, “Writing is simple, you just sit in front of your typewriter and bleed.” Bled I did or at least tried to. I wrote as honestly and truthfully as I could as a young man just trying to figure life out. I was in my mid twenties when I began this blog. It bloomed incredibly early and I was not ready for it. I felt like I had to write in a specific way. I began to deviate from that and I understand that some didn’t like that. I was telling my truth at the time. I went through highs and definite lows in the waning years of my twenties and my creativity fell away.

It was the stress of adulting too hard, I suppose. However, that was a person outside of whom I am now. It doesn’t seem fair to negate what I wrote and the trials I went through in my twenties. I am about six months from 30 and I must admit that I have a new outlook. A better outlook. It is much different than the pensive and sometimes nihilistic outlook of my younger visage.

I am happy and sad to say that this is my last post on this blog. Herein are my emotions, triumphs, and pitfalls. I loved this blog and community so much and still do. I remember getting an email with a woman thanking me. I remember she said, “Thank your for your writing. Reading it makes me feel less alone. Keep writing.” It was the most beautiful thing I have every read and I wanted to thank her! I felt so connected.

I am moving and I found something that broke my heart. I had a penpal I met through here named Beena. We spoke over e-mail and decided to send letters back and forth. It was a fun friendship! I loved opening my mailbox and seeing my friend’s handwriting scrawled on the front of a letter. Her personalized cards were beautiful as well. One day the letters stopped and it made me sad. We lost contact and I lamented. As I moved boxes recently, I found the letter I thought I sent to her years ago. The one I thought was never responded to.

To her I say: Beena, you are a fascinating and wonderful human being!

I would also like to say thank you to three other amazing people on this blog: Sweet The Sound, Fencing with Ink, and Margaret (hopefully those are still accurate!). You were both amazing and constantly made me think from giving your points of view.

It is with regret that I say goodbye but I will leave this blog open for someone, years from now, to stumble upon and hopefully find a grain of beauty, peace, or  something close to it.

I have created a new blog called thirtiesshmirtiesblog.wordpress.com if you would like to follow along with my misadventures in a way separate from what I touted in this one. Less anonymity and more life. More color. More beauty for the sake of beauty and not in the face of tragedy. At least not wholly beauty in tragedy. Tragedy is always around the corner for all of us. However, the light within the tragedy is what is important. That is what continues our growth.

I shall end this with how I should have began it; a brief introduction.

Hello, my name is Christopher Noel. I am a writer, a son, a brother, a friend, a dreamer, a believer, and a lover of life. All life. Your life! Use it well.

-Christopher Noel

 
 

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A lot like gravity.

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.

 

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I’ll Bet

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

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Fabulous Damned (Part 2)

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!

 
 

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The Fabulous Damned (Part 1)

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.

 
 

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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

 
 

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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!

 

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