Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Color me uncolored... and speechless...

I'm still in shock; I had no idea that this would happen so soon. It seems that America continues to be a land of surprises--for worse or, apparently, for better...

The world was watching, the nation was hoping, and I was sitting in my socks and boxers with my eyes glued to the television. It happened, and I couldn't help but check the calendar. I was almost positive it wasn't April. Did we enter some sort of backwards alternate-reality vortex? I looked that man in the face and couldn't help but view him as a walking, talking, living, breathing, anachronism, a man somehow misplaced in the grand scheme of things--a man who, despite perpetuated practices, managed to inspire a radical reconsideration of long-held ideals and beliefs. All I could do was stare. It wasn't April, I wasn't dreaming, and we seemed to be comfortably nestled in our normal, non-alternative, universe.

My father voted for the first time, and I can't help but think he represents his generation's final push to make something happen. It worked. I can't relay to you the pride and, deep, fundamental, joy I felt at my father's excitement to cast his vote. All of this is sobering, to say the least. This election has made Neil Armstrongs of us all; we are finally aware of our individual place in the ever-running continuum of time. I'm glad I've lived to witness what could possibly be one of the most significant regime changes in the small history of our adolescent nation and the larger, more considerable, history of our (human) race.

For all of those who have died; for the bodies at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean; for the bones buried deeply in the heart of our southern kin; for the sacrifice, heartache and hardship; for my mother and father, my grandmother and grandfather; for the homeless persons on the street, the lonely souls longingly lingering behind bars, and the dapper debutantes flaunting the fruits of their professional prowess; I look ahead and smile.

It seems that we, in our own small-stepping way, have made another giant leap toward a promising future.
Still, I'm certain that we've yet to travel as far and as long as we must for things to be truly as they should. I'm looking forward to the journey.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What You Ask For...

This entry started off as a reflective assignment for my Composition Theory class. After finishing it, I realized that it was really meant for here. I turned it in anyway...

* * *

I’ve started to sleep with the light on again. I concluded a while ago that my fear of the dark is directly proportional to the amount of stress in my life. At this point, I’m apprehensive about getting up and going to the bathroom because of the five seconds of insufferable blackness that separates my room and the light switch. I’m not quite sure if that constitutes as some form of social commentary; I’m completely comfortable in my skin, but at times, I fee like it hinders other’s ability to be naturally comfortable with me. So, most of the time, I feel like a beached whale, surrounded by an ocean of well-intentioned individuals. The glaring differences make it hard to see much else, and I can’t help but feel sorry for them. I know that that’s an ironic concept; it both is and isn’t their fault that I grew up in a subdivision of their discursive existence. The similarities are atrociously intriguing, but the differences have a way of putting everything into perpetual perspective. Here I am, creating the beginnings of what might prove to be a ritualistic purging of the non-sequential, expressive, deceitfully telling writing that has marked the communicative growth I have experienced over the years, and all I can think about is the idea that this soul-letting will work to foster a base disconnectedness that will enable me to write more like an academic. I can’t think of anything more classically pathetic.

* * *

I miss the days when I was certain about things; the days when I was secure. Now I seem to exist in a continual state of intellectual disarray. I don’t trust the viability of my own thoughts, and I can’t help but think that this path is one big conspiracy to make me a functioning alcoholic. I never drank as much as I have since I’ve been here, and it’s only been about a month. Talk about your gateway drugs. I’m convinced that the desire to pursue a life in academia is the most significant social anathema in existence. I was already a recluse, and even I have my reservations. (As a side note, that was not initially meant to be a punny reference to the current state of Native-American sovereign territories.) All this leaves me wondering if my tangential, markedly interconnect trains of though will, at some point, come barreling toward each other in what is sure to be the final reckoning of my intellectual existential being. I mean, will I ever be able to avoid the cerebral overload that comes with the assimilation of massive amounts of (oft- disparaging) case studies on human exigency (know, more affectionately, as literature)? For—to hijack, resituate and ironize an oft quoted scripture—my cup runneth over as it is.

* * *

The other day, I genuinely wept while reading Harper Lee’s To Kill a Monkingbird, and I’ve not been alright sense. Looking the way I do, being the way I am, feeling the way I feel, I can’t help but hurt when humanity trades in its individually inspired brilliance for a work-bee like reliance on mob mentality. We possess tools that both damn and save us, and I am torn to pieces by the price we each have to pay for misguided, oft-violent, centralization of human intellectual capital. We chant, “I am legion” as we slaughter each other by the millions, all for a frustrated desire to connect with ourselves and, by extension, each other. It hurts, and the books only serve to concretize the inner turmoil that breeds such contemptible behavior. They give me hope; they leave me in despair. Still, I profess literature, and I must press on. I’m just at a loss for what I’m supposed to do with these feelings. “I could stand a little help.”

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Another Day...

Today is Sunday and I, willfully, did not go to church. There. I said it. I'm a creature of habit that has lost any connection to the routine that has marked its life for so long. Where is life alert when you need it? I'm tired of pretending, of being the knight in gilded armor in little, unimportant, ways. Few know how draining it is to smile and nod and grin when everything within you wants to be frank and honest. Why must I be stuck with caring, picking up where others have dropped anything they could stand to gesticulate? I have so much stored inside that my dreams have become an inadequate release valve; they've given up, and apparently convinced sleep to follow suit. I wish to God they'd return.

For so long I've been the go to guy for things. My life has been made up perpetual layers of falsities; my personality has become malleable to the point that it always lacks any definite shape, and that disturbs me to no end. I can befriend anyone; make people smile; be attractive; be seductive; seem clueless; seem helpless. But, when it all comes down to it, I have a hard time being me, for I am all and none of these things.

Why can I not just be me anymore? I want to make love just as much as the next person does. Why is that so bad? It's gotten to the point where refraining from swearing is something that I do more so out of habit than reverence. I don't sleep with random people because I'm picky not because I'm fearful of some precipitous decent into the nether regions of post-humus existence.

Still, there are always people to worry about. I know when they're lying to me; I know when they're insecure. I can tell from the tone of their voice how their day has been, and I know when their hiding the screaming, raging, daemons inside. People never expect you to be perceptive, though they secretly wish you would be. It's taken me twenty-two years to realize that. Now, I know why I'm always so socially awkward: I get glimpses of emotions and can't shake them quick enough. I guess it's always been that way.

I need a vacation.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Silent Scream...

So, it seems that I've fallen back into old habits. I've been MIA, and I apologize to whoever cares. Things have been interesting for the last few weeks. As I hinted in the previous post, I've been on a path of self discovery, and it's led me to uncharted territory. I've met new people who may turn out to be just insane enough to carry me along with them. Somehow, it doesn't feel like the blind leading the blind.

Orientation started last week and ended Friday. It's amazing how much of a sense of camaraderie can develop between like minded individuals who just happen to be strangers. All in all, things have been going smoothly. I really missed writing here and I didn't realize how much it helps until my fingers started composing what you see now. My sleep has been fitful, and rest has been elusive. I think it has something to do with the change in locale--however cerebral. I'm hoping that I'll find some stability before classes start and I'm forced to operate with a helter-skelter sense of balance. It's bad enough that I'm already intellectually insecure; I really don't need to add emotional instability to the, already complicated, equation.

Maybe I need music to re-appear in my life, or maybe I need someone to come along and hold me and tell me that everything will be alright. Despite the crowd, I feel as lonely as I've ever felt, and I can't help but think that I'll learn to be numb to it before any relief will come. I'm so picky, so skeptical, so vulnerable that trust never enters the picture--neither for myself nor another. It's insanity; I know. Still I can't help but feel the silence and shiver at the thought of how cold it gets.

Music, why so soft? Hope, why so quiet? Time, why so still? Help, why so far? I read somewhere that "courage doesn't always roar", that "sometimes courage is the quiet voice a the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow'"

...I apologize for being so personal...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Getting there...

"I'm in repair. I'm not together, but I'm getting there."

I was thinking today about where I'm headed, because, for some reason, it seems that the farther I travel down my personal road, the less I know about the destination. The journey is important. I know. Still, I'm wondering if the means are working toward any perceivable--let alone justifiable--end. I mean, I'm all for exercising my individuality. I understand the singular nature of my particular walk, and even agree with the ideology that a little travel and experience ultimately leads to a better and more fulfilled life; I'm just wondering if all this aimless wandering is completely necessary.

This question, though generally applicable to almost every aspect of my life, is particularly geared to where my head and heart is at spiritually. I know I rarely talk about this here (or anywhere, for that mater) but a conversation with a dear friend sparked what is growing to be a particularly unruly flame of discontent.

Have you ever sat trying to wrap your mind around or identify something that is perpetually out of reach--even if only just barely? What's amazing about such a predicament is that it sometimes takes only a few words from an extrinsic source to transform that cloudy, nebulous "something" into a clear, distinctly important, conception of an often deeply affecting part of your personal reality. Making this specific to my situation, I’ve known for a while now that a once barely comprehensible concept has been making itself more and more apparent. Narrowing this broad stroke even further, I'm coming to the point where my spiritual journey is, for the first time, being laid before me.

* * *

As the aforementioned friend intimated, the hand holding process has ended and the path to self-discovery and spiritual fulfillment is now mine to choose. With all of this before me, I'm wondering if the way that I've been led-- a way that has been anything but "less traveled"-- has hindered me from ever being able to make it on my own. If I'm walking the path that those before me have walked, how am I supposed to choose anything other than what those before me have chosen? I guess I'm wondering if my confusion lies in the fact that I'm expected to come up with an individual understanding of something that has hitherto relied on (and, presently, all but demands) communal construal.

* * *

I don't agree with half of what most people believe in this faith. This makes things all the more difficult considering that I can't seem to differentiate between the plural reality of "the" faith and the--more important--singular reality "my" faith. I'm stuck with walking the thin line between what is progressive and what is blasphemous, and it's completely clouding any vision of the future. I'm not quite following in the footsteps of those I have grown to respect and love, and I am nowhere near coming into my own. Instead of venturing down a discernible path, I'm pushing my way through the dense, inhibiting, brush that lies between the two, and I don't know how long I can keep it up. The foliage is stinging, blinding and disorienting, and I'm loosing sight of either way.

Do I play it safe, or boldly go where none has gone before? Seriously, either way I choose I'll be letting a part of me down. I don't want the religious answers, despite how comfortingly numbing they can sometimes be. I don't want a connection based on a historically perpetuated system that has become disconnected from its founding principles. I want a relationship. One that is not predicated on what I've done to atone for past occurrences I could not control. I want to be loved, and to love unconditionally. I want to feel needed and to need. I want to consistently practice what I preach and follow a God that does the same. I don't want the God that my mother, father or peers believe in. I want the God who truly loves me despite my (many) faults and who I can love in return; the one who is as ashamed of what "our" faith has become as I am; the one for whom I am enough and who is enough for me.

I am truly sorry if this offends anyone, for that isn't my intent. I'm merely verbalizing what has been stirring up so much internal dust as of late. Hopefully, this will be the first step toward some rehabilitating clarity.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Reading: The story of my life...

The day has finally come. I've decided that I'm going to start reading. I've been putting it off for so long because I know deep down that it's more than starting one book. In beginning the list, I'm also beginning a new way of thinking about and looking at what occurs in them all. I feel like I'm committing to a marriage that can never be annulled with a partner whom I barely know. From what I've heard, things change on the other side. Once passionate love affairs turn into embittered resentment... quaint familiarity becomes sardonic intimacy... basic exoteric gratification becomes acidic esoteric frustration.... Ah well...

To mark the occasion I bought three books to add to the already staggering list of ones I've yet to read. I should probably seek counseling, because it seems to be becoming an addiction. At any rate, I'm thinking I'm going to heed the advice of those who have come before me and start with the books that I'd normally use as paperweights.

I want to be ambitious, but the small amount of good sense that I do possess is telling me that starting too hot will burn me out before I get a good pace set. So, I'm thinking Middlemarch, Pride and Prejudice, Moby Dick (ugh) and Tristram Shandy are ones I'm going to have to build up to... sue me.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


So I Just got back "home" after a week long foray into the inner sanctum of familial relations. My parents renewed their vows after 25 years of (more or less) happy marriage, four kids, a host of semi-adopted auxiliaries and half a lifetime of dealing with large groups of Type A personalities. After having the privilege of participating in the ceremony (by far the worst "singing" I've done in recent and not so recent memory) I realize that I'm in no hurry to venture down that road.

Don't get me wrong. I love family. I love seeing the look of true pleasure in their eyes when they behold the reassuring sight of a lasting union between two individuals in whom they see a wellspring of promise and possibility. I love the almost palpable bond that connects even the most estranged members of the convivial collective. I love feeling a sense of safety amidst a world of danger and chaos. Still, too much of any good thing counteracts that thing's goodness, and--true to form--, the family that I hold so dearly is also the family that-- given the proper amount of time--drives me up a wall-- and/or out a door.

All in all, the week was enjoyable. I had the opportunity to see folk I hadn't in a very long time, and also got to hang out with friends whom I'd been sorely missing for what seemed to be even longer. It was a week I didn't know I needed. Here's to the times when surprises are doubly unexpected and, equally, enjoyed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Random Confessional...

So, my friend Nate tagged me a little more than a month ago with a meme for which I'm supposed to divulge six widely unknown things about myself. Since I operate with a "better late than never" mentality (most of the time) I figured I'd give it a shot. Oh boy...

1. I'm deathly afraid of the dark. When I was little, I used to sleep with a plastic mini coat rack (the one that hangs on the back of a door or on a wall) in my hand to beat any ghost/person/unknown entity that might sneak up on me while I lay alone. To this day, I sleep with the TV on to simulate another person's presence in the room. Now I even go as far as to play downloaded movies and episodes of TV shows on my computer monitor when no TV is present. My sisters think it’s funny; I think it's debilitating.

2. Though most people never notice, I don't wear shorts in public. I developed a bad case of eczema right around the time I started going through puberty. At such a vulnerable time in my (mental) development, I was ashamed of any irregularities. The eczema got better, but my self-perception did not. Thus, my legs are made to suffer for my insecurity. (Sorry legs. I really do love you. I promise.)

3. I have full-blown conversations with other people both audibly and internally when those people aren't around. I say what I think they might say and react accordingly, often with added intonation and appropriate emotion. It's something I do to make up for the fact that I can't seem to grasp even the most rudimentary fundaments of social interaction. This is why I write better than I speak and why I plan to be a recluse for the remainder of my life... a plan that academia seems to view as's to a successful future...

4. As my best friend Andrea admitted, I'm a pack rat. I can't bear to part with things even when I know that I have no use for them. I kept homework sheets from the first grade in my closet until my parents moved from the house in Philly. They threw them out, and I cringed from 100+ miles away. This fact becomes more interesting when one considers that I also have a mild case of OCD. Talk about being one's own worst enemy.

5. When I was little, I could not stand loud noises. They bothered me to the point where I would drop everything I was doing (or holding, apparently) and cover my ears. A couple days ago, my Godmother was telling my brother about how everyone knew not to give me any glass bottles or fragile things to hold when walking with me through the streets (I grew up in Philly). To this day, my eyes still twitch when fire trucks or motor cycles go by.

6. I sometimes buy books with no intentions to read them. I like how they smell and feel and would be perfectly content with having a library full of ones that I have never read. Just the idea of having a study with walls resplendently bedecked with bookshelves that are packed with books is almost exciting enough to be the sole reason for my desire to succeed. I love to read. Don't get me wrong. I just love the physical aspect of books a little more.

Alright then, that's it. I lay bare before you and hope the sight is an altogether endurable one.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Change...

Hello World. It's me again, finally...

Since I've worked hard to establish a precedent of stating the obvious at the most ridiculous (read: glaringly unnecessary) moments, I'm going to take time out to say: "It's been a while."

Now, in defiance of my previous nod toward precedent, I'm going to admit in (relatively) plain English what has caused the hiatus and the--arguably long overdue-- face-lift that this humble repository of cerebral refuse has undergone. Things have changed.

This change in no way resembles that of the present variety. It isn't the fleeting, taciturn, easy-mac and speed dating type of change that we've come to know over the years. It's the type that calls into question every decision I've ever made. It's the kind that brings to bear every black fear I've ever faced about the contiguous actions (and resulting reactions) that have shaped what lies both between my ears and within my heart.

* * *

In order to save myself from a relapse into a imobilizing bout of self-scrutiny, Ill just say that there were times when I felt trapped in my own mind, both afraid and unable to leave from behind the self-erected bars of isolation. The bars were my bars, the fears were my fears, and the pains were my escape. I was (and, to an extent, still am) a masochist of the most secret variety.

Since then I've graduated in more ways than I care to admit, and, in so doing, have become someone to and with whom I'm still trying to (re) connect. It's been slow going. Still, I'm making progress. Despite the fact that there's a host of "no more's" in my life right now (Rutgers, Undergrad, "free" lodging, gratuitous slacking, reckless abandon...), I've yet to jump off of any bridges or into any oncoming traffic...a feat that I'm more than a little happy to have pulled off, if for no other reason than a naked desire for self preservation.

I'm even learning how not to bastardize parts of myself that seem to garner attention, no matter how ill deserved...yeah.

All this to say, you'll be hearing from me more often. Now that I've spruced up the place and have re-broken the ice, I think writing here will be more --what has come to be--me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What you ask for...

It's been longer than usual, as I've bounced consistently between laziness, business, and general overwhelmedness (think King James pronunciation). I'm graduating in a couple months; I’m moving out of my parent’s house (completely) in a few more, and I'm making one of the most important decisions ever. I think it's hilarious that the last post revolved around feelings of inadequacy and fears of possible failure, when I now have a tremendous choice on my hands. I was given advice and encouragement which I, at the time, saw as overly confident in abilities I knew I did not posses. Tremendously grateful, I still remained a cynic. I felt out of my league, out of my depth, and out of my mind for even attempting something as presumptuous as applying for graduate study...

In the first couple months after that post my fears were validated. Rejections did abound, and there came, despite the pain, a twinge of underlying vindication. It seemed as though I was right after all. My pride began to glaze over, and I went on as if none of it was happening. But then there was February 25th...

After that day, three acceptances came in rapid succession, and now I'm standing here, yet undecided...

* * *

I can't shake the burden of incompetence that has consistently afflicted every area of my life. People try to encourage me, and I am heartened by, what I perceive to be, genuine praise. Still, the load does not let up. I see that they both mean and believe what they say; I just can't seem to receive it. I've been able to cope with this over the years. Blending into the crowd has provided a bubble of anonymity that has served to hide my glaring insufficiencies. But now I'm entering an arena of singular accomplishments, and that bubble is in the process of rabidly bursting. My cover is failing.

At this point, I've narrowed the decision down to two. Why can't they see me? A bubble isn't by any means the most effective method of concealment. It's transparent; it’s insubstantial; it’s tenuous. And still they perceive something; something that, at this point, is neither the bubble, nor the man that stands behind it, because neither is worth the effort they're putting forth. I wish to God I knew what it was....