One Percent

There are times in our lives where we would give anything to be able to slow down and take a minute.  There are also times that we would give the same things to quicken the pace.  In the midst of all of that, there are times that we would dig into our reserves for a moment where everything just fell together.

 

I’m in a season that reflects the latter.  I desperately want to be in a place where I knew what I was suffering for and laboring towards would just rear its face and welcome itself into my life.  There are just too many questions and not enough answers, you know?  I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been there.  It’s indeed safe to say that we all would like to know what’s around the corner or what that next challenge entails.

 

However, with that knowledge comes responsibility.  The responsibility that engenders preparation.  A preparation which in turn imbues necessity and contingency.  All of a sudden, before you know it, wanting to put a face on a new season has spun webs laced with aspects that can bleed you to a point of apathy and unable to reclaim what excited you about having something in which to look forward.  This is something I’ve personally been victimized by and what’s worse about it is that I’m not sure even if there is something that appeals to me long-term.

 

I’ve been on record saying that humanity bores me.  Nothing surprises me about it anymore.  I’ve seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  I’ve been in shock and awe by the sheer randomness of human nature.  So, over the last few months, I had been wondering about what just keeps us all moving.  What is our motivation to persist when we feel like all of our options have been exhausted?

 

Being in a situation where you feel that there is nothing left is worse than sounds.  It can drive you to make some pretty ill-conceived decisions and damage others along with yourself in ways that you don’t conceive.  All the while you don’t know the real extent in which what you do affects your social and professional climates.  The crying shame is that in the midst of all this destruction, you quite honestly don’t give a damn that you’re doing it.  It is indeed, one massive, crying shame.

 

On the other hand, there is always something that keeps you anchored.  There’s thing something, anything… one thing… that will hit you so hard and so true that it makes you reconsider your whole position.  One virtue of being me, at this point in time, is that I have gotten to spend a lot of time recently getting to evaluate this particular dynamic.

 

One thing I absolutely abhor doing is talking about myself.  When it comes right down to it, for someone who blogs about intimate epiphanies about their individual uniqueness as it pertains to the human condition, I do tend to be very open with whoever tends to read this.  With regard to that, I do try and not disclose particulars of the situation that brought about a higher experience.  If you want to know, drop me a comment and ask!  Very simple.  But, I digress…

 

There’s always going to be something unique to your life that will persist.  There will be this one thing, no matter how much we try to hide it beneath our pain and discontent, that will still fester and flourish.  It’s a testament to the strength of whatever this thing is that it continues to survive in some harsh climate.  I guess it really does go to show that the human spirit is indomitable.

 

The more important thing that as long as there is something there, it will be enough to pull you through whatever is draining you.  In my personal position, I’m not afraid to put it out there that I have a long way to go.  Some issues could be very surface level.  Some issues can be very deeply rooted and take time and effort to resolve.  Mine are definitely going to take some rehabbing, for sure.  Furthermore, for what good that thing is can do you, it also has to be in a position to find equilibrium.  Which means that it has to have an opportunity to grow.  Furthermore, it also means that there has to be a want to involved.  It can’t just be there and that’s that.  You have to want it to be there and you have to want to let it reassert itself.  But, in doing so, we can’t afford to put it in this framework and expect it to do what it’s going to do in the time allotted.  That’s not really how it works and it’s a painful lesson to learn.  On top of that, it is a cold slap in the face knowing that there is indeed a learning curve.

 

There’s a quote from the Green Ranger series from the Power Rangers that sticks out.  Not because it’s poignant or catchy; but, because it is relevant and it means something.  It goes, “Isn’t the smallest chance of victory reason enough to keep fighting?”  Not many would be inclined, in this day and age, to agree with that statement because there is this threshold in which we will cease.  Strictly because what we are fighting for isn’t worth the effort and energy expended to defend it.  There was a time where that would break my heart and arrive at a simple conclusion that said, “Someone out there would look at me and decide that I wasn’t worth it.”

 

A lot can change in a few months, but the big one is that now I don’t have to believe that conclusion is true.

 

All it takes is one…

-Kevin

Intrepid

Two entries inside of a week?  Tell me about it.  There’s a method to my madness mainly because there’s a lot on the brain.  Well, this particular part has been spooling since early December.  But, anyway…

 

Like most men, I’ve been watching a lot of sports lately.  As a child, I grew up watching the likes of Michael Jordan and those great 90’s basketball teams alongside with Michael Irvin and those great 90’s football teams.  I think it would be safe to say just how much all of us wanted to be like those men when we got older.  But, as we get older, how much like those people did we really want to be?  History is repute with those who have tried and failed to live up to the legacy that they have set.  However, there are those whose efforts have been met with criticism because they aren’t consistent with the level in which these men or women achieved their accomplishments.  So, what is it about them that makes so drawn to them?  Is it their measurables?  Is it their statistical accomplishments?  Or, is it something more?

Michael Irvin, I guess you can say for lack of a better way to put it, is my hero.  But, I don’t want to really call him that.  Sure, he is someone I look up to in many ways.  I am captivated by his professional body of work.  I believe that his life outside of football is worthy of a story.  But, is he really my hero?  I admire the man but I don’t idolize him.  I’m grateful for him but not grateful to him.

 

First, I feel like I have to define what a hero is.  The dictionary defines a hero as “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”  I don’t think Mr. Irvin is noble.  He is indeed fallible in many respects.  He is, after all, a human being.  Human beings can make mistakes.  I’m confident that he would attest to that.  I don’t think he is admired or idealized for courage simply because he isn’t the epitome of regress.  I will admit that it does take courage to accept responsibility for actions in his past that do not endear him to his predecessors or contemporaries.  I do believe him to be admired for his outstanding achievements in his profession.  He was a terror for defensive backs and did so with unrelenting passion.

But, did this man save my life?  Did this man give me an opportunity where there was none?  Did this man take me into his home and make me one of his own?  Did this man affect my life in any way that would make me devote myself or feel like I’m indebted to him?  No, he did not.  It’s because of these things, I don’t consider him my hero.

 

But, what is a hero really?  Is a hero a civil servant?  No, they’re paid to protect the public trust.  It’s their job to do protect property and serve the public trust.  Many would argue that they are more than this.  I’d argue in favor that statement.  They do more than their job description entails and don’t get the appreciation they deserve.  Yeah, Jeff… I see you, buddy!

Are your parentals heroes?  I’d hope not considering that they spawned you, the least they could do is take care of you until you’re old enough to make decisions and take care of yourself. Are athletes or artists heroes?  OH, HELL NO!  They both get paid millions of dollars to either play a game or express their talents to the masses.  There’s nothing noble about that.  If you look at some of these men and women in modern times, it is a testament to just how far what constitutes “talent” has gone down hill.  The only thing noble for them may be their dedication to their craft.

Are athletes or artists heroes?  OH, HELL NO!  They both get paid millions of dollars to either play a game or express their talents to the masses.  There’s nothing noble about that.  If you look at some of these men and women in modern times, it is a testament to just how far what constitutes “talent” has gone down hill.  The only thing noble for them may be their dedication to their craft.

Is Jesus a hero?   Some would argue that He is and some would argue against it.  Personally, I don’t think so because first of all, I didn’t ask to be here.  I didn’t ask for his “divine countenance.”  Second of all, when it came right down to it, he was just as selfish as everyone else when he wanted to live.  That isn’t heroism in any sense.  That is a finely honed sense of self-preservation.  Had He gotten his way, he wouldn’t have been crucified.  He probably would have lived to a ripe old age.  But, since it is hard to have a New Testament without a dead Jesus, it so happened that he gets screwed and killed for his troubles.  Now, it doesn’t mean that He wasn’t a good dude and that he wasn’t someone to admire.  I’m saying that it doesn’t make him a hero to me.  Even then, if He did fit my criteria, divinity is a disqualifier for me.  Divinity is corruptive as it makes people conspire for its sake instead of inspiring for its sake.

 

So, I guess the real question is, “What is a hero to me?”  Truth is, I don’t know what would constitute a hero in my eyes.  It would be safe to say that I share a similar sentiment about the word “hero” and any of its derivatives that I do about the word “love.”  However, maybe not to the same extent for “hero.”  I just believe that the meaning and intent behind it have been awarded to circumstances that don’t merit it.  These days, a hero can be someone who simply does the right thing.  To me, it’s just senseless to recognize someone for doing what they’re supposed to do.  Well, hopefully, what they’re supposed to do.

I have an idea of what characteristics a hero is supposed to have.  Would my hero be brave?  Absolutely!  Would my hero be courageous?  Most definitely.  Would my hero have a fierce determination and an unshakable resolve?  Sure!

Would my hero be honorable?  I hope so.  Would my hero have to do something grand to gain my admiration and respect?  They don’t have to do anything grand.  Would my hero have to save my life?  Well, no…  Would my hero give up his life to save mine?  HELL NO!  I fucking hope not.

 

Does my hero have to be any more or any less the person they are?  Well, that’s the thing now, isn’t it?

We want our heroes to exceed the sum of their parts.  We want our heroes to do the impossible.  We want to exaggerate their talent or deeds to something legends are made of and it isn’t fair.  Talent isn’t mythical nor acts done in accordance with them meant to be lifted to that level.  We want to our heroes to be larger than life.  Maybe that’s why I don’t have one.  I can’t imagine placing someone on that level.  To me, it’s just like loving someone.  We can elaborate on what one does and what skills or traits they employ, but those things don’t explain what one is nor could ever hope to do so.  There’s this unrealistic expectation of ability versus the capacity to fulfill it.  How can they?  How can they when we, even as “extraordinary people,” are tempted by the most ordinary things?  Hell, we are even to a point where we considering the miraculous an ordinary, everyday happening.

Maybe that’s why I don’t have one.  I can’t imagine placing someone on that level.  To me, it’s just like loving someone.  We can elaborate on what one does and what skills or traits they employ, but those things don’t explain what one is nor could ever hope to do so.  There’s this unrealistic expectation of ability versus the capacity to fulfill it.  How can they?  How can they when we, even as “extraordinary people,” are tempted by the most ordinary things?  Hell, we are even to a point where we considering the miraculous an ordinary, everyday happening.  So, where is the mystique and mystery of someone or something that we empower in such a way?

 

Earlier, I mentioned that Michael Irvin is the closest thing to someone I’d call a “hero” and that athletes or artists don’t fall into that category to me.

But, if you look at it closer, you’d see that they do exhibit some of the characteristics that would warrant the comparison.  They, night in and night out, get ruthlessly antagonized by their opposition and media for the job they do, or subsequently don’t do.  They are imbued with authority because the younger generation looks up to them and they are met with obscene amounts of criticism, both positive and negative when they live up to or fail to meet expectation.  Their humanity is harshly magnified when they fail to rise above the insurmountable opposition that is placed before them and made to look like gods when the insurmountable becomes very much so attainable.

What about Jesus and all of the other types I mentioned?  Do they suffer or do they still suffer?  Sure.  Jesus lived much like everyone else does.  He didn’t escape criticism, incredulity, skepticism, and duplicity.  Civil servants take a lot more heat now than ever because the populous isn’t confident in their ability to protect them and then scream in outrage when the people who are supposed to protect them protect themselves against their constituents.  Parents these days have a real chance of failing their children due to the demands that society puts on them by mainstreaming softer parenting tactics in favor of older, less archaic methods.

Nobody mentions the amount that these people suffer.  The exultation of triumph is the cure for their misery.  However, the painful sting of defeat is the humbling reminder of why their suffering is relevant and much more important.  Nobody wants to suffer and those who use their suffering as justification towards being anything less than it has made them is still suffering.  The chilling notion of failure isn’t an option for them because that admission of failure might as well be the end.

 

So, what makes failure so important?  For one, the admission of failure is considered taboo.  Who wants to admit they’re a failure?  It’s like an admission of guilt or defeat and I’ll be damned if anyone will blatantly come out and say it.  Everyone wants to be a winner in some respect.  A small victory here and there goes a long way but the ultimate goal would to stand tall and claim dominion over their enemies.  But, we can’t win all the time and to believe so is foolish.

Which is why Mr. Irvin is what he is to me.  He is an admitted sufferer and failure.

 

So, what’s the point?

My point here is that I don’t believe there to be such things.  It’s a word we would use to encompass the person who rescued us in our time of need.  It’s a word that we would use for someone who gave us hope when we had none.  It’s just a word with no special meaning or intent other than to describe the level in which we esteem another.  Much like “love.”  It’s an extent to which we attribute the impact of the actions of another.

Michael Irvin didn’t rescue me.  He didn’t give me hope.  He didn’t sacrifice anything for me.

However, the life of this man did change me.  He was a cocaine addict.  He was not a sober-minded individual for a part of his life.  He failed to live up to expectations of his peers and superiors.  He suffered harsh consequences for his indiscretions.

However, the man did make the decision to kick his habit and rid himself of that addiction.  He held himself accountable for his mistakes and chose to no longer suffer because of them.  He found success on and off the field and retired as a three-time champion and is now forever enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The man is not godlike.  He didn’t conquer seemingly impossible odds.  All he did was just be the man that he is.  Nothing more and nothing less.

That, my friends, is what I would call a hero… if there was such a thing.

-Kevin

 

 

 

 

 

Blind Eye

Under normal circumstances, I would put some effort into how I would phrase all of this.  However, in my best Stephen A. Smith voice, I would say, “I don’t give a damn.”  Too many times do people, and I must say I’ve had it happen to me, get a proverbial shot in the face by the “love gun.”  So, it will be a great joy to deal some reciprocity.  Especially to those who use the word without restraint or competence.

I have severe fundamental issues with the word “love” and everybody who uses it.  For the most part, it is used to elaborate upon a degree in which we value something.  We “love” ice cream.  We “love” football.  We “love” pornography.  We “love” Jesus.  We “love” this thing or that thing.  The harsh reality is that we don’t love any of those things.  We are incapable of it because we use the word as a measure in which the degree of our intent is.  If we “love” ice cream, we will prioritize it as our preferred desert.  If we “love” football, it will take precedence over other responsibilities.  If we “love” pornography, it offers stimulation where our spouse falls short.  If we “love” Jesus, it is the religion we practice above anything else.  Are you getting the idea here?  We use the word as a way to define the value in context.  In other words, we use the word as a way to either define how much better we regard the thing that is spoken above something else.

Because of that, we use it as a method to manipulate others into situations that will ultimately call us out on what we choose to favor.  Abuse victims will tend to use this as a means to intervene and use the line, “If you really love it, you’ll [insert action here.]” It’s actually kind of sad…

People who don’t like ice cream get the cold shoulder against the people who do.

People who don’t like football get hung out to dry in favor of people who do.

People who watch pornography find people who share in it.

People who are receptive to Jesus won’t abide in people who don’t.

The default reaction is why I have come to believe that there really isn’t such a thing as love because of a compulsion to quantify their desire instead of simply acknowledging that it is there.  We have to be able to determine how much or how little of something we have instead of just being able to have it.  That’s the sad fucking truth about existence.  We invest so much in something so frivolous and ultimately irrelevant simply because we MUST be in possession of gross quantity.  We have to have the best or be the best.  We have to have the most of something.  It’s all ridiculous and utterly disgusting, to be honest.  Not because of how greedy it makes us seem or how we justify that greed by placing it in something honorable or something worth having… but because of just having the impulse that makes it seem necessary and it being a motive to go to any length to abide in that impulse. It only serves that we must identify as something “more or less” instead of identifying it as “different.”  As we all know, we tend to diminish the relevance of what is different because it is threatening to us.

Much to the chagrin of those set in their ways, what is different can and often does render the “here and now” moot and unnecessary.

 

Addicts may have different priorities and methods but they have the same goals as those who don’t.  How they choose to pursue those goals isn’t indicative of their worth and talent and the need to subvert them on those grounds is pejorative.  It’s degrading and just furthers that impulse to assign a value to something.  No matter how much we try and spin it so we can keep with our own standards…

 

The boots on the ground tell a different story.

 

The facts are simply this.  Humanity isn’t capable of love.  Personally, I don’t think the word “love” should be used like it is.  The word itself is a clever euphemism for just how much we need to define our need to articulate the degree in which we do something.  The word doesn’t change the notion that we possess a desire or compulsion to do those things.  As long as this is the case, there won’t be an environment conducive to the need to accurately articulate feelings.  Simply because of quantity and quality playing such a huge role for us, there’s an inherent and subjective desire to describe them in those terms.

Addicts can be addicted like those who share their compulsions.  The belief that they may or may not be happy is exactly why I’m making the point that “love” as we utilize and understand it, is impossible.  Humanity is simply incapable of articulating desire and intent without quantifying it.  So, what makes an addict’s “love” less than someone who isn’t an addict?  Simply put, the criteria we use would make the addict’s possession insufficient compared to the nonaddict.  Is the picture coming into focus?  Is your knob set to “receive” yet?  We can’t “love” something or someone if the reality of its existence is predicated upon how much we value it compared to our own arbitrary standard.  That, in itself, is prejudice and cannot produce favorably.

 

“Love” isn’t being lavish with affection or loyalty.  It isn’t the measure of our commitment or engagement.  It isn’t a tool to manipulate and coerce.  “Love” is an expression coined by man to articulate our need to exist quantitatively and to appease deities whose desire for it is insatiable.

 

The sad thing is the saying “love is blind” is a testament to the idea that it just has to be.  It requires an absence of calculated intent or desire.  It simply requires that intent or desire be present.  It cannot see how much or how little of anything that exists simply because it lacks measure.

Do you want to cherish your spouse?  Be there for them.  It isn’t a matter of how much you cherish them.  You just have to have that desire.

Do you want to live the rest of your life with your spouse?  Don’t wander from them.  It isn’t a matter of how much life you want to spend with them.  Time is finite.  Your commitment to that time can’t be.

Do you appreciate something?  Do so with honor.  Enjoy having it.  Its place with you isn’t based on how much you appreciate it.  Its place lies with knowing that you are capable.

 

So, anybody who will dare say they “love” anything is embellishing.  I simply think they don’t know what it is.  It’s hard to place value on something you haven’t experienced nor can you see something that hasn’t seen you.

 

And all this is completely absent from what The Bible says about “love.”  It doesn’t even say what “love” is.  All it does is elaborates on the characteristics of love.  Don’t get me started on God/Jesus.  They both do the same thing.  They aren’t “love.”  They are indicative of the characteristics of “love.”  Even then, they are very much so biased towards those who mimic those characteristics to any “honorable” level.  In which case, “honorable” is subject to who defines what it is.  But, that’s a different topic for another day…

 

The bottom line is this:  No soul, anywhere at any point, will know what “love” is.  So, for the sake of what it actually means, don’t use it.  If you adore something, say you adore it.  Saying you love it undermines the emotion behind it.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Articulate the feeling and intent.  I think, as a society, we are at a point where we can do that simply because we aren’t intellectually challenged.  Being intellectually lazy is a whole other discussion on its own.

 

Have intent.  Have desire.

How much of it is irrelevant.

If possessed, it will perpetuate.  It will not grow or diminish.  It will evolve as the situation evolves…

 

In spite of our own best intentions.

-Kevin

 

 

Future History

There’s this philosophy that people seem to live by and it states, “Those who are not aware of history are doomed to repeat it.”

Repetition can be a great or terrible thing for everyone depending on what it is that you find yourself repeating.  However, I feel like repetition isn’t positive or negative.  I believe it to be more necessary than unnecessary because it is a key component of finding the meaning of life.  Well, not necessarily life itself but the progression thereof.

However, humanity as a whole has decided that repetition is detrimental.  Sure, there is something to be said about being confident in the circumstances.  It isn’t wise to argue the merits of being in familiar territory and the more I see these circumstances unfold and analyze the dynamics, the more I feel that as much as we hate being “stuck,” we find substantial value in the familiar.

This idea of “progress,” as demonstrated, isn’t anything more than a cyclical expression of linear advancement.  But, I’m the type of person, and I suppose I’ve always been as such, to believe our existence isn’t necessarily linear.  There are aspects of living that are linear such as how we age or our perception of time, perhaps.  Our own history, if we reduce it to a personal level, suggests that we “move” along “paths” that are conducive to the choices we make and in doing so, we fail to deviate from “inescapable conclusions.”

I hate this practice that life is linear.  I don’t understand why we even bother with using it in a descriptive manner.  Especially when we use words like “again, “repeat,” “anew,” and “recurring.”  Granted, there are more than just those but those are pretty strong indicators that life, and to an extensive degree the act of living, is insatiably cyclical.  Isn’t it scary that at a fundamental level everything you’ve done today, you’ve already done yesterday and you’ll invariably do tomorrow?  There’s no intrigue in knowing what will come if you’ve already mapped the plane in which this action is executed.  Consequently, if you know what’s coming and don’t take action to adjust, the conclusion will invariably be a result of cyclical reasoning on a singular, linear plane. I guess it makes sense to call them life “cycles” and time “lines” after all.  If we are just going to repeat the same things in a singular trajectory, then the novelty of living will just lose its luster.

 

So, to that end, there’s another saying, “If you want different, you have to be different.”

 

I agree with this one as well.  However, it isn’t within human potential to achieve the kind of different we would want.  Sure, we can be unique in the aspects that our journies are our own and that our choices give definition to it all.  I get that.  I understand that.  But, are our goals really all that dissimilar?  I believe it to be safe to say that a life full of adventure, happiness, and fulfillment are goals to be worthy of achievement.  Everybody wants those things.  Everyone endeavors to find solutions to those issues.  But, that’s the burning issue:  Everyone wants those things.  Everyone pursues them zealously.  Perhaps, even to a point where they are willing to compromise their integrity to acquire them.

That, my friends, is what I’ve become bored with and the sheer lunacy of it all.  Hell, for those who don’t know:  Life is a zero sum game.  Your loss is someone else’s gain or vice versa.  Yes, that’s the way it is.  No, it will never be different because of what your own nature.  You’re tasked to do one or multiple things and you train yourselves to believe that if you don’t do these things, you won’t be fulfilled.  Thus, enabling your opposition to assume ownership of missed opportunities.

Worse yet, it offers confirmation in something I’ve already come to understand:  Life and the act of living are obscenely unilateral and one dimensional.  The sad thing is that we all know it.  We show it every single day.  We’re unhappy with a position or circumstance and voice our disposition only for those who make decisions favor those who don’t.  We leave our spouses or careers only for them to find a different match (Note, I did not say better or worse.  I do so for a reason.) and achieve the goals that you weren’t able to achieve had you remained.

 

For a civilization who thrived on revolution and a need to progress beyond the status quo, we sure do shy away from advancement and the human compulsion to extend ourselves beyond what we are.

 

Which leads to the nugget:

So, the other day, I had a conversation with a friend about how I was bored.  Well, I had two conversations and one of which determined how I was bored.  The other, which is the relevant one, was about how I would address this boredom.  Needless to say, he wasn’t happy with my plan of action and would make the attempt to dissuade me.  Much to his chagrin, I made it as succinct and clear as I could that my decision was final.  But, I do commend his objectivity and the necessity to voice his discontent with it.  He’s human, after all.  He stood, and still does stand, to lose something he values.  Who wouldn’t want to try and protect something of value?

In the effort, he said many things that are relevant and important.  But, one thing he did say was this:

You’re my friend and I love you.  But, you wanting what you do doesn’t vibe with me and I will sure try to convince you (whether by softballing or hardballing you) that this isn’t what you want.  In doing these things, I hope you consider what you’re doing to those around you who want what is best for you.

As much as I like the guy and he’s done so much for me in many areas.  But, that statement is a testament as to why I no longer am able to take any man (or deity for that matter) at their word.  Just another dot on the line… just another turn of the wheel… just another reset.  I’m not interested in a reset and it’s hard to renew interest in something you consciously choose to abstain from and abhor absolutely.

The second thing I got from that is a lot more wrenching than an apparent inability to trust another.  It’s that a person’s interest in you, whether it be faux or genuine, will only go as far as their intention or vision will let them.  This is why humanity bores me.  It’s this ease to define and make decisions for others without their consent, knowledge, or insight.  It’s manipulative, devious, and infantile.  Before you go off and accuse me of a degree of hypocrisy, let me defend my position by saying this:  There is a difference between being maneuvered, being restricted, and being open.  I absolutely hate being maneuvered.  Sometimes, the situation is restricting.  But, being able to act freely is refreshing and not conducive to the human condition.  As sad as it is to say, we won’t ever be in a position in which the sum of who or whatever we are won’t be a result of an intent or vision of someone else.

 

Nobody said that humanity was perfect but everyone will say that it is flawed.  I do not agree with that assessment.  I would say that humanity is unilateral and one dimensional and I won’t go as far to say that is a problem.  Humanity is what it is.

 

But, if history has taught me anything, it would be this:  We all look to the future for answers and direction is relative.  But, there is no such thing as the unknown.  There are only things temporarily hidden.

 

However, there’s nothing hidden from the eyes of history.

What a delightfully vicious cycle this life is…

 

-Kevin

Living Legend

Often times, I’ve really wondered just what the word “living” actually meant.  I mean, there’s gotta be more to what we do every day, isn’t there?  I would hate to think that eating, breathing, sleeping, or working is very much or exactly what “living” is.

 

I am willing to be the first to admit that I haven’t done much living.  Sure, I eat a lot.  Sure, I breathe an excessive amount.  I don’t sleep much.  I never really did.  As for work, I find myself spending a lot of time there.  But, even in the midst of all of those things, I still have been wondering just what makes “living” so important.

 

Over the last five years or so, I’ve really had to come to terms with a lot of things that have happened.  I’ve lost so much and I’ve gained so much.  But, the manner in which all of these things have changed the sum of my life very often elude and confuse me.  I still don’t quite know how to take everything.  I mean, is this all too good to be true?  Have I lost perspective?  Am I being toyed with?  All the questions that raise doubt and insinuate that things aren’t what they appear to be linger moving forward still exist.  I suppose the real question is, “How do I endure without letting these questions change my motive?”

 

As I mentioned before, lots of things have changed for me over the last five years.  But, it’s only been over the last three years that I’ve begun to understand what it all means.  I’ve had to realize that it all means something and that it all has its place in the scheme of it all.  Saying that all of these events haven’t impacted me is an understatement; but, their effect on me now versus what it could have been still feels like I haven’t learned anything about being where I am.  Granted, I’ve gained some perspective and some wisdom (hopefully) about all of these happenings but one thing I haven’t learned (or understood) is how all of these things let me “live.”

 

Before this phase of my life I’m in now, I didn’t have much of a life or even one at all.  It was devoid of meaning, purpose, and relevance.  It was empty… damn empty.  I wasn’t living in any sense or interpretation of the word.  I lost my life.

 

One of my best friends said to me that if there was going to be any hope of recovering from the pain and salvaging what was left of whatever it was that I had, it was going to happen being around the right people.  I didn’t know who the right people were.  I had no idea what kind of situation that would look like.  I had no idea.  But, for me to figure all of that out took one big thing: risk.

 

The catch about taking risk is that we don’t really want to take that chance of giving up whatever we have, no matter how great or small, for the sake of something that may be better.  If we felt that we had a better choice, we wouldn’t risk anything and just appropriate the things we wanted.  Taking a risk makes us feel that we are vulnerable.  Taking risks means that we are desperate.  Taking risks means that whatever we have just isn’t enough…

 

It’s a difficult admission to make to anyone, especially ourselves, that our current state is inadequate.  It naturally extends into our mindset and eventually our decision making.  We protect whatever it is that we have because we don’t want to risk losing it and ending up with nothing.  Or, ending up with something far worse than what we had in the first place…

 

That was me.  That was my shitty life.  Well, at least it used to be.

 

Learning how to take risks… take the chance… is a skill that I have yet to even begin to say that I have any level of proficiency.  There are so many parts of me… about who I am… about who I used to be… that say that you haven’t really risked anything and that everything that has been granted to me is a result of being a desperate, lonely, and scared man.  Someone to be pitied… someone to feel sorry for… and someone that deserved every cut, scrape, scar, bruise, and broken aspect of everything that was going on.

 

I chose to believe that.  I wasn’t able to risk them being wrong.  So, I didn’t.  I couldn’t take that chance that I would lose.  Lose what very little I had… lose my sanity… lose my Humanity.  I couldn’t admit that I was vulnerable.  Who wants to admit that?  Our first thought is to admit that it is a sign of weakness.  Totally not true.  Admitting that you’re vulnerable doesn’t mean that you’re weak or inferior.  Admitting that you’re vulnerable is a simple declaration that you’re nothing more or nothing less who you are.  Everything that you have or don’t have… everything in abundance or in scarce supply… nothing more or less the person you are.  That, in itself, is a HUGE risk.

 

Without going too much into it, I can say that taking risks are what “living” is all about.  Sure, there are an infinite amount of reasons to choose not to do something.  There are so many reasons to not…  Nobody talks about the one reason… one… to take the risk… to take the chance on something that could ultimately lead to something so life-changing that everything changes.

 

I’m very fortunate to be in a situation now that affirms the importance of taking chances.  I’m very fortunate to be in a situation where risk, whether it has yielded either positive or negative results, has affected change in my life.  It has enabled me to have the vision to put aside things I have certainty in and have faith in my doubt and misgivings.  It makes not knowing what the future holds okay.  I don’t think I, or anyone else for that matter, could live knowing exactly how it all turns out.  It makes… living… dull, boring, and predictable.

 

Earlier, I mentioned that I had no clue about what I thought “living” was.  Maybe, now I do.  I lost my life.  I ceased living.  I could have died.  Some would argue that I did die.

 

But, in losing my life and being close to death, I found life and I am beginning to understand what in means to be living.

 

Because I understand what it means to be living… I also understand what it means to live.

 

Nobody ever became a legend by not.

Every single person who is one took the risks and chose to be.

 

And if they could, we can too.

 

Gotta risk it to get the biscuit.

-Kevin

Better Place

Anybody who knows me worth a damn these days know I’ve had two major issues that I’ve been having problems resolving:  Getting older and feeling guilty.  The getting older part is obvious but the feeling guilty part… not so much.

 

It’s been almost three years since one of the most human guys I’ve ever met passed away and I still haven’t gotten over the shock of it all, really.  There isn’t a day that goes by where something is said or done that doesn’t remind me of him.  Because of it, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel guilty.

 

It wasn’t his time.  Bottom line.  It.  Was.  Not.  His.  Time.

I don’t care what anybody says.  There’s just no way I can accept that conclusion.

 

Sure, close to three years have come and gone.  There isn’t much I can do about it now, right?  I mean… I see his parents and friends post pictures on Facebook and wonder just what experiences he doesn’t get to be apart of because he’s gone.  It makes me sad.  It makes me sad for them because I know what that absence feels like.  I feel it every single day… and then the guilt sets in.  Not because he’s gone… not because I don’t wonder about those things myself as it pertains to the relevance in my own life… but because the one thing that makes it all what it is… I wonder if it will even be there when that moment arrives.

 

Since you’ve been gone, it’s been a wild goose chase trying to hunt you down.  It’s been tumultuous, at best, trying to keep you around.  It’s been an uphill battle fighting to grow an environment that could let you thrive and flourish.

 

When you left, you took my heart with you.  I desperately wanted it to be me.  I didn’t want to be here.  To this day, there’s a pretty big part of me that still doesn’t.  But, yet… here I am… and here, you are not.  I have to accept that and I have to move forward with that realization.

 

But, if there is one positive thing that I can take from you leaving… it’s this:  There is an awful lot of you around.  I see you everywhere.  A witty remark… a squirrel running up a tree… and… close friends speaking to me like you did that one night…

 

I’ve been assured time and time again that there wasn’t anything I could do or that it isn’t my fault… and maybe they’re right… but it doesn’t change that I really am guilty.  I’m guilty of being heartless.  I’m guilty of not taking care of it when I did have it.  I’m guilty for letting it run away and more to the point… wishing it would go away… and hoping it wouldn’t come back.

 

There’s no doubt in my mind that you’re far better off where you are than you ever could have been here.

 

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve struggled with the idea of actually getting older.  Especially considering that I am firm in my belief that I shouldn’t even be here.  But, since I am, I kinda have to be able to look at myself in the mirror everyday and come up with a good reason as to why I should drag myself around like I do.

 

My world, along with so many others, is far darker and colder because the affect you had on it has been long absent…

 

However, my heart was in a better place because when you took it, you gave so many pieces to other people who could take care of it far better than I ever could have on my own.  Who, in turn, saw the opportunity to return it back to me with a kindness that does nothing but make me smile… because I just know it’s something that you would have wanted me to have… and something I’ve desperately wanted.

 

It’s been a long road getting from there to here.  Perhaps one day soon, I can find it in myself to say that the guilt I feel with this whole deal just left.  Maybe I am worse off for having it…

 

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that my heart has always been my favorite thing.  It added so much color and emotion to everything.  I’m just in awe of what it all could be now instead of what it was or… what I felt it should have been.

 

Perhaps, this isn’t a better place since you were here.

Perhaps, it’s a better place since you left.

 

But, that’s alright because you’re here anyway… and so am I.

-Kevin

 

 

Inspired by Rachel Platten’s song titled “Better Place.”

 

 

 

“Bruce Wayne?”

It’s amazing just how much you can learn about yourself.

 

Whether it’s being at home or abroad… there’s always something new that your environment can educate you to about just who we really are.  I’m not necessarily talking about personality traits or instances when we defy our own norms but revelations that can create irreconcilable differences between the person we are as we exist now and the person we are meant to be, can be, we once were, or whatever else we can think of that allows us to give definition to existential differences.

 

But, one thing I’ve learned “studying abroad” was that we, as human beings, are never going to be unified in that sense.  There are just too many crises that we face that create moments that we are forced to agree or disagree with our contrasting identities.  Now, don’t confuse this with multiple personalities or anything that may imply mental illness.  We are all crazy in our own way.  Very few of us are by definition “sane.”  Hell, I don’t think any of us are.  We go at it with ourselves so much that I don’t think it’s possible to look at ourselves and not make the accusation.  However, the inevitable inclusion of those around us and consequently those we care for makes us wonder.

 

I’ve come to hold true that whatever our journey is for, the space between where we are now and the destination is a battleground.  Whether we question the dignity a beard may add (as men) or does wearing lingerie inhibit a woman’s ability to be modest (if you’re a woman)… or extending beyond the superficial and asking questions that challenge the very nature of your own being… whatever the road you travel, the lengths you’ll go to find resolution will create plenty of opportunity to see just how divisible we really are.

 

The doubt and insecurities that being in a transitional phase bring can be crippling to the personal going through it.  However, there will always be those who take sides.  There are those who feed the necessity and value of either one of those identities and the conflict between those aspects deny the idea of being a unified entity.  However, there’s always more going on than meets the eye and that element gives us hope.

 

The apparent schism plays an important role in our overall growth.  The split doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with us.  It just means that we have an internal conflict of interest and those aren’t always bad things either.  There are things we may want to accomplish that aren’t always conducive to our personality construct as it stands.  Conversely, there are things that we have already done that compromise our future.  It’s a part of the growing pains we go through.  It’s a fact of life.  We will be at odds with ourselves.  We are what we are.

 

In the midst of all of that confusion, there will be a time that someone will ask who we just happen to be… perhaps the hardest hitting question we can ever ask ourselves would be, “Do we really want to know who is responsible for saving our own ass?”  Sure, I think we would all like to know.  But, is it honestly necessary?  As a Christian, we acknowledge that God can move in mysterious ways and we can’t always put our finger on where and when things were set in motion.  But, we can feel comfortable attributing that to Him.

 

Sure, I can go with that.  Faith is important and it shows.  Nothing wrong with having it and putting it to use.

 

However, there are critical moments… and we may not know who is who… that will have everything hanging in the balance… and we won’t know who is really doing what is necessary to achieve the goal.  I’ve had more than enough of those instances in life… and even some now… and I’ve been left asking that very question.  I can honestly and truthfully say that God hasn’t always been that answer.  It’s not a bad thing because I understand that He can be “that way.”  Sometimes, He just wants you to do things yourself.  It is quite a talent to be self-sustaining.  It’s an even bigger talent to be able to choose not to be.

 

I can save myself.  I’ve been trained and given the necessary equipment to just that.  It’s part of my journey… and I’ve made some friends being on this path.  I’ve made some enemies.  I value the person I was as equally as I value the person I am now because I’ve been made whole by them because they compliment each other.  I don’t have to grant God the reverence He may deserve.  Not because He doesn’t deserve it but because I know How he works with me.  I understand how it works and I’m not necessarily the guy to mess with something that isn’t broken.  Furthermore, I don’t need Him to tell me He’s around.  Just like He knows I know my way Home.

 

I don’t need to know who the hero of my story is.  Maybe I don’t want to know.  I never have been central to my own life and it doesn’t seem like a good time to start.

 

It’s a common preconception that we have to be extraordinary to do extraordinary things.  Jesus was and it’s a hard example to follow.  I won’t lie.  Extraordinary people are most tempted by the most ordinary things.  Even Jesus was…

 

As true as that is, even ordinary people did extraordinary things too.

 

And I’ve found a little peace being just that.

-Kevin