The Last of Us (My Friend’s Wedding)

Part I:

On June the 13th, my friend and roommate of two years during my university years became married to his girlfriend. Both of them had been dating for nearly four years, and became married at the age of 22. When I first heard the news of their engagement last year, I was conflicted. My roommate is a devout, evangelical Christian. He is studying to become a pastor, and his girlfriend (now wife) is an engineer. Both of them had married pretty young. Straight out of college young. I felt conflicted because both of them had married without a long period of time out of school. Not enough time to explore, date other people, or be out of the college town we all came from. In spite of that, both of them knew that they wanted to be married.

As I drove to Gainesville, a lot of old memories flooded in my mind. I drove through the hot Floridian sun approaching North, passing miles of farmlands, rolling hills, lakes and prairie fields that seemed to continue on and on. I have a lot of mixed feelings toward the atmosphere of such a competitive and insular university and its community. Even more, the people who I attended college with. I wasn’t close with my old roommate during the last year of college. He was becoming more involved with his church, wanting to be a pastor. I became more distant, skeptical, removed from the insular collegiate Christian group I had associated with. I hadn’t seen him since I graduated. What the heck was I to expect? Did I fuck up by accepting the wedding invitation?

Another reason I was conflicted was my own opinions on marriage, and weddings. There are two events in life that have extended since the beginning of human civilization. Weddings and funerals. Both events have left some very particular views on me. My own parents had a terrible marriage; dozens of fights, manipulations of one another, affairs, and resentments over life choices and having children. There is something about the ritual and ceremony of a wedding. Two people choose to consecrate their marriage and bond before God. Two people trust to be with one another for the rest of their lives. Are they crazy? Who the hell can predict the future? Especially at that age? How can someone fall in love and be certain that early? Most of us want to explore ourselves, other people, other worlds, cultures.

I arrived at the church around 15 minutes before the ceremony. It was in the outskirts of Gainesville, in a wooded area with several streams and trees littering the landscape. It was at a beautiful location. A wooden building shaped in a dome with a glass window allowing for sunshine inside the chapel. A wooden balcony and flooring surround the church, and a wood walkway and bridge connects the parking lot to the actual church. Trees surround the church and bridge, and a small stream flows underneath the bridge. The ceremony was short in itself, only about 45 minutes. My roommate was smart enough to know when and how to wrap shit up.

I sat in the very back of the church, so I could see the maids of honor, best man, mothers, fathers, bride and groom. I hadn’t seen my roommate in nearly two years, but the smile he gave me when he saw me relieved all fears and reservations I had. It was such an open and innocent smile. He had kept a straight face walking down the alter, and he gave me a smile as if he had seen a lost brother from a war. It was a smile that reminded me why we bonded so well, our connection in spite of our differences in beliefs, backgrounds, our priorities and even personal distance from one another. Watching him and his wife, I felt a sense of warmth between them that for the moment ebbed away all the criticism, negativity and disbelief I had toward marriage. That’s the beauty of the ceremony and the celebration. You are swept in the festivities, as if a force like a river carrying you.

The reception was wonderful and held at a small coffee shop right across the street from campus. The building was in the style of a southern plantation. You know. Without the slavery, and the cotton, and the white guilt, and Django. Seriously though, the architecture was close to the Greek Revival of what I see in photos of Germany. We partied and danced until about 9 PM. During that time, I reconnected with my old friend Timothy, a great Korean guy who had just finished his first year in medical school. I will mention his name because he composed the second part of this story.

Part II: 

Tim and I had danced and hung out most of the time during the reception. We had dinner and went for drinks on the other side of Gainesville, in the outskirts near the highway (Interstate 75). It was here that I had one of the best conversations in a long time. A bit of background on Tim is necessary. I’ll keep this shit short (Bullshit, coming from me. I know).

Tim was a Biochemistry student during my time at the university. He was a devout Christian, one of the major leaders at the campus ministry and youth group. He had his finger in the highest echelons of leadership when I was a student. He is intelligent, confident in what he devotes himself to, shy at first glance, and exceptionally humble. Where my roommate was aggressive and at times off putting and snobbish, Tim was always kind, accepting, and open.

When we went for drinks, Tim told me about the struggles he had in his first year in medical school and the exams he had to retake. He sounded despondent, and tired. He obviously had a lot on his mind. He told me he became distant from his friends inside the insular Christian community and from God. He talked about becoming indifferent to the rhetoric of every Christian, and how being in medical school forced him to re-evaluate his own beliefs. His parent had gotten divorced, and his father got remarried only a year after a divorce. Tim has three younger brothers, so I can’t even imagine how that must be on several child-aged siblings. His father had began using Bible verses to justify his own new marriage, ignoring the own cracks in his own life and the issues with his children.

We confided in each other. I could honestly talk about my own reservations about being a Christian, living up to the standards of Christ, my cynicism in religion, the hypocrisy I see in other people, and my own doubts. I always looked up to Tim as the ideal Christian. I prayed to become more like him and my old roommate. Tim was taken aback by it, and openly acknowledged his own shortcomings. His dating life forced him to understand that during his time at college, he was ignorant of other cultures, people, and beliefs outside his own. He thought he had a firm grasp on things, when he knew nothing at all. His parent’s divorce forced him to see that God couldn’t save all marriages. I could see how he was forced to reconcile the dissolution of his own parent’s marriage on the same day that my roommate was to begin his. The duality was not lost on me.

We both felt the pressure and expectations as men to live in the image of God. Both of us couldn’t come to terms with the word of Christ and the world we live in. How can the Gospel be as relevant today when we have so much on our shoulders? We are suppose to be strong, when we live in a world of doubt. We are suppose to be in charge of our own household and of our women, when both of us view women as equals and share the power. We are supposed to be strong moral pillars, when our own friends have a selective view of morality that suits them. Both of us felt isolated at the wedding. We enjoyed ourselves, but while everyone else was part of that insular Christian group, Tim and I were skeptical of that viewpoint and saw the holes and limitations of that life.

Which brings me to the title of this post. As the title suggests, The Last of Us is the title of a widely-acclaimed video game. It also happens to be one of the favorite games of my best friend. If she loves it, then it must be gold. What encompasses usWould Timothy and I be the “us,” as in the outside Christians? Would we later leave our faith? Would the entire Christian group celebrating the marriage of my roommate and his bride be the “us,” given that we are Christians celebrating an important life passage? Would my friends who are twins but not Christians be who I consider “us,” including myself? What does that mean for people? What does that mean for me? Will I lose my exclusivity to that group if my faith is tested? There is such fluidity in the application of a word, and its placement says a lot of trust, relationship between two people and the circumstances that link one person to another.

We both realized that we are the sons of immigrants, but we don’t have any identity of our own. We have to be men, students, Americans, and Christians. Timothy has to be a Korean and carry all the baggage it brings, and me a Haitian and all of those obligations. Tim doesn’t want to end up marrying a Christian who would be so inconsiderate of a world outside of their comfort zone. The people inside religious groups exist in a “positive” feedback loop, giving each other reassurance and comfort while not asking tough questions about our own existence and how we reconcile religion to the world we live in. Nobody wants to face outside ideas that don’t already nurture their established and secure ideals.

I had a joke with my best friend about marrying her. I make that joke about my friends, men and women. If that were ever possible, I would alienate likely almost everyone I had just spent at that blessed wedding. She comes from a Muslim family, so that would be only slightly better than marrying a non-believer. Honestly, I don’t even care anymore. I could marry a man, or marry any of the friends I have made over the years that would never submit themselves to that insular bubble. I could alienate all of those people, but I could at least be happy in not lying to one person instead of lying to a group of people. Is keeping my faith in God worth it if I am lying to myself? I don’t know how to balance being honest with myself, and being a Christian. It is as if both priorities are on completely different wavelengths.

Christians and other followers of faith (Muslims, Jews, etc) place their faith and foundation on religious texts and God. All of their answers are derived from that. I can’t pretend to have all the answers to the many questions that exist in life. As men of science, Tim and I don’t have the answers to all questions. We are willing to have a sense of humility and be open to that. Too many people of faith can’t, and would never do that. What does that say about people who are supposed to be “Christ-like”? If my roommate becomes a pastor, he faces a big problem. Churches either engage in songs, dancing and “touchy-feely” sentimentality that is superficial and shallow. Or churches are conservative, and follow Scripture to the letter while never acknowledging the struggles we face outside the Bible. I’m a Christian now. I don’t know however, what to think now with all of these questions and doubts I have in myself and what I believe in. I guess that is the nature of faith.

Painting My Mind

What I am about to write is going to be long. It will be disjointed, meandering at some points, and often changing in pacing and organization. I won’t pretend that everything her will be succinct, or easily decipherable. Then again, I don’t believe anyone’s mind is linear and easily organized. It often travels places, sputters, sprints, comes to a halt, and begins again at different speeds.

I have depression. Would I classify it as major depressive? Seasonal affective? Dysthymia? Minor depressive?  Psychotic depression? Postpartum depression? I couldn’t even begin to tell you. Honestly, at times, I feel like all but the last one could explain my mindset. I don’t even know how long it occurred. I don’t remember having a mindset of happiness outside my childhood. Then again, my own recollections are excluding the memories I repressed and viewed through the lens of nostalgia. That always has a way of slanting the truth and reality of the circumstances of that period of time.

I have always felt like this. It has been going on for so long, I don’t remember much of my formative years as a teenager without it. None of my moods last for very long. I don’t stay angry, or sad, or jealous, or aroused for long. My depression is a mindset. Depression paints and poisons everything I hold dear. It poisons my relationships with my parents, my close friends, classmates and co-workers. It poisons my self image. It poisons the way I view my goals, dreams, ambitions, etc. It poisons my faith in God. It poisons my libido and sexuality. It poisons my appetite, literary talents, hobbies, and nearly everything that makes me distinct. It has become like a can of paint that has fallen on a tile floor. The creaks in the tiles are covered in the paint, as it makes its way through all the separations of the tiles. Slowly but surely everything becomes covered in the paint. That is somewhat like what my depression is like.

When did it begin? As I affirmed earlier, I don’t remember when this feeling began. I know that it didn’t begin after “the incident” since I did have feelings of happiness afterward. I think my background and culture contributed, but did not create the scenario that played out. Neither of my parents were what Americans would describe as optimists. As Haitians, they didn’t have that high-minded belief that anything was possible, that equality and fairness would come to those who worked for it. My parents were dour, weary people. My father left no illusions about the inequities of life, and how we were blessed and many people were less fortunate. My mother provided some affection, but she never indulged in any feelings of innocence or naivety of childhood in regards to death, sickness, pain, sexuality, etc. 

A lot of people use different metaphors and images to describe their feelings. To me, my depression is like a cold winter morning. There isn’t a cloud in the sky, the air is imposing with its bitter wind chill, the earth and fauna is frozen still. I am walking through the treacherous snow, every step breaking through the hard snow. My eyes, nose, ears, lips and cheeks are cut open by the wind. My bones are creaking, struggling with each laborious effort to move forward. Its just empty and cold. That is the feeling I have at the neutral stage of my depression. That is the stage of normalcy for my depression.

There is also the “active” stage of my depression. I can’t quite describe it through the usage of a landscape, so I can only describe my body physiologically. There is a burning sensation in my body. It starts in my stomach. Its a rolling flame that brushes and tickles the inner reaches of my stomach, the flames dancing and spreading throughout my hands, head and feet. My body is slowly filled with anger, a sense of violent wrath deployed at no one in particular. It is only directed at myself. This is where my loathing comes. The anger isn’t expressive, but calculating and cold. I feel a sense of dejection at my own self-perceived flaws. This usually comes in several categories:

  1. Regrets over past actions
  2. Flaws in my character
  3. Inadequacy in my relationships with people
  4. Sexual frustration
  5. Failure in personal goals or milestones

I look at anyone or anything ti displace my feeling. It sounds crazy, but my anger is really a manifestation of my depression. It is merely anger that I choose to express that melancholy.

The final stage is what I consider the “denouement, or cool down moment.” This is a stage I can explain with both psychosomatic descriptions and imagery. Here, its just a raindrop landscape over a ruined city. A city laid to waste through war, decay and through the natural environment. Grass, trees, vines and plants invade sanctuaries of concrete, steel, asphalt, and glass. The rain ruins the rots out the inside. The rain covers the buildings deprived of roofs of other protective barriers. It causes the foundation to become dilapidated, not immediately but over time. The rain brings mold and rust to insular structures. Nothing avoids the cover of rain. Instead of cleansing the Earth and bringing forth its beauty, the rain acts as the arbiter of a punishment. It brings about a dreariness, reminding us that nothing lasts forever and will come to ruin. All the barriers we offer will become consumed. That is what this last stage is to me.

The final stage is about the somberness and ruin. Its the feeling that nothing in my life matters, and that I don’t matter. It was this stage that caused me to nearly take my own life. None of my aspirations, my hopes, or even my faith strands firm as everything withers away in this stage. My body just feels empty. My extremities just go numb, and there isn’t any feeling in particular that I feel. Honestly, its here that I feel the most anxiety. I feel robbed, violated of my feelings, character, my spirit and dignity. As if something just extracted all of it from my body without my notice. Much of the time I will just stare at the ceiling, not moving any part of my body. My eyes begin to blur and grow tired from the lack of stimulation, and I fade into sleep. This stage is also the one that lasts the longest, even longer than the bitter winter that often starts the stages.

I don’t know why I feel this way. About myself, my friends and all things that occur to me and around me. I don’t know whether my depression has defined my character, or I define my own depression. Do I bring this upon myself? Is there an imbalance inside of me, mentally? The sad thing is, I feel like these stages and perceptions are a part of me. As if I don’t want to be deprived of the pain, the suffering. I feel that the sadness has given me some strength. I feel that the weariness has made me more worldly, or perceptive, more philosophical. Perhaps I just say that to myself. Certainly, my best friends thinks that. Or maybe she has more faith in me as a person than I have myself?

Last Night

Earlier this week, I attempted to take my own life (Too dramatic an opening? Should I have written some exposition or flowery introduction to gently weave that in? To hell with it). It is quite obvious to say that I’m still here, and I haven’t come to terms yet on whether I should be blessed or mournful. A friend of mine told me that I already knew the reason why I was in such a downtrodden, depressed state. I think she’s partly right. Mind you, there is a large difference between feeling suicidal and actually committing the act. The act itself is largely a matter of contemplation and gathering the nerve to follow through. The method I chose was also rather poorly advised. My friend also mentioned previously that I also didn’t really want to die (Why is she always on point with these observations? I wanted to be mysterious and leave my motivations obscure. This is me, who am I kidding?).

Maybe I didn’t want to depart this life and pass onto another realm of existence, but I don’t know what I really want to do with this life. I feel a great current sweeping over me. It’s not a physical manifestation, but the weight of it might as well be. It permeates everywhere I go, everyone I meet and everything I do. There are so many expectation and milestones that I am expected to achieve, based on my gender, my religion, my culture and my nationality. I want to feel unique, but I don’t want to be pretentious. I want to be loved, but I want to be independent. I want to be humble, but I don’t want to be inconsequential. All of these contradictions crash against one another, climb and push each other down as if to somehow avoid drowning. I don’t know what I really want. Let’s be serious. I’m privileged, even though I’m a Black American. I haven’t really struggled. Haven’t seen the world, the horrors of humanity, the beauty of history and civilization, or had a taste of life. I’m a twenty-something year old American child of immigrants. I have it good, but still I feel as if I struggle so much and have felt so much. Almost as if I lived a previous life, and the streams of memories and past experiences flow through me and are bursting and pulsating at the streams of my skin.

Let me move toward my evening. I initially didn’t want to talk to anyone after what happened. I was overcome by an extreme melancholy. I felt so horrible having people worry about me. I felt like I had them worry over such a pathetic attempt of taking my own life. If I was going to have my friends commit an emotional investment to a tragedy of my own making, I better damn well have something serious to be worried about. Pills? I should have done something out of a Nickelback video, and have my car crash. Or have an explosion, and my body moves in slow motion while some dreary and soul crushing rock music play in the background. Maybe that’s just me having a romantic viewpoint over the matter (her words, not mine. Wait, her again?). I was going to reject hanging out with both of my good friends, but a part of me knew I needed to seem both of them.

The way I had planned it, I wanted to talk to them individually on my own terms. First with my friend, who I feel I needed to talk to her personally and just be myself. Then I could talk to me other friend and his brother, who are like my own brothers. Even though the term is a bit fleeting at times. They aren’t my family. I saw a fight outside a bar, wanting to yell “WORLD STAR” or something. Had drinks, and we all met in the cacophony of a bustling, cramped, and smoke filled bar. It was a lively, quaint location in the rather clean and sanitary boredom of my neighborhood. It felt like a spot that seemed more appropriate for a downtown strip than a rather affluent area of a city. As with most of the times I meet with my two friends, they usually end up at my house. My room, with both chairs occupied along with my bed. I don’t mind meeting at my home. I just wish I had a more lively and independent household to bring my friends than a pedestrian home of two middle-aged people.

All throughout the night, a part of me didn’t really want to see any of them. I just felt like I was invisible to both of them. Like it was a two person conversation. Things gradually got better, and we really explored some personal subjects. We talked about the meaning of our lives, our places in them, sex, gender roles, war, relationships, psychology, sociology, the U.S. drug policy, the universe, anal sex, etc. This was peppered with what I enjoy about both of them, together and separately. My guy friend is sensible, his advice grounded in personal experiences and covered in common sense and good instinct. His humor can be quirky, at times incredibly dark and ridiculous and set up and delivery. He can be serious, funny and cut through the fat of a conversation when it wanders off base. Somehow it worked for me. My other friend is hard to describe. She has a wide range of thoughts and emotions. She is logical, her advice held together in experiences, terminology, philosophy, intersected with our own viewpoints. The conversation flows forward, backward, stays static, and completely jumps the shark sometimes. She can make you feel and see things you haven’t thought of, and really make you see things in a way that can be honest, disarming, but of course always respectful and considerate.

It was that long conversation that I came to something. When I heard a tragedy of another person we were all friends with, I further understood something about life. There are a lot of absurdities about life. Why do some people becomes victims of war? Why do others volunteer their lives and sanity to be participants of war? Why are some people victims of sexual abuse? Why do some people smoke and never get sick, and other die suddenly and abruptly? I wouldn’t even know. I just know that being with these two people brought out what I enjoy about my life. People who are both similar and so different from me. We all compliment and stand out from one another. We all grow as adults and as people. Your friends will support you, challenge you, and have your best interests. Even when you may not want to hear it at times you may find inconvenient.

I need to be reminded that there are things out of my control in life, and I need to stop being so arrogant into thinking that I need to control and define my life with such inflated expectations. It won’t help me overcome my depression. So if you were expecting my depression to simply bow out and fade away, I have to shatter your expectations. What I do know is the importance of people in helping you. I am here because of my friends, my parents, my family, classmates, my neighbors and even strangers. I’ll someday have a separate post talking about my depression specifically. That needs its own post. I can just be thankful for the wonderful people who I have somehow convinced to be friends with someone like me. Funny how that works. Ain’t that some bullshit, tho?

P.S. – I likely need to change the title of this. It might be taken as if I got a booty call “last night” and gave some chick some deep Mandingo dick. Or something like that. I’m weird. A man can dream, right? 

Man Dances to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” During Baltimore Riots

I normally would introduce a thorough analysis of what caused a lot of social upheaval in this country, but today I’m going to listen to Michael Jackson. I have to admire the bravery of this man dancing on top of a truck, in the middle of a large American city when rioting and chaos is going. What makes this even more memorable is both the song “Beat It” and the police helicopters flying over this man. It’s almost something out of Mad Maxxx or something. Why couldn’t I have thought of this?!?

I will leave this thought untitled. There isn’t a selection of words of a phrase that will properly capture and summarize what I need to say. This will be written for myself primarily, but I will not be dense and ignore the public nature of all of my posts. 

There are many roles that I occupy as a person. Those roles in themselves accompany responsibilities and positions that I am obligated to fulfill. I am all at once these positions: a son, a brother, a friend, a Haitian, an American, a Christian, a religious skeptic, a man, an African American, a Black American, a token Black man, a comedian, a cynic, a writer, a depressed soul, a coward, an actor, a charlatan, and at last my own person.

I am willing to sacrifice parts of myself to fulfill those roles. Sometimes I can move fluidly between these roles, largely unconsciously in the same way that a current cuts through a rock seamlessly in a river. Why are we willing to sacrifice for others? As I grow older, I find myself less able to move fluidly between positions and more fixed on what I am supposed to be as an adult. It is as if when you are a child, and you have all the room in the world to explore, to be injured, scared, hurt, and come to your own conclusions about what you see. That large expanse if your space that you show to the world, and we often see children as being capable of anything, and that large space is the hope and imagination we so closely linked to that part of our lives. As we grow older, that space eventually becomes enclosed to the point that we have just enough to move around a small space. There is a larger sense of permanence in being an adult. Less room for imagination and creativity in the way we are. We have to be more cunning about what we can do in that smaller space.

I used to be able to shirk a lot of social norms that I found rather confounding when I was younger. There are several halves of my childhood. The biggest split in that period is what I will call my “attack.” There is a clear separation of how I was before, and after that period of my life. I was forced to confront sexuality, control, submission, reversal of sex roles, vulnerability, and loss of control at a much younger than anyone should have experience. It ruined me. I apologize, it still ruins me. The way at which I look at people, particularly women and adults became warped. After that “attack,” I never wanted to delve in the dating and flirting that so many of my peers did. I was good at it, mind you. It took me years to find my “being.” I don’t just mean finding the right jokes to use at people, or a fashion sense I could identify with, or even interests or people to associate with. I also mean finding out who I was after being to horribly manipulated and taken advantage of. Who was I?

Not only do I still ponder the question, but my feelings for people are in part warped because I don’t know who I am. I love my friends, or family, and even have warm feelings for my peers and associates. I also have days where I want to smash the faces of those people, to hurt them, and push them away from me. I don’t know where these emotions come from. C.S. Lewis wrote in “The Four Loves” that we move through life having four basic boundaries of feelings for people. We have pleasures that we indulge in, such as pleasure of necessity and pleasure of appreciation like love. The four loves are in storge (affection), philia (brotherly love), Eros (romantic love) and agape (unconditional love).

I have been able to express all but one of those feelings for the people I share in my life. There is so much nuance to the way we feel about people. Sometimes we are confronted with people we meet out of similar pursuits, like school or career. Sometimes we meet people through coincidence. Other times we seek people out, such as through platforms that allow us to find romantic partners. We have to balance the circumstances of how we meet such persons, our feelings for them, our own background (religion, language, sexual or personal tastes) and the interactions that others may have. 

While I was a student in college, I shared a lot of experiences with women. Many of my friends are women, and I think that helped straighten out the anxieties that I have toward them. Image if for instance that my world and space is trapped behind a door, but this door has to be found in open space. It’s like an old Looney Toon skit where Bugs Bunny pulls the zipper in the foreground of the cartoon, open a hole in the setting and steps through it. A man will typically try to force his way through the door, either physically through violence or through a more subtle approach that is often inexplicably sexual. A woman will learn more about the surrounding, feel around the environment that hides the door and find it herself. If she is particularly good enough, she can either find the zipper/key herself or convince the doorman to open the door for her.

For the women who I shared friendships for, I have gone through the stages of feelings that go from friendly, flirtatious, infatuation, confusion, and often circling between those stages. I have never had romantic feelings for anyone. It’s not through a failure or lack of attempt. I knew of many women whose affections I had, a lot of great women where I could have made something work. Remember how we had to balance the circumstances of how we meet these persons? Some of these women are classmates, some I met through social events, others through mutual friends, and other times they are my close friends. As a person, I have always tried to exercise a large degree of restraint in what I say or do when I am serious.

That restraint often leads me to slowly move away from developing any affections for those persons on a romantic basis. I have had strong feelings for people while I was in university and while I was out to this moment. Some of those feelings are a mix of affection, brotherly love, unconditional love and if given enough time could be romantic. I also can’t lie and pretend that I also don’t have an urge to stick my penis through something soft and lubricated. C.S. Lewis was much better at important and intricate authorship than I could ever be.

I still share friendships with all of these people, with the closeness varying between all persons. Some persons I find easier to keep in contact with than others. I also can’t lie and pretend that certain people I want to keep in contact with more than others. Some persons I know I can’t ever pursue something more without damaging the entire foundation of our relationship. Other persons began more flirtatiously, and somehow devolved into vanilla relationships. I have that person in my life, but I had a greater interaction with that person when they were a potential romantic interest.

I know of a couple of friends who can have strong feelings for a person, in spite of knowing virtually little about the person. I don’t know if that feeling is infatuation, romance, lust, longing for love, or something else. There isn’t a word for such feelings. I have never experienced it myself (I consider myself lucky), but I know enough observations from others to know that it happens. All of these scenarios tend to end in varying ways, depending on the person. More often than not, it doesn’t usually end with any long-lasting relationship between the two persons. Well, only in two cases have I seen that. I have had infatuations before, and in one case it lasted three years. My feelings are often fleeting at times, and goes through the revolving door of cycles I already mentioned (friendship, flirtation, infatuation, etc).

Becoming an adult means I am going to have less room to explore. When I go around and I see my friend succeeding in careers or in their relationships with other people, it often reflects failure in my own life. I don’t believe in romantic relationships for appearances, or to occupy some emptiness in life. I am always alone, and reeking of personal defects. No man or woman is going to make you feel whole. You have to achieve that yourself, and at best your partner or S.O. can help keep you going or compliment you. Unlike what most people think, opposites attract but they don’t often stay together as magnets or as people in a relationship. Those who compliment one another are more likely to work. Or so I have been told.

What emptiness I feel in myself as a person, I will have to continue to redefine my relationships with other people while understanding more of what I want and if I willing to be more open about my feelings for people. I hide so much of myself for selfish reasons that I often wonder whether I am even capable of unfiltered feelings for another person that hasn’t been coldly calculated or reasoned. This is not even considering the likelihood of rejection or forced re-evaluation from me and another person upon the discussion of a evolving relationship. Until that moment comes, if it ever comes, I can just release a sigh and go on with a smile.

The Conquest Over Starfish Hitler

I have been watching “Kamen Rider X” on and off for the last few years. There are numerous episodes and scenes from this show that are absolutely “out there” with villains and characters. We see here that Hitler didn’t die in his bunker in Berlin, but took a trip to Bikini Bottom and became a starfish to reclaim the Lebensraum for his people. Hopefully, he can try harder next time.

Become One With Orion



It comes as no surprise that in spite of my fascination with looking at stars and constellations, I have never been the biggest expert in astronomy. This is a recent photo of Orion constellation. Look at all of the stars of various stages and intensities, the red nebulas that seem to float in the universe and dozens of other objects that paint this beautiful photo. Play it with some music. Play it without it. Just get lost in this photo, like I did. I’ll see you later.

Credit for this photo goes to Rogelio Bernal Andreo. He is apparently an astrophotographer. Which I didn’t know was a thing.

The Beauty of Rain

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There is an inexplicable quality in something as simple as rain. It’s one of the few natural phenomena where I can shut my eyes entirely and just listen to it. I have always focused more on my visual and sensory abilities than my auditory, but there is something beautiful about rain. When you close your eyes, you can hear the drops rush onto the Earth like miniature missiles. Nothing escapes its reach, and it has a feeling of cleansing of the surface.

Outside of my window about now, I can hear the rain slapping against the concrete sidewalk, the gravel, the concrete road, the tiles on the roofs, the grass and dirt on the plain, the palm tree leaves, the woods of the forest, the lake behind my house, the thud of the metal gutters, shingles of my house, the movement of water down the street, the drainage struggling to engulf the rush of water, the metal lamp posts, and dozens of other sounds. If you clear your mind and focus your thoughts, you can isolate all of the different sounds. You can even tell the intensity of the rain and how it moves based on the sounds. Is it swirling around, falling straight, or in fat droplets? Perhaps the rain is moving leftward, or rightward, or falling like little beads?

It’s a pity that we don’t get an opportunity to see more rain during winter. There is something wondrous about snow when I lived in New York, but I always had an appreciation for rain. Especially walking outside, and smelling the wet grass and concrete as it becomes lathered in water. In Brooklyn or Manhattan, you can see the beautiful lights of thousands of colors and objects reflect in the rain. For a brief moment, they resemble tiny stars and ripple as the surface of the water on the ground is disturbed.

In spite of all the advancements of mankind to demonstrate our capacity for beauty, art, and technology, we can’t begin to capture the beauty of something so simple, so marvelous, and yet so natural as rainfall. That is all.

That Old Itch

There really wasn’t a point in me posting anything over Christmas or the New Year. Not that I don’t celebrate either passing, but I never felt the point of publicly posting anything on those events. We have reached the New Year, and many of us have held our heads high on new hopes, resolutions, beginnings, and hope to achieve success in numerous fields. My friends have hoped for changes or maturation in their dreams, whether academic, personal, health, financial, sexual, romantic, and even political. For me, it’s just another month and the number I use when I write the date is increased by one integer.

I can’t deny that the new beginnings that come from the coldness of winter and the renewal of spring have caused me to want. I want to be who I used to be. In ten years, I have become more open, emotional, empathetic, less read, less refined in my interests musically, physically, artistically, among other fields. I also used to be a large asshole when I was younger. I want to return to that. I want to be able to simply “turn-off” my emotions, feelings towards people, and my floundering emotional attachments. I have become so passive, indecisive, pathetic, and I have sacrificed my own interests.

Over the last six months, I have slipped further and further into depression. One thing that still remains consistent is my ability to act. I can fake happiness, friendliness, or openness when I believe it suits my own interests or puts others at ease. I can’t pretend I also do it if it helps other people. When I look into the eyes of my parents, relatives, friends, and even co-workers, I can’t help but think people just look through me. Imagine looking at yourself in a mirror. What do we see? We find our own reflection; sometimes we put on weight, or have acne, or sunken eyes that indicate a lack of sleep, or have prominent cheekbones. We also see the reflection of where we are. I feel that even I can’t look at myself in the mirror, and I can see through myself and notice only the surroundings that encompass the mass of flesh my eyes are trying desperately to avoid. It’s as if our eyes lose focus on sustained viewing, losing focus on the central image but sharpening on what is around the very thing we should be paying attention to.

Ten years ago, I used to be so good at coping. Coming to terms with being miserable, being cut throat, and keeping a lid on my own insecurities and shortcomings. As one gets older, it steadily gets harder and harder to keep moving forward. Our happiness and emotional health isn’t like a sturdy rock in the wild, but a structure that will rot and collapse if not maintained and inspected. I want to throw everything away. My parents, my friends (or lack thereof), my want of attachment for other people, my fears, etc. I want to be who I was, therefore I could be cold, rational, on point with my goals and desires, aggressive, confident, and at least moderately successful.

Nobody is going to notice me. Nobody is going to look at me as individual, but a routine or a habit. Nobody will find me unique or special, or even helpful. I have to do that myself. Once again, I am left alone and I have to do things on my own. If necessary, I will have to grow prepared to throw everyone and everything overboard to achieve my own self-sufficiency. I want to have that sense of worth and fire in my spirit, and cutting myself, drinking alcohol, dancing, stumbling off of roads, or other self-destructive methods of coping won’t make me feel whole. I want the old me back.

A Slice of Haitian Music



Patience, par Les Gypsies de Petion Ville en 1973.

It seems as if the music I ever listen to are from time periods better suited for pages in a textbook, or music from genres and artists too obscure. One of my favorite genres of music comes from Haiti. My father is much older than me, and his collection of music is largely derived from the 1970s and 1980s. Older Haitian music had more diversity than the explosion of Konpa (Compa, Kompa) music that exploded in the 1980s to even today. One of my favorite artists that were huge in the 70s and 80s were Les Gypsies de Petionville. Even if you don’t understand French, you can more than likely guess the name of the band. From Petionville, Haiti, Les Gypsies were part of the major bands that dominated Haitian music during the period, along with Les Shleu-Shleu, Les Skah-Shah, Tabou Combo, DP Express, Les Difficiles De Petionville, and a few other bands.

Haitian music is notorious for its long segments, with many songs having numerous bridges and pauses between sections. A song can have a slow pace for three minutes, and pick up with a fast tempo for the next four to eight minutes. It is not unusual for songs of the era to easily be more than ten minutes long. In the song I posted, you can certainly get a feel for the era. A lot of psychedelic vibes from the electric guitar, string guitar, drums, wood instruments, etc. There isn’t much if any electronic modification to the music. The genre this song fits precisely is hard to say. It has elements of Funk, Latin, Pop, and some Rock influences. Whatever I may think of my parents, the music makes me wonder about returning to a lost era, on a tropical island, reflecting on memories, my culture, and identity. I can certainly dig that.