Jerel Says, ‘What’s in a name’; Willy-Nilly

What's In a Name

When I started ManVsLoneliness, I wasn’t really thinking too much or too far into the future. I had this massive, intimidatingly wide and deep rift of heartbreak left in the wake of my last destructive relationship. This blog was my attempt to bridge the chasm, one dangling piece of wood at a time. I didn’t know if I would be able to follow through for the entire year, or what reflections and experiences it may bring. I never thought to expect any sort of readership, let alone the much appreciated and loved level of engagement and communication I ended up having with some incredible people through WordPress.

Day 1

Having never blogged before this, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the experience. Before this I couldn’t even remember the last time I wrote for pleasure or leisure. Now I can’t wait to share my thoughts on love or movies or music, food, relationships, events, or travel. I can’t always say they’re good thoughts, but I can’t deny my compulsion to share nowadays. I have crossed the rift stronger, wiser, and happier. A little worse for wear, but overall, overwhelmingly and satisfyingly intact.

Jerel Says

I’ve built my bridge and walked across it, and now in new and unchartered lands I find I want to continue building something. I can’t keep looking backwards and adding to the bridge, as important and essential as it has been to me. It was always meant to help get across and find something new and worth finding. A lot of people have asked me, ‘what happens after the year’, ‘what happens after ManVsLoneliness‘. And I always said that I’ve learned to love blogging and want to continue on with it, but I didn’t really know to what capacity or to what purpose.

In a way it’s kind of strange to look at my newer posts, with its new outlook and perspective, and still see ManVsLoneliness. It reminds me lot of the heartbreak and the insecurity of the beginning, and it doesn’t give me the opportunity to reflect and portray the growth of the past year. I just figured I couldn’t continue on with the same name, when I’m no longer just a man trying to fight back loneliness.

Single Guy Says

But now I think I’ve figured out what I want to do, and it requires a new look, new identity, and new focus. So I’ve started a new blog, titled SingleGuySays. A lot of the posts will look very much like how they’ve been looking recently, starting with a quote that captures the theme, experience, or thought of the post. Those are the Single Guy Says posts. But I will also be adding other kinds of posts that are kind of the main inspiration for what it is I’m looking to do now. Those will be the Single Guy Tries posts.

Frisbee Alone

Spending a year on your own means that eventually you’ll have to venture further than your own home and continue to experience your own life. That means a lot of solo activity.  Eating out by yourself, watching movies, going to events like concerts or festivals, and a whole lot of solo travel too. It’s been my experience that often times doing these things alone change kind of how people act or behave around you. Servers and bartenders are really good examples but so are locals when you’re traveling or strangers at a festival. So I think there’s a lot of interesting insight and reflection to be had about viewing these experiences from the single person’s perspective.

And at the same time a comment I get a lot from friends and family is how much they’re  usually surprised by how comfortable and secure I am doing these things on my own. And I’ve written in the past about that feeling of insecurity or self-consciousness or just lack of self-interested self-motivation that prevents a lot of people from doing things Eating Alonesimply because they don’t want to do it alone. And I want to explore that, live in that, breathe life into that for a lot of people and to also see it from both sides and understand that feeling. So I want to do things that I’ve always wanted to do and maybe have held back because I thought it would be better or only reserved for when I was with someone. I don’t want to restrict myself or the things I do. And I want to tackle some ‘couple things’ that I’ve just always wanted to try. Like dance lessons. I don’t want to wait until I have someone who wants to dance and then start trying to learn so I can dance with her. I want to be the guy who can dance already. Or what happens when a single guy wants to do a paint and sip class? I want to have this  conversation with people, ask them either about the things they’ve always wanted to do on their own or the things they never got to do because they couldn’t find someone else to do it with them and were too afraid to do by themselves. And there’s a great opportunity there for communication and collaboration and feedback from the community on ideas and requests and places to go and things to do.

Single Guy Tries

So yes, I’ve changed my blog identity and name. And I know this is not something to be taken lightly and I don’t change willy-nilly. It’s going to mean a lot of starting from scratch. I won’t have the same subscribers, the same exposure, but I can always work to build it up again, and I can’t ever forget that the first person I write for in anything is myself anyways. When I first started I was happy to throw my thoughts into the void, and while now there is a part of me that takes some pride and accomplishment in the thought that I can share my writing with people who are interested and care, I can keep writing for myself and trust and hope to find others along the way.

For the next couple days I will continue to mirror the posts on both blogs to give people as much time as possible to find my new blog and starting to go there  by default. Eventually I’ll simply have it redirect for a long period of time to keep getting as much notice as possible. But otherwise, having built one bridge already, now I’m excited and looking forward to building something else, something brand new. I really, sincerely, hope to see you all there to see what I end up making.

Jerel Says, ‘Hello World’; Caper

It’s funny just how much you all actually know about who I am.  You know most of my hobbies, passions, and interests. You know a lot of what I don’t like, because I am more passionate against things than I am for. Hahah. You know my hopes, aspirations, and struggles. I dedicated a month to sharing as much as I could remember of my complicated, rocky relationship and a year to sharing as much as I could remember of my complicated, rocky  relationship with ‘relationships’. If my life were conducive to capers, you would have definitely known about those too. My likes, my career, my travels, I’ve shared a lot.

You know how this blog started out of immense heartbreak. How at times when I felt more alone than I ever have, and had nothing but bittersweet memories to keep me awake and afraid at night, I would instead write, opening a vein, bleeding my story out. You know my continued hopes for love and companionship and warmth and connection, and for as much as I myself have figured it out,  you know what it is ultimately I am trying to look for. You know how random words or encounters or  conversations would light a fire in me and how much I would want to share it here, to see if my thoughts and musings could hold up as well on screen as they do in my head.

But you don’t know my name.

Hello world, my name is Jerel. This is my blog.

In a Suit

In Toronto for the wedding of one of my best friends.

There is a chance that there are new readers and new eyes looking at this blog right now. See, I happened to coincide the first post of the new year and my face and personal life reveal with letting friends and family know that I’ve had this, and that they are now welcome to read and be a part of this world. But unlike Man, Jerel has a very minimal and often times  unnoticed social presence, so who knows. Hahah. But in the rare case there are, that means some of you are for the first time finding out about this blog, while most of you are for the first time finding out about its author.

Just so you know, Man also has a twitter you can follow at @ManVsLoneliness.

NoFilter

But you won’t be able to find absolutely adorable photos of me like this even if you follow me. #nofilter

I started this blog as equal parts therapy and exploration. Getting over the past and figuring out the future. I took a year off from relationships and just wanted to focus on figuring out who I am, what I want, what I’m looking for, and why I’ve been such a shitshow trying to find it. In a year’s worth of posts you’re going to find very personal writings about my past relationships, personal reflections on heartbreak and hope, and personal pieces just about who I am, what I love, what I hate, and what I think. The number on the top of the page there, in case you’re wondering, is a score count. As the days went by, I’d take a mental inventory of how it went. My mood, my attitude, my outlook, and I would decide if it was a day to be proud of, happy with, satisfied with, or if it was a day I let my pain, insecurities, or fears get the better of me. Overall, long story short, I didn’t.

Sleeping

I’m an image of grace and beauty in repose.

But for most of you reading,  I’m finding it difficult to think what there is of Jerel there is to share that hasn’t already been a part of Man. I’m 27 years old, I was born and raised and still live in New Jersey with my incredible family and ‘eh’ friends. (Kidding.) I went to elementary, middle school, high school, and college in New Jersey. I hate when people refer to it as ‘dirty Jersey’.  I’m left handed and flat footed. I really really want to be able to describe myself as awkward, quiet, reserved, but the truth is I’m awkward, loud, and just a damn good charmer. Hahah.

Ladies Man

And I’ve always been quite the ladies’ man.

I don’t get very many opportunities in real life to be as expressive or to share like I do here, though. And that is actually true. I’ve kind of developed all of this train of thought on a parallel path to my regular day to day. But I would like to think, I hope, that a lot of what I’ve learned and realized and grown through has changed me and made me more aware of my personal life. Now that everything, Man and Me, has been combined and integrated I’m hoping to share more of how the thoughts and reflections I share here affect what I do out there.

HighSchool Jerel

Peace, love, and chill is all a high school Man wants, man.

I’m not entirely sure what will change for the blog, but I do know there won’t be a day count anymore. And I’d like to still keep up a relatively consistent and reliable stream of posts. I may want to explore various other media, if I can find the right equipment. Maybe my personal connections can help with that, as I know some of my other friends and family have blogs or do things with social media. Maybe I’ll just keep posting baby photos because adorableness should get me a few more likes, right?

Strike a Pose

Outside of this, the future of Me, Man, and this blog are unknown to everyone here. I mean, I’ll keep writing, you’ll just know who the writer is. It’s not gonna affect what I choose to share or how I choose to share it. BUT, I do have a request of  you all reading.  I do know for a fact that something I’d like to do in the near future is a ‘get to know Me or Man’ kind of thing. I’d love to hear all the questions you might have either about me personally or about the blog or anything really.

Cooking Jerel

I will admit, I love including this photo in online dating profiles because women love a) guys who cook and b) cute little kids.

I’m hoping I can get a good number of really interesting questions that could lead to something substantial. Readers and subscribers will be able to comment right on here. Those of you who don’t have blogs can email me or Facebook me, if you got to this from there. I really want to compile all these questions and do a project with them. So please please please, ask away!

Momofuku

A surprise birthday treat at Momofuku Ko. With friends at one of the best, most memorable meals I’ve ever had.

Here’s something I can share with you guys about my real self. I was born with a full head of hair. Like, crazy amount of hair. And most family have this like, one famous photo of me as a baby with a wild untamed afro of hair. I was, according to some of the older folks at least, kind of an annoying child, pretty hard to handle, so maybe this is why they only remember me a) for my hair and b) before I could speak.

Famous Hair

My father likes to joke that I skipped the ‘adorable baby’ phase and went straight to ‘funny looking kid’.

 

Day 365: The Man and the Clean Start; ‘Savage’

‘Day of rest’ my shiny keister.

I don’t know what it was, but this morning the sun was shining, it was a crisp and clear Catand beautiful day, and I wanted to bury myself in dust and dirt and undo a full year’s worth of damage to my bedroom. Now I’m not actually a ‘messy’ person, per se. Like, I have very strict bedroom rules. Absolutely no food or drink. No one is allowed on or in my bed unless they change into ‘bed clothes’, which as the name would imply, should only ever be worn in bed. We’re your typical Asian family so we already do the whole ‘no shoes indoors’ thing and that extends to no socks and slippers everywhere. Slippers are worn all around the house but are left at the bedroom door and I’m only ever actually barefoot in my room. I put dirty clothes in the laundry, worn but clean clothes on hooks, and all clean clothes are folded or hung. Like I said, I’m not a savage. Hahah.

But I am a bit of a hoarder. And that’s the big problem. My rooms never gets dirty, it just gets crowded. And every now and then I need to just arm myself with five extra large Activitiesgarbage bags and three empty boxes and remind throw out everything I once thought I might need and probably haven’t touched since 2014. That’s not an exaggeration, by the way. I did actually find and throw out things I’ve held onto since then for no real rhyme or  reason. So I’m currently enjoying the incredible ease and peace of  mind that comes from a near empty room filled with only purposeful and  meaningful things. I can’t believe how much I had that just had to go, and for good benefit. I even managed to clear enough to redecorate and reorganize some parts of my room. Plus, I think I unlocked like a good ten extra square feet of space.

Resolution 1The timing of my clean room purge isn’t lost on me, by the way. I know what today is, and I certainly think that at least some of my desire for this cleaning was definitely in part due to the last day of my year. You know how some people get around New Year’s. They clean up, they get hopelessly and foolishly optimistic, some even run or exercise, or get foolishly optimistic about running and exercising. And in many ways, to me this is more about the start of a new year than the end of the last. Nothing ends after this. The Resolution 2blog continues, Man continues, and Me continues. In fact, all there is to look forward to is more new, more change, more ‘more’ of everything. And the fact that I am cleaning and listening to more 70s and 80s and 90s pop and dance and rock and I am dancing and singing my way to the end of this day, the end of this year, does make me feel foolishly optimistic that everything is gonna be alright, everything is gonna be good.

That I could sing and dance and be hopeful at all is in and of itself a major accomplishment, and a testament to the strength I’ve found this past year. I look at the final count and think to myself, 33 days, a little more than a month, really isn’t all that bad. And I think it would have been a lot longer, and would have been a year with much more negative experiences to have to answer for. When I first started this blog, and when I did some research for my NaNoWriMo project, I remember reading articles about how men and women get over relationships differently.

See emotionally and mentally, women are hit more notably and visibly. You know the deal. Sappy romances, chocolate, ice cream, and flannel pajamas for days. Women will Sad Ice Creamshut themselves in and shut the world out. On a very superficial level, compared to men, it seems like women take longer to get over breakups and feel the effects of them much more deeply. And there are very clear and logical evolutionary reasons for this. Biologically speaking, women have more to lose when a relationship fails. Women naturally have much more to invest in relationships and therefore have to consider them on deeper levels faster than men. What one man sees as a brief night of passion a woman might have to see as nine months of pregnancy and years of lactation and care. With much more to gain and to lose, a failed relationship could bear great weight on a woman. But inevitably, give it a couple weeks, a couple months, maybe a year or two, a few pep talks, some honest late night conversation, and she always, always, recover.

You’re gonna think guys get over relationships faster. You’re going to think back and remember men who’ve broken hearts or whose hearts have been broken, and remember how seemingly easy it was and how quick it was for them to get ‘back in the game’ so to Sad Andyspeak. And I’m not denying the signs. Relationships being formed seemingly right away. Clubs and bars and nights out with friends. Sometimes it seems like their feet hit the bar before your tears hit the floor. And certainly in terms of ‘moving on’, men do move on faster. But a lot of times, unlike most women, while men do ‘move on’, most never ‘heal’. A lot of men, even those who seemingly move on quickly, end up burying and bearing the feeling of that loss for much much longer periods of time than women, feeling either the pain of having to try and find what they lost or fearing that what they lost is irreplaceable. You see this in disastrous cycles of identical failed relationships, or men who end up becoming self-saboteurs.

So we’ve got deep and searing pain for a couple months with the eventual promise of recovery, or a speedy bounce back with years of lingering effects. Huh. And to be fair, I think normally I would have followed my natural path and probably within a month or two, try to date, get some online profiles up on a couple different sites, maybe dig up old acquaintances on Facebook to promisingly disastrous results. From personal experience, I know how these breakups usually go, and often times the harder and harsher the fall, the quicker I resort to same old tricks. So what broke the cycle? Why didn’t I go down the most familiar and comfortable path I had? What’s so different about men and women when they go through heartbreak?

This is just conjecture, just one man thinking and speaking out loud, throwing it to the void and seeing what sticks, but I think it comes down to just that. Thinking and speaking ConstantTalkingout loud. Communicating. Women are natural communicators. They share. When they’re done and hurting, they tell, or they have good friends who come and listen. The point is, there’s no shortage of willing ears, or a willing spirit to share. So everything comes out. In large painful bursts but, eventually, it all gets out there. And they’re afforded that opportunity to heal, to recover, to grow, develop, and maybe just maybe avoid the same mistakes, same hurt. Guys, we don’t usually do that. We like to think we’re just so in tune with each other that we don’t need to say anything. It’s almost like, the closer and the manlier your bond, the less you speak. We’ll drink, we’ll spit out enough cliches to get a guy ‘back on the horse’ ‘back in the game’ ‘back in the hunt’ and maybe we’ll just need to keep the cycle going more often that we’d like or imagined. But it’s gotta work, right?

This time, I had this blog. And for 33 days I shared 33 reflections on 33 things that hurt me, kept me up late at night, made me afraid of the coming day. And that number could have been anything. The point was, I always had this outlet. No thought unsaid, no feeling unexplored. And while in the beginning it was to the void, even just the act of verbalizing, forming, seeing the thoughts on screen, had effects. But eventually I had Dataconversations, and interactions, and extra voices, to build up or tear down, depending on what my train of thought might be and where it was headed. Ultimately, I don’t even think it was about the no dating for a year. Or the particular count and wanting to ‘win’ the year. I think it was about finding a voice. Saying something, anything, was better than keeping it in and doing just whatever it was I wanted to do. There’s value in communication. There’s value in the people you communicate with. When I started this blog, one of my goals was not just to be a place for me, but a place for anyone who needed to talk, or needed a second reassuring voice, to find comfort and solace, and maybe some wisdom through similar experiences. I’ve seen and felt firsthand the power of communication. I’ve learned so much, but not nearly enough. And I’ll keep learning and going. But for anyone who ever needs to talk, or listen, I’ll want to be there for them. Unless I’m cleaning. Because I won’t be able to hear you over the Vengaboys.

Hey, that’s just for cleaning music. Don’t judge.

Day 365 FINAL

Man: 332 (WINNER) Loneliness: 33

 

Day 194: The Man and the Practical Eye; ‘Aesthetic’

There was a very strange moment last night, one that was so surreal that I felt I had left Image result for silly cooking gifmy body and was viewing myself in the third person. I was trying to take a photo of my food and I found myself…shuffling the broccoli and cauliflower with my hands because I wanted a ‘more balanced presentation’ of white and green. The lamb was right out of the broiler, glistening and still slightly sizzling, the entire house was perfumed by its intoxicating scent, I was drooling out the corner of my mouth, and instead of digging in, I was stacking them, like playing cards, and rearranging bits of vegetables. It was an…interesting experience, to say the very least.

I don’t usually take photos of food. I don’t usually take photos period, but perhaps least of all food. I can have very many wonderful and incredible meals without having worried about taking a picture of it first. There are of course, a few exceptions.

  1. Image may contain: foodIf I make the food, I record the food. Part of my objection is the idea of people ‘living by proxy’. You can’t find some sort of satisfaction or fulfillment in what you are doing, so you find it in what others do. You verify and legitimize your existence by collecting other people’s works. ‘Look at me as I dine here’, I must be living a good life. However if you make the food, I think you should take some credit for it at least. You worked hard. You triumphed. Or maybe you failed, I don’t know you. Doesn’t matter. It’s worth taking a picture of your efforts. Have some pride. Show off. Get those likes because you actually earned it. You didn’t just order it off a menu. Most of the pictures of food I’ve taken have been things I’ve made. And I’m especially proud of that.
  2. Memorable meals. This can be one of two things. Either the occasion, more so than the meal, was memorable and so therefore the food becomes second billing to the No automatic alt text available.company or the event and is simply included in the pics, or the meal itself was so phenomenally memorable, maybe once in a lifetime, that it is worth preserving the memory (or stealing the technique). For example, my dinner last Friday with my brother and aunt. His last meal before his flight, a rich and meaty rodizio with some incredible cuts of beef, I wanted to take pictures and remember this important moment. Or, the BEST MEAL OF MY LIFE. Last year when my friends and I splurged to the great extent of actually successfully nailing a reservation at Momofuku Ko. Oh my god. Listen. I will dedicate an entire separate post just to that meal. Suffice to say it was INCREDIBLE. I HAD to take photos of the dishes because they were so fascinating, so intriguing, so delicious. And I’m a thieving bastard so I’m totally bootlegging what I had.
  3. This is your craft. There are some incredible food bloggers out there sharing their culinary adventures either in the kitchen or on the road or a combination of both. But they have taken the time and effort to develop this seriously and professionally. Taken courses. Gotten the right equipment. Does everyone and their mother need to know you had waffles with some whipped cream for breakfast on your blurry phone camera? Probably not. But maybe you’ve got this incredible recipe for the crispiest, fluffiest waffles ever and it’s worth sharing or you’ve taken a mecca to the motherland of all waffles, Belgium, and you’ve found that hole in the wall nondescript masterpiece waffle and you have to share what this waffle is all about. Yeah then you’re probably also the kind of person who will have the right equipment and eye and technical skill, and god maybe a filter or two, and more so than that you have the vocabulary to accompany the picture. Personally, I enjoy reading Cooking without LimitsCooking with a Wallflower, The Dining Diaries, and iaccidentlyatethewholething among others. Aside from literary blogs I think food blogs are the ones I love to follow the most so I do have others, but I particularly enjoy the posts on these four. Great pictures, incredible food, but most of all, purpose. Stories. Experiences. Recipes. Passion. Accept no substitutions.

I definitely think social media has taken food pics way too seriously and valued them too highly for the quantity and quality of them now floating around. Every brunch, every cheese plate, every meal is photographed and documented. It’s not just the consumer who has been taken over with this weird obsession. How many videos or pictures on your Image result for flaming cheese pastaFacebook or whatever have you seen of these new ‘gimmick’ restaurants? Any thing and any way for a photo opportunity. I think the most recent one I saw was restaurants that bring a giant hollowed out wheel of Grana Padano cheese and a hot plate with a pan of some pasta with cream sauce. It’s then cooked table-side, then you have to wait and watch as they heat up some alcohol, then pour it into the wheel, then it lights on fire, then you pour the pasta (which has been probably overcooked by now) into the wheel and then you toss and turn and scrape and then finally it’s served but honestly…to what effect? Does the pasta taste better for all that, or does it just look better? How many places are going to light giant wheels of cheese on fire before we realize we’re adding more pomp and circumstance but not really much flavor?

When aesthetic runs away from function, purpose is lost. Have people gotten so bored with food, or so stifled in their creativity, that they are resorting to what will be the next viral YouTube or Instagram hit? Here’s a great example: burgers. When did burgers become some elaborate three story affair? You can’t even hold these things anymore! A good burger is well-seasoned quality meat, cooked well, on a fresh baked bun that keeps its firmness yet absorbs all the patty’s juices. It’s crisp lettuce, melted cheese, onions, mushrooms, and maybe some avocado or bacon if you’re feeling luxurious. But it’s first and foremost a practical food. Handheld, flavor-packed, honest food. What the heck is this then?!

What’s the POINT?!

 

This problem is far beyond just food, though it’s definitely fun to indulge in that particular gripe. It effects also another great passion of mine, martial arts. We don’t live in particularly dangerous times, and you can’t really make a living being a ‘martial artist’ anymore. So the ‘martial’ part of most martial arts has been lost, leaving just the ‘arts’. Someone saw tai chi a long time ago and realized it could be useful for joint and muscle health and flexibility as well as meditation, but maybe they forgot that in Chinese, ‘tai chi’ literally translates to ‘grand ultimate fist’, as in ‘this is the Jet Li   Tai Chi  gif art of kickassery’. Nowadays tell someone you practice tai chi and they’ll ask if it takes you an hour to throw a punch. I’ve met, and practiced with and against, some incredibly talented tai chi practitioners who still remember the practical applications and uses and let me tell you, it doesn’t disappoint. But a lot of what we see now in movies, and unfortunately propagated in many strip mall dollar version martial arts schools, is showy and flashy but not all that useful. This could be potentially deadly if you mislead your students to think they’ve learned any sort of practical self-defense, but then it is also equally damaging to the reputation and prestige of traditional martial arts. I don’t discredit modern jiu-jitsu or any of the newer stuff, but I think it’s unfair to relegate the traditional, the originals, to just pieces of fluff. Here is a video of Uncle Bill, the man I had the privilege and honor of meeting in a private seminar, showing some students the potential in what their ‘soft arts’ can do.

Ultimately, it boils down to this: if it looks pretty but it doesn’t work, it’s no good. And that’s really powerful. A job that woos you with a beer keg in the lounge and a bunch of parties and little perks like that but doesn’t fulfill you professionally or compensate you fairly is not a job worth keeping. A flashy car that gets stuck in two inches of snow isn’t worth driving. A relationship that hurts, a memory that burns, no matter how beautiful it was in the moment, it’s not worth holding onto. I don’t believe it should ever be a matter of ‘form vs function’. Form follows function. First, it has to work. First, it has to do what it’s supposed to do. Then, you make it pretty. Love hurts. Love is messy. Love is hard work. And then it’s cute. Then it’s what you see in the pictures.

Day 194

Man: 163 Loneliness: 31

Day 188: The Man and the Burden of Expectations; ‘Someday’

PaintingSo yesterday I posted about the past weekend and in that post I mentioned bartending at work and put a picture of me behind the bar, but of course sans face reveal. I thought it was kind of funny how some people reacted to that. Some people wondered if that was me and others joked I must have lost it at the casino. Hahah. When I first started ManVsLoneliness it was almost entirely and purely just personal writings, you know ‘how my day was’ and ‘what am I doing/where’ kind of stuff and because of that there were actually a lot more pictures of myself or of my friends and they were all blurred. I didn’t really have much of an audience back then so either a) there was no one to wonder about it or b) no one cared but either way, as MvL began to evolve and I began to explore different topics and write outside of the scope of my self, I gathered more readers but was also departing a bit more from writing about myself and therefore posting pictures of myself. I guess this is the first time in a long while a picture has gone up, so newer readers must have been surprised. Hahah.

My decision to withhold any sort of personal information (name, face, identity really) was not a decision based on the people I would maybe be able to connect with here. It was actually based on the people I already knew. I decided when I started MvL that I would keep it a secret from friends and family so I had to maintain my anonymity on here. You see I was starting with two very big endeavors. I was planning on dedicating myself to a FriendsVegaswhole year of not desperately trying to be in a relationship and I was planning on writing about it. Two things I had never really done before in the past. The last thing I needed was to make it known to everyone who knew me what I was planning and having them constantly checking in on me or holding me to some expectation/standard. I wanted to this be completely and wholly my own thing. Whether it succeeded or failed it was up to me to decide and to see it through or not to see it through to the bitter end. I also felt that with no familiar eyes prying just yet, I could get much more open and frank and really dig into wounds with more depth with less self-consciousness. There were no egos here to stroke, no reputations to protect, no one else to consider. Not that I’ve gone and written some crazy scathing attacks on the people in my life.

reactions yay cheering cheer cheerleaderI’ve always approached many of the projects and obstacles in my life the same as I have with MvL. I don’t want anyone to know or tell anyone what I’m planning on doing or currently doing or trying to do. I will ride the wave, overcome if I can overcome, succumb if I must succumb, achieve if I may achieve, and then let others know. It’s the same with like, New Year’s resolutions or career ambitions or dreams or goals. I’ve always believed in you know, ‘don’t say, do‘. Do I want my friends and family to know if I am unhappy with my job? Do I want to burden them with the knowledge of my search and dead ends? No. I would rather proudly announce when I’ve found myself a new opportunity and when I plan on moving on. Yes, there is definitely an air of pride in that. I’d much rather give people reasons to celebrate with me than to commiserate. I’d like people to look at me and go ‘oh wow look at how much he’s done or look at what he’s accomplished’ without thinking about how many times I might have fallen before. I’m actually a very private person in the sense of my ambitions or hopes or plans when it comes to the Man personally, but Man in MvL has to be much more open and expressive because well, that’s how this platform works best. I hate to say it, but I also don’t really like to tell people I know my goals or plans because I feel like most times, people expect you to fail. And that’s one expectation I do not desire to fill.

So far, I’ve been completely happy with my decision, and I really don’t plan on changing the course. I enjoy the air of anonymity, living in mystery. It’s been fun on here because of how I get to see people view me as a writer, what voice I seem to have. Older, from a different country, I enjoy when people either try to guess my information or, when some isfunny smile memes mask reveal revealed, are surprised by it. As I write and continue to grow and improve, I am encouraged by the words of people who have no real personal connection or attachment to me to precede their opinions. I am a member of an equal community of talented and incredible writers and creators. I’ve also enjoyed what it has done for my real-world side as well. My friends and family have begun to notice the length of time now that I have been single and are beginning to wonder. They look at me differently. My friends are starting to ask ‘so how’s the love life’ or ‘so have you been looking around yet or…’ as if they have no idea what other option there possible could be. My family has humorously begun the stereotypical ‘who can we set him up with’ quest, and when they ask my cousins if they have friends or ask their adult friends if they have kids who they can introduce me to, I just laugh and can say with full honesty and intention that I have no need, no desire, that I am actually happy where I am.

Ren? Magritte, The Son of Man, 1964, Restored by Shimon D. Yanowitz, 2009  øðä îàâøéè, áðå ùì àãí, 1964, øñèåøöéä ò"é ùîòåï éðåáéõ, 2009

Hey if you want to let everyone know your plans or goals, DCSuitby all means let them. Forbes even write an article right after the New Year that one of the best ways to help ensure you achieve your 2017 resolutions is to make sure everyone you know, knows what they are. I completely understand the benefits and purposes of having that support circle who can help keep you accountable, inspired, and encouraged. It just doesn’t work for me. I actually become way too pressured. I like surprising people. ‘Hey look what I did!’

That’s why I still have every intention of at the end of the year, just letting everyone know what I’ve been working on. Let them see, come into this world that I’ve been creating day by day, post by post, word by word. And yes, I’ll even stop blocking out pictures. Hahah. Oh yes, the post-year MvL still has a lot of plans and projects and surprises in store for everyone. Now of course I can’t say anything right now, but someday.

Day 188

Man: 157 Loneliness: 31

Day 100: The Man and the Hundred Day Update

On a side note, I can’t believe it’s been 100 days!

Yes, it does mean that 100 days ago my relationship with Beautiful ended, and that was a very tough time for me emotionally. But it means so much more than just a timeline of heartbreak. I’ve been single and pretty happy and secure for 100 days. I’ve been writing for 100 days. At an average word count of about 1,000 words, that means I’ve written around 100,000 words! I don’t think I’ve ever written so much in such a consistent way over such a long period of time. They might not always be the best words but they’ve always been my words; genuine, authentic, purposeful words. For 100 days I have been moving ever forward and I’ve found my little niche in this enormous community where my words can find a home and even an audience. For 100 days I have been reflecting and learning and growing.

So I look at my M/L ratio so far, and I see I’ve had 80 days for Man and 20 days for Loneliness. That’s not too bad, I should think. If we break it down, it does still mean that I have a bummer day every 5 days. That’s still like, one or two a week depending. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it that way, but it’s interesting for me at least to think of the past three months in that way. Obviously it hasn’t been as consistent as just one a week. For the most part, the bad days came often times in a row. A slump to get over. It makes me wonder though at the end of the road, what my days will look like. I’ve never quantified them in this way. Thinking of how many good or bad days I’ve had to experience. I hope in the end I could say I had a bad day in every ten, or maybe even thirty days. I think that would be a very satisfying life.

What I have learned though is that my enemy was not who I thought it was. In the very beginning, Loneliness was the by-product of my breakup. I felt Loneliness in the void Beautiful left in my life. It was the bad reminder of good times long gone, like the charred remains after a house fire. I feared anything that would remind me of her or my relationship, so for a while I lived a shell of a life in isolated sanctuaries I knew she hadn’t yet entered. But I can’t live my life afraid of being burned by a fire that has already passed. So I moved on. Yet Loneliness remained. So I thought it was because I was without a relationship. But I have surrounded myself more now than ever with friends and family. I have been learning to cherish and appreciate these other relationships in my life. I could balance time with others and have time to myself to be alone but not lonely. So I have relationships right now to keep me happy and fulfilled. Yet, Loneliness remains. And now I’m beginning to see that I can sort of see the silhouette of what it is I feel so lonely for. This special, higher, much more intimate relationship. I’m beginning to reflect more on what it is I want in a relationship. I’m not just chasing the shadows of images confusing them for the real thing. I want to investigate the nature of what I want. And now those moments when Loneliness wins, it’s not so bad. It’s a bittersweet reminder of the intense feelings that come from being alive and having loved and having lost. Loneliness is the cloud from which there would otherwise be no silver lining.

I don’t know why but recently I’ve been on a serious binge of really sappy love songs on Spotify. I’d come into work and turn on my computer, log into Spotify, and almost immediately Celine Dion is playing. They don’t write love songs like they used to anymore. Celine Dion, Boz Skaggs, Lionel Richie, those love songs you feel in your heart versus your pelvis. Recently I’ve been having more dreams with these mysterious dream girls. Always different, never the same, never even someone I know. Just these various versions of what I’m looking for. Last night she had long hair and was short and we met in martial arts class. The other night she had short hair and had this pale skin like the full moon and she let me rest my head on her lap. I used to hate these dreams because I’d wake up and focus on not having these things but now I wake up and love how much I want them. I’m not gonna lie I’m almost itching to get back to dating. But I can see so much of the benefits of this time away that I don’t want to stop. There is value and worth in discretion and discipline. I knew it would be difficult and I knew I’d want to get back real soon but I thought it would be out of fear and desperation. Instead I find it’s out of excitement and enthusiasm and wonderful curiosity.

Beside the fact, I wouldn’t even know where to fit dating into my life again at this time. Hahah. What started as attempts to drive loneliness and fear and insecurity from my mind as distractions have become genuine interests and passions. My days are full of activity and growth. On Mondays and Thursdays I’m taking boxing classes. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays I am still going to martial arts. On Fridays if I’m not there I’m hanging out with friends or going out on my own. This Friday I’m seeing Kurios with a friend and her family. On Saturdays I am almost always either with friends or family. Sundays are my days to myself to rest and recuperate or to enjoy my own company doing the things that I love, fully comfortable on my own. I cook more. Next week I am planning a meal for my family and I can’t wait to cook and take pictures and moreover I can’t wait to share with you all a post I already have planned about what cooking has taught me about life. I am blogging now almost every single day and that takes up a good amount of time. Quality content doesn’t come easily or quickly and I’m still trying to find it. I’ve taken up archery. I even built my own target stand. I try to shoot 100 arrows a day to develop my muscle memory, my eyesight, and my instincts (no fancy equipment or sights here). I thought my life was defined by my relationships and that without it I would only be left with silence and thoughts. Instead I find that without a relationship to define me I am filling in the blanks with my own interests and values and spending my time defining myself for myself.

I won’t lie, I miss having someone though. I still fall ever so slightly in love with every beautiful woman who looks my way. But there’s no pressure to do anything about it. I’m not killing myself not having it. Just enjoying that rush and that feeling. I miss having someone’s hand to hold as I walk through the special and wonderful places and times of my life. I miss hearing sweet words directed at me. I miss a beautiful woman’s laughter right next to my ear. The unmistakable sugary flowery sweet smell of a woman’s perfume on my pillow. I miss the gaze of a woman who can see into my soul and see her world. I miss it because I want it. I refrain because I want to earn it. I write these clumsy words because I want to remember how to cherish it.

Day 100

Man: 80 Loneliness: 20

Day 82: The Man and the Apologetic Gratitude

I am always so floored when people tell me they’ve nominated me for these awards. I’ve never gotten such consistent and quality feedback. It’s not just the positivity and the recognition. Every comment influences my consciousness as a writer and blogger. All of the feedback I receive helps me become better over time: polishing my writing, developing my rhetoric, creating a voice that is more universal, finding topics that reach more of an audience.

And yet I also feel bad because most if not all of these most recent recognitions were on Saturday night and I couldn’t get a post done for yesterday at all. Really great French restaurant twenty minutes from here that my friends and I had to try out! Hahah.

As I’ve done for the past nominations, I would like to recognize and thank the bloggers who have nominated me and recommend that you visit them and give them a read if you haven’t yet already. I don’t have anyone to nominate that I haven’t already so I will stick to the thank you and the responses. Hope that’s not too narcissistic.


Blogger Recognition Award

blogger-recognitionIt is my honor to receive another Blogger Recognition Award from meetmeinnevada. I love reading her writing because of the freshness of perspective and the unbridled enthusiasm and positivity she writes with. ‘Fish out of water’ transformation stories are always particularly interesting and following the chronicle of her journey from Kansas to Nevada has been a wonderful read. Aside from this she also includes some great personal and honest posts that are truly thought-provoking and inspiring. She’s given me plenty of great ideas to write on in the future. Thank you so much for your nomination and I cannot wait to keep reading your story. I hope many others soon follow suit.

Most of you know how this blog came to be. It was my salvation, my refuge after a devastating breakup. I had to rediscover myself and what I was looking for. I needed to step away from my cycle of dating and distraction to do some serious reflection on my own, and the only way to know I would give myself the time and the opportunity to do so was to bar myself from relationships for a year. From there I thought I’d be journaling how each day went, talking about the struggles and victories, but instead what I discovered is that this process isn’t about winning day to day. It’s about serious thought and transformation. I had to rethink everything I thought I knew. So days became concepts and daily victories became campaigns. Now I still keep track of that and on certain days I might want to capture the feeling of that, but a lot of my blog has now become about those things that I needed to give myself time to think about and sharing what I’ve come to discover.

My two pieces of advice from the last nomination can be found here. To reiterate: 1. WRITE WRITE WRITE and 2. BECOME INVOLVED.

If I could add to that, I’d say…

3. BE CONSISTENT. And I’ll try to be better at this too. Creating a consistent schedule of posting benefits both you and your readers. It helps your blog grow its audience because people who have come to appreciate and enjoy your writing know they can consistently expect content to keep them satiated. As a writer maintaining a disciplined schedule helps you focus and improve your writing.

4. GIVE/GET FEEDBACK. We are all writers who can always stand to benefit from continued encouragement and feedback. If a post resonates with you in a certain way, let the writer know. If it inspires a thought, share. You never know if your comment could start a whole new path or direction for the writer. In the same vein, keep the communication open with your readers. Enjoy and appreciate the compliments and positive feedback but be able to grow and take in constructive feedback. We all want to see each other be better writers.


Sunshine Blogger Award

Sunshine 2.png

Thank you to aYoKa for nominating me for another Sunshine Blogger Award. aYoKa’s blog is one of the most positive ones I’ve read and so to receive a Sunshine nomination is quite an honor. I’m actually very glad that the blog was nominated because the answers were so interesting. I did not know about the origin and struggles of the author’s life and it frames the positivity and optimism in a much more dramatic way. Always fun to read the posts and always such a bright light to remind me of the good in myself, in others, and in our shared experiences. You can’t have a bad day if you read. So please, check out this blog.

What languages do you speak?

I was born and raised in New Jersey so English is my native tongue but my parents are from the Philippines and made sure I learned Tagalog as well. I would like to learn French and Norwegian in the future.

When did you last cry in front of another person?

When Beautiful broke up with me. Uncontrollable, inconsolable crying in front of someone who clearly did not care about me anymore, if ever.

Are you less religious than your parents?

Yes. My parents were raised as devout Catholics in Catholic schools in the only Catholic nation in Asia. So that was a big part of my youth. As I’ve grown I have drifted further from the church but I will never be able to fully separate myself from this part of my identity.

What is the the one thing you have tried but will never do again?

Does Tinder count?

Do you believe everyone needs a soulmate?

Oh man…this deserves a whole separate post in the future! To suffice for now…no. I think there’s too much unfair and unrealistic pressure to make someone our ‘soulmate’. We deserve someone in our lives. Someone who loves us and accepts us but also inspires us to be better than we are. But ‘soulmate’? No. I just want someone who loves me and who I can love back.

Would you say no to palm oil products to save the orangutans?

I think I’ve lived pretty well so far without palm oil so…sure? What could possibly be the biggest departure of my life in a world without palm oil?

Have you ever succeeded when you thought you might fail?

This blog certainly has received more attention than I ever thought my simple musings would have ever attracted, but I never really thought it would ‘fail’ or that I would measure any sort of ‘success’ from it. Otherwise…when I left my teaching job I thought I was a failure. I was ashamed that I had to walk away and that I hadn’t lived up to my potential. But a month before the end of the school year my Juniors got back their standardized test scores. Almost all of them (89%) of them passed, and of those a good third of them were in the ‘advanced proficiency’ category! I thought the biggest success was the numbers. But it was actually the pride and gratitude I saw in my students’ eyes when they called me ‘Mr. [Man]’. I will never forget that. I made my mark, I did the best I could when I had the chance.

Who makes your dinner?

If I’m on the road, the restaurant chef. If I’m at home, my mother. If it’s a special occasion or date, me.

Do you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert ?

An introvert no doubt. I couldn’t live without alone time. It’s the only way I can maintain such a bright and chipper personality. Hahah.

Have you ever witnessed a panic attack?

Yes. The first major car crash I was in, I was driving my friend home from college when a woman ran a red light and t-boned my car on the driver side. I suffered a minor fracture in my lower leg and a bump on the head but my friend, who had never been in an accident before and was never comfortable driving, suffered a straight up panic attack. I had to calm him down and coax him back to the ground. He was relatively unscathed and just really shaken so I sat him down at the side of the road. Gave him a bottle of water and told him to drink long slow big gulps to help regulate his breathing. Told him to focus on me and assured him he was going to be okay.


Versatile Blogger Award
versatile-bloggerShayma nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award, which always means a lot to me. Versatility and variety is something I strive to bring to my writing and to this blog. I’d like to keep experimenting not only with different topic but different mediums as well. If you want an example of excellence and versatility, you definitely could not go wrong with Shayma. Her poetry and her prose are equally impressive and a joy to read. There is a high level of awareness and maturity in each piece. It’s a relatively new blog but that means you can be on the ground floor to really see some growth. I truly hope that Shayma continues to write and shares the love and insight.

  1. Not so much as before, but I am a huge anime/manga fan (Japanese animation and graphic novels). I currently have more than 200 manga in my bookshelves. Aside from the books and the DVDs I also got the merchandise to prove I was in the deep end at one point. Swords, wall scrolls, figures, accessories, and even clothing. Yes, I have cosplayed (dressed up as some favorite characters in public, usually at conventions).
  2. I know it’s been irrefutably proven to be disastrously detrimental to your health, but there have been a few occasions in my life, even post college, when I’ve pulled all-nighters out of sheer enjoyment and/or curiosity. Sometimes I wanted to keep playing video games or watching movies. Other times it was just because I felt like it and wanted to see what would happen. I love the silence of the early hours when the world is still wiping the sleep from their tired eyes. I also like the luxury and audaciousness of sleeping when everyone else is up and being productive. Hahah.
  3. I’ve been featured in my local paper three times. Two have been for spelling bees. One year I won the tri-county and another year I was second in state. Unfortunately never got further than that. The third time was in high school. I was a member of my school’s China Care Club. China Care is an organization that helps Chinese orphans. One of our programs is called Dumplings, which is a playgroup we host for families who have adopted Chinese orphans so that they can learn about the culture of their homeland. Every Chinese New Year we would do a huge celebration with the families and I’d do a martial arts demonstration and then teach the kids a little something. One year the paper came by and did a story on us and they took a picture of me teaching the little kiddies.
  4. The worst injuries I’ve sustained cooking are a permanent burn mark on my left arm from trying to grab a cheesecake in the oven with my bare hands and slicing off the surface of my finger tip using a mandoline slicer the very first time. Don’t worry, it grew back. Too bad. Without fingerprints I could have committed all the crime I ever wanted.
  5. I saved my brother’s life once. He loves peanut M&Ms and when he was 5 we were walking around and he had a bag of them. As he was eating he must have accidentally swallowed one whole and started choking. I did the Heimlich Maneuver on him and it popped out, just like in the TV shows. Got some good air too. Flew for a good little while. Hahah.
  6. If I want to impress a girl, the first meal I make for them usually starts with a salad (either tomato and mozzarella where I cut the tomato partially and insert the cheese so it looks like a fan or a frisee salad with bacon and a poached egg), linguini with clam sauce, rack of lamb, and then a dessert (either tiramisu, creme brulee, or a strawberry napoleon).
  7. My first car was a Honda Accord that I named Baby. My second car was an Acura TL I named Appa (after the character in Avatar the Last Airbender). I currently drive a Subaru Forester that I have not yet named. I haven’t discovered its soul yet.

Tags of Eight

This isn’t an award nomination but still seems like a lot of fun. Cosmic Explorer tagged me to respond to an array of questions where I need to make lists of 8.

8 TV Shows I Love Watching

Big Bang Theory

Modern Family

Brooklyn Nine Nine

The Walking Dead

Stranger Things

New Scandinavian Cooking

Law and Order: SVU

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

8 Favorite Games to Play

Chinese Poker (also known as Pusoy Dos and Do Dai Di)

Mahjong (Filipino rules)

Gin Rummy

Cards Against Humanity

Billiards (8 ball or 9 ball)

Fallout series

Mass Effect series

Paragon (recently)

8 Things I Look Forward To

Travel with friends

Travel with family

Travel alone

Travel with someone special

Moving out to my own place

My next career move (whatever it may be)

Another first date

Day 365: The Man and the…

8 Things I’m Passionate About

Food

Drink

Film

Literature

Martial Arts

Love

Travel

Writing

8 Phrases I Use Often

Right on, Donkey Kong.

Please.

Thank you.

It’s on like a chicken bone!

Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing.

I love you.

Ehm…

I was kidding. Don’t believe that.

8 Things I’ve Learned from the Past

If a restaurant offers reservations, make one.

Try before you buy.

You should have more dignity than to ever be someone’s rebound.

You need to have a plan when you go to a casino.

The best way to lead and to gain followers is to lead by example.

It is often better to be happy than to be right.

Blood doesn’t make family.

Breakfast tastes best at 2am.

8 Places I Would Love to Visit

Montreal

Norway

Taiwan

Japan

Korea

Italy

England

Aruba


Day 82

Man: 63 Loneliness: 19

 

 

 

Day 76: The Man and the Continued Act of Gratitude

In continued recognition of how incredible the WP community is, I’d like to recognize two awards given to me by two awesomely talented bloggers. It’s been an incredible honor to be nominated for the Sunshine Blogger and Versatile Bloggger awards in the past and now I am pleased to acknowledge a second Sunshine Blogger Award nomination from SHAYM and the Blogger Recognition Award from Cosmic Explorer.

Most of the blogs and bloggers I would like to nominate have already been so by either myself or others.

My initial response and nominations for the Sunshine Blogger Award can be found here. My nominees were: WanderlustBreath MathKnowMyHeartInsidious Temptation, and kStan(ly) kSays. If you have not yet had an opportunity to explore their blogs, I would highly recommend taking the time to.

As such, I still would like to honor the nominations by answering the questions.


Blogger Recognition.png

The Rules for The Blogger Recognition Award

For all the nominees for this award, here are the rules, if you choose to accept (Please do):

  1. Write a post to show your award.
  2. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  3. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  4. Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.

How my Blog Started

By now this story is very familiar. But, inspired by a comment from a reader, I’d like to discuss my hopes for where this blog could go. I haven’t forgotten my roots and the reason why this all started. I am still constantly battling, just getting better at fighting and recognizing my enemy. But as I’ve continued to write and evolve, I’ve started discussing movies, shows, food, music, it’s awoken this dormant desire to write and share that I didn’t think I had the skill nor the energy for. And blogging is not easy! I am surprised how much I enjoy it, how much time I freely give to it. You all know how this blog started. But even I don’t know where it will end. Maybe there’s a whole story to be written about my experience with Beautiful. Maybe I’ll want to be recognized for more than heartbreak. All I know is now I am beginning to realize that as I write, I’m also in the back of my mind writing to maybe discover a new path, a new future.

Advice to New Bloggers

  1. WRITE! Write when you don’t want to write. Write what you’re afraid to say. Write what’s too painful, too stupid, too hard to write. This is like any other muscle or any other skill. It needs constant stimulation. Write when there’s nothing left to write about the feeling of not knowing what to write. Your job isn’t to evaluate your writing. It’s not to judge before the fact. Your job is to write. Let it out and then see what happens. Then adjust. Then revise. But you can’t fix what isn’t broken. So break yourself writing.
  2. BECOME INVOLVED. I thought the self-contained microcosm of Man would be enough for me to fight Loneliness. But I craved and needed feedback and acknowledgement and growth, which can only come from an equal audience. This is an incredible community of writers and creators. Take advantage of that. Become involved. Share and spread love. Read other blogs. Consume. Then, share. Comment. Discuss. Converse. Your blog cannot exist on its own. It needs others. Rivers flow both ways.

Gratitude

Thank you again to Cosmic Explorer for this nomination. Your blog has been such a fun and positive reminder of the power of gratitude and curiosity. I also weirdly, geekily, and obsessively love all the blog post pics. I can’t outrun my anime nerd past. Hahah.


sunshine-blogging

Another Sunshine Blogger Award nomination! This time from SHAYMÂ. You know, I’ll be disqualified for this if Loneliness gets too many wins. Hahah.

The Rules:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you.
  2. Answer the questions from your nominator.

The Questions

1. What’s your favourite quote and why?

First off, love that this used the European spelling for ‘favorite’. I’d use it but…I’m a Joy-sey boy. They’ll spot me lying and faking. Hahah. I have a lot of favorite quotes.

When it comes to cooking: ‘a recipe is just an expression of a moment of time’. Cook to your feelings and passions. Recipes were made to be changed.

My favorite toast, ‘May those who love us, love us. And those that don’t love us, may God turn their hearts. And if He doesn’t turn their hearts, may He turn their ankles, so we may know them by their limping.’

On dealing with rainy days, ‘There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you will still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.’

2. Do you read books? What kind of books and why?

Books a plenty! I like to read memoirs by people I admire to learn how to live a life to similar ends. I believe literature is a good way of supplementing knowledge we don’t yet have. That’s why when I was younger I wanted to read about noble heroes and love and things I didn’t have but wanted. Now I read Kazuo Ishiguro who teaches about loss and disappointment. I read Christopher Moore for realistic love.

3. Who’s your favourite author.

Kazuo Ishiguro, Anthony Bourdain, Christopher Moore, Nick Hornby.

4. Books or Movies, which is your preference? Why?

Original medium! I don’t like movie versions of books and I definitely don’t like book versions of movies. Yes, that happens. I think the original creators had a very specific vision in mind. Movies capture great plot and action. Things that move quickly and need grand stages. Books let us get into the minds of characters. It’s about human interaction and emotion. Motivation. An inner monologue we get to listen to that an actor can’t express on screen. I find books give me the best and most memorable characters. But I get more easily lost in movies, immersed in environments, plot, and action. I’ve also cried for movies, but never through books.

5. What was the toughest decision you’ve ever had to make.

My career choice. The day I decided to walk away from teaching, I felt like I lost a significant part of my identity. Being a travel agent certainly didn’t fill that void. It was an act of desperation. This new job is a bit better, but it still doesn’t feel authentic. It’s the only part of me that I don’t feel actually follows who I am. I’ve yet to make a decision on career choice that I really believe in.

6. What does your blog mean to you?

It is my salvation. My refuge. I pour everything into this. Every thought, worry, fear, belief, hope. It is routine and discipline when I feel chaotic or uncontrolled. My constant. It’s also my stage and my soapbox. And, ironically considering you all don’t actually know who I am, it’s my identity. Hahah. I like being Man. I thought I was ManVsLoneliness, but I’m beginning to extract the loneliness from me, realizing it is not a characteristic but a symptom. And now that I am beginning to identify my enemy, I can face it better.

7. Who’s your favourite person and why?

Uhm…I don’t…really…know…That’s a strange question. I like…the Doctor though? Does that count. Tenth one. Eleventh one can suck it. Twelve is cool too. Jackie Chan is a martial arts hero for me. Stephen Chow is a genius. Daniel Craig could kill three men with his bare hands but he looks at me with those schoolboy baby blue eyes and I’d run away with him. Is that weird?

8. Is there anything like “best friends”? what is your own idea of one. 

Mos def. Best friends are family you make. You need to form an actual bond. Choose to be close. Choose to trust each other. Every single day, you continually choose to have this friend in your life. And specifically for me, I think of best friends as people who can turn to you for advice and who you can turn to as well. And, this is very important, friends don’t stroke your ego. They need to be the ones who keep you grounded. Friends who find you perfect are dangerous. So you know, punch each other to the ground every once in a while.

9. Do you think that sometimes sacrifices aren’t really sacrifices. Why?

YES! And I cite EVERY Disney movie EVER. Tangled? When Finn gets stabbed but is MIRACULOUSLY saved by Rapunzel’s tears? WHAT IS THAT?! I want a doctor to come in and be like, ‘Actually ma’am the knife missed literally every vital organ. This wasn’t your love. It was bad aim. He was, after all, stabbed by a 100 year old witch. Probably couldn’t see very well.’ Most sacrifices in Hollywood and literature nowadays are too afraid to be actual sacrifices. Sacrifice is final, ultimate, absolute. For a sacrifice to really be considered a sacrifice, there has to be zero chance of salvation. There are way too many examples of sacrifices just being ‘noble’ or ‘honorable’ but they’re also painful and very sad.

10. Describe my blog. 

Fascinatingly diverse. It’s like someone spilled excellent examples of various writing styles and genres all over your blog. Personal, reflective, humorous, inspiring, poetry, prose, it’s all there. Honesty in execution. Just keep writing because you have not yet exhausted all your talents and I am eager to read more.


Day 76

Man: 58 Loneliness: 18

Day 75 Supplemental: The Man and the Careful Diction of Gratitude; ‘Passionate’

Lest I incur the pernicious disparagement of the prolific poster Phil, I will be extra careful in how I use today’s prompt to discuss something very important to me:

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I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to this community for helping me hit not one but TWO major milestones in the same day.

100 Follows.pngBefore I started this blog I had a concrete idea of what I wanted to do. Write though the pain, tell some stories, investigate, and reflect. Rinse and repeat. What I didn’t know was if I’d ever have anyone who wanted to listen. I told myself I was content enough to simply write and that I wasn’t doing it for the audience or for the attention. But if I’m honest with you, as I have been, the truth is I think all creative people want an audience. I thought if after a year I had 100 people who were listening I’d be amazed. The fact that I hit that number on just 75 days in is…flabbergasting. I am so honored and so grateful for every single person who has said to me ‘your story is worth reading and I want to read it’. Every notification of a new follower still brings up emotions of excitement and gratitude. Not going to lie, now that it’s started, I want it to keep going. I’m giddy. I want to see us grow even larger! I guess I better start writing things more worth it huh? Hahah.

Shout out to J. Cosby for being Subscriber Number 1 and to Cathy for being Subscriber Number 100!

The follows were always a big 1000 Likes.pngsurprise. So were the likes. I’m glad people enjoy my writing. The likes to me carry significance because each one tells me that I’ve made a connection. Something I’ve said has resonated with another human being who may be on the other side of the world. That connection is one of the reasons why I write. I’ve missed that, not being in a relationship. I’m so used to thinking that tragically naive and romantic idea that ‘oh, woe is me, there is only one who can understand a soul like mine’. Hahah. I’ve come to realize that so many of us are experiencing life in much the same way as others have. There is a kinship of shared experiences and there is an affirmation when you see that others have seen what you see, thought what you’re thinking, been where you are. I am comforted when people tell me they feel similarly and excited when they say I’ve shown them something new.

Shout out to Insidious Temptation for the 1000th like!

I can’t say why people follow my writing. I can’t say why people like it. I am inspired and motivated by the encouragement, but I can say that I’ve never let it control who I am or what I write. I always start with the understanding to write from the heart. It got me this far. I won’t change to chase more; if anything, as encouraging as it has been, I feel brave enough to go even deeper and be even more honest. I may not write with a passion. At times the words struggle to come up. Other times it bubbles to the surface like a well about to burst. But I always write on the things I am passionate about.

I am tremendously appreciative of everything and everyone along this journey. Today was a pretty great day. I’ll keep writing about the things I love and I’ll always be grateful every time it resonates with even just one person. I know the things I wake up for and the things that keep me up at night and I’ll keep sharing. Victory or defeat. But always with heart. Always with enthusiasm. Always with passion.

 

Day 71: The Man and the Sunshine Blogger Award

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Like whaaaaaaaaaaat. Hahah. I can’t believe I was nominated for another award! That’s pretty crazy. Right on, you guys, right on. I am extremely grateful to Gagan Khaira at rheakhaira for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. If you can somehow find some positivity and sunshine in my musings then by all means help yourself to those yummy yummy rays. I know I have my down days, some days I’m going to take a loss, but I’m happy to say I’m winning more than losing and I’m spreading sun more than gloom. Hahah.

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The Rules

  1. Thank the person that nominated you.
  2. Answer the questions from your nominator.
  3. Nominate fellow bloggers you follow.
  4. Give them 10 questions to answer.

The Answers

  1. Do you believe in humanity more than nationality?
    1. I believe in the power of humanity over nationality. There was a time when nationality was a matter not just of pride but of survival. Our communities grew and we had to band together to share resources and ensure the continuity of our families. It started as small groups. Evolved into tribes. Then villages, cities, states, and most recently countries. But we’ve gone as far as we can as separate peoples. The problems one nation faces now affect every other. It’s time to dissolve the idea that our responsibilities end at these imaginary lines. Countries only seeking the benefit of themselves are what hurts our communal chances at survival and prosperity.
  2. Have you ever been in Love?
    1. Yes, with every woman who’s ever looked at me. Hahah. No but seriously, I believe I’ve experienced what I thought Love should be. Now I’m focused on redefining Love before I go out in search of it again. But the Love I thought I wanted, I had, I lost, or rather it left, and it hurt me.
  3. What’s the one advice you would give to your younger self?
    1. Don’t wait to be me. Start sooner than you think you should. You can always be smarter, wiser, healthier, and happier sooner if you stop waiting and get doing.
  4. What’s the one advice you would give me for my writings (be brutally honest on this one)?
    1. For your Sandwich series: very interesting writing but I think you can play a bit with tense more. Everything is so concrete, so finished. ‘He had’ ‘she had’ ‘he was’ ‘she was’. If everything important you want us to feel and experience and capture already happened, why do we still want to know now OR why did we miss it? Run faster than your story. Stay one step ahead. Vary your tenses so our sense of time and progression moves with your story.
  5. Beach or Mountains. Which one do you prefer and why?
    1. Mountains, hands down. I don’t like sun. Hahah. I don’t like heat. I don’t like sand in my food. I love the solitude of the mountains. The romance of a cabin and fire or just a private cozy campsite. The sound of the forest as it breathes. The smell of morning dew being caught on pine needles. And when the mountain air gets chilly, you just have to snuggle up for warmth, don’t you?
  6.  Name your favorite book and why do you love it so much?
    1. Oh man…this is too hard…oh god…I’m literally walking around my hotel room right now mulling this over. I have a lot. Kitchen Confidential helped me think realistically about my passions and my goals in life. Sherlock Holmes taught me to see the world for everything it hid in plain sight. Anything by Kazuo Ishiguro reminds me that there is beauty in everything, even sadness and loss. Christopher Moore never fails to make me laugh. Nick Hornby creates characters I want to meet. Paddle Your Own Canoe taught me to be a modern man.
  7. What’s your secret or hidden talent?
    1. Well it’s a secret because I won’t tell you how I do it, so that counts right? I am an amateur magician. I especially love card tricks.
  8. What’s the one thing you wish you could do?
    1. I wish I could be my own boss. I really want to start my own business one day and be able to set my own schedule and earn on my own terms.
  9. How much does your family mean to you and why?
    1. They are everything to me. But I do want to say that I believe we make our own family. I have friends I consider family because they’ve been with me for as long as I can remember. They know me on a deeply personal level and we look out for each other. Of course I feel the same way and more about my actual family like my mother, father, and brother, but I don’t have that same connection to some relatives. I think there’s nothing wrong with defining your own family as long as you cherish and appreciate and do anything for them as they would for you.
  10. How and when did you start blogging? What’s your story?
    1. Ha, well, this is very easy to answer. I started…*looks up* exactly 71 days ago! Oh man. A little more than two months now. They say the three month hump is the hardest to get over so let’s see what happens.
    2. My story is the whole reason why I started this blog. I was a man of hopeless romance and unrequited love. I was bleeding from the heart from continually poking at it every chance I got. I finally decided to stop, take a breath, re-evaluate, and in-between catching my breath reflect on all the other aspects of life I had neglected or simply not acknowledged. What I realized also though was that it wasn’t the silence of not hearing other people that was driving me crazy, it was the silence of my own voice. I had lost my most important audience, my audience of one. But I felt I still had so much I wanted to share especially during this process. I didn’t want to share with family or friends because I felt their pre-conceived notions of me would cloud their judgement or misconstrue what I was trying to accomplish. So I started this blog to throw my writing into the world and hope that some like-minded souls would get caught and I’d find my voice again.

The Nominations

I would like to take a moment to acknowledge that there are very many of you who I would like to nominate that I am aware have already been so in the past. As such I am trying to spread the love and nominate those who I believe in and who I believe have not yet been nominated.

Wanderlust – Variety, skill, talent, and youthful energy that always makes me smile when I read. Our digital conversations and the exchange of writing has been a welcome surprise to my blogging experience.

Breath Math – Education is the nourishment of a young student and the educator is the sun. I am always happy to learn from this blog.

knowmyheart – It is not only her writing that fills me with joy as I appreciate her talent, it is her continued support and acknowledgement of my own writing that makes me truly happy.

insidious temptation – A blog that makes me happy in a….different…way. The writing is playful and an example of what language is truly meant to do. Seduce and excite. Another person whose not only inspires happiness with her prose but who has personally made me happy by her constant, kind words.

kStan(ly) kSays – Poetry that never fails to inspire laughter and joy. A tremendous amount of wit and self-awareness that exudes confidence and happiness with every piece. His poems are always a happy destination in my day.

The Questions

  1. What is the most embarrassing/stupid thing you’ve ever done to impress or get the attention of someone you were romantically interested in?
  2. Did it work?
  3. What would be your final meal?
  4. Could you remember and describe a dream or nightmare that was very significant to you? Maybe a recurring one or perhaps one that seemed so vivid to you even to this day.
  5. What is your favorite room in your house and why?
  6. What is the worst thing about living where you live?
  7. How do you deal with cold weather?
  8. Could you please share with me one of your most favorite pieces from your blog and why you are most proud of this or happiest with how it came out?
  9. What word or phrase commonly used by people today needs to die?
  10. Favorite action movie of all time?

Alright everyone! Get out there, enjoy the sunshine, and get to writing and spreading the love! Thanks again. I am always happy to be a part of this community and humbled by all your support and acknowledgement.

Day 71

Man: 54 Loneliness: 17