Day 94: The Man and the City Limits; ‘Border’

Feet Border.jpg

When I was younger I had this image in my head of who I would want to be and what I would believe and how I would view the world and who I’d want with me. I fought long and hard to realize all these facets of myself that I, in my naiveté, thought would be as unchanging as the firmament. I have refused any sort of change or deferment with such contention that I’ve passed on plenty of people, places, and things in my life. The walls of my personality have been built on those things that I’ve discarded in pursuit of what I believed to be my true self.

If you would ask me right now if I felt it was worth it, passing up on so much and stubbornly holding onto what I did have, I would still answer yes. I am happy and content and aware of myself enough to say that I am, for better or for worse, much the same still. Now you’ll see there I said ‘much the same’, not ‘all the same’.

eggplant-fridayIt’s very easy when your world is small and your view is low to simplify and characterize things in your immediate view. When I was younger I hated eggplant. It was mushy and had the unpleasant texture of baby food and an equally similar appearance. It was not hard therefore to say ‘I am someone who does not like eggplant’. But then you grow older and start eating at places with cloth napkins and ordering from a menu you cannot draw on in crayon and you are introduced to things like eggplant rollatini and Chinese eggplant with spicy garlic sauce and suddenly you are torn.

My world is inevitably, and with or without my cooperation or blessing, growing inexorably larger. I have absorbed so much in the past few years in terms of experiences, learning, and meeting people that my mind is pushing against the walls. I never thought that the crumbling of my walls would be an inside job.

It was so much simpler back when things were more black and white. Good was good and evil was evil. It was so easy to define. Power Rangers, good. Rita Repulsa, bad. Heavy words had little spaces so it was quick and easy and convenient to very casually define and move on. At an age with not much experience in such matters I made decisions on love, relationships, careers, education, money, race, gender, sexuality, etc. I drew on what resources I had from my parents and friends and church and literature and film and slowly I built, brick by brick, the outline of my identity. Like a budding city, I built with just enough space from the center to fit not only the population of knowledge and experience I already had but to easily and comfortably accommodate a future population without compromising space and security.

What the city planner of my mind did not anticipate however, was that the population toronto-skylinewould grow at a breakneck rate and would continue to grow even after I thought it would all be done. My youthful arrogance and self-sure attitude prevailed over more reasonable and sound voices. ‘I have already come to conclusions about everything I need to think and consider,’ I would say to myself, ‘why should I have to worry about changing my mind.’

The problem, which really isn’t a problem mind you, is that I haven’t stopped considering things and learning and growing. I would certainly not go so far as to say I’ve dramatically shaken any definitions to the very core but I have certainly begun to see the cracks in the walls because I find myself practically smushed against them.

This all came to a stark and shocking focus tonight when I finally relented to let a friend take me to this new organic schtick of a restaurant and I found myself sipping a cocktail from a goddamn mason jar made with an ingredients list that details the height and weight of each farmer, eating a cauliflower pizza with quinoa sausage and kale cheese, wondering what the hell happened to my life.

Hipster Food.pngThankfully I know this will be a one-time thing. My friends have definitely noticed this ‘softening of the edges’ and have gleefully taken advantage of it by taking me to places I had vehemently lambasted with enthusiasm and vigor in the past. Part of the time it is because it was something they actually were interested in but most of the time it’s for the sheer marvel of watching me crawl out of my skin in these situations. They are abusing my generous nature. The fact of the matter though still remains, I went. I tried. Some things have been revelations. Others have simply confirmed that which I knew to be true a long long time ago. I am at times excited by these changes but other times worried. Because it makes me think of my past.

See the sacrifices and passed opportunities are only worth it for so long as the walls stand. If I begin to take them down, if I choose to expand my walls, what skeletons will be revealed underneath the brickwork and will I be okay with them being brought back to light. If I could be wrong about one thing, what if I was wrong about everything. Is ignorance truly bliss because knowledge is torture. Am I really prepared, willing, or even interested in opening that can of proverbial and philosophical worms?


I have pushed myself to the very border of my self. I have learned and absorbed and yes I have even found little settlements being built that bridge the inner populace of the walls to the outer. Knowing what I knew and believing in what I believed in has gotten me this far and I don’t want to ever forget that or to find myself wanting. I think…I think I could very happily go on exactly as I am. Is that smug? I sound smug. I like myself. I like what I’ve done with the place. But I get the need and the desire and the drive for change. I can see why people enjoy reinventing and redecorating. But at what expense and what message does that portray about the past?

Not having to worry about relationships or how others perceive me has freed me to think about much more than just my dating situation. I’ve had the time to investigate and re-investigate for my own sake. I’ve spent more time in the past 93 days in a row reflecting on myself than I have had in total the past couple years of my life. I’ve tried much more and craved much more. One of the purposes of this experiment was to ask myself questions for my own sake and I am beginning to answer them. I just don’t want the cost to be who I am or who I was.

I know this is answering my own question but, perhaps it would help to stop thinking of myself as an outline defined by impenetrable walls. Perhaps I can take down some of the excess brick and expose the framing to the elements. I could still live happily within myself with a wire frame, letting parts in and out. Perhaps our personalities are not as iron clad as we’d like to think. A little flexibility, a little permeability, a little malleability could help when we are battered either from within or without. Even just that bit of relaxation has lifted so much off my shoulders. I don’t think I would have been so flexible or forgiving in the past. After all I was so focused on finding a relationship and being whoever someone else wanted me to be that as soon as I was locked on I tightened up and hunkered down. I wanted to fit as perfectly as I could into someone else’s layout. It was my resoluteness and firmness that people relied on and wanted. Left alone to my own devices, I’m enjoying the freedom to explore. I don’t think I’d ever fully leave my city limits, but I’ve come to realize I enjoy the little out of border excursions. Perhaps I, and some big name politician with crazy hair, just needed to realize that we can go beyond a wall and not lose the security of self.

Day 94

Man: 74 Loneliness: 20

Day 86: The Man and the Big Ball of Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey…Stuff

‘People assume that time is a strict progression of cause and effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it’s more like a big ball of…wibbly wobbly…timey wimey…stuff.

The Tenth Doctor

Reflecting back on this episode brings back such good memories. For those of you who are Weeping Angel.jpgunfamiliar with the series, Doctor Who is pretty much credited for being the prime source material for the nightmares of every single child who grew up watching the BBC. It is one of the few series I know that is at its best when it is centered around tragedy and loss. This particular episode, Blink, is especially notable. First, it is the premier appearance of what is now one of the most famous and feared of the Doctor’s enemies, the Weeping Angels. Real nightmare material. Beings that can only move when you can’t see them. They kill you by throwing you back in time and letting you live to death. Second, it guest-starred Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow. I loved her performance in the episode and I’ve Sally Sparrow.jpgbeen an avid fan ever since. She is the perfect example of just irresistible adorableness and pixie-like waifishness. Third, the Doctor, played by the incredibly talented David Tennant, barely makes an appearance in this episode yet it is still hailed as perhaps one of the best of all time. This is a testament to the show’s ability to capture so much without relying on the same people over and over again. Some shows never quite grow out of their cast, but this proves that Doctor Who is timeless and is so much more than just the sum of its greater parts. Fourth, and most importantly of all, the writing in this episode is just spot on. The entire episode is quotable. For example, here is Sally Sparrow checking out an old house with her friend:

Kathy: What did you come here for anyway?

Sally: I love old things. They make me feel sad.

Kathy: What’s good about sad?

Sally: It’s happy for deep people.

I think there are many of us who would heartily agree with that sentiment.

Still for all that I can say about this episode or the series in general, we cannot forget that the real reason why I brought any of this up in the first place is the line the Doctor uses to try and explain the true nature of our relationship with time to non-time travelers.

Everything that could ever possibly happen, has already. We are just slow to experience it.

Once again this is mainly a problem of perception. We view the world, and time, always in relation to us. This is understandable, as it is our best frame of reference. Since our day is structured as wake up, brush, shower, dress, breakfast, drive, work, etc., this is how we view time. Everything follows the previous in a nice, orderly line. The problem is we aren’t alone. At the exact same time you are doing your daily routine, millions and billions of others are doing theirs. And what they do could in some way impact what you do. Their present runs parallel to yours and their past affects your future. Everything becomes…jumbled.

Two things to consider when it comes to our minds. 1) We don’t like chaos. We always try to find order and reason behind things. We try to justify events with understanding or else we’d be too afraid of our own minds to ever step foot outside. So we try to convince ourselves that the other people that exist somehow don’t affect our realities. We can be perfectly immune from the action of others. 2) We have very limited vision. It’s hard for us to see beyond our own noses sometimes. Because of this we struggle to realize how many events are taking place independent of our own lives or the lives of only those who are closest and dearest to us.

If we took in everything that happens at the exact time it happens we’d be pinned to the floor with the sudden onslaught of information and experience. To keep ourselves from going insane we parse everything off. We create blocks of time. Seconds become minutes become hours become days and we place everything we experience into a schedule otherwise we could never process it all. This creates that order from chaos so we can say ‘oh this happened at this point’. It also helps us process when too many things are happening at once. We all know that feeling when we are weighed down by our concern for others or when we are thinking about all the people we care about for positive or negative reasons. We can, for those we care about deeply, think about all of their individual timelines at the same time. We know that we can think about say, maybe five different people and know what they are all doing simultaneously. But ten people? Fifty? One-hundred?! We divide them out. They are separate.

The world doesn’t run like this though. There are an infinite number of things happening at every single moment. Every possible outcome, event, experience, it is now, nownownow. Imagine an infinite amount of straight lines shooting out into the universe. But at the same time the gravity of our actions start to tug and pull on other people’s lines. My heartbreak intersects with so many people’s timelines. Your decisions are curving and warping the straight lines of time of every person around you. What started as a collection of parallel lines starts to turn in on itself. We get…wibbly wobbly.

Time is not a progression. It isn’t a line that we define on our own. When we gain the insight, the patience, and the broader vision to consider other people, time becomes a definition of our relationships with others. We all want more time. It is our most precious commodity. Perhaps the easiest and best way to gain more time is to let more people into our lives. A day lived through the relationships of five people is four days more than a day lived on your own. We might not be able to live forever but we can certainly keep touching more and more lives and adding more lines to our own twisted and curved time and live more.

Day 86

Man: 67 Loneliness: 19


Day 85 Supplemental: The Man and the Unhappy Righteousness, or the Wrong Happiness; ‘Disagree’

Colbert Told You.gifI used to love being able to say ‘I told you so’. On the playground it was the equivalent of ruling by divine will. Affirmation was absolution. ‘I told you so’ made me right and it made me happy. In my self-centered universe the most important thing was my own opinion and perspective and every action revolved around the pursuit of proving myself in every way.

I didn’t like growing up. The unbearable weight of maturity came with the burden of realizing that the universe did not in fact revolve around only me. Suddenly I had to take into consideration other people’s ‘feelings’ and ‘perspectives’. I had to be ‘courteous’ and ‘considerate’. I had to stop talking to people with ‘air quotes’ because it was ‘condescending’. Now I live in a world where ‘I told you so’ is only said by children and smug know-it-alls. It’s taboo and uncouth. Suddenly, I was faced with a decision that separated two things I once thought were the same.

I could be happy…or I could be right.

When we learn to see beyond our own perspective we realize the ‘duality’ of things. Whereas before it was simply enough to be happy and right, now we have to consider that in order to be ‘happy’ someone must have to be ‘unhappy’ and to be ‘right’ someone must have to be ‘wrong’. As we learn to care for others and include other people in our lives, this realization complicates our relationships and often times presents obstacles and stumbling blocks.

Relationships are complicated and in the vast jungle of human interaction there are Happy or Right.jpgtwists, dead-ends, and u-turns. It is no longer a straight one-way street as we learn to ‘see’ others along the way. It isn’t as satisfying to be as staunch in our stances but at the same time it’s so difficult to yield.

I get it, it isn’t fair that we have to choose to be happy or be right. If only we could have both. But the only way to do that is to give up on our relationships altogether. No one wants to be wrong, but no one wants to be unhappy either. Someone is going to have to be one or the other though.

Being wrong hurts because it makes us feel insecure and embarrassed. It is an attack on our pride and our egos. Worst of all, it puts us in a compromised state in front of someone whose opinion, most likely, matters to us. It’s such a twisted irony that the biggest struggles between being ‘happy’ and ‘right’ that cause the most friction and frustration are often with the people we care about the most. These issues are so much simpler and easier with people who mean nothing to us but when it is someone important we become much more likely to ‘defend’ ourselves.

Being unhappy isn’t much of an alternative. The source of our unhappiness is the knowledge that we are right paired with the frustration of trying to assert that knowledge on others. We take up causes we believe in (why would we waste our time on things we don’t, after all) and it is our cross to bear. We are the heralds of our truth and much like all the visionaries of past, we are unwanted or ignored, or worse yet, challenged.

I think to help us make this decision we need to reimagine these two concepts. ‘Happiness’ could be considered ‘reward’ and ‘rightness’ could be considered ‘struggle’. If the struggle is worth more than the reward, we stick to our guns and continue to pursue being ‘right’. But if the reward outweighs the struggle, we should yield at the cost of our conviction for the greater good.

Let’s take domestic bliss for example. You and your partner are living together and you toilet-couplecannot count anymore how many times you’ve had to remind your partner to replace the toilet paper roll. You consider it a sign of common courtesy and respect. They just don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Your otherwise happy union is constantly marred by this…(pardon the pun) dirty streak. You could continue this crusade. Bring it up over and over. You might seriously believe that this is some indicator of a larger lack of respect or awareness in your relationship. But if you are truly happy, isn’t a moment’s inconvenience a small price to pay? When our partners constantly come to us to complain about their day, should we point out all the things they clearly did wrong that we warned them not to do that we had the foresight to predict, or should we simply nod along and offer sympathy and understanding?

I read an article last month about a woman whose crusade to prove the IRS owed her money cost her ten years of her life living homeless on the streets of Washington DC where most people considered her insane. For more than a decade she hopped from homeless shelter to street with her only belongings being three suitcases full of documents and checks from the IRS that she refused to check because she was sure they were in the wrong amount and that she was owed more than they were giving. She could have cashed these checks and taken the amount that the IRS had issued her. She didn’t have to move to DC to prove her point. She didn’t have to chase after the IRS for ten years. But if she had cashed those checks, the ‘reward’, who would have ever believed that she was right? This story has a happy ending, by the way. After a social worker finally agreed to listen to her case and review her documents they realized she was telling the truth all along and the IRS issued her $99,999. According to her lawyer she may be owed even more.

I’ve been so used to chasing being right. I live in an environment that thrives on that. Being the older brother and being the oldest person in my group of friends I am used to taking a leadership position and taking for granted that I would be right without much opposition. The only time I’ve ever really encountered some resistance has been in my relationships. In hindsight I realize now that while it wouldn’t have ultimately saved any of them, I must have surrendered so many opportunities and possibilities for happiness because I stubbornly insisted on fighting.

When we rephrase these concepts as struggle and reward, it’s interesting how almost none of us would ever freely choose to struggle, when the reward is right there in our grasp. But our pride and our ego and our vanity sometimes get in the way. Sometimes it’s just that we have so little experience taking into consideration other people’s perspectives. We’re not bad people. We’ve just been dealing with bad definitions of happiness and rightness. We’ve been dealing with bad perceptions of how relationships work. No one wants to struggle. We have to choose this. When we do for the right reasons it lends nobility and courage to our actions. But when we let the struggle choose us, we invite chaos and hurt and suffering.

So the next time you and a person disagree, don’t think ‘do you want to be happy or do you want to be right’, think ‘is this struggle worth more or less than the reward?’

Day 85: The Man and the Third Day of the ‘Who’s WHO’ of Wisdom

Day three of the quote challenge and it has been a lot of fun to actually do this. More than I thought I would, not being a quote person. Before we move on to the last quote, let’s review.

kitchen-confidentialWe now know that the first day’s quote came from Anthony Bourdain’s hugely popular first book, Kitchen Confidential.

‘I’ve long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime ‘associates,’ food, for me, has always been an adventure.’

I chose this because of the brave and wildly reckless attitude towards good food and good life. Bourdain is a culinary and lifestyle hero and I’ve lived by his creed in all the ways I can. (Yes, this does mean that every girl I have ever dated has had to pass his infamous ‘sushi test’.)

Yesterday’s quote source is revealed today.

‘Worse than the feeling of loss that comes with a breakup is the feeling of losing. Loss is a state of emotional injury that you can get past; losing is a feeling of humiliation and defeat that stays fresh. The latter causes most of the problems in the world. If there is another man involved, it is almost impossible not to judge yourself as a failure and see him as an enemy.’

Attempting Normal.jpgThis is an excerpt from the wonderfully manic and depressed comic Marc Maron in his second memoir, Attempting Normal. I like this quote because it deals so poignantly with the origin story of my blog. I could certainly speak to great length about this very true and very deep feeling, as petty or vain as it may seem. A breakup does feel very much like losing. Say what you will about the folly of pride but it is an undeniable accompaniment to loss. There were plenty of sleepless nights spent imagining Beautiful with her ex, the one she left for me and then left me for. In a relationship you spend so much of that time idolizing the other person and being idolized in return. You shower each other with praise and admiration so consistently and constantly that you begin to believe it in the deepest most dangerous parts of yourself.

To that, I say there is good news and there is bad news. The good news is Beautiful’s words have begun to fade from memory. I’ve separated her perception of me from my own self-perception and am beginning to identify and characterize myself for myself, not for what I once meant to someone. This is a major point, I believe, in the process of getting over someone. The bad news, ironically, is that this would have been a really great piece of writing. So before I completely heal I’ll need to pick at this wound just a little bit to capitalize on what sad inspiration is left.

The truth though is that this quote is too mature, too insightful, too serious to really capture Maron’s spirit and prose. This is a wonderful book full of trauma, humiliation, self-deprecation, and insecurity. It is a love song to paranoia, self-doubt, and feral cats. If PokeMeme.jpgyou’ve ever seen or heard Maron’s material or seen his short-lived IFC sitcom Maron, you would know that this level of self-awareness and confidence is so rare in his environment of self-loathing and self-destruction. I like broken heroes. I prefer the Batmans of the world over the Supermans. Both Bourdain and Maron lived lives that were so dangerously close to the edge of peril that I want to hear their stories because they survived. I can’t deny that I’ve had a pretty god damn cushy life. I have two parents who are happy, healthy, and together still. My brother and I are closer than ever. I’ve got a nice job, friends, and I enjoy a regular diet of good food. I can’t change this. I can’t just suddenly inject myself with so many drugs that the still living ghost of Keith Richards suddenly appears at my door to take me to nirvana. I live vicariously and destructively through these idols. I love a broken psyche. The fact that these guys have not only hit rock bottom but have then eked out more than just an existence but a success story is all the more compelling. I don’t aspire to live their lives or be them. I’m just glad that these people exist for our benefit. You need to read these stories. You need to see that the human spirit is not only capable of incredible victory but that it often times craves intense loss.

Time for quote number 3! This should be a dead giveaway for fans. I had to do this in video because his delivery of the line is just so perfect as well. Enjoy, if you recognize it I hope it brought a smile to your face, and there is a whole beautiful post lined up just for this that I’ve been waiting to share and lines up perfectly.


Day 85

Man: 66 Loneliness: 19

Day 84: The Man and the Second Day of ‘Winning’ Wisdom

Time for day two! As a reminder, Tantei M. Gin has challenged me to share three quotes in three days. Yesterday was day one and I shared:

‘I’ve long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime ‘associates,’ food, for me, has always been an adventure.’

Before I share Day Two I’d like to first reveal the source of this quote.

kitchen-confidentialI love this man. If there were the possibility of reincarnation I would be happy to just be his left arm. Kitchen Confidential helped me become more realistic about my ambitions when it came to food. I definitely still love to cook and there is still this passion in me to bring my creations to a broader stage but his memoir on his experiences in the kitchen have helped me to be much more realistic about the expectations and responsibilities that come with it.

Everything Anthony Bourdain does originates from a deeply profound love of food. I think the reason why he is so interesting is because he sees past the pretentiousness and surface vanity of food. You can’t fool him with pretty garnishes or influence his opinion by spending half an hour explaining to him how the ingredients were made or what techniques were used or why your food is supposed to taste good. He knows honest cooking when he sees it no matter where it comes from. I loved watching him in No Reservations and his newest program on CNN, Parts Unknown, is like a travel checklist for me. His love letter to Tokyo is one of my all-time favorite pieces of television.

Anthony Bourdain is as close to a hero as I’ll ever allow myself. He is an incredible author and TV presenter. I’d highly recommend reading his first book, Kitchen Confidential, or his follow up, Medium Raw. You can catch him on television either on reruns of No Reservations or on repeat and new episodes of Parts Unknown. He is opening a food hall in Chelsea sometime next year in New York and I cannot wait to live in that space.

‘Worse than the feeling of loss that comes with a breakup is the feeling of losing. Loss is a state of emotional injury that you can get past; losing is a feeling of humiliation and defeat that stays fresh. The latter causes most of the problems in the world. If there is another man involved, it is almost impossible not to judge yourself as a failure and see him as an enemy.’

Appropriate, don’t you think?

Day 84

Man: 65 Loneliness: 19

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





Martial Arts




8 Phrases I Use Often

Right on, Donkey Kong.


Thank you.

It’s on like a chicken bone!

Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing.

I love you.


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









Day 82

Man: 63 Loneliness: 19




Day 80: The Man and the Predicament of Giving; ‘Generous’


When is an act of generosity not actually an act of generosity?

We like to think of ourselves as generally good and generous people with a giving nature, but have you ever stopped and wondered if there were any caveats or conditions to that generosity?

The benefits of generosity are easy enough to identify. It is the generosity of others that provide funding for many non-profit organizations who work for the betterment of the world. When everything is clean and above-board and we can trust our organizations then we know that our donations go towards actual good. We feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give shelter to the homeless. Generosity is one of the hallmarks of humanity in all its noble nature and many historic milestones in all aspects of society have been accomplished through remarkable acts of generosity from the population.

We cannot, however, deny or pretend not to acknowledge that generosity also benefits the generous.

Sometimes these little rewards for the giver are just that, little rewards meant to honestly Tip jar.gifexpress gratitude and appreciation. If you donate $1 to the Feed America campaign you get to write your name on a little cutout of a grocery bag that the grocery store displays at the register. If you donate blood at your local blood drive they might give you some cookies and juice (also to help replenish vital sugars) and send you on your way with a sticker that marks your act of generosity for the day. A ‘thank you’ can go a long way to reassure a generous giver that their contribution is appreciated and welcomed.

Now, let’s say you’re on a date with someone you particularly fancy. It’s come to the end of the meal and you of course offer to cover the check. When it comes time to calculate the tip you may be tempted to do two things. First, you will want to tip more than the standard amount and second, you will make every subtle effort possible to ensure that your date sees this wonderful, noble, and selfless act of generosity.

The next evening you are at a charity event hosted by your company. Everyone is enjoying a wonderful meal in an elegant banquet hall and the time has come for the partner organization to explain their mission statement and ask for the ‘generosity and kindness of fine folk such as yourselves’. You reach for a $5 bill in your pocket but notice that your boss is watching you from across the room. Suddenly, as if by some magic force, your $5 bill becomes a $20. You glance over. Make that $40. One more look. Okay fine, here’s $50 to save the rhinos of…Canada?!

Why do we do this? How can we explain how we act so differently when around certain people like romantic partners or employers? And more importantly, when does our act of generosity lose its generous spirit?

When it comes to finding a potential partner, most of us would say that ‘generosity’ would certainly be a desirable trait or at the very least, that ‘selfishness’ is a trait we’d like to avoid. During the beginning of a relationship we naturally desire to put our best food forward. We are punctual, organized, mature, and yes, of course, generous to a fault. If you were on a date with someone, wouldn’t it strike you as unappealing or odd if they couldn’t share? And similarly are we not so impressed and attracted to a person who, oh my, look at how generously he tips. Look at how giving he must be. Surely, this is a benefit for me to have a partner such as this.

At company events or outings we must remember that we are representatives not only of our individual selves but of the company as well. And as such our actions can either reflect negatively or positively on our employers. Your boss is looking to you to judge the extent of your generosity as an expression of your suitability to the company. If you look good, your boss looks good, which makes your boss’s boss look good, and so on and so forth. And while we are all admiring ourselves and patting each other on the back for our altruistic nature and celebrating our contributions, oh yes, apparently we saved some kids or some animals in some country. Right. That’s what it’s all about.

I do not think that enjoying some personal benefit from generosity is necessarily bad or detracts from the nobility of the gesture. To an extent. One of the reasons why generosity joey-doesnt-shareexists is because we can derive a certain sense of gratification and satisfaction from the act itself and I certainly do not wish to say we shouldn’t feel this way. When it is a cause we truly believe in or something close and personal to us, the simple act of giving can be cathartic and relieving. We give not only because it is good for others but because it also makes us feel good about ourselves. The problem is our sight is limited and often times we cannot see further than what is immediately in front of us. So how do we incentivize an entire population to care about something far removed as much as they care about something on a personal level? We can take advantage of another even stronger desire. The desire to be recognized. Say what you will about those big gestures with names attached but you cannot deny that it moves a lot of money to a lot of places that normally wouldn’t have that. So we appeal to our vanity and need to be recognized by others. It isn’t the greatest evil in the world and it is a system that works. But make no mistake, this is not generosity for generosity’s sake.

It is sometimes difficult to weed out the truly generous from the seemingly generous. In regards to relationships this is especially important because we certainly do not want to be caught off guard with the person we are with. True, altruistic generosity has certain defining characteristics that one should always look for in a potential partner if genuine generosity is something you are looking for.

  1. They believe that what is theirs is also yours.

Those who possess a true sense of generosity also tend to not have a high sense of possession. They should not be possessive of material things and should be willing to always give of what they have.

  1. They regularly demonstrate a belief in altruism.

There is a saying, ‘it takes 21 days to develop a habit and 90 days to develop a lifestyle. True generosity does not begin overnight. It is a reflection of a long and conscious effort. Those who are truly generous live lives that show it. They volunteer their time, they donate their goods to the needy, they contribute money to charities. A truly generous person gives not only to those he knows but to strangers as well.

  1. They give for the act, not for the reward.

One of the biggest red flags of ‘pseudo-generosity’ is the person’s focus on the reward of generosity and not on the act itself. If the conversation leans more towards ‘check out all the cool stuff they give if you just donate’, perhaps this is not the most genuinely generous person. They may disguise their actual wants and needs as generosity. For example, they might give you a big screen TV for your birthday when you know they’ve really been wanting one all this time. Or they might leverage their gift for something they want. ‘Well you know I gave you this really nice gift that cost x and so for my birthday I think it’s only fair I get y.’

  1. They give even when there is the possibility of anonymity.

Perhaps the biggest characteristic of the truly generous is their ability to give even when there is a chance that they will never be recognized for their contribution. They put money in the tip jar even when the cashier isn’t looking. They enjoy, rather than avoid, thankless donations. This is a true love of altruism, when the simple act of giving is all the pleasure they need.

We might not always be the most generous in all aspects. But we are certainly capable of generosity. Be generous in life, love, and laughter.

Day 80

Man: 61 Loneliness: 19

Day 79: The Man and the Unlikely Desire; ‘Jump’

What a silly, stupid, frustrating way to lose the day. Today goes to Loneliness because…I really really missed it.

A bizarre, cruel twist of fate. One of the rare few times I desire to be alone and goddamnit I cannot for the life of me squeeze a few minutes of privacy out of my day.

I really don’t know what happened today. I just wasn’t feeling it. Didn’t want to talk to others, didn’t really want to socialize, just felt a tiny bit of gloom over my head and I knew I needed to get ahead of it, give myself some alone time to recharge.

Got into work, didn’t go to my desk. Went to the Lido Deck (our communal space) and set up shop in one of the booths. Today of all days our marketing team decided to start shooting videos for our YouTube channel. You know, those cheesy company videos where we talk about what we do while playing ping pong so we seem hard-working but also fun. Scripted jokes. Scripted laughter. Do you know what wasn’t included in the script? A six-foot tall anti-social Asian man. So I was kicked out.

Okay, that’s fine. One of the things I do happen to love about my office is how modular it is. There are plenty of little private nooks and crannies with sofas, booths, tables, etc.So I find my own little niche and take a deep breath.

‘Where are you?!’

Oh god. The new girl. She’s texting me.

‘What do you need.’

‘Email came in and I don’t know how to respond.’

‘Alright, no problem. I’ll take care of it.’

‘No, I want to see how you do it. Where are you.’

‘Hiding, primarily.’

She didn’t take the hint.

I’m squeezed into this tiny little space and now she’s brought herself and her laptop. I didn’t ask for this. In fact, I asked for the complete opposite.

I think I struck out on almost every single social interaction I had today. I didn’t want to be with company at the moment so I was definitely curt (maybe more than I should have to be you know, a civilized member of society) with the new girl. And for some reason today all the people that I helped, and I helped a lot (that is the job description) either didn’t believe me and doubted my help and good intention or weren’t satisfied with my responses.

Their problems were fixed five minutes ago but now I’m either listening to them tell me they don’t believe what I’m saying and know more than me or are telling me that the solution is unacceptable and they’re too busy to work on fixing their mistakes.

I’m not in charge of this program you guys. I don’t have special powers. I don’t even get special emails. I am just a man who knows this system faster and better than others. I’m a teacher. I know the subject. I’m an expert in it. But I can’t change it. I can teach you math but if you don’t like that two plus two equals four I can’t…you know…make it five…so why does everyone look at me today like I can.

Everyone was an expert today. Nobody liked my answers or my solutions. They were kind enough to let me know this after we fixed their problems. At certain times I had to just pass it to the new girl because I couldn’t continue conversations just to justify what we did. I fixed your problem. I shouldn’t have to defend that.

Just not feeling it, you guys. There was an unfunkable funk that caught me today. Maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I hadn’t really considered that trying to avoid Loneliness for so long I might have a few days when I need it around.

Sometimes I feel like I need to jump out a window like some action star just to escape some people. Here’s to better days.

Day 79

Man: 60 Loneliness: 19

Day 78: The Man and the Wardrobe; ‘Stylish’

Dressing Occasion.jpg

Someone is going to make fun of me for referencing another older post, but it seems to be a running trend with the prompt nowadays. The post in question is this one, in which I discussed the important of humor not only in my dating life but in my socialization and in how I view the connected experiences of humanity. I know, heavy stuff Doc.

Today’s prompt was ‘stylish’, which brought up thoughts of another aspect of my personality that I practically personally tailored (bad puns) to fit my dating life once more. I didn’t just use cheesy humor to get a girl’s attention. In the immortal words of ZZ Top, ‘every girl crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man’. I learned the myriad benefits of realizing that a guy’s outfit could be more than jeans and a t-shirt.

When I was in the first grade I had to wear this shiny gold vest for Easter Sunday. I thought I looked so cool with it on and everyone was saying how handsome I looked. There was a girl in my class who I had a huge crush on. Her father owned the local bakery and I used to go with my parents when they wanted to pick up some bread and biscotti. She was usuallyFrontShot hanging out at the store on weekends, coloring or running outside. I was always too shy to approach her or let alone talk to her. But if I could show her my cool new vest…well she’d have to…uh…I don’t know…my first grade self didn’t know what you were supposed to do with a girl you had a crush on. Maybe she’ll hold my hand. Hahah.

On Monday morning I stuffed that gold vest into my backpack so my mother wouldn’t know I had it with me. As soon as she dropped me off at school I asked my teacher if I could use the restroom. Inside, I slipped on this very shiny very sparkly golden vest over my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt. I was a 6 year old little boy in Power Rangers sneakers, blue jeans, a TMNT shirt, and a gold Easter vest. I thought I was the bomb. As I strutted my walk back into class with that runway look I very quickly realized otherwise. My guy friends were confused and dumbfounded. They stared and poked at the vest and wondered why I was wearing it. I could hear the girls in class looking and giggling at me. (See, making them laugh since day one.)

My teacher came over to me and in her teacherly way simply said, ‘Why Man, that’s a very nice vest. Why are you wearing that to school today?’

‘I don’t know,’ I wanted to say. ‘Love makes you do stupid things?!’

‘I…I have a party to go to after school,’ I lied.

Obviously, or well maybe not obviously but hopefully, my fashion sense, much like my comedic timing, has improved over the years. It was, after all, something I actually wanted to study and know more about and get better at.

I went through phases, just like anyone else growing up. Later on in elementary school I
got into the skater look. Long sleeve shirt with a short sleeve on high-school-metop. I got so lazy I just started buying shirts that just looked like it was two layers. In middle school I was very into the Asian motif so a lot of dragons and flames and ninja designs. It was bad. In high school I would change almost weekly. One week I’d try out the Seattle grunge look. Ripped jeans, plaid lumberjack shirts. Another time I’d be uncomfortably, unnaturally preppy. Polo shirts with the collar popped and a stupid jacket tied around my shoulders. I’d wear the jerseys of teams I didn’t follow whose players I didn’t recognize. I am so eternally grateful that my mother put a very quick and definite end to any possibility of me getting some obnoxiously long black trenchcoat like I saw in The Matrix because my dumb impressionable self was convinced this was the coolest jacket in the world. I would have even walked around with my arms folded behind me like Morpheus. I was most comfortable in jeans and a button up with the sleeves rolled. That’s what carried over mainly into college. College was also where I started to really want to dress smartly, dress like a guy who knew what the hell he was doing. Threw out all the skulls and dragons. Threw out the skater shirts. (Donated to Salvation Army, don’t worry.)

I started buying jeans that I realized didn’t always have to come in bright blue. Khakis. Chinos. Short-sleeve polo shirts, long-sleeve button ups, three-button henleys. I loved my assorted blazers and suit jackets. I learned to dress for the season and dress with variety. And you know what, girls did notice throughout all the years. If you show up over-dressed, like say a gold vest to homeroom, you’ll stick out for all the wrong reasons. But if you just do enough to be the best dressed guy in the room, you stick out for the right ones.

Say what you will about anything else, but I can at least say for certain that the women I’ve dated were sure of two things. 1) I was funny. And 2) I dressed well. Who wouldn’t take a little extra time to notice and appreciate when a guy shows up at your door and it looks like he spent more than five minutes deciding what to wear.

First Date Spring Summer.jpg

There are so many benefits to a well-stocked and versatile wardrobe. Functionality is of course still the most important thing. I would never support a fashion choice simply for its aesthetic versus practical use. A good wardrobe and a good sense of how to use it means you’ll never be caught unprepared. You’ll have the right clothes for each season and every weather type. You’ll be able to dress well for any occasion, from the most casual to the most formal. You can sell with much more confidence any image you wish to portray. A good outfit can also help a man hide some flaws and accentuate some strengths. I have particularly broad shoulders, so I like to wear clothes that accentuate that. This may sound weird but I am also a big fan of my forearms, which is why I very rarely wear sleeves to the wrist. I usually roll sleeves on my button ups or pull them up on sweaters and the like. Since I am tall,especially for a Filipino, I am very particular about my pant length. Too short, like how a lot of Asian men (especially Korean) like to wear it, makes me look awkward and gangly. Too long means the pant bunches up and makes me look saggy. But a pant with just the right length that ends at my shoe makes me seem like just a tad bit more of a commanding presence. You’d think with my little extra paunch I’d want to wear oversized shirts or baggy items to hide that, but I know it just makes me look frumpy and wrinkled. So a goodfitting shirt is actually better because it can help to narrow my profile a bit by aligning closer to my pants.

As the fall season approaches in the East coast I look forward to my cold-weather wardrobe coming back into circulation. I tend to sweat easily so I don’t get too fancy in the warmer months in terms of clothing. Material is more important and I am particular though to make sure I wear things that are almost always 100% cotton. In the winter though I get to dress my smartest. Layers are my friend. Collared shirt, vest, blazer. Plain tee, sweater, scarf. Cardigans. Long manly winter coats. No marshmallow jackets here.

How to Roll Sleeves.jpg

Honestly, I don’t know when or why or how not caring about your clothes became synonymous with ‘manliness’. I feel sad that so many guys think the best way to show off masculinity is to try really really hard to dress like a homeless person. When did knowing about the benefits of different kinds of materials and shirt styles lose its prowess in the circle of men. Why is it nowadays it’s either basketball shorts and t-shirts or fedoras and trenchcoats.

A man dressing well is manly. It speaks so much to a person’s knowledge, skills, and talents. It’s an unmistakable first impression. We don’t even need to know too much or have too much in our wardrobe. It’s not difficult for a guy to master the basics of smart dress for men. Even though I’m not actively going out and trying to find someone and telling myself I’ll find the love of my life at this particular moment I still like the fact that I learned the skill and ability to dress well enough so that no matter who looks, hopefully, if they appreciate something like that, they could still say ‘there goes a stylish man’.

Day 78

Man: 60 Loneliness: 18

Day 77: The Man and the Enemy Revisited; ‘Silence’

Silence Please.jpg

Back on Day 8 I wrote ‘The Man and the Silence’ which you can read here if you’d like. Beautiful had left me only a week ago and I was still getting accustomed to my new job. My sleep pattern was shot to hell and I was keeping myself up with the background hum of my hotel television because I couldn’t handle the permanent ringing silence that had characterized my nights.

When this all started, I thought the definitions were set. I was a lonely, heartbroken victim trying to pick up the pieces, Beautiful was the hungry consumer who took everything I had given her to figure out her feelings for someone else, and on that day, Silence was the enemy to be conquered.

I likened Silence to Loneliness and believed that the presence of one would surely shortly The Silence.jpgbe followed by the presence of the other. I feared and hated the Silence because it only reminded me of the void I had in my life. My stories were caught in my throat with no one to share with and there were no soft, gentle voices to accompany me to sleep.

I realize now that I was mistaken to consider silence and loneliness as equivalent. After all, how many times have we felt alone amidst noise and chaos and how many times have we spent quiet, contemplative nights with the people we love? It is the loneliness we feel when surrounded by the noise of so many people that strikes us with the harshest clarity and it is the ability and comfort and ease of spending moments in silence that characterize the strongest of our relationships with others.

To conquer my enemy, I must know my enemy. Silence is not the enemy. It can most definitely be a symptom of loss, but it is not the ally of it.

Since that original post I have been sleeping better (as much as a night-owl can) and sleeping in silent peaceful contented solitude. I have been able to bring back and appreciate a facet of life that I used to always be comfortable with.

So what changed? Why this transformation and how?

Over the course of my writing I have begun to create a much clearer image of who the enemy really is and what it is I am actually fighting against. It was never silence. I was so caught up in defining myself by my relationships that to me, I thought anything that was not a part of that was the enemy. Beautiful was the enemy for ending our relationship. Loneliness was the enemy for creating the vacuum next to me. Silence was the enemy because it meant no one to listen to or talk to.

Loneliness is still the enemy. Nature abhors a vacuum. Beautiful, I wrestle with from day to day. But I can guarantee you that Silence is never the enemy. It gets a bad rap because Silence is an ally we all need but never want. It is the only one that speaks the truth.

When we are left in silence we are stripped of the distractions and pretty things that keep us occupied. It forces us to face the things we hum away in our mind with catchy songs and jingles. I hated Silence back then because it was only in its presence that I began to really reflect on the relationship and start to pick apart the good from the bad and learn to survive and grow on the scraps. The silence rattled me because I could not keep playing my victim song over and over. It offended me because it tried to understand Beautiful’s own journey and my place in it. It reduced me to tears because it couldn’t answer the questions I kept yelling inside.

Why not her.

Why not us.

Why am I alone.

Will I ever find someone.

Can I do this on my own.

But, it was also in the company of Silence that I began to acquire the wisdom to answer for myself. And the humility to let go of the questions that were not mine to contemplate. I stopped trying to control and justify the actions of others. It was in silence that I stopped obsessing over Beautiful’s actions and began to only hold myself accountable for my own.

It is always in silence that I find the best words. It is in silence that I find the best company. I used to fear that having no one to share with meant silence. Now I hope to find someone to share silence with.

Silence can sometimes be a grim accompaniment but is always a necessary companion. I do think for the same reasons I’ve said that too many people fear the Silence.

Perhaps it is possible to live a happy, blissful life never confronting or being comfortable with Silence. Perhaps, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Not for the curious and insightful soul. Not for the true consumers and devourers of life. If you are hungry, be quiet. Silence accompanies all the great emotions that are responsible for great writing. You are so happy you find yourself speechless. Grief overcomes you with such immensity that your sobs stay in your throat. Fear grips and steals your breath away. Love overwhelms in a way that cannot be expressed. Beauty freezes every part of you.

I am now okay with sitting next to Silence. It is my friend once more. I know to seek it in the largest moments of my life as that one brief moment when I am not distracted by little things. Silence is the sharp intake of breath when you take everything in for the very first time. It is your purest reaction.

Know your enemy. Conquer your enemy. Silence is not your enemy.

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Day 77

Man: 59 Loneliness: 18