30 Days – Day 11 – Something People Compliment Me On

If you’re following this blog, you know I’m participating in the ‘30 Days of Truth‘ project I’ve seen on other blogs.  It’s helping me commit to posting every single day, since I’m also taking part in The Daily Post project.

Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on

People have often complimented me on my humor and/or wit.  I guess I am pretty quick with a snappy quip.  Is that a talent?  Perhaps it is; although I’m not sure I’ve put it to the best use over the years.  Like many things, I can’t force it – guess that’s why I probably wouldn’t want to be a comedy writer or comedian (the pressure). 

I’ve also gotten compliments on my art and photography (fyi, I did not take the photo above – click on it to see more tilt shift images).  I have had no formal art or photography training.  I’ve drawn since I was about 2 years old, and I guess I had a natural affinity for photography from a fairly young age.  I used to carry those Fun Saver cameras with me everywhere.

I actually would like to take a digital photography class – something non-credit where I could learn tips & tricks to better my craft.  But I’ve been told I have a good eye for things.  That makes me feel pretty good.  🙂  And I’ve learned some interesting digital processing techniques through friends and just messing around with various programs and websites such as Photoshop, GIMP, Pixlr, etc.  I’ve also learned some cool tricks from the wife.  She took digital photography and editing classes in college. 

I got into painting last year.  I really took to it after my first piece.  I decided I’d like to try something on canvas.  For many years, though I was pretty adept at drawing, painting intimidated me.  I was afraid to try it.  Mind you, I am no Picaso, but I think I have been able to successfully translate my inspiration and vision onto the canvas.  My work leans toward pop art, with major inspriations/themes running the gambit from Mexican cultural and/or religious iconography, fantasy art, rockabilly, vintage, retro, and so forth.  Although I’m atheist, I must confess I have a sweet spot for Mexican Catholic iconography – the Virgin of Guadalupe is a personal favorite. 

I’ve been photographing a lot outdoors lately.  I moved to a loft in South Dallas the weekend of Halloween, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously somewhere.  I love my neighborhood.  I feel very at home, and I’m discovering more about this part of the city every day.  I’d never ventured down here much at all – it was verboten, as it’s “that part of town” that nobody from the North Side ever goes to.  I’m glad they don’t – that saves it as the treasure it is.  Although some development and services on the whole are badly needed for the residents of South Dallas, many of whom are among the poorest in the entire city.  Anyway, I’m working on a photography book about my neighborhood.  I’ve gotten what I think are some pretty great shots, and while there’s a lot of information online and in books about South Dallas as a whole, including Oak Cliff, I am fairly certain there’s yet to be a book (and certainly a photography book) about The Cedars (my neighborhood). 

Here’s a shot I thought I’d share:

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30 Days – Day 10 – Someone I Need to Let Go

If you’re following this blog, you know I’m participating in the ‘30 Days of Truth‘ project I’ve seen on other blogs.  It’s helping me commit to posting every single day, since I’m also taking part in The Daily Post project.

Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.

Luckily, I’m at a place in my life currently where I don’t have any dead weight in the friendship category.  I have a smaller circle of intimates here in my early 30s than I did around 18 or 21, etc.  And that suits me just fine.  I have also cut out unnecessary drama, as many my age have.  So I don’t have anyone making me miserable.

That said, there is always room to grow; to move forward.  Living in the past is a waste of time.  We would all do well to keep the past fresh in memory, and learn from the mistakes contained therein.  However, if we are spinning our wheels in yesterday, we cannot see today or hope to see tomorrow.

I must continue to excise negativity from my view, and my life.  This could include acquaintances, social networking “friends,” and so forth.  I can be negative with the best of them.  However, it’s usually bitching about something in my life I’m unsettled with, as opposed to one of my biggest pet peeves: people who constantly bemoan their lot in life, but refuse to actively do anything to change it.  Those who fall into this category will not find any sympathy from me.

“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”  – Franklin D. Roosevelt

30 Days – Day 9 – Someone Who Drifted

If you’re following this blog, you know I’m participating in the ‘30 Days of Truth‘ project I’ve seen on other blogs.  It’s helping me commit to posting every single day, since I’m also taking part in The Daily Post project.

Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.

"Drift" by Marni Mutrux

Many people drift in and out of our lives.  As we grow older, we come to accept this as fact, and are better equipped to deal with it as a part of life.  We come to understand that some relationships are transitory, and sometimes a person’s presence serves as a learning experience for us.

“Every moment in life is a learning experience. Or what good is it, right?”
– Paul, ‘Six Degrees of Separation’

His name was Jesse.  He was my best friend in the last couple of years of high school.  We became like brothers after he transferred to my school.  Both only children, we came from different worlds.  His parents were pretty small town and friendly, but they had money.  His mom drove a sports car and his dad bought him a sweet little jet black Nissan pickup with tinted windows and chrome rims with low-profile tires.

Every single time I hear “Pony” by Ginuwine (which isn’t often, but still) I think of that truck, and him, and us riding through town on Friday nights, cruising the main drag just like all the other kids, because there wasn’t shit else to do in that town.

My parents’ old house sat right next to our new house, in total disrepair.  Half the thing was torn open/falling down, literally.  My dad started tearing it down, and well, stopped.  We, being the industrious young men we were, turned the old living room (which was fine but had no heat) into a bachelor pad.  We each had a sofa to sleep on, a TV, and a fridge.  That was the life.

We got measured for prom tuxes together.  I used to buy us 30 packs of Natty Light when I was 17, from a convenience store in town – it always seemed to work – maybe it was my goatee and chops.  He caught me jerking off to a nudie mag once and then casually asked me which pics I was looking at.  lol.  We smoked so much pot I actually hallucinated (pink elephants – wtf was in that weed?) and threw up outside.  We were 16 and 17.  We were brothers.

He was the first person I came out to, a few weeks after I graduated high school.  I was terrified that he’d reject me.  He didn’t.  He thought it was the coolest thing.

It was the summer of 1997.  He and his family had moved to another town about 30-40 minutes away.  I was busy getting into college and getting a job in a town 45 minutes in another direction.  And, as life goes, we drifted apart.  Less and less calls between us, and so forth.  I saw him one other time.  I was back at my parents house for a bit, and he just happened to be in town visiting.  He dropped by for about 45 minutes or an hour or so, and we just visited.  But I’d already changed.  And he had graduated, and was changing himself…off to start his own independent life.

And so it goes.  But once upon a time, we were best friends.  I wonder what ever became of him.  I miss him.

30 Days – Day 8 – Living Hell

If you’re following this blog, you know I’m participating in the ‘30 Days of Truth‘ project I’ve seen on other blogs.  It’s helping me commit to posting every single day, since I’m also taking part in The Daily Post project.

Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

Right… so anyway.  Jeez, it must be hot – that dude is sweating.  Hmmm…why do I feel the need to submit that photo here?

Oh?  Okay, any how…wait, before I get started, can I just say Hell/hell would be way cooler if it was anything like the place in ‘Constantine.’

The other one just looks shitty.  Okay, okay…as usual, I digress.

I have really, really been avoiding this post.  I’m just not sure how I want to address this topic.  I’m doing my best to just stick to the topics during the 30 Days challenge, so I’ll give it a go.

Kids in school sometimes made my life hell.  High school, really.  I wasn’t really popular.  I fit in somewhere between social pariah and cool kids – though probably closer to pariah.  To draw from one of the best movies ever, if there was an A, B, and C group in high school, I lodged squarely in the B group.

Ever been in the B group?  Let me spell that one out for you.  You’re high enough up the food chain to make fun of the truly outcast among you, but certainly not above being made fun of to the delight of those “cooler” than you.  WTF is up with that?!  How’s that for a false sense of security?

I did make fun of someone “lower” in the ranks than I once.  He was a nice kid, named Chris.  It was easy.  He was an easy target, on so many levels.  And yes, it was totally to deflect attention away from myself.  I still regret it, every time it crosses my mind.  I’m sorry, Chris.  I really am.

It’s very sad to me that so many young men have been taking their own lives because of bullying.  Man, I hate to sound old, but times sure are different.  Granted, not that this type of thing was unheard of when I was growing up, but as with many other things people of my generation (AW, are you listening?) 😉 will say about “back in my day,” kids got bullied, and it fucking SUCKED, but you just dealt, and knew that one day you’d get the hell out.

That’s precisely what I did.  There were 26 people in my graduating class – roughly 200-250 in my entire middle & high school (7th – 12th).  So, there was no fading into the masses.  Everyone pretty much knew everyone else.  But, looking back, I’m sure we were all struggling to find our own identities and get the F out of there.  Even the cool kids, I’m convinced.  Funny thing, so many of the people I graduated with didn’t get out.  Some of them stayed right there in that little town, and life unfolded or imploded, depending on one’s viewpoint.

Hey, to each their own.  I actually landed a job in, and moved to, a college town about 45 minutes away from my hometown, a month or so after graduation.  That was my first taste of freedom.  I happened to run into a guy who’d tortured the hell out of me in high school, working as an assistant manager at McDonald’s or something.  He’d graduated a couple of years before me.  We’d been friends when we were little boys, but then came a time when I guess he caved, as many of us do, to the peer-pressures of high schooldom, and he picked on me (publicly, of course) mercilessly.

That’s the first time I really remember feeling betrayal.  Anyway, when I ran into him, he was really, really nice to me.  His kindness redeemed not only him, but in some small way humanity.

I wonder if he ever thinks back to those days, and harbors any regret.  I have long since forgiven him, and forgiven myself for not standing up for myself more.

30 Days – Day 7 – Someone Who Has Made My Life Worth Living

If you’re following this blog, you know I’m participating in the ‘30 Days of Truth‘ project I’ve seen on other blogs.  It’s helping me commit to posting every single day, since I’m also taking part in The Daily Post project.

Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.

I have to confess – I’ve sort of been avoiding this post.  Honestly, I don’t know how to respond to it.  So, I guess I’ll just respond in my own way, not necessarily according to the title – these challenges are just a guide anyway, right?  Right.

I don’t think anyone has ‘made my life worth living.’  If I required someone else’s presence to need a reason to live, what would be the point?  I’m glad that I live, and for my life, even with all it’s MANY faults and shortcomings.  I’m grateful to my spouse, the love of my life, who gets me even though she doesn’t get me, if that makes sense.  I’m grateful to my true friends – the number may not be huge, but they know who they are and what they mean to me.  And I’m grateful that I know what I mean to them.

I’m grateful to the teachers I come across – random strangers, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and so on.  I’m grateful to those people I learn from, and as long as I see another person during the day, I’m bound to learn something new about the world.

No one person has made my life worthy.  No one person has made it any less worthy.  The people I hold close in the dark hours are the people that enhance and enrich my life, and help make it all that it is.

Sorry, I hope this isn’t any less astounding than you might have been hoping for – under the assumption you seek anything profound in these posts.

I’m grateful to myself, for seeing what I’m worth, even in those moments when I don’t feel all that worthy.  I make my life worth living for, and the people I love enrich it in various ways, adding something spectacular that I couldn’t dream up on my own.

“Religion is largely irrelevant to most young people who rely instead on a ‘secular trinity’ of themselves, their family and their friends to give meaning to their lives …” – here

via PostSecret.com

 

30 Days – Day 6 – Something I Hope I Never Have To Do

If you’re following this blog, you know I’m participating in the ‘30 Days of Truth‘ project I’ve seen on other blogs.  It’s helping me commit to posting every single day, since I’m also taking part in The Daily Post project.

Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.

I hope I never lose her.  She probably doesn’t even know how much it happens, but I often find myself briefly lost in some horrible daydream that something terrible has or is or will be happening to her.  So, you see, I don’t mean ‘lose her’ as in leave her or her leave me.  I mean lose her, the way a painter sometimes loses a painting.  The way you lose your thought when you’re hit in the face with a blast of unexpected wind that almost knocks you back.  There, and then…gone.  And you can’t get that moment back, no matter how hard you might try.

Some things you just can’t fight…

I love her.  I can’t even stand the thought that something terrible might ever happen to take her out of my arms, out of my eyes, forever.  And then I think ‘what if something happened and she was in the hospital’?  And I think about our particular situation, being unmarried in a country that will not allow us to express our bond through a promise.  Would I be denied – “immediate family only” ?  Would some unknown and heretofore unseen “family” member swoop in and dictate important decisions?  Would she be stolen from me twice?

It’s these thoughts that shake me, though thankfully they are fleeting… I am naturally a loner, and prone to much happiness without the constraints of interpersonal relationships or close proximity with others, save a few dear and close compatriots (you know who you are).  But the thought of not having her – we are so intricately intertwined – terrifies me.

Are these things that could happen?  I think back to when my mom had a cerebral hemorrhage.  In the middle of the night, like the *snap* of a finger – worlds shattered, no rhyme or reason, the night holding no condolence…nothing but emptiness and fear, and numbness, and terror.  Could it be?  It is perhaps this I am now most afraid of.

I hope I never have to find out.

30 Days – Day 5 – Something I Hope to Do In My Life

If you’re following this blog, you know I’m participating in the ‘30 Days of Truth‘ project I’ve seen on other blogs.  It’s helping me commit to posting every single day, since I’m also taking part in The Daily Post project.

Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.

Man On a Blue World by Alexandra Huber

I want to continually learn and evolve.  Wait, is that too abstract?  Most people would probably say ‘write the a “Great American Novel,” see the world, get rich, find true love, or something else along those lines.  All worthy aspirations, I’m sure.  But maybe, just maybe we can do those things, and/or something so much more, by always striving to learn and open ourselves to new information and experiences.

I want to dream of great things, of a world where dreams are real.  I want to leave a mark, even if it’s only on one person’s heart.  Even if I never even know it.

Even if it never even seems to matter.  Maybe that’s the best thing I can hope to do after all.

But…if I absolutely had to pick something completely non-abstract, just to nail something down…I want to live in the desert, and take photographs, and count the stars, and fill journals-worth of space with words, and dreams, and memories.

What do you want do with in your life?  Write it down anonymously and let it go…leave it somewhere, throw it out, whatever.  Work to make it come true…and maybe someday someone will find what you wrote, and find their own dream.