Butterfingers

May 30, 2017

I get all bubbly and bumbling at the very thought of you. Everything slips out of my grasp, my own two feet become obstacles in my path.

I can’t help but sing the same two lines of one of my top Nat King Cole favorites along with whatever I do, like I live in a musical.

I never feel such emotion with anything else, such inexplicable, heart-stopping, stumbling, stuttering light-headedness. I’ve never come so close to fainting before, probably two or three times by now.

I can’t explain what this feeling is, why it is making me act this way. I’ve never felt so different, seen the world in this light, all because of this thing that’s… more than a feeling.

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Thunder in the Vicinity

May 27, 2017

Today is one of the last days before I start another beatdown semester of medical professionalism and I can’t say I’ve felt more ready than not. In fact, despite that there are days when I wake up, totally prepared to conquer all 72 chapters of adult health and week after week of 12-hour rotations, I have to admit there have been more days where I spent more time doubting myself than eating or sleeping.

It’s difficult.

And no matter how I break it down—next year, four more semesters, a little over a year, only two more Augusts, one more Christmas and new year’s, less than a thousand days—it still sounds… awful. It still sounds like the 15 months I have left until the next biggest chapter in my life, and not even the chapter I’m really waiting to get to.

I’m not normally one to submerge myself in self-doubt or to marinate in dread, but all I can think about is how I could possibly get through this quickly and painlessly. And every which way I conjure up eventually becomes exhausted, leaving me in a fit of desperation and anxiety, trying to find another way to allay my worries, forget these stresses altogether.

I think I just want it all to pass me by while I simply have to just live through it, be the slow-moving figure within the blur of a fast-paced world around me. I think I want to gain the knowledge and experience right now and just be done with it. Everything seems to be tumbling down over my head and I can’t bear the weight. I’ve never felt more alone. And I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others, but shoot—the others are doing one hell of a better job than I am at knowing what they want to be in life at this age. The world is calling me by my first name, waiting for me, and I’m just itching to see it. I’m trying, with every ounce of power I have, to be optimistic, as I normally am, as I swore I always would be, but the cost-benefit ratio isn’t doing anything for me; it’s exhausting everything, every resource I have.

This all probably sounds like something you’d read from a psychology textbook about adolescent identity crisis or something of the sort. And maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.

I don’t know.

I Don’t Drink Coffee

May 19, 2017

I like to push myself out of my comfort zone quite often (except when I start losing feeling in my toes). I try new things, see new places, then try those things in new, stupid ways in those new places.

I’m brazen in decision-making, especially when my emotions and personal identity are endangered. I will fight the devil himself for the sake of my dignity.

I’m a pessimist when it comes to blatantly impossible dreams, especially ones about celebrities. What makes them so different from you and I? We’re all human, we’re all unique. You just hear about their feats on TV and radio.

Despite what people think about me, I’m actually inhumanly lazy (like, j’ai la molle lazy) and wildly irresponsible (as I type this at 1:30 in the morning instead of sleeping).

I’m mediocre at personal hygiene and my skin is nowhere near flawless and I wear department store and overstock clothing because I’m what they call a penny pincher.

The only remotely relevant knowledge I have of sports are team names (if they’re even right) and the fact that most of them involve a ball and a masochistic level of endurance, the latter being what I lack any amount of.

And also, what is it about coffee? Of all the coffee I’ve tried in hopes of changing my impression of it, every frappucino was watery, every latte was too foamy, and every macchiato was nauseatingly sweet. If you’re going to ask me on a date, I’d rather you suggest a rom-com at home with chocolate popcorn and blankets that barely cover our feet.

Maybe this makes me an undesirable human being, so negative and uncontrollable, but the question then is: why would I care if someone has a problem with it?

You shouldn’t care either. Be your bust-out-loud cackling, heavy-belching, lazy, dad-joke-humored, forgetful, vocal, ungraceful, clumsy-tripping-over-nothing, imperfect self because, dammit, that is what makes you your beautiful self.

To Think or Not to Think

May 18, 2017

I always wondered how someone could think about something so often and for so long without losing interest in it. It just seemed exhausting to me. Wouldn’t it be tiring, waking up every day and thinking about it in each moment, then having it be the last thing on your mind when you go to bed, then sometimes have it even fill your dreams? My friends wring my ear about these singers or actors or characters in books while I continued wondering.

Well, I used to wonder.

I never thought it’d happen to me, the skeptic I am, but there’s one thing I’ve thought about day in and day out, sunrise to sunrise again and I have yet to tire of it, almost a year later. I have found every reason to pursue it. And not only has it filled my thoughts, but it has inspired my best drawings, stories, and other works simply from its presence in my mind.

It has helped me through the toughest times I’ve had in years. It makes time fly, makes two and a half years seem like no time at all. It makes bad days look like days to learn and it makes good days into blessings. It has encouraged me to further my talents, embrace my weaknesses, fuel my strengths.

I find myself burrowing further into my hobbies and passions more fervently than ever before and it feels wonderful. I feel a bit ridiculous sometimes, just thinking about it so much. People ask me what inspired some of my works and what encourages me. Sometimes it’s other people, their actions, their words. But this has been the one thing that I unfailingly turn to for my greatest inspiration. And at this point, it’s not even me deliberately thinking about it. It’s almost like… it’s second nature.

And the truth is, it’s a long story.

I’ve tried and tried again writing about why it’s so important to me, but I have yet to get it down exactly as it is. But some things are so good they just don’t need explaining.

We all deserve something that good, right?

You’re Inspiring

May 17, 2017

I found myself tearing up at your simple words. I know nothing about you, I don’t know what brought you here, and I don’t know what makes you believe complete strangers will even listen to you (it sounds insulting, but bear with me; I obviously don’t mean it thusly). Heck, I don’t even know what you​ look like.

I never turned around when you made your speech on the bus. Mostly because I didn’t have anything to provide you, but also because I didn’t know what I’d say and I thought about it all day.

Your mere projection was what first caught my attention, but your story pulled me along. I don’t know if you had an education in the years you’ve lived until you somehow lost your home, but either way, I believe the way you speak will outshine any weaknesses you have. I think you have potential to be a wonderful public speaker—obviously because I still remember you, and your words have the same impact now as they did then. Your persistence and willingness to be judged, to be labeled as a “beggar,” just to get your point across that the world is not a totally beautiful place and that every person is not a perfect human being, is awe-inspiring.

The world is a vicious, unrelenting place, but I wish you the best in all you do and hope to pursue. If you have a dream, chase it. Many more will eagerly support you if you have an end in mind, if you have an ultimate goal you’re willing to tell others. I’m fortunate enough to be able to provide for myself and work faster towards my ambitions, but all I can provide for you is an unsaid good luck.

I believe you are a productive human being with a word to say. You can raise awareness on your situation, an unfortunate situation shared by many in your own home city, and hopefully alter the path of that reality. You can move mountains with your sheer willpower.
If I had the choice, I’d fund you a two-piece suit. Because, although physical appearance is vastly important for impressions in today’s society, it will also convince others that you are not just a “beggar.” It convinces them that you are a chooser, you are a pioneer in your destiny and you are making progress, stepping up in the brutal hierarchy of modern times. It will dress up your conviction, put a face to the name of the beliefs you conveyed through the improvised, hostage speech you gave to complete strangers, commuters and tourists alike.

It takes a certain type of person to stand up in front of a mass of unaware, judgmental strangers with vain hope to spur change in this twisted world. But I believe you have things to do, places to go, and people to see.

So, good luck to you, good sir. And I hope the next time I see you, it’ll be on the news about a man who accelerated from almost nothing to changing the world with good speeches and great intentions.

Pt. 1: In the Absence of Light

May 16, 2017

Down days make you feel like no matter which way you divide up the time you have to wait to make your dreams come true, it’s still going to take the same amount of time—too much time. It’ll be like the suffering you have to go through is never going to be enough, the perpetual struggle you’ll just have to endure because it has started and it won’t stop as far as the eye can see. It’ll make everything seem worse than it already is, make every pain hurt more than it probably would have been in any other situation. It’ll make you feel like you’re more alone than you ever have been, the desperation for company and the emptiness of voids in your heart aching you to the bone, wondering, “why does it have to be like this?”

People, places, faces, times you thought you knew change, disfigure their forms, mutate themselves in the absence of daytime, of sunlight, into something condescending, horrifying, utterly… unattractive in character and spirit, something unempathetic and torturous. You suddenly find yourself lost, misguided and so very alone. You catch a glimpse of your reflection every so often, wondering if anyone else would be as unfamiliar with the face that returned the gaze as you are.

The best you can do is survive until the next sunrise comes, whenever that may be, looking towards the future, anticipating all it has to provide for you. Continue trudging along, wade in the grime of exhaustion and perseverance.

You may inspire someone to follow in your footsteps.

A Thousand to Zero

May 15, 2017

How often does someone see the world from a different view? A better one? A daring one? A higher one?

A city seems so quiet, streetlights winking at you from above, but you see no movement, almost as though life doesn’t exist there. Streetlights on highways illuminate paths carved into the city’s heart, mapping out every edge and​ curve of the town. Cities glow from below, a halo of light doming around their limits and its surroundings are pitch black, invisible to the naked eye, save for the occasional, singular house light.

You would never think much of what its inhabitants do for a living, their socioeconomic status, their cost of living, their food desert, their daily struggles, their contradicting, controversial views, their civil injustices. You can only guess how many of those hundreds or thousands of people know each other, associate with one another, how they better or worsen each other’s days. You don’t know how much each person contributes to the workforce or to non-profit organizations that save the animals or how conservative they are about water and nonrenewable resources.

You know absolutely nothing from where you are.

You can think only of the sheer size of each city or town, how far its limits reach, estimate the population and be amazed by how right or wrong you were.

And when you’re back on their level, see them objectively because each person, each city, each region, has a unique and powerful purpose for being there in the first place.

Life How It Should Be

May 13, 2017

Today, one of my closest friends, if not the closest, taught me about myself.

He taught me the difference between experience and life experience. He showed me the impact of simple gestures, menial exchanges, and how easy it is to be a good influence—it takes no effort at all if it comes from your heart.

I learned so much about people I thought I knew. He proved to me that you can know someone for years and years, yet still have no idea who they are, but you can also know someone for a couple months and learn more about yourself through them than you thought was even in you.

I have never been so grateful and optimistic about anything in my entire life. I’ve always found it a challenge to believe in myself, to push past the idea of the obstacles along the way to my greatest pursuits, to understand why I’m doing what I do. I used to lie to myself, turning a blind eye to the pain I had to endure, having vain hope that the world will be better by itself. I denied that I was in any sort of turmoil with who I was.

But he showed me that I’m not alone. He showed me that I’m fully capable and well-equipped. He encouraged me to believe that everything I do has purpose and it serves me well to continue being myself, doing what I do, going where I’m going. He’s brought me up from low points when he didn’t even know I was at a low point.

He made me understand that my antics, my hobbies, my interests, my opinions, are all invaluable, no matter the point on the spectrum, and none of it should be discredited just because society views them negatively. It doesn’t take your car or your salary or your social life and possessions to tell your story. It takes you staying true to who you are, expressing yourself, embracing your talents and flaws, learning from your mistakes and bettering yourself, and never backing down when the going gets tough.

It takes a certain type of person to listen and to understand and especially to empathize with problems and situations that are not theirs but he has proven to me that, despite my skepticism, those people exist. And, like him, they are as invaluable themselves as the words they speak.

Here at Home

May 12, 2017

Whataburger is a thing where I’m from; it’s a fast food restaurant. On late Friday nights after the movies or early mornings after staying up all night to see the meteor shower in the middle of nowhere, the greasy, delicious burgers accompanied with skinny fries and a milkshake top off a good night nicely.

My family and I had never had it until I was about ten years of age and since then I’ve had countless memories made there with family and friends.

We’d made it a tradition to grab Whataburger after every family vacation since then. After my middle school band competitions and high school awards ceremonies, after practicing parking for the first time, after taking nationally standardized tests, I always found myself there, respectively celebrating. The day before my high school graduation, I grabbed shakes with a friend who gave me a letter there, which would later become one of the most important instruments of my personal discovery. My friends from work or college or even friends my age from high school never minded joining me for late, late night visits after running errands together, or after a long work shift, or after a long day of class. Once, I’d come back from a recording session with my best friend, the future audio engineer, and we got shakes and chicken strip sandwiches at eleven at night on the drive home. And after driving an hour and a half to escape the light dome and watch the Geminids one warm, Texas December, my family and I had Whataburger at four in the morning. Before taking the first road trip out of town with my friends, we stopped by to grab some breakfast biscuits (apparently, that’s a southern thing to have?) for the drive there.

Long story short, I love food more than people.

Just kidding (but, like not), I just mean to say that this burger joint holds a special place in my heart because I can only correlate good memories to that orange and white ‘W’.

Can you guess what I had for dinner after the movie tonight?

Streetlight Chronicles

May 11, 2017

So you’re off to Corpus now, yeah?

Well I’m happy to hear that, you were a great mentor and I’m glad to have met you. You inspired me quite a lot. It’ll be me next time, you said, me sitting in that chair, taking that pin, and lighting that lamp.

I don’t know if you knew anyone else here, but in case you didn’t and no one else remembers you, leave it up to me. I’ll remind them of your legacy, immortalize you in their books, tell your tale, show how you have inspired the next class, the next generation of starry-eyed wonderlings like myself.

Just do me one favor when you’re over there, taking your life by the reins: never forget the inspiring person I discovered in you, the person I look up to, the person with such a history behind them, it’d be absurd to overlook.