I Made a Promise to be Vague

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Is this thing on?

I have to be vague and still convey what I need to. The difficulty is because I want to just blurt out everything without caring for other people’s feelings. But, that’s the thing isn’t it? I care for people. I care for those who I love and those who love me and I even care for those I kinda hate and those that kinda hate me. Why? Because deep down I know we are all connected intrinsically, cosmically.

When I turned 40 I shouted, “life begins at 40!” I believe that. I think that I’ve reached this magical age of near enlightenment where I can apply all the lessons of the past to try to be a truly good person. I recognize mistakes were made along the way. I know that I’m not perfect, but I try my best to be a better person. Yet, while my life “began at 40”, I’m not sure who’s going to be around to see me at 50.

It’s painful to admit that the older people in my life are getting older and more susceptible to things that may cause them to leave this existence. In the past four years, I’ve lost two aunts so I understand how this works. I understand that the curse of being one of the youngest in the family means you see everyone fade.

Within the wake of all of this comes regret. I could’ve been a better nephew, cousin, or son. Maybe I could’ve worked harder to spend more time. Maybe I could have gone that extra mile to do things the right way. Maybe, I should’ve worked harder to have children at a younger age. All this sounds crazy but when your heart cries your head makes excuses.

Family is important… even if they’re assholes. That doesn’t mean I have to trust them. It doesn’t mean I have to lend them money. What it does mean is that they are a part of me in ways that I may not like or admit. I watch and observe the incredibly stupid behavior of certain people and know that had people spent less time in their feelings and more time actually talking about problems… then I wouldn’t have to be so vague about any of this.

This is not a game anymore. I will not play this social media game where I try to out do the next person in life achievements and then fabricate happiness. Facebook is a farce; a real life version of The Sims. I’m surprised that Zuck hasn’t tried to sell us expansion packs that feature new looks and outfits to cover our shitty little lives, or maybe he has. I can only say that I know who my real friends are. I know who I’m cool with. I’m done pretending that everything is going to be okay because it may not be.

I made a promise. I swore to be vague about something because, “people are fake.” I get that. People hold grudges or say some rude shit one day and then send you a Facebook invite the next day. These same people will talk mad shit but then cry at the funeral. These same people will pretend to be your friend but never visits you in the hospital (I’m not bitter at all).

There’s a lack of understanding that looms over like a cloud where some people only see things from one point of view without considering that perhaps… they might be wrong. One person sees a number and declares it a 9 and no one can tell this person anything. Another person sees that exact same number from a different angle and calls it a 6 and you can’t tell that person any differently. This describes the world we live in. This describes my family.

I made a promise to be vague and I will keep that.

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43

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Before we all die I just want to say…

Normally, I would write this long blog post about how another year has passed and how I need to focus on goals and all this other crap. Eff that. When did I become this serious goal monster that needs to keep pushing the envelope? I ask this question to myself because I begin to wonder if I’ve stopped to enjoy life in this incredibly fucked up world.

I’m leaning toward no.

Sure, I live in one of the greatest cities in the world which gives me access to do just about anything I want to do and yet, I shy away from doing what everybody else does. Some of that is because I’m a homebody. There are times I would rather just be home and catch up on shows, or read, or write. Another reason is because I’m not a fucking follower (as I’ve been recently accused of — yes, I’m bitter). Other reasons for not going out is that I don’t want to spend the money. I want to be clear, I do not consider myself cheap but I do question the value of things and if my time and money can be spent somewhere else.

Look, I will be honest, my life is not a grand spectacle and I don’t try to pretend that it is on social media. I work a lot and I am really good at what I do. Outside of work though… I feel everyone (mostly family) wants or needs me for something and like a pendejo (look it up) I tend to not say no. Inherently, this is not a bad thing because I’m a decent human being and there was a point in my life where I didn’t want to be near family. But, now I’m older and more responsible and I feel that family is important… especially if I happen to have kids (pause).

Yet, I can’t help but think that I should be doing more for myself. I’m dying to go to Cuba and to be honest, this is where I begin to evaluate my life and I begin to question everything. Let’s push aside what 45 has done to limit travel and focus on when it was easier to go. The question I ask myself is why didn’t I go to Cuba when I had the chance? What was I waiting for? Here is my answer, I take my current (and now past) responsibilities so seriously when it comes to family that I push my own shit back. So I watched when family and friends (…did my friends go or was it Facebook ‘friends’…? shrug) post pics and think.. that could’ve me but I was fucking around.

So what does 43 mean to me? It means that I may need to pull back and think more about me (and her too). I need to start being more me-centric. I hate the word selfish because it gives the assumption that I don’t care about anyone else. I do want to focus more on myself and not just travel and vacations. I look at the calendar and I realized I have not seen a doctor in years. That fact scares me because I don’t want to be that dude that never sees the doctor considering I’m at that age range where tubes and needles go into places that I’m not prepared for them to go.

I’m comforted that I do have people in my life that do love and care about me and (for as long as we are alive before the world ends) I will have their back just as much as they have mine. Right now, it’s time for me to stop talking about shit and just doing it.

2015 Goals

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I have to admit that I needed this year to end. While this was a great year for me personally, there was just too many tragedies that I cannot readily ignore. Thus, any Facebook celebratory “year in review” isn’t something I was going to do.

As stated last year, I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions but, rather, I set goals to accomplished by the end of the next year. Unfortunately, I only completed 50% of my goals this year but what I did accomplish, changed my life. 2015 will be interesting because of the nature of the 10 goals I’m setting.

I’ve always believed in doing the things that got me in the game. I love to write and the writer in me feels that I don’t do it enough. So, blogging more is something I have to do. I made that pledge last year and I wrote two less blogs this year than I did last year. At least, I’m not writing much less especially considering that I came out with my first novel this year. (Although, I DID write two Huffington Post articles…so technically I wrote the same amount…but whatever) However, it’s even more important that I finish book two. I’m already five chapters deep and once this holiday season is over, I plan on hitting the “pen to the pad” at full steam.

Hanging Upside Down is more of an accomplishment for me than I’m willing to admit. I’ve found it hard to celebrate with everything going on in my life and in the world. I need to be willing to put myself out there more and step up my hustle. I will not be satisfied until I sell 500+ copies next year.  I know I have my work cut out for me because I’m doing this all on my own. However, I do have family who will always help and because of that I need to go to Georgia to visit some long lost familia.

Which also brings me to my next point, spending more time with family. The death of a family member makes things difficult all around and yet it seems to instill a sense mortality in all of us. This has made me realize that I need to cherish my time more with the people that I care about the most.

Outside of all the personal issues, I need to read more. Again, this is another goal from last year that I bailed on but I feel that it’s important to try again. This time I have a little bit more of a motivation. This year, I have either met some authors or come to the realization that I have many friends who are authors. Not matter what the case is, it is my job as a friend and fellow author that I support and read their works.

I also need to focus a little bit more on my health. I wont go into how I’m facing oral surgery in January, but I do need to get a check up so I can get back to running. I would like to do more than just one 5k this year. Of course, part of my problem over the last few years is that I can be a bit of an insomniac. Lack of sleep is a problem for me that may have been halting my productivity. So basically, I need more sleep.

Finally, I’ve made a big decision that will help me with debt reduction. I’m moving out of Washington Heights. I have a long term goal to get my credit score up by the time I’m 50 and part of that is being able to save money. The move is a financial one with me being able to have extra money to pay bills. I roll my eyes because it just seems that no matter what my goals are, I am paying bills at one point or another.

So that is pretty much it. I assume this will be my last entry for 2014. It has been an interesting year. I hope you all set goals rather than resolutions. Happy New Year.

Derailed

ID-10089151There is something about death that makes us think about our mortality. When a family member dies this feeling is compounded. The death of my Aunt Clara has put me in a situation where I had to really think about life, death, and the all this importance that we place on menial things. I have been a tad bit derailed by this.

We all knew that she wasn’t feeling well. We all know that the cancer in her body was taking it’s toll on her. I remember when I told her I was writing a book and how I wanted it to come out in the fall of this year but I wasn’t sure of when, she had a genuine look of joy because I was going to be the first author in the family. Clara was the aunt that would tell you exactly how she felt. So, not only did I know she wanted to read this book but she would also ask on several occasions when I’m going to marry my girlfriend and add new children to the family.

Not to say that these were requests of a dying woman because I knew she felt, as we all did, that she would beat this thing but I felt compelled to make sure that this book came out before she left us. I was indeed successful. It was around my book signing in October that she started getting worse. Titi Clara had all intentions on going to La Casa Azul but her body just would not let her. That fact was not lost on me and I said a silent prayer hoping she would be ok.

She made a turn for the worse a week before Halloween and I knew that we were going to lose her. I knew that this horrible thing called cancer was going to win but it did not take her spirit. When I saw in the hospital she recognized me and gave this smile. She asked me how the book signing went. I told her that is went well and she gave me a thumbs up. “You did good,” was something she would always tell me and I know that’s what she meant.

I was there for her last rites. A week later she let go. She is now pain free and with God.

It was a beautiful day when they buried her. I think it’s because this little feisty Puerto Rican woman with a big personality fought the heavens to give us one last day of warmth in November.

I am derailed because as much as I can write about the things in the book and this blog, death is something that is hard to articulate and deal with. The finality of it is such a smack in the face. The days are the same but yet different. Who am I to complain about such small things like television shows or NYC speed limits?

I almost stopped some of my book marketing. I felt posting another quote on my Facebook page was too much but something told me to keep going. I thought about where I am in the second novel and what direction I should take and something told me to keep writing.

Being derailed does not mean I should stop. It means I need to get back on track. I’m sure Titi Clara would agree.

Tipping the Hat to 2013

2013-12-31 11.32.08Usually I do some sort of year in review post. I think about it now and it may just be a little too self serving. After all, I need to really ask myself what I really did this year. Instead, I thought about being short on this post about how grateful I am for having people support me in all my efforts.

I know that the beginning of the year was bumpy for me and it made me question whether I should even be a writer anymore. I had to take a long hard look at myself to figure out if I indeed was this person that I said I was. Through this personal turmoil, I had friends help me see that I get through the tough times and lo and behold, I started the novel in March.

Since that point, everything has been a lesson for me and I appreciate the encouragement of the people who follow me. My good friends have encouraged and challenged me to get as far as I have. I have yet to figure out ways to thank them.

My family is just realizing how deep this writing game is to me. It almost make me nervous because this book is R rated. Not that we are not all adults here but its not like I have a potty mouth in person. I will have to remind them that they can’t think about me when they read the words and situations. lol

As for everyone else, thank you. I thought the site switch from blogger to word press would have been more of hassle but it turns out that it has worked out well in my favor. I’m glad that this site does get read despite the fact that I haven’t written nearly as much as I should. I look forward to updating everyone on the process of writing and self publishing.

Happy New Year to you all. I hope 2014 provides us all with much success.

Stay Happy

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Sometimes family can give us advice that we just have to reflect on as well as follow. I had family over on Sunday for a housewarming brunch. It consisted of a lot of food, presents, and salsa music. Not to mention that the woman and I spent much of the past two weeks painting, so it was definitely a day we were looking forward to. It is also a reminder of how a big family can make any apartment seem small.

So after everything was said and done, one of my aunts told me something that I feel I need to reflect on. Most people, when they are saying their parting words to another person, would say something like stay safe or have fun. What my aunt chose to say was “Stay Happy.” I was sort of taken back by this because this is something that has never been said to me. I think she took the hint that I was a little perplexed by this and clarified by telling me that I truly look happy and I need to make sure that I stay that way. 

I have to admit that this is not an appalling thing to be told, but I just found it to be oddly enlightening. We live in a world where people tend to blame others for their problems or give credit to God because he/she is the reason why all things are possible. There’s rarely  a time when people think about the fact they it takes work and effort to maintain happiness. I think this is the main reason why many of us get into trouble because we are trying to find happiness as if it is a place where we can go to.

Happiness is a state of being. That is why no one person can make us happy if we do not know how to be in that state alone. This is where the list of tragic stories comes into play of people marrying the wrong people or people being stuck in dead-end jobs. There is this notion that we will eventually be happy if we follow this American dream of finding that right person, having that great job, getting a house, having 2.5 kids, and then credits roll. That rah rah shit is for the movies.

I believe that finding true happiness is a rebellious act. Think about that for a moment. How many people hate other people for being happy? This rebellious state of being often acts like a mirror to others. You can see your own unhappiness reflected back to you in someone’s bliss. Can we truly be happy for another person? Of course, but that would have to be based either love for that person or the fact there you have reached that state of being before.

I cannot describe what being happy is like but I can say that I feel free to do the things that I have a passion for and giving less of my attention to things that ultimately do not matter in the grand scheme. I believe that there is power in letting things go. There is no way that anyone of us can be truly happy if we are holding grudges or animosity toward anyone. It is unhealthy to hold that pent up negative energy toward anyone or anything. I choose to have a short memory and it has worked out for me. (Note: I can already see one of my friend’s saying he is happy all the while still holding grudges. Which does work for him but my ultimate point is the the closer to zero of amount of fucks you give will increase the likely hood that you can reach a happy state)

I also believe this state of being gives us an aura that people notice. The term “you are glowing” does mean something. With that aura comes the confidence to do the things we are meant to be doing. I thought about the fact that I simply could not really write the way I wanted to when I was in Syracuse. There were too many things that were distracting me which lead me to do just the bare minimum of what I am passionate about.

Stay Happy is an acknowledgement that I’m doing things right, but it is also a warning. People who are not used to being happy have a way of sabotaging themselves.  I can tell you that I have to be careful not to fall into any traps or get too comfortable with my life. There is always work to do to make things better. While it is true that we cannot make every one happy, we can at least make ourselves happy.