Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Broken Compass

Another Poem that I wrote a few hours ago...

My thoughts betray me
I cannot seem to get
over my own set
of thoughts that always
come to conclusions
Is what I am seeing and feeling real
or just well placed illusions?
My mind is grasping for straws
searching for a needle in a stack called hope
but even hope can be false
when my thoughts betray me
since I fail to see
what others perceive
in their truth, but what about me?
What about you?
My mind screams because it is exhausted
of riding shotgun when
my heart is driving this
cash for clunker of a life
that needs to be fixed or
maybe it just needs to be replaced
by a newer, sleeker life
one that never breaks down
one that can be ridden all night
one that can be loved and polished
Will you give me cash for my clunker?
or will you trade in my clunker
for a newer life?
perhaps one where my mind
does not betray me
where i don't have a life
of confusion and doubt
maybe the driver needs to be
replaced with an automatic pilot
that can plot a course
through the potholes and steep hills
without crashing or going
off course on my way to
my life's destination
The only problem is Google Maps
cannot get me there
No Tom Tom or GPS can pinpoint it
my unknown destination is somewhere
between Syracuse and New York City
between Yankee Stadium and Citifield
My heart is driving this clunker
with a compass that does not point north.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Can We Be Friends or What?

I was just watching Billy Crystal on the Jay Leno show and it reminded me of this blog I wrote as a guest on Brookey's Cafe Blog. Enjoy!

"What I'm saying is - and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form - is that men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way. " - Harry Burns

Best part about When Harry Met Sally is the whole debate about on if men and women can be friends. I struggle with this topic because I can give a different answer depending on the day of week. But I will preface all of this by saying that I believe that depending on the situation, mean and women can be friends.

First, let me just say that I am very glad to be guest blogging again. I know that I have been MIA for awhile, but if you ended reading my blog you will kinda now that I have a lot on my mind. Thank you Brooke for having me here. So...

I will be real with you all, I have many female friends. If you go on my facebook you will see those are the people who respond the most to me (besides Rameer, who called me gay...but i got you son). Women are the ones who I tend to talk to the most about...well other women. So, I wont lie if I told you all right now that out of all the women I know. I would sleep with 98% if I had the chance.

This should not be alarming. The 2% that I wouldn't sleep with is because I view them like sisters. They are normally the ones I have either known for along time or more importantly, female students that I have mentored. Of course, the problem is being a guy. We look at all women who are not family as potentials. Nothing is wrong with that to me, but that is what we do.

I laugh because I was talking to my dad a few days ago and he told me that he noticed that I have alot of females talking to me. So I just shrug it off because I have always been more comfortable with women than I have with guys. Maybe it is because most of my family are women, so I know what they go through with men in general. Of course I try not to make those same mistakes, I find that I have to learn the hard way. So, my dad tells me, "I am sure one of those ladies wants to give you some". This is why you have to love my father.

The issues is not weather or not women want to sleep with a guy, the issue is: will it happen. Lets take my lovely friendship with Brooke for example. Her and I have become fast friends over the past year. We have called each other, discussed ideas and problems. But, I have told her that I had such a crush on her in college (and really? who didn't). Of course she is that 98% I am talking about, but will it really happen?

The one thing I have learned for sure is that sex changes everything. Good friends can become f*ck friends really quickly and then from there anything can happen. A relationship could start or a friendship could end. So the the real question becomes: Is having sex with a good friend worth the risk? Keep in mind, that if you are friends, you will know each other's bad habit and lies. So all that stuff that worked with the ex you could not get over, will not work with this person. Plus, let us not talk about what happens if someone catches feelings while the other person does not...

What about if you have had sex with your friend and have moved past it and remain friends. Then one or both get into a serious relationship with another person. Will there be a level of secrecy there? Would you tell your partner that you slept with your best friend? Sure it meant something at the time but now you supposedly moved past it. Now what? Right there is the key. What if the person's partner does not want to trust your best friend? I mean lets face it, men and women can be pretty bad if the sex was off the hook.

However, in most cases that I have seen, a true friendship can get past that. True friends just care about each other and the other person's well being. So, it is possible to be friends through thick and thin.

So, I am going to need some help here...can we be friends or what? I think we can, but of course if you in the 98% it might

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Musings

Me and Willie Perdomo

I stopped doing Tid Bit Tuesdays because many of my thoughts are not all scattered as they once were. Today I feel like I need to just reign myself in with all the thoughts that I have. So, I may just ramble a bit...

I have come to realize I need to fix my life. Don't get me wrong, I think my life is good and getting better by the moment, however, there is a point in a person's life in which they need to clean out the gutters. I look at my financial situation and I know I need to do something different. I am tired of being in debt and I am tired of not having enough money. I am not saying how much money I need but I just feel that is not enough.

Money aside, I think my decision to go back home is a good one. Of course, I look around me and everything that I need to do before that day comes and I almost feel overwhelmed. This isn't something that I cannot just do overnight. But, the good thing is I am very determined to change the course of my life, which means I need to take some risks.

Which brings me to my next point. I have focused so much on staying in Higher Education that I have not considered that my skill set is very valuable in other industries. I tell students all the time to think outside the box and step foot outside their comfort zone. Why cant I do the same? This point was brought up by an old friend of mine that suggested getting a job at another University should be my safety net and my goal should be to do something new. After all, I have already conquered my realm.

I will admit that this thought does make me excited. When I left NYC 8 years ago, I had no career. I was just trying to make it. Now, I will return with a sense of accomplishment and a set of skills that sells itself. So, who knows what the future has in store.

Here is the other thing that I so enjoyed over my busy weekend: I got to meet Willie Perdomo. He is a legendary Latino Poet that is both hilarious and very insightful. He performed some of his work on Friday night and i was very fortunate to have both lunch and dinner with him. He expressed to that New York City has changed and depending on your point of view, it is either for the good or the bad. Clearly since I am not down there enough I cannot gage which one it is, however, I miss it enough not to care.

Willie Perdomo's poetry was very inspiring and it made me want to just start writing all the poetry I have in my head. The problem is that I have been fighting the idea that I am a poet. I do not have a desire to perform this craft and the poetry I write has always been more about the moment. But, sometimes a poem will just hit me, which is why I now have to carry a notebook and pen with me where ever I go.

I did happen to write a poem since the last one I posted, but that one will not see the light of day right now. I amaze myself with some of the things I put on paper. This one is not ready for the world to read. The thought of making another blog just for poetry did cross my mind though. I will say that I did start on another poem before I had dinner with Willie. I would like to finish it at some point. Of course, I seem to say that all the time to myself. I have so many unfinished poems it is not even funny...

On a totally different subject, I will start lifting some weights this week. I need to work on there these arms. I have had several offers to join some guys at the gym, but I have declined because I simply want to go at my own pace. No need to look like the Incredible Hulk. I just want to look like a better version of me. Again...I am trying to fix my life in all aspects...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Soul Searching

"Soul is about finding something in your life that is real" - John Legend

One things about going to a lecture is that it makes me think. John Legend came to Syracuse University yesterday and spoke about Philanthropy. He also did a few songs too. He spoke very well and made some great points; the line above is what stuck out to me the most. I had to post in on twitter because I know I would have forgotten about it if i didn't. Of course the songs that he did sing were all love songs.

To me that line says so much about the journey that I am currently going through. I wont say that I have never had anything real in my life, that would be a lie. What that line signifies to me is that I need to find something that is real to me that I can connect with. Sometimes I think am surrounded by things are just not real. Maybe it is because I feel that I am so disconnected from everything.

There are times in life in which we have to find ourselves. It is also called soul searching. I believe that we are never too young to find ourselves. I never really thought about my journey in such a way. I never thought about all this as me find myself or me searching for something real. I just felt I was going down a path of self redemption.

However, I feel like I am a new person. I feel like I can be honest with myself. I feel that I can be honest with the world around me, which is why I need a change. My realization is that I cannot change the world around me but I can change my place in the world. It is hard for me to embrace the truth when you are used to living a place that can embrace a lie. It is not healthy. That is why I need a change of scenery.

I said I feel like I am a new person! My outer shell is changing. I really do look in the mirror more than I ever have before and it is not because I am vain. I inspire myself to continue the change because I will no longer go back to the person I used to be. I used to be that person that could not admit to himself that he succumbed to all the insecurities that he developed as a child.

I find myself praying. I pray to God for strength. I am not a prayer person. I am not even a church person. I do have my own relationship with God. I have come to the understanding that the reason I have not prayed in the past is because I was selfish. I didn't want to pray because my intentions were not true. I pray for strength because I realize what is like to be weak and have no one else to turn to.

The one thing that I have never given myself is self validation. I still struggle with this. I know I am good at what I do. I know that when I put my mind to something I can do it. But, I have become so gun shy when it comes to my feelings. I have no problems with expressing them but I have come to learn I cannot express every last feeling at the very moment I am feeling them. I am rebuilding myself to be the better man I know I can be.

I am searching for my soul. I am looking to see who the real Anthony Otero is.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How Am I?

It has been a while since I have been able to give constant updates on how I am doing. I find the days going by very fast and the work load to be very heavy. My mind does not race as much as it used to. My body seems to be going in the direction I want it to be. All and all, things are not as bad as they once were.

I will say that I have done something that I have not done since March. I actually hung out with the boys this past weekend. While this may not seem like such a big deal, it is to me. I realized that I have been avoiding hanging out them for one reason or another. I was not really worried about questions or having to explain, men do not do that. I was just concerned with my overall appearance. Looking back at it, I had a very long summer in terms of my stress and emotional state.

There are things that I am still stressing and avoiding. Clearly my dreams are telling me this. I have debt that I do not want and it is weighing me down. To be honest, I am not sure how I am going to get out of it. I have some ideas but I am not sure what I am going to do next. I am sure I will work things out, but it is just another problem to me. I slowly cutting cost after cost so that I can have more money to play with but it is not easy. I have thought about a second job but the hours of this job just wont allow time for that.

The funny thing is, I am not all that stressed about this stuff. I will always have to pay bills, so I just need to do a better job at that. My real stress is just trying to get my life together. I feel that I need to do things in phases. My work life dominates the majority of my time and even then I feel I need to always be better at that. Which does not leave much time for my personal life. The time I spend doing that is just trying to be healthy. However, I have been inherently lazy and it bothers me.

The things is I know what I want. I have had several people ask me if I truly know what I want to do. I can say that I really do. I want to be happy. While that is a very vague answer, it works for me. But, let me list what my one goal. I want to go back to NYC. This is important to me. I want to be where my family is. I want to see my nephew, Justin, as he continues to grow up. I want to see old friends that I have not see in what seems to be forever. I would also like to go to baseball games when I want. I just want to live my life. That will make me happy, at least for the time being.

I haven't mentioned this until now but, I did tell my supervisor that this will be my last school year working at Syracuse University. I need to move from this place and continue on my path to be a well rounded student affairs professional. I have already been looking for a job and I even applied for a few. My living situation has already been taken care of. I will live with my Aunt, who needs someone in her life to be there for her. I hoping that everything after that will just fall into place.

I have been told on several occasions that it seems like I have my shit together and I can tell you that I am not so sure about that. I think that I have wants and goals in which I am trying to achieve, but I know that I am not getting any younger. However, I feel like I am in the best shape of my life and I want to continue down this path...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Latino Heritage Month

First let me say that my weeks seem to get busier by the day and coming up with blogs have proven to be difficult. I know that I have been basing many topics on love and life because of the many issues that I am facing. However, I do have another passion and that is mi cultura. I started writing this blog because I felt that Afro Latinos are just not represented enough and I wanted to carve my niche. I wont say I haven't, but I know I do not write much about being Latino.

I remember a few month back, I would talk to people about my blog and I said to one woman that I do not talk much about Latino issues as I should. Her response was classic. She told me that the subject does no matter, since I am Latino...then the blog is about Latino issues. I am always amazed about how people view the world. So, I never gave my subject matter a second thought.

For those who do not know, Latino Heritage Month is really called "Hispanic Heritage Month". Hispanic Awareness began in 1968 under the Lydon Johnson administration. It was once called Hispanic Heritage Week. Years later, under President Regan, it was expanded to a Month between September 15th and October 15th. The reason for the oddity of the dates is because of the numerous amount of independence days that Latin American countries celebrate within that 30 day time period. It was voted into law in 1988.

I was never crazy about the idea of having an "awareness" month actually being in between 2 months, but I do understand the reasoning. It made me think that how funny it is that Black History Month is during the shortest month of the year and that includes leap year. Now Latinos cant even have a real month we just have to bits of 2 months and call it our own. Sounds like good old fashioned colonialism to me, but I digress..

Speaking of that...I prefer saying Latino Heritage Month because I feel that is what is should be called. I have explained before how Hispanic is not a term I consider myself. Do I look Hispanic? No... I look black. Probably because I am a direct reflection of people who were indigenous to the Latin American Diaspora which does include the Caribbean. While I do get that this is a national month of recognition that that was created by the U.S. Government to celebrate diversity within our country, we have the ability to change the name. It was not so long ago that the term Latino was not even on the Census chart.

There are several blogs & social networks that I have listed on the side that more or less talk about the Latino experience. Depending on where you live or where you go there are tons of things to see and do during this month. The big thing that everyone on twitter is talking about is the LATISM (LATinos in Social Media) Conference. Although I cannot make it, I would really like to wish them the best when it comes to their events.

Syracuse University is doing some good things for this month as well. Here are some events that I know I will be attending or managing here on campus:

9/25 - 8pm Schine 304ABC - Poetry Nught Featuring Willie Perdomo
9/26 - 7pm Goldstein Aud - Fiesta Latina (Food & Dance, with live music)
10/8 - 6:30pm Goldstein Aud - Cafe con Leche with Rosie Perez & Mike Robles
10/10 - 7pm - Goldstein Aud - Phi Iota Alpha 15th Anniversary Baquet

There are just highlights in a great month that we plan on having. I know the city of Syracuse has some event going on as well. The one thing I will highlight is the Third Annual Latino Upstate Summit, which is on 10/23. I plan on being there.

I hope you all get a chance to enjoy a little bit of dance, a little bit of food, and a whole lot of culture.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Family Matters...and not the show...

(yes that is me in the front)

With the constant changes in my life, I have found myself thinking about family. It is amazing how times of change and stress can connect you to family members. I know many times I have felt the need to speak to family when things are not going well. However, sometimes we find ourselves pulling way from family because of issues. Let's face it, no one knows us better than family and they can be our biggest critics as well as our biggest fans.

Of course I could talk all day about how good family can be but, it becomes hard to do that because I am not really sure what a normal family is. I know what I have seen on TV. I know that the Cosby Show and Family Matters are not real to me. Harmony is something my family has never had. However, we still manage to remain close to certain family members.

I come from a pretty big extended family that is on my mother's side. My father's side of the family is not as big. When I take a step back and I look at both sides, I realize how jacked up both families are. I am not sure that I have heard of a more dysfunctional family than the two I belong to. I wont get into specifics but lets just say that I simply do not communicate with many family members and much of that is due to circumstances beyond my control.

There are so many things that I have heard and witnessed when I was a kid that simply make me shake my head. But, because I was so young when much of the issues happened, they do not really effect me as an adult. I just look around as the different family members squabble and complain over things that don't really matter in the end. As an adult, and not to mention the youngest in both families outside of small children, there is this sense that I am still a kid in all this. Perhaps I do not understand the issues that everyone else seems to be fighting over. Oh how wrong they are!

I will say that I love my family. I have a some unique individuals, most who are women, that I call cousins. Despite the issues, I have felt so very grateful to connect with them through Facebook. I once considered myself the black sheep of the families. On my mother side, I was my father's kid. The one who told my mother that I would rather live with the man that (allegedly) destroyed their marriage. He brain washed me and I was never going to amount to anything. One my father's side. I was Sure, I was a cute flaco kid. My cousins would take places, but I simply did not feel as if I fit. Hence my need to be an individual, yet always having abandonment issues because I felt like the nomad relative.

One thing is for sure, what I have learned from family, is Gossip! I mean, wow. I could tell you a million stories of my entire family and none of which I saw or heard personally. However, one thing that never seems to considered how stories get twisted and the object of concern always gets hurt, but is family! What I want to see is a family show about real jacked up issues. It can still be a comedy, you just have the add some Budweiser and some Sofrito.
I do smile when I think about my issues with women considering that I have so many female cousins. When I do move back to NYC, I plan on connecting with them. See, I do not consider myself the black sheep anymore, but more like the prodigal son...(or cousin)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Land of the Dead

Lately I have been having some really intense dreams. I would not call them nightmares at all, but just really intense dreams. This will sound weird but, I have been dreaming about zombies. While I cannot give any concrete details, it usually revolves around me fighting for my life. The funny thing about it is that I am not at all scared during these dreams. It is almost as if I am just going about my day.

Let me just explain that as a little kid, just about anything that had to do with horror films scared me. I would almost bet something lived in my closet. I will also tell you that being Latino and religious does not help either but, I will leave the stories about spirits for another day. There were 2 horror films that I still have not gotten over since I was a kid: The Exorcist and Dawn of the Dead. Why I chose to see these, I have no clue, but I will tell you that these things scared the holy hell out of me.

For those who do not know, Dawn of the Dead is a basic zombie movie where a group of people get trapped inside a shopping mall while a horde of undead beings are outside waiting to devour them. This movie was remade a few years ago. I actually saw the remake and it wasn't bad. But, the original is way more horrifying.

I feel that I am not a zombie fanatic like many people are. There have been comic books made about zombies and a lot of them I have read and collected featuring superheros. So, when my dreams manifested themselves, I just figured it was because of something that I read. However, the dreams keep coming back. Same basic story different location or different day. Again, while I am not scared in these dreams there is definitely a certain amout of stress in them. I am either fighting, running, or hiding throughout the dreams.

All this makes me think about my class in college. I took a class about the collective unconscious. My old professor, Bob Gates, made us study the theories of Carl Jung. Through that class, I have learned that dreams are a way of our subconscious trying to deal with our everyday problems. We try to solve or gain answers to our problems while we sleep. One thing is for certain, if you have a dream that repeats, then your subconscious is trying to tell you something that you are not getting.

Right off the bat, I am thinking that these dreams are telling me that I need to stop fighting something or someone. I know that in my past blogs, I have said that I need to go with the flow and my mind is probably telling me I need to stick to that. The running may signify that I am running for something or someone, I may still have to figure that out. As, far as the hiding part, I feel that I do that everyday. I feel that I need to hide parts of myself that feels vulnerable. Zombies signify my problems that threaten to eat me alive. Before I sit here and say that this is because of a person and a situation, I will say that problems can be anything from work related issues, to the debt I may have. So who knows?

I did one more thing to to figure out why I am having these dreams. I went to a website called Dream Moods. I looked up what dreams about Zombies and this is what was listed:

To dream that you are attacked by zombies, indicates that you are feeling overwhelmed by forces beyond your control. You are under tremendous stress in your waking life.

Well, that pretty much lays it right out for me! However, I am not sure I am under that much stress. But clearly something is bothering me and I will need to figure that out.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Box

I never thought I would write poetry but this stuff just comes out.

I want to buy a box
made of steel
indestructible; rust resistant
In that box I would put
the last 5 years and lock it
away forever
I would bury this box
in a hole deeper than
any hole that exists
within my heart.
In that box would be
every feeling, emotion
every misdeed, every action and inaction
every saying, every kiss
every marital affair
and every extra
I would weld this box shut
and carve, with a sharp blade
I love you
on the top.
With a shovel
I would dig a hole so deep
within the recesses
and throw the box in
this hole and listen
to the sounds of the dirt
hitting the cold box that contains
memories and dates
of broken promises
and lost potential
I would excavate and
landscape to hide
any evidence of this
time capsule of pain
in order to forget.
They say that time heals
all wounds
but what does it do to a box
that time forgot
especially when you bury all
the memories.
do they become fossils?
or do they linger until the
day that the box is dug up
and pried open
with the same precision and
carelessness in which it was buried.

Friday, September 11, 2009

8 Years Ago

Today I am reminded of how far I have come since that day. I can remember a life before 9/11. The world seemed safe and we all seemed secure in our lives. But moment that changed my life was when I finally walked out of the Trump Tower and saw nothing but ash every where, covering the cars and all over the streets. I felt like I was in one of those post WW 3 movies.

8 years ago I wrote a blog entry. I never read it. The reason I wrote it was because I didn't want to forget the details that were fresh in my mind. I can tell you that none of the details of that day have left my mind. I read it this morning and it was difficult for me because it is quite choppy. I wrote in a different mind state and I left out many things. My entry was pretty short so here it is:

I work on the 6th floor of 40 Wall St. so i could see the World Trade Center....but I could feel the explosions and I could certainly here them too. The radio was letting us all know what was happening. I had friends working in that area ( 4 World Trade to be exact). I tried my best to get in touch with them. When i couldn't...I really tried not to lose my composure...I informed my girl of the plane crash and she in turn called her family as well did I....Then the second plane it the North Tower. We all start to panic...What are we going to do?

Well if u don't know...we work across the street from the stock I was not too keen on staying in the building. But we had a meeting and management felt it was best to stay in side the building because there was "Pandemonium" outside....Fine whatever....As soon as the meeting is over....Tower 2 comes down....I hear them say it on the radio as I hear and feel it.....then this THICK BLACK CLOUD covers the windows....We all freak out and head for the stairs....When we get to the lobby and it is like a nuclear winter outside, I will never forget it!

There is this restaurant that is connected to the lobby of the building that was giving out water and towels to cover our faces. I knew we could not go outside, there was too much soot flying around...So we wait and Tower 1 comes down and once becomes night! They takes us to the basement and just sit there for about a half hour...then they evacuate the building. (By the way, when I say "we" I am talking about me and my woman) We head toward the South Street Seaport and saw the empty space that was the World Trade Center. When we at the seaport we saw the footage of the terrible events.

From then until now all I am thinking..."All those People..."

Of the many things that I left out, one was that a family friend died that day. Steve Mercardo, who I looked up to, was a firefighter whose company was one of the first to arrive at the scene. He never made it out the building. While I am not sure which building he was in, I am quite sure he saved countless amount of lives. Years later, I went on a cruise with his brother and parents and every time I looked at them, I could see him in their eyes.

Another thing that stands out to me is that Josie was with me when all this happened. Clearly we were just dating at the time, but I will never forget the fear in her eyes when we saw the black smoke cover the windows after Tower 2 went down. I remember telling myself that I am not dying today...not in this building and not like this. When we got to the lobby, they would not let anyone out so, as I mention, above, we were shuffled to the basement. Probably the only thing that was even remotely amusing was the fact that in the basement was the safe, yes...where Trump keeps the money. I often wondered if the building we were to fall would they be digging for us or the money.

I also did not chronicle what happened after we made it to the South Street Seaport. At that point we had no clue how we would get back to the Bronx. There were boats taking mass amounts of people to Ellis Island and New Jersey, but no one was going north. So that meant we had to walk all the way to Grand Central Station. If I am correct, that is over 50 blocks in order to catch the 6 train back home. Between seeing the F16s flying up and down Manhattan or the armed members of the military doing patrols around the United Nations, it made for a very emotional day.

While I could go on and on, the one thing I that just does it for me was at the end of the night, calling people to see if they were ok and alive. I got an IM from my cousin (now brother) Rick. He was in California at the time and he said, "man, I thought I would never see you again". I just cried so much.

To this day, I still have trouble going down there. I still have issues with looking at the NYC skyline, it is just ruined to me.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Why Do I Run?

“Running is one the best solutions to a clear mind.” - Sasha Azevedo

Someone asked me, over the weekend, why is it that I run? I pondered this and I realized that I run for so many reasons. While I run mostly for health reasons, the act of running is very much a mental thing. I regard my running to be just as important as this blog.

The most important reason I run is because of health. My mother is diabetic and my father has high blood pressure. I am not trying to go down that road. My mother used to smoke a lot and while I am not sure how many cigarettes she used to smoke per day, I will never forget how bad they smelled. It definitely deterred me from ever smoking. At the risk of calling my father an alcoholic, I will just simply say he drank a lot. My parent's vices have not become mine, so many of there issues will not be mine however, you cannot fight genetics.

Back in January, when I started this blog, I knew I had to change my life. I knew that my marriage was just about over and I didn't like the person I saw in the mirror. That person I saw in that mirror was not what I wanted. Even now, as I look at pictures, I think there is something unacceptable about my look. I am not saying I was fat, maybe it was the lack of confidence in myself and my life. I will say this: I was pushing 190 at one point.

My weight was not that much of an issue to me at the time. I know there are people that severely overweight and I would never compare myself to them. However, I didn't like the way clothes fit me. I could not stand the fact that when I played basketball that I would get winded easily. Every so often I would get pains in my left knee. Not to mention that I really did not like my gut. I am fully aware that this seems that I am succumbing to societal pressures on what we should look like but, when I am not happy with the person I see in the mirror, then I need to change that.

It was very difficult thing at first. To run is such a test on mental toughness as much as physical prowess. I had to deal with aches that I had never dealt with before and I had to deal with my negative thoughts. Getting on the treadmill for 30-40 minutes is bad enough as it is, but when I started thinking about my life and how I messed things up, it can get to be very emotional. I started pushing myself harder because I wanted to make myself pay for every last mistake. I was going to make the goals I set for myself or I was simply going to die trying. Even now, when I am dealing with a situation or overthinking something, I run because I want a break from thinking about those people and those things in my life that stress me.

The weight loss really began when I changed my diet. I stopped drink soda and decreased my sugar intake. I am eating smaller portions and healthier foods. When I do eat bad, it is not in large amounts. I drink lots of water. Once this starting going the way I wanted...I had to keep running. I even made sure that I got running shoes because it was becoming a part of my life.

I have come to realize that running is the only thing that I can do that stops me from overthinking. In that 20-30 minute stretch of time it is just me and my music. I don't have to think about anyone or anything. I have even learned how to focus. So many times over the last several months I have had so much trouble focusing on my tasks or workouts. I find that when I play racquetball, I tend to lose focus. Chances are that I am thinking way too much about my day. With running, I have been able to bear down and focus. Once I do that, my session seem so much better.

The only real problem now is that all my clothes look big on me. I recently donated a couple of bags of clothes to the salvation army. I don't think that throwing away clothes in a good thing unless they have holes or badly torn...and even then I am so sure about it. I was so shocked about the size of pants that I used to wear. I was rocking a 38 waist. Now I am closer to 32. I am in shock of how 15-20 pounds can change the way someone looks and feels about themselves.

I do laugh because I have had women tell me not to lose too much weight because most women like men who have meat on their bones. While, I understand the concern, It is not about them. It is about me. My transformation has nothing to do with women and how they may come to view me. I am more concerned about that man in the mirror. Besides, I am not really on a diet. My goal is just to look better for myself. I always want to be able to go to the beach and be comfortable with taking off my shirt.

Now, I see man in the mirror and he is looking so much better to me. I am not saying he is happy, but he looks like he finally knows what he needs to do.

“Running helps me stay on an even keel and in an optimistic frame of mind.” - Bill Clinton

Friday, September 4, 2009

Faking the Funk

There are people in this world that just cannot figure out where their place is in life. Then are those people that know exactly where their place is and are completely comfortable in their own skin. However, you have those people what their place in life should be and fight against it. The people are that I refer are Faking the Funk.

Let's see if I can elaborate. I mentioned before that men who are assholes tend to lie. They lie because they do not want to hurt women because of a lack of understanding of the situation. What I neglected to mention was the type of man (and this can be a woman too) that lies to himself. People who lie to themselves are dangerous. They are unpredictable.

It made me think about how I am. I consider myself to be very honest. I am not saying that I was always this way. Like most men, I believed that lying was a necessary evil, not really knowing that there is alot of power in the truth. I have lied to myself several times about many situations regarding my life and my marriage. It is very true when someone says that the truth will set you free.

Being true to ourselves is very key to find happiness. It is not only the fact that being true means we know what we want, but it also means that we would to do anything it takes to get it. If we were to lie to ourselves because we are battling the pressures of what other people think, like family and/or friends, then our happiness is ultimately unreachable until we start being real. Someone who lies to self is usually a person who often seems like they are looking for something, as if nothing they currently have satisfies them. Perhaps this person moves from job to job or from person to person because they are so unsure of themselves or what they have. A person a that lies to self, at some point or another, will have to realize that they cannot keep being in denial forever.

I always laugh when I think about the phrase "Keepin it Real" because it means many different things to so many people. The true essence behind the phrase always been to just be yourself. The problem is that to some people, being themselves is either not enough or, quite frankly, too painful for them to deal with. Living a lie becomes much more easier and acceptable, which is why people who are like this are dangerous. If they can lie to themselves...then they can lie anyone of us.

If you are in love with one of these people and it ended suddenly or unexpectedly, have you ever thought, "I never really knew this person at all" Bingo. Guess who was lying to themselves and to you? That does not mean that we all don't do it, because we do. Many times we are in denial because we rather not deal with the truth. I have seen women who really do know their man is cheating, but will never admit it to themselves (at least not until it is too late) because the truth is harsh!

But, not matter how harsh the truth is, it is the universal equalizer. It separates the weak from the strong. Honesty is a hard to thing to look at because it is pure. It is only harsh because it is attached to emotions. That is why I appreciate people who can confront me if they have a problem. It is the the essence of being real...

For those in denial it is only a matter of time before the truth come out. The questions is can you live with yourself after the fact.

Ayo word up, I think you're fakin' the funk - Main Source

Thursday, September 3, 2009

If I had to do it all over again, I would...

"I am a guy...when do we ever get anything right the first time?" - Hitch

About a week ago, one of my friends on Facebook posted this on her status: "If I had to do it all over again, I would..." First, I was amazed she got 38 responses. It was an interesting topic that had people thinking about regrets in their lives. It made me think about if there is anything that I may regret in the 35 years of being on this planet. My response to this status was simple: Everything happens for a reason. I am not sure I would be the person I am now if I made different choices...

As you very well know, I am the first person to admit when I am wrong or when I have made a mistake. Life is full of mistakes and we should learn from each one, I am just not so sure we should go back and reflect on them for very long. Of course, I am not talking about a life altering mistake in which someone goes to jail. In those cases, people have nothing but time to reflect on the choices that have been made.

I think about all the things that have led me to where I am today. All those decisions, to either take advantage of an opportunity or bypass one, is at the heart of who I am. I do not reflect on what could have been for too long because that is just not healthy. I will also go on record to say that I have no regrets. However, that does not mean that I do not acknowledge any of my wrong doings from the past, it just means that I am learning from the mistakes that I have made in both love and life.

I have come to realize that if there is too much regret from the past then it will be hard to seek happiness in the future. I know that I tend to be hard on myself. I tend make myself pay for all mistakes. I think it is human nature to blame ourselves for things and it may also be that same nature to harp on the things that we wished could have been. The problem is being able to stop myself from overthinking the past, which I do tend to do. Sure, it is easy to just say "It is what it is" and move on, but we tend to stick to certain points in our lives that just stand out.

I realize that overthinking the past simply means that I may have not let go of everything yet. We try to hold on to ideals. We try hold on to the memories because in certain cases that is all that we have. The concept of letting go is deep on so many levels. I have gotten to the point in which, if I am dealing with something that has to with a past issue and I feel hurt or stressed by it, I take a step back and tell myself that I have not let this issue go. I let the idea of letting go become a barometer for how much I have or have not moved on from a particular issue.

I consider regret as another way of not letting go. So, that is why I can firmly say that if I had to live my life all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. I am who I am, mistakes and all. Could I have done better? Sure! Could I have been a better husband? Absolutely! Could I have been a better son? Yup! Could I have been a better friend? Of course! But, I cannot regret all of that. I really cant. Because I know that through each phase of my life, I have had things that I was constantly dealing with that have made me question myself.

Now, I get to start all over again. A true clean slate. I choose who is in my life. I choose what I want to do. I now have a reference in which I can look back to and say, "I wont do that." I know first hand consequences of bad decision making. This all comes back to what I have always said: things happen for a reason. In many cases, things happen so we can learn to be better people. Mistakes happen so we can learn to better ourselves.

I had a discussion with a friend about 2 weeks and I said to them: I have a new number 1 in my life...and that person is me.


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