Saturday, November 2, 2013

No Expectations, No Guarantees

I have come to learn a few things over this past year, and the biggest of them are that you can't go into any situation with expectations. I do this way too often, and all too often I fall victim to these expectations. Just like writing this blog, I expect for people to read it and comment on it, and then from there to spark a deep conversation that would hopefully lead to self awareness that may not have been there before.

I kid myself all the time with these things.

Where am I going with this? No idea...

What do I expect out of life? Right now? Less everyday. No action requires an equal but opposite reaction, so why expect for there to be one. I may work my fingers to the bone, but the pay that I may earn may not match the amount of effort put in, and there lies the problem with me.

So how do you change it Billy?

Stop expecting things, we live, we grow old, and we die. That's what to expect, that and taxes, lol, lots of taxes. Just because people (strong emphasis on people) guarantee things doesn't mean that they can fulfill their end of the bargain, or in the case of where I bought my car, want to exactly fulfill their end of the guarantee.

If you are a nice guy, like I was, stop it. You cannot put a relationship or friendship into an equation of money+listening ear+shoulder to cry on=_______________, it doesn't work like that, and it took me getting taken advantage of to see it.

Old habits die hard though, and the expectations have to be slaughtered everyday. Not like clean drugged in your sleep type slaughtered, but literally eviscerated... Or the lessons you learn from your mistakes will be that much worse on your already fragile ego.

So this is my act of Catharsis, for all the world to see. I am not a perfect man, but neither are you. I get upset with myself for thinking I am further ahead than I actually am, because life has a way of showing you that you never really arrive where you think you are, but you always end up where you should be.

We expect attention, that is why we do what we do. That is why we spend countless hours on social media. We are all more accessible than ever before and why do we do it? We expect for someone to see it, to be recognized, to be noticed. People wear black face on Halloween to be noticed, to leave some type of lasting impression with 140 words or less. I too strive for this, I am just as guilty and a hypocrite all the same.

I am ashamed of myself.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Hard Things to Say

I know it's been forever since last I have written anything, and though I am not really sorry about this, I do apologize. Let's see, Midservice Training, Nicaragua, My birthday, All Volunteer Conference, October 21st (probably the day that started to change everything), Burn, The Aftermath, The Auction, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, Panama, the February of My Discontent, Close of Service Conference and the Adventures in Clinica Biblica (co-starring Nicolas Pedregon and Tony Casillas); that will bring you up to speed.

I understand that there is a lot that has gone on and a lot of explaining to do, I get that, but I really need to focus on the here and now. The question is: how do you tell someone you Love them and you are excited to come back and see them when that person is in the space where you were before you left? Maybe that's an unfair questions to ask, but how do you not let everything that is that space and the reason why you hate that space overshadow the Love that you have for that person? Yes, ideally Love should outweigh whatever negativity comes from that place, but what about being happy in more than just that facet of life? Being here helped me to understand that not only is that possible, but it is so needed.

I used to base my happiness on the happiness of others, what I could do for them, how I could help them, and how my life improved theirs. Arrogant, I know, and it fed into a deadly Hero complex for me. Not saying that I have completely conquered this part of me, but it is part of my base self, and as a part of that, if left unchecked, will injure no one... But myself... And it has done that more than I can imagine, from denying myself the things that made me happy for others comfort, to putting me in situations where I believed I was saving people, but was of no use because I was in the same predicament, if not worse, than they were. It's a complete delusion, and one that makes me question the very core of who I am; as well as what I have allowed myself to become.

Not to say that the people that I Love changes, and that me not encouraging them to do better changes either, but there's always a way to go about doing things (as my Mum would always say). The place where they are is not where I want to be though. Atlanta is a nice place, don't get me wrong, but it is not for me, at least not right now in my life. This may be the reason why I have not allowed myself more than 9 months within her limits since I was 17. The thought of being home gives me stress and drains me, even though the people that I Love live there and I want to see them, but I can't say that I want to be there for long periods of time.

You sacrifice for those you Love though right? Some people have never seen me happy at home, and to be honest, I really can't think of too many times when I have been. I know this post may offend some people and that is fine, but it doesn't change how I feel, and the fact remains that I will be going back to a place that was an unhappy place for me in the past. The things that made me happy or provided me an escape are gone, either destroyed or closed, but the people remain, and it would not be fair to them to not try to enjoy their company and not be in a rush to get out on the next thing that comes. I don't know how long this will hold up or last, but I am willing to try.

I will need space though, and time to readjust, and then to adjust. If we are all sum totals of our past experiences than there is a part of me that should feel this way, and it does, that does not mean that I should not allow for the acknowledgement of change, and learn to understand and even celebrate that change. I would only want the same for myself (though I know for most it may not happen) and to be acknowledged for who I am now and not for who I was before I left. I will try my best to give that same respect to the city that bred me, though for me it is a place of deep rooted anguish and frustration.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Diminishing Relevance

I'm sorry it seems like I took another long break, but I've been busy! We had our Mid Service Training about 3 weeks ago and then I went to Nicaragua (Which was amazing on so many levels!!!) and though I probably could have blogged and kept up with the world a lot better than what I did, I decided not to.

This post is about Diminishing Relevance. I know my post in the pocket last year was more rant than actual subject matter, so I'll make my personal thoughts on it brief. Volunteers to some degree have to deal with the lowering level of relevance when it comes to friends and family that are not with them. A lot of people say "Out of sight, out of mind" and it is true. Keeping up a long distance relationship seems to be harder though we are more technologically advanced than we were 10 or 20 years ago. I know I got internet in my cabina for the sake of talking to people more in the States, and so far it seems like I've talked to people less. Is that to say that they have forgotten about me, naw, it just means that they are busy with their own lives. I also had to come to the realization that their world doesn't stop just because I call, and it's one of the many painful realizations I've come to in my time here.

The other side of this whole relevance thing is that the things that I used to put value in, I don't.  I may be getting a little older also, so some of this may be my age talking (I'll be 29 in September); but I feel like I am falling away from my race. I mean even growing up I was either ahead of my time or on another planet, which probably kept me out of trouble, but the point is that I don't feel like I relate to black people anym... Correction, I am still learning what my relation is to my race. Maybe I'm part of a subsection of the race, or a niche group, but I don't, and have not since childhood, feel like I belong. Hell, even people here don't recognize me as black (check the past blogs)!!! I go home and I find that things that are of importance to friends and family aren't even relevant to me (or maybe they never were), but relationships are like theme parks and you do have to pay a certain price to make them enjoyable... Wait, that may have sounded offensive...

Finally, people want to feel like they belong, no matter how much they say they don't. Why do you think Facebook is so popular and I am writing this blog right now? Everyone wants to feel as if they are relevant to some degree, like their life matters or has mattered. Would it be better than the alternative of not mattering to anyone at all? At the end of writing this, I don't have any solutions, I may even have more questions, but I do know one thing. Sometimes a little absence (and also absinthe) aren't necessarily bad things.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Setbacks... Anger Edition 2

But the subtitle of the film is, "You Can (Not) Advance." You can try to aim for a better life. You can destroy yourself putting yourself out there for people you're supposed to love and are supposed to love you back. You can open up to other people, do nice things for them, strive to improve. But in the end, this film is not about happy endings, it's about setbacks. Violent, horrible, rage-inducing setbacks. They are terrifying, they are raw, and they are devastating.-- Justin Sevakis, Nov 24th 2009

This is a review from Evangleion Rebuild 2.0. For those who know me you may also know that I do like to watch anime. It's a point of relaxation for me and also a way for me to think about other things aside from what may be going on around me. This one in particular is one of my favorites.

Setback, I suffered one last night that will probably change the course of my service here. It hurt, it frustrated, and for the first time I had the closest thing to what I wanted to call anger. But... I couldn't show it. I didn't know how... It didn't hit me that that was the case until this morning. I don't know how to show my anger. Hell, I barely know how to recognize it as such.

I started to think this morning on how I had shown anger in the past. I cried about a lot when I was a child, until one day, I just stopped crying. I rarely cry at funerals now, and when I do, I let out a lot. I guess when it came to getting angry the thought occurred as to what will it change. There was a time when I would yell and fuss because others were yelling and fussing at me and I just wanted my end of the conversation to be heard. I was told I had anger issues, and anger management issues, and they did not listen to me, let alone change; so I started to think, what's the point? Why even let myself get that way? Why even discuss it.

People are sensitive, as much as they say that they aren't, they are... People don't like to be told that they are wrong about anything, they don't like to apologize, and they definitely don't like to change things that are comfortable to them for the sake of others. So, I started doing the things that people didn't like to do...

Come to think about it, nothing will change after reading this blog, so why am I still writing?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Goodbyes and Q & A

     So first off I would like to take some time to bid Farewell to my good friend Moises (not the Program Manager). He passed yesterday of complications with undetected cancer. I don't really think the gravity of it has really sunk in yet, just because I'm used to seeing him at least once a month with a bag of peppers. We'd exchange them monthly and joke about how hot they were. Come to think of it, he was one of the first Nicaraguans I met when I got here. I remember trying to get baseball games going with the kids in the plaza and he'd come over and help me round them up and we'd put on a make-shift game with tree stumps as bases. I know service is only a short time in a person's life and sometimes you do look back and say "I should've visited more" or "I should've tried harder to get the kids to learn baseball", but when the sun goes down and you pray for that next day, you can't go back, you can only look forward. So here's to you Moises!!! I thank you for your hospitality, your spirit on the concha, and also the peppers!!!

     I was given some questions for this week by Jessica and I will answer them now.
1) What does it feel like to be a parent via relationship?

Well, like everything it has it's ups and downs. I remember when Geneva wouldn't look at me, and now she sends me letters. Though I can't necessarily say that I am in Love with children at thing point in my life, I can say that they are a blessing no matter if they are not yours. I Love Geneva, and she is definitely an added bonus to our relationship.

2) How does one deal with trying to enlighten others?
I don't... Not outright anyway. It's like giving Geneva medicine. Every child that I know hates the taste of medicine, but it is necessary. So one has to feed it to people in a way that is flavorful for them. We use orange juice!!! There is a proverb that applies here also, "When speaking, make your words sweet, because you may have to eat them later".

3)  Why did OK State. Feel like home?     

I had a wonderful time at Oklahoma State. It had been a while since I could say that I have had a group of friends that spanned almost the whole world. I mean race mattered and all, but it didn't inside the SIS (School of International Studies), people wanted to get to know you on an intellectual level; and they held you accountable on that same level, not only as peers, but as friends. Not to say that times weren't hard, they were, I was working two jobs, and taking classes at the time, but it was well worth it.

Well, that is it for this week, maybe if I'm in the mood I'll finish up on the other one I have sitting in the pocket. Any questions, shoot me an email, or message me on facebook.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Anger Edition

    So Monday I put up a post on Facebook, Gmail, and Google Buzz that I was taking suggestions for a post for this week. In 6 days I got one response and it was from Anna Baker, a PCV here in Costa Rica; so Anna thank you and here it is... The Anger Edition.

    It was kinda funny to be asked about Anger. I remember in my chat with Anna when she suggested it and that I said I didn't get angry. I can think of a lot of words to describe how I may feel, irritation, frustration, annoyance, but rarely do I ever use the word angry. Maybe my thinking was that if I don't give it a name then it doesn't exist, or if I don't recognize it then it isn't there; but it is there, locked deep within me, and it's something that I usually don't let get out.

     I think that I am a pretty even keeled type of guy, and even things that should get me upset and anger me are usually turned into jokes for other to laugh at, making jokes of serious situations is a strong suit of mines. Not sure where it really stems from though. I could say that Black men need to not be angry because society makes examples out of them, and labels them as such, but I'd probably be blowing half truths out of something other than my mouth.

     Though, come to think of it, even in my anger I have fought to keep a clear mind. Especially in choosing my words. Most know that when one is upset words and actions are usually a lot harsher than they would be when they are of sound and sober judgement. People tend to "Speak their minds" when they are upset, and I do encourage people to do so, though you will be hard pressed to get the same from me, or even to know when I am upset for that matter. Does it have it's consequence? Yeah, but doesn't everything in life?

     I guess the real danger is the internalizing of everything, from the angry words of others, to their dashed hopes and dreams. Some may say that I'm not being my real self in this instance, but ask yourself this, if I were my real self, would you be your real self around me? You may say yes as a knee jerk reaction to want me to be more open, but let's face it, the truth is no, you wouldn't and I am fine with that. Live a little, get to know me, and then you'll understand...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Have Fallen Out of Love...

     Seriously, I have. And what's worst is that I am really indifferent about it. I'd rather just sit here and listen to music (right now btw, it's the Rumors album by Fleetwood Mac) and do nothing. I just don't have it in me to fight about it right now. I don't have the strength to lift a finger and make the first step back, and I am uninspired to do so. Just typing about it is really a stretch for me, and this is painful in itself.
     Of course I just skipped "Don't Stop" and went straight to "Go Your Own Way", because I don't want an inspirational, "Tomorrow's Going to be Better than Today" song; I can't tolerate it right now. I should have known something was up when my Mother talked about you to me. It still brings a little bit of shame to even think about it now.
     Let's just get it all out in the open. I don't like you right now, and I damn sure don't Love you anymore. You've been around me for most of my life and it's always been about you! What you need, how much time we spend together, and then you get around the people I Love and act a fool. I feel like every time you've done this you are giving me an ultimatum... Either be with them or be with me. You draw me in time and again by saying I can trust you with my true feelings, but then you betray me.
     What happened to us? We used to be inseparable. Wherever I was you were there too, my closest confidant, my sheath, my hideaway. I just don't feel comfortable with you anymore. So, I am leaving you. I may keep all of the reminders of you around me for a while until I have used them all up, but from now on I don't want anything to do with you as far as my feelings are concerned.
      I see how reminders of you look at me from the foot of my bed. How my shelves are stacked with reminders of you; but this is it... Pen and Paper, I have fallen out of Love with you...