Tag Archives: deep thoughts

| Self Medicating |

A 5 year old boy pushed his bicycle and kept thinking: “I’m going to fall. It’s going to hurt. I’m going to fall. I’m going to fall.” He was comfortable with the training wheels. Honestly, wasn’t it kinda early to move away from that? He was weeks away from his 6th birthday and just wanted things to stay as he knew them. This brand new year and no training wheels seemed like a lot to take on. Where was the fun in this? This just seemed like something scary. Something an 6 year old would be able to handle.

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His mom and dad were right behind him. They gently put their hands on his back and encouraged him to make the step forward. They said things like: “don’t be afraid.” Or “It’ll be ok. Just give it a try.” More than anything, they didn’t want their son to fall and hurt himself, but they knew that the initial hardships were worth the effort. Once he could ride a bike, he’d have so much fun. They could picture the squeaks of laughter as he streaked up and down the sidewalk. Yet, they saw the fear in his eyes and wanted to fast forward through the painful beginnings for him.

Eventually, the boy got through the hard parts and his parents slyly removed their hands from his side and they all celebrated together, once he realized that he could ride the bike all by himself.

I recently read a book called: “How To Be Here” by Rob Bell. I have no idea who this guy is, but in general, he’s written a book about being fully in the present. His bigger picture concept is based on the fact that the past doest write the future. The future doesn’t happen all in one go. All the stops along the way are what make for great learning and great experiences. There’s no greater gift than the present (cue the old joke about it being called that for a reason… I’ll give you the side eye and a second).

Sometimes we don’t take the risk because of something that happened in the past. We tried something and it blew up in our face and so whenever there’s a new opportunity all we can think about is what happened back then.

If I’m to be real, I’m  in a space where this is totally true. I am also in a spot where I am definitely a little jealous of where some friends are in life. I am 33 years old. When my father was my age, he had a wife, a 6 year old me, and a 3 year old my sister. He was already pushing forward in the world. I have no wife, no kids, no house, nothing. I’m living with two housemates and I don’t have a car. I’m surrounded by friends who are all married and having kids. All I can think about is where I missed there boat. I want these things, but it seems far off.

There’s something though, about trying to self medicate/protect. I would say I live a pretty safe life. I use my intuition to keep me safe and not make take many mistakes. This has served me well until recently, where I am seeing that this muffler of the road life… It’s missing something… There’s flavor being missed. No growth is happening. Failure is a part of life, however it’s something that I’m running away from. What does it say about me, that I want a perfectly content life without challenge? It sounds like I want all the spoils and none of the adventures.

For the last few months, I was dating 3 women. No, not 3 women successively, 3 women simultaneously. No, I’m not exactly brushing my shoulder off (shout out to jigga). I really wanted to try this whole dating thing after some recent events. I was constantly questioning my motives with each young lady. I have zero experience with dating, in case you were wondering (I know, I am charming. You’re correct, but it was just never anything that I was super concerned with). Throughout this time, there was one girl who I really was excited about. Through the process of elimination ( I got eliminated by one, I eliminated the other), I found myself going on dates with just one woman. Yay! Cue the rom-com music and celebration!

The last woman standing is the one I was most excited about all along (big surprise, right)? The problem is that I’m currently sabotaging that situation. We’ve been on 7 dates. I have a mental block about her. Can’t read how these dates are going, haven’t even tried as much as holding her hand ( now what do you think about that silly shoulder brushing)?

I had a conversation with a friend last night. She was legitimately questioning my motives and desires. I walked away from that conversation with the conclusion that I am definitely getting in my way because I am not sure how things are going. It’s like I’m looking for signs or guarantees that something could happen. Classic middle road actions. The problem with that is simple. While I’m fumbling around and waiting for an in, some self-assured hottie with a fresh ( Man bun? Undercut? Insert trendy hairstyle here) is going to take a risk and win her over, right in front of me.

Instead of making a move, I’m already pushing her away and steeling  myself for rejection. The problem is that it doesn’t have to end that way, if I get over myself. I swear, I’ve been in this spot before and the outcome was exactly that. It’s hard to learn things, isn’t it Justin?

Why speak on this, you ask? Well, technically, It’s my blog and I can cry if I want to… Wait. That’s not right. I like to think that if I write something down, I’ll kinda carry it out correctly. I realize that I have to stop protecting myself. I’m depriving myself of the gifts of life. Mistakes/suffering/pain are around to let you know you’re alive. You learn from these things.

I’m definitely  couple of lessons short of real living. It’s worth a try, I think.

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| Don’t worry, you know that I’ve got me |

I may have mentioned this once or twice, but I have trust issues.

I started seeing a therapist a few months ago, because I recognized that I have developed a pattern of extending myself to others, then flipping the switch and isolating myself from people. There isn’t a regular time frame to this cycle. I know what it looks like, however.

I am currently in the throws of one such cycle. I am observing the choices that are presented to me and I see myself making the choices that alienate me. My therapist asked me to identify what it is that I get from being alone, that I can’t get from being around other people. Why would I choose to be alone. My answer came quickly…

SAFETY

I will never hurt myself. I know my triggers, I know the solutions. Unless you have ever seen me react to a musical. Then it would obvious that you know those things can soothe me like none other 😉. I can (and will) care for myself better than anyone else. A big reason for this is because I just won’t let anyone else. To be more accurate, I hadn’t until the last year.

If you know me, you’ve unfortunately been exposed to this cycle (I apologize). I’ll be around and active and all about spending time with you, then I’ll just drop off the face of the earth. Sooner or later, I’ll emerge as suddenly as I disappeared, almost as if I’d never been gone.

If we are friends, I apologize to you. I’m ashamed to admit that in most cases, I keep things superficial. I’ll let you share with me when you’re hurting or upset. I’ll give you advice (whether or not you want it, oops). I’ll encourage you if you need a little push. However, I will not let you do that for me.

I’m sorry that I haven’t trusted you enough to let you be an ally. I didn’t think highly enough of you that I could trust you to keep a secret for me. I didn’t believe you when you thought that something I said was interesting or entertaining. I sold you short and thought that the strength of our friendship was directly correlated to how much I could do for you, in hopes that you wouldn’t notice me keeping you at arm’s length.

When I ask myself what I’m looking for, I realize that I’m looking for someone (or some people) that will have my back. I’m looking for a ride or die, a group of friends that feel like family, a steady roster of folk that I can enlist for my audacious adventures whenever the mood strikes. People that won’t pass out when I wax poetic about the genius of Timbaland or geek out over Pokemon Go (Yes, I’m one of those people).

However, this does not happen by magic. I can’t expect to find depth of relationship if I don’t dig a little deeper myself. So, after my apologizing, I would like to ask for some help.

Don’t be afraid to ask me the hard questions. Ask me how I’m really doing, ask me about how I’m moving forward in life, how I’m challenging myself. Ask me what I want to accomplish within the next year. Don’t take my wishy-washy non-committal answers. Invite me to get vulnerable.

I need all the practice that I can get.

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| Cheers or McLaren’s? |

SURPRISE!!! I’m ALIVE!

No, that’s morbid. Why would I not be? Let’s start this again.

Hi! I’m back (and almost a year older!). Remember how I used to blog on this thing? Maybe I should try that again.

I had a lovely evening with a pair of good friends and they let me know that they were on a “secret” search for a neighborhood bar where they could become regulars. Out of respect to their search/results, I will not give any names up.

HOWEVER, I WILL SHARE MY IDEAS FOR MY PERFECT BAR!!!

 

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Location

I almost feel silly for posting a general idea like the location for a bar of choice. I can feel the rolling of eyes as this is being read (love my sassy friends!). Hear (read) me out, though! Some people think that it’s best for a bar to be local and within walking distance. I care more about the neighborhood the bar is in. I don’t mind having to drive a little bit to get to a good place. I’m of the opinion that you can walk to your bar, or you can get a reasonable uber ride to and from your watering hole of choice.  As long as either is manageable, that should be sufficient. The worst thing is being stuck out in the middle of nowhere when trying to get to bar number 2 or proceed to any post bar activities. If it’s centrally located for any of your other frequent exploits, then you’re set up pretty well for a quick drink and subsequent shenanigans.

Cocktail Choices

There are a couple of things that have to be on point if I am even going to consider checking out your bar. Before I settle down, I need to know whether or not I can get certain things. Sometimes, I feel fancy and I want a mojito. If you are lacking mint, I want nothing to do with ya’ll. Seriously though, I’m always more than a bit miffed when I find an establishment that does not have ginger beer. I need moscow mules and the occasional dark & stormy to make appearances during my outings. If the place can’t make your favorite drink, it takes things out of the running. The other thing that I like dealing with folk who are up for a drink challenge. Don’t be so against the formula. If you’re too “by the book” I can’t drink at your establishment. This leads me to the next important thing…

Bartenders

Bartenders are an important part of the bar going experience. I don’t need to be fooled into the idea that you want to both make my drinks and be my best friend (although, to be honest, I will probably want to be your bestie if you make me a good drink). I like places where the bartenders are up for a challenge. One of my favorite places to go, back in my Sacramento days, was the Elephant Bar. I know what you’re thinking: “it’s a chain restaurant, the drinks had to be formulaic and weak”. The Friday night bartenders were not only super knowledgeable about drinks, but they were willing to have me stump them. I could come in and name a drink and they’d try like hell to produce it. I hate the kinds of bartenders that roll their eyes if you ask for a cocktail that has more than 2 ingredients. Life can’t be all jacks and cokes! Friendly people, knowledgeable about drinks, and not afraid to suggest great ones. That’s the dream!

Atmosphere

Loud bars, quiet bars, big bars, small bars. So many options, which one is the best?! Personally, I like bars that have an inside and outside environment. If  the weather is nice, what’s better than having a drink in the sunshine? If it gets cold later, move the party indoors. I like a good, even balance of available options. Recently, I went to a place called Mad Oak in downtown Oakland. I loved that there was a good indoor space, if you wanted to sit and chill, but more importantly, the entire roof is a lounge area out in the open for those spring/summer nights when the sun is still up after 5pm. Another place that I like with that mix is Southern Pacific Brewing Company in San Francisco. The indoor area is huge, has many levels, and the outdoor area is pretty accommodating. I like the idea of options. Nobody makes baby drink in a corner! Also, there need to be cool folks chillin in the spot. I don’t want to be in the presence of a bunch of douchbee’s (what up bologna barb?!), but there can’t be a bunch of people watchers (that’s boring/too much like me).

Food

I don’t know about you, but when I drink, I get hungry. Unfortunately for me, I am also really picky about what I’m eating. The truth of the matter is that a lot of bar food sucks. Thankfully for me, I spend lots of time in a place that takes their food as seriously as I do. The Bay Area has lots of establishments that also cater to those with pickier preferences than just bar nuts or nachos (actually, shout out to well done nachos. I’m looking at you, Royal Exchange). There has to be some good eats if I’m going to sit and spend a good amount of time at your place. This heavily factors into things. As a backup, I can throw it right back to the location. If you are at a bar that doesn’t serve food, they should be close to a place that does and will allow you to bring that food into the bar so that you can eat and drink simultaneously.

Little Extras

Lastly, I have a certain fondness for places that have the small extras. One of my favorite places is the Hobnob in Alameda. Not only do they stock up on ginger beer, but they have many games that you can play. There is a bookshelf full of board games and you can rent decks of cards from behind the bar. Another place that I like is Albatross in Berkeley. This place has lots of tables for playing board games (which you can rent from behind the bar). It also has a full area for pool, a dedicated area to darts, and cheap popcorn! The drinks there are also pretty good. Depending on what time of the year it is, I would also love a place that had tvs that could be paid attention to for sports events.

If I had to try to create the perfect bar for me to become a regular of, it would have the tasty drinks of Mua (in Oakland), the nice extras of Hobnob, the space of either Mad Oak or Plank (without the bowling alley, arcade, and shenanigans), and the foot traffic/ambience of Dr. Teeth (in San Francisco). That’s my random assortment. What kind of stuff do you look for in a bar? Perhaps we can grab a drink together sometime, if I haven’t offended you with my list of demands. I promise I’m a pretty chill guy…

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| wasting away |

The following blurb is a true story…

Way back in the day… (like a million years ago… what? it’s true!)

I was just a young college boy. I was more like a nice 3rd year student. I had just joined this nice Christian fellowship and I was getting to know people in the fellowship and I met this girl.

She was awesome. She was funny, she was sassy like (I have a weakness for the sassy I suppose.)

Wait. Not goin’ down like that. This isn’t that kind of entry.

The thing is that, I didn’t say anything about it. For quite a while. As a matter of fact, I thought that I was doing the best thing. If I just kinda let it pass, I would maybe have no problems. I would even just wait and get to know her better. All the while I was thinking too much about how cool she was and how much more I should just hold back on saying anything to her about what I thought. The big problem was that, all this thinking didn’t help anything out. Basically, I just chilled out until I really couldn’t take it anymore. Then I had a nice chat with her, basically spilling all my thoughts and feelings out to her. Nothing happened of course. She didn’t like me in the same way.

No biggie right? Wrong. The problem is that I spent a whole heck of a lot of time building this girl up in my head. So much time in fact, that I had missed out on a couple of good opportunities with some other really awesome girls. Girls who I liked, but who didn’t measure up to Shannon (that was her name). I had the most awkward time trying to get past this person who I spent so much time building up. Unfortunately, that also cost me some future cool stuff too.

So, my friends and I often wonder what makes things so awkward for Christians trying to date. They kinda wonder about what keeps guys from making any moves with people. I won’t be able to answer for every guy, but I’m sure that I’m not the only one who feels like this.

Sometimes, it’s hard to discern whether or not there’s any interest on the girl’s end. The Christian ladies can be so nice sometimes, that it’s confusing. There is always that whole complaint about the fear of rejection. Rejection isn’t nice, but the bigger thing is the possibility of being rejected and losing the chance to be a friend with someone. It’s such a more daunting possibility than getting rejected altogether. We spend all this time getting to know a girl, and hanging out with them, that it just seems like it’d be better to just stay quiet about things than to deal with any awkwardness. So, we end up just hanging, and pining. Until we basically can’t hold back anymore, and then it’s just a martini glass of awkward (shaken, not stirred.)

Pining. That’s the key key word. Pining is like set up for failure in the mind. Can’t spend too much time thinking about things. Thinking = no good. The problem with pining is that you allow yourself to have false hopes about things. You build stuff up in your head that isn’t true. Being infatuated, might be ok, crushes… awesome (actually, that’s debatable.) Pining however, that’s like falling in love with someone without them coming along for the ride. One sided action is a bit scary (especially the results, for the lady folk).

So NO PINING. Thinking too much is bad!

Guys, we can’t keep wasting away like this. Time to stop building up these misleading friendships and just keep it real from the beginning. Asking people out probably isn’t as bad as you might think.

Just sayin…

I’m out…

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| yeah… what? |

I’m a little bit confused… Perhaps someone can enlighten me a bit.

A lot of people that I know are feeling the woes of being single. Falling in love is just one of those things that people have tucked away in the back of their mind, as one of the greatest thrills in life. Actually, more realistic eyes would see it as something that a lot of people are consumed with. It’s all about trying to find that someone who you can spend the rest of your life with.

So.

As hard as it is to find someone and fall in love with them… It seems like it is way too easy for people, these days, for people to betray the happiness that they have with their significant others. I read way too much about someone who just decides to try for a little extra on the side. Someone who isn’t quite happy or feeling satisfied enough in their relationship/marriage, so they decide to get themselves a little action on the side. It’s funny how such deep feelings of attraction and love can be replaced with selfishness and disappointment.

It’s one of those things that we barely blink at. I mean, we live in America. Our country is all about self preservation and self-sufficiency. There’s the overwhelming idea that the things you should be after in life, are those that are going to best serve you. The problem with all this self awareness, self-revelation, and self-edification is that we often have to step on the toes of others to be pleased. Lately, a lot of what I have seen shows me that people are getting quite good at being alright with having to destroy some eggs to get their omelette on… It’s to the point where people just don’t even consider how their actions will affect someone else. The biggest excuse that comes across is: “I didn’t think about that.” or “I thought you would get over it, and it wouldn’t be that bad”.

For some of us, I guess, it’s really easy to just find people who are attracted to us. We let that get to us and it leads us to act in certain ways. For some of us, it’s a little harder, but we have such crazy standards that we don’t ever get quite satisfied with what it is that we have.

This whole G dep attitude that people have (Now, let’s get it!) needs to be checked and nipped in the bud. Gotta get past the idea that things are revolving around us. I know I feign being all cocky and whatnot, but the truth is, I have an idea of how to put others before myself when I think about doing things. It’s kinda like a lost art isn’t it? Caring for people genuinely, not just wondering what the relationship will mean for you, or what you can get out of things.

Then again. I’ve only had one girlfriend, and that didn’t go so well. So who am I to speak about anything…

Don’t wait till you lose it, to love it. That’s all I’m sayin.

I’m out…

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| who do you think you are? |

We all have such grand ideas of ourselves. I don’t know how I appear to you (don’t know if I can say that I care particularly, either). I imagine myself as an adventuring stud! Handsome, generous, not afraid of anything. Able to woo any woman at my leisure with my quick wit and my sharp intellect. People love me and love to be in my presence, cause I’m a force to be reckoned with! Yeah… that’s it.

Of course, it’s awesome how someone (who I swear, just caught me on a bad day) can see me as the biggest jerk to walk the earth. They can mistake my gentle demeanor as being stand-offish. My clever quips as being sharp jabs at peoples conditions. My sweet naive nature as being too dumb for my own good. (this is just not a good meeting/impression. I’m going to have to suggest a meet-over.)

It’s kinda funny how our memories are skewed either to show us as the extreme victim, or we are the extreme protagonist. I’m reminded of one of my favorite television episodes… I’m thinking of an episode of 30 rock, in which Liz Lemon goes to her high school reunion. Liz Lemon, the darling of 30 Rock, gets an invitation to her high school reunion. She tells Jack, that she doesn’t want to go because she was such a loser back then. She recounts a story of her younger self, being tormented at school one day, with everyone laughing at her. She was defenseless and just mumbled under her breath when she hears laughter. She gets talked into going, and once she goes, we see her meet one of her antagonizers. Once we meet this woman, we can see that she has an aversion to Liz. This is when we get to see the real actions that happened at school. Liz was apparently verbally abusive to people. That is why she didn’t have any friends (not because she was a loser or anything.) It’s hilariously comical, but slightly true.  It’s really easy to think that we’re making one kind of impression, when we’re doing something completely different.

When I was in school, I had a definite split personality. Lots of people saw me as just a regular cool type guy. I was even tempered and laid back. Some people saw me as the angry Justin. They only saw me at my most annoyed, or when I was at my last straw (I often was at my last straw with people when I was younger). There was a defense mechanism that I used (not too unlike Liz Lemon) where I would try to verbally disarm people who would be seen as antagonizers. Those people probably just thought that I was a smart mouthed jerk.

Even though I’m not the most concerned about what I look like to other people (surprisingly, I can have no shame…) I do think it’s important to market yourself well. You want to make sure that you’re doing things in the right way, so that people don’t find any blame in you. I am a big fan of people trusting me, so I don’t want to be out and about acting stupid and jerky. It’s something to be aware of.  Self aware of the way that you are coming across to other people. Because even though you think you’re being awesome or even nice, someone else might think that you’re being short or condescending.

I get examples of this at my job. Being someone who works in customer service, I constantly get the lesson of appearances. I was chatting with one customer about a month back, when I thought that I was simply answering a question that he had. I didn’t really make any small talk, I just got straight to the answer of his question. He for some reason thought that I had horrible customer service, and decided to go on a rant. Amongst other things, he told me that I should look for a job where I would do something that I was more suited for, which in his opinion was shelving items in a store. It was beyond me why the guy was so angry, and it seemed to just grow even as I was apologizing for anything that I might have done.

We want to make sure that we’re marketing ourselves the best we can (and not in that fake: check-me-out-cause-I’m-so-awesome-you-can’t-handle-it type ways). There’s nothing wrong with being straightforward and showing people who we really are. Most people will be able to handle it. 😉

get out there and represent yourself as best you can!

I’ll be trying…

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