Let’s Not Forget: I’m Sorry.

We live in an unapologetic world; as proud narcissists, we aim to neglect our wrongdoings and focus on what really matters: the things we do right. We do not look back and say sorry, we do not mind those who yell at us, we do not care of the toes we step on. I, too, identify as an unapologetic person. I never admit when I’m wrong or when I have crossed a line. I never bother to apologize and I never show my guilt. I’ve been plagued as of late as to why and how I am this way. Society tells us that apologies are for the weak and fragile; they are catered to be used by those who cannot help but stop and care about every little thing on the road to success. We are told to live our lives without regard for those in our way, because they’re only there to do one thing: to stop us. They are an obstacle on that road. I, too, push obstacles out of my way.

All of this is who I am, despite my upbringing. I was raised on manners; I was taught to say please and thank you and you’re welcome. I was raised to say sorry and be a nice person. However, as the years rolled along, I found it less and less necessary to say sorry when there was a better option: to forget that it ever happened. I’ve been doing this ever since because of its natural simplicity. As I stopped apologizing I began to notice the regression of apologies around me. Not only did no one seem to apologize to each other, but no one apologized to me. It took years to even begin to notice that this was a pattern. The world prior to this realization wasn’t any brighter or any better, it was skewed and kaleidoscopic. I became too accustomed to this neglectful nature of being unapologetic that I had forgotten about what the world could be. It was skewed in that I told myself that everyone acted this way and kaleidoscopic in the sense that it gave the illusion of a beautiful aesthetic that I didn’t bother to think that anything was wrong. If you don’t realize a fault, it doesn’t exist.

Simple, right?

But then what does this lead to? We sit and stew and seethe in our unapologetic natures and embody bitterness and darkness. We become the converse of what were raised to be. Then you have those select group of human beings that say: “I’m sorry that you misunderstood me. #sorrynotsorry” Let’s break that phrase down:

“I’m sorry…” -perfectly normal and non-abrasive.

“…that you…” -okay, now we’re missing the point.

“…misunderstood…” -hold on, wait a minute, what?

“…me.” -a curt declaration that you were right and I was wrong.

#sorrynotsorry -veined attempt at trending said fake apology.

This, right here, is why we have trust issues and can’t have nice things.

An apology that is formatted in such a way, isn’t really an apology. It’s a slap in my face and in the face of human decency everywhere. If you’re wrong, just own up to it.

In terms of advice, there isn’t a lot I can offer because I still find myself working this out. It’s tough because no one wants to be the first to submit and no one wants to state that they’re in the wrong. We’re proud people, only willing to beat our chests like King Kong and steal our opponent’s concubine…at least I think that’s how that movie ended.

I guess all I can really say is to catch yourself in the moment and think: “Is this petty? Am I being a child? Is the Earth truly round?“. If you answered yes to all of these things, then maybe you should apologize, even if you were wrong. Let the other pound their chest a bit, maybe it’ll bruise. 

Let’s Look Back: Another Year, Another Resolution.

We have now officially come to that time of year when the haze of drunken eggnog-filled nights have dissipated and the real world beckons us back to mundanity and routine. Thankfully, the social construct of time has given us a reprieve; one champagne-filled night where we all ring in the New Year together with resolutions of losing weight, demands for bigger change and a combined sob of sadness at the realization that we don’t have a kiss at midnight.

I, myself, will be ringing in 2016 with friends, beer, and a simple night in a San Diego apartment. This is not a humble brag, this is merely me reassuring you, my reader (and my parents to some extent) that I do, indeed, have a life (sadly, still unemployed [a fact that is moot, but something I feel is worth mentioning since I never shut up about it]).

I want to take this time to review my year, as we all do to boost our self-esteems and ready ourselves for another 365 days of challenges: I graduated college, had a great relationship, came out publicly to the world and my family, broke up with the guy from the aforementioned relationship, cut off all my hair, grew it all back, had about fifteen early-mid-life crises, I wrote upwards of fifty articles (on this blog and through Elite Daily), drove to and from San Diego about twenty times, and ultimately had a pretty decent holiday season.

And i’m still unemployed.

Solid B+/A- type year if I do say so myself.

I was going to address plans and resolutions for 2016, but I always feel guilty when these things never come to fruition. Multiple failed attempts at writing a novel and gaining muscle have left me cautious at setting unrealistic goals (or in most cases, just goals) for a new year, wherein I can’t predict what will happen. Albeit cliche, i’ll say this instead:

Next year will be different. I will take what I have learned and power through with different perspectives and a happier outlook on living.

Happy New Year, everybody. Thank you for going through this ride with me and I hope you’ll stick around.

Let’s Ask: Would You Go Back?

Take a second and turn back the clock. Your first day of college. Your last day of high school. Your kindergarten graduation. Your last relationship. If you could, would you go back to those moments with the full consciousness you now possess and attempt to notice what you couldn’t before?  If you could go back, would you?

There are specific moments, like prom or a breakup or graduation, where I’d think about seeing it all from a different perspective. Would I have enjoyed prom more if I had danced on a different side of the room, would I have been happier hugging different people at graduation, would I have seen the warning signs before it all blew up in my face? But what I’ve come to realize in all of this retrospection is that things are never what they were. In the moment, you’re greedy and self-righteous. You don’t think because there simply isn’t any time. You dance where you danced because there was free space, you hugged the people you did because they’re the ones that mattered at the time, you said he was an ass because at the time you couldn’t fathom to see it from a different perspective. Only in time do we realize that things begin to change, because we are changing. We’re growing up. Congratulations, you’re an adult. I suppose it then becomes the question of, is it worth going back?

As of late, I get these flashbacks to the happy little moments. Sharing a joke with a friend in class, noticing the exact moment I felt love for this person, and the absolute joy of hearing my name as I accepted my diploma case (sorry to break it to you kids, when you graduate you just get the case and then wait four to six weeks for a diploma to come in the mail).

In a way, I would want to go back for those moments. The ones that made my heart flutter, my eyes water, and my hands twitch. Those are the ones worth it. If I could bottle those feelings up and save them for a bad day, life wouldn’t feel so bogged down. The other ones make me wonder why I would pose such a broad question. Who would want to subject themselves to a torturous moment? No one wants to see their heart break in front of them or see their friends drift off into nothingness. That’s just terrible. It may make for a great Oscar worthy scene in a movie, but there’s no space for such torment in the real world.

Everyday we should strive to be happier than we were the day before.

Let me ask you again, dear reader: Would you go back? Is it worth going back?

Let’s Decide: Leader or Follower.

For eighteen years, I was a follower.

I’m not sure if it was the way I looked, the way I acted, or the way I talked; as far back as I can remember, the people around me have made my decisions. Not in some executive assistant type of manner, rather in one of condescension, as if they know me better than me. I wasn’t awarded the stereotypical, coming-of-age story arc every “twenty-five year old actor playing a sixteen year old” character got. I was told what I should wear, what classes I should be taking, and even what girl to date.

Oh yes, I cannot give myself the much coveted title of “Gold Star Gay,” because I have dated women in the past (two of them, in fact). Even so, the latter of the two relationships almost ended in utter disaster, due to the fact that it was built upon the fact that my friends told me to date her. They wouldn’t shut up about it; day in and day out, they would say: “You two are always hanging out together and you’re both so cute. You’d make a cute couple. Go for it. Ask her out!” Lo and behold, young, impressionable Jason said “Okay!” and asked out his poor girl and wasted a few months of her life. Months where she could’ve dated someone that actively and independently thought about dating her and wasn’t egged on by his friends to date her.

Oh, and someone who wasn’t gay. Granted,  I didn’t really know at the time, so I think I should let that one go.

Even in the vein of my career (yes, I am going to touch on this top as frequently as possible until I am actually employed), family members and friends and ex-supervisors have told me what I should be doing with my life, just because I’m good at it. By such a logic, I should begin my career in the ever-affluent path of Netflix bingeing. Lord knows I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.

Here are several, aggregated commands I’ve received in the past months:

Relative: “You should teach English in another country! It has good pay and is what you should be doing.”

Immediate Family Member: “You were an RA, right? Here’s this student life coordinator position. You need your M.A. and ten years of experience, but it can’t hurt to apply!”

Ex-Supervisor: “You were a great RA. YOU SHOULD BE IN STUDENT AFFAIRS. IT WAS MEANT FOR YOU. GO TO GRAD SCHOOL AND JOIN STUDENT AFFAIRS. #RAFORLYFE #STUDENTAFFAIRS #jointhecult.”

It gets tiring every now and then, but you learn to put up with it and tune out the unsavory ones. Like most posts, there really isn’t an answer or reason for this being here. Mostly because I don’t know who I am.

I’m twenty-two for fucks sake. I shouldn’t know a lot of things. Above all else, I still have a lot more to discover before I ever have to ask myself that question. As for being a follower; well, I guess you can say that I’ve learned to take the lead.

Let’s Listen: Music & Lyrics.

It never ceases to amaze me how much wroth and meaning we can pull out of music. The depths it can take us, the scenery it can create, and the emotion it can provoke; it’s wondrous and frightening and insane. As a routine, to keep my sanity in check and my emotions in balance, I listen to music every night before I drift off into reverie. I lie there, headphones in, lights off and I stare at the ceiling. Not because I have glow in the dark stars plastered across it (although, I should), but because it’s the closest thing I have to a blank canvas.

I stare at the same spot in the ceiling, only visible through my depleting vision (I would have taken my glasses off already) and the street lamps casting what little orange light they can through the slits of my blinds, and I paint a picture of my life that is tune to the song.

One moment, it’s like ballet, precise and gentle. A memory of me people watching at the mall; the chaos of people, the cacophony of children screaming, and the mundanity of such a trivial chore go quiet and all I focus on is me and how I implant stories and lives to these temporary people walking by. People I’ll never see again. People I’ll never bother to wish “Happy Birthday” or want to grab coffee with. Then the song changes and the canvas is blank once more.

The rhythm is upbeat, but the lyrics hold something deeper. A daydream of me and him finally meeting at the airport. A heavy heart, a piercing look, a hopeful smile. Beyond the canvas, I can feel my left arm tingling, I’m about to cry. Tonight, I don’t want to cry so I hit skip before I could give it the chance to bring up any unwanted tears.

The bass bangs my eardrums and I’m almost instantly on my feet and still in my underwear. Blinded by the lack of corrective lenses and shrouded by the dark of night, I start dancing in the small area around my bed. My phone that is in my hand is no longer a phone, but my guitar pick. I rock along as hard as I can and without care because no one can see me. The canvas takes a break because for once, I feel like I’m living in the moment. What matters is me, the music, and my killer guitar solo.

Music can do so much and yet we so often mindlessly bob to the rhythm in the driver’s seat without giving any regard to the lyrics themselves; the messages embedded so deep within the music sheets are almost always looked over. Let’s stop that.

Homework assignment: Look up the lyrics to the last five songs you listened to and see if they resonate with you. I have a feeling they do.

With music, what draws you in is the melody, but what should keep you there are the lyrics.

Let’s Count: The Days When No One Else Mattered.

Day 1: You were annoying and creepy. My mother advised me against talking to strangers and that night I had wondered if I was right to defy such a directive.

Day 3: Rebellion reaps rewards. The texts good night and good morning had begun and there wasn’t a part of me that wanted them to stop.

Day 6: I fear that something new and scary may be happening. I’m unaware of where it’ll take me but for once in my life: I don’t give a fuck.

Day 7: One week later and I still don’t believe it. The conversations, the jokes, the flirting. Is this what ‘dating’ is supposed to feel like?

Day 7.5: Does it count as dating if the distance between the two is roughly 2,500 miles? Society says no, but I couldn’t care less.

Day 10: The texts become less frequent and I fear the repercussions of such a short-lived “romance.” I feel the quotes are necessary because even I am unsure of its validity at this point.

Day 15: I’m in over my head. This was stupid. I should stop texting. I should stop checking my phone. Why did I just check my phone? Stop it, Jason, put your phone in a drawer.

Day 15.2: Phone has been put in a different drawer, in a different room, on a different level of the house. The psychosis continues.

Day 17: Move on. This was never, ever meant to work out.

Day 20: Admit feelings in a long, essay length text. Hit send. Regret immediately follows.

Day 21: I never thought I’d get to the point where you were the only one I saw, the only one I thought I would care for, the only one that mattered. I can’t stop smiling, nor do I ever want to stop.

Day 50: I hate you.

Day 80: A month of abstinence. I feel good; Clean…free.

Day 80.5: Why you chose today to text me, I’ll never know…but I can feel myself falling back in. Hands reach out to help me but I refuse. I blindly and gladly accept this fate and am awash in my decision.

Day 95: I’m drowning.

Day 110: I reach the surface for air and breathe in nothingness. It’s lonely in the middle of the ocean; it’s even worse when you can see your ship sailing away without you.

Day ‘Who Gives a Fuck?’: It’s Christmas, I shouldn’t even think about you. I shouldn’t be wondering what your family wrapped for you under the tree, or if your dog is taking sips of eggnog, or how I should be running to your door with a mistletoe in hand. I shouldn’t be thinking that…I shouldn’t be thinking.

The Day A New Years Kiss Should Happen: It never happens.

Day 1v.2: Hello again.

Day 14v.2: Happy Valentine’s Day.

Day 20v.2: A pointless pep talk that leads up to a large, three-worded bomb is the last thing I expected today. But I love it.

Day 25v.2: You called me tonight and I wish I had never hung up. I wished it lasted hours longer. I wished we would fall asleep on the line and act like there isn’t some rift separating us. You said you called because “[you] thought it’d make me happy.” You were right. I was. I am. Very happy.

Day 30v.2: I can feel myself becoming that much closer to saying something so big and life changing that I can’t even begin to fathom the “right” way to start.

Day 45v.2: College is over. RIP Undergrad.

Day 50v.2: I don’t think I’ve cried so hard, yelled so loud, or hurt so deeply. It amazes me how one person can lift you up so high and let you fall so easily and with so much grace. Sadly, I was finally able to say the words I had longed to profess. If only it were under better circumstances.

A New Day: Today, I vow that I will not let something encompass me so deeply. I won’t let someone cloud my judgement. I won’t let someone control me. Yet as I type this, I feel that today is also the day that I vow to break that vow, because I seldom keep the promises I make to myself. In the moment nothing is constant, nothing is set. You were the person with whom I thought I had IT. The person who wouldn’t fail or falter or fuck me over. The use of past tense has never been more appropriate. I want to say that I, in no way, regret anything. This was the best experience, the worst experience, the most fulfilling experience I could have ever hoped to have. But, I felt the need to write this because I can’t even begin to move on without acknowledging where I’ve been. I want to be able to close this chapter of my life and start on a new one. A chapter where you don’t matter as much to me as you once did. I sat here and counted the days where you made an impact on me and those days were plentiful, but they are not inclusive. There will come a day where no one else will matter and I have come to admit that you won’t be the last man standing; I will.

Let’s Attempt: Speak Your Emotions.

To those that feel the need to bottle your emotions, I personally invite you to acknowledge the word itself, because it has clearly been devoid of all meaning for you.

Emotion (noun): a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. It is something felt. It is something that should be dealt with. It isn’t something to ignore. Let’s break it down a bit:

It is natural and instinctive: which means you don’t control it.

It is from your mind: it is who you are.

It interacts with others: it doesn’t just affect you.

To those same people, I have a few questions: Why do you bottle it in? What good does it do? What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing.

To be honest, I feel that the ultimate regret anyone could ever possibly feel in their lifetime is not letting these emotions out. These are the words that lie on the tip of your tongue, wounded and dedicated, trying to gather enough energy to roll over the edge and into the world. More often than naught, they roll in the wrong direction. Back into the mouth, down the throat, and deep, deep down into the bowels from which they came. This is an unfortunate truth. Perhaps it’s the world telling us to grow thicker skin or to act like mindless automatons, roaming the globe steely and cold. Perhaps it’s conditioning us to fit inside a box that isn’t universally applicable. Then again, it’s so rare that any box is universally applicable, so why bother attempting to fit in by betraying who we are?

I’ll tell you this: it’s nearly impossible to keep them bottled up and the feelings always find a way out. Some way, somehow, they will forge a path and walk, hand-in-hand into the world; into the light. Sometimes it takes a push and sometimes it takes a bulldozer to carry them off the cusp. It is never an easy process. It takes practice. Say them alone, say them aloud. Just know that you can say it a million times to a wall, but to say it out loud to a person is a million times harder.

The fact that it’s hard isn’t an excuse. There is no way to wave a magic wand and will them begone. They won’t go away like that, if at all. Explore your emotions and ask yourself: are these real? are these true? Am I better off keeping them in than letting them out? Chances are, no. These are only a few questions that would take time to explore in order to express them. While I still firmly believe that magic exists, I would not rely on it to solve all of my problems. It just takes time.

Time either will solidify those feelings or let you know that they weren’t real. It is the moments in between then and now that are the most formative, the most frustrating, and the most cherished. They are the moments that validate everything that you’ve ever felt and will continue to feel. They test your doubts, as well as your patience. Those are the times where you cannot lost faith, you cannot let up, you cannot let go. Your emotions make you who you are, without them do you even exist? Is all this actually real? It’s better to live knowing that you said what you wanted and needed to say, because if those words linger around, unable to reach the person they were meant for, what then? To not speak your emotions is possibly the biggest regret someone can live with. Don’t live that life.

Let’s Experience: Closure.

You’ve locked the door, you’ve thrown away the key, and now you sit alone in your living room finally free. Now what? Like everything else in this world, everybody experiences it differently. They go through different processes, explore their feelings in different ways, but ultimately and deservedly achieve closure.

While I won’t claim it to be the best feeling in the world, it does feel pretty damn good. But what does it look like? What does it feel like? Should you be cheering at the top of your lungs or crying your heart out? Should it feel like you’re actually closing a door or like you’re opening a new one? Should you still care about who is on the other side of it? These are questions to consider and questions that I cannot and will not answer for you, simply because I am not you. If your road leads to unabashedly singing Taylor Swift at a karaoke bar or mindlessly writing about your ex in a way that shows them as they truly are, then so be it. I’m not here to judge you. I don’t know you, so that’s not really fair. Regardless of how you answer those questions, there is one thing that is nearly certain to occur: waiting.

If anything, closure isn’t immediate nor is it a panacea for the broken heart. I’m sorry if I’m the first one to tell you this, but I highly doubt that I am. There really isn’t anything worse than having a stranger tell you something that is “truth” and also something you don’t want to hear. Yet here I am, dropping some honest-tea on you (you can than the internet for that horrible pun). Like any death, you will grieve. The stages are similar, but in the end the last thing you must do is relent in moving on. You relationship ended for a reason. From experience, I’ve opened my heart out one too many times for the same person. In hindsight, it was for the same reason every time. And every time I got hurt. And every time it was for the wrong reasons. I never trusted my gut. I never truly moved on. I kept hoping that something different would happen and that there would finally be a happily ever after. That’s what I told myself; I was bargaining for something that wasn’t truly there anymore or ever truly was.

Everyone saw it but me.

I always say that no situation is universally applicable and there isn’t one in existence. But I will say to trust your gut because it’s almost never wrong, but it’s always annoying. Closure is sought after and expected, but it comes with time and patience and doubt. When it does, I urge you to be prepared for tears, for shock, and for relief. It will come in waves with small moments of relief between the crashes. Just know that it will come soon enough and bring with it a much needed and well deserved relief.

Let’s Write: An Open Letter to A Love.

Hi.

I know it’s been a while and I haven’t said much…or anything really, because, well, it would have hurt too much. Whether you’ll find this or not is beyond me, but I feel comfortable enough sharing this with the faceless masses of those that have the ability to access the internet.

Hello, faceless masses. How are you? Good? Good.

You know, at first it came in flashes; quick bursts of memories, one right after the next. All the happy times, as well as the sad. All of which hurt. For about a week, I wasn’t sure if I could make it a day without bawling my eyes out. I did make it, but that doesn’t make it feel like any more of a success. There are moments when I reminisce on the late night talks on the phone and how often we talked at the very start of it all a year ago. Then I find the moments where I began to think that this was something real and indelible. Those are the moments that make you lose yourself and that make you realize how good it all was.

Then it begins to shift.

The bad moments begin to bubble up. The ill-communication that shook our foundation and the way the tremors shook up my mind and my heart. Those are the moments that make your fists clench and make you realize why it had to stop. This isn’t what it was supposed to be, this wasn’t our life. Life Love shouldn’t transpire like this. We’re told it’s supposed to be easy and like a puzzle. Then you realize that it’s bullshit and life has different obstacles in store for everybody and how they’re dealt with personally affects everyone around you.

Then they say hindsight is twenty/twenty. You’re supposed to see everything clearer, but right now it’s all blurry. I sit here, typing and squinting, because I need a new prescription to be able to see how everything was suppose to work out this way. Everyone says that things happen for a reason and, well, I don’t know what that reason is because I still think about us. About you.

I can’t stop thinking about what could have been, nor do I feel I should ever think of stopping.

There’s a place in my heart especially reserved and there’s no one else that can or will sweep in and take it. I won’t allow it. Where does this leave me? Am I hung up on the slim chance of something happening again? Am I holding on to an empty chance? Will this matter in the future? Where will we be in five years? Is this moving on or am I dwelling?

Sometimes I think if I feel these things for someone else that what I had once felt will start to disappear. A thought came across my mind one night, and it was telling me that our capacity for this kind of love is limited. You can shift and change the dosage, but it would affect how I would always feel. Would I ever love someone as intensely? Was that all of it? Will it be different? Will it be worse? Then I woke up the next day and realized that it doesn’t work like that. At least, it shouldn’t work like that.

Honestly, I don’t care what it is, because I don’t think the love will go away. I don’t think it should. It’s out there, roaming the world, with bright eyes and a hope as relentless and stubborn as I am. And I’m going to let it roam because, who knows, it may lead me back to you. It may lead me astray. All I know is that wherever it leads me, I’m sure it’ll be somewhere great.

Let’s Figure Out Who I Am: A Giver of Chances

A second chance can make all the difference. At times it can leave doors wide open; other times it can obliterate them from their hinges. The thing with chances is that we’re told that they only come once. How does the saying go again?

“Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you?”

After this second offense, what’s supposed to happen? Upon whom is the shame thrusted? Is anyone truly to blame or is it the universe telling you to let it go for good? Personally, the third, and even the fourth chance can still open doors. Doors that can lead you to the darkest places. Places that make you question your sanity, as well as your morality. It can also lead you to the places that make you feel warm and safe. But with all those doors left wide open, it’s hard not to let all of the other situations converge on you in a large, crushing wave. You feel the waters hit your ankles and your fight or flight response kicks in. Is there a way out? Which way is up? What’s happening? Stay calm…STAY CALM!

Before you know it, you’ve been submerged. The chances have overcome you and you’re left to swim in your decisions. I’m not sure if any others are out there, but I am a swimmer in the sea of chances. I search for the best and hope to be rewarded with such. So far, I haven’t been rewarded so much as punished. Call me stupid. Call me naive. Call me an idiot. But do not call weak. Weakness is leaving things behind without trying. Weakness is not seeking out the good. Weakness is not me. I am romantic. I am hopeful. I am a pretty good swimmer.

I will say that I’ve learned what giving chances can do and feel like. It’s a feeling that brings about the best and the worst outcomes, yet you never really know which is more important once you’ve realized that you’re out of chances to give. I sit here looking back at what I’ve done, looking back at the person I let into my life, looking back at the words I said and the chances I had given. The water begins to drain and I can finally reach my head above it all and see with fresh eyes. I don’t regret a damn thing. In fact, I’m glad I did what I did because I learned from them. I learned that it hurts. I learned that it feels amazing. I learned that I could love someone immensely and be hurt by them just as strongly. I’m growing, I am learning, I am moving. It’s difficult. But giving chances is something that makes me who I am and there isn’t a reason to be ashamed of that. There isn’t a reason to peg myself as naive or stupid or an idiot. I am not those things, nor can I be limited to the thoughts that people thrust upon me. I am what I make myself. I am me.