Monday, November 30, 2009

Chapter 2: "Building A Better Me"

My soul went searching for a cause but came back empty-handed. The emptiness you see... building a better me.

Coming into High School I was this chubby ball of anxiety, angst, faded self confidence. Being dateless and kissless till that point of my life just added to my distorted self-image. Every girl I've met until this point didn't seem to have any interest in me other than friendship, and I thought I was cursed forever to bare the friend label. For most females I was the security blanket, the safe zone, the exception to all those "all men suck" conversations, the substitution for a gay best friend.

Despite what felt like my eternal life sentence, I was able to dupe a female into giving me a chance. My first memories of Amanda Miller were on the bus heading home. Sitting towards the back, wearing her infamous blue dress, and on the arm of her older and physically fitter boyfriend. Despite my interests being initially peaked, I was too intimidated to consider anything romantic possible. But as if it was taken straight out of Saved By the Bell, me and Amanda would end up being the last two stops on the bus. In between the intimate moments that's separated our stops, we began to build a friendship. I nervously made it through conversations, trying not to say anything too embarrassing before my stop came. Eventually the intimidation wore off along with the boyfriend. Memories are funny because most of them feel like a scene from a movie, all you can remember is from the point the director screams action and then cut and the images fade to black.... I don't remember what happened that day, any of the 23 hours and 48 minutes prior this moment. I don't remember what I had for dinner that night, what I said to my mom when I came home. But I remember those couple of minutes, a speck in the timeline of life...... there we were, me standing behind her seat on the bus. Somehow, probably through my extraordinary ability to be cunning, our conversation steered towards how I've haven't even been kissed. Amanda motioned for me to come closer, I closed my eyes, leaned over the bus seat and then contact. Elation! Triumph! Jubilation! It was my first kiss, and to me, it was absolutely glorious...... even if it was just really a tiny little peck of a kiss.

Amanda and I started to date, and that's when I discovered that relationships portrayed on television, movies, and theatre are a complete farce. When all you know about relationship stem from Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski, you tend to make a lot of mistakes. All I ever saw of relationships were two individuals placed in the perfect situation, automatically in love, with pet names already crafted, and romance blooming. Whoever created that idea of the modern day relationship sucks, because that isn't how relationships function at all. It consisted more of awkwardness, me fumbling to figure out what to do dating someone, one date, her mom not being a fan of me, huge collection of balloons, and then a break up. Until that point I always had this romantic ideal of being in a relationship. There was never a thought that relationships could be awkward. Didn't think that things like effort or patience was required. Its funny looking into the infancy of your dating life and realized how goofy you were, and that you wish you could cosmically slap the past you in the face for being such an idiot.

My romantic life became considerably dormant until my junior year of high school. After briefly dating Amanda, I returned to my plateau of harmless friend of females. I even had a club resurrected in honor of this fact, EITOCW.... Elliot-Is-The-Only-Cool-Wrestler, an affectionate group of females who have dated every other wrestler on the team only to find that they were jerks and I was the only decent one...this conclusion was of course aided by the fact that none of the group dated me. Senior year stories are pretty ramped in our culture, our parents always like to recall their wild days as a senior in high school, giving that year the label of "best year of my life." My high school glory days however came during my junior year, til this day still ranks as one of the best years of my life. I made the weight drop down to compete at 171 rather than being flabby and out muscled in higher weight classes. After seeing Rivers Cuomo and Chris Conley dawn the black rimmed glasses, I figured it was time to trade in my big metal oval ones. To complete my drastic appearance changes, I replaced my dark black hair color to a nice blood red. I will always remember Lauren Tetidrick exclaim with surprise "Oh your glasses! Oh your hair! Oh your glasses! They both look good!"

None of the years before my junior year did Homecoming ever matter. The last school dance that I attended began with me being extremely late because me and my brother were lost in Tampa trying to find the mall that had my tailored suit, crying my eyes out and missing my friends limo which was taking a huge group of us to the dance. All of this drama just to have the night end with holding Kara as she cried about her boyfriend's insufficiency. But despite having such a bitter taste, I still would've attended my two first homecoming dances if I had a date. Being dateless during the time just added to my animosity towards school dances. But my junior year's homecoming would play itself out as my personal episode of Degrassi.

It all began with one girl....... Xiomara Murelo. On the massive list of high school crushes, she was on the top. When I think about the memories I have about Xio, the first thing I envision is her majestic smile. For a while she was just another cute girl in the crowd. The real affection started when I got to know her. She was a complete dork, and one of the biggest nerds I knew, which included me being in a computer repair class and computer club. As our friendship progressed we discovered we were even into the same music, I remember my heart fluttering when she told me about her appreciation for New Found Glory and MxPx.

As most females during my high school career, Xiomara eventually began to have feelings...........for Mike Aquino. Mike is my life long friend and brother. We were both chubby, awkward and typically ignored by most girls. That was until Mike joined the wrestling team and shredded his baby fat. Females found him charming, smart and handsome. One girl in particular started to spend an increasingly alarming amount of time with Mike, Tiffany Richardson. I remember the first thought I had when I first saw Tiff driving up to Mike after a wrestling practice to take him to the beach, "What the fuck! Mike is hanging out with yet another cute girl." But in spite of the time they spent together Tiff would continue to deny she had any feelings for Mike. She would continue to hold on this claim until the day that Mike and Xio decided to attend homecoming together. Now openly admitting her feelings, Tiff was devastated. As if being heroic, but in reality equally motivated by a bit of jealousy, I asked Tiff to the dance figuring I could somehow create a scheme where we would switch dates. I really didn't have any formal ideas, but I with the optimism of a 16 year old kid, I figured love would find a way. And surprisingly it did.... kind of. Due to no fault of mine, Tiff and Mike did agree to go to homecoming together. Unfortunately for me, Xio when ahead and found a different date, which she would ultimate begin to date thus leading to the decline to our close friendship.

Yet, as so often happens in my life, the vacancy of the thing I thought I wanted left the door open for the thing I really needed. Jasmine James was a female that I met through Mike, who already went through her crush stage with him, and started to have lunch with my group of friends. We would casually flirt, but I never could get a read on her feelings for me. Even with the doubts of her feelings for me and my feelings on the situation, I asked her to homecoming. She graciously accepted, thus beginning our relationship. Jasmine was one of the sweetest people I've had the pleasure to met on this planet, not just the opportunity to date. She helped me getting through the fact I had to keep my wrestling season on hold for medical reasons. I would drive her home and we would spend time together after class. It was a really sweet relationship. The stress and pressure of her senior year started to interfere with our relationship so I got the call one day that "we needed to talk." Knowing the doom that statement brings, I was mentally preparing for a breakup. But to my surprise, she really did want to talk. She was torn between our relationship and her responsibilities for school and wanted to know how I felt. In the end we decided that to end the relationship was best for both of us. But it left this weird ambiguousness to our relationship. I left her house that night with a kiss but really unsure of how everything would turn out. I started to turn the corner with my feelings for her but her seemed to still be persistent. This completely freaked me out, and as a young adolescent kid, I did the only thing I figured I could do. Try to ignore her. I remember Jasmine asked me to drive her to a youth retreat at a local church and to insure that I wouldn't be alone with her I invited one of my female friends (who I eventually kissed that night but thats the next chapter). It was the same night that I had multiple girls agree with her assessment that I was "perfect," causing me to freak out even more. Then Jasmine asked me about being her date to the prom. I don't remember what I said, all I know is I wasn't man enough to give her a straight answer. I was a scared and confused kid, and I know that it must of hurt her. I should have known this situation would come, she was a senior, I was a junior, she was heading to Miami next year and our relationship had an expiration date. It was then I decided never to date for the hell of it, I decided then that dating around was ignorant and just led to hurting either me, the other person or both.

My romantic life for a couple of months laid dormant yet again, which in retrospect was just a calm before the storm. The course of my life was going to change really soon, and I had no idea, the things I thought I wanted and the things I thought I knew about romance, myself, and relationships were going to be dramatically altered, but before I got there.... there was one more crush to be wanting. I will always remember Shannon Harvey (now Collins!) not only because she is an incredible person, with a warm smile and red hair but because she was my last crush before everything changed. We would sit in the back of our chemistry class together with our two other friends and refer to the spot as "the back of the bus." Our group would past the time, ignoring all attempts to learn chemistry, and just talk and enjoy each others' company. One day she came in depressed because of a recent audition, she didn't liked how she compared with the other women. My instincts automatically began to urge me to say "Don't feel that way your beautiful," "No way, you are completely talented," etc.... but I bit my tongue and just gave some generic encouragement but I realized that I might of started to have feelings for her. Shannon during this time was also having problems with her boyfriend. One day, I believe they weren't together at this point, she came in and complained about him... and I don't remember the statement but my instincts again jumped. I felt the words "I know I would date you..." leave my voicebox, run up my throat, past my tonsils, and then come to the tip of my tongue. I figured this was it, that I was going to ask Shannon out on a date and see how it goes from there, but before I allowed the words to escape my mouth, I stanched them from the air and retreated them back as a mere thoughts. I will never quite understand why I didn't allow myself to say that sentence, was it a fear of awkwardness if she said no? Was it fear of rejection? Was it some sense of guy code to a guy that I don't even recall the name of? Either way, I used to wonder about that moment. What would of happened if I allowed those words to hit the air. Would've gotten a date? Would we possibly started a relationship? How would that effect where we are now? Would my life turn out the same way it did regardless?

Thats the thing about life, seamingly small minute moments meshed together becomes big life events. Life happens in the moments we take for granted, the moments we figure is just passing time. These times I thought was your typical teenage moments were actually creating a better me. A better me for the future, a better me for Sara.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"How I Met Your Mother"

I am a fan of telling stories, like Deckard Cain roaming the town of Tristram encouraging people to stay awhile and listen. I just doubt anyone is really interested. Story telling is one of the reason I'm drawn to "How I Met Your Mother," listening to Ted's journey through life finding his way to the person he loves. During the months preparing for my proposal to Sara, I started to wonder about the story I would tell if I God-willing have children one day. Sitting back and thinking about my life, there were a lot of interesting stories and a lot of important parts of my life that led me to Sara. I've been the over-the-top romantic, the awkward single nerd, the hormone driven manwhore, the "perfect" boyfriend, and the overly protective borderline psycho....just to become what I should be, Sara's future husband. So like Ted with the Internet as my children forced to listen, here is the story of how I met my future wife, Sara.

Chapter 1: Catalyst

For any female that I ever made feel special, flattered by a compliment, found comfort in a hug or appreciated how I treated them, a bit of that credit goes to Kara Kennedy. She was the first girl I hugged. The first girl I protected. The first girl I'd talk hours too. The first girl I gave a pet name too. She was the catalyst.

I was a really awkward chubby kid in my elementary school days. Huge cheeks, bad clothes, big glasses. I imagine that's what Kara saw when she first met me. But when I met her, something about her captivated me. Her big eyes, soft cheeks, wide smile. I immediately found her beautiful. We didn't begin a real friendship until middle school. We started to develop a friendship and eventually I started to develop a crush. One night, with the encouragement of my good friend Trevor, I decided to tell her my feelings. It just happened to be a very inconvenient night to do so. She was having a sleepover, so with 5 ruthless middle school girls giggling in the background and me on speakerphone, I stumbled over the words "will you go out with me?" The giggling grew, Kara remained quiet, more uncomfortable moments passed before Kara finally responded... a gentle rejection. Even at a young age I gotten use to the routine of rejection. Awkward and rushed hellos, never making eye contact, and an abandoned friendship. But Kara wasn't appalled by my feelings for her. She wasn't awkward around me. She didn't mock my feelings or ignored me. She was kind, sweet, and caring. It so something was different than what I was accustomed too. She was actually concerned about my feelings, she was actually paying more attention to me. I was officially wrapped around her finger.

Me and Kara started to spend more time together, our relationship becoming even closer. I was becoming her best friend. I was the guy who's shoulder she could cry on, the guy she could talk to for hours, the guy who would stand up to others who would be teasing her, I was the guy who tried to be there for her in every way. She would smile and hug me, tell me how much I met to her, that made it all worth it for me. I made her feel special, and with every smile, with every hug, with every show of appreciation, I melted a little bit more inside.

I'd bear witness to a lot of her relationships (we were in middle school after all). Each time the end results was me waiting to comfort her with open arms. Every start of a relationship would crush me, and every end would crush me even more. With the end of each relationship would come a list of things the other guy did wrong, I took it to be like an instruction manual. Everything those other guys did wrong, I wanted to do right. Her standards for men became the standard I held myself too.

Life continued into high school and with it came changes. Kara started to have more serious relationships and I was branching out on my own. We keep our friendship but it was a shadow of its former self. We both realized it, but their was nothing we could do dispite how much we cared for each other.... time goes on and people change. Typical high school drama started to decimate our relationship until one day during an argument I walked out on her. That instant I left her behind and it would take me well into college to get over all that happened between us. I remember a friend got a text from her asking if I would be coming back down to Tampa for Thanksgiving my freshman year. When my friend told me this the thought of confronting her again made me nauseous.

Sometime last year she found me on FaceBook. I always knew that day she'd pop up on FaceBook would come but it didn't make it any less surprising. But there wasn't any linger feelings of anger, just the feeling that it was nice to hear from an old friend.

She was the catalyst, the one who set everything in motion. Our relationship taught me about how I wanted to treat a female, specially the one that I fall in love with, and without it I could of never been ready for mine and Sara's.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"The Way You Look Tonight"

There we were

Laying down on my bed, her fingers running through my hair.

"I wonder what it would be like if we were together"

"Probably like this......."

Two years ago, I was ready to pack it in. I was ready to start up my new life and adventure out on my own. I was so jaded with romance that I figured I just needed to rebuild and regroup.

And then there she was. Handing me a sword, decorated just as she described she would but I always took as a joke. One side, full of glitter and the words "Sword of Justice" running down the blade. The other with blood and lighting bolts.

As my eyes connected with hers I knew that she was everything I was ever looking for. The kind of person I'd lay in bed and think, "if I just had a woman like that.." Afraid of this, even thinking I was undeserving of such a person I established all the walls I could. But as only she could, she found a way to deconstructed them all.

She was everything I could possibly of prayed for.........two years later, she still is.

Happy anniversary Sweetheart.

I love you.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Eldery Woman Behind The Counter In a Small Town"

I've always been a guy who thought it was better to take the chance than to have regrets. But it makes me wonder about that guy who always takes a chance. The guy that for better or worse chooses to put himself out there knowing that the results could...and have... crushed him. I wonder about that guy. If he is happy.

Is it better to live your life questioning "what if" or living with the consequences of the chances you've taken?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Time is never time at all, you can never leave without leaving a piece of youth"

I have two old online journals. They usually act as wasted space out there on the net, but to me they are an archive of the person I used to be. Many of the entries are difficult to read, not only because of the horrible grammatical mistakes but the also the ridiculous content. How could of I written some of that crap? But I think about the kid who wrote those entries. Typing away on his computer, filled with so much anxiety, confusion and angst. Exposing his soul out there for the whole world to see. Would that kid like the man that he became? If we were to met at a coffee shop and talk, would he think I am just another person that doesn't feel like he feels? Another person that lacks the emotional perception to see things as the way he see them? And what about me? Would I just think the kid was some whiny punk that needs to realize that life isn't all sunshine and farts? Tell him to suck it up and stop being such a emo kid?

Or would we be able to sit and talk, sharing stories and laughs? A beer in my hands and a chai tea in his. Would I be able to place my hands on his shoulder and let him know that despite the disappointments and pitfalls of his life that he'll survive, he'll be a better man in the end. Would help me rediscover my spontaneity, my courageousness? Things that I've find fading in the loom of adulthood?

Tuesday, March 22 2005
The bruises have gone away and the cuts have stop bleeding. My heart is beating again.......

I look up at the stars and they are brighter than they've ever been and the moonlight is leading the way.....

................................I'm 100%

Friday, March 22 2002
Today, I went back to my old school... Walker Middle School. It was to say the least, freaky. Everything seems so much smaller now. It truely mad me realized how much I have grown.... Its weird... I walked past the place where I asked out Kara for the third time and my other classes rooms where I was a small pathetic loser and enter the lunch room where I was just a kid who didn't know anything, and it made me feel so weird. Did I actully grow that much? .....blah......... All I got to say about that.... blah........

Ever think that you at somethings and/or someone way to much for granted. Like last night, I realized I take a lot of my friends for granted. See like Karen. I don't know why, but as we were leaving Micky D and she said "I love you" and then she was like "I'm serious" it made me really accpate all those times when she says it just kidding around. Yea know what I mean? I take all those other times she says "I love you" just for granted. :-p.... yea...yea...yea..... I'm a dork :-D

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Just Like We Do"

Zooming down I-40 I often look past the piece of speeding machinery next to me through the driver side window to see the actual human sitting there. I begin to wonder about that person. What their life is like, what struggles they have face, if they been in love or had their heart broken. I wonder about their life's journey that led them to this point, cruising down the highway among strangers and driving next to me for a fleeing moment. 

It still amazes me when I realize in those moments of traffic that the sea of cars in front of me contain a person or people. All with their own stories. All with their own long list of triumphs and tragedies just trying to make it through the maze of paved roads and exits. That they are just not metal machines in my way, delaying me from my desired destination.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"La La La Means I Love You"

Maybe its my type B attitude, I am not sure, maybe its how I am the complete opposite in every possible way, but I always seem to befriend type A workaholics. Then I think about it and I could never understand why. I never seemed to understand the logic behind working 60 hours a week, working yourself to the bone, giving your entire self to a job or career just to make a buck. And I understand, I came from a privileged life. That I was provided things when I needed them, but I still feel as if there has to be more than just bank account balances and corporate ladders.

There has to be the look in the person you love eyes' and being able to come home to that, throwing birthday parties for your children, pints with friends you can always count on.... moments that are insignificant by the world's standard yet moments that for you last forever... not extra zeros in a back account.

Friday, February 27, 2009

"Welcome, Ghost"

What happens to a memory once you forget it? Does that event exist anymore? I've always been a reflective person, sometimes it feels like I walk through life backwards, only examining my steps after I take them. I am always amazed by the people who are able to power through life without looking back. To tell you the truth, a lot of times I find myself envious of them. Envious of how they can take each day for today, like a renew beginning. Unlike me who sees every event as a continuation of a story, everything always connecting. There are times that I feel plagued, or that I am cursed. Cursed to be the holder of memories, no matter if they are insufficant or small. Embarrasing or hurtful. Joyus or happy. Picked to the Jonas of my society.... but then I think what it must be to forget. And in one of the many nuggets of Disney wisdom I think about what Jamba once said...."What must it be like to have nothing, not even memories to look back on in the middle of the night?"

Then I realized that maybe we are both flawed, the ones who remember and the ones who forget.... or better yet... nothing is wrong with either of us.