Think about Ink

In between living a mostly car-free lifestyle and my current dietary choice, lays a deep connection with music in the primary form of the radio. I owe a lot of who I have become to these three. For now I would like to talk about a topic that hasn’t been discussed as frequently as the other two.

Most of the people who I talk to seem to have lost their faith in the power of the radio. I’m no historian, but I am sure there was one point in time where most of the radio stations that were broadcasting played a great selection of good tunes. In the present time that same nostalgic sound is harder to find. The repetition of most music can drive a song and an artist into a category that resembles a dull knife. There will always be one point in time when a new song heard on the radio is fresh and enjoyable. Depending on the station you listen to, certain stations will try and preserve that freshness by playing that artist sparingly, or do the exact opposite and risk ruining their sound for the masses. I too find that when I listen to most radio stations, it metaphorically resembles using a once sharpened knife. Each play adding one more use to the tool, eventually wearing away and becoming difficult to work with and enjoy.

Most radio stations will do the latter of the two. Which has lead me to search for a new type of sound to listen to. Thus my discovery of radio in the public spectrum. What once was an odd stray from the norm has become a religious experience for me. I often catch myself raving and ranting about not only new music I find but also local events that are put on by such stations. Not only does the station play new and up-and-coming artists regularly, but they host events that are tied to the same concepts for an affordable cost (mostly free.) Think of it as a farmer’s market for the ears. A refreshing experience put on by people who genuinely care about what they’re playing and who they are promoting. There are times when an emerging artist begins to perform regularly on the public spectrum and eventually makes the bridge to the more mainstream field. I can say with complete honesty that listening to this happen makes me giddy inside. I rarely have hard feelings for that artist making that transition mostly because I was able to listen to them at an earlier stage in their career and am able to identify their musical goals from their actions (whether it be playing a bunch of free shows in the area, or creating a more polished product for the masses.)

The radio has played an important role in my self-discovery and growth. Going out to these local events allows me to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the city. The atmosphere is the best part of the entire experience. That homegrown, grassroots vibe is what I strive for in my everyday life. It’s those experiences that create the most heart-felt and strong relationships. Much like how riding with a group of strangers can turn into a unbreakable bond in a matter of hours, so does experiencing the city through music, food, or the scenic views. This has all been made possible thanks to local radio stations.

The reason I brought this up was because I’ve not only had trouble gathering up all these thoughts to try and explain it to others, but because I want to show how important this is to me. I remember a conversation I had with a friend the other night that focused on the topic of the radio. No matter where I am, the radio always seems to be on point with the current vibe or whatever I may be doing at the time. Call it what you want, but this in combination with all that I’ve mentioned above sparked a few creative thoughts. One was to write a story similar to the book, “Love is a Mix Tape” but instead of tapes, it’s the radio.

Another serious thought I have has to do with taking a step that involves more commitment and a threshold for pain. I have trouble committing to a show or movie on Netflix let alone having ideas I want inked into my skin. That being said, I am considering the latter of the two. What better way to show your love and appreciation for something than the idea of a tattoo? It’s the one idea I’ve come up with that I would feel comfortable explaining to others while it’s still on my body. There is a deep rooted passion behind it, and can be made my own without clouding other creative ideas I hope to add.

Radio has stood the test of time and will continue to exist for a long time. One of the things I like about it is that it doesn’t anchor you to sit and become idle. There are interplanetary missions that are conducted where explorers communicate through radio waves. This method of communication is a crucial part of our existence. The reason I’m bringing all these points up is to rule out the argument that this idea is just a phase. While it’s been about a week that I’ve thought up this tattoo idea, the feelings behind it have been around for years. Hell, I even considered donating my car since I don’t use it very much as it is.

That’s what’s been on my mind recently. That and the new addition of work hours along with the possible second job opportunity. But until that bridge presents itself, I continue to think about ink.

-dfj

Fixed Gears for Fears

I woke up to sore legs today. Not your typical post-ride sore legs. Not exactly your post-race type of soreness either (but we’re getting closer.) This type of soreness is the all too familiar feeling I would get after riff raffing late at night on the track bike.

I can recall a time when doing epic things on track bikes was cool. My cycling upbringing involved such things. I never climbed the French alps or anything to that caliber, but I did ride a track bike unconventionally amongst my road bike owning friends and didn’t let that slow me down. There is nothing quite like climbing with a greater momentum than one would normally have with the ability to change into an easier gear. The same goes for descending too. As it stands right now I am a few gear inches too short to continue to descent down canyons roads comfortably in fear my legs might spin too fast & I won’t have enough time to recover or gain control. That’s not to say I don’t miss it (because I do.)

As corny as the video production may seem, as pretentious the rider, this concept stuck with me.

In between the lack of communication I seem to reward the ones I care about, and the depression that comes from not being able to ride the new bike stuff one acquires, I decided to ride out to century city for a bike race put on by local bike messengers right here in southern California. From the moment I left my house, to the starting line, I felt incredibly nervous. First for having to climb up and over some hills to get to the location and to do well and not die come race time. The climbing doesn’t phase me as much as the spinning that is required on the downhill. Whether there is traffic, a steep gradient, or a thrown chain happens, there comes a time when you accept your fate in this situation. The nerves and jitters fade away much like the pains of a tattoo and the rider is genuinely living in the moment. A moment one must deal with immediately and requires the same amount of effort to go down as it did to go up.

I made it to the race in one piece. I was greeted by the messengers with welcoming praise. I saw some familiar faces, and made new friends too. The course was short and sweet, four right turns, one side of the race involving a steep hill followed by a series of downhills less steep and more safe. When it came time to get started, I immediately noticed how my interval training has played an important part in the intensity of these accelerations required when it came time to hit the punchy hills, as well as my recovery time from said climbing. Once the race started there was a gap that opened up due to the slowing traffic in the city. There were a few big names that entered the race and once this gap opened up, they were never seen again. That’s not to say that no fun was had for the rest of the race.

I got to race with my buddy Jason who has been nothing but a positive influence when it comes to getting back on a track bike. There was a lot of riff raff that entered our race, but the fast pace thinned them out really quick. There were a few close calls (going in between traffic, & weaving through pedestrians crossing the street) but nothing to make me back out of the race. We ended up racing for a total of about 13-15 km with about 100 meters of climbing per lap. I felt pretty good but was inhibited by my gear choice. I climbed the hill just fine, but when it came time to get the momentum back up on the downhill, I had hit my high speed before we hit the “bottom” of the course before the climb began again. I got passed by a few riders able to push bigger gears, but managed to spin uphill and pass them when it mattered the most.

It being an unsanctioned street race, I don’t know what place I got, but that didn’t matter much to me. I got over my fear of racing the track bike on the streets amongst other local riders (“mission accomplished” he said to himself when all was said and done.) Would I do it again? Probably. Until that day comes, I’ll be keeping up the good work.

-dfj

Remember When I Wanted to be a Nurse?

Change has been a recurring discussion topic in the past few weeks. Friends changing jobs, changing their surroundings, changing into what will soon become a family, changing dietary choices and so on. I too have taken it upon myself to incorporate a change in how I spend my free time.

If I’ve said it before, I know I’ve said it about ten times, I’ve never known what I want to do with my life. With my current educational background, I have a limited skill set to enter the job field with. And with the field I chose to continue through college, I would pigeon-hole myself into a more narrow field of expertise. Some people are born to be architects, surgeons, and police officers. I cannot say that at any point in my childhood that I have conjured up a thought like that. There was one point just recently where I debated whether I wished to continue my formal educational path, until a few things happened at work this week.

Just like my thoughts on intervals, I used to think that this formal way of bettering oneself was not an absolute necessity for success. Having gone through the motions with incorporating intervals into my weekly routine I see the benefits and try not to get too excited when that day of the week comes where I get to push myself for that amount of time. That’s not what got me thinking about a possible career change. Just the other day as the sun was coming up, one of my friendlier bosses (which is never seen at work any time before ten in the morning) came into work early to get the day’s tasks done sooner than usual.

I had been meaning to send him an email in regards to asking to work more hours because his brother he hired and ended up scheduling him for more hours than I for an extended amount of time. I was under the impression that he simply hired his brother as a favor, then gave him more days to work as an act of favoritism due to their blood relations. In all honesty, I didn’t have the courage to speak up in fear that I would hear the same thoughts and reasoning I had presumed were going on from his voice. Since it was just him and I in the office, I gathered the courage to speak to him and make my request. Before we get into the discussion, there is one thing I would like to mention about this particular boss.

I hold a lot of respect and trust in this guy. He was the person who interviewed me, explained the way things worked at this gig since I had no previous experience to speak of. He gave me this opportunity and I’ve tried my very best to follow his instructions to the best of my abilities. There was one point in time where I may or may not have been drinking on the job and he (amongst other supervisors) vouched for me and showed me some grace, allowing me to stay employed (no one got hurt, so don’t worry.) Every question I’ve had in regards to maintaining certificates, company and county policies have been researched and thoroughly answered by this guy. When I have a genuine concern (nothing I can’t figure out on my own if I had a full day to think about it) I go to him with all my trust.Having respected someone so much, I hope you can understand why I hesitated so much to potentially hear bad and corrupt news. In a way, I compared it to hearing your parent admit they’ve been an in-the-closet drug addict for the past six months and wanting to hear them confirm the information.

Well I finally spoke to him, and was pleasantly surprised by his response. After trying to argue the brother to brother favoritism perspective, he giggled and (without polluting this post with tons of profanity) he assured me that there is no favoritism involved and that he could give two cares about his brother from an employment standpoint. He is an employee like everyone else, and suffers the same consequences as everyone else. He mentioned that the reason why they first gave him more days than me was to allow him to get his bearings with the job. It’s been four months since he’s been hired, and we agreed that that was enough time for someone to get familiar with a job (I had three weeks and did just fine.) That being said he also told me that he  was not directly involved with scheduling and would forward my concerns with the person who is in charge of scheduling. I tried speaking with the scheduling boss a few months ago and he said that he didn’t have much control since this employer  who hired me (we’ll call him, “Rob”) has the last say-so in things. Well after having convinced Rob that what was going on between us was unfair, I felt as though things would finally turn around and be more favorable towards me.

In our discussed other words were exchanged and I had mentioned that I didn’t even know if I was going to go back to school right now. Another statement that he responded with a chuckle at what a silly idea that was.

“You’re going back to school”

“You’re going back to school” he told me. Not even as a suggestion, he was telling me that’s what I’m going to do. In order to understand how much this meant to me I have to explain a little bit of the work setting. We have around sixty or seventy employees that come and go at all hours of the day and night. The majority of them are seen starting and finishing their shifts since they’re driving around all day. As a result, very few of us know the names of most of the employees, Rob especially. Having known him for about three years now, it’s safe to say that we have a rapport of understanding and familiarity. So for him to shy away from the easy route of going along with what I was saying, convinced me that what he had to say was coming from the heart. We then continued our conversation and I concluded that a change in major was due.

As much as I want things like a significant other, a tattoo, and other long-term items, time has shown that I have commitment issues. The reason I mention this is to go back to the previous nursing major choice I thought I wanted to do. There isn’t much of career variation a nursing degree can get you. I can remember at one point I thought broad topic majors inhibited people from having concrete career goals. After having lived a little longer, I’ve realized that this isn’t such a bad thing. I have shown an interest (and accelerated understanding) in the field of science. So perhaps a degree in biology or chemistry might be a better fit for me. I’m never going to find the job that has me saying, “Yes, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life” (unless it’s becoming a professional cyclist.)

Change is good, and while it may take a little longer than expected, it has perks, lots and lots of perks.

-dfj

You don’t Hug Your Mother?

I was listening to Enter Shikari yesterday (a band I enjoy for not only their musical talent, but their ability to tie catchy, synth-based, heavy style of euro hardcore rock with their world views and obligation to point out all the wrong and injustices that are happening all around us on a global level) when I decided to look up some lyrics to a song of theirs which included a quote from Mohandas Gandhi. The quote is him identifying himself as a “Soldier of peace….” amongst other ideas, but for some reason stuck with me at that point. I must have been at the right place at the right time considering I’ve listened to this EP multiple times and listening to it yesterday inspired me to read Gandhi’s autobiography.

After listening to the track, I immediately sprinted for the library, and checked out the book as they were about to close.

"Gandhi mate, Gandhi"

“Gandhi mate, Gandhi”

I would like to point out that this is the largest book I’ve had the courage to check out from the library since I began making frequent trips earlier this year. Something about the volume of the book (in this case over 500 pages) along with the three weeks of checkout time gives me a little anxiety and pressure to finish the read within the given time. Another side of me knows I can extend the length of time, but my pride won’t let me do that. The voice inside my head telling me, if it takes you longer than three weeks to finish a book, it wasn’t meant to be read at this point in time. Surprisingly this pressure has subsided and I feel little to no worries in the possibility of not being able to finish this book.

I’ll be finishing up the first part in the story by tonight and a few things have stood out to me in an attempt to relate to the author. For one, he is incredibly loyal to his family. He seems to feel a deeper obligation to obey and satisfy the needs of his parents more than his own wife. This is where him and I began to see things differently. I hold views that would be perceived to be on the other end of this emotional spectrum. Not to say that what he is doing is wrong, I just agree to disagree. I don’t recall the specifics of why he feels this way, but respect his decision to cater to his parents needs when he is near and far away from them. While he does try experimenting with multiple things that go against his beliefs, (meat eating, “sins” of the flesh, and cigarette smoking) he does have a strong will to obey once vows have been set.

A second trait that stood out (should come to no surprise) was his liking to vegetarianism. Once again, by continuing to abide by his mother’s wishes, he continues to not eat meat, and after discovering the upcoming following of vegetarianism in England he essentially lives a vegan lifestyle. There is a scene in the book when he is going out to eat and having to embarrassingly ask his server how and with what ingredients the food he ordered has been prepared. I know I’m not the only one who was able to relate to this. I’ve been in that setting multiple times and (just like the author) ended up having to cook the majority of my meals at home (a task I welcome with great joy and pleasure.) This left me with a feeling that I’m not so strange after all. I imagine most people who wish to go through a dietary change such as this must encounter this at least once in their lives.

One recurring trait he continues to mention and what stands out the most thus far is his shyness. From childhood to young adulthood (and for the rest of his life) he is crippled with shyness and mentions that this inhibited him from picking up new languages as a youth. Even as a committee member of a local vegetarian club he helped start in his area, he finds public speaking comes with acute illness and fatigue. He mentions that he has more control over this as an adult, but can never get over this feeling of being shy.

This got me thinking what are some traits I have that I feel inhibited to function as a “more normal” human being amongst other. If you would have asked me this question when I was still in highschool I would have responded with a studdor I have in my speech. I seem to have better control over it, but it is something I deal with every day. When it comes to making phone calls, to speaking with new acquaintances, to initiating a public announcement, I have trouble getting things started.When I feel this coming, I usually let most of the air out of my lungs and began my sentence with the last of my breath to ensure the words will come out smoother than the jagged cadence of a studor with full breath, which usually controls the problem.

Another thing is my preferences to physical touching with other people. This still stands today and to this day I cannot justify why I feel such a way. I know certain gestures exist to comfort one another, but for me, things like pats on the back, hugs, and even handshakes make me uncomfortable. My normal go-to greeting is me raising my hand to wave at someone from a distance. It has nothing to do with cleanliness or germs. Something about the physical act of skin touching another’s is an unsettling feeling. This is why I don’t hug my mom much anymore. While I associate myself as hispanic, I cannot honestly say that I enjoy or feel welcomed by the customary hug with a kiss on either side of the cheek. Heaven forbid after I’ve summed up the courage to greet people like this at a party, you then expect me to say goodbye and part ways with everyone on a one-on-one basis (just thinking about doing that gives me chills.) That being said, I have learned to set these feelings aside when it comes to the topic of significant others. I know that for the sake of the species, things like this need to happen, and I need to be comfortable with that.

I have tried and tried to figure out where this comes from, but have failed to find an answer. In reading this book so far, I have learned that hero’s have flaws, and that’s okay. Little insecurities like shyness aren’t so foreign and can have optimistic spins on them. For example, Gandhi states that he is glad that he reserves his words in such a way because there hasn’t been a single unthought word that has come from his mouth. While it may take him a little longer to respond. The listener can expect a well thought out response that is concise and meaningful. As for me and my dislike of being touched, I’m sure the time will come when I can put a positive spin on this. until next time….

-dfj

 

There is Nothing Zen About Spectating Sports

Now that the world cup is over, we can continue on with our lives and look back at what an amazing event that allows people from all around the world to interact and compete amongst one another in a game viewed all around the world. The fact that people from all around the world can come together and appreciate a competitive sport should be celebrated on it’s own.

Wait, is that not how the population celebrates sporting events?

Now that I have seen my first World Cup match, not only do I have something relevant to talk about amongst co-workers, but during the second half of the match I began to notice how passionate football fans take their spectating. You (the spectator) take your sports very seriously. Way more than what I could ever anticipate. Very few english words can describe just how many emotions people invest in watching sports , and how they choose to express them. Being from the United States, we Americans generally show our emotions through alcoholic beverages and through acts of belligerent violence. So it is a delightful change of pace to see spectators wearing their hearts on their sleeves and showing genuine pent of angst, and sadness when things don’t go their way. It takes a lot of bravery to show a vulnerable side of yourself for the world to see, and I commend you for that.

I do not consider myself a sports fan. While it fits the same literal definition, the term “cycling” and “sport” showed no correlation in my head. I biastly show a decreased amount of interest to things that do not involve two wheels, or in the general field of science. Even when I (currently) am watching every non-cyclist’s go-to conversation piece when it comes to that world (I am speaking of course about the Tour de France) I spectate from a different perspective.

As much as I would love to see the pro team who rides the same bike as I win every race out there, the realist in me knows that this is a highly unlikely event. My inner skeptic keeps me from committing to a particular team, or sometimes a particular rider. This leaves me with a more impartial frame of mind when it comes to the big race. I love the sport of cycling (even typing that felt a little weird) so much that I have grown to admire it and enjoy it in the grand spectacle that it is. An opportunity for riders all around the world to share the same road with one another, riding across the beautiful (and sometimes gritty and miserable) roads all over the world. This brings people from all over the globe together to admire one another and show one’s appreciation for both where they’ve come from, and who they want to win. This came across as more important to me than who will win what jersey. There is so much more to bike racing than the narrow idea of winning and losing. Sadly, cycling is one of the few competitive sports that seem to share this idea (that and the olympics.)

There appears to be a lot less comradery between sports fans, unless they happen to be rooting for the same team. Is it wrong of me to want everyone to be able to appreciate another team’s victory other than that of your home country? Or is it more fitting for me to think it’s normal for people to pout and cry over a game that they were not directly involved with and arguably had little to no control over? If it’s more fitting to take the lower, more childish road, I could (and still do) get a real kick out of watching others show tears of unmistakable sadness over “their” team that “they” are somehow a part of. While it is easy for me to take that lower road, another part of me longs for sports fans to appreciate the game for what it is, a game.

As glorified as sports like football and cycling have become, we must look back and see it for what it is. When we grasp the concept that such a simple idea as kicking a ball through a goal or pedaling a bicycle can provoke such a strong following and get people to travel all over the world just to watch, it is then that we can appreciate it from an impartial stance. Don’t get me wrong, football is a very powerful game with a serious following. I’m sure today’s match either made or ruined someone’s week. Now no matter what goes on for the rest of the week whether it be good or bad, fans still have to live and deal with the fact that their team either won or lost the championship match. Coping with this can be difficult and requires a large psychologic study I am not qualified to interpret, but this shows how powerful a sport like this can be.

To attempt to tie this all together, if instead of solely hoping, praying, and ritualizing your entire life around your home team to go for goal, instead try to see whichever sport of your choosing as one grand event bringing different cultures together despite whatever political conflicts we may have. This way we will limit ourselves from both feeling like the arrogant and snobby elitists of the world, but from feeling like our life has no meaning and that we must resort to acts of violence to justify our existence. Something about sports seems to get humans caught up in emotions on exponential levels, the same as (but not nearly as intense) as driving does. What I am trying to say is to figuratively ride the emotional waves that come with watching sports and go with the flow of things. If you lose, you lose, and if you win, you win. But don’t try and amplify your win or loss into something that it is not. Keep a happy medium and prevent the tempting extremes from turning you into an emotionally naive barbarian.

-dfj

TXIR

Thursday has come and gone. That is not to say that the day will be forgotten as soon as it passes by.

Let’s start with a new routine I would like to add  on top of the training I am slowly building a foundation for.

No brakes, no brain

No brakes, no brain

Now that the bike business is out of the way (and now I know I wont need to replace this chain after throwing it coming down this hill at fast speeds and bending a few links wedging it between the seat stay and the wheel) we can proceed with the evening.

I have a love-hate relationship with the city of Westwood. Recently the hate seems to be winning the battle of the two. With it’s ultra congested streets filled with cars and obnoxious students roaming around, behaving in ways that can only be described as, “barbaric.” I decided to venture on down for a free concert at the Hammer museum. I expected there to be some traffic once we got off the freeway, but not as severe as yesterday. There happened to be a movie premiere right down the street to which the cast of said movie was expected to show & was why streets were at a dead stop filled with black guys in black suits and matching sunglasses.

Seeing the way people in that city maneuver their cars was intimidating and inconsiderate to say the least. Every other car was throwing caution to the wind and put themselves in situations that forced other drivers to yield to them. Getting upset at this would have made things worse, so I tried my best to go with the flow and observe this side of the human race for what it is. I can say that I have never experienced traffic this horrendous in my entire life. I had to shut my car off at red lights to keep it from overheating. Not only that but the majority of the parking structure parked in such a way that it required a very uncomfortable parking job in an already stressful situation with an emphasis to make time to prevent my second radiator from exploding. After making loops around the area to find an ATM to pay for parking, we finally arrived and the first sigh of relief was had.

The last time I was here, it was for another free event catered to bikes. Needless to say, I didn’t encounter half the stress as I did Thursday. No movie premiere, no worries about parking, no cares at all. That same night the patio was the only part of the museum that was open. So I didn’t know what type of museum this was in the first place.

I was pleasantly greeted with a bunch of contemporary art and indie films that would seem cozy if you happen to find yourself inside the house of a serial killer.

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There was a lot of people there. On top of that, you had weird films and art to take in and admire. To add more to that, I was in an altered state of mind that made everyone’s conversations seem so much easier to eavesdrop if you were able to focus enough on it.

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Looking at all the weird indie films people put out, I was reconsidering not owning a television in my room. I would keep weird stuff like what was shown on repeat, for dramatic effect.

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There is a series of emotions and thoughts that the viewer is compelled to feel as soon as they see what is in the room. This subtle but aggressive approach felt very (in my imagination) empowering for the artist. A power I wish I had as much as mind control.

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One idea I found hilarious was that there is a crowd out there that sees all of this and loves every inch of art for what it is. Every second of film is gawked over with this enormous amount of pretension and smut. The thought of that crowd makes me giggle deep in my bones.

In between what was on the gallery walls, and the hundreds of conversations on the patio, I kept using the word, “stimulated” to describe my experience that night. As if my senses were working at maximum capacity, absorbing every sight, sound, and feeling that came with the atmosphere. We decided that we should find a suiting spot to see the band perform; and so we did.

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At this point the number of guests has probably doubled, but it didn’t matter at the time. We found parking, my car didn’t die, and I didn’t have an anxiety attack as a result. Whenever I go out I find myself distracted up until arrival of said event. I need to be parked, and know how to get to where I parked in order to finally let go of the potential stressors and begin to enjoy myself. Maybe this only happens when I drive (another reason to dislike cars as a whole.) We came to the conclusion that something about driving a car causes the driver’s emotions to amplify and the emotional walls we put up around others go away as soon as the vehicle starts. We feel invincible and impervious to the rest of the world. So when things like traffic arise, this sense of entitlement turns into confusion driven by anger and sometimes even rage. We become very emotionally vulnerable and wear our hearts on our sleeves along with our seatbelts.

Getting back to the concert. The band played well. The DJ sets that were before the band were very well thought of and transitioned incredibly well. We made it out of the parking lot in one piece and were no more than a mile from the freeway when the car died. We have yet to diagnose the problem, but after starting at the car for an unknown amount of time, it came back to life and we drove back to the traffic & worry-free suburb that is the valley.

From there I snuck into someone’s house with three other people dead asleep. In an apartment complex I could of swore had blood on the steps, in a neighborhood east of the 405, and parking in another place that tested my driving abilities yet again. The weirdness didn’t stop at the museum. I can’t remember the last time I was in a situation like this. It reminded me of when I was living in a not-so-nice neighborhood when I was about middle school age. Hanging out with your buddies. Not really being allowed to be where we were, but still hanging out because it was the thing to do. The feeling that things could go wrong very quickly and one couldn’t let their guard down too much for fear of getting caught. This along with the late nights of finding your way back home & observing the quiet and potentially dangerous streets on your way back home. It wasn’t the most comfortable set of feelings I’ve had, but it reminds me of my childhood.

It should be no surprise that I’ll be spending this evening at a buddies house, wrenching on bikes, in a safe and traffic-free environment. It might take the rest of the night to mentally digest all that ensued.

-dfj

Always Being the Good Guy

When all was said and done, I stepped back to reflect on the decision I had just made and concluded that this should come as no surprise.

I’ve done it again. I’ve pushed someone away after getting too close to me. I had higher hopes for this past experience, but in the end I goofed up, got cold & anxious, & put a stop to things before they had a chance to begin. I can’t say that all of it was bad. There was a point when I was stoked about the possible outcomes of dating. There is something about falling into the embrace of another person that is both soothing and terrifying. Most of us want a companion if only to take some of the lonliness away. I was one of these people. Once I had realized the lonliness had been kept away for an extended amount of time, I got happy. I still get happy at that thought. However with that feeling, other familiar feelings of relationships’ past arise and spark my imagination to wonder, “What if?” I tried to act like this wasn’t that big of a deal to me. I never wanted to talk about it since I know that would have introduced a lack of confidence and could be a sign that I want to abandon ship. Not talking about it didn’t seem to work in containing the issue. The same outcome was the result. That old familiar feeling of foreshadowing from experience is crippling.

I’m a decent human being. For the most part I like to think I have my head screwed on straight. After being with the same person for five and a half years I also know I have what it takes to be that ideal guy that most girls want. I can compromise, I can cater to the needs of others, I can be helpful and chivalrous. At this point in my life when I notice that I have to alter what I do to fit the traditional courting checklist, (being more formal, paying for more things, driving everywhere, and having to endure teasing in an intimate setting) I see these as red flags and have little endurance for this kind of dance. I realize the idea of a fairytale ending of being with a prince charming can lead to a romantic (and increasingly distorted) expectation. I’m just sick and tired of always being that good guy.

Why does it seem like everyone wants a life-long soul mate at this time in their lives? Why do we as a society want to get our careers so early in life so we can retire at a young age and presume we will change the way we’ve lived our lives into this completely different person in our retirement? Just the other day I heard someone say that nothing is sexier than a man in a fine suit. This is coming from someone who hasn’t seen the second half of their twenties yet. When did our standards jump up a decade into the suburbia lifestyle? I’m not saying that all of these sophisticated things are not appealing, I just don’t see why they’re appealing right now amongst twenty-somethings.

Mind you this last relationship/ fling wasn’t like that at all. I happen to notice a few difference I had foreseen growing into bigger problems I didn’t want to deal with now or later. Our progression was steady and while no specific language was used to suggest things were getting serious, I perceived certain body language, conversations, and habits could easily lead to another long term relationship.

Do I feel that I am not equipped to handle this? No. Am I willing and able to jump back into something I may be prepared for? No. Being with someone for five years has emotionally exhausted me into any signs that may look like another long term relationship. Maybe this is why I get anxious when things like this come up. It’s not that I see myself as a shallow person. I know we have flaws. Hell, I could go on and on about my flaws. I guess we all have things that seem to both appeal to us and push us away more than others, even if it is somebody who’s wardrobe primarily consists of suits and button-up dress shirts.

In conclusion, I’ve done what I do best and pushed someone away that seems to care about me. Another, “It’s not you it’s me” situation. Sorry for having this emotional anxiety but I would rather be alone than to be in the arms of someone else right now.

-dfj