Personal

“This clock never seemed so alive”

Pardon my morbidness, but hasn’t 2019 felt like a decade than just the punctuation to one? The events of 2016 seem like a distant daydream in hindsight. And maybe in 2022, 2019 will feel just the same. I guess it matters on a certain point of view.

It’s easy to focus on that bad. (And that’s not even considering the political aspect.) Buried my cat and two of my son’s fish. Worked under one of the worst supervisors I’ve had in all my working years. Witnessed the breaking of a fellowship. Lost some good coworkers and one of the best supervisors I’ve had at the library. And I learned that the one coworker who helped me survive and manage the 2018 Summer Reading Program would be leaving us before Summer 2020. A terrible Star Wars sequel.

And though bittersweet, I made my peace with my estranged father the night before he exhaled his conclusive breath.

But I shouldn’t ignore all the good. All the changes, some that I wanted to implement for years, that came into the children’s department. I spent the majority of my days reading. The memories made. Gaining a new supervisor whose visions will continue growing a department I’ve held so dear to my heart. Knowing that no matter who I lose in this job, that the teamship I helped cultivate will get us through. The smile spread across my sick father’s face when he realized who I when visiting him at the hospital. Gaining those few moments that I longed for so much in my adolescence. Knowing that he got to meet Shaun before he died.

And those hours spent talking to a person who makes me feel less like the monster and more like the person I aspire to be.

And as I stare into the mirror, seeing my disheveled hair glint more each day with the flecks of white growing in, I know that my time spent here isn’t for nothing. I don’t pretend to know what the future holds. Or if the next year will be better than this one. Or that the next decade will promise something spectacular.

I do know one thing, though…

Stream of Consciousness

“I still don’t know how I even survive”

Mornings aren’t any easier. Thirty-five years old, still trying to make sense of the world. On more than one occasion, adulthood has felt like a child playing dress up. Wondering when it’s suppose to set in. Wondering why it’s even a struggle to comprehend the roles we’re given. Punch in the numbers. Punch in the clock. Going through the motions without feeling. Punch out. Go home. Sleep. Repeat.

It’s easy to feel jealous of the youth and all their wasted potential. Ever wonder what you’d do if you could do it all again? Probably make the same mistakes. Just with better technology.

Saw a kid with Apple AirPods the other day. Nothing looked more ridiculous. Disembodied earphones. Fashion statement or poor design? Or brilliant marketing tool of making something so ugly into something you’ll dish out hard earned cash for? Saw an adult with Apple AirPods the other night. Skimming a novel. Nothing looked more pretentious. So desperate. So utterly sad, pathetic.

It’s all so overwhelming in this underwhelmed society. Moving on with the new fads. Thinking of starting a podcast. Thinking of starting a side hustle. Thinking of writing a book of poetry. Lyric essays. Short stories. Feeling trapped in myself. The world is just bleak.

Doldrums

Work & Other Bad Ideas

What’s that old adage? Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. Yet, I love what I do. On paper, it’s the best damn job. At the end of the day, week, month, year, it’s taxing. Draining. My mental health is on a decline. Think my blood pressure shot up tenfold this morning alone. On the brink of tears, I sat on the cold cement bench pondering the repercussions of just walking away. Just leaving. Not tell a single soul where I was going, what I was doing. Just walk and not look back. I haven’t felt this low since the field manager of a baseball team threatened to choke me. The fact that the harassment endured matches the level of the threat of physical harm proves the toxicity of the workplace. 

Happiness

When I think about it, I overspent my time in the pursuit of happiness. That wasn’t living. I overcompensated for my shortcomings. Held on to dreams after they reached their shelf life. Not every dream is worth chasing. I learned that too late. 

I kept wondering when I’d start feeling like an adult. And the answer is, whenever I stop worrying about it. When I stop asking about it. Maybe I’ll never shake the feeling of being a child playing dress up, but who cares? I have half my shit together. That’s better than some people who still strum their guitars and dream of making it big on stage. And if that’s your life and you’re content with it? Who the fuck cares what I think, right?

Happiness is clutching a new book. Buying the new Kindle Paperwhite because you can afford to make a small splurge. It’s surround yourself and building memories with people you love. 

Phase 4

And it’s ok to feel like you’re growing out of your comfort zone. Sometimes I wonder if it’s not time to divorce myself from this blog. From my apps. Maybe a trial separation? Or maybe it’s time to return to my original pursuit? Return to my roots.

Sometimes it’s fun to just explore what’s out there. Find a new experience. Allow yourself to just take a risk. Damn the consequences.

Does that mean what I think it means?

The more I hold back, the less likely it’ll lead to ruin. That’s what I tell myself, right? Because would it really be that bad if things don’t go as planned? The best laid schemes usually don’t. What is worse—the failure or the wondering?

These movie nights are less about the films we agree upon. They’re just my way of being close to you. Spending time with you. And maybe that’s all I need right now. And maybe somewhere down the road, it won’t be. And I wonder if you feel the same way. 

If I’m really honest. There’s only one way I’d like this to work out.

I hope that you don’t think I’m rude…

Personal

Simple Little Bookworm

There’s a question I hate and it’s been asked a lot. I’ve mentioned this before. At lunch, I settled down to the stir fry. Made it the night before for lunch in hopes that my bank account will thank me later. So after reheating it, I sit at the table. My copy of M. R. Carey’s The Girl with All the Gifts is left to just the side. Meaning to read it as I eat, of course. Though, I’ve never been able to read at eat. Watch TV? Sure. Play a video game? Yup. Work? Why not? But not read.

Most civilized societies know what certain social cues mean. An open book or wearing headphones/ear buds means the person is not open for a conversation. A closed book, on the other hand, means you’re about to get asked some personal questions. Questions that you’ve managed to dodge for a while now.

“So Guillermo,” the unwanted conversation starts, “are you in school?”

“No,” I respond.

“Why not?”

“Graduated already.”

The conversation veers a bit, but it’s back on track soon after. Why aren’t I looking into a graduate program? She thinks I would enjoy the library science program. It looks like it would suit me. “Have you thought about going into computers?” “Yeah, I thought about code before,” I say. It’s a half-truth. I did look into it and felt unbelievably bored looking at all the nonsense. Sure, it’s important nonsense; it’s just not the sort of nonsense I’m into.

“You’ll regret it when you reach my age,” she half concludes. How much older are you than me, lady? “Did you ever think about going back to college?”

“Sure. I thought about pursuing my MFA in creative writing. But I stopped writing a while ago.” Again, not entirely a lie.

“If I were you, I would have published a book by now.” Yes, because it’s that easy.

I finished my lunch. I grabbed my book. I left the lounge. It wasn’t abruptly. I’m not that rude. I hid in the supply room and read my book.

Work has been pulling on my nerves. Yesterday, I had a small lecture about a text sent after seeing nothing was set up the day because some oaf didn’t pick up after himself after Saturday’s event. The text was misconstrued as angry. I have to remember that this isn’t the team from the past. They’re not used to my nuances. They’re not too sensitive, and I can see how I was in the wrong. Suddenly feel like others are seeing me as the loaded gun with a hair trigger. It’s utter nonsense, I’m sure.

No matter, though. No matter how bad my day goes, our text message conversations eases it. We talk nonsense. We talk about work. We talk about whatever comes to our minds, whatever our imaginations give birth to.

And that’s something to look forward to.

Personal

Clearing My Head

I’ve been thinking about going back to school these last few months. [Redacted] just feels like a dead end these days, and even if I were up to getting my MLS, that is the last place I want to use it for. I’m not even sure if the fools in charge are aware of running an art department along with a library (because, let’s face it, [redacted] is less and less a library these days).

I guess I’m bitter. With all the reports and memos and complaints filed at HR, nothing is changing. And while it’d be a dream to just up and quit, there are several responsibilities that need to be taken care of. School seems like a pipe dream. Besides, I’ve been out of the education system for so long. How will I adapt to going back? How much of my “knowledge” has been forgotten? These days I find it hard just to find the right word.

Nothing inspires me. A mixture of apathy and ennui, I am foggy headed.

Looking into MOOCs, I found a nifty one called Future Learn. I joined some courses and am getting back into the habit of having student responsibilities. Joining discussions. Taking notes. That sort of thing. None of these courses are worth a damn outside of knowing a little more on certain topics. They’re fun. Educational. Time consuming, but I’m working at my own pace. Which is something that going back to school wouldn’t allow me. Baby steps, right?

Personal

This isn’t a post.

“So I heard through the grapevine you’re something of a good writer,” he tells me. It’s a few minutes past eight and I feel the regret making use of the network of veins. It starts at the arm. Spreads up to the heart. Bursts throughout body. Boils up my neck. Ends at my right eye as I suppress a tick. I needed to sever this grapevine like I’m straight outta Compton.

Instead, I smile. It’s not every morning that I start my day with a compliment, no matter if there’s an obligatory solid embedded deep within. I’m not a good writer, but I write well. I may not follow prudent punctuation rules, and I have a hard on for vernacular and using words and phrases like hard on and vernacular. I’m not newspaper friendly, and I have a bit of a potty mouth when I go off on one of my fun little rants. Since I started working as a cataloger at [redacted], writing press releases have become something of a fourteenth nature. To date, I wrote about ten pieces and only manage to see three published in the newspaper with another online. I don’t count the last one because whoever at [redacted] is responsible for editing gutted the piece and I only recognized the title printed in bold upon the disembodied disappointment.

So in less than half a year, [redacted] managed to do something that not even the most vile college professor could: I hate writing. The sad part is, I feel adolescent when I complain about work. I can hear the clickity-clack of my fingers pounding on the keys of my laptop and all that lies in front of me is the verbal vomit of a high school freshman on the verge of his umpteenth meltdown. No matter how much I remind myself that I took on this job in order to provide a better life for Shaun, it’s hard not to see my grip on reality and sanity loosen with each passing day.

Writing started as a way to break from my introverted shell. It acted like an inexpensive counselor and morphed into something of a passion. Soon writing became an emotional thing. Sometimes, even sexual. I carry my black bible of a journal around with me everywhere I go in case something springs up while I’m out. I feel naked and alone without it. I scribble words down while I watch Shaun play at the train station in Barnes and Noble. I scrawl words down as I act as voyeur in a café. When I’m with my friends, I’ll write something they said down the moment it slips from their lips.

If natural writing is heavy on my mind and mood, imagine what forced writing does to me. Forced writing is the fracking of the writer’s mind. Sure you stand the chance to gain something beautiful and well-crafted, but at what consequence? The depression slips in; the anxiety builds walls around me. There are things I do that keep me focused, and I get smirks, jabs, and snark for them. This turmoil—probably an exaggeration—I find myself in exceeds the emotional state I experience after writing an entry, a post, a poem, a story. The process leaves my mental self weakened, like a Hemlock Grove werewolf changing during a non-full moon. And each time, I feel that part of my creativity slip.

Or maybe I’m just making all this shit up.