Breaking Down Walls

The Beginning – The 30 Day challenge

In the last few years I have been attempting to build a life for myself that I could be proud of and that I could look back on as full. I believe that life is for living, cliques I know, but I don’t want to grow old having more regrets than adventures. I may not get to everything that I want to do but I am attempting to taste as much of life as I can 30 days at a time.

I have taken on 30 day challenges that motivate me, that teach me, and that test me. I have given up television, porn, and alcohol. I have edited my diet, been vegan, been Paleo, been sugar free, given up fried foods and have been a water champion (a gallon a day). I have read book and written journals, listened to music and watched movies, done yoga and exercised daily, all for 30 day challenges. Some of these events tested my patience and resolve. Some I didn’t finish and some I have continued with after the 30 days had passed.

The last challenge took me off of social media. I was not allowed to log into any of the socials for any reason. I could communicate through text and phone call but could not peruse the life events of my friends and family. I had discovered that I was losing time in my life scrolling. I found that I was becoming addicted to the scroll. I felt like I couldn’t stop checking for the most recent updates. I was not sharing my life but I wanted to know everything about everyone…FOMO. The challenge was 1. to test my will against this new addiction, 2. to regain the time I was losing, 3. to determine if there was any reason that I could justify needing social media, and 4. to see if anyone would notice.

I have to say it was harder than it sounds. I experienced ghost messages (I felt alerts happening although I wasn’t logged in). I found myself in the early days reaching for my phone when I was bored or just out of habit. As the time went on I found I did get more sleep, I found I had more time to relax. I was not getting as anxious about my phone not being in my hand. My battery life on the phone improved and I didn’t need to ‘like’ anything or comment on anything. After I returned to social media I found that I really didn’t miss anything. I have seen that I have begun to scroll at an increased pace and the sleep has reduced. I may have to get off of socials for a longer time but that is a challenge for the future.

One drawback was that I don’t think most people noticed that I was not on the socials. I have to admit I did not feel good noticing that I didn’t receive many calls or text or wellness checks. I wondered what would happen if I just stopped communicating with people that I associated with. How long would it take for anyone to notice. Why? why did I feel so forgettable? I have to admit this realization did a number on my ego. I wondered if I misjudged my impact on my friends and families lives. I wondered if I had seen the relationships in an exaggerated light.

Luckily, a friend reached out to me a few days ago and I was able to get some perspective. I was told that I usually speak in broad terms and was made aware that I was very guarded even to the closest people around me, I don’t share stories or my past or what I’m going through. This was an opinion that I had to agree was very true. I realized a couldn’t expect anyone to want to care about me if I didn’t allow anyone to get to know me. I can’t just be a passenger in the relationships in my life. I have to share and be open. So, I have decided to break the walls down.

For the next 30 days I will be an open book and will share daily on this site, not just the good idea of me, but all the crumbs and dirty bits that may be painful to share. For better or worse I will be digging into the dark corners but at the end of this 30 days, if you follow this, you should have a better picture of just who I am.

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Day – 30 – Fin…for now

So almost 30 consistent day of blogging have come to an end. This is it. This is day 30. What did I get out of this? Well, I think I was able to provide some really good inside into who I am and my history. Some of the stories didn’t include some details only to protect the innocent. Each entry was like a reopening of a scar but I think they all helped me heal. I know some of these post have been long but I hope that it helps the readers get to know some things about me. I have other stories but they could incriminate too many people.

I will continue to blog on a less regular basis so I can get into the next 30 days. About that, I have the next 30 day challenge set to start tomorrow. I have a goal of drinking 1 gallon of water a day and to sleep 8 hours a night. Now these sound easy but realize it is almost 1:30 am that I am writing this. The other problem is that drinking more water means more peeing so I will have to hit the restroom more often. Hopefully my management understands what is happening. With the 8 hours it will be tough since my body is use to going to bed late and up early.

Although, some of these posts were difficult to write and took time they were all special to me. I appreciate everyone that followed this block or that took the time to read the posts. l hope to keep inspiring people. I hope to keep opening up to all of those people close to me and strengthening my relationships. I learned that I could write a little and that I might have found a hobby I can keep with. I love you all and it’s Fin.

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Day – 29 – Until the Wheels Fall Off

All I can do is laugh sometimes. I had a car issue this week. Well it has been an ongoing issue for a while but I decided I needed to get it fixed. My budget has been tight for a while but with a car payment I would have to get that second job I don’t want to get. Anyway, I worked with a great mechanic and he ordered the parts and gave me a fantastic family price. I paid him and set a date to get the repairs done. The plan was to get there at noon and back by 4. Well here is where the plans and reality love to make jokes. The parts I needed were great but the then other parts went bad. So I paid for the new parts and I thought okay pay it now and then don’t have to worry about a car issue for a while. I got home about 9pm. The car felt great and I was feeling optomistic.

This morning I was a little behind on time and as I left a black cat walked in front of my car. I am not superstitious but hear me out. I got into the car to discover my new favorite jeans had a hole in the leg. I didn’t have time to change so I went to work and hoped that would be all of the stress I would face.

I got through the day and planned to do two blogs, this one and my final of the 30 days of blogging. I got home and grabbed my laptop. I got back into the car and got a call from my mother. We were catching up and as I pulled into the parking space I noticed a new shiny “check engine soon” light came on. I turned the car off and back on and the light came back on. I turned it off again and popped the hood. I checked the one thing I thought it could be, the oil. It seemed low so I figured let it rest and see if the light would go away. I would put oil in the car and hope to not see the light, but it came back up. I called the mechanic in hopes that he would have a great simple fix.

He explained that I need to have it scanned and that the oil would not show that light. I went to the local car parts shop and they gave me the code. I called the mechanic and he explained what he felt the code meant. Another will need to be purchased and he will come to me in a few days to hopefully fix whatever this fresh nonsense is. I am frustrated but like the survivor that I am, I will get through this and deal with the bigger issues in the road headed my way.

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Day – 28 – Art-fart (totally unedited)

I have an affinity for the arts. Music, acting, dance, visual arts, Martial, body, you name it I like the arts. I like beautiful things. I try to find the beauty in everything. This is one of the broad terms that I express. So here are some more direct examples of how I take in the “arts”.

I am a lover of music. I usually have to be in a mood to listen to certain styles. This evening I started by listening to a mix of jazz. I got tired of that, it was making me sleepy. Then I moved over to listening to Skepta and Stormzy…2 of the UK’s best known Hip Hop artists. Then as I am writing this I am listening to ASAP Ferg. I might change over to some 90s Nine inch Nails before I shut down. Earlier I listened to a DUB mix….perfect smokers mix (I would be such a pot aficionado.) I can listen to almost any type of music and appreciate the hard work the artist, the band and engineer put into that 4 minutes that I hear. I listen to the music and the lyrics so it is always interesting to hear something new when you are listening to a song I’ve heard countless times. Check out the podcast Disect. The host breaks down albums and give so much insight to the artist and the details of their work I have had to listen to albums and songs I thought I knew and it becomes almost like a college course.

I love a good story. I usually invest time in movies and shows that touch my story bone. I loves certain books for the same reason. One thing that I do and can be annoying to others is actively try to figure out the course the show can go. I can usually predict what the creator of the show is attempting to accomplish and what the story will be. There are shows that catch me off guard. Game of thrones was one of those. I watched the first season and thought I had it down until the main character was killed at the end of the first season. They had me from there. I immediately read the wiki on the stories, got all the books and read them and became a fan craving more. That is what made the end so disappointing. It came in with a roar and just died with a yelp. Most shows have a problem with ending in my opinion.

I love martial arts. It started when I discovered the Saturday afternoon Kung-fu movies. The movies were silly but the choreography was amazing…also the english voice dubs were hilarious. I am now a huge fan of mixed martial arts. I respect the development and the bravery of the fighters. I usually like to study the fights and see try to see what the combatants are attempting to do. What new techniques will they attempt? The little things that they do, the tells of what they will do next. It is an amazing sport to watch. I know this is probably why gladiator sports have always been so popular.

I love visual arts I love to study the famous pieces that everyone knows. I think about how they did these master works with out any technological assistance; how they mixed colors how they developed their skills. I know I don’t currently have the steady hand for it. I love how I can look at a Dali painting and find something new every time. I love learning about new artist and seeing what they can put together that hasn’t been done already. Their stories are often interesting as well.

Along with paint I like good tattoos. The artistry is incredible to me. I like to learn about the stories behind each one. Some mean something some don’t. I could never decide on something I would want on my body forever. I would rather visually take them in and be impressed by the details and the originality. I hear it painful and addicting to get tattooed, so it’s a good thing I haven’t gotten one.

I love the beauty and artistry in nature. The colors that occur naturally the sounds of a water fall or the ocean, animal calls, even the wind. The human body is incredible if I think about it. It all works together to allow us to move. It’s impressive if you look at how one defect can change the way the body has to work. Nature creates some of the most amazing art. I love the colors in eyes and structure of a symmetrical face.

My current biggest artistic love is comedy. I love to laugh. I love all kinds of comedy, juvenile and intelligent all the same. When I get down and need a quick distraction I will turn on a comedian special and 99% of the time I feel better in no time. I love the way the jokes can seem so simple but if you break it down it is very scientific. The timing has to be on point. The punchline has to catch the audience. The comedian has no time to win over the audience. It is amazing to hear about comedian techniques and how some attempt to push the audience to almost hate them just so they can practice bringing them all the way back. I love to learn how much time is put into making the joke better. It is one of the only jobs that I know that the person doing it has a really good chance of getting boo’d. I wish I could boo people I work with…lol.

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Day – 27 – Good L Hunting?

Life and plans, man!.. The one laughs at the other. When I was little I had plans. I listed out my life in 10 year gaps. Most kids look at their parents and know they will surpass all of their expectations. I was probably single digits years old when I knew by the time I graduated 6th grade I would be top of my grade. I would be top of my grade all the way through my life, I just knew it. I would be the smartest kid ever. I would be a genius and would make tons of money. I would be married by 24, kids by 28, house cars, rich by 35. (I don’t remember 35, but not even close to the plan).

Well then came life. I was in the third grade, a latchkey kid, and I hated reading. My hand writing was not the best and that meant I would probably be a doctor. When we moved from Newark to Orange NJ, I was anxious about going to a new school and meeting new kids. What if they were as smart as me? They couldn’t be, I was the smartest kid in the country. I had won an award when I was in the second grade for winning a spelling bee…already a genius. This would be a breeze.

When you enter a new school in those times you had to take placement tests. It was the beginning of standardization. So as the genius it would be no shock if I tested smarter than the teachers, right? Well there was another shock and challenge I needed to face. I would enter the 4th grade at a second grade reading level. It was discovered I had an issue with reading comprehension. I could read the words but no idea about what they meant as a story or as a thought or idea. I couldn’t truly understand what I read. Some call it a learning disability…you wouldn’t hear that once in my house. To my parents it meant books 24/7. It meant we had to read together out load and talk about what we read. Genius boy had a problem stacked on a problem. I had to read to get out of reading. For that, I was not a fan of my parents then, but later I would love them for pushing me. So within half of a school year genius boy became more genius. I tested again for my reading and guess what happened….I tested now at a 5th and 6th grade level. I had read myself into a higher reading grade. I was put into the gifted program for the second half of the year. You couldn’t tell me nothing!!!…I still wasn’t a fan of reading but I couldn’t say if was unnecessary. I kept on excelling and graduated elementary school as Valedictorian…That’s right smartest kid in my class.

So the plans were moving along. I would go to middle school and breeze through that i thought. I still don’t understand why they couldn’t do 2 Valedictorians in middle school…I was robbed. Second in the class?? How?? we both had the grades…it has to be the teachers liked her better..Salutatorian? this was bull$h)#! The first plan edit.

Side story when I entered middle school I had a teacher I would never forget. Ms. Stewart. I tall women, probably in her 30. As an adult I could see her being attractive to some men but as a kid she was someone not to be messed with, she could beat up all the men I knew, I thought. When we met, she was not impressed with my top of the class achievement and told me straight up, “we’ll see Mr. Valedictorian, we’ll see.” There were times in that year the I really was a terrible student but I fought and clawed my way back to the top. Despite my efforts to be lazy she pushed us, made us do the work. I do still recall her pulling an Undertaker and lifting one of my classmates by the throat off the ground to give him a good talking to about his behavior in class. He was only slightly smaller than me…She was a giant of a woman. (I wonder if that is a fetish trigger for me?…I’ve dated tall and small…hmm, may need to look into that.)

Seriously, that is what it looked like.

Anyway, we moved again to Florida. The sunshine state…the place that felt like some crazy, leave it to beaver episode come to life. “Why were people waving at us…who the f*$K are they waving at?” “Where are the sidewalks…where is the corner store?” Who are all these white people?” My first days of high school as the new kid from up north were disturbing. The kids sounded dumb to me…why are they calling me “dog”? I’m not a dog. Both black and white kids just sounded like Andy Griffen or Gomer Pyle. So I would just have to be the best student here…should be easy with these idiots in my class. My parents and I met with the guidance counselor and I would have to test. They were too impressed with my middle school grades; the had to be sure I thought. The counselor explained the levels of schooling I could achieve…honors classes, AP classes, dual enrollment into college…they might as well just put me in college. My ego was really stroked taking those achievement tests. I mean, they were doing addition and subtraction and basic English. Any of my middle school class would have excelled in this backwards state. I tested into Algebra Honors, Biology Honors, all the Honors except for English…WTF!…I couldn’t get into English honors because the class time conflicted with History Honors or Gym or something on the schedule. I went from being with the smartest kids to the not so smart kids…lol. (Forgive my ego). It was such a joke that it became embarrassing to me and the class. When we took exams in the class the teacher would make me move my desk next to hers so other people couldn’t cheat. I would constantly be done and waiting for them to finish in that English class. The teacher knew I was in the wrong place. She rallied for me to be able to change my schedule so I could get into the honors class.

I was smart but far from a nerd…lol. I learned to vibe in all groups…the northern kids, the smart kids, the spanish kids, the funny kids, some of the athletes, I could slide in and out of groups at lunch easy. I only didn’t mess with the “red necks” we just knew that wouldn’t work out. Although I did learn about Wranglers and Ropers along with Z-Caverichi and those giant bangs the girls seemed to battle over…they just kept getting bigger and more and more hair spray.

One of the biggest lessons I learned was that I was not the genius of this school…there were some real brains in this school. Some kids my age tested into AP classes. How dare they be smarter than me? Know that hormones killed the genius and the plan went from running this thing to graduating in the top 10%. It was a goal I would not hit by the time I graduated. Girls, man. They stole my attention and I forgot all about being the smartest kid. I would see the guidance counselor at the beginning of senior year (the second time we had talked in 4 years). I needed him to explain what I needed to do to get into a college and get some scholarships. What I hadn’t done was figure this out freshman year. What he hadn’t done was remind me or my parents or any of the families that didn’t know better that we had options. When I spoke with him that second time he explained to me I should have been working on this from at least the 10th grade. “Oh I was supposed to know his job in the 10th grade and know what to do to get into college as a kid.” I had AP classes and honors classes and dual enrollment classes but I hadn’t taken an SAT or ACT, I hadn’t gotten letters of recommendation or applied for any scholarships. I hadn’t applied to any schools.

The plan shifted to just get into college and graduate, become a doctor, and then life would still be a breeze. Well then alcohol, freedom, women, and poor decisions happened and college took a little longer than necessary to complete. Dr. Lewis wouldn’t be happening. I should have opened that Chemistry book at least once. Somebody decided to get married and divorced before I would finish.

No one prevented me from doing what I needed to do, I was the person in my way at all stages. I made a plan and didn’t truly fight for it. I thought it would be easy so when it didn’t just land in my lap or go according to plan I just moved the plan. I am flexible in life and I can survive in any environment. I may not be the genius by school standards or mine but I am no dummy. It is also never to late to get back to it and crush it.

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Day – 26 – Learning to be Better

Today I got frustrated with a problem, but I am proud to say I made myself let it go…for a time. I have a couple car issues. Today I spent a decent amount of money for parts. It was probably half the blue book value of my car. My car is paid off and I haven;t had a car payment in almost 7 years. I do not want a car payment at this time in my life but I need my car to work.

I was frustrated because I do not have complete control of the situation. I don’t want to pay for car repairs but I don’t want a car payment. I want to be in a situation where I can decide if I want a new car and just be able to do it without thinking about a payment. I don’t want a severely used car since that is a ticking time bomb. I really don’t want a new car at all right now. I love my car.

To get to the other side I realized I will get past these issues. It isn’t anyone’s fault. This is just a test of my patience and life has much more important issues. I reached out to some people and asked for good news. I reached out to people I hadn’t talked to in a while and avoided sharing the problem but trying to share good information. I fell into my good place…I listened to some Dave Chapelle and I felt better. The car will be fixed in a few days and I can move on from there…Live in the now and don’t sweat the small stuff.

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Day – 25 – Hypocrite Patience

I am a hypocrite sometimes…I have been trying to work on my patience in my life. I find that I have to talk myself into being patient with text replies, email replies, conversations, people and even with myself. I hate to have to wait on most things. I tell myself to just “wait, relax, it’s okay”. If we text you might notice I usually hit you back pretty quick. I am usually then waiting on a reply like right away. I know this not always an option or that sometimes the person in communication has other things going on. I know these things but still have to remind myself so I don’t get agitated.

I get impatient with the people I talk to at work on a majority of my interactions. I want them to give me the problem or the info and then shut up. I got it from there. I don’t want questions I don’t want comments or jokes. I just want the facts and then silence….lol. I am such a hypocrite because if they rush me I sometimes slow down. I also hate when I call someone else with an issue and they just are cold to me…I am a work in progress.

I trained my classes to be patient with customers. I trained them to think about the person on the other end of the line and to put yourself in their shoes. Your help could be the difference between that person getting through an issue or losing it all. I preached it is easier to get them on your side if you treat them well. As a hypocrite I usually judge my callers poorly. I usually don’t laugh at their jokes or make any attempt at conversation.

I am impatient with plans. If we make plans I need them to be precise and definite. Yet I hate to make decisions on the plans. I usually end up showing up later than the time expected. I am working on that. I just hate being the first one at a party…lol. I like the plans to go off as intended or at least to start the way they were planned. They can change after we meet up.

I have to learn to be more forgiving and patient. I know I can go too far sometimes. Recently, a co-worker pulled a prank on me. It was innocent..he moved my chair to another desk, about 5 feet away. Well I was not in the mood for it, and I started working out in my head the retaliation. I was not thinking of a joke I was thinking how far I could go without losing my job. I thought about tire slashing and dismantling his chair. I thought about taping his entire desk to the roof. I thought about moving his entire desk to the hallway or bathroom. I thought about taking everything off his desk and spreading it out throughout the office. I thought about putting his items in jello ala The Office. In the end I found an identical keyboard, cleaned it, switched keys on the keyboard, put his in his drawer, and plug in the decoy. It worked so well he couldn’t log into the computer and began asking if we had network or computer issues. He rebooted several times. He asked another co-worker to make sure he was typing right. He couldn’t figure out why when he typed the letter l the p showed up. Once he discovered something was wrong he began looking at other keyboards and wondering who did this to him. The other co-worker asked him who he had pissed off that would do this.

I let him off the hook with a warning. I asked him if he wanted to keep going or if he wanted to end it. He decided to end it. The entire time I felt like a psycho, just repeating “don’t touch my stuff.” I rationalized that he started it and that if he wanted to go further I was more than ready to make his work life hell. Now most people would say “he just moved your chair.” I know I wanted to go too far, but I just wanted to let him and anyone else that wanted to be cute to know that sometimes I am not so “nice.” Please encourage me to be patient.

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Day 24 – Head High

Altered states…I have only ever had the grace to deal with one drug in my life..alcohol. Alcohol came into my life as a problem only in college really. Of course as a child I had tasted the stuff but I had not cared for it. I was not a fan of beer or any hard liquor really. In fact I really only really enjoyed the sweet tastes when I was a child. Peer pressure and curiosity were what drove me to even attempt to drink. Although, I never smoked or snorted or injected, drugs have been available since high school. Actually, growing up in NJ, it wasn’t strange to see vials of crack on the sidewalk on the way to school.

One night while I was in the 10th grade I went out with some friends and we were supposed to go bowling or that’s what I told my parents. We ended up just driving around. The thing about driving around was there was never much direction. Fortunately, the guys I hung out with all looked older. They also knew the one liquor store that did not card. My buddy asked us each what we wanted. Being the innocent goof I was I asked for a Mystic. Since it was a new drink most people did not know it was just juice. When he returned to the car he asked to taste it, thinking it was some sort of Mad Dog knock off….LOOOL. I almost got thrown out the car. The laughs they had off of me….Anyway, I was given some of a 40oz to wash away the taste of the fruit juice. I was told to never ask for a Mystic in that car again. The rest of the night was spent driving to the beach and around the city looking for ladies and trouble. It was a good night.

As far as other drugs go, I was not a fan for three reasons. I didn’t want to get addicted to the altered state of being high. I didn’t have any money for it, although I could have it for free and lastly to set an example. The last reason is why I still haven’t done any other drug. I’ve always agreed that everyone can do what they want with their body and lives as long as it doesn’t effect mine in a negative way. If you want to smoke or shoot up or do whip-its go for it. I just don’t want any accidents or arrests in my story. I always thought I would have kids, so I wanted to be the one example in their lives that could say you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. If they choice to, then so be it, but they could never look at me and say “well you did it too.” I wanted to be an example that said you can make your own decision, you don’t have to give in to peer pressure it was your choice to do it. That is how my warped mind works.

There are so many gadget and options I know me and I would spend money like crazy just to play with new types of pipes and new vaporizer. I would have countless grinders and lighters. The keef would just be everywhere. Edibles have tempted me since you know, food. Who doesn’t like a cookie? Terrible people don’t like cookies.

High school was the first time I saw a half a brick. The story goes, a 13 year old car thief had stolen the brick from someone and wanted to sell it. Another acquaintance was the middle man and a third was asked to chop it and sell it. It didn’t look like much but thousands of dollars were on the line. It’s funny how easy it was to find the right people. That has been the case all my life. I always somehow knew how to find the right people. I won’t give anymore direct stories on the matter here. They are not my stories to share this way and lets keep it all legal.

As much as I haven’t touched anything I am not against it either. I am a advocate for the use of Marijuana. This came about from doing a research paper on the plant in collage. The information that I learned about the plant was surprising and impressive. The healing factors and alternative uses for the plant presented a solid case for it to be legalized. It has been a while since I did that research but I am glad to see that the tides are shifting from the propaganda to the reality of why it should be legal and states are starting to make it legal. The plant itself does not present any waste. The oils, and medication that it produces are only part of the story. The clothes, paper, and rope are another side. The benefits of the plant goes beyond the THC effects in it’s chemistry.

Nino Brown, shut the Cater down….I secretly imagine how I would run my empire…lol. Don’t worry I would never. Too much headache and people management. Some one always talks too much.

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