Goodbye, goodbye.

Do you want to live a safe life, or an authentic one?

I’ll never forget the night that Alyssa, Nate, and myself spoke about the idea of moving to Milwaukee over a few glasses of wine. It was in the summer of 2010, one of the best years of my life - I felt invincible, but I was stuck. I was at a point in life where everything that I did was repetitive, endless, and wild. I wanted to step out for a little bit, and experience something different. I was 22, and craved change. This was a new chapter of my life, and as this chapter is coming to an end I’ve looked back at the last two years to reflect, reassess, and appreciate everything that I’ve been through. It’s been tough, it’s been lonely, but at the end of the day I have learned so much about myself, what I am capable of, and what I need to do to better myself. I don’t regret a single moment of it. I’m a better, stronger person now, and I’m not sure I’d be at the place where I am at in life, if I didn’t make a spontaneous change to grow up.

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I had an idea.

One that consisted of putting an end to seeing everybody’s and everything’s ugliness to start focusing on the more important aspects of life. What if you were to completely capsize on all the negativity you hold very dearly day in and day out? What if what you recieved in return was better than anything you’ve ever imagined? Better than any car, job, useless possession, or even more, money. What if you could trade suffering in for something momentous and beautiful? Every day opening your eyes and really seeing. Feeling, actually feeling life and all and the wonder it’s existence brings. Seeing, tasting, feeling, loving each and every single split second that you breathe in. Giving smiles instead of grunts and those now instinctual hateful thoughts consisting of matters that couldn’t possibly even count as a matter in the first place. Making jaw with random strangers letting understanding come in place of fear and angst. Granting your heart the right to see them, and who they are. Stepping together with people in lieu of stepping further and further away. Allowing complete opposition to your mind’s self importance. Manufacturing real relationships and connections rather than the same old out-dated, lonely “American Dream”, which could hardly even be called a dream anymore.  How about creating something new and give leave to producing new versions of what came before? Instead of falling asleep, how about waking up?

Just a thought. Crazy, Right?

What being thankful means to me.

I’ve always been the type of person to dwell on the negative aspects in life, when I should be keeping my focus on the positive things. I forget to sit down and think about the things that I’ve been through, the life lessons that have evolved me as a person, and the things that I am thankful for. It’s almost that two year mark since I’ve been in Milwaukee, and this whole experience has been so beneficial to me. I’ve grown up a lot, and I’ve learned that I have so many things that I am thankful for. It’s that time of the year for me where I look back, reflect, and take a look at the things that I’m thankful for. I should be a lot better about reflecting on things that I am thankful for, instead of just reflecting on one day out of the year. I promise I’m going to be better about that in the future. So, the whole point of this post is to write about some of the things that I’m thankful for. It’s 12:32, Black Friday has begun, we’re edging closer to Christmas, but nonetheless it’s a good time to sit down, and just write.

I’m thankful for being blessed with an amazing family that has supported me unconditionally, I really don’t know where I’d be without them. This distance has created a bond that has ultimately made us closer. I believe everything happens for a reason, and maybe leaving for a couple of years is something that I needed to do to make an even deeper relationship with my family. We’re not a normal family, we’re dysfunctional at times, but thats what makes my family so great. I wouldn’t trade them in for anything.

I’m thankful for my work family. I know my time in the midwest would’ve been cut short if I wasn’t blessed with this opportunity. I look at myself now, and I look at my last major job that I loved, Nordstrom, and I compare myself then and now. I’m a completely different person. I never thought working here would shape me into the person that I’ve become, seriously. I’m a lot more confident than I was two years ago, and although I was in a customer service position previously, It’s definitely become a bigger part of my life than I would’ve imagined. I’ve learned so much about myself from being here, and every day I’m always learning something new. It’s kind of hard for me to explain, but it’s changed me for the better. I’m so thankful to work with some really great people.

I’m thankful for being able to stick it out here for almost two years. To me, it shows that I’m a lot stronger than people give me credit for. I remember hearing from so many people that I’d be back within a month, and it feels good to have proved them all wrong. It’s so satisfying. I believe everyone should step out of their bubble, and experience something different. Life is way to short to be confined to doing one confined routine. Step outside, log off, and experience what life has to offer. I know people think that I’m crazy for just dropping everything and leaving, but they wouldn’t understand what this process has done for me, and I wouldn’t ever change a thing about it.

I’m thankful for the amazing friends that I have. I don’t have many friends out here in the midwest, it’s been tough, and I find myself being more of a loner out here, but I’m okay with that. I have more time to write posts like these. The few that I’ve made out here are definite keepers, and I’m glad I’ll have a place to stay whenever I want to visit. I’m thankful for making a friend that has put a roof over my head. I’m thankful for some of the greatest people that I know back home. It’s so great that I can just pick up the phone and call my friends back home, and it’s like nothing has ever changed, these are the best of friends.

I’m thankful that I’ve been so focused and so disciplined about not drinking and driving. To be honest though, it hasn’t been tough at all.  It’s been pretty easy. Good friends, public transportation, determination, and limiting myself from the scene, and the people that influence me to drink have really helped me stay focused.

I have so many things that I’m thankful for that I could probably write a book about it. I’m going to end this post with a few more things that I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for no more sick whiskey dick. I’m thankful for Britney Spears. I’m thankful for always being myself. I’m thankful for having a full head of  hair. I’m thankful for good Wisconsin beer. I’m thankful for good Wisconsin food. I’m thankful for my health. I’m thankful for adventures. I’m thankful for realizing what kind of person deserves me. I’m thankful for becoming more independent.

Thanksgiving is over. I had a great time spending it with Stephanie and Heather’s family. They’re pretty crazy, but I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. It was really great. I participated in Black Friday for the first time, and it was pretty crazy, but definitely an experience. Were inching closer to Christmas and closer to the new year. 2013 is going to be an interesting year. I’ll be 25, and I’m almost positive I’ll be ready to take that next step in this journey.

That’s all for now.

Jay-

2012, and the year so far.

Their are 365 days in a year. For some of us, that may seem like a very long time. A long time to make things right, to make a change, try something new, experience new beginnings, or end old habits. When I was younger, I used to think that having a whole new year ahead of me meant that I had so much time to do whatever I wanted when I wanted, and no fucks were given. I’m 24 now, and in a few months I’ll be 25. At my age, I’m realizing that time is so precious, an entity that we can never get back. It’s so cliché to think like that, but it’s so true. As amazing, upsetting, and adventurous as this year has been, 365 days doesn’t seem like a really long time at all.

It only felt like yesterday when I was sitting in the drunk tank waiting for the next chapter of my life to unfold. This year has been really interesting to say the least. After my DUI, I told myself that I wasn’t going to spend this year entirely drunk like I did last year. I made some changes, made some sacrifices, but at the end of the day I did them for me, and I’m a lot stronger than I was this time last year. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and passion to really make a change. I had to limit myself from engaging with individuals and situations that influenced me. Drinking, and blacking out almost every night was something that I had become accustomed to, and that person was never me. For me, life has always slapped me in the face when I’ve done something wrong. I can be lucky enough to say that I’m fortunate for that, because some people don’t get the opportunity of having a reality check by life, which usually means they don’t have an opportunity to do good again. I disciplined myself to never drink and drive again, or grab a cab if need be. I’ve accomplished these goals all year. Anyway, this isn’t another post about my drinking and DUI, so I’ll continue along about the year so far,…

Post-DUI, I was able to meet new people, make new friends, and create new memories. One of my new friends, Adam, let me use one of his passes for his airline to go out to California. I am forever thankful for that. I’ll never forget when I was picked up at the airport. I didn’t want to smile or show any emotion, because that is something I don’t like to give away, but seeing them all together, including my brother, was really great (anyone that really knows me, knows I don’t really have a relationship with my brother, and the relationship I do have with my parents is a quite different..). It was really great being back home. The familiar smell of the house, the new additions to the home, my amazing bed, the room that I grew up and spent most of my nights in, and my amazing family. Initially, I was really bummed I didn’t go out to party, and do fun things with my friends while I was there - mainly because my license was revoked at that time, so making plans was difficult. I realized that it didn’t really matter to me, because when I come back to Milwaukee, I can go back and do my thing again (in moderation, of course. ;P). At that moment, all I wanted to do was just be around my family, my dog, and be at the house. It was a whole year since I had seen them, and to just want to make plans without them was extremely selfish on my part. It was a short trip, but a really good one. I spent much needed quality time with my family, and the few friends that I needed to see, I spent good time with them as well. I miss it so much there, that sometimes I wonder why I’m still here,..

Cue into summer,… It was an interesting one, that is for sure. At the start of summer, I had met a lot of new people, did fun things, went to new places, revisited old places, made new memories, ended friendships that needed to be ended, and started to fall for someone. Summer love what a concept that is, and I’m not really sure if completely understand it. Don’t be confused with where I am going with this. I didn’t fall in love with someone this summer. I believe that I experienced a form of that concept whilst getting to know someone. You can’t help but develop feelings for someone when you’re constantly around them for three months. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. In August, at the end of the summer season, we decided to be friends. I can’t, and won’t put myself in the position of being friends with someone that I had strong feelings for because it wouldn’t feel right. I did take a lot out of this experience though, I had a lot of time to reflect, reassess, and move on from this experience. I’ve learned to accept people for whom they are, accept their past, and give people the benefit of the doubt. Not that I haven’t been like that forever, I guess I’ve just been a little bit more open minded about it during this whole phase. I’m never going to settle for anything less again with someone, because I know I deserve the damn best. We all do.

It’s mid October already, and I still can’t believe how fast this year is flying by. Before you know it’s going to be Thanksgiving, and if it isn’t the end of the world on the 21st, then we might just make it to Christmas, and then into the new year. The leaves have turned their color, and it’s just been so beautiful out here. The temperature is dropping, and it’s time to bring out warmer clothes. I’m not particularly fond this time of the year because I enter hibernation mode. Hibernation mode just really sucks if you have nobody to spend these cold nights with, unfortunately. Their are 74 days left of 2012. These last few weeks I’ve been making changes to get ready for the upcoming year. 2012 was great, but 2013 is going to be the year where I start making big changes, and start growing up. I’ll be 25 next year, and it kind of terrifies me. I’m trying to be optimistic about it, but I definitely have some growing to do. I need to get my finances in check, and just focus on me for once, and not anyone else.

Jay-

Love.

Love. Such a fragile entity. You have it, then just like that, you don’t. No different from winds among a lonesome ocean. Warm bursts of energy crashing upon dark unknowns, deep watery storms of passion flowing through the crest of each and every wave. Reminding the universe it still exists, with fervor and magnitude. Manipulating it’s element swirling it round and round until soft and sultry. Skies melt into shades of summer and autumn swiftly changing seasons without warning, without knowing. The seas turn cold, preparing for hurricanes and frost. In the absence of doubt committing it’s existence to the summer breeze. Praying for the warmth of a thousand suns to finally kiss the surface of it’s icy threshold and melt the arctic winters built up inside for what feels as an eternity.

Change is the only constant.

When we say things like “people don’t change” it drives scientist crazy because change is literally the only constant in all of science. Energy. Matter. It’s always changing, morphing, merging, growing, dying. It’s the way people try not to change that’s unnatural. The way we cling to what things were instead of letting things be what they are. The way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones. The way we insist on believing despite every scientific indication that anything in this lifetime is permanent. Change is constant. How we experience change that’s up to us. It can feel like death or it can feel like a second chance at life. If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, go with it, it can feel like pure adrenaline. Like at any moment we can have another chance at life. Like at any moment, we can be born all over again.

Is this the beginning of the end? Or the start of something better.

“When journeying down the long dark road, we must continue on and never give up faith we’ll one day reach our destination - no matter how ugly that road appears before the naked eye.”  - Reed Murphy

Well, it’s finally caught up to me. At least I think it has… All the mean, evil, tormenting things that I’ve done to other individuals, has finally caught up to me - rightfully so, and I can admit that. Karma sure bit and left a bruise, right on my ass.

December 24th, 2011 changed my life, and for the better. I drove drunk, and got busted for it. You’re probably wondering how something like getting a DUI can change my life for the better right? Well, I wanted to start up something where I can talk about it, see the progress that I’m making, and possibly connect with other people that have found themselves in the same position, or are currently going through this as well. It isn’t easy, but it’s better to let things out in the open, then remain silent with nobody else to talk to. If I did that, I would probably have admitted myself to an asylum years ago.

It was an stupid mistake. I’m so very thankful that nobody was injured, because even how bad I felt, and how much I hated myself for this, it could’ve been worse, way worse. Somebody could’ve been killed, and I could’ve even possibly killed my friend that was with me. I’m so thankful that it wasn’t extreme like that. I was extremely lucky.

I honestly didn’t think I would be going to jail that night. I don’t know why I thought I would be able to pass the tests the officer was giving me. Yes, it was cold, and yes, it could’ve impaired me even more than I already was, but I was foolish to think I could get away with it. It didn’t hit me until I found myself in the back of the police car, on my way to a holding room for the next few hours. I will never forget these events, ever.

I felt so hopeless, and not in control while I was on my way to the police station. The thoughts of having to call my parents on Christmas Eve to let them know I was in jail killed me. I was worried I was going to lose my job. I was worried that everything was going to be over for me. Everything I had learned, and worked for this year would be gone. Thankfully, I have a supportive family, a good job, and positive people around me to keep me going. I do not know where I would be if I was all alone.

During the booking process, I had to take a breathalyzer test, and I blew a .14. The legal limit is .08. If I were to blow a .15 I would have to have one of those IID devices installed in my car. I am so thankful that I didn’t blow that. I remember taking my photos, and asking the guy right after, “So, how do I look?” with a grin on my face. He said I looked great. I was then put back into my holding room for the next few long hours.

Their was another man already in there. He was laying face first on one of the seats passed out. I sat down, thinking I wouldn’t be in there for that long. Hours went by, and I knew I was going to be in there for awhile. I laid down, and attempted to fall asleep. An hour or so went by, and another man came in. He was drunk, but seemed friendly enough to let me know why he was in there. I was confused, and scared, and didn’t feel like opening up to anyone in there. Another hour went by, and another man came in. I know I shouldn’t judge, and I’m trying really hard to work on that, but this man really scared me. He immediately came in, kept looking up at the wall, and walking around. I pretended to be asleep so he wouldn’t start to initiate anything with me. He ended up not being so bad. Just another human being, who made a mistake.

The next morning I was so paranoid about work. It was the number one thing on my mind. “How am I going to get ahold of them?”, “When can I make a phone call?” I kept asking myself this. They finally opened the door, handcuffed us, and took us into one of their vehicles, and drove us a few blocks away to get booked. Fortunately for me, since I still have my out of town drivers license, I didn’t have to stay to long there. They drove me back to where I was being held, and the officer, who was pretty kind, told me that he’d let me out in five to ten minutes. I was so happy to hear that, it was finally almost over. I hadn’t eaten, and was extremely starving by this point. I had a cup of water at the booking station, but it came from the sink, so one cup was all that I wanted to drink. As I was leaving, I asked one of the cops if I could use a phone. My cellphone wasn’t brought with me to the station, whoever checked my car decided to bring my iPod instead. I called a cab, and drove down to the tow lot to get my car. It was closed.

I started to panic, and didn’t know what to do at this point. I was disappointed, and felt lost. The nice cab driver that I had, Vik, took me back home. That trip cost me $60 bucks! (42 for the trip, and 18 for the tip). I got home, and immediately told Alyssa and Char what happened. I’m so glad that Char has her connections, and that her lawyer was coming over in a few hours as well (coincidence?). I was relieved, but still very shaken up. It’s really sad how much we depend on our technology these days. Our cellphones, our iPads, tablets, computers, etc. I felt a loss because I didn’t have my cellphone. How pathetic is that? I laid in bed, and didn’t even know what to do.*Skip this part if you don’t want to read anything dirty.* Usually when I’m in bed, I am looking at porn, flirting with someone on some stupid iPhone social networking app for a moment, just so I can get off. I couldn’t even do that. *Ok back to normal.* 


Char’s lawyer friend came over finally, and I let him know what happened. He told me what I needed to do, and when to call him, and the best thing about this, is that he was going to help me free of charge. I’m so lucky when I say that I have some of the best people that truly care right by me, and sometimes I fail to notice that they’re there. I shouldn’t do that anymore.

The next three days were filled with so much anxiety, stress, and a brain that was on the verge of exploding. Google, and Yahoo Answers were my best friend for the next three days. I was so confused with the court system, how things worked, and the different state laws regarding a DUI. I needed to educate myself so when Tuesday came, I would know a little bit more with what I was dealing with. You’d think that would’ve calmed my nerves a bit, but it didn’t do much. I kept feeling so anxious, and nervous for the inevitable that was coming. As the days went by, it got easier to feel somewhat normal again. But, I had no cellphone, and no car. I was stuck at home, with nothing to do. I played Skyrim for a bit, which took my mind off of things temporarily, but not enough. The one thing that I’ve always hated about myself, was how much I over think everything. It never gets me anywhere good, but I continue to do it anyway. Perhaps I’m a little bit insane. I know I was driving Alyssa a little mad because I kept asking her the same question a thousand times. Now she knows what it’s like to deal with my mother, whom I love so very much, but she is exactly like that. She asks the same question a thousand times. I probably get it from her. :)

It’s Monday night, and for the first time in a long time, I started to say a prayer. I have always believed in God, but as the years go by, my devotion hasn’t really been there. I was brought up a Catholic, and do have my beliefs. I prayed for something good to happen on Tuesday, for things to go my way. I prayed for strength to get through all of this, and to carry on with my life, and make sure something like this never happens again. During this time, I just felt so sad. I miss my family so much, and I hate that we’re so far away. I’ve never done anything like this by myself, and for once, I’m taking care of business on my own. I’m finally growing up.

It’s Tuesday, the big day. Surprisingly my nerves aren’t as worked up as I thought they would be. I’m thinking it’s because they’re finally glad I’ll figure out what will happen today. I get up to go to court, but apparently I have to come back at one because they do not have my file ready. Okay, I’ll just go to the lot and pick up my car. Char waits with me at the lot, and I so thankful that she did. Unfortunately, the title and registration wasn’t enough for them this time. They needed a signed notary letter from my father telling them to release the car to me. Okay, no big deal, just another little hump. I’ve made it this far, I can keep going. An hour or so goes by, so we decide to get a few errands done, and have coffee at one of her favorite little diners. It was a nice little time there. We finally go back, and wait about 45 minutes for my car to finally be released. I’m so glad to see my car. The first thing I do is to check for my phone. BAM! It’s in one of my compartments. I was beyond relieved to have that back. I was so scared that it was going to get stolen. But, who in their right mind would steal a smartphone these days, most of them have GPS now, so they’re easily trackable.

I drive back to court, get ready, and wait for everything to take place. I end up being put in branch 2 with a bunch of juvenile kids, and one man that is around my age, probably a little bit older. My nerves were out of control. I have the worst stage freight, ever. I’m watching the judge, and he doesn’t seem like a bad guy. He was approachable, and you can tell he was a good person. I’m sitting waiting to be called, watching these young kids go up, and thinking to myself that I’m so glad I wasn’t in their shoes at that age. I hear my name, and I walk up with confidence. At this point, I feel a little bit more relaxed because I knew what I was going to say, “Not guilty”, and that was that. He set me up for a pre-trial date for the 30th of January, and I exited the building. I honestly didn’t think it was going to be less than a minute up there, but I’m so glad it was.

A big sigh of relief came about me as soon as I exited the courtroom. I’m finally done, for now. I know I’m going to have to pay for this for possibly the next six or seven months, but I’m okay with that. I know I shouldn’t of done what I did, but I did it anyway. It was a stupid mistake, that I know will never be repeated again. You live, and you learn. That is what I have always told myself. I can grow from this, and become a better person. While I was sitting at the tow lot, I was listening to someones conversation. It was a guy, and I’m assuming a girl that he was with. He kept telling her that maybe her car being towed is going to set something in motion for something great to happen. I am starting to believe that for myself. I do believe everything happens for a reason. Maybe I needed this to happen to me to get my shit together.

I immediately went to AT&T to get my phone activated. I saw the assistant manager that had helped me on the 24th that I was really rude to. I wanted him to help me again, because I wanted to apologize for the way that I treated him. I was really hoping that he would be the one that helped me, but he didn’t.

The way that I’m looking at this is, maybe this is just all the bad karma finally catching up to me. I knew it was coming, I just didn’t know how, or when it would all fall into place. I can only go up from here. After being let out of court, I felt something strange, I felt like I needed to be nice to strangers, and not be such a cold bitch to everyone. Be kind, and be courteous to those you meet. This is definitely the first time in years I have felt such a strong presence of change come about me. Maybe this is the wake up call that I needed.

I shouldn’t be out drinking every night. I shouldn’t be chasing someone that has no interest other than being friends with me every night. I shouldn’t be placing other peoples lives in danger every time I decide to go out for a drink. I shouldn’t be judging people right off the bat like I always do. Their are a lot of things that I shouldn’t do, and I plan on correcting them with this wake up call. Sometimes things in life have to happen in order for change to happen, whether it be bad or good. It’s an opportunity for me, to make things better, and to grow as a person. I’m really good at growing from my mistakes, and have no doubt that I will overcome this. I might become weak at times, but deep down I know that I am a strong person, and capable of doing anything I put my mind to. I get distracted, but thats human nature. Nobody is perfect. We make mistakes, we fall, we don’t give up, we overcome.

I’m really excited to go to work tomorrow, and the rest of the week. I am so thankful for that. Their are so many individuals out there who are dying to get hired anywhere. Myself at one time included. I enjoy my job, and I really enjoy working with the people that I work with. I couldn’t ask to work with a better team. It’s only been four days since I’ve been gone, but it feels like a month.

During this entire process, I’ve become close to these quotes,

“Bad company corrupts good character.”, I first heard this from Kevin Fronczak. Rest in peace Kevin.

“Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” - Bill Cosby. We become the company we surround ourselves with. I know I won’t be able to hangout with a lot of the alcoholics that i’ve met out here. I love them all, but I can’t have that be a hobby for myself anymore.

and one of my favorites that I read about an hour ago,

“I have discovered that life doesn’t actually knock you down. It does, however, price you with many opportunities to evaluate your standing in life: what you stand on, what you stand for, how you stand within yourself and for yourself.” - I Vanzant

I don’t think I’ve ever written this much in my entire life. It feels so good to let it all out. It’s no good keeping everything in. It’ll drive you mad, and hopeless. I wanted to start this so I can keep a constant reminder that I need to fix my problems, to quit drinking, to get my life together again, and to quit chasing after someone that only wants to be friends. I hope to meet people that have had the same experience as me, and maybe even connect and share words of wisdom.

Jay-