This blog is dedicated to helping me discipline myself on my writing practice. My goal is to try and write as many memoirs as I can on a weekly basis while hoping that you will also enjoy them. I believe that a writer is at their best when they express everything, so I will do my best to not hide or conceal anything in my stories.
If you’ve read my past posts you’ll know of all the times I’ve been jumped on a daily basis in high school. I’ve built up a physical endurance to pain and had gotten stronger from them, but while they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, there are certain damages that are left permanent and unscathed from time; broken trust. They cut deeper than a knife and the wounds are left in your heart, lingering unforgotten.
When I was younger I had what I thought would had been one of my best friends in life. We’ve talked of childish dreams of growing old together with our kids sharing the same friendship we had; it was all ignorant talk, said at a time when we both knew little of the scope of life. But that’s how close we were, the world our playground. We did a lot of things together, and even in those boring memories we cherished them, because they involved us two.
I’ve heard of a psychological term from my friend once called “finding the underbelly,” which means digging out the true nature of a person. The first couple of interactions with people are muddled in formalities, and then you start feeling each other out after the third or fourth meeting, settling on how your friendship was going to be like. I’ve always thought I knew this person like the back of my hand, but it’s always funny that guys show their true colors when women were involved.
I knew he was a player and protected him from those that tried disparaging his image. He was my best friend, I didn’t care what he did was wrong. Bros over hoes, he told me that himself, and I believed him. I believed in a lot of things at that time, I was too trusting. He always told me he had my back and would kill a (expletive) for me. I ate that up and thought we had a mutual level of respect for each other, which was why I turned a blind eye to all he did wrong.
There was a girl that I somewhat liked, and although she didn’t return the same level of interest, there was something there, so I pursued it. My best friend gave me pointers, who had thrice the experience on me at the time, so I followed what he said. Things were up and down with me and the girl; it went well, and then suddenly it didn’t. The chase went on for about a month, to which I finally gave up knowing she wouldn’t brook her stance on me. Which bothered me, because no guy likes to admit getting rejected, but that’s life, and I knew I would get over it.
And then one day, when I was hanging out with my friends, I caught my best friend, and the girl, making out in the living room. My heart tightened, my breathing patterns going haywire at the sight of it. I wanted to beat the living shit out of him; I wanted to disappear off the face of the earth. I didn’t want to be there; I wanted to forget I ever saw that. All that friendship we’ve collected shattered in mere moments.
In the months that followed things were different with us. I acted like nothing was wrong, but I’m terrible at hiding what’s really on my mind. He confronted me about it a couple of times, sensing the drift, but I never wanted to rekindle it; I wanted it to sizzle out. I hated him, and even to this day, with all the years that had past since that incident, I’ve never forgiven him.
What bugged the hell out of me about was all the implications that one event dawned on me. Our friendship was built on lies the entire time. All those flowery words of brotherly affection was drivel to feed into my trust. He never respected me, or he wouldn’t had done that. He never valued how I felt. He was never really my friend. I was played for a fool. In the grand scheme of things that girl I liked never mattered, but she exploited my friend’s underbelly. Words were empty to me from then on.
Broken hearts were often committed by couples in a relationship, but mine was shattered by one of my best friends. I’ve learned from it, but my heart didn’t harden, it’s as soft as it always been. Broken trust, it cuts like a knife, and leaves a wound that never disappears.
As you get older you start carving out your social circle of people that you will probably be friends with for the rest of your life. If not, you at least have an idea of what type of friends you want to surround yourself with. Growing up I always thought that being able to be friends with anyone was a matter of social skill; your expertise as a conversationalist determined your ability to win friendships.
When I was 17 I was the young gun in the crew. Everyone was significantly older than me and had a taste of what it was like to live in the world. I always saw it happen in movies, but I’ve never had a first hand encounter with it. I never partied before, but when I went to my first party, I fell in love with it. I was a fresh slate soaking up these new experiences, my personalty constantly bending to conform to adapt to these social situations.
Though I was part of this crew I was also the youngest; I was usually with them, but was seen as that guy. I thought it was just a matter of being at their level of game; the ability to pull the girls they gamed or talking and gaining the respect of bigger heads in the clubbing and party scenes we were involved in. If I could do what they did, I could be them.
Years later the crew sizzled out; internal drama made us quarrel and everyone ended up doing their own thing. I joined a new crew, around my age this time, and right from the start I was seen as them. I wasn’t that kid in the back that everyone forgot. I was one of the main guys that if you mentioned us, I was one of the people you thought of. At least that’s how I saw it; I was the wild party guy that was down to do everything, and it was hard to forget me. This was my crew, the one I felt most comfortable with.
Me being that hungry young cat always looking for more, I tried going up. There was another group of friends I got really close with one summer, and I was cool with all of them. Though when they had a party and I finally entered their scene, I was the one that was the outsider. I was tight with the people I knew, but not everyone else. I tried talking with the people in that party that I didn’t know, and those I did get acquainted liked me. I still talk to some of them to this day. However I still felt out of place. There was nothing wrong with me at all; I totally fit in with them, but it wasn’t my world.
At one point I tried being that freelancer that had so many connections and networks of friends that I could hop onto any crew at my own convenience, but it doesn’t work out that way. It made me realize…no, it made me value the crew I roll with now. Friendships aren’t reflected on the perfect execution of day to day interactions. I thought a friendship was over once it got awkward, but that’s far from the case. Friendships aren’t constructed on your level of ability to hold a conversation, which was my life long belief, but it’s fueled by a greater design; to find a circle that suits you and to devote your time to that world.
I’ve been writing long writing proses since I was 11. At that time I absolutely loved video games and wanted people to hear my opinions of them, so I submitted reviews across different websites. Some of the more popular games were saturated with reviews — Final Fantasy X, Metroid Prime, Halo, just to name a few — and the websites demanded a higher word count to repress submissions. Some went as high as 1750 words.
And this was a problem for a lot of us because there wasn’t enough to talk about to cover the insanely high word demand. Most reviews rattled on issues that were not issues at all while others cluttered theirs with adjectives and fillers. Those got annoying to read; a simple sentence would be repeated in different words. Some even tried cheating the system by copying a paragraph twice or thrice and pasting it across the review. I’ve thought about doing this, but a lot were taken down and I didn’t want my hard work to vanish. What I did was meet the word count head on and try to enhance what originally couldn’t be enhanced. It forced me to be creative. They weren’t pretty at first, but I got used to it.
There’s a website that I was particularly found at submitting reviews to. They held review contests that occurred on the daily in a secluded and low-key forum. All you had to do to enter was submit a review and it would automatically be judged for that day’s contest — that is if the critics could get past the first paragraph or sentence; a lot of them were terrible submitted by my age contemporaries; other 11 year olds like me, or so it seemed like that. The rankings were the standard gold, silver, and bronze models with up to five honorable mentions. The reward was the gratitude of knowing that for that day, you wrote the best review. The highest I’ve ever finished was bronze, and that was on a slow day. I was always stuck in honorable mentions hell but I aspired everyday to earn the gold medal. I rented games every other day, sometimes not even finishing them, just to have something to review and finding ways to go around my incompletion for that game.
One day a reviewer created a thread in the forums and asked us all what our ages were. Most were between 20 to 25; a couple that were on the wrong side of 30; only two of us were under 19. One of them was 18, and he always gave off the hint because other than me, he was on the short end of the stick for the contests. And then there was me, 11. Of course, all of them were shocked to hear me say that. Their first reaction was to outright accuse me of blasphemy, so I took a picture of myself and uploaded for them to see how 11 years old I was. Some continued to push the issue and asked me to write something on a piece of paper with my username on it. I did and I held the paper next to my face.
A couple of people held onto their belief I was a liar and accused me of using my brother to pose for me; most of them were still on the fence, but some did believe me. It’s not like I was the best writer from the lot of us, and I was making grammar mistakes you normally don’t learn to fix upon until high school or college. They agreed on one thing; my future as a writer was bright and if I learned how to write better, it was only a matter of time until I start getting golds and silvers myself.
My writing followed me in school. Some of my reviewing peers were teachers themselves so I expected to get the same praise from mine. Assignments posed no challenge and it always amused me when my classmates would complain at how lengthy they would be, not being able to complete them cause they were too difficult. My teachers kept me after school and made me write paragraphs to make sure what I was writing was mine. When I proved myself they all came out impressed, and the smile that I could never hide on my face showed a kid more proud of his work than nervous of being exploited. They all always agreed on the same thing though, you can do better.
Man was I cocky though. I looked forward to english homework just because it was so easy. As expected I was getting A’s on all my assignments. The teachers would often edit the paper and leave me a note on where I could improve as a writer. Seldom did I ever read them, and never did I heed the advice. I mean shoot, here’s an 11 year old kid with a bright ass writing career; I had all the time in the world to improve.
My act wore thin though. My teachers really reached out to me, sometimes even begging me to stay after school for just a half hour so they can help me. They knew I wanted to be a novelist and did their best to guide me through that path. I never did stay after school, unless it was because they forced me to stay so I can prove that I’m doing my own homework. Little did I know back then how much I took all of that for granted. Though it were my fellow reviewers, the ones that pumped my ego so big in the first place, that were fed up with it. They also gave me advice and told me my most damning mistakes—tenses, comma splices, and truthfully I never got over the latter problem until just a couple of months ago—and some were even willing to completely revise my reviews.
The review contests were not meant for online bragging rights amongst faceless users across the globe, they were about improving and developing each others craft by offering constructive criticism. It’s the younger minds that often improve the most, but I saw the least of it. For years I plateaued and never accomplished much. I was just as good of a writer at 11 as I was 13, or 15, or hell even 17. When I read my past reviews and compare them to each other, the improvements are incremental in spite of the large disparity in years and all I could think is how much of a fool I was to let a couple words of praise inflate what little of an ego I had. I’ve changed my ways and have asked my english professors to help me overcome my bad habits just the past year. I improved a lot more in just a couple of weeks than I did in 10 years by myself. And to think I could have been doing this all along just because I let some premature success let me get the best of me.
A birthday is a special occasion that comes once a year dedicated to you. It’s meant to be a special event where all of your friends come together and celebrate joyous memories. It’s a wonder why it’s everyones’ universal goal to not remember it. Sobriety is the last thing on anyones’ mind, and that’s no different for me. However, I wanted to remember my 20th birthday, at least I planned to. Fate had its other uses for me.
I was thrown a party with a friend who shares the same birthday as I. Happy Birthday banners were spread across the entire apartment room in pretty pink and hello kitty decorations. Me and the other birthday celebrant wore party hats only we wore. Not many people yet, it being only 9:30, but we decided to pre game to get ahead of the inevitable craziness that was bound to spiral out of control that night.
We took a shot. No big deal. Although it being my birthday, I was obligated against my wishes to take shots with everyone that came in through that front door. I wanted to pace myself and dreaded taking birthday shots. 4 or 5 shots of henenessy and whiskey, no big deal. 10pm, I was feeling it. More people, more shots, I wasn’t done yet.
10:30pm, this is when it went downhill. I love drinking alcohol. Whiskey, vodka, 151, I’ll take them all in. Though I have a kryptonite, and it’s Jagger. I feared that drink; it was associated with too many bad memories. Seeing someone walk in with that big thick bullet proof see through bottle with its black venom jiggling back and forth made my stomach queasy. It all seemed to have happened out of my control. Big smiling friends pour shots of Jagger for everyone, I was given one, and through instinct, I slowly brought the miniature cup over to my mouth, and swallowed it down.
I’m good at keeping myself near the tip of the hill with my alcohol, but this single shot alone threw me over it. I was piss drunk.
I played a game of beer pong with a friend of mine. Since he had to head home in half an hour, he couldn’t drink. The torrents of black venom that was already pulsing through my system made me forget reason, and I offered to drink all of his beer. At the time I thought since he’s going to stay sober, he should be hitting his shots, right? I forgot to ask him if he’s ever played before.
Apparently the two guys we were up against were Jordan and LeBron at beer pong. They couldn’t miss a shot. Balls back, explosion, same cup, left and right I always had a red cup in my hand, doing my best to keep up with the neck breaking pace of the match and avoid a death cup.
The last thing I remembered was a friend of mine entering the second floor apartment room, and I abandoned the game to hug him. After that everything came in segments. At one point I was sitting in a chair with a blowup doll in my right hand and a Taylor Swift CD in the left. And another where I was throwing up over the balcony while saying hi a couple of my friends that just arrived and were going up the stairs.
I woke up the next morning thinking “Oh shit, the party is over already?” The sun is out, the tenants were cleaning the place up that was filled with shoe prints and beer cans. I asked them what happened, and they looked at each other, giggling. I knew I wouldn’t have liked what I would have heard by then. “Where do we even start?” said one of them.
My friend was having an argument with his girlfriend in the kitchen away from the party. I wobbled my way towards them and started weeping. Not just crying, but weeping like a kid. And apparently I told them “If you guys aren’t having fun, then I’m not,” while weeping. I’m close to both so it didn’t sound too out of the picture that I would have said that. I wanted to be spared the pathetic details and asked no further of what happened with that incident.
That wasn’t the worst. Me and another friend of mine Adriana like to argue. We never take them seriously though, we always know we’re joking around. That’s our relationship we have and we’ve always been tight. Alcohol threw the “we never take them seriously” out of the window, and the arguing became real. We were yelling at each other at the top of our lungs that it could be heard a block away. No one knows why it started. Adriana, after we settled our differences and made up, didn’t know why we fought in the first place.
Adriana was crying and was being attended by all the girls in a room trying to calm her down. She sent out a green light on me to get my ass beat on twitter and men all the way from L.A. were inquiring about taking the bounty. My friend, the one I weeped for when he was arguing with his girlfriend, talked sensed into her, and she tweeted “never mind red light.”
There’s more that happened on a smaller scale, some bizarre. One of them was when I was supposedly repping Carson like I was in a gang. I’m not even from Carson. Another was when I poured myself a full red cup of whiskey, but drank out of the bottle itself, rendering my previous action useless.
Hearing these stories the next morning gave me a good laugh, and theoretically I should have had fun, but I didn’t. I had a hangover that lasted for 3 days. And I’m one to cherish memories. I made none that night except acquainting myself with a blow up doll and throwing up all over the apartment. I’ve done some crazy things before when I was drunk and I love revisiting those times in conversations with friends. But weeping like a baby in front of my friend and his girlfriend and getting in a fight with Adriana? I don’t remember any of that.
Hearing that those things happened to me, but not remembering them, lacks its authenticity that I can’t enjoy. It’s like those children’s picture books where you can cut out a picture of yourself and place it in the book so when you’re reading it, it looks like you’re the main character. I’m one for good memories, but not ones I can’t remember.
During the first 18 years of my life I’ve always spent New Years with family. I would be playing Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64 or talk about Pokemon with my other cousins while the parents gossiped or played mahjong. Upon moving to California, family parties became a bore for me; no cousins of my age to associate with and I often spent them by myself in a room, or if I couldn’t find an empty room, a bathroom. Through this my parents respected my wishes to celebrate the new year with my friends.
Three years ago I was with my two friends Drew and Bob and we were on our way to a New Years eve party. We got there and Drew had the hots for this one girl Amy who was our connect to the party. She introduced us to the people she knew there; they were chill and we took a quick shot for “new friendships”. They learned quickly of my drinking tendencies; I never paced myself and drank as if I were drinking water. Normally I would be able to hang, but I barely ate that day so the alcohol hit me faster, and harder. Even before midnight I was already hammered.
My vision became hazy and I greeted every single new face that came through the door, stumbling and mumbling words and all, as if I were the one hosting the party. There was a large dog they owned, and—I think—I spent ten minutes tickling its stomach and the back of its ears. When midnight hit, I took another shot of alcohol. And just because I wanted to, I took another shot by myself. That was the last of anything I remember. I scarcely remember talking with Amy, and although I have no memory of how our conversation went, I remember I was flirting with her.
Two—I think—hours later, I was in the bathroom, with Amy, the door shut behind us, our eyes closed, and our lips caressing each other. I said to her “Your lips are so soft…” and it was the only other thing in that ten seconds that I remember of that night Two—I think—hours later, I’m slugged across the backseat of Drew’s car with my head sticking out the car door. Puke is brandished all over my area of the backseat and when I titled my head to my left, I saw a zig zag trail of puke across the street, leading to my mouth. Crazy ass night, I thought to myself. Drew drove me home, though while I was still drunk, I felt that he was being a bit cold to me.
The next day Bob explained everything to me. It started around 11pm when I’ve already taken three shots and gotten myself drunk. My new “friends” all lined up shots for us all, but only pretended to take the shot so I would take mine. This repeated itself a couple more times, even before midnight. I was flirting with Amy at around 1pm, which I expected, to which Drew was venting to Bob about. I had forgotten that Drew was interested in Amy, which explains why he was a bit cold to me while I was being escorted back home. Bob dropped an even more surprising twist; I was making out with Amy’s friend too, before the my short honeymoon in the bathroom with Amy. That same friend who I touched lips with ended up throwing up in the kitchen because me and Amy had the bathroom occupied.
Supposedly that was the start of a lot of drama. Amy was embarrassed and venting to her friends while throwing up, Drew was mad at me I got at Amy, and I was carrying the dog around like a baby all over the house, as I’ve been told. And then out of nowhere, I started crying. I don’t know what I was crying about, but I was. Bob didn’t stop there; we got kicked out of the party, because of me, but I wanted to stay and started a scene in front of the house. I stood there in the middle of the room, and as if I was suddenly induced with a sleeping potion, I tumbled onto the wooden floor, hard. It took four people to carry me out and throw me onto the backseat. I guess that started the part of the night past midnight where I remember anything at all.
Crazy night, although just ten months later I experienced a blackout even worse than that.
Amusement parks, a shared pleasantry amongst most young adults. Who can blame them; the thrills of being suspended high in the air before the big drop, your face battling the rush of wind while your stomach turns into water, experiencing even for just a moment a teaspoon of what birds live their lives doing. The sudden rush of adrenaline is addicting that most cherish and cater. Count me out of that group. Well, not entirely.
I love many of the thrills that roller coasters provide. Being spun in a full circle, or climbing a steep hill at neck breaking speeds, or my favorite, going so fast that your words and screams are already left behind you before even leaving your mouth. I love those moments. What I’ve come to loathe are “the drops.” I’ve built up my tolerance for them in baby steps, but I’ve always been on the side of the line that has not yet embraced the feeling of the drop. What I found the most frightening was before the drop; the roller coaster would purposely slow its pace to a crawl in order to stretch out the excitement, or in my case, anxiety. Though I suppose that’s normal for a lot of people, and they would learn to enjoy the ride while they are dropping.
After all that painstaking waiting, the drop falls on you in a sudden rush; you start falling, meeting the ground below you. All thoughts in that moment are thrown away, for the thrills are overwhelming to comprehend anything else. On paper it sounds exhilarating. I found it the opposite; after getting out of the ride, I would feel like a defeated soldier who’s happy just to be alive. I’ve always wondered why I’ve never enjoyed these experiences as my peers do. It should only make sense; I’ve always been known as the guy to try new things; the adventurous type who would choose to take the shaky path full of rocks and inconsistent elevation over the flat and hazard free road, just because it provided a minor thrill. And yet I couldn’t handle “the drop?”
Back where I lived, Ohio was a days trip away, and in the state was home to the mother of all amusement parks; Cedar Point. I’ve always thought this was where I developed my fear. Every ride that wasn’t made for a child tested the limits of your stomach. Mine always felt like the butterflies trapped in me tried fighting their way out. I’ve probably been to that park three or four times, and although I’ve tried building up my tolerance for the rides, my attempt to seed fondness for roller coasters was merely incremental. I’ve always wondered why. Then, just four months ago when I braved a ride that swung from one angle to the other like a pendulum for five minutes, a memory that I thought long forgotten tumbled down from its attic. I don’t know if this was the cause for my fear for “the drop”, but I don’t find it a coincidence that I remembered it either.
In elementary school there existed a recreational equipment called monkey bars. It looked like a stair of metal bars sideways held up by two other stair of bars on opposing ends, and they were high enough so your feet wouldn’t be touching the ground while you swung from one bar to the next, like a monkey. Through this a game was invented; monkey bar fights. Two opponents would engage each other at both sides and would attempt to dispatch the other using their legs. No kicking was involved, they had to wrap their legs around the other’s body and force them down. It was fun and tiring that worked you out. It was also dangerous.
I faintly remember it, but I went up against a girl a grade higher than me when I was in the first grade. She wasn’t a typical girl; she was a tomboy who played sports with the boys, and often times competed on equal grounds with them. She also had long legs, and she was stronger. To the playground I should have had the edge, but the only advantage I had was that I was a boy and she was a girl. It served me little in the actual battle because I had lost. I wished that was all that happened that day.
My memory of the entire duel is ridden from me. All I remember was waking up to blood in my mouth; some of it spilt onto the dirt rocks I slept on. The oxygen had its way with the blood, for it was dry. At the corner of my eyes I saw I was sleeping directly below the monkey bars. All the kids surrounded me and a frantic teacher who bent down on one knee kept asking me “are you okay?” but I was unable to answer her, because I fell once again to unconsciousness. I don’t remember anything else after that; how I got home, if I was taken to a hospital, none. If I were to guess the events of the fight, the tomboy must have wrapped her kraken legs around me firm, then hurled me onto the ground so strongly, refusing my chance at gaining a balanced footing. I must have fell on my head.
I’ve always debated if this was the source of my fear for falling, because in truth I love roller coasters, except for one aspect of it. In a way it’s fascinating to think a (so far) lifetime’s worth of fear was erected from a single bad memory. I’ve come to loathe something because of something else I don’t remember.
I was a square in high school who didn’t party and go game girls chasing skirts. I went to a few parties, but it never took me long to get uncomfortable around the beer drinking, marijuana smoking, and make out sessions that were routine at these functions. Everything changed in my senior year when I met a group of friends who did this on the regular; drinking, smoking, hanging out with hot and seductive girls all the time. These guys took me under their wing and introduced to me the fast lane; a lifestyle that has influenced my character to this very day. Alcohol was a foreign substance to me, but as soon as my lips touched my first beer, it was my new water.
I was a frequent myspace user because I was eager to talk to all the gorgeous women I was meeting. Commenting on walls, exchanging messages, when I wasn’t out partying, I was at home talking to girls online. I even entered “online dating” scene for a good minute, though the 1/10 rejection ratio was disparaging my self esteem, and I only got 4 dates out of it. I was catching up on something that has been eager to break out of its shell for so long.
Though while I was part of this group, I wasn’t “one” of them. My level of game wasn’t up to theirs, my confidence several notches below theirs, and I was much younger. I was part of this group, but an outsider; the younglin’ at the bottom of the social ladder. If a hot girl looked at our group, they wouldn’t even consider me. No matter how much I tried to compensate this with confidence, the sleeve of being the last guy in the pecking order was one I couldn’t have taken off no matter how much I tried to hide it. Like my fast life, that changed.
I was at my homies’ 23rd birthday party, though just before it I got banged on by one of the many reformed gangsters that take residence at my town home. The former gangster was driving into the parking lot and drove the exact same car my friend Jeff who was picking me up did. I mistakenly chased after that car to which the gangster felt threatened who jumped out and squared me up with tightly clenched fists. I only had myself to blame for this; I was hiding in the bushes because I was 17 at the time; if the cops caught me hanging around at this late hour, I would have gotten a curfew ticket. So as soon as I saw the car, I bursted out and chased after it. The situation was diffused after I explained myself, but I felt a bit uneasy because of it.
At the party I was tense and needed to get drunk fast. I took 4 shots of Hennessy in a row even before saying hi to the homies or even the birthday celebrant himself. I got drunk fast and somehow someway, I ended up talking to this girl I didn’t know. She was a nice petite and cute Cambodian girl that was my age. Most of the women I was meeting were way older, so it was nice talking to a girl at my level for a change. Things progressed fast between us; it was my first experience gaming a girl and actually getting results. We were flirting, touching, my mind was mixed in with the rush of dopamine but all I could think was how I was doing the things my homies were doing on the regular. The interaction ended sour because of something stupid I did; I was so drunk I asked her to high five me, and before we were able to clasp hands, I took my hand away in a childish manner and laughed my ass away and called her dumb for falling for it. Game killer, something I look back on and laugh at now. Although I didn’t catch the prey, I got brownie points from my friends who started seeing me in a new light. I was coming up.
What followed were weekends filled with partying, drinking alcohol, meeting a lot of hot girls, the occasional making out with girl here and there and sometimes a little more. My game improved, I was gaining respect. I embraced this lifestyle, but as cliche as this sounds, I felt empty. None of it ever felt real. Girls, partying, alcohol, it was all my life revolved around. I stopped hanging out with that group of friends and actually joined another clique that was more around my age that did the same thing, but even more. The new den of girls I was meeting were younger, and for a lack of a better phrase, “easier” to game. I was meeting even more girls, partying even more, heck I was party hopping every weekend all over Southern California from LA to Orange County. It was hard to keep track of all the girls I was meeting that I had a priority list. If I was “losing it” with one of them, I went onto the next in an instant. None of it ever felt genuine though.
I won’t go into too much detail into it, but while I’m still doing the things I did back then right now, I found wholeness from two things; the brotherhood I’ve been apart of for the past 2 years now, and from meeting one of the most sophisticated women I’ve ever been acquainted with. These two things taught me the value of having true friends and finding girls that value themselves. I’m still partying but with friends that I consider as brothers, and I game girls still but only seek out enriching women that offer more from within’. I can’t say I’ve found answers nor do I feel content with where I am at now, but I feel more complete now than I have ever been.
Humans live a long life full of many years, but what makes our lives so fulfilling are crossings or moments that define our life; graduating high school, winning a state championship game, or even getting over a fear of swimming. For me, there’s a long list of defining moments that have molded the person I am today both negative and positive, but one in particular that helped me change my negative ways of thinking into a big positive one, and my crossing is completing Phlebotomy class. Although I’ve graduated high school, walked, and gone to prom, passing phlebotomy class trumped them all. Throughout my life I’ve always been an underachiever; wasting away the potential I once had skipping class, handing in assignments late or not handing them in at all, and giving less than half my effort. Phlebotomy class taught me to push through the trials of isolation and distraction that would lead me towards appreciating the values of hard work and self fulfillment.
The day before my first lecture, I was bracing myself for the uncertainties ahead. Back then when I started something that required a long commitment, I always had this defeated attitude lingering in the back of my head; that if I started it, I’m never going to complete it, unless it was a video game. From getting more fit, to working out and getting a more defined body, to committing to my new years resolution beyond a week, my life has been one long scroll of incomplete tasks and goals. Completing a class and getting your phlebotomy license is on a different scale, but I still felt that same defeatist attitude following me in the shadows like an ominous black cloud not wanting to go away. Though it’s different this time; I was tired of feeling undermined, I wanted to feel like I can actually accomplish something. Granted though this was something I always did before a school year; telling myself I was going to focus hard on school and get good grades, only to see my focus falter towards the end and seeing it fall off a cliff by the time finals exams comes along. Though this class was only three months long, and I had my pride on the line; if I failed this class, I would forever be a hopeless student.
The trials I faced in phlebotomy class weren’t what I expected. Learning phlebotomy was easier than I thought and I was acing all my assignments, quizzes, and tests. The real challenge was getting over the feeling of isolation. I was the youngest in my class by far. The next youngest was 23 years old, and everyone had kids. I even had two classmates that had kids, who had kids! In high school the students were in my age range, but I had no one I could relate to in the class. I felt lonely and unmotivated to continue going on. I told myself that I wasn’t there to make friends, but being the outsider was a hard feeling to shake off. I was literally a kid amongst adults. They were mature, their speech was sophisticated and well versed, and I just didn’t fit in. How does a nineteen year old contribute in a conversation about paying taxes and who to vote for in the next election? There was one that I did get close to, a 30 year old woman named Gizelle, who was the only other person that didn’t have a child, but she was a high maintenance and selfish person. When I turned 18 I used to smoke a pack of Marlboros a week, but I quit. Gizelle made me go back to it. Women are so much more complicated the older they get. I always thought I knew and understood women, but dealing with Gizelle made me realize I was living in an ignorant bubble; I felt my understanding for women was reset.
Learning the basics of medical studies, learning how to draw blood, getting your blood drawn from fellow students, while it wasn’t easy, it was easy compared to handling the feeling of isolation and dealing with Gizelle. That feeling of solitude eventually turned into distraction. At two months in I started losing my focus and patience for the class. I stopped studying and did the bare minimum on my quizzes and tests just enough to pass them. That ominous black cloud had a firm grip on me, and that feeling of giving up midway through a commitment felt close to making its full cycle.
One night I told myself how close I was to seeing through this class to the end. It was now or never. I stopped caring about my age difference with my classmates and I trudged through the distractions, mainly Gizelle, and worked hard to get back on track. The National Exam was coming up and I studied a whole week for it. However, the National Exam wasn’t created by my teacher, but by the board of the entire country. Not even my teacher knew what was going to be on it. As the wrong side of luck would have it, half the material on the exam wasn’t taught to us. I was devastated. I’ve faced this situation before; when I took a test I knew little of, I would give up, hand it in, and pray my guesses were on point. My mind was split between telling myself “What the hell is this?!” and “Give up it’s hopeless.” That feeling of shame and disappointment were creeping back up to me. Though something happened to me in that moment; a strong fire to complete and pass the exam ignited within’ me. While I had to guess a good chunk of the questions, I stayed an extra thirty minutes after completing my exam to revise it further. I analyzed every question I was uncertain of two or three times, and ultimately I changed ten of them. We did the exam online at school, so we got our results immediately. The passing grade was 70. I scored a 71.
Seeing that I passed because I made a wise decision gave me that feeling of fulfillment I’ve never felt before, except when I beat a hard and long video game. My heart was flooded with emotions I’ve rarely felt. That extra 30 minutes reviewing my exam did a lot more than just help me pass my exam; it gave me a lifelong feeling of self fulfillment that exceeded getting my high school degree. I didn’t give up, I didn’t settle for less because something was hard. The exam actually taught me two things; the rewards of hard work, and not giving up and settling for less because it was hard. I removed a long standing thorn on my side that has been poking me for so long. I’ve finally felt like I could accomplish something.
This was actually my latest essay I submitted for my English class in which we were supposed to detail a moment in our lives where we had a life crossing. I actually already have a memoir of this already written down called “A Kid Amongst Adults Who Act Like Kids” which is the experience I had in phlebotomy class, but concentrated more on the people around me rather than myself. In the end I thought this essay was better to present.
There is this universal perception of Canadians that we are all friendly apologetic submissive people that will conform to the idea of peace under no exceptions. Not true, but sometimes I wish it was. My hometown Windsor is neighbor to one of the most dangerous cities in America, Detroit. The distance it takes to get to Detroit from Windsor is the same as going from Carson to Long Beach, though it takes longer because of customs and border processes you have to go through. A lot of influence came over to Windsor from Detroit, and not anything good; poverty, bad air, and rowdy American tourists. Downtown Windsor is filled with bars and strip clubs, and the drinking age being lower in Canada than in America, you can see the appeal many young Americans have in visiting Windsor.
The influence extended to our community. Gangbanging, fights, all that good stuff. Before I went to high school, I always thought fights were a routinely occurrence. When I got to high school, it was; there was a fight every single day. Though the fights were the mainstream news that the general student population knew of and gossiped about. People getting jumped flew under the radar most of the time unless it involved a popular or high profile name. The people that got jumped were vulnerable students who were caught alone or just couldn’t fight back. I was one of them and I got jumped almost every day. That was the news that no one talked about.
For P.E. class we didn’t have locker rooms, our school wasn’t rich enough to fund that kind of luxury. They put us all in a room to change in and locked the door. Locker rooms are normally supervised, but this was just a room with no windows and only one door. And since the room was next to a gym, any noise echoing out of it was lost. It was a perfect chamber to beat kids up without anyone knowing. Me and this Vietnamese guy named Cuong used to get jumped every day. At first I thought it was only because we were the only asians in the class, but later I realized it was because they knew we wouldn’t say anything. I was the kind of guy that would keep to myself, and so was Cuong.
It became routine; once the teacher closed the door on us, they would turn the lights off, throw us on the ground, and stomp on us. I always dreaded going into that changing room, but rather than trying to avert the situation by avoiding the locker room—I could have just changed in the bathroom by myself for example—I foolishly hoped that things would have changed and they would stop jumping us. It never happened. Me and Cuong would get stomped at, holding back our voices to cry out. And they didn’t make it obvious; they held back enough where we wouldn’t be wobbling or get swollen, so we were able to play in whatever sport we were playing during the hour of class. We were beat up to the point that it hurt us emotionally more than physically.
All that anger was building up in me that one day I exploded. I entered that changing room with a killer’s look, malicious intent in my mind, calculating what and how I was going to them back. Before they turned the light off, I memorized exactly where Luke, a big white dude with shaggy blond hair and the “leader” of the group that jumped me and Cuong, was at. When they turned the light off, I rushed Luke and started choking him. Everyone in the room knew was something different; it wasn’t playing out like how it used to. Luke would be the one to get the first lick on us and people would follow him.
One of the guys turned the light on and saw me with both hands gripping Luke’s neck, tears spilling out of my eyes, jaw clenched, eyes fully of fury and my vision clouded in emotions that I was holding back for months of getting jumped; I was taking a stand, in a violent way.
Everyone struggled to get my hands off of his neck. I fell to the floor and bursted into tears after they got me loose. Although I was crying hard, all I thought in my head was “fuck, I bet they’re pissed, I’m going to get it good this time for sure!” But surprisingly, nothing happened. No one got jumped that day, and no one said a thing about it for the rest of the class.
Later that day I saw Luke in my Geography class. I wasn’t sure how to react or say to him, I was sure he was mad and wouldn’t even want to look at me, but he joked with me and said “Dude I totally would have kicked your ass if they didn’t jump in!” I joked with him back. I never got jumped in that locker room again. Cuong still did. I wanted to stand up for him too, but I was scared if I intervened, I would lose their respect and they would throw me on the ground and stomp on me like before. I never wanted to experience that again, and because I was weak to voice my opinion, Cuong, this foreign exchange student from Vietnam who had no friends, was getting bullied. I was hoping he would have exploded too and Luke and the class would stop jumping him like they stopped jumping me, but Cuong took it all in for an entire year.
The routine continued, me excluded though with one person taking in all the mindless malice. Everyday while I was changing into my shorts and shirts in the dark, I listened to a sea of stomping ganging up on a single poor soul laying helpless on the ground. There were days when I wanted to get jumped too just so that Cuong wouldn’t have been the only victim. Though I never spoke up because I didn’t want to get jumped ever again.
I got jumped outside of that locker room too. One time during lunch period I was getting something in my locker. Somehow my locker ended up in the area where all the seniors were at, so the basketball and football teams were always hanging out in that part of the school. While I was putting stuff away in my locker, the basketball team looked at me. One of them pointed at me. I ignored it, hoping it wasn’t for me. They were conspiring something making mumbles amongst themselves, and they ran after me. Right before they got their hands on me, I closed and locked my locker before they could fuck with it, and tried running away. That didn’t work. I got thrown to the ground and was met with familiar stomping. This was worse than the locker room incidents though; these were seniors, athletes on top of that, lions compared to the cubs from P.E. class. I tried forming up in a ball to cover my stomach and face, but I still felt the pain on my sides and back. After a while, with my uniform stained in dirt and shoe prints, they left me there yelling out “Welcome to CCH bitch!” CCH stood for Catholic Central High School. It was a welcome that defined the school.
I spent my first 2 years of high school in Canada and my last 2 in California. It’s ironic that I moved to a safer school in America from a Canadian school. The last time I’ve been jumped was almost eight years ago back in that school in Canada. Hopefully I can maintain that streak. I look back in those days back at CCH and reflect on all the helpless victims that were unable to speak up, praying for change rather than making it happen with their voice.
Been slackin’ it as a writer lately, so I’m gonna try and keep myself disciplined by writing memoirs of random events that happened throughout my life. I also hope you enjoy reading them :)
Sometime during a boys pre adolescent years, we experience a phenomena that changes how we do and view things in life forever. We start liking girls. Hormones kick in and we slowly get over cooties as we start embracing the idea of being with a girl. And there may be one girl in particular that race endlessly throughout in our minds, our first crush. I was a late bloomer, didn’t have mine until the beginning of freshmen year in high school. There I was, a newcomer to the traumatic era of life called high school wearing my fresh new school uniform we are obligated to wear, already sick of school. I was sitting in the lobby resting my weary body until I started my hour walk to home, and a friend calls out to me, “Hey Dale! Can’t believe you’re actually in high school now!”
I turned around, it’s a sophomore I knew. I didn’t know her that well, but the thought of a freshmen being acquainted, and more excitingly, seen with anyone from a grade above from other freshmen, gave me enough reason to act like I was close to her. Image was everything in high school after all. We exchanged hellos and she introduced me to her group of friends. One of them had my eyes from the get go, I couldn’t take them off of her if I wanted to. She looked at me, but shyly looked away, and I did the same. She tried squeezing another look in, but I copied her and we stole each other’s glances. Her beauty was unparalleled to me at the time. There weren’t that many beautiful asian women back in my hometown, so my preference for women was black, white, or arabic girls, but in that moment, like a flip of the switch, my tastes changed. I still remember the details. Her mesmerizing reddish brown hair tied back, hoop earrings, and a skirt that showed off her model esque legs. In that moment the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen was standing in front of me.
When I was introduced to her, I was so nervous that I declined to shake her hand. That night I cursed into my pillow thinking of how stupid I looked. Not the best of first impressions, but with this girl, she was different. I was used to all the pretty girls acting arrogant and taking advantage of their looks to tame the popular boys at school. This girl was not like them. First off she kills them in looks. Secondly, she was not manipulative and was humble about her beauty; you would almost think she didn’t know how damn pretty she was. That awkward first meeting I had with her? Thing of the past that was already long forgotten the next day when I was walking home with her.
It took an hour to get home from school. I hated walking, but this girl lived half an hour away from school and always walked, so I also walked. I didn’t have much experience talking with girls; that 30 minutes walking home with her was my first stepping stone, and it was my period of trial and error sharpening my game. Back in Canada I was what they call a “trip” (Canadian slang for being funny). I did whatever it took to get people to laugh that I became a jester.
Back then though I didn’t know any better; I didn’t have the confidence or good looks the other popular guys who were getting girls had, so I tried winning this girl over in a different way, humor. Every day when we walked home from school, I would do my best to make her laugh. I was satisfied if I even got a giggle or chuckle. Though I never got anywhere with her; a beautiful young shy girl didn’t need an entertainer, she needed a confident guy who could court her properly, which was far from what I was. Though I still tried and tried, she laughed and laughed, with no progress. Before I knew it, my first crush became my friend, and I didn’t want that, but I had no choice.
Over the years I’ve met many beautiful women, but there are very few that are like her, and even fewer that match her beauty. I’ve been long over her, dating many girls since I’ve met her and understanding women better. Though it’s hard shaking off the feeling that I’ve met a girl who combined beauty and personality rarer than diamonds, and my chance slipped away. And even if I do get with a woman that exceed her beauty and personality, she will always be my first crush.