Forever a Clone

I'm just a clone, talking away while nobody listens

Thursday Thoughts

Man, it’s been a weird week!  It started off with Saturday’s Rick and Morty’s inspired road trip to Silver City, New Mexico for Szechuan sauce that ended in a big joke not just to us, but to apparently a LOT of other nerds, then it’s gone on to periods of complete rest and relaxation and now back to “holy smokes!  Let me catch a breather!” status.  It’s nothing new for me as I’m always finding myself being pulled away from wanting to barricade myself in my apartment and paying for it emotionally later on at the most inconvenient of times.

As some of you know, I tend to go through periods of time where some people wonder if I’m still alive (those that don’t follow me on social media), and I go through brief periods of time where I feel like I need to connect with the rest of humanity.  It’s rare, but it happens.  I think I’m sort of going through the latter phase right now as I have felt the need to be surrounded by my friends a bit more than usual lately.  I wish I could understand it, but I can’t.  Being around my friends has been something that I have been feeling I’ve needed lately.  Thankfully I was able to hang out with some of my closest on Saturday and Monday.  There are not very many feelings in the world that I enjoy more than having the emotional sections of my heart overwhelmed with positive loving feels like I get when I’m around the people I want to be around.  It’s better than any drug or alcoholic beverage out there, I can tell you that.

Funny though, me being an INFJ makes people think that I am some sort of social butterfly who basically has a place just so that I can sleep and keep all my stuff in.  That couldn’t be further from the truth, in all honesty.  Nothing makes me happier than being at home watching nerdy documentaries, Star Trek (I’m still on TOS as I’m watching everything again but chronologically this time), or sports all while watching whatever is going with the weather outside.  I’ve learned in the past year and a half that I really love sunsets, by the way.  Something about watching them brings me such peace and happiness that I can’t really describe it.  It’s really what I look forward to every day.  I know, I’m weird, but you already knew that.

A strange thing happened to me again yesterday that hasn’t happened in a while though.  I think that I got a slight touch of loneliness.  I KNOW!!!!  Crazy, right?!  Here I am, some sort of self-proclaimed “One Man Wolfpack”, some dude who rolls solo deep, actually feeling alone in the bad sense.  It’s strange when it comes along too.  It always shows up when I’m doing the most mundane of tasks.  Yesterday it happened while I was pre-rinsing the dishes I used for dinner.  I just happened to stare at the wall as I stood in front of my sink and realized the silence aside from the faucet running and it tripped me out.  What made it funny, though, was that shortly after that as I was taking a shower I was convinced that somebody was in my damn apartment with me.  I wish my brain would make up its damn mind.  Hahaha!  “Nobody is here!  Oh shit!  Nevermind!  Somebody is here, man!  FREAK OUT!”  I don’t know.  I wish I knew the answers to the questions of my life.  I just gotta keep on keeping on.

On that note, time to get myself hyped up for the gym after work again today!  I’m glad this is becoming a habit again.  I missed that about myself!

Until next time, my friends!

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I <3 Las Vegas

This morning my world got a pretty big jolt of bad energy flow through it.  Las Vegas, what I love to call my home away from home, was the scene of what is now the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States of America last night.  I couldn’t believe what I was reading on my phone at 4:25am when I woke up and to be honest, I’m still in shock right now.  How could this happen?  I mean, I know how this could have happened, but I guess the better question is why?  The question that is swimming in my proverbial magic 8-ball of jumbled thoughts is something to the effect of “How could anybody have any sort of hatred in their heart for a fellow human being to take their lives?  At least 50 innocent lives taken and over 400 innocent people injured because of a grudge over something that at this time in the morning we just don’t know yet.”  It’s so stupid.  Hatred is just dumb.  Negativity is just dumb.  Sure I have dislikes for things that go against products and sports teams that are rivals to said things, but never in my life have I ever thought of violence against these things or the people who support them.  Hell, even counter ideologies to my beliefs, yes I get frustrated with close minded people, bigots, racists, and all others who at least try to push their conformist agenda towards, but never have I EVER thought of inflicting violence towards anybody else for simply not believing that they should live their lives according to MY rules.  I do know, however, that there are a lot of these types of people who are now and have been for a while now who have been coming out of their hiding places and spreading their ideology of hatred under the veil of racism, homophobia, and general bigotry and are being empowered to act on their hatred and to be honest, it’s scary.  It’s scary to think that something like what happened in my beloved city of Las Vegas can happen anywhere.

What can we do about it?  Ban guns?  Sure, we can.  Will that stop the negativity?  No.  People will find other ways to turn their hatred into violence and we’ll still have massive loss of life.  What we need to do first is embrace love.  Love is the thing that defeats hate.  People need to learn to love and accept their neighbor.  People are different.  They are going to have different beliefs than you do.  People are going to pray to different deities than you do.  People are going to like different music than you do.  People are going to have a different skin tone than you do.  Hell, they may even be sexually attracted to people of their same gender while you do not!  And you know what?  ALL OF THAT IS OK!  Love and acceptance.  That’s what we need.

I Missed the Exit

What a crazy week this one has been.  I’ve been feeling like I needed more introvert battery recharging than usual the whole week, which has been odd.  I haven’t had the negative feelings associated with it, however, which is a good thing.  I just have noticed that I really have been enjoying my alone time more than usual.  Maybe cherishing it is the better term because as I think and type this out that’s the word that is coming to my head as a better way to describe how I’ve felt.  I think I started realizing it Monday afternoon as I was in bed watching a movie on my phone at around 6pm.  It came to my attention that there was nobody asking me to do anything, nobody to say what a piece of crap I was for “wasting your life away” in bed.  Screw that!  I wasn’t in the mood to do anything else and I love the dark serenity my bedroom gives me.  Similar thing happened Tuesday as I got home and got right to watching a film on Vudu.

Anyway, I say all of this to tell you of a strange thing that happened to me yesterday afternoon.  I ran into a cousin of mine (2nd or 3rd, I can’t remember but it’s down the line) whom I haven’t seen in about 26 years.  After a bit of general small talk, dude asks me, “So, what about you, man?  Are you married?  Do you have any kids?” Internal me answered him with, “Shiiiiiiiiiiiit dude, if you would have only known the hell I’ve been through relationship wise, you’d understand.  Sweet God…” then I really answered him with “No dude.  No kids, never married.” His response was pretty funny because he immediately got this shocked look on his face and answered as such with, “NO?!  Why not?!” Again, I thought of even worse self-deflating complete lack of self-esteem and self-worth responses but instead I answered him with the short, short version of why not with, “Ah, man.  Well, all the girlfriends I’ve had were just horrible and evil and I’d rather not deal with that shit, you know?  *further stumbling of words followed here*” So, the quick conversation continued and he went on his way and I got to thinking about things, comically of course, about just how my life has turned out and why.  I made jokes about it on Snapchat when I got home and thought nothing more about it and enjoyed the rest of my afternoon.

Just this morning a co-worker of mine and I were talking about the cycle of life and how there have been studies he’s read about how our lives are generally in the shape of a U.  We start off happy as children, dislike a lot about it during adulthood, and then end up happy before we die again.  For the most part this is true for people.  That’s not to say that there are people who are generally happy and never experience that dip in demeanor, etc.  but I would say with some sense of confidence that each of us experience displeasure of some sort once we get into adulthood.  Homeboy went on to tell me a few related stories about how he’s been accompanying his girlfriend to doctor’s appointments and school functions for one of her daughters and he was having a weird time with it since, like me, he has no children of his own.  It was like he was speaking for me when he said that he feels like somewhere he messed up by being middle aged but not having kids.  There are people in our age group who have kids anywhere from elementary school all the way to college staying busy with different school functions, medical appointments, etc., and all the while he’s been just living an existence that does not involve any of it.  He, and by extension me, wonder what’s the norm?  Are we the lucky ones to not have to have dealt with or still deal with all the responsibility that goes into parenting?  Or are we the failures for not living the typical life of a late teens to early twenties human by getting married and having kids?

Personally, I have no problems with parenthood.  I’ve been with women with kids and I’ve been in situations where I was falsely identified as the father of said kid, and it didn’t bother me at all.  I found it comical, actually, but never was or will I ever say “I never want to be a dad!  I don’t want kids!”  It just hasn’t happened yet.

With that said, I’m going to keep on keeping on living this solo deep life with a very organized house, a sleeping schedule that my friends with kids and/or spouses don’t understand (they don’t understand the freedom I have), and doing the things that make me happy like barricading myself in my apartment and limiting human contact.  Hahaha!  If I somehow talk or stumble my way into a meaningful relationship, cool.  If not, that’s cool too.  I’m already too old to worry about it anyway.  Gotta keep on keepin’ on, my friends!

See you (in) September

 

Holy smokes!!!!!  Hey y’all!  It’s me!  I’m not dead!  (well, if you’re reading this on Twitter or Facebook you’d know that already)  I can’t believe it’s been since the end of July since I’ve checked in.  A lot has happened since then.  Another summer is in the books, even though it’s still in the upper 90s temp wise, I can already feel the turn of the seasons beginning.  Another opportunity for camping, hiking, and outdoor sports adventures is pretty much gone and I did very little of any of it.  Sadly.  It always happens too.  I always say AND tell myself too that “I’m going to go camping more this year, dude!”  and “Man!  We gotta go hiking like twice a month or something!” and every time I watch PGA majors I say “That’s it!  I gotta get my fat ass back on the range to make sure I can still half assed hit a golf ball!  That way I can go out to the course and play and not look like a complete asshole out there!”  Nah.  Didn’t happen this year.  And again, I find myself saying “Well, that’s another summer gone.  Damn.”  We only really get a few of them to do what we want, you know?  Sure my summers as a kid were a blast!  Full of bike riding, playing outside, and general mischief with my friends.  My summers from age 18-26 were an alcoholic blur at best, and for the past 10 years I’ve been really trying my best to take them in and enjoy everything that I can.  I know once I get older I won’t be able to do as much as I would be able to now, and I’ll probably be indoors somewhere doing other stupid things.  I know me; I’ll find a way to be dumb.  So, I try to take advantage of doing the outdoors thing while I can.  I failed this year though.  Hahahaha!

What I’ve been doing this year instead of spending time outdoors is trying to get myself to get on this self-improvement kick that I should be on.  I’m not talking about just getting my ass back to the gym, but I mean all around self-improvement.  I’m finding my days are spent trying to psyche myself up to start getting my shit together and they fade into my designated bed time and the vicious cycle repeats again.  I only really have Saturday to sleep in and wake up to the outline of light coming through my blackout curtains, but aside from that I am up early either to go to work or to go to Mass so that really messes with my need to relax and decompress, so I’m sure that has a lot to do with it.  There’s so much that I need to work on.  As I just mentioned, my time management sucks.  I also waste a lot of money on stupidity because of my time management and laziness, so I need to get that straightened out too.  Speaking of wasting money, I wanna try to cut down on my booze consumption too.  Not because I have some sort of drinking problem, but just because drinking costs a lot of money, even if you do it like I do, at home!  I guess writing this out tells me that the main problem is getting even more OCD with my time and schedule and the rest should fall into place.  It will happen, I know it will.  I’ve already started my journey down that road.

Speaking of road trips, I just came off a wild month of two road trips across the great southwest recently and the last one was very introspective.  There were conversations that were had that really made me realize just how weird I am.  This is what I mean.  As some of you know, I am damn near militant when it comes to the organization of just about everything and I LOVE to have a lot of my life planned out.  I need to know the next few steps in life before I make a move.  I’m really cautious about things.  That is probably 50% of why I still roll solo deep.  Hahahaha!  Funny thing though is that the things I let slide, I really let slide.  For example, one would think that I would listen to music either by album, or at worst by artist only right?  No.  Not only do I not do that, but I prefer to listen to music on shuffle/random.  Let those cards fall where they may.  I love the fact that a Metallica song may be followed up by Duke Ellington, then Tupac.  It’s nothing out of the ordinary to me and I actually look forward to the chaos of strange musical bedfellows.  I do the same thing with my television watching.  I cannot binge watch shows.  I just get too bored, I guess.  I usually have at least 3 or so shows on rotation in the middle of various seasons on HBO GO, Starz, and Netflix.  I can’t just devote countless hours to watching multiple episodes of one show.  I’m as eccentric with those whom I call family and friends too.  I have always hung around with people from all calls of life.  From the nerds, squares, cholos, band geeks, metalheads, and everywhere in between, I’m friends with all.  I think I’m just a living contradiction to be honest.  I say all of that to say that I really tripped out my best friend during our 20+ hours on the road to and from El Paso discovering, or rather, realizing all of these things.

So, here we are at the tail end of September.  Fall is coming up on us which means short days (thank God), colder weather, and the holidays!  I can’t believe this year is nearly over!!  Where has this year gone?  What have I actually done this year?  A lot, when I look back on it.  I explored more than I thought I would, I saw a few of my favorite cities, and I now I’m gearing up for a big milestone birthday in December.  I really can’t wait for that either.  Before we know it, 2018 will be here and we’ll start the party all over again.  Let’s get at it, peeps!

I’m Staying In

I know it’s been quite a minute since I’ve posted anything, and believe me, there has been a lot to write about.  As per usual, my schedule has prevented me from really expressing thoughts and ideas over things, but there is one event yesterday that made me take time out to stop and put thoughts to this blog.  That event was the apparent suicide of Chester Bennington.  A lot of my friends were pretty sad about it and as much as I sympathize with them my first reaction after the initial shock was anger.  I was pissed off at him for killing himself.  Suicide is the selfish act of selfish acts.  I know what I’m saying will probably upset some people and I’m sorry if it does, but I’m really pissed off at this dude for checking himself out.  If I had the chance to talk to him right now I’d tell him this, “WHAT THE FUCK, DUDE!?  Do you not give a fuck about what you just did to your wife?!  What about your 6 kids?  Do you give a fuck about what they are going to have to deal with for the rest of their lives?  What about your friends?  Your bandmates?  Don’t you think they gave a fuck?  Oh, and don’t give me that shit that I don’t understand.  I don’t need to understand, dude.  God gave you a reason to be alive.  God needed you to be there for your children and you wife.  Yes, he also gave you the choice to quit, but you had so many reasons not to!”  I truly believe that.  I’m still pissed off at just thinking about that right now and telling him that.

I just don’t understand it.  I don’t see why anybody would go as far as to attempt suicide.  Hell, I should know.  I got close.  Oddly enough, I just passed my 6 year anniversary of nearly committing suicide myself.  I know I’ve talked about it before so I won’t go on about it, but being close to checking out makes me pissed off at the people who still contemplate it.  I wish people could see what I saw to stop me from killing myself.  Family, friends, experiences (both good and bad) that I would have missed out on were just some of the things that stopped me.  In reality, the main reason was my nephew, Little Dude.  Wondering if he would ever remember me and how much I love him and would miss him was the main thing that stopped me.  So, essentially it was love that did it.  After that point in my life I’ve made it a point to tell everybody that I care about that I love them, and not because it’s a cute thing to say, but it’s because I do.  Everybody that I talk to holds a special place in my heart and I feel like God has put these people in my path for a reason.  Maybe they are helping me or maybe I am helping them, but either way are paths crossed for a reason.  The way I look at it too is that if it’s up to me, you’ve got me for life.  That’s just the way I am.  Unless I find out some deep dark secrets that you are just a scumbag piece of shit (because that’s happened before), I’m not the type of person to be a friend of convenience.  I don’t like to annul connections.

So, long story short, I’ll pray that the families of suicides find peace to move forward with their lives and I’ll put myself out there to be a person to come to talk to for those who feel that killing themselves is the only answer to their problems.  There is so much beauty in the world for all of us to embrace and enjoy to just decide to check yourself out.  Get help, fight for your lives, and fight for those who care for you more than you think they do.

Mama, I’m Staying Home

So, I was thinking the other day about just how much I love my hometown, which is also the current city I live in.  A LOT of people that grow up here hate it and as soon as humanly possible leave and never come back.  More power to ‘em, and call me a homer or whatever, but I absolutely love it here and I will proudly say that I don’t think that you can give me a good enough reason to ever leave.

I realize my love for the city every time I leave it when I go on a trip.  Most of the time I’m going west towards Phoenix and Las Vegas so the landscape and climate stay relatively the same.  There have been a handful of times, however, where I go outside of the desert and it trips me out.  Haha!  Not like I’m some kind of uneducated dude or whatever, but I just love the desert climate so much that I actually immediately begin to miss it the minute I’m away from it.  That happened just a few weeks ago, as I’ve mentioned, but the thing I didn’t mention about the trip to east-central Texas was about just how much I loved the drive back and not only because we were cracking wise and laughing hysterically in my truck to the obscene and insane jokes that we were coming up with.  I loved it because after going from flat green land, we were slowly going back into the mountainous terrain that has speckles of green, but not as much green as lower elevation and higher humidity places.  It sounds funny to say, but even seeing the outline of the Franklin Mountains is enough to put a smile on my face.  It’s even better when it’s nighttime and the star on the mountain is illuminated.  It reminds me that I’m home and all is right in the world.

What really sparked this blog entry, however, were the thoughts of friends and family about this place.  Funny and odd thing is that of all people, I think my old man hates El Paso almost the most.  I don’t understand it, but a few weeks ago when we attended a game of our AAA baseball team, the El Paso Chihuahuas, I told him that I wanted to step my game up and buy a jersey but couldn’t decide on which one, and I wanted to add to my hat collection (which currently stands at 1 for the Chihuahuas) and get the away cap that simply has a beautiful “EP” logo on it.  Right away, pops tells me “Ah man, I don’t want that one.  I don’t want anything saying anything ‘El Paso’ on it!  I hate El Paso! …”  I shrugged it off and said that I personally love my city and I was going to get that cap.  Thinking about it now and talking to a friend of mine, I’m now wondering why he didn’t stay at his last duty station in San Diego when he was in the military and did not reenlist.  Maybe I’ll ask him when he comes back into town from his crazy adventures and I get the chance to see him.

Thing about it is that he’s not alone in the circle of people in my life who feel similar.  I’d probably say at least half the people I know who live here would move away if they had the chance.  I wish I knew why.  It’s not as bad as they think it is… well in my opinion it’s not.  Sure you can argue that wages aren’t that high here, but my two responses to that is that a) neither is the cost of living. and b) if money is your main concern, you’ve got bigger problems and need to get your priorities straight anyway, dude.

So that’s about it.  I know it’s going to end up that I’m going to be the last of my friends standing here in El Paso, but you know what?  That’s cool, man.  I enjoy traveling and I enjoy seeing and spending time with my friends, so it will give me a reason to go and explore places.  I already have a long list of places on this planet that I need to go hit up as it is!  Australia, England, Scotland, Japan, and Italy come to mind internationally, and US wise, oh man… the state of New Hampshire, Maine, New York City, Boston, Charlotte (and try to not die of happiness visiting the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Hendrick Motorsports, and JR Motorsports), Daytona Beach, Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to just name a few places.  So I have a lot of places to be, but I will ALWAYS come back home to El Paso and my dry climate, chill people, THE ABSOLUTE BEST Mexican food you will ever eat, and that star on that mountain that will always remind me of just how badass I have it here.

See y’all later!

Every Day is a Party in May

Well, man!  What a last few weeks it’s been!  As I mentioned previously, I knew it was going to be a busy month to a month and a half leading up to the band’s live album recording which we have been rehearsing for, but it has really started to hit me now at just how much time I’ve booked myself out for without any time to slow down and take a breather.  Two weekends ago I was in east-central Texas for full band rehearsals where it was crazy hot and humid one day and nice the next, then after coming back home to far west Texas to where we have low humidity weather (THANK GOD!) for a week, I had made plans to make my way out to one of the many national forests in the area where we thankfully still have low humidity weather, but I was surrounded by pine trees, warm daytime, and near freezing nighttime temperatures.  It was awesome.  Even though I was busy from around April 28th to even today, I’m so glad I took the time this past weekend to escape to the forest for some solo deep reflection on life.

Here’s where I wanted to really expand on that thought.  It wasn’t my full intention on going camping alone.  I had actually invited one of the guys in the band that was going to be sans kids, but as I thought may happen, he wanted to use that weekend to recover from the road trip on the previous weekend.  Another friend of mine was briefly going to join me, but life circumstances changed and we mutually suggested that their participation in the camping trip be scrapped.  In a moment of honesty, as much as I would have LOVED for said friends to be with me, I was equally if not happier to be going out alone.  I couldn’t wait for the way I had things lined up in my head to go down and sure enough things pretty much went according to plan.  I was able to leave work about two hours early on Friday which gave me two extra hours to set up camp in the daylight and the 3 hour drive up to the Gila National Forest was very relaxing.  I made it to the campsite that I really wanted to go to, and in an even better situation, I was the first person there to the campsite so I was able to pick the site that I wanted.  I parked my truck and set camp and got right into dinner and relaxing.  You have no idea how badly I was waiting for that moment of total peace in the wilderness with no cell signal at all and nothing else but a few books I brought along with me, my iPod, and my thoughts to keep me company.  It was beautiful.  The sun started to set as I finished up dinner on Friday night and still nobody else showed up to the 2 available camp sites.  Once I realized that I was going to be alone, an even bigger calm came over me knowing that I’d have my thoughts to myself even though I wasn’t talking out loud to myself like some kinda crazy person, but you know what I mean.  Hahaha!  It was awesome to sit in my University of Texas (HOOK ‘EM HORNS, btw!) camping chair as I let my gaze melt into the campfire.  There was so much peace that just washed over me that it’s hard to try and put into words.  Considering that I had been only getting around 5 hours of sleep each day the previous week, I knew that I was going to get tired pretty early that night so I called it an early night to allow myself to relax.  I think I got the best sleep I’ve gotten in a few months that night.  Granted my truck woke me up once, as I was using it as an alert system for me if anybody or anything came close to camp, I slept until dawn.  When I woke up at dawn, I took the time to just relax and appreciate the fact that I was where I was desperately trying to get to for months.  That victory, albeit small, gave me the motivation to just stay in bed and I fell back to sleep for another 4 hours.  It was awesome!

Saturday was no different as far as the good feelings went.  I made myself breakfast and after cleaning up and washing dishes I got to reading one of the books I took with me.  It was awesome to read in the peace and quiet out in the forest.  With the exception of the occasional bird or insect sound, the whistling sound of the wind passing through the pine trees, and the very loud laughter of mine due to Artie Lange’s insane life stories, there was complete silence.  It was beautiful!  I knew there was going to be a chance of rain and I kept seeing potential rain clouds pass by, but I wanted to get in my hike into the wilderness in, so I put the book down, got my hiking pole, and backpack with bottles of water ready and set off on my little adventure.  I only made it an hour in before I decided to turn back because my instincts were telling me that rain was coming and sure enough within 10 minutes of me getting back to camp the rain started falling.  I’ll tell you, if you’ve never experienced it, there are fewer things more soothing than the sound of light rain hitting a camping tent that you’re sure will stay dry inside.  I laid back on my bed and kept on reading and laughing hysterically in such a state of happiness that, man, I’ll tell you… it’s been something that I have been needing for a long time.  It was awesome!  The rain lasted about 3 hours and ended before sunset, which was cool, because I was able to start grilling dinner in the daylight, start my campfire in the daylight, and not have to be that much of an annoyance with my lantern to the two other groups of campers who had shown up during my two hour hike.  I’m not going to lie, I felt pretty victorious that night as I stared away at my campfire to know that everything was right in my world right then and there.  There were no problems, no bad feelings, nothing to think about except just how much I love the simple things like what I was doing then in life.

I slept deeply and well that night in the nearly freezing temperatures and got up the next morning relaxed and proverbial batteries recharged back to full capacity as I packed up camp and made my 3 hour journey back home.

Well, the super chill and calm that has washed over the already calm and chill I always have anyway has now caused my cleaning and organizing of all my laundry, camping gear, and camping bed to be pushed to today, Tuesday, but you know what?  I kinda don’t care.  It feels good to know that things will get done eventually but it’s not a life or death thing, you know?  My solo deep camping trip also made me appreciate all that I have in my life.  I have a kick ass life; I’m not going to lie.  I have great friends, great family, and a great life altogether that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Now, I just have to get through the rest of this week and get ready to visit my mom’s gravesite then make my way to my grandmother’s house for her delicious menudo on Mother’s Day Sunday, then get through next week before our 2nd to last rehearsal on that Saturday, then finally our live recording on May 27th the following weekend.  I’m ready for it now.  Bring on the good times!

Until next time!  I love you all!

Faith and My Journey With It

Do you ever get those moments of wonderment and at the same time joyous clarity over things in your life?  I do from time to time.  One of those moments happened over this weekend for me.  I did something that I rarely do, which was take a day off from work.  I didn’t do it for just sitting on the couch nexflixing or anything, but I took it off for religious reasons.  During a homily sometime within the last couple of months, the district superior priest for FSSP was visiting our apostolate here in El Paso when he mentioned that when he was a parish priest, he’d tell his congregation to take Good Friday off and spend that day with God.  Sure, I had done it in the past at my old neighborhood Novus Ordo parish, but I had never done it in the 3 years that FSSP has been in the diocese.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t for lack of interest in attending Mass or anything like that, but I just always would come up with some sort of an excuse to myself that was work related to get myself to not take that time and give it to God.  Without any hesitation I did it this year, though.  Quite honestly, I’m very glad that I did.

I’m finding that each passing day I get closer and closer to God.  I’ve had quite the journey to get where I am and a funny thing about it is that I’m not even sure, aside from Divine Intervention, about just how I formed such a close connection with our Lord.  I say it’s funny because when I look at my family, at least from my father’s side, nobody is Catholic.  Sure, my grandparents are in name, but they don’t attend Mass.  My father, well… that’s a long complicated story that I don’t think he’d want me sharing, my uncle is protestant, and my sister is protestant as well.  All of us were raised in the one True Faith, but as per the norm these days, they have all strayed away from Holy Mother Church.  I’ll be honest, even I did for quite a while.  Even as far back as my early childhood after baptism and first holy communion, I wasn’t a regular attendee of Mass.  Mainly it was because we had no means of transportation to get to the local parishes to make it to Mass.  Sure, we could have walked when we me moved to El Paso when I was 11, but we never really did after the parish finally got their land and stopped holding Mass at the school over the wall from my house.  I did my two years of confirmation classes, but I’ll tell you right now that I don’t remember one bit of any of it.  I wasn’t engaged in my faith at all.  I’d even go as far to say that I was an atheist and even read a bit of Anton LaVey’s books that a friend of mine had.  I had no reason to be religious.  I type that now and cringe, but it was true back then.  I wasn’t evil, violent, or anything like that, but I was just a normal teenage guy wanting rebellion for rebellion’s sake.  It was stupid.  It was only after I had graduated high school that I decided to attend Mass for myself because I wanted to.  I’d always run into my first year confirmation teacher and her husband who are now some of my dearest friends in Christ…  More about them in a bit.  Anyway, I’d always see them at Mass because they’d either be singing in choir or would be leading in some ministry or another at the parish and I’d always felt at peace when I was around them, as if God was telling me to follow their lead.  Well, sure enough, my faith would come and go as I’d find more important things to do as a guy in his early 20s would and I’d make rare appearances at Mass.

Now, here’s where I dabbled in Protestantism.  When I was 20, my right knee blew out.  I tore my ACL and I had a buckle tear in my meniscus.  I was laid out unable to move my leg at all because my knee was locked up, so I spent the entire spring stuck downstairs sleeping on the pullout couch.  I got to see every minute of MTV Spring Break (which was still pretty cool back then), and I had a lot of time to just sit there with my leg immobilized and think, miss walking, and read.  One of the things that I read was this Christian book about coming back to Christ.  There was some sort of protestant “come to Jesus” thing at the end of it and it put me to tears.  I know what had happened to me was a wake up call from our Lord to get myself on the straight and narrow path that I just decided to dance all around.  I went with my sister to her place of worship and found myself immersed in the overwhelming charismatic love for Christ.  I was buying in.  Why wouldn’t I at that point, right?  I never really knew my faith so it had no defense against it.  So, there I was listening to these strongly vocalized sermons and I was giving them the benefit of the doubt until I heard about 10 too many Catholic bashings.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  That’s not what Jesus Christ and His church was about.  There’s no hatred about it OR Him, so I bailed out and went back to the church which He founded on the rock of Saint Peter and started my journey all over again.

My friends were happy to see me, and I even got involved in groups studying encyclicals and books of the Bible and started to attend Mass regularly.  All the while, I was still living a crazy life doing stupid things that I’m not proud of AT ALL, but I could never really see the consequences my actions were having.  Years past with a few wake up calls from Christ here and there, but the one HUGE wake up call I had was in February of 2008.  I did something very stupid, but was lucky to escape from it unscathed.  Well, physically unscathed at least.  But this event finally woke up dumb ass up and got me to embrace our Lord Jesus Christ completely.  I made it a point to go to confession at least monthly, and became even more involved in prayer groups with my friends there at the parish.  I became so involved that I was even able to convince my mom to go with me to Mass.  I’m so grateful that that happened in those short 4 months because my mom ended up passing away in early June of that same year.  I’ll always have that happy thought with me, that my mom saw me finally turn my life around and give it completely to Christ.

That brings me to one of the points I wanted to make and I thought about.  I know some people of know of a lot of stories about where people lose their faith because of the loss of a close loved one.  I had the complete opposite effect happen to me.  Yes, I cried my eyes out as I told my mom how much I loved her as she slowly transitioned from this earth to purgatory… and even typing that out brings me to tears now… and I cried and cried when we got back to the hotel we were at in Lubbock where she passed away that night and did the same thing when we got back home and I saw her bedroom.  Heck, I’m crying right now as I take myself back to those moments and type it out here, but never for one minute did my faith waver.  All I cared about was getting a priest over to her ASAP to give her the anointing of the sick and to give her absolution so that I’d be assured she would be safe in the life after this one.  Once I knew that was taken care of, I left the rest in God’s hands.  Let His will be done.  At her viewing/Rosary and at her funeral Mass I felt sad (of course), but at the same time a resolve to make sure that I remained close with God.  There was never even a question about whether or not my faith was going to go under any test.  If it ever did, I passed it with flying colors.

In the nearly 9 years since my mom has been gone, I have grown more and more attached to God.  Thanks to His grace, he brought the aforementioned FSSP to El Paso and thanks to a Lenten retreat the year before that, I was able to experience the Traditional Latin Mass beforehand.  Me being able to experience that the year before FSSP came here was thanks to those friends I was talking about earlier in the blog post.  This couple, who are my parents’ ages have pretty much become like secondary parents to me.  For sure, I’d say true Godparents.  If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have the strong faith I do now.  They have enlightened me to many a things in this beautiful church we have and because of them I have learned a great deal on my own.  With that said, I’ve found that the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (as it’s also called) and the Traditional Catholic lifestyle is what I’ve always needed in my life.  Everything about it is so moving.  There is reasoning, history, and biblical meaning behind every single thing.  2000 years of tradition will do that, I suppose.  Attending Mass at Immaculate Conception Church has also helped me grow in and actually learn my faith even more than I already did.  I’m nowhere near apologetics level, but at least I know why certain things are the way they are and I know why things are done and the reasoning behind them.  It’s so funny because a few of my friends from work ask me why we do things from time to time and because of that, I’ve heard this from a handful of people now (or a variant of it), “Have you ever thought of becoming a priest?  You are so smart and are so kind, peaceful, caring, and understanding.  I could totally see you as a priest.”  Sometimes that last part is omitted, which I should start following up jokingly “why do you say that?  Because I’m a single guy?!  Might as well join the priesthood because I’m not married?!”  hahaha!

All kidding aside, maybe these people have a point.  Maybe God is calling me to the priesthood.  Maybe my sometimes insane journey these past 36 years has lead me on a lifepath to be a great priest.  That’s not what He’s told me in my heart, though.  My heart tells me that I’m supposed to get married and raise children.  At this point, better late than never right?  Honestly, I’m not holding out much hope.  I think years carry baggage and inherently being my age with no kids and never been married is a real turn off, I’m thinking.  Or perhaps the opposite sex thinks that I’m some sort of philandering d-bag just looking to get what gets looked for these days, if you catch my meaning.  A few… err… a WHOLE MESS TON of bad apples really does spoil the whole darn bunch.

I should just shut up about things now, but close by saying that in short, I am in love with my faith, Jesus’ church, and specifically the way I practice it within the traditional Catholic lifestyle.  If I can recommend one thing that I wish everybody could experience, it would be experiencing the Easter Tridium Masses, the Christmastide Masses, and the Requiem Mass (that is offered with a couple of variances on All Souls Day).  They are beyond words to describe the beauty of them.  I’ll also add that I’m by no means perfect and I still have a very long way to go, but I think that I am well on my way on the path that God intended for me all along.  Good things do come to those who wait.

 

Solo Deep

It’s Saturday night and I’m wrapping up an awesome day that I’ll say was very much needed. I had it in my head that I really wanted to wake up whenever my heart desired and even though I had stuff to do, I’d do it when I pleased, not because I was on some sort of clock. Well, to be honest, I was on a little bit of clock as I had to be at the cathedral just outside of downtown by around 2:30pm for confession, but aside from that I had nothing but time on my side. I can’t even remember the last time I had an opportunity like this. Lately, it’s been waking up to alarms to get ready for practice, or to go somewhere else for another reason on off Saturdays (as we practice every other Saturday getting ready for our live recording on May 27th!). Anyway, today was pretty freakin’ awesome. I started it off by sippin’ coffee as I got through another episode of Star Trek: Enterprise because I have a mission of my own to accomplish. I’m currently watching Star Trek chronologically from Enterprise all the way to Star Trek Beyond. That’s A LOT of TV seasons and films to watch, but I’m doing for the love of the franchise. I suppose I can write a love letter to my favorite franchise another day. The original plan was for me to wake up, shower, then head out to get some routine truck maintenance done, but I felt compelled to do what I’ve wanted to do for the past couple of months. That thing was to live a day on my terms and schedule… completely. I knew I had those things to do, but I was going to put myself first for once. It led to me having a great day. Not only did I watch Enterprise, but I finally finished season 3 of Black Sails. Man, that show is awesome! I was able to get that done and STILL got my truck maintenance things taken care of and even had time to finally stop by a drive-thru frozen daiquiri joint that some of my co-workers had been telling me about for months. Pretty awesome! You drive up to the joint or park and go inside if you want, decide on what crazy alcoholic concoction you’d like to have, they put it into a Styrofoam cup, put said cup into a clear plastic bag, and send you on your happy way with straw in tow. That way, it’s technically not an open container as they give it to you and it’s up to you if you want to make it to your destination without having the temptation to commit a very dangerous crime of drinking and driving WITH an open container to boot. That’s a pretty harsh rule to break here in Texas as it is in anywhere in the United States, come to think of it, so one would be foolish to try it. I wasn’t about to mess around, so I waited until I got home to cash it in. As soon as I did get home, I decided to forgo cleaning house as I did only about 5 days ago and quite honestly, I needed the break. So more Star Trek and Black Sails were in order. It was just a beautiful day. This is how I really like to enjoy my days off, if you want me to be honest. I think I’ve only audibly spoken about 20 words in total today. Wait, I take that back. I had a pretty lengthy confession. LOL! Aside from that, about 20 words sound about right.

Whew! You made it this far? Asking yourself “Alright, Clone! WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT?!” Well, the point is that conversations with friends have been had lately that have me questioning the very odd question of “Just how the HELL is one supposed to date?” What the hell does that even mean anyway? When you say you’re dating someone, does that mean that you’re exclusive to that person or are they just another person in some kind of spinning wheel of people to call for the same things? That’s one of the questions I have. Another one is this. Just what in the HELL does one do on one of these… dates? Do y’all actually do the small talk thing? My Lord! The thought alone terrifies me! “Hi! How are you! (insert the positive or negative word here) weather we’ve had, eh? So! Eh…” BORING!!!!!!!!! Is that what really happens?! I honestly wouldn’t know. I think I’ve only been on a handful of real “dates” if that’s what you want to call them. Sure, I’ve had girlfriends, but we always did things together and never really did the typical “dinner and a movie” kinda thing. Or the popular meeting at Starbucks for coffee date thing either. I wouldn’t know what to do if I were ever thrust into that kind of a situation. I don’t like small talk at all. I run out of things to say too quickly and I have nothing to keep the small talk going. I don’t particularly care for it. I want to talk about meaningful things with people. What makes them who they are, how they got from the beginning to where they are now, stories from their lives, influences, likes, loves, the arts, entertainment, travels, dreams, aspirations, and so on and so on. I don’t care about the mundane ice breaker things to say.

That’s why I found the conversations I had with some of my friends the past couple of weeks so interesting. They’ve used online dating apps to converse with people and some have actually been quite successful with it. I found each story personally anxiety inducing! HAHAHAHA! My version of small talk and get to know you informally madness would go something like this, “Hi. My name is David. Funny thing about that though, not a lot of people call me that. I’m actually not used to hearing that. I hear “Dave” a lot, and I’ve sorta gotten used to that, but I’m not much of a fan of that either. I respond better to “Clone”. It’s a long story. Anyway, you can call me whatever you want. I pretty much respond to anything. Except “Guy”. I don’t know why, hearing anybody say something to the effect of “hey guy…” is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I can’t explain it. So, right off the bat, I think I should tell you that I’m an introvert, and if that’s not woman repellent enough, I’m also a nerdy dork who is in complete love with all things Star Trek and I love ALL genres of music, so if I’m not nerding out over Trek, I’m probably listening to music nonstop. Wait! Stop running! I’m not that weird! * talking to myself now as mystery woman runs away from me * And my friends wonder why I don’t “put myself out there”. Case and point, JERKS! I could have been home right now. Oh well, better late than never. She was kinda cute, though. Such is life.”

Maybe it’s just me. I don’t know. I just really don’t have the desire to try and fake my way into a romantic relationship. Why go through all of the bother, you know? I know it can happen organically. That’s how most of my romantic relationships have come about anyway, but to be honest I feel like most people want to use these things like Tinder and Plenty of Fish that used to be used for hook-ups and one-night-stands (and probably to a degree still are) to seek their long-term relationships. I don’t think it’s in me to waste my time like that. Those things weren’t meant for people like me. In the rare event that I do find myself in public alone, I can assure you that I am not looking for a random person to strike a conversation up with. What would I say? What is there to say? “No thank you.” is what my internal monologue says. I’m fine being by myself observing the world around me. I feel the same way in regards to these apps. “No, thank you.” LOL.

I know this sounds really stupid, but I’m really putting dating, romantic relationships, etc in God’s hands where they belong. If I happen to stumble upon a relationship living my life the way I’m the most happy (like right now), then all the better. My life is ALL God’s will anyway. I’m not in control, but I’m sure in the front passenger seat enjoying the ride! Small talk dates, Tinder, Plenty of Fish, whatever else like it that’s out there can go kick rocks as far as I’m concerned. I’d rather save my time and the little to no small talk arsenal that I have for jokes that make at least a few of my friends laugh.

So there you have it. That’s why I had such a great day today. No small talk was had. No faking my life or what I stand for or believe in just to try and win the affections of a woman… or anybody else for that matter. I am who I am. Weird, funny, nerdy, dorky, and kinda a one man wolfpack… Out here in the desert… Looking for people to have deep and meaningful conversations with. Hahaha!

So, how is the weather where you are right now? Man! We just had the most beautiful sunset here today just now. It’s overcast again and is going to be cold again tonight. 😉

A quick glance at my continuing journey of self-discovery

M.I.A.  That’s what I’ve been.  I suppose it’s with decent reasons though.  I’ve had a LOT I’ve wanted to write about, but time has been kicking me around like nobody’s business.  I don’t even know where to begin.

I think I should start with where my life events and mood have taken me over the past few months.  The past 9 months have really been such a blessing and thoughts, feelings, and the way I want to live my life have been setting deeper into solid concrete than ever before.  Some odd things have been coming out of my self-discoveries too.  Friendships have been annulled, acquaintances have lost touch, and I think I’ve become more confident as to what I stand for and who I am because of it all.

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If you want my honest opinion, I’m glad for the way things have been turning out in my life.  I know I’ve said it before, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.  Those pictures say a lot about how I really feel about things.  Not to get into too much detail, but those phrases are put so beautifully into pictures up there got put to the test a while back and honestly, I’m glad they did.  The situation reinforced the confidence in myself to keep on being exactly who I am and what I stand for.  I know there are 3 sides to every story, but I’ll stick by mine.

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Another thing that I’ve really noticed is that I am loving the routine I’ve given myself lately.  For as much grief as I get for proudly waving my Type B personality flag and my INFJ flag on my social media posts, those personality traits of mine have really been allowed to flourish.  I love the peace and quiet that I have when I get home from work.  I find peace and joy from cooking, cleaning, organizing, and doing laundry in solitude (which I do a lot of, actually as those who follow me on Snapchat know).  I know the extroverts that will happen to read this will cringe at the thought of me enjoying life the way I do, but I believe these three postings say it best:

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Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not turning into some kinda crazy recluse that shuns all human contact.  I love my family.  That’s what I consider you if we are friends and hang out, by the way.  I don’t really have friends.  I have acquaintances and family.  I love spending time with the people that I love.  They mean everything to me and I hope they realize that I’m just a bit weirder than they initially thought.  Hahahaha!

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With all of that said, I’m kinda shocked at just how quickly this year has gone by.  It’s going to be April on Saturday morning!  Can you believe that?!  This year is going by too fast and I haven’t even gotten the chance to settle into it at all.  April is going to be so busy for me.  Lots of work, Holy Week right in the middle of the month, a Saturday of work after that, then possibly a band trip at the end of the month is coming up.  Before I know it, May will be here and our album recording on May 27th will be upon us.  Where am I going to find the time to go camping?  Camping season around here is generally from April through October, so I’m already getting behind a month.  I know that’s what my body, brain, and soul need… that weekend getaway from cell phone signal, other human contact, and city life.  I need minimal electricity (only what batteries and my Chevrolet Suburban can provide), and what the wilderness can provide for me for a few days.  Hopefully I can find a few times in May and FOR SURE in June to start to get my mind right.

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I think that picture says it best too.  Having a partner in crime would be nice.  Not that it would ever happen.  Ha!!!!  I’m just too weird for my own good.

Until next time, y’all!

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