Friday, November 15, 2013

To reminisce of a time once passed, and relived again.

"You always want to see as much of the sky as possible." - Flatliners

I have only been as lonely as I am now one time in my life, and that moment was a short-lived, 9-month stint in Jacksonville, IL. I was miserable, and my body went through much of the same thing. I felt out of place, ostracized, and defunct. I worked hard, and I felt nothing for my endeavors. I felt lost.

When I got to Northwestern University, I doubted everything about myself. I felt defeated. If I couldn't make things work at a lower-level school, how was I supposed to make it work at a prestigious university like Northwestern?

Yet I thrived! I remember biking around Chicago after work. I did not know anyone, but soon found myself awash with friends. After watching my relationship disintegrate during my last few weeks, I soon found another woman, an inner city school teacher, who had a heart of gold. I danced around the city, attending a free event here and there. I felt the thrill of walking past Cabrini Green, a once-infamous housing project. I walked on the edge as I rode my road bike down into the south side during a 60-mile bike ride! And soon, my body returned to normal, my rhythm at work progressed quickly. I was doing more and more, and soon I was part of a team at a prestigious school. Suddently, I was getting good reviews. My confidence steadied.

I do not mean to run away, but something is not right here. I hate whining, but it feels like my body knows me better than my own mind. Silly as it seems. I thrive for adventure, for a challenge, for big mountains, or new experiences. I thrive for working and being around people. I thrive for being productive.

I thrive to build. 

Law school seems to fuel none of this. It has turned into yet another academic endeavor. It feels like another hoop to climb through before I can move onto the next stage of my life.

It feels pointless.

The worst part is that I feel utterly alone as I go through it. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

I fear death when I no longer feel alive.

As of recent, my body has returned to mostly normal. My limbs are limber again. The pain that has set so consistently in my abdomen and sometimes chest fades. I swim a little over a mile every other day. I run miles on the other. I have lost a little over 10 lbs, and I am a step away from climbing again.

I am thankful for all these changes. Yet, a tiny notion sits in my head. Must I keep this diet forever? Do I have food allergies or is something malfunctioning? Two nights ago, I had a protein shake and then a grilled cheese and everything happened again. My doctor doesn't seem to think it is my gallbladder. My family heartily disagrees.

It baffles me that the body can control our temperament, our ability to focus, our ability to love fully, and our ability to live in the present. I am so thankful for these days when things begin to return to normal. I have all but said good bye to law school. If it was the stress that did all this to me, I want no part in it. I want to feel as I do now. I want to feel my feet, light and quick, rising from the ground and pushing my body forward. I want the flexibility and lightness to climb trees, to hike big mountains and scale giant cliffs. I want to sense the world and not live in fear.

I fear death when I no longer feel alive. 

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Boise, the beginning

The realities of the heart transform into the realities of the body if you are as I am, a very passionate soul. During the past several months, my heart has felt the void and my body has crumbled. Only while reading the words of Wallace Stegner as an old man have I realized the truth of these words.

"It is remarkable how apt bacteria and other agents of the moral sense can be, how readily they infect and afflict us when we need affliction."

What a wake up call it has been, an even slower path to recovery. I have been carrying a great weight of sadness, and my legs finally buckled. I am relieved I made it through my first year of law school. My uncle attributes this to my strength to keep going. I attribute it to my folly and a near miss of disastrous proportions. But I am often too hard on myself.

I sit here now in the late morning breeze, speckled shade while birds sing and voices faintly call in the distance as they navigate the green of the golf course. I have come to live with two people whom I respect and feel great for their company, much like their son who first became my friend.

As I start to lift my heart, my body slowly starts to recover. Climbing sits only moments away and long bike rides seem easier and easier.

Now is not the time for many choices. I think my recovery is still key. However, soon I will have to shape the next few years and that time is growing near. So much sits on the horizon and like any other time in my life, decisions stand near.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


For we are creatures made of tiny little stars swirling around in atomic clouds. Laugh with friends. Find new adventures! Forever follow and do justice to love. Forever hold on to an optimistic spirit.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


A law school dropout, now director of a theater department smiled and spoke about truth. The only thing he said mattered was truth. 

Yet, where is truth when it feels as if society drags us constantly from it? Where so many people hide behind the mask of some rationalization, truth is a lost concept. Some hide behind advanced degrees, never wanting the world to know their own intellectual impotency. Some, outwardly beautiful people, will forever feel insecure in their beauty. Their worth ebbs and flows on the extrinsic energy of the group. 

However, inner confidence gives rise to a classic comfort. This comfort gives rise to a classic, key emotional stability that helps us stay as a steady as a clock when all the world storms around us. As Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote, "Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunder-storm." 

I have watched my confidence dwindle this year. I wrapped it up in another, and another, and another until it was out of my control - a stormy mind in a stormy world. Yet, today, I take a step back as my mind begins to quiet, as I start to see the world again for how it is. 

Being strong in this world means carrying a quiet mind through the raging storm

Camus once declared that within the midst of the winter, he found within him an invincible summer.This summer, my invincible summer, my personal fire, I have thrown in many directions lately. I have spread it out over 2,000 miles and felt only empty words in return. I have spent what little energy I had in a fruitless endeavor. My body crashed against the shore of lost hope. It is a hard thing for me to know something is possible, but a realistic impossibility. As with everything, this is a learning experience. 



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Exams then Boise

Dancing meant so much then. A head rested on my shoulder. Our hips shifted at the sway of the rhythm. The solidarity of movement helped captured a certain essence of our humanity.  Once one has touched those truly beautiful moments of life, every other little thing is only a distraction from those moments. In other words, a man who has seen the sunlight will never accept the pale glow of artificial light. It is a connection not to be lessened with our rational minds.

Now, I dance and twist in wild rhythms trying to capture a freedom I once possessed. The alcohol courses through my veins. It peels the brain's onion, and all the bad decisions flow forth without guilt. And when a sober thought reaches me, I think of those deeper days when I was a better man. I think of the children I could have inspired, the projects I could have poured this time into … I think of the useless and boring days here.

Lately, I have been running. I also run to feel free. Breathing rapidly, pulse buzzing, sweat perspiring, an aliveness encompasses my spirit. Endorphins emerge and maybe I am not so lost as I seemed only hours ago. Yet, I run with a certain notion of bittersweet angst. No goal sits on my doorstep. I am where I worked to be, and now sometimes I just want to leave. I found love only to reject it. Now, I am a but a fragment of what I once was. However society may see me, I have fallen and am in the bitter struggle of climbing out.

I need this to be leading somewhere. I need my life to mean something.

It is not within me to give up.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Standing in the downpour, countless hours of writing await

When shit hits the fan and everything dwindles in the prospects of oblivion, all you have is your belief in yourself. Never forget this, because it is the very essence of this belief that will help keep your will, your drive, your composure to focus, to get done what needs to get done and to live in the moment with all its insanity.

Let come what will.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The days march on with small steps

For all the whining I do, the days are not so bad. Woke up today to the sun and another onslaught of snow. However, for the past five days, the weather was moist and warm. The clouds did not part as they do today, but it felt a little like Spring.

I cannot fathom what is at the heart of so much disinterest in something I care so much about. I feel as if it is more of a feeling that I will try hard and nothing may come of it. I hate to see a well-educated barista who for all his/her education does nothing more than serve drinks. What a selfish use of an education. However, how is this different from the professor whose research is esoteric and metaphysical? He gets grants to expand our educated minds ... but does this really have a real impact on the world. Does he use his talents in any other way?

So I sit here sometimes, disinterested for only the fact that I am so lonely, that I may not be of use. It kills me because I feel so close to my goals.

Tonight starts the toiling away into the morning hours with work. I feel that if I focus only on this, this school and Moscow ... that I will be able to finish in good fashion. Then with a clear head, I may start to see this school and town more clearly. I may then decide to stay or go from this course.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What I would really like to do with my summer ...

I'd like to drive into a small town/city/suburb, sit down at the counter, and ask someone, "Let me hear about your life. Then I want you to tell me what you think is right and wrong about where our country is going."

I'd ask mayors, the homeless, business owners, construction workers, truck drivers, amusement park workers, the young, the old, the middle aged ... get a canvass of everyone. Hopefully I'd find the optimistic, the pessimistic, the realistic and even the true cynics. I'd pick two big issues per person, write about his/her life (where he/she is coming from with the opinion), then I'd write some background on the subject and where he/she thinks we, as a country, should be moving. Topics would range from big, overall, national debates such as gay marriage to local, specific issues such as water rights.

I'd update this all on another blog, unconnected to this one. As I snaked my way through the country, I would have an update a week with a new person every week. I'd camp out or sleep in my car/ stay with friends or stay in a hotel when a shower was in order.

If not me, someone should do this. I feel like the pulse of America is still there. However, it is hidden by big interests and talking heads, the ideas that separate us all before we even where the other stands.

If I had the funding, I'd dedicate my summer to this. This would be a great idea, and a great adventure.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Searching for a path "to be of use"

I hate to whine. I don't like to complain, and I hate to wake up in the morning without being excited to be alive. 

I think not wanting to be here, not wanting to feel so alone takes my mind so far away from my studies. It is my reason to fail. I feel as if I am falling, as if my darkest fears are materializing, that I will become like my parents. In the Cider House Rules, it is often said that an orphan sometimes knows the value of not hearing the truth. I can relate to this. I don't want to fail my kids by becoming a sort of uninspiring man.

Another phrase from the Cider House Rules is "to be of use." Even though I am not an orphan, I still feel so far away from family, always have, to know the value of being "of use to somebody." I often search for a career where I can give back, help people, play a dynamic role, or really dig into the issues. I thought that was going to be law. Yet it just feels like another hoop to nowhere, and I can't get rid of the sinking feeling that I'm investing in something (this law school) that will really get me nowhere.

I just want to work a good, hard day's work, feel accomplished and as if I am actually working on something. I hate toiling away in academia. 

And all this really does is make it so everyone is so much further away. I feel more alone than ever.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

law school: 1, Brian: 0

My legs tighten, my impulses fire ... Run! Run! Anywhere! Just Run. Find those crimson cliffs that once settled out the wrinkles of your soul. Find the old woman from Portland with her gentle wisdom. Find that cliff you once climbed on the worst of days. Find the cliff in southern Colorado that you once sat on as a young boy. Get drunk on margaritas, jump into Lake Powell and float away while laughing in the hot summer wind! Find a slot canyon and lose yourself in it!

I now understand what Albert Camus meant when he said, "In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer."

The darkness is like a hole. As the soul becomes more dense, gravity begins to tug, more and more. Yet, I find my thoughts drifting to a rock in Snow Canyon, meditating, finding some strength in the setting sun.

My hands hold the bottle from whence the wine doth flow.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The cold air hardens.

I swim to the side of the pond. I sit near its bank, my toes squishing in the clay, the warm water encapsulating me. The outside air, so shrill and cold, brushes against the top of my bald head. It says with its frigid touch, "Hey, kid. You're going to be cold if you get up. It's going to be pretty miserable. You should think twice - or maybe even thrice - about all this."

So, after a moment of thought, I stand up. The wild wind beats at me. It is unrelenting. When I look back at the pond, it is no more. It is unwelcoming. I am its pariah.

A friend comes to my side. He offers me another beer, a mindful conversation of the moment, of the peculiarity of the wind. "The wind will reside," he insists. However, I think maybe he is wrong about the nature of the wind, and maybe, I reason, it is the skin that will get thicker, not the wind milder.

And again, I stare at this frigid medium. Let my heart sink to its touch.  Feel it caress me further down and let it harden me. Harden to a world that is harsh, that gives no quarter, and takes no prisoners.

I shall not succumb. I shall harden. I shall draw from the fire and forge anew.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

You wouldn't say

You wouldn't say that this wasn't best for you. Straight ticket to a better career ... fast forward an estate in Kentucky. You wouldn't say that our last conversation - pointing to how bad of a boyfriend I was - showed that you were particularly happy with me. You wouldn't say that I didn't drive 4,000 miles during my winter break so that I could see your face was a decent gesture. You wouldn't say that I am a free man, captured in the midst of debt and too much schooling.

You wouldn't say any of that.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Seems like a long time now.

Before sleep, I doze

Stillness in the night, a man with an Arabic accent speaks about Somalia with a woman with a British accent. On the radio, Delhi is a place where unspeakable things happen to young ladies and men raise cat calls at a young Ugandan girl. The girl explains that it just the way it is. She doesn't seem too upset.

And I'm now ready to let my mind wander off to sleep, thinking I should write, just anything, so long as it is written.

Oh, To Succeed is a Perception Changer.

Going deeper into the abyss that is my debt, deeper into the rabbit hole of education, I find myself reliving moment by moment each time I sat on a rock wondering where I should take my life. If I had known what I know now, would I have pursued this direction, or another?

Today, I read the story of Richard Fee - a young, ambitious man who during a span of years surrounding college and afterward became addicted to Adderall, gradually lost grip with reality, became depressed, and eventually after crashing from a withdrawal, killed himself. The story speaks to correcting the negligent conduct of doctors and other health care officials. However, what does the story say about our society as a whole?

Mr. Fee was a young man, stricken with ambition, perceived by others to be bright and articulate. He was a young man who graduated with honors from college. He was a man with a single dream. He wanted to become a doctor. How ironic that man aspiring to a career of curing and helping people with illness should destroy himself in the process! What does the story of Mr. Fee really say? Maybe it says that a segment of society, maybe even myself, believe so much in what others perceive of them that the only way to attain any worth is to achieve the upper echelons of their respective field.

Caught up in this, how much can one/should one sacrifice?

Still the grandeur of working on water issues holds me. Am I as delusional as another who destroys himself in a desperate attempt for a better perceived reality? Or am one who will succeed, one who does have a true path?

To give up would be cowardly, but to go forward blindly would be idiotic. Maybe the trick to all this is held in the words of Kenny Rogers. You have to "know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em, And know when to run." For now, I go on, with the belief that I am one of the lucky ones with a path.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Law School

If anything law school demonstrates some interesting insights into human nature. First, a mind does not work well without sleep, under a lot of stress, absent from fun experiences, or in circumstances enacted outside of normal mental pacing. I have spent days in a mental fog, dreaming of sleep or other circumstances that did not demand so much of me so often without reprieve or some sort of fun intervention. I know that much of this has to do with my own situation. I am in a new place, away from my significant other, forced to make new friends on a restricted time frame and meeting mainly others who have the same restrictions (not counting their own prior time commitments such as family [mucho important!])

Law school also demonstrates how much a higher learning environment can resemble high school. Yet, during high school, I was never one of the cool kids, never invited to parties. Actually, it was quite the opposite. I guess now that I am invited, it does not seem like I ever missed out on much. Sure, I love seeing people and it usually leads to a good time. However, it's not climbing, not hanging out with those purely classic souls who have so much to say, or so much funniness to impart, or so much adventure to inspire ... I guess part of the drama unfolds through my own history of adventure and action instead of drinking and malaise.

I find myself tonight, sipping on scotch, dreaming of visiting those great friends, those great family, those cherished souls who have entered my path. My hopes are that maybe I have encountered more of these fine souls (not out of the question at all!) only in the wrong circumstances.

Law is a bunch of sitting and pondering, extrapolating from the rest of what will be. It is a test and an exercise. Yet, it is not action. The action is mostly what I miss.


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Ambitiously enduring.