Contingent Acceptances

Deep Thoughts

Contingency can be an entity on it’s own. From a logical standpoint, the word itself is a proposition defined as, “True under certain conditions, false under others; not necessary.” The simple fact is I feel I have been living a haphazard life; one without a plan or organization. There is no set sleeping pattern, no regular routines, no consistency overall. Isn’t this the ideal situation to be in though? To gain that control over where you go, when you go, and determine exactly you want to do? Although it is a liberating experience and state to be caught up in, it is easy to get too comfortable. The hard part is learning to balance the new freedom and formulate a productive lifestyle as well.

The transition from a uniformed lifestyle to an uncanny yet free one does come with challenges on its own. The fact of not having a set schedule or set plan is scary. Going into this new chapter feels as if one’s been pushed into a new world and forced to survive. Somehow, someway. You have to figure out how you want to live your life, where you want to live it, and create your own strategy in getting there. It’s a beautiful fright because it is a different type of fear. While some of us have fears of heights, spiders, bees, death etc., this is a fear that is derived from ourself as beings. The fear is being scared to make the necessary changes needed for yourself. There are tendencies to think hard about what we should do or what we think we know what we want, and then just stick with it. But, as for me, when I take a step back, there’s a moment of self reflection where my true longings and desires are revealed before me. This realization that occurs, it is you putting yourself in your place. This other half of you confronts and tells you the truth about your feelings, desires, and needs. The hard part I have discovered is learning to accept. Now that I have the knowledge of knowing exactly what I want, who I want, where I want to be, how I want to change etc., it’s easy to choose the known route and remain in this falsified state of life.

Acceptance is hard because we feel that the moment we accept something, we will be misunderstood or repudiated. Our fear is to feel alone or abandoned. Regardless if one preaches how they enjoy being independent or appear to be strong, I like the believe that everyone needs comfort and empathy. No matter what the circumstances are. A person that comes into my mind is only one I have heard of and have never met or know much of. All I know is, this person is a heart scientist who longs to be a heart surgeon one day, and has been looking for “love” for years and claims they simply can’t find it. They claim luck has not been on their side and feel the pressure of time since they are much older now. They have friends and family already married and starting families. They claim to want this yet wouldn’t be willing to do that anytime soon. So what is it exactly that this heart scientist wants? I believe the battle is with the self. When there is no acceptance, then there is an emotional detachment. The irony is a heart scientist is searching for that love in all the possible and right ways, but can’t seem to find it. I find it tragic but also see it as a lesson. You have to let things happen organically. Once we learn to accept things, whether we want to or not, we need to come to terms with our true feelings. I believe we bury those innocent and pure feelings since there is a fear of accepting them to ourselves. Even if we accept it to ourselves, the next step would be to see if others will accept. By thinking ahead, we create our own defense tactic which thus impedes us from attaining what we truly want. So who is the enemy? Ourselves. We won’t be happy unless we allow ourselves to reach that happiness.

Something I read recently presented this business philosophy called “kaizen.” It is based on making positive changes on a regular basis as to improve productivity. This can be applied to one’s personal or social life by focussing on constant continuous improvement. Learning about this was like a breath of fresh air. It reaffirmed my uneasiness as contingent, or conditional state. It would not last forever, but I needed to embrace this feeling and use it to my advantage. By accepting my feelings and allowing myself to feel them, then I can make the necessary positive changes.

Undisclosed desires

Creative Writing

Undisclosed Desires
While working feverishly on my computer, I suddenly heard an abrasive tone in the distance of my dim room. Being it was Friday, I did not bother to quickly turn to my phone as I usually do for I wanted to finish my work before Monday. A few minutes passed and the irritating tone came back. I sprung out of my chair and shuffled over towards my rounded mahogany coffee table. As my phone laid comfortably on the table, I glimpsed over at the twinkling screen and saw a combination of letters that spelt out “New Message from Nick”. In shock, I began to think back when was the last time I had seen him?

As my mind spun wheels to jog my memory, a clear image finally came through. Ah yes! The last time was when he had graduated from our local university in Los Angeles. When he finally appeared out of the sea of graduates, he grimaced towards me as his eyes settled upon the pink roses. Nicholas yelled, “Bro, how’d cha know?! Roses are fucking amazing.” I laughed and replied, “You son of a bitch. You think you’re so important now because you got a damn degree?” Nick smirked at me and lingered his eye contact as he walked alongside his friend Brittany. I yelled back, “ Dude. Just take this stupid bouquet! They were the best ones at the shop okay?” As Nicholas chuckled, I noticed Brittany banter her eyelashes towards Nick, probably in hopes of catching his attention. Nick bursted with enthusiasm in a mocking girl tone, “Oh my goodness Brittany, Mark is so sweet! Look how wonderful they are! These would go great on my white shabby chic table with my succulent collection.” We all laughed and shook our heads in disbelief at Nicholas. He was a funny guy, but also absent at times which made me feel disappointed. I turned back to him and asked, “So what are your plans now Mr. Eamen? Time to settle down, sell your soul to a company, or travel and never look back?” Nick walked up beside me on my left and looked down at his feet. We had just come to the edge of a beautiful overlook of the ocean on the north side of campus. I looked down at him and I could see his smile start to fade. Nick whispered, “Fuck. I have no idea man. I was so sure I wanted to be an executive at Dolby. After getting rejected though, I don’t know.” As he continued to look down at his beat up black converse, I saw his eyebrows cave in toward the top of his nose and his big brown eyes became a faint squint. We looked at each other and held a gaze, and quickly turned back to staring out at the ocean. My hands became clammy and I could barely make up any words to reply back to him. I finally managed to come up with a few words and ushered, “Everything will be okay in the end. It doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you end up.”

As I blinked my eyes continuously at the screen, I had realized I did not open the message yet. I swiped my index finger across the phone quickly and began to read the message. Upon seeing the first few words, I felt a heavy wave of anger that instantly grounded me. The message read, “No invite to last night dude? It’s all good. Not like you hit me up anyways…” I was infuriated. The night prior, a mutual friend of ours had a birthday dinner. She mentioned she wanted an answer from the ten people she invited since it was reserved seating. After reading the text, I replied “I did not know you were back from your trip yet. Thought you might have been busy.” Within minutes of sending the message, Nick replied with a hasty undertone, “I came back a week ago. But it’s all good, I will see you all soon…” His second reply irked me even more so. I began to think back on that New Year’s Day night.

It was a rather chilly night. Nick, Jessica, Brittany, John, and I were at our favorite bar, Henry’s, and decided to play King’s Cup. Midway through our first round, the girls started to get more talkative and Nick started to become more touchy. I knew I could hold my liquor, so I took it upon myself that I would need to sober up and take care of the others. After Jessica pulled a red six of hearts, Nick, John and I knew that meant “6 for Dicks.”We all grabbed our beers and yelled out, “Cheers to them whores!” As I looked over at the clock, it was 3 minutes until countdown. I yelled out to Nick, “Nick, don’t let John drift off again it’s almost 12! Hurry!”

“What? I can’t hear you!”

“Nick seriously, stop messing around hurry up.”

“Alright alright alright, stop being so damn demanding bro.”

“It’s New Year’s, do you want to start it out shitty again like last year?”

For literally almost all of the New Year’s Eves we spent together, Nick always managed to get sick before or after New Years. It was inevitable. Last year though, we made a pact that we would make sure we would keep each other in check and start the new year on a fresh slate. As I heard the crowd in the bar start to quiet down, I knew it was countdown time. As we all stood together overlooking the dirty brick rooftop, I felt a hand interlock with mine. As my eyes lingered from my hand to up the stranger’s arm, I couldn’t believe who it was. It was Nick. Just as I was about to pull back, I heard the crowd scream, “5…4…3…2…1…Happy New Year!” I squinted my eyes and pulled back my hand and said, “Nick. You definitely have had one too many drinks.” He replied, “No I haven’t, you’re just scared.” Although Nick was my best friend, I felt uncomfortable and wanted to leave. “Nick, stop it. I don’t know if you’re joking or not but this isn’t funny. I wanted a special moment with Jessica but instead I was caught holding whose hand? Oh yeah YOURS.”

“What, embarrassed to even hold your best man’s hand? What a wuss.”

“No. I don’t see you in anymore than that. Leave me alone!”

“Damn look who is upset. It’s okay to be scared I’m here for you.”

“Scared of what? You know, you get really weird now when you drink.”

“Isn’t that what happens to everyone anyways Mark? Alcohol makes everyone loosey loose!”

“Dude, just go home and get sleep. I’m going to find Jessica.”

“Yeah your so called ‘lover’.You hardly know each other. You just met what a month ago? At that Christmas dinner at your work?”

“Yeah so? Did it ever occur to you that maybe I want more? She’s a chill girl.”

“Yeah chill. But is she lovely?”

At this remark, I was beyond pissed and uncomfortable. I didn’t want to talk to Nick. I gathered my coat and said to John, “Hey, make sure he gets home okay alright?” John answered, “Will do man. Happy New Year.”

As I sat there blank faced at the phone still. It was hard to understand why he was upset for he was infamously known for disappearing and not keeping in touch himself ever since that night. I replied, “It was George’s thing not mine. So don’t take it out on me.” As I could imagine, Nick was most likely typing faster than he could think for he replied, “ You’ve changed. I can’t believe you’re such an ass now!” I didn’t reply. I placed my phone face down on the coffee table, and went back to finishing up my work.

Days passed and then weeks passed and still no contact from him. I would hear from fellow friends about how he was so busy with his new job at Universal Music Group. A few times I found out he was in Westlake but I still got no message from him. On an early Sunday morning, I decided to finally reply. I grasped my phone gently in my hand and replied, “ Nick, It’s Mark. We need to talk about us and catch up. I was hoping you were free sometime this week to grab a coffee at our favorite place, Urth Cafe.” It was strange to type that message out for it felt so foreign. As I continued cleaning up my newly remodeled kitchen, I realized my phone was ringing. I rushed over and saw it was Nick. I picked up the phone and said, “Hey Nick.” There was silence. I could hear slight breathing but could not make out any conversation. I said “Nick, you there?” Nick coughed and said, “Hey Mark, I got your message. I can do Friday at 9 AM. Does that work?” I was surprised by the quick response. It sounded as if we were setting up a business meeting. I replied. “Wow look at us being so formal. Yes, that works for me. I will meet you there.” Nick suddenly interrupted, “ I need to tell you something, but I would rather it be in person. Can we go to our spot again after coffee? Just like old times.” I smiled at the phone, and was thrilled at his response. I replied, “ Ya, let’s go to our spot.”

I would like to say the bright morning sun started my Friday morning, but after having a sleepless night, the garbage truck woke me up at the beautiful hour of 6 AM. I threw on some jeans, a white tee, and grabbed a light cardigan before heading out. As I walked through the glass door that read Urth Cafe in beautiful cursive letters, I decided to wait patiently at a rounded coffee table by the window outside. As I checked my phone constantly for Nick’s text, I heard a familiar voice, “Dudeee this chai latter is dope. I got an extra shot with extra vanilla, here try some.” I was shocked and replied:

“Nick. You had one job. Meet here at 9 AM…so we could BOTH order drinks together.”

“Mark Mark Mark, how the hell am I supposed to know. Didn’t shoot me a text yet again did ya?”

“Call me old fashion, but I figured I’d sit and wait. Like a normal human being.”

“Dude relax! Just go get your damn espresso shot with almond milk. “

“Nick…you still remember that? It’s been years since we’ve had coffee. Last time was when we were freshman in college.”

“Woahhhh my man you are right. We both couldn’t decide if we wanted to ask out those girls from…which class was it?”

“Angela from marketing. She was nice, but never ended up talking to her. And yours was…”

“Nevermind it. I forgot anyways. It was years ago too things have changed since then.”

“Come on tell me. What was her name again?”

“No one. It was you who wanted to ask someone out not me.”

As I sat there puzzled by the sharp interruptions, I calmly got up from my chair and walked over to get my new favorite drink: a cappuccino with coconut milk and caramel drizzle. As I waited for my drink, I peered a quick glance at Nick through the window. I saw his mouth moving up and down with his hands in sync as he talked to the two gentlemen next to us. Nick was always a friendly guy. I always longed to be more outgoing like him but i think us together, it was a good balance for our relationship. I returned back to my seat and the talking stopped. The two men, one blonde haired and blue eyed and the other a dark haired and slender man, gave a nod towards Nick and walked out the side gate with their lattes. I turned back to Nick and said,

“Boy you make friends fast. I wish I had your skills man, that’s how you get all the ladies right?”

“Bro stop it. I wish I was like you. So sophisticated and proper yet quiet and confusing.”

“I am not a pretentious guy with loads of money that’s mysterious, is that what you’re trying to get at Nick?!”

“Well using words like that, you’re pretty damn pretentious. Who talks like that anyways? Didn’t you just say you were trying to be normal anyways?”

“Hm, touche Nick. Touche. You got me.”

“Yeah I got you alright… “

As he said those words, his confident demeanor faded as I saw his eyes become glossy and aimed towards the ground. He started to look around frantically as if he were looking for those two men again. I replied, “Nick, what’s up? Looking for someone?” After a few sips of his coffee, he turned to me and murmured, “Mark, I know I have been distant lately and I’m sorry. I have been a horrible friend.” In shock, I was relieved to hear these words. He continued,

“I needed to talk to you too though was for another reason.”

“Okay, stop beating around the bush Nick, what?”

“I have feelings for you…”

“I love you too, you’re like a brother I never had.”

“No Mark. I am in love with you…don’t you remember New Year’s?”

As I heard Nick continue the story I wanted to forget, I couldn’t help but think what made him like me so much? After countless dates and several bad relationships, I was always left with an empty feeling that I couldn’t shake. But, as Nick confessed his true feelings, I felt not bothered but appreciated. As my eyes started to water and my usual frowned face quickly turned into a warm smile. I answered, “Thanks Nick. I am flattered. I’m sorry though, it will never be like how you want it to be.” As I replied, I could see Nick’s uneasiness start to fade and turn into a smirk. He continued, “I was pretty drunk that night. I know you might have seen it then, but I was discovering I liked men and you happened to be one of the ones I liked. It was a difficult time to go through. I didn’t tell many people but I guess coming onto you wasn’t the best idea either.”

“Well yeah. I was pretty upset and uncomfortable dude. I never in a million years would think anything like that.”

As I said these words, I felt a stab in my heart. I thought to myself, “Mark. Why did you just say that? That’s a lie.” I couldn’t understand it. I was furious that New Year’s Eve night, yet I could never really shake the feeling of us holding hands. Nick continued, “Yeah, those two guys I was talking with earlier, they’ve been together for two years. I met them at Gold’s Gym and they’ve been really helpful with the coming out process. I’m glad you know the truth though. I hope it doesn’t change our friendship.” As I thought deeper and deeper into the subject, I knew one thing was certain. I didn’t want to lose Nick. The thought of him being with another guy more often than me in the future began to infuriate me and I didn’t know why. Nick continued, “Well I know it’s been a crazy year for us both, but I’m glad we can be okay now. I’m going to get going though. I have to go back to work for a meeting.” As we got up from our chairs, we gave each other a hug. As we slowly released each other from the warm embrace, I quickly grabbed him back and kissed him.

Breached Dialects

Uncategorized

A chime in the wake of the morning. The usual shuffling to gather one’s belongings. The quick turn of the key to secure one’s home. Step by step, out the door, and then onto the usual walk; in search of what? Oh yes, the car. To fall into a routine is not necessarily bad. It places one into a state of cruise control which thus creates expectations of knowing what will come next. Today, I automatically knew I would walk down my street, unlock my car, and drive off to work. As I walked towards the end of my street, I couldn’t help but realize it seemed awfully vacant in the spot of where I thought I parked my car. Being in a rushed mindset, I automatically thought I probably parked it somewhere else and couldn’t think of which street exactly. Worried about going to work on time,  I went to Plan B: Call an uber.

It’s amazing though right? How we can go about our day and if there is any slight change to the norm, we obtain the ability to automatically reject it. As a sort of coping mechanism, we formulate and propose another explanation in order to make sense of this particular altercation. Although work helped keep my mind busy, I still couldn’t shake the gut feeling of the truth. I had the desire to rush home in order to search high and wide for something that was under my ownership. If I were to find it misplaced, then I would just reprimand myself to remember better next time. This seemed like a pretty simple solution, but, I knew this would not be the outcome. Pessimistic? No. We know ourselves too well or have friends who do. This made me realize that what I was experiencing was not crazy. The self-doubt that overcomes one can become overwhelming, frazzling, and a bit uncomfortable.

Scrambling for phone numbers. Losing connection. Calling wrong numbers. Then, the police department. Next moment, I see a fairly tall officer approach me, give him the report, and then, I hear the rumbling engine drift towards the direction of where my car was once parked.

A car is just material. Scraps of different matter conformed together to present a finished product. It’s not the physicality of it, but the feeling left from losing something physically. A sense of violation and direspect overcomes one. Disbelief, distrust, and disillusionment is what comes into play.

I am not speaking from anger, but of deep concern. Although shit happens in life, I couldn’t help but think this incident shows a direct effect of what is going on in the world right now. Whether this is an effect of the election results where desperate times call for desperate measures or because it is holiday season, it is unclear to know exactly why and I accept that. One thing is for sure though; I want everyone to know that we need to be there for each other. Look out for one another. We shouldn’t be fighting over the outcomes because it is only driving a further wedge between us. Clearly, a majority of us thought we knew the outcome and were surprised to learn about the actual results. I think this is a clear indicator of how little we know one another and are not understanding all sides of the issues that need to be addressed. I would hate to see this country revert back to the 1950s, in which the thick line between “us” and “them” is redrawn.

 

 

 

 

 

Clay-making

Uncategorized

I am asking of things in which you can not give: voluntary attention. I yearn, better yet, crave the very taste and satisfcation I receive when I see those eyes gaze upon me. The pure enjoyment from appreciating one’s existance is an uncanny and spendid feeling for both ends. That to me, is love. Doubt arises questions, and questions call for answers to be formulated in order to make sense of particular situations. By entering into this very state though, it is apparent that what was once there is already gone. The delusionment and dense fog of vagueness is an exquisite journey, but not impossible to survive. Just as a sailor is caught in a tyrad of waves, the fog eventually clears out and he will return home once again. It is not the experiences that shape’s one, but the way they are determined and dealt with do. Here lies the very essence of what a person ought to become, which in itself, is contradictory. Through these encounters, one is forced to confront themselves and to take shape. The shape that is taken though is not a solid, unchanging one. It is one that is moulded into one state, but can be restructured and remoulded like clay. With the burning and melting of clay, a new shape can be made with a different purpose.

Ramshackled Habits

Uncategorized

As I begin my last and final semester, I notice my conscious entering a vaguely familiar stance: confusion. There comes several, if not, many moments in our lives where we approach a crossroad. The tense, stiff, and paralyzing effect this encounter creates allows a dark shadow to hover over one’s fragile body. Gasping for air, taking deep gulps of one’s saliva, and several blinks in a multitude of only a few seconds, we are faced yet again with our biggest demon: ourselves.

Decisions are no easy task. Regardless if things are easy or hard, you are still required to make a choice. And how do you go about making one? Well, that’s subjective. Depends on who you’re asking, the situation, and what you want the outcome to be. Now in my regard, I had trouble in deciding between something that I am interested in versus something I can actually obtain. In this case, I had a handful of classes I found really interesting with long wait lists while another handful were attainable but had me weary of the subjects. Being an English major, I knew all of the classes would greatly consist of novels and essays, but it just depended on which ones I wanted to read. A lot of the ones available were ones I already read, which in theory, would be to my benefit. However,  I knew that was not what I wanted for I was inclined and craved new substancies.

Not only did I choose two English classes where I have never read the material, but I tackled on two sociology classes: one on technology and another on poverty.

Now, this one instance where I came at a crossroads and felt lost, it has now become a common private yet public space that many pass through. Although this is a small detail of my own life, I was faced with larger contexts. Which job should I take? What career path? Should I travel or pay back loans ASAP? Move back home or stay where I am? Be with someone or on my own? Get a new place or stay? And so the list goes on which leads me to my next point.

Why “Ramshackled” and “Habits”? I’ll tell you why. Ramshackled because it’s a state that everyone has been through. Everyone has experienced it at some point in their life and it doesn’t last forever; it’s only temporary. Is it possible to experience it more than once? Yes. But it’s a good thing. The strength you gain in this process surpasses the run-down feeling that temporarily engulfs you. As the waves of thoughts tumble viciously in the cerebrum, there is a gratifying moment where the waters become to run still. Peace and self-awareness comes into focus and it is here where we are faced with making a decision. On the other hand, “habit” is the moment where  we face an internal battle with ourselves. Habit allows us to form a comfort zone with regular consistencies which in turn make them that much harder to break. How do the two go hand in hand ? Well for me, it means that I have had a tendency to continue to be in a ramshackled state overall. In different aspects of my life, I have neglected confronting tendencies that need adjusting. By ignoring and not delving into one’s true feelings, the ultimate loss is to yourself.

By becoming aware and understanding your stance in your own life, you would be surprised how simple it can be to turn a “hard” decision into simply just a decision.

Worldly Life

Uncategorized

Living in the Bay Area has taken some getting used to. Back at home, there were a bunch of chain restaurants such as Panda Express, Mcdonald’s, Burger King, California Pizza Kitchen, and In n Out. Although these are just a few of my favorites, I began to realize how bad I used to eat home back in LA. Upon moving to the Bay Area, I can definitely say there  are a wide array of eateries. From Indian, to Thai, to Italian, or Sushi, I am happy to say I love to try different restaurants around the area.

One of my new favorite places is a French restaurant, La Note. It is located on 2377 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94704. After being busy for months with papers, my housemate treated me out as a late birthday present. I always heard great things about La Note from friends but never came around to trying it out myself. When you walk in, you definitely can feel the provincial French lifestyle. It was like traveling back in time with woven baskets and French decor hanging on the walls and ceiling. The ambiance could be Sunday morning fancy or a casual meet up before going to work.  You can enjoy an almond croissant with some tea or My favorite is the COTE EST which consists of two scrambled eggs, one pancake of your choice and a choice of bacon or homefries 13.5o

IMG_2698

Manpuku Japanese Restaurant l Elmwood, California l Kylie Lozano

Another new favorite of mine is Manpuku Japanese Restaurant, located on College Ave. in the Elmwood district. When I first came, it was by random. I had a friend and his roommate visiting in town and they wanted to have Japanese food. When we first walked in, it was quaint and peaceful. It was not super crowded and there were beautiful paintings hung on the walls. The ambiance was casual but it would be the perfect place for a nice dinner or first date. The proportions were perfect. We each got a bento box and shared this beautiful sushi platter.

The Pacific Coast Life

Uncategorized

Moving from Los Angeles to the Bay Area was a major change for me. The biggest change for me was the weather. I found myself comfortably soaking up the sun to quickly finding the nearest store to buy a warm jacket. Oh, but it couldn’t be any jacket of course. Since I was in Berkeley, I needed to grab the highly raved Northface Black Collared Jacket. Discovering there was an outlet 10 minutes away from me, I quickly drove over and made my journey through the store. As I saw the black jacket section, there was an immense supply of the one I wanted. I quickly grabbed the sleek jacket and waited patiently. As the cashier rung it up, he said “Your total is $41.54.” In shock, I said “What? Why???” As he proceeded, he mentioned that it was their anniversary sale and they had a storewide sale that applied as well. Stoked, I put on the jacket and since then it has been my go to jacket for basically everything.

Now what does a jacket have to do with anything? Well, that need to go buy a jacket marked the beginning of me exploring the Bay Area. Now that I had the proper clothes to keep warm, I was ready to embark on new journeys. After finishing a year at Cal, I noticed I did not spend much time exploring as I wanted. Once finals finished, my friend and I took a drive out towards Monterey Bay. I was excited for I always wanted to visit since I was in LA. My major before English was Marine Biology, and I had applied and got accepted into Cal State Monterey Bay. As we took a cruise in a White Hyundai, I couldn’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if I chose to stick with Marine Biology or to go to Monterey Bay. Aside from these thoughts though, I was overall excited to explore the small town. After doing our research, we came across an infamous 17 Mile Drive that made the list of top drives to do in the world. As this peeked our interest, we decided to pay the 15 bucks and drove down the beautiful pacific coast.

 

Monterey Bay, California l Kylie Lozano

Monterey Bay, California l Kylie Lozano

As we drove down, I felt at home again. Although I moved from the South to the North, I realized one thing remained the same: the ocean. It was an amazing feeling to look out at sea and feel that could always find relaxation and comfort at the beach; just like I used to back at my LA beaches.