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STORIES // by Justin Tompkins

The White Squirrel

You are about to begin reading Justin Tompkins’ book, STORIES. Take a minute. Breathe. Relax. Concentrate. Banish every other thought. You can keep the rest. Let the world around you darken into a black shroud. Best to get away from people. Turn off electronics. Good. Now turn off your electronics. I wasn’t asking.

Tell other people right away, “Be gone! No, you must!” Raise your voice — please — do it anyways — “I’m reading! An importance you must not know!” Maybe they haven’t heard you, with all the modern racket; speak louder, yell — again — “I’m beginning Justin Tompkins’ new book!” Or if you prefer, don’t say anything; just hope they’ll leave you alone.

Now find the most comfortable position: seated, stretched out, lying flat, on your side, on your stomach, suspended, I don’t care. The desk chair, on the sofa, in the tub, in the car. Your bed, of course, that’s an option. A hammock? Sure. Upstairs or downstairs. Upside or downside. Orientated. North, South, East, maybe West. As long as you read the book.

You know about Socrates. You don’t? Are you sure? You better. Socrates was a figure, a pillar of philosophy. You know that. Don’t kid yourself. Be a figure now. Stand up. Speak out. Draw a crowd. No, really. Stand up.

Let’s now take on a Socratic approach. Go ahead and ask me questions. Make them thoughtful and dive in. Show me why my thinking is flawed. Aim not to judge the outcome of this discussion, but to deepen the learning of the participants. Speak to me and I’ll think to myself in return. It’s the best way to remember information. Remember that.

Tell me more please. Think about your ideas. Are they well thought? If so, ask me to discuss. If you don’t do your part how can we “open up” this discussion. Clarify the purpose of your questioning. Why are you questioning me at all? Great.

What do you think about this? What does that mean? Say more? How does that relate to my question?

Did you know questions can be used as a rhetorical device? You can guide your audience through your thinking in relation to your subject. You might find this useful if presenting academic or complex information.

Are you even presenting qualifiable information? Did you think why you’re questioning me? You told yourself you would.

Rock my world. Probe me. Challenge my assumptions around your subject matter. Did you make me think about the foundations of my beliefs. The presuppositions and unquestioned beliefs of which they’re founded. My purpose and actions?

Is that true? When else is what you’re saying true? When is it not true? What assumptions are you making? Ask me this.

Make me think about my reason for being in this discussion. Are you a witness to a conversation or a participant of a discussion? Start there If you’re looking to build a strong argument around a new way of thinking.

Try some questions of reasoning. Test your strength of the given argument. If I’m giving rationale for my argument in your facilitated discussion, dig into my reasoning rather than assuming it’s a given. Be ready for the strong understanding that supports my argument. People are often weak so don’t disappoint with your own.

What evidence do you have to support that argument? How do you know that’s true? What do you think causes that? Did you know the question you’re asking can be wrong? In which case, a question of reasoning could help you see the fault in your own logic. This is a useful strategy with tricky questions. Take note.

You might want to expand the range of possible solutions in a group. Fortunately, you’re alone.

As you know, most arguments are given from a particular position. So challenge the position. Be in my shoes. Show that there are other, equally valid, viewpoints. What’s another way of looking at that? How would this look to a child, a friend, or an outsider? What’s the counter argument? This can be a great way to encourage an audience to find a new way of thinking.

This type of question helps analyze the implications that come with a line of reasoning. Now, does the argument we’re following along make any sense? The answer is yes but I want you to come to your own conclusion.

What would happen if I was the reader and you were the writer? What would happen if...?

Perhaps, now you can start to bring the conversation towards a conclusion. How would you sum up a discussion – no – this discussion in particular?

If you’re feeling confident at this point, you might allow the audience to evaluate the relevance of the discussion to them.

Why do you think I’m asking this question? How relevant might this discussion be to your life? What’s so important about these questions?

You might think this discussion was a deterrent to reading the rest of this book. You might think this discussion was my evaluation of your character. You might even think this was an evaluation to evaluate what has been discussed.

In actuality, the purpose of this discussion is to connect with me and to question your traditional perspectives. Just how quite a written discussion can be had between people – or just you for that matter.

I’m glad you found this sharing of information important. To actually think about information and how said information comes into your life. Speaking of which, how did you get a hold of this book? For my eyes only, that’s the books intention for it’s not complete.

Quite frankly, nothing in my life is complete. Everything is up for question. Maybe that’s the true purpose.

Nightmare on Peachtree

Beans pour out the bag as the steam erupts from the press. The shop is busy today; good riddance. Since the adoption of coffee, this shop has housed people from many different ways of life and direction together under one roof. Considering how traditions change over the years I’m surprised these bricks still support this caffeinated idea. I see smiles all around me. It’s a miracle. The suns out. It’s a miracle. I am alive. It’s a miracle. To think this is legal is a miracle.

Drugged minds around the world unite to share their ideas and offer mutual support. It’s pleasant to know that a place can offer such a visceral experience. Who are you to tell me that this place cant exist? Who are you to tell me that I’m not bright enough to gather? Who are you to tell me that I can’t purchase? I can purchase and I can consume – as I type — I gulp down this bitter black despair that is coffee.

During the prohibition in the United States, from 1920 to 1933, the overall alcohol consumption is thought to have been cut by half for the 13-year duration. In addition, the consumption remained below pre-prohibition levels for nearly two decades. Suggesting that the prohibition did temporarily curb the habits of the American populous.

The prohibition didn’t put a complete stop to the consumption of alcohol. If compared to a damaged dam, the constitutional ban only patched what could be seen at large. Nature always find ways around our creations – specifically dams with water. With the ban being a legal patch to stop the sales of alcohol, criminal gangs were able to gain control of the beer and liquor supply for many cities across the states.

Coffee is like alcohol as they’re both drugs we can legally purchase. The stigma between the two have similarities. Most notable being social consumption and the passion around brewing. I often question the level of dependency consumers have for both or each respectively. The question comes to mind as to which has had a larger effect on society. In terms of innovation and business, which has made more deals, started more conversations, led to more change? I’m not sure.

Questions like these are frequently posed by myself when visiting coffee shops. I don’t create them, nor do I seek them. Instead, these questions just appear from nothingness – no – perhaps a collective consciousness. Coffee shops seem to be sanctuaries for a lot of creative people and ambitious entrepreneurs. There might be more than just a carbon footprint that we leave behind. If so, I wonder if the people around me also notice the problems we face on a daily basis. I wonder.

We all have personal problems that interrupt our lives. There are problems that we collectively face that don’t receive enough attention, enough draw, even enough opportunity. Problems adapt as we do. My observations tend to adapt and put priority on the problems that affect society at a large scale.

Like economics, there are problems focused on macro and a micro proportions. Transportation is a topic that I’ve become fond of due to my problematic observations. The traffic outside varies in congestion and efficiency but isn’t controlled. The more power you give the individual the more variations of actions occur. Humans aren’t perfect and will never be. At the point we become our definition of perfection, we no longer will be human.

The cars that drive by me are simply variables that lead to accidents, delays, dependence, and other results. Each action we make leads to an effect we create for another person to deal with in some form. Not everyone should be able to drive and automobile. Putting people’s lives in the hands of irresponsible drivers isn’t something I prefer, especially when I could be a victim of vehicular irresponsibility.

We need public transportation. Not the scale we have today but rather mass public transportation. We need to get to the point where we can reliably assume that strangers near us traveled there via mass transit. I’ve only met a handful of people that haven’t driven a car before. These people were coincidently from New York City where they either walked or took a form of public transportation like rail or bus.

Public transportation would solve a lot of problems but in return create ones we haven’t thought of before. This would be fine. Problems are only problems if we’ve yet to solve them. To not want new problems is a problem in it’s own. What a problematic catch-22.

I believe there is a need for an increase of importance for the innovation of public transportation. Not only to help reduce the traffic of our ever-congesting roads but also to drive commerce in a new direction. To essentially take the concept of a coffee shop and facilitating it in the form of public transportation. Re-purposing our use of commuting and the experience surrounding local living.

There are people that spend two hours a day commuting to work. That’s sitting in a car for 480 hours which is 20 days. The time spent on this is utterly ridiculous. Imagine if this time was completely given back to people. We could do so much good with this time if we wanted. I would re-purpose my time into another form of travel. I’d revisit Japan and backpack the country. If I’m traveling by train my mindset is for enjoyment and not the necessity of getting to my destination.

Giving someone the opportunity to commute by train rather than self-driving a car is a form of freedom. The hours could now be used to read more literature, listen to more music, create more art, innovate more technology, etc. The result is a pure improvement.

For business, 20 days could mean more sales, trends and product lines. Fashion would become important if we socially immersed ourselves more. Using public transportation would do just that. Personal electronics would change even more rapidly due to an increase in use. That would be if we don’t change our social dependence and addiction to social connectivity.

The pace of how we live would most likely increase but not in a frantic way. More products can be purchased and sold with this re-purposed time. We would be exercising our consumption more which lends a hand to creation. We’d begin a transformation into a more nomadic and connected society.

The identity of what a citizen is would begin a new trajectory. I’m not sure to where but I’m certain so. The individual would become more individual but communities would also become more communal. Families could spend more time together and so could friends. Each one of us would began a journey towards a better system of how we work as a country. More patriotism, a stronger sense of companionship and togetherness. Eventually a more global collectiveness.

All of this would happen from innovating public transportation and fixing the congested stupidity that is the traffic I can view from where I sit. Fortunately, this coffee shop is protecting me from my insanity. 

An Elevator Conversation

Love takes on many forms. Sometimes for a short time and sometimes for long.

Her name was Kelsey. She was an artist and I had just met her.

She had a cheerful smile, an adventurous personality and she enjoyed my company.

She asked me if I daydream. I told her yes.

She asked me if there was a dream I wish could become real. I told her yes.

Her beautiful eyes sparkled.

She asked me to share my dreams with her. I told her.

My dream was to view the sunrise and sunset on the same day in Florida.

The sunrise looking out at the Atlantic Ocean and the sunset at the Gulf of Mexico.

“Please take me. Your dream sounds magical,” she said with a smile.

I smiled.

The next week we met at a beach in Ponte Vedra, Florida.

We walked onto the beach and took off our shoes.

The sand was soft and warm.

The crashing of waves could be heard in the distance.

We were alone on the beach when the sun peaked over the horizon.

As the sun continued to rise, we held hands, enjoying the new day and a newly formed relationship.

A couple jogged by us with two happy golden retrievers.

We then decided our morning at this beach was over.

Now was time to head to the next destination of this date.

We drove down a dirt road and arrived at our second destination.

We started a short hike to see the Big Shoals of the Suwannee river.

She had never seen a river like this before.

The river was dark and eerie but peaceful.

The gentle roar of rapids welcomed our presence.

We walked along the bank and talked. We were enjoying the day so far.

We left the Big Shoals and drove to our third destination which was halfway between the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

The Ichetucknee river is different than the Suwannee.

The water is crystal clear and exciting. Not dark and eerie.

We could see turtles and fish swimming about and even otters sunbathing.

We decided to take a swim.

The water was very cold and we hugged each other for warmth.

We got closer to each other.

Our final destination awaited us.

We left the Ichetucknee river and drove towards the gulf coast.

The day was almost over and the sun was about to set.

We arrived in the town of Cedar Key and found a wooden bench all alone by the water.

I grabbed my camera and we took pictures together.

We sat on the bench as the sun started to set.

She cuddled close to me as the sun vanished below the horizon.

“This was a perfect day,” she whispered.

She kissed me.

My daydream became reality. What a beautiful day we had.

Dancing Frogs

come to know a different story

one I knew was always hiding

emerging from my slumber

i see the ashes falling.

my burning thoughts

that once bled books

are now engulfed

in sorrow and soot.

what words can

i choose to say

when my tongue

is not for display.

freedom to think

freedom to act

inhumane tendencies

cling to my back.

i know all too well

these wings that carry

my soulless body all

dangling and weary.

i see my flesh

dissipate in the sky

as i burn within the paper

finishing my last cry.

A Matterof Love & Death

The red dress and the man. His name was Charlie and his obsession was unique. At first, friends thought his obsession was with the many manikins that he had showcased in his home. Later, the friends learned that this obsession of his is much more – or perhaps much less.

The manikins were only a means of wearing clothing. They essentially served the purpose they were designed for. With that in mind, Charlie wasn’t being overly eccentric. To the friends astonishment, the manikins weren’t Charlie’s obsession but rather the dresses. His obsession was the most focused on the red dress. This dress was worn by the manikin that went by the name Jessica.

Jessica was a manikin that was purchased for ten dollars at the closing of Charlie’s local JCPenney. She was in immaculate condition with just the right proportions of bosom to waist. For years Charlie had been searching for “the one” but was never in luck. That is until he met Jessica.

When Charlie acquired Jessica he named her, created her personality, background and even family history. Charlie’s profession after all is a medical examiner in the Miami-Dade police department, so he’s known to be thorough. Charlie’s co-workers expected a necrophiliac fetish from his eccentric self. He thought the idea is a cliche preconception that lacks imagination.

His best friend and co-worker Willis thinks the idea of lacking imagination is on it’s own an eerie notion. For some reason the other co-workers just don’t understand. Charlie thinks Willis’ partial understanding is due to his artistic sensibilities. Willis is the police’s forensic photographer – that must mean something.

Jessica was bare-chested for months because Charlie couldn’t find clothing worthy of her bosom. Willis thinks the opposite. In the eyes of Gillian, Jessica’s rival in the living room, both Charlie and Willis are perverts in their own way. Charlie and Willis would probably agree with Gillian but she can’t seem to speak quite yet.

The day Charlie had been waiting for arrived at his doorstep. This day was in the form of a dress. In fact, the dress was a vintage dress inspired of German brothels of the past. This dress also played a role in the “Barbie-fication” and detrimental destruction of self-esteem of young girls growing up to ridiculously high standards. That of course was just the thought Gillian had on the matter.

Charlie told Willis to join him for a special night. Willis being the great friend and debatable creep that he is happily agreed and broke out a wine from his cheap collection. Charlie tells Willis he’s a true wine connoisseur but Willis doesn’t seem to understand sarcasm – surprising as being the artist he claims himself to be.

Willis knocked on the door of Charlie’s’ abode. There was a strict distinction that his residence was not to be called a home, house, or even residence – it was to be an abode. There was some literature Charlie read as a kid that claimed a distinction and he hasn’t changed his mind since.

Charlie opened the yellow front door to his abode and welcomed Willis with hors d’oeuvres, which are not to be mistaken with ordorvors. The average person would find this odd but not Willis, he enjoys pigs in a blanket.

Willis presents Charlie with his collectible wine, a black Friday special that had the biggest discount of that year in the United States. 2015 was both a year of great wine and incredible discounts – according to Willis at least.

Charlie is about to burst at the seams with excitement. Especially his inseam – especially that.

Gillian was nowhere to be seen. Probably because all of the lights Charlie owned were presenting Jessica in all her dolled up beauty. Willis was taken back by the new appearance. He’d never seen Jessica with clothes on. Quite frankly, he was a little disappointed. Jessica’s “supple” breasts looked smaller and now much like the breasts of poor Gillian, who’s seemingly overshadowed by the world.

The red dress was magnificent in the best way imaginable. Charlie began instructing Willis on the proper etiquette to have around the newly reformed Jessica. There mustn’t be cursing or there’d be hell to pay. Willis was raised catholic so he’s very familiar with hell. In addition to the foul language, Jessica must always be greeted by Willis if he enters the Jessica’s room.

Willis was had once a brief thought that perhaps Charlie is just a demented sadist who’s only goal is to torture his very existence. Willis then remembered that Gillian exists so he let the thought drift away.

The two friends managed to stand and observe Jessica for about an hour before Willis interrupted Charlie’s gaze. Willis continued to ask Charlie if he was hungry. All of this observing and withholding of merchandise had left an empty void within Willis. He considered this void a manifestation of hungry. This must be what his doctor told him at the beginning of his weight gain. Now 40 pounds later, Willis still have a void within. Now deeper with more fueled by the lack of a woman in his life.

Charlie put on music. ‘Alone Together’ by Leisure started playing in a fitting and surprisingly humorous way. Charlie had managed to create self aware irony in the least self aware manner. Charlie instructed Alexa 2.0 to turn down the lights and changes the hues to pink. Alexa 1.0 was a manikin that caught on fire during a reckless stir fry Friday.

The scene became even more plagued with self-aware irony. As the lights dipped down low and the cinematic color schemes made a statement to be contended with; Charlie started dancing. Well, he was more or less swaying side to side with bent knees. He started an attempt to snap his fingers with the rhythm. His efforts were b-grade at best sort of like a comedic b-movie.

From where Willis was standing Charlie could vaguely resemble Oscar Issac during the dancing scene in Ex Machina. Willis gave Charlie’s success the benefit of the doubt. He was in fact wearing contacts with a prescription two years outdated.

Willis has told Charlie on many occasions that good enough is good enough. So, his actions in life are simply good enough. Due to his professional actions, his co-workers sometimes have trouble sleeping at night. He has no clue why.

Charlie walked into the kitchen where he assumed Willis was. He was covered in sweat and had carpet burn on his right now. He didn’t have an explanation to give Willis so he asked Willis what he thought of the new and improved Jessica.

Willis lied and said how he preferred the dress over the nude appearance. Charlie smiled and said he’s thinking of doing something special for Gillian now. Willis expressed a faint sigh and agreed that would be a great decision. In reality, Willis’ last resort to physical nudity was Gillian. What a lucky girl.

For Whom The Clock Ticks

The day began with a drink. A long pour of dark aromatic liquid into a small crystalline glass. The bottle hit the desk with a small thud. Droplets bled into the calender settled adjacent to her journal. The day had just begun yet the night was still strong. Nothing had brought out such primal and exuberant emotion as last night. It was a three months in the making. A night that took careful planning. Painstaking execution and deliverance.

The red door opened. Streetlights shed a glow onto the old wooden floors inside. A comfortable conversation could be heard from the room. A coat rack stood in the corner. A woman clothed in a bespoke black dress stole people’s attention away from their drinks. The bartender finished a mojito and slid it towards a well dressed man. Many drinks later the bar began to clear – it was time.

The floor creaked as lazy footsteps slowly approached the bar. The bartender looked intrigued. A hand was placed against a bottle of bourbon and a glass was poured. The bartender took note, that wasn’t his doing. Brief words were spoken with careful delivery. The bartender made his way over.

Jessica finished the glass and poured another. The bartender was taken back by Jessica’s petite appearance but large alcoholic appetite. Words were spoken. Energetic footsteps lead up to the loft above. Bedding was moved. Sweat met the white sheets. Clothes fell.

The sounds of the busy streets were heard as Jessica woke up back in her apartment. She couldn’t remember when she returned or how but that’s nothing new. She has her demons. For the majority of her life she’s faced them – these tormenting demons – but for the past few years she’s shown effort to be friends. According to Jessica this effort is working well. According to her psychologist, not so much.

Trish has been Jessica’s friend since childhood. They’ve had their ups and downs with each other but their basically family – one that left Jessica when she was a teenager. Trish became Jessica’s sister when she was adopted after the accident. Jessica was the only family member to survive when their car collided with a military convoy. Even with her survival, she spent several months in a coma. During this coma, something changed within Jessica. Something that can’t be explained by the average person.

Trish has never comprehended the reclusive yet reckless nature that Jessica has. Trish was born into a wealthy family where she became a childhood actress. As most childhood stars do, she had a delusional upbringing and a mother that treated as a means of making money. Eventually, Trish found a way out of her mother’s independence and turned to talk radio. A path that’s the opposite of that Jessica took.

Jessica’s problems surfaced to Trish’s attention only a few weeks ago. Until then, the sisters had a falling out that took an emotional toll on them both. That only reinforced Jessica’s drinking and reclusive nature. This morning was different though. Jessica had been planning to confront the bartender of last night. She had been observing him for three months after she accepted a job.

A couple years back, Jessica learned of her abilities. At first, she didn’t know how to use them and caused quite a ruckus on occasion. Later after enough learning, she discovered a simple way to make money. Not a lot of money, just enough to afford a small below average apartment in Hell’s kitchen. Her job was simple – to investigate people. Jessica used her reclusive habits and traits as a means of spying, gathering information and remaining unknown. She became a sought after private investigator to discover affairs and secrets between couples.

The job she was hired for involved the bartender and his girlfriend. The woman wanted evidence showing that Luke, the bartender, was cheating on her. They had become partially estranged some three months ago. His lack of time spent with her compiled with repeated excuses. Jessica still hadn’t found proof of any cheating but she was curious about his random late night walks.

Luke often ventured to different areas within Harlem. Occasionally, he’d enter a building only for police to arrive later. She never would notice him leaving the buildings. He must have though, she’d see him the next morning working his day job at the corner barber shop.

Only a few nights ago, Jessica followed Luke to a famous Harlem nightclub. Commotion erupted within the club and patrons fled out with screams and fear. She went inside with caution and saw Luke engaging in a fight. Guns and men were laying all over the place. The club’s interior was wrecked. Bullet holes scattered the walls. Wallpaper had peeled and some even had caught fire. Jessica had no clue what had occurred but she knew was she was watching right then.

Jessica snuck further into the nightclub as the fighting continued. She could hear more men rush into the main room and an increasing amount of bodies thudded to the floor. A large sound was made and Jessica peered around the corner of the bar. There was now a hole in a wall the size of man. As she was trying to further grasp the situation, her eyes locked with Luke’s.

At that moment another a few gun shots went off with one being in her direction. Jessica decided to leave and fled the nightclub. Yet again, police arrived to the scene and Luke wasn’t seen exiting the building.

This was when she decided she’d confront Luke and that’s what she did. The next night she went to the bar. She walked in, approached Luke with a stagger and hit the bar with her fist. The hit was soft in appearance but it was fierce and strong. Enough so that the other people at the bar immediately left. Luke told them drinks were on him and switched his focus to Jessica. She grabbed a bottle of bourbon and poured a glass for herself. She finished the glass in one sip and began to pour another. Luke intervened and grabbed the bottle and a fresh glass. He topped hers off and poured a fresh glass for himself.

Luke asked Jessica why she’d gone to the club the night before. She didn’t answer immediately but rather wanted Luke to keep talking. Luke asked her if she’d like to know why he was there. Jessica was silent. He went to turn his attention to something else and she interrupted him. Jessica grabbed Luke’s arm and his attention fell back to her.

They went upstairs to Luke’s loft above. She ripped off his shirt in a hurried manner. Luke moved her towards a wall and he made his move. She matched his and continued removing clothing each other’s clothing. They stumbled towards the bed. A passion that they’d both been withholding from others broke loose from their chains. Sweat met the white sheets. They aggressively went after each other and learned they were both different. Jessica and Luke had both changed some years back. Something within had emerged which would impact their lives from then on out.

The sounds of the busy streets were heard as Jessica woke up back in her apartment. She couldn’t remember when she returned or how but that’s nothing new. She reached for a new bottle. The day began with a drink.

My Son The Fool

I’ve changed a lot since May 2015. Events of biological and social cruelty melted away the very core of who I was and smelted a rail road into a path towards a newly-unexplored land.

Lewis & Clark set out together on their journey of self discovery. Sharing such weight must have been a joyful burden. The panniers that carried their rations and belongings stayed true in their minds as a thoughtful reinforcement of comparison.

My panniers weren’t offered as possessions until May 2016 — hence the 18 month reference.

I studied in Berlin during the month of May that year. Prior to the trip, I had only briefly known three people of the 20 that ventured to Germany from the University of Florida.

I managed to adjust quickly to my new company and made some wonderful friends in the process. I generally think friends and foreign cities offer many memories from shared exploration and experiences.

While exploring the historically infamous city we managed to discover lots of interesting bars, speakeasies, and unique blocks of curated art and grunge. Bar hopping in the night became a frequent activity of ours and Dr. Pong became our bar of choice.

I became part of a group consisting of five girls, my buddy Charlie and myself. We quickly gained intimacy as friends and opened up with each other. There was no shame or judgment, just lots of laughter, cute smiles and beautiful conversations.

Generally, I’m extremely inattentive when it comes to flirting from others. For the first 21 years of my life, my interactions were only driven by analytical thought. I’ve had to learn social cues, interactive-human traits, emotional expression, amongst other learnings, in order to connectively function and participate in social fun.

She was interested in me. I decided to method act Jim Carrey in Yes Man during my studies abroad. I wanted to take advantage of a fresh slate, my strange situational openness and my alternative personality during this time. I realized that I couldn’t learn without inducing myself into the world of free expression and general happiness that drives my anxiety.

The joyful fun I shared with her was much needed for us both. She was having a difficult time with her boyfriend and I was a helpless romantic. Our time together was refreshing and helped us make greater decisions for the long run.

I find relationship interference discouraging for genuine intention and communal respect. The bond established, mutually or not, drives the social interaction of others.

I held back from pursuing or accepting opportunities with her due to the relationship she already had established. Regardless if the relationship they share is strong or not, there still is a relationship. I didn’t want to influence her decision making based on a temporary gain of enjoyment.

Being abroad in another city with new people can be enticing if there’s mutual attraction. We definitely had that with on another but I could tell on occasion her best friend would take note of her actions. I’m sure her friend was trying to mitigate the situation and also do what’s in best interest according to her.

I’m glad I treated that situation the way I did. I could have handled it in a much different way which probably would have ended the relationship they share. Two years later and they’re still together. In fact, they seem to be happier than ever. I’m for sure happy about my decisions now.

To be vulnerable is to be open to offense. The defense we create for personal security folds to gain something we seek that isn’t available while closed off. This safety measure has been relatively weak for me.

In the past, I’ve often been too vulnerable. This naivety led me down a path of confusion and eventual heartbreak. I never want to face the pain I experienced in 2015. A great depression met with a genetic discovery which led to complete emotional chaos and destruction.

The depression left me weak and nihilistic. While having nihilistic thoughts is fine, they don’t mix well with stagnation and lack of emotion. Most of the relationships I had formed over the years, from childhood friendships to peers, mutual friends, etc. came to an abrupt end.

I sought help to get out of the depression I was in. In the process, I discovered a genetic mutation that inhibited my production of serotonin, dopamine and epinephrine. This mutation stunted my emotional and social development and led to 21 years of analytical thinking and action. Fortunately, there is a supplement I could start taking and begin the production of these chemicals I lacked.

The timing couldn’t have been worse though. Just as I started to get out of the deep depression and begin the supplement, I learned of the lies and actions people in my life were hiding from me.

My girlfriend at the time had been cheating on me with my best friend at the time. My other friends knew about it and didn’t care to tell me. I had just started feeling emotions for the first time and then this happens. My relationship with her was uncertain for a few months leading up but the pieces as to why started making sense.

The depression I was in made me delusional to what was occurring around me. Though I was sane, I wasn’t able to read the fine details or depend on the people around me. My new emotions became crippling to me. Daily panic attacks, fluctuations of anger, sadness, and confusion, amongst the rest plagued me. I felt like a newborn baby with the onset of 21 years of foreign experiences.

I learned what heartbreak was and what a fool I was for not understanding the personal world around me. A few months later I began to understand my emotions and the energies that I interacted with on a daily basis. I began trusting random people as a means to learn about myself and experience feelings. This led me to meeting the important people that are now in my life.

Intuition is an important tool I live by now. The fool I was is still within me but I’m now aware. I’m now responsible to act like a father figure for myself. I’m curious what the future brings.

The past three years have been an extreme ride but learning 24 years of life in 3 years is an accomplishment in it’s own. I’m proud I think. At least that’s what my father figure would want to say.

As I Lay Lying

It was a dreary cold day in November, and the clocks were striking nine. He rested on his side facing a blank screen. The screen kept flashing where the cursor was positioned. He didn’t know what to do. The exhaustion he had was on the brink of providing physical failure.

This provision might be the only action worthwhile for productivity. His brain was sluggish. His eyes were hazy and confused by the contrast of letters and words. Understanding where thoughts started and ended became a blur.

All he had available to him was his conscious. A stream of thought that was being provided somehow by the final threads of energy and will power. Whichever word pops in his head first was typed on the document before him. The chance of completing the goals he set out to achieve was minuscule but he didn’t get stopped. He continued to pursue.

Thoughts entered his mind which became unwanted and a nuisance. He didn’t know if he could handle the confusion and the random blankness that would continually occur.

There was a taste of iron in his mouth and he didn’t know why. He thought this might be his body telling him to relax and rest up. To heal his body and allow for neural transmitters to be repaired and ready for the next day of survival. In addition, help extend the term of life he still had left.

He noticed that he hadn’t been as frequently sick as he had for the past two months. In fact, he hadn’t been sick but perhaps once a year for a decade.

Now of all the times, he was dealt with strike after strike from illnesses. He thought one reason as to why might be from self induction. The thinking itself might have manifested into the symptoms and effects he had been experiences in an unusual degree.

He hadn’t slept but for six of the past 48 hours. This wasn’t a choice he welcomed and even when he tried to defy the decision he couldn’t manage to sleep. He couldn’t figure out why but he continued to move on in determination to complete the projects he made took responsibility for.

He had to create the need for completion so he could fulfill the goals and ambitions that have yet to manifest for his future. He had felt like he was trapped in a prison of punishment from failure of past, present and future. These failures coming from poor decision making or more accurately the lack there of.

The decisions he’d make always carried reason that was thought out. There was always a benefit to each decisions but the timing was often off. If two tasks needed to be done for a better future, he’d for sure do one of them but more than he’d like the decision was the wrong one. He realized that life comes down to timing just as much as what you do with your time.

That’s a powerful thought for sure but he decided to type it out for evaluation later. Hopefully, after his rest he’d be able to approach his thinking in an enlightened manner. He wouldn’t know for many years he thought.

He’s now managed to be awake from another hour. He found this a small accomplishment but one that shouldn’t be applauded.

A few months back he listened to a scientist that dud a lot of studies with sleep. After many hours of reading, listening and watching, he determined that the information was petrifying.

His entire life was based on getting the work done no matter the consequence because that’s what hard working men do. If he wanted to become successful he had to be one of these hard working men that fit the example he was given. As the information on sleep became apparent to him, he realized just how naive and ridiculous people’s thinking and rationale can be.

He thought why kill would he kill himself faster by not sleeping properly. Just by refusing to sleep in order to get more done doesn’t make sense in general scheme of things. In order to become more successful based on this mindset, he’d need to continually torture his body and mind.

He’d need to seek our sleep deprivation in order to feel like he did something worthwhile. As if he accomplished a goal worthy of stupidity. The utter idea was disgusting and he tried to not think about that anymore. Unfortunately, he was raised with this mindset and many other preconceived notions of how life must be carried out.

Only into his mid-twenties did become largely self-aware of this dilemma he was put in and he, himself encourage to grow. What a shame he thought. What a shame that he was in the predicament he was in. A predicament that could have been avoided with better foresight.

The problem with foresight is you can only benefit from if resembles hindsight. He thought that was a novel idea and continued to type his stream of consciousness. He wondered how he’d take what he’d written in a couple days. A couple days of letting the words and thoughts ruminate.

He remember he reason for being in the position he was in. He was there to grow as an individual. He was there to grow as a designer. He was there to grow as an innovator.

Losing sight of his goals often, he often would forget the knowledge he’d gain from evaluation his own life and actions.

How could he learn if the feedback to learn from managed to vanish into thin air only moments later.

His thinking began to fade more and more. He wasn’t sure anymore if he could accomplish his goal. Was this due to being weak, stupid or a mixture of both. Perhaps he thought, this wasn’t due to those reasons but rather ambition.

Part of his decision making was based on quality output and authentic action. Each decisions he wanted to be authentic and not representing on someone else’s thinking. He mustn’t follow this way of thinking if he wants to accomplish the goals he’s seeking to find and accomplish.

The question then is posed as to is putting out lots of work for the sake of getting it done worthwhile? Is it truly? If there isn’t genuine effort and reason behind the actions, where is the importance of doing the work in the first place.

He had a conversation only the day prior about this very question. Even with the question being partially brought on by the other individual as a method of teaching, there still was not solid answer for himself. The person assisting in the thought exercise didn’t even have an answer to it.

How bizarre he thought. If there was a solid answer to choose, why wasn’t the decisions given and reinforced. Perhaps, that’s for him to decide after all. As I lay lying to myself and to you, he is I and I am you.

more stories to come.