Shadow of the Day

I wasn’t going to do this. I wasn’t going to talk about Chester’s suicide, but everywhere I look – every social media outlet – it’s there staring at me. Whether it’s a beautiful cover of one of Linkin Park’s songs (I’m looking at you Amber Liu and Gen Neo), a post or tweet about how Chester and Linkin Park touched their lives, or a tribute to him… it’s there. I’m probably going to say the exact same crap as everyone else, but the words have been brewing beneath my skin, waiting for me to write them down and get them out of my system.

So here it goes: I like to say that Linkin Park saved my life on many occasions.

In my opinion, I was not a cute kid. Being Italian, I had (still have but ya know) thick eyebrows and hairy arms. I remember being teased about it as early as the fourth grade, and the words still hurt to this day. High school wasn’t any easier for me. My priorities compared to those of my peers were vastly different. That separation left me feeling lost and confused. It was like there was a chasm between me and them. Friends I was close to suddenly felt superficial. The desperation I felt only grew through the years. College was marred with depression and trying to change myself. Sports – the only solace I had in this world – became a burden. I met people I could see my own struggles in and I hated it. The self-hatred grew and grew. No one loved me, no cared about me. I thought I was a failure and I was drowning.

In those darkest times, I was at my weakest. My own thoughts scared me. Would anyone even notice if I just disappeared? But Chester and Linkin Park were there. I found solace in their music. It was like they were speaking directly to the young girl/woman who hid the pain she felt every day, and they still do. Listening to their music was a reminder that it was okay to feel the way you do, and others felt exactly the same. It was the validation I craved for. The validation I wasn’t getting from those in my everyday life that I so desperately needed. On those dark days, songs like ‘Crawling,’ ‘Faint,’ and ‘Easier To Run’ (to name a few) were there to distract me from my self-deprecating thoughts that tore me down whenever they got the chance. So I cranked up the music, drowning out my thoughts for the words of another and waited for the pain to die down just a bit.

So, Thank You.

Thank you, Chester, for letting me know I wasn’t alone. Thank you for putting a voice and words to everything I was feeling. Thank you for giving me another outlet for the pain. Thank you for being there when I needed it most and had no one to turn to. Thank you for joining me in the darkness of my mind. Thank you for everything, and I hope you are at peace now. Rest easy and know you have touched thousands of lives. You will be missed.

Live in the Present

“I don’t have time.”

Time – there never seems to be enough of it. Our society seems to rush, rush, rush. We must get everything completed as quickly as possible, so we can fit more into our already busy schedules. Everything is so fast paced that worry seems to settle in if there’s even an inkling that time is passing us by.

I don’t want to rush. I don’t want to worry.

I want to live.

I want to live my life day to day and moment to moment. I want to enjoy my life – live in the present. I want to explore the hidden trails, and find comfort in the bustle of crowds. I want to watch the clouds drifting above while soft music plays from my phone. I want to learn new things, and push my boundaries.

“You can’t afford to waste time on this.”

There’s so much this world has to offer, but if we race from place to place, we’ll miss the beauty of it all.

You’ll miss the four leaf clover by your feet. You won’t appreciate the dandelion growing in the cracks of the sidewalk, thriving despite its difficult environment. You won’t find comfort in the smell of petrichor – instead, seeing rain as nothing but a nuisance. The acts of kindness between strangers will go unnoticed. A kind smile left to fade.

“There’s so much to do.”

There is so much to see, hear and do. There are so many opportunities to live and love, but it is difficult to do when there is never enough time. Yet, we do meaningless things in our day to day lives. Why not take the time needed to be present for once? Take in the world in a new light. Make time to enjoy life instead of worrying there aren’t enough minutes in the day.

Take control.

Notice the little things placed in your path. Take inspiration from them and learn. Sometimes the lesson offered is clear as day, but others require some thought. Don’t let time slip through your fingers. Take a step back and just be.

Keep Looking Forward

When I go out for a run, I always plug in my earbuds and crank up the music. I try to focus on the beats and ignore the burning of my lungs and legs. I do my best to keep my eyes ahead of me in an attempt to keep a decent posture while running, but more than not I end up staring down at the ground so I don’t trip over my own feet. It’s easy to say my runs are a struggle and usually my thoughts are filled with complaining about how hard it is to get back into exercise after taking such a long break from it.

As you can see, I don’t usually do much thinking that really yields anything of importance, but last week was a little different.

I pushed myself a little further than usual one day, doing more than I probably should have since it was a particularly hot and humid day. Bent over at the waist with hands on my knees, my lungs ached and my body was screaming at me for doing something stupid that left it feeling like jello. (It’s not stupid because exercise is good, but my body does not appreciate) While catching my breath, I could feel the sun’s heat on the back of my neck, so I lifted my gaze to the sky, allowing myself to be temporarily blinded until my eyes could adjust.

Maybe it was my exhausted mind, but the light filtering through the green leaves seemed extra beautiful in that moment. Somehow, the sight made me think about my life, and I thought, I need to look up to the sky more often. It didn’t stop there. I thought of my running, and realized I look down at my feet too often in life. I need to look away from the ground and focus on the sky as well as my dreams and hopes of the future. Sure, the earth below my feet is where I’m most comfortable, but I rarely stray from what makes me feel safe. The sky, though, in my eyes held the promise of freedom.

So, yeah, while taking my cool down walk, I had my head leaned back to observe what I have ignored at times. It was silly because walking like that I must have tripped over my feet or stepped in a pothole in the street at least 5 times in that short walk, but when trying to chase your dreams you’re likely to stumble a few times. It made sense to me, but then I looked back down and my eyes fell upon a four leaf clover just waiting for me to take it.

Looking up, you’ll trip and maybe fall, but looking down, you’ll miss the beauty of opportunities.

There’s a simple solution to this, in my opinion.

Just keep looking forward. Not up, not down. Just… forward. Looking ahead of you, you will see the sky and the path your feet are taking you. You’ll still be planted in the present and enjoying the life you lead now, but you’ll still be aware of what’s ahead and the opportunities your life might give you to chase your dreams. And that’s how I plan to live my life from now on, and I guess I should offer nature a small thank you for opening my eyes to something so simple.

The Cybernetic Tea Shop – a review (of sorts)

So here’s some information about The Cybernetic Tea Shop that you need to know. It’s a rather short book (only 65 pages) written by Meredith Katz.

But! Here’s the best part. It has an asexual character, which was the whole reason why I read this book in the first place. And, might I add, this wonderful story did not disappoint me. I think I ended up giving it a 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads because I was just so happy with it.

I don’t want to go into too much detail just in case someone sees this and wants to go read it for themselves, but I’ll just chat about bits that don’t reveal a lot.

Like I said before, the main character (who is female) is canonically asexual. As a biromantic asexual, who rarely finds any characters to relate to, this was fantastic. It has elements of science fiction with artificial intelligence and robots. There’s also a slight F/F relationship within its pages.

I really enjoyed these characters. I was able to connect with Clara, and like I said, that rarely happens. Moving from place to place, losing contact slowly with friends (even your closest friends), never having roots in one place, constantly feeling this itch to move… it hit close to home for me. I don’t think I could ever express how wonderful it feels to have this connection to a character.

I wish the book was longer so I could read more about Clara. I miss her already. Hopefully, I will find more books like this one that I can feel so close to.

Until next time!