VITO APOLLO quite literally landed into my arms during the night of April 4, in what turned out to be an unassisted, unattended homebirth – just me, Kat, and this special one.
We of course did not plan it to unfold this way, but as they say.. life moves pretty fast. There was no time to think, no time to panic.
I’ll never forget the birthing sounds Kat was making in the living room while I took Nickel out to pee. Telling him to hurry up and finish while birthing sounds reverberated throughout the garden. As soon as we get back inside, Kat moaned “I can feel the head”. I mumbled something about it not being true – she hasn’t even been pushing – but she dove back into another powerful wave, and upon closer inspection… she was right. It’s literally like your life flashes before your eyes. All the moments you’ve doubted yourself and said you weren’t good enough and all the moments of youth when you narrowly escape disaster. And you tell yourself, no. This time, I am good enough. And this is the time to make it matter. Time stops when you’re cradling the head of your baby, while the rest of his body is still inside. You pray to high heavens to guide you through this. We are together. This bond is unbreakable. At this moment, and the millions of years and births that have come before.
By the grace of all that is good and great in this world, this baby boy full of life, VITO APOLLO (Mato asking the moon for a sibling since he was 3), came out beautiful and healthy. I could not be more thankful.
I’ll save the other bloody details offline. A traditional birth is nothing short of amazing. Just to see with your own eyes what a mother goes through, a reminder to the rest of us where we all come from. The human body, and how everything comes together is mind blowing. I am not religious, but am extremely blessed that the universe has given my family this gift. To say that I love them to the moon and back would be an understatement. We are nobody without each other.
Always remember – there is no beauty in this world without its mothers. And I can only hope to let this family know that I love them as much as the universe has said it loved me.
I was recently forced to purge hundreds of photos from my Flickr account, as they changed ownership and subsequently changed their free model. It made me realize the impermanence of anything online – everything is bound to the terms-of-service, and the reality is that all this representation of thoughts and feelings are nothing more than ones and zeroes in a hard drive somewhere, waiting for the plug to get pulled.
Not that the idiosyncrasies of half-thought drivel are of importance to anyone, but I wonder if it bodes the same for our memories. That one day, everything will be forgotten.
Not that anybody cares, but I fixed some old bugs that prevented older pictures from showing up… At this point this blog is mostly a sporadic personal exercise for (the lack of) introspection.
I wish I could say that I’m infinitely wiser from the 15 years when I began this pet project. All I can say is that I’ve successfully deviated into a lot of other side-interests that have left me into some odd jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none.
I have no plans to live forever, and maybe we should start acting accordingly. One of my favorite pastimes is to listen to Christian radio – don’t ask. Crackle, pop, follow the word and earn everlasting life. What does it mean to have everlasting life?? I can’t imagine. I don’t understand. To live forever? What does that mean? It makes me feel several shades of stupid considering I had the opportunity to ask that question in school for several decades, and here we are out of the gate questioning the validity of our existence.
But honestly, I don’t get it. To live forever? To what purpose?
If I do not choose the path of righteousness… I die? Forever?
Maybe we need to embrace that these moments of our lives are meant to be cherished, that what makes us human is the ephemeral nature of our consciousness. The world has not, and will never revolve around us, and even if we successfully convince ourselves that we are all that we will ever know, it does not diminish the fact that the zeitgeist will change, and to a degree the minute details are inconsequential.
Maybe the only promises kept are the ones we create ourselves. Maybe we need to start believing that our lives are our own to create, that we need to be good precisely because we won’t last forever.. because what would the point be, otherwise?
So I caught up a little bit on this side of the web. The nice part is that my extended hiatus means the number of eyeballs regularly visiting this now forgotten corner have dried up. Which ironically means that I can comfortably babble as much as I want, without any fear of people I know IRL reading my brain farts and making possibly inane and semi-unsubstantiated judgments about my moral character and psychological well-being. Not that I cared to begin with, but it helps to pretend not having an audience sometimes.
That being said, I was experimenting with automatic uploads of my Instagram feed into blog posts. Well, that didn’t work out too well since the pictures really get chewed up in the conversion. In a server somewhere, they’re being downsampled to oblivion. So in a weird throwback of analog-esque proportions, Flickr really is still the way to go in keeping tabs with how sharp I like my pictures to come out. The process might be tedious, but so is this life if you want things a certain way.
It’s so easy to flood our social media with useless drivel, but in the same manner that I curate my Instagram feed to troll on my van-life fantasies, I would like to somehow try to take nice photographs of the memories that define the zeitgeist of my life, without being enslaved by the burden of an audience.
And so it’s nice to have this alternate universe, where your platform is wide open yet at the same time private, because it’s not forced into a screen like FB and IG. Jesus I really need to sleep. Bye.
We take life so seriously, and waste our time collecting physical manifestations of wealth that are the hallmarks of American success. More. Bigger. Better. The challenge is to cut through the noise and have the ability to allocate our time to what makes our lives worth living. The ancillaries are superfluous, the stakes are high. Simplify.
Was reading a few entries from a decade (!) ago, and was surprisingly entertained. Either life was simpler yet more exciting in the blossoming of your twenties, or I’m just not drunk when I write on here anymore.
Maybe the dreams are bigger now, but the realities more ingrained and systemic. But we work on it everyday, chipping on that wall of doubt and indecision, trying to get a glimpse of what it means to really be who we are. The American Dream may occasionally cloud our vision, but never let it control nor dampen the fire of your passions.
The best part about getting older is having the leverage to just not give a damn. Yet at the same time we are aware that everyone is running through their own gauntlets, that we must be kind not because bad people go to hell, but because that’s what decent human beings should do. And so it turns out that instead of not caring, I begin to hold friends up to higher standards, and expect them to take life by the horns and stare it down. And it’s infuriating when the options remain unexplored, when lots of words are said but the action is far and seldom in between. And then the indifference turns sour. That we may in some dimension be responsible for the perceived shortcomings of our friends, that their shortcomings are somehow a reflection of… us. May it be passively through association or in the extreme case that we’ve allowed such behavior to flourish on our own grounds, it’s hard to subscribe to a passive life that centers on the consumption of all things shallow. Then again, what is shallow for me, may mean the world to others.
Consume less, make more. Talk less, live more. We are the company we keep. Be better everyday. More than yesterday. Or GTFO.
Getting lost in the details of routine presents the danger that we treat time as infinite. To be honest, I forget about this space, because there’s just too much going on in “the real world”. Maybe this is the drawl they warned us about, the wide eyed dreams of our youth slowly fossilizing into the adult responsibilities of financial solvency and socially acceptable competence. It’ll be tricky, they said. It will be hard to do the right thing, they said.
It’s easy to pick apart decisions in hindsight, but the challenge is to placate ourselves that we’re doing good along a backdrop of social depravity. Do we live today, or for tomorrow? For what purpose? For what purpose, within, and apart from, our own?
On the tail end of three and 1/3 decades later, the revelation of purpose is the pursuit of creating. May it be through the form of poetry in music, imagery to share with friends and strangers who weren’t there that you wish would’ve been, or the immediacy of wanting to understand how and why things work when they do and more importantly, when they don’t. So much to learn in such little time, that the pitfall of plying the jack-of-all-trades master-of-none card becomes very real. If only we knew what we knew now, back when we were 16. Problem is, you already knew everything when you were 16. F.
Wake up each morning and renew the promises to be a better person, never stopping to pursue, never stopping to create. Art, music, love. Tangibles that represent intangibles. A hummingbird does not live for very long (a price it pays for acrobatic flight). Neither do we, nor our capacity to fulfill our life-long dreams.
TLDR; My worms are overheating and dying in the worm bin, the VW engine has been torn apart to the long block for the past 6 months, opportunities abound at work but I need to grow 3 more heads and a set of arms to rival a Hindu deity. I guess that’s a facet of learning, when you have no other choice but to swallow when you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.
A text message I recently sent, but a message I would like to keep saying forever:
Hi mama, Kat gave birth yesterday afternoon, April 2 at 12:34pm. Everyone is healthy and doing good. I wanted to say thank you first of all for giving me the gift of life, and truly inspiring me to be the best person I could be. I did not expect how much love and how much strength is needed to birth. It truly is a blessing, and I was always reminded of you and all the sacrifices a mother goes through for all her children. I love you mama, and I can only dream to be as great as a parent as you have been to all of us.
Every day is mother’s day, we will never be who we are without you in our lives. Love you!!!
The person you need to listen to the most is yourself, not to appease the expectations of other people, but because there is no excuse not putting yourself to a higher standard, especially when that is the only thing that you have absolute control in your life. We do not have to justify our emotions to afford them an ounce of reality. Emotions are fleeting. Act because the truth of your actions are grounded in your beliefs. That your actions ring true to the person you really are, and more importantly, the person you want to become.
Trying to live through three different time zones. Even the dog doesn’t agree. We’re happy to all be together, but I’d really like to get work out of the way so we can spend more time jumping out of the window instead of staring at it. Quickly, before we forget what it feels like to pretend knowing what is and isn’t important.
There are nights I hover on the verge of lucid dreaming, where I manage to skip along the surface. Low enough to barely arouse any suspicion of absurdity, protected by the depths of slumber. Later on you realize, you could’ve had so much more fun if you knew you were in control.
We should listen to our dreams more often. Sometimes, absurdity lies in the truths we embrace when we are awake, and the wonderful things we reject as impossible in our dreams.
To wake up, from being ‘awake’. To dream, the deepest and grandest dreams.
When you turn things upside down, or inside out, is when you really understand what it looks like right side up. Sometimes.
Exactly 365 days ago, Kat, Nickel and I packed our bags into Vanessa and set sail with open hearts into a never-ending sunset. It took a long time, but we finally finished collating our pictures and had them printed into a two-volume photo book. There is a lot to see, and a lot to learn, after 24,851.2 miles on the road. Those are the exact figures from the honeymoon of a couple who declared independence from public norms and opinion, eschewed the modern and convenient emptiness of the soul, and succumbed to the romance of exploration via Volkswagen.
I have been terrible about writing up this experience, and analyzing what this all meant. I wish I could have told you as it happened, of what it felt like to grill your lunch in front of a massive and spectacular glacier. Twice. About seeing the wreckage of two fatal head-on collisions against semi-trucks, and thinking how there is more to life than being lucky. I wish I could have told you about the hitchhikers we picked up, and how shameful it is to be scared of other human beings. About that night we slept under the glow of the Aurora in the Yukon, shortly after almost hitting a wall of a hundred bison walking along a dark Canadian road. I couldn’t.
Because I felt like there were really only two other souls in the world that understood what it meant. And it almost feels sacrilegious to type it out, even if it’s just the internet. At the end of our trip, I was fond of saying that driving to Alaska and eventually the entirety of North America was anti-climactic. All we really did, was drive far. Every day. But of course, that was not the point.
I celebrated my birthday early, and had a visit yesterday from a mentor who continues to give Kat and I the gift of understanding Vanessa. Not just ‘understanding’ the quirks of an air-cooled engine – yesterday, I felt like we went full-circle. I realized that hidden in the frustrations of nurturing a relationship with a machine, lies an immense understanding of our relationship with the world, and how we choose to set ourselves free.
Like most other things, it only gets clearer as you put your heart into it. The world is out there, and we’d be fools not to dream – and even more foolish not to take that first step.
We take the longer route not because we have no choice, but because it is a deliberate denial of the emptiness of traversing an easy line. When we choose to take bridges of convenience and the shortcuts of modernity, we surrender to the pace of mechanical indifference. Choose the harder path, and the world shall make itself known to you. One step, one mile, at a time.