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What I Know Now: A Letter to Myself (The Sequel)

December 30, 2009 4 comments

Dear Kendall,

No you’re not going crazy.

Well, no more so than you all ready were.

Which considering the fact that you wrote a similar letter to your younger self not long ago (from your perspective) is not saying all that much to say the least.

As I know we like to end on a positive note, I’ll start off with the low points.

Right now, you’re kinda basking in Eva’s presence and the first thoughts that you could honestly see yourself spending your life with this woman are forming. You think that your short-lived breakup earlier in the month was because she was worried about getting too close. In a way, she was telling you the truth but it’s still going to fuck you up when you find out the full reasoning behind it all.

Despite the fact that your days together are numbered I don’t really regret it. Mood whiplash doesn’t BEGIN to describe the summer of 2009 when it comes to relationships. You’re going to go from depressed to angry to bitter to standoffish. As of December, you two aren’t friends by any means but you can at least be in the same room as her without any real anger on your part. Compared to June, this is an immense improvement.

You know you would say right now that you could never go through with a one night stand? Yeah, you’ll find out later in the year that that’s not so clear cut. Will you regret it? Yes. But let me just go on record as saying that we learn from it and move on.

Story of our life right?

You’re a student teacher at a nearby high school, English of course, and loving it. In your normal absentmindedness, you ocassionally forget that you are, in fact, still a college student. The first semester went well and you even have Skittles’ big sister as one of your students. There is most definitely a family resemblance there. I’ll let you work out for yoruself what that means in August. Cue maniacal laughter here.

You and The Bait are going to get into a fight on Valentine’s Day and he’s going to go AWOL, pretty much ruining any kind of friendship between you, him, and Pippi in the process. You rally behind Pippi and if you two weren’t all ready as close as siblings, then you are now. You and Scarlett are now renting a house together about 20 minutes outside Chapel Hill and living with this woman has been an experience to say the least.

Speaking of Scarlett, when she and Marilyn take you out for your 21st birthday please for the love of all that is sacred DO NOT DRINK THAT THIRD MARGARITA. The results will not be pretty. Whatsoever. I know you still will but at least you’ll have learned to accept your limits.

On the relationship front, well that one has been a bit of a wild ride. As I said, you and Eva are done. That girl you have a one-nighter with? You attempt to start a relationship and it looks like things are going well until August. On a trip to visit her at the beach, you think things are going great. About three days after you head back home, she calls you and says maybe you shouldn’t see each other any more.

That she slips and calls you a nigger kills any resistance you may have had to the idea.

She later apologizes and you find out some of her best friends raised a shitstorm once you were gone. You say it’s OK but there’s no chance of you even being friends after that one.

Apparently, you do have some deal-breakers. That word is one of ’em.

You then go through a phase where you aren’t the biggest fan of women. The fact that the majority of your friends, including your roommate, are female doesn’t really seem to affect you. Some even agree with you that a lot of women are unpleasant. It was kind of hilarious in hindsight.

Then you start going to the high school for orientation and the first teacher workdays and meet The Girl. You become friends and slowly you realize you are attracted to her and that it’s a mutual thing. You start that relationship just before Halloween. Neither of us is in any emotional condition for something serious so we are taking it slow.

In terms of our education, you are going to bust your ass. It pays off though, you are almost guaranteed to graduate cum laude. That GRE you are just starting to worry about now? While the general test isn’t for a few more weeks, you have taken the GRE Lit exam and let’s just say you do exceptionally well. Six more credits until we have those degrees in our hands in May.

In the past year you’ve…

  • made a ton of new friends, both in real life and in the blogging world.
  • gone to Nashville, TN with Pippi to perform. You also meet one of your favourite artists.
  • volunteer at a rape crisis center.
  • competed in a Call of Duty tournament with Scarlett.
  • put your Daddy Issues largely to rest.
  • worked at a camp for creative writing
  • given serious thought to joining the Navy after graduation.
  • traveled to New York to see Marilyn get married. In accordance with our usual luck, you end up being roped into helping cook when the catering company lets them down.

All in all, 2009 has been a pretty kickass year. Considering what’s planned so far, like starting grad school, going to see Wicked, buying a video camera, and perhaps finally meeting some blogger friends in person, 2010 is shaping up to be even better.

So have fun this year. And you will. Because I still remember doing it. Which means you have no choice in the matter. Isn’t time travel nifty?

In closing, remember to balance work with fun. Depends on your friend when you need them. Try not to be so afraid to let people in. Always keep your hope alive, my friend.  I don’t know what 2010 will be like but I have high, apple-pie-in-the-sky hopes. To paraphrase a movie you’ll see this year and love, “thanks for the adventures and now it’s time to start another one.”

Sincerely,

Kendall (age 21.92)

P. S. I forgot to mention this earlier which is pretty unforgivable. At one point this year, Shaner takes you all on a trip to ECU’s anatomy labs to dissect cadavers. You hold a heart in your hand. Let me repeat that, you hold a FRICKIN’ HUMAN HEART in your HAND! And it was glorious.

When Enough Is Enough

November 20, 2009 6 comments

Dear Jesus,

Don’t know if you’ve been listening lately but I have been blowing up your prayer hotline recently. Not sure if my messages got through (certainly hope they did) but decided to drop a line just for my peace of mind.

I spent a good portion of my life thinking you were just one more pretentious man whose name has been used to excuse bloodshed for 2 millenia. In my defense, I was young and unhealthily angry. I know I know, no excuse but what else can I say other than I eventually grew out of it. But my time as a…I guess militant agnostic is as close to accurate as I can get, did leave its mark.

Despite being my wholly unrepentant sinful self (slight sarcasm mode here), I do try and live up to your examples. I do my best to remain humble. I do help anyone who needs it. I do follow The Golden Rule. I try not to judge. I think I hit most of the high points of your own teachings.

However when I hear of churches who collected donations for Question One in Maine asking what they though you would do? I was pissed. Then some followers outdid themselves by proclaiming they would stop caring for the homeless if gay marriage was legalized and this was held up as a good idea instead of hypocrisy. My brain broke. And I have to wonder what you actually would say if you were to walk the Earth again in the 21st century.

I disagree with many of your followers. Nor am I particularly quiet about it.

Forgive me if this really is some kind of grave sin. Not sure where you said not to think for myself, would like to think you had more common sense from that.

Maybe I’m just bitter at being ostracisized from my own church? My faith in fellow Christians? Yeah it kinda died a little when someone I had prayed with for 2 years tells me to my face that I have no business among them if I disagree with your word. Or that they would pray I would change my mind so I would be allowed into Heaven.  “Your word” being that lovely passage in Levictus that is pointed out so often.

I still have faith in you, still talk with you, still try and live my life as best I can. Maybe I just shouldn’t go to church period and fully embraced lapsed Catholicism. Then again I’m stubborn and I know that I will come to hate myself for “copping out”.

What I do know is that when I die, if I get to the Gates and Peter or you tell me that my dissent means I will not be allowed in, I’d have to say you aren’t the person I thought you were and I was disappointed our relationship was under false pretense.

Couldn’t really be that sad as I have all ready promised a friend I would share a condo with her out in the 4th Circle. Whole new spin to the term housewarming, no?

Yours,

A disappointed Catholic

P. S. I am currently hoping my little heart out that you have a sense of humour because if not, then I am thoroughly screwed.

Shuttle-Fu, The Next Step in Ramming Technique

October 9, 2009 1 comment

Dear NASA,

So I hear you’re about to bomb the shit out of the Moon? Oh, you’re not. Wait, you’re ramming the Moon? You’re ramming the Moon?! Kamina would approve.

The way I understand it, you are going to ram the surface with a  rocket sending a plume of debris into the air, big enough that a good amateur telescope can see it with another right behind it collecting samples to search for ice and water vapor mainly to use in the creation of fuel. While all this is going on, you’ll still be receiving data from the shuttle.

As a kid who once wanted to work for you, this coverage has been like crack to me.

And just when I thought you had outdone yourself, you up the ante and make a theme song?

The nerdgasm. It is intense.

All we need now is Worf to say “prepare for ramming speed!”

Keep up the good work,

Kendall

The Next Step

August 24, 2009 7 comments

Dear Kendall,

Take a deep breathe, loosen up, and get to work.

You worked your ass off for this position and have worked the past 8 months to make it happen.

You have dreamed of being a teacher most of your life, now it’s time to step up.

You are prepared to handle the responsibility.

You know you are crazy enough to have your students enjoy your classes.

You, sir, have an interesting year ahead of you.

So don’t worry. You’ve got this.

inspirationalquotation

An Open Letter to God

March 4, 2009 6 comments

Dear God,

Me and you have had a very tumultuous relationship over the years.

Growing up in that wooden church, I learned to sing your praises. I learned that you would always look out for me if I was faithful. I learned that you always had a plan, and that there was a reason for everything that happened to us. Even when I burned myself making grilled cheese for myself and my sister because no one was there to do it for us and the cereal was too high up even if I climbed onto the counter, I still believed you were watching over me.

Then I was raped. And my world was turned upside down. In that moment, I think I started to lose my faith in you. No child should ever feel that much rage or self-loathing. And I blamed you. What kind of god could let an 8 year-old go through that? So the day I spat on the cross at the altar of the church I had grown up in and said “fuck [your] plan” I meant it with every bit of my heart.

It’s funny (and in pathetic kind of way) but as many times as my relatives would tell me I was too young to lose faith in you, only one ever entertained the idea that this same logic meant I was too young to have faith in you. Maybe that’s part of why Rose and Mami were such a blessing. I spent hours talking to them about religion over the years and I slowly found myself adopting their beliefs as my own. My Nana, my devoutly Roman Catholic Nana, was the only person blood related to me who actually encouraged me forming my own ideas. I regret never telling her just how that meant to me.

At 16, I had learned some balance. I was finally starting to make friends again. I was finally starting to let the smiling mask drop. The trip to Italy, and in specific the Vatican that summer, that summer changed my life. The Sistine Chapel was impressive but it was St. Paul’s Cathedral that took my breath away. I remember kneeling as I listened to the Eucharist when out the corner of my eye I saw something amazing. On the other side of building were a man and woman, neither could have been much younger than 70, in wedding regalia. And after the call for prayer, the room was silent and for the first time I felt this was truly a sacred place. I came to realize something that day. Nothing truly uncaring could have something so heartbreakingly beautiful built in their name.

That day, for the first time since that horrible night after I had cleaned myself of blood and fluids as best I could, I cried. No sound was made but they sloped down my cheeks steadily. I opened my mouth and began something I had not done in 5 years. “Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos. Santificado sea tu nombre. Venga tu reino.” As I prayed I felt the woman sitting beside me lace her arm through mine and begin saying the Lord’s Prayer along with me. It didn’t happen overnight, but that day killed a majority of my resentment towards you.

Now here I am, little more than a month from Confirmation and I find myself increasingly hesitant. While I have come to care for each member of my congregation as members of my extended family some of the things they have said repulse me, their view of gay marriage being the most prevalent example.

How can I say that you only meant for romantic love to be between man and woman when the people I consider my parents were both women who had been together for a decade, raised a daughter, and made me who I am. When I mentioned this point, I was met with scandalized expressions. The worst point was when someone patted my hand and said although they did a great thing for me, they were still going to Hell.

I can’t pretend to agree, I respect these people far too much to do so. I also don’t want to leave because I feel like there is still good I can do there. Good I want to do.

I believe that Jesus had it right when he said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

I believe in affording everyone the common decency of being treated as human being should.

I believe that we all mess up and need help sometimes and that this is OK.

I believe that we all need other people in our lives. To laugh. To grieve. To simply be.

I believe that every promise we make should be as sacred as a pinky swear is to a child.

I believe that all religion and science are merely trying to find a meaning behind it all, thus the two are not mutually exclusive.

I believe that forgiving someone is hard but a worthy effort. Forgiving oneself is harder still.

I believe that music, and flowers, and the sound of a child’s laughter are all proof that there is something greater than ourselves in the world.

I believe that the family you are born into is essentially just a starting point.

I believe that sex should have meaning behind it, not necessarily marriage.

I believe that when we think we have given it our all, we should make one last push.

I believe that something as simple as a smile can brighten a day.

I believe that love is love, no matter the packaging.

So if it all the same to you, I think I’ll stick to these ideas. I know I’ll be condemned by some for them as they are “blasphemous”. As long as I’m sharing my beliefs, here’s a last one for the road.

I believe that as long as I know I have done what I know in my heart was right and stayed true to myself, that when I die and stand before you I can do so with pride as I know I lived well.

Sincerely,

Kendall

Words Fail Me

February 20, 2009 6 comments

stupidity

Dear New York Post,

Seriously?

The copy editors saw nothing wrong with this before giving it the OK to print?

If that’s the case, then you (the management) completely deserve the shitstorm headed your way.

Maybe you (the artist) thought you were being witty because of the recent chimpanzee mauling and how you thought Obama was crazy? Apparently you’re pretty short-sighted since it never occurred to you that likening a half-black president to a monkey was a very very bad idea.

I could ask why the cartoonist thought this was funny but I’d probably just be more infuriated by the answer. Quite honestly, I didn’t believe my mother when she called in full rant mode about this. I didn’t think any major paper today would actually be stupid enough (not naive enough to think no one would think about it, just that the collective staff was smarter) to not pull the plug on it. Then I saw it myself this morning.

Congratulations, you made a self-proclaimed motormouth speechless.

When the only reply I can make to my mother’s tirade on the evils of white men is that it was one idiot, a response which sounded weak even to my ears, then the line has been crossed twice. I could go into how despite the fact that this was the action of one man, it reflects poorly on a whole group of people but I just don’t have the energy.

Sometimes, there is really nothing you can say.

Sincerely,

In-Your-Eyes-Just-Another-Monkey

From 21 to 11, What I Would Say

January 27, 2009 7 comments

Edit Note: Happy 100th post to me!

As those of you who’ve been following me for a while know, I am rather fond of writing letters to people. So with my birthday tomorrow (Wednesday) I had been trying to write something for the occasion but I suppose the crazy study sessions and working has had me too preoccupied. Then I happened to be browing the 20SB forums, when I found a thread asking what you would say to yourelf 10 years ago.

Dear Kendall,

While you are psyching yourself up for turning 11 tomorrow, I’m doing the same to turn 21. You steadily have people being surprised at just how smart and well spoken you are. People love the fact that you always smile.You are constantly told that your life is perfect.

I know better. I know how much you want to break down in tears behind that fool’s grin. I know how much you wish someone would see through it. I know that underneath that smile is a traumatized and neglected little boy.

I wish I could tell you that your pain was done with.

God, you have no idea how much I do.

It’s strange how I think of you as a different person, instead of just a kid version of myself.

So what do I tell you that I wish someone had told me?

Never forget who you are. It’s OK to be angry, you have every right to. However holding everything in for years is going to backfire horribly in October 2004 and by backfire, I’m mean you’re going to snap and beat the living hell out of the people who hurt you. You learn this lesson eventually but there was so much misery we could have avoided if we learned to talk to people about our problems. Which leads me to my second point.

Don’t be afraid to trust in people. I know you think adults are useless. For Dad, I wholeheartedly agree hence my declaration that I would rather be shot than become like him. Mom, when you’re 16, she’s going to slowly start waking up and realizing she knows nothing about her son. She still doesn’t really but at least she is making the effort to try. However, Rose loves you like she gave birth to you herself and Mami isn’t far behind. They even considered adopting you if things with Mom and Dad ever went too far.

Your middle school years are going to be Hell Kiddo, no kind way to put it. You are going to be ostracized, threatened, and generally trod upon until you become kind of jerkass in order to keep everyone at arm’s length. However, you will find a saving grace in E, despite how short a time you will know her. From her, you will develop your near-legendary stubbornness and your cloudcuckoolander act. Most importantly, she’ll teach you how to control yourself. It pays off.

Spend more time with Aunt J, Grandma, and Grandpa because by the time Christmas ’99 rolls around Aunt J will die very suddenly and Grandma and Grandpa will have both suffered strokes. Grandma will be bedridden for the next year until she dies after patting your head one last time while Grandpa will begin to rapidly show symptoms of Alzheimer’s.. Even though Grandpa lives until you’re 15, he never remembers your name again. So make use of that time now, please.

You may believe you don’t deserve love right now but you will eventually meet Tink who pretty much verbally beats that thought out of your head. She’s right. We didn’t ask for what happened. We aren’t used goods.

The next 10 years are going to be filled with heartbreak, finding family, love, joy, and everything under the Sun. But through all the tragedy, we survive. Better still, we thrive.

Oh, speaking of finding family.

In January of 2008, you get reaquainted with Eva (who you’ll meet in 7th grade) and eventually you begin to develop feelings for her. Eva’s daughter will also worm her way into your heart to the point you have pretty much claimed her in your head. The first time she calls you Papa, you’ll wait until you leave Eva’s house and even though the thought confused and terrified you, you’ll spend about three minutes crying in your car.

We’ve found a family, you are now a cook in this lovely restaurant in town, you are working on a children’s book, and you are a teacher’s aide to a rambunctious but heartwarming group of 6 and 7 year-olds, so we’ve made a good start on fulfilling our dreams.

You are a wonderful kid and despite everything thrown at you, somehow you grow up to be a decent man. The scars of our childhood are still here, but they are much muted by the many wonderful people in our life. So as you begin your second decade of life, know that it is better than the first overall.

I can only hope our third is even better.

Happy birthday Kid, I’ll be seeing you.

Live. Laugh. Love.

– Kendall, age 21