BRANDON

I wish they taught us how to handle emotions in schools

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Is it possible to ignore the signs? Is there still hope, faith?

I bumped into Rebecca the other day as I was walking down in the narrow streets of Brooklyn-where we all grew up. We decided to take a coffee break from our currently busy lives. Our focus, suddenly fell into the deep place of comparisons of that day versus the golden old days. The neighborhood was different, so as our lives, people we knew, dreams we had.

Rebecca looked as pretty as she was in high school. But, that was only the facts to me apparently as she had pointed out. If you had asked her, she should not have stopped working out after having three kids. She would also add that her three sons were like her personal trainers due to the high energy and pressure they put on her. Rebecca would tell you not to have three sons as if that is a choice you could make. She would finish her thoughts about her kids, kids in general, some advice for future mothers then never has she ever thought about saying anything about the other person in the conversation. It has been always about her for all the times we have known each other because she was funny, delicate and knowledgeable in every single area you could ever think of in life. However, after all that talk she would never quit smoking her cigarettes, in which she would come to a conclusion of not knowing her own boyfriend/ husband.

Yes, he cheated on her but she knew that it was one of his personality traits. To Becca, it showed how much Ben loved her because after all the women, he went back to her. As she was telling me their understanding in cheating, I just found myself zoomed out in the bodies and minds of those “other women”. How devastating would that feel like to lose your man to someone like Rebecca over and over again… Becca stood right in front of my eyes mumbling more words on this subject as I prayed to all the other women in Ben’s history. Poor ladies must have thought he was going to get a divorce..at some point.. yea, right! Was it really okay that he was doing that to Rebecca? To the others? To his kids? To himself?

Becca and I both took a sip from our drinks and looked around a little bit. She has never been the person to ask how someone else was doing but keep talking about her life. I had to put a stop to it, so the words came out of my mind with no control over; ” Are you happy?” I asked this question because there was a time when I was in love with my ex boyfriends like crazy until someone random asked me this question; I fell out of love due to lack of happiness from their dirty deets on me. That was the moment that I realized how unhappy I was to prove myself to all those boys back in the days time after time, which had got me as torn as worn out shoes. Therefore, I wanted to be that illuminating light in Rebecca’s life for her to realize some things. All she said in return, however was that she was still madly, more passionately than ever in love with Ben and the happiest mother and wife. I turned off the illuminating light to get rid of my own shadows meanwhile she was glowing.

Afterwards, we exchanged words on the stock market, businesses around the neighborhood we both grew up in, different sex positions and lastly, the people we still kept in touch with. It was so much fun to talk to someone who knew me and not know me at all at the same time. Everyone knew Rebecca. She kept in touch with most of the girls from high school. She stayed honest to her promises about her life; married to Ben, had boys, stayed in Brooklyn. I pictured her life in a quick glance, took a deep breath. I felt overjoyed and peaceful. There were still those people who had hope in themselves. It made me anticipate a better future for the rest of us, singles and the ones involved in the big wide dating world, like myself.

As I was paying for our check at the cashier at a store later on, I took a last glance at Rebecca. She was on the phone. Out of joy, I tipped the barista, then walked straight back to our table. My high school friend, Rebecca was right there breathing the same air as I did. As I got closer I heard Rebecca saying, ” I love you, gotta go.” to the person on the other side of the phone. She then hung up the phone, turned to me and said, ” It was Brandon from high school.” I remembered Brandon…

Brandon was a tall guy back in high school. He had no interest in any subjects taught in school, except for those art classes. He was everyone’s desirable future artsy and intelligent but also an asshole husband who ended up dating my friend, that is to get close to me to get to know me. When I heard this with my own ears from my friend’s own lips, first I froze, then I ran to his art class to find him. Yes, I skipped my own class but it was only to protect my friend against heartless man like Brandon, hence carried on with this big fireball stuck in my chest. I walked, passed some teachers and classes full of students to finally have arrived in Brandon’s art class. The moment he saw me, he came out towards me. Closing the door behind himself, he wanted to talk to me in private. Without any idea on the current situation, I stood there when Brandon took my hand and asked me if I wanted to talk in private. Shocked as I was he must have seen, he took me by the hand and pulled my entire body to the direction of his body. “Run!”, he said quietly. Holding my hand, we ran together to the dining hall. There was a set of staircases at our dining hall where he took me to hide from cameras and such teacher disruptions. I started by saying what he had done was wrong because he was dating my friend. Brandon went ahead ti explain himself in a way that just had to be out of this world. I could not help but calmed down by looking at his moving lips, breathed softly as be made hand gestures to emphasize his feelings, and felt sorry for him because he was talking nonsense in an unreal tone of voice. I cut him off by saying,” Enough! You don’t even know me. You don’t like me. You love Becca!” Looking very frustrated with the situation at hand, he said that Becca was not good for him.” As we were ready and able to get into a more difficult subject, one of our security guards got both of us. We were to now solve our problem in detention! Well, that detention gave us all the time to solve nothing. He saw I was not interested in him. I saw he was still in love with Becca. We spent all that time quietly. I read a book while he looked through the window of that classroom. This is how we met.

However, Brandon later on would find that Becca was cheating on him with Ben, to whom she is now married to. I never talked to Brandon after both of us choosing different state colleges to pursue our careers, but of course Becca is still keeping up with him. I bet they even see each other on regular basis because I would not be surprised! “Hey! Remember Brandon?”, Becca asks again. “Yes. You used to date him but you went to prom without him.”, I replied back. “Yea, well I loved Ben. Plus, Brandon was crazy in love with you. Wanna know what he is up to?”, she asks. “No, not really.”, I say to Rebecca. “So, he is still single. He ended up being a lawyer. Can you believe? Like, with his talents in art, I would think he would choose a career related to arts, but this boy always surprises me.”, Becca answers me back. “Becca, did I ask for any of this? I said no, I don’t want to know anything about him.”, I reply back once again. “Okay, well he is on his way here right now I thought you might know some things beforehand, you know?”, says Rebecca like it is no deal at all. Before even she finishes her last sentence, I pack my stuff to leave. I give her a hug, tell her it was nice seeing her, and tell her to follow me on my Instagram. I really never wanted to see Brandon ever again. I mean even though Becca argues it was not the right time back then, but now it is, I refuse to see Brandon. I agree he was the guy who would skip classes with me; he was the guy who I shared my lunch money with over art materials, and yes he was the same guy who kissed me for the first time. Even further, he was the first guy to make plans with me about our future art galleries, and future kids but he was definitely not the one to see ages later! Plus, a lot has changed with me. I did not even hang out with anyone from high school. I mean what the hell was there to talk about?! I just had to leave before he arrived, hence flight mode was on. I walked, walked faster then to almost run from where Becca was. I passed my old high school, new kids in that school, old buildings. Seeing my history left me breathless so I stopped to catch my breath. I leaned against this grocery store’s dirty and blurry window to rest- that is until someone from inside the grocery store to knock on the window. I caught my breath, looked at the other side of the window to apologize… for leaning on their private window. Instead, I saw Brandon smiling from the other side of that window! “Hey! I thought you were with Becca!”, he almost yelled, then made his way outside of the store to walk to me. “I.. uhm.. Brandon! It is good to see you. I kind of had to go, uhm for a meeting, but I will sure see you later, some time maybe later?” was all that I could say to Brandon. “You are still the same girl, aren’t you? If you are not going to hang out with us, I’ll tell Becca to meet up with me some other time then. You need a ride? I parked my car right over there.”, says Brandon. At that moment, all I could think of was how he grabbed me by the arm to tell me he did not like Becca but me when we were in high school. I was so stupid for not giving him a chance. This thing is happening again. I hope he does not drag me to his car this time. “So?”, he asks again. “Thank you, but no thank you.”, I say then to try to walk away. My breathing gets only faster, only more out of alignment with my pulse as I try to walk away. He grabs my arm, again to ask me if he could have my phone number. I say, “Yes.”, put my phone number to his Iphone. “Thanks! I’ll ring you again tomorrow to see if we can meet up… if that is okay with you of course. I mean or maybe.. you know what let me just text you right now so you can.. uhm.. have my phone number.”, he rushes to end his sentence. “Brandon”, I call his beautiful name. “Yes?”, says Brandon. “You did not ask me if I was married.”, I tell him. He points at my finger to say I did not have a ring. “Well, what if I am seeing someone, then?”, I tell him. He says, “We are just friends, right? I mean we were never anything more than friends before, and we are friends…wait… you think I still like you? Oh. Wow. No… I was just happy to hear that you came to the neighborhood. I gotta tell you. I am actually married.”, he says then directs his eyes on his fingers. He continues, “I don’t like to wear my ring every day. It is too small for my chunky fingers. Plus, I paint after work. Remember that place we used to go paint? The basement of my uncle Ronald? I still go there to paint. Not every day but some days more than the others. Oh well, sorry if I gave you the wrong impression earlier. I was getting some water from this store and saw you here, so I guess I just wanted to say hi.”, Brandon tries to complete his sentences. “It is okay Brandon. I understand. Can I go now, please?”, I say to end the endless torture of trying to make sense of all the meaningless sentences. “Sure. Give me a hug.”, he finally says after looking straight into my soul for some time. We give each other a very casual hug, and apart to go on our ways, again.

Walking back home had never been as hard as leaving Brandon behind me back there at the grocery store, standing, watching me walk away from him. What could I do? Even he got married. For a second, I wondered who he got married to but then my thoughts suddenly and intensely slid on to the thought of being alone. Rebecca had three kids to take care of now. Brandon had his wife waiting at home to take care of him. I did not even care to change my car’s tires. No one took any care of me if I was not there. No one would open my apartment door for me when I get back home after work. Would I always attend those picnics alone, I wondered. Would I find love at the end of the dirty, dusty highway if love existed in any imaginable way? I probably can’t. Brandon will always have someone in his life. My dating rates will probably always stay high because I am simply a woman. If I were a man… If I were Brandon, what would I have done to make myself fall in love with me? After pondering on the meaning of life for awhile, I finally got home. There at the door stood my brother yelling my name, waiting for me to run to give him a hug. I ran to him. I ran to my brother who was now standing at the door, holding it open for me to get in. I gave him such a long hug, he must have been startled. “Are you okay?”, he asked looking at each tear running from my eyes to my cheekbones. I just hugged him, wore my heart on my sleeves, felt encouraged to cry to move on. I wish they taught us how to deal with these sensitive subjects related to our lives back in school. Perhaps only then, I could handle all this better.

Thank you for reading.

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The Choice is Yours

One day you are in, one day you are out of yet another person’s life. It is a devastating feeling to be apart at first, no doubt, but if you do it as fast as possible, as carelessly and less analytically as possible you are out of it without any shots going through your heart, or is that so? Majority of the therapists would not think so due to the long and hard-earned reasons of the science of psychology overall. For instance, in theory you DO need to take your time to ACCEPT the fact that you are out of someone’s life. You DO have to be very analytical over the subject to get your head around the “fact” that it had NOTHING to do with you. Some would say, see it, don’t fight it and still accept it. Now, that must not be easy to do so, accepting. Would you accept someone if they knowingly hurt, say a kid who wanted a toy but ended up getting a good half an hour cry for not getting it? I don’t think that was a great example for the fact being kids should not be allowed to get everything they want anyways.

Try this next example to see if you would be able to accept a problem that was caused by someone else upon your life. Think about a friend who borrowed your most favorite outfit. If your friend never dares to bring it back to you, or even say a thank you for letting him or her borrow your personal favorite article of clothing, would you simply look at this situation to SEE it, ANALYZE it only to ACCEPT it? Would you say, “I don’t mind if my friend does not care about my own values. I don’t blame this on my friend. I accept the situation. Great! Let me live my life peacefully now.”? NO! If you never point out to your friend what he/ she did wrong to you, how can you expect the next time to get any better? Just like that, seeing, believing, and accepting traumas do not solve the damage that has being done on you.

One person in, one is out. People let us in because they want to. It is as simple as your own name to you. Following the best times come the bad timings, ugly words, wrong choices, awkwardly quiet conversations. One day you are having the best conversation of a lifetime, one day the same person chooses his or her words carefully. So carefully in fact, you want to vomit out of boredom yet this is the same person who also has given you the best times, too.

Humble solutions can solve situations like these at times. For example, instead of accepting we have yet another choice laid right in front of our eyes, solve it. How? By talking about what bothers you, mentioning about the points that make you uncomfortable, discussing what went wrong where and when exactly. This ultimate solving mentality causes a person not only to realize the situation, but to solve it too. Imagine the next scenario. Someone used a trigger word with you. Talk about it, realize why it bothered you. Instead of creating problems, always remember your other option is to solve an existing problem and destroy it. The choice is yours, truly.

How important is sleeping? Is it any important at all? How do you measure the differences in sleepless nights vs those well slept nights?

For the picture follow #subwayleaf

Sleeping is one of the greatest needs of humans. Who does not know that? We breath, we eat, we live in shelters, we sleep so that we survive. The rising population of homeless people in New York City made us all believe in one thing if nothing else. We do not need a shelter to survive. If you are a local in the city or maybe a person of a job that requires you to travel this big city, you see countless people in some ways proving us that shelter used to be a thing, yet not anymore. People sleep on the sidewalks under empty boxes.

Going back to the main point, sleep. Now without sleep we cannot go on. Hard truth. For sure there have been articles, researches, psychiatric cases and such, in which you might lose your own sleep while trying to understand it all. However, there is an easy way to see what and how sleep affect life. YOU can try it. Take a lot of caution, though.

My very dear friend E. tried not to sleep for a week. At the time he seemed alright. All he could say was,” I am sleepy.” However, this did not affect his sleepless nights. He ended up not sleeping but working as usual, eating his usual healthy food and such. You would think as he said at some point, ” We do not need sleep to go on.” Eventually, he broke this cycle of no sleeping to take short naps here and there, which made him realize many things at a spiritual level as well as the physical one. He felt better. After going back to his regular sleep cycle, in school, he could focus more; at work he could be more active -he even ended up getting a promotion due to his hard work-, he explained how coffee tasted better when you wake up as opposite to when you tried not to fall asleep. “His blanket felt warmer as he closed his eyes to travel to his dreamland.”

He was not fasting on sleep anymore. Everything was getting better and clearer for him up until his sleepless nights came back to haunt him around the most awesomest and jolly times, Christmas. He fell weak enough to give up on his work, he was off from school which helped his grades to stay steady, yet he missed all the fun and jolly spirit of Christmas. Last time we talked, I asked him about his nye. He was devastated by the sickness that ran in his body through his veins. As we were catching up after the nye, I tried to throw some jokes, yet he seemed to be drained under my happy jokes that only seemed a dark cloud over him. His sickness in his own body turned to a little not very cute depression monster then, I left him with some of my encouraging words some true some lies. Because at the moment, I didn’t know what to tell to his sleepless, tired body to make him feel alive again. He needed sleep more than words.

Picture: Follow #subwayleaf on Instagram

After all, we all need sleep, in contrast we all go through periods that we are believed not to waste time on sleep. It’s a controversial topic. Some sleep to feel better, some think it’s a waste of time, some look at it as a spiritual realm, some see it as a biological need, some think it is a thing to fight against, some choose to omit, some choose, some just sleep. Whatever the idea that lies in our brains, we still go through those times where we do not get enough sleep. Let it be because of work, school, finals, partying, sickness, depression. One thing we all share in common with our sleepless nights is the impact that has on us. Those nights have strong impacts on us, some good some bad. One way to find out is to go through it all on your way.

If you give up sleep on special occasions that is painless. What if you give up your sleep for a pain in your body? What happens when you want to sleep but the pain in your body does not let you? What happens when you try to sleep yet your body keeps failing on that sleep? What if you feel too ill to sleep? Would you feel bad for the times that you could have slept but you didn’t? When you are at an emergency room, would you then understand the people on the streets that sleep without a shelter?

Let your sleepless nights be there for fun only. Read some Carl Jung to get into the psychology of help we get from our dreamlands that only comes to us when we sleep.

Let your sleep be the key to the door of your subconscious minds. Don’t fight against it. Remember, you hold the key. 🔑