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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EVERYONE HATES NEW YORK- (Doomsday Edition)

Nowadays, we can’t help but notice that the end is near. Maybe it is the online algorithms, maybe there are more than ever a number of preppers, maybe youtubers find this topic related to everyone’s personal life. Perhaps though as we get older we all get even more eerie of what the years ahead of us  might bring us by looking at only the year 2020. We don’t necessarily emphasize the doomsdays based on our personal beliefs, but from what has been going around- online or printed- kind of made it the whole point  in every website you click, every marketing strategy you see, every subway you take in New York City. You cannot ignore it because it is right in front of your eyes. You cannot escape from seeing it, because people on the subways make sure to put prayer cards and doomsday scenarios on every single seat for everyone. What do you do? Before you take a seat, you pick up that paper to read one of the below, 

*The end is coming *These are the end times *Pray for your end  *Pray *Read your bible *Jesus is back *Jesus is coming back soon *Say your last prayers 

And believe, you shall not be disappointed that there are many, many countless cards as such that you encounter on a daily basis. There are also cards left with phone numbers, waiting for you to call so that you are no more a sinner but a survivor. There are ads telling you to cover your mouth in a proper way when wearing a mask, right underneath you find your prayer cards, notes, scribbles, doodles and such without knowing who placed it there. But, that is not the point in this article. The end days might as well be coming or not, that is still unknown. From looking at some apps on your phones such as Citizens, social media accounts, news outlets, public speakers, discussions on the current economics/ stock market/ finance world, you can easily tell, it is not going well at the moment. 

Since all this has been made visible for everyone to read all this online, watch on everyone’s storyline, social media page, this article will not cover any of that. Rather than the current situations we are facing, there is one particularly bitter one that you will be reading in the following, if you choose to keep reading. 

New York! What a city majority of people have lately become so afraid of, hatred towards, hopeless for. What a city nowadays where no hope can be found in the streets where once glowed with fashion icons, street photographers, and most precious pigeons. It used to be crowded with tourists from all over the world. Most importantly, whoever made it to New York once, could make it to anywhere at any time no matter how late due to all those subway delays. Even the interns were forgiven for taking the subway, facing seemingly endless delays. How exhausted it got in New York at times that you could  see a subway car full of people sleeping their days away on each other’s shoulders during rush hours, sharing the tiresome visions of their pasts as well as their future. How hopeful at times people got by attending small gatherings at public places such as Bryant Park’s free concerts, Brooklyn’s fine outdoor concerts, city’s bright Times Square, discounted tattoo shops by world’s most famous tattoo artists, skater parks, pets’ playgrounds, museums’ free wide open doors, bikers’ paradise. It got very hopeful in those little short times, indeed. 

No matter how many angry people you came across back in the day, one person, one situation, just one nice gesture would make you forget about it in no time. New York was the one where everyone wanted to be without actually going through the hardship of it, yet only a few chosen millionaires made it to that level, and the rest lived through those hardships believing one day they could make it, too. They wished they could finally make it to a new apartment where they would live with less than five people in one room, maybe a new room where the landlord didn’t charge $200 extra for a mirror on the back of their door. Some people had so many high hopes that they believed if they worked hard enough they could afford being a vegan one day, going out dining well in those all lightened up places. Some people came to New York to freshen up their memories with their partners, maybe to marry in New York some day, find a great venue that was affordable at the same time. Some couples just visited New York to cross it off from their bucket lists, some even chose to move here with or without a job at hand. All that people had in New York (once upon a time) was hope. Because in New York you could eat at the same restaurant with a top executive, a millionaire, movie star. In New York, you could be alone but never hopeless that one day you could find your best friend. Diversity was New York’s middle name. You could eat any food from anywhere around the world. You could hear all sorts of languages, accents every time someone opened their mouth to speak. Once you lived in New York, you were accustomed to all sorts of cultural differences, moralities, variety in those dining etiquettes, common morals and such manners. 

People never understood  angry words, anxious decisions, silent tears that they witnessed in New York. They never even questioned any of such because in their knowledge there existed none. However, if we happen to think hard why a person from New York gets frustrated easily it may not even be their personality at all, but their surrounding environment where it is hard to make money that is spent easily, hard to make a living with people who never gave you credits, hard to make friends where none existed, and mostly, hard to make a living where you constantly saw high homeless people around. Ask a resident of New York, how many times they got jumped  for no reason, they would start counting their fingers. Ask a New Yorker family, how many times they had to skip buying meat, because they had to pay their rent for the time being. Ask any person in New York if they mind what kind of a job they do to have that extra income, none would say “No.”, even though they have their master degrees, training, knowledge and skills in something completely  different. No one cared what they did as a job as long as they made it for the time being in New York. When other people planted their gardens with beautiful plants, fruits and lemon trees, residents in New York shed tears in their small studio apartments praying for a roommate to share their room with to reduce the expenses, forget about a backyard lemon tree dreams. 

None of the above is to say New York is a place to live or that it is not. Just like everywhere in the whole entire world, it is nonetheless a place to live. It is not only occupied by the rich because the rich you see come visit New York City rather than living in New York City for a long period of time. They come but they go quickly. Homeless lives in New York, true. However, people who try their best to survive also live in New York. Warriors such as dads, brothers, mothers who try to give their family the best that they can live in New York City. They work day and night to feed their family, wifes, kids, girlfriends, dreams. Some young people find one day of going out as a punishment to their budget, expenses, life, being, so they stop going out at all costs and stay indoors hoping to make ends meet. Some go out all the time just to avoid their crowded rooms, their home where they eventually have to fall asleep. Some hurt other people, but in New York people protect people, too just like anywhere else we witness around the world.

This article is not completely about people in New York, nor the types of certain people who choose to live there. This article is to avoid people who believe the end is near and everyone in New York should die. The last couple of weeks, under almost every Youtube video there are lots of people shitting on New York. Some even dare to say they cannot wait for this city to be buried under the ground let alone the end of the times. There are a lot of comments under any video that is related to New York wishing New Yorkers nothing good but all the bad possible outcomes. This city has never been a safe haven, neither will it ever be, who knows. If you try to search any video with the “city”, “prepare”, “doomsday” in the same search box, and click on any that is related to New York, all hopes for people who live in New York City go down the drain, simply because there is none. Not to be negative in any way, but there is no given solution to any disaster that might one day take place in New York. None of the youtubers mention it. When it comes to giving advice for New Yorkers, all they say is to move out of the city asap. As that is not enough, people in the comment sections imply that New York City and its people deserve all the worst things possible. What are they forgetting? They are forgetting that there are families here, elderly people who need constant help, animal shelters, animals in general, nurses, electricians, plumbers, students, houses, husbands, uncles, wives, grandmas, dads, aunties, best friends, just like in other places around the world. Not everyone is rich in New York. If anything, it is the island of hopeless dreamers, romantics. 

When a person from New York tells you something straight up to your face instead of lying to you, their intentions may not always be to worry you but to warn you for next time, to teach you what they know, to linger ideas, exchange what is known by each person, and to learn from you as well. Is it better to be fake and lie, or honest? We all know people will keep saying what they have been saying about New York City, but hopefully  next time they remember that New York City is just like any other place around the world where families try to unite, friends share, lonely people live alone, elderly still needs help, babies are born, animals in shelters still try to find their home, people strive to survive. Nothing is as it seems in the media just like how New York City is not only made out of Times and Statue of Liberty. Think about it. In order to see the Statue of Liberty, even a long time resident in New York has to hop in that same subway line, then walk the same way, then take the ferry to travel to the lonely island called Ellis. To finish it with a positive message, please don’t take anything for granted. No matter what, when, how something happens, life is still made out of small moments. Nothing should be dictated by anyone’s current living situation. Surely, there are great people who would do anything to help in case if anything goes badly anywhere for anyone, always. There exist as many bad people as good ones, too. 

“If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal. [Commencement Address at American University, June 10 1963]”- John F. Kennedy

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Some Cure for Anger Management

Beats headphones are cool.

I cannot believe people do not listen to angry, cruel, unkind, repulsive, objectionable songs anymore. It is not to say that I follow the pop culture metal bands, no. (I do not listen to metal, not even rock music either these days, but I always end up going back to it somehow.) It is to say that love songs do not take your anger away. Yes, love songs of today are all about hatred, who called/who did not, who broke whose heart/ who liked whose post or not/ who is following who and why/ who cheated/ who found a new boyfriend/ who forgot whom. In addition to these songs, we listen to the sweet melodies of Eros. Remember though, as much as the love Eros creates, he causes chaos and destruction as well. You being faking your current status on your face and emotions are no help.

We are human beings, aren’t we? We get angry, we get reckless. I get angry, I get reckless. Sometimes my anger is like a tornado that nothing around it calms it down, but the tornado- the anger- has the power to destroy. Realizing you are angry and still choose nothing to do about it is one thing, destroying what or who is around you is another. You might regret hurting people around you later on, since people love to put angry people down. Or, you end up hating them if not the opposite.

I intensely wonder what people do to handle their anger these days if not listening to Rock music? I mean destroying yourself and others around you with the anger you have been building on is a thing in this century, yet I wish we could all go back to those Rock’n Roll concerts, screamo, hateful looking, black, no light only dark concert arenas that only afterward we realize how much of help it actually was. Can someone please make this an event by the way? I understand there are many songs about love in this generation, yet look at the increasing numbers of people who is being treated with anger management these days. Good for their therapists, bad for health and their budget, don’t you think so? Do you see my point?

I thought buying myself a pet would help with my anger problem yet he is such a cute thing that only makes me softer than I am. I have realized that I needed to unplug myself from the phony calm looking situations / people and focus on the real side of things. What the fuck is actually happening behind the scenes, under that poker face? Where do I look at to read between the lines? In reality, you cannot see it all, hear it all, understand it all when you are  so frustrated or when you are too calm to please people around you. What you we need is simple, to be mad at things, destroy things, get angry, get sad, get real with yourself without thinking who would think what.

We need to rise above the anger. Calmness is good for the ones who have some time in their pasts come across anger. Those people are successful. Those people deserve to be calm. Those people had obstacles to overcome, too, just like you. Instead of running away from it to feel calm, those people took their anger on different outlets; some destroyed their life, some their family, career, home, health, habits, comfort zones, books, education, mental health and for the rest some even destroyed their past completely. How are they calm and successful now? Because they were ANGRY! Their outlets did not make them calmer, opposite to that belief they got ANGRIER, MADDER, more DETERMINED, which eventually put them in situations where the need to change it all has arrived, then now.. they have all the calmness in their lives. Do not think for a split second they look back to see how brilliant their lives were, but they are successful due to their lives being in their own emotional slums. They are now calm, successful and classical music listeners perhaps thanks to their displeasures and rage in their pasts. Read some biographies, watch some documentaries about famous people if you do not believe me.

Focus. No one ever needs to listen to Metallica. I remember crying while listening to Metallica once. What an irony. People who have never listened to them would not understand me at this point but hear me out. I am not trying to say you should stop listening to your hateful breakup songs, or sweet love songs, classical, or maybe edm style. I am the first person to buy my tickets to most of those electronic/ trance music concerts and festivals. What I am trying to say is that, if you are like me whose only outlet is music when things go up and down in your life, please unlike the other people do NOT destroy the people around you nor yourself, but take your anger by listening to some angry, yet powerful and soulful songs. Metallica works for me. If you have some other ones, listen to them- there is whole bunch from the 80s and 90s-, punch the walls, make evil plans to destroy it all because only then your true potential comes out. Say hi to your “Dark side of the moon”.(Pink Floyd). There will always be those dawns before the sun rises again. Rainbows do not show up when there is no rain. Let it rain first, wash yourself under it, dance to it, punch the rain drops, kick them all, fall on the ground, only to get up again and then go home or a hilltop somewhere to drink your hot jasmine tea and watch that beautiful, calm, and peaceful rainbow.

Let yourself be.

Note: All this I have just shared here is all what I think. I have read those books that teach you to keep your calm to get prosperous and full of abundance. All these years… I have just realized. Since I was only changing myself and no one else by reading those books, and no one else was trying to change their behavior because they never read books; those books have helped a lot to people around me to take advantage of my calm, and suck on that positive energy I had. I, on the other hand suffered greatly from my merciless energy vampires.