Feeling lost

I never knew what I wanted in life. I’m not sure I will ever know. I can adapt to any environment, but somehow, I always feel like an outsider. It’s like I don’t even want to be there. I want to be accepted, and yet, I never feel that way.

I tried being like the rest. I tried blending into society. Regular job, normal day to day activities, but somehow it didn’t feel right. I went to America for a while and it felt good. The only place I actually felt like I belonged. But maybe that was because I didn’t spend that much time. Maybe if I would have spent a while longer, I’m sure it would have been the same as always.

Returning home was awful. No one understood how much I changed in those months. I always heard the same old stupid lines:’ You forgot where you came from’ or ‘Those stupid Americans got to you’.

I felt like I was running in circles. I couldn’t find a purpose in my life anymore.  All the jobs I applied were turning me down for reasons I still don’t know to this day. I started writing for a while. It gave me some sense of calm for a short while. But I couldn’t cope with my frustration well. Writing wasn’t enough. So I gave up for a while. Many times I had the ideas to write. The story was writing itself in my head, but whenever I went to write it down, I couldn’t do it. And that’s when I hit a new low. I can’t say I reached rock bottom, because I know for a fact that it can always get worse.

And it was in that moment, that a silver lining came my way. I had a chance to join a new company with a job that was like a glove to me. It also gave me the chance to move away from my city and to start pretty fresh. And for a while, it was amazing. I found a new way of working, amazing team and I truly loved what I did for a living. I completely forgot about writing in that moment. My thoughts were quiet. No more stories in my head. I actually felt like I belonged in that place.

So I put everything I had in the job. For me it was more than a work place. I didn’t have colleagues, I had friends. Maybe this is why it hit me so hard when I realized that I was the only one who felt like that. And that by trying to make it work better, things just went downhill. But only for me. And this is when the stories started again in my head….

So here I am. Being in quite the disillusionment of a fairytale. In a place where I am surrounded by people that should be my friends, but among whom I feel like a stranger most times. And maybe this is why I write again. Because I need some help dealing with the situation.  Maybe I will never stop writing and become a famous writer. Or maybe I will never write more than an email in my life. It would be so easy if I had the answer…

 

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Moving forward

Let us face it. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Life can be hard. It can be painfull. It can also be beautiful and amazing. But it isn’t in equal amount. For some lucky ones, it can actually be sunshine and rainbows from the first until the last day. For some it is bad from the moment they put both feet on the ground. Most people just have it mixed.

In theory, right now we have the conditions to achieve the best way of living. The medical sistem has never been better. Most of us have acces to electricity, sewerage,water and warmth in our homes. Things that were a dream 150 years ago.

So how come the suicide rate among people is the highest in history? Or the alcoholism among the male population is extremely high? Or the fact that drug use grows with each day? Or that each day new drugs come out, each more deadlier than the other?

But really, how do people move forward in life? Is it because of their will? Is it because of their love? Is it because of their faith?

When Christianity began to spread in the Roman Empire it gathered a lot of parishioners because it promised the paradise of the afterlife. Basically if you suffered enough in this life, you would be granted paradise in the kigdom of God. And it worked. It became the official religion in the Empire, but most of all it gave people hope. Hope that all the pain they had endured would mean for something. That it wasn’t in vain.

The same thing can be said today. Religion,of all kinds, gives us the promise of a better afterlife. But it doesn’t have the same influence as it did 2000 years ago. Now it works mostly for the lower class people. For the middle class people or for the educated it doesn’t work the same way.

Love can help some people. It can give them hope. It can make it all worthwhile. But it can also gave the opposite effect.  It can help a man face anything that life throws at him or it can make the happiest man on the planet take his own life.

But I think the most important thing for a man is his own will. If his will is strong enough he can move mountains. If he is born poor and has a strong enough will, he can become great. Because he is hungry. Hungry for a better life, for success. If he is born poor and doesn’t have the will to succeed, than he will live a most depressing life and his greatest achievement will be getting drunk on Jack Daniels.

The same can be said about people who are born rich. A man with a strong will, born in a rich family will do his best to exceed all expectations, to prove that he is more than just his name and money. But if he is born lazy, with no ambition,than the path to depravity is almost certain. I’ve met people born in wealthy families with anything they wanted at their service. Private schools, private tutors and for what? For making the headlines on th 5pm news?

No matter how you take it, life isn’t fair. There is no equality among people. It all depends on the person. On finding the right balance between your own power of will, your choices and how you react to the obstacles that life can give you.

Being grateful

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for” Epicurus13015340_1042009035846668_5633059245827905596_n

We all have problems. Some bigger, some smaller. Life isn’t fair. If it would, we would all be enjoying a Mohito in Bora Bora or snowboarding in the Alps. But it’s not the case.

Life is hard. And full of challenges. Some have it easier,most have it hard. But no matter how hard you think you have it, there is always someone who has it worse.

I’m not going to debate it too much. But I am going to tell a short story about being grateful.

Some years back I was in a situation in which I felt miserable. I had to quite a great job because of health problems. I was broke, without a job and everyone around me was like:”Why don’t you have a job? Are you that lazy? At your age I was already working my way up.” I don’t know what was the point of all that, but it sure didn’t help me.

Four weeks before Christmas I saw an event on Facebook for a fundraiser, donation and a helping hand for an orphanage. So I thought I could give a hand. I used to give away my old clothes from time to time so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I cleaned out my wardrobe. Actually I cleaned as many as I could. From my friends, my mom, anyone who could help. I never had my car so packed than I had it in that day.

When  I got to the meeting point, I was shocked to see how many people came. More than a hundred. Some just came to drop things, but when we left for the orphanage we were at least fifty people.

After we got there, we started to unload all of the cars. There were all sorts of things. Clothes, food, sweets, toys. After we finished unloading the cars, about 20 people remained so we could make some packages. Some fruit, some candy, some chocolate. Than one of the guys that remained with the group dressed as Santa Clause and started giving presents to the kids. I found a Viking hat and pretended to be his elf.

For the next couple of hours we gave the kids the packages we made them with a toy. We talked to them, we sang carols. They told us what plans they had for the future. It was sad and lovely at the same time. I looked at those kids and I felt ashamed. They had no parents, they lived in a god forsaken orphanage and they still smiled and had more hope than I had.

When we finished, the kids thanked us and wanted to know when we would visit them again. It brought me so much pain to see how much joy they had from some biscuits and a broken toy. I couldn’t imagine what life they had. Just before I exited the room, a six year old kid came to me and hugged me.

“Thank you for bringing Santa to us. Please come again. I will learn more carols” he said to me. That’s when I broke. I started to cry. I was so ashamed that I wanted to vanish.

It was in that moment that I realized how selfish I was. I had both arms and legs, I had a home and I didn’t starve. I was so caught up in being without a job that I forgot to appreciate the good things in my life. And I still tend to do this. But everytime I  become ungrateful, I remember the smile on that kids face and how he taught me the greatest lesson about hope.

We will always have problems in our lives. We will have moments of despair,of depression. But we should never forget what we already have. And never take it for granted. So everytime you feel bad about your own life, go look for a kid in the streets and ask him his story. You will be ashamed of yourself.

Putting the blame

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People tend to blame everything around them. Blame fate, other people, bad luck. Everyone else is guilty, but not us. We are victims of a cruel society that doesn’t want us to succeed,but we are never guilty. But the sad thing is that the truth is somewhere in between.
We live in a society were people are hatefull. Envious. Frustrated. Instead of helping each other to succeed,people will try to see others fail. They will be happy if you fail. In a way it is the law of the concrete jungle. Success only of the best.
In some countries it is better. In most, it is worse. You can try to make a life. But it will not be the life you would want. It will be a life in which you will become contempt. Soon frustrated. In the end miserable and full of hate. And this is were it becomes our fault for having a miserable life. Just because you are born in a place it doesn’t mean you have to live your whole life there.
In my country we have a saying :” let the neighbors goat die”. Basically it says that people will want to see you fail, because they also failed. No one should live among these sort of people. Go. Leave in search of a better place. A better life. A place where you are excepted and encouraged to grow and to succeed

Why do I love New York?

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I’ve had the luck to travel. To see a little bit of this magnificent world we have. And it was amazing. I’ve learned more from travelling around the world than I did in all my years in school. I got to see how people live, how they work, how they think. I got to see places were history was made, where art was given life. I went from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, to Buckingham Palac in London, to the Vatican in Rome. I got the chance to dance passo doble on the beach in Spain and I got to swim in the greek islands. I saw in my short lifetime more than others dream to see in their lifetime. But if there is one place that is above all others, I can say for sure that it is New York.

Someone once asked why I love New York. I asked him back how can you not love it? If you haven’t been in New York, all you know about it is from TV. That it’s a huge city with a lot of skyscrapers and a big park. But it’s so much more than that. It has a life of it’s own. The view, the energy, the madness. It all comes togheter in a beautiful, crazy harmony. You can walk the streets of New York all your life and you can never get bored. You can never see the same thing twice. So I ask you, how can you not love it?

But for me, the best thing about New York is what it meant. I was stuck in a dead end job in which I was miserable. So I gave up everything and I left for the USA to work for the summer. I met amazing people. I made great friends. I worked more than I knew it was possible. More than was human. And I loved it. Every single moment left amazing. Every drop of sweat was worth it. Everyday spent there was a blessing. An in the end, there was New York.

After I worked so hard, I took some days to relax in New York before I went back home, back to the harsh reality. I made some great friends there and togheter we had an amazing trip. I never knew you can have so much fun. It was the simple things that brought us joy. Walking down 5th Avenue, taking pictures in Times Square, being amazed by The Empire State Building. Those were the best days of my life. I’m just sorry they ended before I could blink.

So this is why I love New York so much. Because it was a beautiful ending to an amazing experience. Whenever I remember New York, I remember the best days of my life. I remember being happy.

 

Why do I write?

Recently, I started telling people that I sometimes write. For most it was a shock. For others a joke. Nobody could believe that I can write. To be frank, people still look strange at me when I say that I read books. It is a strange world that we live in, where people find it amazing and werd that someone can read books.

All the time I hear: “Why do you read a book when you can see the movie?”, “Did you loose a bet?”, or “ I guess you didn’t have any friends growing up, that why you read books.” Which is partially right. I didn’t have that many friends growing up. I was a little socially awkward. My parents had a bad divorce and it left me a with an emotional scar. So I retreated into my own world. I used to play all alone with my toys. They were my friends. They were there for me whenever I needed them. Through my imagination, my toys had life. They had a story. A purpose.

And this is when I started using my imagination to bring things to life. As I grew older, I had the same habbit. Whenever I was upset, in pain or just wanted to be all alone, I went into my world. But since I couldn’t play with toys, I started using books. And I found out that my world could be so much more.

One of the first books I read was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I was 9 years old and I was amazed by that magical universe. So I started reading more and more. It helped me develop an even bigger imagination. And I started reading more and more. When I was 13 I already had my own private library with more than 150 books. All bought with my own money.

But time still went by. I learned about love, pain, hate,happiness, frustration. I had all this mix of feelings inside me that consumed me. And one day, I started to pour out my heart on the page. It wasn’t something worth reading. I wasn’t going to win me a prize or make me famous. But it felt good. I used my feelings to create. In a way, I felt like God, even for a very short while. I used my feelings to give life to something.

So I guess this is why I write. I guess that this is why most people write. Because they are lonely. Because they were outsiders. Because they didn’t like the world around them and they wanted another one. They can observe the world around them and they can make it better. Or worse. Or how they feel is right.

Once I fell in love. I loved her with all my heart. But she didn’t. And it broke my heart. So I want to make it better. I write a story about it. In the story she loves me. Or I don’t love her. I can make the story as I want to. I can make it happy or sad. I can make it as it was, as it should have been or how it could have been.

Mike Everett once said that “If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.” I never understood what he meant until I started writing.  And now, I look at the world around me with different eyes. Because I know, one way or another, that I can make the story end how I want it to end.

 

Here it goes…

I never considered myself a writer. I don’t know if I have what it takes to write a novel. But I like the story. So I’ll make my own story. One small story at a time. This should be the first…

 

 

 

We met when I was 17. She was beautiful and I was cocky. She came for the Summer at the beach and I was lucky to help her find her way to her cousin. We spent the whole day talking and laughing. I think I never enjoyed the company of a girl more than I enjoyed hers.

For the next week we met a couple of times. We would go to the beach, go for long walks at night with our feet in the water. I don’t know what it was, but I never had a connection like this with anyone before. All I wanted was to be in her company. To see her smile, to hear her laugh.

On her last night in town she went to a party with her cousin and it wasn’t long before she called me if I wanted to join them. We danced the whole night so close I felt her breath against my lips. I wanted to kiss her, but I was afraid. Afraid that she wouldn’t kiss me back and she would reject me. Afraid that she would never want to see me again. And so I let the night pass.

The next day she went back home and I had no idea if I would see her again. Because I was afraid, I would always wonder “what if”.

But as fate would have it, we met again. She came to college in my city. For a while we met almost everyday. I was her only friend, but she was my best friend. I forgot that I wanted to kiss her that night. I was just happy that she was in my life. But as time passed, we grew apart. She made other friends. She had no time for me. I was sad, but I didn’t want to force anything upon her.

Time passed and I fell in love. This girl was amazing. She was pretty and smart. I think that was why I loved her. I never met anyone quite like her. We dated for a while and I completely forgot about my friend. But if life has ever taught me something is that nothing lasts forever. I didn’t want to see the signs, but before I knew it she dumped me for some guy 10 years older than me and with a Mercedes. And so, I was broken-hearted and alone. And so, in my loneliness she called me.

She asked to meet for coffee. When we met she apologized for being so distant. That she fell in love with a guy from school and she didn’t make time to see me. That all her friends from school were all about themselves and never cared for her. It was such a sad, beautiful picture with us. Two friends, both of us with hearts broken, who found each other again.

For the next couple of months we spent a lot of time together. It’s like we were this perfect couple. We completed each other in an almost poetic manner.

One day my brother came to me and told me what an idiot I was. That I had the perfect girl by my side and I didn’t realize it. He told me we were perfect together. And by the look in her eyes, she cared for me more than she let it show. Soon, all our friends told me the same thing. That we were perfect. And in my heart, I knew it was true. Everyone saw it, including myself. But she didn’t.

Then I was the one who grew a little bit apart from her. For the last couple of months I ruined all my chances of a relationship because of her. I didn’t do it on purpose, but no other girl compared to her. I didn’t want no one else. Only her.

But she never saw me. I was only her friend. The one who was always there for her, day and night. For the next years we remained the same amazing friends. But nothing more. Girls came and left my life, but I could never let her go. She was the one constant in my life.

She dated different guys, but none of them was good enough for her. No one to really appreciate what an amazing woman she was. But one day she met an Italian who was a doctor working a year in my city. I actually met him and he seemed like a really nice guy; he looked at her the same way I looked at her.

After a while, they got into a fight and she wanted to break up with him. And I did what I never thought I would be capable. I did my best to make sure they got back together. I knew he loved her and she deserved the best. It was painful for me, but I knew she was happy with him. So when they got back together I was almost happy for her. When they moved in together I was sad. When they got engaged, I cried.

At this point in my life, I knew I had to move on. I was lucky enough to meet an amazing girl and it was almost perfect. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was what I needed. But still, it cut me like a knife when I received a letter from Italy. It was a wedding invitation.

I went to Italy with my new girlfriend. The wedding was in a small town near Naples, called Sorrento. It was the type of Italian town that you saw in the movies. It looked like heaven, but somehow it felt as hell.

In that moment I hated myself so much. I hated that I never had the courage to tell her how I felt. That I was so afraid of being rejected. My fear destroyed my chance of being happy with her.

And in that moment, in the church where they said their vows, I stood still. I didn’t have the courage to tell her how I felt. After all these years, I was still afraid. I knew I would always be haunted by this “what if”.

Years passed and I married my girlfriend. She was also at my wedding and she looked so happy. As much as I wanted to be with her, I knew I had made the right choice. And I was also happy. I married an amazing girl, who loved me with all her heart. And I loved her.

My life was happy. My marriage was amazing and soon I had my first born, a beautiful baby girl. So when I got a phone call from Italy the next day, I expected to hear a very warm “congratulations”. But that didn’t happen.

The second day after the best thing that ever happened to me, the worst thing happened.

Her husband called, telling me that she died in a car crash. I broke down. How can life be so cruel? How can life give me a daughter, but take her away? I went to her funeral alone and I cried my heart out. Her husband was also there, but in much more pain that I was. We bonded over our pain, but I never let him know how I truly felt about her. There was no point in bringing that up.

After I got back home, I did my best to move on. But she would always be a part of me. To honor her memory, I named my daughter after her.

I had a beautiful life. I knew love, friendship and saw the world. I knew pain, I had my heart broken. I lived. But even in my twilight, there was this thought in my head of regret. What would my life have been like if I had had courage? How would it turn out? No matter what, until my last breath, I will always be hunted by this “what if”.