“I Am No Stranger to Strangers.”

(Old image featured – 2015)

I am no stranger to strangers.

Every time something shifts in my life, I momentarily forget past occurrences and only look forward. My memory gets foggy, and the concept that “this seems familiar” disappears for half a second.

Thinking back, this is not the first time I’ve heard these words, sunk into these feelings, or received these blows. However, I do know one thing for sure – I’ve finally learned to handle it the way I should.

When it comes to red flags, it may or may not be obvious. For some people I meet, I get this anxious feeling. This particular knot that says,

Be friendly, but do not trust.

And when I feel this, I am sure to be on my guard. Do not get too close, do not reveal too much, and do not let them in.

The second kind of red flag comes in stages. There is a series of yellow flags before the red, and only when the red appears is it too late. When I was younger, I disregarded yellow flags for the sake of giving the benefit of the doubt – something I realized I am more than notorious for giving blindly.

I can recall a memory from when I was 14.

I was visiting a church with a friend who I now call stranger. I sat, feeling out of place when a girl walks in. She walked with confidence, and she had a presence that I admired. She was much older, much more mature than us.

I don’t like her. She’s full of herself. The underside of her hair is blue, and it’s tacky. No one likes her.

As my friend said this, I took her words and applied it over the girl’s image. Yet even as I did, the other young girls my age flocked her and showered her with compliments. In the midst of her mini gathering of fans, she turned to me.

Oh, you’re new! What’s your name? Are you coming here regularly now? I haven’t been here in a while, so I’m sorry if I didn’t recognize you.

I wanted to think she had on a facade for the sake of making a good first impression, but to this day, I really don’t think she was. We talked about her hair, and later she introduced me to her friend with whom I kept in contact with for some time.

From that small experience, I should have known better that your friends’ impressions of people become your own impressions. But what if that wasn’t a real friend? Would that make their impressions invalid?

I am no stranger to strangers.

Once at 10, once at 14, and again once more at 22.

There is no age limit for lessons to be learned. Fate will make you experience the same situations over and over again – same circumstances, different people – same feeling, different words said – until you finally learn which way is the right way.

So what have I learned?

Those who have high standards for whom they trust but who are not trustworthy are not to be regarded, and their impressions of me will not change my impression of myself.

Memories, once invalid, lose all sentimental value. When you originate the initial problem to its start date, all fond and happy moments lose meaning. Now, they are merely occurrences experienced with a stranger. Do not give them weight.

The friend who is meant to stay in your life will never leave. True friends have a purpose in your life, and regardless of the amount of time spent, there is more to be done. They are the non-romantic soulmates who will keep aiding along your spiritual growth. You may not always agree with each other, but you always find your way back. Being annoyed with each other is a natural thing, but if you let that annoyance tear you two apart, then it’s time to say goodbye.

I will not try to save a sinking ship that keeps sabotaging itself whether its intentional or not. The life savers on that ship have been thrown to me, but I will not bend. A sabotaged ship can save no one.

There is a reason why I say I trust my friends blindly.

Do what you want, I am not your keeper.

Make your mistakes because it is your life to live.

I will turn a blind eye to the malice others see because I befriend your character – your being – not your actions.

I trust you with my eyes shut because the moment a line is crossed, I can open my eyes, see you for the person I let you be, and turn away. That blind trust is gone, and you are a stranger once more.

There is no magical place where all lost friendships go. They dissipate into thin air, and life goes on. I let it go, and I won’t hold on.

It isn’t worth saving.

Temporary friends add filter to your vision that you must remove once they depart.

The genuine friends are the ones who keep your sight clear.

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Buy a Book, You Need It

I revel in the latest age of technology as much as the next young adult.

After a while, I started to forget the novelty of feeling a book in my hands, the scent of the paper coming off the page. Today’s read is whiskey words & a shovel III by r.h. Sin. And I honestly cannot remember the last time I found a book that I connected to as much as I did with this one.

It’s very rare for a writer to find a piece of literature that might as well be theirs. Your words are your own, and there is a distinct quality to every writer that is immensely difficult to replicate. Without the soul of the original writer, it all just becomes words on paper.

I read this book backwards, starting from the middle. With each page I found words that I might have told someone else and words that I would have loved to hear. It’s an incredible ability to read what might as well have been a letter from your past life.

Note to self: thank an author any chance you get. You never know whose life they’re changing.

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Why Everyone is Losing Patience with Love

“A fine mix of unicorn blood, witches brew, and broken hearts.”

There are two priorities Millennials have nowadays. One might lead to the other, but ultimately, we choose one for the time being as we ignore the other.

In my opinion, a majority of young adults within my age bracket can willingly admit to focusing on work as a priority. Due to the competitive nature of the current economy and overall job market, putting all focus on our career is deemed as a completely sensible outlook on life. This general subsection of young adults who put work/education above all other matters have goals to keep, and there is little room to distract.

The second and most cliched priority that anyone would be embarrassed to own up to is love. I think most people secretly wish for it, but, upfront, love is a fairytale – it’s for the foolish, for the weak – and love is the only force in this world that breaks you faster than you can break yourself.

There’s nothing wrong with love. It’s beautiful and perfectly flawed. It generates dreams beyond reality with little fuel required. Scraps of hope bloom into fantasies, music, and the subjectively inevitable romance. No, there is nothing wrong with love.

The flaw and the dilemma lies within the effects of love.

Think of romance like a bottle of liquor, unopened and chilled, a crystal blue glass visage, tightly and securely sealed by a flimsy piece of metal worth no more than two pennies. That safety seal breaks at the first glance, and it might remain as such until you get curious enough to expose that liquor to the air. But who knows how long that will take? Minutes, hours, months – however long until the curiosity  burns through your fingertips.

That first charming sentence – however impactful it may be – is what opens bottles. And as the conversations take place, a shot goes down every time your heart beats a little too fast.

(Everyone holds their alcohol differently – so relate these numbers as you would to your own pace.)

The first shot burns, and the initial panic hits your stomach yet something tells you to continue. Shot number four is when you begin to laugh too easily, and number five is when the room starts to spin. By the eighth, everything slows except for your thoughts.

Even if you choose to stop sipping, the alcohol sits, blending in with your bloodstream until you don’t actually know if it’s still there or not.

Under good circumstances, the high remains until the affection is so secure you don’t need to drink anymore. You stay awake until the blur fades, and you can sleep peacefully knowing all will be well in the morning. This is the route we all wish for from the moment that seal is broken – an infinite inebriation and a sweet surrender to affection.

I don’t think it’s the most common route, and this is probably why the bottles cease to pop or cheaper, more destructive bottles are chosen.

In the more common and most plausible route, you lay down in the midst of the rumbling in your head – that only makes it worse. However it may happen, the bottle might be taken away or you choose to close it on your own with whatever strength you have – you know as you shut your eyes that the hangover is inevitable. The emptiness and the tears, the broken words and the wrong steps – the hangover can last as long as you let it until your body finally goes back to normal.

And suddenly that bottle and its taste is just another memory either to be looked at with fondness or discomfort.

It’s unfortunate that too many people experience the hangover until they can’t bear to even look at another bottle. Not enough dreamers get to live the life-long happily drunken state before being abruptly shaken awake.

The patience for those who made love a priority has worn thin. Eventually, all the dreamers of the world will return to reality.

LumiLens: Midnight in Paris

Sure, I’m six years too late, but, if you’re like me, I find solace in the movies I’ve seen a hundred times. But every now and then, I get the urge to watch something new. I’d wanted to watch Midnight in Paris right when it came out, but I confess I procrastinated. So when I saw it appear on Netflix, I was ready to jump at it. Let’s dive into this film.

Have you ever heard of a soulmate? I’m sure you have. But I’ve heard one more step into that – I was told once before that if your spirit craves for a place you’ve never been to before, a place that even though you’ve only stepped foot on its soil for a couple of days, and it truly feels like home, it means your soulmate is there. It’s your soul city. It’s the sensation of being homesick for a place that you’ve never even been to.

In Midnight in Paris, directed by Woody Allen, Gil Pender struggles with his one-sided love and passion for the city and his one-sided love for his fiancee Inez. She’s a seemingly independent woman who shows more emotion for her college crush than she does for her fiance, and Gil is a hopeless romantic author who is in love with Paris. She finds his passion for the city childish and can only see the amount of romance one might experience from seeing a black and white postcard of the Eiffel Tower. As his passion carries him forward, at the stroke of midnight, a 1920s style cab pulls up in front of him and he finds himself in the presence of the world’s most famous writers and artists. He is able to find inspiration from their company and their 20s era state of mind.

If I’m being honest, this movie wasn’t amazing. I’m not a huge fan of Owen Wilson, and unfortunately, I know too many girls like Inez that it actually made me angry to watch her character obviously disregard her fiance’s hopes and dreams.

However, this is fuel for a writer. I never take pleasure in calling myself a writer. I haven’t published anything, and I find too much embarrassment whenever someone even attempts to read my writing out loud. But I take pride in the responses I’ve received over the years from anything I’ve written. Writers hold an immense amount of power, and it’s a special type of force that can change their readers’ emotions at the drop of a hat. To conjure up enough sadness from a third person, to make them cry, to make them laugh, to make them feel what your character feels – this is a power not easily harnessed. Authors are the real rulers of the generation. Through writing, cities are moved and passion is born.

And while I confess that Midnight in Paris is not on my list of favorite movies, it inspired me. I haven’t written anything in months, and that saddens me. Sometimes the passion to write can falter because of the obstacles that one experiences in life. And I never like to put out anything that I deem subpar. The words need to be perfectly placed, and I need to be able to read it like I didn’t write it and feel the emotions I was attempting to convey.

Midnight in Paris is the perfect depiction of a modern hopeless romantic’s journey to find the words held back by the life he lived. And in the end, he let go of that seemingly idealistic facade, and found his way back to the romance through his adventures in Paris.

How beautiful.

Rethinking the Term ‘Lonely’

I think that word gets thrown around too often.

If you think about it, two of the most overused and commonly misused words in the English language might be ‘love’ and ‘lonely.’ And often enough, one follows the other in most situations.

The distinct differences between ‘love’ and ‘in love’ or the ones between ‘alone’ and ‘lonely’ can be forgotten, letting the words slip passed our mouths whether we notice it or not. I find myself very reluctant to use the word ‘lonely’ unless I absolutely mean it. Truthfully, over time, I just grew used to keeping certain company, and during the transition to a new atmosphere, I thought I was losing my breath, when in reality, I just didn’t notice that I was adapting in my own way.

I’ve witnessed a couple of heartbreaks within the past year, one of them being my own, and, while it was a conscience ripping experience, I now know that I wasn’t really lonely. I grew used to his company, the routine, the lifestyle I picked up that was ‘me and him.’ In the process, I neglected to see that the original company I kept had not really changed. I was not alone. The same people who kept me from being lonely in the past were still there, but my mind had been so in deep with someone else that I just… forgot about them.

That was my mistake.

Thinking back to my previous post about the subjectivity of romance, I looked past the friends whose memories had been tattooed onto my skin and only saw his name – a temporary tattoo extended with extra care and my own neglect.

“The sea never falters.”

These are the experiences of people who are not actually lonely – they just crave the company they became used to.

It does not do to leave the world you’ve made as your own for a dream in the hopes of making it a reality. Youth in love, youth alone, youth intertwined with the circumstances of the freedom to give yourself away – it should never be confused with that step towards being away from that world for so long that it becomes foreign. Know your world, know why it exists. See why your world is where you are safe.

Don’t throw away the key and you won’t be lonely.

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