Wednesday, April 29, 2009

letting go...

Running like a hamster four times a week for the last month or so has taught me that the hardest part of running is slowing down and stopping once your all set in motion. While we are able to go from zero to full speed relatively easy on the machine, attempting the opposite after running a mile or so and your body feels like it's going to fall apart. Only if one is not running hard to begin with can you come to a complete stop without much trouble.

This cardiovascular exercise on a treadmill is a fitting metaphor to my philosophy with love, either with friends or, more importantly, within relationships. I hate running in a stationary way, to me it is one of the most monotonous exercises one can do. It takes a while to mentally ease into it just as it is for me to get caught up in the euphoria of love. But once am in that state of mind, changing course occurs slowly, and I could never understand people that could claim true love and turn it off quickly. Deconstructing the "love" placed into a person is much like peeling away the layers of an onion and at the end the relationship reverts back to its original essence, which for me the core friendship.

"Nelson, you need to learn to let people go, it hurts, but someone has to tell you..." 

Lessons of life are all around us. Some come in the form or writings on a chalkboard and others from a punch in the face or blow to the heart. In order to make sense of the myriad of ways that knowledge manifests itself in the world and redefine sanity within myself, I decide to explore the origins of my penchant for sticking around long after the sun has set over the horizon. A master's degree doesn't require a course of Introspection 101. Let's see where this exercise takes me...

Raised in a lower-middle class neighborhood within New York City where the majority of residents have little of material means teaches you to hold on tight to whatever tangible objects of value you can grasp. Life is not a given and in some instances more precarious and less certain, so you hold onto to people as tightly as you can. Raised in a family of extended life...four generations in one house, I held on as a young child to all of them in order to protect me from the challenges of urban life. The realities of lead paint project walls and lead bullets, inferior public schools and gangs. I held onto the love of family as the most precious form of currency when food was scarce and clothes were hand-me-downs.

no matter what i never let go...

Even when my family moved apart and some of them passed from this Earth, I never let go. When friends were killed or died from illness, I never let go of their memories or pictures or notes. When mom used try to sneak out to the club before I feel asleep, I jumped off the bed and held on, literally to her leg until a couple of smacks and yelling shook me off. An eight-year old can only take but so much before his will collides with the reality that mom's skills with the plastic hanger are infamous. 

This resilience continue into my adolescence. This crucial moment in everyone's life, a crossroads that sets a course that has lifelong consequences. As I got older, the ability to hold on became stronger. When I used to visit my father in prison, upstate New York 8 hour bus rides, I held on. When 3pm came and the prisoners had to step back from the tables and against the walls for head counts, I held onto my father's hands. While grandma resigned herself to having no more visit time and sister walk out of the cafeteria with her nerves. I held on. Inmate Caban! Hold on. Dad, hold on. Fuck their guns, laws and handcuffs! Hold on.

Odds are the majority of people in your life will disappoint you. If you know how to respond to those situations, you'll be way ahead of most people. You'll be able to live above and beyond your circumstances.

Holding on to that which I love had never failed me until now. As the years have passed and people become more self-interested in their acquaintances, those who I love have acquired more value. Luckily, in any sense, lack of material means as a youth allowed me to identify and practice the accumulation of the most important capital of all, that of love,which manifests itself in many forms not only the physical or sexual. 

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