I stopped walking on the gravel, and I smelled the wispy air. It was a familiar smell: high school cross country. It felt like the same gravel that opened my anxiety, delivered my diligence, and pained my body. It was dark and late and hot, and I felt it, but I mainly felt joy.
People are too kind to me.
The walk began after having three phone calls this evening. Two friends and my dad.
People enjoy talking to me, and I don’t deserve that.
I walked past the window where a teacher from the French school lives. I met him briefly at the crepe stand. Just this morning as I walked to class, he stuck his head out the window and shouted, “Have a good day, Jake!”
I feel free. I feel energized. At 2:00am I should be tired. I felt thankful for Greta, my girlfriend. So thankful. I thought about Ann. She’s my former girlfriend.
I thought about the good in my life, and I felt honored. People really do mean a lot to me I suppose. I scrunched up my face and wiped away a tear.
I don’t like how girls tell me I’m so good. Because I know the reason they say that. I don’t have much knowledge or experience of how men tend to treat women poorly. But it happens, and apparently it is the norm. So when a girl tells me I’m great, it’s just because I’m not an asshole. There may be a lot of asshole men, but I’m not the only non-asshole. Not even close.
I saw the equal sign on the street cross walk and thought about equality. I stepped on it. There was nothing I could do to change the lines. You can’t change anything with your naked self. You need people. We're here for each other.
You can make your own stillness. Even in the heat, surrounded by sirens, voices yelling, you can be still.
I get so angry sometimes.
Thinking is freeing. What is everyone doing on the streets at two in the morning? Thinking, probably. Reflecting. Imagining the future. Maybe one or two feeling the present. Why do I get so nervous when someone walks close to me?
I feel my first burst of tiredness.
This moment feels special. It’s not. I can channel any emotion anywhere I am.
I wish Ann was my friend.
What happens in the outdoors world when we sleep? People walk and trees sway. Nothing special happens when we sleep.
Nothing special when we wake. It’s just a journey. Life’s a journey. We’re all on the same team, and I’m thankful for my teammates.
People always want answers along the journey. They turn to books like the Bible. Try to get the book to explain the Holocaust. It won’t give an answer. But it will explain rainbows.
It is incredibly arrogant of me to think anyone can do what I’m doing right now. I’m walking the streets with no agenda, no destination. I’m privileged. I don’t deserve any of this. I don’t deserve anything. I still manage to complain.
A woman has fear. Rightfully so. I have fear, but less, and in different ways. It’s a shame women cannot walk and explore the streets late at night as freely as I.
It’s not about what you do in life. It’s your presence. This is often impacted by what you do.
People who knew him don’t remember Robin Williams for his stand-up specials or for his movies. They remember the energy when he walked into a room. He freed himself. And yet he killed himself, too.
What is honesty? How do you obtain it? I regret not being open and honest in my past relationship. I regret not telling her how much I love her. I hate that version of myself. And I wonder if that's why she no longer cares. But I’m thankful. I'm thankful that pathetic version of me has passed away.
I stop and stare at a door. Doors let you in and out. Two choices: Do I want to be in or do I want to be out? It’s easy. You don’t think. But for a dog, this is not a simple decision.
Rest: I sit on a bench. A bench is a break. A break from nothing. An yet it feels amazing. I feel relaxed. A bench is always worth a stop. You always want a break. Everything is work. Retire.
In the nighttime, everything feels alive. Car lights stare into me, trees smell me, and the ground feels my step. Everyone is on edge.
Darkness leads to uncertainty, which leads to fear, who is a neighbor of excitement. I want to look inside. I see a window with light. I want to explore. But I can't creep. I carry on.
I read a sign that says:
Everyone has names. We don’t need names. We can just float. We’re all equal, so all names are the same. And yet if you asked someone, “What is an ugly name?” everyone could give you an answer. We judge.
I care about thoughts. I am passionate about thinking. I care about memories, unfortunately. I want them all. I don’t want to lose anything. I want it all. I want victory. Victory can be the enemy of joy. Think of athletes. The biggest winners are often the biggest losers. Lance Armstrong. Oscar Pistorious was once hailed for winning six gold medals. Then he shot his girlfriend to death. Aaron Hernandez was considered the best.
There are too many definitions of love. Scrap it from the dictionary.
I think I’m cool for doing this, for having these thoughts. Isn’t that pathetic.
I must let go. Let go of the memories, let go of the cravings, the hoardings, the collecting. Throw it all out, for they won’t give you happiness. They won’t help you spread any joy. They’re just a blockade. A burden weighing me down.
I want to know what other people do. I always want to know. What do they think? I want to learn. I always want to learn. Learning is so much fun. Louis CK would always say learning is his favorite thing, and look at him now. Still learning. Still enjoying it. Life’s a journey. He also says he cares about his kids more than anything. This can’t be easy on them.
Tissues were an interesting invention. Who decided paper towels were too rough on their nostrils?
I want everybody joyful and happy, including myself. How do we make life good? How do I help my sister battling depression? How the hell did I get over it myself?
I see an ad for, I don’t know what, maybe a drink. Ads matter. Everything you see impacts you. People say the Galveston water is awful and disgusting. Just let me enjoy it, asshole. Now I’m angry again.
I walk across the street to see the ad, and it is a drink. Something with pineapple. Drugs are so dumb. Drinking is a waste of time. Why can’t anyone be themselves and have a normal conversation? Explore truth. Care about something. Why does this all make me so angry?
You can miss everything. Even the worst time of your life, you’ll miss it at some point just because it’s gone. So stop missing. Never text me, “I miss you.”
I know you do.
I do too.
My shoes squeak. That’s obnoxious. Does what you wear matter? I don’t give a damn about clothes, but maybe I should. I haven’t purchased new clothing aside from boxers since high school. “You look like a cartoon,” people tell me. “Cool.” Leave
me alone. If not, then at least make me laugh.
Crocs. They were original.
I care about everything and nothing. I want to do everything and see it all, yet one of my favorite things is to sit with a friend or a couple friends and do nothing but talk. I care too much about people, I think. I miss Ann and the friendship we once had. I hope to get it back. I hope we can talk about anything and everything. That's a beautiful thing about Greta. But I want Ann in my life. I want to be closer with all my friends. People tell me I have too many friends.
People always say I never seem stressed, but I am stressed constantly. I suppose I’m just able to cope with it well.
Shadows I don’t like. They scare me. It’s like something more should be there but it’s not. This is also what excites me.
I see a sad bunny painted on the wall. What does she want to say? We all have a sad bunny. Stuck. But saying something.
I like this. I like rambling. I like word vomit. Ann is smart.
I smelled wet grass, which is my fifth favorite smell (behind coffee, red wine, tennis balls, and garages). I walked away. I wanted to make sure I smelled it properly so I walk back and smell it again. I hate my OCD so much I hate that I have it I hate that my mental OCD seems to get worse and worse.
It’s fun to hide sometimes. Maybe that’s how I developed a lying problem. Maybe my lies came from cross country. You have to lie constantly. Tell yourself you’re not in pain when you feel like you’re going to die. I’m glad I’m finally working on that.
The fake vulture scares me. I stab myself with my pencil on accident. I tend to have tiny reactions sometimes. Other times I have big ones. I hope I’m not acting. Actors are the worse.
I don’t like cats. I tend to have an urge to punch or kick them.
I hear a terrifying scream. So much goes on at night. Smart people sleep. Carry on.
I hear a loud siren. I decide to go home.
I wonder how much laughing happened in Auschwitz. It’s not my business.
50 words for Greta. I think about how I could talk about her all day. I want to find the combination of 50 words that show why I care for her.
I imagine future scenarios too much and play out the scenes in my head. This makes me happy which is bad. It’s not real. Never get attached to a story. Embrace every moment. Accept
Sometimes I think my journals are amazing. I wonder if anyone will ever read them. I should talk with Ann. Everyone must talk more. It is so so so so stupid to not talk.
If red lights don’t stop me, what will?
When did Jesus know he was a prophet? When did he know he was the son of God? What about Buddha? Why do people listen to them?
I hate bugs. I bet Jesus hates bugs. Buddha doesn’t mind.
Why do we choose to listen to some people and ignore so many others?
“no pun intended” says a homeless French woman.
Just like us.
I feel better and worse after this walk. My body feels good, and I feel refreshed. I’m thankful for my life. But I’m confused now that I’m looking back at my thoughts written down. I don’t spend much time thinking about each thing. I’m too excited, I move to the next thing too quickly. My mind is too active. I wanted to take in my surroundings fully, and I do not think I was completely able to do that. I think I almost did many times and continued to let myself get distracted. I’m not angry about this, but I am disappointed. I’m disappointed I was unable to control my mind enough to really understand how the door affected me. Or how gravel really made me feel. Or how the bunny made me think. So I’m disappointed. But I am also hopeful. Because I will do this again.
©2022 Jake Schick