Lost by Gianfranc Pipitone

My one promise for 2016 is to not look back. No matter how scary things are. Keep. Looking. Forward

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Photography: Gianfranc Pipitone

 

Do you ever feel lost in your own life?

Like most people who struggle, I’ve been through a lot, and sometimes going through stuff is the best path to success (or at least I’m told).
I always like to say that there are two approaches to life, you can be active and control things and live your life how you want to, or you can play the oblivious card and just let things happen. You can live life or let life live you.
Luck vs work I guess is how you can look at the two?
While I love the idea of being oblivious to the bigger picture and still strike gold — a happy accident. I hate waiting for things. So I work extremely hard to make things happen.
And it feels good. Sometimes.
Sometimes, the desire to succeed causes my own collapse. I reach my breaking point because I’ve overworked myself. And because I’ve invested so much time and effort into myself that when I get a chance to step back, I feel overwhelmed at how little I’ve actually accomplished, I always wish I was further along. I always wish I was more successful, more creative, more free spirited, more developed, refined, actualized…
When I crash, I crash hard. Then I start to doubt about whether all my effort is actually worth it and whether I’m going to end up achieving something. Anything.
Maybe some people are just not built for success? Not everyone can be successful. For every person that has achieved what they desire, there are a ton of people who just can’t seem to make it.
Maybe that oblivious luck is what really brings about success and the hard work in the active person is just a coincidence and oblivious luck is the real key?
When my mind wanders down that path, I feel the need to turn around from my challenges and give up. I realize I’m letting myself fall off the rails and that is when true failure is imminent. Realistically, if you get lucky or not, that gold-mine is struck because you are in the right spot at the right time, and that is no act of luck. It’s an act of actively pursing something — whether the pursuit is 100% or 10%.
Yeah, if you haven’t realized by now, I’m giving myself a pep-talk. Normally, I’m the one giving advice to help people dig themselves out of their graves but I need someone like myself in my life, so here I am, digging myself out.
I guess even the act of attempting to dig myself out, is the pursuit that I was just talking about… Maybe the game isn’t over yet. Maybe the key to success is just a matter of realizing the game is still on.
I guess the point I’m trying to tell myself is to not give up.
Whatever I do.
Whatever you do.
Don’t give up.
If you walk away from the goal, you will never reach it.
But if you keep facing that goal, no matter how drastic it seems, you will in one way or another, figure something out and you will some day reach it.
Turn around,
pick up that damned sword,
and keep fighting.
About the writer: I am a guy who wears many hats, literally and metaphorically. I own a lot of hats, but I am also a competitive fencer and archer. I coach both sports. I am an aspiring filmmaker, a film student, self taught photographer, wannabe artist, amateur musician, half-assed writer, I run a blog/arts collective and spend my free time stressing out about myself while I inject myself with caffeine just to keep up. With everything going on at once, I find it hard to see things gaining traction. It’s tough. I could be so much less, I could have a solidified future but I‘ve chosen the scariest path throuh life. And while I love the challenge and wouldn’t see things any other way, sometimes I fear I’ve buried myself too deep. This post is truly an attempt to free myself from my own personal vicious cycle of self destructive thoughts. Like many people I want to accomplish things, for myself. And like many people, I have no clue what the heck I’m doing. I wish I didn’t have to sit here at 1am questioning why I’m so miserable and why I can’t just be better.
I guess the first step is asking the tough questions, then trudging through the muck.

Gianfranc Pipitone

Copyright © 2015 Daniella Beca MyCompositionNotebook

Featured Writer of the Week: Erin McLean

The barista hands over your order,

I watch you take it back to our small table in the corner.

You’re holding the mug,

tightly,

and I can’t say that I have ever felt so jealous

of a dark roast coffee,

until this moment.

You sip at it,

slowly at first,

as if you are calculating your next move with each sip.

 

I have always been of the opinion that

any situation can be made better

if I am holding a warm cup of tea.

But here I am,

looking at my steeped Earl Grey,

and you’re still saying that you can’t do this,

so somewhere

between that boring Econ class

and this chair I’m leaning back into,

I was wrong.

 

You stare at your coffee,

take another sip,

as if looking to it for some token of wisdom,

some understanding,

but it’s bitter

just like me,

Except I’m not the one that you want to hold.

You say tell me so,

recoiling with a face of disgust,

“Sometimes, I find though,

that after a couple sips

it gets better,” you remark.

“In that case,” I stare at you,

“tell me you can’t do this,

a few more times.”

You look past me,

apparently the espresso machine

knows what you want to say.

“And other times,”

Now you’re looking at me,

“it’s just bad coffee.”

 

As if to distract me,

from thinking about what kind of brew

she must be,

you begin spewing words at me,

words chosen at random

to fill the silence.

There very well may have been a proper segway,

but I was too busy looking at my hands

to notice,

and I’m not of the disposition to give you that much credit.

The next thing I know,

you’re telling me about how you found a pack in your dad’s jacket.

All I’m hearing is,

“I don’t want you” “I don’t want you” “I don’t want you.”

It is funny to me,

how you can sit here

and shame your father for his habits,

when you

are clearly no novice to burning things up.

I would laugh

if I wasn’t choking on all this smoke.

 

I need air.

You watch me stand up,

I feel your eyes on me,

but they are more searching

then how they used to be.

 

I leave my tea,

Even though it is no where near done,

But we are

And like my Earl grey,

I have grown cold

In the midst of this conversation.

Erin McLean

Copyright © 2015 Daniella Beca MyCompositionNotebook

Kairosclerosis by Emily Castrechino

A few nights ago, around five in the evening, the first of many gentle snowflakes fell from the sky, causing time to seemingly halt. The grey/purple of the night sky had already taken over, and as I sat in the car with my headphones plugged in – somnolent melodies sitting in my ears – I was gently reminded that no matter who or where we are, each and every one of us needs a time in our lives where we can just stop for a moment. A time to breathe, connect, observe. A time of our own.

With the quick shift of seasons and the holidays coming up, stress is inevitable in all of our lives. Christmas shopping, last minute assignments prior to the winter break, tying up any loose ends; we’ve all been there and we all know how much of a weight can be placed on our shoulders due to our own personal burdens. So, in lieu of this post, I’d like to invite you all to find a moment in your day where you can sit, relax, and take time for yourselves.

Ever since the end of September, I’ve felt as if my life has been a whirlwind of chaos. People have walked right into my life, and just as easily, have walked right back out; I’ve opened and closed countless doors of opportunity; nothing has seemed to stop, a plethora of events happening one after another, itching at my skin as if trying to finally escape. I found myself suddenly fixing problems that weren’t my own, and it was only recently where I finally came to the recognition that:

  1. I need to look after myself first and foremost, and
  2. I need to take a moment in my day to allow myself to breathe.

It was a Saturday night when these thoughts began to appear; sitting with friends over cold coffee and live music. The week had been a particularly busy one, assignment after assignment piling on top of one another all whilst coming to terms with who was healthy in my life and who was not. There was a brief moment where I solely believed that this was it; this was my life and there was nothing that could be done about it. However, after waking up from my night out with exuberant people, it dawned on me that nothing is forever, and even the hard times eventually fade away.

That day, I woke up feeling rather refreshed and open to everything around me. I literallyallowed myself to breath, and I still thank myself continuously. Anxiety is a weight that sits heavy in my chest, this is nothing new to me or anyone around me, but this mere outing elicited a sense of clarity – a sense of serenity, tranquility and equanimity – to overshadow that weight and instead, allow me to reflect. A moment with friends resulted in redamancy towards myself, and I am forever grateful.

I suppose the main point I am trying to get across is that we all need to slow down in our lives, as it is only for the better. Tests and essays may need to be written, and conflicts may rise even between the best of friends, but I am telling you, these situations are difficult to avoid and dwelling on them only continues to drain you. So, whether it be going for a walk down the street, a night out with your friends, or even a drive with someone close to you, take that moment and make it yours. Forget about the stresses in your life, eliminate those who negatively affect you, and allow yourself to slow down; I promise, you won’t regret it.

Until next time,
Emily

Copyright © 2015 Daniella Beca MyCompositionNotebook

Featured Writer of The Week: Paige McPhee

PicMonkey Collage

I got lost in the met last Summer.

During a week in July where the air was as thick as the mobs on the city sidewalks, I became separated from my Mother and Sister in the icy cool of the Metropolitan, sifting from one room to the other like a grain of sand in an hourglass; seamlessly, without much effort or control.

As I developed my own current and flowed from work to work, I found myself thinking that if I were to become truly lost, I probably would not care. There were worse places to lose oneself, than around pieces of priceless art in a bevy of likeminded strangers.

There is a painting I specifically remember of a forest fire. Initially I was drawn by the bright red and yellows of the flickering flames, but it is the green that resonates the with me the most. The low hills coated in modest moss, untouched by the fire, furthest from the creeping tongues and crawling char.

I always found that funny as a child, that when building a fire you could not use anything green.
“Nothing fresh off the trees, girl. they just won’t burn,” my Uncle said, snapping brittle branches in his steady hands, and feeding them to the fire.

What a strange resilience life has to destruction.

I imagine it is that same resilience that keeps blood flowing when a parent loses a child, air passing through lungs when a wife leaves a husband, when a company becomes bankrupt, a building bombed, a city flooded.

With the setting of suns, and rising of stars, there is an otherworldly continuum that seems to spin the globe. to rise bodies out of beds, minds to mend, and hearts to heal.

and although we may not feel inclined – those mornings where our bones feel of steel, our chests heavy and heaving under the pressure of an empty hand, wallet, or car seat – it is the green that keeps us going.

Green that we may find in the smile of a stranger, a passage in a weathered book. the embrace of a loved one, an image in a dream.

We must remember, that although we may feel defeated or alone, beaten by brutality unwarranted and undeserved, or simply absent in the presence of our own person, that there are things that even fire cannot burn.

Copyright © 2015 Daniella Beca MyCompositionNotebook

Theorem 1 by Lukas Lyjak

Theorem 1:

The Sonder Click (THə Sän-dər klik): The realization that everyone has periled just as complex, and most often worse than yourself, giving you no right to feel sad. A tool often used to shut up a drunken friend on a better night out using:

equation

I had my hands on the keyboard, staring into a black terminal, layered in white commands. On my left atop the desk sat a software-defined-radio peripheral receiving incoming wireless data from another peripheral set upon another computer to my right. Directly behind me sat a co-worker, whom also a friend, who just got out of a two-month relationship. He sat at his computer working away on his own part of the research, all while telling me about what had just happened to him days before.

Now I can’t tell whether it was the radio waves passing though my brain or the array of the mono-spaced raster typeface code making me feel sick, but I decided turn away from the desktop, just in time for him to ask about my own heartbreak ¹. The question was how long my relationship was.

Myself: “2 years.”

Him: “I don’t know how I can feel sad then…”

I’m pretty sure this is where the radio wave transmission stopped and was ready to be plotted in QAM² form, but despite my actual excitement to look at graphs, I couldn’t help but feeling bad. Not for me though, but for my coworker.

It seems that the second wave of comments made on someone’s breakup most often include:
“If it wasn’t meant to be, it wasn’t meant to be…”
“Hey I know this person who got out of an X(t) long relationship, so don’t feel bad.”³

See this is where I become upset (ironically my own theorem can be used against me being mad, but that’s another paper on its own).


¹ Normally I’d rather not speak of how long ago it happened, since I guess it doesn’t matter, but because I guess we’ll face quite a few numbers in this text (with “time” being a substantial variable) I might as let you know its been approximately 6 months.
² QAM: Quadrature Amplitude Modulation, do not try to understand this without any prior telecommunication knowledge.
³Note that X(t) > Y(t), where Y(t) = your relationship with respect to time. Basically, a passive aggressive way of telling you to stop feeling bad…

People expect you to just feel better and have a sonder-like realization just because somebody has had it worse. After my heartbreak, I stopped eating. I would wake up with a coffee, go to school to be refreshed by an Americano, go home to a bit of dinner followed by some studying and sleep. This day was recycled all throughout the exam season, resulting in a loss of 10lbs. Others found that telling me it could be worse might help, but I couldn’t see that helping. Apart from finding a very disturbing but successful diet plan; I found the “Sonder Click” equation.

Please all refer to equation linked with Theorem 1:

The Sonder Click “ S c” value, is defined by the area underneath a logarithmic styled function multiplied by the growing by a variable defined by your heartbreak “YH(t)”, belittled by a summation of how fucking bad everyone else has ever felt “WH(t)”, or, the “Worldly Heartbreak”.

Sad enough, this is what got me through the Summer. I actually used this as a reason to not feel depressed. But yesterday what seems like heartbreak of a friend defined by a miniscule Sonder Click value actually made me feel just as sad as my own broken relationship.

My nature (and many of ours) seems to always call for a concrete solution to everything. We always want to know why something ends¹, and how it ends, and try to come up with a formula to make a “post-breakup” relationship work out. As petty as it is, I tried to use the independent variable of time found on many of our graphs, and a bit of calculus to get over a relationship. I now believe that the only thing I have ever learned after all this is that time is not in our hands, its not out tool to fix what is broken, not our weapon to kill our responsibilities, not a medicine that heals all wounds, and it definitely does not define a “Sonder Click”. Despite all this time:

I never want to see her again, but if she needed a late night ride home or someone to have a coffee with I would comply without hesitation.

 I never want to talk to her again, but once the 3-month delayed text came, and despite trying not to show it, I answered in pure joy.

I never want to know what is going on in her life again, but seeing a smile through Facebook still makes me smile as well.

I never want to want love her again, but if for some reason the universe calls for it, only then, I would never have the right to feel sorrow again.²


¹ Scoffs*: “Closure”, we call it.
²My friend seems to be doing well. He unknowingly disproved my “Sonder Click”. I don’t know how to end this with a return statement back to the beginning of the paper, so I’m stuck in a footnote hoping you all can realize Theorem 1’s conclusion in my last italicized sentence. I’m a lot better at math than blogging. Close the page now.

Copyright © 2015 Daniella Beca MyCompositionNotebook

I’m Still Here by Beth Hallows

I’m Still Here – Beth Hallows

PicMonkey Collage

I sit and watch the people from my window seat.

I could sit and watch strangers for hours. Somehow, it calms me

Admiring what they are wearing, wondering where they are going, questioning why they are laughing; it brings me peace.

I find inspiration in the strangers I watch. I wonder if they are like me. I wonder if they are sad.

The city is buzzing with runners and joggers, drivers and j-walkers. But to me, it is quiet.

People are so interesting; I become intrigued to know why a couple is carrying cardboard boxes filled with bubble gum pink gift bags.

I want to know

Why some people look so angry. Why their steps are so deliberate, why their faces are frozen.

People shout, people smile, and I want to know what for.

But some people look different

They are sad. It’s in the way their shoulders hang

And suddenly, I am with them.

My coffee gets cold, but still, I sit and watch

Because guessing the lives of these strangers makes me feel so much more

More than a cup of coffee ever could.

I think I see people I used to know, and a double take makes me realize they are not but

I wonder where everyone is going

How they got there, where they plan to go after it.

I wonder if people are lost; not just in the metaphorical sense, but literally too.

There is something in watching all these people move forward, that catches my attention

Because I am stuck; I’ve got no idea where to go.

But these people do. So for a brief moment, while enjoying my window seat,

I can imagine I am someone else; somewhere else, with some exceptional place to go.

Copyright © 2015 Daniella Beca MyCompositionNotebook

The One by Bianca Scarlato

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How did you learn about love?

Raised on romantic comedies, Tumblr posts, and Instagram pretty ideals of relationships, we’re taught to search for “The One”.

The One

/tHē,tHə wən/

noun

Your other half. Someone that will make you feel whole. They will change the way you see the world and the way you see yourself. They will inspire you, teach you, love you. You were meant to meet them in this lifetime.

2.  A fictional ideal of someone that will love you.

Remember The One you met when you were fifteen? He was your first everything.

Remember The One you met when you were seventeen? He promised you forever.

What about The One you met when you were 19?

I read something today that said “You’re lying next to someone you know isn’t The One. Maybe there isn’t A One.” (If you know the author of this quote hmu)

Are you chasing a non-existent idea?

I’ve been in love. More than once. I’m in love right now.

Your first love will teach you the most. You’ll learn what you want from another person. You’ll learn what you deserve. You’ll learn what you have to offer. You’ll learn how to love. You’ll learn that they weren’t The One even though you were so sure they were.

I don’t believe in the idea of The One. I believe in the idea of Some Ones.

The people we meet become our lives. – Or rather, our lives become of the people we meet.

Lost loves make room for new ones.

The empty space they left in your mind, your heart, or on your couch can’t be filled until someone new, someone better comes along.

You are bits and parts of everyone you’ve ever known – and everyone they’ve ever known.

Your experiences, your lessons, the people that surround you have combined in a way that allows you to think and act in your own individual ways. And If you’re lucky enough, you get to meet someone who can offer a new perspective, recommend a new movie, or take you to your favourite coffee shop.

Look for the ones who will inspire you. Change you. Teach you. Push you.

Fall in love. Fall out of love. Fight. Make up. Fight again. Make love. Laugh. Cry. Feel.

Just fucking experience as many people as you can, while you’re here.

Some will only stay the conversation, some will stay the night, grow up with you, grow old with you.

Love yours while you have their attention.

Appreciate each and every person that makes you so much as crack a smile, because those are the people, the ones who force you to feel, are who make up each part of you. Know that your life would not be what it is without each of their additions.

And once again, If you’re lucky enough to find Some One who’s made up mind perfectly coincides with yours, know that whether they go or stay, they will change you.

And you will never be the same.