The Settlement

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Gabriel Garzon-Montano

“Keep On Running”

My father was never much of a figure in my youth, which was a shame, but I had other folks to look to, for that sort of patriarchal motivation. A lot of what I’ve carried forward, and what I have fashioned in my own image, originated from the blueprint that they presented to me. The way that I dress, the way that I speak, it all comes from somewhere. Later on, I took a liking to reading and really examining situations connected to comfort and the lack thereof, in order to understand social cues. From there, I realized that I was a bit different. Reason being that I hadn’t encountered anyone that focused, so much, on the minutiae, the way that I did/do. It became apparent, to me, that I couldn’t follow any established blueprints to get where I felt I needed to go, and the folks that had inspired me were always supporting my journey. All of a sudden, indiscernible to even me, there was a shift. I began making exactly what I thought were the right moves, in order to attain my success. There were failures, but I was always on the right path. The issue was that there was a sort of inversion in my relationships with those close to me, that supported. They were always fans but they went from “The Standards” to “The Admirers”. Something seemingly made them think that they needed to accept their realities, instead of daring to continue to forge a path through the unknown. I became the inspiration. When I realized that this was the reality, I was surprised. I’ve never taken issue with this. I am honored to be able to be that, for any and everyone that enjoys it, but to these very specific people, it makes me uneasy. Because they have resigned to what their lives are. Which, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Not even close. There is just so much that they are capable of. It hurts me immensely when I have to stand there and listen to them tell me “Do you know how it feels to know that you’re settling?” I took a second to think about it and, yeah, I do know what the feels like. I’ve done it twice. That day, when that rhetorical question was posed to me, all I could ask was “Is that really how you feel?”, to which the answer was “I feel that way because that’s what I’m doing.”. In that moment, I realized 2 things: I need to help get them where they need to be and if I can’t do that, myself, I need to continue to be an example.

That specific situation put a lot of things in perspective, for me. It just explained a lot of things that I felt but couldn’t properly associate, in my mind. One of the things that I couldn’t quite place my finger on was an occurrence during a pretty big transitional period in my life, a little while ago, and I had been in a true funk. I was trying to figure out how this whole thing happened and why this kind of thing happens to me. I simply wasn’t being myself. It came to a head, one day, and they actually started to show anger for the way that I was being. Many things have happened to me, in my life but they, very seldom, have ever demonstrated any frustration about my sadness. This was different for some reason. It was as if they were saying “You have a chance to do great things now! There’s nothing holding you back, anymore! Do what you’re supposed to do, now!” In this instance, I am paraphrasing, but those words had actually been said to me, on a different occasion. It was like watching a movie with two characters attempting to escape a terrible situation but one of them knows that only one can make it. So that one decides to do all he/she can to give the other the chance. I feel that I am the one that was fated to escape. I want to save them, though. And I believe that I can save them. Save them from simply allowing things to be, and going after that elusive success that comes only when a person puts themselves on the line. For them to have been an inspiration, to me, and for me to simply leave them behind while they struggle with what they should do, would be a sign that I didn’t truly value what had been given to me, regardless of if they had been aware that they had been giving it, or not. I am a leader, now. Responsibilities rest upon my shoulders and I have always been brave enough to carry them. The difference is that I have grown into the man that can actually carry them, now.

The Waiting Place

I came across this, about a year ago, and I was shocked at how my thoughts paralleled those of the author of this blog entry, Dustin Curtis.It took me a while to post it because I wasn’t sure that I should  but here you go.

Don’t get stuck.

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Dr. Seuss’s real name was Theodore Geisel. He used the pseudonym “Seuss”–his middle name–because he was waiting until he possessed the talent and experience necessary to write, as he put it, “the next great American novel.” That novel never materialized, but Geisel spent his life writing the most popular and significant children’s books in history. It would be hard to call his career anything but an incredible success. But he was always waiting. He was waiting for himself to become a “serious” writer, which he would never become.

The last book Geisel published was a fittingly serious story about the peaks and valleys of life called Oh, The Places You’ll Go! It is perhaps his Greatest book, but I hadn’t read it until a few months ago. In the months since, one part of the book has stuck with me, festering in the back of my mind. It hit me particularly hard when I read it the first time:

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO! That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

The most destructive thing smart people do is spend their lives waiting. Even people with lofty dreams and aspirations get distracted by the inertia of ordinary events and subconsciously store their goals in the waiting place.

Tomorrow. After my promotion. When I raise money. When the time is right. After I settle things up. When I’m done learning.

These phrases appear to be valid reasons for waiting, but they are usually just excuses used to rationalize an easier choice. Worse still, waiting is so much easier than working towards a goal that it is completely reasonable to economically justify entering the waiting place. And while it may be an easy place, it is a wholly unfulfilling place.

Like Geisel, I’ve spent a lot of my life there. But as I continue The Fight, I hope never to return.

Click here to read more from Dustin Curtis

Are you that somebody?

Love. What is that? What does it even mean? I, personally, don’t know. There are explanations that have been given to describe it’s purpose but it seems that every single person has their own interpretation of it. If that’s the case, is it fair that we judge how any of us dances with this fire? Is what I think love to be, in fact some lesser form of affection? And if so, will I ever be able to reach a point where “love”, real love, is attainable? When I think of love, I think of an aurora borealis. I see a haze of colors in different forms. A stained sky. I believe that it is all we have. No matter what side we end up being on, good or evil, I think that we’re constantly reaching for it. Within ourselves or from others. You choose.

will I ever be able to reach a point where “love”, real love, is attainable?

Recently, I have been thinking about the concept of finding that “one person that is meant for each us” and I don’t know if that makes sense to me. You mean to tell me that there is ONE person, on this Earth, that is meant to be with me and only me? Does that mean that the other relationships are doomed to fail until I meet that ONE person? What if I already met her and she’s with someone else who treats her well and is deserving of her love. Am I then just late to the party? Pfff, some party.

I am writing this for all of the people that are out there living life, expecting that, at some point, they will meet that one person that will make their days even more complete than they already are. That person that makes them realize that there is an angle to the world that they never perceived. That colors could be brighter and fuller than they were aware of. I hope that you find that person. The incredible thing is that this person could be of any creed, color, religion, etc… They could be halfway around the world or they can be walking past you, during your work hours. I pray that you are not late to that party. It is inherently possible that, if you DO actually end up missing out on that individual by the slightest of margins, you can meet someone else that opens your world in a similar or altogether different way and makes you endlessly happy, but who knows? Life is funny in that way. The best that you can do is to put yourself in a position to succeed. The rest is not up to you. With any luck, your colors will brighten through the love that you have for yourself and the joy that your other has blessed you with.

Biha