Two Weeks Later

Tonight is the first time I’ve had a quiet night alone in a while. To be more specific, it’s the first time I’ve really been alone at night since my father passed away on May 18. He died unexpectedly.

I’ve been putting off writing about this, because in some way it makes it real, as if the PUBLISH button has a way of cementing reality into place. I’ve been so busy with the ramifications of his death, that I haven’t had time to actually process that he is gone. The only thing I know to do is to keep moving. To protect my mother and brother. To keep busy so the black hole of grief doesn’t catch up to me and disseminate my atoms across a galaxy or two. To tell a story.

I wasn’t always that close to my father. In fact, if I’m being honest, I don’t know that we were ever really close. Not like he was with my younger brother. I don’t fault him for it anymore. We were so different. He knew what was going on, and I know it bothered him. I never had the tickling flame of wildness they both had. I’m not sentimental. I can’t claim to be introspective with any regularity. He was all of those things and a lot more. A complex man. A father who never let his sons forget how much he loved them.

When my brother and I were little, our dad traveled a lot. Sometimes it was just for the week after a stint in Chicago. Other times he traveled around England, Austria, and places so exotic my adolescent brain didn’t register them as real places. No matter how big or small the trip, he would bring us something back. Maybe a hat or a t-shirt. Sometimes a toy. We would run down the stairs as soon as he got home and jump up and down in anticipation. He’d unzip his suitcase and present the bounty. I suppose we were too young to ask about his trip with anything but feigning interest. The self-focus of youth.

He had rules he wanted us to live by, even though we never really understood the Whys of what he wanted. He enforced a strict seasonal clothing policy. Each season while we were in grade school, he would take us to the Dillard’s boy’s department and outfit us in whatever was trendy at the time. He veered preppy and traditional. He wore an uniform as far back as I can remember: Khaki pants and a Polo long-sleeve button down with some kind of brown leather loafers. He embraced the vulgarity of jeans and tennis shoes much later in life after he had been injured.

Dad spoiled us. He had a turbulent time with his parents growing up, with a lot of NO’s. I think he overcompensated often by giving us whatever we asked for – and man could he do Christmas. My brother and I were a bit mischievous as children. We would stay up late at night watching Nick at Night on Christmas Eve. We’d wait until our parents were asleep and tiptoe down the stairs to see what Santa brought us. After a few years of ruining the surprise, we found Santa left our presents covered in sheets.

Even as we got older, he would give us “Santa” presents in addition to whatever he and my mom wrapped from them. He always bought a massive fresh tree. I can still smell the piney needles if I close my eyes and let myself drift. He loved Christmas. He loved the presents, the decorations, the music, and the food. My brother and I are just as Christmas-obsessed, largely because of what he imparted about the holiday. It’s sacred. It’s fun. It’s important.

Not that every Christmas went well. He had a mighty temper. He often wanted Christmas to go so well, a tiny setback on Christmas Day would send him into a tirade. I’ve never seen anyone who could yell like my father (except maybe my brother). Luckily, by the time I was in college, he had calmed down a bit.

He would call me daily while I was in school. I wouldn’t answer all the time, but that didn’t stop him from calling. We grew a lot closer once I left the house, which was also around the same time he stopped traveling for work. I was so young when I went off to college. I was indecisive. I hadn’t found my confidence yet. I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do with my life. And he was there for me. Be it a flat tire or getting such a bad case of mono, I nearly died. He would drop everything in a second for his children. I changed majors several times, and each time I would ask my parents, who were staples at Baylor for the first two years. They called the Waco Hilton their second home. They brought Baylor football season tickets and came to more games my freshman and sophomore year than I did. We’d somehow always end up with at least one meal at this BBQ place in the hotel. I’d sit across from them and share the latest. I’m changing majors again. I don’t know what I want to do with my life. What should I do?

They’d never tell me. My father would listen, and be very careful with his words. “Whatever makes you happy.”

How it would infuriate me! Why wouldn’t he just tell me what to do? That in itself was a rarity. He’d just tell me not to repeat his mistakes. He had always wanted to go to medical school and become a doctor. My parents married young and had my older sister soon after. He focused on supporting his family instead of finishing medical school.

He had a lot of outdated traditional views of how husbands and wives were to interact with their children. My mom did all the cleaning and cooking. He managed the finances and shopping. He always really liked shopping. I didn’t understand why at the time. He would ask my brother or me if we wanted to go to the store with him. We learned pretty quickly this meant a four to five hour excursion that usually involved the dry cleaners, an oil change, lunch, and finally the grocery store. I rarely volunteered for the errand-palooza. But I get it now. He wasn’t the sit at home type. He liked being out in the world. He liked interacting with strangers. He could talk a Macy’s clerk’s ear off for an hour.

He had a lot of love for the underdogs, and he’d use his strong temper and assertive demeanor to fight for them. He volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters before I was born and for a long time after. I’m named for his last Little Brother. In fact, his Little Brother’s mom was like a grandmother to us. Her house was a requisite stop every time we were in Charleston, and every Christmas. She always had gum and cookies. She loved us like we were hers.

There was one time I remember him causing all kinds of trouble at a church we attended in San Antonio. He had been elected to the funding/appropriations committee, and he discovered the church wasn’t giving their employees health insurance. The option on the budget was for the minister to get a new car, or all the church employees to finally get insurance. He raised such holy hell, we didn’t go to church for a few weeks, but the employees got their insurance.

Right under four years ago, I got a call from my brother who was living in New York at the time. He was upset because he couldn’t get in touch with our dad. This was unusual, as the two of them talked several times a day. I was in the middle of a work day, but I had just wrapped a client meeting out of the office, so I had a little flexibility. I stopped by to check in on him. I found him sitting in his favorite chair in his bedroom. He was non-responsive but awake. It seemed like he was drugged up and out of it, but it didn’t make any sense, because it was the middle of a work day. I tried to get him alert, but everything failed. His eyes rolled back into his head. He was in septic shock. I called 911 and got him to the emergency room, where he nearly died. In fact, the doctors asked us to start prepping funeral arrangements. I was so stunned, I couldn’t speak.

But those doctors hadn’t met my father before. He pulled out of it. Though that would not be the last of the trauma. He essentially spent three years in the hospital and various rehabilitation centers. We would have a system – he’d go to the hospital, then the ICU, then get sent to a rehabilitation center. He’d last a few days before having to go back to the hospital all over again.

Christmases when he was sick were some of the hardest. My brother would fly into town to be with our mother and me. He had been away while our dad was sick, so the lack of alertness, the general malaise was so alarming to him he just cried and cried. But my dad didn’t stop fighting. And neither did my mom who was hellbent on getting him better. Several times over the three years we were told to plan a funeral, and each time he pulled right back out of it. It was one of the hardest times in my entire life. The constant stress and fear. The unending roller coaster as I watched the wear and tear age both my parents who had always looked remarkably young for their ages.

And then I was blessed with a gift it would take me a while to recognize. All the heartache. All the stress. All the inevitable death. I had grown calmer. Patient. So many huge boulders were crashing down, I had to stop letting the little things get to me. Life took on a different perspective. I grew up a lot. I met someone special.

There was finally a light at the end of the tunnel. After a lot of effort, yelling, and threatening, we were able to get my dad stable. He was going to be able to come home. And then I got a job in Los Angeles.

I moved to LA in April of 2013, which is about the same time he stayed in his last rehabilitation center. He wasn’t the same person he had been three years earlier. He came out of the ordeal mostly blind, largely confined to a wheel chair, and lacking the judgement ability to be left alone for longer than an hour. But there was a lot of him left. The same person was there, just different. My parents had moved to a retirement-style apartment village and had built up a community of friends and neighbors around them. They started going to church. My dad undertook extensive physical therapy.

We talked regularly. Not as regularly as he would have liked, but then three times daily wouldn’t have been enough. He wasn’t whole, but he was doing so well. Zero hospital visits! Six months went by, and no scares. My boyfriend and I flew back into town a few months after we left and celebrated his birthday with him. We flew him and my mom out to Los Angeles for Christmas. He still had issues, but it seemed manageable. He seemed to have come to terms with everything that happened to him. He was kinder. He’d call and sing into my voicemail. He’d tell perverted jokes to people on the street. He called my boyfriend his son and demanded hugs every time they saw each other.

About two weeks ago, he developed a blood clot. My mom took him to the hospital and kept me well apprised of what was happening. He was let out a day and a half later with some strong meds to take care of the clot. My boyfriend and I had gotten engaged in January of this year, and we had been talking about elopement. After the odd incident of my dad going into the hospital after almost a year of no hospitals, I decided I wanted a wedding. I wanted a wedding my parents could attend.

We started planning furiously. We found a location and went for a visit. I was in heavy negotiations on guest list, menus, decorations, etc. We found a date. We picked a day in mid-September to have all of our parents fly out. I had a genetics test run just in case we decided to have genetic children one day. We were planning for the future.

I’d been really busy at work, so I didn’t call my father back for a few days. I finally did call him back after he sang into my voicemail: “I’ll call you back. I’ll call you back. I’ll call you back.” He wasn’t a great singer, but he had a knack for making sarcastic statements sing-songy. I remember the conversation. I told him all about the wedding plans. I told him to take extra physical therapy so he could walk around a bit at the wedding. I also told him about the genetic tests and let him know I’d be sending some kits to him and my mom. He was so excited about both. My mom later told me all he talked about for two days was the wedding. He would have packed his bag then if she had let him.

That Saturday after we chatted, I got a text from my mom. Dad was back in the hospital because of a reaction to the blood thinners. She didn’t seem too worried but wanted to let us know. I asked her to keep me updated.

On Sunday, May 18, my mom texted me he was having blood pressure and maybe kidney issues. I called her right away. “Should I fly down there? Is he okay?” She wasn’t sure. I didn’t know what to think. I was worried, but he was at Baylor hospital. He was surrounded by physicians. He would be okay. My fiancee had been at a wedding in Mississippi over the weekend and had a layover in Dallas on his way back to Los Angeles. He volunteered to go check everything out and let me know if I needed to fly down there.

Thirty minutes later, I got a call from my mother. She was sobbing. She told me he crashed. His blood pressure tanked, and his heart stopped. They had a team of doctors working on him. They had kicked her out of the room. I conferenced in my brother, and we calmed her down. My fiancee was there a few minutes later. They had pulled my dad back from the brink. He was on a respirator. There were decisions to make.

But we needed information. And thank God my fiancee was there. He pulled information from the doctors. What happened? What are our options? There was a small sliver of hope. He could wake up. He was a fighter. He had beaten the odds so many times before. I stopped crying enough to let that sink in. That sliver of hope. He couldn’t be gone yet. He was still alive. I bought the first tickets out I could for my brother and me. If something was going to happen, we wanted a chance to say goodbye.

About an hour and a half later, I was pulling laundry out of my car. I had planned to drop it off, but I needed the clothes for the trip to Dallas. I had a huge navy blue bag on my shoulder when my phone rang again. “He’s gone,” my mom told me. “Ryan, he’s gone. His heart gave out.”

I couldn’t walk. I had to sit on the stone perimeter of the landscaped front of our building. All my breath left me.

It has been almost two weeks since my father died. I haven’t let myself have time to really think about it, although in reality I think about it all the time. It’s every other thought. I’ve been focusing on taking care of my mom, and all the pieces that need to be done when someone passes. On all the mountain of work that proves a reliable distraction.

Tonight in the quiet, I can’t escape it. I still don’t really believe it. It feels beyond my comprehension. It’s like you lost a limb, but you look down and you still have all of them. But you feel the phantom limb pains.

I won’t get to talk to him on this upcoming Father’s Day. I won’t get to celebrate his 65th birthday with him in July. He won’t see me get married. He won’t meet his grandchildren. And they won’t know him. It doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t seem possible. And there’s nothing my mom, brother, or I can do about it. We have to navigate this unexpected hole on a daily basis. Walk around it. Try not to stare too deeply into it.

Whatever happens when you die, wherever he is now, I hope he knows how much we all loved him, even if we didn’t tell him as much as he told us. I hope he knows that I never doubted my father loved me. I hope he knows he is missed.

-Ry

30 Amid A World On Fire

Nearly two months ago, I turned 30. Thirty. 3.0. It seems so foreign when I read the number from my computer screen. What does it even mean? For me, it has meant starting down the path to creating my own family. Talk of marriage. Talk of children. Talk of settling down.

Ugh. Settling down. Why does that make me sound so old? But the reality of it doesn’t scare me like it did before. It seems natural. Or it did until the world decided to go bat shit insane.

Unless you’ve been camping in the wilderness without televisions, radio or facebook, you know about the Newtown massacre. You know that twenty innocent children were gunned down. I was working from home when the incident happened. I turned on the news to see what exactly happened. I turned it off a few minutes later. It was simply too much for me.

I can’t fathom how parents all over the U.S. must feel (let alone any parent that is grieving one of their angels) right now. How much you want to hold your child close and keep them safe from all those monsters in the world. The only correlation I can make in my mind is how much I love my spouse. My family. My brother. My dogs. They are all little pieces of me, and they all pale in comparison to how it must feel to love your child.

And then the onslaught happened. Tragedy turned into media blitz. FOX News just got done criticizing everyone speaking out about guns after the NFL incident last week. Now we have Newtown. People are saying guns are the problem. Others are saying there aren’t enough guns. I’ve seen friends argue that if Teachers were packing heat, lives would have been saved. I’ve seen others claiming zero guns = zero gun death. And a lot in between. To add salt in the wound, I’ve had to hear all about Westboro Baptist Church and asshats like Mike Huckabee blame the Newtown incident on a lack of Godlessness and a rising embrace of Homosexuality. So great. First we cause hurricanes, and now we are responsible for madmen shooting little kids?

The world is in this massive tailspin right now. Side vs. side. Opinion vs. opinion. What is the right answer? Is this a political issue? Is mental health widely under examined?

But then I started thinking about all the families in the world, where this is common place. The countries in Africa where militias roar through a town and shoot up children and women indiscriminately. Or the Middle Eastern conflicts over Gaza. How many families are crying themselves to sleep tonight after finding out that a bomber in the square blew up their beloved?

So the hard truth we have to face. As people. As a country. We need to decide who we want to be. What kind of culture do we want to create? One quote that has stuck by me through the years: “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.” Benjamin Franklin. And it occurred to me – If we want freedoms, we have to pay a price for those freedoms. If we want guns available and accessible as expressed in the Constitution, then we have to understand that insane madmen will get access to them and do unspeakable things. If we want to rid ourselves of guns. A tool mean to kill and only kill, do we really deserve the security we’d find by denying our liberties? If someone wants to kill a bunch of people, couldn’t they just make a bomb? To be truly free, means to live in chaos. Can we handle the ramifications of chaos?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. But I find myself asking them. If one day, down the road, I’m responsible for a child, and he or she asks me about this, I’d like to know I’ve given it thought. I’d like to know what kind of person I want to be. I’d like to know that I’m doing what I can to keep them safe.

So at 30, I don’t have the answers. I can’t solve the world’s problems. All I know is Hate isn’t going to move us forward. Hate isn’t going to bring back those kids. Hate isn’t going to stop the violence in other countries. Love might. And I don’t mean the hippie-centric idealized love that so many scoff at. I mean love of humanity. Love of life. If we can value that, it might be a start. Whether we have guns or not, if we start loving everyone, and stop seeing the differences between us more than the similarities, we might have a much better world for my future children.

-Ry

Amazing Spider-Man Review

I was eight years-old when I fell in love with Spider-Man. I remember the texture of the comic book paper. It was more like newsprint than what they use today. The colors tended to bleed, and they often had little color check boxes on the sides of a page. The first issue I remember clearly is Spider-Man getting buried under tons of cement and pipe work after battling one of his villains.

As a young lad, I thought his powers were cool, and his costume was pretty rad. I liked his supporting cast, and his clearly articulated archive of enemies. But what stuck with me, what made me really love the character, was that issue of him buried under all that concrete. He didn’t give up. He didn’t stop. He would have to climb and pull and break his bones, but he made it out to save his friends and family. He was unflappable. Shortly after, Spider-Man (and the X-Men) led me into my first comic book store, full of nervous excitement. Spider-Man introduced me to one of my favorite things in the world – super heroes, and has lightened my checking account considerably in the last 21 years.

What I didn’t realize as I walked into the movie was how much of that little boy still lives within me. I knew very little about the film, as I had avoided most trailers and spoilers, so I could get an unbiased experience. I am a fan of the Sam Raimi trilogy, so I kept my expectations low for this reboot. But the second the opening credits flashed, I grinned from ear to ear. A child-like grin. Edge of my seat joy.

The Amazing Spider-Man was everything I wanted in a Spider-Man movie. Peter Parker was an unsure, intelligent outcast. The trauma of losing his parents was far more apparent in this version than the previous. You could really call this movie The Amazing Peter Park, as it was more his story than Spider-Man’s. And yet, they are so intertwined in my mind, I don’t think you can get away with doing one well and the other poorly.

Lucky for movie-goers, Andrew Garfield excelled at both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. He was believable and likable. He was inspirational. He played well off his talented supporting cast. Emma Stone made me like Gwen Stacey for the first time. Her charm and intelligence came off effortlessly. Rhys Ifans was an equally steady villain, though maybe his motivations were a touch under-played to serve the story.

Marc Webb did an amazing job balancing the reality of being a super hero in modern times with the essence of Spider-Man’s origin. He updated it with care and solid nods to the past. He really gave us the best of both worlds – original Spider-Man and modern Spider-Man, geeky Peter Parker and confident super hero. Most importantly, he understood the core of Spider-Man. He’s not just a super hero that bounces around New York City. He’s an accidental hero standing up for good, even when he didn’t have to.

The Amazing Spider-Man felt like a present for that eight year-old kid, reawakened in my mind. One I hope many others will enjoy.

-Ry

 

Summer TV Depression

It happens every year. It’s an itch you just can’t scratch. The sun falls out of the sky, and the endless night begins.

Prime time television season ends, and you’re stuck with the entertainment wasteland. You start looking around for back-up plans. Did I miss anything on Netflix? What can I scrap from the bottom of my DVR? Any movies I missed?

You convince yourself you can get by on the meager (but exciting) HBO/Showtime showings and USA’s summer season. Bad reality T.V. aplenty. But it’s not the same. It’s a T.V. snack, not a meal.

So I thought I’d create a list of ways you can entertain yourself during this drought.

1. Read. Act out new books. What would annoy your spouse/significant other more than acting out the classics? To Kill a Mockingbird! (Insert fake Southern Accent), Fifty Shades of Grey! (Careful now. Don’t use the Christmas beads), Twilight! (Spray on glitter?) -If we have to suffer, our significant others should share in our pain.

2. Become an Intellectual. And by that I mean watch the History and Discovery Channels. And by watch I mean create drinking games based on their various offerings. Then insert yourself into any intelligible discussion within earshot and announce all the things you learned.

3. Send Oprah show ideas. I love the O, but she needs help. We’re all T.V. experts, so why not pitch in? I personally want to see Oprah’s School of Management Training: How to Smack the Shit Out of Whitey

4. Work out. Well, at least from the couch to the refrigerator. Someone has to keep those margaritas coming all summer long.

5. Build the world’s largest blanket fort. If the special peeps on Community could do it, how hard could it be?

6. Learn a new language. That way you can watch a whole other country’s television programming!

7. Create a Tumblr with captioned, animated GIFs. Apparently, this is all the rage with the kids.

I was striving for 10, but lets face it, STD is a pretty serious condition. Together, we will get through this dark period of our lives. And we’ll talk about True Blood every day, all week long, because really – does any other show during the summer matter?

-Ry

Candid Conversations

I’ve loved theBloggess for months now, and my favorite posts of hers is when she recounts her conversations with her husband, Victor. I decided to start chronicling the silliness of my conversations with the Giant.

The Giant and I were in bed, playing Words with Friends against each other, as we’ve been inclined to do for the past week. He’s discovered the secret to keeping my intention is communication through iPhone. He’s a genius. For reals.

Me: Why are you so… I know. You’re a Goose Monster!

Giant: You’re crazy.

Me: Rawwrrr! You’re a Goose Monster!

Giant: That’s a lame monster.

Me: I know right. It’s so lame. Kids aren’t even scared of you. You only scare babies. Under 12 months. You pop out and scare babies. 1 year-olds are too sophisticated for the Goose Monster.

Giant: Rawwrrr!

Me: And then the babies poop! So people know you’re around when they smell poo. You’re the Poo-Goose Monster.

Giant: I’m not a Goose Monster.

10 Minutes Later…

Me: Good night Goose Monster!

Giant: Shut up.

-Ry

Not Quite 30

I turned 29 few months ago. 29. Almost 30.

Entering my 20’s was a roaring, thrashing affair, during my 4-year celebration of college. I don’t remember the specifics, more the general sense of freedom and carelessness. Who gets upset at turning 20? You’re almost to 21! You’re young, free, and unencumbered by the real world. 21 is even better. Booze! You get to act like a faux-adult. You express your new air of adult confidence. You own the world.

Then you leave the sweet haven known as college and enter the world. I was lucky. Jobs have been plentiful and rewarding in varying ways. 20 became 25 (a minor crisis in and of itself), and 25 became 29.

I grew up more the first two years out of college than my four in college. But I’d have to say, the most maturation happened between 27 and 29. Trauma with my family. Real-world career building. Home and responsibilities. Deciding what kind of adult I want to be. Entering a real long-term relationship. I try not to think too much about it, because it’s all a bit staggering at times.

And now I stand on the bleeding edge of 30. 30. When I was younger, it sounded beyond my reach. A distant land I wouldn’t venture into for decades. The mountains I’d have to climb first! To my current self, it seems young. Close. Looming. My memory of a perception and my current perceptions stand at a crossroad, wondering which one is going to move forward. Do I move into 30 with fear? Hesitation? Excitement? Apathy?

30 has a connotation of understanding. You’ve partied and lived and tried out life in your 20’s. Your 30’s should have a plan. You should know where you’re going and where you want to end up. Retirement thoughts pop into your head. Marriage. Kids. Buying a home. (granted many precocious members of my generation may have jump started many of these things already)

You have an excuse to live passively as a 20 year-old. You’re riding the wave. 30’s feel like intention. I should live with purpose and action. I feel more responsible for every decision. I feel like the crossroads is more than a mental flicker in the back of mind. I have to choose a path and go down it.

My brain knows this is silly. You can completely change your life at any point. Every moment in your life is a moment available for complete and utter change. You can have thousands of revolutions a year. You and your will power are all that separate you from anything and everything you want.

I know these things to be true. But I have a giant wall in my mind with 30 burned into the brick. 30 is coming. 30 is almost here. Get your shit together Ryan. Take charge. 30 is unforgiving and only fast tracks you to 40, 50 and beyond.

So I’m going to take a moment and let 30 have its fun. Seep into my brain. Scare me. Excite me. Torture me. And then 30 is going into a box to be locked away until this October. I’ll unwrap it like a present and try it on. I have no idea what it really means. What significance it will have in my life. But if 30 goes anything like 29 has so far, I’ll be damn lucky.

To all of you Not Quite 30’s. We’ll freak out together when the time comes. But until then, let’s put it away. Let’s stay 29 until the last possible second. Let’s channel that 21 year-old fresh out of college, unafraid of the world. Assumed the best. Excited about everything.

-Ry

Relaxing Your Leash on Life

I have a dog named Arrow. I rescued him from the SPCA Dallas two years ago, this coming December. Those close to me know all about his crazy antics, his aggressive behavior (to everyone but me), and his escape artist routines.

What they don’t probably know is how much he teaches me about life. How to love. How to live. How to laugh.

You see, Arrow came from a bad background. He was abandoned to the Dallas pound and then turned over to the SPCA. He had been beaten and was shy of other dogs. Well shy for all of five seconds. Ever since I adopted him, our daily walks have been a bit difficult. Anytime we’d see another dog come up to him, Arrow would sniff sniff, then kill kill. He’d go right for the throat, while I barely had time to restrain him.

That continued every night for two years until yesterday.

The manager of CityVet told me about Leash Aggression. Dogs are aggressive to other dogs/humans/zombies while on the leash. Not because they have the urge to kill, but because they are so in tune with the owner, they go on attack when the owner tenses up. You pass your anxiety on to your dog, and your dog takes it out on unsuspecting Fido.

I thought the whole notion was a load of bullshit, but living next to a makeshift dog park led me to try. So yesterday, as we walked around the dog park, I purposely didn’t tense up when another dog came sniffing up to Arrow. And the most amazing thing happened. He didn’t try to murder any other dogs. Four of our four, he just played or sniffed them.

Still skeptical, but hopeful, I tried again tonight. I let myself relax, and Arrow played with the dogs again. No murder. No kill.

Relaxing me, relaxed him. How powerful is that? My dog is so in tune with me, he senses my emotions. Shit, he probably smells them. And it dawned on me, how true is the leash law to our lives?

When you’re in a meeting, and you relax, you send invisible tidal waves of your energy out to other people. You literally calm the room just by your release of tension. The opposite is just as true. When you’re tense, anxious or mad – the negative energy from those feelings affect the room just as strongly.

So I started thinking – what if we relax our leash on life? What if we don’t hold on so tight to everything that happens, needs to happen and will happen in the future? I’m not abdicating we all give up work, head to the beach and smoke pot, but would it hurt to unwind that tense center? I’ve carried more than my share of tension balls wound up inside over the years. And I know how good it feels to let those go. I relish in how good it feels to be happy. content. relaxed.

It feels unattainable at times. That inner release.  We have to choose it. We have to let those hang-ups go. We have to stop caring what everyone else thinks about us all the time. Keeping that stress locked up inside us will only shorten our life spans and cause us physical ailments. And the worst part – stress begets stress. You pass it on to others. You spread the stress disease.

Thank you Arrow. Thank you for your unconditional love, and you’re emotional nature. Thank you for showing me that simple relaxing myself will bring out that sweet, gentle side of you. Thank you for showing me how to relax my leash on life.

-Ry