Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forgotten

As everyone knows, today is the 10 year anniversary of the heinous terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City and on the Pentagon. I remember very clearly that day. I remember where I was, what I was thinking, what I was wearing, the complete loss of appetite and desire to do anything but stare at the tv...But what I remember the most was the gravity it laid on my soul. What I remember most was my 15th birthday.

Today is now my 25th birthday. I am a quarter-century old. I have changed so much since that morning 10 years ago, but the gravity still sits as heavy as it ever did. Please don't get me wrong; this isn't about me being upset that one of the greatest tragedies of our time happened on my birthday. I'm not naive enough to think that it was a personal affront to me. But ever since that day, birthdays have been a little bittersweet.

One thing I clearly remember was the pain I was in. That year, I had spent the better part of the week coughing up blood and running a fever. I had a nasty little bronchial infection (the bronchial tube is part of the respiratory system i.e. lungs) and felt like I'd been hit by a truck physically. Each breath felt like needles sticking in my lungs and throat, and I was unbelievable exhausted. Then, the tragic events in the East...Suddenly, I felt like the truck came back and ran over me mentally. I was heartbroken at the loss of life and complete disregard for the value of each life that was taken. I was furious that someone could condone what was done, claiming it was what their God desired and that what they did was righteous.

I was horrified by the events of that day; scared to death to go to school when I got better. I had nightmares for weeks. The idea of getting on an airplane was terrifying. As many have said, I will never forget that day 10 years ago.

Now, the real reason I decided to post: I am ok with sharing my birthday with that day. That sounds bizarre, but I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate my birthday than to remember the fallen heroes from that day. For that matter, I am honored to do so, along with remembering everyone affected from that September morning. Heroes transcend time. 10 years, 20 years, 100...It doesn't matter. Those brave men and women gave their lives trying to save everyone they could. They are heroes. I am proud to share my birthday with them as a chance to remember them.

I'm sure you've all thought back to that day; where you were, what you felt...I pray we never forget. As long as I live, I pledge to always remember that day. Things change, scars heal, but the memory remains. Thank you to all those who gave their lives or sacrificed so much. You will never be forgotten.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Stranger

"Best to keep things in the shallow end because I never quite learned how to swim. I just didn't want to know...Close my eyes just to look at you; taken by the seamless vision. I close my eyes, ignore the smoke...Mistook their nods for an approval; just ignore the smoke and smile."
~A Perfect Circle 'Blue'

It's 5:00 A.M. and I'm wide awake. This isn't new for me. Not at all. But, for once, I know what's keeping me awake. I'm scared to sleep. Bizarre, yes?

It's kind of confusing; sleep is the naturally occurring state to which we go to restore and revitalize the beautiful machine that is our body. For some reason, my body doesn't dig it much. That's all right. I've dealt with it for a while and I'm surviving. What I am struggling with is this dreaming business.

I've had reoccurring dreams ever since I can remember. The most significant one (and one that is extremely reoccurring) begins with me entering a small restroom. The walls are grey, floors are black. Flourescent light on the ceiling, no toilet. Feels musty and dank. I walk to the sink and look up into a faded yet still reflective mirror. I see myself, except it's not quite me. Subtle differences; my eyes are more angular, features more sharpened. My hair is long (no surprise to anyone I'm sure) in both images, but this is where it gets creepy. I grab my chin and pull upwards, like I'm removing a mask. My reflection changes again, sharpening the edges. My eyes darken, and suddenly I have Jack Sparrow eyebrows. Again, I remove a mask. Same result (sharpened features, dark shades overtaking the light). Again, another mask. Then another. Then another. After a few moments of shedding my skin, I turn the sink on and rinse my face, then look into the mirror. I'm staring back at the same image I began with. Then my reflection puts his hands on the wall and starts screaming, but the real me stays silent. Eventually, the real me walks out of the mirror room.

Trust me. I have dream dictionary-ed the crap out of this sucker. I have heard a lot of theories, and they make sense. It's not the dream itself that frightens me though. It's more the unanswered questions that always come up after I have it. Why do I keep having it? What do I need to change in my subconscious? Blah, blah, blah. What it comes down to is that I think I am a stranger to myself. A subtle knockoff of the original. Close enough to recognize, but everchanging based on circumstance.

The worst part of this particular dream is something that caught me off guard recently. Is it really me who walks in to the mirror room or is it my reflection? And which of us is in control?

Go ahead. You try and sleep wondering who it is in your reflection, or if you are the Stranger yourself.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Lately I have been consumed by too many things. I haven't had the amount of free time that I'm used to, which is actually a good thing. I am one of those people who likes to be busy. I'm all right with it. I've had time enough to spend with my cute little wife, catch up on a little ESPN, and work on The Nemesis Diary (more is coming, don't you worry). But I feel I've neglected a few things. One of the things that has suffered greatly has been recording my new songs. I aimed to finish "The Next Best Thing", my second full album, by the end of last summer. Yup, I blew that one. I decided I'm not entirely ready to finish it, but I thought I'd leave a little taste of it for any who might be interested. This is my newest song "Sleepwalker."

I see your ghost
every time I close my eyes
I feel you close
when I can’t keep breathing
I hear your voice
When no one’s listening
I found the piece
I didn’t know was missing

And I feel like a newborn again
every time I open my eyes
If you think that I am sleeping
I’m not the one who’s really dreaming

I feel the sun
Wrapped in the shadows
I see the light
Bound inside the dark
The silver line
Has got me turned in circles
I feel so blind
But have we ever really seen?

And I feel like a newborn again
every time I open my eyes
If you think that I am sleeping
I’m not the one who’s really dreaming

In the end
There is only surface
When we drown
Where we find our solace
It’s not the end
We’ve only just begun

And I feel like a newborn again
every time I open my eyes
If you think you know the answers
Look again, I’m not dreaming