I guess we haven’t spoken in a while.
Do you still live in Austin?
How’s your brother?
I hope Becky and Mike are doing alright.
I moved to Houston or moved home or same difference. I never imagined being back here like this but that just goes to show you my lack of imagination. Austin was not working out like I had planned and after nine years I finally decided just to leave. I wanted a change. I will no doubt return, in fact I go back all the time, but not to live not just yet.
I was adrift and I was not getting any closer to anywhere I wanted to be. I remember when you had your apartment off Gracy Farms we would sit and smoke together on the balcony. We used to talk about all the different lives we could have. You hadn’t been in Austin long and I was getting restless. Actually I’m alway restless, you were too. That’s why you moved to Austin and that’s how I ended up here.
I wasted so much time thinking and talking about how much better my life could be but I never thought to do anything about it.
My parents have lived in this house for over thirty years. When they brought me home from the hospital this was my room. My same room except now I share it with an industrial safe full of guns and ammunition and a statue of Baby Jesus.
Catholic guilt is alive and well here at home. Relics, portraits of Saints, the Holy Family and grown up Jesus all smother the walls. Signs of a strong faith I suppose or perhaps a makeshift sanctuary from all the evils closing in on us every second of every day. Or at least I’ve always been lead to believe as much.
My Dad is not wrong. The world is a scary place, but I do not see the point in reminding the people you love the world has gone to shit and it’s only a matter of time until it shits on you too.
I’m afraid you win, so now what?
I sound ungrateful because I am. My parents have made many sacrifices for me over the years, financial and otherwise. But I still make it up here on my high horse to trash talk them because I am not too keen on their parenting decisions, like I know any better.
What an asshole, right?
My parents may not always say what I want to hear but they almost never tell me no. And whether or not they wanted me back at home, they let me move back in. But I worry about them a lot.
I’m just not sure they are as happy as they could be and I wonder whose fault that is. Most days they seem perfectly content with their lives but other days they seem so sad. I look forward to my Mom retiring so they can travel more and go on adventures together.
I’m still serving. I work in midtown now but I can’t say I enjoy it much. Don’t get me wrong I am grateful to even have a job, especially this one. Ibiza is the most kush serving gig I’ve ever had.
The bussers always have your back, food is good, and the money is great. My heart just isn’t in it. But my bills don’t give a shit what my heart has in mind so in the meantime that is exactly where I’ll be or at least until I get certified. I want to be a teacher.
I always thought I would teach at some point. Before I just rationalized that I was not ready but now I feel I should at least attempt this feat. I do not mean to sound shaky, even though I am, all I mean is I have my work cut out for me. But I am determined to stop serving and do some kind of meaningful work.
I’ve waited hand and foot on people for almost 14 years. All I do is watch and wait on strangers. The only stimulating part of my job is the money they leave when our transaction is over. I would relish the opportunity to leave a real impression on someone and for them to actually benefit from our interaction. At least more than a I’m not hungry anymore capacity.
I signed up for an alternative teacher certification program online. All the lessons are basically a study guide to prep me for the certification test. I’m not quite finished but I’ve made considerable progress.
Best case scenario: I pass the test the first time and start applying for positions in Houston and Dallas Fall 2016.
I’m not sure why I’m writing you a letter you’ll never read.
I felt safe with you, like we were family. You understood parts of me that only a handful of people are familiar with. We even had our own cheesy catchphrase to affirm that our friendship was solid like we were in a movie or premium cable series.
We all do our best to get by the best way we know how. Sometimes that involves a person so you latch onto them to keep yourself afloat when you feel close to drowning. And you convince yourself that you might drown without them.
You are not around anymore but I did not drown. And I have to stop relying on other people to take care of me, especially when I am not even trying to take care of myself. I just miss you sometimes and I hope that you are well wherever you are.
I have these intense cravings all the time.
Lately my body will beg for a cigarette. And I remind myself if I smoke one that it won’t make me feel better but it will make me want another. I have successfully for the past month or so had one cigarette a week. Not on any specific night but usually after a night of heavy drinking. Just one cheat smoke though as opposed to the steady chain smoking my body is accustomed to but nicotine nonetheless.
Hold up, I already wrote this essay. Let me stop myself.
This is exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve already written the essay where I tell you I’m going to quit smoking but I really haven’t quit.
I need to write the essay about how I’m the person who says he’s going to do something and then doesn’t follow through. Always trying to toot my own horn and never really doing anything worth tooting about.
Writing a solid essay once a week, that is something I could be proud of if I did that.
I can’t seem to find a focus and my creativity is always stalled by trivial bullshit that clouds up my thoughts and distracts me from my writing endeavors. More excuses for my shortcomings which unfortunately come much easier to me than I’d like.
I have plenty to write about. I could write about how much I love Cults the retro garage rock duo with the throwback girl group harmonies that just slay. Or maybe about how Katy Perry just confuses me, but not in a cool she’s so mysterious and clever way. I thought she was talented and charming but I can’t figure out why she is always dressed for the main stage at Perfect 10.
I can’t sleep at night. I’m always busy chewing on the inside of my cheeks or dreaming of unicorns and Justin Timberlake. My head is spinning and I’m discombobulated.
What is GaGa doing in space and why is Kanye talking to Jesus at the Staples Center?
Christmas decorations hang over my head at Mozart’s and people are stopping in the middle of the street at green lights and running red lights. Modern life is chaos but I no longer believe there is apocalypse looming over the horizon. This isn’t the end of days, it’s just Thursday.
And I don’t think I should have to be medicated for everyday living. I don’t want to end up as dazed and confused as the general population would lead you to believe they are. I can’t afford those prescriptions or bad habits.
I get so emotional and it’s embarrassing. So I avoid dealing with my emotions occasionally. The intense dark and stormy bits hide deep down inside of me until they get spun around so hard they erupt without warning. At that point I usually focus my wrath on a singular person and God help me I say things I can’t take back.
And I’m sorry.
Most days I’m doing all the yelling in my head. Beating myself into submission and those are the days I can’t even drag myself out of bed.
My frustrations wrestle around looking for someone to blame for my shortcomings when honestly there isn’t anything to be upset about. You cannot live your life within your limits and expect to achieve anything amazing. Everyday should be filled with the unfamiliar and unexplored territory. Wishful thinking will not lead you to glory.
I can’t keep propping myself up as the ultimate writer’s block. This blog stands as proof I am a writer no matter how I may try to disprove the fact to spite myself. I haven’t failed if I don’t stop trying and after a two month hiatus I have succeeded again. I just have to give myself the fighting chance I deserve. So I suppose you’ll be hearing from me a little more often now.
Same time next week?
Never in the history of Juice have I found the innate desire to put myself first. I do selfish things but mostly for attention, not for my betterment. I pursue conflict to create some spectacle to entertain myself or others. Even now when I think I should stay home to avoid a knowingly stressful situation, I fight the urge to listen to my better judgement.
This is the same nonsense responsible for my total inability to understand the urgency to save money or participate in a lifestyle that doesn’t involve me waking up hungover and showing up late to everything. Lazy, immaturity, or whatever stigma I clutch on to for absolutely no reason, I’m living a half life.
I feel like everything I do has been pushing me closer and closer to mediocrity. I am my own unwritten coming of age novel or never written screenplay, which by the way is going to basically reinvent the apocalypse. I’ve spent a lifetime making my life into a junk drawer. I can’t find the mail key and I save all my movie stubs. I’ve managed to make a mess of myself over time.
My life just needs a jump start to flush out the bad and maintain the good, like a colonic. I want my life to get a colonic not because I think colonics are chic but because I think it needs one.
I’ve compiled a list and I just need to narrow down the people, places, and things that weigh me down and takeover my impulse control. A life that is not my own has no potential. I’m aiming for perspective here while being quite aware that all my theoretical spitballing doesn’t have to necessarily result in results.
I’m working on self helping. I don’t think they make a brochure like that for anyone. Unlocking your common sense and discovering your new and improved practical life full of success and things that make sense and stuff. Something like that, right?
So I guess I’ve narrowed down my main goals as to actually trying to maintain my physical health I.E. working out or something that resembles physical activity and quitting smoking.
I haven’t worked out long enough to see results. I have irrational fears of working out in front of other people that I’m slowly overcoming because I’m toying with the idea that I could become vain if I work hard enough. I’m not up for a juice cleanse or boot camp but I know those are outlets available to someone interested in making huge sweeping changes in their lives.
Right now, I just wanna continue to shake up my routine with a trip down to town lake or faux yoga with Jillian Michaels in the comfort of my own home.
I’m not gonna make the cover of US Weekly for any weight loss achievement I may gain but that’s not the point. I don’t want before and after photos. There has always been a part of me that’s always thought I could never look “attractive” or achieve any kind of physical strength.
I’ve always thought myself a weak or fragile person.
Most of the time I’m either scrappy, scared shitless, or clueless. I just need to invest more in my potential instead of my shortcomings. Juicy could be other things too like tough, ambitious, and toned. I want to be a better version of me and I think that’s definitely good, not selfish.
I was a bonafide smoker for so long out of ritual and habit but I couldn’t seem to quit. I used smoking as an emotional crutch to deter dealing with other emotions. Passive aggressive behavior is my past time. At first, smoking was simply a social activity and then my participation in the service industry quickly escalated my social activity to a habit.
Then I began to think smoking a pack a day was normal because the people around me were doing the same.
Funny to think how your perspective of the world is so easily skewed. I can adjust my definition of normal to resemble what my life actually has become. Taking control of your life requires you to take on some responsibility. All the pressures of being the idea man are somehow so daunting you let things slip past you.
You resist the changes you don’t want to make in hopes of avoiding having to admit mistakes you have made.
When I fiend for a cigarette now I really get a feel for how I was trying to save face from my emotions with the physical act of smoking. By the time I’m done smoking this cigarette I’ll have forgotten why I was upset or instead of feeling upset and resolving the problem I could just smoke a pack to somehow express my anger and frustration.
Poison should not be your quick fix when you need medicine.
So I am currently not smoking. I’ve only technically cheated once or twice, in two weeks. I admitted that because I respect you and I don’t want to base our relationship on lies. Honest to a fault, why not?
I don’t want any of my relationships to be based on lies or to become superficial. That requires a lot of interpersonal skills slash willing partners. I don’t think I’m always a willing partner to the cause sometimes but that won’t stop me from trying my hand.
I’ve started considering the idea that if I have to avoid someone or not invite someone around, why am I associating with this person? When there are stipulations to tolerating someone I’ve included in my circle of friends there must be something else to address among friends.
I’m having an identity crisis because for most of my life I thought I had my Juicy self figured out. This is who I am, this is what I stand for, and this is what I cannot allow. Exceptions began to occur and I became so malleable or flexible and such a damn pushover.
I became an obstacle to myself. I can quit smoking when I want to. I’ve never worked out before so I’m not going to start now. The things I wanted for myself and the things I should be doing for myself got mixed up. I’ve decided to grab for the things I need now and find out what could really sustain me in a time of need.
My life will not be a bowl of cherries and I might not be able to enjoy every minute of it because of circumstances. I understand that but I will relish the opportunity to be the one who calls the shots and takes charge. Preparing for the really hard days and savoring the days that are too good to be true.
History, personal experience, and romantic comedies have left me with a minuscule amount of knowledge of which I feel necessary to share with you. I don’t know shit about shit but there are a few things I wish someone had explained to me sooner than when I had found out for myself.
Also, if I get too preachy I apologize. I’ve had three glasses of wine and you’ll have to excuse me.
Unfortunately people will disappoint you. The human race is unique and imperfect. I am dishonest, manipulative, and selfish. And on a good day I can be anything but my faults. Don’t pretend to be anyone but yourself and you’ll be better for it.
Make mistakes, own up to them and don’t make excuses for fucking up. Also if you make a habit of it, figure out why before you become the disappointment.
Only a very short list of people will hold your hair while you vomit or stop you from falling over into a puddle of your own piss when you are too drunk to do it for yourself. I suspect there are also a few people who would run into a burning building to find me if I was stuck inside, I hope.
Those are the people you don’t take for granted even when they take you for granted. They are the ones who will tell you to pull your head out of your ass when you lose sight of things. Sometimes they will let you fall on your face and let you figure it out for yourself. They are invaluable and you should treat them as such.
There is never a good reason or excuse not to wear a condom. If you are allergic, there are alternatives and if you are given an excuse I assure you it will never be a good one. Your body is a temple and if you don’t think it as much consider reevaluating your priorities.
Knowledge is power, some STDs are forever, and a modern woman has options but those exist for particular reasons. Don’t be careless, be cautious. Emergency exits are for an emergency.
Prince Charming isn’t real and neither is Mr. Big. Fall in love with whoever you want but consider the reasons. You shouldn’t be with someone because they make you weak. You should be with the person who makes you stronger, the person you choose to be with and wants to be with you. And when or if they make you reconsider that decision be smart enough to walk away.
I’m gonna wrap this up with a juicy tidbit you’re gonna wanna remember.
Never ever give up on yourself, especially on the shit bad days when everything has fallen to pieces. Every now and then you’ll embarrass yourself and make the bad decision and say yes when you should say no. That doesn’t matter, what matters is being able to get yourself out of whatever hole you’ve dug and buried yourself in.
We don’t have nine lives but somedays you have to live like you do. That’s a long time to wander around and rely on other people because you don’t trust the only person you can really rely on. Don’t give up on yourself.
For @sophieraelevy and @dingbat94 XXXO
Hey, remember that time you lost your mind and told me to go to hell?
Or do you remember that other time when you called me a f** and acted like it didn’t happen or how that was something you could do cause it sounded like something you would do but couldn’t place cause you were a little drunk? Except only when you were trying to remember though, not when you said it.
You see I’ve been called a f** before but not by someone that I’ve also called a friend. I’ve been called a f** by complete strangers, many times.
The words that come out of your mouth speak truth. Did you know that? The sound of fear and ignorance. Maybe they say more about you then you are willing to admit.
Like how I’m afraid to admit things about myself. For example, how I used to deny that I was a homosexual.
You see I really and truly believe I was born this way. I don’t exactly know when I really knew but some of my earliest memories are of my childhood crushes. There’s just something in the way Tom Cruise shakes a martini in Cocktail that just made me blush something fierce. I didn’t think my innocent crushes as anything perverse until someone as ignorant as you decided to point out the fact that they made me different.
That was in seventh or sixth grade maybe. I wonder about your maturity level sometimes myself?
Regardless, my understanding of my sexuality should have been my experience.
As soon as I was identified by my classmates as different. That’s when I began to feel different and identify myself as such. That’s when I learned shame and felt weak. It’s in piss poor judgement to go around throwing stones when there is so much else in the world that deserves your attention.
My taste in men should not be one of them.
Having said that, I know that my experience growing up is still quite different from other stories I have been told. I was never a victim of violence. I was lucky and the same cannot be said for others.
I punished myself in my own way until I figured out that nothing was wrong with me. You cannot easily teach someone to respect themselves, mind and body, once you’ve made it a point to make them understand they are not worthy of love and kindness. And no one is excluded from that pain. I file that under lessons learned and have since made it a point not to hate myself for being so fabulous although I still sometimes embarrass myself.
I have to remind myself daily that people as bold as you who still find ways to make me feel inferior to them are wrong. I’ll be a misfit every day of the week if it means I’m tough enough to stand up to bullies and say something when no one else is willing to speak. I am different because I’m not like you. I can be strong when you choose to be weak.
This essay is about catharsis and is an attempt at the expression of my confusion.
Instead of making this about my bitterness I want to explore how my countless attempts at creating a love interest for myself out of thin air has left me wading in a deceptively dark deep pool of my own undoing. I dedicate this essay to all the other pummeled hearts and all the idiots doing the pummeling because they probably aren’t even aware of their unfortunate disposition.
Sex has always been a secondary concern of mine because I have never shared a sexual encounter with someone I’ve actually been intimate with, as in sharing an actual emotional connection in addition to the sharing of bodily fluids.
Now let the record show I am not discounting the merits of a good old fashioned trip down to pound town. To clarify, I don’t think you have to be emotionally attached to have good sex with a stranger or lover. But numerous encounters with strangers and individuals who ended up being estranged to me has left me more than wanting.
Which brings me to the conundrum of my quest for intimacy and those individuals I have pursued in this quest. I guess in my mind, I always think that I’ll find someone enchanted enough by me to pull a Lloyd Dobler and show up outside my window with a boom box and a trench coat. In reality, it is I standing outside with a boom box playing my favorite song hoping in turn that they will declare their love for me. That they know that song too and they get it, they get me.
My latest misstep began as a playful crush and has inadvertently played itself out as some discarded soap opera storyline in which I’ve written my would be lover off the show with no resolution. I mean I legitimately have no explanation for what has occurred between us. Maybe he does…
Dear Would Be Lover,
I feel like everything was different before like I had this life that was separate from my ordinary day to day but then there was my time spent with you. With you the world just made perfect sense in ways that weren’t so obvious before. When we were apart and something happened and you weren’t there to laugh at the joke or enjoy the irony or my cleverness something felt off.
Being with you was too easy. I don’t know when it started making sense that I prefer doing everything with you and that everyone else was boring. Probably about the same time you wanted me to choose you before anyone else, that you were the only person worthy of my attention.
This other life, the one where we are awesome together, was converging with my reality. I guess that was the goal for me anyway. I felt like we kept crossing paths and that somehow I would fit the two together the way we fit together. I mean if you meet someone and when you are together everything just falls into place, why would you wanna be apart?
I make you laugh and that makes me smile. I guess that’s why I kept building this up in mind the way one does when there is something to look forward to. I began to only look forward to seeing you. I guess that was my first mistake. Seems I was giving you something you weren’t asking for but I didn’t know what else to do. My head was spinning between all the mixed signals and the attention from you I couldn’t get enough of.
I didn’t want to stop. I was slowly giving myself up to our lost cause. Now there were reasons I started with said pining in my defense.
Why did you think it was okay to sing me to sleep? I mean singing me to sleep is romantic, a late night serenade. You serenade someone when you want them to fall in love with you. Right?
I mean if you are wooing me and you don’t want me to be wooed I don’t think you should be singing to me. I’m not making fun of you. I love it when you sing to me. I wish you sang to me every night.
I should take more responsibility for our demise. And unfortunately now you remind me of an embarrassment, a lapse in judgement, I’ve made numerous times and come out none the wiser.
We made plans before and I used to look forward to our adventures but now I wish they would just come and go if they don’t involve some amicable reunion, something we have managed countless times before.
So I have to gather myself in hope that one day I might get it together. Today is not that day and I remind myself that perhaps this wasn’t the right time or that you weren’t the would be lover I was waiting for. I also consider that I could be completely deluded.
This playlist reminds me of us and also that “us” is no longer some idea we share together because now that is all over. It’s a brief selection of songs that serve as a reminder of how much I liked our mess and also that I’m perfectly fine without you to complicate my life. Especially since I enjoy complications so much more than I should.
The I Don’t Need This Shit Playlist
Track 1: Some Things Never Seem To Fucking Work – Solange Knowles
Track 2: Recover – Chvrches
Track 3: Forrest Gump – Frank Ocean
Track 4: (One of Those) Crazy Girls – Paramore
Track 5: Mirrors – Justin Timberlake
I offer up the these songs although I can name a dozen more that I have convinced myself are either about me or my feelings. They are about all the adverse and positive effects of making yourself vulnerable to someone. Especially if those feelings are not reciprocated, or kind of reciprocated but not really, or just enough to make you think otherwise and maybe act crazy.
Like how I feel when you sing to me and I like it so much it makes me nauseous or enough to stand outside your window with a boom box declaring to the world my devotion to you, just plain crazy. I guess you can kind of pick up that I’m still confused and probably will be for just a bit longer.
For now, I’ll prefer the heartbreak songs to the happily ever after songs and nurse my wounds. I still sympathize with the suffering but I’m not condoning the pummeling of hearts for anyone’s entertainment, it’s just nice to have some company.
I want to be honest with you. I’m a little dramatic.
We should just clear the air so later on you won’t accuse me of something I’ve already admitted to. I’ve always had a lust for life. I mostly blame television and my sheltered upbringing.
I’m a basket case with larger than life aspirations.
Also I’ve always been a rather indulgent storyteller. I embellish every detail not only for my enjoyment as I tell the story but also because I don’t want it to diminish. I want it to become a vibrant memory we both share.
That’s what I want you to remember about me the most.
I’m a details guy not because I believe in perfection but because I want to capture that instant, that split second everyone else will easily forget.
I am not the voice of my generation and I don’t believe we have one yet because no one is willing to speak up, at least not for the right reasons. Everyone is so eager to say something or capture your attention but rarely is someone actually paying attention to what they are saying. I just want to share my stories and perhaps point out a few things you may not be noticing.
I’ve always been intrigued with the idea of an ego. How can an entire generation be so fickle and indifferent and still have managed to become so ego driven, narcissistic, and privileged? So pleased with itself that it deserves a “selfie” to document every passing moment, stripping away its authenticity one shot at a time.
Floating away into a drop box in cyberspace awaiting recovery.
When I take a cheap shot at you don’t be alarmed. This exercise i.e. “The Juicebox” is mostly aimed at flirting with my ego and trying to remain true to my intentions and myself. No one is going to make fun of me as much as I’m about to make fun of myself. I don’t want your twitter beef, I want your undivided attention because I want to inspire change.
I think our perception of the world has been muddled with memes and a mobile-based techie lifestyle. The world lacks true connections. The alternatives to face to face communication are too many to count and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships are changing with a mixed bag of incendiary results. We are no longer required to engage each other by physical means alone and one can’t help but become out of touch not with just humanity but ourselves.
Bullies, recluses, stalkers, fanatics, divas – there are a slew of options to choose from so you can become anyone but yourself.
What is everyone hiding from?
I don’t have to portray myself as an over the top personality because that is who I am. I’ve always been a little bit too much and like my brother will always tell me, “Juice you’re at an 11, I need you at a 4.”
I expect you to do the same. We should have a dialogue. I have something to say and you are entitled to your opinion and more importantly you should have one about anything and everything.
A critical event is about to occur. Society will be asked to reconcile our overgrown egos and the direction we are heading with the behavior that has become the new normal. News tickers shoot across the screen detailing twitter spats for the day. The rattle and hum of our gossip-mongering news cycle doesn’t jive with the dangers of future shocks we have yet to endure.
There are plenty of evildoers lining up to take their shots at us and we shouldn’t be busy turning on each other. We have to recover a sense of community. Too many devices are driving us apart and we need to begin using them to piece ourselves back together. I decided that I could create this blog and share some personal essays and some ideas about things that I love like people and music and art.
My name is Jeremy Muniz and this is my blog: The Juicebox.
I’m not late to the party. I was just busy being a wallflower but now I’m ready to dance.