Old Habits: Addiction kills

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Hey there, world. Yeah, I know what you must be thinking with this photo: Josh is back smoking cigarettes?!
First off, yes, I caved back into the vice, and it was one of the worst decisions that I made for myself. But I hope that you’ll grace me the opportunity to explain my imperfections and reasoning(s) why I chose so.
I turned 23 about a month ago. Does it sound like I’m hitting the prime of my life? When you reach your Jordan year, the whole perception of that is to be excellent and strive for greatness throughout that year alone, just like Michael Jordan did rocking the number 23 during his Basketball career. During 23, the whole conceived notion of that year is social life going great, relationships (with a partner or loved ones) stronger than ever, an excellent job with great pay, health that is intact, yeah, no. Not for me at the slightest (from what I was feeling).
Everything hit all at once when I turned 23. To give you the insider on that, I spent 23 at Resident Advisor work training. Don’t get me wrong, the best part was seeing everyone that I haven’t seen all summer and that was honestly enough for me, and spending little time with Destine, Aimee, Kea, Avelin were also lovely, but there was a void that whole day, and I still have no clue what the gap of all that was. The rest of the week was so tiresome and lost. I felt no connection with anything, nor was I looking forward to a whole lot. That’s when I decided to go back to old habits.
I was on my way to Berkeley to head over to 924 Gilman for a Hardcore show but decided to make a quick pitstop beforehand. I went to the liquor store close to campus and bought my first pack of Marlboro’s. From there, that was the start of the journey of isolation and misery with the use of this vice.
Each cigarette that was smoked in solitude or with others made it whole for the dependency on it. I was well aware that I was risking a multitude of health issues and that if I kept up with it, it’d only progress worse. But days continued where it was only going downhill. I never went through a pack a day thank god I had that sort of discipline, but still, it was haunting, and a voice inside my head was convincing me otherwise for smoke breaks in between classes, homework, or just out of sheer boredom to feeling the rush and calmness of something. My friends and coworkers found out eventually, and it was bound to happen. I would sometimes smoke around them but with the courtesy of the smoke not being in their own space and I would tell them that I made the pact with quitting soon but had no designated time to stop anytime soon. Overall my mental health became so dependent on it and that my sanity was
Luckily, I did. When I felt that it all started to come crashing down, that’s when I made the pact with myself to stop.
I texted Aimee and had asked to meet up in person later in the day. We met up at the Japanese garden on campus. She had no idea what was going on, and we hadn’t had any 1:1 time to dialogue, but for what I was about to do I know that she would appreciate it. To tell you in truth, she was the first person that I confided in when it came to nicotine, and not once did she pass judgment, and she had complete faith in me that I would overcome the obstacle. I told her everything that has been going on since I started smoking cigarettes since our last 1:1 that people started noticing I noticed huge shifts of change within myself. I lost my appetite since nicotine suppresses hunger, and if I was eating, I wasn’t eating right. My clothes reeked of cigarette smoke, my voice sounded different, and it became difficult to handle my anxious feelings the right way. That’s when I pulled out my last pack of smokes along with my gifted zippo lighter. I gave it to her and told her that I don’t want anything to do with these anymore.

The pictures listed show the last cigarette that I smoked, and the pack and lighter in which I was going to give to Aimee. After I gave it to her, she reassured me that I’m prone to go through bumps in my life, but that I am resilient in strength to power through and get back on my own two feet. For that, I’m beyond the terms of grateful.

It’s been almost two days since my last smoke, and it is honestly tough, but I got to keep that gentle reminder of why I chose to quit. For the sake of my health, the people that I love & care about, and so that I don’t spiral down the same path I took when I was a teenager.

So, with that being said, here I am, looking forward to make better and healthier choices with myself. One day at a time, endlessly searching for that small measure of peace.


– Josh

Water Lantern Festival: It Happened!

Hi there! The tumultuous wait finally came to an end!  The title pretty much tells you what this blog will be about. I got to indulge and immerse myself in a moment of lanterened lights; lanterened lights that shared quotes, stories, letters, and artistic value.

This festival served as a continuation as one of my dear friends Destine’s birthday present(s). I made my way down to San Jose to pick her up and then proceeded to down South where the festival was taking place. Parking was a hassle and chore to find but we managed to scoop a good spot. We checked in at the park and recieved our date night special package and found a good spot to work on our lanterns. At first, I was skeptical on how to even go about the creative and artistic process let alone justify it entirely; however, I reevaluated on what I believe that I do best to undergo this: writing letters. Since the lantern is supposed to have four sides, I dedicated each side towards four themes in letter format.

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The first side was a letter to my future self, the second, a letter to my Hopes & Dreams, the third to my Fears, and the fourth to those in my corner.
Destine and I proceeded to the lake to launch our completed lanterns together during the cover of darkness and then took some time for individual reflections.

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Once the lantersn floated away everything at that point felt cosmic and dreamlike. It was more than just immersing in a Disney Tangled moment. From here I witnessed value and power in a matter of a couple of hours spent. In all of this, this is where the acceptance of honor settled over shame — healing enfolded over the hurt.  Negative contexts rendered nonexistent. Where vulnerability, validation, reciprocation, most importantly Love triumphed over the place of hate that prospered in the coexistence.
I’ve shared with a few amounts of people that my end-goal in life is to find a small measure of peace, something which few people ever discover, and that last night was just one of the pertinent steps in achieving that eminence.
Either way, I wouldn’t want to experience this kind of encounter any other way, and I am beyond the terms of humbled for this.

Thank you all,

Josh

Suffering: Why I detest that word

Suffering has always played a significant role in people’s lives. We often look at it in different forms where the complacency of itself defeats the person or builds them up to become and emerge a better version of themselves. It feels like an unescapable funk of rock bottom.

Personally, my own suffering is most likely the reason why I am the way that I am. Now, I  don’t want to get into some whole notion of self-diagnosing myself of various mental illnesses or make up a reason why my suffering triumphs over yours or the next person. No, that’s not my end goal whatsoever. You can look this as a rant for the most part. The title of this blog pretty much sums up the gist of what I’ll be explaining, so, buckle up.

Frequently I cringe at the term ‘suffering’ in a very uncomfortable and sickening way yet it also makes me feel furious at best. But first off what makes the term makes me feel that sort of feeling? Suffering can take any form really − from a family that struggles financially often questioning where their next meal will come from. Young children from third world countries facing the horrors of war thus having to “fight” for survival thinking about whether they will be killed or not. Homelessness with inadequate care. A person that fights the internal demons every day and having to mentally go through that kind of hell. Now then, I’m not saying that one form of suffering is at a higher magnitude and should be praised over the other (suffering should never be glorified in general); these are just instances that are very common yet not recognized and addressed. That kind of uncomfortable notion should be a feeling that should leave us questioning why it is so vaguely raised yet so familiar with each other when we do not think about its level of impact.

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No one should ever suffer through the everyday buses and ropes that life throws out, period. I do not even wish that kind of torture for the select people that I do not like. It’s a mental, physical, and spiritual plague that feels like it can progress slowly yet so rapidly over time. Though we have the power to change all that and have control over our own lives, take into account that others are not as privileged as us and yet do not have the luxury to do so.

Who do we pinpoint the scapegoat of this hell? Do we blame it on God? Another Diety? The people that brought them to that low point? Social and environmental factors? Life in general?

My hope, for humanity specifically, is that suffering will be eradicated and that we can live through our own measures of peace, big or small. Sounds like it can only be achieved through a simple dream, but sometimes hope is that measure of faith and philosophy that keeps us inspired and driven.

Thank you again,

Josh