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Two Sides of Me

Ive discovered, through enjoyable experience and constant self-analysis, that Im either on or Im off. There is no in-between, and I have no standby mode or inclination to be lukewarm. Im either social, eloquent, bold and, as some would say, arrogant, or Im sullen, withdrawn, angry and mildly depressed. Not a bad thing, its not like Im hurting anybody, myself included, when Im forced to trudge through the gloomy swamps of my morose moods. But it's not where I want to be. In the past, I viewed being down as a mark of maturity, a state that had to be earned because you were doing so well that you had no choice but to rest, or risk lapsing into catatonia and exhaustion. It was foolish, naive, immature thinking. Im not 16 anymore, no one has multicolored, oversized fringes falling stylishly and androgynously over either eye, or both if they were especially impaired, and bathing and marinating in your emotions is no longer in vogue. Privately its fine, but even then the focus should be on facing your demons, destroying them with a mix of prayer, logic and vindication, taking the lesson distilled from the whole unpleasant yet bracing experience, and driving the fuck on. If youre going to wallow in self-pity for an indeterminate amount of time, at least have the common courtesy to point your back to the sky. You make a more convenient stepping stone in that position. Your eyes dont need to be cast anywhere but down anyway, since all you choose to see is the dark, even when the light shining reverently above you is, literally, plain as day, ready for your acceptance and embrace.

On mornings like this, when the world wears me down to the bone and my burden sinks heavily and laboriously onto shoulders, I picture home. My childhood house, with its slight incline pursuing a stronger gradient, emerald green grass coated with morning dew, the remnants of a damp night, flickering like small gemstones, basking in the emerging heat of the awakening sun. That same rising sunlight shoots methodically through my slightly parted blinds, dotting my room with a bevy of kaleidoscopic pinpricks of light, moving gradually upwards as the sun completes its ascent into the baby blue morning sky. My room smells faintly of lavender, the pungent aroma blanketing the air, a gift from my mother in her ongoing war against the musty odor its been known to carry, the byproduct of late night gym excursions. I step languidly out of bed, my energy increasing as my drowsiness ebbs. I hear the faint sounds of smooth jazz dancing slyly under my door, inviting me into the living room. My parents are laying relaxed in their usual spots, my Father reclined in his chair, my mother stretched out of the sofa. They behold me with eyes filled to the brim with the pride barely containable by their hearts. Love, beautiful and unconditional, permeates the room. Im content, complete, and full. Im home.

At times I wonder if the person Ive become will forever be at odds with the teachings of my youth. I was untarnished by the darkness of reality and my innocence was unravaged by the brutality of the world at large. People were good at their cores, truly benevolent. No man old enough to be your father would be capable of kidnapping a child and doing unspeakable evil to them. People would never hurt, maim, or kill each other over money. All that matters is friendship and love. Right? When I was 15, barely 2 months into my Sophomore year of high school, a ritual of sorts was for the boys to meet in the back of the school and dispense the latest porn they had downloaded, purchased, or stolen. Since at 15 I wouldve been less nervous diffusing a bomb then talking to a girl, this was the closest to action I was going to get. Then he appeared. The description of this vermin will be kept vague and nondescript for privacys sake and for protection. He was a Senior, almost 18. "Check this shit out.", he whispered excitedly as we gathered around conspiratorily. The memory still brings me to tears and revulsion, depending on my mood. He pulled out a lightly adorned notebook and threw it down. There, amidst the Playboys, Penthouses and assorted cell phones, lay child pornography. Once again, the description will be kept vague and nondescript. My eyes widened in disbelief and shock, and tears stung them after as a wave of nausea tore through me. A lock was produced by one of the other students and was quickly introduced to the scums head. Blood shot from the wound, and he cowered on the ground. We had our fun and left him there. Im not sure about the creatures ultimate fate, hopefully dead, but I count that day as darkening the last vestiges of innocence I had towards the cruelty and barbarism that exists in this world. Also, it taught me that black Vans are better than white for utilities sake.

Perhaps I give off the impression of being a cynic, unable to grasp the light hidden under all of the grey in our world. Youd be forgiven for thinking that, but youd be entirely wrong as well. No one grasps for the all important and lauded silver lining like I do. Even if I feel my effort is vain to all but me personally, I continually search for the bright side to things, if only to fuel my passion for life for another day. The ultimate lesson the world has taught me in this regard is that all of the ill and evil that we'll face in this world should only serve to strengthen our faith in God and Jesus Christ, because with all of the evil readily apparent in the world, good has to exist. There is simply no other truth as self-evident. Maybe optimism and pessimism are two sides of the same coin. Difference is that in this respect, when deciding between the two, luck has no say. The choice is yours completely. Choose wisely.

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