2020.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Five years ago I was going back to college after my first winter break there. I was a criminology major. Only 18 years young. I was unsure of the whole higher education thing. I was giving it a good try. I had all my classes on two days with three off. A set-up that would lead to my downfall.

I’ll be 28 in five years. I can’t imagine my personality will be all that different in 2020. Smarter and wiser than I am now. Hopefully wealthier and happier too. No taller. My voice might be a little deeper.

I might be living in Africa. I tire of America. I haven’t been to Africa since 2002. Life there was much slower-paced than here. Living out of America might serve to give me some much needed perspective on life.

I’d hope to have three feature-length scripts and a novel done by then. I’m almost a third of the way there. Will I have anything published? I wouldn’t be surprised if I did. If I really wanted to push it.

I can’t see myself being married in 2020. I feel no pressure to find that person unless my. I’d imagine many of my friends will be though. I wonder how that will change them. Will any of them have children?

Will I still be posting on this blog in 2020? It’ll be revamped several times by then. 10,000+ followers would be my goal by the end of that year if the blog is still up.

Who knows? Anything can happen in five years.

My American Dream

(Written in April 2009)

This year I will graduate high school and head on to college. I have a variety of options set in front of me. I could be a doctor or join the military. Many people do not plan this out and simply remain stagnant in their lives. They are the same as the day they graduated from high school.

They have no ambitions. I see them all the time. They simply glide through life. They accomplish nothing and let their dreams go to waste. I will not become one of these people. My American dream is a simple and attainable one if I work at it. I want to be a successful attorney.

My short term goal is to obtain my Juris Doctorate and become a criminal justice attorney. An attorney is a person who ensures that justice is carried. It’s not who you arrested, but how. If an arrest is not made properly, then the system is corrupt. Justice must be fair and just. I know that attending Criminology classes at my college will change my perception of right and wrong for the better.

I plan to get my bachelor’s degree as quickly as possible. The bachelor’s degree is my primary objective for the next 4 years. If I fail to get my bachelor’s degree, my American dream cannot come true. The fruits of my labor will be twice as sweet when I gain my Juris Doctorate a few years later.

I used to dream of being married and having kids, but now I realize that to be something I cannot control. If it was a part of my American dream, I would not have a successful marriage. I would not view my wife as a person, but more as a trophy I gained along the way.

Marriage is not something a person should plan to happen when they are younger. You can never plan for love. Love is a construct which no one truly understands no matter how much they want. I’d like to have a wife and kids, but it is not my primary intention.

The American dream has taken many shapes and forms since its conception. It’s a shame that majority of Contemporary Americans don’t believe that it is attainable anymore. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is still alive today in America even with the recent economic downturn. I won’t let something like that interfere with goals and objectives.

People who are so easily put off their dreams never really wanted to obtain them. They allow their dreams to remain in their imagination.

I plan on turning mine in a reality. If a black man can be president, then anything is possible.

Never Give Up.

tragedy and pain

My Last Sob Story

“Woo Graduation!”

A lifetime ago, I etched these words inside of my high school graduation hat.

June 25th, 2009. A good day to graduate. Michael Jackson died that day.

We couldn’t contain our excitement that day; What a day that was.

Friends surrounded me on all sides. We made jokes about dropping out at the last second. We gasped together at the news of Michael Jackson’s death. And we suffered while our salutatorian rattled on and on about what her family meant to her. The girl wanted everyone to roast out there in the sun.

A clear blue sky lay above us like the world was proud of our accomplishments. Our families scrambling for their cameras. They snapped as many pictures as they could, trying to preserve a moment that had already passed. Everyone had the same beautiful smile on their face like peace had finally come to Earth.

One of my friends decided not to have that moment.

“Why?”

That was the question I kept pestering her wit. I tried to dissuade her. This was a once-in-a-lifetime happening. She shrugged her shoulders. She had better things to do.

My seventeen-year-old self couldn’t bring myself to entertain that idea. How could I no-show the biggest celebration in my life so far?

We fought our way through the public education system. Didn’t she want to feel like it was all worth something? All those absurd standardized tests that they shoved down her throat? All those ridiculous Didn’t she want to give her family that moment to enjoy her success? What could be better than basking in the glory of your achievement among those that you love?

On May 13th 2013, I her.

RISE

College was the best time of my life.

Before I went to college, I had no idea people from South Jersey didn’t believe Central Jersey existed. Or that there was feud between North and South Jersey.

There were such characters there. One of my dorm mates was an unkempt anti-establishment who despised jeans. I knew a tennis player who stopped playing tennis to start a rapping career.

My first night I watched a future great friend of mine rap Flo Rida’s Apple Bottom Jeans to an apathetic audience. He hopped up there and shouted at the crowd of other freshmen.

“Get on your feet. Come on everybody.”

Never before had I seen a crowd that unresponsive, to someone so energetic. That’s a memory I’ll treasure for years to come.

Every day had the potential to be a new adventure. A group of us bought dollar water guns. We were not supposed to have them. We also were not supposed to have a huge water gun fight spanning our entire dorm building. But we did anyway. We ran up and down stairs, hiding in elevators, waking up other residents. We got in trouble. We knew we would, but how could we pass up the opportunity? That was college.

There was so much freedom. In high school, everything was so rigid and calculated. You moved when the bells told you to. You went to school early in the morning and left when everyone else did. You had to even ask when you wanted to piss.

But in college, you didn’t have to go to class. You could go to other people’s classes and play an instrument if you wanted to. You could walk around in your pajamas, not bathe for days, and let your hair grow untamed. You were the master of your fate.

Is there a better joy in life than knowing you can do what you want whenever you want?

Of course with great power comes great irresponsibility. I had peers who crashed and burned right before my eyes, some within days of classes beginning. With no parental supervision or rigid schedule to adhere to, they became their own worst enemies. Their lives completely derailed by hedonism. Some are still picking up the pieces almost five years later.

I used the great power of freedom to go to my first wrestling live event. For a decade, I lived and breathed wrestling. Everybody hated Mondays, but I loved them. It meant another installment of Monday Night RAW. It was a cardinal sin in my household for me to even talk about it but I still caught RAW every week.

I walked 12 miles through a cold, snowy Trenton to get to the arena. All I had with me was a printed out Google Map and Have Heart blasting in my ears. Someone could have robbed, beaten up, or even murdered me. I was nearly run over by a car at an intersection. At one point I got completely lost. But who cares about danger when there’s wrestling!

When I entered that arena, my body shook like crazy in anticipation. There was the ring I saw every week on the show. The old ladies and obese men glared at me as I hollered and shouted throughout the show. They came to have a nice evening of entertainment. I came to have the time of my life! Even for the opening acts, I was on my feet until several people told me to sit down.

When I heard the opening guitar riff to CM Punk’s theme song, my heart skipped a beat. There he was. From my television screen to right in front of my eyes, the closest thing to a hero that I have. That was a mark out moment. The rest of the arena hated his guts. He was the biggest villain, a complete prick. He got right in fans’ faces, badmouthed New Jersey and beat on everyone’s hero, John Cena. I loved every second of it.

The power wasn’t all good for me. I got to do grocery shopping for myself. My meals consisted of Skittles, ice cream, snicker doodles, goldfish, Ritz crackers, Oreo’s, pop tarts, more skittles, assorted cookies, cinnamon toast crunch, Doritos, Tostitos and anything else with high fructose syrup. I may have lost four years of my life with my bad food choices. But it was so delicious.

I had the chance to delve into the film-making process and all the frustrations that go into it. I appreciate cinema a hell of a lot more now. Every movie made is a miracle. I’d consider the one short film that I wrote, produced, and directed to be the crowning achievement of my life so far. It’s not a great movie but it was in my brain and is now out there for everyone to see. My dreams brought to reality. That’s incredible. When we had our first script reading,

And boy did I ever write there. I had the chance to take two screen-writing classes when that’s not even allowed. Thanks crappy class selection system! I even got to listen to an Academy award winning screenwriter talk about his life. Without college I wouldn’t have this blog.

College gave me direction.

I’ll look back on the four years as life-changing

SINK

I remember writing my name down on that first student loan. There was a deep sink in my stomach, a ton of bricks weighing me down. I had a little less than two hundred dollars in my bank account at that time. I was borrowing thousands. I wasn’t even eighteen yet. My father assured me that this was the best decision for my future.

Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I would have told him, he was full of shit. But how could I have known then? My college was considered one of the best in the north east. My father said getting in was an accomplishment itself. I had to take that chance.

I didn’t know the terms of my student loan or how an interest rate worked. I didn’t understand the concept of looking around for better rates or getting money from other sources. I didn’t think of delaying my college education for years until I had enough money to pay it off. I didn’t think much at all. I acted.

I started in college with a dream that I’d become lawyer. After a mock trial in eighth grade, I thought it was a good fit. My major was criminology. But after only two classes, I learned the realities of our justice system and found it morally bankrupt. It was a system not set up to help, but to exploit people. There was no justice. People could walk away from crimes because of who they knew or how much money they had. The system was racially biased. I wanted no part in it. So then I had to answer the question we all struggle to answer. What do I want to do with my life?

My father said I was a strong writer so I should drift towards journalism. I had no objections. Journalism was new to me so.

I wanted to love reporting. I’d listen to news radio and read Huffington Post, Fox News, MSNBC. I’d write for the campus newspaper when given the chance. My life depended on me falling in love with my new major. But my heart never was into it. My professor would bring in professional journalists from different beats to our class. With each of them, a realization came over me. I didn’t want to follow down any of their paths. I spent thousands to learn a craft I didn’t love.

Oh no. What could I do about it? I couldn’t get that time back nor could I refund my money. Trapped.

I wanted to go back to seventeen, to that day on my high school football field. Back to when I had everything in front of me. Back when I had to the power to do or become anything.

I came to another crossroads in my junior year. I could have left. My life’s future didn’t depend on that piece of paper. I had value with or without the degree. I could save me. I’d cut my losses and take on the world.

My father disagreed. I had one more year to go. Why not finish it off? Suck it up and write for a newspaper. What would I do without college?

I didn’t know. I knew I’d have control and a genuine smile on my face if I went down that way. But what became of people without degrees? Weren’t they failures who flipped burgers or worked overtime at low paying jobs? Would I end up like one of them?

I took the easier path, the known path. I locked myself in for that final year. Then immediately started to hate myself. Everyone told me I made the right choice, but it made no difference to me. I saw myself as this coward. I acted out of fear. I could not live up to my words. I was an unjust man.

There were days where I’d get down on myself. All my problems would run through my head at once especially in those last few months. I’d blame myself for everything that had happened to me. I deserved my misery. I’d sit in class, not hear a word the professor would say. All I could see and hear was the past.

That time I threw a pen out the window and got detention. That time I took the blame for ripping down all. That time I called a friend . That time I missed the bus and had to walk home for the first time. That time I let down my father and missed. That time I tried to make friends and was instead mocked. That time my gym teacher mispronounced my name. That time That time my father said he was losing interest in me. That time I apologized to someone and they didn’t care. That time a friend tossed me away like I was trash. That time I nearly drowned to death as a child. That time I burst into tears in seventh grade.That time I stood on stage and forgot all my lines. That time That time I didn’t stand up and help a bullied friend. That time my grandfather died and I saw him laying there, lifeless.

These memories and more would swarm in my head, blocking out the present. Each one bubbling to the surface with that old pain cutting me again. My shitty life so far flashing in front of me. I couldn’t focus on homework. I couldn’t focus on applying for jobs. I couldn’t focus on the future nor did I want to. Because the future scared me. It was the pain that had yet to come.

Did I really want to wake up everyday and wither away right before my own eyes? Crow’s feet, bone aches, popping pills to keep going. Did I really want to live on and forget who I am? Or where I came from? What good was there in the future? Marriage? Children? I had zero interest in both of those things. What then for me? Work 40 hours a week for the next thirty to forty years so I can survive? Why the hell would I want to do that? Is there no escaping that reality?

I sought out a solution to my unsolvable problem. How could I escape the future? Time can’t be stopped. Each day I’d slip closer and closer out of one miserable existence into another. There had to be a way.

Then this devious morbid thought creeped into my head. What if I wasn’t around any more? What if there were no more me. What if I clocked out early?

On my worst days, I’d imagine the fallout. Never how I would do it. But what came next.

I’d be put on one of those funeral cards that my parent receive with a nice picture of the person. Smiling as big as they can, like they don’t have a clue what’s happened to them. Friends, family, and people who pretended to care about me gathering around my fresh corpse to mourn. I’d be there except not me at all, fitted with a suit I’d never wear and dressed up to be presentable for the ceremony. A solemn mood. Lots of black clothes. Crying? Yeah. My mother would be in shambles. My father stoic as always. And my brother, I can’t say for sure. Angry maybe. Confused like he often is. A pastor would talk, say some great things about me that he’d have never said if I were alive. There would be anger.

“Why?”

The question running through everyone’s heads. Could they have seen this coming? What did they miss?

Then they’d put me six feet under as part of the ritual.

There would be some lingering sentiment, but it would pass. Pain that would fade away. Life goes on. The world won’t stop for one dead boy. So why not?

I didn’t want to be dead. Death is not a solution to a problem. It’s the end of you.

This girl at my school jumped off the George Washington Bridge and killed herself during our last semester. For weeks she was missing before her body was finally found. I never knew the girl but it sounded like she had her entire life ahead of her. Her narrative came to a complete stop. She won’t ever conquer her demons or move to the next step. She’s gone.

What I wanted was to escape my life and all the obligations that came with it. I wanted room to breathe. Death wouldn’t give me that. I wanted to just live.

In college I learned to love solitary walks at night. Away from everyone. I’d gaze down a street and wonder what would happen if I followed it. See where the road would take me. I’d have my days where the temptation to walk further overcame me. I’d press on. The familiar streets would fade away behind me. My college long gone. My hometown miles away. I’d move on and all my problems would melt away behind me. My friends, my family, my identity. Away. Away. Away from it all. Each step taking me onto a new life, giving me back control.

But I’d stop. I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t leave that behind. What would I do? Where would I even go?

I’d make the solemn trek back to my life.

My life where I am the odd one out; different, peculiar, and most of all, weird. Even the people who put me here don’t know what to make of me. The apple has fallen as far from the tree as it can. Whether it’s on some online forum, a family get-together, or in class , I am out of place. Always have been, always will be. I understand that now.

“A sense of belonging is not a privilege that you enjoy.”

I am the single drop of oil in an ocean of water, a corruption of the natural flow of life. An aberration.

I left college, this feeble self-pitying husk; so full of fear of the future. The wind could have blown me over.

“Congratulations!”

Everyone kept repeating that. Again and again on that day they set up to honor us. May 17th, 2013.

I thought up scenarios where I could fail my classes at the last minute and not have to take that walk of shame. But my stupid geology professor passed me even though I couldn’t tell the difference between a stalagmite and Vegemite.

Graduation day was a hot day, damn hot. My housemates and I had to walk to campus. To say we were sweating is an understatement. I thought about what a stupid tradition the graduation gowns were.

As we fanned ourselves with our hats, the neighborhood came out to congratulate us as we made our way to the university.

Gosh. I still remember opening the door to my department’s graduation ceremony. All the experiences that separated me and my seventeen-year-old self flowed through me. I couldn’t shake off this feeling of defeat.

Everyone had that same dumb smiles on their face. Why the hell were they so happy? I didn’t I was the sole frown in the room. My mother told me to cheer up. This was my day.

I sat around strangers and acquaintances. I didn’t know any of the people called up for their awards. These were my peers.

They called my name. I got pity golf claps.

My professor had a grand smile. One of her students had graduated and was on to the next step in their life.
She congratulated me with the utmost enthusiasm.

No matter what she handed to me, in my own head. I would be a failure and a coward. She could not wipe away my regret or alleviate my torment.

She handed me my prize, what I set out to achieve when I signed my name down on student loan; a folder to hold my degree in.

I feigned a smile for her. It was the least I could do; not make a scene and let my true feelings come out. This was a day of celebration not time for a grumpy young man to vent.

I don’t remember what I wrote in my college graduation hat before I tossed it away.

A year later, I still have this sour taste in my mouth whenever someone brings up college. I could never win there. I lost so much. I lost my bravery. I gained twenty pounds. I lost my self-respect. I grew a ratty beard. I lost my confidence. I lost my motivation. And I paid for all that. I paid with more money than I’ve had in life.

For the past year, my life became this self-pity party. Oh woe is me. I wanted my life to be this long winded sob story. I’d blot out the good parts to fit a narrative.

I am sad and angry because the world is cruel. Happiness is an accident, that time when you forget your troubles. Happiness is delusion. That time when you lie to yourself because you’re afraid of the world. You should fear the world. It’s full of pain, sorrow, and hollow victories. Why try? The world will destroy anything you create.

Is that the narrative I want my life to follow? Can I change it? Should I? Do I want to?

Higher Education

There would be no commemoration for the man, no photographs of him would be placed in campus pamphlets, no plaques would be made for him, no buildings named after him. The degree would be handed off and his parents would scream in delight, but the man would stand there and look off into the distance with a distinct look of emptiness and disappointment.

Image

Is it time to leave College?

Why did I go to this place? To further my education? To get a chance at a good job?

My family is paying a lot of money we don’t have for me to get some sort of degree. But why?

For 17 years, my education was free. When I got out of high school, I was free. No obligations. I had never had a job before. Now I have this thing hanging over my head.

Debt. Debt. Student Loan.

I remember letting my dad handle that stuff. I didn’t really think it about. The College of New Jersey just seemed like a natural path for me to go. It was a good college my dad said. Going to college was what everyone did. It’s the flow of life. You go to school then college, get a job, hope you’re happy and die when you’re old.

I never gave much thought to not going to college. My parents never talked about that. I couldn’t fathom it. I’d have to go into the real world. I didn’t know what skills I had. I didn’t know what I want to be. I guess I wanted college would be the place I could find that out.

I’ve never been passionate about my education. The majority of high school was bullshit. There’s no reason to have everyone learn all the same things to a certain degree. Does everybody really need to take a Chemistry class? The only thing I remember from that is that the mole is a unit.

I tried criminology. I took a law class in high school. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the semantics of law. I liked the idea of putting criminals in jail. I took two classes and really disliked it. Laws weren’t always just. Some were set in place for the wrong reasons and didn’t benefit anyone. That wasn’t me.

The only thing I liked about it was how people acted like it was a very interesting field. “You’re a criminology major? That’s awesome.”

I also took Spanish, Statistics, a Reading/Writing Short stories class. I loved the idea of just working on stories but I could never just focus on them. I had work in other classes to do. I had tests to take. Books to read. I had obligations. Then the semester ended. Bam! 20,000 dollars that cost me.

Sure I got to meet some cool peeps. I got to have the freshmen year experience. I got to eat at the dining hall which is nowhere near the quality of my mother’s food. I guess the education was worth it.  Maybe I should have made better use of my time. Maybe it’s my fault I look back and think I didn’t get my money’s worth.

20,000 dollars. I’ve never had 20,000 dollars before in my life. Luckily I had a scholarship of 3500 dollars. 16,500. I’ve never had that much money either.

Another year and half went down. I look at the amount I owe and I laugh. I was so stupid. I allowed myself to give into this idea of higher education. I wanted to be independent and at a very high cost. I was their sucker. I signed my name away. I got my aunt to be my cosigner. If I default she has to pay too. For higher education.

I was a sucker. I didn’t realize the price of what I was pursuing. I’m more than halfway through college and I still barely know what I want to be. I’m a journalism major. And I’ve got to stick with it if I hope to get a degree in something. There’s no switching. I don’t have any funds. I’ve got like 700 bucks in the bank to my name.

I realize that if I sold everything I own. All my clothes. All my games. My laptop. And my car, I wouldn’t even come close to paying off the first semester of my freshmen year. My parents are paying now. So much money. For a little piece of paper. A Bachelor’s degree. What a crucial mistake I made.

I feel like an idiot. I realized this far too late. If I leave now, I will have paid so much money to the college and not have got a degree. If I stay and get a degree, who knows if I can get a job?

It’s not going away until the day I die (I’m banking on a heart attack in my late 30’s). There’s no escaping this. The biggest mistake of my life. The tuition goes up each year so the college can redesign buildings and cut back on free printing. There’s a new shining sign in the Student Center. Is this where my money is going?

I wish I could go back and decide not to head down this path. It’s bad enough I’m going to be in debt for the foreseeable future but it’s an insult to injury to see them waste it on such useless shit. I have to pay for textbooks. Absurd amounts of cash. 300 dollars for a Spanish Textbook. 100 dollars for my Journalism textbook.

It’s even more insulting that they force you take classes completely useless to your major in order to graduate. A lab with a science is such a great help to any upcoming journalist. You can’t even take the classes you want.

I’m an idiot. A trapped idiot.

Maybe I’ll leave and start working. Maybe I’ll stay and get the degree.

If I can keep my motivation. Maybe I’ll just stay and take the classes I want and just say screw graduating.

I don’t know how many more finals I can take before I blow up. Maybe I’m just being a whiny child.

The goal of life is to be happy right? I don’t see mine ending up that way.

Wasted.

I’ve wasted so much of my life sitting in classrooms because I’m supposed to. I’m supposed to go to school. I’m supposed to attend classes. I’m supposed to care about my grades.

It’s gotten to the point where I can’t do it. I can’t care about the 1940’s depression and how it affected women’s employment. I can’t care about how Lola Lago gets through another mystery. I just can’t. I pay so much money to just sit there and sometimes be interested in what is said. I hate the fact I have to take classes that I don’t want to.

I hate the fact that so many parts of the education system are just worthless. I’ve always hated the idea of having a standard for learning to begin with. A’s? B’s? I’ve never gotten satisfaction out of getting one over the other. If I get a 50 or a 100, it barely matters at all.

What matters is how much I learned. School is filled with nonsensical attributes to grade you on.

Class participation. What a grand concept this is. You answered a question? You added to discussion? Here have a higher grade. You missed a class? You answered a question wrong? I’ll have to take that away from your participation points.

This idea that participating helps learning is just dumb. Just because someone doesn’t raise their hand one day doesn’t mean you should penalize them. It just means they have nothing to add or perhaps they can’t add anything because it was said. This is the worst in classes where professors/teachers call on students randomly.

So let’s say you know the answer to a question but oh darn it, Sally Gillian answers it before you. Then the Professor looks at you and asks you a question that you just so happen to not know the answer to. Oh you got it wrong? POINTS OFF! That’s it. The points are gone.

Let me deconstruct the grading system next.

A, A-, B, B+? Why even have so much of this hoopla? Why not just Above Average, Average, Fail? It’s not like you get graded at your job. It’s not like it matters to your boss whether you give an A- effort or a B+ effort.  Do you know how many people get by doing subpar work and never get fired?

I despise tests in general as well. No standardized test has ever helped me learn anything other than a 4 hour test isn’t a good way to quantify someone’s skill.

In class tests and quizzes are supposed to help you show the professor you learned something. Interesting idea, but why should I ever care about how much someone else thinks I learned? If I didn’t learn it, oh well.

I’m breaking down in this place. I can’t take anymore of this useless poop. I’m wasting my life. I’m wasting my life. Precious months gone.

Was college a mistake? Should I just leave? Where do I go from here? I can’t take it.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this will all be worth it.

Maybe someone in all this trash is the key to immortality….

Chronicle Number One Conclusion.

Continued from.
https://kotenks.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/chronicle-number-one-pt-2/

Alcohol is everywhere. From the ads during the Super Bowl to bus stop signs, you see it anywhere you go. The commercials can come on during any television program. When I was a kid, I wanted my dad to get me Mike’s Hard Lemonade just because I saw it on TV. I didn’t realize what exactly it was. But I wanted it.

At college, alcohol discussion was everywhere. Oh what do you drink? Where’s the party at? Can you believe they ran out of alcohol? These were the conversations I heard daily as I walked around the dormitory those first few weeks. Parties were seen as these big social events. You had to go to them or you were doing something different.

“Oh You’re staying in tonight? That’s cool man.” “Yeah, we’re just chilling tonight.”

Before I can tell you my state of mind when my floor-mates came back from the party, you have to understand my experiences with alcohol before college.

I remember when I was younger, that my parents would hold these Christmas parties. So many of my parents’ friends would come over. They’d dress in traditional Ghanian clothing. They’d say a prayer before eating. And then they’d go on to drinking.

I remember my dad, a man that I had looked up to, would behave so differently after drinking. My father is a stern man. He rarely laughs at home. He is all business. I hated it at times but it was who he was. He had my and my brother’s best interests at hands. My father never drank excessively. But when he drank I could tell he was a different. He would begin cracking jokes and being generally laid back.

My parents’ friends would always come around and tell me it was up to me to be responsible for tonight. Tonight I was going to be the adult. The first time, I didn’t understand why they said that. But as I watched the adults drink. I knew something wasn’t right. Like I said before my father was a stern man. This guy cracking jokes and tripping around was not my father. He was an imposter in my father’s clothes. He made a mockery of what I thought my father was to me.

It was no different at college. The friends that I had didn’t come back from their parties. Their bodies came back but it was if they were controlled by someone else. I watched as they stumbled around the dorms not wanting to be seen by campus police. As a good friend of mine walked towards me and I could tell that this was not right. When they awoke the next day with some unable to remember what they had done, I just shook my head.

I told you before that we’re taught to be tolerant of everyone. I doubt that you would tolerate a racist or a homophobes opinion though. I doubt you would tolerate a murderer speaking about how it was actually the victim’s fault. I doubt you can tolerate a man who beats his wife. Maybe you can. In someone’s view of life, you would either be a fool or a saint.

I learned at college that I cannot be tolerant of alcohol. Just the mention of it puts me in a bad mood. I try my best to not hate people because of it. I hate alcohol, but not my friends who drink it.

The thing I hate most about alcohol is that I feel like nobody ever speaks against it. Smokers are told day in and day out that they need to quit. They will get a hole in their neck. They will get cancer. They will die. Drinkers are told “Drink Responsibly” which is the dumbest phrase I’ve ever heard. As far as I’m concerned, a responsible person never drinks alcohol excessively.

Some people ask me why I don’t just drink in moderation. Because then I’d be a part of the problem. There’s nothing alcohol can give me.

Another thing I learned in college is that people have real confidence issues. I’m not going to say specific names, but it really seems like they won’t approach people unless they’ve had something to drink. I knew this one girl who would only talk to me if she had drank. I just don’t get it.

I realized I couldn’t identify with my floor-mates as much as I would have liked too. I didn’t like parties. I didn’t like drugs. I didn’t like alcohol. And I wasn’t interested in women who were drunk.

I’d try my best to just fit in but every time they’d talk about going to parties, I shook my head. One guy never shut up.

Then I saw this one guy wearing a shirt. “Have Heart. Straight Edge.”

I remember thinking to myself. “Straight Edge. That’s what I am!” But I was suspicious. It seemed too good to be true.

I felt like I was alone as I waded through the mud and slock that was college interaction at times. I had seen him go out to parties. I was certain it was some kind of ironic joke.

Then I talked to the guy. As I realized what he was, it opened my eyes to what straight edge could be. He introduced me to the hardcore and punk music. I had only listened to Minor Threat  which I loved. Have Heart is close to being the best sound that has ever reached my ear.

After the first few weeks, he stopped going to parties. I was actually quite somewhat impressed of how alcohol didn’t bother him at all. I thought that maybe I should strive to be the same. Maybe I could be happier at college.

But I slowly realized what was good for him just wasn’t good for me. I was confused though. I wasn’t posi edge like he was. But I wasn’t exactly hardline. I didn’t want to beat people and carve Xs into their backs. I had hate but it wasn’t that strong.

One day when I was really bothering him, he called me Hate Edge. I remember looking it up and smiling. I finally realized just what I was.

There’s more stories about my freshman year of college, but I’ll end this chronicle on this note.

When it comes to alcohol, I don’t want to be around it.

Do I wish my friends didn’t drink? You’re damn right. I wish everybody was straight edge.  With complete honesty, that is my perfect world.  I want it so badly sometimes. But standing in my way is years and years of tradition and marketing. But I will not quit. If I convince one person not to drink for even one night, I’m one step closer.

As much as I see this world as being unjust, violent, generally an awful place, it doesn’t depress me. It gives me motivation. I want to see a better world. And I’ll have it someday.

Chronicle Number One Pt 2.

Continued from.
https://kotenks.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/chronicle-number-one/

Tolerance is one of my favorite words. We should be tolerant of everyone. We should be willing to accept differences that the people around us have. It was one of the major things I thought  I could learn at college.

Independence isn’t one of my favorite words but it was another thing I had to learn. Just like like responsibility, maturity, and initiative.

Those last three words are some of my father’s most used words. He made sure to include them as I packed away my laptop for college.  He mentioned them again on the car ride there. He told me not to waste my potential.

My mother was sad that I had to go. She told me to call every week as we got into my Dad’s van. My brother never has much to say. He told me that he was used to being alone so I shouldn’t worry about him. I never understood what he meant by that until this year.

When we arrived at the College of New Jersey, the feelings of apprehension and excitement were twisting their way through my body. I had never visited the college dorms. I didn’t even walk around the campus before orientation. I had picked the college without knowing much about it other than the name.  The opportunity to tell people that I’m going to THE College of New Jersey was a major factor in my college decision. My father gave his approval saying it was a good school.

As our car drove on its way to my dorm, I realized how alluring the college campus was. I had read some e-mails about how there was construction going on. I didn’t care how the campus looked when I picked it, however once I had seen the campus with my own eyes, apprehension sailed away. The trees and the lakes put my body at ease.

It didn’t last long.

Once we parked the car and started unloading my stuff, I noticed several students walking around. I then remembered the faces of change. I was going to have to face them very soon.

After going through the process of obtaining my key and being introduced to the community advisers, I was sent on my way. I looked down a hall to faces I would never forget.

I never forget a face. I rarely forget names. Once I’ve seen a person once, they’re carved into my brain. Each person I meet is caught in my web forever, regardless of how I feel about them later on. Unlike a spider, my webs are indestructible. No matter how much someone tries to cut themselves out, I’ll never forget them or the memories that come with them. To me each of my friendships are eternal. Each time I see a person I know, my memories of them are fresh. It’s like they were never gone.  It’s part of the reason sometimes I forget to say hi to people. I feel as though I’ve just seen them.

The faces I saw that day were varied. Some were average. Others were shaped weirdly. Some were better looking than others.  Some I may never want to see again. Others I wish I had spent more time with because I’ll never see them again.

Two of these faces would become some of the best friends I would ever have.

I walked down the hallway giving out hellos and what’s ups like they were on sale. I entered my room and noticed my roommate had been there already. I had never seen a picture of my roommate. I just knew that his name was [NAME OF ROOMMATE REDACTED].

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a normal teenager. I don’t consider myself a weirdo. I just know that my opinion differs from a lot of people. There’s only so many personalities that I’m compatible with. My friends are made up by most of them, but they don’t live with me. The only people I had lived with my entire life were my parents. I had been to sleep overs, but never had I been over more than a few days.

Lucky for me, [NAME OF ROOMMATE REDACTED] turned out to one of the coolest guys I had ever met  We got a long fine in the coming weeks. Though the first time we spoke I was very paranoid. I thought he was trying to steal my money. He offered to go buy me an Ethernet cable when I told him I had forgotten. I decided to go with him instead of handing over my money.

When we got back from there, I met the rest of the guys in my suite, an asian, a guytalian , an [NAME OF MYSTERIOUS SUITEMATE REDACTED], and something else.

Things were looking up. They were all pretty cool guys barring one. I thought about how I could get used to living with these guys.

Then the first weekend came. And with weekends came, alcohol. I thought about how I’d learn tolerance. I contemplated going to a college party with the rest of them.

I didn’t go. But I anticipated their return. I was in college to learn tolerance after all.

The only thing I learned however is that sometimes tolerance just isn’t possible.

Conclusion.
https://kotenks.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/chronice-number-one-conclusion/

Chronicle Number One.

As I look forward to the future of my college career, I feel the need to also look back. I need to see how I ended up where I am today. I’m heading into my third year of college.  I’m majoring in journalism. I’ve just worked at a job that required manual labor, my first job.

Two years ago, I was a different man. I was just coming out of high school. I thought the good times were coming to an end. I’d spend my summer nights at my friend’s house. An elite crew of niggas that would do almost anything to fly away from boredom. The nights would disappear as we spent time trying to find games to play. Video games were one of our favorite ways of escaping. Sometimes the games would take hours to find and get to work on everyone’s computer.  Time meant nothing to us. We could just come back for the next night. We could just head down to Shoprite and buy ice cream. We could head to the movies. We could do anything.

But of course time reared its ugly deformed unwanted face when August came. Once it became August, I knew that I’d be gone. The person I was would have to go. Once August came, the endless days and nights melted away. Each day became precious time. I knew there was nothing I could do. There was nothing any of us could do. Time, which had once been a complete non-factor, was now the greatest enemy of all. It ended our status quo and threw us into our destined roles.

I knew that I’d never get to be as carefree as I was that summer. I knew that I’d have to adapt to things. I would have to make new friends at college.  I never checked my college e-mail until August. I opened it and saw an e-mail from a boy called [NAME OF BOY REDACTED]. He introduced himself and said he was glad to be a part of our suite.

I looked him up on Facebook. College now seemed so much more real. It now had a face. I looked up the other boys he had forwarded the e-mail too. They were now the face of change. I was very apprehensive of college. I didn’t even know who my roommate was going to be.

All I knew about college was the parties. The immense amount of drinking. Drugs were going to be everywhere. Drunk people would be commonplace. And I’d have to accept them.

I’d spent the majority of my life away from that scene. I never wanted to see drunk people. Let alone have my friends drink in front of me. You see before college started, I had never had friends who drank alcohol around me. If my friends did drink, I never knew of it.

I harbor a deep hatred for the drinking of alcohol. It’s one of those particular things that shape who I am. Not many people empathize with it.

Something I had tried to avoid for all of my life was now going to everywhere at college. College was not looking too good to me.

It was something I had to face. I had made the decision to go to the College of New Jersey. Backing out was not an option. I wouldn’t have taken it any other way. As move in day approached, I tried to look for the positives. I knew that my avoidance of alcohol wasn’t a normal thing for a teenager to have.

I thought that maybe once I went to college I could maybe learn to tolerate it. I knew that in adult life, it would be everywhere. I would have to learn to accept it. College would be the first step.

College was the last gate between me and the “real” world. I threw away some of my childish fear as I packed away my things. I accepted friend requests from people who were going to live on my floor.

I prepared myself mentally for the next chapter of my life.  Nothing could break who I was.

Unfortunately my new-found confidence in college, would be shattered shortly after I arrived there.

Part two.
https://kotenks.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/chronicle-number-one-pt-2/

Powerless in the face of drugs…

I don’t do drugs. I never have. I’ve never had a sip of alcohol and I never will.

I hate the thought of these substances but I have to deal with them because the people in my life use them.

I have the debate with myself about whether my hatred of drugs will grow with age. I know I’m slowly becoming more cynical so my hate of that stuff is rising.

This is bad. My friends are all going to be normal casual drinkers and I despise alcohol completely. The smell of it on their breaths disgusts me. I hate the way they act when they get on the stuff, but that’s for another time.

Now I’m going to talk about an incident that’s been bothering me.

I have one friend who smokes pot rarely. He doesn’t seem to get the stuff himself. He has to be asked by other people to go smoke with them. Maybe he does it at parties, but that’s not the point.

So one guy comes to the room and says they are going to go smoke some cannabis because it’s 4/20.

(As if people needed a fucking holiday to do drugs. BTW this isn’t PG-rated)

So my friend asks everyone in the room, if he should go smoke and he gets a yes.

Fuck that shit. These are people who I consider my friends and yet they encourage drug use.

It’s times like that, that make me feel like I haven’t surrounded myself with the best people I could have. It’s happened twice.

I know if I say anything, it goes in one ear and out the other because I don’t do drugs so my opinion on that topic doesn’t matter.

Should I be tolerant of his choice to do drugs? Hell No.

Drug use should not be tolerated.