I know a little about a lot of things, issues and philosophies.
I'm not the most intelligent guy on the planet; I know this. There
are things that I might protest to know, but in fact know very little
about - things which I care to argue points on just for the conversational
banter and the acquired knowledge from it. I try to learn what I
can, when I can, and as much of it as I can. I love learning. I
know that mistakes are only pathways to understanding things better
and just another way to learn. But I am not perfect. Certainly not.
I will inherently always be trying to be perfect, though I know
that I never will...
The person you know as Nick is someone who strives to be a better
person on a daily basis, but who is not devoid of problems and shortcomings.
He is a man who recognizes that he is still a child inside. He is
a male who knows and explores his feminine side. He is barely old,
and not quite young, and has had enough experiences in life to know
that nothing is absolute. As such, when the proverbial shit hits
the fan, and all the world tumbles down around him - destroying
and annihilating everything he has come to know and believe in -
there are a few things that he turns to for solace and relief. These
are the things that bring Nick comfort in the face of ever-surmounting
odds. Things and people that Nick turns to in times of need and
confusion - the aspects of life that Nick needs to center himself
and stay afloat. This is the base from which Nick expands outwards,
but always manages to find root in. This is Nick's Terra Firma.
everything to me. It seems almost redundant and pointless to mention
because, well... why wouldn't they? They are my family! But I have
seen first hand why that isn't always the case. In fact, over the
years I have come to realize that the relationship that I share
with my family is a rare thing indeed. Maybe its that we are a small
family, with very few close extended family members, and hardly
any that bear consequence. Maybe its that my parents worked hard
at staying and keeping us happy; pouring their hearts and souls
into everything they did for themselves and for us. Maybe its just
luck. Who knows? But what I do know is that when all else is lost
to me... when my friends and lovers have all disappeared or turned
their backs on me, my family is always there. When I have been reeling
in my worst pain, suffering through my worst hour, or unable to
cope with my worst fears - my family has been there, helping me
to overcome it all. They help me through my financial difficulties.
They help me through my emotional strife. They help me in nearly
every aspect of my inadvertently rhyming life. They are the reason
I have sought out education and knowledge, because they instilled
that belief in me. They are the reason I seek out new opportunity
and strive to be a better person. And they are likely the reason
I have survived all these 33 years of life. I can't imagine a world
without them. It would be a world wherein I would be almost completely
lost, broke, scared, and almost certainly - alone. I love them with
ever ounce of being I have and have always wished I could honor
them more. Someday I will. yes. Someday, I will...
may not realize it, but she is a HUGE part of my sanity. In fact,
I am pretty sure she has virtually no clue of the impact she has
had on me. I have mentioned a few aspects of this to her in the
past, but I am not convinced yet that the magnitude of the effect
she has had has quite sunk in yet. She has changed me. She has changed
me for the better and forever. For that, and for her and who she
is - I love her more than I have ever loved anyone or anything.
She found me in my weakest moments and managed to raise me from
the ashes like a phoenix, like Lazarus from the pit. She has been
the result of 2 major changes in my life - world-shattering changes
that have redefined who I was as a person. These have become the
moments in my life that I look back on and re-align myself to anytime
I need guidance.
The first was that I had finally found someone who I could love,
unconditionally. Despite what I have told myself in the past, everyone
else I have ever claimed to love (though, it has always been much
more than just a claim), I have done so under specific suppositions
and conditions. I admit it - there have been things that I have
wanted from my relationships in the past. They have been selfish
wants and desires. Things I am not entirely proud of, but things
that have most often defined who I wanted to ultimately be with.
Everyone has them, but until Pearl, I didn't realize a world could
exist without them. I think that that's why I tell people that she
is the girl I want to marry. It's true. I felt it from about a week
after I started talking to her. For the very first time EVER - everything
I hoped and wanted in a friend, a girlfriend and a wife - nuanced
details that I had been assimilating over the years into what would
make the ultimate girl for me - all of a sudden TOTALLY didn't matter
anymore. In the grand scheme of things, Pearl is not the 'Perfect'
girl for me. She is (completely and ridiculously ironically) allergic
to shellfish - which is one of my most favorite kinds of food. She
is the world's most adept practitioner of ADD - something that has
been the source of many of my other relationships' shortcomings.
But here's the thing - I DONT CARE! I really don't. It's kind of
weird to say it and think it, but it's the truth. I love her no
matter how I get her - because its the person that is Pearl that
rules my world. Her ADD makes me laugh, where in anyone else, it
would drive me crazy. Its very strange - but I will tell you this...
I have never known a feeling like this before - complete and total
concern for her well-being, a supreme attention to her happiness,
and absolutely no care what-so-ever towards what I want from the
relationship. It's something I have only read about, yet have feigned
to understand for all my years of life -
love. I love her, and from the moment I met her,
I have wanted and attempted to be a better person for her, and her
regret. Without inhibition. And without fear.
Number two was a profound moment. I have never divulged this information
to her. And in all actuality, I have only ever told one other person
about it at all... So, I'd imagine that - well - Pearl, if you are
reading this, please understand that this was a profoundly awe-inspiring
moment for me that changed me forever, and that I am eternally grateful
to you for it. I'm sorry I haven't made mention of it before, but
it never felt right and always felt like a guilt-trip if the ultimate
meaning was lost.
The very first time I met Pearl (aside from probable encounters
during my sister's high school parties) was when she came back for
a visit and to attend a seminar at Bentley College for a program
she was considering. Up until that point, Pearl and I had never
officially made our acquaintence, give for our countless, all-night
phone conversations and emails. I picked her up from the airport
and from the very first second that I saw her, I was mystified.
She blew me away. She had me to the point that I nearly ran a red
light. Twice. Yep... I almost ran it as it was turning, and then
again well after I had stopped for it the first time... just started
going :) I was lost in her world. She probably just thought I was
a terrible driver. I laugh about it now, but I remember the feeling
I had at that moment - drunk with love and the most incredible excitement
I have even known.
Anyways - I won't go into too much detail here... but we had a
great couple of days together. Nothing particularly juicy, just
two people spending time together - happy and comfortable which
each other. The way it should be. The moment in question, however,
happened after we said our final goodbyes. She had plans with another
friend and I had already taken up most of her time there anyways.
We hugged good-bye and I watched as she walked away, nearly in disbelief
that It had to come to an end eventually. I sat back down into the
driver's seat of my car and burst into tears. I was supposed to
drive home - an hour-long drive back to the depression of living
a mere few hundred feet from my ex and her boyfriend. But I was
honestly crying too hard to drive. So I pulled around the block
and parked. I sat in my car and cried for hours. Knowing that I
wasn't going to stop anytime soon, and believing that my best option
was to drown them out - I went out on foot - crying the whole way
- and found a restaurant/bar. I walked in and got a seat. I sat
down and started to bawl. I cried up until the point where I had
to order. I got two very stiff gin and tonics and some meal I don't
even remotely remember. I must have looked like a fool - sitting
there in that place, all by myself, bawling my eyes out for the
entire time. I eventually finished and, still crying, left. At that
point I had been consistently crying for over 3 hours. I walked
back to my car, but felt that I still needed to do something. That
'something' ended up being that I needed to go buy one of the most
magnificent roses I have ever seen, write out a note that said that
I had really (if she only knew how "really" I meant) good
time with her, and went and left it at Pearl's hotel room door.
I cried the entire time. I went back to my car - mission accomplished
- and sat and cried for another half-hour. Then realized that I
should really be on my way. I left and cried the entire way back.
And then for the next two days.
And then not again.
I cried for almost 3 days straight. I kid you not. Non-stop. I
am not entirely sure how I managed to generate that much moisture.
But when I stopped finally, I wondered about why I had been crying
for so long. I have had some wicked crushes on girls before, but
none had managed this level of intensity before. In fact, nothing
had. So I sat and thought long and hard about why this situation
had had this impact on me. And what I realized has become the basis
for all I know and do now.
What I realized was that - most predominantly - I had allowed myself
to enter into a world where is was just Pearl and me. It was my
absolute most wonderful fantasy. But furthermore, it was that I
was not worthy of her love. I know that she doesn't feel the same
way about me - but what I did know was that the only way to get
to that point - my only chance at that one great prize - was for
me to change. It was at this realization that I came up with my
'list'. It is my "order of operations" for my life that
will/would hopefully and eventually lead me to Pearl. It started
with my need to move and get myself out of the worst little city
on the planet - Fitchburg - and onto, well... something else. That
something else was specifically, yet entirely coincidentally by
way of G. - targeted towards being close to Bentley College. You
can draw the obvious conclusions. The next was to find a better
job - something I have been searching for ever since. And lastly
would be to find and buy a house that would be in accordance to
what Pearl wanted most. I lived almost entirely vicariously through
Pearl. I moved to Belmont - a mere few miles from Bentley... a secret
that I have never shared with anyone. I feel closer to her here,
though she decided that program wasn't worth it for her. It's a
strange feeling, really. I have thrown many a possibly-great relationships
aside in my fading hopes that I will have one with her. And I have
never regretted it for even a second. I HATE being alone and single
and not able to snuggle down with the girl I love every night. Hate
it more than I can explain. But Somehow, it's okay right now. Of
course, the problem is the reality of it all... as I mentioned before,
I really don't think Pearl feels the same way about me, and I know
that there is very little chance I would be able to convince her
otherwise, so my problem lies in whether I live a life alone because
the girl I want most doesn't want me back? Or do I try and find
someone who is on par with her - if that's possible? Or do I throw
caution and happiness to the wind and do what a few of my married
friends have suggested (which kind of worries me about them, honestly)
and stop shooting for the stars and 'settle' for someone slightly
less? I think that last one is out as that even typing it made me
Anyways, the point is that for as long as I have known Pearl, there
has been a solid floor for which I could stand on. And it has been
high enough that it has allowed me to see out over the walls of
the emotional pit I was falling into, so I could gaze upon the land
of pure bliss beyond. Analogies aside - she is all I need to think
of any time I am upset, sad, worried about life, etc. I wish she
would let me be the same to her, though I do believe that in some
way I have been. At least I know that no matter what happens, there
will always be Pearl, and from that, some kind of happiness that
wasn't there before.
There really is nothing else in my world that equals the meditative
powers of snowboarding for me. I love it on such a profound level
that no matter how absolutely terrible the rest of my life is, I
will instantly find a smile as soon as my feet hit the slopes. It
is a mantra. It is a power and a grace. It is control and freedom.
It is flight, both on and off the ground. It's a way to cheat death.
Its a way to live life. It is, far and away, the most relaxing,
envigorating, incredible thing that I can think of. My winters are
spent trying to carve out enough time and dig up enough money to
go riding as often as possible. With lift ticket prices going through
the roof these days, I will also hike. Last year, as a cross-training
for Tuckerman's Ravine, but also a way to get myself back in shape
and be able to go snowboarding without having to pay for it, I started
hiking mountains - like ski-resort mountains - all with teh sole
intention to snowboard down one run. I mean, the hike was all important
for my training and mental health, but also that I was doing something
that no one else will... work for my prize.
That's one of the things that has kind of angered me about snowboarding
over the years and what has happened to the sport. I don't really
care about what other people do.. but I believe that if people are
as serious about something as they say they are, it would betrothe
them to take it to its extremes, but als to understand and at least
attempt to live out the origins of the sport in question. Back when
I was learning... a good 20 years ago this season... that's pretty
much all we had. Hiking. We would hike mountains, or just sledding
hills, build our own jumps and hike the jump all day and all night
long. For weeks. Hell, at that point, not a lot of places had yet
accepted snowboarding and didn't allow them on their mountains.
But we did it anyways. I am thankful to the forefathers of snowboarding,
like Shaun Palmer, Shawn Farmer, Damien Sanders, Jake Burton and
all of those guys for pushing and pushing the sport until peopel
took notice, but I am very proud of the fact that I was there at
the beginning of it all and was doing it when most people still
had no idea what a snowboard was.
As a result of my snowboarding upbringing, I have done a lot that
most people wouldn't dare, I have jumped cliffs, houses, roads,
and have been down some serious, steep terrain. I have almost died
doing it and have experienced life on the extreme edge - man pushing
his limits and only barely surviving it. And i think that that's
why I love it so much. I am good at it. But I am also serious about
it. I respect it and don't do it for anyone but me. It is my quiet,
introspective time. Time that I can think about life, the universe
and everything - both the book and the existential philosophy. Time
that I can relive all scenarios in my mind. Time that I use to think
about Pearl and wish she was beside me. I sing when I ride. I practice
martial arts when I ride. I commune with nature and I become one
with my board, the snow, the trees, the mountain and the Earth.
It's a rare and remarkable moment when I feel as connected to life
as I do when I am on my snowboard, which is why - I think - it is
one of those things I go to whenever I need to boil it all down
and start anew.