If you knew that you were about to experience something that would change your life, would you act any differently?

I’ve had this thought weighing in my mind all day and it’s one of those things that never leaves you until you deal with it. So here I am, at 9 p.m. with a fresh cup of coffee and the will to write.

It’s funny…even as I sit here thinking about what to write, I can hear my professor’s voice in my head. “Don’t try to impress people with how you think they’d want to hear it,” he said. “Quit sounding like you swallowed a dictionary and write how you speak. The rest will come to you. You have a voice, I promise.”

So here goes everything I have, sir.

There’s this need to want to start this out by saying that one of the things that I can’t stand at all is the unnecessary need for cliches. It’s as though we use them so that people can easier understand what we’re trying to say. That being said, I don’t think we need them.

Cliches are bullshit. Plain as vanilla.

No, I won’t go as far as to say that, “Oh, you learn something new every day, eh?” Hell, if you’ve chosen to read my work, I refuse to do that to you. It’s not right for either one of us, really.

However, I need to make something clear. Although this is going to sound selfish, I must say this so that we’re all on the same path.

I never write for anyone other than myself. I’ve had it in the past which someone asks me to write them a story of some sort and, in the end, it’s garbage. There is a difference being inspired and telling someone telling you what to do.

That’s what separates monkeys from magicians.

Back to the main point. If you knew that something was going to happen, would you change anything? Would you brace yourself for what was to come? Perhaps anxiety would kick in, making you feel as though dread were driving your thoughts all along?

Or would you let it be?

That’s something that always makes me smirk. “Well damn, if i would’ve known about that, I could’ve done something different.” Sound familiar? Don’t feel too much self-pity; we all  have said this every now and again. But why?

Why do we just assume that things would be better if we knew what the hell was coming down the pipe at all times? So we can counteract it with something we might think would be better off?

You see, for every tragedy we avoid, we possibly avoid a miracle.

That’s my motto.

There’s something about these life moments that define us all if we just take a second and let it soak in. The problem with age is that our minds get too full of wasteful nonsense that doesn’t matter.

Maybe the idea behind life is to take all that comes your way and decipher what is shit and what is sacred.

You might be wondering one of two things at this point: What’s up with the title of this piece? When are we going to get the message you’re trying to say?

If you’d be patient, I’ll promise you the moon and the man inside. The issue with people, most of the time, is that they’re too impatient to get what they came for. Not my own idea, just something I picked up along the way.

I’m 23 years old at the time of this post and I have much to learn. That sentence was probably the most burdening thing I’ve written all day; however, so, so true.

But why I’ve had this thought of change came about while I going through some old writing pieces of mine. I must admit, I sound like such a pretentious ass. Regardless, it brought me back to moments that I hadn’t thought of in years. Which, oddly enough, brought about an idea that I don’t think we understand until it’s too late.

The idea that everything I am, everything I’ve chosen to be, is because of these people. I cannot and will not list all the names who have had minor impacts. Frankly, I don’t have the time nor the patience for it all.

As you read this, I hope, my fellow reader, that maybe you will think of the people in your life. Have they helped you understand life more? Have they shown you something that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise? For your sake, I hope so.

Allow me, if you would.

Mom, Dad and my brother Austin: There isn’t enough data storage on this WordPress blog for me to fully show my appreciation for you all. It’s not often that a man can find himself in a home that, no matter what has happened, he feels welcome. From my time of being the definition of an introvert to the person who can’t keep his mouth shut, you’ve always been there. To teach me to be educated in anything I believe in, to show me that love in all people exist, to prove to me that you must stand for what you believe…all this and more than what time may tell, I thank you. There isn’t a day on Earth that I won’t think of you 3 and thank God that I have you all.

It would be easy to just amount all the efforts to luck or just experience but we all grew up together. Right or wrong, we dealt with what the world had as one. You showed me what courage was in the face of adversity. You pushed me to become the man that sits at this keyboard and types what lies behind his heart.

Without you all, I am nothing.

Haleigh: I know what you’re probably thinking by now. “I can’t believe he tagged me in this,” right? Well, get seated sunshine. This one’s for you. You’re my everything, through and through. From the moment we met to the minutes we are apart, you’ve taught me that there is no type of hope like the hope of someone you love to live for. Love is one of those sadistic, sweet things that one can only hope to experience in life. It will make you want to write something that Shakespeare would be impressed by while, in the very next moment, make you wonder if you’re no more than two steps to the psych ward. You’ve shown me what it’s like to love someone more than I ever could have loved myself. Truly babe, you’re what poets and playwrights prayed for.

All the times I spend day-dreaming, I think of you. You know as well as I that I dream far more than what a regular man should. There just hasn’t been a person who I am more open, more humble, and simply better because I’m around them. I try to avoid cliches while I’m with you but even as I type this, I can’t help but fall. I guess that’s due to the fact that love-lit writers like myself have gotten to it first. What they cannot take away is the way you make me live for just another day with you. For that, I love you always.

My family: This one is much like jamming your hand into a bag of trail mix. Most of it is tasty until you hit a cashew or two. You know what I mean, I hope. My family, all together, are the ones that make you believe in love and hate. They allow you to see the difference between acceptance and tolerance. I love them all for showing me that it’s natural to coexist with points that either make you think or make you think about throwing them out of a window. Either way, at least you learned. Or, at least, I hope you did.

Karen Workun: The summer of 2010 was one of the roughest periods my life has ever encountered. My Dad was thrown off a golf cart into a dry, concrete ravine 10 feet deep. He was in a come for a week and a half. The doctors had no hesitation in telling us that it would be unlikely that he would make it. Even if he did, there would be no telling that his brain functionality would be the same. Fast forward 7 years today and I wished him a happy 46th birthday over the phone. Going back to that time, I remember my Mom wrote on a letter to my teachers that I had experienced this so that I might be a bit spacious in class. What I didn’t have the courage to tell her was that my spacious nature had nothing to do with that summer. Either way, my junior year was the first time that a teacher changed my life.

First period AP English with Mrs. Workun.

Karen, I’ve expressed probably more than I should how much you’ve impacted my life but there is part of me that will never stop thanking you. Before that time, there was no sense of direction. Hell, the best thing I could have hoped for was to be a failed writer. Before that class, I tried not to show my writing with anyone other than those that I trusted would keep it a secret. You showed me that it was acceptable to be humble and that you should be proud to be intelligent. Regular documentary showings after school coupled by allowing people to form their own opinions of the world…it was inspiring. More to the point, you were the first teacher to tell me that my writing was worth something. You told me to keep writing and to never stop. In a way, I’ve held to that.

Mandee Chapman-Roach: Where would I be without the teachings of this wonderful woman? Probably off wondering a library somewhere hoping I had a sense of direction. Right after Mrs. Workun, I had the fortune to bounce to another great English teacher. In this AP class, I won’t lie, there were times that I wanted to rip my hair out and how it to the gods who clearly cursed me. Not for the sake of Mrs. Chapro, however. Mandee, you were one of the only teachers to challenge my ideas and show me that not all my ideas are golden. You trained all of us in my class that, to live in this world, we must think for ourselves. It’s only by the ways of groupthink that we find ourselves in trouble.

Moreover, you were always the one who wanted people who never spoke to be themselves. You taught us that the world should never be painted with such a broad brushstroke of black and white. It’s only in the grey of it all that we may find some answer. You treated our class on  college level and it made all the difference in the world. There was something about treating us like the adults that were to become that made us feel safe around you. In other words, you were more than a teacher. You were our shield against a world well-weathered. You showed us that it’s okay to go against the status-quo and to be yourself. Thank you from all of us, truly.

Professor Scott Carter: My last spot on this page belongs to my latest inspiration. I’ll never forget walking to the back room of OCCC and sitting in this new classroom full of Mac desktops. The class was called “Intro to Journalism” or something like that. I had been contemplating switching majors for my third time but, as it happens, I didn’t know where to turn to. I knew that one of the only talents I had was that I could write better than some and read more than most my age. It was in the back of the class that I saw a man walk to the front of the class in a button-down and slacks. He walked across the room like a king among subjects. The man owned the room and, by god, he knew it. It wasn’t even that he demanded it. He earned it with every word spoken. From the moment I walked in to the minute I left, I was inspired. It was after one of my projects for the class that I saw a red marked paper that said, “Come see me.” I gulped. That was never good.

Except for this one.

We talked for only a minute but he told me something so simple yet it was only by those that I care for that tell me. “I believe in you.” Those words carried me further than any could have hoped for. Since then, I’ve gladly worked for the Pioneer under his supervision. Scott, I can’t thank you enough for continuing to teach me things about myself that I never thought possible. For the first time in my life, you gave me a purpose to pursue an actual career that I wanted more than anything. You’ve taught me that, though I’m learning now, I suck at obscure history. Ladies and gents, that quote about swallowing a dictionary? Yep, you guessed where that came from. Moreover, you’re the first person to give my work some constructive criticism and allow me to improve upon it. You continue to inspire me and I hope that one day you can see my work and know that you had a hand and a half in doing what was made. For this and whatever is to come, thank you sir.

I guess that’s the issue with people: they expect a lesson to come with an announcement. Like there’s some PA system in the sky telling you to shut your mouth and to listen. Until God makes a better sound system, my suggestion would be to listen to everyone and speak less.

Everyone has a lesson to teach someone. It’s up to you whether or not you listen.

Until next time,

Brandon King

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