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Your Mindset is Everything

People always tell me: I am way too old for my age. I am only sixteen years old.

My mentality, level of maturity, and ability to comprehend and understand adult situations has always been far more developed than most of my peers. And yet, I believe at times I have forgotten what I am capable of. I have forgotten the world that I live in. At times I have dealt with childish and foolish problems that plague every other teenager on this earth. Other times I act, think, and talk like an older man who has it all figured out.

For this past year and a half or so, I believe I have forgotten a few things. “Girls” and that whole situation about love has plagued my mind and my heart. My outlook on my future and self-esteem has fluctuated drastically. My life has had its ups and downs. And yet, the quote I have posted on my wall still holds its meaning true:

“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.”

Your life, your mentality, and your emotions hold true to whatever mindset you have. If you believe yourself to be just like everyone else, you will be plagued and drawn into the issues that everyone else has. But if you believe yourself to be different, and you embrace that difference, you will be a different person than everyone else.

I realize now that, at the end of the day, I am different than other people. I believe myself to be a wise, honorable, and well-to-do and successful man. The second I stop believing that is the second I am looking for trouble. The second I lose faith in that belief, I lose faith in myself and my life. You can’t swing to one side and swing to the other. You cannot want to act like a man, behave and talk like a man, and expect to be treated like a boy. You cannot succumb to the issues that a boy has and ask, “Why can I not figure this out? I am a man, aren’t I?”

That’s what has been happening to me. I have had doubts about my abilities and my life. I have had doubts about what I want, what I am capable of. And I’ve had these doubts because I have allowed the rest of my society to influence me. I have been brought down to their level. I have let them bring me down to their level.

Well no more of that. Time to be different. Time to realize who I am, and how I act, and how I behave, and how I talk and think. Gotta step up to the plate and deal with issues and life and the world as what you believe yourself to be. I want to be a good, hard-working man. Gotta start thinking like one.

– Adrian

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Only Men

“Danny, I’m pregnant.” Samantha whispered; her eyes were pointing toward the ground.

A frosty and shocked silence overwhelmed the room. You could hear the drop of a pin, or the squeak of a mouse without difficulty. Like the world faded away for just a moment. I looked over at my brother Danny; a glazed thousand-yard stare in his eyes. I looked not into his eyes, but into his soul; into his manhood.

He got up from the couch, stared at Samantha for a moment, slowly turned around, and sludged out the front door of the house. Samantha and I sat in the living room, neither of us saying a word.

“He’ll be back. Give him some time.” I declared to her.

She didn’t reply. I looked at her, a disturbed look was upon her face. I saw a hint of shame and regret in her eyes, but I saw more of an emotion that took me aback: courage.

“Will you keep the baby?” I inquired.

She spoke in a whisper, “My mom always told me that a girl believes it takes courage to give up a baby’s life; she also told me that only the strong woman believes it takes courage to keep it, love it, raise it, cherish it.”

I didn’t know what to say; such words struck me to the core of my soul. My younger brother Danny has just walked out of our house at the news that he is to be a father. What words would I give him to make him realize that he would need to be responsible for his actions? I precipitated the notion that I may not need say anything at all: Samantha’s courage would be more than enough to inspire him.

Samantha stood up from the couch, sighed a heavy sigh, and stated she would return tomorrow to hear from Danny. I place my hand upon her face and wiped a lonely tear from her cheek. I hugged her reassuringly, and said that Everything is going to be alright. For once in my life, I think she believed me.

I sat in the living room until after dusk. Then it came around to be midnight. The darkness blanketed the world, and I was accompanied only by the lonely glow of the sapphire-colored nightlight in the bathroom hallway. I pondered and fixated preparations for how I would help Samantha and Danny deal with a child; the situation in my mind was, at most, tenuous. To the best of my ability as a man and older brother, I could not conquer the situation that, in nine months, would become a reality. I needed to talk to Danny.

He came through the front door to find me sitting in the shrouded darkness. Seemed as though he was expecting me.

“Hey, Alex.” He muttered to me. He came in, took off his shoes, and sat down opposite of me. He stared at the ground, and I stared at him; I examined the 16 year-old boy that was my younger sibling; the boy that I had raised alone since our parents died four years ago; the boy that somehow I had to teach to be a man and step up to the plate of fatherhood.

“Danny. We need to talk about this.” I said to him.

“I know. Alex: what do I do?”

“I thought father and I raised you never to ask that question.”

“Father isn’t here anymore, Alex. I’m asking you: what do I do?”

“Do you see the plaque that’s above our front door, Danny? You and I read that plaque every day of our lives before we leave the sanctity of our home. Every morning. What does that plaque say, Danny?”

“Alex, don’t give me this philosophical bul….”

“What does it say?” I screamed at him. His eyes shot up to look at my face; he possessed a look of terror. I tempered myself, and his eyes drifted back to the floor.

“It says: No Gods or Kings, only Men.

“Are you a man, Danny?” I interrogated.

“No.” He confessed.

“Then why is it you perform adult activities? Sex is not for the weak, Danny. Or for the young and innocent and foolish. Sex is for men. Are you a man, Danny?”

He didn’t reply; a look of shame overwhelmed his eyes.

“You are now, Danny. You are a man. You are going to stop looking so goddamn sorry for yourself, grow the fuck up, and take care of that woman and that baby. That is what father and mother would have you do, and that is what I would have you do. This isn’t some game or joke anymore. Samantha is going to keep the baby, and she is going to have the courage to raise it and love it as best as she can. That’s sacrifice. That is a woman. She is going to accept her mistake, forgive herself, and deal with it. I can’t tell if she’ll forgive you, but that’s out of the question. And you need to do the same, Danny. You need to get a job, be disciplined and temperate, and be prepared to become the father of a child; a child who’s life, hands, feet, and heart are your responsibility. That child will grow up, and make something of itself in this world; that child will look back upon its life and say, ‘My mom and dad did so much for me to give me the best that they could’. You know why, Danny? Because you are going to do your best. Its not going to be easy. But I’m here to help you; your 24-year old brother is here to help you. So is Samantha. But most of all: your going to need to help yourself. Can you do that?”

Danny looked me dead in the eye with a fiery passion of tears and emotion. He stood up, looked up at the plaque above our flower-covered front door, and said, “Alright.”

By Adrian Lopez

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A Clean Slate

Well, its the start of another glorious school year. Time for an update.

I attend Clayton Valley Charter High School. I am a Junior (11th grader), and I’ve got a fantastic schedule. Love all my teachers, and I love the amount that I have as well. Always something to do and improve upon, and that’s the best kind of feeling.

Working on becoming a filmmaker still; a long road is ahead of me for sure. But, that’s the exquisite thing about human beings: we were made to have dreams and to achieve them. I am aiming on going to UCLA School of Film, Television, and Theater, but there are many prestigious and knowledge-filled film schools in the United States.

I actually had an epiphany a week or two ago that when I graduate high school, I should move to Germany and start a new life in a new world. While this does entice me, there is nothing wrong with staying in the successful United States and learning 2 years worth of film and technical knowledge: knowledge expands your mind.

I have also taken some steps toward retiring my video game career: while it is a great hobby of mine, I feel like I have reached the point where I no longer need to spend time or money with video games. I need to spend my time making films, writing literature and scripts, studying history and philosophy, and reflecting upon myself, my life, my goals and dreams, and my friends. I cannot spend time with video games, for one central reason: they do not help me. While I admit in the past I played video games to relieve stress and go into a fantastical world that was but a phantom of this one, I no longer have serious issues dealing with stress or problems, issues and hiccups in relationships. I deal with it like a man should, and a man cannot be playing video games in his free time.

There is time for work and time for love; that leaves no other time. That is a certain truth in this life.

I have matured. I have evolved. I have struggled through adversity, and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I will face challenges with friends, family, school, work, money, my dreams, but most of all: myself. My greatest enemy, and my greatest and most valuable companion, will always be myself. My own mind, my own heart. I want to make some changes, as I have been for these past three years of high school. Those changes start right now. Today. This very moment.

I plan on writing in my portfolio more.

Adrian Lopez