Maria

Last summer I was working the desk and there walked past me a beautiful specimen of the female homo sapien persuasion. The Later identified as Maria, the subject herein, activated a part of myself that laid dormant for quite sometime .

I. Was. Hooked – line & sinker. Her curly brown hair, kind eyes, gentle demeanor, it was enough. For the next several months I would swing for the bleachers.

It was the 4th time asking her out when, she finally caved and accepted the “not-so-subtle” invitation. I was thrilled! And of course, my fear got the best of me so I ended up canceling. But, she was kind enough to give me a second chance, which is only a testimony to her loving nature.

Fast forward two and a half months. After many authentic conversations, beautiful love, a few small disagreements, meeting of the families, and talks of marriage, we stood strong. By all standards and perceptions of those external in our lives we were “perfect.”

All the while there was a stirring within me. Something simultaneously growing and flourishing and becoming within. It’s what inspired me to get off my ass and ask her out, and continue to ask her out long after she refused to return any affirmation. It’s what sparked me to start reading again and to write and be like, vulnerable. REAL. Travis.

No one at work knows I was married…and divorced. I don’t even remember the last time I was really mindful about why I chose the career I did, why I haven’t had a successful romantic relationship, or where my many insecurities actually came from. It was like, I was asleep. And each day I buried myself a little more into complacency.

This work within me has been a long time coming. I began to feel it last year but knew my subconscious had some work to do before any tangible effect would be consciously perceived.

It was Maria’s incredible gift of nurturing that sparked the confidence I needed to step off the high dive. It was proving to myself that someone as incredible as her could love me. The last thing my ex wife said.

“You’re going to be alone forever.” – Lauren

I don’t believe it anymore. I should have never in the first place, but hell, the most hurtful things said to us tend to be things we already believe about ourselves.

And Maria…the more I began to be a more wholistic “me” the less we became a compatible “we.” This journey of self discovery, once accepted, left no room for romance. The only relationship I am to have is that with myself.

Fear

Dear fear,

I welcome you on my journey. For this short stint of consciousness may require some level of self-preservation, you hold me tight.  Your love is self-seeking, without regard to the beautiful portion of life. We were made for so much more. So we press on, defying the odds and doing so scared to fucking death.

Till the wheels come off,

Travis

FeAR
June 6th, 1944 – United States Marine Corps
fear1
September 11, 2001 – NYFD
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swag
NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
Heroes are rememberd
cancer4
But legends never die
fear4
Bethany Hamilton
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Dave Grohl at Kurt’s funeral, who would create something beautiful out of the chaos.
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Monica Lewinsky 2016 – Ted Talk on overcoming shame
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Michael Oher
Fear9
Uncle Mike gives it 100% at work
fear 10
Uncle Mike gives it 100% at home
fear 11
My daughter Lily – inherently strives to be a part of something bigger than herself.
fear12
My best friend Josh – no fucks given. ever.
fear13
Auntie Darlene – a woman who will always love you where you’re at

 

fear14
My beautiful sister Tressa – wise beyond her years and fearless in her pursuit of authenticity
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Aimee Adams – The woman who had the courage to walk out on the American dream.
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Those teen parents with enough tenacity to go through it.

Into, The Wilderness

The year was 2006, when post-hardcore ruled the alternative airwaves. My drummer Koko and I were driving back from a show up north in the middle of the night. I was falling asleep at the wheel, the 2dr Ford Explorer was filled well beyond legal capacity, and were flat broke. So in my 19 yr old genius I decided it would be smart to pull off and take a nap before continuing our journey back to civilization. As we exited the highway and entered the parking lot of the first truck stop we came to, I soon realized the plan was flawed. There was too much gear in the car to actually sleep humanely. So I put the car in park and sat there for a moment just staring ahead at a small clearing off the beaten path. “Let’s go into the wilderness,” I impulsively proclaimed (By the way if you ever encounter a half-Asian mid-30’s hipster named Koko please whisper the phrase “into the wilderness” just loud enough for his ears to catch fire. Along with a double take you may just receive a legit fucking smile, a cigarette, and maybe even the shirt off his back. But that’s just the kind of guy god made him).

I pulled the car inside the wooded terrain about 10ft or so and we unloaded the thousands of dollars worth of musical equipment. I have no idea why this was such a monumental moment but a part of me came alive that night. Although we were only a few car lengths off the grid I felt, free.

At this time of my life my daughter was almost 2yrs old and I had only seen her a dozen or so times. I was completely embarrassed of her, so, I lived in shame. And every single moment of every single day I wore a mask. My own dad left before I was born so I guess I wasn’t sure how to be a dad, let alone a man. But it didn’t matter, so I thought, because I was the LEAD guitarist of a successful rock band. In fact, I actually ended up being signed to a major record label and eventually offered a spot as a touring guitarist for the Grammy winning group “fun.”. I had thousands of Myspace friends, groupies, and more social capital than I could spend. But it was a dark time in life, and not because I wore my Raybans at night. Fortunately, no matter how far away I would find myself from home, I couldn’t escape the love for the little girl in the picture I kept burried deep in my backpack.

Love is like that though. You don’t choose it, it chooses you. And praise god for that, because I get in the way. But that night under the stars, I was reminded. I could feel courage and hope out there calling me back. 

– No matter where hope finds you; within the arms of a loved one, on top of the highest mountain, underneath the deepest sea, over morning coffee, church, a smile, or in the shrubs behind a truck stop you will know it…for no mask can cover its radiance –

PS: I ended up selling all my gear. Unloading it never felt so good. Both on and off the grid.

Brady

Throughout my adolescence I was, without fail, the shortest boy in the class. Grandpa Fred would say how big I was getting and Grandma Frances, standing at a staunch 4’11”, marveled at how I was growing. I guess didn’t realize I was “short” until around the 4th grade. Almost like the moment Adam & Eve noticed they were naked  –

 “Eve my nipples are showing!” 

“It’s OK Adam, mine are the only ones suppose to be covered.’ ‘Just take this leaf…”

(Does anyone actually understand that story??). I remember my size being especially noticeable during my first fight. It was a sunny afternoon in Huntington Beach, CA and the typical cliche school bully, nephilim sized 6th grader “Brady”, was picking on my buds. What happened next was a defining moment for my masculinity. For reasons I may never know, I called him out. There he stood, gazing down at me like some kind of little baby dwarf child. “What’d you say?” he asked while approaching me. There I stood, silent, as he almost instantaneously shoved me to the ground. And, as if this wasn’t enough, I did something even more strange.

I got up. But not only did I get up, I told him to do it again. And he did, again and again and again. Each time getting up with rawer knees and bloodier elbows, my voice eventually turning into a cry, “do it again!!” like a weird little crazy person. There the entire playground circled around watching in awe. Not at my courage i’m sure, but probably at just how awkward I had made the whole thing. It wasn’t long after that one of Brady’s friends said, “that’s enough” And like that he was swept away into his posse.

Not much was said after that. No thank you’s. No kindergartners coming up to say how inspired they were to stand up to their own demons. Nothing. Just peanut butter and jelly as usual. I was a kid acting on instinct, which isn’t practiced or polished, it just…is. But I learned something about myself that day – it was this peculiar courage that would lead me into a life like that of none of my peers.

– This was just the beginning –

PS: And for the record, Brady never picked on me again.