“As Far As I Can Throw You”

Photography by Shaun Liriano

He threw her.  Just threw her with full force like you chuck a football through a field. He threw her. She flew through the air.

I always knew I could fly, she said.

For the first time there was someone he could trust with his life and he wanted to show her that he cared.  He wanted to show her that she was special.  He wanted to show her that he’d be “mush” without her.

I trust you about as far as I can throw you, he said.

Then he threw her.  He hurled her body and watched it spiral through the air. His love poured out of the sweat that beaded on her forehead.  His faith sprouted wings in her back.  His hope stripped her naked and replaced her bland clothing with an aerodynamic super suit colorful enough to match her vibrant personality.

At first, she was afraid. Fretfully, she gathered herself and tried to get her bearings.  She tried to get used to being in the company of birds, high branches, and jet planes approaching their landings. She screamed in excitement.  No one seemed alarmed that she was up there.  They expected her to be in the sky.  It was as if she didn’t belong on the ground and everyone knew it.

He didn’t look at her though. Once he threw her he didn’t wonder if she could take flight.  He BELIEVED she could. So he obliviously kicked a ball through a field and watched it roll on. He read an article from time to time. He viewed television shows at leisure. He felt the warmth of an onlookers admiring glance. He chugged along knowing she was soaring through the sky for the first time.

Isn’t he wondering if I am okay?  How does he know a larger creature hasn’t consumed me?  Hasn’t he thought about my loneliness? Sometimes it’s cold up here.  I don’t know anyone up here.  Sometimes I’m scared.  I’ve never flown before.  I’ve never been thrown before.  At first it was fun but where is he?  What is he doing?

Her fear ignited a fire so fierce it singed her beautiful wings. It incinerated her custom costume.  It sent her flailing through the sky clumsily…falling.

She landed in a bed of roses.  The thorns, long and sharp, pierced her skin and her blood mixed with the crimson red of the rose petals.  Her body naked and covered in ashes and blood writhed in pain.

She screamed out in horror, “My love! Where are you?  Why didn’t you fly with me?  Why did you leave me all alone?”

Silence.  She waited in the cold.  Naked. Vulnerable.

All the while, he returned to the field of her original launch every day after breakfast.  He wondered why she never returned. He assumed she must be enjoying the clean air, the ascension.

Why didn’t she ever try to throw me?

He felt her absence but he also felt her presence.

-By: Shaun Liriano

*Dedicated to my muse.

My life is part humor, part roses, part thorns.

~Bret Michaels

 

 

Advertisements

Vision Boards and What I Think of Them

image

I have read “The Secret “and I’ve seen the documentary.* I have also read “The Power” by the same author. I’ve read multiple Napoleon Hill titles. I have also seen the motivational video featuring Oprah Winfrey where she discusses how she landed the role in “The Color Purple.”  All of these works center around one thing…

Law of Attraction.

I have often been torn by this concept. I was unsure of how I could implement it into a Christian lifestyle. Can these two beliefs exist at the same time? After many years, my answer is, yes.

The law of attraction is just what it states. It’s a law. Just like the law of gravity it can definitely co-exist with Christian beliefs. Yes, I believe in God and I believe he is the one who has drawn the blueprint for my life. I also believe that doubt, insecurities, distraction , destruction, and distortion can lead you away from the path God has created for you. Your lack of focus and your inability to believe in yourself can cause you to miss out on His gifts.

What is the law of attraction? My condensed oversimplified answer is:
What you believe and envision can and will manifest.

We know this!

Look:

Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…~Romans 12:2

In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.
~Dalai Lama

So what is a vision board? My condensed oversimplified answer is:
Its a map that leads to your own self discovery. It’s centered on you and your desires. It encapsulates your wants and your needs. By taking everything  out of your brain and heart and gluing them to a poster board you are forcing yourself  to focus. You’re at least glancing at this thing twice a day (morning and night.) For me, the images return to me throughout the day. So let’s say one photo on the board is “new car.” I find myself being more conscious of how I maintain the car I have. I downloaded a budget app on my phone to improve my credit. I pack lunch more often to put that money towards savings. That photo is a reminder that there is a goal in place. It also makes that goal feel more like an official agreement with myself. Also, seeing it makes it seem more attainable.

Vision boards are also a lot of fun!! It was fun finding the photos. It was nice to take an hour out to be creative in a different way. I have secretly always wished I could draw. I still can’t draw but I was able to produce something visually stimulating (well at least it stimulated me.)

Try it! Let me know how it works out. Do you already have one? Do you think it can help your quality of life?  Do you think they’re silly?

I’m excited about my future. If you asked me last year if my life would be this abundantly blessed this year, I would have laughed. God has smiled on me and I owe it to Him to run a more disciplined race. See you at the winner’s circle.

By:Shaun Nickens

*The Secret is by Rhonda Byrne

For Pete’s Sake…Lick the Bowl!

image

I made this crumb cake on Wednesday!

When I was young my mother would bake from time to time.  Sometimes I would get so excited. She would give me the bowl to lick the batter while I waited for the cake to bake.  I would sit contentedly with my finger and my spoon in and out of the Tupperware.  I’d be wrapped in a pink comforter, watching a good movie,  with my bowl. Oftentimes,  by the time the cake was ready I didn’t want it anymore.  I was content with what I already received. 

The treat that was given to hold me over became better than what I anticipated.  I started to anticipate the batter and the bowl.  I started to look forward to the process more than the finished product. 
When did you stop enjoying the process? When did you become addicted to instant gratification? Don’t shake your head with that “no, not me” look. Yes, you! Why do you want the glorious rewards of your future TODAY?

What about dinner?  What about finishing the meal God has prepared to sustain you and make you stronger, before you dive into desert?  Thank Him for giving you a bowl to lick. Be thankful for the patience the process will instill in you.

Lick the bowl and enjoy it! The struggle is yours and specifically designed to give you the tasty tomorrow you are craving. 

Bless!

By:Shaun Nickens

Something Like A Classic

image

Rivaling with myself
Running, jumping and climbing through the dimensions of my identity

In my mind I’m sipping Baileys and Hennessey on ice in a jaccuzzi
In a black string bikini with my skin glistening in the moonlight
I’ll take flight into another realm of my imagination
No anger
No punctuations in life
No periods
No stops
No exclamations of uncontrollable emotions
I’ve rarely just gone through the motions
Deeply connected although sometimes rejected but never rehearsed
I step on the worlds stage and expose myself to its critical audience
I’ve cried out on the behalf of my occulent heart
Its been gagged and muted
In fear of making a sound and exposing what’s left of it.
image

I envision the princess turned pauper at the bar
Self medicated and confused
Thinking her riches are Bacardi Gold and 1800 Silver.
Her pumpkin has been repossessed
Her pride has been pulverized

I see the elder
She’s slaving over a meal
The kids feed the vegetables to the dog under the table
Her clothes are classy and discreet
Her hair is radiant and neat
Her home is immaculate
Her soul has been restored

I see a ’67 Dodge Charger
Its the color of Cabernet Sauvignon
Gold speckled
Dark tints
No wheels
No engine
A shell of hope

By Shaun M Nickens

A Day OFF to Get Back ON Track

image

I am the princess of procrastination.  I am the dark cloud of doom, often preparing myself for the worst.  I am emotionally charged.  I am a quick decision maker.  I sometimes explode to prevent from imploding.

The converse is also true.  I sometimes categorize explosion as communication.  I’m easily affected by others moods but only because I care. The bottom line is because of my character traits/flaws I have to “reset” from time to time. The one benefit of my job is I get a weekday off.

Today I was my usual rushed self. Ripping and running.  Hustle and bustle. I got pulled over last night about a broken headlight. So I went to Pep Boys this afternoon and resolved that issue.   I went to CVS to return some impulse buys and replace them with necessities.  When I’m completing my errands, I always have my 5 month old with me. The poor thing is in and out of the car seat.  Ashamed, I admit that not all time spent is quality. I intend to change that.

I got a text from a long time friend last night that read, ” Uncle _____ died.” I couldn’t even respond. After the air returned to my lungs I decided to call. Another young life. Another good person.

Life pulsates. It throbs. For some of us it is aggressive.  Its carnal. We can hear our clock ticking and we are offensive in an attempt to gain (or regain) control. For some of us, we need reminders. We only say “I love you” when someone is sick or dying. Some of us let life boil and then evaporate.

I found a park site near the local town hall. Its beautiful. There is something about being outside on a hard wooden bench. My daughter and I stared at the ripples from the fountain.
image

I can often identify with nature.
image

I wish to stand out from the rest. I want to be noticed.

image

My heart almost busted open with excitement to see my daughter so full of intrigue. So young. So attentive.  So easily satisfied.  Its not hard to build a connection with your children.
image

The gazebo was perfect for a picnic. Perfect for a wine brunch with your significant other. It was perfect for a 30 minute lunch break. It was the perfect spot for a writer, a lover, a hater,  an artist, a bourgeois “time-out.” It was perfect for anything.

I want the shutyamouthandcallmeugly.com family to know its time. Its time now. A wise man once said to me, “get up or give up.” I didn’t appreciate it at the time. No matter how harsh it is, its true.  Accept that you cannot control everything.  Have Faith!  Love HARD! LOVE TODAY! Take time OFF so that you can get ON point!

By Shaun M Nickens

God Forbid. . .Knock on Wood

I am currently reading a business plan guide.  In one of the chapters, the author asks, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”  I struggled with the answer.  The arrogant side of me doesn’t think I’d fail at anything I genuinely attempted.  In reality I can admit I’ve always wanted to write and FINISH a book. So why haven’t I done it? There’s so many things to consider.  There are so many doubts I have never admitted I had.  Who will read it?  What will I write about?  Depending on the subject matter, what qualifications do I need to prove that I am knowledgeable? How will I publish it? When will I have the time to write it? If I die, my readers will pick apart my words. They’ll construct invalid theories. They’ll think they have ascertained a base of who I am. They’ll be wrong.

Its hard to admit when you are afraid.

A week ago I lost a crucial segment of my circle of trust. My significant other lost his brother suddenly.  This man was kind,  friendly,  humble,  reliable,  God-fearing, well read,  and family oriented.  He was one of the warmest people I have ever met. He was also one of the most complex people I have ever known.  He would often ask me just one or two questions and then just sit back and listen to my tirade. I think that was his way of counseling.  Like a therapist he would bait you with a question and the next thing you know, you’re on the couch delivering a monologue. There you are exerting brilliance that you rarely tap into. There you are grateful for a captive audience. I feel as though we were both always so grateful to converse with someone who truly wanted to hear what we had to say. What a privilege it is to be listened to. To feel important.

Tonight I drove through a neighborhood and looked at the houses.  I looked at the white picket fences. I looked at the dog houses in the back yards. I looked at the family automobiles parked in the driveways. I looked at the lights flickering from the televisions that were probably arbitrarily entertaining a sleeping couple. I hope they fell asleep after telling one another about their day. I hope they fell asleep after making love.

People often say ” I want to spend my life with you.” Then we wait for some plan. Then we wait for a vision. I have missed out on a lot in my life because I was afraid. I didn’t commit to boxing because I was afraid of a severe injury or people saying I wasn’t good enough.  I was afraid to travel because I didn’t want to be away from my loved ones. What are you afraid of? Trusting?  Yes he could be cheating on you right now. He may also be thinking of you and conjuring up new ways to make you happy. What are you afraid of?  Quitting a job and starting over? Yes Its a recession.  Yes you may fail. You’re in good company!  There’s thousands of people exactly where you are. They’re scraping their knees and getting up again. They’re trying.  They’re fighting.  They’re doing their best because life is happening right now.

I’m in good health…*knock on wood*

God forbid … but if anything should ever happen to me know this:

I LOVE being a mother. It is the most exhausting but rewarding feeling in the entire world! I LOVE love. God put Adam on this planet and he knew he couldn’t enjoy Eden without companionship.  The man I want to spend my life with is unique and passionate. He is deeper than the core of the earth. I love writing.  It clears all the cobwebs. It pours out of me. It is my drug. I am proud of my accomplishments. I am dissatisfied with my life in its current state but I will continue clawing my way to the existence I see fit for myself.  I fear the dark.  I have very few secrets. I get anxious when I am preparing to give a gift.  I don’t want to be compared to another woman but it has probably already happened and it will happen again in the future. I want to feel indisputably beautiful…Every day.  I am proud of my sister. She is the adolescent I never had the courage to be. I knew she would be special since the day she was born. I HATE working for other people.  Yet, I have held every job imaginable (except for food services.) My father blessed me with an amazing childhood. My mother is the strongest woman I have ever met. My grandmother is the most selfless person I have ever met. I strive to be a conglomerate of the two. I cry a lot…and I don’t think its a sign of weakness.  Its emptying out the sh*t of the day. Its regulation.  That way you have room for tomorrow’s challenges. 

That’s all I’ve got for now. That’s enough.  That way…God forbid. ..you won’t have to come up with anything profound.  That’s me in a nutshell minus favorite color or song. That’s me. Typing this on my phone with my kid sleeping on my lap. Typing with my night light on. Holding on to hope. Admittedly afraid.

★Shaun Nickens