The Denver Café Chronicles pt. 1— Pablo’s on 6th

The Café Chronicles pt. 1

This is a project that I’ve been nervous to start. Because it is daunting. It requires me to hold myself accountable, to finish something, to follow through with an idea that I have. Following completely through with my ideas is probably the one thing that I can confidently say I struggle with the most.

Mission: Every weekend I will visit a new café/coffee shop in Denver. The daunting part of this plan is that I intend to write, blog, at each one. My idea is to have 2 segments. The first part of the blog will be my experience at the café, a review if you will, how I’m feeling, what I see, etc… The second part will consist of a fictional story that I come up with while at the café. I’ll be grabbing onto my surroundings, the vibes, and my feelings to inspire a short story. Every story will be different, either short or long, varying in genre.  I’m thinking some stories will have a final ending, and some will be left open, like a chapter in a book. I’m starting part one of the chronicles at a coffee shop that I’ve been to many times, and moving forward I plan to visit ones I’ve never been to. And there’s a lot of them. Denver, being the cool and hip city that it is, I’ve already found more than a handful near my apartment. I have been feeling nervous about this whole thing for a while, knowing myself, and how difficult this may actually be to follow through with. But here I am, at my first café writing chapter one.

The Cafe Chronicles—Pt. 1

So, The Café Chronicles. Here I am. At Pablo’s Coffee on 6th Ave. It is a coffee shop that has good drinks, not too fancy, yummy pastries, and breakfast burritos for the hungover. It is an internet free zone which I think offers a refreshing vibe. It’s always full of people writing, reading, studying, playing board games, and enjoying a conversation with friends. The windows are full of tall green plants, the walls are decorated with old-timey looking tiles, and the seating is a mix of bar seats, high tops, low tops, and couches. When I would come here often, I would like to sit on a couch where the coffee table is. Underneath the table there are drawing books full of designs, writings, and random things the patrons of Pablo’s have added while enjoying their coffee. This is what had me fall totally in love with this place. I thought it was a cool place when I first went there, but when I discovered this part of the shop that was purely the community, I felt a deeper connection with it. Being new to Denver, and feeling its massiveness, I thought these books gave this place an intimate look into the wanderers of the city. 

Walking in the front door I notice the place is packed. I sit down at one of the last open tables which is smooshed between two other small tables. It seems like it was previously pushed together to make a larger table, but now remains in an awkwardly tight location between two occupied tables who obviously don’t know each other. I smoosh myself into this table and put down my things to claim the seat before I go up to order myself a cappuccino. When I get back I carefully take out my laptop trying not to bump into the very close table next to me. I can feel the sweat start to come through my light t-shirt, my anxiety is running a bit high thanks to the pot of coffee I had at home, and also due to the fact that I am so close to the people next to me you’d think I was part of their conversation. I spend a good minute untangling my headphones that were at the bottom of my bag, and I then awkwardly try to stuff them into a jack in my computer that is not compatible. In annoyance, I throw my headphones to the side. I sit there for a moment trying to compose myself enough to get in the writing mindset when I see some shuffling ahead of me from other tables. A hightop, next to the window and also right next to the back door, just opened up. I immediately stand up with my cappuccino and squeeze my way over to claim my new, more spacious, spot. I notice the slight cold breeze from the door is even refreshing. It takes me two more trips back and forth from the tables to gather all my stuff. Finally, sitting down at this much more ideal location, I rest my feet on the bottom part of the table only to find out that the table is wobbly causing a good portion of my untouched cappuccino to spill onto the plate it is sitting on. Out of peer reaction, I let out a loud “ugh” as I get up to grab some napkins. I wipe down the little bit of the table that the drink spilled over onto, and scoot my chair back so my feet don’t touch the table. I place my coffee cup on a ledge to the left of me and open back up my laptop.

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This place is special to me, that’s why I decided this to be the first location for The Café Chronicles. When I first moved out to Denver, I moved into a room in a house I found on a roommate app. I got really lucky as it was in a cool part of town with a less than a minute walking distance to this coffee shop, a cool dive bar, a street taco restaurant, and a dispensary. For the two months that I lived here, I would come to this coffee shop almost daily to order an iced tea and read a book. This coffee shop represented a lot for me. Moving to the city, one of the things I always said I wanted to do was live near a coffee shop, become a regular, and be “one of those people.” So, it seems just right that I start The Café Chronicles here, where my Denver journey began. In the first two months of living here, I went through almost every emotion imaginable and learned a whole lot about myself and about big city living. I’m still grateful for every scary, enjoyable, exciting, lonely, and new moment that it was. So, sitting in my used to be regular spot, I find a content and satisfied feeling sweep over me that makes me excited about the journey I plan to embark on with The Café Chronicles.

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Pablo is a young man in his early 20’s. He just dropped out of school to pursue his dreams of being an artist. Now, what kind of artist, he does not know. But, he feels that schooling is not what he is supposed to be going through right now, artistry is what he wants to explore. He lost all support from his family, financially and emotionally, since they do not understand his want to be an artist. They think it was irresponsible and spontaneous. Both his parents work at a law office and hoped Pablo would follow suit.

Shortly after his decision, he gets kicked out of his parent’s house and moves in with a buddy of his from college. He stayed on his couch for a little over a month while he picked up serving shifts at a fancy restaurant down the street. After receiving a slightly aggressive nudge from his buddy’s girlfriend, Pablo set out to find his own place. He was able to save up enough money for a down payment to a very small studio apartment below a liquor store.

He doesn’t mind the trash and neon lights that surround his front door, he actually kind of likes it. He likes how active the area around him is. Sure, there are shady looking people stumbling around at all times of the night, and he has to have a loud fan on to wipe out the noise of the busy street above him, but he loves his small flat. He bought himself a multicolored round rug from a thrift store, stole a couple mugs from his parent’s house along with his coffee machine, and he spent the last of his savings on canvases, paint and brushes, drawing paper, charcoal and markers to start off his exploration of being an artist—rather, finding out the kind of artist he wants to be. The first night in his studio he sat on his rug with a dimly lit lamp in the corner and sipped on a very strong cup of coffee. He laid back onto the rug and stared up at the ceiling, smiling–car honks, drunken yells and all.

Living in the moment

I find my fists clenched when I think about my future, what it looks like, playing out scenarios in my head. It’s when I feel my fingernails dig into the inside of my hands that I realize I am trying hard to grasp onto something that is not, and may not ever be real. Holding onto this pretentious reality does give me the feeling of hope, and I keep my fists clenched. I think I want it, I like the feeling of it. I feel a part of this far off reality, and  I am doing all I can to stay in it. But soon, I notice the hold in my thighs, the curl of my toes, and the clench of my jaw. I begin to feel my tense muscles ease as I become aware of them.  I let out a breath as all my muscles relax and I sink back into the bed I am lying on, the fan vibrates the wood floor, the heating unit hums with the music that is playing softly from my speaker across the room. I lie in my real reality as my daydreams fade out of my mind like smoke. As it clears, doubt stands before me, even as I close my eyes. He stands there like a brick wall, tall and strong. It’s when I try to shove him away that I notice he is more like rubber, strong and sturdy, he sways slightly but bounces back into his place. Hope and doubt live in the same room, and I feel like I need to get out of there. It’s in the corner of my eye where I see a way out, away from doubt, away from hope. They both present me with questions that I don’t know how to answer. It’s in that corner that I find the truth, or what I think it should be. I walk around doubt and make sure I don’t raise my gaze too high in fear I’ll catch a glimpse of hope and get lost in it like a plane in the clouds. Walking forward toward what is, now, is the only thing left I can think of doing.  I find the place where I can live far enough away from the two that I almost forget they’re there. It’s in the now, that’s where I choose to be.

Perspective is the new happiness

A prompt. I’m always looking for one, hoping to stumble upon something that will get my ass moving in a particular direction. A prompt to do something, make a move, think a certain way. I could call it inspiration, but that word itself is daunting and often is seen as aloof when the lack of inspiration is what is causing the distraught disposition. So, a prompt is something more obtainable, less threatening.

Give me a word, I’ll expand on that.

Give me a feeling, I can expand on that too.

Maybe through a prompt, I can find, feel really, the inspiration that I want.

I want something to prompt my writing, I want something to prompt my motivation to workout, to eat healthily, to find a new mindset, essentially, to be happy. Because I’m finding happiness comes and it goes. It’s something I have to be mindful about. Because when I find myself not doing so hot, or letting my emotions get the best of me, I realize that I let my happiness run away from me. And that’s ok, sometimes I need to feel things other than happy to get a real grasp on my reality in order to live in a perspective that shows me what’s real, where I need to go, and how I should handle certain things. Because even though I can try to constantly be happy, life has its own agenda that sometimes does not match mine. When that happens, I realize happiness is not what I need to hold onto, but rather perspective. Just like happiness, perspective changes—it comes and goes and has different forms. It is what shows me new happiness, it helps me feel different, good. Good or bad, it definitely presents both, and in that perspective, I can realize that happiness doesn’t have to be stable. Realizing that happiness shifts makes the downs and the emotional rollercoasters easier to handle. Easier to navigate around.

I’m hard on myself, I know this. I constantly feel like I should be doing more, which boosts up my stress levels and I find anxiety is the only hand I’m holding.

I talk a lot of talk, preach a lot of preach, and struggle daily trying to hold myself up to my words. I find myself in a catch-22 often, or at least I feel that way.

Perspective. That’s one word that I really do think makes the entire difference. It’s what makes things important. It’s what makes things make sense. It directs happiness and shows you where you place your joy. In search of the perspective that I need, I often find myself aware of the lack of such a view and find myself grasping onto what I believe is true without realizing the possibility of an alternate reality. This is where we find ourselves getting taken out at the kneecaps, where our breath gets beat out of us, and we feel like we’re in a well with walls 1000 feet high. We get stuck in something that seems perpetual and we take it as so. Our ignorance keeps us from seeing past the walls that we put up. Our misery keeps us there, whispering sweet nothings into our ears until we feel that where we are is where we belong. It’s not until a passerby comes along to get some water that we realize there was a bucket and rope hanging right above us, we just had to look up.

Move that foot

I get these urges to change everything. It’s like an energy runs up my body from my toes. My feet start to move and once they do I’m gone. When I make a decision, I MAKE a decision. In college, when I would lie in my bed cozy in warm sheets contemplating whether or not I should make it into class, it’d take just a split second where I’d think, “nope!” turn onto my belly and let my face fall back asleep into my pillow. No regret, my mind was set and I’d fall asleep HARD. When I decided to quit a job, it was something I let tumble in my brain for a while, but the actual decision of it came quick and resolute. Like super resolute. A hefty raise, provided housing, and altered hours couldn’t get me to stay once I told myself I was done. When I decided to move across the country, I thought about it for about three seconds, then told my family I was leaving in a month. When I decided to follow my heart, there was literally nothing that could sway me. I make spontaneous decisions and I pronounce them as my new law. I’ve often wondered if this characteristic of myself is something I should worry more about, but then I decide, naw it was what I wanted and I don’t feel bad about it. I am where I am and I’m happy for it all. For the most part…

Decisions are big. You put one foot ahead of the other sometimes not knowing where your next step will take you, but still, you take that step. Thoughtfully planned and intentional, or impulsive and uncharted, decisions show that you know what you want, but more importantly, that you care enough about what you want to do something about it. Doing something. That is huge. Whether it be a verdict on an ankle sock, or a moving across the country type, celebrate each accord as their own.

Fight for what you want. You know what you want. You do. If you don’t think you do, well then you’re just scared, scared, or scared. Make decisions. Tell your significant other where the fuck you want to eat. YOU KNOW.

Being true to yourself is really where it stems. We make up excuses. And damn, they’re usually pretty good. But they are what they are. Excuses hide your intentions. 

Love yourself enough to make the choice to decide. Love yourself enough to leap to that rock you’ve been staring at above you. Love yourself enough to run towards what you want. Love yourself enough to walk away from what is not good enough. If it doesn’t give you butterflies, leave. Love yourself so you can give love. It starts with a kick in the ass, water thrown at your face, a slap in the face, a kiss, a laugh, a good song, a view bigger than you, and a conversation with a crazy stranger. It starts with something that inspires you to make a goddamn move. Make the damn move and follow the urge in your gut. It’s probably right, and worse comes to worst, it’s wrong. But at least you did something. Doing nothing is a waste of your time, and it’s a waste of my time. And I hate my time wasted.

I guess you notice it when you look up

I had a mountain. A big one.

I have a city. A big one.

Right in front of my eyes, I’ve watched things manifest.

I’ve always said I wanted to move to Colorado, live on the side of a mountain, and wear flannel every day. Well, I did that. All of it.

Then, I said I wanted the city. I wanted to feel small among all the cool people of Denver. And well, I feel that. It’s hard not to.

Looking out, I get perspective. Quite literally. I’m lucky, where I live. Where I have been. What I have been able to do.

I want a mountain. So one was sat right in front of me.

I want a city. So it becomes my skyline.

I want something new. So, my everything becomes new.

I don’t know if it’s the universe. I don’t know if it’s my thoughts. I don’t know if it’s God. I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence. But everything I have wanted, in a way, finds me. Definitely never in the way I expect, nor necessarily want. For sure not in the timely manner I hope. It usually finds me hanging upside down, hair reaching for the ground, cheeks drooping into my eyes. It finds me and tells me to turn right-side up. Eh, it’s more of a yell.

What is it? Perspective?  Hope? Dedication? I couldn’t tell ya. I’m sure some book will tell me it’s the manifestation of my thoughts. Or that is the compound of all the little things. Or it’s the doing, or plan, of a greater being.

I don’t want to make it sound like everything goes my way. Because the same way things turn out for me, my horrors are just as present. I know what I don’t want, and that is exactly that what I get sometimes.

Maybe it’s just being aware, like hyper-aware of circumstances mingling with my thoughts. Manifestations find me in a way that makes me wonder, did I do that? What made that happen? Like, for real?

It’s comical, really. I have been feeling off lately. Off in the kind of way that is indescribable. I’ve been busy. I’ve had a lot of fun. I don’t let myself get too high in the moments. More figuratively than literally.

I’ve found myself content, and to be honest, it is a foreign feeling.

It’s so foreign that I actually feel myself trying to hijack the good part of the feeling. It’s like I know something’s going to be wrong, or something’s going to happen, so I prepare myself to be worse off. I fucking expect it.

But then I see the city line. The long, tall towers reflecting the moonlight onto everything else.

I get the perspective I need. In such a way that it knocks me out of my shoes.

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make a wish…it might just come true

 

 

See through

It’s what you feel when you aren’t doing anything. You feel parts of yourself that you forgot were there. It’s in the moment that you feel the wind blowing your flyaway hairs, you hear a quiet that is louder than the world around you. The world where people are yelling, cars are honking, and machines are machining. You realize that quiet is the thing you have been running from, or hiding from. Because once quiet finds you, you find yourself consumed in its loudness. You see the dust floating in the air in the beams of the sun. You hear those thoughts in your head that haven’t had the chance to come forward with all the other noise going on up there. You scare yourself in that way. Seeing something that has always been there, right in front of you, shows you that you are more ignorant, more distracted than you prefer.

It’s a necessary thing that is more underrated, forgotten, neglected, and relied on least when it comes to self-care. Thinking that the noise of life, the sounds of people, of music, of traffic, of nature, of games, of movies, of cooking, of conversation is more substantial to our growth than what quiet, what slowness, what reflecting on what has happened to us, is the kind of thinking that causes us to stay in an unnoticeable rut. We become ignorant to things in life because we actively portray our lives through the noise, the happenings, that we go through.

But when the happenings are over and we find ourselves naked we find ourselves in a place that meets us with either familiarity or hostility with a pushback that we filter with drugs, alcohol, and Netflix. We neglect ourselves of the quiet that we need, that others around us need us to have. We lie to ourselves, or more we don’t get to know ourselves. The time we are offered to familiarize ourselves with the why’s, the how’s, and the hmm’s become a mind-numbing buzz that becomes detrimental to the foundation we stand on.

The quiet can be where you find out what is important to you. It’s where you realize what you want. It’s where you see what you don’t want to deal with anymore. It’s where you see through the bullshit of the world that you surround yourself with. Or, it’s where let your mind wander. You may find nothing in the quiet, and that’s part of the deal. 

The thing about this quiet though, it’s not only part of the auditory sense of the definition, but really all the senses. It’s the stillness you find around you. It’s the taste that you find on your tongue. It’s what you see beyond the bullshit.

It’s what you notice.

Taking time to notice things is more rare than I think most are aware of. So easily we are distracted by the touchscreens we have so close to our fingertips. So quick we are to jump into a conversation just to be a part of it. It’s hard to stand back because, shit, what if somebody notices?

p i e c e s

Being all of myself, that’s just not something I do.

I let my ambitions ride on magic carpets to places I don’t know. I let my heart stay with the people I love and have loved. I let my ideas float around me just beyond my full grasp.

If you call it reckless, if you call it susceptible, if you call it foolish, you’re right.

I am that.

But if I can get to a place I can’t imagine yet, then I’ll let myself fly to get there.

If vulnerability is what my core is made of, then my heart is not meant just for me.

If when I look out of myself and am able to see pieces, well I know I have something to make.

I am not whole.

I am places, people, and things.

Feeling at peace with myself is feeling alive in what I dedicate my life to, in the things that I feel worthy, and in the people who I choose to care about. My feeling of belonging, of happiness, of identity, comes from not only the pieces of me I decide to walk in, but also the pieces of me that I let free.