Having My Bike Stolen Renewed My Hope

Can you spot my missing bike?
Can you spot my missing bike?

My bike got stolen last night in a bike yard next to Ushikubo Station. It’s my fault for not locking it in place, but I honestly didn’t believe it would ever get stolen. I live in Japan, a place known for returned lost wallets and purses. My trust in such a stereotype cost me my bike, and now I have to buy a new one.

I searched through the bike yard exactly three times because I refused to believe someone took and rode it away. I thought maybe I had forgotten where I had left it. While going through every single bicycle, I noticed about 90% were unlocked just like mine. 90% of other bikers believed their bikes were safe from thieves because why would anyone take what wasn’t theirs here? It’s almost inconceivable.

Maybe life wanted to teach me a lesson that no matter where I go, I need to be careful and not lower my guard so much. It’s tiring sometimes to always be on alert and cautious. I wanted to trust everything would be all right, but that’s not how reality works.

Walking home to my apartment, I asked why me out of all those bikes in the yard?

I found myself taking a positive angle to answer the question. Maybe I would’ve been hit by a car or truck if I rode my bike that night. I’m still a bit skittish on the road, so maybe I would’ve made a wrong move and bye bye life. Maybe the universe was answering a wish of mine to get a new bike soon, but why take the bike out of my life in such an inconvenient time? I really didn’t want to spend money right now with a tight budget hovering over my head. However, a bike fulfills my basic transportation needs, so I have to get a new one.

I wanted to get angry, but I didn’t have the energy or room in my heart for it. I simply let out a frustrated sigh that night and forced my tired legs to walk home. It wasn’t so bad. Just a thirty-minute walk that I’d complete in ten if I had my bike.

On the way home, in addition to taking a positive angle, I thought about how my situation here is pretty good. I live in a peaceful town with a lovely river bank for running; people are friendly; I get more writing done than ever before; I don’t work more than five hours a day; and my pace is chill.

This one negative incident couldn’t dare match up to the positives of my life here. Sometimes I forget the loud noises in life: flashy tech, hip clothes, stress over other people’s opinions, unhealthy comparisons, chasing the golden goose, and so on.

I live with more attention to each present action I make. Taking a shower, chopping vegetables, making coffee, feeling the pavement hit the soles of my feet as I walk, acknowledging strangers with a smile and a nod, savoring each bite of good food and desserts, and even something simple as locking my door before I leave.

Every action has taken a life of its own, amplifying living in ways I didn’t know was possible. Instead of looking for the big, amazing events to happen, I appreciate the million little activities and take delight in being able to do such things, take delight in living with full awareness.

A long time ago, I would’ve lost my temper at having my bike stolen. I would’ve probably huffed and puffed about it all the way home instead of experiencing a cool night stroll. I would’ve felt sorry for myself for being so unlucky. (This is the second time I’ve had a bike stolen.) I would’ve been a bomb of negative energy waiting to explode, putting life on pause for one bad incident out of a million awesome events.

But life kept going. My mind focused and fingers typing, I pumped out six hundred words in my new novel that night in addition to 1200 words earlier in the day. An 1800 WC for the day is a great accomplishment for this writer.

I don’t need to let the bad poison my life and cripple me. I can choose to keep going, believing everything will work out in the end. And even if more negatives pop up one after the other, I’ll handle them, looking at each through a positive perspective, and help lift myself up to keep going, to keep experiencing the million little gifts given to me each day.

I guess this how I know I’m where I need to be right now. I’ve made a decision to help my growth by moving here, and I can see the real effects of doing so. I’m truly at peace. For a misfit soul as mine who shrivels up from not being able to pursue her dreams, I’ve found a place where I can achieve the creative heights I’ve set for myself, something I strangely couldn’t do back home.

I enjoy good runs here.
I enjoy good runs here.

I’m not saying we should move halfway around the world to find what we need. Simply, we should take time to know ourselves as much as possible and be brave enough to give ourselves what we need whether it be peace or the fuel to keep a passion or dream going.

Why waste time doing anything else? We might just find that elusive blessing in whatever has been lost.

What have you lost that has unexpectedly given something to you?

Stay Amazing,

Sammy

Am I Making a Mistake? What Life Wants You to Know

Howdy Folks,

I’ve been on a hiatus, but now I’m back to share some of the happenings in my life. Hopefully, this post can encourage you in your own journey in this confusing as hell thing called life.

Image courtesy of Stuart Mills at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Mills at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I thought the middle of 2015 would be much more successful, but it’s actually been a struggle. I’ve been trying to add more accomplishments to my repertoire this year, but I’ve only been racking up failures. Nevertheless I’m thankful for the failures because they’ve taught me some important lessons that I plan to apply for the rest of this year and beyond.

First, I tried buying a house with my parents, and it ended up pretty badly because we made first-time buyer mistakes and had the worst lenders on the planet. We lost the house, lost a ton of money, and I almost lost my mind. I’ve been trying to block out those three horrible months, and I think I’m succeeding. At least that’s one thing going right.

Image courtesy of Stuart Mills at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Mills at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Second, I tried getting a full-time job in Atlanta, the place where I thought I would be living, but I’ve only gone deaf from the silence of these potential employers. I switched my job-hunting to Boston, but I got only crickets too. I have undergraduate and graduate degrees from Tufts University and Columbia, great references, and amazing cover letters. However, because I decided to go to Korea to teach English right after graduate school, I found myself teaching English for the past two years because I enjoyed it and, also, couldn’t find work in anything else. When I tried making the switch to getting jobs tied closely to my graduate degree, I got no invites for interviews because my resume lacked the experience.

Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net / I’m one of those X’s 😦

So, warning to those out there hoping to teach English abroad: make sure you have great connections to get a job in something different when you’re done and don’t spend too much time teaching English if your heart not’s really into it.

Thankfully, I don’t mind teaching English, but of course I don’t want to spend the rest of my life doing it. I want to make a living as a writer: write books, articles, and personal essays. Teaching English is just a fun way to pay the bills before I make it big as a writer or whatever that means. But I’ll know it when it happens.

Despite all of this, I’m currently enrolled in a Master’s program in Law and Public Policy. Why? Well, when I failed to get into a PhD program, I thought getting a second Master’s would be my way there. Don’t ever do this, by the way.

I also wasn’t doing anything spectacular with my life, and my father still clung to his dream of me becoming a badass lawyer. As a result, I made the BIG mistake of getting into this program. I got A’s, but I was incredibly unhappy and uninterested in the subjects my classes covered. Notice I’m speaking in the past tense here because I plan to drop out. I’ve never done this before and it sorta scares the hell out of me.

Now, I’m back where I started: lost, adrift, confused, miserable, and unfulfilled. The realization hit me that if I didn’t do something drastic, I would give up on life, not kill myself per say, but be a walking zombie who just did what was expected of her because it was easy and required no confrontation and risks.

Now, I’m not one to be concerned about the stars, but I’m an Aries and my claws came out at the thought of having my life controlled by the expectations and dreams of others.

I needed to do something crazy, something to shake me out of the three-year funk. Look, I tried. I really did. I tried being a normal functioning member of American society, but I failed. Others might say I gave up to early. All I know for sure is that I’m sick of forcing my self to be a person I’m not.

So, what did I do?

I applied for a teaching job in Aichi, Japan.

Toyokawa Inari Temple
Toyokawa Inari Temple

The specific town, Toyokawa-shi, where I’ll be living is about three hours south of Tokyo and possesses castles and gorgeous flora. I got the job because my teaching credentials were hard to beat. Competition didn’t have a chance.

The job is a perfect fit for me because I’ll be working 4pm-9pm, which gives me plenty of time to work on my writing in the mornings. I’ve already lived abroad before so I know what to expect and what not to expect.

Look, I’m not going to Japan to solve my problems or to run away from them. I’m going to Japan because I want to experience something completely new every single day. My soul needs wonder to shock it out of its sleep and slow decline toward death. Furthermore, I have no romantic partner nor children, so I have no responsibilities there. My parents are young and thankfully healthy and don’t really need me around.

At 28, I’m free so you bet I’m taking this opportunity.

However, it’s not all sunshine and unicorns. My parents will be furious when I tell them. My family will talk. People will think whatever they need to think about my decision and will most likely believe that I’m making a big mistake, committing career suicide. I know.

But I don’t want to be a lawyer, a policymaker, or office worker. I want to do two things: teach and write. In another country. And travel. I want to explore new places and write about my adventures. I want to meet new people and listen to their stories. I want to inspire other people to take the chance to travel when it’s given to them. I want to live a life that’s under my control.

I’m tired of trying to be someone I’m not just to satisfy other people, especially my parents, family, colleagues, and society. I want to be true to myself no matter the risks, no matter the number of shaking heads, no matter the disapproval.

Am I making a mistake? Maybe I am. Maybe I’m not. At the end, I’ll live with my decision. But one thing for sure, the ride definitely won’t be boring.

How about you? Have you ever taken a decision that you thought was a mistake, but went through with it anyway? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Stay Amazing,

Sammy

Let Me Live Near the Beach

beach fron paradise

Let me live near the beach
Where I can cleanse away my sorrows
Let me live near the beach
So I can always hear the song of the waters
Let me live near the beach
Where I can heal all of my pain
Let me live near the beach
So I can behold majestic beauty
Let me live near the beach
And I will forever be happy, grateful, and at peace.

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my condo in san diego 1

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sd condo 3

sd condo 4

seaside living room

How to Win Against and Be Free From Your Worst Enemy: Your Inner Critic. Part I

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The inner critic. The voice of negativity. The saboteur. Many names describe the self-defeating person inside our heads. It attempts with one rushing thought after another to tear us apart, tear our dreams and hopes apart, and leave us in tatters.

Just when we begin to feel good about a project we’re working on, the inner critic strikes with a sneak attack, dampening our mood and making us question everything. When we stop creating to question every little detail, we make our project appear more complicated than it should be, and this may prompt us to stop working altogether.

We try to be positive, but the inner critic still looms over our heads, sometimes powerful and ominous, squashing our feeble attempts to silence it right away.

As a writer, I’ve experienced the voice of negativity on multiple occasions:

“You’re a terrible writer.”

“Why can’t you describe this better?”

“You’re such a slow writer.”

“No one would read this. What’s wrong with you?”

“You’ll never succeed as a writer.”

These thoughts come cascading one after the other, sometimes freezing my fingers from typing anything new on the keyboard. I almost lose my desire to write and search to direct my energies into some other outlet. What if my inner critic was right? What if I was wasting my time writing? What if nobody would ever read my works?

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The saboteur doesn’t just strike at my writing. It harasses me about other aspects in my life: family, work, relationships, and my dreams to travel the world, start organizations to help vulnerable youth, and someday create my own media company. With all these ambitious dreams, my inner critic works overtime to make me feel unworthy, unprepared, and unequipped to find success in my endeavors and my life overall.

After months of meditation and self-introspection, I’ve come to realize what’s keeping in the claws of my saboteur; what stops me from being consistent in working toward my lifelong goals and dreams. My inner critic reflects and gives voice to the deep subconscious fears resting in the darkest caverns of my mind. According to psychologists, painful experiences in childhood such as trauma or experiences with hurtful attitudes toward us help form the inner critic. Without taking the time to pinpoint and separate ourselves from this inner critic, we may allow it to sabotage different areas in our lives.

I found that by identifying my fears, I could shut up my inner critic once and for all and replace it with a more self-affirming voice. My inner critic can no longer swallow me whole and trap me in despair and zombie living.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here are the first two fears out of four that I’ve confronted:

1. Fear in disappointing my parents.

Being careless with our mental care can allow parents to mess us up. A lot.

Sometimes most of the things holding us back from achieving what we are made to achieve is fear of our parents. We fear letting them down. We fear upsetting them. We fear making their worst nightmares about us come true. We fear their disapproval. We fear losing their support, maybe even their love. We have these great fears because our great love for them.

For some, our parents are a huge part of our lives, especially if we’re the children of immigrants or come from a culture with very strong family ties. This fear, however, can potentially be mentally unhealthy and constricting, and can stop us from taking the risks and steps necessary to achieve the goals, dreams, and vision we have for our lives.

In my life, for example, my parents don’t regard writing as valuable unless it’s tied to a more prestigious profession such as law or public policy. I respect these sectors but for now I want to write fiction, personal essays, and uplifting words that can help others in mental, emotional, and spiritual ways. To me, it’s not always about the income, but about the freedom of self-expression.

Overcoming the fear of disappointing my parents and what they think of me isn’t always easy. It takes hard work and practice in the form of deep introspection, revisiting hurtful past events, and seeing my parents as humans with their own fears, dreams, weaknesses, and strengths.

Parents are not perfect gods. They’re imperfect people who sometimes fear for us in ways that may feel more overbearing to some than others. We know they love us, but some parents have a hard time letting go, and it’s so important they know how to do that.

For us with parents unable to let go, we need to take the first step and jump out to the road waiting before us. This takes bravery, but we all have the courage to do so.

Image courtesy of Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

To wrap this one up, the inner critic can manifest itself as the imagined voice of my parents telling me I can’t do this or do that because I may end up hurting their dreams for me. However, by better understanding this one fear supplying the material for my saboteur, I can shut it down right away without taking the time to dwell on what it has to say to me.

I can say, “I know where I’m going, and I’m going to make it. And when I do, I’ll find ways to make my parents happier than they’ve ever been.”

2. Fear of rejection.

This one is a real doozy. I fear rejection. One more time. I. Fear. Rejection. It’s embarrassing having to admit this but unless we admit our fears, we won’t be able to tackle them. I fear rejection from friends, people I like and admire, readers of my writing, and so on.

Fear of rejection sometimes stops me from engaging with people I find really interesting because I’m afraid they won’t accept me or my quirks. I’m horribly sarcastic, introverted, and extremely mellow, unless I’m excited about something, and then I’m hyperactive. I have this tendency of thinking people won’t get me so my inner critic pops up with these expressions to paralyze me:

“People think you’re weird.”

“You’re boring.”

“Why don’t you have anything interesting to say?”

“Why would anyone like someone like you?”

“You’re a terrible person and should stay away from people.”

The results of listening to this inner critic? I isolate myself and spend long swaths of time alone, which hurts my chest and head because the loneliness is real.

Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Studies show that loneliness does serious damage to your physical health: lonely people are twice as likely to catch colds; four times more likely to have a heart attack, and four times more likely to die from it. Loneliness negatively impacts your immune system and bolsters genetic activity tied to inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease and cancer! This refers to loneliness alone, not depression. Furthermore, loneliness should not be confused with being alone which is perfectly all right.

I have moments where I’m more than comfortable with being alone, immersed in my work, meditating, or walking around, people watching. However, the saboteur emerges at times when I feel lonely to make sure I stay that way. It also stops me from working on a project because I’m supposedly the worst writer in the world and people will hate my writing.

Knowing my inner critic gets its juice from my fear of rejection helps me find counterattacks to the five negative statements above:

  • Who cares if people think I’m weird. Some people don’t think so and others don’t care. They’re the ones who matter to me. Also, I like being weird.
  • I’m not a clown. I was not made to entertain people all the time.
  • I like breaks in conversation. As an introvert, I value breaks in conversation because too much talking can become overwhelming. I like time to process. It’s who I am.
  • Why would anyone not like me? Next.
  • Yeah, I mess up, but I know I am a compassionate being and seek to do no harm to others.

The inner critic may appear innocent at first, but without proper supervision, it can grow into a beast ruining our lives. As with anything negative thought pattern or behavior we see ourselves succumbing to, it’s always important to dig deeper to find the roots. Without doing so, we may only have surface level solutions that work only for the short term.

How about you? How do you deal with your inner critic? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Stay amazing,

Sammy

If you found this article interesting or helpful, please share it with your family and friends!

Also, be sure to look out for my new e-book coming out soon: The Passionate Dreamer’s Notebook: For Those Who Refuse to Quit!

Forget What You Heard

Be reborn

Forget What You Heard

They handed me a picture

And I looked at it and frowned

My heart dropped so fast

Thoughts running around

‘Bout this girl and her hair,

Falling down her shoulders

With her eyes so big

And her smile so bright,

You’d think they would’ve known her

But they never do

That’s just how they do it in Oz

No pause

To hear

To see

To feel

‘Cause they do it like they want to

Taking everything from you

They talk like they’re blind

But these sharpshooters

They always aim so high

With their targets on your back

Before they pull the trigger, you better figure

Are you slave, are you fighter

Are you sleeping, are you sowing

‘Cause she knew who she was

A girl in a costume, ‘bout ready to lose her mind

Straddling three to four worlds, no peace in them to find

That hair was not a crown, but the mark of the beast

With 66 names, one name for each stab

That they left up on her back

They walked all around her, walking on by

On the day that she died, alone on the ground

Murdered by the insight of the darkness within

Cornered by their dogma that had finally closed in

Killing whatever heaven she wished she could’ve built

So I’m telling you now, forget what you heard

You don’t know the story

If you got it from them

These lies don’t make it better

These secrets are what had killed her

This girl in this picture with the note on the back

“Born in ‘87, Dead at 27.”

Be Inspired: Post #1

via http://www.catinwater.com

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you

By Christian D. Larson

Get Over the Small Stuff and Live Better: #4 Rude/Inconsiderate People

Snow! Please, stop.

If you’re mildly interested in weather news, you’ll know that Boston has endured the ire of Old Man Winter these past two months, especially February. Don’t know what the city did to deserve such an onslaught of snowstorms one after the other. Er, wait a minute, I take that back. This is Boston.

The last snowstorm convinced me that I should indeed leave Massachusetts and seek warmer shores because my blood cannot do the cold, snow, and way below freezing wind chills any more. Neither can my sanity. The only time I enjoy living here is during the late spring and summer. Boston is pretty then. No, really, it is. Take a look.

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Boston Public Garden
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Ah, Spring in Boston. Come back soon!
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Oh flowers, how I miss you.
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I haven’t taken a stroll in the park since forever. 😦

But now it’s winter.

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Stare down into the white abyss!
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The white stuff is everywhere…

With all this snow comes an activity we Bostonians love: shoveling. Not. When faced with my car buried under mounds of snow, I stand and look at it for a moment to figure out what kind of work I’m expected to do. I wake up a little later to deal with the shoveling because I’m a teacher and get snow days. I use these wonderful days off to write my ass off because I have very little time to do so on a regular schedule.

When I stepped outside to shovel my car out for the millionth time, I noticed a huge huge pile of snow behind my car. It was snow created from my neighbor’s snow blower. My temper began bubbling up in my chest at this blatant, inconsiderate move from this woman. Not only did I have to shovel nature’s wintery treasure, but I also had to move a new mountain of snow courtesy of my neighbor. I wanted to swing my shovel against her car. A quick whack to front. Bam!

My car...sigh. Can you find it?
My car…sigh. Can you find it?

I took a deep breath and swallowed by anger.

I told myself two things: 1.) Blowing up at my neighbor would waste a lot of energy that I needed to conserve for snow shoveling. 2.) The world had enough darkness in the world without me adding more to it with my unnecessary rage.

Yeah, my neighbor pulled a jerk move by giving me more work to do, but I decided to let it go.

I went back inside my house to get my cell phone, put my headphones in, and listened to some rocking tunes as I shoveled out my car. And guess what? My neighbor stepped up and joined me. She helped me shovel away the large mound she created with her snow blower. She then helped me remove my car from the driveway.

We exchanged no words about what she had done earlier but it taught me something: one of the best ways to say you’re sorry is through action. And my neighbor apologized by helping me. Also, silence is more powerful than you realize when faced with anger inducing situations like rude or inconsiderate people. Sometimes people expect you to be angry or they want to get some sort of heated reaction out of you. Don’t give them that satisfaction. Hold on to your peace and pile coals on their heads by showing compassion; you’ll be surprised how differently people react to kindness or silence instead of horn blaring anger.

How about you? How do you deal successfully with rude or inconsiderate people? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Stay amazing,

Sammy

If you enjoyed this post, please spread the love and share it!

Also check out: Get Over the Small Stuff and Live Better: #3 Road Rage vs. Road Peace

RECAP: The Walking Dead S5E9, What Happened and What’s Going on

Yay, Sundays have purpose again! Er…to screw with me emotionally again, that is

The mid-season opener of The Walking Dead left me in tears, twice. Yes, I watched it twice because the first time I watched it live, and the torrent of commercials made it virtually impossible to follow the story. Seriously, AMC, do better. That was just unnecessary.

I streamed the episode commercial free the second time, and the sadness and beauty of it crashed against me all over again, easily drawing tears from my eyes. The emotions coming of off this episode were that strong and raw. The cinematography was well executed too. Major kudos to the director for arranging the scenes in such a heart-rending manner. Some camera shots were just plain beautiful.

The episode opens up with a shovel loosening dirt to be put in a grave that most of us assume belongs to Beth after she died so meaninglessly from a gun shot to the head. An innocent, peaceful drawing of a house, now a relic of times forever gone by, sits atop a dresser against the sound of the digging. We move along to scenes of Maggie and Noah crying, the gang respectfully dropping dirt into the grave, and Father Gabriel reciting words about faith that probably few are listening to. His voice adds an even more hopeless quality to a very dark situation. We are shown pictures of twins who we later find out are Noah’s brothers.

The close-ups of these pictures upped the chill factor.

Okay, these pictures killed me, you guys. With the music and Father Gabriel’s melancholic voice, there was something haunting in the photos—they were both depressing and creepy. Even more so later in the episode.

We then get shots of Lizzie and Mika! I get nostalgia overload, reminding me of one of the most depressing storylines from any of the seasons. I can just hear Carol’s voice in my head, “Look at the flowers, Lizzie!” Did not expect to see these two again, but this episode brings back a bunch of lost characters, good and bad.

Before cutting to the badass opening theme song, we see generous drops of blood tainting the perfect drawing of the house. Oh, the imagery is strong in this episode. We know this can’t be good.

Rick and a select group (Michonne, Glenn, and Tyreese) decide to bring Noah to his family near Richmond, Virginia as a way of honoring Beth’s prior wishes to help him get there. On the drive over there, Noah reassures Tyreese that the swap was a good idea and things just got fucked up in the end.

“Okay, who farted? Was it you, Rick?”

“Been wanting to tell you something.”

“What’s that?”

“The trade. It was the right play. It worked. Something else happened after.”

“It went the way it had to. The way it was always going to.”

In other words, shitty things happen, and sometimes for no particular reason. It’s just how life is, and it’s better to understand that now than later. These words pretty much sums up the whole episode.

We next learn from Tyreese about how his father would always instruct him and his sister to keep up with the news. “What’s happened and what’s going on,” which gives us the source of the episode’s strange title. Even when the news spewing from the car radio would be some horrible, traumatic event, Tyreese’s father would make him listen by refusing to change the station or turn it off. The reason? “Paying the high cost of living.” Chills.

We get to the gates of the closed community, and already we aren’t feeling too hopeful about Noah’s people. On the way there, Tyreese stares down at an old grandfather clock, another nugget of symbolism about lost time or very little time. Glenn hoists himself up to take a look over the wall and confirms our doubts with a shake of his head. Noah scrambles up over the fence and runs, dragging his injured leg like its nothing.

This kid deserves an award for being the fastest runner with a limp. The others catch up to him, and he breaks down and cries.

“You okay, kid?” “Nope, feeling really constipated.  Fuck this post-apocalyptic world. I need a CVS. “

While Rick, Michonne, and Glenn go off to scout the area and scavenge whatever they can, Tyreese stays behind with Noah and tries to comfort him with words to continue living. He offers his own story of when he went berserk on a bunch of walkers after losing Karen and how he later regained some purpose in his life when he saved Judith and kept her safe. Noah isn’t having any of it and races to his house, once again proving he’s the best runner with a limp. Not even Tyreese can’t even catch him, and the big dude has function of both his legs!

Just sad. Everything was just so sad!

Inside his house, Noah finds the rotting, head-bashed corpse of his mother on the floor of the living room. Tyreese takes this opportunity to let Noah grieve while he scouts the rest of the house. We hear the scratching and snarling of one of Noah’s younger brothers behind a closed door. Tyreese heads inside a room where he discovers the other twin’s corpse lying on the bed with his chest caved in. Pretty picture. Not.

Tyreese is drawn, mesmerized really, by the pictures of these boys’ lives plastered on the wall. The camera lingers on their expressive faces, humanizing them as we imagine their stories before the turn.

How could Tyreese let his guard down while taking in these pictures? I don’t blame him. He lives in such a bleak, killed or be killed world that these images offer some respite, maybe even solace from his grim reality. And then comes the moment of great tragedy. One of the twins comes stumbling into the room and takes a copious chomp of Tyreese’s arm. The big man pushes the small walker away, but tumbles back into the ground. Before the walker can approach, Noah jumps in and stabs his reanimated brother in the head with a toy jet plane. The whole scene is chock full of feels.

Noah assures Tyreese he’ll get the others for help, but we know and Tyreese knows that this will not end well. We get a shot of the radio and sure enough, we hear a Englishman’s voice (Andrew Lincoln’s voice in his real accent!) reporting the news because, you know, all the important news, especially international news, are reported with an English accent. This gave me flashbacks of Rick’s eerie phone calls from dead people like Lori. But the scene with Tyreese is a lot less cheesy with greater impact.

“Not you people again. Can’t you just let a man die in peace?”

Losing blood, it’s not long before Tyreese starts hallucinating dead people. The first to show up is that Terminus bastard named Martin. Others show up like Bob, Lizzie and Mika, the Governor, and Beth. They all talk to him about his actions, motives, regrets, and how he lived after the turn…the stuff people think about before they die, so we get even more confirmation that Tyreese will probably leave us. But I have to admit, I was holding on to hope he wouldn’t die because others have survived bites and amputations (Hershel). The girls’ talk more about letting go and stepping into the light while Martin and the Governor harass him about making wrong and costly decisions.

We’re baaaaaaaaaaaack!

In the midst of all of this, we hear the radio reports of news that could refer to the past events in the season or foreshadow future events. Dum dum dum!

The hallucination of the Governor ends up being a walker, and we get what is probably one of the most frightening scenes of any episodes of any season. The close-up up of that walker in Tyreese’s perspective felt so real and scary. I don’t know what I’d do looking at an ugly face like that. Tyreese proves his badassery one last time by shoving his bitten arm into the walker’s jaw and smashing its head in with a triangular shaped stone. The things you find in kids’ rooms to kill with: jet planes and huge stones. My room isn’t nearly as read for a walker invasion.

“I’m sorry. I’m just not into you.” “But whyyy?”

We go back to Rick and the others where Michonne is trying to convince the other two guys that they can make a sanctuary out of the town. Her plans for making a home out of the community falls apart when the gang comes across mutilated bodies cut from the waist down and limbs strewn about everywhere. It’s obviously the work of sick individuals so her plan’s a no go. Staying at Shirewilt Estates is a bad idea. Michonne isn’t giving up, however, and suggests they go to Washington even though there’s no cure. I mean, there’s just has to be something there. It’s Washington! Oh wait…just realized Washington is pretty useless. Badabing!

Anyway, with Tyreese on his way out, I feel Michonne is becoming the voice of sanity in the group now. Not necessarily the voice of conscious or morality, but the person who reminds them that they need to hope for something or else lose everything i.e. their humanity.

Her best line, “Don’t you want one more day with a chance?” Who doesn’t?

The others hear Noah screaming and rush to his rescue. Dude can’t even get help without being attacked. Rick and co clear the walkers away, but not before giving me a mini-heart attack when Michonne swung at a walker and hit a metal wire instead of sending its head flying. Thankfully, someone steps in to save her.

I declare this right now. If Michonne dies, I’m done with the show. Seriously. I’ve done it before: stopped reading or watching something after my favorite character died. I watch it mostly for her because nowhere on television can I find such a badass woman of color (aside from Olivia Pope, but I can’t connect with her drama-filled story). She uses a katana and is freaking good at it! Don’t mind as I fan girl all over her.

Oh, so good!

Tyreese continues to hallucinate as Beth makes an appearance, singing and playing the guitar like she used to. Lizzie and Mika keep reassuring Tyreese that it’s okay. It gets better in the light. When ghost Mika takes his hand to welcome him to the other side, we abruptly shift to reality. It’s actually Rick holding his arm out for Michonne to cut. Things unravel pretty quickly after that slice; the gang rushes Tyreese to the car. On their way out, they hit a van and heads topple unto the car, branded with W on their foreheads. Again, another sign of great trouble. There’s a gang out there called the Wolves and they ain’t friendly peoples.

“My arms are killing me. My arms are killing me. This dude weighs a ton. My arms are killing me!”
The W stands for Werkin It!

But we all know it’s too late for the big guy. He hears the radio reporting again about those marauders and his final words are, “Turn it off.” Throughout the show, I thought the rebel forces referred to Rick and his group, but I decided it could refer to some future group as well. I haven’t read the comics so I’m strictly situated in the world of the TV show.

After some gorgeous shots of the moving sky, Tyreese answers the calls of his dead comrades and dies; the sky fades to black. We zoom out to watch the car drive and then stop: we know what has happened. Visibly distressed, the gang drags Tyreese’s body out, and Michonne does the hard job of stabbing his head to stop him from coming back as a walker.

Cue Father Gabriel’s depressing voice, and the loosening of dirt for a grave we initially thought was likely for Beth, but was actually for Tyreese. The image of a shell-shocked Sasha struggling to stand and pour dirt into her brother’s grave hit me in the gut and turned on the tears. She truly has lost everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if she crossed the edge and became hardcore berserk. She’s got nothing else to lose now.

How do you keep living after that? What resources do you have to unearth within yourself to keep on going? Although we would like to think we live for ourselves, we get a lot of our meaning in our lives through the relationships we have with people we love or care deeply about. If we lose them, it won’t be long before we search for someone one else. Or not. Maybe Sasha will cling close to another character on the show. We’ll see.

It’s one of the reasons why I love The Walking Dead and stories of its genre. The extreme situations squeeze out the worst and best of humanity, exposing core truths that we don’t want to face because they might truly be ugly and maybe even too frightening for us to deal with.

That’s it for the RECAP.  Overall, I thought it was a great episode, probably the best of the whole season. Come back next time for Season 9 Episode 6! The group goes on a search for much needed basic necessities. Hopefully, nobody dies in the next episode. 😦

What did you think about the mid-season opener? Let me know!

For The Dreamers With Passion Who Refuse to Quit!

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