By Jorge Antonio Vallejos
I’m listening to Bro Hymn by Pennywise while sipping on a hot coffee, black coffee of course.
Bro Hymn pumps me up and coffee is now a staple for me. With both ingested, song through my ear and coffee down the pipe, I plan to bang out a good post.
The cold weather has brought on a sickness in me. My throat hurts, my chest feels weird, and I’m exhausted. Still, I’m at the coffee shop on a Monday morning working on my site. This is my life. Monday, Wednesday, Friday are blackcoffeepoet.com days.
There is no other option.
I never make plans for either of those mornings. It’s the way it is and has been for a while. One year and two months now.
Hard work is what I believe in and what I attribute to the success of my site. But there’s more than just hard work.
Coming to the page (the laptop in this case) is not always easy. Although I’m my own boss there is a schedule and standard I’ve set. When I think of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday my site is the first thing that pops up. It’s ingrained. I don’t even write down BCP on my to do lists because it’s a no brainer.
People complain about Monday’s, but most people don’t love what they do. I’m different. Pressing every key on my laptop, cutting and pasting my articles on wordpress, and pressing PUBLISH is a great feeling.
Then there’s the days you feel like shit, like today. Those days where you want stay in bed, sleep, lounge around in your room watching TV or cruising the net. That weakness that prevails your entire body and has you questioning how important your work really is that day.
Then, in my case, I think of you, my readers. I think of how I made a commitment to you and myself: 3 days a week blackcoffeepoet.com will be updated with new material.
So, I push through.
I’ve heard and seen so many people I admire put the work in and push through: my writing mom, Lee Maracle; my friend Clifton Brown who was a Muay Thai kick boxing champion; and the best example in my life, my mom.
With no partner to lean on my mom had to do it herself. I remember countless mornings while growing up seeing my mom get up early, put the coffee on, get dressed, do her makeup, and go to work. Many a time she was sick. Real sick. She was the only one with an income in the house, the only provider, the one who manned up while my dad left never to return; so, she got up, worked, kept her commitment to me, and pushed through.
Clifton Brown, former Muay Thai world champ, once told me, “When you’re exhausted, that’s when you push yourself to workout more.” He experienced losses in the ring, injuries, and was left in a room once for three days with no food and bruised and swollen legs after losing an important match, in turn having the promoter lose money. (Things are done very different in Thailand.) He pushed through, trained harder, and eventually became world champion.
Lee Maracle, my writing mom, told me a story of when she was a little girl helping her mom collect clams. The tide was coming in and her buckets were heavy for her young arms. Her mom offered to carry the buckets for her but she persisted, pushed through, and carried those heavy buckets back to shore as the tide came in, hard. Maracle attributes that defining moment as helping her get through many obstacles in life.
In my life I’ve been hospitalized a few times. When I was young I broke my femur (thighbone), the biggest bone in your body. It was a 4 month hospital stay with a long recovery afterward that saw two surgeries, traction, a huge cast, a month of me laid out in bed followed by a wheelchair, a walker, a stroller, a cane, and finally nothing.
I think of those days when I feel down or weak.
Memories of those days give me strength.
We all have moments where we’ve pushed through. Think of them during the tough times and they’ll carry you forward and see you surpass what seems to be a giant roadblock.
The same goes for writing. If you’re stuck, if things aren’t flowing, if what you are writing seems pointless or crappy, keep writing! Keep putting pen to pad, fingers to keyboard, voice to recorder, however you write, push through!
I’ll end with a poem about my biggest inspiration, my mom:
echoes around the room,
bounces off walls,
creeps into other rooms:
it’s 4:30 AM.
She throws off her covers,
plants her small feet on the ground,
and erects her 5ft. frame:
a new workday.
panties, bras, nylons, slipped on,
the coffee maker grumbles
as she holds a mirror
and applies makeup.
The cold whispers,
and the bus hums,
through the windows.
She catches the 512 streetcar to Yonge St.,
transfers on to the southbound bus,
and serves the city’s elite their
salmon and egg whites by 7 AM.