By Chris Chavez

I once heard "I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become." In this complexed life that we all live, we all will be presented with challenges that will test even the most un breakable of people. Our destiny is based on the choices we make. We can control all aspects of our lives but only up to a certain point. In order to grow and learn who we are and what we need, we first must be given a series of tests. Mentally and physicality taxing tests that will make you question every fabric of your existence. You begin your life as one giant tight ball of indescribable thread. As your life begins to take shape you soon find that indescribable ball begin to relax and loosen. Once that ball has been unraveled, than you must begin to descover who you are and what you are all about. Self discovery is different for each person. Unique challenges will present itself on a daily basis. Your role is to recognize those challenges and not shy from them, but to take them head on with the confidence of Zesus. I personally don't regret any of my life's choices thus far. Everything that I have done and said have all been a wonderful life experience that will help me to grow as a man down the line. I even embrace all the negative events either caused by myself or events caused by others towards me. How can we learn and grow if we don't experience the dark? As much as we fear and talk about trying to become a person of pure light and joy, we all need to experience some of the darker sides of life at times. We fear what we don't know, but if we knew what would eventually become the end of our own story , would we truly want to experience these events? Would those event still I'm pact our lives? Or would we turn the other cheek and take the easy way out?

Never underestimate the power of your mind. The more unexpected events that life decides to toss in your direction, the more negative thoughts began to build and cause a snowball effect. You begin to think that with all the negativity that seems to constantly build at a rapid rate. You begin to mold your life around something negative. Why would something positive enter your life? Why would the things you want come true? You see...we create those negative outcomes by only focusing on what is wrong rather than what should be right. If you wake up one morning and say "wow! Today will be shitty" then have just created a day full of shit. Let life toss its obstacles at you. Sure these speed bumps will hurt at first because they should. They should leave a mark on you so that you never forget what you have been through and how you overcame that obsitlce. You just need to wake up and realize that you are incontrol of your destiny.

One thing that is for damn sure, keep moving forward. It's very easy to look back on past events and to cling onto those moments with a grip of death. It's unhealthy to constantly focus on the negative aspects of your life. You understand what it feels like to be happy and wanted. Hold onto that feeling, being loved is something that we as humans seek out. Who doesn't want to feel the love of another? Love is pure and something that should be treasured and protected at all costs.

I have been waking up these past weeks with an unusual sensation that can only be described as something...happy. A smile. A genuine ear to ear smile that for no reason decides to greet me as soon as the sun does. I tend to believe that the cause for this innocent reaction is this thing called happiness. I heard that this was going around. It causes the muscles in your face to tense up, your heart beats faster, even your eyes smile! There also is another word for it. Love. I am in love with my best friend and to me that is the most amazing feeling in the world. How many people can say that they are in love with their best friend? She challenges me, pushes me in becoming the best possible version of my self. Love for the longest time was something my heart forgot. An abandoned notion that was extracted from me by a situation that nearly crippled me...was back.

Life in Transit:

“You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” -Dr. seuss

To see the world with someone you love is something that I think is rare. So often we treat relationships like a pair of shoes. We love them one minute, then when we find a newer version the next. We toss away the pair that once captured our attention with it's promise of years of protection and harm from the outside world.

With her...well I feel like I've known my lovely Jenn for years. We talk about the future and what we want to see in our future. One secairo that continues to eco thoughout our conversations is that of world travel. To see the world together and to have many stories to share with all that want to listen. Our first adventure was in my home town of Albuquerque New Mexico.

Sandia Mounthains, Albuquerque NM

I wanted to share with her my childhood, the food that was raised on and the culture of the Land of Enchantment. The narration of Albuquerque told only though Jenn's perspective was truly amazing. The lack of trees and water made her realize that she was indeed in the desert. My favorite memorie of this trip was my stressful Grandfather and Jenn discussing about beautiful Italy while watching a VHS copy of South Pacific. The genuine excitement that he displayed while shareing his personal vacation photos to a girl that he just met...made my heart melt. You see, my grandfather is not much of a talker...or an expressive feelings kind of guy. But he really took to my girl. The photo below helps describes how wonderful this visit was:

Jenn and my Grandfather

This picture alone says a thousand words. The compassion combined between these two lovely people give me goose bumps. My grandfather who has lead a wonderful long life, has many unique stories of the war, love, fine cuisine and love for all things photographed. and Jenn, a fighter, a heart made of pure love, and the most selfless acts of kindness that you will ever find. compassion. They both have tons of it to give, each in their own fun and unique way.

If you have ever lived and or visited Albuquerque New Mexico, you know that chile runs though the veins of the locals. Smothered or Christmas style are the terms that you learn growing up. Introducing Jenn to my love for all things chili was something exciting and equally scary at the same time. I knew that she was hesitant at first. I wanted to slowly introduce her to real authentic chile. I drive her to the local University's hottest restaurant for a afternoon bite. The restaurant is called The Frontier. It is an old restaurant that primary is frequented by college students because Albuquerques main University across the street from this fine restaurant. We walk up to order our food and I order: One Red Chile soft taco and Red chili enchilada with Spanish rice, refried beans and a beef taco. To slowly introduce her to her new obsession, we add the chile to side. She just needed one bite and I knew that Mexican food would never be the same for her.

A plate full of love!

Her tastebuds quivered in delight from the smoky red chile flavor. Locoaly handmade tortillas that made all the previous tortillas that she is accustomed to, seem bland and downright dreadful. The chile experiment went off beautifully!

Red Chile for days!

its these life experiences that I can look back on and say we did that, or we tried this. When the day is all said and done I want to look back on my life and say that we lived! We traveled, we laughed, we cried, we made love, that we made the best of this life and regret nothing. When thinking about all that we have experienced thus far, that smile thing decides to return to my face. To think that with all my weird ticks and odd and often strange thoughts that exist in my mind, she just looks at me and smiles with her eyes. Love is truly not dead but is very very much alive.

How do you know that your in love?

This is a question that constantly makes its round when you or someone you know, has entered a new relationship. Quite often you will get people asking ''Sure you like her, but don't you think it's all going to fast? I mean how do you know?'' I thought long and hard about this question and what I came up with was...nothing. You can not possibly answer that question and expect others to fully understand the gravity of the love that you feel. Love is a series of memories and moments and those two simple things that we take for granted carry so much weight. The way she asks you what shoe size you are because she wants to surprise you with a new pair of boots. The way she fills your Christmas stocking full of items that best represent you, she is all that you desire and have been searching for for years. With all my energetic mannerisms that make up the chemistry that is Chris, she welcomes these weird and often A.D.D. type features. I know that if I decided one day to constantly flicker the light switch on and off at a rapid rate, she would laugh and close her eyes and picture that days and nights were just passing in front of her. If I told her that I loved her in a strange cartoon type voice, she would respond with the best impression that she could muster of the voice that I had used. You see to her my random unique nerdy type personality, fits inside of her uniquely beautiful shaped heart. Every part of her is different and shaped perfectly to encompass the beauty that is her. She get me. Her crazy matches my crazy. You see love can't be explained. Love can only be felt by these two simple words memories and moments. I am selfish in saying that I don't want to explain to someone else, the experiences that I have collected with her. My heart has a firm and steady grip on all those memories and moments, that they cant possibly be extracted by others. My heart will only open up for her and her only.

To infinity and Beyond

''May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.'' -Edward Abbey

Looking back on all the experiences that I have so gracefully collected over the years, has turned out to be quite the collection. Many times laughter has enters my life as well as the long stinging sesnsation of loss. But one thing still reminds is that I am upbeat and more positive than I have ever been. My eyes are more open now then they were a year ago, I see the beautiful of everything and everyone because of this journey. You need to embrace and respect the dark in order to bask in the radiant light.

So where do I go from here? Well with the path that I am currently walking down, I can finally see a light off in the distance. Its blinding glow, invites me to play and explore it's wonderful positive content. It's child like movement, only activates my A.D.D. Bright shiny things!! Day by day year by year, my feet inch closer and closer. My hands extended outward like a lost hiker looking for his path in the dark. Who knows when I will reach the light? Maybe life is just a test to see how serious you are in reaching this destination that you know will bring you joy and love. But I know along the way, I will stumble, fall and often blame others for my failures. But that's the point. Nothing is easy nor should anything be easy. So I say bring on all the stresses of the world on my shoulders. Because I know for sure that my feet will move with the conviction and courage of a Spartin Warrior.

Light at the end of the tunnel

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Chris Chavez

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