32 Things I Learned By 32

IG: raulfelix275

For the last two years I have been happily embracing the life of a 30-something. The world is a much less intimidating place. People in general take me and my ambitions more seriously. As a man, I’ve come into my own emotionally and in maturity. It would be foolish to imply that I’m fully enlightened, but I’m glad to say I’m no longer a clueless 20-something. As your friendly neighborhood wordsmith, I think it appropriate to share with you some of the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years.

1. The past is the past, yet it isn’t. The past lives inside of us and molds us into who we are. I think about the Iraq War and my brothers-in-arms everyday. I think about the women in my past nearly as often. I think about my friends from high school and the stupid shenanigans we used to pull. I think about the way my family used to get together for the holidays and the values instilled in me. Not all of these memories are wonderful, some bring deep despair into my heart. They’re always there, ghosts who help me take better steps than the ones in past.

2. Travel has a point of diminishing returns. One of the biggest must-do experiences that’s been sold to our generation is the need to travel. It will help you learn and grow, but there is an eventual plateau to that growth. The core of who I am was always the same whether I was back on the block in Huntington Beach, California, serving in the Army, contracting in Israel, or finding peace in Upstate New York. If you are a cowardly, apathetic loser with no social skills in your hometown, what makes you believe that your’e going to be more outgoing in a strange environment where no one knows or cares about you?

3. Petty rivalries are a part of life. There are always going to be people in your social circle who don’t like one another, and you’re in the middle of it. There are always going to be people who don’t like you. It’s ingrained in our instincts to constantly be at war with some group of people or idea.

4. Bitching and moaning about who has more privilege isn’t going to get anyone anywhere. Shut your mouth and put in the work required to make it irrelevant. If you are at rock-bottom, you can still have clear-sight picture of the moon. There is more respect those who conquered and triumphed over adversity more than those who acquired their status through windfall wealth.

5. Hey, what scandal in the media were you pissed off about two weeks ago? Oh, you don’t remember do you?

6. Anger is both a powerful fuel and destructive force. I have an anger that is harbored deep within my soul. Correctly harnessed, it’s a fuel that gets me through my work day, pushes me harder in my work out, and helps create quality written work. When my anger is allowed to go rampant through excessive consumption of booze, it destroys much of the good I have done.

7. Some women will leave you broken and tattered. Others will help you heal. Hopefully, one will make you whole.

8. A true artist has no typical look. Growing up, I never had any ambitions to be a writer or any form of artist whatsoever. I didn’t feel it fit my personality. I was a clean cut, athletic, stuttering video game geek. Artists to me were those scrawny, trendy kids with crazy hair styles and with an insatiable need to express their tortured souls in a moleskin labeled “My Poetry.” As I experienced artistic work from people from all walks of life, I realized being a true artist is a state of mind, not a fashion statement.

9. Vice is a form of hiding from your true self. I’ve used drinking many times to keep my mind off the fact that I haven’t written shit in a while. It’s easier to pick up the bottle and forget about what you should do, than it is to do that task. If you don’t break that cycle at some point, it’ll break you.

10. It takes about a year to fully set yourself up and feel comfortable in a new city. Building a social life, acquiring a job, learning your way around town, and knowing the cool unique things takes pure raw temporal investment. Especially building new friendships. Face time is needed and is very important. Its hard to build a solid connection with someone you don’t have physical interactions with.

IG: raulfelix275

11. When you get into any new relationship, give the person a clean slate on your emotions. That means not projecting any past hurt any former lover may have inflicted on you. Don’t allow yourself to let the person project those past hurts on you either.

12. You are a product of your environment. I spent the formative years of my life in the 75th Ranger Regiment. Like anything else, I didn’t quite appreciate it until I left that place. I got to grow up in an environment full of the most type-A, competitive, intelligent, tough, and rough men in our country. It taught me level of masculinity, manhood, and perseverance that is probably unmatched anywhere else. It set the foundation of the man I am.

13. You are not defined by your environment. I still have the freedom to mold and sculpt myself into the kind of person I seek to be. I don’t have to be a certain way because that’s way people from the environment I grew up in tend to be. I am the master of my own character.

14. You don’t have to go to college right after high school, but really, what’s stopping you from taking that one class at community college. Knock some random general ed out. It doesn’t cost much and may benefit you more than you expect.

15. The worst thing they can say is “No.” That’s the mindset you must take whenever approaching anything in life: jobs, women, reaching out to possible mentors, applying to colleges, starting a business, and giving art the good junior-varsity try.

16. Embrace your minor vices. I love to start my day with two 16oz sugar free Rockstars®. Yet, every so often I get someone trying to lecture me how bad they are. Mother fucker, I work out and keep myself in pretty good health. Talk to me about your essential herbal teas when you have some muscle.

17. Go back and read books that you read when you were younger. You’ll be surprised by how much your world view has changed. One of my favorite writers, who I originally read when I was nineteen, is Tucker Max. While I still enjoyed reading his stories, I wasn’t as impressed now since I’ve had equally crazy over the top experiences.

18. Building good study habits is a discipline like anything else. You have to constantly be keep tabs on yourself and learn that in order to be successful tomorrow, you must sacrifice today.

19. Priorities in people’s lives change. Even those who you were at one time closest to may no longer align with what you value. Friends gets married, have kids, change a career, quit drinking, or may simply no longer believe the things that brought you together in the first place.

20. Information is a drug. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is how it’s administered. So much data is shoved down our throats that will never be useful. I’ve fallen into this addiction also. Constantly refreshing the feed for my “like” fix and those so precious comments. The social validation keeps one yearning for more and more, it just takes more likes and comments to get that high once again.

21. You must treasure your free time where you can indulge in your ambitions and lazy habits. Some weekends I’ll go on a sweet motorcycle trip to a new city. Other’s, I will layabout in my apartment watching 80’s and 90’s sit-coms and laugh uncontrollably. There is no shame in taking care of your needs, no matter how wild or typical.

IG: raulfelix275

22. Confidence is a muscle. The best way to build your confidence is to succeed at one task. Use that success as a spring board that will power through the inertia of doubt and make you stronger for the next challenge.

23. A good relationship is not built on only a few huge acts of generosity. Rather, it’s built on many small acts of kindness and caring compounded over time. The little sweet things you and your lover do for each other is what will keep your relationship healthy.

24. The significant other of your friend may not like you. Maybe you represent a part of his past that she wishes he’d leave behind. Maybe she doesn’t like that you go out and get drunk together. Maybe she doesn’t care for your general attitude toward life. It’s a frustrating position for me to be in because I can’t do much about it.

25. Some people are poison. A toxic person can destroy the most beautiful and promising of souls. Being able to keep those venomous personalities out of your life can literally save it.

26. Religious people don’t have a monopoly on love or morality. You don’t need to believe in a higher being in order to be a good person or one of character. I once had a Ranger buddy tell me that I couldn’t know love because I didn’t know Jesus. The self-righteousness of that statement infuriated me. I love my mother, my family, and my friends. I’ve been deeply in love with a few women. That belief in an of all knowing sky-daddy being the only way has caused more harm to humanity than any heathen activity.

27. The best way to get over a woman you loved deeply is to completely cut off communication with her. No trying to be friends. No checking up and seeing how the she is doing. That’s masochistic emotional torture. It prolongs the process of healing your heart and may keep you from pursuing other worthwhile relationships.

28. Nobody gives a fuck about what you could’ve done. You could’ve joined the military, you could’ve gone to an Ivy league, you could’ve been a doctor, you could’ve invested in bit-coin in the early years. But, you didn’t. What matters is what you did do and what you’re currently doing.

29. Writing as a craft is never ending. There will always be that next sentence, next paragraph, next article, and next book. As I’ve grown and changed over these few years, so have my challenges. The stuff that would burst out of me like wildfire a few years ago doesn’t even light a spark today. I’ve said a lot of what I’ve had to say on some subjects. It’s up to me as an artist to find that subject matter that reignites the flame in order to pour onto the page the words that are kindling in my head.

30. “You know what I liked about you helping me today, Raul?”
“What is that?”
“When I asked you to dig a hole two feet deep, you dug a hole two feet deep.”
Following simple directions is a core competency that is more valuable and less common than you think.

31. Ever notice that the news media makes you feel like the world is falling apart, but then you go outside and see the world is not falling apart. It’s like they have some sort of incentive to keep you glued to their programming.

32. The biggest myth of our lives and times is that we believe our lives and times to be especially unique. War, love, politics, civil unrest, creation, destruction, struggling, thriving, social norms, and social deviancies have always been a part of us. The reasons, locations, values, and methods may have changed, but at our core, we’re the same as humans from thousands of years ago. The greatest gift that our ancestors have left for us is the accumulation of the lesson they have learned. By reading, studying, and looking into the past we can apply those lessons into making our present and future greater.

Now, have a drink with me. A toast! To making it to thirty-three!

~Raul Felix

Read: Two Bros Smoke Weed And Compare Notes About Women
Read: 29 Things I Learned By 29
Read: 4 Things That Happen When You Start To Mature As A Man

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Onward to 2018!

IG: raulfelix275

Eventually, even the hardiest of vagabond’s souls longs for rest, stability, and the familiar. While visiting California for my aunt’s wedding, it really weighed on me how much I missed my friends and family. I had been gone from home for over two years. Most of that time was spent in the picturesque town of Ithaca, New York, a place where I found solace as I worked through my personal demons. After working hard to establish a life there, I burned it all to hell, ditched whatever didn’t fit on my motorcycle, and then traveled randomly around the U.S. until my money started to run out.

The goal was to make it home by Christmas Eve 2016, but snow storms on the I-8 made the night trek through the mountains not only a blisteringly cold affair, but a suicidal one. I was forced to turn back as my family celebrated Christmas Eve. That night I crashed at my Ranger buddy compound in the outskirts of Yuma, Arizona. Rammer’s compound is guarded by eight pit-bulls split into four, two-dog teams who provide three-sixty security. They are divided into four kennels lining the entire perimeter and are constantly rotated in order to keep their alertness up. Effectively preventing Santa Clause from delivering any Christmas cheer.

I made it home Christmas Day, but my family doesn’t do shit on Christmas Day. I rung in 2017 in a dignified manner by getting smashed with my So Cal Ranger buddy’s in Riverside.

The month of January and February would find me couch surfing at my aunts house in Downey. I needed an income. I would ride my motorcycle to the various downtowns of Orange County, Los Angeles, and the Inland Empire hitting up dozens upon dozens of bars and restaurants in search of work. I even hit up the old establishments I used to work at. But all of my efforts were for naught. I had failed to account for the post holidays crash in patronage the restaurant industry experiences. Luckily, my step-dad had random Mexican day-laborer work for me to do that gave me money for gas and food.

Seeing these actions weren’t yielding results, I decided to expedite my future plan: I enrolled in electrician school using my GI Bill. In a last minute scramble, I got all my shit together and signed up for a full course load for the spring semester. I made the rapid transition from responsibility free vagabond/bum to full-time student/bum.

Not liking to be a burden on family, I rented out a room from my Ranger buddy, Dirty Dick, and commuted from Moreno Valley to Long Beach five days a week for school for a month. I also climbed the M Trail on Box Springs Mountain four times that month as I worked out to rebuild the beastly body I lost in those four months of travel and debauchery.

IG: raulfelix275

By April, I got a room to rent at my two best fiends from high school, K-Dawg and Sleazy-E, house in Santa Ana. Determined to do well as a student, I kept myself disciplined about my study habits and ended up with a 3.6 GPA; the highest my dumb ass has ever had. I stayed true to my roots as a womanizer and dated various assortments of white chicks, Latina’s, and cougars.

As spring gave way to summer, I found myself needing a job again to see me through until fall. I wasn’t getting those sweet ol’ GI Bill bucks. With a ridiculous amount of foot work, frustration, dry holes, and following up on every lead I came across, I got myself a bartending job at an Italian restaurant in Newport Beach and a Mexican restaurant in Santa Ana. Thus putting into my pocket that extra bit of cash I needed. Bartending is something I enjoy psychologically because it gives me a social life outside of the my normal group of friends. Plus, I’m a pimp as fuck bartender.

During the fall semester, I moved out of K-Dawg’s and Sleazy-E’s spot and got my own studio apartment in Long Beach. While I loved living with them, there is nothing like having a little box to call your own. It took me longer to create a firm foothold in California than I expected, but I am happy to be back in my hood.

While it’s always in the back of my mind, my writing waned dramatically this year. No real excuses other than it wasn’t a priority for me.

“There’s nothing to stop a man from writing
unless that man stops himself.
If a man truly desires to write,
then he will.
Rejection and ridicule will only strengthen him.
and the longer he is held back
the stronger he will become,
like a mass of rising
water against a dam.”
-Charles Bukowski

Yet, the yearning for artistic expression builds up inside of me. When I started writing this blog in March of 2012, I was a twenty-five year-old security contractor in Israel. I had no idea where it was going to lead when I started it.

It has been something that has followed me through the different lives I’ve lived since then.

It has helped keep my sanity and make sense of the challenges I’ve faced professionally and personally as I tried to make it in this world.

It has helped me develop and grow not only as a man, but as a human being.

It has given me something to constantly work on and improve upon.

It has helped keep me accountable for my actions and values.

The beauty of writing is that as you evolve, it evolves. There is no finish line, only the next line. That is both daunting and liberating. Daunting because it never ends. Liberating because your skills have limitless potential. The potential is the fuel that will see you through the drudgery of it all. Even then, you must continue to prove yourself time and again.

Thank you, dear reader, for your support throughout years. I look forward to writing more of my heartwarmingly-fucked up pieces that you’ve come to hate and adore. Onward to 2018!

~Raul Felix

Read: 30 Things I Learned By Age 30
Read: Onward to 2016!
Read: Why Young Men Should Become Cougar Slayers

Read more of my work at Thought Catalog
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3 Hard Lessons About Life I Learned While Writing Online

Thought Catalog Featured Writers Page Mid-2014.

Thought Catalog Featured Writers Page Mid-2014.

Freedom of speech is a double-edged sword. By utilizing your First Amendment rights, you may run the risk of upsetting some overly sensitive people. Such people may even seek to strike back at you, hoping to bully you into conforming. Such is the nature of writing. Ever since I’ve embarked on the writing path, I’ve experienced a few hard lessons on how my real life can be affected by the crazy shit I write.

1. Never Tell Your Coworkers That You’re A Writer

In mid-2013, I was working as a bouncer at a restaurant/bar in Huntington Beach, CA. It was a corporate establishment that made the big bucks because of its prime location overlooking the beach, decent Mexican food, and practices of hiring masses of young, hot chicks with sexy bodies. I had the goal of becoming a bartender, but since I had no experience in the restaurant industry other than working at Taco Bell in high school, I saw being a bouncer as a stepping stone.

This was quite exciting for me since this would be the first time I ever got to work with an overabundance of attractive females. My previous means of employment—the Army and security contracting—had left much to be desired on that front. I had also read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and Waiter Rant by Steve Dublanica which seared into my mind images of a work environment where people hustled and partied hard while having cool personalities, crazy life stories, and forging friendships.

I had also been writing my blog, RaulFelix.com, for a little over a year at that point. It included such wonderfully crass articles as “I’d Pee In Her Butt,” “Politically Incorrect and Loving It,” “The Pick-Up Follies: The Gimp,” and “Where Are My Whores?” Having been accustomed to the fucked up sense of humor my military and security contracting buddies possessed, I was naively unaware how my writing would tarnish my reputation at work as I gave my coworkers my business card to promote myself.

bc

While my male coworkers loved my writing, many of the female cohorts began to gossip among themselves. Sleazy-E, my best friend who also worked there, fed me intel that the girls were turning against me and complaining to the management about my misogynistic writing. They also thought I was creepy as fuck.

This realization came to fruition one night when I went to party there with my Ranger buddy, Dirty Dick. A lot of the waitresses were drinking and hanging amongst themselves. I tried to talk to them and introduce them to Dirty Dick, yet they were standoffish and barely acknowledged us.

“These chicks look like they fucking hate you,” Dirty Dick said.

“I think they do,” I smirked.

Over the next couple of weeks I went from having four or five shifts a week to being given just one. Knowing my days there were numbered, I got myself a new bouncer gig at a bar down the street. I was eventually laid off as part of the post-summer cutbacks, but I knew the truth. Later on, Sleazy-E (who was now training to be a manager) told me that one of the managers requested that I not return there again. It was just a bouncer job, so the loss was negligible. The lesson learned was priceless: Never tell any of my coworkers about my writing career.

2. Chicks Either Love Or Hate Me On Tinder

I was initially opposed to online dating because I felt that it favored women over men. Bitches got bombarded with messages and dick pics, while we dudes had to make ourselves interesting while resisting the urge to send a picture of our dick. Surprised by the success my knuckle-dragging buddies were having, I decided to give Tinder a shot. I soon realized how this medium favored two of my natural talents: the ability to write a short, witty, and hilarious profile and selecting pictures of myself that highlighted my best qualities and minimizing my goofier ones.

TinderRaul

I soon developed a standard operating procedure of just liking girls who weren’t ugly or fat. Rarely looking beyond their first or maybe second photo. Once they matched me back was when the real fun began. At times, after a thorough inspection of their profile I would realize that I accidentally swiped right to an ugly chick or a fatty, so I would correct the deficiency by simply unmatching them immediately. Then, using info gathered by her pictures and profile, I would initiate a conversation. About one in five girls would respond.

After some witty banter, chicks usually would ask, “Oh, you’re a writer? What do you write about?” That’s when I would copy and paste my five pre-selected pieces that show me at my best: my feelings on my military service, my ability to love tenderly, my Mexican-American family values, the lessons I’ve learned from womanizing, and my dominant, animalistic, lustful side.

Some chicks would say they’ll read it later but not really get around to it. These ones would usually fizzle out.

Some chicks would read one or two pieces, be slightly curious to know more about me, and meet for a drink because at least I wasn’t boring.

Some will really like what they read, then go to my site and randomly click around and commence to binge-read. Loving what they read, thinking it was insightful and raw, they tell me they’d love to get a drink.

Some will start impressed, then dig deeper and find some of my more risqué pieces. She would then morph into Feminazilla, laying waste to the Tokyo that is my writing. They’d spit scathing remarks about how men like me perpetuate the patriarchy and impose the Madonna/whore double standard. Then they’ll speculate on my broken relationship with my mother, insisting that I truly hate women and have enough psychological baggage to keep a seasoned psychiatrist engaged. It’s a shame that such a classically handsome man could spew such filth. Also, I must have a small dick. *Unmatch

It’s all for the best, really… let the chicks who don’t dig me filter themselves out, I don’t give a fuck. I’ve met some pretty great ones who do dig my style.

3. People May Recognize You In Real Life And Won’t Like You

“Are you Raul Felix?” a beautifully tattooed chick with purple hair asks.

“Yeah,” I say as I am cleaning glasses while working as a bar-back at a bar in Ithaca, New York.

“The writer?”

“Yeah.”

“You wrote that article about stinky pussies!”

“Yeah,” I laugh, “but did you bother to read the rest of it?”

“No, I just remember the stinky pussy part,” she replies.

I smirk and shake my head as I continue on about my duties.

“Can I take a picture with you?”

“Sure!” I give a shit-eating grin to the camera.

I receive a text message from the owner of the establishment, “DirtBagJim,” a few days later:

“Raul, I have received numerous complaints that you have written articles online that are offensive to women. Some customers and employees have shown concern. I can no longer offer you employment.”

Raul: “Huh…because I have treated every single employee I work with respectfully. Also, I’m am an experienced bouncer, bar-back, and bartender. I’m hard-working, have customer-service skills, and I have muscles—I’m a perfect bartender.”

DirtbagJim: “While I agree to that, we just have a huge LGBT community and we can’t risk someone like you working here. I’ll give you a reference if you wish.”

Raul: “I never promoted my writing nor did I hit on any of my coworkers, but I guess that’s the price you pay for being a man who tells it how it is.”

The main reason I call the owner DirtBagJim is because he was supposed to give me three bartending shifts per week. It was only to lure me away from my low-paying, yet educational, fun, and consistent bartending job at a vegan restaurant. Instead, he opted to give me two bar-back shifts in a one-month period under the guise of me learning his set-up, promising to give me bartending shifts when the students showed up. I’m a straightforward man who works for a living, so it really pisses me off when motherfuckers jerk me around.

After getting fired, I posted a status update on Facebook of what had occurred. I got a lot of encouragement from my friends, family, and fans. My boys at Article 15 Clothing were more than keen to launch a social media nuke on the establishment and tarnish their reputation for firing a combat veteran for exercising his First Amendment rights. While grateful, I decided it wasn’t worth dropping a $200,000 missile on a $100 tent. I opted to carpet-bomb my resume all over town. Two days later, I had a new bartending gig at a pizza restaurant in Collegetown with an awesome cast of coworkers.

I went back into that bar on a Saturday night a couple of weeks later since I know he is always there on busy nights overseeing things.

I walk up to DirtBagJim. “You still owe me for 10 hours’ worth of work.”

“It’s really busy, come back Tues—”

“—no, you’re unreliable. I want my money now,” I sternly say to him, crossing my arms.

He pulls out his phone and types out a text message.

I wait, staring him down. The bar staff looks at us nervously. Then a cute little thing in an elegant black dress with a sweet smile appears with a check for $50 and hands it to me.

I look at DirtBagJim and reach out for his hand and shake it.

“You have been honest for the first time in your life,” I say into his ear and walk out.

While trying to keep my business and artistic sides separate can be a hassle, it’s worth it. I’ve made connections with some great people. Have had dudes I went to combat with reach out to me and tell me they love what I write. I’ve had my real-life friends, family, and fans be my biggest supporters and help me out. I’ll keep at it cause I’m a scrappy motherfucker. Freedom of expression has a price; I’m willing to pay it.

~Raul Felix

Read: 3 Proactive Steps To Becoming A Writer
Read: A Few Maxims On Writing
Read: 3 Life Lessons An Old Man Called “Wild Bill” Taught Me

Read more of my work at Thought Catalog
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30 Things I Learned By Age 30

IG: raulfelix275

IG: raulfelix275

This year I hit the big Three-O, which means I’m no longer an overeager twenty-something who is trying to figure it all out to prevent becoming a failure in life. I am now a thirty-something who realizes he doesn’t need to have it all figured out to get the most out of life. This year I followed my standard operating procedure: worked, wrote, read books, worked out, chased after women, traveled, partied hard, and attempted to become a better version of myself than I was last year. Consequently, a few life lessons worked their way into my twisted thought process.

1.

Solitude is a powerful tool for gaining control of your life. It allows you to traverse down that rabbit hole that is your mind and reflect on the events that molded you. During that long process, you will slowly and painfully begin to gain insight. What you do with that insight is what will determine the course of your life.

2.

Whenever you seek advice, be fully aware of whom you’re seeking it from. Does the person whose counsel you’re taking into account have any practical experience in the matter? Or are their opinions formed from theory and an unrealistic idea of how things should or might be, not how they are?

3.

When a woman is truly into you, she will find out everything she can about you on social media. She’ll look through your old statuses and photo albums. She’ll check out your exes if they’re still tagged in your photos. She’ll stalk every single female who comments or likes your updates. She may never let on that she does that, but she does. You do it, too; don’t lie.

4.

The world of art is quite daunting. The task of creating something out of nothing is so tough that many stop themselves before they truly begin. The thing is that you have your experiences, your skills, the events that created you, all the lessons that you learned, and the conversations you endlessly analyzed in your mind. You own everything that you have done and has happened to you; use and embrace them.

5.

Most traditional artistic education that is offered at universities is overrated. Those who attend such institutions are seeking permission to pursue their artistic endeavor from an authority figure more than anything else. One question I get asked often about my craft is if I went to school for it and I respond with a disgusted, “Fuck no.” I’m still working my way upwards in this art form, but through self-education and discipline I’ve accomplished more than most creative writing majors I’ve met.

6.

Charlatans appear in all forms in this world. Beware those with grandiose promises of riches for little hard work or those who demand an unreasonable amount of handiwork for little reward. Both are a form of exploitation—one by taking advantage of your laziness and gullibility, and the other by taking advantage of your work ethic and ideals.

7.

Staying in shape is simple. Not easy, but simple. Don’t try to overcomplicate it. Pick an exercise routine, do it right, push yourself, don’t always eat like a pig, and keep showing up for an extended period of time and it will get you somewhere.

8.

Women have it easier when it comes to getting laid, but not in terms of finding a quality mate. A lot of guys fail at the most basic fundamentals of being a man. If you’re able to achieve those fundamentals, then you’ll be the kind of man women want to fuck.

9.

If you want to do something extraordinary, don’t worry too much about the opinions of the ordinary folk.

10.

Yet remember to remain humble about your accomplishments and respectful of those who have accomplished less than you. You are, after all, just another human being among billions.

11.

Extremists of any sort have a disproportionate amount of pull. That’s because most people are moderate by nature, so they can’t be bothered to care about a certain issue until it becomes critical. There are bills to be paid and life to be lived, after all.

12.

One day you or those close to you will die. It could be after you finish reading this or sixty years from now. The best way keep honoring those who have fallen before you is to live your life to the best of your ability.

13.

Haters are gonna hate. I’ve lost friends, jobs, and potential lovers because of the words I write. I’ve been told I have no talent, that I should quit, that I should kill myself, that I should shut the fuck up, and that I need to keep my ideas to myself. These comments are usually left by emotional cowards who don’t even use their real names. It takes an uncommon amount of mental toughness to endure these slings and arrows launched by the trollish hordes. Yet I’m still here writing and most of those fuckers are forgotten. No one builds monuments for critics; only those who dare greatly earn their place in history.

14.

You can still learn from your critics. Let your ego take constructive advice and apply it where you’re able. One of the most valuable skills you can learn in life is the ability to distinguish between genuine criticism and blind hatred spilled out by malicious mouth-breathers with a skewed perspective on life.

15.

What is more gratifying than waking up next to a beautiful woman you deeply love naked in your arms each morning? Nothing.

16.

Just because someone is famous doesn’t mean they’re smarter, better, or even more interesting than you are. I’ll indulge in the reality-TV junk food on occasion. I often can’t believe how many punk-ass bitch excuses of human beings make it on these shows. They’ll make a significant emotional event out of something that most normal human beings will brush off with a laugh.

17.

Writing never gets easier. If you’re writing something worth a damn, then it requires you to constantly dig deep, trudging in order to find that moment of raw humanity. When you do, you’ll forget how hard it was until you have to search for that next moment.

18.

The person who talks the most usually has the least to say.

19.

Running up the steep hills of Ithaca, New York gave me a lot of time to think. One of my best epiphanies came to me during a particular run. As I was running through the campus of Cornell, I analyzed the faces and movements of the students as I passed them. They lacked awareness of their environment, eyes glued to their phones, bits of gossipy chitchat in that nasally tone of voice only college kids seem to have, and slumped postures as they went about their day. I thought to myself, “You motherfuckers aren’t smarter than me.” That doesn’t imply that I know everything, because I don’t. It means that you don’t need an elite education to be educated like an elite person.

20.

You know how you get people to like you at your workplace? Work hard, make their job easier, and be cool.

21.

Some friendships aren’t made to last forever. You will drift apart from some of the people who knew you best at a certain point in life. Your priorities and interests will change; so will theirs. There is no need to be resentful about it; just be grateful you had those friendships when you did.

22.

The ability to shut the fuck up is very underrated.

23.

Narrow-mindedness comes in many forms. Some of the most unaccepting and condescending people I’ve met in my life have been open-minded free-thinkers who believe you must think as they do or you’re an *insert term that discredits your opinions in an educated manner*. Some of the most accepting and welcoming people I’ve met have been those with a more traditional belief set.

24.

Not every single chick is going to be into you. I wasted so much time and energy obsessing over why X or Y girl wasn’t into me when I felt I had all the qualities she should find attractive in a man—so much that I overlooked the chicks who were into me. No matter how high a caliber of a man you become, the chick whose bikini pictures you’ve been jerking off to from Facebook may still not pay you any attention because you’re not her type. Fuck it; move on without throwing a temper tantrum. There are over 3.5 billion women in the world; I’m sure a few million will dig you.

25.

It’s easy to overestimate what you can accomplish in a day or week but underestimate what you can accomplish in a few years. At the age of 25, I decided I wanted to be a writer. I knew it was going to be tough as fuck, but I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t quit no matter what. There have been times that I have slacked, and it showed in my professional progress, but quitting never entered my mind. I have explored different styles of writing and have had successes and failures, but with each piece I struggled through I learned and gained more insight into this art form. I’m not a big name, but you can bet your ass that nearly everyone who knows me recognizes that I am a writer and a damned good one at that.

26.

We humans have a tendency to glamorize our past. Veterans often look back on our military days as our glory years. We were a part of something bigger than ourselves and took part in history. We forget how overworked our bodies were, our nearly nonexistent social life, the lack of autonomy we had over our lives, the petty feuds we had with some cocksucker from our platoon, and how we couldn’t wait to get the fuck out. The past was tough; if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t take any pride in it.

27.

They say time heals all emotional wounds, but some of them will leave scars as permanent reminders.

28.

Common sense is not common.

29.

Whether you love them or hate them, your family gave you the base foundation of who you are. I’ve been lucky to be blessed with such an amazing family that has supported me in whatever I decided to do, whether they understood my reasons or not. You may not see them for months or years, but the best gift you can give them is to make something productive out of yourself.

30.

The artistic path is not linear. It requires a lot of suffering, loneliness, hopelessness, stagnation, and frustration. It requires others and yourself questioning your progress. It requires the constant feeling of failure. It requires you constantly doing the work. It’s a path that gives you countless opportunities to quit and no one will blame you for doing so. It’s one whose rewards are few and far apart. It’s a path without a destination, where scattered throughout will be the remnants of your heart and soul.

~Raul Felix

Read: 28 Things I’ve Learned By Age 28
Read: 29 Things I Learned By Age 29
Read: To My Future Wife: I Will Make You Proud To Have Me As Your Man

Read more of my work at Thought Catalog
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I Look At Your Dead Blog

I look at your dead blog,
Not a single update in over two and a half years.
You were so avid about it,
Writing those juicy sex stories,
Some fact, some fiction,
Other’s a combination of the two.
Writing was your dream.

I look at your dead blog,
As I am reading over your old entries,
I am reminded of how much more talented I thought you were than me.
The biting jokes,
The shameless sultriness of your words,
The glorification of promiscuity,
Your potential still glows.

We began exchanging e-mails,
Instant messages and video chats.
We would talk every morning.
You believed in my writing,
You would proof read my posts,
You taught me the difference between than and then.

I fell hard.
We made plans for me to fly out to Toronto to see you.
You grew angry with me when I told my ex-girlfriend I was going to see you.
Your unreasonable, female jealousy took hold.
You told me you wouldn’t see me.
I went anyway to prove how serious I was.
Your Eastern European coldness was unmoved.

I walked the streets of that fucking city a broken man,
Holding my hand out, imagining I was holding yours.
Every moment felt like a fucking waste.
I ate those lonely, silent meals.
I drank beers at bars staring into my glass,
I smoked weed at the Hot Box Cafe while writing shitty poetry.
I cried myself to sleep in my cheap hostel room.

I returned to California,
With a tattered heart,
Embarrassed that I was so naive to believe I could prove myself.
A bit of my romantic innocence forever lost.
I wrote motivational pieces to give myself hope.

I hated you for a long time.
I was quickly forgotten by you.
I couldn’t even look at your pictures without the pain returning.
Now when I open that folder,
There’s the merciful feeling of indifference.

A picture of your first baby is your default on Facebook now.
Your priorities have changed.
You have found your happiness.
I look at your dead blog.
Writing was your dream,
Yet, I’m the one who is still pounding away at the keyboard.

~Raul Felix

Read: Empty Chair
Read: She May Have Given Up On You
Read: Heartbreak

Read more of my work at Thought Catalog
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Onward To 2016!

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Sometimes all you need to fix your soul and situation in life is to pop smoke and get the fuck out of Dodge. In the latter part of 2014, I found myself in Upstate New York because of a temporary job that I couldn’t turn down. After working the gig for a few months, cuts occurred and I was out of purgatory. I then traveled around the North East for a month and settled into a lovely little town that caught my heart named Ithaca.

I arrived on a bus from New York City a little after midnight on a blistering cold February night, toting only a backpack and a small duffle bag. With no friends or family in the town, I set off to start a new chapter in my life and put into place some life principles and habits I’ve been pondering around in my head.

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”
-Bruce Lee

I asked myself: What professional principles do I need to ingrain into myself in order to take my writing to the next level and move up the ladder of professional success? What kind of habits do I need to develop in order to become the kind of man I want to be? I figured I needed to do at least two out of four of the following every day:

Work, Work out, Read, and Write.

When I wasn’t sure what to do on a day, I just figured out what I can do in order to make two of these things happen. Did I work my bar job today? Mind too fried to write? I’ll just work out. I need to let my body rest, and I don’t work at any of my jobs today. I’ll read and write.

As simple as it seems, I didn’t always hit the mark. Dates with pretty ladies, random nights of debauchery, riding my motorcycle to visit my Ranger buddies, and at times, the laziness dragon caught me. Yet, those days when I did I hit the mark happened more often than not.

My output with pieces this year was pretty low compared to 2014 when I was pissing off people with sand in their vagina on Thought Catalog and making a name for myself. I began to read and write more poetry and gain a deeper understanding of it. The few articles I did write for Thought Catalog this year I was very proud of.

For This One Day, She Made Me Forgot was one of the hardest pieces I’ve ever written. While other pieces have been tough to write, this one was a deep knife cut per word and each sentence caused tears to pour down my face. I was emotionally drained upon completing it and had one of the deepest sleeps in my life.

29 Things I Learned By 29 showed that I have more going on my head than my quest for fame and pussy. It also has generated the most fan mail for me since The Division of Generation Y. Thanks to Ryan Holiday, I got to interview one of my favorite writers, Tucker Max. It was pretty fucking tits to interview a man I looked up to since I was 19.

“To be an artist means: not to reckon and count; to ripen like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of Spring without fear lest no Summer might come after. It does come. But it comes only to the patient ones, who are there as if eternity lay in front of them, so unconcernedly still and far. I am learning it daily, learning it through pains to which I am grateful: patience is all!”
-Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet

Those of you who have followed me since my early days have noticed how dramatically my writing style has changed. Those of you who are new, probably have noticed how different a lot of my pieces are from one another. I have never wanted to remain static as a writer. I want to throughly learn, explore, experiment, and develop myself in this art form. Only through constantly pushing myself in new avenues and approaches will I become the versatile, honed, and unique writer I need to be in order to be placed among the greats.

I love writing my panty-wetting, heart-wrenching poetry and essays as much I love writing my politically incorrect, misogynistic asshole rant pieces. They’re just different aspects of my personality.

Women have been the light and bane of my existence. That sums up my attitude toward the fairer sex for this year. I’ve been on dates and had some flings with some very lovely women and have had my heart stomped by a couple.

I have made a good, little life for myself in this small town. A lot of people know my name and face. I have a few cool friends that I hang out with regularly, and I’ve been to a few random college parties. Also, I got fired from one bar job because some chick recognized me while I was working behind the bar and told the owner I wrote a bunch of articles online that are offensive to women. She did me a favor because the owner is a worthless sack-of-shit who was jerking me around and not following through on the promises he made me. I found a better establishment to work at afterwards with an awesome manager who actually does what she says she is going to do.

Solitude was the main theme of this year. Most of my time, I spent alone. I started the process ingraining the principles of success into my life: Running the hills of Ithaca in the snow, reading poetry by Charles Bukowski and Edgar Lee Masters, watching every single documentary on war I could find on YouTube, putting my mind at peace by riding my motorcycle, swimming in Cayuga Lake, slinging drinks, and writing.

“You cannot repress anger or love, or avoid feeling them, and you should not try. But you should be careful about how you express them, and most important, they should never influence your plans and strategies in any way.”
-Robert Greene, The 48 Laws Of Power

You can expect more output from me in 2016 than in 2015. I needed to take a step back and reconsolidate my life. I have also been working on a project that I will I announce when I feel appropriate. I have found a serenity within myself that has allowed me to tame some of the demons that have held me back. Thank you for your continued support, and I cherish every single one of you for reading my words. Onward to 2016!

~Raul Felix

Read: Onward To 2014
Read: Onward To 2013
Read: 28 Things I’ve Learned By 28

Read more of my work at Thought Catalog
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A Few Maxims On Writing

Keep the ugly,
Find the beauty in the ordinary,
Find the ordinary in the extraordinary.

Write what you know,
Write what you don’t,
Make up the rest.

Take what an academic says with a grain a salt,
What a troll says with a smirk,
What a fan says graciously,
What a lover says as flattery,
What a best friend says with a shot of whiskey.

You’re not special,
Give it time.
No one is waiting for your genius,
Your genius is waiting on you to do the work.

Show up everyday,
Write something great,
Write something good,
Write something mediocre,
Write a ton of terrible pieces.

Struggle,
Hate yourself,
Feel like a failure.
Learn from those greater than you.
Struggle some more.

Lose all hope.

Show up everyday,
Write a ton of terrible pieces.
Write something mediocre,
Write something good,
Write something great.

Feel great.

Check your spelling and grammar.
Be scared to share your work.
Do it any way.

Know the rules,
Fuck the rules.

~Raul Felix

Read: Keep Moving Young Man
Read: How To Find The Greatness Within You
Read: The Witch In My Dream

Read more of my work at Thought Catalog
Follow me on Instagram.
Follow me on Twitter.