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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Onward To 2016!

ddd
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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3 Proactive Steps To Becoming A Writer

As much as some of my haters despise the fact, I’m a writer who gets paid to write. I must be doing something right. While I am nowhere near my end goals, I am proud of how much progress I have made so far. I look back and think about how I got started, and it’s pretty simple: About three years ago, I decided that I would be a writer. I didn’t seek anyone’s approval or permission. I just made it a goal and decided it was what I was going to do, no matter what the task required of me. So I started reading various books and articles looking for some tips to get started. With those nuggets of information I took the first steps to making my dream come true. Here are some things you can do to get yourself on the same track.

1. Write 1,000 words a day in a private journal.

The most important step is to actually write. That sounds good in theory, but anyone who has tried to sit down in front of a daunting blank computer screen knows that it’s tougher than it sounds. There is all this pressure to think of something useful and insightful to say. Or something funny, witty, and intriguing. Or something informative and factual. It’s a tough way to start when you don’t know jack shit about the creative process.

Instead, start a journal. This can be handwritten, on a typewriter, or it can be a text file on your computer. That shit is superficial and doesn’t matter. What matters is that you actually write. Your goal is not necessarily to write anything interesting, but rather to pour shit out. Write about your day, write about what is pissing you off, write about some chick you want to fuck, write in the first person, second person, and third person. Talk to yourself and encourage yourself to keep on writing. Hop from subject to subject. Your goal here is quantity, not quality.

This will create muscle memory for your hands and will get it used to writing prose. Your hands will learn where every key on the keyboard is and if you’re a slow writer, it will hone your fingers so they can keep up with your thoughts. In turn it will make you become a quicker and more effective writer. This process of mind-dumping anything that comes to your wee little head will encourage you to say whatever you have to say instead of worrying about what someone will think about what you are saying.

About 99% of what you write in your journal will be complete garbage. But as you’re vomiting out sentence after sentence, occasionally one will flow out that is genius. Or you will think of good subject matter to explore and develop. Remember, no one is going to read your journal but you, so you can talk about anything you want. If you share a computer with a significant other, tell them you don’t want them to read your journal. You will automatically censor your random thought process if you think someone else will be reading it. If your significant other doesn’t respect the fact that you want to keep that part of yourself private, ask yourself why you wish to remain with such a person.

If 1,000 words seems too daunting to start off with, write 500, 250, or 100; it doesn’t fucking matter. All that matters is that you get the process started and steadily increase your output. Aspire to write every day, but if you can’t do that, do it every other day or every third day—whatever you need to get some sort of pattern started. Once you develop consistency in frequency and output for about a year, you will have developed your skill set significantly and will be ready to actually get what you have to say out there.

2. Start a blog.

When I had been writing in my journal for a little under a year, I decided to read the first blog post of one my favorite writers. He fucking sucked. “I’m a way better writer right now than that motherfucker was when he started his blog,” I thought to myself. That’s when I knew I was ready to start my blog.

You have to define your blog’s goal. Is it where you want to launch your career, or is it a blog where you’re just going to write about bullshit that no one outside of your immediate circle of friends will care about? This is where you start thinking about quality over quantity. What value do you bring to the reader? Why should they care about what you have to say? How can you say it in a way that’s insightful, funny, or witty? What makes your perspective unique? What can you say that no one else can?

One big piece of advice I’ve consistently read is that your blog has to have a theme: travel, make-up, gaming, cars, the military, picking up chicks, fitness, etc. This implies that the only way you can succeed is by being an expert in something. Unless you’re trying to build a business around the concept, that’s bullshit advice. By giving your blog a theme, you pigeonhole yourself into writing about a limited range of subjects. You need to explore different subjects and styles to truly develop your voice.

Your goal your first year as a public writer should not really be to thrive, but rather to survive. Maybe you post two articles a month like I did or you’ll post 20+ like my first writer friend Katie Hoffman was able to do. Ever since I started writing my blog a little over two years ago, I have seen many would-be writers come and go. They’ll get all excited, hitting the ground running and write five blog posts their first week. Then as quickly as they came, they disappeared.

I’ve seen many wannabe writers say things such as, “Well, if someone gave me the opportunity to write for their site, I’d write a lot.” Fuck you, no you wouldn’t, you fucking lazy piece of shit. Writing is merit-based, and an audience is not an entitlement. You must earn the readers’ respect and attention. You must create your own opportunities rather than just wait for someone to hand them to you. Starting a blog is how you create your own opportunity and get your work out for the world to see. Go through your first year consistently producing content without quitting.

3. Grow some rhino skin.

Writing is subjective. What one person believes is a wonderfully crafted piece, another will think is total crap. Understand that even if you write a technically sound piece, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be interesting or capture anyone’s attention. What matters most is the content.

You will be insulted. You will be told you should go kill yourself. You will be told you can’t write for shit. You will be told that you should quit. You will be told that you have no talent for this. You will be told that your articles are mundane and unoriginal. You will be mocked and laughed at. You will be trolled. Or perhaps worse of all, you will be ignored.

Fuck them. Keep your head up, be tough, and with an almost delusional attitude, keep your eyes on your goals. Remember, you didn’t need anyone’s permission when you decided you wanted to be a writer, and you sure as hell don’t need anyone’s permission to keep walking on the path. The only person that can stop you is you.

Some articles that you pour your heart and soul into will be complete flops. There will always be someone who is more successful than you. Instead of being jealous of their accomplishment, read what they write, analyze what they do, and try to figure out what you would benefit from incorporating it into your own style.

Becoming a skilled wordsmith is not something that happens overnight. It’s a long process that requires many lonely nights in front of the keyboard. Self-doubt, frustration, and writer’s block will always be looming. Yet if you’re willing to do what it takes, you will earn the right to call yourself a writer.

~Raul Felix

Check out more of my writing at Thought Catalog.

28 Things I’ve Learned By Age 28

It’s my 28th birthday today and as a writer, I’m obligated to pass on the insightful and not-so-insightful lessons I’ve learned during my short stint on this Earth. While I’m not the epitome of enlightenment whatsoever, I’ve made a lot of stupid mistakes, so a few life lessons have made their way through my thick skull. So take heed, young reader, as this late-20-something who knows nothing about life tells you something about life.

1.

Women are not special from men in any way. Some are sweet; some are sour. Some are warm and some are cold. Some are intelligent and some are complete idiots. They can be as kind as saints or as cruel as devils. The right one can bring out the best in you, and the wrong one can destroy you. Figuring out the ones who are genuine and the ones who are completely full of shit is the tricky part.

2.

It’s way better to look broke and have good amount of money in your bank account than to look like a baller and have a negative net worth.

3.

Being all muscle with no mind makes you a slightly smarter and much weaker gorilla. Being all brain and no muscle makes you a weak sack of shit who can’t protect himself from the physical world.

4.

Waking up next to a woman you love deeply is way more fulfilling than fucking a different chick every night of the week.

5.

Sometimes you will give something every last bit of effort and will power you have but will still face a crushing defeat. It’ll hurt you deeply, but you can take pride in the fact you tried when others would have been too afraid.

6.

You don’t have to be your father if he’s a piece of shit. The best thing about him being a piece of shit is that you don’t have to respect him. You don’t have to live up to his expectations or seek his approval. You can be a force of change and end the cycle of shitty fatherhood.

7.

Don’t read books because they’ll make you look like some sort of intellectual. Read them because it’s on a subject matter that interests you and will add to your life in whatever small way.

8.

If you don’t trust your girlfriend to have a girls’ night out and not suck another dude’s cock, then why the fuck are you with her? If she doesn’t respect you, fuck that bitch and move on.

9.

If you live in a First World country, you can truly make something out of yourself if you put in the honest effort. If you look for external forces to blame such as “the man,” your parents, or your surroundings, it’s a sign of your weakness. You can always find a way out. It may not be quick, easy, or pleasant, but there is always a way to put yourself in a better position.

10.

Your coworkers aren’t always your friends. In the Army, you could hang out, talk shit, and be yourself around your coworkers. It’s not like that in the real world.

11.

If you have to get drunk, just drinking beer will keep you out of more trouble than taking shot after shot of hard alcohol.

12.

Your emotions don’t matter. What matters is whether you do your job regardless.

13.

If a chick doesn’t text you back after two attempts, delete her number and move on.

14.

If you’re traveling across the US, pizza with all the toppings on it is the most bang-for-your-buck food you can eat. It’ll keep you full and energized all day long.

15.

Want motivation to be a writer? Look at the first blog post of your current favorite writer. Chances are, they were fucking terrible when they started. The only difference is that they started, put in the effort, and gave themselves time to evolve.

16.

It’s easy to get caught up in the extremes of liberalism and conservatism. It’s easy to think the world is black and white, that things are strictly right or wrong. That’s why it’s simple for the media to manipulate the masses with hysterical headlines and emotionally triggered stories. It takes a lot more to learn the grey side, the enemy’s side, and to realize not everything is so straightforward.

17.

I’ve never smoked cigarettes, but I know two things about them: Everyone who smokes them wants to quit, and a lot of hot chicks smoke them. So hanging out at the smoking section even though you’re not smoking isn’t too bad of an idea.

18.

If you have a fragile ego and can’t take criticism, you’re going to get crushed by real world when you’re starting out as an artist. The world is full of self-important critics and cowards who never had the balls to go after what they want. These types love to dig their teeth and nails into you and tear you apart. They see your failure as their success. Fuck them. Keep your head up, your scrappy attitude on point, and keep moving.

19.

There is more pride working a job that pays you minimum wage than staying at home and being a burden on your family.

20.

It’s better to keep your mouth shut than tell a lie.

21.

Take pictures. You don’t have to post them all up on Instagram or Facebook, but take a picture or two of special events in your life. Chances are they’ll remind you of things you’ve long forgotten about five or ten years down the line.

22.

If you do have to lie, keep your lie as close to the truth as possible. It’s easier to remember that way.

23.

You don’t have to like everyone and everyone doesn’t have to like you. You have to respect their right to exist, but that’s pretty much it.

24.

No woman is worth sacrificing a male best friend over. Chicks come and go; your best friends will be there for you as long as you remain loyal to them.

25.

Not everyone is so quick-witted that they learn on their first fuck-up. I’ve made the same mistakes two, three, twelve times before I actually learned the lesson I needed to learn.

26.

When you say most people do X, most people will think you’re not talking about them.

27.

There is a lot of power in positive male role models. I was lucky that I had this throughout my life, from my stepfather to my football coaches to the noncommissioned officers and officers who mentored me in the Army. They each had their flaws, but I took from each something that I could apply to myself.

28.

Sometimes the person with the biggest balls in the room is a woman.

~Raul Felix
Read more of my writings a Thought Catalog.

Why Should I Write About Her?

“Will you write about me?” The question is always on the tip of her tongue. She may not ask it immediately because she doesn’t want to seem like another one of your admirers. She’ll take her time, earn your trust, and maybe win your heart—but she’ll eventually ask it.

You don’t know what to say. You’re barely able to focus on the articles you’re writing, let alone whether this tryst will be something you’ll remember and feel is worth writing about a week, month, or year from now.

Girls all seem special in their own way when they’re in front of you. But the moment of lust eventually passes and only memories remain. That’s the tricky part. What will you remember about her? How her piercing blue eyes and her charming accent made you melt. Or maybe the way her body conformed to yours effortlessly, as if every one of her limbs was custom-made to fit your body. Or how she would visit you at work and wanted you to stick your fingers in her pussy when no one was looking. Maybe it will be how she snorted coke and took shots of whiskey before you fucked. Or the way she made you feel emotionally secure, even on the first night you ever spent with her. Or the way her youthfulness and naivety made you feel grizzled and ancient.

These are the random little things you remember about several of the recent women that passed through your life. Some used you for their own purposes and moved on, others rejected you when you wanted something more, and others seemed to fizzle away with no drama.

“Maybe,” you respond.

You’ve noticed that the women you’ve encountered all wish to be your muse. It feeds their vanity to know that they may be immortalized in one of your essays.

“What will you write?”

“I don’t know.”

That answer always seems to disappoint them, as if you’re supposed to be able to instantly pick sugary prose out from mid-air and assemble a lean, insightful account of this affair. You never know if she will be a footnote in your heart or have her own book.

You barely know her and her true character. She’s a woman and thus skilled in the art of deception. Not all women are liars, but enough of them are that you’ve learned to not fully trust one until she earns it.

She snuggles with you and tells you sweet nothings. She tells you of her life, philosophy, and aspirations. She tells you of her family and friends. She tells you about her job, coworkers, and career goals. She tells you about her ex-boyfriends and how she wants to focus on herself and isn’t ready for a serious relationship right now.

Maybe you’ll write about her. About how you met her. About how you charmed her. About the way she made your heart skip a beat with her beauty. About the conversations you had. About the times you fucked.

More than likely, she’ll be out of your life as quickly as she became part of it, whether it was after a one-night stand or having a several-month fling. Only when she’s out can you truly know if you want to write about her.

You don’t want to write about her. Writing about her will bring back the emotions you started to develop. Writing about her will put you in the state of vulnerability that you recklessly allowed her to see. Writing about her will be a confession of your need for a romantic connection. Writing about her would mean she meant more to you than you did to her. Writing about her will mean she won, and you’re too proud to let that cunt win.

~Raul Felix

Read more of my work at Thought Catalog.