INSHALLAH

Take what’s left and make it right


I feel numb. I feel lost inside of my own head, with less control and understanding than ever. I thought it was supposed to get easier, simpler. Less confusing. I get anxiety and rely on different substances to quell my apprehension regarding facing the world sober.

Weed, women and coffee. Never alcohol. Not opposed — just no attraction. I enjoy control. I enjoy the facade of believing I have a say in this world, and alcohol awakens the realization of despair. I don’t know; this is a social drug.

I’m intense when sober. I feel an elevated conscience and connected, yet filled with existential dread and anxiety. Instead of channeling these super-intense feelings and emotions, I run from them. Hide. Medicate.

I’m afraid of my own success, or my own capabilities. I’m afraid of what kind of member of society I could be if I were a productive citizen. Less anarchic. I’d become perhaps complicit in whatever issues I have with modern life, but I’d also have a ground to stand on and a voice of change backed up by reality.


I can’t make changes on the sidelines, and I’ve wasted years observing.


I find issues with making money, yet all of my dreams remain unrealized essentially from a lack of funding. I’ve yet to build a family for myself, a career, a business — an opportunity to educate others. I have none of this, and perhaps due to funding. Then the issue becomes: why is there a lack of funding?

I feel completely unconnected to the world around me. I am struggling with reconciling my personal beliefs and tenants with the very simple reality of reality. I could stop struggling if I gave up trying to hold onto my ideals, built from the ground up. I could join the rest and avoid the coarse abrasions felt each time I go against the grain.

And yet, I’m afraid. I know the solace taken in being amongst the majority would rival the bitterness felt for changing my ways; for giving up and giving in. I love myself but recognize I’ve coasted due to laziness and a misinterpretation of the lack of a formidable challenge.

I’ve found it easier to observe from the cut, failing to participate in what actually makes Life. I chalk it up to low-brow or not challenging and prefer to stay high, numb and removed.

What a coward.


Everything looks easy from the sidelines. Everything is easy when you’re not involved or invested or emotionally attached.

Put your heart into something. Try your hardest and fail. Find the courage and discipline to try again.


I talk the talk but don’t back it up and then rationalize said lack of backing it up by labeling it “easy” or a “waste of time” and in the process do nothing but waste time. I have absolutely nothing to show for my life except a good heart, and sleep at night knowing if my heart remains pure, this itself is a feat. Yet, how will the world after me know of this heart? This nobility?


Without action, I’ll become a ghost.


I won’t have any personal history to be proud of, to show my kids — if I am even awarded that blessing. I deserve nothing, am owed even less. I’ve felt comfortable sitting back and waiting: waiting for greatness to call, or knock at my door. It never has, and the few blessings I’ve had were wasted due to lack of recognition, lack of appreciation or simply never being satisfied.

My hypocrisy ruins me. I’ve broken so many hearts and lost so many great opportunities by simply having a wandering eye, by never being comfortable enough to settle, to slow down. To appreciate. My manners supersede true appreciation. I voice my appreciation but overlook the blessings I’ve been lucky enough to obtain.

It doesn’t matter much what my philosophies and theologies are. I’ve done nothing. I am nothing.

I have supreme self-belief and realize my capabilities and potentials. I just do not execute. I fool myself into thinking I’m lacking a supplemental substance needed to focus, to produce and execute.

It’s a lie, and I’m telling it to myself. Fooling no one else. Plagued by a dual-dysfunction of trying to be a perfectionist and a failure to initiate. I’ve failed to recognize the value of simply producing without focus on the product nor the perfection of the product.


I was speaking with an orchestra conductor of my inability to take my ideas and projects and goals to the next level, and he simply asked me: How long does it take to write a story?

Lost in my technicalities, I tried to answer with a specific time-frame. “Six months.” Maybe “two years.” What he said was everything, though:

“It will take as long as you let it.”

What he meant — especially within the arts — is if there is a huge emphasis on perfection, or fear of completion or any hindrance on the product from coming alive, it will go on as long as allowed. When deadlines are imposed, maximum effort is given to get the project as perfect as possible by the deadline, but eventually an actual submission is needed.

Practice must be implemented, and self-discipline must be honed. This way, when deadlines are given, the medium is sharpened and ready to attack, rather than scrambling to make something as perfect as possible.


A writer must write. A painter must paint. A writer without material is not a writer. I’m constantly trying to get everything and anything in my head as perfect as possible before release.

This is not how art works, not how people work nor how life works.


I want to be a father, a leader, a teacher. I want to leave a positive, lasting and meaningful legacy on Earth before my time comes. I want to raise my own entire basketball team of leaders. I constantly reflect on Tupac saying he may not change the world but he will spark the mind that will. I want to contribute greater than I have, but thus far have refused to join in the game, lamenting while not participating.


I have no one to blame but myself. I will get better. I will try harder. There is no other choice.


My clock is ticking just as fast as the rest; perhaps faster due to wasted time and dreams deferred. I’ve spent so much time studying and preparing, I’ve jeopardized years of opportunities. Perhaps I’m better-prepared than most due to my insistence on studying, and yet I have nothing.

I’ve been afraid to fail in the past. I’m no longer afraid to fail, but the time spent in fear has hindered my skill-sets. I spent so much time in fear, waiting for the right time or moment. I didn’t work on any talents; I set myself up for failure.

Rather than truly confront this truth and develop appropriate strategies to combat, I hide. I smoke weed and ignore reality. I escape. Borderline terrible considering I owe it to my Self and my community at large to develop whatever talents I’ve been gifted and apply them to the greater good. I have a responsibility to be the best I can be, not just for myself and loved ones but for strangers and the world in total.

These are not my gifts to squander.


Dreams of small-town nights. Fireworks and a family dog. A bluegrass band at the gazebo; ice-cream shops during the summer. Fresh-cut grass and family dinners on Sundays.

I just want my corner of the Earth, all my own. I just want to be a productive and active member of my community.

So — what’s stopping me, but me?


The irony of a hopeful writer talking too much without displaying actions.

These are not my gifts to squander.


Written By: Matteo Urella / October 2014

Original Photography: 2011–2015