Posts Tagged ‘#projectcj’

His face always had a smile on it. Curious to what troubled me, he always seemed to have a solution to any problem I came to him with. When I think of adjectives to describe him I come up with: handsome, cheerful, smart (oh, that is a big one for me), caring, thoughtful and just so easy to talk to. Ernesto was his name and this is the story of how our relationship came to an end.

By what means do you normally judge a person? I ask that both rhetorically and literally. Think about that for a second…

…seriously, don’t be a jerk. Take a second and ask yourself how you deem whether or not someone is a good person. I can wait…

We meet new people just about everyday. From our brief interactions during trips to the grocery stores to the people we see for eight hours a day, five days a week at work. I have no doubt that all of us adjust our “Judge” filters accordingly. When you see a person in the checkout line all thugged out. The filter most likely is set to minimum. Allowing only the vague face value information to register in order to make a quick assessment. Whereas maximum filtration is used when decoding a fellow employee. You know outside of work they wear their mohawk and piercings with pride. While you think nothing of it, because the suit and tie work attire you see them in five days a week, prevented any prejudices to form allowing you to get to know them in an uninhibited manner.

Is this a bad thing? I like to think it isn’t. Our filters exist and are calibrated so, to allow those of our preference to enter our lives for the better. If we are to trust another human being, a more scrutinized observation must be made of them. Which is why I feel we are more open to hearing out those who we often share a close proximity with. Rather than a fly-by judgement of those we meet on the street or in the womens lingerie department (I am talking about you creepy jacket in the middle of 82 degree weather-man standing worryingly close to me in the Victoria’s Secret store, staring intently while I check out the new Angel’s stone encrusted lace push up!!!!!). As we look for companionship of any sorts, we dig deep, break through the apparent, and stave off the obvious just so we know whether or not we should allow an individual to become someone we desire to be around. Sadly, some filter all people at all levels solely based on race, sexual orientation and other no true character-related qualities. There doesn’t seem to be much we can do about them. But hopefully the “Asshole Bill” I keep suggesting via emails to my local senator can be introduced sometime in the near future.

It is at this juncture that we allow ourselves to take our judgements and either bestow or withhold the trust needed to maintain a healthy relationship. It may be at this point we call these individuals our friends. Which may also perpetuate the trust further allowing for feelings to develop into something more. Or, just maybe bring forth so much trust that you seek them out in your times of need. That when they speak, their words bring comfort to a distraught mind. And as you welcome the strong embrace of everything you originally assessed them to be. You let go and allow yourself to be comforted by their fortitude. All while they take control and help the world make sense again.

Ernesto was that kind of person…

I met him by means of random encounter. It was a clear bright day and though Albuquerque was traversing through the end-trails of Fall. The brisk air and low arching sun made for a comfortable Autumn midday. I had pulled over in need of a tire change when low and behold, a strange man emerged from the business I had pulled in front of. It is easy to guess that Ernesto is who I am speaking of. The surprise for those who know me will be that I relinquished the duty of a simple tire change to someone other than myself. (On a side note- One of the few things my dad did for me when I was young was teach me to never be afraid to pick up a wrench or a hammer. Under my father’s direction, I was taught how to change tires and what applications particular parts play in the operation of a car’s engine. I consider myself rather capable.) However, it was one of those circumstances where I had no need to say a thing. With every bit of assurance, he took charge,  made the change, smiled at me and disappeared just as soon as he made his presence first known.

Truthfully, I was taken back a little. He was charming, reassuring and there just to help me. As I began my descent home, I was briefly caught in a fantasy of sorts. I wondered if I would see him again. Thinking about what kind of person he really was and whether or not I would someday be able to get to know him more. I was ready to engage my next level of filtration for a person I had spent no less than ten minutes with. It was a little weird, but I had my heart set on seeing him again.

As the days passed as they tend to do. Ernesto ventured further and further from my mind. Only the observations of the routine checks of my tires would bring back the memories of what happened that Autumn day. Upon recollection, I would entertain the thought of once again driving into that very same parking lot where we first met. Curious to know if Ernesto would be there and as eager to help with any issues I had.  

Those too were just mere thoughts that went just as fast as they came.

That was until one day, I was on that very same road pulling into that very same parking lot in need of rectifying a very familiar problem. Was it fate, not really. I knew I had a tire on it’s last leg. I knew where to go if I needed help…and so I went and he was there.

We actually had a chance to talk this time around. Exchanging tidbits of information with one another. The conversation felt as genuine as one with my best friend. Every bit of the encounter just seemed organic and it made me feel at ease. Again a tire was changed and again I was on my way to my intended destination. This time though, I had a phone number with me and promise that if I ever needed anything, he wanted to be the one who would be there for me.

To be honest I never felt bad for using that phone number for what he asked me to use it for. Whenever I needed something, I would go to him and he would make everything better. It was a mutual thing between us. He got his and I got mine. Never upset with the outcome and he was always happy to see me just as I was to see him. I felt as though our relationship had gotten to the point to where I could really trust him. I had run him through my filter and I felt as though my judgement of this man was solid.

It was at the pinnacle of our relations that something drastic happened. I needed help and the only one I could think of to turn to was Ernesto. I knew he would be the one to help make things right, help solve the problems and make all the bad go away. It was the latest that I had ever called him. He didn’t seem too bothered by the time and urged me to come over. Part of the predicament was finding a way to get to him, but I was so headstrong that he was to be my knight in shining armor. I did what I normally wouldn’t do and hailed for a ride from someone I didn’t know just to get to him.

He laid out a plan to be followed and with his charming smile, told me everything was going to be okay. I was worried; I knew what had happened was going to be costly. But under Ernesto’s direction, I agreed to his plan and felt a little more at ease considering what had happened.

A few weeks later I had adjusted to the changes that resulted from my earlier misfortunes. It was around that time that Ernesto had called me to inform me that he had righted the wrong and what cost I was to incur as the result. To be frank, the cost was money. He needed it in order to finish what had been started by his means to solve my problem. But it wasn’t the only news he had for me. He needed more dough. He explained that he had essentially opened pandora’s box. That more problems were discovered from attempting to solve the initial one.

I was devastated. I was looking forward to getting my life back to normal but things just seemed to go from bad to worse. I had handed him over $1,900 to satisfy the first problem but just as I did that he asked how soon I could get him the $200 more to start mending the next. It was going to take some time. Christmas had just passed and money was short, but I had no doubt that he still was to be my hero once all the dust had settled.

A few more weeks had passed and I met him to deliver the money. He seemed content at the moment but a concern was in his eyes that I had never seen before. He wasn’t much for conversation that day. So I went on my way daydreaming of positive things to come. But it was short lived.

A phone call from Ernesto a few days later confirmed a suspicion I had lingering in the back of my mind. He was at odds with the task he had volunteered to mend. The money I had given him had ran out and he needed more. $2000 more to be exact.  Not just that but he wanted more time to finish what he started. It had already been two months and my day to day was becoming increasingly difficult to manage…my faith in him was beginning to falter.

At this point in time, he had involved himself so deep into this matter that I had no choice but to continue to trust him. He had to finish what he started there was no turning around at that point. Each subsequent phone call did nothing more than strip away at everything that bonded our relationship. Arguments began to happen between us, spurred on by my growing distaste at the reasons he fed me and his now much harsher tone. I was seeing myself become angrier as the days went on. Not just with him but with everyone around me. This was affecting me a lot more and was encroaching into other areas of my life. Family and friends who knew of Ernesto’s involvement all had an opinion. And as much as they were trying to help, all it was doing was making matters worse by aiding in the erosion of the trust between him and me.

It had come to the point that I could not trust anything Ernesto was telling me. I had to get someone else involved – someone I knew would have my interests at heart and not be operating on their own agenda. The feedback was not very comforting. I was informed that Ernesto was telling me the truth as to what needed to be done in order to finish what he started. But the cost was another story. The amount of money was questionable. Yet,  there was little that anyone could do now. Ernesto was in complete control of the situation… I was at his mercy and he knew it.

He had destroyed my belief that all people have an inherent good within them. That when the chips are down, heroes will emerge from the unlikeliest places. I looked to him to be my hero. I ran him through the judgement gauntlet and I felt as though I had placed my trust in the right person. I WAS BEATEN… all while he was holding my well-being ransom for the remainder of the amount he had asked for.

As budgets were adjusted to meet the demands of Ernesto. I was hardly able to enjoy any comfort in the matter. The light that began to flood the end of this deep gloomy tunnel reflected nothing more than gloomy skies. For I knew that my next encounter with Ernesto was to be my last. Oh, how it ended with such a display of fireworks.

Three and a half months and $3100 later it was over. I hated him, I hated myself, and I hated who I had become because of it.

I sought out clarity by means of conversations with someone very dear to me, my mother. She was the neutral party in the whole matter and never let her opinion bias what advice she gave. She helped me realize that the trust I had placed in him was valid. That I should never doubt my abilities to discern the viability of an individual. And that trust will remain until MY view changes of them, but, even when that view changes and the trust dissipates, the other party’s intentions still may have been pure.

It was my evolving perception that ultimately changed the dynamics between Ernesto and myself. I realized that as our encounters, interactions, and circumstances changed, my initial judgement of him was no longer valid, though I had originally scrutinised his worth with heavy filtration. Once the trust began to dispel into oblivion, I abandoned the means to properly asses him and started to judge him utilizing only very broad and bitterly acquired data. I can only assume that he had done the same with his changes towards me.

It is with this revelation that I now carry around a slightly bruised ego. I blindedly let myself and others shape my outlook of another individual who was doing nothing more than his best to help me out. It may not have been done within an acceptable cost or timeline. However, in the end, everything was rectified and my life was able to resume back to normal. I should have taken a second and realized that Ernesto was doing nothing more than what he felt he was best capable of.

I would like to think now that most everyone in this world views their efforts as genuine. Aside from the occasional idiot with a gun and a fucked up mindset, there is little out there that would prove that “we the people” go about our day with intentions to hinder the growth and prosperity of another individual. Ernesto proved that in the end. Once I refiltered everything about this man. I realized that, in summation, he was a great mechanic after all. My car runs beautifully now.


For the record I am a terrible gardener. Both literally and metaphorically speaking.

Kristle has always been the one with the green thumb. I don’t think I have the patience and dedication to nurture something that I will eventually view as lunch.

Cultivating the land…………..ugh that would hurt my back.
Planting the seeds…………..why dig a hole that you are just going to bury
Watering the sown land…….you are watering dirt! Doesn’t anyone realize how silly that looks.
Caring for the sprouts………I refuse to sing to something that can’t clap for me afterwards.
Enjoying the results…………Yummy SALAD on a beautiful lush green lawn. That shiz be good with ranch!

Even still, I can see the reasons for it.
You get something very tangible to enjoy out of a lot of hard work, dedication and patience. But as I see Kristle toil in the soil. I can tell she gets so much more out of it. Something less tangible and more rewarding. I can see how she enjoyed the journey, fought hard when things turned the wrong color and stuck it out till the end anyway knowing that there is more to it than the final results.

This being the literal viewpoint, admittedly my garden would be hard pressed to grow weeds.
Oddly enough, my metaphoric garden has seen it’s bits of non flourished rough patches.

Everyone, I am sure, has heard the idiom, “The Grass is not always greener on the other side.”.
A very dear ideology I have kept with me to remind myself that running away would not be the answer to any of my problems. One that I have adhered to for most of my life.

That was until I moved to Colorado in attempts to run away from my problems.

(That’s right!!!! It is time for a flash back!!!!!)

At the time I was dealing in a High Limit room enjoying all what life had to offer. I had a great schedule, I felt appreciated at work and enjoyed what I did for a living. Things at home were amazing as well. Kristle and I had purchased a beautiful home that both her and I were very proud of. (Seriously, the house is awesome!) And we had welcomed our third bundle of joy into our lives making us a family of five.

I was hard pressed to hold any malice towards any given day. Our “grass” was beautiful.

That was until things began to change at work. Nothing that could really be controlled by anyone one above my position. However, the action was starting to become sparse and the amount I earned began to fluctuate dramatically. As a career blackjack dealer, our earned income primarily consists of tipped wages. Comparatively speaking our hourly wages are a muse for the most part. So for us to maintain an income, we need patrons to visit.

Much like a domino effect, home life began to feel the strain of the wildly changing income. It never got to the point of us doing without food or shelter. Yet, the happiness started to slip away. We had to tighten our belts (not because we were starving) and start making every dollar count.
In addition to ongoing family problems between other family members. Kristle and I had decided we need to start looking for solutions.

At the point where our issues were seemingly at a head. The wind had brought word of vast fortunes to be had in the land to the north. The gaming industry in Colorado was growing up and was beckoning for experienced dealers. Though at first the thought of leaving our home seemed enough to stop any further consideration. Every proceeding paycheck and continued flares with family was a distroutfilled reminder of our “wilting garden”.

So with an ass load of reluctance. I went against the very ideas I stood for and we ran away.

Our story of getting to Colorado was traumatic in it’s own right. (<— Link to previous Blog). But, even after we were established. This land of opportunity wasn’t exactly working out like we thought it would.

I was quickly reminded of the wisdom I had overlooked in the “never back down or run away” mantra I had ignored.

To be nice, the industry was unique and I was hard pressed to conform. The money was consistent but no where close to what was promised during the interview processes. I was resentful at the fact that things seemed to go from one disappointment to another. Nothing was comforting about our new location and bitterness was oozing out of every one of my orpheus'. (eww).

I went from an established patch of grass with a few sprouting weeds to a fresh plot of barren dirt. Our garden back home may have been on life support but it was at least familiar and comforting.

My tantrums continued for about a year and a half all to no avail. It finally dawned on me that the grass can’t be greener if you don’t put in the hard work to make it so. Taking a small recount for my actions prior, I became embarrassed by how I acted. I resolved to make an effort of sorts and started to branch out more.

I made some friends and started being active again by running and training for a 5k. I joined an adult co-ed kickball team, even getting nominated as the teams female VIP. I also started going out more with people when I was invited and started inviting others to share random good times with.

Kristle and I even took this chance of solitude from family to reconnect with one another (that story saved for a future blog).

Even with all that, it wasn’t the same as when things were back home. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the friends I made and even started enjoying my day to day again. Except, all I could do is compare everything to things back home in Albuquerque. Nothing seemed to satisfy my desires (except Kristle, cause she’s hot!) and the thoughts of home reeked of that familiar feeling of “things would be much better if I was somewhere that I am currently not”.

Though we knew that our stay in Colorado was not to be permanent. My lust for going home became my new talking point amongst my new circle of friends(for that I apologize everyone). But after three long years our experiment was over and we made our way back home to Albuquerque.

(End Flash Back….wooooooooooooshhhhhhhhhh, time machine noise)

It has been six months since I have been back home. I have a maintained my dealing career by establishing myself at another casino. We are once again settled in our amazing home and Kristle and I are still madly in love.. Am I happier to be back…yes very much so.


My old friends have moved on with new relationships and different jobs. The time we once used to hang out with one another has gone to other efforts. Even though my family has been my biggest constant since my return. All our hobbies and habits have now turned into something bigger. My sister is now a professional boxer, my brother is now a local recording artist and along with all my projects (#projectCJ) we are all focused on all our own pursuits. Needless to say, we are all busy to the point of not being able have random get togethers like years past. Everything has to be planned and scheduled. Yuck, we are such adults!

I have this slight feeling of deja vu. This disappointing sense of again working with a fresh plot of dirt instead of rolling around in familiar grass. Apparently, just as the time had passed for me in Colorado, the same was true for everything I knew back home. Though I returned with a warm welcome from all my family and friends. So many things had changed with-in their lives that the “warm fuzzy in your pants” feeling of home I had yearned for was not exactly there. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to express disdain for my life post Colorado. I guess I was expecting something more grandiose.

This recurring ill perceived notion of “greatness comes with drastic change” has helped me to take a second look at what I actually had going for me in Colorado. I realize now that I actually had some green grass growing in what was my plot of dirt. It was lush, wonderful and it was worth all the effort I had put into it

I regret not figuring this out while I was out there. I can only look back and think about all the opportunities I missed out on because I was convincing myself otherwise. Was it the same as back home, no, not by a long shot. But now I understand it wasn’t anything less to value. I feel that a slight update for an old idiom is in order. I hope that some of my readers take this into account…

The grass isn’t always more vivid on the other side. It is simply just a different shade of green.

~~Cute Janessa~~ @cutejanessa

Thanks for reading everyone! I love all the support in the reads, comments and shares!!! Now I have a question for all of you. In the comments below, tell me about the great things in your life you may be overlooking. Or about attempts to run away from it all and if it worked out or not.