‘Look at Yourself, You’re Brown, God Hates You.’

I almost got in a fight last night. I would be lying if I said I had everything under control but after trash talking to the shitty people you will soon learn more about, I made a reckless assessment that I wasn’t afraid and was ready to back it up. Teresa was by my side, but she’s useless in a fight, so it was one against two. However, in moments like this, I like to recall Uncle Homer who always tells me, “Don’t ever be afraid to get some hits on you.”

I wish you would have told me to always wear shoes and not huaraches before going outside.

I was lightly reading right beside Lance before Teresa messages me: “Can I come over if I get out before 12 [AM]?” I, of course, had been tired from the long day that I had interning, going to class, and half-ass trying to catch up on work before needing to sleep early–I had a 6 AM shift the next morning. Despite my longing to be left alone and peacefully enjoy the last few minutes of being the scholar student I wish I actually was, I said yes. Teresa, Daniel, and Daniel’s girlfriend, Teresa–We’ll call her Teresita from now on for the sake of avoiding confusion–arrive and Teresa and I go over each other’s day, barely conveying the smallest ounce of affection. Then, I tell her that I need to get ready to sleep for tomorrows early shift. I grab my keys and walk her to my car outside to drop her off at her apartment.

Feet away from getting into my car, on the corner of my eye, I see two White kids goofily trecking behind us. They get really close, not considerate of our space, until one of them—Frat boy one, the asshole with the brown hair—steps on the back of my huarache, flat-tiring me. Like people’s eyes natural reaction to ward off dirt from entering the pupil by closing, I naturally reacted to the insensible idiot by giving him a short-worded retort: “Watch it.” Probably, because these kids grew up their whole lives privileged in every aspect of American societal standards and had their hands held by mommy and daddy until they were finally dropped at college, where their hidden racism, bigotry developed from their mingling with other White-conservative free-thinkers like themselves, they had zero sense of boundaries, confrontation, micro and major aggression, and my favorite, courage; which is why I end up losing my fucking huarache.

The 6 foot, 150-160 pound, White kid with the brown hair along with his blonde-haired White friend, sporting glasses with a similar build, stops and tells me “What did you say?” to which I reply “Watch it, you got a problem.” This turns into them childishly demanding me that I shouldn’t be mad and to apologize. I let them know that I wasn’t and if they didn’t want any problems to keep moving. From how they held themselves, I assessed that they could have had a drink or two but nowhere near drunk; at most, they were only buzzed. Then, I started getting heated because they’re telling me that I’m acting out of hand because I’m telling them to leave, not going into my car, and speaking up against them. These fucks were probably just feeding each other’s egos and having a jolly, good time thinking they could punk me when I was only with Teresa. But they were wrong. I was already having an off day and the last thing I wanted to do was play therapist with Teresa and explain to her why I had to get physical, or, worse, pretend to myself and agree with her that letting them walk away was the best thing to do.

The tension sky-rocketed once Teresa got out the car and told them to leave. I knew I wasn’t going to let her, or any lady—Sorry ladies, male chivalry still exists, even its mostly toxic—risk being hurt from a scuffle that wasn’t their own. That’s when I told Teresa to go back into the car, and I stood one foot away from both guys, indicating that I was going to throw hands if they got any closer. They started backing away, so I walked back to my car. Then, right when I was about to get in the car, the punk with the blonde hair tells his buddy, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we just dented his car.” This led me to close the door in front of me and urge them to please, with a cherry on top, do it to see what happens. At this point, I start yelling at the guys and rambling fighting words—nothing sexist, racist, or offensive to a group of people. They start walking back and, finally, all Hell is broke loose. The guy with the brown hair tells me the most blatant, pure racist remark I have ever encountered in all twenty-one years of my life to which I have grown-up in Republican Orange County as an adolescent, to living in just as a conservative city but sprinkled with enough minorities to silence the racism in San Jacinto/Hemet as a teenager, to currently living in Westwood where I attend one of the most liberal schools in one of the most Democratic cities in the nation: “Look at yourself, you’re Brown, God hates you.

Like the dynamite that killed Emil Nobel without question while he experimented with nitroglycerin, there was zero hesitation. I blew up and immediately started chasing the guy, forgetting about the blonde-haired prick who ran a different direction and ran uphill to try to catch him to teach him a lesson or two about what he said. Unfortunately, because I was wearing huaraches—They’re practically sandals—one of them flew off my left foot, so I was running barefoot on one leg while my other leg was strapped with a sandal-like bottom cushioned with a car tire for a sole. I ran up Gayley, down Veteran, then stopped right before hitting Ophir drive. My legs gave out and to be completely honest I was exhausted, partly because I haven’t worked on cardio for a while but mostly because as I was chasing him, I was also yelling at him.

After stopping to rest, I made a long walk back to my apartment. There I was walking barefoot with one huarache gripped to my hand, wearing my favorite sleeping shirt that says ‘Blink If You Want Me” and bright yellow UCLA pajama shorts. Greg found me moments later and told me that after I chased after the guy, Teresa called my roommate Daniel to come outside. Daniel, inside the house with Greg and Lance, along with friends raced outside to look for me. I was okay but the adrenaline was boiling my nerves, making me feel enraged. I know it’s a mean thing to do, but when I got back, I didn’t look at Teresa. All I wanted to do was worry about myself and bathe my feet—I asked Greg to drop off Teresa at her apartment. My body had finally let me fall asleep around 3 AM 2 hours before getting ready for my morning shift.

Am I reckless?

In no way do I use the word ‘White’ as a proponent of all White people in having the same qualities as the ones mentioned above.

 

 

 

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Stop Talking About Your Ex

I’m usually not the type to get jealous but when you’re with the girl you’re talking to, are feet away from entering the club for what is supposed to be an amazing night full of dancing, and she shows you a story of her ex—a man who bestows a well-built frame that is far stronger than your own—doing dumbbell presses at the gym, and she looks to you and says, “Whose mans is this?” It’s not attractive.

The only thing I could do was react indifferently with a vexed one-word reply: “Okay . . .”

Teresa got the point and put her phone away. However, the damage was done, there was no going back. Once we entered the dance floor, we mingled and talked to her group of friends from folklorico, while I amiably introduced myself and watchfully checked my phone for a notification that my friend had arrived. Once my buddy made it to the club, things started to get really fun. As time progressed and I steadily felt drunker, Teresa and I could give zero fucks about anything other than the intimate and lustful activity happening between us, including whatever micro-offenses I had endured earlier. Things were looking to swing into another fun night, closing with, probably, some hot midnight sex. But, as I said earlier, the damage was done, so that never happened.

Things got awkward again after the club when Teresa started talking about her ex again right next to me with one of her friends. To make things worse, she and her friend both dated and fucked the same ex. Also, they both got their feelings hurt by the same guy. These two girls were talking mad shit and I was hearing everything. But still, why the fuck would you want to reminisce your ex when you’re with your new boyfriend?

 

I don’t know how to write when I’m flustered.

 

Story short, the incident before and after the club has made me speculate whether she is really over her ex. Also, after the club, she snapped a picture of us to post on her story but only left it on her feed for five minutes before deleting it. Now I think she deleted it because she doesn’t want her ex to know she’s seeing someone because she still has some optimism that their relationship will restore.

 

Am I paranoid?

Love in Shambles

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Now, more than ever before, I have the urge to write and spew my feelings onto a plethora of long-winded clauses, sentences, and what sounds like a poetic beat of praised literature but are just a ramble of words expressed as a source of therapy.

It’s not easy to pretend that I have hurt myself, terribly. Today, I perpetually undergo a nostalgic cycle of last summer, reminding me of the unequivocal happiness that rushed through my body. A feeling that rushed to even the most confusing parts of my body; my hair, stomach, fingertips, nose, feet, all of it. I had so much but chose to let it go. I have never felt or received the same feeling of support, tender affection, laughter, and company. How does anyone drop something they care so much about over a thought, an unreliable hunch, that it’s the right thing to do? This is the question that continues to torment my heart and conscious, which I seek to answer.

Dani is the most beautiful person I have ever met and the world has shed onto my life. I don’t care if we’re not together anymore, or that I destroyed the special bond we once had, this is how I feel and I will do the one thing that heals my soul the most: write. I can probably go into what feels like an eternity, an endless spiel of the irresistible intricacies she encompasses, but I am afraid that I will write myself to death, preventing me from ever reminiscing again her cute puppy-eyed stare, bubbly yet strong attitude, and, of course . . .

BODY

I can’t even keep myself together when I see her anymore. Every time she walks passed me I have this awful feeling that chokes my throat from speaking a word. No, I am not trying to speak to her. That would be stupidly selfish and evil. To break someone’s heart, then try to reattach that broken heart piece-by-piece, only to shatter it once more is not only wrong but a true sign of disrespect to two people: the subject and oneself. However, as I anticipate eventually regaining myself from this illness affecting my heart and soul, I imagine that I would be able to speak to her again.

To be continued . . . maybe.

11.23.18 And we’re back.

It was one of those dreams that puts you in a trance full of emotion, without words, and barely enough energy to awaken and recount the bizarre guilt that had overcame your sleep. That’s how I woke up today. I woke up breathless without an idea of what I had dreamed about, except for a clue of your face plastered in the forefront of my mind and a feeling of extreme regret chilling my nerves. I dreamed of you and when I woke up I was sad that I was separated from you again.

The dream haunted the next few hours of my day like when Spongebob borrowed a balloon and couldn’t give it back. I did everything to shake you off my mind: went for a run, showered, did laundry, and cleaned. But the thought of you, and not only you but the painful regret of ending our once beautiful, irreplaceable relationship, destroyed my conscious. My vulnerability bested my morality. I gave up, so I did the one thing I said I wouldn’t: I initiated talking to you.

After doing all of my chores, or what I call coping mechanisms, I called the front desk knowing that you would pick up the phone. I made a stupid effort to start a nonchalant conversation and asked, “Hey, it’s Dustin. I’m going to Ralphs and wanted to ask you if you needed anything since nothing is open right now”–It’s the day after Thanksgiving and all of the dining halls on campus are closed. As I waited for you to respond, I hoped that you would ask for something so I could have a reason to talk to you later when we would exchange the food. Thankfully, dear God, you asked for sushi! Fuck, I was so happy you wanted something from me; hence, you hadn’t completely shunned me out of your life. I drove to Ralphs, bought your sushi, then you called me to ask if I could bring you an avocado too. Your phone call cheerfully overwhelmed me because it rekindled nostalgia for the days of  summer when we would always constantly invite each other for lunch.

This attempt to reignite our platonic friendship from the debts of Hell worked. After I dropped off the food and got dressed for work, we spoke about each other’s Thanksgiving, even going as far as reminiscing what we remembered from each other’s families, such as you asking about the kids and me telling you about your mother’s shopping habits. It was so nice, I hope you enjoyed talking to me. Before you left, I made a last attempt to ensure we would talk again and said, “Hey, let me know if you need anything” to which you replied, “Like in general?” It was such a natural reply, I forgot we had broken up. You followed up with asking if I could bring you coffee tomorrow and, of course, I said yes.

I love you. i̶ ̶l̶o̶v̶e̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶

Skin

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I remember my first zit. I was in the sixth grade and it sucked, and it still sucks

Paulina Barios

The prettiest girl in my classroom, Paulina Barrios, pointed to my forehead saying “Dustin, is this your first zit?” I didn’t have the courage to answer yes or no, so I sat in my desk, silently without a response, trying to brace off my embarrassment. For the remainder of the year I tried to avoid Paulina as much as possible. This is my first recollection of being embarrassed about my skin and it wouldn’t be my last

Kaiser

Later on in middle school, I dealt with increasing acne like many of my peers, but unlike many I resorted to medical treatment at Kaiser Permanente. I had health insurance and my mom knew I was insecure about my acne, so she thought it best to check in with a dermatologist. Kaiser Permanent appointed Dr. Swab, a tall mid-forty aged woman with a European accent (maybe English) as my main dermatologist for the next three, most important, hormonal teenage years of my life. I probably visited Dr. Swab 10 different times for antibiotics, topical gels, and acne concerned questions before she left her job; Kaiser said Dr. Swab never gave a notice of resignation. There were times when the acne would get better, but moments when my acne would flare back up and I didn’t know if I needed stronger acne care solution, or if the prescribed antibiotics and gels weren’t for me.

Eczema

In the 10th grade I picked up a rash on both arms near my elbow. I didn’t know what it was and neither did my family or friends, except one friend—I think it was “Jayme”—who said it resembled eczema. What the hell was eczema? I searched it up and I wasn’t startled from what I found, with its common diagnoses in the U.S., I felt relief. Also, because my rash looked more similar to eczema than ringworm and impetigo, which are skin infections popular among wrestlers–I wrestled for three years in high school. Anything but that. I never contracted a skin infection from wrestling, however most of my friends, probably all of them—Ulysses, Greg, Joel, etc.—had all, at least once, contracted ringworm and/or impetigo. These skin infections had your classmates step three steps back from you, saying “eww that’s gross, is that ringworm? Don’t get close to me.” More so, Kaiser came in clutch again. I checked in with Dr. Swab. Believing she had the immediate solution for my problem, I was relieved in visiting her, however this wasn’t my day. Dr. Swab couldn’t diagnose my skin infection, all she could do was run a skin biopsy, removing two small pieces of skin from the inside surface of my elbow, and have me wait two weeks for her reply with a diagnosis. When she finally called back nothing checked out; just a skin bacterial infection. How specific. In the end, I rubbed some prescribed cortisone until the infection healed. As for the biopsy incisions . . . well they left a scar, but whatever, they make a great conversation starter. People are always fooled; I tell them I got bit by a snake and that’s the scar to prove it. It’s funny, but looking back, I kind of wish I contracted ringworm just to fit in.

Mole

Since I was three I had this mole above my lip that only grew bigger until I removed it. Well I didn’t remove it of course, my dermatologist did that work. The mole wasn’t even that bad, but people made me feel insecure, especially children. For example, when I was a kid in elementary other students, being the uncensored people they are, would comment on my mole. Then in middle school, no one talked about it but I still felt some sort of resentment for it. In high school I tried getting it removed Dr. Swab convinced me to keep it because it wasn’t that big and the removal would leave a scar. Pretty much, the thought of having an ugly scar replace my mole convinced me to keep it during high school, however, then came college. I didn’t think college would increase my body insecurities more than high school, but it did a lot; I think most students can agree that college is a time more provoked by self-body shaming than high school, considering one leaves their teenage youth and notices the negative effects of aging. You either live through college to watch yourself become sexier or watch your once naturally cute body rot away from stress, bad habits, and laziness.

Band-Aid

When I joined a frat during my freshman year of college I knew that my mole was going to distract me from engaging in socials. I knew some people would dismiss it but just the thought of being remembered or labeled as the guy with the mole bothered me. If I was going to feel liberated from social anxiety, I needed to remove my mole, and that’s what I did. I scheduled an appointment with a dermatologist—not Dr. Swab—who like Dr. Swab tried to persuade me not to remove my mole but I could not commit. I was going to remove my mole. My next appointment the dermatologist cut off my mole, and for two months I wore a Band-Aid above my once present mole to protect it from harmful scarring by the sun.

Did I really cut of my mole because of greek life?

       No, I cut if off because I never liked it.

                Just another reason to remove my mole.

 

 

(Updated 10.08.18) Seborrheic Dermatitis

Sophomore year of college I was diagnosed with Seborrehic Dermatits. It’s a skin condition that affects my face the most, preventing me from going outside in the sun; If I do my face turns scaly and red.

Be healthy

Despite all my challenges and insecurities, I want to say that I am happy. No human will ever have the perfect skin, face, or body because all is subjective; however, you can get pretty damn close to perfection, but that’s not the point. If you want healthy skin, be healthy. What I’ve learned from all my dermatology appointments is that nothing is better for your skin than being healthy. That means eating vegetables and drinking water, and ditching junk food with a shit load of sugar and carbs—shit that gives you belly fat. I caught the flu last month, and for that week that I couldn’t eat anything but crackers and water, I noticed my skin’s complete depletion of acne. Another note, I’m happy because I know what will maximize my happiness. I knew that there was a chance that removing my mole would leave an ugly scar, but I went through with it anyway because a scar would make me happier than a mole above my lip.

PS. In the eighth grade Paulina Barrios told me she had a huge crush on me in the sixth grade, but moved on after I started ignoring her.

Your worst critic is yourself—love don’t judge

Ayra

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I haven’t seen you in two years, there is so much to talk about, yet I ponder the question of what I will tell you.

We agree to meet at Pasadena, where we will finally reunite and carpool together to Six Flags. While I wait for you, I sit alone on a bench until an old lady greets me. We engage in conversation. She is tall, sitting without a cane, wearing only the slightest makeup and cute pink lipstick, telling me she is from La Verne and going to visit her sister; I find out later is her identical twin. She asks me about what school I attend and where I am going, which I reply “I go to UCLA and I am waiting for my friend. We’re going to Six Flags.” Her sparse eyebrows raise and her pink lipstick spread, congratulating me for going to school, notably for averting the complacency of living with my parents.

“Dustin!”

I look away from the old, pink-lipped woman and turn to see you: Ayra. Your body illuminates from the sun shadowing your back, and I feel, I see the hot red energy pulsating from your body, and see your yellow charm that greets me with one of the most beautiful smiles I have seen in the past two years since we’ve last met. The wait is over and we begin to catch up. While we advance to Six Flags I give you a breakdown of what’s happening in my life. I’m doing most of the talking of course, reminiscent of when we used to talk in high school, and we’re having a good time . . . I think.

We are close to Six Flags. You begin to navigate your white-egg-shaped Honda from the 210 as I signal the park is to your left. Suddenly, we are rear-ended from the car behind us and collide with the car in front of us, propelling us forward and back, only to be left in a state of dismay. Fortunately, we were okay and your egg of a car doesn’t crack; bad thing was we were in a car accident, and not any car accident: a four-car collision. It was frightening but you handled the car accident well. Unlike yourself,  I remember shouting “Oh Fuck!” or was it “Oh Shit!” when the collision happened? You were cool as ice though, not a groan or word came out your lips. The highway patrol came shortly to handle the situation, and we were dismissed.

After the car accident, I asked if you still wanted to go to Six Flags and you said yes. It was a relief to hear our plans didn’t turn into a complete fiasco, but if you had said no, I would be completely fine with any of your decisions; whether that be the decision to go home, see a doctor, watch grass grow, etc. As long as we’re together, I knew we would have an alright time.

We finally arrived at the park, and you had to use the bathroom, meanwhile, I contemplated the events that had led up. You’re my friend, and I know I don’t have to impress you, friends should act natural, but because of the accident I was aware of your agitation and was compelled to relieve some of your stress. Namely, the fear of confronting your problems later, when entering your home, trapped to tell your parents the truth of being in a car accident. I made my decision. I was going to act like myself, I suppose my company would be enough. I will never forget that you, Ayra, were one of my first friends to like and appreciate my insecurities on my body—my chipped tooth and mole—I so embarrassingly shielded from when we were in high school. You like me for who I am, thus to be anything less than authentic would be a waste of your time, in which case the car accident would have been for nothing.

I suggest we go on X2, which we immediately reconsider after realizing the wait time is two hours. You then make a great point “I want to ride on a roller coaster soon, I don’t want to have to wait,” justifying how going on a roller coaster sooner would help alleviate your worries from the car accident faster. We end up riding on Viper first then move our way to less popular rides with shorter lines. In all instances before we left the park, we were maximizing the joy of our time together by constantly going on rides, except near the end, when we decided to wait two hours in line to board on what you claim is “smooth” and the”best” roller coaster at Six Flags: Goliath.

There is so much to say about the events that were manifested from our time together. I didn’t go in detail about when we waited in line for water, or how we searched for a place to take a photo, and how I felt uneasy talking about our individual romances since last time we met. Regardless of the accident, a big takeaway is I had a great day, and like the drawings you gave me in high school, they are all memorable. It could be 10 years from now and I won’t forget today. I won’t forget you.

Next time I will not ponder the question, I will casually live side-by-side with you, and only then, will the unexpected allow the question to come out.

Take care, Ayra

Joshua Tree

There are a multitude of stories I can write, experienced within the last two weeks of my first two weeks of my winter quarter, but I will only choose one event.

It was my last day at Joshua Tree with UCLA’s Photography club, which I admit is one of UCLA’s most undervalued and outstanding clubs available to students. Initially, my intention to participate in the field trip was an attempt to acquire photography skills with my Cannon T5. However, after three days with my car group—photography club students I had never before met—I experienced a bond, and when it was my time to be dropped off, I was left Unfulfilled.

Joshua Tree is beautiful, and visiting  Joshua Tree with a clique only made it more beautiful. While sitting in the passenger seat, journeying to Joshua Tree, I admired the golden dessert glistening under the sun and its nature scarcely encapsulated from the clouds wild motion. When we arrived to our campsite, Roseanna and Alex constructed their tent while I gave my best effort to build something that looked like a tent. Shortly later, Alex tried to help me fix my tent but was confused. Luckily, someone else from the club could help, and I was on my way to taking photos of Joshua Tree’s natural jewels.

While immersed in nature, I did in fact carelessly climb pile of boulders, which if I had fallen from, I would surely hurt myself or kill myself.  But I wanted to live free, I didn’t want to think about what if; being at Joshua Tree away from home, away from my phone, away from any friends, liberated me. I took some pretty-sweet photos

I can’t recall the last time I’ve felt this important. Understand that since I was new a member, I was mysterious, so my group was asking me all sorts of questions, trying to learn more about me. I had the ability to paint myself; how did I want my peers to interpret this painting. I decided to let my gestures and charisma flow naturally. If I thought something was funny, I laughed; when I was excited, my expression reflected that; when I was happy, I smiled and spoke what I felt. I felt authentic, I wasn’t trying to impress anyone, the trip was temporary and like everyone I payed my dues to come here. I was in my nature form—no, not natural, I mean nature form.

On my way back, Roseanna, Alex, Brianna, and I stopped to eat at an authentic style Chinese restaurant in Pasadena. I must state that besides a group of Caucasian girls who camped with us but stuck together, I was the only non-Asian member in the club’s trip. Again I felt more important, simply because I was different. While we ate, I can also recall Roseanna asking me about my Mexican heritage, and surprisingly for me, I noticed that she was genuinely interested to what I had to say about my culture’s background. I felt appreciated; I felt special.

I was finally dropped off in the afternoon on Martin Luther King Day. In a state of appreciation, I said my thanks to my group for everything, and we agreed to stay in touch.

I am now writing this from UCLA, only to say that I miss Joshua Tree because I felt this authentic connection with myself, which I had never before experienced at UCLA. Maybe it’s due to the school’s excessive influences which sometimes comes off as toxic to one’s true identity, I don’t know what it is. Also, I am not trying to bash on UCLA, I love this school profusely. My criticism is toward my failure to appreciate myself, and understand that I am in fact special and very happy. Camping is fun!

Lose the Bubble

Best part of today was accepting an offer from a friend (who is also my supervisor) to accompany her to the gym. I would have gone to the gym with her yesterday but I thought I had an orthodontist appointment that prevented me—luckily, the appointment is for next week. Back to topic, before taking on the offer, I considered Michelle someone who I got along with at work, but by the end of the afternoon I felt a lot safer calling her my friend.

Michelle, like myself, consider ourselves weeaboos; google it (◕‿◕✿). It’s great because I know she’s weird! Not to say that she is unapproachable but the opposite—we understand our mutual fandoms, which makes it easier for us to get along. Moreover, we went to the gym, and I will admit was fun and equally a good workout for both of us. Michelle is determined to get lean for her next Spartan Race. She told me she had just done a Spartan Race—5k obstacle course race—which kicked her butt and made her realize she was out of shape. Meanwhile, I’m training for a marathon in March. Therefore, we didn’t workout like it were some social hour-patty cake.

While working out, we ran into Michelle’s past roommate, who was quick to greet me and invite both of us to hang out later. We accepted her invitation and decided to make burgers after our workout. During the intermission, between exercising and grilling burgers, I went to my dorm and took a shower and got “Dressed”. It WAS EXCITING I didn’t think I was doing anything today but watching anime. We all met at Jackie’s apt and enjoyed eating burgers and conversing amongst each other. It was a friendly gathering. I learned so much about Michelle and Jackie, all in one afternoon. For example, I learned Jackie is a leader in the trans-pansexuality community, knows how to swing-dance, and is an ee major and Michelle is not solely my supervisor but a friend, someone I feel comfortable sharing a meal together and exercising with.

Now, the three of us have a pact to continue working out during the Winter. Moral of the story: be more willing to say yes and leave your bubble. Answering to opportunities can lead to meaningful relationships.