Top 5 NOs to Remember with Relationships this Summer

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It’s time for the Relationship talk.

Okay, so this is a very special post, and for some of my teens out there, it’s going to be the most important post you’ll read on my blog all Summer 2019! You can count on one thing: I will be as authentic as possible with these tips because I’ve been there and I know it’s not easy! So, are you ready? Okay, here we go with the real.

1. NO, you DO NOT need to be in a Relationship this Summer. It may be hard to believe, and I know that for some people, this very “No” will turn them away from the post entirely! I can live with that. But what I can’t live with is failing to let you know that NO, you DO NOT need to live like all the celebrities, or like all the characters on TV, or like those other friends who are with somebody else right now. How can this be, even if you feel like the only thing that would save your summer would be to finally just be with that other person? Because being with that other person IS NOT the magical solution to how tough things get for you this Summer 2019. Think about it this way: if we pretend for a moment that finally being with that other person does make your life better–at first–is that really how you want to live the rest of your life? That is, do you really always want to depend on someone else for your happiness? The answer starts with a capital ‘N’ and ends with a capital ‘O.’

2. NO, you DO NOT need to message the other person every day to make sure you’re still together this Summer. If you are in a relationship with someone else, you may ask yourself: how do I make sure the other person doesn’t start talking to somebody else? Your answer might be: we should message each other every day. This is WRONG. And it’s wrong because your life is incredibly important. It’s wrong because your life is THAT MAJOR. What do I mean? Scientifically speaking, it’s a miracle that you were even born, which makes you truly unique. In fact, you’re so unique that you actually owe it to yourself to explore that uniqueness on your own. Just like the other person owes it to themselves. I AM NOT PLAYING. You have to discover whether you can truly play that guitar like Jimi Hendrix, or if you can truly pick up that paintbrush like Salvador Dali, or if you can in fact design your own clothing brand like JIMBO TIMES. These are possibilities you’ve got to find the answers to all on your own.

3. NO, you DO NOT need to just get away to be alone with each other. Ever heard of Romeo and Juliet? It’s an old story. Like a 424 year old song on repeat, actually. And SPOILER ALERT: when Romeo and Juliet try to escape their realities without being quite prepared for it, it doesn’t go well. In fact, they both take the biggest Ls. Have things changed much in 2019? Nah’. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t like the other person; I’m not even saying that it’s wrong to want to just be alone–and left alone–with them. What I am saying is that if you insist on spending time with each other, you have to be thoughtful, finding safe spaces to be in together and not just by yourselves, where you risk making assumptions about what you’re ‘supposed do’ when everyone else isn’t looking. TRUST.

4. NO, you DO NOT have to buy each other gifts to make each other happy. This one makes a lot of sense when you hear it at first, but it’s easy to forget it as you go along. Do you ever wonder just why that is? As in, why people spend so much money on things we don’t really need? I’ll give you a hint: it’s because we’re surrounded by movies and music telling us how when we really care about someone, we have to buy things to show them. It’s a very ‘American‘ way of doing things, but the alternative is much better: you just chiill. Again, be thoughtful about how you show someone that you care for them. You can write a song, land a somersault or kickflip, or simply run three miles for them. It’s not just that these options don’t cost you as much, but that they’re more creative. And 90% of the time being more creative with your life is just better. TRUST.

5. No, you DO NOT have to “prove” to each other that you’re loyal to each other or call each other out once the relationship ends. At the end of the day, we live in a world filled with choices. And if the other person chooses to be ‘disloyal’ to you, that’s their decision. You CANNOT control every decision the other person makes, or ‘control’ which way the relationship goes. Nor would you want to, because you have your own life to lead. Plus, if you truly care about each other–just as it is with your friends–you have to respect the other person’s differences. Does that mean that if someone you’re with suddenly chooses to break up with you, that you don’t do anything about it? Yes, actually. It means that if someone doesn’t want to be with you, you just leave them alone. Just like you would want them to leave you alone if you suddenly chose to work on yourself instead of working a relationship. Don’t call them out. And don’t respond to being called out. It’s a waste of your time. Didn’t you have a clothing line to design?

BONUS: (Relationship or no relationship) You DO NOT need to act on every emotion this Summer. Let’s be honest: a lot of us have our phones with us nearly 24/7, and this makes it difficult to get away from all the instant ‘goings-on’ over the screen, especially if it feels like “nothing else is goin’ on.” So we end up watching each other–especially people we have feelings for–coming up with ideas or ‘implications‘ about what we see, and then we get caught up in all these feelings. But often times our feelings actually cloud our way of seeing things for what they are. So even if your feelings tell you that you just have to message that other person–or those other people–it’s probably better to talk it over with an adult you can trust first. NOTE: I am not that adult. It needs to be someone who’s been in your life longer, and who you can trust will keep your feelings secret if you tell them how you’re thinking of approaching someone over an instant message or two.

Now, does this list cover all the NOs you should remember when you’re with someone else, or when your feelings seem to overwhelm you this summer? NO. The truth is that even if you read this list, I don’t expect it to ‘save’ you every time you get into an issue with someone you’re with, or when you get into issues with your own feelings. It takes time to learn. And we have to make mistakes before we learn. Lifetimes of mistakes. But if there’s just one part of this list to remember, it’s this:

Respect the other person to get respect yourself. If you put respect out there for them, you will see it come back to you. It’s like a circle; you get back what you put in. Doesn’t this take time to master? OH YES. But you have every reason to give it a shot. It’s a beautiful journey, friends.

Now, it’s been one month of summer already. Have you tried your shot at the free Los Cuentos Hoodie yet? You’ve got lifetimes to work on relationships, but only a few more weeks before the Hoodie Challenge is over. Get on it!

J.T.

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Show and Tell: The Sock-Puppet

I will never forget the anguish I put my mother through as a child. So many dreams. Dreams that are memories now and also pain mixed up with love and a desire to let them be known.

I remember the sock-puppet for show and tell. It was a cloudy afternoon when the dim orange lighting of the kitchen washed over the peeling walls as I begged and pleaded with mom to help me with my show and tell project.

I needed something to show. Mom worked in needles. She worked in sowing, in making something out of nothing but a string of yarn. She agreed to help me then, making my anguish into her anguish as the hours seemed to trap both of us in their midst. It was still early in the afternoon when I sidetracked her with my last minute request, and we could take the whole evening if need be, but the next day still loomed like the clouds through the windowpanes, into our souls and slowly more coldly.

As night encroached I didn’t know if we would make it. All I could feel was my heart pouncing as time managed to swerve right above our every angle and motion.

Mom kept her personal sowing machine in the kitchen, and it didn’t dawn on me that she did so because that’s where she could get more work done for her shift at the garment warehouse the next morning. It didn’t occur to me that she had already had an eight hour work-day by the time I made my request to her, and that she had already picked us up from school, and that she had even managed to prepare dinner for us to curl into the evening with our bellies full.

All that dawned on me was my show and tell. The sock puppet needed to be real, and to come alive like the ones on Mr. Rogers’s. I needed to be able to hold my puppet, and to tell its story like an expert.

So I went back and forth between the kitchen and the living room checking on mom and her hands at work, keeping an eye on her angles as she shaped the dimensions of the puppet underneath the magic needle. She gave life to my dream on that day, which was also my pain, in one of the earliest instances of a lifetime of last minute races against time and everything that seemed possible that I’d embark on with her. We would share anguish over each other and one another’s fates through the course of many years in this manner. Years which would also seem to dash just above our heads as we scrambled to meet them with our best minds.

Before late into the night, mom stretched the hands and legs of the tiny sock-puppet before my eyes. I remember looking at it in that moment, as if to look into the depths of imagination itself, and feeling at once that it wasn’t like what I expected.

Made purely of black yarn, it didn’t look like the sock-puppets from Mr. Rogers’s. And it barely fit through my hands. I also couldn’t move the legs if my fingers were placed through the puppets’ hands, and likewise couldn’t move its hands if my fingers were placed through its legs. At least, not in the seamless way that appeared to be most right.

What’s more, our sock-puppet had no face. It was just the figure of a body, but it had no personality.

I barely mustered a thank you to mom before taking it from her hands then, as I figured that I could maybe still make it work, if only I gave it some eyes and some lips and a nose. I then retreated into the living room with the soft garment in my hands, placed the puppet’s body down on the plastic table where my brother and I did our homework, took some scratch paper out of my backpack, and set out to give the tiny figure its rightful personality.

I won’t ever forget the face I would forge on the sheet then, because it was the most natural face that came to mind in that moment; the only one in the entire galaxy that I could draw with some ease. After cutting out the circle of paper that we’d glue onto the figure’s circular-shaped head, I gave the sock-puppet curious wide eyes, brimming bright eyelashes, a roundish nose with just a small lumping tip at the end, and a set of large, wise lips. It was the face of my mom.

Even if the figure wasn’t quite what I expected then, I would still have something to show for show and tell. And my mom’s face before my anxieties–just as her hands motioning through the darkness of the night to still save the day–would remain with my memory through a lifetime; every dream come true for me now is only an extension of everything possible through the tiny sock-puppet with her eyes.

J.T.

Los Angeles, so you know

Jimbotimes_APC_-3It is quite possible, maybe even nearly guaranteed, that I will not be there on your final day. That is, in the final moment that defines that day. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but if I did it would just be untrue.

I also wish it didn’t have to be so simple. I wish I didn’t have to be so wrapped up in myself just like everyone else, and I wish that I could summon the superpowers I always dreamt of one day having, so that I could be in two places at once after all; so that I could be as much the magic to you, as you’ve been to me over the course of so many days.

I am only human, however. A being bound by two hands and two feet, with just one heart and one mind connecting each of these extensions to the body. Even if in my mind I can fly, the rest of the time I’m pulled to the earth by gravity like every other one of the planet’s organisms.

What’s more, even if I could actually fly through time and space, the truth is that I would still have to leave one part of myself to get to you on the other side. This I could not do.

Last night, at the peak of dawn there was a tremor through the earth. I could not fly and get away. Nor could you. Instead we both had no choice but to bear the weight and worry of the tumble that marked the earth’s transformation, a transformation all but guaranteed to continue indefinitely, or at least, long past either one of us.

We had to be somewhat brave, Los Angeles. For a moment each of us faced the specter of being taken from one another and the impending doom thereof. Yet there we were. We made it through the strenuous trek. Now, we continue with our own transformation through the times. We are living, breathing organisms too, after all, each of us with whole worlds to fill out through these things.

That said, there will also be a time when one of us cannot make it. On that day, even with all the bravery in the universe coursing through our veins, we will still be broken through. Separated both from one another and within ourselves, the sky will be blotted out by an endless sense of abandon. We’ll then be left to course through the dark of the night as new, less certain selves. Broken selves.

That brokenness is also likely to extend through the course of more than just one night. It may even take a lifetime to adapt to a world without one another, but we will once again transform through this. It is our destiny to expand into the universe through each of the events that happen to us, and through those we happen to. Indeed, without this indefinite transformation, I could not write this note to you today, nor any of the notes we’ve shared. And even if the notes one day vanish, I’ve got a feeling they could only disappear to take time and space in another form, too.

Of course, there will only be one Los Angeles through the course of time and space, just as there will be only one JIMBO TIMES to express so uncompromisingly such a fervent dedication to Los Angeles.

But in the meantime, with what time and space is still left, I want to express my gratitude for everything we’ve been able to form together.

You have made me, Los Angeles, and I can only hope in some way I’ve made you too.

When the time comes to remake ourselves even beyond one another, then, even if I can’t be there to say goodbye, I trust each of us will still remake ourselves well, just as we have for so long.

Bravely, uncompromisingly, and indefinitely, you have my best in this journey.

And remember that we have to keep going, Los Angeles.

Indeed, the rest of the pueblos out there depend on us doing just so.

J.T.

Born Again,

LmLs, RIP Marvin; Virgil and Clinton; Spring 2018
LmLs, RIP Marvin; Virgil and Clinton; Spring 2018

Since as long as I can remember I was driven by a tremendous love for the world, which to be sure, was also a great reeling from the world, in that it hurt to love something so much. ‘Being driven’ implies some form of control over my love, though, except that I wasn’t always in control. In fact, it might be that I was in control less than half the time. In the other half, it felt like I was only reacting to the things made by love, as if one day I just got up when the world started to open its arms to me. I had to react. I had to express myself. I had to write.

Except that I simply didn’t know how to treasure everything I loved all at once. In turn, I mustered what I could with the scraps of time I was given, dropping the world again and again on its head. Now, being more removed from so much of what I’ve loved over the years, I can certainly claim to have no regrets with how I reacted, but that would preclude that I know the whole of myself; the fact of the matter is that I’m actually still getting to know the different projections which add up to myself. As for what that person regrets, I’m still finding out.

How does a person imagine their whole life to make up their mind about how they feel about it, anyway? In any case, I realize that this time around in reflecting on things, I can see I’m now somewhere along a middle space.

I can also see that I’m supposed to cross this passage onto the next span of my race through the cosmos, but that instead of lights beaming all around, it’s actually a rather dark terminal I’m standing in.

A part of me wanted to come back from all of my travels this year stronger, but another part of me was highly aware of how I could actually only come back from them in a more vulnerable state than before, estranged from my surroundings as I tried to make sense of just what mattered the most in both the places I left and the ones I returned to.

I’m now rummaging through that vulnerable state, because everything to be found in it is a collector’s item. And I’ve come to believe that I’m supposed to get to know my vulnerability better in order to move onto my strengths for the same purpose.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve decided to step away from so much of the driving force as of late; while the last time I checked I wanted to immerse myself full throttle with the world to uncover its farthest dimensions, it’s now the polar opposite; I am like the night, swollen into a dark and spacious state of things. There is a balance in it somewhere.

I know this when I open my eyes through the darkness to find the other part of myself; rather than being afraid of its difference, I am immovably at peace with it, accepting it for as long as it needs to be with me.


I don’t always need light to observe my existence; even through darkness, I can sort through its contents to still find enough of what I need from myself; I understand that just as I thrive with light, I’m meant to thrive without it as well. The result is something I’m rather happy to lay bare.

With more soon,

J.T.