Mindful Triathlon Coming to Miami on October 21st
Wanderlust Festival Cancelled. You may have heard about the cancellation of the Wanderlust Festival in Miami Beach. According to reports, organizers of the event were not able to secure enough permits from local authorities due to its location near a military base. There are several other reasons why this festival was canceled. One of them is because it was held at night, which is against city ordinance. Another reason could be due to the fact that the organizers did not get all the necessary permits in time.
The Wanderlust Festival will take place again next year in another location, but there’s no word yet if they’ll try to do something different or just keep doing what they’ve been doing so far.
It’s good that they’re trying new things, but I’m still wondering how many times they need to cancel a festival before they realize their mistake.
I don’t think it would hurt them too much if they didn’t hold any festivals anymore. They already make money off of the ticket sales and other sponsorships. If anything, it might even benefit them since people aren’t going to come out to these events unless there’s some sort of entertainment involved.
I’m not sure what their goal is exactly for these events. I know they’re supposed to help spread the message about mindfulness and all that, but something about that just doesn’t seem right.
I don’t think spreading the message about meditation in this way is the way to do it. I would say doing it in schools would be a more effective way of doing it since you’re targeting a younger audience.
Perhaps they’re trying to reach a younger audience with these events by making them appear like music festivals, but I don’t think that’s working either. I think people are starting to catch on that these aren’t really music festivals, but rather something else that’s being disguised as one.
I’m not sure what the future holds for this festival or anything related to it, but I can say that it makes me feel uncomfortable knowing that something like this exists.
If they really want to help people, maybe they should take a more direct approach in helping people and just offer free counseling services. That’s what I would do if I ever had any extra money to spend on these things, anyway.
Wanderlust Festival started in 2012 and it was originally intended for a one-time event. The company that started the festival was hoping to raise money for the Zendik Farm Foundation. However, that one-time event turned into a 3-day festival due to its popularity. From there, they just continued to expand and add more of these events in different locations.
While the original intention was to hold these events every 3 years, they ended up holding one every year due to high demand.
In 2016, it was announced that the Zendik Farm Foundation was shutting down operations at its headquarters in Pennsylvania and that the Wanderlust Festival would no longer have a direct beneficiary. The money that was previously used to fund the Zendik Farm Foundation operations would now be used to expand the Wanderlust Festivals.
As a result of this, in some strange way the festival’s been able to expand even more and they haven’t had to change the way they do things since they’re getting more money.
The only thing that has changed is that they started accepting donations at their website, which I’ll admit is a little strange for a charity. They also created exclusive shirts and hats for people who donate at certain levels.
There was a time where I was considering donating to them just so I could get one of their shirts, but something just felt…off about the whole thing.
I guess I’ll never know for sure unless I actually go to one of their events. And to be quite honest, part of me doesn’t really want to know if it is a cult.
It sounds dumb, I know, but it makes the most sense.
If it is a cult, do I really want to risk angering them by going to one of their events and possibly ruining whatever plans they have?
Maybe I’m just paranoid…I guess there’s only one way to find out!
Well, technically there are other ways. I could just call them and ask if they’re a cult. However, I feel like if they were a cult, they wouldn’t admit to it. If they weren’t a cult and some random guy called and asked them if they were, they’d probably get their members to immediately distrust me.
If they were a cult and I called and asked if they were, then who knows what they’d do. Maybe nothing, maybe try to recruit me, or maybe even try to kill me since cults in these sorts of things tend to be very protective of themselves.
So going in person is out of the question then.
That leaves me with one option, and that’s to perform some sort of spell or ritual that would allow me to see if they’re a cult or not. Now I’ve never done this before, so it’s going to be a learning experience whether it works or not.
I’ve looked up different ways to do this in the past and the one I’m going to use is the easiest one from what I can tell.
First things first, I need to get something that belongs to them and I have no idea how I’m going to do that unless I attend the event personally.
The only other option I can think of is to go to one of their offices or something and try the same thing. I don’t have either of their addresses though so that would mean going to the library or just driving around town to look for their offices. Either way, it would be a long shot since I don’t know what I’m even looking for.
Maybe they’re just easy to find online, I’ll just use…
I turn around and see the head librarian looking at me over a pair of spectacles.
“You can’t just go around using the computers for hours on end. Your school has a policy against it and you’re abusing the privilege. Now if you’ll excuse yourself, there are other students waiting to use the computer.” She says.
I nod, get up and head to the door.
“Yeah, I’m leaving.”
Once I’m out of the library, I decide that maybe they’re right. Maybe I should just go to the actual event. I mean even if they are a cult, they can’t exactly do anything to me if I’m not alone.
I check my phone after all this time just to see that there’s no reception in this part of the school. That’s good at least, I won’t be getting any phone calls from Elios again.
I see a student walking by with a backpack and I grab them by the shoulder to get their attention. They turn around with a look of shock and I steal their backpack while checking the time on my phone.
Hey, you wouldn’t happen to know the time, would you?”
The student looks at me confused and then at his watch.
“It’s three twenty-three PM.” He says.
“Thanks!” I say as I take off running in the direction opposite of where I’m supposed to be going.
I run for quite a while until I can’t run any longer and even though I have no idea where I am, it appears that I’ve managed to lose the student so I should be fine.
I reach into the bag and pull out a neatly folded gray shirt. Checking the tag, it says one size fits all. It should be plenty large enough for me to wear. I then look further into the bag and find another smaller one inside it.
I open this one and find a disposable cell phone. There are no contacts in it, but there is a save message that says, “Check behind the solar panels”.
I can’t help but smile at this and even though I’m supposed to be hiding, I feel the need to call the number and check on Sarah.
Just as I thought, it goes right to voice mail.
“We’re not home right now, leave a message.” Beep
I hang up after that since there’s nothing else to do. I check the time and see that it’s a few minutes past six. If I hurry, I should be able to reach the event in time and hopefully there will be something there I can use.
I start running again in the direction that I was originally headed. I see a parking garage not too far away and if I’m lucky, there might be a car there that I can steal.
I walk into the garage and see a few options. The first row of cars are luxury models that are locked up tight. The second row has some that are set to handbrake and others with the keys in them. I look at the ones that are unlocked and see a few sedans and coupes, nothing special.
At the very end, I see a pickup truck with the engine running. The keys aren’t in the ignition, but there’s an opener attached to the rearview mirror.
I think to myself, “What the hell?”
and climb into the driver’s seat.
As soon as I get in, the door locks automatically lock and an alarm begins to wail.
“Well that’s premeditated auto theft,” I say to myself.
I wait for a few moments, but the alarm doesn’t stop. I look around for the fuse box and see that it’s been crudely modified.
“Of course it has,” I say to myself.
I dig through the glovebox and find the original manual keys in a ziplock baggy. I try starting the car once or twice, but nothing happens. I try again and hold the key there for a few seconds before it finally starts up.
I hurry and put it in reverse and back up quickly. Unfortunately, I back into a minivan in the row behind me because I can’t see out of the pickup’s rear windows. The alarm is still blaring away and I can barely hear myself think to pull the keys out of the ignition.
I get out of the car and start to check it out. It’s a work truck for a plumbing company. There’s a ladder rack on it and no passenger-side door.
I run around to the front of it and examine the grille. It looks like someone welded a bunch of metal strips across it. I peek inside the hood and see that all the tubes have been plugged up with random pieces of metal as well.
What is this thing?”
I say out loud.
I hear a car horn behind me and turn around to see the minivan that I backed into. The driver gets out and starts yelling at me. I can tell he’s Asian, but that’s about all I can tell since it’s getting dark already.
He walks over to me and is much bigger than I am. He starts pushing me and demanding to know who I am and what I’m doing there.
I try to tell him that I’m waiting for my friend, but he won’t have it. He throws a punch at me and I duck under it. I try to run around him, but he grabs me by the hoodie and throws me down to the ground. He starts kicking me in the ribs while I try to cover up.
Then, out of nowhere, a big Rottweiler comes running in between us and sinks his teeth into the man’s ankle. He falls down and the dog keeps attacking. I’m afraid he’s going to kill the man so I try to get him off, but when I go to touch his collar, the dog turns around and snaps at me.
The man takes this opportunity to crawl away from the dog. He grabs a metal bar from the ground and begins hitting the dog over the head with it. He doesn’t seem to feel any remorse at all; he just keeps wailing on him.
I’m yelling at him to stop and eventually, he puts the dog out of his misery. It’s only then that I notice that the dog had a collar with a tag on it. It has the name “Mittens” written on it.
The man is still giving the dog a beating and I don’t know what else to do, so I run for my life.
“You better run, kid,” he says as he hits the dog again.
I take off out of the parking lot and run down the road. I manage to catch a bus not long after and I head home. I try to keep my hoodie up around my head the whole time; I’m afraid he might see me and know I was the one who stole his car.
When I get home, no one’s there. Mom still hasn’t come back yet. I lie in bed with my hoodie on and stare at the ceiling. I can’t shake the image of that dog being beaten to death by his owner.
Should I have tried harder to stop it? Would he have hurt me too?
Eventually, I fall asleep. I’m not sure how much time passes, but all of a sudden I wake up to hear someone calling my name.
I sit up in bed and look around. I notice the window to my room is open and it’s starting to get light out.
“Jon… you can’t hide forever…”
I get out of bed and look out the window, but don’t see anyone outside. I do, however, notice that there is a chain and lock on the ground below it. The trespasser must have come in this way.
I head downstairs and look around, but no one is here. I see that the front door is still locked and there are no signs of forced entry.
“Jon… you can’t hide forever…”
That voice is so quiet I can barely make out the words, but I’m sure someone is whispering them to me. I go back to my room and sit by the window. I look around outside, but it’s still just light outside and I can’t see far.
“Just one more day, Jon… then you can leave…”
“… love is torture…
just like me… just like me…”
The whispers start up again as I sit here. I wait for night to fall and am looking out the window, but something catches my eye. I turn around and look at my nightstand. There’s a post-it note on it that I don’t remember.
I pick it up and read it: “Come to the crossroads between the school and the park. Face each road and if you hear the sounds of nature, all will be forgiven.”
It’s signed “Your friend.”
I fold up the note and put it in my pocket. I have a good idea who this person is, but I don’t know if I’m ready to face them yet. Then again, I also don’t know how much longer I can stay in this house.
I walk to the crossroads and see a person standing there waiting for me. It’s Allison. She looks at me and smiles, but it doesn’t reach her eyes. She’s been crying; her eyes are all red and puffy.
“Allison…” I say.
“I’m sorry, Jon,” she says as she starts to cry again. “I never meant for any of this to happen.”
“It’s OK,” I say as I walk forward to comfort her.
As I reach out to put my arm around her, she suddenly disappears. I look around and see that the area around me has changed. Instead of being outside, I’m standing inside a house I don’t recognize. It looks like the inside of Allison’s old house.
I turn around and see her sitting at a dining room table. She’s still crying.
Allison, what’s wrong?”
I ask as I go to comfort her.
Before I can reach her, however, she disappears and is replaced by a different person. This person is standing by a doorway leading to the basement. They turn their head towards me and stare for a moment before opening the door and going down. I go after them, but instead of going down the stairs, I find myself in the foyer of my house.
Dad is standing by the front door holding a suitcase and a box of some sort. He looks at me coldly.
“Jon, we need to talk,” he says as he starts up the stairs.
I feel panic start to rise in me. I’ve never seen my father this mad before.
“Dad, I can explain,” I say, not even knowing what he’s there to talk to me about.
“I’ve found out a lot of things about you lately and I’m not sure if I even know who you are anymore,” he says as he takes a seat on the stairs.
He holds up his hand and I stop talking. He looks tired, but I know this isn’t going to be over until he’s had his say.
“Do you remember a few months ago when I told you about how I caught that teacher of yours… what was her name,
… trying to seduce you?” he asks.
“Dad, that was just -“
“Let me finish,” Dad says as he glares at me. “Now I’m not angry that you didn’t tell me the whole truth, because kids never understand why their parents do the things they do. I’m certainly not perfect, and I know that. What I don’t understand is why you’d lie to me in the first place.
Did you really think I wouldn’t find out? Did you really think she was going to keep putting these things on your social media without my finding out?”
“I believed she would,” I admit. “I begged her not to tell you.”
“Well she did,” Dad says with a sigh. “And I’m sorry that I had to ruin things for you like this, but I had no choice.”
You had no choice?”
I ask, stunned that he’s acting like this is about him.
“Jon, she was a grown woman. You were only 15 years old. She could’ve had the same feelings for you as you did for her and things could’ve gotten really out of hand really fast.”
“But they weren’t!” I protest. “I would’ve stopped it! We didn’t do anything like that!”
Dad stares at me for a long time. His expression is one of disappointment more than anger now.
“I don’t know you anymore, Jon,” he says. “I’m not even sure if I ever did. I can’t believe I missed all the signs. The depression, the obsession with her, your social isolation.
I should’ve caught on when you didn’t have any friends at those parties or anywhere else for that matter.”
“It wasn’t like that,” I say, trying to defend myself.
Dad asks. “It sure as hell seems like it was. I don’t know what was going through your head, but you need help, and I’m going to make sure you get it.”
Dad takes his phone out of his pocket and starts pressing buttons. He’s calling the police. My impulse is to run, but I can’t let myself get distracted. This is Dad.
He’s trying to help me. I have to stay calm and talk him out of this.
“Dad, please,” I say. “I know it looks bad, but I can explain.”
he asks, his voice wavering as he tries to stay mad. “
How you were dating an older woman who was sexually abusing you? How you’ve been lying to me for months and distancing yourself from your friends?
Dad, I didn’t want this. I didn’t want any of this to happen!”
Then why did it?”
Dad asks, tears welling up in his eyes as he grips his phone.
“I didn’t want any of this to happen to me either!” I yell, my own voice wavering as I begin to cry.
My outburst doesn’t change his mind though. He keeps his glare on me and waits for me to continue.
“I wanted to be a hero,” I blurt out. “I wanted people to look up to me. I’m a teenager and I wanted to be someone. Someone people admired.
Someone people looked up to. Someone people loved.”
“So you became the drama club’s puppet,” he says with a sigh.
“I wanted to make people happy, I wanted to entertain them. I didn’t want anyone to know my name. I didn’t want any of this!”
How did she even get you in the first place?”
he asks, his voice still shaking. “It’s your fault you were taken in, I know that, but I just don’t understand how she did it.
How does someone even convince a teenager to be their puppet?”
“I wanted to make people happy,” I repeat.
Dad shakes his head and walks over to me. He kneels down and locks eyes with me. I wince as I see the pain in his eyes. It hurts me just as much as it hurts him.
“You have a talent, Jon,” he says. “A gift, and you’re wasting it. I won’t let you throw your life away.”
He stands back up and heads towards the door. Before he reaches it, he stops and turns around to look at me.
“I love you, Jon,” he says. “I know you’re hurting right now, but I want you to remember that. I love you as my son, and I want what’s best for you even if you don’t. I’m always going to want that.”
With those last words, he steps out of the room and shuts the door behind him. The lock clicks into place a second later.
I reach out for the door and slam my fists against it.
“Let me out of here!” I yell.
I press my ear up against the door, but Dad’s footsteps have already faded away. He’s really left me in here.
“Dad!” I scream. “Let me out!”
I grab the metal tray next to my bed and hurl it at the door. It bounces off the wood and falls to the floor, sliding a few inches before stopping. There’s no way out of this room. I’m trapped, and Dad’s left me here.
I lie back down on my bed and stare at the ceiling. I try to run through all the events of the past few months in my head, trying to figure out where I went wrong.
I was following my dreams, right?
I wanted to be a hero, or an actor. Someone people loved and looked up to. Someone people admired and adored.
I sigh as I think back to what Dad had said earlier.
Maybe he’s right. Maybe I am throwing my life away. Maybe I’m throwing away everything I have.
But how was I supposed to know? How was I supposed to know any of this would happen?
All I wanted to do was be a hero.
The only reason why I’m here is because someone needed help. Gwen needed help, and I wanted to be the one to help her.
But now she’s gone too. It’s all gone so wrong.
I don’t know how long I lie in bed, staring at the ceiling. I can’t even fall asleep, despite my heavy eyes begging me to sleep.
The door opens a while later and Dad steps inside. He walks over to me and offers his hand.
“Come on,” he says. “Let’s go home.”
I take his hand and he helps me off the bed. I’m shaky from lying in bed for so long, but I manage not to collapse. Dad doesn’t say a word as we walk out of the hospital and into the parking lot. He keeps a firm grip on my hand the whole time.
He helps me inside the truck and even buckles me in.
We ride home in silence, and I spend the whole ride trying to think of something to say. I feel like apologising, but that wouldn’t solve anything. Nothing I can say will make this better. Nothing I can do will fix what I broke.
We reach our home and climb out of the truck. I follow Dad inside, still trying to think of anything I could do or say to make this better, but I can’t think of anything. Nothing I can do can change what happened.
We enter the living room and find it empty. No one else is home, which isn’t surprising since it’s nighttime. Dad heads into the kitchen and opens the fridge, pulling out a beer. He pops the top and takes a long swig, sighing as he collapses into a chair.
I stare at him, still looking for something to say. I feel like if I could just say the right thing, then everything would be better. But no words come to mind, so the moment passes and Dad turns his attention to the TV. He flips through the channels until he stops on some sports game and downs the rest of his beer.
He gets up and grabs another out of the fridge, before sitting back down.
He turns his attention to the game and I lean against the wall.
I feel like I should be doing something, but I don’t know what. Everything feels like such an effort right now. All I want to do is go back to bed and never leave my room again. It’s not fair.
None of this is fair. I tried to do something good and now everyone hates me and I’m not a hero. I’m nothing.
I hear the front door open and close as someone enters the house. Footsteps approach the kitchen and I see Gwen enter. She’s changed out of the dress she was wearing earlier and is now wearing skinny jeans and a baggy orange shirt. Her hair is still the same fluffy, brown mess.
“Hey Owen,” she says. “
How’d it go? Did you talk to him?
You look like you feel better.”
She notices my bandaged arm and raises an eyebrow.
What happened to your arm?”
I stare at her blankly. I don’t want to tell her what happened. It’ll just make her feel worse, and she’ll blame herself for leaving me. So I lie.
“It’s nothing,” I say, looking away from her. “Don’t worry about it.”
Are you sure? You sure it isn’t broken?
It looks broken.”
“I said it’s fine.”
She stares at me for a moment before giving up.
“Alright, if you say so,” she says. “Mom just got home and she’s furious. You might want to steer clear of her.”
“Yeah, I’ll stay away.”
Gwen nods and leaves the kitchen. I hear her greet Dad before heading up to her room. I take a deep breath and head into the living room. Dad sees me and stares defiantly for a moment, but quickly looks away when I approach.
I head out the front door without saying a word.
I walk down the street, staring at the sidewalk in front of me. There are only a few people outside, and they all walk on the other side of the road to avoid me. They must know what I did earlier today. I don’t blame them for keeping their distance.
Who knows what I might do?
I get home and collapse on my bed. I don’t even bother changing out of my bloody clothes. I just want to sleep and try to forget everything that happened today.
I roll over and grab my phone off my nightstand. I see I have four new messages and three new calls. All the messages are from Gwen asking where I am, and the calls are from her as well. I delete them all and throw my phone onto my desk.
This is the last time I do something nice for someone. From now on, it’s me first.
I spend the rest of the night wallowing in self-pity.
I wake up late the next morning. I have a pounding headache and I’m still wearing the same clothes as yesterday. I must have cried myself to sleep. I take off my clothes and toss them into the corner.
I walk downstairs naked and grab a box of poptarts from the pantry. I eat a few on the way to the bathroom where I take a shower.
I get out of the shower and dry off. I notice a bruise on my side that I don’t remember getting. It’s in the shape of a hand with sharp nails. I shudder thinking about how it got there.
After getting dressed, I toss the dirty clothes into the corner beside my other outfit. I have to do laundry again.
I sit down at my desk and grab my phone. Three new messages. All from Gwen.
I delete them without listening. She needs to stop bothering me. I don’t want to talk about it, and I don’t want to see her ever again. She made her choice.
I go downstairs and grab a bottle of vodka from the cabinet. I down half the bottle, as it’s still a little early in the day to be drinking. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
I spend the rest of the day on the internet and watching TV. It’s not like I have anything else to do. Dad’s never home on the weekend, so I have the house to myself.
I go to bed without changing my clothes and fall asleep immediately.
I wake up the next morning and repeat the process as before. The next few days are more of the same. I don’t know if it’s the lack of sleep or what, but I feel like I’m having an out of body experience. Like someone is watching me and laughing at me as I go through my daily routine.
Sources & references used in this article:
- New Data Inquiry Lab offers statistics help (D HOWARD – scholarworks.gvsu.edu)
- The Breeze (J SUTTER – commons.lib.jmu.edu)
- Barbarians in the boardroom: Activist investors and the Battle for control of the world’s most powerful companies (IL LA, B Woslum)
- Efforts to Foster Mental Health at Work (O Walker – 2016 – books.google.com)
- Personal Experiences of a Deaf Law Student, with Updated Foreword (JA Quelch, CI Knoop – Compassionate Management of Mental Health in …, 2018 – Springer)
- Compassionate management of mental health in the modern workplace (A McGill – Hastings Women’s LJ, 2016 – HeinOnline)