The High Water Mark

“What can I know? What ought I to do? What can I hope?”

Immanuel Kant

We all have moments that seem like we’re grasping for a rope that dangles right above our heads. Those moments that feel like the boat that you’re rowing is succumbing to the current that is pulling in the opposite direction. The gut feeling that even though you know what you’re supposed to be doing, what you know is right, and what you want to happen, isn’t actually going to happen. It’s a feeling like a sucker punch in the stomach and a left jab to the chin.

The only thing that you can grasp onto, even when things are getting a bit dark, deep, and heavy is the notion that you know what you’re supposed to do. You know what the outcome that you need is withing your grasp….all it takes is for you to make the proper decision, to make the right movements, and to not only “hope”, but plan on success.

I’ll be the first one to say that I’ve sat there and made poor decisions and had “hope” for the best. I’ve lost lots of things that I loved because I made really bad decisions and “hoped” that things were going to turn out okay. End of story, they didn’t turn out “okay” and I ended up losing lots of things that were important to me. I threw it away on a whim, I guess it was more of an ignorance as to what I should have been doing. I always wondered why I could be lead askew so much, but it beamed me on the head like a cabinet that you weren’t expecting while perking up to answer a telephone call.

“Polish Holiday”

That’s what my parents called it when I was a kid and I just flat out didn’t want to go to school. I would gripe, moan and groan and instead of telling me “no, you have to go to school” most of the time I’d get  “polish holiday”, in which I would get called in as being under the weather. This habit has followed me into adult hood, and although I know better….it’s also what I know. I ought to be out of, well, whatever obligation I have. I used to also hope that everything would work out.

“The notion that A in the past caused B in the present, which will cause C in the future, when actually A, B, and C are all part of a pattern that can be truly understood only by opening the doors of perception and experiencing it.”

-Tom Wolfe
Things didn’t work out, they were all a mess, and it was a matter of me not understanding the fact that A+B=C. For the number of times that I had read the book by Tom Wolfe (the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test), I always respected the fact that they were of an enlightened matter. They really “dug” what was going on, and well, I only wished that I knew what was “going on”. I reflected on preliminary Psychology courses that I had taken and about the imagery of sticking your hand in a fire and learning that it hurt, and the mental progression that occurs because of it. It wasn’t clicking, for some reason, it was like an empty sewing machine bobbin, trying to click along, but being empty at the same time.

“There are times, however, and this is one of them, when even being right feels wrong. What do you say, for instance, about a generation that has been taught that rain is poison and sex is death? If making love might be fatal and if a cool spring breeze on any summer afternoon can turn a crystal blue lake into a puddle of black poison right in front of your eyes, there is not much left except TV and relentless masturbation. It’s a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat shit and die.”
Hunter S. Thompson

I realized that I was living on he coattails of the rest of the world, trying to be what I thought the world wanted me to be, and in the end it was an equation of A+B=Not me. Trying to live a life that wasn’t really “me” caused my equation to be all off. I was doing things that I didn’t fully understand, and at the same time, worrying about puddle of black that didn’t exist and a fatal rain storm. I call it an eating disorder.

I think there might be a lot of us that have our equations a little off, perhaps our A plus B is equating to a poison rain, but in all actuality it’s more of a dance in the rain. Our A plus B is more of dip in a cool pool as opposed to a black poison. Certain times in our lives the mental poison that soaks in isn’t easy to overcome.

Maybe, just maybe, you don’t get it, perhaps your A+B always adds up, but for some it doesn’t. Sometimes the sum doesn’t add up quite right and we suffer in silence, unsure how to elaborate. I had an experience today that reminds me that life is fragile, and sometimes A+B doesn’t equal anything, it just adds up to giving up. Life is hard, without help, and without support, anyone, even those that seem strong and powerful could still need a boost up.

“with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”
Hunter S Thompson

We’ve all had our wave broke, but there are many that aren’t able to struggle above the wave and keep our heads above water. When the wave rolls back, where will you be?

I take a bow, and say goodnight

I totally stole those lyrics from a Violent Femmes song, I’ll admit, but hey, they’re catchy right? Lately, probably catchier than anything that I could pull out of my bag of magical words. Writers block is a total female dog (for those of you not savvy on the technicalities of what male and female animals are called, female canines are called bitches.) I honestly can’t remember the last time I was able to sit at this machine and actually put something in paragraph form that actually meant anything to me, or would be of any interest of anyone else, until about a half an hour ago.

Gasp, inspiration just strikes? Yes. Yes it does. As you might know I “used” to be a writer, I “used” to be a pharmacy technician, I used to be a lot of things, but the one thing that I’m not is a quitter, so I kept my chin up and knew that there would be a day that words would come out of my fingers again. Daily, I would look down at my hands and see more holes from plants and weird stuff I have to handle at work than I would tools to write with. I got into the car today and looked at my hands as they rested on my steering wheel and I actually started humming the song “Pancho and Lefty”. Appropriate, seeing as how they are hands, and there is a left and a….well, I guess I’ll call the other one Pancho from now on.

The lyrics, if you’re unfamiliar with them, are about two haggard dudes, named Pancho and Lefty (big surprise) and their rough lives. I looked down at my hands, not only saw the scars of life, but also the ability to evolve into better things. The first lines describe a set of hands about as tough as a womans skin that has laid in a tanning bed three times a day for about seventy years. Pancho chased Lefty in the song, or if you want to think of it, Lefty chased Pancho. Typical good guy bad guy story. The left always wanted to keep up with what the right (or Pancho) was doing, and in the end it was like a wild goose chase.

Pancho dies in the song, Lefty (the “good guy”) sort of lost meaning in life. His purpose was trying to get Pancho, which never indeed happened, which sort of resonated with real life. Aren’t we always trying to keep up with something, even if it’s our mind that creates the vicious circle. Are we not always chasing a dream, looking for something, striving for something, but sometimes, it seems, we can sabotage ourselves. You’ve heard of one had washing the other, well, as I looked at my hands today on the steering wheel, I was Pancho and Lefty, one hand slapping the other.

Some would call it clapping, but that’s not the point. The song was haunting me, and I had to hear it, and the only version of it I knew of was the Townes Van Zandt version (which is perhaps the most haunting, amazing, and gut wrenching song I know of). I grabbed my phone to appease my need to hear it, googled the song title, and one of the first things that came up was Merle Haggard – – and his passing. I knew he did a version of it, and I had heard it, but I wasn’t exactly a fan. Don’t get me wrong, I love Merle, but his version was a bit to “poppy” for me. I listened to it anyways, knowing that he had passed and that he had the guts to try to cover this challenging song was something for me to think about.

Polar opposites, just like Pancho and Lefty. Townes made the song so depressing, it was the perfect song for those days that you want to just curl up in a ball and wonder what direction you’re going in your life, sort of like a Pancho. Pancho was on the run, his only future was being chased, that was life, but that was the life he chose. Townes version of it made it seem like life was doom and gloom, life is all about he decisions that you make. Townes wrote the damn song, and he decided that it was a sad song. Of course it had dying, cheap hotels, and federales, how could you make a pop song of that. I honestly think if Townes was still around he would turn in his grave at the remake of his song that Merle did.

BUT….

After listening to the Merle version, then the Townes version again, I realized that life is just a dichotomous key. The upbeat demeanor of the song made it seem like, well, everything was going to me okay. Merle belted out the part of Pancho falling, Cleveland being cold, and the begging of prayers, and it was almost a encouragement to pump your fist in the air and say “I’m a freaking Lefty”. Merle made it seem glamorous to be either party involved. After looking down at my hands after hearing that version of the song, I realized these hands don’t have to be the Townes version of Pancho and Lefty, they could be the Merle version.

Of course, I go on musical tangents and kept ping ponging back and forth from Merle and Townes, and there were so many parallels, I had to remind myself of who I was listening to. “Dead Flowers”, one of my absolute favorite songs (although it’s about drugs), was an echo to the song “A Place to Fall Apart”. The song “Cocaine Blues” with Townes was a weird parallel to “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink”. The apex to this musical memory match was “Waiting Around To Die” and “Mama Tried”.

If you’re not a music snob like me, this might be in over your head, but really, every single one of these songs are ones to really look into. Every song reminds you that there really is a Pancho and Lefty. The songs have very similar subjects, but one encourages hope, the other promotes giving up on life. However, one thing that Townes had over Merle was “White Freightliner Blues”, a ballad of keeping on keeping on (think Mr. Natural here). With the lyrics of “bad news from Houston, half my friends are dying”, the next verse didn’t mention going to join them, it proclaimed, in so many words at least, that he was going to keep on. He wasn’t going to quit, he was gonna keep rambling.

I mourn the passing of Merle, and for me to try to compare him to perhaps one of the best (albeit whiny at times) songwriters of all time, is wrong. Merle was a spectacular talent, and I really have a vision of them jammin’ in the big truck stop in the sky. What I did get, was a sense of optimism. I can be a Pancho (of the Townes sort) or a Lefty (of the Merle sort).

Life is in my power, I can sing a sad tune, or I can throw a catchy beat in the background and keep my chin up. Until I take a bow, and say goodnight, like these two remarkable talents.

The point fingers in the air and do a little dance version:

 

The place hand on your chin in a cupping manner and wonder what life is all about version:

To Live Is To Dig Holes

“Where you’ve been is good and gone
All you keep’s the getting there”

Townes Van Zandt To Live Is To Fly

There are many of times that I sit there and wonder, how many places have I actually been? I mean, it’s not such a destination, it’s not a coordinate on a map, it’s a state of mind, it’s a place in your heart, its a location. You can read maps all day long, you can be navigated by complicated devices that tell you where you’re supposed to be, but it never really promises that’s where you belong.

I spend an awful lot of time listening to this particular Townes van Zandt song after my life sort of took a crap about a year and a half ago. I would sit there and spin that record and listen to the lyrics, and certain things started clicking. The first thing was that my sound system was sort of shit and wasn’t giving my man Townes any credit, and two, he was talking about my sort of thing….holes….

“We all got holes to fill
And them holes are all that’s real
Some fall on you like a storm
Sometimes you dig your own”

(a little later in the tune)

I would sit there and listen to this song, and thing about every single freaking hole I dug. All the clay I busted through, all the gravel that I had to maddock up, and more importantly, all the plants that I put in the ground, that I loved, that I had to walk away from. Sure, to most people they’re just plants, they’re shrubs, flowers, trees, whatever, but to me it’s sort of an extension of myself. For many of those holes I got blistered, I got bloodied parts, I sweated, I worked to keep it alive. Most people are only accustomed to digging holes for burying dead things, for me, it’s more about creating life, creating vibrancy, creating hope.

For every hole I dug with my own two arms and hands, I knew that that hole had to be filled with something, sometimes I would dig a hole in the wrong place and have to fill it back in with nothing but soil, but sometimes I would dig a hole and plant something beautiful. There were two magnificent Nutalli Oaks that I planted in my home a few years ago, there was almost an acre and a half of botanical wonderland that I dug holes to create, hell, I even dug a hole to plant a tiny little tomato in my last domicile. The whole thing is every single hole I dug, I planned for, I knew the size to expect, the amount of back fill to add, and what was going into the hole.

“The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because its only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That’s the only lasting thing you can create.”

Chuck Palahniuk, Choke

And just like those holes that I’ve dug, I’ve watched them wilt and die, but not a single one of them do I regret digging. Every time I would dig a hole, I would expect to nurture that hole for a very long time. I had a wild imagination that there was nothing but the present, that little plant was going to be with me forever. For all the plants that died, for all the plants that got ripped up because they were out of place, for all the plants that were planted too close to others, it was nobodys fault but mine, and I took full responsibility for those holes. Every single time I knew I was trying to force something that wasn’t going to work. Those tropical plants that I was certain I could nurse through a bad winter, those plants that I planted on top of each other thinking they’d be happier, hell, even the concept of growing pumpkins in the shade, I knew they were all failing situations, but I dug those holes anyway.

The fact of the matter was, I dug those holes because I never lost hope. In the face of failure, even when I knew it wasn’t going to work, I did it anyways.

I had ambition, I had hope, I had energy that propelled me to try to make things better, to create, to instill something in the earth that wasn’t there before. Perhaps some people feel the same way when they have birth, perhaps there are some people that feel the same way when they are elected to politics, for me, every time I planted something I felt like I was changing the world. I can cruise by the places that I’ve planted stuff now and see the neglected plants reaching out for help from various yards, and it hurts. It hurts bad.

“This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.”
-T.S. Elliot
And that’s what I was happening, all the holes I had dug were whimpering.
They’re still whimpering, but it’s not my problem anymore. The more I thought I about every single hole I dug, it helped me to realize that every shovel swing liberated me more from the polluted mindset I had been in. Every funky mood I’d experience was alleviated by a shovel, every sadness was cured by half dead flowers found at a discount retailer. It was the challenge of survival that I thrived on, much like I feel about my life right now. The struggle is real, and to an extent I believe we all have an extent of one.
There will always be my favorite quotes…whom I forget who ever said it, but it was good enough to write down at one time….
“However, pick your battles, bro.”
I’m not going to battle with holes anymore, I’m not going to impregnate the soil with a hope and a promise for the future, I’m going to work on making the future happen. Holes can stay vacant for all I care.
Lastly, from Mr. Van Zandt:
The choice is yours to make
And time is yours to take
Some dive into the sea
Some toil upon the stone”
mddock

 

The Philosophy of Zips – Book In The Works

“I agree that man is pre-eminently a creative animal, predestined to strive consciously for an object to engage in engineering – – that is, incessantly and eternally to make to roads, no matter where they lead.”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky Notes From the Underground

It’s no secret, I get lost in some deep thought sometimes. Some have said my brain is too big for my skull, and some say that my skull is too small for my neck, and some have said that my butt is too big for my hips, and that my…well, you get the point. I’ve never been “normal” in a conventional sense of the word. As a matter of damn fact (it’s a new term, get to love it), I’ve been reading up on old russian novels and listening to whatever Pandora includes on my Wax Tailor station. It has turned my mind into a sort of rotting cull heap, and I’m okay with that.

I also got asked, very recently actually, “What’s this Zips character all about?” I gasped, certainly I assumed that If you know me, you know Zips. I never actually took time to think about Zips. In my deep thoughts, contemplation, adventures, and sometimes absolute wasting time driving around, Zips is always there. He’s my side kick, he’s my alter ego, he’s everything I wish I was but am not brave enough to be.

He’s a fucking stuffed bumble bee – and what made that particular russian quote stick out to me, and what reminded me of Zips was the fact that someone, somewhere, probably got paid a ridiculously large amount of money to design an innocent looking bumble bee with a rotund tummy, a big ole smile and a soft red nose. I can promise you, with all of the “engineering” that went into creating a Zips, with all of the time that went into constructing him (although I’m sure his raw material cost was about two cents), somebody thought to make him. Beyond that, somebody thought to buy him, and well, my possession of him has taken me down roads that typically don’t lead anywhere.

Here’s a quick rundown of the history of Zips and some philosophy to go with it

  • he was purchased from a CVS in Anderson in 2012 as a gift for me because I was having the worst day ever.  “There may be anti-wrinkle cream, but anti fat bastard cream there is none” -The Full Monty. The worst day I was having, well, it was directly connected with the fact that I was in a full blown relapse into my Eating disorder and wasn’t doing particularly well. I was a mess, I wanted to jump in front of a bus, and there wasn’t a single person that I could talk to that seemed to understand me, I wanted a magic wand to take the “fat” talk away, but well, that didn’t exist. Certainly no anti fat bastard cream, and certainly no magical pill that would take my disordered thinking away. When I got home, there was this ridiculous looking bee looking at me, I cried. I actually cried.
  • Zips hung around the house, he didn’t really start his adventures until a bit later, when I ended up going on a bit of an adventure north and needed company for the ride. “All these I’m sorrys and I miss yous are useless, I fucked this one up long ago.” Alkaline Trio Fuck you Aurora. I had the urge to get out of town, and I did, I went a visiting, and Zips came along for the ride. Not only did we get into many shenanigans in spring/summer of 2013, we bonded in a road trip sort of way. Going awesome places (that we probably didn’t belong) like Fuzzy Zoellers Covered Bridge Golf Course, Lambeau Field, and an entire Island that we just about got kicked off of, we were unstoppable. I also learned, the hard way, that if you run hard enough for long enough you’re bound to crash. Somewhere in the middle of Tennessee I got confused, a complete and total sugar crash, and didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing, somehow Zips in all of his cuteness and power and I ended up going on an adventure to a “package store” and an abandonded fireworks stand. We figured it out and got on our way. That’s when I knew Zips was more than just a stuffed be
  • Our adventures continued throughout the rest of 2013, going to the beach, doing the sea mountain highway, hosting Thanksgiving, and my personal favorite, Zips got a girlfriend – a stuffed lady bug that was shaped identically to him, her name was Dots. “No, no, no, it ain’t me babe, it ain’t me you’re looking for”. Johnny Cash. Throughout the end of 2013 we spent an incredible amount of time planning our next big adventure, but we also, ahem, became insomniacs. There’s an old saying out there that goes something along the lines of “nothing holy happens between the hours of 3 and 5 am”, and those were our prime hours. I was cranking away planning the trip to California and Zips drank…or maybe it was me…either way, we kept each other company. We started becomes a bit withdrawn and life was, well, hectic. Zips went to school with me and actually became famous with the other Pharmacy Tech people. Even on the roughest nights I could look down and see his damn face peering up at me from my bag.
  • Oh yeah, we did a huge tour of Europe, it was huge, we saw lots of stuff, he was my rock for most of it. He tucked away in my motorcycle jacket when we were away from the bike and he hid in the tank compartment when we were riding. “Fucking Seabiscuit” Johnny Kessler (in drunken stumbling through the tree yard). Zips gained a fan club there too, all the people on the motorcycle tour knew Zips, asked about Zips and hell, he had his picture taken more than I did. If anything I was jealous of the little jerk a few times, but hey, that’s the risk you run when you’re hanging with an adorable stuffed bee.
  • We went to California and drove a 30 year old BMW cross country in a three week long party with fellow BMW owners, and Zips became famous with across the country. “I can only assume that it is not me, but my presence, that you love – and since I hope to have some dimension above the physical, it saddens me to see you flounder the instant my body was out of reach” Hunter S Thompson The Proud Highway. I assumed there would be panic attacks on this adventure, but for some reason having Zips shotgun made everything okey dokey. We say deserts, ice storms, car shows, car dealerships, two oceans, two mountain ranges, you name it, we saw it. The coolest thing about the whole bit was that Zips was there. I mean, for an inanimate object, he sure gets a lot of attention.
  • After that it gets cloudy, Zips and I had a rough patch – which well, we stuck together, but it wasn’t easy. There were a few times that Zips was soaked with tears, there were times that we slept in the car together, but he was always there. “With ten miles behind you and 10,000 more to go” James Taylor. Everything got thrown in the air, we had no idea where we were going, but we were trying to get there in a hurry. There was even a time that I got physically aggressive with someone three times my size trying to protect Zips from getting fed to a dog. That’s when I knew that Zips was something that wasn’t just an item, it was a part of me.

Fast forward, 10,000 miles farther down the road, I’m happy, and I sincerely thank Zips for some of that. In times that you feel like the world is going to self destruct and the grapes of wrath have made you wicked wine and you drink it without worrying about the consequences, I had Zips. It’s dumb, but it’s true. I don’t typically open up to people about “feelings” and all that touchy nonsense, I don’t need someone elses opinion on what to do with my life, which makes it hard to get over things. I turn to music, I turn to philosophy, but typically I turn to Zips, he’s everything I want to be, a chubby bee that always has a smile, that likes a dirty joke now and then, and dances like his pants are on fire.

Progressing into our “new” life, a life of more stability, I’ll still turn to Zips. I mean hell, we’ve been to 12 different countries together, been to countless states and back and forth across the country countless times too. I honestly feel like I’d be lonely without Zips, and well, if you don’t have a Zips in your life, maybe you need one. It doesn’t have to be a bee, it could be anything. What I have learned on this life long adventure with Zips is that sometimes people come and go, friends, co workers, family, they can let you down and hurt you once in a while, but a stuffed bee, he’ll never let you down (unless you lose him, which has happened a few times).

So, find yourself a Zips and start having more adventures, start caring less about what other people think and what’s best for you, and eat more tater tots (wait, that’s just for me). Keep moving, it’s the only way to stay young.

“Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed”

Genesis 19:17

zips

Zips in my absolute favorite place that I’ve ever seen in the world – Pildammsparken in Malmo, Sweden

 

Celery Sticks – I Hate Them

“Solitude, that dread goddess encircles and besets him, ever more threatening, more violent, more heartbreaking – but who today knows what solitude is?”

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche – Human, All Too Human A Book for Free Spirits

I can sit alone in my car and pretend I’m on my own personal island. Nobody around, nobody to talk to, just the car and I in a semi abandoned parking lot in South Carolina somewhere. I look in my rearview mirror and see nobody in the back seat, I see nothing outside of my car that seems to warrant my attention. I’m alone, I’m at peace, in my own little Japanese built cocoon that encompasses me with a sense of serenity, alone, peace.

Then a car goes by, a garbage truck whirs in behind me and starts scooping up the large metal object that I hadn’t noticed in the seconds before. There is a faint sound of an emergency ambulance (probably toting some one somewhere for something). It was inevitable, not alone, never alone, always around somebody, something, it’s gotten to the point you can’t even be alone with yourself anymore. With constant pressures of modern day life, you can’t help (unless you’re a total dillrod) to not care and worry about those around you that you love. It’s impossible to be alone with that in your mind.

What my buddy, the omnipotent “overman” himself Nietzsche was trying to get across in the book Human, All too Human A book for free spirits was that although we’ve got this passion inside of us for companionship, for love, we also have an innate need to have our own personal adventures – and sometimes – I can promise you from personal experience – they don’t always melt into what other people see as pertinent in life. I can sit happily in my car listening to some groovy tunes, safely in a parking lot somewhere, and flail my arms about in a crazy passionate dance of getting into the music. I become involved, it consumes me to the bone, and sometime (though my ears probably hate me for it) turn up the tunes until I cannot hear anything else going on around me. In circumstances it could be an obscure old song by a band hardly anyone has ever heard of.

Or, recently, while away from my car I decided to wrap myself in my favorite blanky, in my favorite room, with a new book, and shove these hard plastic headphones into my ears and block out the world. I didn’t feel a need to block out the world, I just wanted to be in my own world for a while. Peacefully I kicked back and started picking up on a familiar jam, an old Dead tune. Before I knew it I was on my own island, tapping my toes, ignoring the book and the world at hand. The thoughts in my mind of being too fat, too poor, too ugly, too uneducated, too under-accomplished, all of those things were gone, it was just me, digging on this awesome groovy tune.

“Won’t you try just a little bit harder
Couldn’t you try just a little bit more”

The Wheel (As was being performed by Fare Thee Well)

After the jam was over, there was a fantastic transition in to another jam, from a different song. Although I knew the song, I wasn’t digging on it, I was stuck on the haunting lyrics of the previous song. Have I been trying hard enough, or do I escape to my eternal solitude to avoid actually putting forth the effort? Suddenly the past year flashed before my eyes, people, places, things, all the mistakes I had made, the people I had pissed off, the people I had made cry. All of these things brought bubbling up by a damn song. I could have tried a bit harder to make the pharmacy business work for me. Maybe I should have tried harder NOT to crash my cars, perhaps I should have eaten less pizza and focused on more celery sticks.

The emotions flowed right along with the guitar licks. I was alone again, I was in my cocoon, a mental cocoon evaluating everything, sinking ever so much deeper into my sadness, the black abyss that encompasses me time and time again. For those who don’t experience this sort of emotion from time to time, I’ll describe it as this. Imagine you’re driving through fog, and at first it seems like it’s going to break up and you’ll be ready to get on with your travel without having to think so much about what you’re doing, but then the fog increases, the temperature drops and all of a sudden you’re going down a curvy road on ice, in the fog, without decent headlights. Oh, and there are random wild animals that come out and jump in front of your car, and there is a screaming baby in the back seat, and the car isn’t working right. What seems to just be a little bit of fog suddenly ends up a total cluster fuck of awful. I was just a little bit of fog, just like at first it was just a little bad though, now you’re wondering what the hell you did to end up like this.

Luckily enough for me the foggy periods went from being about two months long, to being able to transfer my energy in the amount of time it takes for the jam of this particular song to transfer into the lyrics of the song “Crazy Fingers.” There was something different though, I listened to this voice singing the lyrics…

“Recall the days that still are to come some sing blue.
Hang your heart on laughing willow stray
Down to the water, deep sea of love
Beneath the sweet calm face of the sea swift undertow.”

His voice, it wasn’t the one I was used to singing me this song, it was Trey from the band Phish. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but at that exact moment a few things became clear to me. Things can still be the “same” but can mean different things. For some reason this song kind of bored me prior to hearing it sung by Trey, and now all of a sudden it’s one of the most soulful melodies that I have heard in a long time. Perhaps it was just because I was feeling emotional at the time, but also, if I put the world into a larger perspective, isn’t that what life is all about – a whole lot of the “same” just performed in a different manner, with different people, and a different place?

Take for instance, me quitting my job to because it made me so unhappy and miserable, I went into panic attacks. It’s the “same” it’s a job, just like the ones that I had had before, but it was different, it wasn’t me. I had disregarded myself and who I really am as a person to try to be something that I can’t be. I’m the “same”, that that doesn’t fit into the Pharmacy world. Now, bounding ambitiously into my new job, doing nursery work again, it’s the “same”, I’ll be working with plants, people, and outdoors, however, the different part is instead of working for a company with about 8 employees I’ll be working with over 80. Same = different.

Which as I groove onto more tunes, I start looking at different parallels in life that can very simply be explained – to a free spirit at least – as the same old different. The same old concept of being in the gym, but a different mental outlook as to why you’re in the gym in the first place. The same old concept of eating healthier, but the different reason for doing is. The same quest for knowledge, but instead of trying to turn a profit on it, doing so just to become a more well rounded individual. The concept of being in a relationship, but instead of failing, putting more effort love and attention into it than you ever have before. The things that really matter to you in life might be important, but it’s incredibly important to understand WHY they are important to you. Are they the same things that would worry you if you were sitting by yourself jamming on some groovy tunes with your headphones on or is it a feeling that you only get when put in front of a set of objectifying eyes?

And with that, I’ll jam on, look longingly out at my red cocoon, and improve, incrementally. Until I have more answers, I’ll leave you with a few nuggets of wisdom from my man the Neitz:

“As a matter of fact the free spirit is bothered with mere things—and how many things—which no longer concern him.”
Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm Human, All Too Human A Book for Free Spirits
grass

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I became “unugly”

“With nothing of substance to bitch about.”

-Hunter S Thompson Hells Angels

And after all the time that I’ve bitched about every single thing that comes across my eyes, for the first time I haven’t a thing to complain about. Truth be told, I’m sort of unemployed and spending most of my time on job hunting sites. Also, in all honesty, I’m not exactly going to the gym as much as I should be, but at the same time, is that really that big of a deal?

In the grand scheme of things, that’s a pretty lame thing to be upset about. I woke up one morning last week with the most angst and sadness that you could ever imagine. I wanted to be a “pharmacy technician” (although, I didn’t really have any interest in it, I was sort of influenced). I went through school for that career, I got a job in the field, I wanted to cry. It wasn’t me, and for the first time in my life I realized that I didn’t know who the hell I was. I never did, I was so used to get caught in the whisk of the rush of the relationship I was in and go wherever I was “wanted” to go and who I was “supposed” to be.

“Like sending a goat in to tend the cabbage”

Hunter S Thompson

That’s exactly what you’ll get yourself if you don’t know what or who you want to be. Just like I didn’t know who I wanted to be, there is probably a goat out there that doesn’t like cabbage. The metaphor that was proposed was in reference to Kruschev and Nixon, and although I don’t understand the meat of the situation between these politicians, I can understand what the analogy is. If you don’t know what you want to be, you’re going to be what everyone else wants you to be. In this situation, I suppose we don’t necessarily know that that goat actually wants to be eating cabbage. Just like me, a floating female in the world didn’t really want to be a pharmacy technician.

So what am I doing now, you might ask? Being the happiest girl in the world. Of course I don’t have a prestigious job, I don’t have a title, and I don’t even have a cool story at the end of every day, but at the same time I’m not eating cabbage. This is all has to do with am amazing person that urged me to be myself. This particular person also urged me to believe in myself and emerge into the female I really want to be.

It was terrifying, but at the same time, to look over my shoulder and wiggle my fingers goodbye to an eating disorder was an amazingly referencing feeling. For years I was terrified of looking in the mirror, I was terrified as to what people would think of my appearances, and I was… Well…. Terrified of what I thought of myself. There were countless days that I would try to get dressed in the morning and after fifteen minutes there was a pile of clothes that I felt “ugly” in. It was a daily feeling…it was infectious, it was unshakable and I had no idea why.

It wasn’t but a day ago I realized that I felt “nonugly” for the first time since I was a little girl, and I realized why. I surrounded myself with people that made me “feel” ugly. Perhaps it wasn’t every single person in my life, but even one vector of negativity that makes you feel like a troll can haunt you throughout the entire day. Your life actually, and it followed me. If fed ugly. I WAS ugly. I felt inside and out ugly.

Waking up, without any glamor, no makeup, no fancy Jammies, nothing like that, I rolled over and felt “nonugly”. It’s not beautiful, it’s not pretty, it’s deeper than that. It’s an inside feeling, it’s one that makes me feel comfortable whether I’m wearing a six hundred dollar dress and heels or a pair of jeans and a shirt that I found in the dirty cloths. It’s an inside feeling that makes me feel “unugly” whether I have ripped abs or junk in my trunk. It’s a pretty interesting feeling.

I know you never actually “recover” from an eating disorder BUT with this new sense of “unugly” I feel like I can conquer the world.

“I could jump into the trunk and lock it behind me”
Hunter… Again

But you know what…. I’m not going to hide anymore

The nasty self

“I’d rather be myself,” he said. “Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.”
Brave New World -Aldous Huxley

 

I crossed my arms earlier today and looked out into the back yard and sucked in the fresh mountain air that swirled around my nose. I looked into the woods and two deer walked slowly through the leaves that had littered the forest floor this past fall. One deer decided to crawl to the farthest reach of the hill to try and get the easy feed around the birdfeeder. That deer was big, and when I say big, I mean, really freaking big. The deer that was at the bottom of the hill, she was just sort of hanging in the low branches, nibbling at random leaves, and small. She was a small deer.

The deer on the top of the hill, had a look of a future roadkill. A sort of lazy disposition that made it seem like if there was ever a car that came barreling towards it the chances of it dodging out of the way was pretty slim. No ambition, no looking out for what was around or what might potentially come around – and more troublesome – no real observation of the world around it. The deer looked like it had visited that same feeder, ate that same bird food, and shuffle through life. No way in heck would it expect something as terrible as a speeding car to end it’s enjoyment of life. The deer had it’s eye on the feed.

The other deer, however, seemed as though there was something else out there to live for. Why take the easiest path when you can adventure and see what lays in the low laying branches. Sure, that poor deer probably had some tough times – days that there wasn’t anything tasty to nibble on, days that it would probably be a hell of a lot easier for it to reach up and get the easy pickins of the bird feeder. It doesn’t though, it’ll wander through the woods, it’ll make do, but it doesn’t give up. It was a scrawny deer, but at the same time it had spunk, ambition, and excitement.

I couldn’t forage for food for a living, heck, half the time I have a hard time being able to look in the refrigerator and understand what I’m supposed to do with the thirty different condiments that I own. Why is that though, what makes me not stock my fridge with the “easy pickens” of the bird feeder? Simple, it would make too much sense, but believe me, I’ve gotten better about it, and I continue to get better about it. There have been a lot of question as to what I’m doing with my life, where I’m going, what’s my plan? Believe it or not, I’ve actually got one.

The love of my life has a saying “make a plan, work the plan”. For a girl that hasn’t done ANY planning in life, it’s a pretty wicked concept to wrap my noggin around. In all reality the more I think about “planning” the more it makes me hate the years that I let the wind take me whatever way it decided to go. When I wanted to be a bum and live on my dads couch after high school when I went to school for horticulture I had to plan on what to do after school.

When I decided to move to South Carolina without a job, any savings, or any real “plan”, I ended up married and in a five year relationship. Even when I decided that the marriage wasn’t good and my eating disorder turned into a raging bull trying to knock me down and kill me, I had no plan. I was running purely on “the wind in the weeds” mentality. The wind would blow, ever so slightly, and my path would be changed. The only reason it would change was because I had no plan, I had no goal, I had a “let’s see what happens” mentality.

Relationships, no plan. Career, no plan. Family, no plan.

This not only was hurtful for me, but it started hurting the people around me. The lack of me being able to get my head out of my butt and get my act in gear. I was the epitome of the prior quote from Brave New World. I hadn’t thought about that particular book in probably a decade, after it was an assigned reading in high school, but when I saw it on a pile of books at my dear friend in Madisons house, it perked my ears.

What I remembered from the book itself was that it was chocked full of miserable people. The probable with these people was that they didn’t know they were miserable. It was just common protocol to go through the programmed motions of being alive without actually being alive. Alive and having life are two ridiculously different things. Being alive for me is to laugh, love, and enjoy. Having life for me is to breathe and bathe.

It is entirely interesting to me, however, that I can sit there and look at deer in the back yard and suddenly have a clarity that I struggled with before. I let others tell be what bird feeder to eat out of, or what shrubs to nibble on. What the hell, why can’t I speak my own mind, what can’t I be out there and honest with the world without fear of what they might think. Why is the world full of bullies all of a sudden?

They’re not bullies because they enjoy their own nasty self, such as with that quote. They’re bullies because they care, they want to see you make a plan and work a plan. These people love you, and the more you want to kick and scream and pretend that your plan is so much better, deep down inside it’s very probable that you don’t even have a plan to begin with.

This is when you decide that you’re complacent with your nasty self. Your attitude changes from one that loves other and is alive to one that is just a life going through motions. As my favorite author once called it “a long journey down a dark alley.” I’ve had some magnificent alleys in my life, but there have always been the occasional bad decision, dark alley, and wrong turn.

As I sat and watched those deer, I was actually drinking a fantastic mixture of Moscato, Orange Juice, and club soda. I took a moment to be alive instead of a life. I realized that I wanted so much more in life, I wanted a family, I wanted to actually have a place to call home, I wanted to be happy with myself, I wanted to love more and cry less. All of these things came pouring into my head, and although I could have found somebody, I didn’t have anyone that I felt I could actually talk to.

Alone. All I could think of what that fantastic quote by Chuck Palahniuk “I let go. Lost in oblivion. Dark and silent and complete.” Staring out the window, I wondered who actually really knows what I want out of life.  Does it really matter? Not if I don’t know in the first place.

So, I guess the first thing for me to do is get a plan of action and then act upon it.

 

 

 

Shadow Stabbing

“I am just a raindrop that accelerates beyond control, losing bits and pieces in decent ’til I’m no longer whole. I am just another shooting star above that you might see. Until I have your full attention I’ll be anything but me.”

-Phish “Anything But Me”

I think it’s pretty freaking amazing that I can sit here at a Starbucks and subject myself to some really nasty Christmas music in order to throw out a blog post. What the hell, I mean, don’t I have something more important to do? Should I be folding laundry, should I be baking a fucking pie, should I be looking for a new job? The answer to all of those questions is a complacent “shrug”.

Why, you might ask. Simply put, I’ve spent most of my life dying instead of living. Think of it this way, when I was born my parents were told that I had maybe seven hours to live…what did I do? Easy, at the ripe age of three hours old I pretty much showed the bird to the doctors and proved them wrong. They said I wasn’t going to make it to be five years old, ha, another challenge that I conquered. Sixteen was a pipedream, but what did I do, I persevered. Screw that “you’re sick” junk, I kept on plugging along, just because I could. Fast forward to adulthood…sigh.

At the age of 24 I was put in the hospital with heart failure, again, I threw the bird at the idea (honestly, I don’t ever really flip the bird, but the concept was there. I was raised better than to be so unclassy) I escaped from that hospital without being discharged and began the rest of my life. I was sick and tired of being sick …and tired. Where does it go from there, you might ask? Well, I’m getting to a point, believe it or not. The drivel is sort of thick, but it comes with a message.

Don’t give up, no matter what. For the number of times that I’ve buried my face in my hands and have wanted to absolutely give up, I never did, I kept on keeping on. The first beverage I had after “escaping the hospital” was a snort of really REALLY bad bourbon. It didn’t fix a damn thing, but I’ll tell you what, I felt better. There was more calories in that little snort of nasty Old Crow than there was typically in an entire day of eating for me. I was sick, I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t understand why…until…

I woke up in my own guest room, curled in a ball, and realized that it wasn’t life I hated, it was the decisions that I was making that made me miserable. I decided to become so insecure and uncomfortable in my own skin that I turned to self destruction. Keep in mind I was married at the time to somebody that loved me intensely, but that I couldn’t love back. That was the first thing that had to change, although, life didn’t change that much. I was still a slave to the sickness and there wasn’t much that changed as far as the disorder was concerned except for divorce papers and new digs in the hood.

Here I am, not too much farther than what I was then, but with an entirely different outlook on life. It’s not a contest, it’s not a battle for the top of the hill, and fuck, it’s not a beauty pageant. I’m okay with that for once in my life. I’m not going to be a bombshell, I’m not going to be “comfortable” with my body, and by gum I’m not going to kill myself to try to achieve unattainable goals. So, yes, this is me, I can’t offer anything more than what I am, and I’m happy with that. Somebody out there loves me, and that’s good enough for me.

So, this holiday season, I’m backed into an uncomfortable corner. I want to alleviate the pain in everyone else that suffers from holiday anxiety, be it from self induced pain or uninvited pain from outsiders. Family stresses, holiday parties, dinner parties with soon to be family members, all of that shit can take a mighty toll on a person, trust me, I’m one of them. For the past five years I’ve spent more than an embarrassing amount of time crying in the bathroom of my “soon to be mother-in-laws” house, but never did I show my pain. I have to wonder, what helps that pain? Who else suffers through the “not good enough during the holidays blues?

Of course the “soon to be” became a “never to be” mother in law and life went on. It was an uncomfortable feeling though, I don’t have a door to hide behind at holidays now, I had to face them straight on, headlong, and strong. Although the season has just started, it’s still one of those nagging feelings that make you feel like you want to crawl under a blanket and beg the holidays to be over. Some people love them, some of us, well, we don’t. I’m happy enough to say that passing thought this past thanksgiving I didn’t shed a single tear, I was comfortable, I was at peace, I was happy, I had an amazing guy by my side.

This, of course, has a zillion things to do with the company you keep. I’m happy this holiday season. I don’t plan on buying presents, I don’t plan on baking pies, and I sure as hell don’t plan on going caroling…what I do plan on, however, is spending time with the people that I love, which in and of itself is priceless.

 

 

Beauty Pageants My Ass

“Measuring a summer’s day, I only finds it slips away to grey,
The hours, they bring me pain.”

-Tangerine Led Zeppelin

I can listen to this song about halfway through and have to turn it off, it’s one of those songs that just stab me in the chest with some sort of lyrical spear that cannot be overcome by just changing the song. Something about the tune, the concept, and the overall reflection of life in general haunts me. “And eI do….” Those damn lyrics, and then that killer shredding solo, it’s something that sticks with you even after the song has been over for hours. You hear those words, you hear that guitar, and you feel stuff, your belly fills with this weird acidic stuff, and you realize that music moves you more than you’d ever thing.

Same thing happened as I was on the phone, “Dog Days are Over” came on, and although I’m not a Florence and the Machine fan, my eyes were welled with tears and I had to turn the damn thing off. I was caught in the moment, the song swept me away and I was transported into an emotional abyss that I wasn’t prepared for nor did I want to adventure into. The power of song, no matter how stupid it is, can alter your mind body and soul. I hear “Dog Days” and I wanted to immediately get up and punch stuff and get rowdy, only because the song made me mad. “Tangerine” came on and I wanted to curl in a ball and weep in the corner. It’s not just music that can transform the people we are, but anything that can strike a chord on our souls.

Working in a Pharmacy, you hear some shitty music, and when you work with people, you get to know really quickly what music sets people off. For me, I went off the deep end when Dave Matthews Band came on…I still hold a very serious grudge against them for the whole shitting on tourists in Chicago incident…the Pharmacist went off the deep end when the “Milky Way” song came on (not sure exactly what the hell he was talking about, but it changed his demeanor to happy go lucky to grumpy). A simple change in audio can change the perspective of life that much, what can a simple change in physical surroundings do to a person.

This is where I introduce the “real” me, I’m a humble girl from Wisconsin trying to make it through life without screwing up too much. I have very simple tastes, I like my cheese sharp, I like my beer cold, and I like my cars red. Simple, if I were to summarize myself I’m simple, and that’s where “Senna” comes into play. After killing two cars in a row – I acquired Senna, a Honda Civic. Am I a “Civic person”, not really. Do I love that freaking car? “Fuck yes”.

Here’s the deal, I was living in a pair of shoes that would never fit me. I wasn’t a high class girl, I wasn’t really a low class girl either, I was average. Put me in a line up with about ten other 30 some odd year old females I’d probably just blend right in with the masses. There isn’t anything special about me, and really, I was trying to compensate with some sort of flashy car to make up for what I lacked in flashiness. It was the car though, not me, that was the attention getter. I was riding on the wings of a plane that wasn’t mine. I wasn’t being true to myself, and really, I was in a position that I didn’t feel I deserved. Getting a Honda Civic seemed like a totally demeaning step for me, I was stepping away from the fancy German cars that I had in the past.

That concept was absolutely bogus, and for me to even admit to feeling that way is ridiculous. The fact that I bought a Civic is probably the proudest moment of my life. For once I put all of that trivial “look at me” nonsense aside and took a practical look at life. I needed, wanted, desired something that I could obtain a long term relationship with. I wanted to have a long history of roadtrips, crying fits, thrashing songs, and random mishaps with a car. I wanted a car that would be resilient to me, but also understand that I’m a bit hard on cars at time. I got a 1.8 liter, I got a two door, I got a manual, I got a car that to most people is probably the most impractical car in the world.

True story, I blew a tire and needed a quick replacement. I had to wait an extra hour for the extra technician to come in to drive it into the shop because all the macho men that were attending the shop didn’t know how to drive stick. Times like that I thank my past for teaching me to drive a stick, but at the same time I curse the past for addicting me to such a monster.

It’s a Honda Civic, and to most people it’s not a “cool” car. To me, however, it’s everthing that I’ve ever wanted in a car, it makes me happy. I might not be able to keep up in super fast traffic, I might not win beauty contests, but at the same time, me as a human can’t do that either. I can’t keep up on a track running on my own two feet and I wouldn’t even qualify for most beauty contests. That’s why Senna the Civic and I get along so well. We’re both sort of, well, average, and we’ll blend into the background as much as possible. It’s not worth being front and center anymore. The attention that I once craved is curtailed by the desire to be just another car on the road.

“In my mind I still need a place to go”

Neil Young

There is always going to be a part of me that feels like I have to drive a fancy car, and there is also a large piece of me that feels like I should be a super model. I should have an amazing body, much like my car, and we should both be sleek and fast. We should both turn heads. We should both make our passengers comfortable (errrrmmm…you get where I’m going with that one. At the same time, where does that get you? Is it not an ongoing battle of being the sleekest, the most amazing, the most comfortable? Where is the refuge, where do you ever find comfort in a world that seems like a competition.

For me, my place to go is in Senna. I could just sit in the drivers seat and envelop myself in the standard cloth interior, take in the wonders of a base model Civic, and smell the weird stuff that I’ve spilled. All of those things are where I want to be, it’s who I am, I’m simple. I see other people with Civics, be it ten or two years old, and I have a new respect for them. It seems to me they have their priorities straight. And if anything I’m proud to be among the brethren of Civic drivers in the world.

Back to music….

“I bought some booze and hopped a train. It was easier than waiting around to die.”

Townes Van Zandt

The Civic at first seemed like my opportunity to hop a train and drink my woes away. I had lost my fancy car, I lost my fancy house, I was in a Japanese four cylinder What was life, what went wrong? The answer was simple, nothing.

If anything, things were starting to go right for me. I was waiting around to die prior to getting my Civic, and for once in my life, everytime I push that little button and the little bitty engine starts up I’m “waiting around to live” as opposed to waiting for my last breath. The Civic breathes a certain life into me that I hadn’t really experienced in a car before, and instead of feeling like a slave to it, it feel more like, well, it’s a slave to me.

–small tangent–I wrecked the Civic “Senna” before it even had 5000 miles on it. I hit a tree, and although I drive past that tree every single day, there is no recollection as to what happened. I don’t remember hitting the tree, I don’t remember airbags, I don’t remember walking into my house like nothing happened. The thing about Senna is that I’m confident that it saved my life. I’m not sure how quite yet, but it continues to save my life daily. It keeps me going, it keeps me uplifted, and that’s a lot to be said about a car, especially if it’s just a “civic”

red

red

Bitterness, brutality, and Bukowski

“You don’t have to amuse the world by destroying yourself”.

Damn.

Again, I’ve written something down without giving proper credit to the author. Perhaps it was me in a moment of lucid thought, perhaps it was a period of time that I was lost reading a book and with total disregard to the author scribbled it down for later use. Or we can just be honest about the whole quote, they’re just words, who knows where they came from, who knows who is going to read them next, and more importantly, how they’re going to strike the minds of the next people that stumble upon it. One person might read that statement and thing “that person is a fool, destroying yourself for the vanity of others is stupid…”

…or…the next person might just read the same sentence and think, “damn, I’m not amusing myself, how can I be more self destructive.”

Thus is life, living on a perpetual stage, always being the clown, never being the audience. That was me for a really fucking long time, and honestly, I feel that most people have gone through stages, years, decades, whatever, of their lives that they feel like they have to be “on the stage” and acting a part, even if they don’t feel qualified. I, for one, have tried to play the clown, and although it wasn’t easy for me to realize, the end result was that I made a really shitty clown. I couldn’t act the part, I couldn’t fake it, I was just…well. awkward. I was stuck in this sort of amusement paradox that could never be solved. I was never “it”, I never played the role just right. It made me mad, it made me sick, it made me want to throw up my hand and proclaim “I give up, I can’t act anymore.”

And, well, that’s sort of what happened, but not quite as dramatically as it seems. I guess it was sort of like watching a sitcom that you have your favorite character and then all of a sudden the new season comes along and the character that you learned to love was replaced by a person that looked similar, not the same, but close enough to make you believe it was the same person. Dialogue was similar, the wardrobe was the same, but the person was different. At that point you had to make the decision if you’re still going to like that character, albeit the same person, just in a different shell. For me it was the opposite. I was the same shell, just different person on the inside. The person on the inside that came out didn’t exactly match the shell that it was hiding in.

In all actuality, the shell that I was hiding in was way uglier that the person that I was in the inside, and once I broke out, it was a bit scary. I had no place to hide, I was without a shell, I was without sanctuary, I was just, well me….a me that I had forgotten was there. A me that I had neglected to nurture since I was about 18 years old. It was odd, the revelation that I had, looking in a perfectly average mirror in a perfectly average Honda, I saw a me that I hadn’t seen in years. Although I was older, I had worry marks on my face, a certain tired look about my eyes, and a totally different hair color, it was a me in there that hadn’t been seen in a long time.

I looked at myself and saw happiness.

As uncomfortable as it was for me to look into the mirror (because I was actually making sure there were no bugs in my grill), I realized that where I am, where I’m going, and where I have been have all been and will be learning experiences and I can choose to use them as a noose or as a grappling hook to get me to where I want to be in life. It’s my decision to be hung by the past or hang my hopes on the future. Presently, I’m looking at a pile of mail that wants attention, an email box full of responses needed and my feet are cold, but is that going to make me more interesting? No.

Is me going out and having seven martinis and making friends with total strangers going to make me more interesting? Maybe, but only for a short while to people that don’t matter. This is the light bulb that finally went off in my head this afternoon, how much time do we waste trying to entertain those that don’t mean squat to our future? How much time do we sacrifice trying to amuse the world when we could be bettering ourselves?

I didn’t think deeply about it until coming back to my office after being gone for almost two weeks in paradise. Sitting at my desk I scanned the perimeter. A half burned anti-stink candle, a houseplant that has gone crazy, a bottle of mylanta, three spiral notebooks full of musings and quotes from random people, and a stupid llama made of bottle caps.

“this is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.”

-Chuck Palahuink (or something to that effect) -Fight Club

So, truth be told, I’ve seen that movie more time that most people live in years. It’s not that I was obsessed with the movie, it was just what I dug….at the same time, I’d also binge watch Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. In retrospect, as a teenager I could have been doing much worse things like drugs or getting pregnant or winning some sort of academic accolades, but no, I wrote books and watched these movies in the background. Was I a typical teenager, no. Did I have a plan, not really. Did I care? Yes. That’s where the problem started, I felt like I should be amusing someone.

The less I amused the world, the worse I felt about myself. It consumed me, it followed me into my adulthood. Before I knew it I was twenty and thinking less of myself than most people feel after robbing banks or stealing candy from kids.

“You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

-Fight Club (again, last time, I promise)

It sucked, I’m not going to lie. I thought life was supposed to be grey, I thought I was supposed to kick rocks and feel depressed. I allowed myself into a deep dark hole that never really existed in the first place. The primary problem was that I surrounded myself with people that kept me in that dark hole. I was imprisoned by this invisible force. I was a decaying piece of matter that didn’t matter to anyone…at least that was perception to me…and we all know perception is reality. I wandered through my twenties trying to fill that darkness with something, anything, only to find a darker black than I was facing before. I was hopeless, scared, and my only retaliation was to try to amuse the world more and more using my own destructive behavior. Like that first quote reminded us “amusing the world” meant destroying myself.

I realized this destruction almost a year ago to the day, and although it wasn’t exactly my proudest moment, it was probably the moment that saved my life. I realized that I couldn’t be the clown anymore, I had to take care of me, something that i had never really taken any mind to. Me? Really? I was worth paying attention to? Yes, and only for the reason that people will respect you more if you respect yourself first. Strange concept, but it was true, it took some bold moves, big moves actually, but I followed through. With a pickup truck and a strong will I moved on with life. Swallowing my pride, throwing away what I had worked for, I walked away. I turned my back and made the proclamation that I was done being an entertainer. I was done acting for the sake of others,  it was time for Nikki to come out and make some noise.

Most people know the superficial me, the real me likes to shop at thrift stores, eat macaroni and cheese, drive with loud music on, and the most important to me; love. It’s in my nature, it’s in my soul, it’s me. It’s been difficult, however, because the only way to show love it to be able to get it back…and unless you have a dog, it’s hard to really equivocate the feeling it gives you. I can tell you, as far as humans go, it’s hard to find that same connection – – but when you do – – it’s the most powerful feeling you’ll ever experience. A dog will live maybe 12 years if you’re lucky, a person, however, once you devote your heart and soul into it can last a lifetime. That’s where I am now, it’s amazing…

I don’t want to entertain the masses with some sort of phony show, this is me. I’m no longer going destroy myself for the sake of others, if anything self preservation for the sake of longevity is the first thing on my mind. I don’t write cheesy stuff, often, but when I do, understand that it’s one of those things that has to be pinched out – like a freaking zit or something – once you pop it you feel better.

(that’s pretty nasty, but I think it proves the point)

I looked over across the sunset,

and remembered when our eyes met.

I had nothing to offer or to borrow,

however you decided to follow.

My actions were jerky at first,

and I assumed the absolute worst.

I then realized what I was feeling,

was an emotion of actual healing.

You brought a salve to my soul,

one that made me entirely whole.

I graduated into a new being that day,

even though you had to go away.

I woke again the next early morning,

and remembered your warning.

Don’t get too wrapped up in thought,

and that’s the battle that’s being fought.

Maybe I’ve been reading a bit much Bukowski, but hell…everyone feels better about themselves after reading some of his stuff. Read “Love is a Dog from Hell.”

I promise you’ll love you’re life afterwards.

As for me, I’m going to remain happy, and I’m not here to amuse.