Saturday, November 8, 2014

Soldarity is the single greatest gift...

"Sorrow found me when I was young. Sorrow waited. Sorrow won."  The National

This month marks two years since I dedicated myself to blog writing to supplement my time and experience between making up piles of horse shite to pass off as artistic prose (or fancy horse shite to pass as poetry). Every day for a month, I said. It'll be good practice I said. Nope. I didn't even make a weeks worth of posts between November and the following January. But in that time of my life I was peaking in a high.

By peaking I don't mean that I was reaching the best I would ever be, and I also don't mean my high came from narcotics or illicit drugs of any kind. Rather I was seeing a beautiful truth in life that I am not alone. This does not imply that I was in the midst of some "footprints in the sand" revelation I adopted -- I had chucked up the deuce to Jesus culture months before and was yet to discover the Zen Buddhist path I am currently being terrible at practicing. It more so came after multiple consecutive weeks of setting appointments and seeing a therapist. I found out there are other people who get just as sad as me; feel just as hopeless about their purpose and place in the world as I did; who wrote just as clich├ęd similes about their neurotic nonsense as I do. Though the idea made known to me that the practice of mental health physicians exists to serve and help more people than just me did put a wrench in my narcissism gears, but did wonders for my ability to find solidarity with possibly millions of people I didn't actually know. And that helps. Just knowing you're on the same side of a fight as another living human being is enough to give at least some elevation of outlook.

In order to see a therapist, especially to see one for free, as I was able to do, you have to first not see a mental health professional either for a long time or ever -- this logic is flawless, I know. When you don't see a therapist to open up about your daddy issues, or how the cancelation of Freaks and Geeks after one season has made you a self destructive hedonistic nihilist, things can get dark. When things darken in an already bleak outlook about the sanctity of personal life, light is only able to fracture among the haze and fog that now fills your head and makes seeing anything clearly as useless an endeavor as trying to marry Taylor Swift (or at least that's what people say...)[1] That's the short version of how I nearly ended up voluntarily vacating my fleshy premises on October 31st, 2012.

At the time I wasn't worried about being some future gag story of becoming a ghost on Halloween. I wasn't really worried about too much more than taking the newly purchased package of sleeping pills and two bottles of really, really bad Yellow Tail wine home and consuming the contents in their entirety. The good sleep I think they call it. I made one last trip out of my way to see my best friends one last time at their bookstore, just to say hi and bye, then headed home to do the deed[2]. Needless to say that when I woke the next morning I was pissed. Pissed yet too drowsy to actually do anything about it, which turns out was a good thing. I'm still here because of lethargic recovery and in the times I was conscious that morning on my couch I was able to consider what had happened and devised a plan to seek out the aforementioned therapist.

Skip ahead to today, I am once again without a therapist. It's hard to convince one to just bounce around from Oregon to Oklahoma to California to Oklahoma (again) and back to Oregon, pro bono. My only medications are self prescribed and most days my anxiety of letting someone else down is the only thing that gets me out of bed for work. But you know what? As of this morning I am okay with that. Not the crippling sadness or peace of mind berating anxiety, those assholes can burn in Christian hell. I am okay with the revelation that today the lingering idea of a leap from this plane to the next is not present in my cocktail mix of neurotic clusterfuck.[3]

Among those around me whom I keep closely guarded in my heart are two newcomers in my life. For the sake of this conversation we will call them Sarah Jane and Rory [4]. They also fancy themselves writer's and have decided to include me in their weekly braintrust de plume. We talk about writing, reading, and occasionally share our works and projects with the group for critiquing and enjoyment. I won't bullshit you, that last part terrified me so much that I would go out of my way to make plans that directly conflicted with our writer's group meeting on the nights we were set to share (sorry guys!). For one I am terrified of being judged a failure at something I love so much, and second I have been so lost in my own petrified forest that I have not been able to put words on paper (or computer screen). I don't think anything is more terrifying than the possibility of finding out that your passion may actually just be a delusion that you have no business partaking in.

At last nights meeting -- I was made to promise Sarah Jane I would be in attendance the week prior -- Rory shared two pieces of his most recent work, one of which was just published, that were so naked, so raw, and made up of all the emotion that art is supposed to be created with. It inspired me to do something similar in nature. I took down their email addresses and later that night ignored my stress induced regret of things about to be shared and opened up as to why I have been missing on Fridays and not been sharing when I do show. Last night I lied in bed, losing sleep in worry, but at the same time, in a small way, felt like I had just handed Atlas back the globe of the situation.

Just after 5:00 am I got a reply letting me know that I am not alone. Though there are differences in our neuroses, there is someone beside me in a battle that may never end. Our demons and struggles are now one person smaller because we are aware of each other's, or at least that is how it feels in my mind, hopefully its reciprocated. And in that, this rambling was created. It's not a great piece of literature. It's not even enough to call art. It may just be the rambling of some angsty emo piece of shit trapped in a 27-year-old-adult-who-should-know-better's body, but by David Tennant's pinstripes[5], it's mine. It's a creation doing the one thing I actually can say I love doing.

On top of the email reply/reminder, I also officially became insured, which means I get to explicitely talk about my whatever-issues to someone who can help again, which means I can get official medications, finally, that will help slow down my mind enough to back to enjoying life and passions without as much fear of self destruction by mental implosion.

If for whatever reason you have come across this and deal with similar demons and need to know that you have someone here to take a stand beside you, email me: Send me a letter. I am not a professional. I cannot give you counseling being as that I am not qualified to do so, but through correspondence I will be a voice to help you know that you are not alone. You are never alone. Who knows, you may just be a voice that returns the help to me in return as well.

Until then, I'm going for a walk, getting tacos and sitting zazen. Today is a new day. This moment is rebirth. I'm going to enjoy it. I hope you can too...

[1] Amanda Palmer, the sex goddess of modern performance artistry, once said somewhere "When you cannot joke about the darkness of life, that’s when the darkness takes over.”
[2]Until their possible reading of this post, neither of them were aware of this. I'm sorry Greg and Jessica. I am better now, and will continue to try to get better
[3] I should stress that this could just be a temporal mindset. Being un-medicated for depression can only leave the future of one's mental state in speculation. 
[4] For two reasons: 1. Not sure if they even want to be named or if its even a big deal and 2. I am a big sci-fi nerd and can't believe I have been talking this long without making one Doctor Who reference until now.
[5]I don't have a "LORD", per se, to take his/her/its name in vain, so I have to use the next best thing: the tenth incarnation of a particular Time "Lord". eh? eh?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Every Thursday I am going to be posting a piece of my writings that I have had locked away, begging to be dusted off and shared with the world. Since I mostly wrote poetry up until the very recent past, most of these little peeks into the jumbled mess that is my head will be poems constructed over the past few years, at least until my short stories and essays can be considered old enough to be "thrown back", that is.

This poem is from a collection I hope to soon be putting together and publishing myself (if ever I take the time to actually fine tune my formatting skills).

*If anyone has book page formatting skills and would like to help me out with making this self publishing dream come true, leave your email or other contact info in the comments. Thanks. I love you all*

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Magic Of Snow

The above picture was taken from my fourth story apartment window this morning shortly after I rolled out of bed, wondering why the norm of a warm (in color only) orange and pink morning aurora wasn't doing it's usual job of waking me on my day off. Even at 26 years old, I never cease to be in awe of a fresh blanket of snow when I get to see and experience it for myself. Maybe it is the school child in me that remembers that snow, when we rarely had snow, was associated with missing school, or maybe that growing up just barely on the Oklahoma side of the Confederate border I was never exposed to what is considered traditional winter precipitation enough to be jaded by its annual visitation. Whatever the case may be, I find that I can never be complacent about even the slightest frosting on the ground.

In a way, it has this magic quality to it. Not the Penn and Teller, Criss Angel slide of hand nonsense, but rather the kind of magic that is real, or at least was real when you were a child and magic was the explanation for all things ineffable. For me, there is this calming feeling that comes with it as it falls and covers everything below, showing just how small and vulnerable the world around us truly is: it has no answer to the collection of minuscule, fragile flakes of whipped water that cover it in such a duvet of purity. I know that there are plenty of examples of natural weather that pronounces itself in such ways that covers and/or lays waste to its surroundings, but none that give such peace. 

When I see a yard or street of fresh, undisturbed snow, as was the case today, I see the wholeness in the good of the world. I feel the innocence of who I once was laying before me, waiting for me to ramble through it in such a way leaving it to resemble the thrashed and chaotic dissidence I carry within myself, about myself, on a daily basis. It lets me know that there is still untapped brilliance within me, within you, in that although every sheet of every layer of snow seems uniform in size and color, the uniqueness each flake holds tells a different story of it's decent from the heavens to the earth. And finally, it is the embodiment of the metaphorical end of the cyclical composition of our worlds: In nature, though the grass and trees never actually die in the sense that we as animals know death, they do go into a point of rest in order to be prepared with the energies necessary to bring forth new fruit and decorative flowers.  

The two winters I have had the privilege of experiencing here in the Grand Ronde Valley have not failed to disappoint in teaching me more about life and myself than I ever thought I could know, and from what I've been told these have been rather mild winters. I can't imagine how enlightening a regular Eastern Oregon winter season would be.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A new chapter, carved, folded, and glued from another.

In the past few months I have become introduced to, and intrigued by, a movement called book art. In my favorite indie bookstore hangs a book that bears fruit, literally. The cover is suspended from the roof and held open with what looks as if a bunch of grapes made from gently folded pages springing from the spine, almost as if to say "Come, get drunk from my vine".

This amazing, inspired creation really opened my eyes to the multiple possibilities I could dive into with the ever growing collection of dust gather-ers I have on my bookshelf, bedside table, coffee table, beside my recliner... You get the idea. So for my first project, I am going to be creating (attempting) a Mississippi steamboat from a Mark Twain collection. Hopefully I'll somewhat successful. I'll have postings with updates on this and further looks into this world of book art and all it involves and births.

Let me know what you have going on. What hobbies/art/projects are consuming your free time?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Promises promises...

Is it just me, or is there anyone else out there who finds themselves wanting to do things and it seems like divine intervention to prevent it? Maybe this is the case. OR maybe since I am one who is lacking in belief of the divine, I may just have the worst set of timing and/or "luck" in the world. I have been wanting to keep up with this blog and keep it going since I started it and reentered the world of, as I quote a man I once knew and once thought to be brilliant, "writing a million words to say nothing". Between being in and out of school, full time work, my laptop frying from having the worlds largest cup of water fall on it, almost in a choreographed manner, I might add, and also the countless hours of therapy from watching too many hours of Bones on Netflix and worrying about the extensive number of people I have pissed off over my life and where they will possibly hide my body (or if Dr. Brennan and Booth can be reached to solve my murder), I have been at a loss of time to update this and keep a conversation and interaction going with you.

But not anymore. I hate to be one of THOSE people who have New Year's Resolutions, mainly because I find the people who do make them are doing so for the same reasons that people who spend hours exercising and dieting with a scale and mirror no more than 15 feet away from them at any point inside their home, vain and shallow (I can be such an ass sometimes). If things were really that important, then it would be a priority year round. BUT, here I am, in the same shallow end of the pool with the same vain and lazy folks I grew to have a distaste for over the past 26 years. I will go as far to say that I am not making a year long resolution, but rather a month by month resolution. Maybe my resolution is to have monthly resolutions (or whatever). I find this to be a more realistic approach to getting things done, something that doesn't look so staggeringly monumental that it can't be achieved realistically. Like most great ideas that are passed off as our own, I immediately stole this when I read this interesting article and passed it off to you, here. I believe this can be taken from the perspective on writing and adapted to any facet of life, though, I am just mainly sticking to the writing thing because writing seems to be the only thing in this world that makes sense to me anymore.

So here it goes. For the next 25 days (26 if you want to be a stickler and count today and this post) I will be posting something different  and new, ranging from documenting my early twenties mid-life crisis-esque  nomadic ventures and exploits, which may or may not be finished, to current art and writing projects, sports, movies music, and my pup, Bookonon, may even make an appearance.

Even more than that, I want to interact. This blog is not a soapbox, and I do not want to use it as such. I am no one special for you to hang on every word for your entertainment and you are smarter than to allow yourself to do so. I know there are things like Facebook (and the joke it has become) and Twitter to connect with people, but in a life where everything is a lack luster distraction or forced into 140 characters, it's hard to be able to seriously relate to one another.

Two things to leave with: 1. I hope you are as excited about this as I am (but I doubt you are. Why would you be? We just met, you don't know me...).

2. I never know how to end these things so I'll leave you with this ridiculous poem I just made up about a squirrel I almost pet yesterday:

No Bread
Walking to work
and there was no mail in my slot today.
I passed a tree,
a MIGHTY one at that,
that was clothed by catatonic leaves and
one MIGHTY squirrel.
He looked at me
this MIGHTY squirrel,
with one eye to show he was manlier
than I.
Fearless, he scampered around the trunk,
and I stood in bewilderment at this
MIGHTY squirrel.
"It's January," I said,
"Shouldn't you be asleep?"
Immediately he knew I was no man
of science.
He raced down from the tree to my feet,
save half my height,
and looked me in the eye,
this time with both of his
as he took a slight scamp closer.
"I have no food for you good sir,"
I tell him,
"No bread at all to share."

He turned and climbed back home,
that MIGHTY,
January squirrel.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

You probably won't kill yourself, so don't let anyone else.

I had a whole spill on the importance of how we should give love and attention to those around us in this time of year that is reserved for family and feasts, as well as the religious traditions that some out there observe. I had this whole soapbox to stand on about how it's hard to be cheerful when this time of year is filled with a black mark of heightened rates of depression and suicide. But, in an almost comedic gesture, the universe, and more so involved, science, got together to "take a piss" at my expense (I watch way to many British sitcoms).

As it turns out the December trade off to January of an old for a new year is actually the lowest of all of the months for self-termination. I have also recently discovered that the "holiday blues," or depression brought on by the holiday season, is a load of bullocks (friggen Skins!) as well. In all reality, people, outside the SAD demographic, are statistically happier during the end of the year than any other time.But in this, there is still tragedy. The fact that the rate in America, and anywhere else in the world that holds this time of year important, religiously or not, is not zero is a crime in and of itself.

As a transplant to the Pacific Northwest via Arkansas who has been diagnosed with clinical depression, I understand the amplified hurts and hardships it is during the holiday season not to have family or close friends around during time those bonds are most celebrated, this is not to say that those studies are wrong, just that loneliness is a bitch. Seeing people with loved ones, or overhearing the plans of family coming into town to spend a week with the kids is not exactly a great and uplifting time, especially when those you love are nearly 1800 miles away.

Before you blow up those balloons for the pity party, let me tell you about the most amazing gift given to me earlier this month for Christmas that anyone can give between now and the time you pull the bird from the oven:

The man who owns the bookstore in my small NE Oregonian town, with whom I have been slowly growing a friendship with over the past year and a half, stopped mid-sentence during a conversation we were having about college or a Vonnegut novel, with a look of realization in his eyes that my holiday gatherings would be void of family or any other functional (or dysfunctional) relationship to share it with, and not so much asked if was going back home, but told me that I was to be coming over to his place to spend Christmas with him and his family, given that I wasn't flying back home for the holidays.

I can tell you right now that this kind gesture not only made my day that afternoon, but restored in me the hope that people really do give a shit about each other; that man isn't as jaded as the current events of the world want you to think. This is a gift that, once I am able to sometime in the future, I hope to be able to share with someone who may be in my current position.

Compassion. It's a gift of love, of life, and helps to build bonds between unlikely sources. Give it. Receive it. Pass the turkey leg. This holiday season, share your life with someone who you know, or even suspect may need it. Though statistically it's less needed, you may just save someone else's.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Solstice and an especially Happy Festivus to all who read this. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

We Meet Again!!!

Hello world, and fellow Blerds*. It's been a while. I must say that this past five years and 5928.3 miles has been far to long to be out of touch with you. The last time I had a blog it was when it was still socially acceptable to admit that you had a MySpace in public, which makes this time five years seems like 8.5 decades in cyber time.

But nevertheless, my billions of closest friends and memes, I am here now and have stories to tell, inquiries to lay on you and people for you to meet. But first, here is a picture of a ferret plotting an escape.

For more on this, check in periodically with my new favorite person in the whole Twitterverse and fellow coffee powered writer Ksenia Anske. (follow her for a barrage of awesome and encouragement when it's needed. Oh yeah, and ferrets. @kseniaanske)

For now I must go attend to a "mandatory staff meeting," that if I don't attend "I will be excused from employment," yada yada. But, I hope to be back here soon to let you in on the mania that is a (daily/weekly/whenever I damn well please?) walk through my thoughts. Be prepared.

*Blerds: Blog nerds. A friendly colloquial term for those in cyber space who have a love for tipping their ear over the keyboard and letting all contents escape. I just made it up. Ferrets.