Half Jack

“I see my father in my face
I hear him in my laughter
I run as fast as I can run but
Jack comes tumbling after.”

My resemblance to my father is actually very unsettling. Not only do I look just like him in the face, but I also have a lot of the same mannerisms, I have the same tone of voice, and it’s even weirder because I mostly grew up without him so I didn’t purposely adopt his mannerisms.

I really hate my father, and I try not to think about him most of the time, but there have been moments when I’m laughing and see my smile in the mirror, and when I smile I look exactly like him. And then my face will fall when I see the resemblance. And I’ll feel him underneath my skin, clawing and trying to get out, like a demon who’s possessed me, but he’s running in my blood and I can’t get him out.

The only thing you can try to do is make peace with it. There can’t be peace between my dad and me, so the best I can do is try not to hate him. It hasn’t worked yet, and I don’t know if hating does more harm than good for me. But sometimes hating him sustains me, and sometimes it hurts. I fantasize all the time about punching him in the face, about him coming up to me one day when I’m successful and I look him in the eye and tell him what a loathsome creature he is.

We’re never big enough to house the crowd. The people who’ve affected us, the good and the bad, live inside of us. Our love for them or our hate for them, both will keep them alive. They hurt us and they leave wounds, or they pierce us with love and they leave wounds, and either way we try and stitch the wounds up, but we let them in and the stitches pull apart.

Jack, or Greg, or whoever it is, he lives inside of us, and haunts us. I look in the mirror and see his face, and I know that I’m capable of the same evil he is, that I inherited his curse, his power, his intellect, his wickedness. I know that I can become the monster he is.

When I was a baby, my father stood over my crib, and he said to my grandmother that when he saw me laying there, so vulnerable and innocent, he wanted to hurt me, the same way his father hurt him. I think it was a brave thing for him to admit. I wish he had been brave enough to keep admitting the things he was afraid of.

When my dad was a young child, his father held him over a cooking grill and lowered his little feet onto the coals and burned them. His father put cigarettes out on his head. Is it any wonder he became a monster? Usually I hate him, usually I’m mad at him.

Sometimes I feel sorry for him.

My Jack was hurt by his Jack, and his Jack was probably hurt too. If I have a child, will I become Jack? Will I break them? Can I be trusted? Can I trust myself?

We carry multitudes. We exist and we exist and we exist.

Some days I’m half Jack, sometimes I’m only a quarter, some days he’s barely noticeable. I want to exorcise him. I want to get him out. But he’s always going to be there. And my body feels like an unclean temple, an unsafe place with no peace or privacy.

I keep hoping I can cleanse him away. I keep hoping the water is clean enough.

If I washed him out, would I still be myself? Is it better to cleanse ourselves of wickedness and lose the wickedness within us, to be empty even if what we’re missing in the darkness? Or do I make peace with it, do I forgive him, do I choose to love him because it’s the hardest thing to do, and it’s the bravest thing to do, and I can be brave where he was not?

I won’t say it to him. But right now, I love you. I’m choosing to love you because it’s the only way I can keep from being destroyed by you, dad. And I’m sorry for you. I’m sorry for what you’ve suffered. I’m sorry that you probably suffer now for what you did to me. I’m sorry that you destroyed me. I’m sorry even though I’m your victim.

Half of me is love, and half of me is hate. Two halves are equal.

I’m halfway home. I hope that home is love and safety. I hope that home is hope. I hope that home is a baby lying in a crib, and a Jack who doesn’t want to hurt him. Like my father, there’s a part of me that wants to consume and destroy everything. It’s the curse he passed down to me. It’s the black hole inside me that wants to absorb and rip apart everything I touch.

I have to be brave. I have to admit it. I can’t be afraid like my father was. I have to admit it so I can overcome it.

Brave enough to get this out. Brave enough to love. It starts with loving you, and then I can love myself because I’m not angry at you anymore. Loving you is not a one-time thing. It’s a journey. It’s a path toward forgiveness. I have not reached the end of that path. I don’t even know if I’m at the beginning. I don’t know if I’m halfway home.

But I hope I’ll get there.

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Day Three in Trump’s America: The Harassment Begins

Harassment
Guys, I’m a little shaken up right now. Earlier I posted a link to an article about how a woman went for a hike to try and deal with the grief she was feeling over Hillary Clinton’s loss in the election, and she actually ran into Hillary and Bill hiking there as well. I reposted the article and commented on how strong Hillary is. I said that when I got the news, I stayed in bed for three days, in mourning. When she found out she lost, three days later she’s hiking with her husband. I was so inspired by how strong she is.
My post was set to public, and something very unsettling happened. I got a message from a complete stranger who I guess has nothing better to do than to go through the list of people who have shared the article and make comments, because he sent me a message with a voice memo instead of actually typing. It sounded like he was driving. Which means that not only did he feel what you’re about to read was necessary, but he felt it so necessary that he had to dictate it by voice to a stranger while driving.
Here’s what he said.
“You stayed in your room for three days after the election? You are such a pussy. Get off your ass and fucking do something for the country, instead of staying in your bedroom and fucking pouting over Hillary not winning.”
I was so shocked that I wasn’t really sure what to do. But… his tone wasn’t angry. It seemed to be disappointed. Like a friend who was trying to motivate me. The things he said were cruel, but he did SEEM to have good intentions. So I responded.
My response. Note that I checked out his profile in the meantime and saw that he was a straight, married white man.
“I stayed in bed because I have debilitating anxiety, and I’m a gay non-Christian living in the south. Its not exactly easy to get out there and do something when you’re hated for who you are. As a straight, white man [I had checked out his profile at this point and saw that he was indeed a married, straight white guy], I get that you don’t understand what its like to be discriminated against. You feel so privileged that you thought it was appropriate to send a voice message to a stranger on Facebook putting them down for something you don’t understand. But I’m not going to let bullying, by you or by Trump, dictate how I should feel or act.”
He responded with another voice memo.
“Listen, gays are accepted everywhere, being homosexual is normal in this world. Bisexual is normal in this world. Whatever feels good is acceptable in this world. Don’t use you being gay and the world is against you to stop you from doing what you have to do in life. Look on TV, there’s gay people EVERYWHERE. Gay is accepted, I don’t know why you say that you’re having such a hard time being gay. That’s an excuse, get off your soap box. Trump’s the best thing that’s gonna happen to this country, trust me on that one.”
At this point I was kind of shaking, but I responded again.
“I know you THINK gay people are accepted everywhere, but you’re wrong. You live in CALIFORNIA. I live in South Carolina. You’re a straight white guy. Please don’t attempt to tell me that you know better than I do what it’s like to be a discriminated minority.”
His response was in a dismissive but not altogether angry tone.
“Well then move to California. As a matter of fact, move to San Francisco, PERFECT for ya.”
I have to stop here to comment on the privilege it must take to be driving in your car, and decide to harass a gay kid on the other side of the country via voice memos, and then have the audacity to tell him “Well just MOVE to California, then!” As though that’s something everyone can do. It would be wrong of me to assume he’s a rich suburbanite, but I can’t imagine who grew up as poor as I did has any idea how impossible moving, especially across the country, really is.
I sent him one final message.
“I don’t know what you think you’re accomplishing by this, but I just want you to take a look at yourself, and realize that you just sent a stranger on Facebook a barrage of voice messages chiding him for not handling being discriminated against in the way you would prefer. I get the weird feeling you’re trying to be helpful, but you aren’t. You are being condescending and refusing to see past your own privilege. You, a straight man in California, are lecturing me, a gay man in the south, on why it’s incorrect that I think I’m discriminated against.”
I didn’t wait for him to respond, I blocked him.
I guess… this is what it’s come to. Now that Donald Trump has won, people feel that they now just have the right to harass anyone they choose. What’s most puzzling to me is the tone of his voice in these messages. He wasn’t screaming, he didn’t even sound angry. He sounded annoyed. And when he started dictating what I should do, he had this tone of voice like “of COURSE this is what you should do, why didn’t you THINK of this?”. It was condescending, and it was scary. When I came to sit down and write this I realized I was shaking all over.
This is not an isolated incident. Far, far worse is happening all around the country, from graffiti threatening gay people, Muslims and black people, to the KKK displaying solidarity with Donald Trump, all around the country, the bigots think that now their candidate has won, they have the right to come out of the bigoted closet and speak their hatred and vitriol loudly and without consequence.
Part of me wants to raise my fist in the air and say we refuse to take it. Part of me wants to say that in achieving this victory, the bigots have identified themselves and can now be defeated. That they’ve become complacent now, that they think our struggle towards equality is over, clinched in their favor, and that their complacency is the opportunity we have to boot their hatred out of our society forever.
But another part of me just wants to curl up in the corner and fear for everyone. For myself. For Muslims. For women. For black people. For hispanic people. For transgender people. If this is what happened to me, what must be happening to other people around the country right now, trying to express themselves and have their voices heard?
I honestly don’t know what I think will happen. Part of me thinks this is well and truly the end of America, that this will be what causes a mass eruption of violence, protests, and bloody civil unrest to rival the likes of Egypt. Another part of me thinks that this is all bluster and showmanship, that bigots only think they’ve won and will soon discover they’ve gained much less ground than they thought, and by identifying themselves they make it easier to suss out the hate-mongers among us and put a stop to their campaigns of oppression.
But I don’t know.
I truly don’t know.

UPDATE: To my dismay, I discovered that because my post was public, a lot of strangers started commenting on it. I’ve since deleted it, but here are a selection of some of the comments. This is what’s happened. People feel entitled to say things like this. This is the culture of bullying that Trump has legitimized.

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No Way To Live

job

Waking up every day and going to a job you hate, counting the hours until you can go home and crawl back in bed, the only place you feel safe… That’s no way to live.

I’m not angry. Im really not. I’m actually not upset either, and I’m not devoid of emotion. I’m calm. It’s actually a very nice feeling and I don’t mean it in a sarcastic way. I’m calm, I think I’ve accepted that this is just how things are right now.

I’m not going to the brink of despair today because I simply refuse to do it. My acid reflux manifested itself as chest pains, throbbing pains like a heartbeat that shot through my chest and up into my head. Momentary pain. It was uncomfortable. I didnt panic though. I knew it was acid reflux and so I decided to just keep walking. After a few minutes it did go away.

I’m very quiet today. Usually I talk a lot, to customers and other people i pass, and I sing to myself under my breath. Today I’m quiet. I’m really much more productive that way.it helps me feel calm and centered, too.

I don’t want to be here. I’ve accepted that this is where I am and i can’t change it today. Maybe tomorrow, I don’t know. But I know that I don’t want to be here. I’m tired of these jobs out in the open, walking around and smiling at people. This is not the worst job I’ve had by a long shot. In a way i don’t even dislike it that much, its alright for what it is.

I know I cant be a writer overnight. But there are jobs, even menial jobs, that I’m much better suited to. Id love to work in data entry. Just empty out my brain and type, sit at a desk during the day, decorate my desk with little trinkets, have a cup of coffee with me. Some people consider that hell. I think I could do just fine there. Especially if I can listen to music, or podcasts, or audiobooks, while I’m working. Any job where I can read or listen to something is a winner.

I miss my job at Avalanche. I didn’t know how good I had it. I’d still like to go back. They probably won’t ever return my calls, but I do wish I could do things over again, and I wish I could avoid causing Robert and Zack so much worry, so much anxiety. I wish I could try again at the office job thing. I know the hours were long, and honestly my hours at this job are easier. But still, I just wish I could try again.

There are so many desk jobs in the world. If I try hard enough, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get one, without a degree, right? Maybe Information Technology? They train you on the job, I think. I don’t know. I’m calm. I’m okay. Ill make it through tonight. But I don’t want to be here.

The Day I Met God

The Day I Met God

The Day that I met God he came right down from Heaven
I stood there disbelieving

In his left hand was a sword and in his right hand was a pen
And he told me both were mightier than he had ever been
God watches, God observes
God does not interfere
God made us and he loved us
And then he left us here

There is no intervention
There are no answered prayers
There are miracles but not because there is a God who cares
We hunger for the light
But wouldn’t know it if it came here
We’d crucify it first
And then we’d ask our questions later

The day that I met God I realized God is just too small
God is disappointing as an answer for it all
The day that I met God I was staring in the mirror
I tried to back away but still God kept getting nearer

God created man. Man created God.
And if this is the truth it is disturbing and it’s odd
Woman births the man, man creates the myth
Man destroys the woman and God just stares at it

The Day that I met God
I cried and begged for reason
But God just smiled blindly
There is no blasphemy or treason
God is just a thought
That was created out of love
There is no hell beneath us
No heaven high above

Man created God. God created man.
Leave it all to God and then take everything you can
Woman births the man, man creates the myth
Man destroys the woman and God just stares at it

God just stares