Like A Lullabye

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(“The Empty King”)

On this autumn hill
The kingdom of an ancient time
When the birds spoke in verse
When the people of the forest listened
Comes to me at sunrise

The horses can still smell
The air we’ve gotten used to
Our noses were full of cotton
Flares on a cool evening breeze
Asking me to hear secrets I’ve been keeping

Blue, blue
Soft nocturne like a lullaby
I’m asking the ghosts if they can spare a mother for me
I need to be held against her breasts
I hold an empty cup in my hands

The empty king wears a birds head
He looks down on a cold chasm
I have come to ask compassion
Come with my twisted knots of flesh
Tangled nerves that thirst for something fresh
And pools of blood beneath my skin
Where my heart was beaten

And I cross this angry bridge
While they look on silently
With nothing behind me
And a cup of blood in my hands

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“This House Is Full Of M-M-Madness”

Apparently I’m in a Kate Bush phase.

I go through a lot of phases, especially with music. Part of why I so often bemoan the fact that I haven’t been blogging is that I always want to talk and/or write about what I’m listening to, and I’ve discovered I have to write about it when it’s fresh, instead of doing what I’ve been doing and taking notes to review an album later on, and never doing it because the inspiration is gone. I don’t like writing without inspiration.

My life has been strange lately. I mean, I say that a lot, but it has been pretty strange for the past few years. Today, my brain’s natural “I am miserable and lonely and life is meaningless” processes are fighting against the “HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY” processes that the antidepressants are shooting into it, leaving me FEELING happy and, well not exactly THINKING negatively, but I’m aware that it’s there in the back of my mind.

My best friend Jacob lived with me for about two months earlier this year. I woke up next to him every morning and went to sleep by him every night. We spent our days driving around, going to the mountains, looking around stores, talking and singing and playing music and having sex. It was a wonderful, wonderful experience. He had to go back home, though, for work, and has been there for the summer. He had the opportunity to move in with his dad and hopefully be in a better situation than where he was living, and I was happy to hear it, although sad that he isn’t coming back to me at the summer’s end. But then, I’m not sure what I can give him to come back to.

I’ve only just recently found another job. I had a long stretch of unemployment when I quit my last job after my stepfather died. It wasn’t actually his death that prompted it as much as my anxiety about working and the fact that I’d been sick going on a month. When I found out Jacob could move in and I didn’t have to pay rent I basically threw my hands up and decided I didn’t care about working right now, and that’s what I did.

Getting back out in the world has been difficult. When Jacob left I felt so empty, and dealt with the depression the best I could. I thought the worst of it was over, but it turns out my grieving process for Jacob leaving just moved into a different phase that FELT like normalcy, but was actually self-destruction. I’ve never been the kind of depressed person who physically self-harms; for one thing I have an incredibly low pain threshold and I don’t like the sight of blood, so cutting myself has never been an option. I know that a lot of depressed people feel relief after harming themselves, so I don’t have that outlet and my depression builds and builds.

My depression primarily manifests as intense loneliness, and it has strange physical effects on me. I start to walk incredibly slowly, all of my hand motions and mannerisms slow down, I have a look of exhaustion on my face, and generally just feel incredibly heavy. Usually I fall into bed and listen to some music and curl into a ball and cry, shivers running up and down my back, and I stare in awe at the depth of the sadness within me, so inexpressible by words or by music or poetry. I’ve found certain metaphors that describe it, but never perfectly, and besides it changes form.

I don’t think of my depression as a virus living inside me, more like a very somber friend. Last night I thought about personifying it as a character, I’m not sure what he would look like. I already have a few characters that live in my head, two of which were my imaginary best friends as a teenager and one of which is kind of like an angry alter-ego. I started listening to the song Get Out Of My House by Kate Bush obsessively last night, it’s so incredibly powerful, and describes what it’s like to feel invaded within your own head, fighting against something that’s trying to break into you. I don’t know that I can say the depression feels like it’s trying to break in, but it is apt in a certain way, because I could imagine it growing in my heart and then trying to break into my head. Like moving from my emotions to my choices, and affecting me.

I digress.

My depression moved into a self-destructive phase, and my form of self-harm was hooking up with strangers on dating apps. While a few of these encounters were actually pretty positive and I had a good time, many of them just left me feeling dirty and lonely. Not dirty because I think sex is dirty or wrong, or that sex with a stranger is wrong. Sex with strangers can be fun and exciting and even fulfilling. But for me, I started to lose myself, all that I did was send messages to people on Grindr. I neglected eating or showering or even things I normally do for fun like playing video games, and it started to consume me. I could write here the number of men I hooked up with over the last few months, or at least an estimation, but I’m not going to. Suffice it to say it was enough to leave me feeling even more depressed.

I’ve had a couple of depressive episodes that were as bad as anything that happened back when my depression was at it’s worst a few years ago. I don’t know that I’ve ever truly thought about committing suicide in any serious fashion, but I have felt a longing for death, which is odd because mentally I am afraid of death, but there are times when emotionally I find the release attractive. People always shame others for wallowing in self-pity, but I think that the reason people wallow in self-pity so often is that it’s a natural and possibly even healthy part of processing emotion.

I finally made the decision that I’m not going to be having any more random hookups with strangers, or that at least I’ll try to do something in the context of a date, rather than just appearing at someone’s house for sex and never speaking again. I put myself in a lot of potentially dangerous situations hooking up, one of which involved a guy who more or less threatened to kill and rob me as some kind of weird “joke,” and strangely I stayed there and finished fooling around with him before leaving. I think that maybe a subconscious part of me was choosing to put myself in those dangerous situations because I couldn’t deal with the loneliness. I don’t really know why I would do that. Maybe it was so that I could reach a low point and realize that I needed to change my pattern of behavior.

A part of moving on is finding a job and getting my life together, and starting school too. I haven’t made much progress yet on school, but I did get a new job as a pharmacy technician, which is a career path I’ve wanted to at least try out for a while. I’m not particularly interested in the medical field, but it’s always seemed like a comfortable environment to work in. Not as comfortable as being in an office, but at least they get to wear scrubs and stay behind the counter in their own area. I had a nine-hour first day on the job where I was trained on a few areas, and I felt that I understood what I was doing pretty well and picked it up easily enough. I do worry about how I’ll react when there’s a line, or when I’m stuck in one area not able to leave to go to the bathroom or hide anywhere. But at least right now I have some medication that can help me calm down in the case of a panic attack. I’m hoping that the anxiety I feel around going to work will subside soon.

Working has always been difficult for me. I usually dread going, and have a difficult time feeling safe or confident when I know that I’m working that day. It’s because I’m preparing for a battle, and I know I have to be strong because I have to go to work soon, and I can’t allow myself to feel depressed or scared, I have to try and be strong. As a result, the emotional toll is incredibly taxing and difficult, and I often come home completely exhausted. This is just how going out in public is for me, it’s a part of my anxiety. It’s something that I live with.

I’ve been writing a lot of poetry lately and I think that I’m in a good place with it, a lot of it is coming out really well and I feel very proud of these brief little poems. I’m hoping they’ll work their way into lyrics for songs. I’d like to make beautiful albums like Kate Bush some day. Here are some poems I’ve written recently. I’m going to be posting some more after this post as well. Hope you enjoy.

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We’re playing God and God isn’t playing fair
I’m coming in to burn you all
My skin begins itching soon, try to contain the flash
No weight can hold me back
Tell them to run while they can
I will live forever, the sun will die before my light is quenched
Don’t breathe, just run
Feed me with life until I am everything

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Running through the veins of love
Come on let the sunshine in
It’s finally gonna happen
You can’t even guess at how it feels
And when you hear them singing
You know they’re only trying
To say something that can’t be said

Come on out of the catacombs baby
Everyone’s been waiting
And in the middle of the circle stands
The fruit you eat daily
The water you drink
You heat that keeps your heart beating
Freedom waits for no one

 

Currently obsessed with…
Get Out Of My House – Kate Bush, The Dreaming

192014

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My heart is warm and pumping
Calling out for him
It loves him and it needs him
And he doesn’t know
But I hope he hears it’s call
Stranger in the world
Wondering where I’ve been
And when he finds me he’ll wonder
How we fell out of touch for so long
Having never met before

 

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And I’ll learn to live with it if I have to
Because I have no other choice
But it’s such a shame to live like this
Singing to strangers in someone else’s voice

 

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I stopped growing when I was eighteen
I was raised by a television screen
I skipped the bus and stayed at home
Grinding my body into a black hole
And I’ve spent so much time doing nothing at all

Wings With Leaves

Once upon a time, I woke up in bed with my boyfriend, and I kissed him and snuggled with him and I probably sucked him off, I don’t really remember the exact details of this particular day.

But as time wore on and I rolled around in bed or walked around the house, it became clear that I needed to take a shower. I didn’t smell great, my hair was a greasy mess, and it was time to get clean. But I kept putting it off. This is not a problem I’ve had my whole life, just something that’s developed over the last few years, where I keep procrastinating about taking a shower for so long that I go a few days without one.

Finally, my boyfriend told me he wasn’t going to kiss me anymore until I took a shower. I tried pouting and acting cute, but finally he said that’s enough, and with both of us laughing, he marched me over to the bathroom, opened the door, dragged me inside, and took me fully clothed and put me in the tub, then closed the shower curtain and said don’t come out until you’re clean.

It’s a really sweet memory, and it’s one that I love.

Writing is a little bit like taking a shower. It is utterly essential for me, and if I go more than a few days without doing it, my brain gets all foggy and unfocused and lethargic, and I just keep saying things like “I’ll do it tonight,” or “I’ll do it tomorrow morning, right now I’m going to play Pokemon.”

I came to the realization a couple days ago that there has probably not been a single day at least in the past few years that I haven’t thought about what I should write that day. There have been times when I sit down to write and I’m just not feeling it, so nothing happens. But more often what happens is I just jot down the central idea of whatever it is I’m thinking about in my notes, and never get around to writing in my blog.

This blog is my journal, as well as my notebook for stories, poetry, and everything else. It’s my home. If I died tomorrow, this blog would be the thing I consider to be my legacy. As such, I really ought to fill it with more stuff. There are plenty of poems I’ve never shared, pieces of stories I’ve never posted.

This month is November, and every year something called NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, takes place. Anyone can participate. All you have to do is challenge yourself to write a novel by the end of the month, at whatever pace you’re comfortable with. Usually you can set yourself a word count to write every day (fun fact, the current word count of this blog post is 482 words), but people do different things. Every year I consider participating. After all, I’ve been working on a novel, mostly in my head but sometimes in my notes or on “paper,” for several years now. But my novel isn’t the kind of thing that I could write in a month. At least, not that one anyway. But there are other ideas banging around my head, ideas about boys falling in love, about sex gods who go around causing mischief, about a modern world where magic exists, or even just about telling the story of my life.

A big problem for me is the constant feeling of not having achieved anything. I’m twenty-seven now, and I’ll be twenty-eight in another six months. My life is still not where I want it to be. There are things that worry me, things that haunt me, things that I want to say out loud or write about but I can’t, other things that I need to write about that I’m not ready to. There are so many things to say. What I always wished is that I’d written more over the years, so I could go back and read about what I was thinking on a particular day.

And that’s what this is. I realized the little story about my boyfriend putting me in the shower would be a good way to start a blog entry, and here it is. I brought up NaNoWriMo because I’d considered the idea of kind of half-participating by writing, not a novel, but in my blog at least once a day. I don’t know if I want to do that yet, but I do know that I need to start writing regularly again.

A common piece of very important artistic advice I like to repeat comes from Kesha, “You have to give yourself permission to suck.” And I think what that means is that sometimes you’re going to feel inspiration, and you’re going to sit down and try to turn that inspiration into something beautiful. Sometimes you are successful on your first try. What is likely to happen in my case is that I feel inspiration and I sit down and try to turn it into something beautiful, and I find that I’m too rusty, I haven’t been practicing enough, I don’t know HOW to express that inspiration in a good way. I sit down at the piano to try and channel my inspiration into a beautiful song, but I’m still stuck on the last song I was playing, I haven’t been practicing how to move around the piano and play something new, and I’m stuck, and I can’t get my inspiration out in the way I want it.

So sometimes you have to write disjointed stream-of-consciousness blog posts like this, so that when inspiration strikes, you can sit down and write something REALLY good. You have to keep exercising your muscles, otherwise you won’t be able to… wait, there was an athletics metaphor but it got away from me. See what I did there, I pretended I’m so dorky that I don’t get athletics. Well actually I don’t but that’s not the point.

I’m fat. I’m creative. I’m pretty. I’m scared. I want to adventure. There are so many things about me that I want to express, but I have to keep writing if I want to be able to write anything decent. And maybe this is as good as a first step as any. Maybe I’ll write more tonight, or maybe I’ll wait until tomorrow, but as of this moment I’ve written something today, and now my day off isn’t wasted.

Maybe I can keep pushing myself, and keep creating, every day, something little, until a moment of lightning strikes me and I create something big and magnificent and beautiful. And then people can see that I’m worthwhile, that my mind and my heart are worthwhile, that there is something in me that is worth loving and appreciating. Because I think what’s we all want, especially writers. Writers want their ideas to be loved.

Here is something I created today that I’m proud of: every day, I write down something in my notes on my phone. Usually it’s just a line of dialogue, or an idea, or something to remember later. Yesterday’s line in my notes was “wings made of leaves.” That means someone having wings where the bones are like tree limbs, and the feathers are like leaves. Today’s note hasn’t actually been written down yet, but it’s a quote, a quote from a character I don’t know yet. In the little scene that played out in my head today when I thought of it, I was speaking with the voice of River Song from Doctor Who, but I don’t know if and when this line will appear in my own writing. The line was this: “A grown man trying to fight death is like a child trying to fight growing up.” It means that death is a natural and beautiful part of life. At least from one perspective it is. I’m still afraid of death. But this is something that a character might say, to argue with another character. No, actually, it would be to argue with me. I think writer’s have characters just so they can argue with themselves. And I think that’s beautiful.

So those are today’s contributions to my future work, today’s small ideas that can be planted and blossom later. A wingspan made of wood and wings, and a voice speaking about death. Today isn’t wasted. It never is, but this way I have a record, this way I have something concrete, this way I’ve done something, this way I’m taking a step toward the life I want to have, one where I’m a writer and a musician and I’m surrounded by love and support and I’m not afraid of where I am or where I’m going. A life that I can love and believe in again. A life as good as anything I’ve felt before, but much, much better.