Dangerously Alive

As you get older, years start going by faster. Time begins to slip through your fingers and you wonder how so much could have happened so fast. Or in my case, how you could have wasted so much time.

I’m twenty-eight now. This blog has existed for eight years. I look back on who I was when I started it and see how sad he was, but still how bright his hopes and dreams for the future were. I don’t think I’m the same person I was then. It makes me sad.

Sadness is basically my default state now. I spend so much time in a state of melancholy that it’s honestly where I feel most comfortable. It’s better to accept the sadness and become friends with it than to dread it, and really why dread it? Being sad is kind of a nice feeling. People say you shouldn’t wallow in self-pity, but sometimes wallowing in self-pity is the most intense emotional experience I’m capable of having.

So much of my time this year has been spent in a state of deep, painful self-reflection. I try to be honest with myself, I try not to lie to myself, because I’ve done that in the past and it’s a terrible feeling. I try not to keep secrets, and especially not to keep secrets from myself. When you try to lie to yourself you do a weird thing where you split yourself into two versions: the version of you that believes the lie, and the version of you that is lying to the other one. And you have to constantly navigate life with these two dissonant voices clashing in your head. I’ve spent a lot of this year absolutely hating myself.

It’s something I can’t truly talk about in specific terms. There were some things that happened to me a year or two ago, things that left me feeling profoundly dirty, and guilt-ridden, and ashamed. And I was transformed by those experiences in a fundamentally negative way, no longer able to see myself as the naive, innocent person I’d been before. At a certain point in everyone’s life, there comes a time when you do something that you’re really ashamed of. You hurt someone you love, or you do something petty and spiteful, or you physically strike someone, or you disregard someone else’s feelings, or you take pleasure in someone else’s suffering, or you do something really perverted or fantasize about violence, or you openly admit something shameful to someone who won’t be sympathetic because you kind of want them to expose you and make you suffer. It’s a weird mix of emotions. I’ve done some of those things, at different times, for different reasons. I believe that deep down I’m a good person, but I’ve spent so much time hating myself for mistakes that I’ve made, for things that I’ve done that I have no power to change, and for people that I’ve hurt, knowingly and unknowingly, and for pain that I’ve played a role in.

The thing is, how do you go on living with yourself when you’ve done something wrong? You can’t exactly turn yourself over to the police, cause either you haven’t committed a crime or what you’ve done is just morally questionable but not legally questionable, or it’s entirely something in your head and it wouldn’t make any sense to do that. You can’t always tell a therapist because maybe you’re poor and can’t afford therapy. Telling friends doesn’t always help because sometimes your friends can’t handle it or they don’t understand.

So you spend your time sitting alone in your room, playing video games and drinking soda, going from day to day, meal to meal, trying just to focus on what’s happening right now, because you don’t know how you’re ever going to make it into the future living with the person you’ve become.

Of course I’m talking about myself. I always am. I don’t know if I have any particular skill apart from painful self-reflection.

There have been so many moments where I’ve thought “I’m setting this pain down now and walking away. I forgive myself. I love myself.”

But you know, sometimes even when you say it and you mean it, it still doesn’t change anything.

Sometimes it just takes a lot of time and a lot of pain for you to feel any different. A couple of months ago, I got very sick and lost my job because of it. After that, I stopped taking my antidepressants and fell into a state of perpetual anxiety and self-hatred, where I kept telling myself that the mistakes I’ve made in my life are unforgivable, that I’m not worth loving or keeping around, and that it would GENUINELY be better for the world if I were dead or behind bars somewhere. That my mind is unclean and sick, that I am a bad influence on other people, that I am twisted and warped and I don’t deserve a second chance.

And the worst part is, those weren’t fleeting angry thoughts. I really meant them. I really felt them. I still do. They live inside of me, questioning me, these fears. I’ve had nightmares and been unable to sleep. I’ve been afraid that people I’ve talked to about the things that haunt me will go around telling others what I’ve told them to try and hurt me as a person. It’s happened already, more than once. There are people who’ve made me want to die. I’ve thought over and over again about what I would say in a suicide note.

And you know, this kind of stuff, it’s really easy to look at and say “There’s someone who needs help. This person needs therapy, this person is a danger to themselves.” But when you’re really there, inside your own head, and you can’t control these thoughts and this awful, awful hopelessness, it’s a crisis. You’re in the middle of a hurricane and just thinking “How do I survive?” The wind is whipping all around you and you become acutely aware that you really might actually die. And you grab onto something and think just survive, just for ten more seconds, just for twenty more seconds, just for thirty more seconds.

Some days are unbearable. Sometimes you lie to yourself to survive. Sometimes you tell the truth and it feels good, but then the truth is unbearable and it hurts even more. I think you have to try every road to understand what it is to be alive. You have to experience the breadth of being human. You have to feel love and compassion, and also anger and rage and lust and the capacity for evil within yourself. You have to see that part of yourself and understand it, and approach it with compassion and say “I see you. I understand you. I love you.”

You can’t chain your demons up in the attic. Because then they’re just up there wailing and struggling against their chains. You have to go up there and sit down in front of the demons and hold out your arms and say “It’s okay, sweetie. I still love you.”

Being alive is a terrible, difficult business. When you really get down to the core of everything, you have to face uncomfortable truths about yourself and about the world, and you don’t get to see things the same way you did before.

I don’t know if I’ll ever truly get over the things that I’m afraid of, the things I’m ashamed of, the things that I carry with me. But I believe that I have the capacity to do good in the world, and to help people see things in a more fulfilling way, and that I can make good music or write in a way that makes people feel something profound for a moment, and that all of the people throughout my life who have told me that I’m special are right in some way, and that I actually am special.

I don’t know the meaning to any of it. I don’t know why life happens the way it does. I don’t think anything happens after we die. But I also know that I’ve got to make this life work somehow, for me.

So as I approach the end of this year, I’m trying, like always, to shed my skin, and to love the past and it’s miseries and accept them as a part of myself, without being chained to them and sinking into hopelessness.

And I keep searching for a place where I’m loved, where I feel complete, and where I can do good, for myself and for others.

It’s a scary, dangerous, dirty thing, being alive. But it’s what we are. We didn’t have any choice in the matter. And we can’t decide how long we’re going to live. I’ve been sick for about five days. I’ve got a ton of cold/flu medicines and vitamin C and antibiotics coursing through me. I’m swimming around in my head. My fingers are moving so fast they don’t feel like they’re attached to me.

I’m alive. This is who I am. I’m gonna try to love me for who and what I am, to accept the sick parts and the well parts, to be better than I was yesterday.

Yesterday is over. No matter if it was a triumph or a failure, today is another chance, and tomorrow is another. If you don’t believe it, wait until tomorrow. Eventually you will.

Advertisements

Wasted


Trigger warnings: this one is a bit dark, and very dreary and depression, mostly because I’m talking about depression. Enter at your own risk. If you do decide to read it and it hurts, then I am very sorry. I hope I’ll be okay, and I hope that you will too.

***

My head is a weird place to live.

Last night was very difficult. In retrospect, I should have seen last night coming, because the whole day was leading up to it.

Sorry, I’m being cryptic. What I’m talking about is my depression. My depression which as I’ve said before manifests as intense loneliness, and it just follows me around throughout the day. I was actually going to write a blog post last night about “Grey Days,” which was a possible word I was thinking of to describe the kind of day where my depression is having a “flare up.” This is something that’s really been happening all my life. When I was a little kid, it wasn’t so much a feeling of loneliness as it was an intense nostalgia, longing for a past time when I felt safe or comfortable or happy. This affected my OCD and caused me to spend a lot of time playing video games and watching TV to try and recreate a moment when I had felt safe. And then in turn I’d try to recreate that feeling later on, leading to me doing a whole lot of playing video games and listening to television and not a whole lot of anything else.

And you know, I wish that I had known then, back when I was twelve, spending all my time staring at screens, that it was a very unproductive use of my time. Granted, my life was not easy when I was twelve. I was raised by an emotionally abusive mother and I needed whatever moments of peace I could get. But I wish I had found peace in walking around outside or reading books more often than video games, because ultimately, as much as I love video games, it kind of saps all the creativity out of me and leaves me kind of zombified. Sometimes that’s nice, but to spend the majority of all your free time that way isn’t exactly healthy.

And really, I think a lot of my problems are due to unhealthy habits. I never learned to eat properly, I never learned to play any sports, I never learned how to interact with people my age, I never learned to drive or do my taxes or deal with the responsibility and stress of working a job. I never learned to manage money, I never had a supportive family who could comfort me when I was lonely or heartbroken, I had to do everything by myself. I had to raise myself. Emotionally, at least. And well, a kid doesn’t know how to raise himself.

I’m rambling today and I guess that’s just gonna be what today’s post is. It’s important that I write every day just to exercise, another thing I need to work on. I want to go back to the gym. I’d like to do so today. But today is another Grey Day where everything is just HEAVY.

I carry the loneliness and the depression around like a very heavy blanket over my shoulders. It’s like a blanket in a lot of ways, it comforts me and keeps me safe when I’m alone, but it’s also hard to carry around, and it keeps me from breathing unfettered.

I was determined that today, I would not let the depression keep me from being productive. I was going to get up, take my computer, and go out into the daylight, sit down at the coffee shop and write, apply for college, work on job applications, and try to make the most of the day. And I’m doing that. But it would be accurate to say that the simple effort to just sit here, out in public, and do something so simple, is so draining that my whole body is weak and I almost feel like I could pass out from it. I’m not really panicked or anxious right now. My current meds have traded panic attacks for deeper depression. It’s time I asked my doctor to change them. I don’t know what the next ones will be like.

I’m horny all the time. I always have been, I’m hypersexual. But this summer, I indulged way too much, and I had a lot of unsatisfactory hookups that ultimately amounted to self-harming. I was shattering my spirit every time I did it, to the point that I didn’t even enjoy hooking up anymore. I was even a little grossed out by it. This is not something I’m used to feeling. Usually, sexuality is so powerful that it consumes me, and even if things don’t work out with the person I’m having sex with, at least I had fun having sex. But now even that has vanished. And the loss of my sexual appetite (and inability to stay hard at important moments, again due to the medication) has really affected my sense of identity. Sexuality is such a part of who I am that I don’t know who I am without it.

A Youtuber who I like, called Contrapoints, said that when she transitioned and no longer had to deal with having so much testosterone running through her, she felt like a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders, like she’d been released from the curse of having a man’s body, the need to have an orgasm every day, to have sex frequently in relationships. I admit that I thought it sounded nice. I thought, it would be good not to have this throbbing thing between my legs dictating my bodily needs, demanding attention before everything else, to the point where orgasms didn’t even feel that good anymore. I usually cum more than four times a day. And this is me ON ANTIDEPRESSANTS, we won’t even go into what it was like before I had medication. Suffice it to say my sexual appetite is huge. And I guess that’s a natural part of being a male in my twenties, but combined with my recent struggles with such intense loneliness, it makes for a dangerous combination.

Last night, I gave up on writing a blog post, packed my computer up and drove home. I’d gone to Starbucks, which is my preferred place to hang out and write, mostly because they always have incredibly fast and reliable WiFi. I spoke to the manager earlier this week about a job and she was very nice to me, and I honestly got really excited. I called her a couple of days later and she assured me she hadn’t forgotten about me. I came in today and asked if she was there, but she’d already gone home. I’m hoping she’ll call me back. I’d always kind of worried about what working in a coffee shop would be like for me, being stuck behind a counter with long lines and potentially feeling really hot and overwhelmed, but for some reason I now really want to give it a try. I think I’d be a good fit. I hear they pay their employees really well.

You see, I don’t have any idea what I was going to talk about when I started this, it’s all very stream of consciousness today because there’s just so much I have to say. I’ve been working on writing a song, and every day I spent at least twenty minutes or so playing it and throwing around ideas. It’s progressing very slowly. I’ve been keeping track of my ideas for stories and blogs. And I made myself some lunch this afternoon instead of buying it, and that always feel better than eating processed food.

I wish I had any fucking clue how to do any of this. It’s awful to be twenty-eight and have no idea how to be a grownup. I feel so embarassed and humiliated, like this big child who doesn’t know what the hell I’m doing. And mostly, the only real emotion I’ve been feeling lately is desperate, cloying loneliness, which doesn’t exactly make online dating easy, because I’m either upset at all the rejection or I’m coming on to people way too strong.

I guess I’ve gotten over being ghosted a couple weeks ago. But I haven’t forgotten about it, and I haven’t stopped being angry. Another guy has put off seeing me three times now and vanished without responding to messages. I don’t know why people are so unreliable. I even asked him last night to promise he wouldn’t disappear on me. But he did anyway.

What I feel today is hopelessness. The effort to sit here is overwhelming. Just driving around, being out in the world, it’s enough to make me swoon with sadness. I walk through the day, on the verge of tears at all times, and the worst thing is I don’t know if it’s for a legitimate reason or if it’s just my stupid brain chemistry not doing what it’s supposed to.

I’m getting old. I’m not actually getting old but I can feel myself aging, turning into an actual adult, and I’ve missed so much. I didn’t go to college, and even if I start soon, I’ll never know what it’s like to be twenty-four in college. When I think back on my life, I ask myself, is there any time I would go back to and live again if I could travel into the past? And aside from my visits with Matthew last year and Jacob this year, the answer is no. I hate my childhood, I hate my teenage years, I hate my early twenties. When I look back on my life, I don’t see a collection of lived experiences and a life full of interesting thought and contemplation and expression of my talent, I see wasted potential, I see the person I currently am: a fat, diabetic, alternate-timeline version of the real me, the one who went to school and made friends and had lovers and felt things, felt life, actually FELT everything. But this version of me? It’s a bad dream. One where you wake up and think “I’m so glad I’m not actually in my late twenties, I’m so glad I haven’t sat around and wasted my life playing video games. I’m so glad I didn’t turn into my older brother, sitting on my ass playing games all day while a woman takes care of me.”

But in my case, I don’t wake up, I don’t look down to discover I’m still spry and energetic and hopeful and sexual. I realize that I’m twenty-eight, but I look like I’m twenty and I feel like I’m forty. And I’ve spent so much time doing absolutely nothing, and I regret.

I regret. So. Much.

I think I’m going to go home, and save the college application for later. I’m going to crawl into bed with the dog and the cat, and I’m going to curl up and maybe cry, maybe listen to ASMR videos, maybe browse through the fifteen open Pornhub tabs on my phone, maybe fantasize about my novel that probably isn’t actually any good, and has gone stale and old and lost it’s spark and it’s magic, and will probably never be written. I’m a good writer, but not good enough to write a book. I’m a good musician, but not good enough to make an album. I’m a good lover, but not good enough to make someone feel a genuine connection with me. Except for Jacob, of course. I still love him. And a few other people, but most of them live far away.

I didn’t mean for this to be so sad. But this is what it’s like inside me, walking around inside my sad little body. You can’t really explain it to people like my mom who don’t have a conception of what it’s like to be constantly in pain, constantly hurting, constantly alone, constantly on the edge of tears. To live your life with your emotions just laying gently on a razorblade, and any bit of pressure will bare down on you and it will cut you. To feel sick, and depraved, and like everyone who’s ever met you was mistaken when they saw your kind voice and your compassionate heart and your articulate way of speaking, and they didn’t see that inside you’re a creep. Everybody loves that stupid Radiohead song, “I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo.” But they don’t really believe it when they sing it, or identify with it. They don’t really know what it’s like to be a weirdo. They don’t know what it’s like to learn with surprise that your other gay friends DON’T peek at the urinal every time, that they DON’T find themselves fantasizing about fucking every cute guy they see, that they DON’T immediately wonder what someone’s penis looks like when they talk to you, that they DON’T see the world through a hypsexual fog that increases the color of everything like a television turning up the saturation, but that only gives you an exaggerated version of reality, and it’s pretty but it still isn’t real.

I’m ashamed. I’m lonely. And I don’t think that I’m really worthy of love. Because I know that I’m too much work. My heart is a tangled web of veins and arteries and muscles, and to actually get to anything worthwhile, you have to go cutting through the vines and searching for something hidden deep within. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m clingy and emotional, but at the same time I’m shut off, I can’t really express love or actually enjoy a connection. I’m so many contradictions in one person, and it tears my spirit into pieces when all the different parts of me are running in different directions and leaving me in the center, being pulled and pulled while the fabric begins to tear.

I’m not going to hurt myself. I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone else. My version of being suicidal is not actually attempting to kill myself because I don’t truly want to die, it’s a feeling of giving up all hope. It feels good to let go of hope, because it’s not the answer you want but it IS AN ANSWER. If you pray and God answers, “No,” well at least he spoke to you. That’s what giving up is like. It’s like trying to stay alive in the ocean but making the decision to unbuckle the life vest and sink, because now you’ve made a CHOICE, now the power is back in your hands, and even the ocean can’t take that from you.

I hope that tomorrow I feel better. I hope that tomorrow I find the love of my life. I hope that tomorrow I laugh. I hope that tomorrow I never have to feel the way I feel when I’m around my mother. I hope that tomorrow I’ll be a little bit better of a person than I was today, and I won’t feel so incredibly wasted.

The Father, The Son, The Broken Chair

The Father, The Son, The Broken Chair

So listen, dad, to what I say
Allow me to be perfectly clear
Lean in close and kiss my lips
And I will whisper in your ear
Can you hear the pain behind my teeth
Can you feel the heat between my legs
Can you touch the place you bruised and beat
Can you kiss the spot you never left
Can you heal the bruise you left inside
On a bed with the curtains closed real tight
In a room entirely made of white
In a memory that still beats in this light

Where are your convenient excuses
Where are your threats when you need them
Let me rape you the way you raped me
Ask me later if you’re forgiven
Kill this monster you left inside me
Growing from your seed within
The man who made me found a haven
But I’ve been in the wild since then
It’s time, at last, to get revenge
It’s time we made this even
Do you hear the church bells chiming, dad?
I’m outside and I’m listening
He comes into your room at night
He stays and never goes away
And still he lies inside your mind
If you listen you can hear him say

Alone, alone, abandoned boys
Embrace the man you made me
And listen for my little voice
“It tastes like raisins, daddy.”
So come, come in, let’s talk it through
The chair you left is waiting
Let’s walk back to that living room
Let’s try again and maybe
The lights will break, the boy you made
Has come now to collect you
Let’s finish this where it began
There’s no one to protect you

I’m stronger now, and you’ve gone old
But I have lived and you have not
And you’ve been sitting in that chair
And I have loved and you’ve been lost
And I will light a candle here
And set this chair on fire
And I will breathe you in the air
And let you float on higher
I’ll walk down to the river side
I’ll skip the glass along the way
I’ll sit there in the water, dad
And live to love another day
And as your ashes float above me
I will cry my tears for you
I cannot be the man you made me
I have better things to do

It hurts too much to keep on hating
It’s only killing me too soon
I’d rather be the son you lost
Than the nightmare you left in that room
And I don’t need your reasons, dad
I don’t care if you have found them
I have to live despite your efforts
I have to find a way around them

The father, the son, the broken chair
The night the devil found me
It’s more than I can ever bare
But still I cross the boundary
You watched a baby sound asleep
And said you wanted to hurt him
The way your father held your feet
The way your father burned them

It’s not my job to heal the burns
It’s not my place to touch your bruises
A son is not a bandage
And a father should not make excuses
I don’t want a kiss goodbye
I don’t want to kiss your bruises
The son you murdered did not die
And he can love the way he chooses

 

God Is An Abusive Boyfriend

god-by-perin-del-vaga

(After finishing the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins for the third time in the span of about a year, and having also read Hitchens’ God is Not Great a few times as well, I found that my many opinions about Christianity finally started to take some coherent form. I could write an entire book [and I hope to at some point] about my feelings on Christianity, as well as religion in general. In an effort to work toward that, I’ve started taking notes. The following is more less copied and pasted from my notepad so it isn’t entirely fleshed out or well-organized, but it is a good place to start. I wanted to point out that these are notes for myself so that it’s clear that this isn’t the final product, just the early stages of something I’m working on.)

Christianity is a system of cyclical emotional abuse that inculcates and indoctrinates new members (almost always as emotionally vulnerable and mentally impressionable children) to believe that they fundamentally disordered in such a way that they are evil and worthy of eternal torment from the moment they are born. Not only this, but they are taught to believe that they CANNOT be anything other than evil and worthy of the most horrific kind of torture and punishment, because the only way to be truly good, moral, and decent, is to allow Christ to take on your own sin (whether you’ve committed any sin or not), and Christianity takes care to institute such rigorous regulations that most normal, healthy, biologically necessary actions are considered sinful, and thought crime is preached by the central deity, so that absolutely any moment of anything other than complete lobotomized silence is viewed as sinful and in need of correction or forgiveness. To be naked is a sin, to experience physical arousal is a sin, to desire to be close and to express love is a sin, to even think about exercising a completely healthy biological function like masturbation is a sin, even unavoidable biological functions like menstruation are sinful and “unclean,” in short: everything that any normal human being might do is considered a sin, so that no matter how hard you try, you cannot escape God’s righteous indignation.

This tactic is sometimes employed by the military, during basic training, in which a drill Sargeant will emotionally abuse his pupils by setting such absurd regulations on behavior that it becomes literally impossible for the rules to be followed, and so the entire unit is punished when one pupil slips up. Drill Sargeant will also give conflicting orders and punish a cadet no matter their actions, regardless of if they obeyed or not, simply to torture them. The reason for this barbaric method of training is to purposely bring the unit together in their utter contempt of the drill Sargeant, and yet also to fear and obey him, regardless of his orders, because it is the only way to avoid punishment, even if avoiding it is futile. Soldiers are placed under such extreme mental and emotional stress in an attempt to completely break their spirit, and then rebuild their demolished psyche into that of a ruthless killing machine whose only goal and joy comes from following orders and serving the military.

This kind of barbaric treatment is contemptible, but when it’s done in the military, people recognize it for what it is. Even those who justify this cruelty say that it’s done for a purpose. No one pretends that this medieval method of training is done out of love and compassion. But when God does the same things, and worse, people will make any excuse to justify his contemptible behavior, and most sickeningly of all: that God abuses and tortures his creations because he LOVES us. God is the ultimate abusive boyfriend. Countless times throughout the Bible he presses into service those same excuses we know abusers use: “You brought this on yourself,” “Look what you made me do,” “I’m only doing this because I love you.” If any man were on trial for doing a fraction of the things god does to his children, he would most certainly be sentenced to prison or worse. Yet his actions are excused and justified by his victims, who trip over themselves to believe that 2+2=5 if God says it does.

God