I’m Still Trying

Caesar

I’ve wanted to write again for over a month. That seems to always be the pattern: I want to write, then I don’t, then I’m mad because I missed all these observations and thoughts I could have chronicled, and then when I do write I’m apologizing to myself for not writing. But I’m going to keep trying, even if it’s hard. I want to get what it’s my head down.

I started a journal once before online (actually many times before online, but this is one in particular), on LiveJournal. I wanted to try something new, but I ended up only writing six entries. Since this numbered series is supposed to be similar to that, and I’ve already cross-posted my LiveJournal entries over to this blog, I considered making the previous entry number seven and this one number eight.Maybe I will do that. I don’t know.

I realize that’s a boring thing to start this off with. I have a thing about numbers, and organization. I have literally spent most of my free time in the past six years organizing and maintaining my iTunes library: keeping the B-Sides and Demos in proper order with uniform cover art, keeping everything numbered properly, having things in correct chronological order, organizing and re-organizing and re-organizing bonus tracks and B-Sides. It’s labor intensive but it gives my mind something to focus on.

I honestly want to go back to the beginning of this entry and just erase everything I’ve just written because even I think it’s boring.

But that is not the point!

The point is to get it out of my head and into here. The point is to have a living record (what does that actually mean, anyway? I’m totally bullshitting on using that term properly) of my life and my thoughts.

So here’s what I did today.

It’s Saturday. Blessed, sweet Saturday. The Thursday two days previous marked three months that I began working a full-time job, at a desk, in front of a computer, for eight hours a day with an hour lunch break. When I first started, I was deliriously satisfied at having landed full-time work, much less in my dream environment of an OFFICE. I couldn’t believe it.

But as time went on, it slowly starting dawning on me that this wasn’t an office. This was a retailer I worked for, and I was in their office space, and yes there were desks and computers and cushy chairs, and a coffee machine and conference rooms, but there were also things MISSING. Windows, for instance. Our office is actually just two huge warehouses that are somewhat insulated and the walls are strewn with huge ceiling to floor curtains. There are no windows, there is no sunlight, there is something that almost passes for a skylight above but really doesn’t because it’s just one dirty covered window that lets in some small amount of light. Two weeks ago the power went out for a while and we were on various backup lighting systems and it was like it was the dead of night in there. It gets incredibly hot when it’s hot outside, and freezes when it’s cold outside.

It seems to be devoid not just of light, but of hope. I’m reminded of the lyrics to that one Radiohead song that I’ve never heard the original of before, just the Regina Spektor and Amanda Palmer covers: “A job that slowly kills you, bruises that won’t heal.”

After my life was saved by two friends who allowed me to move away from the Carolinas and from my dysfunctional family and incredibly abusive mother, I spent the first month or so having crying breakdowns every night. I was like a dog that had just been adopted from the pound, and I was still so scarred by my past that I couldn’t accept that I might have a home, or safety, or love. But over time that fear went away and this became my new home.

I lasted about a month at the new job before I started to realize that I not only hated the job itself, but the whole concept of full time work. I always thought working full time with weekends off would give my life some kind of structure, but it turns out it just fills my life with forty-five hours a week spent in a muggy dark building away from the sun, and away from my actual LIFE. I hate being hidden away like that. I get two days off but I feel like I need much more than that. I honestly am beginning to doubt whether or not I can work AT ALL.

What would a happy work-week look like for me? I have no idea. Unless I were doing something that I love, and I don’t really know if I can paid to play piano, write books, and play video games. I want to go to college but how? I’m twenty-five now, I don’t have as many resources available to me as would have been when I was eighteen and just graduating. Even if I go to school I need to work a full-time job at the same time and how do I do that? What would I even go to school for? I say English, music, or literature, but what would I do with that? Would I teach? Could I handle the stress of teaching? I’ve been warned against teaching by everyone and I’ve never been particularly interested in it. If I were a teacher I’d have to hide who I am too.

I’d like to live in a hippy commune, rolling around naked in the flowers every afternoon, fucking boys and maybe sometimes girls throughout the day, reading at night, and falling asleep in the arms of friends. I’d like to wake up to the smell of nature and the wet dew and the rising sun, and yet I don’t want to live out in the woods. Maybe a cabin somewhere? I mean I’m genuinely trying to picture what my perfect life might look like. I guess in my dreams for the future I’m always rich and successful, and I’m either at home writing novels or out on the road touring as a musician, playing piano and singing to adoring friends every night.

Will I ever get the chance to do these things? When I was twenty-one it seemed like there was still all the time in the world to figure these things out. Now I’m twenty-five, almost twenty-six, and it seems like while there may still be time, there doesn’t seem to be any MEANS to make these things happen. And what do I need to do, keep on slogging through work full time, having unfulfilling Grindr hookups that leave me grossed out and ashamed when I have a few moments of free time, spending the weekend sitting still and trying to recuperate as I recover from the withdrawals symptoms of leaving one antidepressant behind to start myself on another?

It seems like I’ve gained so much of what I thought I wanted: a safe home where I live with friends, a stable job, good income, the ability to get food when I need it, a place to put my books and my music. And I do still want all those things, but I didn’t know I would still be suicidal once I got them. I didn’t know I would still struggle against the debilitating tears, fear, and loneliness, pushing down on my chest every day. I didn’t know I would still reach over to the other side of the bed at night and wish Nathan was there to hold.

It’s been over a year now and he’s still on my mind all the time. I feel lost without him. I think of things that I want to say to him, I see things around me and I want to show him, but he isn’t here, he’s back home, in Georgia, and he just isn’t going to be a part of my life no matter how much I miss him. And it isn’t that I want him to be in my life, or that I want to get back together, but I do miss him. Even though I don’t regret my decision to step out of our relationship, I still spend a lot of time thinking about him, missing him

I want to find a new person, but last year I was with a new person for three months and I genuinely forget that he ever existed in my life. I had a new relationship with not one but TWO guys, in a polyamorous relationship, they were both Pagan, and I even ended up homeless and they gave me a place to stay. Then there was upset, an actual physical fight, lots of screaming and wailing and at one point I even tried to cut myself (unsuccesfully, as I grabbed a butter knife), then ended up being made to leave. And I forget about those things ever having happened all the time, I forget that I had a relationship with those two guys, I talk about Nathan and say he was my last boyfriend but I forget that there were two in-between then and now. Why do I forget them so easily? I had thought I was happy. It turns out I was just as unfulfilled as before.

But doesn’t having a rebound relationship mean it helps you to get over the old one? Well, yes and no. It was nice, but still unfulfilling.

And I spent so much time last year being an atheist, and now I feel like I’m going back down the path to being Pagan. Which is great, I like it, but I always feel insincere. I’m not brave enough to be an atheist, and I don’t have enough faith to truly believe in the Divine. I want real life witchcraft and magic to influence the magic in my book, but where is my book going? It’s changed so much in my head. Characters that used to be the most important have left entirely, and I don’t know what’s happening anymore. I finally started over in first person and I love it so far but I haven’t written anything more after the first chapter, which I need to revise.

I’m feeling so lost. Why, after gaining so much, do I still find myself faced with the same problems?

Today I walked dogs at the animal shelter. Zack drove us there, I was going to go by myself but I’m glad he came. First I walked a pitbull named Caesar who pee’d on everything and then kept trying once he ran out, and cuddled with him a bit before we swapped him out for another pitbull named Gunnar, who was a bit more distant but really interested in walking around and exploring. I got a lot of good exercise from it, even though I was literally so exhausted from walking down to a culdesac and back twice that I ended up taking a three-hour nap when I got home. How can I ever start working out regularly or running / walking / jogging, if I can’t even handle taking a dog for a walk?

I don’t mean to be negative, if I am being negative. I spent a lot of time when I first started this blog trying as hard as I could to be positive because I needed positive energy in my life. Now I’m not even sure what a word like “positive energy” means. I don’t like faith in God, and I don’t really care enough about science to truly seek the answers. Maybe I don’t like what I know I’ll find: that the universe is vast and my existence in it has little meaning either way. That’s what atheism has brought to me, a feeling of knowledge and even of boastful, arrogant pride that I’m now trying to unlearn, and also a fear of oblivion. I don’t want to stop existing. Can it be so easy to just stop existing? Can it be so easy to believe in an alternative?

I’m filled with questions. I’m tired. I’m always tired nowadays.

I have to get away from this job before it kills me. I have to keep trying. I have to keep doing good things in my life.

I ordered two books on Wicca. I jogged last week and walked today. I’ve stopped drinking soda from the machine at work and almost entirely switched to drinking Powerade when I’m working. I bought tea and chai. I’m trying.

I need to stop staring at my phone all day. I need to get online for a good purpose, to write or to do something productive. I have to stop wasting so much time.

I want my body to be better. I want my heart to be better. I want my life to be better.

I’m trying.

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Naked

1034

“My heart is a chamber of darkness
My voice echoes in fear
I have lost all hope but still I call you
Hear me and grant me reprieve
Summon me from the night
Give me life.”

Chapter 1

He was naked.

His hair was a bright auburn that tinged itself with blonde, his eyes were a milky swirl of silver and blue. His body was lean and unintimidating, dusted with fine blonde hair across his belly and his legs and between them in a concentration above his groin. His face was something like handsome, though there was an emptiness behind his eyes. He stared forward but he didn’t seem to exist at all.

It wasn’t me.

This person was not the embodiment of the voice in my mind, this person was not my soul personified. But it was my body. And it stared back at me from a reflection in glass, like a stranger meeting my gaze. I didn’t entirely believe the reflection, I was sure that I’d still never seen my own eyes.

Dim light at the edges of my vision swirled about behind the figure in the mirror. Fire was moving through the air. I could feel it prickling the inside my head, I could feel it breathing. Fire, individual flames moving through the air in a rhythmic dance, slowly, breathing, breathing, breathing.

I closed my eyes. I almost imagined there were lights dancing in the darkness of my eyelids. I could feel the light from each flame as it danced along the air in a current that swirled around my body. I reached out with some kind of limb I didn’t understand and snatched the flames from candles that were placed in a circle on the floor around me. Come up, join the others. I pulled the flames from the wicks and they kept burning. They kept breathing. The little flames joined the larger ones in the silent song the fire sang, and they grew, breathing, hotter, and hotter.

Footsteps clicked in the hallway.

The flames whisped out, not one by one, not unanimously, some dying faster, but they all fell into sparks and died in the air.

The door to my bedroom was opened.

“Good afternoon, Lord,” said a friendly and companionable voice. Trust him not to knock before he enters. “I’d advise against standing about in the darkness without any clothes on, it’s unbecoming of royalty.”

The young man to whom the voice belonged strolled easily past me and pulled open two huge, thick velvet drapes, and sunlight burst hungrily across the floor and onto every surface of my room, and flooded my eyes, so that I saw a glimpse of the boy of with the light brown hair illuminated so brightly he seemed to change, and just as my eyes closed I could almost swear I saw someone else in his place, but I couldn’t place it, and my eyes were stinging, and the thought was lost.

“Honestly, you’d think you might remember you have a schedule,” said the young man impatiently, ruffling the drapes and smoothing them before turning and marching across the room to shut my door behind himself. “I leave you alone for one morning and you start having séances in the middle of the afternoon.”

I sighed and shook my head, “Eric, you know I can’t handle doing anything royal without you,” I said.

“That’s all very well,” he replied in a tone of trained annoyance that bordered between that of a disrespectful child and an overbearing mother, while strolling over to the drapes and unlocking the window latch, “But I’ve been your attache for two years and you’ve still to learn a thing about acting like an adult.” He whipped the window open and a chill that was not the breath of winter but not quite the sigh of spring whistled in and caught my bare legs, causing me to shiver and cross my arms in something like embarrassment.

Eric was already flinging open my wardrobe and grabbing undergarments, tossing them lazily on the bed behind him, though they landed in perfect order. I glanced below myself at the ring of burned out candles. The wicks weren’t black, still white. The fire had barely touched them. I wondered for a moment what Eric thought I was doing, he was too smart not to guess something.

But then, you don’t often guess that your master can wield fire with his mind. And if you do guess it, you probably don’t ask questions.

I sauntered over to my bed, which Eric suddenly noticed was completely unmade and almost rolled his eyes as he went to tuck the duvet back into the corners of the mattress. “One day you will learn to be something like self-sufficient,” he said in that same parental tone.

I realized that I was chuckling softly, standing there naked and looking like a fool, while Eric ran around behind me cleaning up my messes. He’d already managed to lay out my day’s attire on the bed and swept behind me to grab the candles from the floor. “But I can always rely on you, can’t I?” I asked.

“For a time,” said Eric, setting the candles down quickly and in neat order on a dressing table in the corner that I scarcely used for anything, “But you’re nineteen years old and you may be royalty, but you should still learn to take care of yourself. What will you do when I’m not around?”

“You’ll always be around,” I said defensively, grabbing a pair of short cotton briefs and slipping them up my legs.

“I wasn’t around until a couple of years ago,” he replied, “When the Chancellor appointed you a much smaller contingent of factotums,” Eric was already pulling a silk shirt over my head while he spoke, and I abliged him like a child who resented the act of being dressed, “Now I need you to try and act something near stately today, and tonight when we’re done with business you can pull off your dress clothes and roll around on the floor like a stubborn child.”

I giggled. I enjoyed Eric’s admonishment, because it was playful. He was incredibly skilled at his duty, he was loyal and trustworthy, and life had been a little easier to understand since he’s come into my life. His fingers worked at the buttons of a jacket he’d pulled onto me, and he clipped a green silk scarf onto the neck to trail behind me. “Do you have to add the scarf?” I asked.

“The accouterments of rank, lord,” he said kindly, “You’ll learn to live with it, one way or another.”

“You really do dote on me,” I said.

“And you dance upon my nerves, little princeling,” he said, “But I am older than you and you know to listen to your elders.”

“You are exactly seven years older than me, and as I see it you’re barely an adult yourself,” I replied.

He leaned in close to me and raised his eyebrows. “I set out my own undergarments in the morning, my lord,” he whispered, and he winked.

As breeches were hoisted upon my waist and a pair of stately black shining boots buckled and strapped at my feet, I stared back out the wide window that opened almost from floor to the grand tall ceiling of this vast chamber where I lived most of my time. I thought for a moment I could almost see something out there in the vast cloudless sky, like a small bird or maybe a large fairy tale pixie, but whatever I thought must have swam into the light of the sun because my eyes were stinging again and I looked away.

“Do try and behave yourself, Lord,” said Eric in a tone that sounded nervous, “And remember to rise when they say your full name and title.”

I rolled my eyes and announced it in a mock ceremonial voice, “Noble Heir to the Throne of Alexandria, fourteenth in the line of royalty since His Eminence King Hamlet, prince Lucas Ballanehim.”

“You’re the FIFTEENTH of the line since King Hamlet, Lord,” corrected Eric.

“Well I never met my father,” I said with an arrogant swivel of my head.

“And neither did I,” replied Eric, adjusting the belt about my waist and buckling it, “But I still know to stand when my name is called, and keep my mouth shut when appropriate. Learn from me.”

“Are you afraid I’ll get myself in trouble?” I asked

“I’m afraid you’ll get us all in trouble,” Eric said, and he almost yanked me forward and toward the door, “The conclave begins in less than an hour, so please, for me, practice being quiet while there’s still time.”