You Think I Didn’t See That.

Trimethyl_Borate-flame

Despite what some may think, and maybe what some have intimated, I am not jealous of others or bitter about the fact that I am 31 and single.

That word, “single” has such an ominous tone like the toll of a bell or a big read scarlet letter “S” that besmirches the chest of my hoodie. How dare I live past a certain age and forsake yet another cultural requirement that I be attached to someone in order to be more like everyone else. In Christian circles it’s almost a sin for someone to be as old as I and not be married or close to it. Hell, most of my friends are already entangled in family and children and all of that garbage because it fell into their lap at an earlier age.

Good for them. At that age it didn’t suit me. At this age, I’m not sure it suits me. I’m honestly not sure what suits me right now except the solitude I inflict upon myself because the world has become too loud for me to think in. It doesn’t help that, for almost the last two years I have felt my voice has disappeared. It is even less helpful that, one by one, I can chop names off what was already a short list of people I could be around or talk to for more than a moment without getting bored or actually having that feeling like I had something to say. Did I always do this and I’m just now noticing?

That seems to be the story now. Things are the same but maybe not; maybe they’re more magnified now that the lithium has all but worked it’s way out of my body. There’s a chance I’m more cognizant of my proclivities and less inclined to act on what some would call loneliness out of an even stronger desire to be left alone. Yes, I will admit that when I see people getting into relationships a part of me is so very angry. The heat of my body ignites barium but not for the reasons you would think. I’m not jealous because someone else is in a relationship and here I sit, tapping out my emotions to an empty room, listening to the cars go down Leavenworth Street.

I’m jealous because I’m alone. I don’t mean now, in this moment because, yes, of course, I am alone right now because it’s almost 10pm on a Sunday night. Even though tomorrow’s a holiday, I wouldn’t be out and about. I feel less sociable on Sundays than I do any other. This kind of alone is the outside-looking-in feeling I’ve lived with my entire life and only recently have given it a name. I have had girlfriends but never really been on a date, per se. The one date I did go on was just the one date and then she ghosted me. I don’t blame her. I was so wound up and nervous I probably seemed certifiably insane.

No one shares this brain and no understands this heart I have been given. My kindness regarding others has been met with intractable hostility. My belief that people should be treated like people has been met with the plague of murderous violence. I am of the belief that, as a society, we have outgrown, nay, evolved past Lex Talianis but my fellow human beings seem hell-bent (quite literally) on telling me I’m wrong. I am the wartime man who, at peace, makes war with himself. I have seen the depths of hell and never the heights of heaven and if you asked me if I have ever been happy I’d more than likely tell you, “No, my heart doesn’t beat that way.”

If I can’t understand myself most of the time I certainly don’t expect anyone else to. My existence bears no explanation for itself other than a drive to be something better than I was yesterday and, even at that, I’ve been failing at that a lot lately.

So, am I really jealous that you’ve got a girlfriend? No, not really. I’m more pissed off at myself after being reminded that I haven’t figured out where I belong on this ball of anxiety we call a planet. Or maybe that’s my anxiety and I think the rest of the world feels it. I am reminded of everything I ever had in the palm of my hands and had it stripped away because it didn’t belong to me, I wasn’t meant to have it, or it felt too human and I pushed it aside. I don’t have the answer to any of this. I just know these are just the triggers to a lot of bad memories and a big tent, old emotion revival where I twist and turn against myself, doubled over, and turned inside out with the ache I remember and can’t seem to shake.

It’s been as many years as I can count on one hand and still my heart impales itself on a dagger for every reminder that the world moves for most people but stays stationary in my own little world because I just can’t breathe or speak normally around people anymore. It’s like I’m always fighting my urge to act. I would rather be the real me and be miserable than fake a smile any day of the week. So, if I’m angry you’ll know I’m fucking angry and I’ll use the language I deem fit because words only have the meaning you give them. That’s the beauty of speaking symbolic language. If I’m depressed, I’m depressed and I’ll do through my day quietly in my head but I’ll be damned if I let you shame me for it.

Just like I’ll be damned if I let you shame me for being me. I don’t give a fuck about you and your relationships. I just wish people could be more real and putting smaller distances between what they say and they do. Don’t come down on me because of my heart for the truth.

The truth is I don’t want to have to rely on someone else for happiness or sadness or any other emotion I may desire out of life. I have the brain, I have the neurons, I have the neurotransmitters or the drugs that inhibit their reuptake. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t understand how relationships are supposed to work down to the everyday dynamics of a couple because most of what I see from others seems pointless or stupid. Truthfully, I think the same thing about a lot in life. However, this does not preclude what I presume is instinct or conditioning or something else that I can’t rationalize or intellectualize (which I have to; I can’t understand it any other way). It boils down to a simple fact and I will admit it:

There is a large part of me who desires relationship.

But that’s all I know.

Now Playing:
Propagandhi
“Lotus Gait”
Failed States

I have this recurring nightmare:
flailing pigeon, her broken feet
frozen solid to the freezing pavement.
I turn away as if I do not see.
I have this childhood memory
of my old man screaming from the driver’s seat
to turn away from an unfolding horror,
but he could not undo what I had seen.
We never spoke of it again.
Two more hapless citizens of

the new post-traumatic stress worldwide disorder.
A stockholm syndrome fifth estate,
desperate to batten down the mounting horrors
and shuffle on in a global lotus gait.

Content to marinate in the plasma glow of the
home entertainment prisons we
commune before like dime-store shrines.
Are these but votive lives?
It’s a strangled, twisted truss
that shores-up each of us.
Anything to dull the pain
of a splintered lotus gait.

As for me a filigree of psychic police tape
tends to cordon-off the darker scenes.
But the wandering mind stumbles through it
and relives them all eventually.

Pries open wide your eyes and shines a painful light
on the guilt, the fear, the shame.
The courage never came
from the plasma glow of the
home entertainment prisons we
cling to like dime-store shrines.
Are these but votive lives?
Conservative at heart.
A conformist from the start.
A stockholm syndrome fifth estate.
A staggering lotus gait.
It’s a strangled, twisted truss
that shores-up each of us.
Anything to dull the pain
of a self-inflicted, crippling lotus gait.

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Home is Where You Should Fit in Your Skin


I grew up in a family that grew into Jesus
At around the same time I did.
In a lot of ways, they are probably
The strongest Christians I know
Though we all have our faults
And we would be the first to admit that
Our faults:
They’re the things that make us human
And show our real skin
We are the church not in the
Formed from a mold off the assembly line
Kind of way

Our convictions were not mass-produced
You can see it in the way the don’t fit
Quite friendly into the seats
In the church I was baptized in
That I baptized my brother in
That my sister was baptized in

And we’ve seen this response
From people before
In other buildings, in other
Worship centers
With coffee cups and
The same unbearable
Contemporary music that all sounds the same

Words cannot describe how much
I want to punch David Crowder in the throat.

The Bible tells us
The church was built on outcasts
And every day, normal people
So, maybe if my experiences
Had been a little difference I might be willing
To cut some people a little slack

Believe me
We’ve all tried to show some grace
To the people who have said mean,
Offensive, bigoted things
Behind the back and to the face
And my parents come to me
For words of wisdom on how to handle
Not feeling comfortable in their own skin
In the place where all should be welcome
And we are all gracious around sin

God, damn those people
Who make my mother feel small,
My father apathetic,
You didn’t make them this way
So what gives your followers
The right to do it?

You, in your wisdom have adjusted me
With a very high-strung sense of right or wrong
Think trip-wire, or claymore mine
Add to the tension,
Hope you live to regret it
And I can’t be kind anymore.

I refuse to swallow one more bitter pill
In the attitude of “truth with love”
Because that is a set of bald tires
With a nail in the wall
It’s easier to overwhelm and sabotage
Then listen to anything at all
That might mean you’re espousing hate
And you’ve put my family deeply centered in the crosshair

Church, I have grown tired of your abuse
You’re a whore, I know this
And I’m supposed to love you
Which is hard
For someone who has never really
Understood love fully
And lost the only person who could really
Explain it in a way that made sense

You wonder why I’m angry.
Call it hate, call it intolerance,
I don’t really give a flying fuck anymore.
Thought I lacked a filter?
Well, the censors are out
Of the office for a while until my nerves settle

“Oh, but we need unity in the church,”
Then start being more like real Jesus
And less like the one you get from talking heads
Because blessed are those who
Don’t put people’a lives on chopping blocks
For gender, race, socioeconomic status,
RELIGION,
WHY DO YOU HATE PEOPLE
OF DIFFERENT FAITHS?
IS IT BECAUSE THEY’RE MORE FAITHFUL THAN YOU?

You are your brother’s keeper
That’s what I believe and that’s
What drives me every day
While others declare war on culture
They haven’t even taken the time to understand

My parents are braver and bigger than I
At least they’re willing to go back
Because I’m the one who reaps the whirlwind
On purpose; I stand for them of my own accord.
I haven’t been with you, church,
Longer than I can remember
But there’s no baby with that bath water

My struggle is in finding the answer to the question:
Is it possible to ever go home again

Inside/Out

Eyes-on-Fire

In my mind everything within my reach is a projectile. I can feel my hands grip tight and push the force of my musculature force through the air with great velocity anything, everything, and watch the opposing force of the unmoving wall cause pieces and parts to scatter like a drop of water against the pavement. There’s a great amount of violence in the sky when it rains. Likewise, there is a great level of violence contained within my body without cause or explanation, at least not one I can put my finger on.

Every once in a while this happens. I start to sink and the anger turned inward that fuels the darkness I feel reemerges from behind my sternum and I want to tear down the world piece by piece. I want to light the match that detonates the earth from its core. I want to breathe out fire and malice and show the world what it means to burn, to immolate internally until there’s no more room for the open flame but outwards. There are small triggers and most of them are people and memories and I have to learn to swallow them because everyone who matters knows those stories and to rehash them would serve no purpose.

Every now and again I turn sour to the idea of people because it’s people who have let me down the most. I’ve long abandoned the idea of fitting in and have decided to focus on myself and try to be happy that way. Friendship means something completely different when you get to be my age. I ask myself what I did to get where I am and it turns out to be a lot of choices that turned out to be bad ones and almost all of them were trusting people and letting them get close. I have broken myself open too many times for people who weren’t worth the mileage and I always got left stranded on the side of the road, lost, helpless, and depressed.

Nobody knows better ways to break you down brick by brick than the wrong person with your story and your heart in their hands.

My therapist keeps pushing me to keep in contact with people and talk to people because having a support system is part of managing my disorder. It’s hard to do that when you don’t trust people anywhere near the foundation that’s propping you up. Part of me knows this is all just grand assumptions I make because of my deep-seated fear of intimacy of any kind but a huge part of me just doesn’t want to deal with it. And then the fire starts and so I annihilate my body on the altar of exercise because the pain and the aggression are the best mix for me to forget I’m alone.

The pain has been more comforting than people have these past few weeks. I embrace it.

μισάνθροπος

misanthropy-blackback

There are days where I lose just a little more faith in humanity and, most times, I could not tell you why. My experience with the general populace as well as at the individual level has not gone a long way to prove to me otherwise. At the same time, I must lose faith in myself because I am part of the mass of humanity I learning to like less and less. Drawn from the same dust as the rest, I find I am trying to mentally scrub myself clean of all the things I see in other people I don’t want to see in the mirror every day as I prepare to join them in the daily grind where people share the poison of other peoples’ lives; they gossip, they lie, and they treat each other like dirt under the ruse of friendly alliance.

I find myself growing tired of this consistently nagging idea in my head that says my view on the world is wrong. It’s not Biblical, it’s not Christ-like, it’s not something else completely good and altruistic. It does not feel like there are a lot of people out there who are for me. I have been betrayed too many times in too many ways to believe I’ll ever fall in love again. I’ve seen too many people fall from the pedestal they’ve been put on (not necessarily self-imposed) to believe in heroes. I’m a cynic with trust issues which manifests itself in personality traits I’ve found most people do not understand or are somehow offended by it. Maybe it’s a subconscious method of keeping people at a distance; if that’s true, I think I have built up a curriculum vitae of experiences that warrant such behavior. Only fools fail to learn from experience.

What’s been my experience? I’ve been deemed unworthy of being part of peoples’ lives more than once. I’ve been abandoned by people who should have cared about me. This is not pity-seeking. The biggest trigger of my aggression and anger is no one takes the time to understand, no one seeks an explanation, no one wants to know, because when you look long into the abyss, the abyss looks back into you. I am sick and tired of fighting with myself, with other people because it only fuels my misanthropy; it brings out the worst in me and I already live with enough depravity so I’m trying my best to keep these sentences clear and coherent because I can feel it.

The burning coal in the pit of my stomach is rising up into my chest as I think of all the banal and pointless things people go on and on about. I’m sick of hearing about drunken weekends and stupid, narrow-minded opinions. I am, honestly, so bereft of heart lately that I can lock myself up in my apartment and shut out the world. Two doors, two locks, and a whole lot of books can keep me occupied.

On the other side of the coin, I am alone most of the time, anyway. Even with people around me, I find it difficult to relate. Ever felt alone in a crowd? That’s me. Then a sliver of doubt slips under my skin and I start feeling that aching loneliness that only comes from having experienced relationships. I have friends but they’re all married, moved away, and have schedules to keep. I do not have such burdens. I answer to no one but sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I could share it with someone other than a blog or a notebook.

But if I speak will you judge? I did not come here to care what you think about me. Not anymore. Most peoples’ opinions aren’t worth shit anymore because there’s no mileage behind them.

If only I could rewire everything to make it more clear.

Light the Match, Ignite the Torch, Burn it Down, Walk Away.

HouseFire

I carried around a burning coal in my chest for longer than I choose to remember as my memory currently will not allow me to recall the time. My face showed scorn with a curled up lip and furrowed brows when I thought about what you’d done, what you were doing, what I didn’t do to deserve this. I didn’t deserve this, I don’t deserve this, I will never deserve to be treated like this. And I carried around that open flame with me to work, to church, and to my friends who were kind enough to listen to me when I related the newest revelations I had gleaned from the fire burning the layers of paper wrapped around this issue.

I was the burning man
with burning steps
scorching the earth
wherever I roamed
You lit the fire
You ignited the flame
But I had to carry the torch
inside me, not you
And there was no one to put it out but me
No one but me.

I ran over and over in my head scenes of violence where I put my fist through the face of the guy you ran away with. I hold him responsible too, even though it was mostly your fault. And it was your fault, not mine. No matter how angry I got I could never hit a woman and so he would pay the price and you would have to suffer as he suffered my wrath, the consequences be damned. I wanted to rip your whole world to shreds as you had mine. I wanted you to suffer the way I did and sometimes still do when my memory or subconscious allows you to creep up on me. The visions I had of you and him, having come true, were replaced with scenes of violence and vengeance that kept me awake some nights; the adrenaline from the thought became too much for me to control and would not allow me to rest.

I gave you everything and more. I told you everything and more. I don’t trust easy and I don’t take abandonment well and you knew that, you knew that better than anyone and you went ahead and kicked me to the curb without having the common fucking courage to say it to my face or at least over the phone. Distance was your shield and you hid behind it and fired an arrow with a note and a flame attached to it and you incinerated my world, you coward. And rather than own up to the garbage you backed into a corner and attacked like a wounded animal when I was the wounded one. After all that, I hoped everything in you hurt. I wanted to know you were unhappy and know you deserved it.

I wanted to set fire to the pictures I saw of you and him. Not out of jealousy but out of sheer malice and rage. I wanted to crumple up the photographs of your faces and have you feel it in your skulls. I wanted to take a lighter to it and watch the smiles curl slowly into a black nothing because that’s what you deserved.

Your whole world in flames; I wanted to see your world burn to the ground around you.

Alone with the Alone

Alone

I’ve spent a lot of time on my own lately.

The completion of my bachelor’s degree was not the victory I felt like it would be. You would think I would feel different about everything now that I’ve completed that four year stint of my life which consisted of nothing but homework, work and running mostly on fumes. At most I thought I’d be happy with the accomplishment. But when they handed me that folder with my diploma inside I gave it a glance and put it in the bag of goodies the Alumni association gave to all the graduates. Now I just feel like I’ve lost purpose and all I’m doing with myself is working, exercising when I can and trying to get some sleep. I’ve resorted to escapism in watching TV shows like ER and playing video games on my Nintendo DS.

I used to think I was an island. I didn’t need anyone to get me through the day. I’m finding more and more in the last few weeks that it was just the stress and preoccupation with homework that kept me from really feeling the gravity of what it feels like to be truly alone. It hasn’t helped that one of the only people I talk to on a regular basis has been off driving around enjoying herself. I don’t blame her. I just notice the difference in my life with the absence of communication we typically have on a daily basis.

God created us to be social and relational. I’m learning when you remove those elements from life it becomes lackluster and depressing, as if it’s not worth getting out of bed because I don’t know what to do with myself if I did. This became extremely obvious to me last Sunday when I woke up feeling this great weight on my heart, as if all the sadness and pain I’ve been containing was loaded into the barrel of the cannon in my chest and I just didn’t have the spark within me to light the fuse, to eject all the negativity that I had been swallowing that past week. But I sat up with a shot, got dressed and promptly exited my house and got in my car. This is an old coping mechanism that I haven’t had to utilize for a long time but I could think of nothing else to do to resolve the hell that was burning inside me.

So, I drove.

I-80 West is a lovely stretch of road. It doesn’t pass through many populated areas and the speed limit is 75 MPH most of the time. I cranked up some tunes and tried to catch up with my racing mind that’s been plaguing me for quite some time, keeping me awake and sending my anxiety levels through the roof. The purpose of this drive is not to have a destination. For someone like me who relies on planning and knowing where I’m going, the prospect of traveling without a destination is somehow liberating. The speed mixed with cigarettes and good music is soothing and helps me sort out the mess in my head most of the time. But I just couldn’t shake it.

And so I drove some more.

Anger, depression and anxiety are some of the hardest emotional states for me to outrun. They are poison to the soul; they latch on and it’s difficult to shake them loose. But as the drive continued I started communicating with her about what I was going through. The greatest people in the world are the ones that are the ones who care about you regardless of how crazy you are. Four and a half hours later I was in North Platte, NE. I stopped to use the bathroom and pick up something to drink. I got back in the car and decided to head back home. I had a realization when I was nearing the end of my journey West. I was listening to Killswitch Engage’s album “Alive or Just Breathing” and the song “The Element of One” came on. I’ve been listening to this album for years but it’s amazing how old songs can hit you in new ways. It was when I heard the following lines that my heart broke open and I was able to breathe a little easier. Yes, I even cried a little:

I will return to you
I am with you always
I will never turn away from you

Breathe me in
I am forever
Deep within.
I am eternal

It felt like God was speaking to me in that moment. No matter how lonely I was feeling, how dejected, how alone and isolated I was feeling that he is with me always and will never turn away from me. This is the most amazing thing to someone like me who, thanks to a number of painful experiences, has severe abandonment issues. And it was a good reminder for me as I have been feeling completely burnt out on church after 4 years of attending chapel services twice a week where God seemed more like a source of entertainment than someone to be honored and worshipped. But perhaps I’m just cynical.

I still haven’t figured out what to do with all of this yet. I still have my moments, especially at night when I can’t sleep. But I am never alone. I remember at the beginning of my first year at Bible college I wrote that I wasn’t alone anywhere. Sometimes, I need a reminder of that and I am happy when, in his providence, God shows me that I am not alone no matter where I am.

So, now the point is living life without a destination. To remember no matter how many friends I had that have since forgotten me and left me to my own devices, I have to remember what is here and now. No matter how tempted I am to dwell on the future and my ever-persistent fear that the Pulley song “Second Best” does not become my anthem:

I don’t care too much about anything anymore
There’s no difference between wrong and right
I’m tired of living life out of spite.
I don’t care too much about anything anymore.
Been here too long
It’s a change I can’t go through
You’re better off without me aren’t you?

I have lost my faith in finding humanity
For every girl that ever broke my heart
For every fucked up friend that played that part
I have lost my faith in finding humanity
Compassion isn’t enough for all I’ve been through
You’re better off without me aren’t you?