Barely Survived September
Barely made it through
September, Autumn is
playing sad death songs.
Staring at my Thomas
Kincaid calendar, red
marker poised above.
I'm longing to scratch
angry lines across the
weekdays, tear out four
weekends, removing it
from my teary blurred
vision, pretend nothing
black ever touched us.
Weary from tampering
down painful screams
fighting to come out, I
hurtfully bury deeper.
Years running together
until I'm wearing stress
rough, tattered, sickly.
Time's a cruel, cryptic
hours, dragging seconds,
always he's demanding
attention from a broken
person, grieving cannot
interfere nor read hands
moving slowly around a
ticking clock, heavily it
sits upon my chest, I've
somehow forgotten how
I'm supposed to breathe.
My mouth gapes open
from disbelief but nothing
comes out other than a
silence that's deafening.
October, halfway finished,
my mind cannot process
this winter, cold, gloomy
suffocating already, I've
barely made it through
September, in the distant
I can hear the death songs.
The problem with being curious is contentment is the thing you never seem to discover.
The problem with choosing what to do with your life is that you have to choose many more things you will not do.
All those doors, softly shut. All those days, creeping away from a hundred things to fog up the glass on lives behind closed doors. Watching moments you don't have. Voyeur on might-have-been. And then the walk of shame back, and back, and back to your own door, left ajar for you. The sounds and scents like breadcrumbs leading you home.
Sometimes someone fogs up the glass on your door.
"You have your hands full!"
"I could never do what you do."
"I only have this much to handle and I'm struggling, I can't imagine what it must be like for you."
You sigh, you count up the blessings again, one...two...three...four...
And once they've piled up into a mountain at your feet, you sneak away to peer in at the other lives that are full, to imagine what it must be like.
The door to you
I can’t stop opening the door to you, to us, behind the door is the grave you buried our friendship in, along with the time capsule filled with once treasured memories. I dig it up all the time, inwardly I cry over what used to be, the fragments of our once beautiful story. I miss you, I can’t seem to stop, I know there’s a small part of me that always will. It’s not like before, it doesn’t ache like it used to, but there’s a reason I still think of you.
I hate you! Why did you have to come back?! I was doing so well forgetting about you yet one text was all it took to send me spiralling again, why do you still even have my number? Please tell me you’ve deleted it, I just wanna move on. But I don’t, not really, I don’t wanna forget you I mean what happens after that? But I do, I wish I could forget we ever met, burn down the door, the memories, everything! I wish I could lock the door and forget where I put the key. I wish we could simply be acquaintances and just catch up every so often without it blindsiding me. I wish 2011 was the last time I heard from you, but it’s been 8 years of you coming back, 8 years of me letting you.
I wish we’d carried on growing up together like we planned, being roommates, each other’s bridesmaids, when I saw you got married a couple years ago it reminded me of how you lied. I love you, you know I do, that’s why you pick me up at whim like you do isn’t it? You know I’ll come back,.. I don’t wanna come back not anymore. I wish we could just have one last conversation, one last hug, one last fight, one last laugh, then shake hands, light a match and finally burn everything down together, finally agreeing to never look back.
I can't go back. I can't make different choices or speak to my younger self or use any of the methods of time travel dreamed up by so many who want to reach behind. This path, these choices, this present and the anticipated version of the future that I took--I can't change how it began. It feels like I should be able to, it was my path after all. I forged it myself, I took the trouble of walking through time, moment by moment, making decisions. You would think that would entitle some ownership, and you would think that ownership would come with editing rights. But no. It doesn't. There is only the choice now. And there is only the hope of a future that won't be so full of looking backwards to where it began.
Dear Younger Self
As I sit at my desk looking at this blank piece of paper, I am trying to figure out what to say to you. Your life wasn’t easy and you were dealt some bad hands early on but you took each obstacle and turned it into something positive or made it a lesson learned. You were able to take all of the bad stuff and morph it into something meaningful. It took you a few years but you were able to move yourself forward. You were able to take the hurt and anger and transform it into a reawakening. Your life had a lot of ups and downs, moments when you weren't sure if you could survive. But you did!
When I look back at all the things you were able to accomplish, I'm in awe at your vigor to survive. Even from the beginning you were determined to not let the bad things take over your life. Those moments you cried in the shower so your child couldn’t hear or the sacrifices you made to make sure food was on the table and clothes were bought. You proved your doubters wrong when you walked across that college graduation stage with your associates degree in hand while working a 40 hour a week job and taking care of a toddler. Yes, you did have help but being able to do all those things at once was a miracle in itself. And you were the kind of person that no one could say gave up.
Most normal people would have given up halfway through but you took each obstacle and transformed it into something astonishing. You went from just surviving to learning how to live. You realized that you had a right to love, to have fun, and to be happy in your own skin. It took many years but you did it. And you should be proud of the person you became. But the most important thing you were able to do was show your child and all your nieces and nephews that with effort and hard work you can do and be anyone you wanted. So in conclusion I just wanted to say how proud I am of you on how you never gave up. I hope you continue to strive for only the best in your life.
Your Future Self
I've been sticking my neck out for these people for a while, and now they string me up here like a ghost between the register and this buck-toothed kalimba, no offense. Not anymore. Today is the the day. I am one unlocked storefront door from going home with a rock god and shaking stadiums from here to the mother lovin' Rose Bowl. I can feel it. It's Woodstock II, baby! Can you imagine who is going to be in here? Big names, I tell you, big names. Don't fret, xylophone, you'll get your day in the sun. But today is my day. Do it, Billy. Turn on that neon NEPO sign and let's make this happen.
Yes! Here they come. Look there, its skeletal superstar of a million scarves and his crew, that video Billy always puts on the monitor with the elevator and the woman with curves like a Stratocaster. Oh, behind them, check it out. The masters of puppets; I mean, I think, what's with the hair? Hot damn, I see dookie punk and claymation sledghammer guy with his mechanic friends from the old testament. There's that band named after the main guy...not the jovial one, the, uh, Hindu-sounding one by way of Mexico. Oye cómo va, sousaphone; shit just got real!
Where's the guns slash roses dude and the man in black? They get picked up in Reno? No matter. It's a cornucopia . I am so amped. No need to be picky here. Just gleam. Let the light bounce off me. Cross that bridge. That's it. You are all noticing me now, aren't you? I can sustain this all day, people. Flying V, stop poking me in the nut. I'm tellin' you, I'm strapped. I WILL bust a capo in yo' ass if you don't quit it.
Oh no. Oh shit. Look who's trying to slide over from the cheap seats. It can't be. It's that flat broke, mid-life crisis divorcé who only comes up here when he sees his kids once a month and never buys anything. You know, that guy Billy calls Paul. What the hell kind of an arena marquis name is Paul? What, did he pedal all the way up here on an old tricycle from the Wawa in Pennsylvania? Sharp as a ball-peen hammer, that one. Stop Paul. Don't come any closer. Stand there and riff a while with your buddy. Let these heroes through while you delve into a little point and counterpoint about Arbor Day and boysenberry jam. Nothing to see here. Oh, I don't like this one lick. He's coming over. No whammies. No whammies. No whammies. Come on! More edge, less Paul. It's like some horrible, cognitive dissonance. I am destined to shred, I tell you, I'm going scream into the night to a million wet monkeys and have models drink Champaign off my knob. I cannot go home to get poorly fingered through ten-thousand Dad jokes. He's got a credit card out! Why is oboe laughing?!
There’s a room filled with art
that all the world can see.
It has no doors,
no entry fees,
no pretentious curator
to patronize you.
Its walls connect horizons
and are lined with canvases
with empty faces,
and we cannot see their beauty
nor their flashy paints
because we walk on by with our heads down.
There’s a room filled with art
that all the world can see.
Every piece is displayed the same:
at eye level
dangling upon showcase sheetrock—
an amber bulb
affixed above each frame,
but we never notice their spotlight
or read the fine print
scribbled on their attribute labels.
We don’t engage.
We never ask,
why their pale complexion
or seek the stories behind their pasty fabrics
because we walk on by with our heads down.
There’s a room filled with art
that all the world can see.
Every Canvas is a memoir
sealed behind the brushstrokes
of road-tripped panoramas
fading into a falling sun,
silhouettes of love and loss
crossed out by
life’s lateral lines,
and geometric placeholders
for friendships ended too soon,
yet not one bystander
stops to turn them over,
to observe the splendor
of life’s delineations
drifting off their varicolored edges,
because they walked on by with their heads down.
There’s a room filled with art
that all the world can see.
free-falling through a vacuum
bound for a black hole,
and you too are on display.
Like the others,
you hold your gaze at eye level,
concealing your beauty
behind that dismal face,
and you pose
for the crowded boulevards,
soaking up the city sweat,
tasting the stench
of its civic halitosis,
forcing a smile
while eagerly awaiting
their precious praise
like a feening addict,
but they never engage.
No one steals a look
or lifts a brow.
No one cares about you.
You’re not entertaining enough.
You’re not pretty enough.
You’re too fat.
They’re too busy for you.
So, they just walk on by with their heads down
bumping your shoulders as they pass
as if you're a ghost
who’s already been forgotten
ever knew you were there,
but you are there,
You and This Moment
Relationships are hard, even if you think in the moment that they're good. There's a lot of a sacrifice involved when people are intertwined with one another in love and go through life with the each other hand in hand. Of course, relationships hold good moments, maybe even eye-opening revelations about both yourself or your partner as you work with one another to achieve what you hope is perfect love.
But the opportunity of love can breed the opportunity for heartbreak.
I've been in a handful of relationships so far, two of which have meant everything to me in those times, and both of which have ended in what we all try to avoid in love. The break up.
I am a month fresh out of what I thought would be my end-all-be-all woman, but it didn't end how I hoped it would. I won't go into the nitty-gritty, but there are important things to take note of that may apply to many relationships, and you may even be dealing with it now.
Mental health is something that a lot of people don't want to accept is an issue, rather it's the world around them that makes them act in specific ways in specific moments. More people than you think are struggling with mental health as a result of past experiences, trauma, and so many other factors that plague them wherever they go. Yes, it's a bad thing, but is it a stigmatic bad thing?
Mental health, especially with men, is seen as something one can work through on their own as they are told to quietly recite to themselves "be a man" when trials occurs. As an early twenty-something man myself, I can assure you that you don't have to rely on solely yourself to work towards happiness. I'm in therapy and taking anti-depressants. I have grown my connections and found people to talk to about my problems, and these people will call me out on my bullshit. Having a "yes-man" as a friend is not helping you grow. I'm on pills to help me throughout the day...am I any less of a man for doing all this?
My journey into depression, anxiety, and the trek to escape this began in the form of my first girlfriend, who I loved more than anything. When we separated due to unfortunate circumstances, I thought I would never feel anything nearly as horrible as the emotions I felt in the years that followed. I fell into depression, distanced myself, and did nothing to fix the state I was in. Why would I? I was a young man, I could do it myself.
For two years I was depressed and only took in girlfriends for the sake of just having one, which was unfair to both me and the person I saw as "girlfriend" and not the actual person. I was trying to fill a hole in my heart, and clearly, it wasn't healthy.
But then my latest ex-girlfriend appeared, and I saw her as more than that. Here she was, the woman who encouraged me to find therapy and work on myself because she too, was dealing with mental health issues. Here she was, the woman who I saw a future with, and cared for more than anything.
I started my mental health journey, but she didn't. She took pills she knew didn't work, and did nothing to help or mentality, nor did she take advice from others. I am not here to bash her, so I'm refraining from doing so. Essentially, her lack of care towards herself ended up having a negative effect on me, and all the sudden I seemed to be back tracking my mental health journey. Call it whatever you want, manipulative, toxic, whatever, it was what I received in various ways. It was getting bad, but I couldn't bear to break it off.
But I wouldn't fall into that same depression I went through the first time. I am worth more than that, and I know that.
So I ended the relationship, and while those first few days were hard, The weeks since the time of me sitting in this cafe and typing this have been some of the most revealing and relieving time of my life.
Hard times will come, and there's nothing you can do to prevent it. At the end of the day, as my father says, it's not what you go through, it's how you go through it. My first relationship made me depressed because I chose to be sad and wallow in my own pain, but this time, I refuse to let myself fall into that pit again.
Mental health is no joke, and even if you don't want to accept it, there's always the possibility you may be dealing with it. My advice, don't shy away from it, don't see it as a hinderance or something to be ashamed of. Take it in stride, and make the moves to change. Utilize the people around you, friends, family, even the internet if that is what comforts you. You are worth it, and when something or someone comes up that says otherwise, you'll know what you need to do even if it's the hard path in the moment.
You're worth more than what your mind tells you. After all, you're a man. You're a woman. You're anything and everything in-between and outside of those societal concepts. You're you, and you're worth taking care of.
It's inspiring to reflect on how far I've come in my journey. A few years ago, I found myself ensnared in a web of habits that were dragging down my well-being: pornography consumption, frequent masturbation, and smoking. These behaviors felt like towering barriers, monopolizing my thoughts, sapping my energy, and leaving me in a constant state of guilt and disconnection.
Recognizing that these habits would spoil my life I confided in a friend and joined recovery groups. Others' stories fueled my determination. Over time, healthier habits replaced the old, with mindfulness easing cravings. Breaking free seemed distant, but each small victory weakened their grip.
Challenges emerged, akin to learning math, but setbacks meant progress. Slowly, cravings faded, and healthier choices solidified into lasting habits, reshaping life.
Fast-forward to the present, and I'm confronted with a fresh challenge: making and saving money. This endeavour parallels the struggle of conquering perplexing academic subjects, necessitating strategic planning and unwavering commitment.
With the same tenacity that empowered me to overcome my former habits, I've delved into learning about budgeting, investing, and uncovering avenues for bolstering my income. Much like tackling a complex math equation, understanding the intricacies of financial stability demands patience and a hunger for knowledge.
Additionally, my daily practices underwent a transformation: incorporating fasting, meditation, physical activity, and reading. These rituals promote equilibrium and lucidity, fostering not only physical fitness and emotional health but also intellectual advancement.
Succeeding encompasses more than just giving up negative behaviors; it stands as evidence of one's internal resilience. Every victory emits optimism, extending beyond the initial challenges. Recognizing advancement and fostering personal growth portrays a lively and satisfying tomorrow.
Finally I believe that life is nothing without struggles and problems, this is what makes life amazing. cheers to the struggles of life and overcoming the challenges that life throws at us.
- "I'm fed up, I'm fed up, I'm fed up!" Ethan says, slamming his fist on the table.
-"You really have no patience, do you?" Liz retorts with a smile.
-"It's taking so long, I'm going to get some fresh air."
He slips out of the cramped quarters that serve as their temporary residence and closes the door behind him. He wants to taste freedom, to have a chance to forget the world that seems to be collapsing around them.
He's not quite sure where he's going, but he knows he wants to be alone. The sun is shining above them, the sky is painted with vibrant blue hues, and the city streets are bustling with people going about their daily activities.
However, he hasn't gone far before he notices Liz following him. He shoots a frustrated look over his shoulder, hoping she'll catch the hint and turn back. But Liz is simply persistent. She has a way of sensing when something is bothering someone, and at this moment, Ethan's attitude is clearly revealing.
-"Ethan, wait!" she calls out, her voice carrying through the bustling streets.
Ethan comes to a stop and lets out a resigned sigh. He turns to face her, irritation etched on his features.
-"Liz, I thought I made it pretty clear that I wanted to be alone."
Liz catches up to him, her expression a mix of concern and determination.
-"I know, but you look upset, and I don't want you to be alone."
Ethan's frustration softens a bit in the face of her genuine concern. He runs a hand through his hair and offers her a reluctant smile.
-"Fine, you can come. But don't expect it to be a fun adventure. I'm just... going somewhere."
Liz nods, her hazel eyes meeting his.
They walk in silence, winding through the narrow streets of the city. The noise of the crowd gradually fades as they move away from the center. Eventually, Ethan stops in front of a tall, old tower that seems to reach into the sky.
-"What is this place?" Liz asks, her curiosity piqued.
Ethan doesn't immediately respond. He looks at the tower for a moment, lost in thought. Then he turns to Liz.
They enter the tower, climbing the spiral staircase until they reach a door that leads to the rooftop. Ethan opens it, and a cool breeze hits them as they step out onto the open platform.
Liz's eyes widen as she takes in the breathtaking view. The city stretches below them, its roofs, streets, and inhabitants mere points of observation. The sun casts a warm glow over the landscape, and the world seems to hold its breath amidst the chaos.
Ethan, on the other hand, remains cynical and distant. He leans against the stone railing, arms crossed.
-"Impressive, isn't it?"
Liz looks away from the view to him.
-"Yes, it's incredible."
She feels a pang of sympathy for him, realizing he carries a heavy burden he rarely lets others see.
-"Are you okay?" she asks softly.
Ethan looks away, his jaw clenched.
-"Yeah, I'm fine."
They remain silent for a moment, the distance between them palpable. Eventually, Liz breaks the silence, her voice gentle.
-"Do your parents live in the capital?"
Ethan's expression hardens, a flicker of pain crossing his eyes. He doesn't respond immediately, and Liz can tell she's touched a sensitive spot.
-"No, they don't," he finally answers, his voice devoid of emotion.
Liz's heart aches for him.
-"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to—"
-"It's okay," he cuts her off, his tone sharp. "I don't have parents. Jade practically raised me."
Liz feels a twinge of guilt for prying into his personal life. She lowers her gaze, unsure of what to say.
-"I'm not clueless, you know?" she says, lifting her head.
-"What do you mean ?"
-"I know you're searching for the Exitium."
-"The notebooks, my father's notes... It's pretty obvious, actually. You can try to deny it, I don't care. I know, that's all."
Ethan's phone suddenly rings, breaking the heavy atmosphere. He takes it out of his pocket, and his lips curve into a small, almost amused smile.
-"What is it?" Liz asks, intrigued by his sudden change in demeanor.
He shows her the screen, displaying Kieran's name.
-"It's Kieran. Him and Jade must be wondering where we've disappeared to."
Liz chuckles softly, a hint of mischief in her eyes.
-"Well, are you going to answer?"
-"What do you mean, 'nah'?"
- "Let's let them search for us a bit. We have the whole day ahead."
If you have any critiques or advice, don't hesitate!