The Passage of Time

The passage of time means little to me
Short passing waves of relativity
Flash hot in a second
Then leaves as soon as it goes
Leaving me slightly more weathered
Like a stone constantly caught in the midst of the ocean’s throes.

Time at all means little me
Morning to night or dusk to dawn
The crash and return of the sea
It never ends anyway – for I am but a moment caught in the tangle
Of what is, what may, and what will never be

Time was never time at all
Until it finally got its grip on me
She came into my life
And now time is all I see
A lifetime with her in my arms
Every year to pass by
Every minute I feel –
Because only the time spent with her is time that feels real

Whether years gone by in a rush
Or every second felt as it slows to a crawl
Whenever I’m with her, I want to feel it all
A life spent beside her is the only time I see
And that’s the only time that matters to me

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The Weighting Game

Ah, the way we was.

I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember.
Ever since I learned what a body image was, I feel like I’ve had a negative one of my one – recently, I came across some old photos from, at this point, nearly fifteen years ago. I was about eight or nine, and the photos were of myself and my siblings going down a slip and slide during the summer, toothy grins and funny faces galore. They were cute photos, but something struck me as I saw the ones of myself, shirtless little old eight/nine year old me. I didn’t remember the day very much, as was to be expected. I didn’t remember much of my thoughts that day, or what I had for breakfast, or who I talked to – but what I did remember as I looked at myself, was the thoughts of “I’m going to look so fat in those pictures.”

And that’s it. I don’t remember how long we played out there, but I remember my father taking photos of us and every time I slid down the slide I would try to cover up my chest and stomach so no one could see how fat I was.
Like I said, eight or nine.
I have no clue how it started – I wasn’t trying to impress anyone, I didn’t think twice about what I ate. I wasn’t even really an overweight kid – I’d say relatively average if perhaps a little soft – and I don’t recall ever really getting bullied for it either.

Though for as long as I can remember, I’ve found myself distressed at my weight. Every time I would look in the mirror, I’d see myself as fatter than the previous day. I would go and eat a cracker and felt like that cracker caused me to gain ten pounds. I’d only ever feel like I wasn’t gaining weight if I just didn’t eat. It didn’t matter how much I actually weighed, I felt as if I could see my waistline growing by the minute.

When 2014 came around, I had actually gotten to the point where I was actively heavy. My mother pulled me out of school my sophomore year to “homeschool” me, but that consisted of occasionally looking up GED programs, and usually just lounging on my computer from the time I’d wake up, usually around noon or one in the afternoon, to the time I’d go to bed, usually around three at night. I’d be on my computer, I’d eat, I’d sleep, and repeat. I got heavy enough to be disgusted with myself – though as much as I hated how much I weighed, the strange thing is that I don’t think I noticed how much heavier I was then before. I hated how I looked before, I hated how I looked then, so it felt no different to me.
The following year, after returning to school and becoming a bit more active, I lost a fair bit of weight, returning to the long-abandoned land of under 200 pounds. I looked back at photos of myself from 2014 and vowed never to let myself get that heavy again, and I continued to lose weight. As I entered my senior year, I was thinner then ever before – actually meeting my BMI weight for the first and only time, ever.
But – looking back – getting skinny was probably the worst thing to happen to me.

I weighed about 175 pounds. I was weighing medium to small size shirts. People started finding me attractive. It was all so strange.
But I didn’t see myself that way. I still saw the 230 pound behemoth I used to be. I would constantly take photos of my stomach to see how fat I was. I would grab and pull on my stomach and sides wishing what little gut was there would just go away. Every time I ate, the only thought running through my head was – “This is it, I’ve finally done it, I’m a fat fuck again. How could I do this?”
I would always look at myself in any mirror I passed by. Not because I wanted to look at myself, as my girlfriend at the time jokingly implied I was a narcissist – but because I was so worried that in-between the time I had last seen my face, I had suddenly gained weight. I checked my jawline, my stomach, my hipbones – I would wrap my fingers around my wrist to see if they could still touch. If I couldn’t see a proper amount of bone, I was fat again. My girlfriend would take photos of me and all I could see was how fat I thought I was – my jawline looked less defined, my cheeks looked a little puffier, my neck was wider – even though, looking back, I looked the same every time. Nothing was changing. I was the same as I was five minutes ago, a day ago, a month ago.
That’s not the way I saw it, though.

I graduated high school still thin, and moved in with my girlfriend at the time, where we were both on our own for the first time. And this is where it started to reverse – looking at the photographs from the moment we moved in to where we moved out – I didn’t even look like the same person. I reverted back.
I was told it was because I was comfortable. The ‘Freshman 15’… more like the ‘Freshman 50’. Other people we graduated with gained weight too. It was normal.
But it didn’t feel that way. I had people that I hadn’t seen in high school that would see me around town, and for whatever reason their first greeting as “Man, you gained some weight!” When that became socially acceptable, I’ll never know. I looked back upon all of those photos that I took a year prior fearing that I had suddenly become fat overnight and cursed at myself for not realizing that I, at one point, had what I wanted. How could I have not seen how thin I was? I could I not have appreciated it? How did I take it for granted, spending all of my time just thinking I was fat?

Now I was, again. Perhaps other people didn’t see me as grotesquely overweight as I saw myself, but it didn’t matter – every time I looked in the mirror, I saw nothing but every roll, every bit of skin to grab onto, every bit of extra flesh that held on to me. And it still feels that way, every time. I’ve lost weight since, nearly twenty pounds worth, but I still feel the same. I still see the same person in the mirror.
I’ve tried all the diets. I’ve tried the starvation. I’ve tried not caring. I’ve tried gyms – but I’ve noticed that no matter how well I do, it won’t matter to me. My mind won’t see anything different. If I’m 210, I should be 190. If I’m 190, I need to be 175. If I’m 175 – I just need to be a goddamn skeleton, maybe then I’ll feel some relieve.

I’m working on body image. My mother had body dysphoria and I’m sure I have the same. I’m trying to just be healthy first and focus on the pounds second. I count my calories during the week and try to let go a little on the weekends. My wife – who has been with me while I’ve been thick and thin (haha, get it?) – never ceases to reassure me and give me positive affirmations. I’ve made an effort to stop sadly calling out my weight every time we take a photo together and to not let that be the first and only thing I notice.
It’s hard. It hurts. The old clothes not fitting and seeing the old photos make me feel unworthy. Makes me want to just fall in a spiral of anxiety and negativity – but it can’t. And I’m trying.

There’s not exactly the conclusion I wanted, originally. I was hoping that by the end of this, perhaps I would finally reach the realization that my weight doesn’t define me and I’ll be okay, and that if I keep working I’ll be where I want to be someday and be happy. That hasn’t happened, exactly. There’s no real conclusion or positive ending to leave with. No words of wisdom that have come to me to make everything better. I’m just one of many people who face this struggle everyday – and for many others, they have it much worse. It’s never the end of the world.

But I know I’m trying. I’m working towards it. I have goals set and I’m getting there – however slowly it might take. Now I’m just playing the weighting game – and no matter how it ends up, I think I just need to remember I’ll be the same person regardless. It won’t be a new me. It’ll just be a me that can fit in a medium size shirt again. I’ll be under 200 and still filled with anxiety just as I’m 215 and filled with anxiety.

But at the end of the day, it’s just the fact that I’m trying. And I think trying is enough.

The Thin Air on the 30th Story Penthouse Balcony

After-hours
Night time air grows thin
She’s left in the bedroom
Finishing her fourth glass of gin
There’s too many stars around
Yet not enough light
And this city that burns
Is far too bright
I could wait forever
For her to return to me
But her mind is caught up in a tangle
Of what her eyes may never see
And her hands get so shaky 
Trying to take her nightly pills
There’s too much anxiety
For the Klonopin to kill
She tries to sleep but the shadows are far too tall
The light stays on the bedroom until he finally decides to call
But the room is so high
He’s just trying to do the same
And the wind slaps his face
Trying to get him to see his shame
But he’s caught up in the moment
She’s drunk and barely conscious
And he’s flying and hardly anxious
She cannot move any further
So he falls into the sky
In that thin night time air he goes
He can almost hear her cry
As he finally sees what lies below

Winter

A poem.

Winter is never really Winter at all
When it’s still seventy degrees outside
And a friend is never really a friend
If in them you are unable to confide
I’d embrace the cold
if it would ever rear its dark, wet, melancholic head
Instead I’m fighting with myself
to take a shower and get out of bed
I’d take the wind chill
if it only meant that I’d finally be rid of you
But in Texas we don’t get Winter
And I still don’t know what to do.

I Met You in a Dream

A poem.

I met you in a dream
I couldn’t see your face
Beneath your body glow
But I was sure it was something beautiful
Someone I’d love to know
And I met you in a dream
Yet you didn’t speak a word to me
While I ranted and spoke in some otherworldly cacophony
And I met you in a dream
You were close and I was so far away
I’m pretty sure I loved you
But you told me that it was meant for other days
And just like that –
I was awake
What was given to me was still yours to take
And in those waking moments I still had such love
That I didn’t quite know how to release
I met you in a dream
And though I remember such melancholy
You snored and rolled over
And that’s when it came to me
It wasn’t some lost soul taunting me
With love that would never be
It was always you
Sleeping in our bed
Snoring lightly next to me
I smiled and was content as I gently kissed your forehead
Last night, in a dream, I saw you –
And the very next day my dream came true!

The Raging of the Storm

For Celena.

Too many words can be spent
On what’s better off unsaid
The same repetition of anxieties
The same hurricane raging in my head
Years flash by, leaving me uneasy –
Still looking at the path winding beside me
And fearing how unforgiving it can be to believe

But like ocean crashing over centuries
Washing the earth away in its tide
You fell over me
And made quiet my mind
The skipping of songs and the why and why-nots
You’ve calmed the worries that rage like storms
And you’ve remained in my thoughts

An anchor in the bay
Your love at the shore
A haze of days
I want you still just a bit more
Far too long I’ve focused
On those roads left unlit, unmarked on the map
Praying that someone else would take the first lap

Never did I think
I even had one more choice
Easy to scream
But not in my own voice
You’ve washed over me
Made quiet the storm
Years of fears and curled-up pain
I hardly even know what for
I looked to the horizon
I stood on the quiet shore
And there you stand with me –
The storm raging no more.

Are you happy? – 2019

I used to find some kind of solace by writing on this blog. I don’t see a therapist and I don’t like talking about how I feel to people I’m close to, so this offered some kind of therapeutic release for my depression and anxiety. Gave me a way to talk about it, think about it, reflect on it, and not worry about being judged or misdiagnosed or offered some kind of trivial advice that only someone who has never suffered through a mental illness could offer and think that it was worthwhile, like, “Have you ever tried, like, just not being depressed?”

Then I started writing in a physical journal. Entries were few and far between but it felt like a way to get out thoughts that I had only kept inside of my head for so long and it was such a relief to put them somewhere that was only ever meant for me.
But I lost that journal. Trying to find it – but it’s so not worth it to try and start another one and leave everything that was contained within the first one behind.

This is the third year that I’ve written a post like this. Basically, it’s my “State of the Brandon” address. And every year, I feel like I’m beating a dead horse. Every year, I feel like it stays the same.

Seasons change, but people don’t.

I’ll be twenty-two this year. It’s crazy – every year, my birthday seems so far off – and every year, it hits me so fast I nearly get whiplash.
I’ll be married by the end of the year. Getting married to the same girl that I started dating over two years ago that caused such a wave of change to my life.
I’m in yet another job that I want to enjoy but ends up taking a huge toll on my mental health – (or maybe it’s my mental health that’s making it seem so bad, who knows?) – and I’m doing my best to hold on for the future so maybe things will get better, but it just gets so hard sometimes. I feel like I try to smash through the ailments that impede my progress but it just stacks up and stacks up and I’ll move through one issue to get another one shoved in my face and it’s a never-ending maze of anxiety and strife that just seems to get worse day after day, month after month, year after year.

I try to sometimes sit back and realize that things aren’t bad. Every individual aspect of my life isn’t that bad at all – it’s actually pretty great, all things considered. Like I said in the years previous, if I sat down with my teenage self and discussed my problems, he’d probably laugh at me for thinking I have it bad. Teenage me was also kind of a dick, but teenage me would be right.

I try to change myself every so often. I went into this year with hope for my recovery – I stopped taking my medication because I felt like it wasn’t helping, but I took the first steps to try and get help through a counselor and with different medication – because my anxiety is kicking my ass hardcore – and had the typical renewal of hope that comes with a new year that it would once again be a new year, new me.

But it isn’t. I can change my attitude for a day or cut my hair or change my music or the way I talk and no matter what, it doesn’t change a thing about what’s killing me on the inside. I constantly think back to ‘when I was happy’, but then I’ll look at something I posted on here way back when and I realize that I wasn’t ever happy. I’ve had blips of happiness in a constant wave of depression – but I’ve never just been happy.
And I think it hurts to realize that. The better times weren’t much better. The good times were usually a lot worse.

But I digress.

Here’s 2019. I’m walking into it pretty broken. I’m tired of worrying about death and overthinking every ache and pain and constantly thinking that everyone is talking bad about me and plotting my demise.
I’m trying. I’m taking baby steps. There is a lot to look forward to this year – my wedding, my honeymoon, tattoos and opportunities, new family and new friends, progressing through my life and developing the life of my own little family.

I don’t know where I’ll be this time next year. I have goals and resolutions and hopes for the future, and I’m working on trying to achieve it all – or at least a little bit.
I never know how things are going to work out, but I’ll maintain just a kernel of hope that after all this time, things will get better. Things will change.

And that’s all you can do.

– Brandon, 12:43 PM

Letter to Audrey

Dear Audrey,

I don’t know if you’ll ever see this. I pray that you don’t. By the time you reach the point to where you could possibly find this, this blog might be dead, the Internet might be dead, for all I know the entire country will be dead. Who knows, right? I just hope the world ahead is bright and welcoming to you and fills you with nothing but love and acceptance.

These days, I’m not doing very well. I keep these things in and let them build up because I have no other way to force them out. I can’t talk about it, I can’t fix it, I can’t try and build something good right in its place – so it just stays inside me until I feel like I’m nothing, outside of the world, and ready to give up. Depression is a hellish, horrible thing and it’s so difficult to get out of its grasp – and I pray to every deity available that it doesn’t come to you. If there is just one thing that I hope for in this world, it’s that it doesn’t come and affect you.

You’re not here yet. I’m not quite sure when you will be. There has been a couple of variations throughout the past couple of years, but at this point, I’m about a year away from marrying the person who looks to be your mother. Despite that, though, you’ve been with me for years now, and have kept me going throughout everything that’s gone on.

Audrey, you won’t be born for another couple years now – I’m personally holding out for 2021, 2022 – but still, the idea of you has been such an instrumental force in my life that when I’ve been at my worst, the thought of being able to hold you and see your little face and raise you to be good person and see everything you’ll be able to do makes me want to fight through everything. It makes me want to stay. It keeps me holding on so I’ll be able to see you come into this world and have the best possible life your mother and I can give you.

The past few months to a year has been rough, for sure. I don’t know how the next year and beyond will take form and how it will treat myself and life as a whole – but just know that we love you. Years before you’re on your way, we love you more than we thought we knew how to love. You already mean so much to us, and we eagerly wait for the day you’re here and have you with us.

From your Father, on August 18th, 2018 – we’ll see you soon.

 

Dad.

 

Anxious Anxiety

I haven’t written for a bit. I feel like my head is keeping in my thoughts and I’m unable to actually sit down and put down how I’m feeling. This blog has always been journal first and everything else second – the lack of structure and planning was here from the beginning – but I still try to adhere to a schedule of sorts, if only for myself. It’s good to sit down and rummage through your thoughts and put them down someplace neat and tidy.

My anxiety is getting worse. Whether it’s me thinking about how I’m going to eventually die and wondering if I’ve already done something to lead to the event – or it’s me looking back on things I have no control over and trying much too hard to forget about them. I always have my memories – people can change and hate me in the present, but the memories don’t change and stay with me. For better or worse.

My girlfriend has brought some friends over to the house and I sit around and make jokes every so often or make a comment when I have an opportunity, but they’re her friends, not mine, and it reminds me that I literally don’t have a single actual friend. My friends tend to be women, and usually they’re women that I’ve been in a relationship with – as in I used to either date them, or had some sort of fling with. Obviously you can’t keep those friends in an actual, proper relationship.
And not being in school hinders that too. I had a couple of male friends that I spent time with, but after graduating those friendships faded off, as they tend too.

Now I work in a job I hate, with people I don’t like and I suspect don’t like me very much, and I’m either there or at home, and I don’t keep up with anyone or spend time with anyone other than my significant other or my brother and sometimes that gets to me – even though I love both of their company, I yearn to spend time with someone that I feel isn’t required to spend time with me. A friend who is with me simply because they want my company, nothing more.

I yearn for a sense of stability – not in the sense that it usually means, I suppose. But in the sense that my life doesn’t constantly feel in flux. One day, I’m concerned about money. The next, we find ourselves well off. One day, I hate my job to the point of picking up bad habits and picking out silver hairs, the next I can tolerate it for what it is. I’m tired of being concerned about going back to school, or friendships, or my weight – I’m sick of my anxieties having anxieties to be anxious about.

I know who I want to be, and I’m making strides to get there. There’s just a riptide that pulls me back in whenever I find myself making my way out – and already, two months into the year, I find myself getting worse again.

I don’t write as much as I used to. Poetry, fiction, and on here. This is my first post of February, and likely my last. I don’t want to drag out my problems, and I don’t want to beat a dead horse. If I’m depressed, I am, and if I’m anxious, I am, and my mental illnesses aren’t going to go away no matter how many times I rant to a webpage that nobody reads just for the sake of catharsis. So, if I don’t find myself moving forward, I’m just simply not going to write. I won’t write the same blog posts over and over and over again – because I don’t want to think about it over and over again. Perhaps writing is cathartic but also, maybe it’s a little unhealthy too? Focusing in on these issues that I know I’m not helping yet I keep talking just to hear the sound of my own voice?

I don’t know.
I’ll write when I feel I have something to say, whether it’s personal or not. But I’m done moving in circles – tired of my circular anxiety.

To whoever reads this, I hope your month has gone swell. Talk to you next time.

– Brandon.

Smoke

I hate cigarettes.

I’ve known too many people who fall into their trap and let it over take them for the worse. Most of the time these people regret it – but it’s just so hard to quit. Understandably so.

I smoke from time to time, and I hate it. I can’t smoke without thinking about the nicotine flooding into my bloodstream. The tar filling my lungs and turning them black. My heart slowing its pumps until my blood flow ceases and I die a death of oxygen deprivation or lung cancer or something. I can’t not focus on every little pain that I feel in my chest as I take a draw from the filter. I have a family history of heart issues anyways, and any little heartburn or chest pain I have I worry about it to no end as it is, but when I smoke… I worry that I’m cutting off years with every sip of the smoke.

I have a pack in my glove compartment that I bought yesterday. I was feeling stressed beyond belief and that’s usually around the time I succumb and search for one. It’s bad. I’m currently trying to bring up the will power to throw them all away and forget about the one I smoked yesterday. But it’s hard – what if today is stressful? What if I really need one? What if I throw them away and a month later I but another pack just for one? I should keep it. If not for now than for later. Just in case.

Though I shouldn’t. I should power through it. I shouldn’t let it over take me because I know the minute I light up another I’ll feel the same pains and feel the same sort of regret that comes with the realization that I’m killing myself even quicker than I am already and as someone who is terrified of death, that isn’t very productive.

I’m trying. I really am – things get difficult and life gets stressful and my head gets to me – and I only ever do this a few times a year, if that. And I do usually end up throwing away the pack, or just bumming a cigarette to begin with. But I’m working on not needing it at all – because there’s nothing I want more than to not let the smoke get to me.