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.

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Moving Forward

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-9-27,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-ve
Dusk over Adam Hats’ Lofts – I took this while waiting in line for a concert in the venue right across from here.

I don’t write this blog for people – I don’t expect many people to come across it. I write this blog to help me with my racing thoughts and put down things that I want to say in a tangible manner to get it out of my head. I keep a journal, as well – but it doesn’t get updated as much and when I do it’s far more personal. When I write on here, it feels like I’m speaking to someone – maybe one person, maybe ten. Maybe none. But anyone can come onto here and see what I’m saying and see my opinions – and that’s what matters and makes it work a bit for me, I think. But the point is – I write this for me.

I’m working on myself. It’s really hard to do – first, you have to admit you need to work on yourself, and I always thought that by doing so it would be admitting weakness. I’ve learned that it’s anything but. Second, you have to take steps forward to fix what’s wrong – I swallowed my pride and started my medication again. I try to be conscious of when my anxiety and depression and racing thoughts take control and try to separate myself from them. I talk to my girlfriend and communicate, and try not to push people away as much as I once did.

I’m not perfect, and I have a long way to go before I’d even classify myself as okay. I used to think that I was healthy as it gets, but mental illness stews until you’re old. I just pray it doesn’t evolve into something worse. I am trying, though. Trying to fix myself, trying to accept help, trying to reconnect with the world and start being me again. I feel like I’ve been disassociating for so long that I’ve kinda forgotten how to be me.

But I’m stopping that as best as I can. I’m moving forward onto what was and now, what is.
You can’t change the past. I have many, many regrets and it still pains me despite the time that’s gone by. But the universe tends to unfold the way it should – and for better or worse, I’ll move on and go forward with everything I’ve done behind me.
I was one person last year, and I’m another this year. That may sound worse than it really is, but it’s a step towards accepting my life and being happy with the decent life I live. I’m really quite lucky – and I take that for granted.

I’m moving on, and moving forward. Into a new era of my life where I finally gain the courage to take back some control. To work on myself, and to love who I am despite my faults – and to love others, despite theirs. My entire mission this year is to be a better person – and it starts with me.

We all move forward. Some by force, some by choice, some with resignation.
But I’m looking at what’s here in front of me, taking it by the hand, and walking with it, together, as one.

This is moving forward. This is a new era. This is me.

Hello, I’m Brandon.
Pleased to meet you.

Fall Out Boy ‘MANIA’ Review

Fall Out Boy arrives in 2018 with a return to form, bringing back some the old sounds pre-hiatus, while offering some new experimental sounds that hit all the right notes, no pun intended.

In short: The album is excellent – it offers something for everyone, and even the songs I didn’t expect to enjoy I ended up liking quite a bit. This album would not feel out-of-place if it were  a successor to Folie a Deux, and indeed feels like a spiritual successor with the confident and experimental sounds and vocals, and songs like ‘Church’ would fit right in with Folie with songs like ‘What a Catch, Donnie’ or even Infinity on High, with ‘Golden’.

I feel like for each song, you could find a pre-hiatus counterpart to a certain extent. The album seems to cut back and forth between songs that sound like Fall Out Boy, and songs that do something entirely different. The first half of the album is superb, but the second half is just a treat. Songs like ‘Church’ and ‘Heaven’s Gate’ are particular standouts, songs that fit like a glove for Patrick’s soulful vocals.

I enjoyed the entire album – even though I seem to be one of the few people who actually enjoyed ‘Young and Menace’, a song that to me, felt like an evolution to what we heard in songs like ‘Tiffany Blews’ and ‘w.a.m.s’ from Folie a Deux. Lots of this album feels like a call back to that era of Fall Out Boy, even spilling over to the ‘Infinity on High’ era. If the hiatus never happened and this album was the next one after Folie, I would totally believe it. I’ve grown to really enjoy Save Rock and Roll, and grown to find American Beauty/American Psycho rather dull and generic – but this album is absolutely my favorite of post-hiatus Fall Out Boy and feels like a new era of their music, separating them from their 2013-2016 music and leading the way towards the future.

Favorites of this album – The Last of the Real Ones, Hold Me Tight or Don’t, Wilson, Church, Heaven’s Gate

Least Favorite – Champion. Though not a terrible song at all, it is the least inspired of the bunch. Definitely middle of the road.

This album has my love for the band soaring to new heights. They’ve been my favorite band for years, but this is the first album that has truly gotten me excited since their comeback. Go give it a listen and support physical media and pick up a copy. It truly is a delight.

– Brandon

The Breaking of Resolutions

Last December, I had made a couple of resolutions for myself that I wanted to lead into the new year with. Some of them were attainable, and already I’ve set myself into place with going through with them – I wanted to start using reusable shopping bags, and with that, be a little more environmentally conscious. I’ve done that – I’ve used the reusable shopping bags, or at least, I’ve done so the past few times I went shopping. I’ve also started using Walmart Pay, which allows me to scan my phone and get an eReceipt instead of getting a long piece of paper. We also drink an ungodly amount of soda, so I’m saving our cans to recycle at a local center. Small, doable things that make me feel better and do a little bit of good in the world.

One main resolution I had for this year was one that had carried over from last year, and the year prior to that, and the year before that… I wanted to stop biting my nails.

I’ve suffered from biting my nails for as long as I can remember. I don’t recall a period in my life where I haven’t seen my nails getting ever so longer and I don’t get the overwhelming urge to bite and chew them off.
It’s partially a symptom of my anxiety, I’m sure. Partially because I’ve been doing it for so long, I’m sure it’s comforting.
But I absolutely hate it. It hurts my fingers and makes me feel gross and makes my fingers look gross and I hate stubby nails with a passion. It’s so bad that my ex-girlfriend used to smack my hand away from my mouth whenever I tried to bite – something that I didn’t appreciate enough at the time.

I’ve tried clear nail polish. Jalapeno juice. Vinegar. Disgusting nail polish made specifically to help with biting nails. None of it lasted more than a few days – and I stopped caring and my nails I kept biting.

But this year – oh, man. This year I felt strong. This year I felt I had it.
For the first couple weeks, I bit my nails at a rate much smaller than I had in a long time. My nails started growing white over my fingertips, something I rarely experienced. My thumbs had nails. I could scratch my arm and feel satisfied.

This was finally it!

But then… I noticed my thumb nails. My teeth chattered. I started picking at the nail, and within a second it was in my mouth. I thought to myself, “I’ll just bite on the nail a bit, not rip it off. That’ll be okay.”
Little did I realize that by doing that, I was weakening the nail. Easier for it to be torn off with my hand later on.

And both nails came off.
And that snowballed into most of my left hand – just taking a little off. Just trimming a bit – until I was back to where I started.
I have a little bit of nail left, but I still felt ashamed. I had come so far only to let myself down again. How could I? How could I take that away from myself? I’ve been biting my nails for twenty years and I can’t summon enough willpower to just stop?
How weak am I?

New Year’s Resolutions are fickle things. They are spur of the moment and come because you get washed away in the feeling of renewal and starting over.
Time doesn’t exist – and the Julian calendar we use only means something to us. The concept of a new year only exists to us – but in reality, days just keep passing. The New Year is just a way of keeping track.

So the question is, why wait for a new year to start making yourself better? If you know you’re going to have certain resolutions, why not start the second you think of them? It’s for the same reason that the laundry can wait until tomorrow. The diet can wait until Monday. You’ll start your new, tighter budget next month. You’ll stop biting your nails next year.

It’s validation that we’ll eventually do the right thing, and gives us a way to keep putting it off. There’s always another tomorrow, another Monday, another year.
Until there isn’t.

And that’s the difficult part.

 

So while I may not have succeeded just yet in my lifelong quest to stop biting my nails, I’m not going to let it get me down yet. I won’t wait until next year. I’ll keep trying until I do it again and then I’ll just start over again – because while keeping track of time is so inherently human, something else that is inherently human is the drive to persevere and to keep moving forward, no matter what happens.
So with that in mind, I’ll keep working towards my resolution. I’ll keep trying.

And I’ll let you know if I ever succeed.

To whoever might be reading this, I hope you’re succeeding in all you’re trying to do – daily, weekly, monthly or for the New Year – I’m sure you’re doing great, and if you don’t feel like you are, there’s always a chance to get back up and try again.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

– Brandon. 8:15 PM.

 

Are you happy? – 2018

This is the third time I’ve tried writing this post.
I don’t know why I seem unable to come up with a coherent thought on this matter that I actually want to say and I don’t mind putting forth, but here it goes.

I don’t want to focus if I’m happy or not – it seems the more I think about the subject, the more unhappy I become. Call it blissful ignorance, for sure – but if I don’t seem to realize how unhappy I am with everything, I feel like I can go about my life in a bubble of sort of faux happiness.

But I’m not delusional – I take medication to make me feel okay. I start on another in a day or so to help with my anxiety. Actually, I’m taking all the same medications now except for a sleeping medication that I took back when I had my first battle with depression – with an additional medication to help with my cholesterol, because heart problems run in my family, but I digress.
I don’t have friends, except for my girlfriend. She has friends, and they associate with me through her, but ever since I graduated I don’t talk to anyone.
I don’t write anymore, as much as I’d like to. It seems like I can only write poetry when I’m going through something and I feel like all my fiction has been shit thus far.

Literally all I have the energy to do is watch YouTube, eat, and sleep. I can’t even bring myself to start a series or something because it’s too much work and commitment.

I try to talk to my girlfriend about it. I don’t like therapists and I don’t really trust in my family, so she’s the one I try to go to, but it feels like she can’t really understand it. And I find it hard to explain it. How do you explain that you feel one step out of sync with the rest of the world? That everything continues on and you’re just stuck, ski-skip-skipping.

I don’t have any suicidal thoughts – on the contrary, I am literally so afraid of dying it’s crazy. When I drive to work, or when I walk through the shady parking lot on the way back to my car, or when I go into a crowd, or when I read any news about the state of politics. Or when my grandmother tells me she’s having open heart surgery because bad hearts run in the family.
Or when I have a pain in my chest, or I can’t get enough air in my lungs, or my vision gets blurry because my headaches get worse and worse and I’m afraid of having a brain aneurysm, heart attack, and lung collapse all at once.

I’m afraid that I don’t believe in God and when I die it’ll just be another thing that I got wrong and I’ll spend eternity in pain.
I’m afraid that I’m right and when I die, that’s it, and I’ll never recall being who I am and everything I experienced and all the trouble I went through will mean nothing.
I’m afraid of pushing people away who needed to stay and keeping those who I needed to step away from.
I’m afraid of being so afraid that I don’t take any of the steps in the direction I want to take to better my life and do the things I want to achieve.

I’ll be twenty-one this year. If my girlfriend and her parents have their way, I’ll be engaged by the end of it. We’re looking at houses once our lease ends. I’m in a steady job that I hate but pays my bills and has cohesive benefits. We make enough money that I can mostly buy what I want without too much concern. My girlfriend loves me and I have no fear that it’s insincere.

On the outside things are okay. I’m doing better than I ever have been, and if seventeen year old me could look in on this and see what’s going on, he’d probably sock me in my mouth and berate me for complaining – after all, this is nearly everything I had hoped for.

But it’s never as good on the inside. I’m not the person I wanted to be. I’m scared I won’t be – scared I won’t ever have the chance to be.
The world moves on but I’m just ski-skip-skipping.

And that’s it. That’s it on one page. That’s the pain and struggles and worries I have – that I try to keep inside and not think about in the hopes that they won’t bleed through the cracks. And with everything out on one page maybe I can keep in contained – locked away in a webpage prison, separate from myself. Maybe I can will it out of my head and into the real world where I can keep it away from me.

Maybe, someday, it’ll fade away and I’ll catch up with the rest of the world and finally feel in sync.

Maybe.

Here’s to 2018.