The State of 2017

The first time I tried to write this post, it was a long, dramatic, introspective look at this year and how I felt it changed me. With relationships, with my depression, with my writing, with how I saw myself and who I felt I was.

But after nearly being finished with that version, I stopped writing. And I’ve been thinking about it for a couple days.
And I’ve decided that it is insane to dwell on what has happened to me this year, the good and the bad, knowing all too well that it doesn’t do my mind any favors. I think 2017 has been the year of burning the past – I started the year with a mantra of ‘the universe tends to unfold as it should’, and even Kylo Ren knows that it’s time to leave the past behind and go forward.

2017 was a growing pain year. It was a shit year for the world, and it was a tough year personally. I spent the year from start to finish in love with the woman I’m more than likely going to marry – I graduated high school – I finished a new book of poetry I’m proud of.
But my depression returned. I lost friends. I lost purpose and lost sight of myself in far too many ways.

But we’re moving forward. This is but one year in the many I have left, and though it wasn’t great, it was transitional. It is setting up the stage for better things to come – whether I always believe it, or not. It’s time to kill the past and march forward because no matter how much we may want to, you can’t return to the past and you can’t change what has already been done.

I have a long way to go. In myself, personally. To those I care about around me. To the purpose that I hope I find. To the world.
So while I could choose to exit this year in a way that would still be fairly true to how I feel – I choose to discard that. I don’t want to exit the year thinking about the negative. Putting too much thought into it is only going to give it claim in reality, and negative energy and depression have no place in my life, and not in my 2018.

There will be tough times. But struggle and pain and sadness does not equal worthlessness. I’m not naive enough to believe that my clinical depression will be cured just by thinking positively enough, but I think it’s time that I set aside a place for happiness and hope to take a seat.

No matter the time it takes.

And that’s my resolution for the next year.

 

On an additional note, a couple extra resolutions for myself to look back on this time next year:

  • Continue to try to stop biting my fucking nails
  • Use reusable shopping bags as often as possible
  • Build relationships instead of building walls around myself
  • Read a few books for fuck’s sake
  • Do more stuff
  • Have a solid, feasible plan for college
  • Never be cruel nor cowardly.
  • Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind.
  • Don’t eat a single pear.

 

So going forward, I wish everyone a happy, pleasant new year – and I hope everything ends up the way you wish and meets your every expectation.

With love:

That’s all I have to say about that.

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Blind Faith

I envy those who can have it. The types of people who don’t need anything other than what they believe themselves to feel within – they don’t need reassurance, they don’t need evidence, they don’t need answers. They just understand. They believe they know.

And that’s enough.

Of course, this could be taken a multitude of different ways. Blind faith in a leader, or in an organization, or a religion – frequently a combination of all three. Or perhaps just the other side of the coin to anxiety – not having to worry about every single last little thing there is, and just knowing that all will be alright. Being able to close your eyes and let the universe take you – as it tends to unfold as it should.

I am not a religious man. After years of struggle and contemplation, I am an unswayed agnostic. I never could quite bring myself to make the delve into calling myself an atheist, only because I believe that it would be rather arrogant – I can’t say that there is a god, but who am I to say there isn’t at all? I don’t have the answers and I don’t claim to – I just have the information available and I use it to the best of my understanding.

I used to identify as a Christian. I did so right on this very blog, in a post talking about theocracy in America a couple years back. I am uncomfortable with that moniker – as I don’t like modern Christian thought in the slightest. I think Christians are rather un-Christlike. But I do know there are exceptions to the rule, to some extent – I currently date someone who would be categorized as an Evangelical Christian.

She’s not as hardcore when it comes to a lot of stuff. She’s politically liberal, as well. It’s just that her religious beliefs hang on that side, as do the majority of her family. She was raised in a home where it was taught as fact, with little outside influence. They’re also very traditional in their beliefs, unlike her – the fact that we live together outside of marriage is a particular point of contention, despite this being the year of our probably non-existent lord, 2017, and a rather common part of society.

The issue is, though, is that that doesn’t matter. Society doesn’t matter. The world doesn’t matter. Only the perceived word of god, timeless and everlasting.

Blind faith.

They don’t like me very much – her father is fairly accepting of me, her mom is a little further away – and her extended family just tries not to think I exist. It stings a particular bit more when my side of the family – also fairly religious – tends to accept her with open arms. Even my staunch Conservative grandmother who doesn’t like us living together loves her dearly. Yet her side doesn’t want much to do with me.

At what point does this become an issue, or does it at all? Can one enjoy a long-term relationship with such contention on one side due to a fairly significant difference? The plan is to marry this girl – but how can you go through a life together while also trying to constantly avoid a good chunk of family?

I wonder how it would go. I can spot little details already – if I tag her in a couple’s photo or something on Facebook where her friends can see it, her side of the family comments something about her, ignoring the fact that it was either posted by me or includes me. On the flip side, the side of her family that isn’t very religious tends to talk about us as a couple, as a group, as a union. It may seem trivial, but I find it to be an interesting comparison – and it really shows me that, despite it never being said out loud, the big elephant in the room to them is the religious difference.

Is it significant? To a degree, but is it completely unworkable?
I’d like to think not. Sometimes I wish I could just close my eyes together real hard and when I open them back up, suddenly I understand why belief in a god is still incredibly relevant in modern society. It would honestly solve a lot of issues – both internal and external.

But as I’ve gotten older and strayed away from religion, the ability to have blind faith has withered away. Maybe it’s cynicism. Maybe it’s residual angst. Hell, maybe it’s just depression, back at it again. But I can’t stand and say that I know everything will be okay, that everything will work out right. That I’ll be fine and do great things and that my significant other’s side of the family hating me doesn’t affect me when it really does. That I could go to church and feel like a deity has my back and not feel like I’m screaming at a void.

I pity those with blind faith and other times – for different reasons – I wish that I had it.

If I don’t end up posting again before the new year, happy holidays.

Things may be rough and you may feel terrible, and that’s okay. You have a right to feel those things. You have a right to feel those emotions run through you and understand them. I don’t know what is inside your head, but just know that even though things seem so bleak and out of focus – you’re not cursed. You’re not alone. You are you for all that you are with some brain chemicals that are a bit out of sync.
At the end of the day – we’ll all be okay.

Even if takes a little longer for some than others.

 

Cold, Cold Man

Music is too fucking powerful, man. There are bands I absolutely adore, but there are some songs that I listen to by bands that I’ve never given a second glance that just make me shut my mouth and go back in and time and watch a film reel of memories that make my skin tingle and make me choked up and relive a dozen feelings that I hadn’t felt in a long time and missed dearly.

What am I?
I have become so disassociated with myself that it hurts. I look back at myself from various points in my life and they feel like different people. I don’t feel like an evolution of who I used to be, I feel like an recreation of what I was that someone made from faint memories. Sometimes, I don’t feel real. I feel different than what I was twelve months ago – I look back on those memories and feel like it was another man making decisions and than he died and I woke up sauntering around in his body confused and anxious and unsure. I take medication in the hopes that these feelings will dissipate. but it doesn’t make me feel happy, really – instead, it’s like looking at my depression without glasses. It’s blurry and unclear and I can’t make it out, but it’s still there, lurking, waiting – just out of sight enough for me to occasionally put it out of my mind.

I feel so out of touch with who I am that sometimes I’ll put on one of these songs just simply to remember. To feel it. To let those memories wash over me and let me feel a recreation of emotions that I’ve missed feeling, whether directly or not.
I know I’m a cold, cold man, and it disappoints me. I could be better. I could be different. I could be who I want to be and not hurt those around me if I could just take the time to pick up these pieces in front of me and do my best to put them in their place. I don’t, though, because I’m a narcissistic piece of shit – I think that I’m fine, that I am who I am, that this is natural, that I know who I am, that I can think for thirty seconds and suddenly diagnose all of my issues. I can’t let anyone tell me what my issues are, because they are always wrong and it’s only valid if I come to terms with it first.

I am a cold, cold man. I’ve probably done half of this to myself – everything I miss, everything I regret, everything that I don’t like about myself – a good portion of it could probably be remedied if I didn’t force myself into a little corner where only I exist, and only I know who I am.

But the problem I have now is that after doing that for this long, now I’m at the point to where I feel like I don’t exist.

So, I play the songs – Cold, Cold Man by Saint Motel, Texas by Magic Man, and Bloom by The Paper Kites to name a few that are hitting particularly hard right now – and let it wash over me like a rainbow of colors against a blank canvas. I feel human. I feel alive. I feel like I am Brandon again. In touch with who I was and who I am and who I hope to be.

Then, they fade away. Memories locked back in my head again waiting for the moment that they can come back and show me myself. Waiting for the songs to play.

I’m hoping one day, everything will finally come together and I’ll connect with the world and all of me comes back to me. The puzzle will finally be completed again, and you’ll be able to see the entire image for what it is.

Until then, I’ll be here, listening to the songs play over and over again, washing over me until I flood.

 

This is the Sound of Settling

“I’ve got a hunger twisting my stomach into knots
That my tongue has tied off
My brain’s repeating, “if you’ve got an impulse, let it out”
But they never make it past my mouth.”

Death Cab for Cutie is one of my favorite bands of all time – in fact, if you took Fall Out Boy out of the equation, they would be my favorite band. And despite how much I love Pete Wentz, the lyricism of Ben Gibbard is absolutely unmatched in my opinion – and it honestly sets the bar for the level of imagery and metaphor that I would someday love to reach. As I write, I’m listening to ‘I Will Possess Your Heart’, an excellent song off of an album of theirs that I once considered my least favorite, but love dearly now.

But I digress – for this isn’t about my love of Death Cab and the poetry of their lyrics.

I’m twenty years old. I have, with any luck, three times my life yet and if I really get what I want, more than four times. Yet for some reason, I constantly go through life with the fear that I’m running out of time – and I’m not doing anything with it. I currently work as a phlebotomist for a plasma donation center, and for people who know me they’d know that that is something entirely out of left field for me – and something I have no passion for. I can’t bring myself to devote any time to the novel that I’ve been writing since the eighth grade, I’m currently not doing anything to further or utilize my skills or hobbies, I have approximately zero friends, and sometimes I feel like my girlfriend and I are just sort of in auto-pilot without much emotion.

I’m not doing what I want to be doing, I don’t look the way I want to look, and I still have the terrible feeling that I need to do something soon or everything I do will be for naught.

But what’s even worse about it, is that I feel like I don’t know exactly what I want to do, either. Am I settling? IS this what I want? Is there something deep inside me that I haven’t tapped into and I won’t feel fulfilled until I experience it? I have no clue.

I’m lucky enough to have things that I’m passionate about – because some people don’t have that. My girlfriend frequently feels melancholic because she says there really isn’t anything she feels that way about. I have writing, and acting, and film, and politics, and… she just sort of, does.
I can understand the frustration that comes with that – but on my side, I worry that I’m interested in all of these things enough, but I don’t know what I would love to do, or love to be.

The point I’m trying to make is this – I know what I don’t want to do, and what I don’t want to be. I feel that I have the general jist of where I’m heading, and I’m unsure if that’s what I want to be.
All that I know for sure is that I want to be happy.

But I’m not quite sure how to accomplish that just yet. School? People? Activities, hobbies, places, things? It isn’t clear – and I think my main obstacle is my lack of direction. I have no clue which way I need to go and I feel like I’m flailing. I have no plans for school – I have no goal set for what I want to be, other than a writer – and I have no support system in place other than my girlfriend, and as dearly as I love her, you gotta have friends.

I’m standing in place – stationary – as the world goes by around me.
Like a moment trapped on the event horizon of a black hole.
And I’m gone in one instant – yet there as everything goes by.

I feel like I’m settling for settling. I feel like I have options and a way out but I’m settling for this.

I sit in front of my computer alone in my apartment typing and listening to music play while I debate if I want to cook dinner and wait for Cel to come home and rant to me about her day. I’ll take my medication at nine PM, go to bed around ten or eleven, then wake up tomorrow and drive half an hour to a job I hate and day dream about other places I could be and other things I could be doing.
Then I’ll drive home – hit some of the traffic at five – then come home to an empty house and sit in front of my computer and feel like I’m not doing anything.

And wait for the days to pass me by.

This is the sound of settling.

– Brandon, 6:46 PM

Little Blue Pill Blues

(NOT A POEM)

I’ve struggled a lot with how I felt about taking anti-depressants. There is no doubt in my mind that they work – and they help and safe millions every year. They are incredibly important and without them, I can’t say whether or not I’d be here today.
I started taking them when I was about fourteen, and I stopped when I was around sixteen/seventeen.  As I’ve stated before, I stopped taking them because I didn’t feel like they were necessary anymore, as my depression had weaned away quite a bit and didn’t feel like such a constant presence to warrant taking them everyday. I didn’t want to take pills that changed how I thought and how I felt – once I felt like I was stable, I simply wanted to be me with all the feelings that came with it, even if it meant the occasional spell of depression.

I didn’t want to be defined by my pills. I didn’t want to be that person that took anti-depressants – stupid or not, as that may be. I know there are people out there with depression and bipolar disorder like myself that simply can’t function without medication – and that’s just fine. That is completely understandable, and I feel incredibly lucky that despite having this mental illness, I was able to ever be stable enough not to take them.
And I didn’t want to have to take them forever. I wanted to be able to utilize them for a time, bring myself together, and move forward. And I did, for a time, as I got better.

But as I stated before, the depression came back, and it hit hard.
It took a long time before I even thought about getting back on my medication. I waited for weeks for the illness to go away – I tried doing things that made me happy, I accomplished things that I had waited for years to do, I lived round the clock with the love of my life – but a lot of the time, when it cuts this deep, there really isn’t anything that can be done to temper the effects. And it’s difficult, for yourself and the people around you that maybe can’t understand what it’s like, and expect you to be a certain way and aren’t sure how to take it when you aren’t.
And when it affects so many aspects in your life, you have to really sit back and consider what would be best – and that’s what I did.

I could,

A) Try and wait for the depression to go and hope for the best
B) Get back on my medication and do something about it
C) Wait until it completely engulfed me and something even worse happened

With that hand of cards and no end in sight, I knew that something had to be done, and after a great deal of time thinking and considering, I went to my doctor and was given a new prescription of a medication that I’ve had a long history with, Zoloft.
It was the first medication I started taking way back when. Young, angsty me even wrote a poem about it called ‘Zoey’ when I was fifteen or sixteen.

I don’t like that I have to take them, but I understand that I need them. There are somethings that can’t be solved with fresh air and meditation – somethings that can’t even be solved with love, attention, and care.
Sometimes you need the extra help, and I certainly do. It’s not anyone’s fault that I can’t produce happiness the way other brains do, but it’s my responsibility to myself and the people I care about to make sure that I do what I can to make myself better.

At this point in time, I’ve been taking them for under a week. There’s no signs yet of whether or not it’s going to help, though I already feel a little better knowing that I have them. Anti-depressants usually take four to six weeks to kick in to full capacity, so I suppose we’ll see where I’m at at that point in time – and hopefully there’s nothing but good to look forward to, with any luck.

Hope the last few months of 2017 are treating anyone that reads this well.

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

– Brandon, 5:31 PM

Needed Love vs. Wanted Love

Not all love is equal.
I spent a year and eight months in a relationship with someone I loved dearly – but the love that was there was misguided. It wasn’t healthy. It was off-key and headed for all the wrong directions and based on so many things that love shouldn’t be based on, and overall… it was wrong. It was wrong to drag it out for so long.
I’m sure plenty of people face the same sort of circumstances. Loving someone for the wrong reasons, or staying for the wrong reasons, regretting so much time spent in a haze now that you can finally see clearly – I never thought twice about it. I was so sure that this relationship was where I was meant to be, so content with my own perception of destiny and my own fears of being alone that I forced something together that didn’t really even fit that well to begin with.

I cut off pieces of me to fit in with them. And this occurs to many people. This is because that I needed to be in love. I needed them to be in love with me. Regardless of what kind of relationship it was and how it affected us and the people around us, I needed it. We both did. And it was a catastrophe.
Love shouldn’t be based in need. I was lonely – a series of events and misguided choices had led me to a place where I shouldn’t have been and where I felt immensely out-of-place. I felt different and alone and like I was going to spend three years of my life stuck with just myself for company. I was depressed and anxiety ridden and a mess.
Then I met them. They were depressed and anxiety ridden and mess. We came together under the same sort of false understandings of destiny and how we thought life to work. We bonded over similar interests, including mental illness. We became close, and eventually we started dating – because they liked me, and I was lonely. And I was so happy to have someone who actually liked me and wanted to be with me, I jumped on it regardless of whether or not I truly felt like I wanted to be with them.
I needed that relationship dearly. I needed them. Over time, I do feel like I developed a wanting for them – I do think I valued the relationship as more than just an escape and self validation. But that feeling was frequently fleeting, and when it was just myself sitting alone and thinking about why I was there – I knew it was because I couldn’t bring myself to go anywhere else.

I was scared. I didn’t want to be alone again. I didn’t feel like I had many friends, I felt like I wasn’t noticed, I felt like I was just a mess relying on someone else who was also a mess to keep me company.
That wasn’t right, I realize now. It wasn’t right to keep something going for so long when I knew from almost the beginning what it was. But I cared for them, and I didn’t want to lose their friendship, and I didn’t want them to be alone either – so it made sense to just stay wallowing together.

Needed love accomplishes nothing. It creates nothing. It doesn’t build people or lets them grow – instead, it keeps them stagnant and complacent with whatever was going to come, and it makes them comfortable. So comfortable in what they have, that they don’t want to lose that sense of control for fear of spinning out of it.

Wanted love, on the other hand…
After I ended that relationship, I was content with my being alone. I enjoyed it, even. I liked the freedom. I liked the concept of being myself, not myself plus someone.
I truly felt like I would’ve been like that for a while. Because I truly was content being with just myself. And I felt like I had grown from that alone – and I knew I had made the right choice.

But there was someone who I had known for a while who came along – someone who I would’ve never guessed I would’ve ended up with. I enjoyed them. I enjoyed their company. I enjoyed who they were and what we were and for a while we were just… I have no clue. But my point is, is that eventually it grew into a relationship that I really wanted to be in.
I didn’t need it. If it didn’t happen, that was fine. I just enjoyed them so much and I liked them more than anybody and I wanted to be with them.

I feel content, in that section of my life. I find myself loving them in a way that I didn’t quite understand before. I want to love them, and I do, and it’s truly the best relationship I’ve ever had the pleasure of being in. And with the way it’s going, I hope it sticks around for a long time.  It seems like we want it to.
And I’m glad I have the opportunity.

I feel like I’ve grown quite a bit. I feel like I’ve found myself a bit more than I did before. I feel more content simply being myself and going through life as myself. Trying to fake it through may feel fine for a little while, but after a bit it’s just gonna drag you down. It’s okay to need time – just don’t try to lie to yourself about your intentions.
Relationships that are built on the desire to be with one another first and foremost, like I’ve finally found – I think it really helps. And at the end of the day, you really should be with someone you want to be with. Someone that builds up who you are, makes you into a better version of yourself than you were before, and really just makes life a joy to live in.
Destiny may or may not be real.
But there are things right before our eyes for us if we just take the time to look around.

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

– Brandon, 2:24 PM

Behind the Curtain

Scream a song of rain and water
Reach out to me from beyond the ocean
Call my name and preach your devotion
To the man behind the curtain
Restore that lost faith that you had in me
But never truly be certain
That this is where you want to be

Scream out, a song of flame and iron
Leave me to drown
And as I go under
Read from the gospel
Of that deadly belief
That there is more beyond the horizon
Then what your eyes can see
And that you’ll make your way up there
By giving up on me

I never preached my innocence
I never tried to plead against my fate
I quietly laid there – always content to wait
I could admit I was wrong and that’s more than can be said for you
Hiding behind the thin pages
Of some ancient, mistranslated text
Take my life
But leave me the rest
I’ll meet you again, someday
Fighting against the ocean’s tide
My prayers won’t ever be answered;
But at least neither will yours

And I’ll find comfort in that,
As I wash up on that dark shore
That as much as you want faith
Beyond the sea, behind the horizon  –
For you, there is nothing more.

One Day We’ll All Be Found

Sometimes, it isn’t a matter of not knowing where I’m going, it’s just a matter of how I’m going to get there. I occasionally will look at where I am in life and wonder how the hell I got there – but I figure that if I am here and I’m alive and well than this must be where I am meant to stay. And that’s difficult, sometimes, if it differs from where I thought I’d be. I look around and see people and I think that they have such a good hold on their life. It seems like all these faces around me know what they want to do and how to get there and they’re just following the map down the road to their desired destination. I’m sure they too have issues and worries and fears – but from the outside, it’s scary to be in a place of struggle and uncertainty when your friends and peers seem to have such a grasp on where they want to be.

Here, at nearly twenty years old, I didn’t think I’d look like this. I didn’t think I’d dress like this. I didn’t think I’d be into the things I’m into. I didn’t think I would be at the job I’m at, have the friends I have, be in the relationship I’m in… and the thing is, I didn’t think a lot of this merely six months ago. I was a vastly different person just last year and while I enjoy where I am – I’m in the best relationship I’ve ever been in, I’m healthy and look better than ever, I have more opportunity than I probably ever have – what’s frightening is the fact that I have no clue how I got here.
I feel like I don’t remember a second of the journey.
I feel like I was sitting in my head while life played out and I didn’t have a hand in it.

But, maybe that’s alright. It’s probably for the best. Had I gotten involved, I probably would’ve fucked it up. I would have taken one wrong turn, followed the directions of the wrong sign and somehow ended up in the middle of the Pacific ocean. I am grateful to be where I am. I just wish I could set autopilot on, go to sleep for a little bit, and wake up in my fully fledged and realized life, that way I wouldn’t have to worry about where I’m going.

Everyone worries about destiny. I think that’s what it boils down too – and whether you believe in a set destiny or you believe in free will, you have to realize that at the end of your life you will have made one set of decisions. You will have gone down a path and might not even know about the alternatives. There is a destination for us all, and while we choose where it lies, we WILL end up there – at the foot of our graves. And as I’ve stated, I do believe that things occur the way they should. I believe that any disorder will be ironed out and the universe has a way of getting where it wants to go and putting us on a path it thinks we should go. That gives me some solace – having a bit of faith in this great vacuum we all live in.

One day, we’ll all be found. No longer lost, just hanging around.

 Here I stand, worried and concerned and screaming into the vacuum itself. But even though I’m scared, I know that I have a destination. I’m not driving down an endless road, there’s a place up ahead – however far – where I am supposed to be. It’s tiring, and stressful, but despite everything I know that one day we’ll all be found.
And when that day comes, when we stand out and look up at sky and realize that we have finally reached that destination, I hope that it brings us contentment. I hope we find joy in it. I hope that we will be there, no longer lost, and the fact that we’ve made it overwhelms us emotion – because there is no better place to be.

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

– Brandon, 1:14 PM

Are You Happy? – 2017

For the vast majority of my life, I’ve suffered from clinical depression. I remember being about eight years old and writing in a journal, and in it I wrote something along the lines of “I’ve been feeling really sad, lately, though I don’t know why. I shouldn’t be sad, because nothing really bad is going on. At least I don’t have that medical sadness.”

I meant clinical depression. Boy, was I in for a ride. I knew as that creeping shadow of sadness moved in, there wasn’t a reason, it just occurred. It didn’t care how my life was going, what was going on, how I was – it just hit me senselessly and beat me until I couldn’t stand up.
Back then, I remember who I was – I was a nerdy little kid, pudgy, and I wore glasses. I had a couple of friends, but I was vastly unpopular. This continued throughout middle school and much into high school with small differences here and there. I thought no one liked me – any friends I had, I thought they talked to me out of pity. I thought I was good at nothing – any thing I enjoyed doing, I thought it was terrible. I thought I was destined for a life of being unhappy. A life of mediocrity. As time went on, I didn’t enjoy being with people. Or with myself. I didn’t do anything. I was me, and that was not something I particularly enjoyed being.

In eighth grade, after some stuff went down, I got diagnosed with my depression and was put on medication. I took it for about two-three years, then once the huge rain cloud dissipated, I stopped because I didn’t want to be a zombie – not sad, but not happy. A slave to my own head. High school was not much better for me – I was in band, which I didn’t fit into and failed to gain many friends. I, once again, found myself with few friends and few things that I enjoyed.
I was left on my own.

But something happened. Partially junior year and into senior year, things changed – I got into theatre, and found that I was good at it. I was getting friends. People enjoyed me and my company. I was, in such a strange twist of events, becoming popular to certain degrees. I was cast as the lead in that year’s musical, and I had a whole group of people who I could truly call friends.
I felt like I was home.

But here’s the kicker – was I happy? Was I happy? I asked myself that. I thought long and hard, and I began to realize that I wasn’t good at this. I got my roles by chance and sheer luck. When people told me I was good, they were lying to make me feel better. No one enjoyed my company. I had interjected myself in and they dealt with it. People didn’t like me – they tolerated me. And it would be better if I just shut up and finished the year and got out, for my sake and everyone else’s.

It came for me again. And was I happy? No. Had I ever been? I wasn’t sure. Maybe it was just a guise. Who knows.

And so here I stand with the thought in my head, lingering – Am I happy? Are you happy? Why? I’ve tried to enter 2017 with the mantra that the universe unfolds the way it should. I’ve tried to sit back and let things happen but that’s hard to do when you so desperately want to control it. I want to reach in and make things happen the way I want, but every time I do that, it just turns out worse. No matter how I change myself to somehow be like everyone else, it seems like I’m getting pulled further away.

Now, am I just delusional?
That’s what I worry about.
But what does a person need to do to truly feel that sense of happiness? Not a fleeting spark of emotion that comes with an experience. Not the happiness that comes from someone’s touch. I mean the happiness that comes with standing alone with yourself and being able to smile without thinking about it.

I’ll be twenty this year. I don’t know where I’m going, and I’m confused as to where I’ve been. I don’t have much faith in myself and I can’t bring myself to put my faith in a god to work it all out for me. So much has happened in the past two years, and my life has completely changed. There’s a lot that’s been good, but there’s a lot of bad there and I struggle not to focus on the shit that’s happened.

Here’s 2017. We’re ten days in. I’m ready and prepared and despite my fears and the thoughts that tell me to pull back, I’m gonna try to move forward. I’m going to continue to write. I’m going to build myself up. I’m going to be something I want to be and I will not be afraid to let that be my face. I will tear down the masks and try to be what I want to be for the first year of my life. Planting flowers so this year can bloom.
Here it is. Here we go.
Good luck.

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

– Brandon, 3:46 PM

River Bed

Baby, put your head on me
Lay down and start to dream
Let the wind be your melody
Close your eyes
And believe

 

Times will get easier
As the days go by
Simple songs and quiet words
The ways to make you cry
On your back, we’ll go down
On that river bed
So come with me, darlin’,
And lay down your head

 

Honey, I know
The world seems to be getting a little darker
Times are getting tough
And the air grows colder
And it won’t get any better –
‘Till the night-time is over
But grimace through your whiskey
And take my hand
We’ll brave the ocean blue until we see land

 

Times will get easier
As the days go by
Simple songs and quiet words
The poems that made you cry
Push down your suitcase
With the bible you never read
So come with me, darlin’,
And lay down your head.

Honey, these days will go by –
Like seconds on a clock
One more time to worry
One more wayward thought
All those hymnals you sang
And all those verses you were taught
But just take my hand, and we’ll go down
Across that river bed
It’ll be okay, darling –
Just rest your weary head.