I Am Not in Love With You

I am not in love with you
I am in love with an image in my head
Attached to a feeling that I craved
In a time that no longer exists
But I am not in love with you
For I do not know you.

I am not in love with you
With the person whose life I catch occasional glimpses of
The person who probably doesn’t remember who I am
Who has forgotten my touch
Like droplets of water becoming vapor against a hot pan
Whose shared memories meant as little to them
As it seems to have meant so much to me
For I am not in love with you.

I am not in love with you
I was in love with your bright eyes
That looked at me as if I was someone special
When I always felt like my life wasn’t even my own
I was in love with the indie music you played in your car
And how you drove down the wrong side of the highway
Yet the only thing we could do was laugh
I was in love with your cold skin
And the warmth of your kiss
That felt alien to me
Because I was no longer myself –
Now a part of another
But I am not in love with you.

I was in love with the way you made me feel
With the dreams that came when I thought of you
At that moment in time
As the person I once was.
But I am no longer that person
Those feelings are no longer my own
For I am not in love with you –
I am just in love with the memory I have of you.

Me, Myself, and I

It is clear that I am not the same person I was last week
Let alone last year
Facing different hurdles
Yet carrying the same fears
I don’t want to let go of the people
That once lent their voice to my head
For it seems I’m just stuck with myself instead

I don’t care much for my company
As I try to ignore my own thoughts
All the time spent trying to leave myself alone
It seems all of it was for nought
But it is clear to me that I won’t be the same person in a week
Let alone next year
Trying to be something more
Than just another rotating gear
There will be a time when there is a me
That is no longer me
And he will look back in introspection
On the person I wanted to be
And with any luck, it will offer a new perspective
He might miss what once was
Or hopefully love what he became
Because however many times I change
I never want to be the same

There are days where I get jealous of me, myself, and I
That I don’t get to experience the good yet to come
Or relieve the good that has already gone by
But I would rather be someone different
Every single day of the week
Then forever be someone
Who was too afraid to speak up
And only saw a world that was cold and bleak 

It is clear to me that I am not the same person I was last week
Let alone last year
But that is what it means to learn and to grow
No matter the person that was once in your mirror
Through the hurdles, the hardships, the fear –
Knowing that on the other side, there will always be a better version of you to appear.

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

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.

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.

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.