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.

 

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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.

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

I Don’t Know Why I’m Sad

(NOT A POEM)

If has not been made obvious yet, either through the content and themes of my poetry or the few and scattered journal-like posts, I have depression.

I’ve dealt with serious depression since I was roughly fourteen years old. I remember vividly being younger than that – perhaps around ten – and writing in my journal something along the lines of :

“I feel sad a lot for some reason. I feel depressed – not the medical kind, but I don’t feel too happy.”

Little did young me know that it was, what I had called, the ‘medical kind’ of depression. Inherited through my mother’s side, it kicked in hard when I was in my early teens and I started taking medication. My depression was a very key factor in my growing up and a factor in my personality, for better or worse. I started writing poetry and short stories as catharsis for my many sad thoughts, my lack of a social or love life, and just the constant feeling of being alone. It helped me feel better. It helped me feel like I wasn’t alone, even though I was just reading my own writing.

When I reached seventeen or so, I stopped taking my medication. I had reached a point where my depression was no long a constant roommate – always looming and poking at me and being an active part of my life. It had been relegated to a recurring character in the story of my life, hitting me in small bouts every so often through out the year, and kicking in with my Seasonal Affective Disorder in the second half of the year. But it was no longer a big part of me – and being able to function and be me without the medication was a worthwhile trade.

I was okay. Maybe not happy, because I have only felt truly happy a few times in my life – but content. And okay.

And it stayed like that for a while. About two and a half, three years. I even stopped writing poetry, for the most part. I was a changed person, and I mostly embraced it – sometimes I would worry that my depression was too much a part of me, and that something was missing in my life without it.
But ultimately, I knew that that was a ridiculous notion and I continued moving forward – and mostly had a great deal of fond memories wrapped around it. I was in the first serious relationship of my life, I had entered theatre in my junior year of high school and after trying a handful of various activities I finally felt like I found the place I belonged – I had friends. I had people who liked me. I was as happy as I felt like I could’ve been, and I didn’t want to let it go.

That’s why I ended my first relationshjp – because I felt that as I was attempting to rise above the confines of my depression that I had let define me for so long and finally become someone new in of myself, the woman I was with refused to do the same. I felt that she wanted to stay depressed and I felt like she was pulling me down with me – so I ended it after nearly two years, and I went back into my life with confidence and by god… I was actually happy. For about three months, I felt truly and completely happy – I was popular and liked and I felt attractive and wanted and talented and I fell in love with someone new who didn’t compromise my emotional growth and I. Was. Happy.

It quickly faded. I jumped out of theatre to work more hours at my job to pay the medical bill I had been given after a car wreck, and that stands as the biggest regret I have so far. I faced a lot of those little bouts of depression off and on as the year went on, and I hated how things regressed so quickly.

A couple months later, something happened and then my depression showed up on my front door with its suitcases full of sad songs and tattered clothing and anxious thoughts and reminders of my mortality.

He lives with me now, full-time, a constant companion again for the first time in years – but in those years we weren’t together, he went to the gym and ate well and came back as some sort of jacked up mother fucker who not only made me sad, but gave me more anxiety than I have ever had before – done in such a way that I am never out of their grasps. I get anxious, and it makes me depressed, then I’ll get anxious about why I’m so depressed, and it’s a vicious cycle that shows no signs of relenting.

I have many of the things that I always thought would make me happy, back in the old days of being depressed. Not all, but many of them – and yet, none of it makes me any less depressed.

I don’t know why I’m sad. Sometimes I feel sad about things that I know I’m not sad about. Sometimes I just sit and soak in a pool of black – and nothing is real to me except for the fact that I feel terrible and it’s who I am right now.
For god’s sake, I wrote a whole new poetry book in just under a year dealing with a lot of it.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go. I don’t know what to say. Would theatre make me happy again? Would actually having some god damn friends make me happy again? I have no fucking clue. Things have passed that I thought would mark the end of my depression, but surprise! It’s still there. So for all I know, none of that would make it go away, and that’s the scary part – I just don’t know what to do.

I feel helpless. I even considered rethinking religion because I feel so damned lost, but I can’t bring myself to do it because it’s so damned ridiculous.

At the beginning of this year, I asked myself and whoever the hell reads this if I was, and if you were, happy. And here at almost the end of the year, I can say – I am not. I don’t know when I will be. I’ll ask the same question next year just to check in, but things don’t seem to hopeful.

Though I am always hoping things get better. Every day. Because no matter what I sometimes feel, I am not depression and depression doesn’t make me who I am.

Also – “The Rubble Before Us; Fleeing Dreams and Other Things” will be out sometime in the next six months, hopefully, maybe. You can read all of the poems in it on here, anyways.

Well… we’ll see.
See you next year.

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

– Brandon, 8:45 PM

Edge of the Overpass

Floating in the overpass
I see your city through the fog
And I wonder if you see me
through pictures colored rose
or in some dark, corporeal dream
Just like you do.
Am I in your thoughts
or even in the shadows at your bedroom at night?

I wonder if anyone has over fallen off the edge –
of the overpass –
or of their thoughts.
Wanting a dream so bad
they forget the rest.

Through my windshield wipers
I can see your exit
But I’m sure the town
is as empty as you
So the rain pours on
as I drive forward

Winter, the Lover

(Open to Close)

It’s been cold for days
But that’s fine by me
I’d be numb anyways
I yearn for the violent wind
the punishing slaps to my face
the feeling of a thousand needles
I never get sick of the taste
I don’t want to walk
I don’t want to find a flame
Because I’ll just grow hot
And miss Winter my lover again
Her chill is so sweet
shattered glass on a carpet floor
blood stains the fabric
until you can’t feel anymore
She has me run to her
to feel her embrace
the flurries of dark wind
highways of empty space
no light in the distance
cities miles from the rearview
The windows rolled down
so she can tell me what to do

Two hands turn to one
one foot turns to two
as I pass eighty miles
just like she asked me to
I’ll only stop running
when I have a place to go
Alone in an empty apartment
or face first in the snow

I was never meant to make it
She told me that from the start
Warm from some other man
Because she got tired of a cold heart
No more anxiety, or worry
No more wondering left
She was like Winter
and I was, at best, blue
As I slept alone she told me
I should look the same on the outside too

One hand turns to none
Dim headlights turn to empty night
She howls from the window
“I’ll be yours forever – you know that it’s right.
Let me hold you on these empty roads.”

Winter was always there – the only lover I had ever chose
From the beginning to the end
Open to close.

 

In the Dim Red Light of a New Mexico Dive Bar

See through the smoke and spot those hazy Autumn eyes
Every fallen leaf is another year gone by
Trying to turn back time and forget about the lies
But the world refuses to forget
The seasons change
But the world, it won’t forget.

Neither do I.

See you through the mirror
Looking just like the photographs you showed me years ago
Just another reprint of the imitation
Like everyone else in the room you know
You bring the cigarette to your lips – pale pink from rubbed off lipstick
Knees vaguely wobbly
Face wondering if you’ll be sick

“I thought I’d never see you here.” You mutter, to me or not at all
Perhaps it’s just the thick nicotine perfumed air
You stumble once, then twice – and I reach to grab you before you fall
“Do you know how many times I tried to call?”

I look down at you and realize I don’t recognize the hair, or the piercings, or the clothes you wear that you used to hate
I don’t recognize the beat poet friends falling out the front door with men smoking cloves and wearing turtlenecks even though they promised to wait
But still the same are those Autumn eyes I always knew, still perched in the same still silent sadness
crying tears that roll down your cheeks
to the floor beneath us
It never changed – what you were running from never left
For the world refuses to forget.

I held you for five minutes
No longer
before I returned you to your chair and I walked out the backdoor
to rid myself of the angsty overly introspective menthol air
I didn’t know if you were drunk
or if you’d even remember me in the morning
If you’d recall me crying softly
and telling you I was sorry.
But you are who you are now
And I’m all set to go
You may forget me in the morning
Yet I remember your eyes – cursed to always know

The Sun at 8 PM

Reaching, outpouring
Wanting to forget about never knowing
Falling or sleeping
Or dreaming of being awake
I can’t find someone to give back
All this regret I continue to take
Wake me up
Before I go under
I want to remember the way
You looked up at me in wonder
There’s silence in the trees
And a lack of air at night
And no matter what medication i take
Nothing I stick inside me feels right
All the depressive
Without a manic to be found
I reach for your hand
But i’m not safe
when you’re around
And across my eyes
There’s a forest burning
They all cry for help
Because the earth keeps on turning
I don’t think they get the monopoly
Humans have on hate
Because even with loss
They just want to get away
So the sun melts
And you walk out the door
And at long last I remember
That you weren’t there anymore
There’s been years since your touch
And the trees are now ash
And when I get a little better
I’m just close to another crash
But in the cinders and dust
From that old wood
Life will rise again as it should
Yet only in a dream
Will you come to me
And my life is always fleeting
Just as it should be

Glaring Omission

(red curtain)

don’t forget
we all fall
and there’s nothing left
at the final call
to leave behind
or store away
because we can apologize
some other day
i won’t please you
you can’t speak to me
we don’t understand
the language of being
softer words
than the touch of your tongue
and my mouth writes monologues
that your lips haven’t sung
yet despite the lack
of oxygen
between you and me
i still find far too many allusions

to our own soliloquy