I haven’t been held in a while.
My body longs for the simple embrace. Anything.
Just the slightest hand gesture across the length of my inner arm is enough to send liquid nitrogen down the crease of my spine. It’s numbing.
I’m dying slowly without cease. I need love.. But I’m careful and concerned enough to not grasp what love I can receive. It makes me bitter. It makes me aggressive. It’s turning my gentle tendencies to wrath and vulgarity. I don’t want sex. I don’t want cheapened lust. I don’t want flirtatious sarcasm.
I just want to be held. And I want it to mean something.
Impermanence is a terrible thing.
I don’t have time to enjoy a rainy day anymore.. I love rainy days. Now I find myself tearing my ugly self out of the sheets in the morning only to peer out the window.. And fall to pieces. This busyness. This hectic, speed-fueled lifestyle has suffocated the small insignificant, unrecognized pieces of art that I once clung to for fear of losing them.. It’s gone. Replaced with routine and a side of anxiety, served with a creamy sense of losing one’s self over top..
Working two jobs with 29 other things on your plate is not a way to live. I will do anything to rid myself of this never ending nightmare.. For now, it’s only begun.
A romantic without romance, frantic without finance, depression without a slow dance. Every morning I can barely put on pants, let alone hold an upright stance. Every morning I burn into a trance just to drift back to unhappy, just with a mouth once full of sand. And what I cannot stand is that my right hand doesn’t move the way it used to. I’ve slipped into bland. This is not something I planned, but it sort of happened that way. Like a suicide note in an ashtray. But believe me because I really am okay. Possibly half gay, and not a rent to pay. Somehow I find I’m still unhappy. The sky is always grey and the coffee has gotten crappy. Wishing my love life were any sort of sappy. If anything, I should be happy.
But I’m not.
Dreams poison my consciousness
Grasping everything I thought to be surreal and exciting about my life and pulverizing it down to a dull, boring memory. A dream has taken me everywhere I want to go and no where that I want to go, always forcing, always knowing what’s best. Slipping deeper into slumber as a microcosm unfolds in my cranium, always trying to find some pin sized hole to my reality.
The chrome analog alarm clock perched on my bedside table is always ever eager to break the news. I tear myself out of a tightly wrapped bundle of cotton and polyester, plant my feet on a carpet crisp from the frozen night, and try to get ahold of my mind, still spinning from what seamed like yesterday.
Bored? Call the suicide hotline and get them to agree with you that you should kill yourself. A probably impossible task, but entertaining to try.
Fuck this place. All I do is sit around and spend money on shit that’s utterly unnecessary. All it does is fortify the fact that I’m never getting out of here.
How to change the way you think in ten easy holy-shits.
1. You are not your mind.
The first time I heard somebody say that, I didn’t like the sound of it one bit. What else could I be? I had taken for granted that the mental chatter in my head was the central “me” that all the experiences in my life were happening to. I see quite clearly now that life is nothing but passing experiences, and my thoughts are just one more category of things I experience. Thoughts are no more fundamental than smells, sights and sounds. Like any experience, they arise in my awareness, they have a certain texture, and then they give way to something else. If you can observe your thoughts just like you can observe other objects, who’s doing the observing? Don’t answer too quickly. This question, and its unspeakable answer, are at the center of all the great religions and spiritual traditions.
2. Life unfolds only in moments.
Of course! I once called this the most important thing I ever learned. Nobody has ever experienced anything that wasn’t part of a single moment unfolding. That means life’s only challenge is dealing with the single moment you are having right now. Before I recognized this, I was constantly trying to solve my entire life — battling problems that weren’t actually happening. Anyone can summon the resolve to deal with a single, present moment, as long as they are truly aware that it’s their only point of contact with life, and therefore there is nothing else one can do that can possibly be useful. Nobody can deal with the past or future, because, both only exist as thoughts, in the present. But we can kill ourselves trying.
3. Quality of life is determined by how you deal with your moments, not which moments happen and which don’t.
I now consider this truth to be Happiness 101, but it’s amazing how tempting it still is to grasp at control of every circumstance to try to make sure I get exactly what I want. To encounter an undesirable situation and work with it willingly is the mark of a wise and happy person. Imagine getting a flat tire, falling ill at a bad time, or knocking something over and breaking it — and suffering nothing from it. There is nothing to fear if you agree with yourself to deal willingly with adversity whenever it does show up. That is how to make life better. The typical, low-leverage method is to hope that you eventually accumulate power over your circumstances so that you can get what you want more often. There’s an excellent line in a Modest Mouse song, celebrating this side-effect of wisdom: As life gets longer, awful feels softer.
4. Most of life is imaginary.
Human beings have a habit of compulsive thinking that is so pervasive that we lose sight of the fact that we are nearly always thinking. Most of what we interact with is not the world itself, but our beliefs about it, our expectations of it, and our personal interests in it. We have a very difficult time observing something without confusing it with the thoughts we have about it, and so the bulk of what we experience in life is imaginary things. As Mark Twain said: “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” The best treatment I’ve found? Cultivating mindfulness.
5. Human beings have evolved to suffer, and we are better at suffering than anything else.
Yikes. It doesn’t sound like a very liberating discovery. I used to believe that if I was suffering it meant that there was something wrong with me — that I was doing life “wrong.” Suffering is completely human and completely normal, and there is a very good reason for its existence. Life’s persistent background hum of “this isn’t quite okay, I need to improve this,” coupled with occasional intense flashes of horror and adrenaline are what kept human beings alive for millions of years. This urge to change or escape the present moment drives nearly all of our behavior. It’s a simple and ruthless survival mechanism which works exceedingly well for keeping us alive, but it has a horrific side effect: human beings suffer greatly by their very nature. This, for me, redefined every one of life’s problems as some tendril of the human condition. As grim as it sounds, this insight is liberating because it means: 1) that suffering does not necessarily mean my life is going wrong, 2) that the ball is always in my court, so the degree to which I suffer is ultimately up to me, and 3) that all problems have the same cause and the same solution.
6. Emotions exist to make us biased.
This discovery was a complete 180 from my old understanding of emotions. I used to think my emotions were reliable indicators of the state of my life — of whether I’m on the right track or not. Your passing emotional states can’t be trusted for measuring your self-worth or your position in life, but they are great at teaching you what it is you can’t let go of. The trouble is that emotions make us both more biased and more forceful at the same time. Another survival mechanism with nasty side-effects.
7. All people operate from the same two motivations: to fulfill their desires and to escape their suffering.
Learning this allowed me to finally make sense of how people can hurt each other so badly. The best explanation I had before this was that some people are just bad. What a cop-out. No matter what kind of behavior other people exhibit, they are acting in the most effective way they are capable of (at that moment) to fulfill a desire or to relieve their suffering. These are motives we can all understand; we only vary in method, and the methods each of us has at our disposal depend on our upbringing and our experiences in life, as well as our state of consciousness. Some methods are skillful and helpful to others, others are unskillful and destructive, and almost all destructive behavior is unconscious. So there is no good and evil, only smart and dumb (or wise and foolish.) Understanding this completely shook my long-held notions of morality and justice.
8. Beliefs are nothing to be proud of.
Believing something is not an accomplishment. I grew up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they’re really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because “strength of belief” is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you’ve made it a part of your ego. Listen to any “die-hard” conservative or liberal talk about their deepest beliefs and you are listening to somebody who will never hear what you say on any matter that matters to them — unless you believe the same. It is gratifying to speak forcefully, it is gratifying to be agreed with, and this high is what the die-hards are chasing. Wherever there is a belief, there is a closed door. Take on the beliefs that stand up to your most honest, humble scrutiny, and never be afraid to lose them.
9. Objectivity is subjective.
Life is a subjective experience and that cannot be escaped. Every experience I have comes through my own, personal, unsharable viewpoint. There can be no peer reviews of my direct experience, no real corroboration. This has some major implications for how I live my life. The most immediate one is that I realize I must trust my own personal experience, because nobody else has this angle, and I only have this angle. Another is that I feel more wonder for the world around me, knowing that any “objective” understanding I claim to have of the world is built entirely from scratch, by me. What I do build depends on the books I’ve read, the people I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had. It means I will never see the world quite like anyone else, which means I will never live in quite the same world as anyone else — and therefore I mustn’t let outside observers be the authority on who I am or what life is really like for me. Subjectivity is primary experience — it is real life, and objectivity is something each of us builds on top of it in our minds, privately, in order to explain it all. This truth has world-shattering implications for the roles of religion and science in the lives of those who grasp it.
10. Happiness is only real if shared.
Michigan - Foreign.
What the hell is there to do here? Everything takes money.
I want to meet a girl and fall for her. Hard.
Where do I look for something like that?
9 days. Why does this feel so routine?
Sitting. Waiting on a jet plane.
Observing, watching. People I have never seen before now surround me. Key things help me to pick up on the type of people they are. All good people.
In front of me, a gentleman in a three piece suit sits beside a young college student. She’s an adorable girl flying with her younger sister to spend the holidays with their family. I couldnt help but notice that she is very friendly and has no problem in carrying on a conversation with the man, confident in presuming he will respond. Beside me sit a man and his wife. His wife doesn’t seem to be enjoying herself as she seems weak. Her husband is a working man. His hands are rough and calloussed. Two seats up across the aisle is where the rest of his family sits. His sister, his brother, and his daughter with her stalky boyfriend. All lower middle class. All white as can be.
A flight attendant who is likely to be gay passes be once in a while. He has a very friendly vibe, though shy sounding as he makes various announcements. Someone you could get along with and take shopping.
Across the aisle, a young couple sit. The young man sits in my seat beside his sweetheart. We had agreed to swap aisle seats before we took off. He has colorful shoes. Adidas.
The older gentleman that sits kitty corner to me is a handsome grey fellow. He’s wearing a Dixie state pullover and reading a novel written by Glenn Beck. Cowboy boots peek beneath his khakis.
All I know of the man behind me is that he is over 6 feet tall and kind, smiling at me as he stuffs his long legs into the seat when I headed to the restroom.
You’re here for now.
You sit with your hands intertwined, pressed between your legs above your knees. Your eyes are epoxied in position, aimed at a glove compartment that holds nothing but registration, insurance papers, and a few select fast food napkins that range from off-white to recycled brown in color. On the floor, your feet are squarely positioned with one foot tapping on the transparent vinyl floor mat in an out-of-time manner. The radio is blaring. Static fills the car at an uncomfortable volume, resulting from a once merely fuzzy alternative rock station. Niether one of us want to kill the distorted noise in exchange for silence. Silence containing the soft thrumming of an eight cylinder in the engine compartment. We arrive, pulling up to a hard edged curb directly in front of your porch, after what felt like an uncomfortable road trip across the country. You look straight ahead out of the glass windshield for a moment. The engine purrs to a halt. When silence finally hits the headliner, you break your solid marble pose to wrench open the passenger door and begin to exit the vehicle. Cold air dances in, causing the two of us to clench our teeth as you to pause for a moment, the rubber of your shoe already touching the finely paved asphalt. My stomach propels out of my throat at a high rate of speed and shatters the window of your door. You don’t notice, but turn to meet my eyes, reading how they cock up to intersect with my furrowed brow. An expression that would burn a hole through you if you weren’t made of stone. I notice your pupils. Dialated to the point where if I hadn’t known your irises were blue, I wouldn’t think you’d had any at all. As quickly as the moment came, it was slammed into my long term memory by the sound of the door latch meeting the striker. You had disappeared into the shadows of the porch light, then the confines of your parents two-story home. That was the last I’d see of you, though I hadn’t even met you yet. I know nothing of you but you’re name, and the distance between the corners of your mouth and your ears when you smile.
Numb. 3:37am on a Friday morning. Blinking at the site of an obnoxiously red alarm clock that has been more of just a clock and less an alarm for a while now. Close to a drug that keeps me happy. Yes, addictive and dangerous. Though this substance is that of rest, it is through slumber that I can live. Then there is breathing. A simple task that requires all of your effort when realized, but none of it when forgotten. Passing time with the simple exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Inhale life, exhale death.
Fingers each at their own temperature, maticulously containing an object like nimble legs of a Brown Recluse.
Reckless. Sleepless. Repeat less, annunciate more. With the crisp sharp pinch of T’s and Q’s, melting with the honey glow of syllables in between.
These are the observations of a lonely soul.
Better Left Unfinished.
This is to the terrible. To those too soft spoken to ever speak to the blind. To every single unheard voice that come so fucking easy to ever even find. To the consistency of honey, and the rigidity of your spine. To those who walk the line. This is to the damned souls that believe in a God. For all the second chances turned into thirds, the boy with a BB gun and a tree filled with quiet birds, the one man army who saw life in blurs. For the strings on a violin played by one who knows no sorrow. With money to burn and no need to borrow. To those with out a family who seem to make due just fine with a closet full of skeletons. Befriending a dead soldier just for kicks.