Aaron West, Crystal Meth, and Holiday Fractals: A Letter

Dear Loathing,

You’ve been one of my greatest friends throughout the years, suctioned to my brain like a Lamprey, swimming behind my eyes, distorting my perspective. I always knew those weren’t floaters but rather translucent snakes reminding me of how much I hate myself. Every time I rub my eyes, stand up too quick, or look at a light for too long, you’re always there.

And I wish you weren’t.

I spent years believing things couldn’t get better. From crisis to crisis you assured me it would always be this way. Behind every negative word said to me, you would echo, “They’re right, you know?”

And I always believed you.

I’m trying to get rid of you, trying to build up positivity. So when my methed-out Step-Father messages me telling me I’m a “pussy” and that I’m “not a man”, I only believe it for a little while. When I get disappointed or heart broken I only believe it’s my fault for a little while. When I’m defeated, I don’t stay there wallowing like I used to.

I went from “I’m starting to believe that there’s a God and he hates me” to believing in myself instead.

So when my brother tells me he loves me and that I’m the reason he’s still alive, I can detach that Lamprey from my Hippocampus. When my friend encourages me in my passions, it gives my brain a moment to heal. When I think about leaving this place behind, moving out to the mountains, I’m not filled with doubt or feel defeated.

It’s been a long while since I’ve had hope, and I’m afraid I’ll lose it. It’s Christmas Eve and it’s snowing, and to most this would feel magical. The sight of snow fills me with fear. That cold white dredges up so many bad memories. This holiday season has always been hard and I’ve been so disillusioned over the years. You always comes back, Loathing, and that’s why I’m afraid. Every time something negative happens I know that you’re waiting with a handful of dead sunflowers ready to spit in my face and say, “I told you so.”

I’m trying to dissociate the white of the snow with the trauma in my life. Snow is such a wonderful thing and I’m tired of feeling afraid of it. I’m tired of it reminding me of you. I’m clinging to hope that you will stay away, that I’ll have the strength to keep fighting you, and that I’ll continue to have the will to pursue a more whole me.

Sincerely,

Your Oldest Friend and Newest Enemy

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Thoughts: Quand allons-nous aimer?

Mon Dieu, pourquoi?

The sobbing in the streets where we used to sit and sip our café au lait,  watching our neighbors pass by as they carry out their lives. We were just smoking our cigarettes, laughing, lounging.

Now we’re putting out our buildings instead, drinking up the sadness with the madness, our streets flooded with confusion, with anger.

Mon Dieu, mon cœur! Ce n’est pas possible!

Could it be that our nightmares were reality? Our streets were refuge for the fleeing, our homes were shelter for the weak. Could it be that these people are just like me?

Identifying with the outcasts, identifying it was also me. No home to go to, mourning in the streets, white roses in bullet holes in glass, our pain as theirs, home’s not safe.

Remember when things were calm and the waves were soothing? When man loved one another? When humanity was more human?

Oh Jesus I’m up in arms, I’m ready for war! But how do you fight an enemy that isn’t tangible? It’s not an army or a nation or a people group, it’s our hearts.

God, why can’t anyone see, that it’s people who are fucked up, and people are the key to setting things right with humanity. Everything we touch turns to dust, we try and create only to decimate, pushing for betterment of things that weren’t meant to be. All our hearts are black, all our ambitions are driven by our selfish conditions with visions of pornography, of celebrity fame, of a cause with a voice and no action.

What the fuck are we doing?

I’m not any different than anyone else. I’ve got my hands tied with my emotions, grasping for relationships I know aren’t good for me, concerned with the thread counts in my sheets, looking at parts of women that weren’t meant for me. Anger wells up in my chest, I can’t rest, I’m not functioning at my best, I’m not functioning at all.

I’m just existing.

Sometimes that’s all I can do.

A dear friend looked me in my eye and told me I wasn’t the same. He said, “You’re angry now, like there’s no hope.” Well I never asked for any of this pain, any of this shame, I was just trying to stand up for what’s right! I was just trying to be a decent human being!

“Who are you to determine what’s right? You know, when I’m angry, it’s because I’m afraid. Our anger is a reaction to our fear. What are you so afraid of?”

And thus from his lips it did depart, that I was caught, and it was time to face my fear. It boiled down to my shame, that I was the person I was, that I was actively fighting against everything I believed. I was afraid I would never be wanted, that my best would never be best for someone else.

Well Christ reminds me that even my worst is good for him, so I’ll get angry at him for calling me out, then get angry at me for getting angry at him, and get angry that I’m the way I am, then get angry at me for telling myself that.

We’re all so layered, sediments and stone, but canyons don’t get so beautiful without weathering to show their bones. When you look at how complex you are, and realize so is everyone else, pieces start to fall in place. Pain is what shapes our perspective, pain is what pushes us into the light, pain is created by us, pain is existent only because of us.

So “shadows prove the sunshine” and we’re woven together. Sometimes we’re in the shade, sometimes we’re not, none of this will make any sense until you can admit to yourself that your joy only comes at the cost of someone else’s pain.

“Do you think some people were made for suffering so others could experience joy. I think about that often. I think maybe that’s me.”

Seeing Self Regain “I”

Maybe it’s in a thicket of conifers, maybe an isle in the gulf, maybe in a bay window, sun-soaked yellowing pages provoked by thumb and index. Smudged hearts and streaks left from the Windex.

It’s so difficult to find joy. Under a rock,  perhaps hidden in some tea leaves; Earl Grey. 

Grey, grey, grey.

It’s the filter over your eyes, scales and veils, caught in Kansas with no Oz in sight. Left dreary and dreadful, with only cynical realism because these synapses hold Seratonin ransom like a POW in the Land of the Rising Sun.

But the sun never comes up. Caught in perpetual dawn, your whole earth groaning for the sunlight. Blades of grass and limbs of leaves stretching just to get a peek.

Even from the peaks, no light, no dark, just tepid glow. Knowing there’s good, so out of focus because of the bad. No lenses to change, shutter speed slowed to seizure.

Paralyzed.

Caught in a waltz of “I need to be heard” and “I won’t say a word” like a nun and a mime on a ballroom floor. It’s not gracing your ears like a dandelion in the wind, more like the incessant tapping of a pencil on a desk, an anxiety-ridden insomniac leads the cadence. It’s not so bad at first, but it sinks in to the bone, sucking you dry of happiness, no Patronus charm could fend off the horde.

I want to believe it will stop, I want to see the Reds and yellows, be a jolly fellow, greet each day with a warm ‘Hello’, a little Beethoven in the background on the cello. Like every moment a miracle given from Yahweh, so precious, so Crimson, so whole. The summer nights holding hands while the fireflies lit the fields, you tell me you love me and I believe that it’s true. Or those days by the beach when I made you that castle, I want to build you a kingdom, a Queen of the sea, shells in your hair and sand in your toes.

It’s not a matter of choosing light over dark. There isn’t choice with a grayscale voice. I wish it weren’t so, stuck here with my woe, when my woe won’t leave me be.

So Christ will the sun rise only in Japan, or can it rise for me? Where Joy can be a reality, and the woe plays a lesser role? Find time to find time in a busy heart? Your Lazarus witnessed the wrath and decay, but breathed fresh air with dead lungs. Your woman of Serene drew living water from a man with no shame. Your Judas let loose that silver and your Peter walked tall on your waves. 

Can I have a simple mind? It’d be just as much a miracle to me.

I know I frequent your ears with my breath stained of needs and wants. Crude and honest because I’m exasperated. Crude and honest because I hate who I am. Crude and honest because I know you don’t. Maybe some day I’ll see your hand guiding me. Maybe someday we’ll have more to talk about than my self-created, obsessive woes. Maybe someday you’ll convince me I am wanted.